Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Unexpected Changes After Miscarriage

This year I have suffered two miscarriages, while I knew it was going to be emotionally difficult, I have been blindsided by the shock waves it has sent through my life. My joy of learning we were expecting was tremendous and watching those hopes crumble tore me apart. What I did not expect was how significant and lasting the hormonal and physical changes have been. 

  • Suddenly I am very sensitive when people ask if Luke is my only child. I don't know if I should say yes, no because I now have two babies in Heaven, or simply cry. 
  • Newborns now fill me with a sense of longing like something is missing, I have also cried upon seeing pregnant woman, and at baby announcements. 
  • Weight gain. Even though I lost both babies in the first trimester, they left significant impacts on my body. At first I thought I was simply swelling from the trauma of miscarriage, but now I believe the hormonal swing affected my metabolism causing sudden significant weight gain that is taking months to normalize again. 
  • Significant body self consciousness. Before we lost our first baby in July I felt good when looking in the mirror. Now I feel betrayal and notice the unsightly soft bumpy curves; the same shape that represented a growing baby just weeks prior are now hollow reminders that my womb is empty. 
  • My dreams now haunt me, over the 6 months since my first loss I have had at least 5 dreams of being pregnant or holding my new newborn baby. Every time, I wake with my arms aching to hold my baby.
  • Initially, I was very open and shared my journey with strangers whom asked. Now I hate talking about it... All too often people's comments cause far more pain then comfort. 
  • I now understand that the impression this kind of loss leaves does not quickly heal, it scars you forever. I also have learned that people don't understand this, they expect you to just "wait a while and try again"... As though my miscarriage is simply a failed attempt to create life instead of a tragic loss so soon. 
  • Every time you have your period is now triggers a form of PTSD, I cry and ache for the babies I have lost. 
  • Finally, I have found that with each loss my aching for a healthy baby intensifies, but now it is accompanied by fear that nothing is guaranteed.

Miscarriage and loss of a child are the most painful experiences I can imagine. For that reason people often avoid talking about them. However, for complete healing to occur that pain needs to be brought into the light and shared. Mourning the loss of an unborn baby is healthy and should not be shamed no matter how early the loss occurs. For all of you whom have also known this pain, I stand with you as I pray for our children and our rainbow babies!

Some verses that have brought me comfort:

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born," says the Lord.
Isaiah 66:9

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. 
Jeremiah 1:5

I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. 
Isaiah 46:4

He has made everything beautiful in it's time.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

Friday, September 22, 2017

Dreaming of our Rainbow Baby

As you may know, I suffered a miscarriage in July. Since then my emotions have been on a roller coaster. Initially, I was simply relieved to have everything over with so I could start to feel like myself again and I could begin to heal. Then, to sooth my pain I quickly I began daydreaming of my rainbow baby. I assumed we would conceive the very next month and all the cute little footies pajamas I bought would no longer bring me pain of a child loss, but hope of a future. 

Unfortunately, things just are not working out that way. When I took my first pregnancy test after our loss it was a heart shattering devastation when the words “Not Pregnant” appeared. I felt robbed and many tears flowed. While I have physically healed, emotionally I feel broken and empty. My womb aches to nourish and shelter life again. It's hard for me to even put into words the devastation when my intense joy at conceiving was shattered and just a few weeks later my womb was empty. I pray to soon feel that joy again and fear I will be terrified every time my stomach aches. 

Miscarriage has also made me painfully aware of how blunt people can be. With my son having just turned 19 months old strangers are starting to question when the next baby is planned. Literally strangers! In one breath they complement my son’s smile and in the next breath they have the nerve to tell me “looks like it’s time for another”, or “you don’t want to wait too long”. Without fail I am shocked by their boldness and stumble over my words for an answer. More than once I have bit my tongue to stop myself from telling them my last baby died and I’m desperately praying for a healthy child. Instead I smile and nod in agreement as I quickly excuse myself from the situation before tears come. Why must everyone have an opinion? Even people who know what we have been through seem to forget themselves as they joke in conversation about how Luke is ready for a sibling. I know! That is why we conceived months ago. 

Unfortunately, I have found that little has eased my pain except the passage of time. Every day that passes I pray God will bless us soon with a healthy baby. For as difficult as pregnancy can be, I long to feel those first flutters of life. I believe a new healthy pregnancy will help me heal the deepest of my aches. If I had not lost our baby I would now be in the second trimester with a cute little baby bump and eagerly awaiting news of gender. Thoughts like that cause me the greatest pain, longing for what I wish was. 

Please pray for us and our sweet rainbow baby. Pray my anxiety will not be suffocating, fearing another loss. And please pray that God gives me strength to take the test each month without being crushed should the result be negative. 

Bible verses that bring me hope and encouragement:

God has you in the palm of His hand. Isaiah 49:16

I prayed for this child. 1 Samuel 1:27

'For I know the plans I have for you' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' Jeremiah 29:11

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Every good and perfect gift is from above. James 1:17

#baby #babyboy #miracle #rainbowbaby #blessed #babygirl #prayer #love #miscarriage #loss #Bible #miraclebaby

Friday, September 15, 2017

Returning to Work:The Struggle is Real

Whether you are driven by finances, career goals, or familial obligation; returning to work after maternity leave is PAINFUL. Emotionally and physically. You just spent the better part of a year growing another person within your body. You protected them, nourished them, and cherished a special bond unlike any other. It is difficult to express in words what it feels like when you are forced to separate from someone who literally was a part of you. This struggle is magnified by the delicate innocence of childhood. Everything within you wants to hold your child close, protect them from harm, and celebrate every milestone. Unfortunately, the financial structure of most homes makes this impossible. Mother's are forced to return to work while their babies are still newborns. This intense struggle has been termed "mom guilt," but it is so much more then guilt. It is a feeling of shear inadequacy-- you want to be mommy 100% of the time while simultaneously providing for the family, preparing all the meals, AND keeping the house looking immaculate.

I spent the 20 years prior to the birth of our son picturing a life where I worked 5 days a week and came home to cuddle my baby before bed, then cherished weekends as a family. But the moment Luke was born that image shattered. He is my beating heart outside my body and I immediately wanted to be with him every minute of every day. Working as a doctor went from my dream, to something that prevented me from being with my son.

I knew I needed balance, a way to nourish both my career and my maternal bond. Thankfully, I was looking to start a new job at the time so I was able to make it clear I was only interested in part time work and return to work slowly. My first day back at work Luke was 16 weeks old and exclusively breastfed (more on that later). The first month I only worked 1 day per week, and even that was excruciating. My first day at work, I texted and called hourly to ensure Luke wasn't screaming inconsonsolably. He did excellent! I held him the rest of the night. Each proceeding week the separation became a little better, but it has never lost it's sting. Eventually, I picked up more shifts until I found the balance I was searching for. Two or three days each week Luke spends time with a family friend while I take care of children at a pediatric clinic. Although, I still deeply miss Luke when we are separated, I actually find I am a better mother because of this balance. I never knew how nice it would be being able to use the restroom alone and getting to eat my meal while it is still warm!!!

The biggest challenge I faced during my return to work was that Luke refused all bottles. It didn't matter the shape of the nipple, temperature of the milk or who offered it. He refused it with venom! To prevent my 4 month old from becoming dehydrated his babysitter resorted to feeding Luke with a medicine syringe. When we were finally reunited he would nurse immediately and cluster feed for the rest of the evening!  When he became hungry he would cry for hours on end each day I worked and I felt like I was starving my child. Every week I prayed he would take a bottle, he never did... Relief came when Luke was about 6 months old and able to eat solids, between babyfood and an ounce of water his hunger was kept at a manageable level until we were reunited. THEN at about 9 months old I learned about Kabrita! This is not an ad, it is our honest story. Kabrita is a goats milk formula which is easy on the belly and sweet like breastmilk; Luke LOVED it! Imagine my surprise that Luke would happily drink this formula from a bottle, but only wanted breast milk straight from the tap. With the help of Kabrita and a variety of solid foods, Luke was no longer Hungary, and my son learned to look forward to his time at the babysitter and playing with his friends. 

Separation from your child may never feel natural, and has never gotten easy, but balance is the key. If your finances allow try to return to work slowly. Also if possible look for childcare near your place of work so that you can breast or bottle feed your baby on breaks. Those sweet snuggles will help carry you through the hours you are a part. You can do this mama!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

MommyCon 2017: Tips for dealing with Toddler Feeding and Potty Troubles

With Luke fast approaching his terrible twos, I focused on the toddler sessions at MommyCon this year.  

Toddler Eating Struggles? Here are my top takeaways from the incredible lecture by Speech Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist Dawn Winkleman. 

  • Why are toddlers such picky eaters?
    • In the U.S. babies are not given “real” fruits and veggies as much as other countries. The solution, start introducing whole foods to your baby around 6 months of age with the goal of eating only whole foods by 9 months of age. 
    • Medical issues such as GERD, constipation, tooth decay, and allergies. 
  • Common Mistakes:
    • Hiding
      • Putting foods such as veggies in desserts instead of on their plate. Children need to see their foods on their plate and your plate to know they are “safe”.
    • Forcing
      • 2/3 of parents encourage children to eat everything on their plate even if they are overweight. 
    • Food rewards
      • 85% of parents admitted using food rewards even if their child is overweight.
  • Top tips:
    • Taste and rotate
      • Offer a new food for a few days then rotate to a new one.  After a short break bring the food back.  They may enjoy it even more the next time. 
    • Temperature
      • Offer frozen veggies for teethers to soothe sore gums. 
    • Trash
      • Have even young children throw their food away so they can see where it goes. 
    • Teach
      • Don’t restrict foods, instead encourage healthy ones. 
    • Thirsty
      • Blend up fruits and veggies in smoothies. 
    • Together
      • Get your children involved in the cooking process and expose them to new foods. 

Find more incredible tips from Ms. Dawn on

Wrestling with Potty Training?  Instead of dreading the struggle, approach it well prepared to make the smoothest transition for both of you. Laura Woj, creator of Super Undies and professional potty-trainer shared her wisdom with us. 

  • Prepare ahead.  Explain to your child what it will feel like to go to the restroom without diapers on and how they will be sitting on the potty.  Help them understand that accidents are normal and will happen.  Additionally, you need to prepare.  Monitor your child’s toilet habits so you have an idea how frequently your child goes.  This knowledge will save you both a lot of frustration. 
  • Go naked AND use potty training pants. While starting naked is a great way to help associate what comes out of their body with the urge, ultimately they need to understand they will be wearing clothing that needs to be moved prior to going. Your goal is to get training pants on by the second day.
  • Be intentional.  You need 2-3 days.  During this time stay home with your child and really focus on the task at hand. 
  • Limit space.  While potty training, remaining in 1-2 rooms will help you keep a constant visual on your child.  This will help you visualize behaviors that indicate your child needs to go so that you can guide them in using the toilet.
  • Unplug from social media.  Again, the more focused you are on your child, the quicker they will potty train. 
  • Be patient.  Children need repetition.  Keeping calm and positive will prevent making the experience one that leads to fear behaviors.  Your child will need to be reminded to use the potty 50+ times daily, make sure you are prepared before you start. 

Find more on potty training including a great chart and the best training pants you can buy at

Sunday, August 6, 2017

MommyCon 2017

Last year was my first time at MommyCon and I had no idea what to expect. I imagined a few speakers talking about general topics and scattered vendors making up a tiny event. Boy was I wrong! 

MommyCon is the largest parenting convention in the country. With over a dozen different lectures covering many areas of parenting from pregnancy and loving your postpartum body to toddler potty training! Between lectures there is a huge gathering of vendors from all the best baby brands talking about their gear. 

Yet the best part of MommyCon is the community it fosters. Last year I had the pleasure of meeting my good friend Carmen and am so thankful for it. Parenting is a journey filled with ups and downs, laughter and tears, but it can also be incredibly isolating. When your newborn won't let you sleep, or your toddler insists on throwing tantrums in the middle of grocery shopping, it's exhausting and having a group whom shares the same struggles makes it all bearable. 

I encourage you to come join us at your local MommyCon, attend some lectures, buy some amazing baby gear, and most importantly make new friends to turn to in the though times. use code DrMommyRx17 for a discount, and if you're in Orange County be sure to say hi to Luke and I!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Today I lost my unborn baby…

Today I became the member of a club I hoped never to join… my heart aches and I am filled with a mix of emotions: confusion, pain, anger, and longing cover me. Today it was confirmed I had a miscarriage. My body has betrayed me! Instead of nourishing my sweet baby to grow and thrive, I have spent the past 10 days suffering from cramping and weakness while I helplessly waited for my fears to become reality. 

On the 4th of July I excitedly surprised my husband with the news of my pregnancy, I had bought a book entitled “I’m Going to be a Big Brother” and my toddler eagerly carried it to daddy to read. We were overjoyed and wanted to share our happiness with everyone! However, we decided Aaron’s paren’t should be the first to know, so we planned a way to surprise them during their visit just two weeks later. Unfortunately, only 48hrs before their arrival I started spotting. Knowing how common spotting is I tried not to panic and I called my OB, I was quickly reassured but cautioned to call back if it worsened. That evening my bleeding increased and I made an urgent appointment for the following day. Ultrasound confirmed my baby was still there, but too young to see a heartbeat! My OB ordered labs to ensure my hormones were increasing appropriately and scheduled a repeat ultrasound for the following week. I waited in agony. Two days later we learned my hormones were increasing, but not as well as hoped. My fears were prolonged, still nobody could confirm if the baby was healthy! 

My in-laws arrived as planned and I used their presence to rest as much as possible. Despite being on bedrest my symptoms continued to worsen and I couldn’t imagine my baby surviving the flood racking through my body. Every night I cried out to God to save our baby, I have experienced so much loss in the last 5 years please don’t take my unborn baby too! That is when he sent my little light to give mommy exactly what she needed. On the day my symptoms were their worst Luke must have sensed something wrong because he did something he has never done before and hasn’t done since. While I laid on the couch watching him play he gave me repeatedly gave me hugs and kisses. Then he walked down toward my feet, lifted my shirt, snuggled my tummy, and kissed my lower belly! It was as though he was trying to comfort the baby! At just 17 months old we hadn’t even tried to explain to Luke that mommy had a baby in her belly. It was such a clear God moment assuring me that all would be okay. Today, just over a week after seeing our baby on ultrasound we returned to the doctor to hear if our baby had grown. Unfortunately, what we found instead was that my fears were reality, my uterus is empty.

While I am a firm believer in being open with your pain because God never wastes a hurt and my story may help someone else, I have come to dread the “words of encouragement offered.” Doctors, friends, family, and even those whom have also suffered this loss all say the same things: ‘Everything happens for a reason,’ ‘It’s probably for the best,’ ‘there was probably something wrong with the baby anyway,’ ‘ you can try again’. NONE OF THESE EASE MY PAIN, in fact they make me angry. While I know these are all statements made to comfort, and some are even thoughts I have had myself, all of these “condolences” minimize the life of my child! My baby wasn’t just a ‘ball of cells’ or a ‘fetus’, it was a BABY. A child whom I will never nurse, never rock to sleep, who’s first words I will never hear, and first steps I won’t witness. I don’t even know if our baby was a boy or girl.

So my dear baby know you are loved, even in your loss. I will never forget you and I will make sure your life, even if it was short, will not be wasted. For your life has a purpose and God chose us to be your parent’s for a reason. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

General Tips to Avoid Having a Picky Eater

  • Variety is key, in flavor, temperatures, and textures. 
  • Don't be afraid of a little seasoning. Add a little Garlic, Tumeric, or Cinnamon to your recipes and help expand their palate. 
  • As soon as you see your baby has mastered the purée, start providing thicker and more textured foods. The goal is go offer solid table foods (Ex. shredded chicken or diced pears) by 9 months of age. 
  • Let them see you eating a well varied diet. Watching mom and dad is key to their learning.
  • Just because they refuse something once doesn’t mean they don’t like it. Continue offering foods in a variety of temperatures, mixtures, and preparations. Sometimes they just don’t want it one day and love it the next— just like you.
  • Don’t cater to a toddler shrinking preferences. We all have foods we love. Just because your toddler demands yogurt or mac n’ cheese every day doesn’t mean they should eat it. Instead, offer a variety of fruits, veggies, meats, and grains during the week. Include both their current favorites and some new choices. 
  • Remember that it takes tryings a new food 7-9 times before you even know if you really dislike it. 
  • If your toddler refuses to eat at a meal, please DO NOT make them something new. This re-inforces that they don’t have to eat what is offered and can control their meal choices. Instead remind them that what you have made is their only choice and their tummy will be hungry if they don’t eat it. Initially, this can be difficult and may even lead to some tantrums, but your toddler will quickly catch on. 
  • Get you child involved in the shopping and cooking. Kids are more adventurous eaters when they created what they are eating. 
  • RENAME foods! If your child likes dogs, call carrots "puppy treats" and tomato soup "puppy soup”. Suddenly they will be excited to eat what their favorite animal or cartoon character loves.