Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sckoon Cup = Love, Love, Love (A post about how you can come to enjoy your period)

The title probably has your eyebrows raised, (and if you are a male, I suggest leaving now before I mentally scar you for life) how can one enjoy your period? Am I insane? Probably. But if you hear me out and give a menstrual cup a try.. you will be proud to call yourself insane.  I promise.

So what is a Sckoon cup you may ask? A sckoon cup is a menstrual cup, made of medical grade silicone. Next question you are probably asking is what the heck is a menstrual cup? A menstrual cup is a cup (usually made of silicone, but you can get some of latex/rubber..but why? Just why?) that collects your blood flow, rather than absorbing it. Why is this better than pads or tampons? A multitude of reasons!

Pads vs. A Menstrual Cup:
1. You have to buy them every single month (and for some women, one package isn’t enough) and at anywhere from $4-7 a package, multiply that by 12 and see whatcha get. Ouch.

2. Pads gave me rashes. Didn’t matter which brand, I broke out into a horrid rash.

3. You sit in your own blood with a pad. Eww. Nasty.

4. Pads smell, because your bloodflow comes in contact with the air.

5. Noisy packaging that is in no way, shape, or form “discreet”. So everyone and their mother and brother know you are on your period.

Tampons vs. A Menstrual Cup:
1. Tampons may allow you freedom from rashes and smell, but can cause more cramps

2. Risk of TSS (toxic shock syndrome)

3. Rayon fibers left behind in your hoo hah.

4. Absorbs everything. Including your own natural lubrication, which can leave you feeling itchy and more suspectible to infections. (didn’t know that previously? Yeah manufacturers don’t advertise that on tv!)

5. No more wandering string! Ladies, you know exactly what I’m talking about. That damn string wanders. When I had to start fishing it in my behind, I was done. Not to mention it getting wrapped up in my lady bits made my lady bits unhappy! (I’m super sensitive..)

6. Noisy packaging, plus waste from the applicators.

7. Risk of ruining your septic system.

8. You may need different sizes during your cycle, which means different boxes.. which means more money spent to end up, literally in the trash or down the drain.

So the Pros to a menstrual cup:
1. No noisy packaging. Most menstrual cups come in a silent pouch made of cloth (and sckoons is organic. Win Win!)
2. Sckoon cup is made out of medical grade silicone, which has no absorption to it, so your natural lubrication is left right where it belongs. It’s also FDA approved.
3. No smells to alert the world you are on your period, no pad lines, and no need to sit in your own blood. *gag*
4. No wandering string!
5. Its reusable! So, within 6 months (at say $6 for a box of tampons) the cup has already paid for itself, and you no longer have to worry about “do I have enough tampons to last me through today?” “do I have enough pads to make it through my vacation without buying more?” Yeah.. that question no longer exsists! You have your cup, your pouch and you are good to go! Talk about….
6. Space Savers! No more huge bulky boxes and packages under the sink!
7. No more embarrassing “Oh no, did my so and so see my tampons in there?” panic moment.
8. You are going Green with a menstrual cup.
9. Menstrual cups last for years. Again “MONEY SAVER”.
10. Menstrual cups are comfortable and do not cause cramps. In some cases, they have helped relieve cramps and shorten periods because your flow is allowed to “flow”. Its not being absorbed and you aren’t dealing with chemicals in pads or tampons, which can attribute to cramps as well.

So, whats the cons to a menstrual cup, you may ask? The cons would be short. Its hard to find a fault with a menstrual cup that can’t be overcome.
1. Some women experience a learning curve and have leakage the first couple of months. Don’t give up!
2. The “EWW” factor. Yes, a cup collects your blood, so you have to empty the cup.This also is a learning curve and disappears over time. (If I could..you can!)
3. You do have to know your anatomy a little bit ;)

I hate blood, I hate the sight of blood..any blood. I get woozy and lightheaded. I was really hestitant to try a menstrual cup because of how it collects the blood and then you have to dump the contents down the toilet, and rinse it out. The thought of that (what I call the “eww factor”) deterred me for awhile. After I had Layla, I had a Mirena IUD placed at my 6 week checkup. I ended up bleeding for the next 8 months (along with constant infections) before I finally just called my doctor and told them what was going on and that I couldn’t take it anymore. But during that 8 months, I was constantly plugged up with a tampon and I was always irritated because of it. I couldn’t wear pads or pantyliners because they made me break out into a huge rash. Cloth pads were an option, except my whole blood phobia and I hate the idea of sitting in my own mess. Eww. So, I stumbled upon menstrual cups. I found a free sample of “Instead Softcups”, and tried them. There is a learning curve to them as well, but I was determined to make it work. I had no more irritation and no wandering string. Awesome! I used those for about 6 months as I found out I had an abnormal pap, that went from normal to CIN3 (which is considered stage 0 cervical cancer) in a matter of months, caused by none other than that damn Mirena IUD. I had a leep procedure done in December, and then I began researching which menstrual cup I wanted. I did a lot of research and narrowed it down to two. The ladycup and Sckoon cup. I ended up choosing the Sckoon cup because 1. They are made in the USA. (Keepin it patriotic here), 2. It is smooth..no ridges, rims or other random parts to irritate my already super sensitive lady parts. 3. Medical grade, FDA approved, silicone. (I’m allergic to latex). 4. They deal with mostly organic stuff. 5. Its listed as the “softest” cup available.

In March, I finally took the plunge and bought my Sckoon Cup (Ecopak!). I was in love. I did have some issues when I did a dry run, which were I had trouble telling if it had opened up completely while inside me. However, I had to be doing it right because when good old Aunt Flo showed up, I experienced not a single leak.  It was super comfortable, and by my second month of using it, I feel like a pro. I shudder to think how often I used disposables, when these were so easy and I was helping the planet by not creating so much waste (or clogging septic systems ;) ) I am going to purchase a size 1 here soon, because I do feel the size 2 is a little too big for me, as I have a super light period thanks to Lo loestrin fe and I guess my lady parts are a little smaller. I asked Sckoon cup, via their Instagram page, if this would be advisable, or if I should just stick with the size 2. Their response was that if I was “fit”, I could probably get away with a size 1, especially if I had a light flow. I will do an update of the size 1 when the time comes (within the next month or so). My cramps I haven’t noticed that big of a difference in, as they aren’t too bad after having Layla (previous endometriosis sufferer) and being on BCP.

How long can you wear your cup? You can wear your menstrual cup for up to 12 hours! Yes ladies, 12 hours! Imagine being able to leave your house in the morning, and not having to worry about your period all day long! Can we say “confidence booster”?! However, if you are on your first day or so and you have a heavy flow, you may need to empty yours sooner than 12 hours. It will take you a few cycles using your cup to learn when you need to empty it and how long it takes you to fill it. Its also going to take a few cycles to learn to get used to and how to use your cup properly so you don’t have leaks anyway. Don’t get discouraged if you do experience leaks. It takes 2-3 cycles to perfect the ‘art’ of using a cup. I feel like using the instead softcups for those few months prior to making the switch to Sckoon Cup really helped me get a feel (literally! Lol) for where my cup should go, and that’s why I didn’t have any leak issues with my cup. It was a little weird for me at first to sit and have to push things inside me and reach inside me to pull it out. With a tampon, you just push it in. With a softcup, you have to push it down and back (almost like you are pushing it to your bottom instead of up inside you..) . I used this method when I got my Sckooncup and this really seemed to help me with insertion as well. Inserting your Sckoon cup should not hurt! I repeat, it should NOT hurt. If it is hurting, you need to stop, reread your directions, and perhaps get you some water based lube or some cold water, begin breathing and try again. For lube, I use Luvena prebiotic. It’s a prebiotic water based lube (glycerin free) that my doctor recommended when I was having all my issues when I had the IUD in. For insertion you fold your Sckoon cup in one method that is recommended with your instructions, I found the first two recommended folds to be the best. I usually use the C-fold method, but the punchdown fold works just as well for me. Once you find the "fold" that works for you, you then can use your water or your water based lubricant (Luvena, in my case), and push down and back. I know the "down and back" seems to make no sense, like you are pushing it towards your rear end, but this is actually the correct way! You'll get used to it. Whatever you do, do not push it up like you would a tampon. I had mine pop open part way and somehow hit my external lady bits and yeah.. NOT fun! It does make for a good giggle now though. I've found the down and back method has left me with no questions of "is it in right?" and definitely left me leak free.

Pictures online make menstrual cups seem huge! This intimidated me so much when I began to research cups. I thought "how is that HUGE thing supposed to fit in here?!" However, when I ordered my size 2 sckoon and it arrived, I was shocked at how TINY it was! I thought they shipped me a size 1 by mistake!! My size 2 sckoon cup (without measuring the stem) is not even as long as my thumb..which is all of 3 inches. Ladies, please, our men are longer than 2 1/2 inches, so don't let pictures fool you!! I tried to take some to show its actual size, but I couldn't get it to look any less bigger on camera either. So please, don't let the pictures intimidate you and influence your decision! Sckoon cups are also the smallest out of each menstrual cup brand. *thumbs up*

To clean your cup, you simply boil it for 5 minutes or clean it with a menstrual cup wash. Sckoon does not make a wash of their own yet, but both Divacup and Lunette cups webpages do. You could also wash with some soap you have at home, but go for unscented. Scented items going into your hoo hah are never a good idea.

All in all, I would not trade my Sckoon Cup in for the world! I am so happy I purchased my cup, and that I made the switch to a reusable menstrual product that wont hurt me, leave fibers or chemicals inside me, and has health benefits for me and the envoirnment! I tell everyone who will listen about it! One small change can help in big ways, and I hope that I’ve helped some of you ladies make a small change. I wasn’t given a free cup to review, I purchased the cup and am writing the review because I believe in putting the word out there for great products and helping women empower themselves and make informed decisions when it comes to researching menstrual cups. I believe in the product so much, I signed up to become a Sckoon Cup Green Ambassador! THAT’S how impressed I am with the company  The only other company I’ve done reviews for (again, I bought and paid for these products, fell in love, and wrote a review about it) was ErgoBaby.

If you have any questions about Sckoon cups or anything else in general about this post, feel free to leave a comment.
If by chance, you have decided to purchase a Sckoon Cup, go to their website at www.sckooncup.com and please feel free to use my associate code (being a green ambassador benefit) to save yourself 10% off your order: My code is WUEZOB .

And please, tell a friend! Lets help get Sckoon cups mainstream!! 

Sizes: Size 1: under 25 and have not given birth
Size 2: 25 or older or have given birth.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Southern to the Core...in some ways!

So when a lot of people think of Florida, they think of suntan lotion, bikinis, Miami, Daytona, Orlando, beaches...etc. A Southerner would see Florida as "BOILED PEANUT STANDS!" So, because I made my first batch of boiled peanuts on Wednesday, I decided I would post a recipe..because they were dang sure good! I LOVE Garlic! So I made Garlic boiled peanuts.

Here's what you will need:
1 lb of uncooked shell peanuts
3/4 cup (more or less, depending on your saltiness taste, I usually play it by ear, this is just a guess)
3-4 Garlic cloves
Water enough to fill up crock pot
then half a quart size pot for final boil
So, I first let my peanuts cook on high in my crock pot overnight, from about 7pm til 4am when DH got up and turned it off. I added 2 garlic cloves at 11pm and let the taste get into the water (mince these two cloves!). I also added some salt at this point, but not a lot, because the peanut shells were still pretty hard, they don't absorb much flavors at this point. Then the next morning I smashed the two remaining cloves and broke them in halves, transferred the peanuts to a big pot and added some more water and salt, boiled for about 2 hours, and PERFECTION! The garlic and salt were able to soak through the shells by morning, adding a wonderfully delicious taste. Yum.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Avoiding the Same old, same old... 5 years!!

There comes a time in life when you realize you have settled into a routine. You do pretty much the same thing, every single day. For example, Chris wakes up and gets ready for work at 5:40, I try to wake up to sit with him while he has his morning coffee and snuggles with me before leaving at 6:15, then Layla and I wake up every morning at 7:30 (with a little variance here and there to such a time as 7:31 or 7:32), we have our morning BF'ing session, then she eats Mum Mums and Aunt Kim comes over before she heads to Hibbetts. The rest of our day is spent exploring, eating, napping then mom rushing around trying to clean, study, and do homework while she is napping, and then we watch some tv together, and when it cools down outside, I take Layla outside for a walk with her puppy walker, and play time in the grass. Chris returns home about 6:15pm, and Layla has dinner, bath, and bed by 8pm. Chris and I are not far along behind her at about 9.
We got together 5 years ago today. We actually had met several weeks beforehand, and Chris spent two weeks trying to get me to give him the time of day. I loved his son, but Chris? He drove me nuts, what man walks up to you and says "hey, can I cook you dinner one night?" and acted like it is nothing. What man walks up and gives you his number and says "you can call me tonight, if you get bored?" who asks if you will help them pick out a dog for their kid? He would come back in after signing JD out, just to come in and talk to me. He was persistant, cocky, and soooooo hot. I didn't want to talk to him or give him the time of day because I didn't want to like him. It was really undeniable though that he was everything I looked for in a man physically..and mentally. However, I've always had terrible luck with men, so why should I even bother trying to keep up and give them any chances? Besides that, I was dating someone else at the time, who was in the Army and nearly double my age, and I was happy with that relationship. However, he knew I wouldn't cheat on him, but he knew I was young and could use more experience around men, so he encouraged me to accept Chris' offer of dinner. I refused. I never called him, I never text him. When he would mention that his "phone never rang", I'd cooly reply "I didn't get bored". He still didn't give up. My coworkers all liked Chris immediately, he was young and good looking, and he was stable (something Rick wasn't). They both tried to convince me to accept his offer for dinner saying "Hey, you never know, you may have fun and like him, you never know unless you give it a try" (Kim, I am holding you to this! coughcoughbrockolicoughcough).. finally one Friday afternoon, I realized that JD wasn't there, and we had already had a bond, so I decided to text Chris to see where my "son" was (I had a group of kids who I called my kids). He was like "Who is this?" and I was like "Miss Brie!" a few minutes later he text back and was like "OH the hot teacher!" .. I had to stop reading the text and recompose myself because I started laughing so hard.. who says that to someones face? OMG where is this guy from freaking mars? finally I read on "JD is going to his friends house tonight, I get off at noon on Fridays so I picked him up. " I replied back "oh ok, I was just wondering, Hes a great kid, i'll miss him on Fridays". No sooner than I hit send, another text "How about dinner tonight then?" Persistant little bugger... geez. I sighed and looked at Kim and Patti and my grandma and told them that he asked me out to dinner...again. "HE LIKES YOUUUU!" "GO!" "HAVE FUN! YOU DESERVE IT!" Even Rick text "Go, have fun.. I have missions this weekend and wont be available to talk. I trust you, I love you". Little did I know, but would soon find out, Rick's "missions" involved sleeping around with another woman on a regular basis, and I don't share well, so our relationship would be over in a matter of days after that text. (ps to all you cheating morons who send pictures of you and "female friends" ... you can right click and hit properties which tells you the date and time pictures were taken. Im no fool.) So, I text Chris back "sure, dinner sounds good. I don't get off til 6:30 though and I'll need a shower and all" He text back "how about 8? That enough time for you to get pretty? I'll pick you up.. I'll need directions though" "k sounds good. talk to you when I get off." Everyone was beaming but me.. lol. At about 8:15, Chris finally rolls into my yard.. he missed a turn and was halfway to sopchoppy before he realized he was probably going the wrong direction. He allowed me to drive when he got there, which was amazing. He also reached over and pushed play on his CD player, which started blaring Gary allan music.. I flipped out and asked him who told him. He looked confused, and was like "told me what?" "That Gary Allan is my favorite singer, ever!" "Oh.. he's mine too! no one told me that, I swear". GREAT. Just what I need, someone to compete with me over my gary allan favoriteness. lol. We talked about our birthdays and discovered our birthdays were one day apart, split up by 9 years difference. He told me he had a lot of things to tell me about himself and his past one day, I told him no worries, I had a past that I refused to tell him about because I didn't want or need anyone's pity anymore. I just said its "effed up" and leave it at that. He took me back to his apartment, which raised my guard a bit, because I thought we'd be going to dinner somewhere in PUBLIC, aka neutral ground. He said he had rented a movie, had some drinks, and got a pizza.. (some dinner! lol) He apologized because it was so impromptu that he didn't have time to prepare or it would have been better. I was fine with that although I can't eat pizza sauce, like ever, without getting a killer heartburn acid reflux type reaction, so I refused to eat but had plenty to drink. We watched our movie and talked, I fell asleep for a little while, he kept trying to kiss me and cuddle me and I kept pushing him away. He even tried to undress himself!! He asked me if i'd consider moving in, and that we should try to have a baby together, because we'd "make a beautiful baby". I was pissed! The alcohol had kicked in though and I decided to show him how to "get down"...which I completely made a fool out of myself. As I started to go downhill from alcohol, he asked me to come inside so he could get me a jacket because it was cool outside. He tried to get "fresh" with me again, so I then told him to take me home, immediately. He looked hurt but did just that, as I cursed headlights and tried to dance on the stairs, finally as I got home I had sobered up some, I climbed out of his truck, and prepared to slam the door, when he was pleading with me to just "look at me" I refused because "you're just going to try to kiss me like they do in the movies or something", but I got out of the truck, then glared up at him, he was like "I just want to remember this, in case you never want to see me again". I closed the door, and muttered "got that right!" and stumbled into bed. The next morning my grandma asked me how my "date" went. I told her "terrible, I never want to see or speak to him again!" She got upset because she hated rick, so she was hoping I would have had fun so I'd leave Rick (which ended up happening because of his infidelity, discovered in the next day). a few mins later, I receive two texts from chris "Good morning, I keep thinking about you this morning, I miss you". OH HELL NO, NOW HES NEEDY and CLINGY? NO. I ignore that, and his call. Finally later on I text him about a bruise on my arm, he texts immediately "you hit your arm on the table when you were dancing"... Oh..my...goodness. "did I keep my clothes on?" "Yeah..unfortunately for me" "sicko" he calls me a few moments later, "Hey, would you consider going to the pound with me and JD tomorrow to look at dogs? Do you know their hours?" "Yeah, 1-6. Ok, I'll go, because I told JD I would." "ok good, he was asking if you would come with us, I wasn't sure..after last night. Look, Im really sorry.. I don't know what my problem was, and that's not an excuse. But I am not normally like that, Im really sorry." "I can live with that. What time do you want to go tomorrow?" "How about I pick you up at 1?" "sure." "Ok, see you then, bye."
The next day, 09/28/2008, Chris and JD showed up right at 1pm, JD was in love with the 7 dogs at my house, and super excited that I was going with them. I kissed Kasey goodbye, introduced Chris to my grandfather, who was providing a healthy amount of stank eye in his direction, and we left. We walked around the shelter, looking for that "right dog". JD and I fell in love with a big pit bull dog, and I walked around to find Chris bent in front of a kennel, on his knees, "We found a dog we like", I say as I bend down to let a puppy lick my finger and steady myself on his shoulder, "I like this little guy right here..." I look over to see a little brindle puppy, who's head is small but his body is huge. He's adorable. JD thinks so too, so I let the workers know we would like to see this one, as we are escorted outside to play with him. The moment I saw Chris snuggling this little puppy, my heart melted. He's not a bad guy at all. He adopted that puppy that day.. and 5 years later, Turk is still asleep at my feet. As we neared the apartment, Turk got carsick all over me, and the truck, I still go into fits of giggles over the scene as it was happening "HOLD HIM OUTSIDE THE WINDOW!!!" "WHAT? NO!" That evening, I told Chris I'd bring him a kennel and etc so he didn't have to go to Tallahassee to buy everything right away, we could go next weekend. As I come back, JD is overjoyed to see me, and Turk curls up in my lap. Chris was like "see..he knows already who his mom is.." After JD goes to bed, Chris and I sit on the floor with Turk. He looks so handsome lying there.. I can remember it so well. We looked at one another for a few minutes, then we just kissed once. His kiss did something electric to my body, and you could tell it did the same thing to him. We agreed we wanted to be friends for awhile, and if we felt like things were good, we wanted to eventually go into a relationship later on. We wanted to do things right for JD, and for us. From that point on, we were all inseperable. We never kissed or hugged in front of JD, and I spent nearly every evening after work with them (mostly at JD's request). As time went on, we realized we were crazy about one another.. 11 1/2 months after we met, we were sitting together, and all of a sudden he leans into my ear and whispers " I love you". I knew in an instant that he meant it, with every fiber of his being. I couldn't breathe, I got all teary eyed, as I told him I loved him too. I was crazy in love with this man, although it was a different feeling of love than I'd ever felt. I felt like he healed me, he completed me, he fixed the broken parts, and disreguarded the messed up parts, and he made me feel at peace. Safe. Protected. It was the most contented feeling. whenever I saw him, my heart skipped beats and instantly my day was better. Here we are 5 years later, I still feel the same way about Chris. He walks into the house or room and instantly, I still feel all happy giddy, but yet I feel complete. Its not that crazy story book romantic story type feelings you see in movies. But that's the difference between what we read and see on tv, those are ficton, this is real. So, I guess some things never become the same old, same old. Even though our rountines may feel like the same old, same old, feelings and emotions do not become that way when they are something that is real. This man is my life, my heart, my soul. In the 5 years we've been together, he's blessed me with a daughter, my step son, a family (momma in particular!), and my college degree, hes blessed me with confidence, teaching me to speak up for myself, and to take a stand, and on June 2, 2012, he blessed me with his last name. He works so hard to make sure we have everything.He does drive me insane sometimes, and makes me mad to where I want to hit him with a frying pan, but of course, at the end of the day, all I can think about is how much I really do love him and that makes the silly reasons of being mad, seem so tiny. Our life isn't perfect, and I promised him long ago, that when he got with me, He'd never be bored because I always do something to keep things interesting... I have yet to fail in that respect. lol. But our life is perfect for us.. it has ups and downs. It has swigs and swags, zigs and zags.. but we wouldn't have it any other way. Hes never been one for a whole lot of words when it comes to emotional things, but the other evening, he really did leave me speechless. He told me I was the center of his world, his everything, and that he loved me more than anything in this world. Little does he know, he is all that to me..and so much more. Layla and I are blessed to call him "dada" and my husband. The same old same old after 5 years? Never. :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Whats My Superpower? I make Milk! A post on breastfeeding

Breastfeeding seems to be the most simplistic tasks that could possibly be given to a woman. Its programmed into our DNA..thats why we grow boobs, so when you're pregnant, you're thinking "it can't be that difficult to do!" so you don't give it too much thought. Wrong move! Breastfeeding is an art. Its a skill. A skill that requires mastering. When I gave birth to Layla, and they had the chance to finally get her to cry (it took a tube and suction to clear her lungs first), they finished halfway cleaning her and laid her onto my chest. She promptly lifted her head and looked around, as if she was 2 months old and not 2 minutes old. Amid her fan club of grandmothers, god mothers, and one super proud dada, she was able to put on the best show ever. She then decided it was time to find my boobs and find them fast. I rarely held babies, so I was terrified I'd drop her, or would hurt her, or something. anything. Then, she latched. OUCH. I was so tired, my adrenaline had way past kicked in and run out, so I was crashing. I could barely keep my eyes open, let alone "cradle" a baby and try to figure out how to breastfeed. The next two days in the hospital were increasingly frustrating. I couldn't go to sleep, I couldn't figure out how to properly get Layla to latch on, she was screaming constantly, and the nurses and lactation nurses only made me feel worse. Like I was expected to know how to do this immediately, then told me I wasn't doing it right and maybe I should just give her some formula by the time I was released. My boobs hurt. My nipples hurt. I was tired. I was sore. I was exhausted..I cried again hysterically for the second time since I had gave birth. I thought I would be a failure if I couldn't figure out how to put a baby to my nipple and feed her.. I guess now I knew why they called breastfeeding "an art". The nurse told me I would have to go rent a pump and pump to feed my girl. Freaked out, as soon as I was discharged from the hospital, we went to rent a pump. (Little did I know, my insurance covered pumps for FREE... and the nurse wouldn't tell me!) We got home and I began to pump, my boobs were killing me. My mother in law got me a glider for the nursery and my boppy pillow was waiting, with Chris' help and the boppy and the glider, I finally found my comfortable position for nursing and we no longer had any issues. Layla is 10 and a half months old and I can feed her, type a paper and talk on the phone all at once. Its so hard in those early days to see it as being "easy" one day..but it does happen eventually.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What was going on.. Post IUD update

So, I did have a culture done on 7/25. Results done from the culture showed absolutely nothing. No yeast, no BV, no nothing. My cooter was still on fire however, so that did not help me what so ever. Dr. M prescribed me some nystatin cream, thinking that would help, then told me that I needed to try applying aquaphor as sort of a barrier for my labia. ...so yes, in a sense, my gyno had me use chapstick on my vagina. She said breastfeeding can change things in our body, so maybe I had become allergic to something. She also prescribed me a birth control combination pill called Lo Loestrin FE (dosing = 1mg/10mcg) The nystatin did nothing but make me burn more. The aquaphur did nothing but make me burn more. I use hypoallergenic Tide Free and Clear and No dryer sheets. I got BV once from an allergic reaction to a new laundry soap so I learned this the hard way that I need to use hypoallergenic things in the "down there" regions. I went and bought some Summers Eve hypoallergenic body wash, in case my regular body was irritating me somehow. They called me back with my culture results and decided that they were going to send me to a dermatologist because she had absolutely no idea what was going on with me. So, I started researching because she said "breastfeeding can change things in the body, such as your vaginal ph" so I got to reasearching "breastfeeding causing vaginal problems" and the first thing that popped up was Atrophic Vaginitis (aka Vaginal Atrophy). Atrophic Vaginitis usually occurs in menopausal women and is caused by a decrease in estrogen. This condition also strikes..get ready for it.. BREASTFEEDING WOMEN! I had every single symptom. I mean every single one. I mean right down to the urinary pain and cramping and burning here and there when I peed. To feeling like I had to go..but yet my UTI test came back negative. Atrophic Vaginosis also causes you to burn, itch, and feel dry, sex hurts, can take longer to achieve orgasm, and can cause random cramping. The lack of estrogen can also cause an increase in dah dah dah Yeast infections as well. They said if you are breastfeeding and experiencing these but have no infections, this is probably what you are going through. I definitely was burning and itching. Sex had been uncomfortable for awhile, but we chalked it up to being the IUD and Chris was starting to think I wasn't attracted to him anymore because it was "taking me too long" to finish.. when in fact, I am more attracted to, and more in love with that man every single day.. I was just having some problems. I told him this, and he still felt hurt. So, I read the suggestions on the website links to see what they said may help. Their suggestions were applying a lube like astroglide to the outter regions, if that helped the burning..you probably had AV. I applied astroglide in a desperate attempt to hope that this is what was going on with me. My burning and itching subsided almost completely the entire weekend, I applied the lube 3-4 times a day. I would also soak in a sitz bath of Young Living Essential Oils Lavender. AMAZING feeling, and helps you distress ;) The next suggestion to help Atrophic Vaginitis was to have more regular sex. .... no comment here as this is a constant argument with hubby and I. lol. "How much is regular?" "Uh, not everyday brie..geez" "damn". lol I tried to tell Chris this, and until he heard it from the doc and saw it in writing, he'd never believe me. Finally, the article said if you had drying, soreness during exams (which mine were so painful!), burning externally along with itching (but again no infections), and were having the urinary symptoms, You had moderate/severe AV and needed an estrogen cream to help out. Armed with my findings, I contacted Dr. Mckinnie's office Monday and let them know what I read, what I did, and how well it helped. Doctor Mckinnie agreed that I have Lactational Vaginal Atrophy, due to low estrogen caused by breastfeeding, and has since given me the estrogen cream, Estrace. I will update when I pick it up and begin to try it out.These conditions I believe should be more widely talked about/warned to breastfeeding moms. I was going insane thinking I developed some uncurable condition due to the Mirena, which, the mirena may also have helped cause because it depletes estrogen as well. But I haven't had a return of a yeast infection since I had it removed and finished my treatment, so that alone made it worth it! Oh and no more constant bleeding ;) YAY! SIDE NOTE::I hadn't begun the birth control yet, because I noticed once Mirena was removed, My milk supply went up. I know she gave me a super low dose BCP but I had bad reactions to low dose BCP in the past with a lot of break through bleeding. I just spent the last 8 months bleeding every single day (actually 9, because I was still bleeding postpartum when I had the IUD inserted), I'd like to give my body a break. But anyway, I am super cautious about using this birth control for my milk supply reason as well. I am planning to breastfeed for another 2 months (layla turns one in 2 months and one week) so I think we can handle using protection, charting, and being super upper duper careful. I am not wanting anymore children, but I am definitely giving my body a break for awhile! Once I wean Layla in October, I am probably going to go back on Yaz..as I never really had any issues on that pill :) If for some reason I end up pregnant in the next two months, I swear, I'll have a heart attack. I have 3 semesters left of school..before I take a year off and return hopefully to get my pharmacy technician degree. I would transfer to that now..but no credits transfer and Im not loosing close to 40 credits for that!! No way! So if I do end up pregnant, we are definitely not trying..we are trying to prevent, and therefore, it would be Divine intervention. I'd need intervention if I saw a positive pregnancy test again.. lol. You have no idea! EDIT!!!! EDIT for UPDATE AFTER USING ESTRACE CREAM FOR LACTATIONAL VAGINAL ATROPHY So, My wonderful husband picked up my estrace cream for me on Thursday. It is a small tube, so I used 1 gram full (I don't think I needed the full 4 grams)..which equaled about 1/4 of the applicator. I inserted it and applied some externally and went to bed. The next day, I noticed my urinary symptoms were gone, and I didn't seem to be burning either. No itching. So I didn't use any Friday internally or externally. I also used some externally Saturday and we did the baby dance. I had no pain, no bleeding, no dryness. It felt great. I was of course worried about that though so I had some issues at first, but it was fine once I relaxed. I haven't noticed any effects on my milk supply either, or I would not be continuing usage. I thought at first it had a slight decrease, but that was Layla trying to use my boobs for a teething toy insead. I hope this helps anyone who has had the IUD and had similar issues, especially if you are breastfeeding and the symptoms continue after removal! Ask your doctor, it may not be a complete side effect of the IUD if you are breastfeeding still. For me, the constant anxious, up tight feeling I had with the IUD, the painful crampy feeling during sex, and then the constant spotting/bleeding, and yeast infections were enough for me to be glad I got it removed. The crampy feeling has stopped, the spotting stopped, and since treatment, I haven't had another infection at all since removal. So I do believe it had to do with the IUD, but breastfeeding exaggerated the atrophy as well. Remember, the IUD is a progestin releasing device, which can also deplete estrogen (especially while breastfeeding). You aren't crazy ladies.. anything is possible.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Birth control, post baby..and IUD horror story!

Before I write a post about Layla and I's breastfeeding journey, I am going to write about birth control for the breastfeeding woman. So if you are a man, or anyone I am related to and/or squeamish about birth control/sex, etc. Run now.. I repeat, run now! I personally was terrified of getting pregnant again after giving birth to Layla. I hate condoms. You have no idea. Its like having sex with a balloon over a penis. It makes it feel almost like the penis has no head. lmao. Ok. Anyway, so for a breastfeeding woman, your options at your postpartum appointment aren't that vast (unlike if you were bottle feeding, you could go back to a regular, hormonal combination pill). You pretty much can choose the norplant implant, mini pill, or IUD. The choice is yours. I was terrified of getting pregnant again, so I checked into IUD's, and was excited to see that my insurance covered insertion and cost 100%. Initally, I was going to go with the paraguard IUD, which is the copper IUD that has no hormones. It does tend to make you bleed heavy, but figured 10 years worth of birth control? Had to be worth it! Until Doctor Mckinnie put the kaposh on that. She said with my past medical history of severely painful, double you over cramp filled, heavy periods that the paraguard was a NO for me. She recommended the Mirena IUD...which offered short, light periods, to no periods after the first year, and lasted 5 years and had a less than 1% chance of failure rate. AWESOME! Sign me up! I also looked into the mini pill, but that is not effective if you don't take it at the exact same time every day. No thanks, I'd be pregnant again in a month. I was not ok with any shots, or implants into my arm that will leave scars eventually. I took the Mirena plunge at 6 weeks, 1 day postpartum. I was having irregular bleeding postpartum anyway, I'd stop for a day, and then flood for days during thanksgiving vacation. I got Mirena inserted, and bled for another 6 weeks. Great. I have a blood phobia, I hate blood from anyone and anything.. I don't care if its mine or not. My body still is squeamish about it. So bleeding for 12 weeks was torture. I stopped bleeding in time for my 6 week mirena insertion appointment. However, I had a yeast infection at that time. GREAT. So, Doctor Mckinnie gave me diflucan and said that should take care of it. She said spotting was common in the first 3 months of mirena too, so if I started spotting again, it should go away by the 3rd month. Well, 2 days after that appointment, I started bleeding again..for 2 months, stopped for a day, then got another yeast infection. Called in, got more pills, and then an internal cream. This cycle of bleeding, yeast infection, stop, bleed, spot, bleed, infection continued for months. I told myself after the 3 month mark, to give it to 6 months. At the six month mark of the Mirena insertion, I was still bleeding and spotting and constantly battling a yeast infection. I follow the rules of "no tight clothes, cotton underwear, probiotics, ...." blah blah blah crap to prevent them, but nothing worked. Finally, about 2 weeks ago, I had enough. I had this thing for 7 and a half months and had over 10 yeast infections and was constantly bleeding and spotting. I was sick of it. I have never had so many issues before and figured that the only things different with me were A. I had a baby...9 months ago! and b. the Mirena. I figured that having a baby couldn't be causing this, and the only other thing I was doing differently was the Mirena. I called my new insurance and asked if it was covered for removal, and it was, so I quickly made an appointment for removal. Upon calling my doctors office, they said I definitely needed it out and needed it out now! Fast forward to July 19, 2013. I went for my appointment, and removal was quick and easy and over with before I realized it. NO problem. I did feel it collapse as it was coming out but that was it. I had some cramping afterwords but nothing that couldn't stop me, I didn't have any bleeding either, I did have some spotting sunday but that was nothing compared to what I've been dealing with.. My doctor said I didn't have any funny yeasty looking discharge, and wasn't too irritated looking, but she did do a wet prep swab and came back and said "yep, you're right, yeast!" She prescribed me 6 pills of diflucan, one to be taken that day and then repeat one in 3 days. during those first three days, I was also to use a teraconzole cream internally for 3 days as well. then I would take another diflucan pill once a week for a month. She said that should clear it all up and I should be fine. I took my first diflucan pill Friday, as well as did all 3 evenings of teraconzole, and then sunday took my 3rd diflucan. Tuesday I was itching all over again, and burning as well. I called Wednesday morning and asked if I should give it a few more days or if I should be feeling better. They told me that I should be ok in a few days but if not, to call back and I'd have to go back in and get a culture to identify what is going on and whats causing this trouble. I woke up this morning worse today than I was yesterday. I called them at 8:30 this morning as soon as they opened. The nurse was surprised that I was worse today, but was concerned as well, so she offered me an appointment for about a hour and a half from then, but I couldn't make it. (Its hard to bring Layla anywhere without having made preparation for someone else to come help me out). So she called doctor mckinnie to see if they could do something earlier tomorrow morning, they were able to schedule me an 8:15 appointment, right before doctor has to go into surgery . The nurse said that now Pelvic inflammatory disease is a concern, she said that it could definitely affect fertility if its not caught early enough and she doesn't want to take that chance. I wanted to cry. I know I don't want anymore children, but I know chris does. Even though I don't, I don't want the possibility taken from me either. ALL of these problems because I thought a fucking IUD would be a great choice for birth control. I was freaking crazy! I thought it was my best option and perhaps it was. However, we just didn't get along. I guarantee you, if I have PID or any other complication, I am going to jump on board with the Mirena Lawsuit. I go tomorrow for my culture.. I'll update then.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Layla's Birth Story

Continuing from Pregnancy post. I was due on October 7th, 2012. Well, as what happens in many pregnancies, October 7th came and went. I was still pregnant at my "past due" appointment on October 10th. I was 2cm and 80% at that appointment, and was able to look at the call schedule and picked Sunday October 14th, 2012 for my induction date, as Doctor McKinnie was the OB on call that day. I hadn't had a Braxton hicks contraction in weeks, and hadn't had a real contraction ever. I was tired. Tired of being pregnant. Tired of everyone asking "are you ever going to have that baby?". I was tired of the skiddadled people freaking out when I said I was past due. I was ready to have this baby. I had I knew at that point that Layla's godmother, Jen, and Chris would be there for Layla's birth. I hoped that my mother in law would be there as well, but she said she was planning to come at the end of October. October 13th, My amazing mother in law showed up and was ready to be there for her grand daughters birth! I was so happy! It made me feel good, because my mom will probably never see Layla. We had dinner that evening and I prepared myself for "tomorrow is the day" all evening long. The doctors office called and said I was scheduled for a 4am call slot, which meant, starting at 4am, they could call whenever and tell me when to come in for my induction. Chris knowing that the next six weeks I wouldn't be able to have any sex, caved on his "no more sex til the baby comes" stance at about 10pm, and well...we did the deed. He immediately fell asleep after making sure I was ok at about 10:30. I tried to relax and go to sleep as well, but the fact that I had to pee every few minutes prevented me from being able to. I thought I was getting a UTI, and thought "ggggreeeeaaattt ...just what I need on delivery day!", but I noticed that the pee had an odd smell to it. I passed it off as maybe just being sex and all that joy of finishing up. (Sorry..TMI I know). Well, as Chris continued to saw down the redwood trees and logs with his snoring, I kept peeing. and peeing. and peeing. Finally about 12:50, I noticed that I had to pee AGAIN. I was tired of getting up, so I kinda did a kegel to see if I really had to pee, or if it was just an urge. A minute later, I felt a surge of wetness "down below". "Grrrrreeeaaatttt now I just peed on myself! LOVELY!" I ran to the bathroom to change underwear and shorts in aggrevation. As I reached the toilet and began to undress, a whole flood of fluid gushed out of me and all over the bathroom floor. It smelled weird, and I didn't know what just happened. "did I just pee on myself, for real?" I cleaned it up, peed, and went to grab my phone to call Jen to ask her if my water broke. No one told me what to expect when your water broke, so I was flying blind. It was like 12:53 am October 14th when I called her. She asked me what happened, and if it smelled. I told her yes, it smelled like medicinal and that it just gushed out as I was standing there. She said "YES! YOUR WATER BROKE!! " I was dumbfounded. "Do I need to wake up Chris, or do I have some time?" and shes like "oh no honey, you are in labor, go wake Chris up!! I'll be at the hospital as soon as I can and get a few hours rest."
I hung up the phone and waddled back into my bedroom to wake my sleeping snoring husband. Funny.. just 9 months ago, I was waking him up to tell him I was pregnant. "Babe, hey..I think my water just broke." "WHAT? Are you sure?!" "uh, no..but its either that or I really can't control my bladder anymore. Anythings possible at this point." "Do you want to go to the hospital?" "I think that's the best option..." "I think you just peed on yourself and they are going to send us home and they will make us come back a few hours later for the induction. This sucks. What's that smell?!" "whatever just came out of me" "Ok, well lets get showers and grab our stuff and go" Turk and Kasey were both sleeping, but Kasey flinched and groaned as the lights turned on. Turk, who had been "guardian" of me, followed my every move with anxious shaking. I headed to the bathroom to take a shower when another flood of fluid gushed onto the floor, and again as I got into the shower. GEEZ. How much fluid is in me?! I finished my shower, and threw on PJs and wrapped my hair into a bun and saw Chris had finished his shower and was packing. I sat down to wait as he mumbled about "picking a great time" and "im sure you just peed on yourself". I told him I had three more gushes of fluid come out as I was in the shower. That's when my first contraction hit. The painful, crampy, tightening deep within my stomach. "Ouuuuuuuucccccchhhhhhhh.. HURRY UP!". Chris went to do his hair, floss, brush his teeth, shave, and put shoes on.. by this time, I felt another "urge to go" and headed to our spare bathroom, when I had a huge bowel movement (tmi..again sorry..but this IS a labor story!) and noticed I lost what appeared to be a huge glob of something. I freaked out momentairliy until I realized it was my mucous plug. I was in labor. Another few contractions later, Chris was finally ready. I kissed Kasey goodbye. She didn't even move. Of course, she didn't move much now a days anyway.I told her I loved her and that someone would be by in the morning to feed her. I was going to miss her. Turk had been beside me every step I took, and was ready to follow us outside. We kissed him goodbye. Our living room reeked of amniotic fluid. My contractions were 3 minutes apart as we headed to the hospital at 2am, I thought I was going to die on the half hour ride on the way to the hospital. I worried about Chris, but he seemed to be awake enough, but he had only had about 3 hours of sleep. We got to the hospital at about 2:20, and as I checked in I said "I was scheduled for induction today, but I am pretty sure my water just broke", and I finally got into a room about 20-30 minutes later. By the time I was seen, my contractions were going off the chart, and I was having contractions ever 2 and a half minutes apart.
By 5:30, I was ready for the epidural when they offered it to me. I kept saying "fuuuuuuuccccckkkkk" everytime I got a contraction and everytime I said that, Chris lectured me on how that wasn't very lady like of me to be saying while I was in labor. I resisted the urge to take the computer monitor that was monitoring my contractions and throw it at his head. Then he kept telling me to "breathe". I had to remind him and the nurse that if I wasn't breathing, I wouldn't be alive, so SHUT UP! Lol Both of them.. if looks could kill, they would have dropped dead a thousand times over. The nurse left to check and see if a labor and delivery room was ready yet (as I had been waiting for 2 hours in a triage room ) and then came back to report that if I "wanted the epidural, theres a half hour wait". She offered to give me an IV with narcotics, which would take 20 minutes to kick in. I did the math contractions every 2 minutes now ..half hour wait...15 more contractions? I could wait. The dialation checks were GOSH AWFUL.. they hurt worse than any contraction I experienced!! She said I was 5cm
At 6am, I was moved to a labor and delivery room, I was 6cm dialated at this point, and contractions were 1 min 45 seconds apart to 2 minutes apart. I think if I could have married my anistesiologist at the moment he gave me my epidural, I probably would have. He said as soon as they turned it on it would take 20 minutes to kick in..however, I felt nothing else.
As he finished at about 6:30am, Jen walks into the room to give chris a break and let him go find something to eat, as he was getting low blood sugar shakes. Never have I been so happy to see a friend!! I felt so good from the epidural and lack of sleep, I was giddy. Chris swore I was high. She had me get ready to rest, and then made sure everything was quiet for awhile so I could rest. Apparently, I did fall asleep for awhile, because I woke up to a nurse coming in to tell me her name and that she would be taking care of me. It was only 8am. Doctor Mckinnie was now on call, but in an emergency C-section. They checked my dilation. Progress had slowed and I wasn't having many contractions since the epidural was started, so she said they may have to start Pitocin and left, and we didn't see her for a few hours. They came in to rotate me around 10ish, and the nurse returned and said I was between a 8cm-and 9cm.. and it shouldn't be much longer. She said to call them if I feel any pressure in my bottom, like I have to poop. I couldn't feel anything. My damn legs and asscheeks felt like a rubberized frog. My Mom in law arrived around about this time, and my grandfather said my grandma should be coming soon At about 11:15, Jen was asking how I felt besides having dragon breath and hungry as hell. She asked me if I felt anything. I said no, I just felt pressure on my leg/thigh/pelvic bone. It kinda hurt, but it felt like something was pushing and stretching on it. Jen, thank goodness, decided to go and have the nurse come check me anyway. Just in case. The nurse came in and wasn't even able to check me, Layla's head was right there!!! While another nurse held my legs and mom and Jen held the other ones, the main nurse got layla into position. However, I almost gave birth right then in there because Mom noticed that my foot happened to be on one of the nurses boobs! We all started cracking up laughing, and everytime I laughed, Layla's head emerged some, then retreated. The nurse then ordered me not to laugh and raced to go find doctor Mckinnie ASAP and she said whatever I did, DO NOT PUSH until they got back. At 11:35, Doctor Mckinnie entered with the nurse and did a quick check of things, before telling me it was time to push. At 11:53am, Layla Rose Hargrave was officially introduced into the big wide world at 7lbs 14oz, and 19inches long. Layla Rose! Mommy and Me! And so my journey into motherhood began.