National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

The month of September is national Childhood Cancer Awareness month, every year 15,781 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer in the United States. Little is known about why so many children are developing such horrific illnesses and even fewer medications are available for young patience who have cancer. If you would like to learn more about childhood cancer please go to http://www.acco.org/awareness-advocacy/childhood-cancer-awareness-month/.

If you or someone you know has a child with cancer please click here.

If you would like to donate towards researching a cure for childhood cancer please click here.

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Month Two of Year One

*The information provided in this article is meant for entertainment purposes only, please consult your doctor for all medical concerns and conditions.

My Mental State:masks-833421_1280

On September 3, 2015 I was diagnosed with Postpardum Depression (PPD). Not many women are open to talking about this diagnosis for fear of judgement I am here to say that it is 100% normal and okay. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of harming themselves or their baby you should immediately contact a doctor, or 911. However, PPD comes in many forms and those who have it do not always think about hurting themselves or others. PPD could simply mean one is exceptionally sad or overwhelmed more often than they should be. If you can no longer laugh or smile at things that used to make you happy you may be suffering from PPD. For more information on symptoms and signs of PPD please click here.

At my 7 week postpardum appointment my OB gave me the PPD exam where I scored a 16 out of 30 anything above a ten is considered positive for PPD. However, as I did not score too high on the spectrum I was not given medication, it was recommended that I work out and get out of the house more. In addition, it was suggested I start meeting with a therapist or support group. PPD is often caused by an imbalance in hormone levels after birth, which is often why many Obstetricians will recommend medication however diet and exercise can also help.

Since my diagnosis I have made it a daily ritual to take my son outside for about 15 to 30 minutes every day. I haven’t started working out yet, mainly because I have been too exhausted. The increased sun visits, plus the help of my husband and neighbors over the last week and half has allowed me to begin feeling a little better. I’m still obviously depressed, but I’m hoping as I get out of the house more I will begin feeling less and less this way. My husband has even lowered his work hours in order to be here to help me with the baby more, as a result I am planning to return to work in the next week or so. I’m getting a part time job, partially to get me out of the house and partially to begin paying off our back debt and so perhaps here in the near future I can increase the reach of my blog and freelance writing business.

How Baby is Doing?:baby-428395_1280

Wesley is doing amazing he pretty much has full head control now, his eyes are becoming greener by the day. He can no longer fit his 0-3 month clothes, so we have him in 3-6 months as well as 6 months (6 months are a little big, but 3 months are too small). He is consistently providing his mother with lots of smiles and coos, which just melt my heart and make me so happy. He has also slowly worked himself to a regular sleep schedule. I am able to get at least one 5 hour block of sleep in a night now between feedings, which is amazing. He loves bears, from the bears on his swing mobile to my old stuffed animals (which I still have from when I was a kid) he will stare at them all day. He also really likes classical music. His personality is shining through more and more everyday and I couldn’t be happier with his development.

baby-21167_1280Life as a Breastfeeding Mama:

The breastfeeding continues to go well, we had some minor issues where lo was constantly spitting up. They say a sign that your lo is hungry will be that they chew/suck on their hands, well my little Wesley has developed a habit of doing this for comfort (there’s a possibility of early teething). Believing he was constantly hungry I was constantly feeding him for awhile, which was leading to the spit up. It turns out you can “over feed” a breastfed baby. So I now do more interactive things with him when he cries even though he has already been fed. (Sitting outside and letting him look around is a great way to distract him.)  In addition, to learning how not to over feed I also learned how to help prevent some of the choking he was also doing. Being a bigger breasted woman, my boobs tend to sag a little bit, so the lactation consultant recommended that I place a small rolled up rag underneath my boob during feeds that way the breast is lifted towards the babies mouth.

Biggest Life Saver’s I have Learned This Month:circle-304524_1280

Gripe water:

There were a few days were my son’s belly seemed to be really bothering him, so I went and picked up a bottle of mommy’s bliss gripe water it is 100% all natural no artificial sugars or anything. A half a teaspoon and my little man was burping up a storm and feeling a lot better.

Stain Remover:

Blow out diapers happen, it doesn’t matter how tightly you have the diaper on, whether the size is appropriate or whether you use a particular brand. Poop is bound to come outside the diaper at some point it may be once a week or once a month, but it will happen. Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to get that yellow color out of clothes once it is set there. I refused to pay the expensive cost of stain remover, so I used my handy pinterest search tool and I found an amazing and cheap homemade stain remover. All you need is Dawn dish soap, and hydrogen peroxide. Place 2 parts hydrogen peroxide to 1 part dish soap in a red, brown or dark pink spray bottle. (The bottle color is important because otherwise the hydrogen peroxide will no longer keep its potency.) After I remove little ones clothes and get him all clean and situated I take the soiled item/s to the bathroom sink spray them down and rinse away all the yellow with cold water.

Click here to see original article about the stain remover.

Online vs. Brick and Mortar School

Just a little over a year ago I graduated from Sam Houston State University, when I first began my college career I was under the impression that the only way to get a real education was by sitting in a classroom. Sam Houston even then and especially now had an outstanding online program, and today more and more students are choosing to take the path of the online degree. So what is the difference? How do you choose whether to go to the real asphalt under your feet University or the bedroom carpet lined University? With technology growing at such a quick speed you may not necessarily have to choose. If like me you are lucky enough to go to a school that offers both you may be able to take a combination of both online and in-person courses.

For those who prefer to go one way or the other though it may prove to be a difficult task deciding. It used to be that online programs were not as acceptable in the job market as brick and mortar degree’s. However, with online programs growing in popularity and prestige hiring managers are developing an increased appreciation for those with online degrees.

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Pro’s of an online degree:

  • Flexible Schedule
  • Increase your skillset
  • Build your resume

As a result of the flexible schedule, you have more time to work a job, by working you can build your resume, and upon graduation go into the workforce not only with a degree, but with real life work experience.

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Pro’s of attending a Brick and Mortar School:

  • Easier access to professors
  • Larger network
  • Accountability
  • Increased resources

When you attend school on campus, you can easily make face to face appointments with your professors to discuss any questions you have about the course, or even your future career. In addition, you get to meet people through clubs and organizations who may be able to help you get a job in the future, or who will perhaps become your life long friend. Some professors will include attendance in your grade others won’t, either way walking into class late is always a big no no. In addition, your required to turn things in on certain days. As a result of having to be somewhere at a specific time you are automatically more accountable for your education. It also helps that you have a room full of people to side eye you should you not do what your supposed to. By being on campus you have access of the library and on campus computers, plus a ton of other free resources such as the academic center, which have tutors that can often help you build your study and writing skills.

Con’s of attending School Online:

  • Not everyone will see the degree as having the same level of expertise (think state vs. ivy league)
  • Can be more expensive (out of state tuition costs)
  • You have to be diligent with your time and pay attention and check into your email frequently
  • You have to teach yourself

Con’s of attending a Brick and Mortar School:

  • You may have to move
  • Increased costs for transport
  • Time consuming

For the most part choosing between an online university and a brick and mortar university is a personal decision. You have to look at where you are in life and what your lifestyle can accommodate. In addition, keep in mind your personal learning style as well as your ability to work on your own. If you are the type of person who needs someone watching over them to make sure they do what they need to do, then an online school may not be for you. I choose to go the brick and mortar route mostly because I thought I didn’t have much choice. Looking back however, I am really glad I did. My learning style was well suited for it, in fact I believe it took college to teach me accountability.

Post Partum Must Haves: Surviving a fourth degree Tear

As a first time mom I didn’t know what to expect when it came to delivery and after care for myself. I knew there would be blood, and likely a good amount of pain, but I was assured from other moms that it wouldn’t be all that noticeable. Of course I also didn’t talk to anyone who had the experience of a fourth degree tear like I did. If my doctor hadn’t given me codeine I likely would not have survived that first week and half post partum. In fact that first night that I went without it, because my husband and I were to exhausted to stop by the pharmacy on our way home from the hospital nearly did me in. Tip number one post partum, pick up your meds immediately you will want them. I had my son all naturally the way I wanted, but the after birth would not have been possible without those beautiful pain pills. Beyond the pain meds/any other medications prescribed by your doctor you are also likely to need a few more things.

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Post Partum Must Haves:

Witch Hazel

Epsom Salt

Coconut Oil

Soft Toilet Paper

Lots of Pads

Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen (Acetaminophen is made with a chemical that has been known to bring about my seizures, so I stick with Ibuprofen).

Stool Softeners (take them and don’t forget, when it gets close to the time where you are feeling like you finally have to do number two walk it will help make it easier.)

Dermoplast Spray (ask for this at the hospital if they don’t bring it to you)

Preperation H Wipes (these were my lifesavers during, but especially after pregnancy hemerroids are awful and these wipes work way better than the cream).

Plastic Squirt bottle (the hospital will provide it, bring it home)

Sitz bath (make sure to ask for this at the hospital if they don’t bring it to you.)

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The sitz bath sits in your toilet, you fill it with water and Epsom salts in order to give relief for you lady parts and bottom.

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This bag is filled with warm/hot water and when the valve release pours added water into the bath creating a whirl pool effect while simultaneously replacing the dirty water with clean water.