This blog is just about my life and mostly revolves around my son, Jamie. This blog is a combination of everything, whether it may be a new recipe I tried, a good freebie I found, something funny Jamie said, or feelings I'm having about life in general. There's little rhyme or reason. I'll never win any blogging awards, but I enjoy writing about our lives and I mostly do it for my son. It's so easy to forget moments over the years. I've got all these little tidbits of our life in print and I hope that someday Jamie can enjoy them.

I called this blog Mother of Life, Mother of Loss because of my issues with pregnancy loss and the joy of finally bringing this wonderful person into the world. Truly, I feel the pains of loss, but you won't see too much of that here. I am blessed and I am, above all else, a mother of life.

After all the years of infertility and loss, Matthew and I were blessed with a surprise pregnancy. We were pregnant with twins, but unfortunately, Baby A could not stay with us. Baby B grew into a healthy and happy baby girl that we named Bella Marie. We are so blessed to have two beautiful children.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Red Eyes

I just showed Jamie the pictures I posted of him and he began to fuss, "Uh, uh that's monster red eyes! I'm scared. You have to fix it Mommy!!" I guess that's what I get for posting without taking the time to remove red eye.

Just Some Pictures of Jamie Being Silly This Morning

Where Does He Get This From?

I know for sure that Jamie is capable of telling his nightmares in vivid detail now. He woke up so many times last night. Neither of us got an adequate amount of sleep. I actually just skipped sleeping altogether. Sometimes it is just easier that way.

I'm hesitant to even post the things he said. I wouldn't want anyone to get the idea that I'm letting him watch bad things on television. I don't, and I don't know how he developed such a gory nightmare.

The first time he woke up he said "I died you." After some tears he drifted back off to sleep. Over the course of the night the dream came out in bits. Apparently a monster bit my head and made me bleed all over my body and made me die. There was something about men and a noise, too, but I didn't quite get all that.

He seems in good spirits today and so far has been well behaved, like normal. He's trying to talk me out of the computer, though. I think I need to go drag out his blocks. He hasn't played with them in months. He has probably forgotten he has them. He's been on a big Lego kick for a week.

Another New Background

I got bored with the old background already. I got all the elements for this background from This is from the Raspberry Truffles kit. I just think the elements are so pretty. I wish I could use all the pieces to this scrap kit, but I don't want to make the blog too "busy".

It's Not Just Daddy

Well, it's not just Daddy. Jamie was high strung today. Though he didn't wet his pants at all today, he had plenty of visits to time out. He didn't hit or anything of that nature, he just threw a lot of tantrums, mostly about getting food I wouldn't let him have. He simply wanted Lucky Charms for every meal. I wasn't caving in on that. He ate plenty, no worries there. He just pitched a fit about what I was giving him each time. He also gave me a very difficult time at bed time. He simply refused to go and I had to keep putting him to bed. He last popped his head out about 12:45am! Maybe my attention explanation is not right. Maybe he just needs to get back to school and be with the other kids.

Dynisha will be here tomorrow, and if I know her, for the remainder of the week. That will probably help a little, but will definitely increase the fighting around here. Some more pretty days is what we need around here. Cold, rainy days being cooped up in the house is definitely not what the doctor ordered.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mini Kiss Cookies

Preheat oven to 375.

1 cup softened butter

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

2-1/4 cups self rising flour

1-3/4 cups of Hershey's Mini Kisses (10oz bag)

Using a mixer, combine ingredients one at a time in the order they are printed above, except the Mini Kisses. You will mix those in by hand last once mixture is creamy.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet and bake 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees.

Testing Daddy?

I've been a bit ill the last few days and have spent much time in bed. Matthew took Saturday off to help me out. Since I was in bed most of the time he took care of Jamie. Jamie's behavior was definitely worse than when I am in charge. I'm not sure why. Though he's been extremely proud of not wetting his pants (he even stayed dry during the night Friday and woke up boasting about it Saturday morning), he wet his pants five or six times today. He wet his pants a couple of times yesterday, too. He whined and fussed. He hit Daddy with his Eeyore after repeatedly being told not to. He was defiant. Why in the world would he display so much bad behavior to his father? Perhaps it's about attention. My main theory is that since he doesn't have much time with his father that he is acting out with him for more attention. I know I've read that children will seek attention, positive or negative. He's a good boy at school and at other people's houses. Perhaps he also is unsure of his father's limits. Since he is with me all the time he is pretty well aware of how far he can go with me. Maybe he's testing to see how far he can go with his Daddy.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I added Matthew to My Blog

Matthew is anxious to write down everything he can remember. There is so much, he doesn't know how he'll tell it all. Apparently it was very interesting. It struck him that five days before this man was in the valley of the kings and yesterday he was in Atlanta speaking. Matthew found him very entertaining. I wish I could have been there. The things that Dr. Hawass spoke about were very new, some things had not yet been released to the press.

Matthew didn't come in until after 3:00am and had to go to work around 8:00am. He was exhausted when he came in from work. I got him added to my blog this evening so he can write on here tomorrow, when he's rested up.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Special Evening

"Mysteries of King Tut Revealed - A Special Evening with Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities"
The Atlanta Civic Center, 7:00 to 9:00 PM, Thursday, March 19, 2009

Most of the time I don't want to leave Jamie at all. I want to spend as much time with him as possible. I want him to go out to eat with us. I want him to go to the movies with us. We like to include him in everything we do. However, every once in awhile I wish I did have some trusted babysitters.

Matthew and I are both interested in archeology and ancient history. Today we had a chance to go to a lecture from the famous archaeologist, Dr. Zahi Hawass. I didn't have a babysitter so I had to stay home. Matthew was going to stay home since I couldn't go, but I wouldn't let him. This is an opportunity that doesn't come along every day and I couldn't bear the thought of neither of us getting to go.

I'm hoping I can get Matthew to make a guest post about the trip tomorrow, but I don't know if he will. I'm so excited to hear all about it. I doubt he'll be able to tell me much this evening since the lecture was about four hours from our house, so he won't be back until about 2:00am and he has to work tomorrow. I'd really like him to put this experience in print.

Matthew was able to get me an autograph, but not a picture. I do wish he had been able to get at least one picture.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Jamie's Charts

I blacked out my address. I have my address printed in large letters at the top.

The letters aren't a grading system. Jamie just likes letters and numbers a lot so he has chosen these stickers.

I apologize, but I don't have the proper credits for all the pictures I used for these charts. I just googled images to make them. There were pictures I liked better, but I'm out of colored ink so I had to find "line drawings" so they would print clear. I hadn't initially intended to share them. I do know that the train chart came from I just removed the potty training part. Please excuse my nasty looking refrigerator. With little hands on it all day, and constantly taping things to it, it just looks a bit grimy.

Reward Charts

It took longer than I wanted, but we started Jamie's new reward charts Monday. The main one consists of seven behaviors he needs improvement on. There's a square for each day of the week. Each day that he does well on these he gets a sticker. The reason it took me so long is that I couldn't really come up with a clear way to judge these. For example, if he didn't do something I told him to in the morning, but was a perfect angel for the remainder of the day, should he get a sticker or not? How subjective should this be? Originally I had a chart for each part of the day, but it was too long and complicated. I thought it would be overwhelming and thought I had to find a way to simplify things. The new chart is a little subjective, but I've worked out the details in my mind to keep things constant. On matters such as fussing, if he begins to fuss I warn him that he will not get a sticker on his chart if he fusses and if he ceases, then he still gets the sticker. However, on more serious issues, like hitting, he loses the sticker if he hits at all. Each behavior is illustrated with a picture and words. There is an empty square for each day of the week. The behaviors I listed on the chart are...

1. Share and Play Nice
2. No Hitting or Kicking
3. Do What Mommy & Daddy Say
4. Dress Myself
5. Did Not Pee My Pants
6. Put My Toys Away
7. No Whining or Fussing

In conjunction with the chart is another sticker chart. I wanted a way to reward him, but again had difficulty with the typical chart's subjectivity. Most sites I visited online suggested a reward at the end of the month. How do you decide if the child has been "good enough" to deserve the reward? How many missing stickers justifies denial of the reward? If you don't give the reward are you setting your child up for failure? If you give them a reward even though they have not met your expectations are you setting them up for failure? I don't know, so I came up with what I think is a good solution. The second chart is actually train chart that has twenty-four spaces for stickers. At the end of the track is the picture of a present. Each day that he is able to put a sticker on all seven spaces of his reward chart, he gets to put a sticker on the train chart. At the end of the week, he also gets a sticker for each row that is filled with stickers. At first I wasn't sure if this would be viable. Every kid is going to mess up sometimes, right? I think the point is to keep them trying to do their best. Yesterday, he got three frowning faces (I put a frown in the spot if he doesn't get a sticker). Today he was much more aware of his behavior throughout the day. He peed in his pants four times yesterday and today he didn't pee in his pants at all. Today he did not get any frowning faces at all. He gets his first sticker on the train. The other thing I like about the train chart is that it is a long term goal. He can see himself reaching it, but he has to work hard to achieve it.

The third chart is just to get him more interested in learning. He's always been the type of child that learns really fast. He's very bright. The catch is that he only learns what interests him, not what you might want to teach him. He's starting Kindergarten in the fall and there are things he should know by now that he does not. Up until a few weeks ago we couldn't make him understand middle and last names. He refused to even entertain the idea that there was more to his name than "Jamie". It took awhile, but he's finally got it. The point of the third chart is to make him more interested in what we want to teach him. We'll change this chart out with a new skill when he masters the current skill. There are two rows with five blocks each for stickers. The first row is illustrated with a boys face talking and the second row is illustrated with a boy writing. The current chart has our address written at the top. When he can recite his address from memory, he gets a sticker on the first row. When he can write his address from memory, he'll get a sticker on the second row. He can earn one sticker per day. He can earn a small prize for filling up either row, or two for filling both. This prize will be small. He'll get to pick out one item at the Dollar Store. We don't want to go overboard with prizes around here.

I have only two concerns. One is that it's possible we are conditioning him to believe he should get a prize every time he does what he is supposed to do. Two is that he might get bored of the charts after awhile and they will no longer be effective. I've read a lot and there are varying opinions on the subject. I'm just going to have to go with my gut and say that this method is right for Jamie. I don't know if it's right for any other child, but I'm relatively certain it is for mine. I'll let you know how it's going as we see what progress he makes.

In case you might be wondering, Matthew and I have been following a time out "routine" very closely. We give him 4 minutes, counted down by the kitchen timer. He gets two warnings before he is given time out. Since we have both gotten on the same page, giving this more consistency, he has responded very well and time out is not necessary nearly as often as it was when it was primarily me doling it out.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Keeping Dinner Simple with Crock Pot Roast

The simplest meal in the whole world must be a crock pot roast. All I do for mine is throw a roast in the crock pot with a can of beef broth and a little water. I cut up potatoes, carrots, and onions to throw in with it. Freshly ground pepper and even some whole peppercorns, basil, bay leaves, and minced garlic (and whatever else you decide to toss in). You can throw anything in there, my husband hates cooked veggies so I keep it simple, but peas, green beans, celery, ochre, or whatever works! I love it when you slow cook it all night and the entire following day so that the potatoes soak up the broth all the way to the center. The meat becomes so tender that it just falls apart. No cutting involved. The picture above was taken about six hours into the process.
The best part of this meal is that I prepare it while everyone is in bed and I have no little monkey's under my feet. I don't have to multitask. I have no dinner chaos the following day. It's ready when my husband comes in from work. It's pretty much the perfect meal to me!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Could a New Friend Replace Eeyore?

Will this little guy Replace Eeyore?

When we were at the zoo, we exited through the gift shop. Jamie fell in love with a stuffed meerkat. He told me that he loved meerkats. This was a running theme. When I looked at the price on the beloved stuffed animal, I found it was less than $5.00 so Matthew and I decided to get it for him. He's never paid a bit of attention to any stuffed animal but Eeyore.

He said he didn't want Eeyore anymore that he wanted the meerkat. Matthew asked him if he wanted him to throw Eeyore away and Jamie said he wanted just one that we could put it in a box.

Tonight he wanted his meerkat, but he got in trouble for hitting Dynisha with him and we had to take the little meerkat away from Jamie. Jamie is sleeping with Eeyore tonight, but if he hadn't gotten into trouble he might be sleeping with his new friend instead of his life long lovey.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Spontaneous Day

We had an eventful day yesterday. We went to Toys R Us to get our free Thomas the Train Toy. We selected a Lights and Sounds Percy. Jamie played for awhile with some toys they had out. They were having a special little people workshop and had coloring pages, free DVDs, and Little People Play sets. There was a racing set that Jamie just loved.

Matthew wondered off to look at other toys while I stood around oohing and aahing at all the new babies and felt the pangs of jealousy brought on by all the pregnant bellies around me. I swear I've never seen so many pregnant women and new babies at one time! I mentioned it to Matthew on the way out of the store. He had noticed, too. "I wasn't going to say anything" he said. "So you noticed, too?" I had asked, a little surprised, "How could I not?" he replied.

Matt ended up buying Jamie a small Lego set while we were there. It's very exciting now that Jamie is getting old enough to love the things that his father loved as a boy.

Our plan had been to go on to a salvage company and see what materials they had that we need to replace our kitchen floor (that's for a later story), but Jamie asked to go to the zoo. We have a membership pass to the zoo, yet we haven't been in several months. With little thought at all we buckled up and headed to the zoo.

The zoo was surprisingly crowded... with pregnant women and new babies! What in the world is going on here?? There was one woman who must have been eight or nine months pregnant that was driving me insane. We saw her everywhere we went and every time I saw her she was smoking. I know some women have a very difficult time quitting during pregnancy, but for goodness sake at least CUT BACK!

We didn't do a full tour of the zoo, mostly Jamie wanted to see the meerkats. "I love the meerkats!" he told us all the way there. He got irritated when we started to pause at the elephants because they were very close tot he fence, the closest we have ever observed. He did linger at the penguins for a few minutes and a new play place they set up. When we arrived at the meerkat enclosure, we found two baby meerkats nursing. They were just six weeks old and really precious. Everyone crowded around to see the little darlings. Once Jamie had his fill of the meerkats we went to grab him a snack to tide him over until dinner. We picked up a drink and got him a corn dog. After he ate he asked to see the gorilla's.

We came to Chimp Village first. Chimps are one of my favorite animals to observe, especially when they are playful. The addition of a baby Chimp last summer has made observing the Chimps even more entertaining. Having a zoo membership means that we visited a lot during the summer, and we've been watching little George, the baby chimp grow. He had grown a lot since the last time we visited. He is so adorable! We watched him play with his mother and another female. They flipped him and turned him gently, like a mother teaching her child gymnastics. Jamie and I marveled at the new baby briefly, but the Gorilla's were foremost on Jamie's mind, so we didn't linger long.

The gorilla's are a group of animals that either totally disappoint by keeping their backs to you or they put on a show. There doesn't seem to be any in between for them. They didn't disappoint this weekend. As Jamie and two little girls pressed their faces against the glass, trying hard to see a gorilla that was almost out of sight and facing away from them, the gorilla turned around and headed into the room. The kids got excited and started waving at him. He came straight up to the glass, straight up to Jamie and stood there looking at Jamie. "He's looking at me, Mommy!" I couldn't believe he came right up to Jamie. The two of them, eye to eye, separated only by a sheet of glass. I wondered what the gorilla was thinking. I'm guessing something along the lines of, "You guys are weird."

We managed to leave the zoo at the same time as my pregnant nemesis. No matter how much I tried to avoid her, she just always seemed to be around. As we started the van she walked in front of us, smoking her millionth cigarette. I fumed a little as we left the parking lot but quickly cheered up and continued to enjoy my family time. We ran to Target and got Jamie a few pairs of shorts, then we ran and grabbed a bite to eat. Jamie insisted he wanted steak so we went to the Outback. Matthew and I ordered a Bloomin' Onion and House side salads for dinner and we ordered Jamie a Joey sirloin. He was happy.

There was one thing we wanted to do that we couldn't with Jamie, so we called my mother-in-law and asked her if she could watch Jamie for a few minutes. We ran to the dollar store and Walmart to pick up some items for Easter. We saw lots more pregnant women and brand new babies. Matthew and I discussed the reasons for more spring babies on the way back to get Jamie. Surprisingly, besides both agreeing that we wished we could have more children, neither of us became melancholy. I remember what it was like before I had Jamie. A day like this would have reduced me to a blubbering mess. I yearn for more, but I have some sense of peace now that I didn't have before. Seeing multitudes of pregnant bellies and brand new little people might cause a ping of jealousy and a thought of what might be, but it doesn't control my happiness anymore. I had a great day.

We got back to my mother-in-law's house and gathered up all the kids, we rented Twilight. The girls had really wanted to see it. I had some misgivings about it. I knew it was a popular vampire movie and was afraid that it would be really scary and gory for the kids, but was pleasantly surprised that they left scenes of carnage mostly up to the imagination. Jamie didn't watch it. We sent him on to bed. After the movie was over our living room looked like a popcorn tornado hit. I cleaned up and shooed the girls off to bed. Matthew and I stayed up a little longer and laid on the couch together watching TV. We had started out the day with nothing really planned, but we ended up having a pretty exciting day. The only downside to a spontantious day is that you don't know you need a camera.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Free Thomas the Train at Toys R Us!!

I know where I'm headed in the morning. I'm heading to Toy's R Us. They're giving away Thomas the Train wooden engines! Jamie will be so excited. Thought I'd post the link to the coupon... Click Here

Imaginabox Gift Box Giveaway at

I found a blog that has some good giveaways. The one that caught my attention was the giveaway if an Imaginabox Gift Box. You choose the box and it's contentsgift contents, which includes toys, books, and DVD's. To enter the contest visit Entering is easy.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Noodleboro Fun

When I was at Walmart about a month ago they had a few of Hasbro's Noodleboro games on sale. We've been playing Noodleboro Fun Park all afternoon. It really is a lot of fun. I can't believe I got this game for a mere $3.50!

This is a sharing game. There are four carnival activities. You roll a big di to select which one you will play. When you are able to accomplish the activity you win a prize. The point is to get as many prizes as you can so when you get duplicate prizes you can share them and earn stars. This is really an "everybody is a winner" kind of game.

The Noodleboro Pizza Palace game is a very cute memory/listening game. The customer (me) orders what they want on their pizza and shows the pizza maker(s) the cards depicting their toppings. You can make it really simple with just three toppings, or you can make it more difficult and choose more. Once you place your order, turn the cards over and see if your little pizza maker can remember what toppings go on your pizza. This game adds a bit of silliness by having toppings that include items like shoes, but don't worry, you can still get peperoni with green peppers and onions! I got this game for a whopping $3.00!


Sometimes I feel like a teenager still, and not in a good way. I feel so awkward and self-conscious at times. I feel like I don't put out the image I want to project. My clothes never seem to fit just right and I don't think I have a good sense of style, at least when it comes to dressing myself. I want to look stylish, poised, and well put together. I just never seem to pull it off. I worry about being over-weight. I worry about my hair. If I put try to wear it curly it falls flat, if I try to wear it straight it frizzes, not to mention it has become really thin. I worry about my face, little burst capillaries on my nose, a few wrinkles that I feel I'm too young to have. I can spend an hour doing my makeup and a few minutes later I look worse than when I started. When do I get to stop worrying about these things?

I take a lot of pride in Jamie's appearance. His clothes are very important to me. I always want him to have the cutest clothes. I want the same thing for myself, but I can't seem to do it. I think my appearance is going to be especially important next fall when school starts. I want to make a good impression on teachers and other parents. You don't get a second chance at a first impression, you know. I don't want them to see a sloppy mom. I don't want to look like I don't care. Obviously, I do.

I try to tell myself that appearances don't really matter, but let's be honest, they do. Appearances matter a lot in this world.

St. Patrick's Day

For St. Patrick's day, Matthew and I took Brianna, Dynisha, & Jamie to the playground. Dynisha was so excited to go, but when we got there she spent most of the time sulking for no apparent reason.

When we first arrived, Jamie immediately ran to the fort. The girls followed, but quickly wanted to go on one of the trails behind the school. We told them to wait for a minute and Dynisha started to fuss. We told her to just let Jamie play for a minute and then we'd give them a turn to do what they wanted to do. Brianna was fine, but Dynisha crossed her arms and made exaggerated sighs and frustrated noises.

We gave Jamie a few minutes and then took the kids on one of the trails. Brianna and Jamie rushed ahead laughing, and enjoying the walk. Dynisha got sullen and started complaining she wanted to go back. The trail was extremely short so it took all of five minutes to walk to the end of it and back. We again let Jamie play a little while on the fort and swings. Dynisha started to take off to another trail alone and we told her she had to wait for us. She got mad and stomped around a bit then sat on the ground sulking. We let Jamie play about 10 minutes and then headed for the trail Dynisha wanted to go to. Now she refused to get up from her sulking spot. I just couldn't understand why she was acting like that. I asked her what was wrong, but she just yelled at me, "Nothing's wrong, I just don't want to go!" I told her that I didn't understand, a moment before she was mad because we weren't going.

Jamie had a good time at the playground and I'm not sure he noticed his sullen little aunt. In my eyes she put a bit of a damper on things. I just wanted to have a fun day with all my family. I was extremely frustrated with her temperament. I pressed her for what was wrong and why she was acting this way and she said, "I just want to act this way." I guess that explains it all?

Though the playground was a bit of a damper, we were undeterred and continued to try to make a great family night. We went to Little Caesars Pizza and got pizza, bread sticks, and soda. We rented the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua, which Dynisha and Jamie chose. The kids all seemed really happy when we got home. They enjoyed the pizza and the movie. I wasn't in the mood for pizza, it's not my favorite food, so I made some pasta and veggies instead. I did eat some of the bread sticks with my pasta.

I fell asleep during the movie and when I awoke, I realized that it was late and I hadn't let the girls make the St. Patrick's Day cupcakes like I had promised. Despite the fact that the sun was setting, I decided not to let them down. I asked them if they thought they could handle the cake mix on their own and they said they could. Maybe I should have known better, but I was cooking well before I was their age, so I thought a cake mix would be simple for them and that they would feel good making it on their own. I didn't leave them alone, but I wasn't paying attention to what they were doing. Before I knew it they had put in 1-1/2 cups of oil instead of 1/2 and 1-1/2 cups of water instead of 1-1/3. When I went to check on their progress I could see that there was definitely too much liquid. I had them show me on the measuring cup how much of each thing they put in. We had to dump the mix. Dynisha stomped off to her room. I knew I had to get more cake mix. Matthew agreed to run to the store and get another package. Brianna decided she wanted to go home so he took her on the way.

Matthew returned from the store a little after 10:00pm, way past Jamie's bedtime, but I didn't want to break my promise. I made the cupcakes and let Dynisha use the mixer so that she got to participate in making them (okay, I was also on the phone and couldn't hear over the mixer if I did it myself). I can't believe I let the kids have cupcakes around 11:00pm, but it was a holiday! I plead special occasion!!

They both fell asleep about as fast as their heads hit the pillows.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Most Disgusting Meal I Love

When I was in school as a child, often teachers would pass out "About Me" questionnaires that always included "What is your favorite food?" My friends would inevitably put pizza, hamburgers, macaroni and cheese, etc. I always put down the same answer... Corned Beef Hash.

Our family always celebrated birthdays on Sunday as a family. On that day you got to pick out the meal you wanted. I always picked Corned Beef Hash. I'm just weird that way, I guess. Most items in the same sort of family as corned beef absolutely repulse me. I can't stand Vienna sausages or spam. Yuck. I don't know how I developed an affinity for this stuff. I rarely eat it anymore. Maybe once a year, but I still like it. My husband even likes it, which is amazing. Jamie won't eat it since it has potatoes. Jamie won't eat potatoes. I fed him left over roast for dinner instead.

My families version of Corned Beef Hash is really just Corned Beef and potatoes. It's more like a corned beef soup. I peel and cut up about ten small potatoes and boil them in a pot with just enough water to cover the potatoes. When they are done I add a can of corned beef to the pot and let it cook a bit longer, making sure the corned beef is completely broken up. I usually chop up one small onion and add to it, too, but I didn't tonight. I only season it with a bit of pepper.

Matthew likes to eat his like soup, with toast on the side. I like to eat mine on toast.

If I Could Create an Incompetent Cervix Study

If I could spearhead a study about incompetent cervix, this is how I would want it to work...

The would include women who had experiences the birth and/or loss of a baby between fifteen weeks and thirty weeks gestation. The previous births would be attributed to preterm labor, premature rupture of the membranes, incompetent cervix, or unknown causes with or without infection. Women joining the study should be in their first trimester. Ideally, they would begin between week six and week eight. An equal control group of women who have not had pregnancy complications should be included, as well.

Each mother would have a full work up and history to confirm the presence or absence of known risk factors for incompetent cervix, such as DES exposure, cervical trauma such as a D&C (dilation and curettage) from a termination or a miscarriage, previous surgery on the cervix, including biopsies, damage during a difficult birth, congenitally short cervix, malformed cervix or uterus from a birth defect, and uterine anomalies.

On a weekly basis during the entire pregnancy the mothers would have blood panels done to check hormone levels such as testosterone, estrogen, and especially progesterone. Blood testing should also include a full CBC with differential and platelet workup, antinuclear antibodies, and a complete metabolic panel.

Weekly pelvic ultrasounds would be performed to watch for funneling or shortening of the cervix. If funneling or shortening is observed the mother will receive a cerclage to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. Any mother who has already been diagnosed with incompetent cervix will receive a cerclage at thirteen to fourteen weeks gestation.

I would be interested to see the statistics regarding the success rates of emergency cerclages when placed at the first sign of trouble. Emergency cerclages have been reported to have a low success rate. In talking with other women who have incompetent cervix I have found that most who were able to get an emergency cerclage were initially refused a cerclage, did not get a cerclage for many days, or received them after the cervix was open, often with membranes protruding into the vagina. Preventative cerclages have much higher success rates because they are placed before changes in the cervix occur. I believe that if doctors could catch cases of incompetent cervix during the period prior to the cervix actually opening, that emergency cerclages might be just as effective as preventative cerclages.

In cases where premature rupture of the membranes does occur, I would like the women put on full bed-rest with intravenous antibiotics to prevent infection. I do not want ruptured membranes to immediately result in the delivery of the baby if that can be prevented. Medication to stop contractions, such as brethine or magnesium sulfate, should be used if needed. The mother should be closely monitored for any signs of infection.

It would be wonderful if we could identify women who are at risk for incompetent cervix. They could be considered high risk, which would allow for closer monitoring during pregnancy. Weekly ultrasounds between sixteen and twenty-four weeks gestation would probably prevent the loss of many if not most losses due to incompetent cervix since it would allow for early detection of cervical incompetence and the ability to receive an emergency cerclage. These are not always successful, but the earlier you get one, the more likely it is to be successful. Discovering which, if any, hormone irregularities might be a contributing factor would be invaluable. If the simple act of taking a progesterone supplement could reduce the risk of developing incompetent cervix, it would just be phenomenal.

I really think there are a lot more cases of incompetent cervix than statistically reported. It's just so hard to diagnose it after the fact. You generally have to "catch it in the act" before you can make a definitive diagnosis. If you don't it's impossible to tell if you went into labor because you were dilating or you dilated, resulting in you going into labor. How can incompetent cervix be prevented if it can't be identified?

I'd also like to see a standard practice for dealing with incompetent cervix. It seems to me that the vast majority of doctors practically refuse to treat the condition. I've seen so many women lose their babies when their doctors simply refused to even consider the use of a cerclage. I just think that is totally unacceptable. Mother's are putting the lives of their babies in the hands of practitioners who are not willing to do everything in their power to give their babies the chance to live.

Well, that's my moment of dreaming for this morning.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

No Relief for the Cough

I feel bad for Jamie. I've been giving him medicine for his cough, but it's not doing any good. He has no fever, so the illness does not require a trip to the emergency room. I just feel so bad that I can't do anything for his cough. When I got him the medicine this morning he told me, "I don't want it. It's not working." I can't blame him on that one. I still had him take it even though it may be an exercise in futility. Perhaps it's keeping it at bay just a little.

Jamie slept like a log last night. He didn't wake up even once. That may be partially due to the medicine, but he stayed up all day yesterday and played with his cars. The medicine doesn't seem to make him very drowsy. He acts pretty normal, except for the coughing. He might be slightly more subdued than usual. His face is broke out pretty bad, too. But it's been that way for about a week. You can see in my birthday picture that he's red above his lips and across the left side of his face.

Right now he's sitting behind me eating strawberries while watching Tigger and Pooh. One thing is for sure, his appetite has not decreased. Less than an hour ago he had scrambled eggs and the apple muffins I posted about. I hadn't even cleared the table when he was fussing for more food. Sometimes he's my bottomless pit.

A little off topic, but Jamie's suffering a little heartbreak right now. He told me that Kelly, the little girl he talks about all the time from school, doesn't like him anymore. Bless his little heart.

Super Easy Apple Muffins

This morning I fixed a quick and easy breakfast treat, Apple Muffins.

Preheat oven to 400

- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup of canola oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 large apple or two small apples (I used two small pink lady apples)

1. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir until ingredients are evenly dispersed.
2. In another bowl mix milk, canola oil, and egg. Stir until ingredients are evenly dispersed.
3. Peel and core your apple(s). Chop into small pieces.
4. Combine all ingredients in the mixing bowl and stir until flour mixture is completely dissolved.
5. Spoon into a muffin pan. You can grease the pan or use muffin cups.
6. Bake muffins for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of muffin comes out clean.
Makes 12 muffins.