Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Birth Story of Luca Louis

As Luca's birth reached 8 weeks ago last weekend, I realized I had better put his birth story into words before memory of it began to fade.  I feel as though it happened only yesterday, or maybe a week ago.  The days leading up to his birth and his delivery day are still so fresh and beautiful in my mind.  But just as I'm slowly putting his newborn clothes away because he is growing so quickly, so is the time passing since his birth.  It's all incredibly bitter sweet.

Luca Louis was born on Saturday, June 29th at around 12:30 in the afternoon.  I was supposed to be at a Blessingway for a dear friend of mine that afternoon but instead was empowered for my own birth, by the beautiful strong women gathering together to celebrate the magic of birth, from afar.  Luca's birth was at home, in a birthing pool, just as I had planned.  It was comforting to be at home and be in charge of his experience I wish for all birthing moms.  And was I ever "in charge" of it!  His birth, or our birth story, is one I'll be telling forever. It was crazy, beautiful, and totally how I envisioned it in my mind and in my heart. The power of the mind should NEVER be underestimated...especially for a birthing mom.

Our story:

During the last trimester of my pregnancy, I was sure I was going to deliver Luca earlier than his due date.  I measured 3-4 weeks further along, I felt Braxton Hicks like they were going out of style and I felt near deliver 4 weeks before my real due date.  In fact, I was so sure I would deliver early that I had my sister fly out to be with us for our home birth two weeks before my due date!  But delivering early would not be the case.  Luca arrived a week past my due date.

Three weeks prior to my delivery date, I wanted to induce my labor naturally.  My midwife whipped up a concoction of herbs (to drink) that would start contractions and if I was ready to have my baby, if HE was ready to be born, my own labor contractions would take over.  The herbs worked within 15 minutes, and contractions came on strong.  So strong that I was worried I would have a rapid birth I wasn't ready for.  My amazing doula came over to the house and began her beautiful work.  My sister cared for us and tended my other boys while my husband got the house ready for a baby.  We kept my midwife in the loop so she'd know when she was needed to come over to the house.  But that would never happen.  After 8 long hours of what I thought was true labor, my contractions subsided.  Or at least I decided in my mind that I was exhausted and scared and not ready to have my baby.  We all settled in for the night, went to bed and awoke the next morning to more contractions and no baby.  I was surprised...I couldn't believe my labor had really stopped. It was surreal.

The next appointment with my midwife was 5 days later.  I had her check me and I was dilated 5 cm but only about 50% effaced.  She left it up to me whether I wanted to try to induce labor naturally again.  I felt SO ready, I really wanted to have my baby and wanted my sister to be a part of it, so I had her strip my membranes and I drank another one of her oh so delicious (no, not really...they are terrible) concoctions of herbs.  I began to contract within an hour and spent another day of 8 hours of self induced labor.  And then, once again, at 9 pm at night, my labor began to subside.  I was again surprised and a bit let down that I hadn't given birth to my little Luca.  I felt incredibly ready, but together we ultimately were not.  And so I kept my morale high and tried to relax about the situation.  Each day that went by was another day my tummy grew.  It was enormous, the biggest my belly had ever gotten during a pregnancy (even though I gained the least amount of weight).  I knew Luca would be my largest baby, and I have to admit the thought of pushing him out began to frighten me.  I had lucked out in the past and not torn terrible nor had I ever needed an episiotomy.  I really didn't want the horrid experience I've heard of mamas tearing...all the way, down "there".  So I tried to keep busy and do things to keep my mind off of D-day. 

The two weeks my beautiful sister spent with me and my family came and went.  I took her to the airport teary eyed and said my apologies for not having Luca while she was here and we hugged out saddened good-byes.  I was a little frustrated and terribly uncomfortable but still remained positive, dodging all calls but my family's because talking about it was too stressful.  That day was my third and final appointment with my midwife.  Since I had reached my due date, she wanted to do special tests to ensure baby was safe and happy in my melon of a belly.  And he was.  VERY happy.  She offered to strip my membranes again and I accepted. 

And then again...this would be the third day of 8 hours of labor contractions with no baby finale.  I felt defeated.  I was 80% effaced by this day and dilated 6 cm but not finishing with the grand, gold medal prize of my baby.  After this day, I decided to leave it alone.  I wasn't going to try to induce anything since it had proven not once, not twice, but THREE times to do nothing but break my spirit up a bit.  I guess I shouldn't say "nothing" because it did do "something".  I was progressing, doing the work necessary to safely deliver my sweet child when we were ready to do so.  And so I waited.  And more days went by.  And when I FINALLY felt that I would never have my baby, when I FINALLY felt like moving on from the whole idea (literally, that's how I felt), I went into true labor.

It was 2:30 in the morning and I awoke to a painful contraction. I realized after a few more of them that the contractions were different than I had felt on any I had previously.  I knew this was our time.  I laid around for the next 4 hours, I didn't want to disturb anyone and since my contractions were quite far apart, I felt safe relaxing.  I woke up my husband at 6:30 am just to let him know I was in labor and we went about our usual morning.  The boys woke up, we fed them, clothed them, cared for the doggies, cleaned our house, played, picked up the yard...

I spoke to my midwife at around 7:30 that morning and she asked if she had time to shower with which I told her, "absolutely". A few hours went by and my doula, my sister in law and my midwife all arrived around 11 am.  My contractions were still about 15 minutes apart, and I was feeling good, making lunch for my boys and doing some backyard work.  My midwife suggested she check me to see where I was at and I agreed.  So she did...and to our surprise (not mine, really), I was fully effaced and dilated to 8+.  She felt a bulging bag of water and suggested we fill the tub because if my water broke, that baby was coming!  Or so we thought...

We filled the tub and I got in.  I asked to have my water broken because I thought it was the only thing keeping me from delivering Luca and I really wanted to get it (pain) over with.  She did, and I expected, we ALL expected things to turn fast, but they remained the same.  It was seriously crazy. We (myself, my doula, my midwife and my husband) all sat and chatted while I intermittently had quite tolerable contractions.  I remember talking about cats...the most random of topics.  And about an hour after getting into the water, my loving midwife asked what was keeping me from having my baby.  Think about it: after 3 days of hard prelabor, the last 10 hours of real labor, I was fully dilated, fully effaced and my water was broken, and STILL, I wasn't pushing him out.  I wasn't even rolling in agony.  I was quite comfortable.  At that very moment, I realized that I knew exactly what was keeping me from delivering Luca.  It was ME. 

I was scared, I knew what pain I was about to endure and I was frightened of it and exhausted of my pregnancy.  At that very moment, it crossed my mind how nice it would be to go to the hospital and have the epidural.  But then I realized it was too late.  I had done ALL the work and it was time.  And so my midwife suggested one last thing to me: to surrender.  As soon as I was ready to surrender to the pain, surrender to my body and my baby's will...then and at that very moment when I made that decision to do so, he was born.  I literally said, "okay", got into position, and surrendered to our birth.  It was fast, hurt like hell, and was over in a minute.  And then I felt what so many before me felt, power.  I felt the spirit of motherhood and met my little Luca face to face for the first time.  He was beautiful and BIG.  9 lbs. 14 oz. to be exact.  I didn't tear, I remained "intact", and aside from being a little woozy, I physically felt pretty great.  I did it!  It was so awesome!  My oldest son, Park, heard Luca cry for the first time and came running up the stairs with Jude and their auntie, Andrea.  The boys were thrilled to see their new brother, minutes old, in my arms and still connected to me.  They weren't afraid of anything they saw, just enamored of their new baby brother.  That's a memory I'll forever cherish.

Birthing in the water is seriously the way to go.  I longed for that with my second son's birth, although squatting (which I did with his birth) is quite efficient.  But birthing in the water makes it much more comfortable.  And, as I've said before, birthing with a midwife's assistance is key to having an empowered birth experience.  My doula was also such a support and comfort to me.  Her levelled energy made me feel with every contraction that I was in control of my own birth.  And my birth story proves just how much control that really was.  And my dear husband, he knew just how much I wanted this birth to be a healing birth for us as a unit.  His constant support and encouragement was undeniably part of the reason I allowed for my birth to happen the way it did.  I fell in love with him all over again...and our little Luca is a testimony to that love in many more ways than one.

It's now been 8 weeks since our birth.  Luca is a smiley, sweet, gentle mannered baby in a big, strong body.  I chose his name from a list I created 15 years ago and kept stored in our filing cabinet.  When we found out we were having a boy, I remembered the list, found it and saw his name written down first under "boys".  I fell in love with the name "Luca" all over again.  And "Louis" is a very old, very traditional family name from my father's side of the family.  It dates back to the 1600's from France and I thought it was strong yet sweet.  I actually debated it as his first name but didn't want the confusion of how to say it correctly (in French). 

Luca looks a lot like his oldest brother, Park, but definitely his own little self.  We got off to a rough start with tongue-tie issues but got that (mostly) fixed.  He is a healthy little man, he sleeps quite well and is quite predictable.  We all LOVE him dearly.  We haven't experienced any jealousy issues and everyone adjusted quickly to their new positions in the house.  Park is incredibly sweet with his "best friend baby Luca", always kissing him and wanting to help take care of him.  And I can't complain, I've got three sweet little boys who are stuck with me for life!

I am blessed.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Indoor Air Pollution

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Pregnancy in Toxic Land

Last week, I wrote an article for Moms Clean Air Force, a national clean air blog.  It's a personal story about my experience as an expectant mother living in a place where toxins in our air often times exceeds the national standards for acceptable air.  Below is the article:

Mommy Bridget

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Calming Lavender Bath Soak

It's been a LONG time since I've posted anything on my blog but I couldn't keep this one away from you all, no matter how incredibly busy my family keeps me.

I was looking for a good bath soak for my family to relieve our wintry dry skin and found a simple recipe to use.  And lucky for us, I had a large bag of dried lavender from last year's harvest just waiting to be used.  You will love the natural ingredients, the soak works beautifully!

Here you go:
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup powdered milk
  • 1 cup dried lavender
  • 2 cups uncooked oatmeal
Mix all the above ingredients in a blender until it's a powder form.  I use about 1/2 cup of the soak in one bath but you can use more or less according to your needs.


Mommy Bridget

Saturday, December 8, 2012

In Loving Memory of My Little Latti

Anyone who has known the love of and for a pet understands the unshakable bond that connects us to them.  I had the opportunity in my life to feel this unconditional love for an animal and on Tuesday of this week had to say good-bye to her, my first baby, my best friend, my sweet little Latti.

I first moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in the fall of 1998.  I was young, 19 I think, and still so immature even though I had already been living on my own for 3 years.  Being an animal lover my entire life, I always knew that when I lived on my own, when I had appropriate living conditions and when I was done spending most of my days travelling for work...that I was going to get my very own canine companion.  I never knew exactly when and had no idea what "type" or breed of dog I wanted, but I knew it was going to be a big part of my future.  Little did I know just how much of my future this addition in my life would be and it was just around the corner.

In January of 1999, my dear friend Kortney called me up and convinced me into going to a pet store with her because there was a cat she was interested in.  Kortney, my boyfriend at the time and I packed in his car and headed down to, in all honesty, a cruddy, little, hole-in-the-wall pet store in a not-so-good area of town.  When we arrived, Kortney led me to this cute puppy for sale that she saw earlier in the day.  Little did I know, her plan all along was to get me to see the puppy (knowing how much I wanted a dog) because she somehow knew I'd fall head over heels.  We went into the small room filled with wall cages, it seemed empty.  Then, I looked up and saw two dogs sharing a cage much too small for the both of them.  The first, a miniature type dog.  The other, a cute little yellow lab mix puppy that would be my Latti. 

Latti was young, about 2 months old.  The pet store employee said she was the last of the litter for sale.  To this day, I think to myself how wrong everyone else was in choosing the other puppies and not Latti.  I really lucked out with her as far as the short time it took to potty train her (a few days), to crate train her, teach her not to chew on my shoes and to leash train her.  By the time she was a year old, she didn't need a leash.  She always stayed right by my side, until the end really.  Anyways, after seeing her I was instantly smitten.  I asked the employee if I could hold her.  She seemed so hesitant seeing as I was quite young.  I don't blame her though...I was only 19, dressed most likely in jeans with holes in the knees and probably wreaked of cigarette smoke (a habit from my past I am not proud of).  But she did anyways.  She handed her to me, warning me that the puppy was very timid.  I could tell.  She clung on to me quite intensely, it was incredibly sweet.  I knew she was mine, and so I took her home.  She cost $65 which included her first set of vaccines (funny little memory).

Latti was a typical puppy, rambunctious and wild.  She chewed on the wood trim on the walls of our rental home, she chewed on my running shoes and bit my fingers when I played with her.  But she quickly learned.  And she quickly became my baby.  I took her everywhere with friends' houses, camping trips, trips back home to visit family, car rides running errands, walks and runs, everywhere.  I'm not sure how much my friends and family appreciated my wild dog running around but they were thankfully accepting.  (My parents weren't too happy about her seeing as they felt I wasn't responsible enough to have a dog.  Understandably so, I probably wasn't and dogs are like children, requiring a lot of attention.  But I learned quickly too.)

Over the years, Latti and I were on the move.  We lived in the mountains of Munds Park, AZ in a beautiful cabin.  Everyday, we went on adventures of exploration of our new surroundings.  I remember fondly of her pouncing through the deep snow like a deer while I followed behind in my snow shoes.  I remember romping in the pretty water sources throughout the mountains and just south near Sedona.  I remember never feeling lonely and feeling relatively safe because she was by my side despite the fact I lived alone for some time pretty much in the middle of nowhere.  We had a blast living in Arizona together...some of the best memories of my life were spent there with her.

We lived in Salt Lake City in between living in other places.  We also spent time in Kansas City where my parents lived.  She really enjoyed swimming in my folk's parents were awesome for letting her cool off in it!  We lived in Miami Beach, FL for about 6 months with my ex-husband.  She swam in the beautiful crystal ocean and ran around the beach like she owned the place.  She also experienced a nasty case of the fleas, no thanks to the possums that lived just outside our apartment. 

We spent time in my hometown of Bismarck, ND while I was briefly married to my ex.  She was a trooper despite the frigid winter temperatures of the upper north.  She was happy anywhere, really.

And we finally ended back in Salt Lake City, our permanent home.  We took many summer trips camping in the endless parks of Utah. I have our best memories lakeside in southern Utah at Lake Powell.  It was there we spent a ton of time with dear friends.  Latti was a huge water dog, never leaving it unless it was bedtime.  Even then, I remember early in the mornings when the sun was peeking out of the red rocks, she would quietly climb out of the small hole in the tent and I would hear her splashing around in the water.  My favorite memory, one I will NEVER forget, was a time when we decided to take a weekend trip to the lake.  As we approached the lake, Latti could smell the water.  She sat up in the backseat, something she never did, and realized where we were.  I rolled down her window and in an instant she had her front paws on the door with half her body out the window.  The minute the car stopped she jumped out and ran for it.  Those memories will always live on.  We were having adventures together, her happiness was my happiness and I have no doubt she felt the same.  Latti was my best friend, and I couldn't think of another whom I'd rather have shared these experiences with.

In Latti's golden years, we travelled a lot less.  I got remarried to the love of my life and we all settled down and began having children.  I regretfully watched as Latti got less and less attention from me as my children were born and grew older.  I always felt so guilty that we didn't spend as much time together but at the same time, I truly felt she understood.  She didn't have as much energy as she did when she was younger and preferred to lay on her bed most the day.  She became a bit arthritic, typical to her breed of dog.  Running with me was no longer fun for her, and every time I tried to coax her with her leash to go with me she cowardly stepped away from me.  I wasn't going to make her do something she no longer enjoyed so we stuck with her favorite sport, playing fetch.  Right around the time I had my first son, when Latti was about 10, she began getting these horrible fatty tumors.  I took her in to have the vet look at them to make sure that was all they were and was told that she was too old to have them removed (which I assumed).  The past 4 years, two of the tumors grew quite large in size...comparable to a large grapefruit.  I felt so bad for her but she never seemed to be affected by them, only noticeable to others.

Latti was a sweetheart with my children.  She never got cross with either of the boys for climbing all over her, interfering with her mealtime or even tugging on her ears.  After Jude was born, I saw, for the first time, her demeanor change to that of a true, loyal protector of the kids.  Whenever we played outside, she never left Jude's side.  She really enjoyed his company as he got older and put up with a lot from both boys.  Some days, I wasn't sure if her loyalty was more towards the boys because they were her family or because of all the food they kept giving her.  She was a lucky girl.

This past August, I awoke and went to let the dogs out to go to the bathroom like I did everyday and to my surprise, Latti couldn't walk on her own.  She kept falling over and was acting extremely sluggish.  After observing her for a few minutes, it appeared she had had a stroke.  She kept leaning and falling to her right side and was unable to eat or drink on her own.  It was heartbreaking to watch and even more to come to the realization that our time together was coming to a close.

After 24 hours of hoping she would get better and with the thought of euthanasia looming in my mind, I found out from my dear friend Heidi that dogs, unlike humans, can overcome strokes.  I took her to the vet the next day feeling a bit more confident with her condition but after he took one look at her, he said she most likely had a brain tumor which caused the stroke.  He taught me how to nurse her back to health but said if she didn't begin improving within a few days that it was time to put her to rest.  He really didn't believe it was possible seeing as she was riddled with tumors and very old.  I went home determined to prove to him and to us, of course, that we could overcome this obstacle.

I fed her soft food and water through a syringe all day long.  I had to carry her outside to the bathroom and coax her to want to walk, eat and drink.  I gave her 90% of my attention, gave her lots of love and snuggles and made her as comfortable as I could.  And within about a week, she had greatly improved.  Over the weeks, she behaved normal again except with the complete loss of hearing.  That was interesting to get used to, but completely okay.  I still had her with me, she seemed her normal chipper self again and I was going to make the best of the remaining time I had with her. 

She acted like a typical old dog, sleeping most the time and deaf.  But she didn't have a problem eating and going to the bathroom on her own and still liked to play in the yard, if only for a few minutes.  She was always excited when we got home and greeted us in her usual way.  She loved when company came over, especially those she knew.  She even had the opportunity to see my parents one last time over Thanksgiving.  We occasionally played fetch or frisbee, but she only lasted a couple of tosses.  I was happy for even that because I knew she still enjoyed the game.  November rolled around the corner where she would turn 14!  I was so proud of my baby girl living so long and felt incredibly lucky to have her all that extra time.  Just last weekend Friday, Latti played a little fetch outside with me, rolled in the grass like she loved to and ran around with the children.  Friday was a good day.  Saturday was not.  Unfortunately, when Saturday came, she took a turn for the worse.  Sunday I confirmed it in my mind and in my heart, she officially was feeling bad.

I could tell when Latti awoke she wasn't feeling well.  She stared at her food but couldn't seem to walk over to it to eat.  I tried to coax her into eating but with no response.  How sad it was to see her staring at her food, knowing she wanted it and needed it but without the willpower to do so.  Sunday morning she had an accident overnight and I had to clean dog beds and walls as well as bathe her.  I knew while giving her a washing that it would be our last.  She felt crummy, I could see it in her sad eyes.

On Monday, I hoped so much that she would eat or drink but her condition remained.  She lay on her bed, looking tired, almost defeated if you will.  I knew her body was giving out on her.  It was heartbreaking to say the least.  I finally got up the nerve to call her vet to ask if he made house calls.  I always knew I would never take her into the vet, a place that she was scared of, and put her to sleep.  Like everyone else wishes for their own beloved pets, I hoped she would die naturally at home, peacefully.  But I couldn't let her die with so much pain and suffering.  After finding out the vet did not make house calls nor did he have any openings for a few days, I knew I couldn't wait.  They referred me to a woman who did make house calls and I called her immediately.

I made the appointment for Tuesday morning while my husband took the boys to school so I could be alone with Latti.  What a dreary, dreadfully sad morning it was.  My heart was breaking.  I couldn't believe I was holding it together until my family left the home.  This really wonderful woman/vet came to our home where Latti was comfortable and felt safe.  She was sweet, loving and respectful to both Latti and I, and I couldn't have asked for a more appropriate experience.  She administered a drug like morphine first so Latti wouldn't feel any more pain.  In fact, she was so relaxed, she sweetly fell asleep laying her head in my hands and in my lap as I stroked her and told her how much I loved her.  After about 15 minutes, she was put to rest with me by her side, lovingly holding her beautiful little face.  I was relieved that my baby girl was no longer suffering.  I wrapped her in a soft blanket, gave her a kiss on her cheek and I said my final good bye to my sweet and loving dog on Tuesday, December 4th at 9 am.  Latti was cremated and returned to me two days later.  For years I planned on burying her in our backyard under my favorite tree but realized that our current home is not our forever home and that if I had buried her here, I would never leave.  So I opted to cremate her.  That way, she will be with me wherever I may go.  I also have big plans on returning part of her to a few of our favorite places we spent together.

The grieving process has been really difficult for me.  I want to be selfish and say I wish Latti was still alive but life doesn't work that way.  I miss so much about Latti that I can't hold back the tears.  Every time I walk into the kitchen I keep thinking she is going to be right there.  I turn a corner and expect her to be staring up at me but she isn't.  I miss the road trips where Latti laid right behind me, excited about where we were headed.  I miss her soft fur and the way she nuzzled her head into me.  I even miss having to vacuum up her fur all over the floor every morning, something I loathed when she was alive because she shed SO MUCH.

I put her doggy dish away today and set up the room where the dogs used to lie together in a different way.  Yesterday, I picked up her toys outside and put them back in the basket, wondering if they will ever get played with again.  Latti's departure is nothing less than the end of an era in my life.  I think to myself that even though her departure from this world is difficult, I take solace in remembering all of our beautiful times together, filled with adventure and love.  I know in my heart that someday we will meet again.  She will always be in my heart and I am grateful for the life we had together.  Writing this memoir has been a strong part of my healing process.  I really wanted to put all of my thoughts into words before time would pass and I'd begin to forget the little things about our time spent together.  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share our story.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Mia Mariu Skin Care and Cosmetics Review

I had the lovely opportunity to review some products from Mia Mariu's skin care line and cosmetic line.  I am always interested in great products that care for my skin without damaging it and enjoy using make-up from time to time when going out on a night on the town or for that special occassion.  Who doesn't?!  And even though my husband says I don't need make-up, I know that he secretly likes it when I get dolled up just for him...

Mia Mariu cosmetics is a Dallas based company that socially sells natural health and beauty products online and through independant advisors.  With the help of my lovely Mom, we reviewed 5 Mia Mariu products:
  • Hydrating Stick Gloss in two shades, Beso and Encanto
  • Luminous Lip gloss
  • Anti-Aging Brightening Serum
  • Hydrating Moisturizer with SPF 30+ sample
  • Microdermabrasion set sample
And below is my review of the products:


Hydrating Stick Gloss

Product Description:
Our Hydrating Stick Gloss is a revolutionary hydrating product combining color and hydrating gloss in a stick form. Contains Vitamins A, C and E to nourish your lips as well as minerals and anti-oxidants to protect your lips.

I love this stick gloss for my lips.  The gloss goes on smooth and creamy without over doing it.  Typically stick gloss makes my lips feel dry but Mia Mariu's gloss left my lips feeling moisturized.  I also did not notice my lips dry after wearing the gloss for a few hours.  My choice color is the "encanto" since my lips already have a natural darker pigment to them.  Cost is $15. 

Luminous Lip Gloss

Product Description:
Sparkling shine in a vitamin rich hydrating formula gives your lips an irresistible look. Contains Vitamin A, C and E to nourish your lips. 

Again, I feel the same way about the Luminous Lip Gloss as I do about the Hydrating Stick Gloss.  It leaves my lips feeling moisturized without feeling sticky like many lip glosses do.  It's great for everyday use, which is what I use it for.  It sits in my car or in my purse so everytime I go anywhere I apply it for the day.  Cost is $13.  I'm not sure if I would pay this much for this product not because I don't think it's worth it but because there are comparable products out there that are cheaper.

Anti-Aging Brightening Serum

Product Description:
Bye-bye, dark spots and wrinkles! A must-have age-defying serum that targets sun spots and pigmentation while brightening overall skin clarity. This serum contains anti-aging peptides, skin-brightening botanicals, Aloe and Vitamin B5 Complex to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Suitable for all skin types, non-irritating, oil-free. Use AM and PM.

My beautiful mother reviewed Mia Mariu's Anti-Aging Brightening Serum for me.  She applied it under her makeup on a clean face and apreciated the effect it had on the appearance of her fine lines and sun spots.  It contains Aloe and Vitamin B5, two very important ingredients for maintaining healthy skin.  I've seen other products that claim to have the same results but that cost a bit more than Mia Mariu's cost of only $38.  My mother said this is a great product at a great price!

Hydrating Moisturizer with SPF 30+ Sample

Product Description:
Stop UV rays and free radicals in their tracks! Daily protection from the sun is critical to fighting the aging process. Our Hydrating Anti-Aging Moisturizer with SPF 30+ is a luxuriously rich age-fighting moisturizer. This revolutionary formula protects your skin by blocking damaging UVA and UVB rays while also stopping free radical damage. Infused with soothing Green Tea extract, White Birch Bark extract, Pomegranate extract and Vitamins A and E, this antioxidant powerhouse moisturizer helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, leaving your skin nourished and with a more youthful appearance. Suitable for all skin types, non-irritating, oil-free. Use AM.

This facial moisturizer is wonderful for my skin!  It kept my skin feeling hydrated without appearing oily and since I live in an arid environment, a great moisturizer is key!  I love the long list of natural ingredients and it's especially great for sun protection.  A 1.7 oz tub cost $44 which is a good price for such a great product.  I recommend this!

Restauracel-C Thermal Microdermabrasion Set Sample

Product Description:
Discover a new skin!. This fabulous set of two products is your gentle at home alternative to microdermabrasion. RestauraCel-C delivers dramatic skin restoration benefits with our powerful Vitamin C micro resurfacing spheres plus deep thermal action that warms the skin to help open, purify and minimize pores as well as remove dead skin cells aiding in the penetration of other products. Suitable for all skin types, non-irritating, oil-free.

This is the first time I've tried a skin care treatment such as this on my face.  To be honest, I'm not sure I'm the right candidate for such a product.  I have sensitive skin and although the ingredients that aid in the removal of dead skin cells are okay to use, it didn't sit well with my skin type.  I used the product and loved how my skin felt, especially the following day.  But I noticed some unusal breakouts a few days later and wonder if it didn't upset my skin a bit.  So I waited a few weeks and tried the product again but with the same results.  If you are interested and in the market for  an in home microdermabrasion set I recommend Mia Mariu's product a try.  Cost is $55.

None of the above products have been reviewed on the EWG Cosmetic's Database.

A big thank you to Mia Mariu for the opportunity to review some of their great skin care and cosmetic products.  Reviews like this are always so much fun as I get combine my expertise as a past model with being a mother looking for ways to care for my skin while looking and feeling good.

~Mommy Bridget

Disclaimer: Mia Mariu provided me with free samples of their producst to review, and I was under no obligation to review them if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for free product.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Labelling young Children Part III: Telling Our Story

I'm not sure if I have the time to write everything I want regarding labelling our children.  There may be a part IV to this so I can better explain our story.  As many of you already know, we had some struggles the first few years with our son Park's development and behavior.  Park didn't meet the important milestones of communication with us and socially grew distracted.  It was suggested he was autistic so we didn't waste anytime and began working diligently with communication as well as enrolled him in the Early Intervention Program.  He was subjected to rigorous testing but no one was able to find for sure any delays or disorders other than his speech.  Meanwhile, my husband and I reassessed his environment, took a better look at what he was eating and whether there was something else going on.  After many changes in Park's diet, we felt he was going to be okay and that there was nothing wrong with our son.   I was unhappy with his pediatrician and unhappy with a lot of aspects of our country's over willingness to label our children without first asking the most obvious questions: What does he eat?  Are there stresses at home?  Could Park's social behavior be caused from his inability to communicate?  Could his vaccines caused his odd behavior?  We were fortunate, really fortunate that Park continued to progress positively.  And Park is really fortunate that he has parents like us who aren't willing to accept a label without doing a little homework first.

I've blogged about our experience with Park quite a bit.  The whole reason I began my blog was to find an outlet for my struggles with Park and as a mother.  I'm not one of those sugar coated moms who pretends their kids are perfect and that I'm the perfect mother.  I definitely have made some choices as a parent I regret and my kids aren't perfect.  But as a mother, I'm not willing to let a pediatrician or a psychologist or another mommy friend tell me that my child is autistic because he likes to play with trains or that he is "just fine" when I've always known Park had an internal struggle going on that was causing his behaviors and inability to communicate like other children his age.  My husband and I have strong feelings about what we think caused Park's developmental delays but that's not the point I want to get into today.  What I want to say is that there is an epidemic going on in our country's youth and it's sickening and tragic.  While I don't disagree that some labels have tremendously helped some children, I firmly believe we are over-diagnosing, over-prescribing and over-compensating for the unhealthy environment we are bringing our children into.

I was contacted by a mother and writer this past summer about interviewing my family about the pros and cons of labelling children.  She asked many questions about our story and I was more than willing to divulge it all.  This is why I write my blog.  I want to tell others about our story not only to give a little hope to other struggling parents but to let them know there are other ways to help our children other than the usual doctor-diagnosis-prescibing meds route. 

While the story about the pros and cons of labelling children was good, I was disappointed in how our story was portrayed in the article that came out in the October issue of Parenting magazine.  I would post the link to the article but it still isn't up on their web site.  I will as soon as it's up.  Anyways, if you read the article you will think that all we did with Park was remove dairy from his diet and within 5 days he was healed.  Although we did remove dairy from his diet, it wasn't until 3 months after he was tested for autism that we did this.  We did many things to help Park, that being one of them but not the only thing.  I want to make that clear because I'd hate for other parents in the same situation to think that could be the magic cure because it wasn't.  Yes, we found Park had a strong dairy intolerance (the type of allergy that can affect behavior) but he was also eating a snack that had food coloring, I worked very hard with him at home, we did heavy metal cleanses with him and most of all, we had specialists work with him and his communication for an entire year. 

After the story came out, I was contacted by the Today Show who picked up the story which was aired today.  I was initially interviewed as a parent who is against labels.  They wanted to fly out to interview me but didn't because I didn't accept a label for Park and worked hard to cleanse his body and environment first.  We were fortunate that we were correct in our actions, I also know some children greatly benefit from the label.  And I guess you could also say that without Park's label as "speech delayed" he would have never qualified for services within the Early Intervention program so in a way, his label was a good thing.  Because I was on the mend about labels, they decided to drop my story.  I was disappointed that I didn't get to tell our whole story but at least I get to on here:)  If telling our story affects even one family positively then I'm satisfied!  Click on the link below to view the story that aired this morning on the Today Show:


I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be interviewed and to share our story.  For me, this is the best thing that could have ever come out of my blog and truly my reason for doing it.  Thank you for following my blog and please message me if you have any more questions about our story.  I'm more than happy to share!

~Mommy Bridget