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I’m Opening Shop On Here

Bethcessories is now opening on this site

From now until the 12th, on purchases over 15.00 get 5.00 off with coupon code Grandopening5

I’ve been selling on Etsy and in person a few years now, I’m bringing it to this site.

Get your stocking stuffer wax melts and candles, decorative Christmas pillows, napkins and gift bags (will be listed this weekend) along with a body pillow for kids or adults, pillow cases, stockings or gift wrap packages.

It’s your one stop shop for candles, melts, gifts and decor

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Fast, Easy DIY New Baby Halloween Costume Ideas- For When You Run Out Of Time

With Halloween coming up, trick or treat and parties are starting to show up on schedules.Trunk or treats are an up and coming popular idea that is also starting to happen in a lot of communities. With costume parties, trick or treat and other Halloween festivities come costumes. With new baby, you need something simple and easy to use- diapers don’t stop getting filled up just because baby’s in costume. There are some costumes that are so popular, they border on stereotypical and outdated. How many farm animals, domestic animals, pumpkins and similar costumes do we see every Trick or Treat? What are some good ideas when you’re trying to be original?

  1. Prisoner– with their date of birth listed as “break out” date. It’s an adorable costume and even though it’s not fully original (you can’t get full originality), it’s not overdone.animal-1296176_1280.png
  2. Bat– Bats are iconic symbols of Halloween, but you do not see very many babies dressed up. You see a lot of pumpkins and black cats, so why not bring out the bats? They are cute, fuzzy and not nearly as evil as they seem.
    This image of a bat shows what type of pattern you would need to cut- just use black felt and cut the wings, attach them to the back of a black shirt and pair with black pants and a black headband for the ears mythology-1099255_1280
  3. Gods/goddesses– witches are common sights during the Halloween season but why stop at the worshipers when you can dress baby up as the gods or goddesses the witch worships? Gods do not need to be limited to the ones in movies, look up some of the nocturnal gods and goddesses and you’ll find tons of inspiration.
    These images of goddesses show how simple making the long, flowy dress would be- baby will be confined more than likely so she shouldn’t hve to worry about tripping over the skirt. You can find instructions for no-sew goddess gown/robe as well- use a cord as a belt but make sure it can’t come too tight around baby’s waist or stomach. Make sure the material is long, loose and flowy. wizard-36676_1280.png
  4. Old man- especially if your baby is young and still has the wrinkled look- the bald head can work with the costume. The image listed above- old wizard. Glue a glass ball to the top of a stick for the wand. Get a brown jacket and put yellow trim (or use any color combination), a white wig and fake white beard- they should still have wigs available in a lot of stores. mr-potato-353270_640
  5. Mr/Mrs Potato head– I’ll be honest, my toddler is watching Toy Story right now, but that would be another good costume for a bald head. Put some fake glasses and a headband with fake ears and if baby keeps them on… Cover them in a brown outfit, brown hat (or a crocheted hat with a brown bottom and black top to look like the hat)

Those are just a few little last minute costumes most of us could easily DIY. Since Halloween is now literally around the corner, if you have an idea that fell Pinterest is filled with easy and quick DIY baby costumes.

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Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Pregnant

I have had a total of three pregnancies- my first ended at 28 weeks with a partial abruption and severe pre-eclampisa. She was only 1lb 11.5ozs and 13 inches long and spent a total of 8 1/2 months in NICU. She’s now a small but healthy 7 year old. My second was relatively uncomplicated but we lost her. She was born at 36 weeks due to me going into a painless labor and I wasn’t allowed by the doctors to go into labor. She died of a condition called Anencephaly (absence of the skull) and lived for 3 hours after birth.

My third was totally complication free and she was born at 37 weeks (once again, due to the complications of my oldest) and was 7lbs11ozs and 21 inches long- they told us she would have been a 9-10lb baby if she was born term.

I had each baby at 23, 25 and 27 years, I’m 30 now so I have spent almost my full adult life being called “mommy.”

I read all the books, blogs and joined all the support forums I could find. What to Expect was my bible through my first pregnancy and through her early years but nothing could prepare me for the almost 9 months of hell I was in for after having my baby.

When I was 22 and newly married, I found out I was pregnant. I was young, naive and even though I knew it was a huge sacrifice, I had a glorified image of pregnancy and motherhood. I knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park and that I wouldn’t have near the freedom I had before but I still imagined taking the baby to baby and me classes, taking her out in cute little outfits with friends (since most of mine, at that time were also pregnant or new mommies) and late night cuddles. I thought of play dates and hanging out with friends would simply end up taking place at kid friendly places instead of bars. I had no idea what the dark side of pregnancy involved. I had heard of conditions like Pre-Eclampsia but the thought never crossed my mind that it could happen to me.

I decided to sit down and ask myself what 30 year old me wished 23, 25 and even 27 year old me knew. I was able to come up with a quick list of six major things I wish people had told me

  1. Take folic acid- lots of it. I didn’t realize how important it really was. I did make sure my pre-natals had it, but that was it. After dealing with Pre-E and losing another baby to Anencephaly, I joined a support group for people who lost babies to the disorder and that was when I read about folic acid and how vital it is to healthy pregnancies. I also learned about the MTHFR and after asking for a simple blood test, I found out I had a more severe form of the lesser mutation- which means my body only processes about 7% of the folic acid I eat.
  2. Swelling all over to the point where you do not look human IS NOT NORMAL. Don’t call Labor and delivery, go in to the ER to get checked- especially if swelling in the hands and face comes with headache and lightheaded or any other sign of high blood pressure. Pre-Eclampsia is serious, but can be managed if it’s caught early on.
  3. Lay off the baby books- especially if you have a preemie- seriously, cut it out. If your baby doesn’t develop by the books (either advanced or behind) they will stress you out more than help- it’s nice to know what “normal” development is, but if you start playing comparisons, it will make you lose your mind.
  4. Go ahead and complain about the morning sickness, crampy feelings, bloated feeling, headaches, mood swings, exhaustion and everything else- being pregnant sucks and it’s ok to not enjoy the symptoms- it’s the end result we all want.
  5. Do not freak out after being given the epidural. It doesn’t make all feeling go away- just the pain. With my first c section, they had to put me under as soon as she was out. I thought it was about to wear off in the middle of the c section. I always assumed that I would be totally numb and that I wouldn’t even feel the surgeon pull the baby out. My second two c sections went smoother because I knew what to expect.
  6. Enjoy the last little bit of freedom- the sleepless nights do not last long (be a few months, they WILL sleep through the night) but that small window of time in between feels like an eternity- and there will be times you will wake up freaked out in the middle of the night because your baby sighed and you thought they were choking- that is normal.

I wish I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, and possibly fix some of the things I feel I did wrong. Since I can’t change the past, I do try to share these tips when the topics come up. I’ll push the subject of folic acid or full body swelling when I’m talking to a friend who’s newly pregnant or trying to conceive. I have many other lessons I have learned in my 7 years of being mommy, but these stick out the most as the pieces of advice I wish I had listened to most.

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US Birthrate and Fertility Rates Dropping, Many Possible Reasons

I have been reading about the US’s declining birthrate along with the older generation reaching retirement age. The people they quoted acted worried about a smaller working population vs larger retired, disabled and sick/aging population. They named everything from women now choosing to put off having kids leading to a decline in fertility rates to Planned Parenthood and similar resources that help women plan out and prevent pregnancies. Paul Ryan even went as far as saying he did his part and had three kids.

What are the main reasons that keep coming up in discussions where choosing to either put off or avoid having kids is the subject?

The top reasons seem to be lack of good, affordable healthcare- even a lot of people working full time with degrees seem to have trouble affording the costs of paying insurance, deductibles and copays. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a decent insurance, the US has a higher mortality rate for both pregnant women and babies than a lot of other developed countries.

The costs associated with having kids also plays a huge role- it costs over 200k to raise a child and most of the time daycare for one child alone will cost over 20k a year. I know we were looking into daycares locally (low cost of living area) and decided not to because it would literally eat my whole paycheck. Daycares are also getting to be less trustable. They offer assistance, but also now allow random women to put in to run day cares out of their homes.  It’s frequently on the news about daycare providers harming kids, having drug paraphernalia and dangerous items (knives etc) out in easy reach and occasionally, they have gone as far as having children die in their care. This happens at the shady lower cost as well as higher, upper scale daycares so can you really trust daycares?

Maternity pay/leave is another higher up on the chart- most places do not pay adequately nor do they seem to give long enough leave to make it worth using. If you get pregnant while working in a lot of different places, if you already have temporary disability insurance, and have been working for over a year you can get paid 6 week leave. If you work less than a year and are not paying into it prior to getting pregnant, you’re out of luck unless the store also has maternity leave benefits mapped out and you’re eligible.

High costs of rent and cost of living in general– Couple that with the next on the list, stagnant and low incomes and you have large numbers of people who can barely pay back their astronomical loans while paying all other bills and you have the recipe for holding off on having kids. The costs of living continue to climb while wages are staying the same overall.

Women now have the option to have kids or not– this is a huge factor I’m sure. Women now have the options of birth control, they can go to college and focus on their career instead of getting married and staying home and not every women who grows up is forced by society to have kids (or be outcast).

But with the positive, negative can come in as well- women have choices now and there have been studies linking later maternal age can lead to infertility and other complications.

There have also been suggestions that fertility rates are dropping some maybe due to environment and others may be due to the later start dates for starting families and having kids but there have been studies that as a whole, rates are dropping.

There are many different opinions, ideas and reasons that people are holding off on having kids and that may not be a bad thing. Our population right now is aging, but after that generation leaves, won’t it start to even out again? Gen X started having less kids than the boomers did and now we’re down to a birthrate of 1.8 as of 2016. It is no longer needed to have a lot of kids to ensure the survival of your family’s genetics and it’s no longer that cheap to raise kids.

What reasons do you think I have missed?

 

 

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About 1P36 Deletion- Why Do I Even Have To Know?

              Why Do I Even Know What 1P36 Deletion Syndrome Is?

              I never thought we would be traveling down this path. I had severe Pre-Eclampsia at 28 weeks and had my baby weighing only 1lb 11.5ozs and 13 inches long. She was on a feeding tube, oxygen and heart monitor. She stayed in the NICU almost 9 months. She had Retinopathy of Prematurity (where her retinas were detaching from her eyeball) and required laser eye surgery. She also had five holes in her heart- PDA, ASD and three muscular VSDs. We had to have two of the holes (PDA and ASD) closed, luckily they were able to close them through a catherization instead of open heart. She also had feeding troubles after being on oxygen for so long, so the last of her surgeries was getting a g-tube placed in her stomach.

              She came home at eight and a half months old still on a nasal cannula and heart monitor that beeped every time she kicked her feet. She also still had the development of a newborn since she had been lying in a crib most of her life. For the first few months of having her home, we had a home nurse come to the house daily to help us out. I was testing the day time nurses to see if I could seek employment again whhile they took care of her during the day. The first outing we had as a family resulted in her getting a cold. A simple cold shouldn’t be that bad, right? It wasn’t RSV or anything more than a simple cold- and it landed her back in the PICU and on life support so I knew we couldn’t place her in day care, the nursing fell through and I had to cancel it so I decided to stay home with her instead.

              We were nervous for the first few months of taking her out of her crib too long, so we would keep her in the crib except during play time and feedings, baths and spending some time with her. I regret that to this day, but if her cannula came out of her nose for any length of time, she’d start turning blue. We finally figured out how to place her main oxygen tank so it could stretch all through the house and we were able to take her downstairs to be with us during the day, luckily that didn’t last long and around 15 months, she finally had strong enough lungs to get rid of the tube. By that time, she was finally starting to be able to lift her head and crawl during belly time. By three, she started walking without assistance but by that time, we had a misdiagnosis of Cerebral Palsy and she had started Pre-K. She had finished early intervention (birth to three in this state) and she loved Pre-School. Her first year, she didn’t talk and had to be carried. By the end of the year, she was walking holding the teacher’s hand and starting to say words. By four, she was walking on her own, by five she was walking and doing more talking. She started Kindergarten and entered a special class with an IEP. She had a tablet device to help her communicate. Now at seven, they’re putting her in second grade. She’s able to jump about an inch off the ground, walk up and down stairs, run slowly and speak in sentences (short sentences), her hole have fully closed up and she has a normal heart now. She still can’t write but she can read and is starting to be able to do basic math, she understands more than she’s able to communicate back to us.

So, what is 1P36 Deletion Syndrome?

              The first chromosome is the largest chromosome. It may be the most important to development. It is separated into two parts (1P and 1Q) 1P is the shorter arm and 1Q is the longer arm. The whole chromosome contains about 249 million DNA base pairs. 1P36 Deletion syndrome is when a part of DNA is deleted from the 1P arm at the 36 base. My daughter’s particular is 1P36.12-1P36.22. Different areas cause different symptoms but the syndrome has some common symptoms-

1. Low muscle tone (hypotonia)

2. Seizures

3. Growth and feeding issues

4. Developmental delays

5. Birth defects like cleft lip, pallet, heart defects or brain defects

6. Cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart)

7. Hearing loss

8. Vision problems

9. Thyroid problems (mainly hypo but this condition seems to put them at higher risk)

10. Behavior problems (self harm, throwing objects, hitting, melt downs, screaming etc)

              Those are the more common problems. There are some that are more rare- early puberty, undecended testes in boys at birth, scoliosis, neuroblastoma (extremely rare)

              Some of the other random common yet uncommon symptoms include shaking while excited and biting on their hands. My daughter has chew marks all over her hands, we try giving her chewies to use instead but she still has litte blisters. I thought it was anxiety for a long time, but learned it’s a symptom of the 1P36 Deletion Syndrome.

How common is 1P36 Deletion Syndrome and how does it happen?

It’s rare, but one of the more common genetic disorders. It affects 1 in 5-10,000. It’s not completely known how many since there are a lot of kids who go undiagnosed.

It can be passed down but it’s more common to be a random occurrence with no family history.

When it is genetic, the parents usually have what is called a balanced translocation. A balanced translocation is when part of the gene didn’t attach in the proper location and connected to a different gene. Since the gene is there, the carrier shows no symptoms and doesn’t have the syndrome- but they have a 50% chance of any offspring inheriting the deletion.

What’s the prognosis?

              Most children with 1P live into adulthood and with symptoms controlled, can live average lifespans. Some of the complications can take their lives early, but the prognosis isn’t bad. Our geneticist told us our daughter has a 50/50 chance of needing a care taker or living a normal life. There isn’t enough known yet as to the full severity.

              Our case isn’t as extreme as some of the cases I have run across in the forums and support groups I have joined, but it’s not the least extreme. She speaks in basic sentences and her speech seems to improve as her (normal developing) two year old sister’s does. She is fully potty trained, including at night but she has trouble tolerating loud noises and while her gross motor skills are improving, her fine motor still need to catch up. We lucked out and the majority of her problems seem to be physical,(not mental) she developed no brain bleeds or defects and doesn’t have seizures. She did have the heart defects, but they were easily fixable and she speaks more than a few words now. No two cases of any disorder will be the same. There are online support websites available, a yearly conference that is held in late July or early August. The conference for 2018 is from July 26-28 in Houston, Texas.

              The major website is http://www.1p36dsa.org. They have resources, information about the disorder, information for families a store and opportunities to get involved in spreading awareness or just making donations. They are a nonprofit dedicated to education and awareness.

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Only the end of September and I’m starting to plan for November 1st

This is my 6th year doing Nano and I’m planning on it being my second win. My first was my first year.

My first year was a breeze, my oldest was 1 1/2, I stayed at home and had nothing else taking time. Now I have 2 kids, a job, freelance work and an Etsy. I’ve been working on schedule issues to work on everything (mainly at night after the kids are in bed and I’m home from work) and I can easily take a notebook to work and work on that during my hour long lunch break.

I already know I’m working on parts 2-4 (or higher) of a short story series I started back in 2014 (accidentally- the story ended at 11 pages and I decided to make it into a total of 7 worlds in the fantasy series.)

Book 1 is fully finished, I’m just working on editing it. Next month I’ll be going through and finalizing what worlds he will be entering and mapping things out.

I’m also planning several different Christmas decoration designs for my Etsy and I’m in the full swing of the Halloween season.

 

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This has been both a great and stressful week

My daughter started second grade last week(I still can’t believe she’s already in SECOND grade- when did that happen??). While getting in the routine, I was a stereotype of the stressed out/hot mess of a mom I always tried to not be.

Day 1- we got to school on time, drop off went smooth then my 2 year old and I went home for a bit then back out to Starbucks to celebrate. As we were leaving, a woman pointed out that her shoes were on backwards.

Day 2- I overslept and my husband got to work late because he dropped her off (so we could take less time getting both girls ready)

Day 3- I backed into a pole and damaged my bumper as I was pulling out of the parking lot at her school

But that day, I got accepted to a website to write and signed the freelance contract.

So that day was both good and bad.

Days 4 and 5, I had to work but they both went smooth in all ways possible.

 

This week is starting off weird but decent. I had a severe arthritis flare up yesterday and barely made it through the day, but I got all my orders shipped and managed to make it through the day without my car. Today I’m off and am taking advantage of the time to catch up on writing- both updating here and the second job. Once I get into a full routine and used to the schedule (and get my car back) I’ll have everything down.

I know it’ll be looking up soon.

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When my seven year old came home from the NICU

She was 8 months old, development of a newborn and was still tiny. She was on oxygen, feeding tube and heart monitor.

I tried taking her out of the crib a few times but we had to switch at first from the major oxygen machine (plugged in to the wall) and switch to a small portable tank- that only lasted a few hours. There were a few times the cannula came out and she turned blue so fast it had us terrified. There was also a time we had an emergency situation and had to take her to the hospital- and all the tanks that were newly delivered to us read empty, except one that had one hour left. Luckily, they were able to switch her to a tank when she went into the room in the ER and kept her on it when they admitted her to the PICU (she got a cold and her lungs were too weak to handle it.)

For months, we were so afraid of her blue spells or something happening to her oxygen, we kept her in the crib for most of the day. I finally figured out where to put her big tank in the upstairs hallway that would allow the tube to stretch downstairs and to her bed- as soon as we figured that out, she was only in the crib when she was sleeping.

To this day, she has some strange attachment issues and I feel like her long stay in the NICU followed by our paranoia has something to do with it. I still feel somewhat guilty.

I’ve been thinking back to her babyhood. Aside from the oxygen, she and her sister looked almost identical- to the point my older daughter has gotten their baby pictures mixed up a few times. I still wonder if I had gotten her out of her crib more, would she still be so far behind? She’s playing catch up a lot more now since she has a very talkative sister. Her sister talking is improving her speech (she said the sentence “mommy has to go to work tomorrow” earlier today and she usually says shorter sentences- every sentence she says that has more than 2 or 3 words feels like progress since the condition she has typically comes with only being able to say 1 or 2 words period). She has the genetic disorder on top of being preemie, so I doubt that us keeping her in the crib for the first few weeks(if we weren’t cuddling her in the bedroom) had any affect on her.

I also remember the string of home health care nurses that came and went the first few months and the help my mom gave us because we were 20 and 22 and having a special needs child was overwhelming.

I remember her first cold- the night that landed her in the PICU and the first time she ended up with impacted bowels (she’s now on Miralax and has been hospitalized another time and had to be flushed 2 other times in the ER)

I remember struggling in the NICU to pump, the nicknames they gave me (they called me Bessie because at one point I had the deep freezer, 2 normal sized freezers, their fridge space and my fridge space filled totally to overflowing with pumped milk). I remember the frusteration near the end at pumping- getting a grand total of 2ozs over 30 minutes- then spilling it. I remember the day I finished pumping and dried up, the nurse went out and bought me an energy drink to “celebrate” having my body back.

I remember the nights going to bed alone after chatting with my husband online because I was staying in a Ronald McDonald House out of state while he was home working.

I remember meeting parents who would come in for a few weeks, then leave when their babies got released and it felt like our time would never come.

I remember the day- December 1, 2011- the day we strapped our daughter in her car seat and drove the 3 hours to finally take her home for the first time.

I remember cuddling with her when we finally got her oxygen cannula taken and could see her beautiful face

Now, she’s healthy but still has to see quite a few specialists. She’s reading on her own- even will grab cereal boxes and read those. She loves shopping, shopkins, pink and pretty much all things girly- just like her little sister. When I buy stuff for them- I get the pink for her sister and purple or blue for her. She has different favorite colors on a regular basis and she loves Pete the Cat books, she won a giant Maisey Mouse from a library program/contest last year and the giant mouse is sitting in her bedroom at grandma and grandpa’s house.

 

Her birth and early life has given me a totally different perspective on raising kids and motherhood in general. She and I both almost died, so even when I’m mad or annoyed- when she is screaming or throwing a fit or in my face not letting me breathe on my own, I still am beyond thankful I have her in my life- that her condition has no actual affect on her lifespan and she’ll likely live the same amount of time a healthy person would.

When she was 15 months, off all the tubes and getting more and mroe stable, we decided to finish our family (only wanted two). I got pregnant fast but sadly, she had a different condition and it took her life at 3 hours. We gave up and decided she would be an only child. She started school and I stayed home for another year- then we decided that if I found a job, we were done and there would be no more kids. If I got pregnant, I’d continue staying home for a few more years. They happened almost at exactly the same time. I finally got my first job after staying home for four years and I got pregnant- found out about 2 weeks into the new job. This one was a happy, healthy baby- and our last. After she was born, I had my tubes tied.

I’ve been through it all- loss, complications and healthy and I am so grateful to have both my living girls in my life.

 

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“Mommy likes coffee”

“Mommy likes coffee, Michelle likes coffee”

“You sneezed, mommy”

“I didn’t sneeze, mommy”

 

I love watching and listening to my daughter. She amazes me daily with some of the things she says. Our seven year old is growing her vocabulary as well- she’s starting to speak in small sentences and says anything. Learning (teaching herself) how to read has been a huge plus- now she reads and she’s getting faster and faster.

The two year old also has a great imagination- which is growing the seven year old’s as well. They play pretend and Diana takes on the characters Michelle gives her. lol

They’re always Annie and Quincy from Baby Einsteins.

My two year old also says some of the funniest things and (bad thing) seems to know no stranger. We’re working on that one..

What are some of your kids’ most used or funniest phrases? My daughter will announce to people that mommy likes coffee (guess that’s my fault for drinking it all the time)

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I can’t believe the difference a year makes

We just got home from the beach yesterday. We went last year during the same week.

I found our old beach pictures from last year and was amazed by how different the two year old looks.She looks so much older now, is now the size of a 3 year old and is talking, running, jumping and was so much more active. She was even trying to teach herself how to swim in the baby pool (partially dragging herself and partially starting to dog paddle- following the lead of some of the other kids she was watching and playing with)

It had me thinking about last year (she was 1 1/2 and now she’s 2 1/2) and also wonerding what the next year will bring us.

Now, she still loves bubbles, she loves nail polish, hats, headbands, necklaces, bracelets and rings. She loves lollipops, Ciao brand vegan cheese, apple juice and soy vanilla yogurt. (or as she calls it, “ice cream.”)

Back then she ate everything but had chronic diarrhea but now we know she can’t have animal milk or animal milk products (including goats milk or cheese) so we have to give her vegan butter, sour cream, cream cheese, cheese and ice cream)

Back then she would eat nearly anything and had a very healthy appetite, but now she only snacks and eats cheese, fruits and some vegetables- she’ll eat sandwiches occasionally and loves apple juice.

 

My 7 year old is fully potty trained, but has been since she was 5. (she was potty trained during the day at 4 but still in overnight pull ups- now she’s almost fully accident free), she’s talking a lot more, starting to be able to jump off the ground and can do stairs and stoops/curbs alone. Her speech is improving and she’s now going into her bedroom to play. She still melts down with loud noises and has ear tubes again but she’s getting a tiny bit better with some noise. She’s the one in the family who can eat whatever she wants but still eats like a bird. We did finally get her stably up to 38lbs but next year her sister still is probably going to pass her up weight wise.

She has also come so far this year, but she looks about the same. She’s not at an age where looks drastically change. With the two year old, she moved out of being a baby to being a toddler and you can see it plain as day.