Month: May 2015

What is a “High-Risk Pregnancy”?


Now, let me start off by saying that my pregnancy was not considered uneventful, but I also don’t personally consider it a “high risk” one, either. Sure, the last 4 weeks of my pregnancy were spent on early dismissal from the demands of ICU bedside nursing, and yes I saw a high-risk fetal medicine doctor every single week for being on “pre-eclampsia watch.” After my weekly OB appointment, I was sent downstairs to the docs with the big guns. They hooked me up to the external fetal monitoring set-up (for those who want technical terms: the tocodynamometer which measures uterine contractions/activity and the ultrasound transducer to monitor baby’s heart rate) then brought me into the ultrasound room for a quick scan to measure the placenta and amniotic fluid levels. But, after each appointment, everything seemed completely on track. I didn’t necessarily “feel” high-risk, even though we were labeled as such. 

That was me. However, going into a routine run-of-the-mill OB appointment can quickly turn any soon-to-be parent to panic-mode once your OB says with that concerned-but-trying-to-still-sound-upbeat tone, “well, just to be sure, we’re going to send you to high-risk fetal medicine to run some tests to make sure that {insert reason for concern} is okay…” Your OB may want you to see them immediately, the same day, or no later than the next day. Either way, thoughts of panic begin to flood your mind as the room starts spinning and you feel your face turn flush with anxiety. As your heart begins to race, you think to yourself, well if the baby’s heart rate wasn’t high enough before, it certainly must be NOW!

So What Does it Mean to be Considered “High Risk”? Continue reading

Intro to #SummerofDad & Week One

Blog Post SoDW1


So, Jeni did a great job introducing me, how we met, and how we came about the #SummerofDad idea. In the last (nearly) 10 years (!) since Jeni and parted ways after graduating from Purdue, I’ve done a lot of things.

I’ve traveled to Costa Rica, Greece, and throughout the US. I worked as a pharmaceutical research coordinator for a couple of years. I applied to grad school a bunch of times (three, to be exact) and even moved to New York City to attend a physical therapy doctoral program. But I dropped out after a few weeks. Luckily, a girl I knew (and liked) moved up from Austin that summer, too. So instead of heading back home, I decided to stay and hang tough in the city and see about a girl. Also, I decided that, since I didn’t know what I wanted to do for graduate school, I needed to try something different: so I got into publishing.

During my four years in New York, two amazing dreams came true: I got to work in publishing for a couple of years at Penguin/Viking (as well as some other very cool places); that girl (Jenny-with-a-y) became my best friend, partner-in-crime, the love of my life, and then my wife. We got married in Austin in 2012 and in 2013 we did an amazing 6-week backpacking trip through Turkey and Greece for our belated honeymoon. About the time we got married I was realizing that publishing wasn’t working for me. Though I love writing, I wanted to get back into science. I learned about genetic counseling and applied — 3rd time’s a charm — for grad school. I ended up getting into my top program at Johns Hopkins and the NIH.

The big life changes kept coming, because almost exactly a year after being accepted, in June 2014, my son Gabriel was born. This past year has been quite a challenge, balancing grad school, family, and my wife’s writing career. I also write, and have published fiction pieces in various places, but most recently I’ve been writing for the National Human Genome Research Institute’s Genome Advance of the Month, where we try to explain interesting developments in genetics research! 

So onto the post for this week…

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A Guest Writer Comes to Little Sproutings!

Blog Post Intro to Kyle 5.28.15

So I’ve been a little MIA lately, because I’ve been dedicating my energy and little spare time I have when Jia is asleep, to job searching (when it’s not collapsing on the couch and indulging in DVR’d episodes of Inside Amy Schumer after intently staring at the monitor until I know Jia’s “out for the count”). I needed some time to send out resumes and schedule phone calls without the pressure of my self-made deadlines to publish my intense research posts here on Little Sproutings. 

So the News!…

So I am very excited to share with you some news that has been in the works for a couple of months – my good college friend, Kyle Davis, will be guest posting here on the blog! Kyle and I first met when we both rushed our honor fraternity, Phi Sigma Pi, back in the Spring of 2003 (I am pretty sure it’s 2003) at Purdue University. We made an instant connection – we were both goofballs with a lot of energy. It didn’t matter if he was studying psychology and I majored in dietetics, or that aside from PSP, we didn’t have a whole lot in common. After weeks of pledging into PSP, a couple philanthropic road trips as a group, and many honor fraternity-hosted events around campus, we became good buddies with an obnoxiously silly handshake and penchant for going out dancing at the Neon Cactus and singing song lyrics at the top of our lungs while gyrating in 1920’s costumes. 

Continue reading

What’s She Doing Wednesday: Stack ’em Up!

WSDW 5.20.15.coverSince I’m taking a break from the research posts I publish on Saturdays, I figure I should still write a short update on what Jia’s been up to. These posts are a lot easier to write since I don’t have to go digging through research journals, evidence-based practice recommendations/best practices, etc. 

What she’s been doing in the past week:

  • She starts kissing the doggies by smacking her lips and chasing after them while making her kissy noises. So cute! 
  • Poor Puggies. Pug kisses aside, she is starting to find entertainment in pulling the pugs’ tails and grabbing their feet – Kona is particularly perturbed by this new activity, but he’s a good boy and knows when to walk away. 
  • She can stack her wooden tower (cover photo) finally! Before, she would just remove all the wooden parts but now she’s discovered she can stack them onto the peg. No they’re not in order, but baby steps!
  • She knows the word “rabbit,” so when I say “where’s your rabbit?” she’ll look around the room and grab this squishy little light-up rabbit toy my grandmother got her for Easter, and bring it over to me. 
  • My mother-in-law bought Jia an inflatable Spray ‘N Splash pool from Buy Buy Baby on sale for a cheap $14 and I finally blew it up yesterday since it was a hot upper 80s/low 90s day out and I didn’t want to drive anywhere. So I filled it up with the hose out in the front yard and she had so much fun splashing and going down the slide! At first she hesitated because it was strange, but after a few tries, she soon wasn’t eager to hold onto my hands and would try to thrust herself down the slide on her own. The zebra on ours sprays when hooked up to the hose, but I detached it soon after we had it going, since the spray was a little much (I’d already filled the pool, so additional spraying would over-fill the pool. Anyway I highly recommend this pool, with a manual air pump it was exhausting but way worth it! Don’t try to inflate it with your mouth, you’ll pass out I’m pretty positive. 
  • Eating is getting better. Broccoli, mango, pot roast, chicken shu mai (from Trader Joe’s), and really getting used to smoked salmon in her eggs. She also loves toast with breakfast, because we usually have toast, so I butter hers up with some unsalted Kerry Gold organic and give her a half of a piece. We have to give her white whole wheat bread, because I think she may struggle a bit with our high fiber bread… and she poops enough! 
  • Weaning: finally on full concentration cow’s milk, but we’ll continue to give her breast milk that I have frozen, for during meals (mixed with a little cow’s milk). Still nursing in the morning and before bedtime, but I’ve finally stopped pumping before I go to bed, which completely is a relief to me! I love not having to pump! So exhilarating being able to just go to bed without having to stay up to pump at 11 PM. (It was my own doing, requiring myself a pre-bedtime pump session)

For me: Continue reading

What’s She Doing Wednesday: Happy B-Day Mom!

WSDW 5.13.15 Mothers Day

Mother’s Day 2015

I had this vision for writing this Mother’s Day post as a letter to my mom for last weekend’s Sproutings Saturday but I decided to give myself a break since I’ve been so so tired. Makes me think I need to get some bloodwork done to see if there’s a reason why I’m so exhausted all the time. Anyway, so I wanted to post a photo like this for that post, but since it didn’t happen I’m just going to use it for this post! Oh so my intentions for this week are to write a post about lipase in breastmilk and how it affects some babies, or about what the research says about breastfeeding and trying to get pregnant. But, I gotta be honest again – I’m recovering from a brush with pesticide poisoning and my head doesn’t even want to write this post but I’m fighting against my desire to cuddle up with my pillow but I’ll write this anyway. 

Continue reading

What’s She Doing Wednesday: Arf Arf!

WSDW 5.6.15 Arf ArfI’m trying to be better at remembering all the things she’s been doing but it’s hard. Nowadays it’s because I would usually write it down in my “reminders” app in my phone, but now since she insists on listening or watching Little Baby Bum on my phone, I often forget before I have the chance to jot it down. So this is what I can remember for this week: Continue reading

Weaning from Breastfeeding

Blog Post 5.3.15 Weaning from BF recenteredSo, I was going to delay this topic for an unknown length of time because I wanted to write about other things – like, the nutritional changes breastmilk goes through after your baby is 12 months old, the physiological changes that toddlers undergo to indicate readiness to start potty training, etc. because I planned on nursing Jia until she was 18 months old. 

But, since I’m getting a bit anxious to get my body back to myself I figured – hey – as long as I was reading up on it, may as well write about it!  (And besides, we clocked in an entire 14.5 months of 4 nursing sessions a day.)

First Things First – What’s Recommended? Continue reading

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