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Mommy Book Club 2018

Mommy Book Club Will Start Up Again On January 1st, 2018 and The Book We will be reading is Book One in the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon.

Back Cover Synopsis:

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second Honeymoon — when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach – an ‘outlander’ – in a Scotland torn by war and raiding boarder clans in the year of Our Lord… 1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life… and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scot warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire… and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.



I am giving everyone a heads up on this because it is a longer book and some of us… Mainly me… Will need longer than 30 days to read it. 

I hope you all join us in January on my Facebook Page Ashton Taylor – Our Preemie Family for a Facebook live or a discussion board on it. It all depends on how my kids do at bed time that night, lol. 

Thanks for your Time,

Ashton <3 

My Struggle With PTSD

There has been many articles recently about mental health for parents and family members that have experienced NICU life, and all the bumps, drop, loop de loops that roller coaster has in store for everyone incolved. I would like to share my battle with PTSD post NICU, 3 and half years later.

My son was born 16 weeks early, and I was a worrier before this, but this experience has amplified my paranoia about anything and everything that was not in my control. My little Spud was born at 24 weeks and 2 days gestation, 11 inches 1 pound 12 oz, and loud. He annouced his presence with a meek but powerful squeak, almost like a newborn kitten, I learned later that it was rare for little ones that early to have a powerful entrance, so much so that the nurses held him unsure of what to do for a moment or two. 

Now, this part is mainly to explain where I came from to have you understand where I am now. We were in the NICU for 157 days total and 33 days in a childrens hospital, with 2 attempts at coming home before the third one stuck. We were sent home the first time just before his due date, and his Respiratory therapist came tonthe house the following morning and as she hooked him up to the pulse ox monitor he stopped breathing, turned grey and she preformed CPR on him while i was on the phone with 911 amd rounded up cats. She got him breathing and crying and back to the NICU we went, they kept us for 4 days, ran tests and came up with nothing, so they wrote it off as a one off situation and sent us home. As I drove him home I make sure he was mad and would cry the whole 15 minute drive home. You might see that as cruel, I saw that as a way to keep calm. That was the beginning of my spiral down, we got home. My husband and I gave our son his first bath at home, I swaddled him up, put a bum on him and fed him. I handed him to my husband to burp while I went to clean the bottles. Two minutes later my husband is yelling, I run and spring into action, I start CPR, got my husband to wrangle cats and call 911. I got him to burp, fart and whine but no gasp or full cry. The paramedics, who were the same group that were at our house 4 days prior, lifted me off my child and into the hall to start CPR with machines and oxygen masks. 

We were admitted for 34 days in the NICU and 33 in the children’s Hospital after this incident. I refused social work while in the NICU and hospital with my son. I did not want to focus on me, I wanted my son to come home and stay home and stay alive this time. I spent hours writing everything down, filling my sons medical binder with everything and anything. He was my focus 110%.

The third time he came home on oxygen, on a tank I had to bring around with me, so I became a hermit and only left if I had a helper, or to the doctors office alone. He was home before Christmas, and off oxygen by March, my husbands birthday, and I went to a happy routine with him until June. I had to put my son in daycare for 2 hours a day while I worked nights, and my husband worked days. 

Thats when my husband and family started noticing a slight problem, at work I would be overcome with a sence of panic and call my husband repeatedly until he would answer anc check on Spud, make sure he was breathing, make him put the phone up to his mouth so I could hear it. It wasn’t just once and a while, it was 1 to 3 times a night 5 nights in a row. My family doctor put my ativan while at work, but to use as needed, he also put me in touch with a family councillor who was the first person to tell me I may have NICU PTSD and put me in touch with a psychologist. 

I saw her once a week, we worked on talking and medications therapies that helped calm me down. This was from July till October, I was down to once a month visits. The end of October I found out we were pregnant with baby number 2. And I had to stop my medications, and up my therapy visits to try and remain normal. But in January, I lost my job and my coverage for therapy and my husbands coverage couldn’t cover it anymore. I panicked for most of my pregnancy, I had a full meltdown at 22 weeks and again at 24 weeks. I had it in my brain that something was going to go worng. I didn’t enjoy my pregnancy with my daughter, I didn’t feel the joy of finding out it was a girl, I didn’t feel happy shopping for clothes because it felt like something was going to go wrong. But nothing did, Princess Tally came into the world 6 days overdue at 8 lbs 14oz 22 inches long via c section because she had a big head like her dad. 

I didn’t enjoy my 4 day hospital stay, I refused to put her down, I made nurses watch her while I went to the bathroom if family wasn’t there. They made me meet with a social worker to help me get back on medications, which ment I could not breast feed. I had to do it, I had to make this sacrifice for my daughter, so I would have all my mental faculties for her, Spud and my husband. 

I manage my PTSD with medications to this day, and I still have good days and bad days where I pop an Ativan to get through the day, I struggle daily with it, there are nights I wake up 4 to 6 times a night and check both kids, I do not work. I stay at home and try to find some normalcy for my family, for me, I start back to counseling in 3 weeks. Its a battle, but I am willing to fight this, because I have something worth fighting for. 

– Ashton <3

Journey To Heal Diastasis Recti: Part Two

Guest Post By: Lindsay Sutherland

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Before I say anything more about this I want you to know that your post baby body is beautiful.  It tells a story of the miracle of new life.  And I’d like you to have a look at this (even if you have seen this before, it’s good to look at it again because sometimes we forget that there is more to physical beauty than what we see on TV and in magazines):  http://hobbsphotography.ca/a-mothers-beauty-2017/

The reason I am on a journey to heal my diastasis recti and pelvic floor dysfunction has more to do with function.  I obviously don’t want to pee my pants every time I sneeze or jump and also, I have a not-so-great back (I have already had to have surgery on it) so I need my abs and core to be at their best to support my back.  Of course I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care what my tummy looked like.  But I think in my journey to heel my core, the look of my tummy will take care of itself (I’m not talking fitness model 6 pack or anything, just something that I will be confident with 😉 )

I think it is important to take a minute and think about how you view exercise.   I think many people may see it as punishment for maybe enjoying too much of your favorite snacks.  Or maybe some people see exercise as just something unpleasant they need to do because they know it is good for them and they just want to get it done and over with each time they hit the gym.

I think a much better way to think about exercise is to see it as a reward for your body for all the hard work it does for you (including the amazingness that is baby creation!).  Exercise because you LOVE  and cherish your body, not because you hate it and/or want to change the look of it.

So, on to my update on my journey!

I have finished week 2 of this program, so I’m half way through now and I do feel my core getting stronger.  The program is also teaching me to think about proper alignment during the day whether I’m sitting, standing, picking up my toddler or making supper.

Again, not much of a different in the way my tummy looks, but this is all I can show you for a visual lol.  PS, I’m not sucking in my tummy or flexing my abs or core or anything, I’m also not pushing out my tummy…this is just a neutral tummy posture (very technical term here lol!).  These pics were all taken before a workout.  I find that sometimes right after a workout your muscles are more toned looking than they usually are, and I wanted a try story of any improvement so I’m keeping things as realistic and consistent as I can.

Tips for today:

Be Patient:
If you are embarking on a journey to heal your diastasis recti and/or pelvic floor dysfunction, think of it more as a marathon and not a sprint.  It takes time to build any type of muscle in your body, your core and pelvic floor muscles are no different.  Think more in terms of months rather than days or weeks when it comes to seeing a difference.

Stick with it:
The important thing is to stick with it, even if it doesn’t feel like you are doing much compared to traditional exercise programs where you sweat a bunch 🙂

Don’t check your ab gap too frequently:
Going along with my first tip (to be patient), try to resist the urge to check your gap too frequently.  I try not to check mine more than once a month.  Sometimes I’ll go a few months before checking it.  Why?  Well, to check it you need to hold a crunch position and crunches can make your gap worse.  I checked my gap last month and I’ll check it again at the end of the program that I’m doing now so that I can report on any improvement that has been made as a result of the program.

Be careful with high heels:
Wearing high heels changes your alignment as you lean back to compensate for the angle that the heels put your body at.  This causes increased intra abdominal pressure which you don’t want while you are trying to close your ab split.  If you are like me and love to rock some 4 inch stilettos this is pretty terrible news I know!  Realistically I knew I couldn’t give up high heels completely, so what I do is try to limit how often I wear them and how high the heel is.   Luckily the trend right now is a low block heel which is great for so many reasons!  So I have been wearing 2 inch block heels, some flats and some shoes with a 1 or 1.5 inch heel most of the time.  Occasionally, for short periods of time I will rock a 3  or 3.5 inch stiletto 🙂

If you missed my first post about this, check it out here 🙂

Cheers my beautiful ladies!

**Thank you so much Lindsey For sharing more of your journey here. If anyone wants to talked to Lindsey or follow her journey as she continues to rock it out , here are her social media and blog site links again:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smallcitystyle/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/linzyannesu/pins/

Blog:  http://smallcitystyle.com/

Where Have I Been

Well, my husband started a new job, we went on a small family vacation, starting a new hobby in hopes of creating something, and I have been just getting used to the rhythm of having 2 toddlers!

 

Let’s start with the family vacation, we rented a car packed up the kids and went to Drumheller. We made a pit stop in Red Deer to show the kids the awesomeness that is the Donut Mill. Now anyone who lives in Alberta should know about the Donut Mill, you go from Edmonton to Southern Alberta you must make a pit stop at the Donut Mill on Gasoline Alley.

Spud discovered the magical wall of Donuts. He picked an awesome Triple Chocolate Donut.

 First Bite of Magic.

 Princess Tally enjoying a donut and a mommy selfie!

 

We got to Drumheller at about noon so we decided to go right to the Royal Tyrell Museum, since we could not check into the hotel till 3pm!

 

 Waiting for daddy to come and join us! As you can tell Spud is less than impressed to go from a car for 2.5 hours to a stroller.

 The magical Bubble wall! They have a walk through from the beginning of time until now, and it all starts with the Bubble wall.

 The Blue Bubbles are from 2015 when my husband and I took Spud to Drumheller the first time, and the pink Bubbles is Princess Tally at the same age now, the colors were purely coincidental, and my mom pointed it out when I sent her a few pictures.

 

 This isn’t the best picture I  took but this is one my husband wants to take every time we go with the kids. See where our kids measure up against a triceratops. I cant believe how big my little spud is getting.

 

The next day we went to the Hoodoos were we could let Spud walk around and enjoy everything that was to see there. A hoodoo (also called a tent rock, fairy chimney or earth pyramid) is a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland. Drumheller is in the badlands of Alberta, and we had a blast, he kept pointing and saying “Look! Look! Whats that? Ooooh!” He was so much fun to watch.

    

Then we drove home, and honestly for the amount of driving we did in 2 days, my kids were amazing! Even though we had to listen to Blippi “Planes Trains and Automobiles” on repeat for about 6.5 hours, it was a great trip.

The day after we got home we went to Fort Edmonton Park for a few hours, I never got to take pictures due to the fact we decided it would be a great idea to give our some some freedom….. 3 years old in a place with lots of places to run and hide, thank goodness my husband walked around with the baby in the stroller.

 We lost her hat somewhere between the house and the car so Daddy bought his little pilgrim a bonnet! Isn’t Princess Tally the cutest little thing? I am surprised that she left it on the whole time we were there.

 We got Spud some hand churned ice cream as we were getting ready to leave.

 And we had a long 3 days, as you can tell. Sweet Little Princess.

 

I have also started a new Hobby! If you follow my Facebook page, you would see my progress in my Crochet Hobby. My mom had been pushing me to learn since I was 13 years old, only took 16 years, but I am hooked!

       

She made me chain 30 feet before she showed me how to do a second stitch, then I had to do 5 feet of that, and so on and so forth. Now I am watching YouTube videos on how to do more stitches and projects, I am currently working on hats for teeny tiny preemies…. Not going well, slip stitches are Evil.

 

Now we are just getting ready for the school year, our little Spud is starting an early education program 4 mornings a weeks and one special field trip day or we met with his Occupational therapist, Physical Therapist, Speech Therapist, Teacher or his Teachers aide on that 5th day. This is suppose to help him be caught up for when he starts kindergarten, and I want to give him the best start I can.

 

So there, that is where I have been, I am hoping that soon I will be back to weekly blogging.

 

Hope to talk to you all soon!

 

Ashton <3

Mommy’s Saving Grace

The one thing that mommy’s love the most…. Well the one thing this mommy has learned to love the most is Grandma and Grandpa visits. Whether its us going to see them, them coming to visit our happy little home or the best the over night visit for the little one!

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I love my son but I am still on Mat leave and home all day with him and would like more than a 2 hour break ( if you can call it that) when Hubby gets home. You see Hubby plays with him and tries to feed him, but once there is a mess, spit up or strong odor coming from DJ he is back on my lap till the problem is rectified. But that’s when grandparents come in, I can hand him off and not worry about getting called or interrupted while having a shower because DJ pooped or spit up.

I recommend grandparents or adopted grandparents to all first time mothers with Hubby’s who have weak stomachs. They allow you to have a shower that is longer than 5 minutes, you can pretend you are 15 again using all the hot water.

The only downside to grandparents and an infant on solids is now they can be sent home at 6 pm on a sugar rush, good thing I got all that rest the night before, its gonna be a long one tonight.

ASKING PERMISSION TO BE A MOM

The one thing I never thought of when my husband and I decided to have kids was asking permission to do the most basic parenting things. And with your first child in the NICU you have to ask to do the most basic of parenting tasks. I had to wait until my son was 25 days old before I could even change his diaper. Changing a diaper is a task most other parents bicker and try and pass off to the other or a visiting grandparent and its something I had to wait 25 days to do. That’s about 192 diapers I had to let someone else change. And with the medicine he is on for this virus he has I may have to wait up to six weeks to change a diaper unless they show me a new way to do it. I never got to talk about the possibility of him having a diaper rash, I was told one day when I came to see him he had diaper rash because my son is an awesome peer. This is something a mother should experience with her child and not be told by a nurse. And its heartbreaking to me because I have seen my friends and people I have known for years take for granted a simple privilege like taking care of your child’s basic needs. I am in no way saying that everyone is like that, this is just me saying a few people I have seen and this is over my 26 years in this world too.

 

I have to ask permission to hold my son, I have to have a nurse and respiratory therapist come and help me take my son out of his bed and show me how to hold him because of all his tubes wires and cords. And I have been told no I am not allowed to hold him because of the type of ventilation he is on, because he is so stressed and moving him like this could stress him out too much and hes better left alone or because there are not enough people around to help in case of emergency. And I have seen the emergency first hand, he was 4 days old and it was the second time I ever got to hold him. We were just sitting and relaxing and I was quietly humming him a song and then the alarms started, his oxygen in his blood had dipped below 81% which is bad, since his happy numbers are between 88% and 95%, and it was still dropping. And because his oxygen was So low his heart rate dropped below What was acceptable. His heart rate should be between 100 BPM and 200 BPM and his had dropped to 80 BPM. It was still dropping fast and the Nonmedical Routes of calming him down were not working. They did not have time to Move him of my chest to Basically revive him on me, l had one nurse holding my head in her hands making me look at her while I cried. I was not to look at what they were doing but I could feel the movement of whatever they were doing. After what felt like hours’ but was only 8 minutes they moved David from me and put David into his bed to take him from his CPap machine and put a breathing tube down his throat. After that it takes a lot of energy and talking myself into holding my Son. I am scared to hold him because flash Back to that day and scared i may have to go through that again. l have held him since then. But it takes a lot me talking myself into it and telling Myself that won’t happen again. And After all that preparation Mentally and emotionally, to be told NO You can’t told your son just crushes me and Brings me back to what if they had said yes and it happened again.

 

As a parent all you want to do is hold Your child give the ma kiss and make it all go away. the pain, the poking and Prodding, That’s our job as mom and dad is to kiss the booboos away. what do we do here, When your child looks up at YOU as if to Say help me, Mommy it hurts-Mommy 1 can’t breathe. How do you handle that? You can 7 Just pick them up and make it better . But you can hold their hands and smile and talk Soft to them let them Know even though this is scary you are there and you are on their side no matter what. even if can’t change a diaper or hold him as much as I want, Which is always and never Put him down, l am still the one who knows he hates facing the window because he is scared he’s gonna miss something in the Pod. I know that he loves tummy time because its the best time to try and pull out his breathing tube because it’s uncomfortable. I Know that he is calmer when people are talking to me during procedures Because he knows they are there because I Know they are helping him.

I know he loves books and having his dad read to him every weekend for 2 hours. And he loves to Rock out music When he is stressed and angry. l may not get to do the basic stuff but I know my son. And When I am feeling sad about the basic stuff I tell Myself about his little quirks. And that the basic stuff will come, I mean right now he should still be in my tummy SO I wouldn’t get to do this anyways. It’s a long road being a preemie Mom or dad But the ride is What makes it sweeter in the end. The story is like this post, sad and full of self pity and it ends with self acceptance and a small smile.

 

Cuddles

ANOTHER WEEK BEGINS

The one thing I have been told and learned is to know when to take a break from the hospital. Because if you don’t it will become something that is harder to walk away from and find a stress free time. If I had my way I would never leave the hospital and I would sleep and make a point of snuggling with my little guy for 3 to 5 hours a day. But when i do go home I realize how exhausting being at the hospital is. I have only been doing this for 31 days, and I think I have found a good system that I will be able to spend the time with my husband and decompress as needed. I treat it like a job, as bad as that sounds. I get to the hospital at 7 to 7:30 Monday to Friday morning and leave at 3:30 to 4 in the afternoon. And then I have time to get groceries and cook supper and cuddle with our fur babies that are at home. On Saturday and Sunday My husband gets his time with our son and cuddle him and read to him and sing to him. We are there for no more than 4 hours a day on the week ends and that really allows us to spend time together and talk about how we feel and cry together and plan out what we hope for our son when he is done with this ordeal.

 

Its extremely stressful for any one who has a baby to see them sick, but this takes that stress and makes it, for lack of a better word, it makes it, its bitch. When you see your kid in pain or feeling uncomfortable your natural reaction is to pick them up and hold them and tell them everything is going to be OK. When you have a preemie you don’t always have that option, you can touch them lightly and talk to them, and that’s only if they are feeling up to that. When my son had a bad day, he does not handle being touched by anyone at all, that includes me his mommy. And when your touch stresses your kid out makes you feel even more helpless. But you have to look at it as he is getting the best possible care that you can provide for him and you have a support system both in and out of the hospital. The NICU is its own family and I have found some of the best support in there from families who have been there and been through some of the road blocks you are going through. And they will tell you the same thing, take a break from the hospital. Walk away and have a ‘Mommy sanity’ day and it will not make you a bad mom that you took a day to take care of yourself. Its like when you need a break on a regular day, you would drop the kid off with its grandparents or call a baby sitter, and take a break. It is the same thing, and you will feel better. Because being a mom is hard in these cases you are there making sure you know what is going on with your child and remembering what medications they are on, and what things they like and making milk and remembering to pump every 2 to 3 hours and making sure your Milk stays at 600 to 700 ml by the end of the day. Its a lot on your mind and a sanity day and breaks from the Hospital are a good thing. Make friends with other moms in the NICU, and plan a coffee or shopping day together and have sanity days with other NICU moms. Remember you being happy and healthy helps your child.