"There's No Baby in There" - Experiencing a Blighted Ovum: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness #pregnancyloss

*I started this post last October in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day 2014, however, I wasn't able to finish it until now*

I'll never forget that moment.  Laying alone on the ultrasound table waiting to see a tiny little bean with a strong heartbeat inside of a sack confirming my pregnancy just as easy as it did with my previous two.  I was excited and nervous all at once. Within moments, I knew that something wasn't as expected. I'm not an ultrasound technician, but I could see clear as day on the screen that there in fact was a very good looking perfectly round sac, but it was empty. I immediately started to tear up. The tech was amazing and explained that it was possible everything was very early on and a fetal pole and yolk sack code appear in the next few days or week.  She took several pictures and measurements and left to give them to one of the doctors. Then she returned to explain that the doctor wanted to explain what was likely happening to me.

Just ten minutes after I walked in, I was being told that since the sac was measuring around 6 weeks, they should see something, anything. She then used a term I had never heard before, Blighted Ovum (BO). Here's a quick explanation from Mayo Clinic: "A blighted ovum, also called an anembryonic pregnancy or anembryonic gestation, occurs when a gestational sac develops without an embryo — often due to chromosomal abnormalities in the fertilized egg."
Some of the characteristics of a blighted ovum can include:
-Presence of normal gestational sac that is either empty or only contains a yolk sac (no fetal pole).
-Strong pregnancy symptoms
-Light spotting and/or cramping.
-HCG increases (rarely doubles) until removed or body realizes it's not a viable pregnancy (as long as the sac is growing, your body thinks the pregnancy is viable until it receives the "signal" that it's not viable or the placenta (that doesn't exist) should be taking over creation of HCG around 12 weeks.
-Tendency to be "extra-sticky" requiring intervention for removal sac and termination of pregnancy.
-Reputation for causing excessive bleeding during natural miscarriage that requires emergency intervention.
I was unable to obtain an ultrasound photo of my own blighted ovum, but here are few images provided for this post by some gracious women from a Facebook support group.
The doctor explained that it was likely I would begin miscarrying at anytime and I could either opt to have surgery to remove it or wait it out.  I choose the later, since we both agreed that I could wait a few weeks and have another ultrasound if I didn't miscarry by then.
I waited..two very long weeks.  It those two weeks, I did experience some very light spotting and cramping, but nothing otherwise. I spent time online researching and came across sites where people had a misdiagnosed BO and went on to have healthy babies.  There were way more like me holding onto hope that this was also the case for me. I was a complete emotional wreck.  At the end of the two weeks, I went back and while the sac had grown by a week, it was still there and completely empty.  I then met with my regular doctor and she and I agreed that based on the known fact that blighted ovums have a higher history of natural miscarriages that cause too much blood loss (they are called "extra sticky"), a surgery to remove it was the best option.  I scheduled it for a week or so later with the agreement the the night before my surgery I would receive a final ultrasound just to be sure.  My doctor and the ultrasound tech happily obliged.  They said they would give me as many as I needed to feel okay about proceeding.
On November, 28, 2012 I went in for my surgery.  This was the very first time in my life I have ever been put "under" or had "surgery" so I was really nervous.  The ultrasound the night before confirmed that the sac was already starting to breakdown and the pregnancy was not viable. That was at least reassuring that I was in fact making the right decision. The surgery was really quick and successful. My husband was there waiting with Reese Cups and a stuffed puppy afterward. I recovered physically over the next week with the help of pain medication and rest.
I was very lucky to have a very good support system, especially my husband, to help me recover emotionally. We spent lots of time just enjoying the two children we did have and the upcoming Christmas holiday.
Looking back over the last 2+ years, I still remember the pain I felt during this experience. Emotionally, I will never be the same, but I have learned that this was part of a life and that, if only briefly, I carried a baby that couldn't survive and a part of me will always love them.
During that difficult time and since then I have been a part of a Facebook group called Angel Moms via Blighted Ovum. When I was going through it, this group of women was absolutely amazing in providing me with support and answers. Since then, I have watched women come into the group who are currently or have experienced the same as me and I have returned the same support to all of them. I have heard stories about how people around them have said "You weren't actually carrying a baby" and made them feel like they shouldn't be sad or grieving. This is why I'm writing this, to spread awareness. No matter what, a baby was conceived and a baby was lost and a woman (and her family) are learning to cope with the reality of this loss. As humans, compassion is what binds us and during this time that's what we should be showing each other.
Many women who experience blighted ovums go on to have one (or more) successful pregnancies. A small percentage will have a repeat blighted ovum and/or miscarriage. And a smaller percentage will never be blessed to carry a child again. We fell into the majority and, less than one year later, welcomed our third child, our sweet little rainbow. 
Angel Moms via Blighted Ovum Facebook Group
Somewhere Over the Rainbow Facebook Group (This is for those that are ready to move on and are TTC, pregnant, or have had children after experiencing a blighted ovum).
Thanks for reading my blog. I would love if you follow me FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterestGoogle+ and YouTube.
If you are interested in working with me, you can reach me atsavymommymoments@gmail.com.

It's Not Mine to Share: One Thing I Won't Post on My Blog #bloggerthoughts #respect

Every single day on social media we come across stories.  Stories about things that are so sad that we can hardly believe them.  Parents who make the mistake of leaving a room for a minute and end up losing their child. Car accidents that take lives too soon because someone looked down at their phone.  People who make mistakes and pay for it with the loss of a loved one and/or another family loses someone they love. Over and over again, my heart breaks. And as it breaks, I think about how every single thing posted on the internet will be there forever and how these posts go viral across social media and the internet and the people suffering likely have to relive it EVERY SINGLE TIME they come across it. And my heart breaks again. While I believe in and support social media and the internet and I support learning from other's mistakes, I will never, ever share one of those stories on my blog and/or turn it into a post.
Why not? Because I can't even begin to think about contributing any further to the suffering these people are enduring. I don't want to add one more place for them to be reminded of what has happened to them or the mistakes they made. Not one more everlasting Google search result. I'm not interested in personally gaining by linking to their story in a post. I's not my story to tell or use to gain anything from. Because as much as you can say you aren't pointing your finger at someone else's mistake, when you use it for personal gain, you are.
Now, does this mean that when I see a story about a young child who wasn't restrained in a child safety seat properly and was injured or killed as a result, I won't think about writing a child safety seat post about proper use? No, of course not.  But, what you won't see in that post is any reference to a particular story.  It wouldn't add anything to my post and will only negatively impact their family.  I mean, imagine that I reference a current event on the subject and my post happens to go viral? That means it would be seen all over social media by thousands (possibly millions), and more than likely by those who are personally suffering as a result.
I'm sure by this point in my post, you are starting to think about how spreading news stories is a form of prevention of it happening again. Well, yes, this is true.  But, again, it's not my story to share or use. However, I am always willing to host any guest post from someone whose story it is. The parents that want to use their tragedy to raise awareness are more than welcome to ask me to share their story on my blog. Awareness is huge for the prevention of accidents, especially to children, so I am always in support of it, as long as it's something that the affected parties want and agree to.  Otherwise, I will continue to provide you with important safety information for your families without linking to specific events. Those you can find on your own by "Googling".
Thanks for reading my blog. I would love if you follow me FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterestGoogle+ and YouTube.
If you are interested in working with me, you can reach me at savymommymoments@gmail.com.

How to Choose a Bicycle & Helmet for Your Child (and Family) #spring #safety #bicycle

Spring is officially here and with that comes the time for the kids to play outside.  I know for our family this means it's time for our kids to start riding their bicycles. Bicycles are a lot of fun, especially when the proper safety is taken to ensure kids are protected from injury. Our two oldest (3 and 5 years old) grew quite a bit over the last year, so we know it's time for them to move up in the size of bicycles they ride as well as get bigger sized helmets.  For the first time, I found myself wondering "What is the right size bicycle for them? How do I know if a helmet is the proper fit?" I decided to do a little research and this is what I have found.

*The information in this post is cited and based upon my internet research. Please use your best judgement when choosing a bicycle and helmet for your child. This post may contain affiliate links which help us run this blog. Thanks for reading!

Bicycle Sizing:

The easiest way to size a bicycle for your child is to take them into the store, But, sometimes it's even hard to tell because you never know how much they will grow in a year and if they are too big/or small for the bike they are on.  Also, it takes time to go into the store and start trying out bicycles and lots of stores like Target don't have the little kids' bikes put together or available to try out. Personally, we needed to figure out the size without taking the kids in, so I found this really helpful bicycle sizing tool on ebicycles.com.
According to our children's heights and genders, our 3 year old should have a 14" bicycle and our 5 year old should have a 16" bicycle.
Also, if you are an avid Amazon shopper like me they have a bicycle sizing guide where you can find the perfect size for anyone in your family and also do your shopping! Easy and convenient!

Helmet Sizing:

When our kids started riding tricycles and scooters, we made it a hard and fast rule that they must have a helmet on at all times. It's such a simple thing that takes just a second but can save their life. To us, it was a no-brainer and for our children it's become a natural thing. One of the hardest things was figuring out if a helmet properly fit our kids' heads.  We would buy the ones that were for their age, but they always seemed too small for their heads (our kids have giant heads)!
HealthyKids.org (recommended by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics)) provides the following guidelines about proper helmet fit:
- A helmet should fit squarely on the top of your child's head and cover the entire forehead (about 1 to 2 finger widths above the brow).
- The helmet should not tip back at all or tip forward over the wearer's eyes when pushed or pulled.
- The chin strap should also be snugly worn.
- The front and rear straps should form a "Y" below and just in front of the ears of the wearer.
Additional Tips:
- Do not buy or use previously used helmets unless you know they haven't been in an accident and don't show signs of wear and tear.
- Replace your helmet if straps are showing signs of fraying or are worn. Manufacturers recommend replacing every 3 years.
- Do not store your helmet in the trunk of a car or somewhere with extreme heat as it can damage the helmet.
- Children should wear helmets anytime they are using a scooter, riding on a bicycle (theirs or an adults), riding in a bike trailer, or riding on any other type of bike/scooter/motorized riding toy.
Amazon has a helmet sizing guide that will help you pick out the right sized helmet for everyone in your family.  Remember, if you expect your child to do it, you should be a good model for them and wear one yourself.  Your well-being and safety is important too!

I hope you enjoyed reading this and it will help you pick out the right bicycles and helmets for your children this year!
Feel free to share with your family and friends so they can also have this information for their families.

*The information in this post is cited and based upon my internet research. Please use your best judgement when choosing a bicycle and helmet for your child. This post may contain affiliate links which help us run this blog. Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading my blog. I would love if you follow me FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterestGoogle+ and YouTube.
If you are interested in working with me, you can reach me at savymommymoments@gmail.com.

Parenting Adventures: Trialing New Foods #FPIES #FoodAllergies

*This series focuses on our adventures in parenting and all the ups and downs along the way*
This part of our FPIES adventure focuses on the food trials and adding new foods to Savy Baby's diet.  As you may know, our sweet baby started showing symptoms when trialing her first foods at 6 months old and then we were given an official diagnosis of FPIES when she was 9 months old. After the diagnosis, our focus was slowly adding in new foods to her diet.  These foods would be focused specifically on adding protein and iron to her diet.
We were given the following 5 day trial plan by our allergist.
Day 1: Just a taste (smaller than the size of a pea)
Day 2: 1/2 teaspoon
Day 3: 1 teaspoon
Day 4: 1/2 tablespoon
Day 5: 1 tablespoon
After each day' trial amount, we were to pay attention for any changes that would alert us that she would likely have an acute reaction (i.e. severe diarhea or vomit and/or shock) if given a full serving (1 tablespoon or more) of the food we were trialing. The symptoms we were looking for could include: excema on her body, mucusy and/or loose stool, screaming pain, severe restlessness, vomiting. These symptoms would likely appear 2-3 hours after ingestion.  Once we notice one or more of these things, we are to stop that food immediately and write it down as a failed food. Then we give her body a rest for a week or so and trial the next food.
When we started we were really nervous, but knew that we had to move forward with adding foods to her diet in order for her to have a chance to grow without the use of expensive formulas and/or a feeding tube.
I won't go through all of the details of every trial, but I can tell you we had an amazing run of success.  Between 9 months old and 13 months old we were able to trial and add the following foods:
-White Potato
Prior to this list, we had only 2 safe foods, carrots and winter squash, so it's amazing that we were able to add so much to her diet in a 3 month period.  We didn't end up having a single fail, which was much to our surprise and delight! 
The biggest thing that this did for her was provide her with growth in both height and weight.  For the first time in months she was finally back on the growth curve for height.  We would continue to return to the pediatrician every other month for height/weight checks. 
When she was 13 months old, we returned to the allergist for patch testing.  This testing involves taking common FPIES triggers like oats and placing them on little patches all over her back.  The patches stay on for 48 hours and then we remove them at home and take pictures.  Then we had to wait an additional 24 hours and take her back to the allergist to read them. The foods that we patch tested were oats, rice, wheat, barley, rice, rye, soy and corn. After 48 hours we removed the patches and there really wasn't anything noticeable on her back where the patches where.  Even the next morning they weren't very noticeable.  However, by the time we got to her appointment that afternoon, there were noticeable little bumps and redness in all of the circles, with the exception of the control patch which was saline.  I mean, I literally said "Those were there this morning!" when I took her shirt off for the doctor. The doctor laughed and said "Yep, that's why we have to wait the extra 24 hours after you remove the patches.  The reaction time is 72 to 96 hours after applying the patches." This made complete sense as I looked at the pictures from the day before and there was literally nothing on her back from them other than outlines of the little patch disks. 
The conclusion was that she had "failed" every food, some worse than others.  Unfortunately, this meant that we could not move forward with testing any of these foods at this time.  We went home from the appointment slightly disappointed, but it was nice to know that those foods just weren't a possibility for her at this time. She would return to the allergist in 6 months to have the testing repeated.
After this testing, we also realized that the constant diaper rashes she was getting were likely from her exposure to a derivative of corn that was in her powdered formula.  We switched her to the RTF (ready-to-feed) version of it that didn't have the corn derivative and her rashes all but went away completely. 
Since the testing (4 months), we have continued trialing new foods to add to her diet.  Since then we have been able to add the following foods:
-Green Beans
-Black Beans
-Garbanzo Beans (Chick Peas)
-Chocolate (Non-dairy/pure)
In these 4 months, we did come across one fail: Peanuts.  On day two of the trial, she had a very noticeable reaction in her stool and we had to stop it immediately. This is one of the examples of why the trialing system we use works.  It's very likely, had she been given a full serving, peanuts would give her a vomiting and/or shock reaction. 
We have fun figuring out ways to make foods like muffins, pancakes, and flatbreads with the ingredients that are safe for her. I recently posted a recipe for Quinoa pancakes that she loves! 
One of the biggest things for us is keeping the good, bad and future trial foods all organized for us and our nanny/family. I decided to use Microsoft Excel and create the spreadsheet below.  The spreadsheet lists all the potential trial foods by "category" and then highlights them in red/green if they are a pass or fail.  Then I put asterisks next to the foods that are upcoming trials.  It's really been helpful for anyone who comes into our home to see as well as a great reference for us and our nanny.
At this point, we will continue to trial additional foods as we expand her diet.  In June 2015, she will return to the allergist and we will perform the patch testing again for the same foods.  If she passes any of them, we will then create a plan to trial the foods that didn't react to the test. This plan may involve doing it in a more controlled setting like a hospital, just in case of a severe reaction, so that IV fluids can be administered immediately to prevent shock. 
Until then, we move forward and do our best to expand her diet safely.  She will remain on her formula until our team of doctors feels as though she is getting enough essential nutrients for growth and development from her diet to cutback and/or remove the formula completely.

Know someone who's child may be struggling with FPIES? Here are some resources to share with them:
Facebook FPIES ( Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome)
SupportThe FPIES Foundation Website

Thanks for reading my blog. I would love if you follow me FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterestGoogle+ and YouTube.
If you are interested in working with me, you can reach me at savymommymoments@gmail.com.

Quick and Easy Egg Coloring Activity! #koolaid #Easter

For years, we used the little tablets that you drop into vinegar for coloring Easter eggs.  This was okay, but the thing I didn't like was the smell of the vinegar and chemicals in the dye.  So, last year, we decided that we would try using Kool-Aid instead! 

Supply List:

  • Kool-Aid Packets (these are usually 10 or more for a dollar)
  • Water
  • Cups for dipping (we re-used single serve yogurt cups)

Directions: Combine each packet with water in the cups, stir to dissolve and star dipping!
We found that you did need to leave the eggs in a little longer to get a deep color.  The colors were really nice and vibrant.
Here are the flavors we used and the colors they produced: 

  • Cherry: Red
  • Lemon-Lime; Green
  • Grape: Deep Purple
  • Orange: Orange
  • Mixed Berry: Blue

We really loved using this method last year and will do it again this year! The eggs were really pretty and smelled yummy too! The one bit of warning is that the dye does rub off more easily and isn't waterproof as it is kool-aid, but honestly, we didn't mind at all! 

Thanks for reading my blog. I would love if you follow me FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterestGoogle+ and YouTube.
If you are interested in working with me, you can reach me at savymommymoments@gmail.com.

Costco Store or Disney World? #costco #momlife #bulkshopping #savymommy

This morning I asked my husband if he would mind stopping at Costco on his way home to pick up a few things.  He didn't respond and so I said "If you don't want to that's fine." He promptly replied "Oh no, I love Costco! It's like my Disney World!" 

I laughed at his response but then thought about how much I do love going to Costco how true this analogy may be.  Like Disney, I need a special ticket to enter (i.e. membership) and upon entering I "feel" the magic of all that is "bulk shopping" fall upon me.  Of course, it helps that at I enter directly into the electronics department and there is usually some uplifting hit movie playing on a glorious 80 inch crystal clear television...or ten televisions at once. Then, I come the aisles of what is currently seasonal. I consider Costco to decorate itself like The Magic Kingdom. At Christmas time there are beautiful trees, wrapping paper and other decorations.  At Halloween, there are scary goblins and loads of candy. Right now, I know spring is coming because my local Costco has it's own "Flower and Garden Festival" going on.  It's just so magical with it's flowers, plants, bulbs and more! A nice, "warm" break from the outside sub-freezing temperatures. Not to mention, there always seems to be a giant sized Mickey and/or Minnie hiding somewhere in the store!
After diverting from the main aisle and falling entranced by the current "season" at Costco, I head back towards one of my favorite sections, the bakery (fresh, warm bread makes me so happy, it's sinful.) As I venture towards it, I grab a satisfyingly oversize package of AA batteries and eye up a giant generator (nope, we don't need one, but it's fun to dream). I have reached the bakery and there I receive my very first sample. This is my reward for expertly navigating the earlier part of the store without filling my cart. Yummy red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. I'll be back around in a minute for seconds.  I am an Executive Member after all.
The bakery leads me into the giant aisle of fresh meats. Twenty pounds of ground beef, yes please.  A rotisserie chicken for dinner, check! Yum...another sample. Chips and guacamole or maybe it's some fancy cheese that I'll buy and then never finish. Either way, it's another reward for being a Coscto member! Through the meats and cheeses and onto the produce. Pounds upon pounds of apples, bananas and more. I add a few essentials to my cart and keep going.  Sometimes if I'm adventurous, I run quickly into the deep freeze room for carrots. On my way out of this section, I admittedly throw in a 10 pound bag of grapefruit convincing myself that it's good for me and I'll eat them. (my husband will likely eat them instead).
I continue my delightful Costco trip through aisles of massive amounts of paper goods, baby supplies, frozen foods (800 chicken nuggets, yes please!) and dairy items. I'll pick up some black bean pasta and eggs for Savy Baby, Veggie Straws and milk for the big kids, and maybe a set of new dishtowels just because "who doesn't need 100 new dishtowels in a variety of colors?!" All the while, I'm munching on various samples of soup, mini tacos, yogurt, chocolate covered blueberries and more, which most have also seemed to have found their way into my cart.  Strange thing that's happening here. It's like I'm being entranced by something. I wonder "Do they pump something into the air here like at Disney?"
At the front of the store, I pick up an extra large bottle of chewable vitamins for the kids and twelve giant tubes of toothpaste. And a box of granola bars which I'll likely eat 10 of at some point because they are about to expire or have just expired. Thankfully, the check out area is upon me.
As I enter the last phase of my Costco experience, I quickly glance back at the store and wonder if there is something I missed or a sample I forgot to try.  Maybe there was that one product that I undecided on whether or not to buy it and suddenly concerned that they may not have it next time. Okay, one more lap around and I'm done..I swear.
A half-hour later I return to the check-out area and I'm satisfied.  My trip to Costco has left me content, and exhausted and I may need a post-Costco nap. Just like Disney, there are things I didn't get to buy or try but, overall, I'm happy with what I accomplished. Oh and my wallet is sufficiently lighter...And with a giant hot dog and soft drink in hand, I exit the store and fuel up for my quickly approaching task of fitting everything that wasn't on my list into my car...Yep, it was a good day. Until next time Costco...until next time...
Thanks for reading my blog. I would love if you follow me FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterestGoogle+ and YouTube.
If you are interested in working with me, you can reach me at savymommymoments@gmail.com.

Kids Love Laundry Baskets, Cardboard Boxes and More! #momlife

If you are parent, you know that you can easily spend hundreds of dollars on fancy plastic toys for birthdays and holidays. Then, when it comes time for your baby/toddler/preschooler to open them, they prefer to play with the box.  Yep, the box!

I'll never forget the Savy Preschooler's first birthday.  We spent so much time planning out the perfect present (singing and dancing Mickey Mouse) and the toy he loved most from the day?  The box.
Since then I have watched my kids have a blast playing with all sorts of household items.  Here is a list of what we love to reuse as toys and how we use them:
Laundry Baskets: These make the perfect boat or hideaway.  They love to see how many of them can fit into one or if they can "trap" the baby under it.  We have pushed them around the in one while they giggle and squeal in delight.
Cardboard Boxes: I mean, who doesn't love a good cardboard box?! It's the perfect canvas for imaginative play.  Small boxes are fun stacking and knocking down.  They make the perfect canvas for an art project.  And if big enough, they make amazing tunnels, caves and houses! The possibilities are endless!
Tissue Paper: You know, the stuff that adults get out of the way to get to the actual gift? Well, for kids this is the real gift, especially when inside the tissue paper are boring new clothes. Tissue paper is fun to shove into any place possible.  It makes the most amazing noise when crinkled and you can easily tear it into a million pieces (much to mom's dismay).
Tissue Boxes and Baby Wipes Containers: You know the perfect place to shove tissue paper? In one of these of course! These are great for sorting games and showing anything you can find around the house into. Our nanny recently got some really large arts and craft pom-poms in various colors and put them into an empty wipes container.  This is Savy Baby's most played with "toy!" Singing Elmo doesn't stand a chance against this!
Bubble Wrap: This is definitely one for the older crowd (3-5).  When I get new bubble wrap in a package in the mail, our two oldest children are BEGGING to set it down on the kitchen floor and jump on it to pop the bubbles.  It makes for a fun way to burn off that lingering pre-bedtime energy!
Paper Towel Rolls: We all know these.  Those infamous cardboard rolls on the inside of paper towels that are left lingering all around our kitchen.  Well, in our house, these make great swords! They are light and flimsy enough that they don't hurt if hit accidentally and if they break, the kids are too sad since they know we have an abundance of them and there will be a new one soon! (This is where I wince slightly at the amount of paper towels we use daily).
Milk/Juice/Water Bottles: There are lots of fun options for these.  You can play with them empty.  You can make a little ocean inside complete with sand/seashells and blue water. Or you can make them into a fun sensory bottle like this.  Any which way, our kids absolutely love playing with these!
Egg Cartons: This is one that are great for your play kitchen.  Or you can use them to create fun sorting activities like this for your toddler/preschooler.  They are also great for art projects and make good paint cups.

I'm sure you too have used many of these in your home. Watching my kids play with these reminds me that they don't need tons of store-bought toys as they can easily use their imagination to create fun and enjoyment out of every day things!

Tell me below which of these is your kid(s) favorite? Is there something not on this list they love to play with?

Thanks for reading my blog. I would love if you follow me FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterestGoogle+ and YouTube.
If you are interested in working with me, you can reach me at savymommymoments@gmail.com.