coffee, cooking, drink, Health, healthy eating, PCOS, summer

3 Ways To Make Your Morning Latte Healthier!

Coffee is SUCH a necessity! As a coffee addict for 10+ years, I know this to be true. When I realized I would need to start living a healthier lifestyle, I knew some rituals with my morning caffeine boost would have to change. I.E, throw out the Coffee Mate, sugar, and flavored syrups.

It took a while to find good replacements, and like with any health journey, I failed several times. But my numerous trips to Starbucks a week had to stop so I had to get a grip on my at-home coffee experiments!

In steps my 3 now go-to add-ons for my morning, afternoon, and evening coffee. Even my husband has adopted this form of coffee drink after a long time of not even drinking the good juice! These all work in hot or iced coffee, so get to experimenting!

1. Coconut Milk

This is a perfect replacement for coffee creamer, given its thick, creamy texture and sweet flavor. Coconut milk has healthy carbs and no additives and preservatives that flavored coffee creamer contains.

2. Stevia

Stevia is a 100% healthy replacement for sugar! It doesn’t react the same way sugar does inside of our bodies, meaning it won’t stick around in those places that makes it nearly impossible to lose the weight/bulge (yes, I’m talking about you, stomach). The best part? It tastes just as great as sugar, and eventually it will taste BETTER once you’ve used it long enough!

3. Benefiber

Using Benefiber is an amazing way to regulate your dietary system. It helps to keep things moving through your body, so nothing gets all backed up, and I promise you will feel lighter and your bloating will go down significantly if you throw this into your daily drink! Just be sure to look at the back of the container for instructions on how to begin use!

I hope that these little tips help you with your coffee dilemmas while you embark on this journey to a healthier lifestyle! Leave a comment below to let me know what you think, and share with your fellow coffee lovers!
Brittany N.

Charliesmomblog@gmail.com

Health, medical, medical professionals, miscarriage, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, Uncategorized

My Medical Experience From Early Pregnancy to Miscarriage

Now the time has come for my blog post regarding my experience with the medical field during my pregnancy and early miscarriage.
This isn’t a fun one. It seemed like it would be during my first appointment, but that quickly changed.

I found out I was pregnant very early on. Something I wish I hadn’t done, but that’s in the past now and can’t be helped. As soon as I found out, I quickly looked into my insurance and figured out which OBGYN I was approved for. While I was in my search, I had all kinds of people telling me to go to midwives, because for some reason here in my state, midwives are as highly praised as OBGYNs. Which, by the way, was very strange for me because I just assumed midwives worked out of homes and only did at-home-water-births. Silly me! And before I continue any further, I want to point out that I, in no way, am saying all midwives are bad, or that those who suggested for me to try a midwife were wrong. I appreciate all–well, most–of the suggestions I got during my short but sweet pregnancy.

When I called the group of midwives, they first tried to have me wait until 8 weeks but I explained I had some medical concerns, so they agreed to bring me in. My first appointment was made and my husband and I headed there when I was exactly 5 weeks.

The first appointment was great. The midwife was very kind and attentive. She explained a lot in regards to how I should take care of myself, and reassured me that I had already done a great job by having a healthy starting BMI (weight) and taking prenatals for a long time before the pregnancy. Of course it was early on, but we felt comfortable with our choice regarding our midwives.

The midwife at that appointment had explained that we would not see the same midwife every appointment we made. Apparently in this state, that’s quite common, to not see the same doctor or midwife throughout your pregnancy. They have groups of professionals and you just see whoever is in the office for the day. I didn’t think much of it at the time, because even though I had never experienced that, I assumed it would be okay. If all the midwives were as nice as the first lady, that’d be amazing!

Between the time of my 5 week and 8 week appointments, I took a trip to my home state. My first day there, I thought I was experiencing a very small amount of spotting. To this day, I’m not even convinced that’s what it was, but I called my OBGYN that practiced in my home state, and she got me in for an ultrasound and appointment.

The ultrasound technician did a great job with me, a gave me a photo. But the discussion with the doctor was another story. She explained that I seemed to only be around 5 weeks along instead of 6. Instead of leaving it at that, she also explained I could very well be having a miscarriage or a chemical pregnancy. It was just like that, a very cold, abrasive conversation. My mother, who was with me at the appointment, asked her what I would have to do if it was one of those things, and the doctor said quite disrespectfully, “We would terminate it with surgery. That’s such a ‘bad’ word, but it’s not a bad thing to get rid of something that’s not even there.”

In my mind, I felt the doctor was acting as if it’s no big deal for a person to go through a situation like this. By that point, I didn’t believe I would miscarry and I thought a chemical pregnancy was a really far throw from my situation (which turns out it does unfortunately happen, though it didn’t to me). It seemed as if this doctor was almost normalizing a woman losing her baby, and that it should not be a devastating thing.

I was glad she wouldn’t be my OBGYN, and didn’t think much more of it since I would be back in my new state with my midwives.

The 8 week appointment arrived, and we were SO excited to go! We went, and sure enough, it was a new midwife. The whole beginning of the appointment was a little awkward. You know that feeling you get when someone older than you talks to you like you’re a dumb little kid? That’s how I felt, and my husband was feeling his own way about how it was going.

At the first appointment, the midwife had explained that the ultrasound machines they use are very old and terrible technology, and that we shouldn’t put a lot of faith in it if it seemed off.

With that in the very back of mind (I’ll admit, I let it slip from my thoughts a lot) we got the ultrasound. This second midwife pulled out the external ultrasound, explaining they won’t do internals by 8 weeks, which was opposite of everything I had heard.

She placed the ultrasound on my belly, and pushed ever-so-slightly. She barely moved it over my stomach before squinting her eyes and saying, “This isn’t right. Something looks wrong here. I think there’s something wrong with your baby.”

I don’t know a single expecting mother that would ever be okay with those words coming from a doctor/nurse’s mouth. It was so abrupt, so short, and so unconcerned, like it was just as if she was saying someone had made her sandwich wrong.

The ultrasound maybe lasted 30 seconds before she turned it off and sat across from me, explaining how I could ‘take care of it’. Pills, surgery, naturally. And I wasn’t even convinced that I had an unhealthy pregnancy! I started crying, and the midwife walked out of the room without a goodbye or anything. She picked up her papers and just left, and never came back.

My husband a I did the best we could to make it until our next ultrasound. The midwives ordered us an ultrasound with the hospital’s larger, more advanced machines, so we took the appointment.

The ultrasound technician was very kind and encouraging. It was that day they could finally measure the baby, but it was only measuring 6 weeks and 2 days when he should have been 8 and 3. The technician did encourage me to believe that the baby may be earlier than they originally thought, and she told me not to be discouraged until our follow up ultrasound the week after, which would determine if the baby was growing or not. We left the hopsital again, this time with little to no clarity, and having to wait yet another week. The stress was getting unbearable, especially since I wasn’t experiencing any miscarriage symptoms but all of my early pregnancy symptoms were still in full swing. I was starting to have anxiety and mild depression problems.

The next week’s ultrasound came around, and this time I dreaded going. The technician was less concerned, just doing her job. They measured the baby again, this time he was still at 6 & 2. By that time, I had not heard a word from my midwives about the previous ultrasound, even though they said they would call me with the results. It was like I didn’t exist as a patient. So as soon as the ultrasound technician finished, I demanded to talk to the radiologist. At first the technician told me I could see the radiologist, then returned to the room to say I would just have to wait and make an appointment with my midwives to discuss results. I said I wouldn’t leave without finally talking to someone, so finally the radiologist agreed to meet me.

She explained that from her experience, she knew this pregnancy would be ‘a demise’. A phrase that I think is absolutely horrendous in that medical field. Even though it was terrible news, I did feel reassured about the answers we got. It had been so long since anyone had given my case any attention, and the radiologist was the first person I had talked to that seemed like they knew what they were doing.

We left, knowing fairly certain that none of my midwives would call, but that I would need to start considering my options. I, of course, wanted to miscarry naturally if it was at all possible, instead of going to surgery or taking a pill. It all seemed so unnatural at the time that I didn’t even want to think about it. I put off research, and basically kept all of the options from my mind. I was 99% convinced that this was an unhealthy pregnancy, and that 1% kept me hanging on to false hope.

After 2 weeks from the original ultrasound, I received my results back electronically. No call from my midwives, but some mildly concerning things had been found so I decided I would give them a call myself. I finally heard back after leaving a message, and the first thing asked of me, was if I had made a decision. I hadn’t even spoke to anyone about what the ultrasounds had found out regarding the miscarriage! It was a terrible “hi, how are you? Want to get rid of your baby yet?” vibe. By this point I was in utter shock that these people are ‘Medical professionals’. I told them no, that I wanted 1 last ultrasound to prove everything. The midwife agreed that it would be a good idea.

Despite everything, I am so glad I made that ultrasound appointment. The news was horrible, but the technician was a godsend. They found no baby. He had diminished, which meant I would need to act quick on a decision if I didn’t miscarry naturally the next few days. But even with that horrid news, I was completely comforted by the technician, and although it was difficult, she made so much sense to me. She sat with me as I cried and I explained to her the hell we had been through with the midwives and through this entire pregnancy. She even got emotional along with me and eased so much of my pain by FINALLY being the person I needed to just say, “I know, this just sucks and there’s nothing good about any of this. You have to take care of yourself now and let yourself mourn. You have been through too much.” I was desperately needing those words. I can’t thank that technician enough. There were no words. If I could, I would love to thank her again.

I was told to meet with the midwives again, so we went directly after the ultrasound. Lo and behold, it was the midwife with the awful bedside manners. She came in, sat down, and while still talking to me like I was 5, she tried to speak with a nicer tone. We discussed my options and she said I was able to wait through the weekend to decide and just maybe, I would naturally miscarry and not have to go through with any other choice.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. By Tuesday, I was starting to experience some nausea and my panic attacks and depression were increasing. I woke up Tuesday, knowing I had made my decision. I called the midwives to ask them to schedule a D&C.

By Wednesday morning, we were in the outpatient clinic with the OBGYNs that work with the midwives. The group of women that took care of me during the surgery were absolutely amazing. Each one of them had their own way of reassuring me and taking care of everything I needed. I felt very little pain and didn’t even have to go under general anesthesia. They placed me under moderate sedation along with an anti anxiety medicine. At least one of them was with me at almost all times while I was there. They really took their time to make me feel at ease, despite my severe panic attacks I went through that morning.

And after the surgery, I never saw a midwife or OBGYN from that hospital again. My midwives scheduled me for an appointment on their own, and when I called to reschedule, they said they could not fit me in until at least 3 weeks post surgery. Originally, they said they needed to see me exactly 2 weeks after. When I reminded the midwife of that, her words were: “Well, it’s not even necessary for you to come back in for a follow up, because it’s not like you can’t have sex again until we see you. You can have sex right at 2 weeks post d&c.”

LIKE SEX WAS ALL I CARED ABOUT!

I finally learned to give up on that awful group of midwives, and scheduled a follow up with a new OBGYN.

And that’s the story of the medical side to my miscarriage. The moral of the story is, if you’re in this medical field, I’m begging you to consider how your words affect the mothers and fathers during their pregnancy. Whether it’s a healthy or unhealthy pregnancy, every woman deserves to be treated as an expectant mother, and she deserves kindness and compassion, especially when she’s been faced with the thought of losing such a blessing. Pregnancy and miscarriage isn’t a medical diagnoses you can just get rid of without hesitation or sadness, when the mother wants it so badly. You absolutely cannot treat it as something someone can so easily ‘get over’.

It’s a terrible, depressing thing to suffer through, our medical professionals do not need to make it worse!

And if you’ve ever experienced anything like this as an expectant mother, please feel free to email me with your story, or if you simply need someone to talk to. I do not want you to go through this on your own. Together we can lift one another up and bring awareness to the common, but horrific, cases of miscarriage.

Brittany N.
Charliesmomblog@gmail.com

Health, PCOS

Bean and Brown Rice Wraps! PCOS Friendly Recipe.

Today I will be sharing one of my favorite, easy recipes! Bean and Brown Rice Wraps!

For this recipe, you can use either medium or long grain brown rice, or quinoa. Both are entirely healthy and great for a PCOS friendly diet. Don’t let the word ‘grain’ scare you! This meal was a staple of mine during my journey to lose 40 pounds.

How to make 2 cups of cooked quinoa:
Rinse your quinoa in a mesh strainer. Add 1/2 cup of quinoa to 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Water should be absorbed and quinoa should be fluffy.

How to make 2 cups of cooked brown rice:
Combine 2/3 cups of medium/long grain brown rice with 1 and 1/4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 40 to 50 minutes.

Bean and Rice Wraps Recipe:
2 cloves of minced garlic *that’s 1 tsp!*
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
2 cups of cooked brown rice/or quinoa
1 can of Kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Dash of onion powder

Saute minced garlic in oil. Make sure it doesn’t burn as garlic cooks quick!

Add rice/quinoa, beans, spices, and salt.

Cook and stir over low-medium heat for 5 minutes.

Serve on 100% whole wheat tortillas!

Top with your favorite healthy add-ons, such as diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, salsa verde, chipotle sauce, green onions, plain Greek yogurt, and cheese.

To stay within your carb range for 1 meal, eat no more than 2 wraps.

Enjoy and leave some feedback once you’ve tried these out for yourself!

Brittany

miscarriage, PCOS, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, Uncategorized

My Story of Early Pregnancy Loss

As the first post in this blog, I suppose the only way to do it is dive right in.

I’m a stay-at-home wife, happily married to the man of my dreams. Even before we were in a relationship, my husband and I talked about our love for kids and how we both always wanted a lot of our own.

We found out we were expecting May 1st, 2017–only 6 weeks after our wedding. It was quick but that’s what we wanted and had hoped for pretty much since the beginning of our relationship. We didn’t feel the need to wait like a lot of couples. It just seems right for us to have a little one right away.

Like a lot of new mothers, I was anxious to get to the doctors and have my first appointment. I decided on a group of midwives and they accepted me at 5 weeks to have my blood drawn and my initial check up. It went well! The midwife was kind and reassuring of all the information she was giving me.

After that day, we went about our business as usual. I was having several pregnancy symptoms, including cravings, aversions, soreness of breasts, and so on. The only early pregnancy symptom I didn’t seem to get was morning sickness.

I developed a severe urinary tract infection about 5 weeks in. I had gone to the urgent care clinic, and they misdiagnosed me, and that doctor was reluctant to give me an antibiotic, even though every symptom pointed to the infection. It wasn’t caught until the day after my appointment with the midwives, and the midwife immediate wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic since the infection had become so severe. Tylenol wasn’t helping my fever but for a couple of hours at a time, and I was feeling severe pain in my lower back, indicating that the infection had moved to my kidneys. It was several days before I was feeling better, and even then I was weak for a while after. But I at last got to feeling like myself again, and didn’t feel any different about my pregnancy other than a bit of worry that the fever and infection could cause problems for my baby. The midwives reassured me it would have no affect, however.

Time went by and eventually I reached my 8 week mark, which meant an appointment for an ultrasound. We were so excited, ready to see our baby for the first time. I was counting down the days.
When we arrived and met the next midwife for the first time, something felt very ‘off’ with her from the moment we met. She wasn’t listening to me as she should, but I let it go and hopped up on the table for the external ultrasound.

That’s when things went downhill. The midwife put the scanner on my stomach but only for about 5 seconds before she said “Something isn’t right about this. Something is wrong with your baby.” Not only were those words completely devastating, they were also uncalled for by a medical professional. It was too abrupt and she only scanned me for maybe a minute at the most, barely moving around my stomach at all. She sat down, told me I should make an appointment with the more advanced ultrasounds down the hall, then proceeded to tell me all of my options that come with a miscarriage–all within 10 minutes of her walking through the door and meeting me.

For the next few days leading up to my second ultrasound, I was worried sick and a mess, as was to be expected. But the day FINALLY rolled around and we made our way back to the hospital. I don’t remember much of that day or appointment, but I do recall the sonographer simply telling me “your baby is measuring 6 weeks and 2 days.” I was supposed to be 8 and 4.

Leaving the ultrasound that day, my husband and I were both sad and confused, but somehow still hopeful that the baby was just earlier than we thought. The only thing holding back my hope, was the fact I had tested positive on a home pregnancy test so early on. But even still, I refused to let me mind go to that dark place until I had more evidence that the pregnancy wasn’t going to last.

I continued having symptoms throughout that entire week. The midwives (though not calling me or keeping up with me at all) had suggested I make another ultrasound appointment for the following week. I did so, and the following Monday I was back on that bed in that same dark room. The sonographer was fairly cold, no smiles or encouraging words, just doing her job quietly and calmly. When she was done, she told me she would talk to the radiologist and see what she could do. Before she left the room. I caught a glimpse of her notes on the screen and the baby’s measurements stared back at me–6 and 2.

Again.

The sonographer came back in and, even though she had promised I could talk with the radiologist, she tried to send me home. I said I wouldn’t leave until I got some answers (by this time my midwives had all but abandoned me)

The radiologist finally came in to speak to us, and explained that she didn’t believe my pregnancy was ‘viable’. She kept using the term ‘fetile demise’ and ‘unhealthy pregnancy’ which in all honestly, I feel are such terrible terms for such a delicate subject. But I was just relieved that she was giving me some answers that I had been begging for from my incompetent midwives–though that story is for another blog post entirely.

We left that appointment finally knowing in our hearts that this was probably not going to last. Our baby stopped growing, measure 3 weeks behind, and no heartbeat was ever detected.

But still I waited. Something kept telling me to wait. I wasn’t convinced 100% yet, so when one of the midwives called me to discuss whether I would take a pill or do surgery, I simply told her no. I didn’t want to take a matter so big into my own hands when I was still so on the fence about what was going on inside of me.

The midwives ordered 1 more ultrasound for 2 weeks out, basically telling me it was my last chance before I would have to make a decision.

The next ultrasound rolled around, but this time the sonographer was quite the godsend. She was the nicest person I had met in the medical field related to this pregnancy. She was like an angel in the darkest of times. My baby was nowhere to be found on the screen, and the sonographer explained that the cells had more than likely separated, due to the length of time it had stayed in my uterus. It was devastating to see such a thing, but that lady made me feel so much more relaxed than anyone had so far.

She sat with me and my husband as I cried, and gave me the kind of advice and comfort I had been looking for but hadn’t gotten with the midwives. Once again, though, the details of that story remain in a future blog post.

We went home that night, knowing that this wasn’t going to happen how we always imagined it would. It was so depressing and helpless feeling. My husband was hurt and confused, and that hurt me even worse. There’s nothing like that feeling when you blame yourself for something so uncontrollable. I knew in my heart there was nothing I could have done to stop this, but it didn’t stop that constant nagging of ‘what did I do to cause this, what did I do to deserve? What could I have done differently?’

Those thoughts followed (still do) me around for the following few days. I knew I had to make a decision on my next step, because it just wasn’t flushing out of my body on it’s own. I prayed and prayed that if it was going to happen, it would do so naturally, but it never did. I knew that the right decision would hit me at the right time, I just needed a light bulb to go off in my mind and I couldn’t let anyone else determine that.

And it did. I remember it was late one night and I was starting to feel sick off and on, stress and anxiety playing a big role in that. I knew it was time to decide and it hit me like a brick that I needed to settle for surgery. At last my medical professionals didn’t fail me, and they got me in the next morning to have a d&c.

I won’t go into details about the d&c, but if it’s a story you would like to read, I will also be writing a post about my experience so be on the lookout for that!

And just like that, my baby was gone, and I was alone. What they don’t tell you–and one reason why I decided to start this blog since the information is so sparse–is the emotions and hormonal changes
you experience after such a traumatic event. Not to mention the terrible emotions that come with losing a pregnancy in general. You’re going through terrible loss and chemical changes in your brain all at one time.  It’s like you’ve given birth without a baby to show the world, or to hold in your arms, or kiss on their precious little face.

It’s been 2 weeks since I experienced the surgery, and I am still recovering emotionally, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned through all of this, it’s that talking to others or reading stories from those who have also experienced it, helps tremendously. And it’s also important not to keep it all to yourself. Everyone grieves differently, but there’s one thing that’s true to everyone going through this:

You’re not alone, and anyone else that has also miscarried, doesn’t want YOU to feel alone in this situation. You may be scared, depressed, angry, etc, but it does not mean you have to hold all of that in without a shoulder to cry on. Join a forum, a Facebook group, talk to a friend or family member, something to vent your frustrations so you aren’t doing this by yourself. I don’t think I would have lasted this long without the support I’ve received.

Try to remember, no blaming yourself as hard as that may be, and lean on SOMEONE for support.

If you’d like more information on who to reach out to, email me at charliesmomblog@gmail.com

Until next time,
Brittany N