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Showing posts from 2016

LSU CCT: Components 2015-2016

As a contractor I wrote and edited the Louisiana State University's Center for Computation & Technologies' Components magazine for 2015-2016. Download the PDF here.

Life Among Women: Receive Greetings from the White House

You’ll probably receive a lot of congratulatory cards from your family and friends when your baby is born. But did you know you can get a welcome to the world card from the president and first lady for your baby?

The card is a nice keepsake, and regardless of your politics how cool is it to have a note from the leader of the free world (or at least his office)?

Read the rest on the Woman's Hospital "Life Among Women" blog. (Called Mommy-Go-Round when first published.)

Life Among Women: To Doula or Not To Doula, That is the Question

The answer is easy – YES!

I’ve had two pregnancies ending in two beautiful daughters. The birth experiences were vastly different though, for many reasons.

With my first pregnancy, I read so many books and prepared myself as best I could to have a natural birth. I ended up choosing a C-section 24 hours after induced labor without much progress. My doctor recommended the surgery because of fears of the size of my baby, who was estimated to weigh more than ten and a half pounds. She was born weighing 9 lb 10 oz, and I was devastated by my choice. My support system was my husband, and while we both agreed what we wanted as far as birth went, we didn’t equip ourselves with the tools to make it happen in the face of medical suggestions.

I knew I wanted things different for my second baby’s birth, specifically a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). While I wasn’t opposed to a C-section if necessary, I felt like my first surgery hadn’t actually been necessary in hindsight. What I…

Life Among Women: Life After Gestational Diabetes

My experience with gestational diabetes wasn’t all bad, although I certainly wish it hadn’t been so long. Because I was diagnosed at 17 weeks and my pregnancy lasted nearly 42 weeks, I tested my blood sugar and maintained a strict diet for 25 weeks, or more than six months. It was so long that I completely filled the tracking log and had to make my own pages for the last few weeks. Good grief.

During labor, my blood sugar was tested every six hours. I didn’t have regular food intake, so the tests weren’t timed to two hours after eating. In fact, the numbers were usually higher than the 120 two hours after eating limit that I’d stuck to for those six months. Hearing the higher numbers stressed me out, but they were fine because they could be explained by juice or other intake. And I think they were testing more to be sure I didn’t bottom out.

Read the rest at Woman's Hospital's "Life Among Women" blog. (Called Mommy-Go-Round when first published.)

Life Among Women: Bringing Home Baby #2

What a difference nearly four and a half years of parenting experience makes. Bringing home our second daughter has been very different from our first.

With my first baby, I was meticulous with writing things down. For the first six weeks of her life, I wrote down every nursing session – side and time – and every wet and dirty diaper. It started in the hospital and so seemed important, and I like data so I kept that notebook up-to-date. I finally stopped because we were traveling for Christmas and it was too hard to keep up with it while visiting and staying away from home.

Read the rest on Woman's Hospital's "Life Among Women" blog. (Called Mommy-Go-Round when first published.)

Life Among Women: A Mama’s Choice: Getting Started Breastfeeding

Before I was pregnant with my second daughter, I read a book called “The Wife,” and copied down this quote:

“Whenever I was nursing, I felt as if there was nothing else in the world I needed to be doing. It didn’t matter to me in those moments that I had no career of my own, no standing in the world. I was a nursing mother, and that was all I had to be.”

The book wasn’t that great, and I certainly don’t feel like I have no standing in the world or career of my own. But I loved this quote because being a nursing mother was so important to my identity as a mother when my first daughter was small. It’s proving to be true for my younger daughter as well.

Read the rest on Woman's Hospital's "Life Among Women" blog. (Called Mommy-Go-Round when first published.)

Life Among Women: Our Jaundice Experience

Both my daughters had jaundice, a condition in which the baby’s blood contains too much bilirubin and makes her skin and eyes appear yellow. My older daughter’s jaundice resolved itself on its own, but my younger daughter born at the end of March had a more severe case. She had a lot of risk factors – exclusively breastfed, larger baby (born 10 lbs, 8 oz.) and our blood types were incompatible, which seemed to be the thing that worried the pediatrician the most.

Read the rest at Woman's Hospital's "Life Among Women" blog. (Was called Mommy-Go-Round when originally published.)

Life Among Women: My Birth Story - A Successful VBAC at Woman's

Despite everything stacking up against my desire for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) – previous big baby, ultrasound estimating an even bigger baby, being overdue and having gestational diabetes – I was ultimately successful and delivered my second daughter vaginally.

I knew I was having a big baby. My first was 9 lbs, 10 oz, and ultrasounds late in the pregnancy were predicting an 11+ lb second baby. I knew in my heart that she wasn’t quite that big, especially given my strict diet and lack of weight gain (thanks, gestational diabetes!).

Read the rest at Woman's Hospital's Life Among Women blog. (Called Mommy-Go-Round when first published.)

Life Among Women: A Baby is Coming! Sibling Class at Woman’s Hospital

Our four-year-old daughter is very excited about becoming a big sister, and she’s maintained a very positive attitude about the new baby since we told her around week 12 of the pregnancy. (We didn’t tell anyone else before her, since it impacts her more than pretty much anyone else.) It’s good that we’re expecting another girl, since she suggested we just “pretend it’s a girl baby if we have a boy baby.”

So far my daughter hasn’t been around many babies, but when she is she loves them. We also haven’t had much reason to visit the hospital, so we knew that the sibling preparation class at Woman’s Hospital would be a great idea. We signed up for the A Baby is Coming class a couple months before our due date.

Read the rest on Woman's Hospital's "Life Among Women" blog. (Called Mommy-Go-Round when published.)

Life Among Women: GD Diaries: I Just Want a Cookie!

As I am rounding the bend to the end of this pregnancy and my experience with gestational diabetes (and hopefully diabetes all together – unless I should ever become pregnant again), I find myself wanting a cookie more than ever. Both literally and metaphorically.

I have worked very hard to maintain my blood glucose levels, and so far my readings have been well managed with diet and exercise. I can’t speak to the experience of insulin-controlled diabetes or how that changes things, but my experience with diet-controlled GD has produced an obsession with food and eating, although hopefully it’s improved my relationship to see food more as simply fuel. But I’ll be honest, I still have carb and sweets cravings and know it would be a slippery slope to falling back into the food-as-comfort attitude I’ve had most of my life.

Read the rest on Woman's Hospital's "Life Among Women" blog. (Called Mommy-Go-Round when first published.)

Life Among Women: Things I’ve Missed During My Pregnancy with Gestational Diabetes

All pregnant women miss some foods and drink that are on the verboten list such as sushi, wine and cold sandwiches. I miss those things too, but I have an even longer list of “wish I could haves.” Here are just a few I’ve been thinking about.

In addition to the raw fish aspect of sushi I can’t even work in a California roll because of the white rice that would spike my blood sugar. My mouth is watering just thinking of it. I also haven’t really been able to eat other Asian foods – Thai especially is too carb heavy, and I can manage Chinese if I just do steamed veggies and a non-fried meat dish (much less tasty than what I’m really craving – I’ll tell you that!).

Read the rest on Woman's Hospital's "Life Among Women" blog. (Called Mommy-Go-Round when published.)

Life Among Women: Preparing for VBAC with Gestational Diabetes

When I was pregnant in 2011 I had a desk job, and as my due date neared my assignments decreased to the point of sheer boredom. I joked that I was able to “finish reading the Internet” because I had so much time on my hands. That’s not the case this pregnancy; although I do work freelance jobs at a computer I also am taking care of my preschooler and bound by her schedule. I still have found myself around week 30 of the pregnancy beginning to get serious about how to get this baby out and researching childbirth methods again in earnest.

My first birth story makes me weep. I’m so glad that I wrote it down, because already I’ve forgotten many of the details even if some of the heart pains have stayed excruciatingly with me. Looking back, I’d probably make the same decision now. After more than 24 hours of induced labor and very little progress, warnings of a “big baby” and “permanent nerve damage,” my husband and I chose to take our doctor’s advice and have a C-section. It…

Life Among Women: Gestation Diabetes Diary: The Home Stretch!

I’m writing this one week away from my estimated due date, so no matter what, I’m in the home stretch of this pregnancy. Although it’s been true since the beginning, each day brings me closer to birthing and meeting my daughter. I can’t wait!

It also means I’m in the home stretch of gestational diabetes – hallelujah! I’ve worked very hard to manage my blood glucose levels, and I didn’t miss a single test until last week. I woke up and started getting my older daughter ready for preschool and just didn’t do the fasting test. It was the weirdest thing, as I didn’t even realize the mistake until I tested two hours after breakfast and saw I was missing a number in my record book. The morning fasting test is the worst one to skip, but the sky didn’t fall and all is well. I think one missed test out of hundreds isn’t too bad, and my numbers have been so good that it isn’t really an issue. The data nerd in me is disappointed to have a less-than-perfect record!

Read the rest on

Life Among Women: I Bought a Diaper Bag and a Car Seat – It’s Getting Real

I’m not a first-time mom, so I haven’t spent much of this pregnancy poring over listicles of “things you need” and “things you don’t need” to bring home a new baby. It may be false confidence, but I think we can handle it. Although there still are a few things we need to buy.

One thing we definitely needed was a car seat, since the car seat we brought our first daughter home in is a convertible model (Britax Marathon) that four years later she’s still using! Luckily Target has pretty good baby clearance in January, and I managed to get the updated version of my firstborn’s car seat for $90 off. SCORE!


One thing I definitely don’t need is another bag...

Read the rest on Woman's Hospital's "Life Among Women" blog. (Called Mommy-Go-Round when published.)

Life Among Women: A Supposedly Fun Thing (or Why Movie Tavern & Gestational Diabetes Do Not Mix)

Date nights are rare in my house. We’ve never taken the time to find a regular babysitter, and our families live more than a day’s drive away. So when we have family stay with us we take advantage and sneak away for dinner and a movie. Since the new Movie Tavern opened near our house we decided after Christmas to check it out while my mom and sister were in town and willing to watch our daughter for the evening. We saw this Star Wars movie everyone was talking about.

We picked a 7:10 p.m. showing. It’s an hour after my normal dinner time, but I ate a late snack and figured I would be OK if I could eat around then. Of course that’s not how things go.

Read the rest on Woman's Hospital's "Life Among Women" blog. (Called Mommy-Go-Round when published.)

Life Among Women: Patient Perspective: Blood Glucose Testing for Gestational Diabetes

I’m not really needle averse, but poking my finger 4+ times a day is not my idea of a good time. And I had a rough experience at the lab with the blood draws for the glucose screening tests that left one of my arms bruised for weeks to really add insult to injury for the diagnosis.


Although the meter, test strips and lancets are self-explanatory and I had great instruction from the Woman’s Diabetes Center nurse educator, I still had some trial-and-error to get the testing correct. My first time testing on my own I had trouble getting enough blood on the strip so I wasted three or four. Now I rarely make that mistake, and just re-stab myself if I can’t get enough blood from the first prick. I haven’t run out of strips yet so I hope they factor in a few error strips in each vial.

Read the rest on Woman's Hospital's "Life Among Women" blog. (Called Mommy-Go-Round when published.)

Life Among Women: The GD Diet

After I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 17 weeks I assumed I’d be following a low carbohydrate diet. I have experience with that from the South Beach diet that I used before my first pregnancy and smart carb dieting recommended by the staff of the Metabolic Clinic while I successfully managed my insulin resistance and tried to get pregnant a second time.


The GD diet (can stand for gestational diabetes or the other words, in my opinion) is not low carb. It’s very specific about how many carbs you eat at what time and in combination with protein-rich foods to help your body better process the carbs and keep your blood glucose in range. It’s restrictive but mostly manageable. I’m hungry almost all the time, but I eat every few hours so at least I’m not STARVING all the time.

Read the rest on Woman's Hospital's "Life Among Women" blog. (Called Mommy-Go-Round when published.)

Life Among Women: What to Expect at Your First Diabetes Center Visit

I met with Ellie, a diabetes nurse educator, and Sara, a dietitian, at the Woman’s Hospital Diabetes Center about a week after I failed the three-hour glucose test. I was surprised when I called to schedule the appointment that someone actually answered the phone – there’s no answering service like I’m used to with my doctor’s office.

I was instructed to bring my glucose meter and supplies with me. I had a lot of trouble getting those from the pharmacy because my insurance would only pay for a specific brand (or at least that’s what my pharmacist thought). I ended up getting a name brand machine, meaning the test strips are more expensive. But so far insurance is covering that so other than the initial hassle that was OK.

Read the rest at Woman's Hospital's "Life Among Women" blog. (Called Mommy-Go-Round when published.)

Life Among Women: Gestational Diabetes Diary

Gestational diabetes is just what it sounds like – diabetes that arises during gestation. It’s usually diagnosed with a glucose challenge (the dreaded orange drink test) around week 24-28 of the pregnancy. Most women pass the test no problem and continue with their normal pregnancies. (That’s what happened to me with my first pregnancy in 2011 – no GD and a healthy, full-term baby girl.)

Because of my risk factors – obesity and diagnosed insulin resistance and PCOS – I was tested early at week 17 of my second pregnancy. After I failed the one hour glucose challenge I had to take the longer three-hour glucose screening. I failed that too so officially had a diagnosis of gestational diabetes in early October. Because it was caught so early that means I have twice as long to monitor my eating and test my blood sugar four times a day than a normal diagnosis around week 28. Woe!

Read the rest on Woman's Hospital's "Life Among Women" blog. (Called Mommy-Go-Round…