Posts tagged #Motherhood

What a Parent of a Congenital Heart Warrior Wants You to Know

I wrote this blog post about 2 years ago but in honor of CDH awareness I thought it would be a good repost.

For the most part I try to be optimistic, but I can only be that way for so long until something breaks inside of me and I am just pissed. I get angry when people say the wrong things even though it's with the best intentions and love.

We recently discovered our soon to be third little girl has a heart condition just like her older sister. I got through the crying and depressive stage pretty fast but the anger side of grief is not ready to pass. I am tired of the responses from people looking from the outside in. I just really don't want to talk about the situation but people want to push and say things like "it will all work out" or "you've been through this before so you've got this" and "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". These all seem like uplifting things to help a grieving parent but they don't help.

The killer one that really turns in my stomach is "God only gives us what he knows we can handle." As someone who has found Christ through my struggles, I find this statement to be false. I do think certain things happen to us with purpose, despite how awful they might be. Regardless, things happen that go beyond the laws of what we can handle and sometimes it does break us. It can break us in tragic ways where one takes their own life and it can break us in smaller ways, where one suffers deep down inside where no one else can see. This is not strength. This is change and not always for the better.

I know that how I'm feeling in the NOW can be off putting and make some people want to turn away. I don't blame them.

I'm struggling.

But please, put your advice aside and just be there when I'm ready to talk. Even if I am never ready to talk, that's okay because sometimes I can talk things out just on my own.

We recently raised funds for our annual Congenital Heart Walk in Chicago. This was the first year that Bella really understood what we were walking for and why. Yes, I walked at 38 weeks pregnant!

Holding her sister's hand as she proudly walked for herself!

What a Parent of a Congenital Heart Warrior Wants You to Know

1) Just because they've had corrective surgery does not mean they are cured.

2) The first time your child starts complaining of chest pain your world starts to feel like it's caving in.

3) We can be strong and make this look easy but deep inside we are screaming with anxiety.

4) As much as we try not to, we hoover. It's just something we do and we are always on the lookout for something so please don't judge.

5) We blame ourselves. Maybe just in the beginning. Maybe for years. We always question if there was something we could have done differently. Sometimes even after the guilt has gone away it starts to creep back.

6) This is a lifelong battle not just for our kids, but for us as a family and as parents.

7) We pray our children will out live us.

8) This never gets easier to deal with. We live with the constant awareness of the path ahead.

9) Strep throat and other illnesses are scary... Rheumatic fever can affect the heart even in patients that don't have any heart conditions. It can significantly complicate existing heart defects and conditions and all of this from the common strep throat.

10) We are fighters, too. We fight the feelings to cry, to freak out and rush to the ER when something goes wrong. We fight ourselves to stay calm and be brave so our kids can be.

11) We get angry. We get angry that we are up against CHD and it can be a ruthless fight and it impacts the quality of life in all members of the family.

12) It changes the family dynamic. It changes the way we are towards one child over another and everyone picks up on this. Everyone in the family feels this battle.

Thank you for listening and thank you for just being there:)

Baby number 3 is due in less than a week and I hope to have some cute baby pictures soon!!!

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6 Week Post-Op and Postpartum Depression

This past week I had my 6 week post-op doctor's appointment to give me the A-Okay to return to work and other things (*wink). I still have two weeks before I have to return to work but it seemed like just yesterday I was being discharged from the hospital. This precious little time always seems to fly.

I'm so blessed that I work for an amazing company that lets me work from home and is so flexible with my schedule. I don't think I could be in such good spirits about returning to work without these two things! I did want to open up to you mamas about my past experiences with postpartum depression.


Postpartum depression can make a Mama feel awful. It can make us feel incompetent and downright crazy. It can make us think and feel things we wouldn't feel in our right minds and it's not your fault. It happens and the best thing you can do for yourself is just admit that you are struggling with it and talk about it. Why does it feel that this is something so taboo to talk about still? It's heavily screened for at the doctor's office and the nurses aren't afraid to ask but why is it so hard to talk about with friends and family? Is it TMI? It's got a stigma behind it and it's not fair. It's not fair to a mother who is already going through so much to make them feel ashamed about it.

I was so sure this time around I was going to have it. Why wouldn't I? After all, I had it with my first two pregnancies. Well, it's still a little early to rule it out and things might change when I do return to work but for the most part I'm feeling really high in spirits, which is much better off than the previous experiences. I will still be on the lookout for it because that nasty old PPD can pop its devilish head out even after a year of giving birth. My second child it did take a couple months and even then I was in denial until about the 6th month mark.

I remember battling it with my first. I isolated myself and was anxious to even pick up the phone to shot the shit with a girlfriend. My daughter had just had heart surgery and I remember the guilt and blame I placed on myself. I didn't admit it back then that I needed help and I kept PPD a secret.

With my second, I was more open and willing to address the situation perhaps because I was downright miserable and decided I no longer wanted to live my life feeling this way. I couldn't be the mama and wife I wanted to be feeling this way. It also helped that I have a very honest and supportive relationship with my husband. He was actually the one who finally pushed me to call my doctor.

It took 6 months to fake a reason to see the doctor. I remember the nurse asking me over the phone what was the nature of the visit.... uhhhhh pelvic pain?  When I finally did speak up in the exam room I felt like the weight was lifted off of my shoulders. The doctor was wonderful and made me feel like I wasn't the only one in the world feeling this way. I did get a prescription and was referred to a clinical counselor to hash out my feelings. The doctor called the medicine "a little something to help put my hormones back in balance". It wasn't meant to be permanent.

I filled the prescription and made my appointment and was on track with feeling better.... Yet, there were people in my life, close people, who were judgmental of the fact that I was seeking help for my mental health issues.

Mental health is so important for us Mamas!

This time around there have been somethings that I have tried to do differently to possible ward off the nasty PPD. Do I think these things prevented it? I can't say, sometimes these things just happen but we can only try to take care of ourselves more to feel better. We can't ignore when we are not feeling right and anyone who thinks they are struggling with PPD needs to discuss it with their doctor. Like seriously... make the phone call and get an appointment!

What has helped me fight off postpartum depression

Essential Oils

I can tell you that there was a couple of mornings that I didn't want to get out of bed. I had about 10 things to do before I could even think about doing anything for myself.... change the baby's diaper, feed the baby a bottle, pump breast milk, get the kids some breakfast..... It was a real struggle to get myself up those mornings and I felt pulled in a million directions. With the help of diffused lemon oil, I started at the list of things to do and I felt better. I was happily awakened and feeling energized and motivated. As I sat there feeding the baby while the other two kids ate their breakfast, I thought to myself "I might just clean the whole house today!"

....Did I clean the house that day?.....

....Heck no! This Mama had way more things to accomplish in that day but the point was I was motivated!

Letting go of things

I used to take on everything. I used to believe that if I stayed busy I could make time for it all. I had a lot of plans for this upcoming year and a lot of things I put on my plate. I've had to let go of some of those things and take a second to stop and smell the roses. This will probably be my last baby and I wanted to take some time and enjoy it. I honestly don't remember my other two when they were infants. It's hard to imagine those times and I feel it's because I didn't take the time to take it all in. We miss out when we are too busy and we don't get to enjoy our children.

I've also let go of the idea of a perfect home. It will probably never happen even after the kiddies have fled the nest. Sticky floors and toys everywhere is just my life these days. I can try and keep the house perfect but that will just stress me out some more. So like Elsa says... "let it go!"

Prayer

Although I'm not a regular in the Sunday pews, I have found prayer to be so helpful and encouraging. It's amazing what we can put on Him and what He gives in return. I've spent many mornings praying before I even opened my eyes. Praying for God to give me the patience and love to make it through the day. Being a mama to three young children is very demanding and at the end of the day I want to feel that I loved my kids enough, It's amazing what we can do in prayer.

Yoga

I'm really looking forward to carving out some time for this now that I've got the clearance from the doctor. Yoga is something that I've have really grown to love. It empowers a mama to feel stronger and it's great for keeping a balanced mind.

What are some helpful ideas you can give me to stay healthy and happy? Please leave your suggestions in the comments!!

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Posted on August 12, 2015 and filed under Wellness, Happy Mama.

Baby Introduction and Changes!

This is a little delayed but it's been a crazy month!!

Holy cow, she is already a month!! Who ever said that having a third child is no harder than your second was down right lying.... Sadley, several people were trying to convince me of this. Maybe they were just trying to be nice? It's way harder than I ever imagined.

Here she is folks....

Penelope aka Penny

She is just as precious as she looks! Such a sweet little baby and a great sleeper! She is actually quite the miracle baby! We were preparing and expecting for our little one to need heart surgery in her early days. It turns out she is completely fine! I can't even begin to describe the out pour of emotions I felt when the doctor told us the good news. I had been holding in months of emotions that were all let out in a matter of minutes. Let's just say... I was a mess. 

A good mess. 

I will say that this being my third c-section, it was actually the one I recovered from the best. I have felt stronger and the pain was much more manageable this time around. There was still the expected freak out on the operating table that I fully anticipated. There is something about surgery while completely conscious that just doesn't seem okay to me. Thankfully my amazing husband came into the room and jumped right into a conversation about our landscaping issues. HAHA! It's exactly what I needed to take my racing mind off of the current situation. By the way, we need severe landscaping help that, with the arrival of our LO, will not get done anytime this year. So if you are looking for gardening updates... that's not going to happen:)

So things are definitely crazy around the Dela household these days. Getting myself and the girls ready seems nearly impossible but I am managing. At the chance of avoiding any post-partum depression, which I have battled with my past two, I have really taken the time to put things into perspective and take a hard look at where I see myself and my family in the next year. 

After praying long and hard and reading a wonderful post I stumbled upon at the perfect moment, I've had to let go of some expectations and commitments. If you are a new mama or have recently had another child I strongly recommend reading this post by 

The Better Mom

 titled

"What God Really Wants for Moms with Young Children"

. It was a message from God that hit me right in the heart as I was going back in forth in my mind about things, things I felt so passionately about and I knew I had to give up at this stage of my life. As soon as I accepted that I was okay with these decisions the pressure lifted off of me and I began to feel happy and stress less. 

Gentleness

is what we need and I plan on giving my little babies a lot more of that!

With all the shifting of things, I have not given up on my blogging. Despite the fact that I haven't done much of that in the past 6 months, I will be stepping things up! I feel a new direction coming upon this area of my life and I am excited to share and see where it takes me. So thank you for reading along even in this drought and I appreciate you for sticking with me! 

You have truly amazed me and I'm excited to meet all of the newest readers that have recently subscribed!

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Posted on August 3, 2015 and filed under Happy Mama.

My Top 5 Pregnancy Style Must Haves

I wouldn't consider myself that trendy of a person. I have a couple outfits and accessories here and there but for the most part I'm pretty plain. For some reason, when pregnancy comes around I feel the need to ramp up my wardrobe. Why (during a time that my body is every changing and I wont be able to fit into the clothes once the baby is born) do I pick this time as an opportunity, I'm not sure.

One of the biggest things I look for when shopping while I'm pregnant is versatility, comfort, and the possibility of wearing post pregnancy. Here are my top 5 pregnancy wardrobe must haves for this season of my life!

Belly Band

This has always been a staple for me from my very first pregnancy. This helps extend the ability to wear "normal" pants well into your pregnancy reducing the need to buy those pregnancy jeans that never stay up. They are also a life saver post pregnancy when you haven't quite fit into your pre-baby jeans.

Maternity tanks

Another staple from my first pregnancy. I love tank tops because they don't get too warm and you can buy a couple of neutral tones and pair them with a cute open top. I would recommend having one in both black and white! What's nice about these babies is that I still wear them post pregnancy and I love that they are much longer than the average tank top.

Kimono

I LOVE these, like I'm obsessed with them. They are breezy and adorable and I feel so fashionable wearing them. These can be worn over your maternity tanks. You don't even need to be preggo to wear them, that's the best part! Here is a 

Kimono at Target

 that I picked up and I absolutely love it! This

one

is also super cute!

Maxi dresses

These work well for my pregnancy this time around as I will be having a summer baby. Maxi dresses are so soft and stretchy they are perfect for the pregnant body.

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Posted on April 24, 2015 and filed under Happy Mama.

We made it to 28 weeks!

It was about this time during my last pregnancy that my water bag slightly begin to tear, leaking amniotic fluid, aka PROM (Premature Rupture of the Membrane). When it first happened, I had just put my little one down for the evening and I was cleaning up around the house. The hubby was working nights and I was alone. I bent over to pick up some dirty laundry on the floor and when I stood up I felt the slight bit of trickle between my legs.

My initial reaction was that I must have lost control of my bladder, although I didn't feel the need to go. I was so confused. There was no gush, just a trickle. I went to the bathroom and sat upon the toilet and it continued. Was I really going nuts? Was I really peeing my pants and not feeling it? It was a sporadic trickle but just seemed to keep coming. My gut told me this was not good and so I got on the phone and called my husband.

We went into labor and delivery that evening to only be told that it was not amniotic fluid and I must have just lost control of that area. I just couldn't believe it as I got back in the car and sat on the already soaked bath towel. Finally after a week of this awkward problem and wearing poise pads, I had a regular visit with my Doctor, where it was indeed confirmed that my water bag had torn. So at 29 weeks pregnant and a week after leaking I was admitted into the hospital on full bed rest. Three weeks later I delivered our little girl, luckily with minimal complications.

Bed rested in the hospital

When you have one complicated pregnancy it basically dooms the joys and happiness of any pregnancy that might fall after. Given that my first baby was born with multiple heart defects and my second was premature, this third pregnancy has been more about avoidance than joy. You hold strong through the nausea of the progesterone shots.They put you on the high risk list, add extra anxiety inducing tests and tell you this one will be different. It doesn't help when they say “now you are at a greater risk for (this or that)”. Usually it is different but you never entirely escape from that unsettling feeling that something else might go wrong.

Week 28 is an eerie week for this pregnancy. Almost like a Friday the 13

th.

 It doesn't help that this one has been the hardest for me physically and emotionally. One more day and I will be at week 29!

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An Old Fashioned Childhood and the Helicopter Mom

When I think back at the childhood I had, it was filled with outside play and sometimes hours of boredom. I didn't have the endless hours of searching the internet or the fast pace of social media. If I wanted to communicate with my friends it was a phone call on the house line or a bike ride (or roller blade) to their house to see if they were home. Those were the days of simplicity. Those were the days that kids played outside all day long until the sun came home and Mothers were not accused of neglect if the kids were unsupervised at the playground. This post is probably going to be a bit more serious than most of what I usually post. This is something that weighs heavy on my heart and I'm not holding back from showing you my biggest fears and a little bit of anxiety craziness that perhaps I have kept under wraps.

There is so much going on in our world today and I want my kids to have the opportunity to slow down. I don't want them glued to their phones checking Facebook statuses every hour. I want them to find ways to occupy themselves that forces them to become creative and think outside the box.

I don't want my children to be influenced by the age of information and social media.
Hypocritical I know, coming from a communications and emerging media major.

At the same time I want my kids to have an old fashioned childhood, our society and the dangers are more present than they were 30 years ago. Human trafficking is much more of a thing and not just international but here in the U.S. It's a big business with little risk and huge income. Did you know that nearly 80% of sex-trafficking victims are American born U.S. Citizens? I truly feel this is an issue that doesn't get enough attention today and I'm not exactly sure why. Is it because we don't want to believe this kind of thing goes on, we don't want to visualize the horror of young children being kidnapped for this purpose? It's hard to swallow as a parent of 2, soon to be 3, little girls. So how do we balance shelter and space with our children?

My sitter watches my youngest once a week while I make the trek into the weekly office visit to let everyone know I still work there. I usually drop off my littlest after I take the oldest to school. The babysitter is a school mom and has three kids, including one in my daughter's grade. I nearly had a heart attack when I dropped my kids off at the babysitters early and she had to take one of my kids to school instead of myself. My daughter is in Kindergarten. My fear was that she wouldn't walk my child directly to the school door. I know, helicopter mom. I was afraid she would just let my daughter walk with her kids, two of which my daughter has never met... What would be the dangers of that? My anxiety and over reaction kicked in as I thought of all the possibilities of my daughter not arriving to school that day. I would not be able to visually verify her walking through those school doors. I was a crazy wreck because of the dangers our society presents. Not because I didn't trust this Mom. I didn't trust the world around us.

She did end up walking them all that day and even if she didn't I'm sure it would all be fine. But still, I just want to shelter and protect my child. What is ironic is that growing up I lived only 4 house down from a known and convicted child molester, who was a repeat offender. Still, I was allowed to play outside and run between each neighbor's yards as if the danger was not present. Perhaps my children can still live the carefree old fashioned childhood, just under the loving shelter of our home.



I recently read this article about why a parent does not allow sleepovers for their children. Not even with family members. At first, I thought this idea was a bit extreme but then after really thinking about it I'm never really at ease when my children are away from the home. They often sleep over at their Nana and Papa's house and I'm very comfortable with that. As a person who usually leaves her phone at the bottom of her purse and can hardly be reached on the weekends because I just like to unplug, I always have my phone by my side when the children are a way.



The article does open a world of the possibilities and dangers that are present when a child is away from home during the overnight hours. They're much more vulnerable to these dangers at a sleepover. What I appreciate is the author points out the not so typically dangers that seem to be more than not, the situations we don't necessarily think of. Were these dangers present when I was a child, absolutely. Can these risks be possible even in the care of a child's own family, yes. The point is to minimize these risks and I think I will do the same.


I hope to shelter my children, so what little they do have left of a childhood they can enjoy the old fashion way. I hope to shelter them just enough to protect them but not hover... Maybe just a little. I want then to climb trees and scrape their knees. I want them to come home with dirt between their nails and an amazing adventure to tell.


What do you think about sleepovers? If you do allow them at what age is it okay?

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Never Stop Praying

Do you ever just get that feeling in the pit of your stomach that the ball is about to drop? I do, a lot. Our family has had its share of stress. I can never just feel like things are right because at any time it can be taken away.

I get that feeling every year before Bella's cardiology visit. Each year I've been reassured that the world is functioning normal and it's just a symptom of my crazy anxiety.



This year it was not so reassuring. This visit, the annual visit is now increased to 6 months... that is never a good sign when the doctor wants to see you more often. I sat there listening to my husband's voice over the phone and the tears began to swell up. She wasn't doing so well anymore and the worst began to appear in my mind.

The loss of a child is the worst kind of loss out there and I can't begin to imagine the feeling. If this was only a fraction then it would probably kill me. Yes, I'm jumping to the extreme. Realization that this situation is getting worse, never to get better until a surgery, is frightening. The chest pains were not from a chest cold, they were a symptom of the worsening of her condition.

Sometimes you forget that you have a child with "special needs" like a heart condition. Sometimes you just think that they will grow up strong and healthy to an old age. You forget through all the normalcy and good times.

You take the normalcy for granted.


Sometimes I blame my lack of prayers in the past year and a half. There shouldn't be blame in this situation. I can't help but feel accountability. I forgot how life was precious and to ask for God's grace and healing. It's those little things we take for granted. We need to not only pray when we want or need but when we are grateful and fulfilled or when things are going just fine.




Don't Worry, Be Happy!

The past 6 years have definitely been an uphill road for our family. We have worked very hard and sacrificed many things to get to the place we are today. I've come a long way from a being a pessimistic person. It's taken me some life lessons and some gratitude to realize being happy is all about your attitude, not your situation.

Posted on March 26, 2014 and filed under Family, Happy Mama.

A Year From Now

A year from now, I hope I can look myself in the mirror and see the change.

So this running thing... Started off great... a month and a half into it, still no results. I got frustrated and pissy. Ended up not running for a month. I totally lost sight of what my mission was and why I was doing it. I started to feel sorry for myself . . . eck!

The other day, I ran for almost an hour straight!! I just got up and said "I am going to run"! Now, for a beginning runner this is huge!! I probably could have ran more but I didn't want to pass out right there on the sidewalk. In a fluke accident I sprained my ankle over the weekend. Just another battle to over come.

This is me w/my glasses and my husband
Recently, I got back into my contacts. I went two straight years wearing glasses, coming from a person who always wore contacts in the past. Not that I am superficial but the contacts have given me a new look... like literally I look different and emotionally I feel different. I think I really started sporting the glasses when I had my first baby. Ironically, that is around the time I started struggle.

For me, I think the glasses were a way of hiding behind a curtain. I didn't really have to worry so much about make-up because who could even see me with the thick frames. My weight struggled and slowly packed on an additional 20 pounds with out even realizing it! Emotionally I struggled too. My anxiety went through the roof and I couldn't handle stress like I use to. I think the biggest thing for me was looking myself in the mirror.  I didn't like the reflection and I just allowed it to get worse.

So here I am today, struggling to get my butt in gear, trying to get myself back. I really see myself now that the glasses are gone and man... I look older! Didn't realize how age had taken to me, but I can see ME now and what I have been hiding so long. I am back and I know I will have my struggles in the healthy living process, but I am seeing things clearer! Hopefully, by this time next year I WILL see results!

Coming at you with Pour Your Heart Out...
Posted on August 28, 2012 .

A Toast To Formula Feeding Mothers

I was on a social networking site the other day, when I came across this one mothers picture and post. The picture had a baby and the topic was "The Breastfed Baby" and on this picture was all the different benefits the breastfed baby has over a formula fed baby. The comment this person wrote was "look at what formula can't do for your baby."

I try not to be judgy... I know it doesn't feel good and motherhood alone can feel impossible on certain days without the comments and stares from people, thinking you are a total fail at parenting. For some reason this one post bothered me. It was as if she was pointing her finger at every mother who didn't try hard enough to breast feed.

When I was pregnant with my first, I had envisioned what "type" of mother I wanted to be. Turns out that doesn't really happen... who would have known? Still, its nice to see that somethings I held my ground on. So what if I didn't end up using cloth diapers and saving the environment. Okay, maybe the "make my own baby food" idea didn't last long. Maybe my children don't always eat the healthiest of foods. And despite my firm beliefs in being a stay at home mom and not putting my child in daycare, with my second child that is exactly what I did.

Back to this breastfed baby picture... it was kind of disappointing to see another mother be so judgmental in her comments. I tried, I really did. But in the end I just couldn't. See, some people have problems producing enough milk supply, especially when both of their children were in the NICU and had to be fed a special supplemented diet. It's hard pumping and feeding separately, but even that was not why.
Each time I had to throw in the towel, I was devastated. As if I was letting down my baby or not being a mother by providing the basic need of food. I cried for weeks with my first one. I was so determined that I would with the next one, that I pushed even further. I made it this time to a month and a half and not once was she ever feed from my breast, it was all pumped. I feel as though I have missed out on that bond but I can't look back.

It just really irritates me when people ask if you are breastfeeding, as if the answer to this one question determines you as a mother. I just want to tell all of you mothers out their who have breastfed that have this stigma against mothers who don't....

"Yes I understand all the help benefits of breastfed babies... I was given all of that information when I was seeing my doctor regularly at my prenatal visits"

"No you don't need to rub it in that you stuck with it despite how hard it was"

And finally,

"Yes, I do feel bad that I wasn't able to provide the nutrition and good health to my baby like you...."

Even though my oldest daughter was only breast fed for a couple weeks, she very rarely ever went to the doctor besides her normal check ups. Even though breastfed babies tend to have a higher IQ per say... my daughters language abilities are beyond her age. So it looks like the formula over the breast milk didn't really have that big of an impact on her after all.

Looking at my children today, I'm not disappointed at the "type" of mother I am or will become. I see my children healthy, happy and gosh darn it, amazing!!! I must have done something right in all the wrongs to have raised such an incredible little almost 3 year old!

Here is a toast, to all the mothers that were not able to breastfeed. It's hard enough to be a mother, lets not criticize those that were not able to. We already get it.



Posted on February 22, 2012 .