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First blog post

Hello parents, grandparents, and babysitters! Looking for tips on how to deal with those pregnancy symptoms, help your partner, or the different ways to raise kids? Look no further!

As a first time mom myself, I’ve dedicated my current pregnancy to learn all there is to learn about becoming a parent, from pregnancy to parenting. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, search it on the page. If it’s still not there, contact me, and I will personally put it up!

No question is a bad one, just remember, if you’re wanting to know, plenty of others are too!

 

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Posted in Assistance & Needy Families, Pregnancy

A Personal Request

I’m hurt to say that I have had to start a Go-Fund-Me. Personally, I have gone out of my comfort zone to ask for assistance. Please do not read this as a sob-story to get donations. I am in truly desperate need.

I was on medical insurance through my food stamps. Recently, I found out that my insurance was terminated in my late second-trimester. I’m currently 35 weeks along in my pregnancy, and I am having to pay for the OBGYN visits and my upcoming Labor and Delivery costs.

My OBGYN visits are around $400 per visit, which will be every week or two as I come to the end of my pregnancy. My L&D costs for my son could be around $15,000. Where I’m on bed rest and cannot work, there is only one source of income weekly. My husband’s checks go straight to our monthly utilities and help with food.

My husband has been doing everything he can do to get in more hours at his part-time job to bring home extra money to help with my medical bills. As much as we try to bring in extra income, it never seems to be enough.

I have recently been hospitalized (see Hospital Log: Visit 1) due to possible preterm labor contractions, and that is just another medical bill piled on our shoulders.

I’m left on restricted activity to prevent from straining myself. I am in desperate need of donations for my medical bills.

Please use the link provided to donate, or please share this post and link. Anything helps.

https://www.gofundme.com/5klk8fc

Posted in Uncategorized

Hospital Log: Visit 1

May 21st, 2018

Monday, I was having contractions. I started counting then at 11:20AM. They were irregular and didn’t get any stronger.

These contractions did not hurt much. It was more of an uncomfortable “tightening” feeling in my abdomen. I slept it off what I could.

Around 1:00PM, things started getting interesting. They became regular and stronger. They were between 3 and 5 minutes long, and about 1 to 2 minutes apart. Around 2:15PM I decided that since they were starting to heat up, I’d need to clean myself up and prepare to go to the hospital. I showered, some a quick load of laundry while I still could, and called my partner to let him know what was going on.

My partner didn’t get home until about 4PM, but my contractions were still manageable. I saved any energy that I could and laid in bed until he got home. I made sure to eat what I could when I could to help keep up my energy, because the contractions, although nearly painless, took every bit of energy that I had while I was resting.

I went to the hospital after my husband got cleaned up and I was put on fetal monitoring machines almost immediately. The doctors said that the cause of my contractions could be dehydration, but the fluids didn’t seem to help much either by oral intake or IV.

My cervix was firmly closed the entire time. My contractions were off of the charts and I was close to being induced at 35 weeks pregnant. I was given a fetal steroid to help my son’s lungs develop faster in case I delivered soon. 1AM rolled around, and the contractions wouldn’t let up. I was given an injection to stop the contractions. Not even that helped. After that, they started hurting.

They finally ease up around 4 or 5AM, and I’m taken off of fetal monitoring to rest. 6:30AM rolls around, I can barely sleep, and I’m put back on fetal monitoring to check on the contractions and my baby.

Soon after I was discharged, and went to go get some Hardees because I was STARVING.

So ladies, please remember to drink A LOT of water at all times, and double your intake during hot weather.

Posted in Pregnancy, Total Mom Mode Reviews

Total Mom Mode Reviews: MISHKA

Today, I noticed a video on Youtube called MISHKA: A short film on teen pregnancy.

I decided that since it related to the blog, I would review it.

TRIGGER WARNING:

THIS SHORT FILM MAY CAUSE CONTROVERSIAL TRIGGERS TO PRO-LIFE SUPPORTERS AND PARENTS WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED MULTIPLE MISCARRIAGES. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

The short film opens on a teen. She’s with her friends at a sleepover. They’re busy chatting away about everyday teenage concerns. Mishka, the main character, lays silently, in her own thoughts. It’s obvious that she isn’t worried about her teenage life as much as other teens.

The film includes Mishka sneaking into her dad’s wallet, taking money, and heading to the drug store. She nervously buys a pregnancy test.

She takes the test in the school bathroom the next day. She stares at the results. It’s indicated that her stress levels rise. She can’t even focus on her schoolwork that night at home.

She later looks over her body, anticipating the life that is inside of her, indicating that she’s pregnant.

Her friend’s birthday party comes up. Her friends are talking about getting a puppy. They talk as if she’s an expecting mother, asking questions like, “Is it a boy or a girl?” or “What are you going to name him?” This strikes stress in Mishka’s worries about her pregnancy, and she leaves the party.

The next morning, Mishka asks her father why he takes pills. They were prescribed for his arthritis. “It helps with the pain.” He tells her.

Later, Mishka is sitting next to a tree, alone. She takes out her dad’s medicine that she stole. She then pours a handful and takes them all in one go.

The film then opens on Mishka in the bathroom crying. Blood is on the floor and her legs. There is no need to explain what happened. She cleans herself and goes to lay next to her dad, indicating that she wants to be a normal kid again. The film fades to black.

Text fades into appearance.

“I killed our baby.”

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sH9C2v7cg8

The short film sheds a lot of light on the troubles of teenage lives. At her age, they don’t understand that unprotected sex can lead to many things, including pregnancy. Some teens do it for bragging rights, attention, or are forced into it. When they end up pregnant, they have a choice. To keep the baby, or to get their normal lives back. Growing up around her age, teens may choose to keep the baby for the wrong reasons. But if they have an abortion, or force themselves to miscarry, their peers will shame them.

Parents, I beg of you, if this short film is disturbing to you, as it was to me, don’t let your preteens or your teens have sex. This could be what they experience. Please, prevent your child from going through the pain that the main character endured.

Teens and preteens aren’t ready to go through the pain of abortion, miscarriages, or the commitment of pregnancy. They should be worried about their teenage lives, what they’re going to do after high school and college, how they’re going to support themselves on their own. When someone is able to support themselves fully, then it would be the time to have the serious thoughts about moving up in life. That means worrying about a relationship and marriage.

Life needs to be taken with baby steps, to ensure the readiness of each of us. Save your children the stress of constantly having to worry about whether or not they will be able to support another life in addition to their own. Head my words, for I speak from this exact experience.

I got pregnant straight out of high school. I never could get a scholarship for college, and I was trying to find a job to save up for myself moving up in life. Right as I had my interview, I found out I was pregnant. Having had multiple miscarriages before, this pregnancy had my head twisted in ways I couldn’t understand. I decided to try and keep my baby safe. I couldn’t work during my first trimester due to the fear of losing my baby. I looked for a job in my second trimester, because it would be safer then. I never got a call back to any of the jobs I applied for. Where I live, pregnancy safe jobs are limited. I couldn’t work in a factory, and I was restricted from working fast-paced jobs. There were no jobs available after those filters set in.

Now that I’m in my third trimester, I can’t get a job due to my pregnancy being in the maternity-leave status. I still sit every day and wonder if what I have will be enough for my son arriving next month.

I’m not saying that jumping into pregnancy is impossible to handle. I’m saying it’s never easy. I spent my first and second trimesters scraping and saving every penny alongside my partner to have enough to afford a baby. And right as we planned to leave home with the money we saved up, about $300 was stolen from our savings. It took us another 4 months to save up what we had lost. As soon as we got the chance, we got our own place. We’re having to get help with this though. We moved into my partner’s mother’s old house, where we are currently staying rent-free. My mother-in-law no longer lives here, but she owns the property and is staying with her boyfriend.

Truth be told, I don’t think that my partner and I would be as ready as we are now if it wasn’t for the help, support and baby gifts that we’ve received already. As ready as we are, I still worry daily if we will be enough for our son.

Save your teens from having that stress and trouble. Encourage baby steps in life, one step at a time. Don’t let them pile up the pain and stress on their shoulders all at once.

Posted in Activities, Pregnancy

Activities for Expecting Parents

I get that pregnancy can be slow and miserable while you wait for your little one(s) arrive. Believe me, there have been too many days where I’ve been bored out of my mind. I have sat and looked up far too many things to occupy myself while I wait. So far, it has been the worst in the third trimester. My due date is so close, but it’s taking decades for it to arrive. I’m told every day to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet, but the truth is, I CAN’T enjoy it if I don’t have anything to do.

Here are a few activities for expecting parents to do while they wait, so they’re not as bored as I am.

Make a Pregnancy Flip Book.

Print out photos on card stock that your partner and family have taken of you (and your belly) throughout the pregnancy. Assemble them in chronological order and then staple together in one corner. (Or create a mini photo book keepsake on Shutterfly.com.) When you flip through the pages with your thumb, it will look as if your belly is magically growing. Take that, Pixar!

Write a Funny Letter to Your Baby.

Keep a record of all the crazy stories from your pregnancy, like that recurring dream you have of giving birth to a hamster. Your child will find it hilarious when he’s 10. Write the memories down, tuck the notes into an envelope, and file under “Open in 2024.” Lyla Gleason, of Waltham, Massachusetts, kept a preggo journal: “It had all my funny observations, like the day my bump was finally bigger than my husband’s potbelly! He didn’t think that was funny, though.”

Go Away.

Now’s no time to jet off to Bali, but you can make a quick escape. “We drove a couple of hours to a B&B on Lake Michigan, where we dipped our toes in the water, ate old-fashioned ice cream daily, went antiquing, and just enjoyed each other’s company,” says Kelly Speer Hoffman, of McHenry, Illinois. “We also took whimsical photos with a pair of baby shoes placed in the frame to preserve our fun times!”

Treat Yourself to Something Special.

Why should you hold out for a push present when your fave shoe department (not to mention jewelry counter) awaits? “I was tired of wearing flats all the time, and my shoe size thankfully never changed during my pregnancy, so I went out and bought a totally awesome pair of heels during my eighth month,” says Meredith Dedolph, of Silver Spring, Maryland. “I slipped them on for my first date night with my husband after our daughter Charlotte was born.”

Write a Diary Specifically for Your Baby.

Personally, I’ve been doing this since I found out about my pregnancy. I had a black journal and I didn’t know what to do with it. Personally, as a writer, I was PLANNING originally on a new story with it. Writer’s block kept me from doing so. When I found out I was pregnant, inspiration hit me. I decided to dedicate that journal to my first born and began filling it with letters as time passed. I wanted to do one letter a day, but at first, I wrote multiple per day, then one per week, if I got lucky enough to have that chance before I fell asleep after every chore and appointment I went to. I put in pictures of ultrasounds, and keepsakes in the journal as well. My hospital bracelet from the night I found out is within the first few pages of the book.

Buy a Baby Memory Book.

This book is for the beginning of pregnancy all the way up to those first few years of your baby’s life. It’ll be time-consuming, of course. You might not work in it much, but when you do, you’ll be saving every memory that is made right there in that memory book. Some books include memos about current events around the time baby arrives. This can include current world leaders, gas prices, formula prices, diaper costs, etc. It takes in every memory around your experiences so your child can look back in your perspective when they’re older.

Posted in Assistance & Needy Families, LET'S TALK ABOUT...

“Let’s Talk About…” No. 1: FOOD STAMPS

Let’s talk about food stamps. Growing up, my family had them. during my preteen-middle school years, I was embarrassed by them, because it showed that we were poor. Towards high school, I started to appreciate them. I never talked about it to my friends, but I wasn’t embarrassed if someone found out. While I was underage, I alone got about $500 for my family per month. All four (at one point it was five, until my brother moved out) of us got around $600 per month. One physically disabled adult who was incapable of working, one adult who worked part-time, her 3-year-old son, and myself.

Now that I’ve left home, their food stamps is at an all-time low of $100 per month. Because of this, you’d expect my food stamps now (my own case) to be a similar amount per month as to what it was beforehand, including my pregnancy as well. My husband works part-time, making only $8 per hour with no more than 32 hours per week, depending on the weather (he works in landscaping, if it rains or snows, he can’t work) which leads up to about $175 per week after taxes are taken out. This is an average of $1,000 per month.

Keep in mind, our rent is $375, our electric bill is about $100 per month, and our water bill is outrageously high due to a leak at the meter that the company blamed on us, which is about $358 per month (an original bill is only about $15 to $45 per month). Taken into the thought that we also have a baby on the way, we’ll be spending about $700 to $1,000 per month on diapers, wipes, and other baby needs. THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE FOOD, CLOTHING, OR OTHER  NECESSITIES.

Our monthly total of expenses is approximately $1,800 to $2,300 per month. Whereas I am currently on bedrest due to my third trimester of pregnancy, and the fact that we won’t be able to hire a babysitter for us both to work, causing me to be a stay-at-home-mom until my son goes to school, at the very least.

Remember, our income is about $1,000 per month. Our expenses are between $1,800 to $2,300 per month. We are about $800 to $1,300 in debt every month. Do you really want to know what we’re actually able to get in food assistance?

I kid you not when I say this: we get $15 per month in food assistance. That is QUITE LITERALLY 2 loaves of bread, 2 gallons of milk, a single pound of sandwich meat, and a dozen eggs.

Do they expect a family of 2 (soon to be 3) to survive on that every month?

Now I understand that a lot of people who commit food stamp fraud. It gives the GOOD families who actually NEED food stamp assistance a bad reputation, causing those needy families to pay the price, while those who commit fraud and sell their food stamps for drugs aren’t affected at all. Can our corrupting government not tell the difference between genuinely needy and genuinely greedy?

 

Let’s Talk About…” is a series of rants and opinions that is written purely from the main blogger of Total Mom Mode. The opinions and statements have NOTHING to do with the sponsors or affiliates. 

Posted in Communication, Family, Relationships

Relationships & Family

Relationships. We have them with everyone in our lives. Our friends, acquaintances, partners, our pets, even. What keeps those relationships strong is communication. Communication, in this case of family and friendships, leads to trust. Good communication causes a sense of stability and predictability, but lack of communication or unhealthy communication introduces a sense of fear that causes tension, which is counterproductive to efficiency.

According to Livestrong.com, “A family lacking healthy communication is like a ship without a rudder. It will flounder even in calm waters and will become dangerously out of control in a storm. To avoid a ‘person overboard’ tragedy, it is vital to understand barriers to quality family communication. For healthy communication in the family, ensure that every member is heard, understood and valued.”

Family communication problems can manifest in a number of ways. Indicators can be as minor as one spouse misunderstanding the other’s request for a ride home from work to issues as life-changing as a parent being unaware that his child is engaging in dangerous or unlawful behavior. In some cases, family members may actively choose to disengage. In others, the effectiveness of what was once a rock-solid system of family communication is chipped away so slowly that its deterioration may escape notice for quite some time.

“Family communication problems are often cited by psychologists who treat children and adolescents for emotional and behavioral problems. Family communication problems can also extend to the larger community and beyond when these same ineffective styles of communication are implemented in the workplace, at school, and in other social settings.” Says the research published in the Journal of Family Issues in July of 2003.

Modeling excellent communication techniques is a vital role for parents. When children see parents argue in a healthy way, discuss their days, and actively seek to support one another verbally and non-verbally, they learn how to behave in their own relationships. Researchers at Cornell University recommend that families eat a meal together at least three times weekly to promote healthy communication. Children whose families engage in this important communication-enhancing ritual are more likely to enjoy the additional benefits of improved academic success and greater psychological well-being.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com

Posted in Labor & Childbirth, Pregnancy

4 Things Pregnant Women Feel Before Labor

Having a baby is most certainly one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life. The preparation and anticipation is sometimes so intense, that mom-to-be may even begin to space out on even the most basic of everyday routines. One day, the garbage may not get taken out on time, while the following day, she might perhaps forget to pick up milk… but when it comes to baby, Mom is most likely monitoring every sign and symptom with profound attention to detail.

Why is this? Well, the long and short of it is that mothers become mothers long before baby makes that first appearance outside of the womb. So, of course, it makes sense then, that one may be a bit hypersensitive as labor and delivery become visible on the horizon.

As pregnancy progresses, many new and fascinating tidbits of information are learned and stored inside of new motherly minds. The idea that labor is imminent is something that most have seen played out over and over in a sitcom or two, but is that really how it goes down? No warning? No symptoms or lead up?

Every pregnancy begins and ends in its own unique way, but over the next several pages, we will reveal some of the more common characteristics of a woman approaching labor. Some symptoms are much more obvious than others, but all are worth noting as that “big moment” draws near.

Number 1: The Pregnancy Waddle

As the baby (or babies) grow inside the womb, Mom will experience changes in her own body. One of these changes that happens late in pregnancy, usually the third trimester when the baby is head-down, she begins to “waddle” as she walks. Personally, at 34 weeks pregnant, I waddle like a duck. It wasn’t a majorly noticeable waddle, but I could feel myself swaying side to side with every step before my husband even noticed it.

Number 2: Cold & Shivering

The last few days before delivery, Mom’s internal thermostat may begin to short circuit. As my pregnancy’s end is in the hottest summer I have experienced, I’m hoping that I’ll get a chance to cool off in the intense heat on my own. Some other moms who were roasting through the first 9 months may shiver in the 10th. I don’t mean a little shiver, either. These shivers will be so cold, that not even cuddling in an electric blanket inside of a giant oven on the equator will warm you up. This could be a result of pre-delivery anxiety mixed with hormones.

So, if you find yourself freezing your butt off, and you’re not sick in any way, my best advice is to warm up and take a rest. Be careful not to try and overheat yourself. A couple of blankets and a warm bed will be plenty; you could treat yourself to a nice and hot soup or stew to make sure you get warm. You can also snuggle close to your partner if they’re down for it. In my case, my partner is always too hot due to the heatwave we’re experiencing at the time to snuggle close for warmth. The coolest times of these summer days have been early mornings around 1AM, and by 2 or 3AM, we get chilled enough to cuddle.

Number 3: Wetness “Downstairs”

Want to know a dead-on sign that labor is near? There will definitely be a sudden increase in assorted discharges in Mom’s underwear. This sudden need for a thick pad can be aggravating on Mom, especially if she breaks out in a “diaper rash” kind-of state due to the pad.

Whether it’s due to the fetal bladder beginning to detach from the uterine walls, or the leaking of small amounts of amniotic fluid, if you are in those last few weeks of pregnancy, this may indicate that things will be moving rather quickly soon. If you have concerns as to the amount of fluid, or if you’re having pains with the leaking, call your doctor. It’s always better to be safe than sorry in an unfamiliar situation.

Number 4: Unusual Baby Movements

The baby’s movements will become more erratic as their exit plan starts to fall into place. If the baby has formed a routine of moving, calming and sleeping, Mom will notice that the baby will seem to be trying every way possible to get out, kicking, stretching, and punching, like a claustrophobic person trapped in a stretchy box, will begin just a few days before labor. However, in some cases, it can be the opposite. If the baby is usually active, the lack of movement can be a sign of nearing labor.

Posted in Parenting, Physical & Emotional Intimacy, Relationships

Top 5 Surprises of New Parenthood

No matter how much you prepare for it, parenting will blow your mind. Your kids will challenge you, bring you to tears, crack you up, and make you forget what you urgently had to do. They’ll shatter the life you knew into a million pieces. Then, they’ll put it back together, like a stained-glass window, into something infinitely more complicated and beautiful.
While every parent’s biggest surprises are different, there are common themes to the ways that kids revolutionize our lives.
SURPRISE #1
Your relationship with your partner will change. It may be for the better, or worse. Maybe you were once inseparable, but now you’re constantly at odds. You’ll be more stressed about your financial situation, the waking hours throughout the night causing the lack of sleep, maybe even over whose turn it is to wash bottles or change a stinky diaper.
Conflict dramatically increases while emotional and physical intimacy deteriorates. Both partners may feel unappreciated, neglected, lonely, misunderstood, exhausted, and isolated. You’ll be surprised at how many issues a baby brings with how many joys you’ll find. Remember that the love you once felt CAN return, even if it seems hopeless. Always take time to communicate and reconnect, being honest about your feelings. Ask for support from as many friends and family as you feel you need. After the first year, things can be resolved in your personal relationship more easily.
SURPRISE #2
Sleeping? Being ready on time? Say goodbye to those–they’re a thing of the past! You’ll possibly not remember taking those luxurious long showers of peace and quiet. For new parents, you’re always late for one thing or another. In the early baby days, getting the hang of constant baby care with nonstop naps and feedings is all most new parents can manage. But after things get down to memory, the chaos may deteriorate. Everything in your life will be planned around feeding, napping, and schedules.
SURPRISE #3
You may look different. The physical changes of parenthood catch almost everyone off guard. Thinking you can go to the gym to work off those pregnancy (or sympathy weight) pounds? Good luck! You’ll be so consumed by your new baby that you’ll barely have time to take a quick breather. And you can’t forget the tired eyes, the hair loss, and the all-natural face of the, “I didn’t have time to do my makeup today,” look.
SURPRISE #4
Your friendships will change. You may be one of the few (or the only one) in your circle of friends with a baby. While all the others are still in the party phase, you won’t have any time left out of your busy schedule to even have a polite conversation. The friendship will drift away. Those friendships may resurface after your child is older, enabling you to maintain contact more often.
SURPRISE #5
Time flies. You’ll have to let go sooner than you think. Milestones of your child’s development will pass you by like all you did was blink. You won’t notice it until you reach those milestones. When your baby starts crawling, walking, and talking, you’ll be stuck thinking about how much they’ve accomplished and wonder where the days went. It’ll be saddening for you behind the pride you hold in them.
Of course, it’s not easy, but it’s essential. Parents who constantly hover over their kids give them the message that they can’t do things on their own, and that they’ll never have their own independence. Remember that there’s no guide to fostering their independence than your own common sense.

Posted in Holidays, Mother's Day, Pregnancy

Expecting Mothers: Mother’s Day

As a first-time mom still waiting for my son to be born, some think that I won’t be able to celebrate Mother’s Day until next year. But why? What’s supposed to be the big deal about expecting moms celebrating being a new mother before their baby (or babies) are brought into the world?

According to BabyPrepping, “That baby inside of you, growing strong and beautiful, has a heartbeat and is your baby.”

In other words, there may be people who try to make it a big deal since your baby isn’t outside of that warm womb yet. But who cares? You have spent weeks or months worrying about every little movement (or lack of), wondering what that baby will look like, dreaming of and thinking up names for him/her, and making sacrifices to ensure he or she is as healthy and safe as possible.

In other words, you are just as entitled to celebrate Mother’s Day as a mother of 19 kids. You are a mother.

Source: babyprepping.com

Posted in Breastmilk, Pregnancy

The Pregnant Body: Lactation and Breastmilk

For those mothers out there who are expecting, you’ll find yourself wondering when your body will begin to produce breastmilk. You’ll possibly find yourself wondering how your body changes during pregnancy, particularly the areas that you don’t notice changing, such as your breasts.

According to NHS.UK, “In pregnancy, the breasts may start to produce milk weeks or months before you are due to have your baby. If your nipples are leaking, the substance is usually colostrum, which is the first milk your breasts make in preparation for feeding your baby.”

According to KellyMom.com, “Milk production begins around the midpoint of pregnancy. For most mothers, milk will “come in” (increase in quantity and begin the change from colostrum to mature milk) between days 2 and 5.”

This site also explains how there is milk in your breasts at birth. “Colostrum is being produced from about 16-22 weeks of pregnancy, although many mothers are not aware that the milk is there since it may not be leaking or easy to express.”

When can you expect your milk to increase? KellyMom.com explains that as well. “Milk production normally begins to increase (biochemically) between 30 and 40 hours after delivery of the placenta, but it may take a little while for the changes to become apparent to the mother.”

Signs that your milk is increasing may include:

  • Breast fullness, swelling, heaviness, warmth, engorgement, tingling.
  • Leaking milk.
  • Change in baby’s feeding patterns and behavior at the breast.
  • If you’re expressing milk or leaking, you may notice the milk begin its gradual change in appearance from the thicker golden colostrum to the thinner, whiter mature milk.

Keep in mind that many women experience their milk coming in as a gradual change, rather than a sudden one. If you’re still concerned that your body isn’t producing breastmilk, contact your midwife or OBGYN.

Sources:

  • KellyMom.com
  • NHS.UK