Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

Oh, 2014. You’ve been good and you’ve been bad. As far as I’m concerned, you can go ahead and get on out of here…

Last year, I chose Intuition to be my word of the year. I’ve worked very hard to trust my intuition this year. It isn’t always easy, and sometimes it’s downright impossible, but when I’ve listened? It’s never led me astray.

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2014 was a busy year, and unfortunately I didn’t share a lot of what we did in posts. But here are some of my favorite moments from the year.

January: I cut off all my hair and the entire metro Atlanta area shut down from #snOMG14. Auburn went to the National Championship and lost, Henry won a trophy in the Pinewood Derby and Henry and I ran the Hot Chocolate 5k.

january2014

February: Henry was asked to be in the Austin Chorus that would perform at the local high school. It snowed again. This time, like 6″. We had an amazing time playing in it for days and drinking iced snoffee! I started and completed the hardest weekend of my life, running 19.3 miles over the course of two days. It was stupid and amazing!

february2014

March: March was super busy with Listen To Your Mother stuff. We held auditions and planned, plotted, and schemed. I spent a full week traveling the Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi area with my boss and coworker. I got to ride in the backseat of the truck the whole week and needed serious pain meds when it was all over!

march2014

April: In April, my dad tried to catch himself on fire by blowing up his lawnmower. He’s fine… now we just laugh. Henry spent several days camping with his grandmother and her friend at Stone Mountain. The girls I grew up with from the time we were born all spent a day together. We always have such a great time! Listen To Your Mother: Atlanta happened. It was magical!

april2014

May: May saw the end of third grade for Henry. Mom 2.0 was in Atlanta and I was fortunate to have been asked to be on the social media team. It was an amazing conference and I just l.o.v.e being able to see my friends… especially in “my” city! We marked Charlie’s 11th birthday without pomp and circumstance.

may2014

June: In June, I left my job at the wholesale nursery to do social media management full (part) time. Jason and I took Henry to New Orleans for the 70th Anniversary of D Day. We spent the full day at the National WW2 Museum, which I highly recommend to anyone and everyone. On this trip, after probably 6 years of being friends online, I finally got to give Leah a big hug in person!!

june2014

July: July was busy. We moved into a new house where we have a small pond behind us. Henry and his friend had a lemonade stand. He also participated in the GIANT Dunwoody 4th of July parade and went to Camp Winnataska for the 3rd year. I posted my 700th blog post on this here site.

july2014

August: In August, Henry and his first girlfriend Daria were able to get together. Our families went bowling and they were absolutely mortified to have to take a picture together (though later, I saw them playing a game standing about 1cm apart). Henry started 4th grade and I landed myself in the ER with a crazy reaction to a sulfa drug. Fun times, y’all! I also shared a recipe for the Georgia Cash Crop Cobbler. It’s seriously delicious.

august2014

September: In September, Jason and I dressed up and went out. It was to a wedding where we knew only the bride, but it was out. And fancy. Henry’s hair got to epic lengths and he looked like a teenager in his school pictures. Type A Conference was in Atlanta and I spent a few nights down in Buckhead with dear dear friends, old and new.

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October: In October, I went to a few Auburn football games, hanging out with Kim and my #BelieveBitches crew! We went to the fair down in Perry, as usual, and celebrated Halloween with the Hollidays for the 5th year.

october2014

November: November marked Henry’s TENTH birthday. Double digits. He had a Game Truck birthday party, which was amazing! I highly recommend having someone bring a game truck to your driveway. You can drink while they play games and entertain your child! The Cub Scout Den went zip lining. What a blast! Henry was a narrator in his class’s patriotic program. If you want, I can have him recite his part in his Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation. My friends got together for an unofficial 20th class reunion. There was much drinking and much Cards Against Humanity going on. 

november2014part1

We spent Thanksgiving Week in New York City.

This was by far the highlight of our year. Henry and I got to hang out with my dear friend Neil for two days while Jason worked in Long Island, and then we spent the next 5 days as a family doing amazing things, like the Intrepid Museum and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Yes, I’m going to recap the trip after the new year because there is SO much more!

november2014part2

December: In December, I turned 39. Yes, I’m staring down 40. We celebrated my birthday and our friend’s 50th with all you can eat catfish! We celebrated the holidays with Jason’s side of the family at the annual Anthoine Christmas Party, and of course, took goofy pictures of ourselves with our Christmas tree! Christmas was wonderful as usual, with my parents coming over for Christmas day lunch and then going to Jason’s mom’s for the weekend.

december2014

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2015 is now upon us.

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I hope 2015 is better than 2014. Not that it was horrible for my family or myself exactly, but there’s always room for improvement. I’ll be spending the next few days thinking about what I want in 2015 and I’m sure you’re going to do the same.

My big hope for everyone is that we can all find happiness and peace.

Cheers!

 

This Week In Numbers: The Medical Mystery Tour

5 – number of days this week Henry or I have seen a doctor

6 – number of waiting rooms I’ve waited in since Monday morning. Add the one on Friday and you get 7.

13 – number of days I’ve now been dealing with a rash of unknown origin or diagnosis.

5 – number of different diagnoses for the rash on my body. It’s been shingles, staph, a bug bite, a fungus, contact dermatitis…

7 – number of shots Henry had to drain what looked like aliens out of an infected boil

365,397 – times I wanted to die on Wednesday

28,967 – times I wet my pants while vomiting on Wednesday

28,967 – times I didn’t care about said wetting of pants because of the 365,397 times I wanted to die

6 – number of hours spent at the ER

3 – number of sticks it took for the nurse at the ER to run an IV

2 – number of bags of fluid shoved in my veins in the ER

0 – sadly, the number of bags of vodka shoved in my veins in the ER

2 – number of complete blood panels run on me

4 – number of prescriptions I’ve filled and tried

3 – number of people in this house who are dying for this week to be over

1 – number of biopsies done on said rash by the bitchy yankee PA who made me feel like an absolute asshole for not having changed ANYthing I’ve done for the last 2 weeks. She couldn’t believe I hadn’t switched shampoo, detergent, or soap in TWO WHOLE WEEKS. What?

1 – also the number of HOLES I now have on my rash on my stomach

12 – number of Krispy Kreme doughnuts I bought on my way home from the last doctor’s appointment today

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I’m fine. I’m alive. Henry’s fine. He’s alive. Nothing is horribly wrong with either of us. Just one of those weeks that started off at the tippy top of the hill and rooooooolllled down swiftly.

Just Write: I’m Just Writing

This morning I forgot to take my medicines.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I took one thyroid medicine. And then I looked at my pill case and thought to myself, “Self, don’t forget to take these before you leave this bathroom.”

Surprise! “Self” as we’ll call her, forgot.

“Self” got about 3 minutes from work and went, “Oh crap! Self, you forgot your meds! This isn’t going to end well.”

And let me tell you. About 5 hours later, I felt like I was in a haze of hot, purple, smoky air with somebody pushing me a little to my right every time I stood up.

All that is probably just from the Lexapro, too. That doesn’t include the fact that I’ve been without – due to my own stupidity – my arthritis meds for a few days and can’t remember to refill it. (Spoiler: I refilled it)

Funny thing I haven’t shared. Recently I switched from Zoloft to Lexapro for anxiety I’ve suffered from since Charlie died. The switch took 9 weeks, but the first week? It was horrible.

There was a 15 to 30 minute time frame one of those where I could feel every single particle of air on my skin. You read that right. Every. Single. Particle.

It felt like millions of tiny needles with air blower thingies on the ends of them, whispering sharply across my skin. Every touch was felt. Every nerve ending was stimulated.

It was quite amazing. In those moments, I realized the power of that medicine. If it could do THAT, imagine what it was doing in my brain. Unfortunately, in those moments, I didn’t really care how it was working in my brain. I simply wanted it to NOT FEEL CRAZY WHEN AIR TOUCHED ME!

Today wasn’t like that. But it was close.

I promise not to forget my medicine tomorrow.

*This was part of Just Write, a free writing exercise hosted by the amazing Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary.*

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Pass It On

Today’s (totally optional) Prompt:

What is something you have passed on (on purpose or not) to your children?

Or what did your parents pass on to you?

stream of consciousness sunday

When I was little, about to lose my first tooth, my very best friend told me that when you go to the dentist to have a tooth pulled, they gave you a shot with a GIANT NEEDLE and then used a HUGE drill in your mouth and it HURT LIKE YOU WERE GETTING STABBED.

Maybe it wasn’t so dramatic and all, but it scarred me for life.

I’ve been a bad dental patient all my life. Even though I have great teeth and all, I’ve cried and screamed at, bitten and puked on my dentist.

Looks like I’ve passed on that anxiety to my kid.

This week he had to go to the dentist to get the first of 6 cavities filled. (He obviously has my sister’s teeth…)

He did a great job once he was there, but the night before and morning of, he was a huge ball of anxiety. It made me sad because I couldn’t help him. I didn’t know what to say because, well, I hold the same anxieties.

The best I could do was reassure him that while it would probably be uncomfortable, I would NEVER let them do anything to him that I wouldn’t let them do to me.

Oh, and I told him he’d get $5.

A little bribery never hurt, right?

What have you passed on to your child without meaning to? Or if you don’t have children, what did your parent(s) pass on to you?

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This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post (in the sidebar). .
  • Link up your post below.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

 

July is Group B Strep Awareness Month

July is Group B Strep Awareness Month

I struggle with being extremely vocal about Group B Strep awareness. I would love to scream, “DANGER DANGER” from the rooftops, but for me personally, I don’t like to frighten people.

I struggle with knowing when to step in and say, “You really should head to the doctor since your baby has x, y and z symptoms because those are signs of GBS.” I’ve done it a few times on Facebook and Twitter and in real life, but the bottom line is, I don’t want to say anything because I don’t want people to think their baby is going to die just because mine did.

I struggle with being able to spout statistics, because statistics are bullshit. Yeah, the chances of a baby contracting early onset GBS are slim. It’s even more slim to contract late onset GBS. And it’s downright rare for a baby to die from late onset GBS. But when YOU are the statistic – the rare one – it’s often hard to tell someone of your experience without causing sheer panic.

I don’t struggle with talking about grief. But I do struggle with talking about Group B Strep.

July is Group B Strep Awareness Month.

So I’m here to talk about it.

For those who don’t know and who may stumble across this page, let me first tell you about Group B Strep.

What is Group B Strep (GBS)?

Group B strep (GBS) is a type of bacteria that is naturally found in the digestive tract and birth canal in up to 1 in 4 pregnant women who “carry” or are “colonized” with GBS. Since levels of GBS can change, each pregnancy can be different. Carrying GBS does not mean that you are unclean. Anyone can carry GBS. (Quoted with permission from Group B Strep International)

When will they test me for Group B Strep and what does that even mean?

CDC’s guidelines recommend that a pregnant woman be tested for Group B Strep when she is 35 to 37 weeks pregnant. The test is super simple. It’s simply a swab of the vaginal area and rectum. Results are typically back at your next appointment. At that time you’ll be told whether you’re positive or negative.

A pregnant woman who tests positive for GBS and gets antibiotics during labor has only a 1 in 4,000 chance of delivering a baby with group B strep disease, compared to a 1 in 200 chance if she does not get antibiotics during labor.

Any pregnant woman who had a baby with GBS disease in the past, or who has had a bladder (urinary tract) infection during this pregnancy caused by GBS should receive antibiotics during labor.

What’s the difference between prenatal onset, early onset and late onset Group B Strep?

Prenatal onset of Group B Strep happens before your baby is born.

Early onset relates to cases from birth to 7 days old.

Late onset typically relates to cases from 7 days old to 3 months (or later in some cases, but that’s the typical timeline for GBS to infect a baby).

 What do I look for?

Symptoms of Prenatal Onset Group B Strep:

    • decreased fetal movement or no movement after 20 weeks
    • unexplained fever in mother — signals infection

Once born:

    • High-pitched cry, shrill moaning, whimpering
    • Marked irritability, inconsolable crying
    • Constant grunting as if constipated
    • Projectile vomiting
    • Feeds poorly or refuses to eat, not waking for feedings
    • Sleeping too much, difficulty being aroused
    • High or low or unstable temperature; hands and feet may still feel cold even with a fever
    • Blotchy, red, or tender skin
    • Blue, gray, or pale skin due to lack of oxygen
    • Fast, slow, or difficult breathing
    • Body stiffening, uncontrollable jerking
    • Listless, floppy, or not moving an arm or leg
    • Tense or bulgy spot on top of head
    • Blank stare
    • Infection at base of umbilical cord or in puncture on head from internal fetal monitor

What is the outlook for a baby who contracts GBS?

Babies can be infected by GBS before birth and up to about 6 months of age due to their underdeveloped immune systems. Only a few babies who are exposed to GBS become infected, but GBS can cause babies to be miscarried, stillborn, or become very sick and sometimes even die after birth.

GBS most commonly causes infection in the blood (sepsis), the fluid and lining of the brain (meningitis), and lungs (pneumonia). Some GBS survivors have permanent handicaps such as blindness, deafness, mental challenges, and/or cerebral palsy.

(Quoted with permission from Group B Strep International)

Now we’re all caught up on what Group B Strep is. So here’s where I’m honest with you.

I don’t believe in scaring people. I believe in educating people and arming them with the information that will allow them to make informed decisions.

Unfortunately, I can’t make decisions for everyone. If that were the case, nobody would ever have their membranes stripped, internal exams after finding out they were GBS+, scalp electrodes during labor, long labors without c-sections, or choose to not have antibiotics during labor with a positive GBS status.

In short, I would put everybody in a GBS-proof bubble.

As long as there is life on Earth, there will be baby loss. There will be mothers dying during labor, babies taking one breath, babies spending weeks and months in the ICU because of life-threatening conditions. As much as we want to eradicate it, it’s a fact of life.

I’m armed with more information about GBS than most doctors, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t talk to your doctor about Group B Strep. Because the incidence rate is smaller and smaller, a lot of doctors do the test at 35-37 weeks and just throw out the positive or negative results without much of an explanation. Make them explain it to you. Talk to them. Understand it.

Use your mommy and daddy instincts and USE YOUR PEDIATRICIAN. That’s why they went to high-dollar schools for a bazillion years. To help you when you need them.

The baby does something you don’t like or understand? Call them. Go in.

BE THAT MOM!

I can’t underscore this enough. YOU know your baby better than anyone and have to follow your instinct. If it says, “call the doctor,” then by God, call the doctor.

Your gut is rarely wrong.

Anyway, in honor of Group B Strep Awareness Month, I want to answer your questions.

Leave a comment (or Tweet it to me or ask me on Facebook) with any question about GBS you may have. If you don’t want to do it publicly, email me at janasthinkingplace@me.com.

I’ll post a few times this month with answers to them. And together, we will make the world AWARE OF GROUP B STREP!

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