Spinal Headaches after C-Section

While browsing through “FitPregnancy” at the pediatrician’s yesterday, I came across a question in the Pregnancy Q & A section that caught my eye. The question was as follows: “My mom tells me terrible stories about the spinal headache she got after her C-section. Is this an old wives’ tale?” Without having read the answer, I can personally say no, this is not an old wives’ tale. I only wish someone would have warned me! So, this is a warning to you, in the event you one day have to deliver by C-section.

Shortly after my third child was delivered by C-section I started experiencing a severe headache. I am prone to headaches and migraines so at first I thought I was just in need of some protein, seeing as I hadn’t eaten since the day before. After I was finally allowed to eat some solid foods I still had a terrible headache- even with all of the pain medications I was taking for the incision. After about a day or so, the nurse asked me to lay down to see if the pain lessened. Initially it did not, so she just moved on, never explaining to me that she was trying to diagnose a possible Spinal Headache. Finally after the 4th day when I could hardly even open my eyes to feed my son because of the pain a different nurse thought I might have a Spinal Headache. I had never heard of this. According to the FitPregnancy article, “During spinal anesthesia-which may be used during a Cesarean section- a small needle is used to puncture the dura, the membrane that surrounds the spinal cord. Sometimes, spinal fluid can leak out of the puncture sit, leading to a headache.” The author continues, “The hallmarks of a spinal headache are that they typically begin one or two days after delivery; they’re worse when standing or sitting and lessen when lying down; and they tend to occur at the front and/or back of the head.” This is exactly what I experienced, only because it went on 4 days, by the time they discovered what it was treatments that might typically work did not ease my pain. When drinking lots of liquids, lying flat and taking over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers didn’t relieve my pain, an epidural blood patch was ordered. So at this point my options were to either go home to two toddlers and a brand new baby with a migraine (not to mention my husband was sick in bed with strep throat) or endure a second spinal injection within a few days. As much as I dread that spinal injection, I had no choice! So, as my 4 day old laid next to me on the hospital bed the anesthesiologist drew my blood and injected a small amount of it into the epidural space to patch the hole in the dura. My headache was gone immediately!

My hope for anyone nearing a delivery is they could have a natural and wonderful experience, but since this is not usually the case it is best to be well-informed of those unusual problems that could occur. According to the article in FitPregnancy, only 1 in 100 to 1 in 500 (I don’t know how the numbers could be that far apart, but I’m just relaying this) women experience a spinal headache after a C-section.

10 Best Cities for Families to Visit

I’m not usually one to brag or boast, but after reading the latest issue of Parents magazine, I need to brag on my city a bit. Parents magazine ranked the top 10 best cities for families to visit and number 9 on the list was my stomping grounds, Indianapolis. Now, I think Indy is a pretty awesome place to visit (but I’m a little biased since we’ve chosen to raise our kids here), but seeing a major media outlet recognize the awesomeness that is Indy is sweet.

IMG_3870Receiving mention was the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, the largest children’s museum in the world. Yes, it’s really that big!! Five levels full of fun, including a huge dinosaur exhibit, carousel you can ride and even a playhouse area for the littler ones. Parking is free, there is really nice cafeteria with plenty of choices for lunch (or pack your own) and lots of room to sit and a membership pays for itself in just two visits.IMG_3847

Other Indy highlights:

Conner Prairie–a colonial living history museum with petting zoo, live actors, water park area and lots of fun activities, all based around Indiana in 1800s.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum–75 race cars on display, plus other memorabilia from races past. Families can also opt for a bus tour of the track, as well as behind-the-scenes tours of the pits and other race areas.

100 Acres Park at the Indianapolis Art Museum–both the museum and the park are free (double bonus!) and kids especially will love the outdoor sculptures they can touch and climb on.

White River Canal–take a walk along the historic canal, where you can rent bicycles, paddleboats and Segway’s to tour the park area. Check out the gondoliers giving rides down the canal. Lots of open green space with plenty of room to play, picnic and enjoy the Indy downtown. Also along the canal is the Eitlejorg Museum, NCAA Hall of Champions and Indiana State Museum.

Check out the full list of family-friendly cities to visit at: http://www.parents.com/fun/vacation/10-best-cities-for-families-to-visit/

New Recipes

I am having a bit of writer’s block this evening, so I decided to share a few delicious recipes we have made in the last few days. Baking is one of the joys I share with my kids, my daughter in particular. Our favorite thing to make together lately is homemade granola bars. With only 4 ingredients, and natural ones at that, these are not only tasty but healthy too! We found this recipe at the link below, but made a few adjustments of our own, found in this recipe.

Homemade Granola Bars

1 cup natural peanut butter

1/3 cup of honey

1/2 cup of coconut oil

2 cups oats

Heat peanut butter, honey and coconut oil in a pan until blended, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the oats. Spread into a thin greased pan and let cool for 10-15 minutes. At this point you could opt to add any goodies you like. We prefer mini chocolate chips, but raisins, craisins and coconut also work well. Once you have finished your creation, cover with foil and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/homemade-chewy-granola-bars-without-corn-syrup

Homemade Whipping Cream

I thought most people made their own whipping cream, especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but according to a group of friends who were over last night, this is unusual. I love making my own whipping cream because the options for flavors are only limited to your imagination.

1 quart heavy whipping cream

sweetner of your choice

flavoring of your choice

Pour the heavy whipping cream into a cold bowl and beat with a hand mixer on high until firm, about 5 minutes. Once the cream is to your desired consistancy, add a sweetner to taste. I prefer low-sugar options in all of my cooking, so I chose to use the new product, Necteresse, which is a natural sweetner that comes from the monk fruit. You could use regular sugar or your favorite sweetner. Start with a couple of teaspoons and just add to taste. Finally, add a flavoring. I use vanilla extract, but you could use almond or lemon or whatever else you would like. It is the perfect topping for that special pie, ice cream sundae, brownie or fruit!

The Columbia Restaurant’s 1905 Salad

1905 Salad plated sized for web

My husband and I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, Florida. With a rich history in the city, it is quite the popular restaurant and the food does not disappoint! Their famous salad is the 1905 Salad and they kindly share their recipe on their website! We made it for dinner this evening and it was almost as good as it was at the restaurant! You will find it very refreshing and a perfect pairing for any dish! You can find this and many other great recipes from their menu at http://www.columbiarestaurant.com/recipes_wines_list.asp

4 cups iceberg lettuce, broken into 1 1/2″ × 1 1/2″ pieces
1 ripe tomato, cut into eighths
1/2 cup baked ham, julienned 2″ × ⅛” (may substitute turkey or shrimp)
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, julienne 2″ × ⅛”
1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed green Spanish olives
“1905” Dressing (see recipe below)
1/2 cup Romano cheese, grated
2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce®
1 lemon

Preparation

Combine lettuce, tomato, ham, Swiss cheese, and olives in a large salad bowl. Before serving, add “1905” Dressing, Romano cheese, Worcestershire, and the juice of 1 lemon. Toss well and serve immediately. Makes 2 full salads or 4 side salads.

“1905” Dressing

Ingredients

1/2 cup extra-virgin Spanish olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
⅛ cup white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Salad Dressing Preparation

Mix olive oil, garlic, and oregano in a bowl with a wire whisk. Stir in vinegar, gradually beating to form an emulsion, and then season with salt and pepper. For best results, prepare 1 to 2 days in advance and refrigerate.

Can You Hear Me Now? Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome Not an End to Pregnancy Dreams

For many women attempting to get pregnant, the diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome, better known as PCOS, is devastating. PCOS is the most common type of infertility issue in women, affecting nearly five million women, and many women with PCOS incorrectly assume they will never be able to have children. Women with PCOS have hope, however. While PCOS is complex and not completely understood, doctors can treat it to allow a couple to conceive, explains Dr. Ron Thompson.

Even though PCOS is treatable, it is also a progressively worsening condition. Symptoms include weight gain, acne, thinning scalp hair, excessive facial hair, amenorrhea, infertility, and ovarian cysts, and it elevates risk for insulin resistance. Obesity exacerbates PCOS symptoms.

Nearly 10 percent of infertile women have PCOS, which essentially is a signaling problem between the ovary and pituitary gland in the brain and from the pituitary gland back to the ovary to stimulate ovulation. “The signaling problem between the pituitary gland and the ovary is like a cell phone reception problem between a cell phone tower and a cell phone,” said Dr. Thompson. “Basically, the ovary is saying, ‘Can you hear me now?’”

Normally, each month the ovary develops a single ovum in an enlarging, clear and fluid-filled sac called the ovarian follicle. The follicle develops because the pituitary gland in the brain produces a Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) that starts stimulating the follicle. The pituitary gland also sends a second signal to the ovary in the form of the luteinizing hormone (LH) that stimulates the grape-sized ovarian follicle to rupture.

“This rupture of the ovarian follicle releases the mature ovum into the fallopian tube and equally importantly, releases and drains the follicular fluid from the ovary,” said Dr. Thompson. “The ovum is then ready for fertilization.” If sperm do not fertilize the ovum in the 14 days after ovulation, the woman will start her next menstrual cycle.

www.keytoconceive.comPCOS occurs when the ovarian follicle does not rupture and the ovum inside the un-ruptured follicle dies, leaving a cyst. If this process occurs for several months in a row, the woman will develop early and mild PCOS with irregular menstrual periods. If the syndrome continues to go untreated, it will worsen to a moderate to severe case of PCOS and the woman will cease to have any menstrual periods.

A doctor will make the diagnosis of PCOS when a patient reports irregular or absent monthly menstrual periods. “An ultrasound of the ovaries confirms the diagnosis of PCOS by documenting eight to ten large, grape-sized cysts in each ovary,” states Dr. Thompson. “The ovaries at this stage are about ten times the size of a normal ovary, and the hormone signal from the pituitary gland that stimulates ovulation is ineffective.”

Treatment for PCOS involves decreasing the size of the ovary through a procedure called Laparoscopic Ovarian Cyst Decompression. “This drains the cysts by laser or hot-needle drilling and decreases the volume of each ovary by about 70 percent,” said Dr. Thompson. “These laparoscopic procedures are also very effective to resume regular monthly ovulations.”

Woman with PCOS also benefit from medications that amplify the hormone signals sent between the pituitary gland and the ovary. Medications like oral Clomid, injectable Follicule Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and injectable Leutinizing Hormone (LH) are also effective treatments for PCOS. Insulin sensitizing oral medications like Metformin also help treat PCOS, either alone or in combination with Clomid.

Women faced with a PCOS diagnosis can take hope in the fact that while complex and progressively worsening, PCOS is easy to diagnose and successfully treat. Fixing the signal problem between the pituitary gland and the ovaries leads to conception and a baby in over 90 percent of women within 12 to 24 months.

Ovulation a key piece in the conception puzzle

Commonly considered by many as a miracle, pregnancy and childbirth require many pieces of a puzzle to all fit together perfectly. The way the human body functions to create and bring life into the world is awe-inspiring and remarkable. One part of this conception puzzle is ovulation, the release of a mature ovum from the ovary.

Before understanding why ovulation is so important for conception, it is imperative to understand some of the basic reproductive functions in a woman. Menses is the shedding of the lining of the uterus, the endometrium, so that each potential new pregnancy has a new uterine lining. The typical menstrual cycle is 28 days, but can normally be 26 days, or even 35 days.

The ovary controls the menstrual cycle, which has three distinct phases. The first phase, the menstrual phase, makes up the days when a woman menstruates, on average five days. The second phase, the follicular phase, takes place from the last days of menstruation through ovulation, and is when the follicles of the ovary develop and the lining of the uterus grows. The final phase, the luteal phase, occurs from ovulation, when the egg is released, to the next menses or a pregnancy.

www.keytoconceive.comFor ovulation to occur, the ovary must send a signal to the pituitary gland in the brain to release the luteinizing hormone (LH). As Dr. Ron Thompson explains, the LH promotes the final 24 to 36 hours of maturation of the ovum for ovulation. “During the follicular phase, the ovum develops in a small, ever-enlarging sac of fluid in a follicle on the outer surface of the ovary,” Dr. Thompson states. “At ovulation, the mature ovum leaves the follicle, enters the distal fallopian tube and waits for conception.”

After ovulation, the place where the ovum left the follicle transforms into the corpus luteum, or yellow body. The corpus luteum produces progesterone, the hormone of pregnancy. If conception occurs, the embryo implants into the lining of the uterus into the endometrium.

“The placenta of the early embryo, the chorionic villus, produces Human Chorionic Gonadotropin,” said Dr. Thompson. “The HCG circulates in the bloodstream and stimulates the corpus luteum to produce progesterone for about 12 weeks, until the placenta can produce its own progesterone to support the pregnancy.”

Pregnancy tests measure the HCG produced by the early embryo to determine whether a woman is pregnant or not. The HCG value typically doubles every two to three days, which is why taking a pregnancy test later produces more accurate results, explains Dr. Thompson.

After understanding how ovulation occurs, it is important to understand when ovulation occurs. The timing of sexual intercourse with ovulation is crucial for conception. A woman’s corpus luteum typically lasts 14 days, which means if she has a normal 28-day menstrual cycle, she will ovulate on day 14. If her menstrual cycle is 35 days long, she ovulates on day 21.

A woman can figure out when she ovulates by subtracting 14 days from the expected day of her next menstrual period and have sexual intercourse to correspond with the time of ovulation. This assures that all the pieces of the puzzle work together to achieve pregnancy.

 

Couponing Basics

Being a stay at home mom I have to be creative when it comes to spending money on the things our family needs and also those extras that make life just a little more exciting! I am by no means an “extreme couponer”, but having just learned a few key tips, I have been able to save my family a lot of money. Here are the very basics…

scissors_clipping_coupons_hg_wht1. Double coupons

Until recently, the store I spent most of my money doubled every manufacturer’s coupon up to $1.00. If you can find a store near you that runs this promotion on a regular basis, it basically doubles all of savings for the same amount of time and effort from you.

2. Get organized

I thought my little coupon folder that I could hold in my hand was organized until I got some tips from a friend who was saving quadruple what I was. She used a 2 inch binder with baseball card holders. Each slot has a different coupon and each category has it’s own section. So, for example, when you are in the shampoo isle, you can flip to your “soaps” section and see at a glance what coupons you have for which shampoos. Then you can easily see which deal will be the best that day without thumbing through a stack of paper.

3. Cut multiple coupons and stockpile

Whether you buy multiple papers, search for multiple coupons online or have friends collect them for you, buying multiples that are on sale and that can be discounted further with a coupon can save you money in the future. If, for example, you eat a lot of Cheerios in your home, cut out 3-5 Cheerios coupons and wait for them to go on sale. Then stock up on Cheerios when you can buy them for a fraction of the cost. This is called stockpiling. When you realize how much money you can save by doing this, you make the space to store all the good deals you find!

4. Search Couponing Websites that do the work for you

There are loads of great couponing websites that do the matchups for you. That means you can select the stores you shop at and see what they have on sale that match the coupons you should have if you have been consistently organizing them. I prefer couponmom.com and stockpilingmoms.com, but there are plenty others that can help you get started.

5. Try different brands

If you are really going to save, you have to be willing to buy different brands. We love Hellman’s mayonnaise and refuse to buy any other brand. That means that I might spend $2.00 more on a jar of mayonnaise any given week because I did not cut out the coupon for the other brand or watch their sales. I am not married to most brands, though, and therefore I can save a lot more depending on the sales each week.

When  I was faithfully following all of these tips and being diligent about staying on top of my coupons I was saving close to $200 month on groceries alone. Unfortunately right now I have had to reduce the amount of time I spend couponing, but I can attest to the fact that spending time on couponing can significantly reduce the amount you spend.

The Key to Many Infertility Issues Found in Hormones

Hormones account for the many, and often unpleasant, changes a woman goes through each month during her menstrual cycle and every day of her life. Besides being blamed for stereotypical crazy symptoms, hormones play an important role in the bodies of women and can affect mood, weight, even cravings.

A hormone is a protein produced in a specialized tissue and released into the blood to circulate throughout the body. It targets a very specialized tissue that has receptors that only recognize that hormone.

For women dealing with infertility, research has found that hormones play a major role in whether a woman conceives or not. Research has uncovered several silent but easily treatable causes of infertility that stem from hormone imbalances.

www.keytoconceive.com

The first easily treatable issue in many women is elevated prolactin, or PRL. Prolactin is produced in the anterior pituitary gland in the brain and targets breast tissue. As the name infers, prolactin is the hormone of lactation and breast milk production. Dr. Ron Thompson explains that an overproduction of prolactin in a non-breastfeeding woman can be a silent cause of a woman’s infertility. “If the prolactin level is high, the prolactin will cause milk leakage from the breasts, called galactorrhea, and can cause irregular ovulation and irregular menstrual periods,” states Dr. Thompson.Research from the National Institutes of Health shows that 46 percent of infertile women have elevated prolactin, but only 15 percent show symptoms of galactorrhea. This makes it difficult to diagnose except through a blood test. “A serum prolactin blood test can easily diagnose an elevated prolactin level,” said Dr. Thomson. “And an oral medication, bromocriptine, easily treats elevated prolactin and successfully allows for conception and pregnancy.”

Second, many women dealing with infertility have an elevated thyroid stimulating hormone, or TSH. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is produced in the anterior pituitary gland in the brain and targets the thyroid gland. TSH is elevated in women with an underactive thyroid gland, called hypothyroidism. TSH is related to prolactin

production, and an elevated TSH will stimulate the pituitary gland to produce excess prolactin. A serum TSH blood test can easily diagnose an elevated TSH and doctors can easily treat the condition with oral thyroid hormone medication, which can allow conception and pregnancy.

“Hypoactive thyroid disease should be suspected in women with a prior history of thyroid problems, unexplained tiredness, unexplained weight gain, or a family history of thyroid disease,” said Dr. Thompson. “Woman trying to conceive with risk factors for hypothyroidism should have a serum prolactin blood test and a serum TSH blood test done together.”

A final easily treated fertility issue is corpus luteal deficiency, also known as a corpus luteal phase defect. Progesterone, the predominant www.keytoconceive.comhormone of pregnancy, is produced in the corpus luteum of the ovary after ovulation and targets the endometrial lining of the uterus. After ovulation, the corpus luteum of the ovary produces progesterone for 14 days, building up enough of the hormone to support an implanted embryo. In women with corpus luteal deficiency, or a corpus luteal phase defect, the corpus luteum only produces progesterone for 9 to 12 days, not long enough to support the implanted embryo, resulting in a terminated early pregnancy.

Dr. Thompson states that a woman can be suspicious of a corpus luteal deficiency if she has an early menstrual period 9 to 12 days after ovulation, as documented by a home ovulation detection test, for several months in a row. “Her gynecologist can also easily diagnose a corpus luteal deficiency with a progesterone serum blood test and an endometrial biopsy 9 to 12 days after ovulation,” said Dr. Thompson.

Treatment with progesterone injections, or daily progesterone intravaginal suppositories, each month during the 14 days after ovulation can effectively treat corpus luteal deficiency. Corpus luteal deficiency is also associated with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

Women struggling to conceive should speak to their healthcare providers about exploring these silent causes of infertility. Additionally, a woman with fertility issues can try ToConceive, a new product that promotes natural conception lubrication in the woman and leads to increased chance of natural conception.

 

 

The Faces Behind KeyToConceive

Dear Blog Readers and Social Media Followers,

Generally I only connect with people and products on social media that I am familiar with. I enjoy knowing who is behind the comments, writings and advertising that I see on a daily basis. I have come to realize that unless we have had direct contact with a customer, most of our readers really aren’t familiar with us and we would like to change that. So here is a quick summary of the faces behind KeyToConceive’s Social Media.

KeyToConceive is a family company. My paternal uncle, Dr. Ronald Thompson, is the creator of ToConceive. He has been working in our community since before I was born delivering babies (he actually had to help deliver me 33 years ago due to complications while he was on call at the hospital) and helping women achieve pregnancy and motherhood.

My dad, Gary, recently retired from a long career in sales, marketing and management and agreed to head up the marketing department for ToConceive. Dad quickly realized social media was a far bigger job than he could do alone and enlisted the help of myself, my very journalistically talented sister-in-law, Lindsey, and my tech-savvy brother, Joshua, to oversee this area.

Lindsey and her family

Lindsey and her family

Lindsey is the powerhouse behind our humble operation. With a journalism degree from Ohio University and a God-given gift of designing, creating and writing marketing materials, we rely on her heavily to carry out our business plan. She somehow does all of this while excelling as the CEO of her household, raising my niece, Liesl, and my nephew, Gavin- not to mention being a fabulous wife to my brother, Matthew. Lindsey is a free-lance writer and also manages a wonderful blog in her downtime called, “Eating Clean and Saving Green.” Like I said, she’s very talented!

Joshua is the youngest sibling, so I like to say he helps keep us cool. He is always the first to have the latest in technology and he inevitably ends up teaching me how to use the newest social media-because he has been using it for at least a year before I even hear about it!

Josh

Josh

Josh has a full time job as a Health and Benefits Analyst at a company in downtown Cincinnati. He loves sports and has been to all the best new restaurants and venues in case you need a recommendation! He also has a sweet spot for his nieces and nephews!

I am the oldest of the bunch and therefore have been removed from any sort of business or schooling the longest and am the least tech-savvy. I do have a heart for helping those who suffer with infertility though, so I do my best to get the word out about how ToConceive can help. My husband and I recently celebrated our 10 year anniversary and we have three terrific children, Josiah, Kaylee Grace and Eli. It is not always easy to find time during the day to keep tabs on our social media sites, so if you see a lapse in our posts I am likely grocery shopping, cleaning, doing laundry or playing with my kiddios.

Krissy and her family

Krissy and her family

Together we make a great team because we have different gifts that compliment each other and we have grown up seeing the way our uncle has used his gift to help those who have trouble getting pregnant. We sincerely want to offer hope to those who are waiting for a child of their own and we desperately want to this happen. So next time you see a post from one of us maybe you will feel a bit more familiar and enjoy seeing what we have to say. Thanks for following!

Krissy