I Have Moved!

…my blog home that is! Come and join me with your favourite cuppa or flat white in my new space!

M O M M Y    O R    M U M M Y

See you there!

Erika

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How do moms find time to blog?

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I definitely want to document my journey of motherhood and my baby growing up, but man, finding the time to do it seems impossible. Thankfully and not so thankfully, I have been in bed the past few days nursing my health back after a Laparoscopic Myomectomy and there just seems like a never-ending list of things to know in the world of blogging. Thankfully, I have a few friends that have been giving me nuggets of gold…in the blogging sense. Thank you for saving me some time because you know I don’t have much of it!

I have just joined bloglovin’ and here I am trying to test out my first attempt at writing a post through this platform. It didn’t work. I joined bloglovin’ because I really enjoy reading other stories on womanhood, motherhood, parenting, faith, eczema, interior design…the list does not end people. I probably don’t have the time to sit there and leisurely read, but for 2 minutes, I’ll believe I do. So far, I’m loving having all the blogs in one place, but I’m reading some posts about why some bloggers choose not to use it as well. What are your thoughts?

 

 

 

Embracing The ‘creative’ Again

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Last April, this was on my parents doorstep on the day I was leaving New York to return to the UK. Just opening this beauty from my friend at Logos_Calligraphy already had me tearing. Just look at it, it’s beautiful isn’t it?!

I teared because eventhough England is home for now, NY is still home. Each time I return, I feel like I am home. However, I also feel the distance growing between that feeling each time I visit. Less familiarity, less friends physically present as their own lives take them further away from New York, and less memories growing. What was once a place that had memories growing continuously has now stopped growing to only have sporadic ones. It’s a sad reality for me to accept and quite a scary one I have to admit. As more time passes, while it has become easier to keep in touch with family because of our seasons and technology, it has become harder to keep up with friends. Leaving NY is always an emotional affair which has changed since having strawberry shortcake. I now focus on the practicality and efficiency of traveling with a baby, now toddler. So I don’t really have the time to be crying as I see NY fade below me. But the last few days leading up to my departure is always tough for me and husband knows. He’s great at checking in with me to see how I’m doing and whether I need a listening ear.

SO with that as the backdrop, you can imagine how I felt receiving this to take back with me. It was precious. Initially, I had wanted to use this to practice writing signs and party decor for strawberry shortcake’s 1st birthday party/Dohl. With moving home three days after returning to the UK, the party 2 weeks after that and family flying over, I was in way over my head. I stared at it with loving eyes, opened it once and had to put it away until everything else got sorted.It’s been 6 months since! Fast forward to today and this would be my third time actually using it.

Background on my friend: She’s one of those friends you know you will always have a quality conversation with. We went to the same junior high school yet only knew of each other. It wasn’t until we reunited after college when we ended up serving at the same church. She’s been ahead of me in the world of marriage and motherhood. During the short time we served together, she was an encouragement. We haven’t been able to keep in touch very well as she now lives in California and I now live in the UK. I remember giving her a call the day her firstborn arrived. It’s not something I normally do or have ever done since then, but something in me was really compelled to do so. Perhaps a small outward expression of appreciation for our friendship and shared joy of her beginning her motherhood journey. I really do wish we could meet up and have a conversation over coffee, although now with three little ones between us…I’d be curious to see how long that conversation would last!

I’ve been asking her for years whether she’d be starting an online course and she HAS! I was super excited until life got super busy and I totally misread the registration deadline! But honestly, I am thankful I did miss it as it has been such a busy season. I feel like I say this all the time, but it really has been. I was hoping to work on it post-surgery while I rested in bed, but I sense God wants me to rest in Him. I will be reading, studying and filling my soul with his Word. But I can’t wait to sign up for the online course the next time it’s up!

Check her blog out to find out when that next one comes!

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‘Grace upon Grace’. It’s everywhere on Pinterest and I loved it. A little piece I wrote when I was pregnant for Strawberry Shortcake’s nursery. It was to remind me of God’s grace and a reminder to teach little one about it. With every stroke of my attempt at hand lettering, grace would also be in that.

Why I’m Embracing The ‘creative’ With a Lowercase c Again

First, I loved creative arts since I was a little girl. Art was my favourite class and after school I would look forward to creative lyrical dance. In University, I used to love my 3 hour art class that took place in a light flooded classroom on the top floor of a building with windows as ceilings. I used to love being creative with the interiors in my home because I didn’t have my own bedroom until I was about 19. My stepdad is also in the world of building & design, so you can imagine how much fun I had looking through his work! When my husband and I were dating, we used to talk about taking lyrical dance classes once we were married. It never happened as life got consumed with other things. All these creative things consumed me and in my fantasy world, that’s what I would do everyday. Create beautiful things and dance away. While I love what I do now, I could see myself spending my days away creating.

Anyway, over the years, I realised I stopped exploring new creative hobbies. When I found out I was pregnant with strawberry shortcake, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to start embracing the creative in me again. I had a London calligraphy class just a block from my office. It was on my list to do’s until I was medically told I needed to stay home. It was fine though. I embraced the nesting with both arms open, extremely thankful that I wasn’t spending my last 3 months of pregnancy in the hospital! But as I created calligraphy pieces and signed cards with it, I felt like I really needed to learn properly to give respect to this art.

Second, I believe God as our Creator is creative. I also believe that we are made in His image and we reflect that ability to create (to some degree) and be creative.I am not the Creative, but the creative. I am embracing this again. When we lose the ability to be creative, I think we can also lose passion. When we lose the ability to be creative, we can also lose the ability to have hope because we lose the ability to imagine what God could do and/or is doing currently. I don’t want to be in that place.

So I want to embrace this part of me that God has given me so I don’t completely lose it. I remember thinking as a child when do adults stop doing the creative things? I didn’t want to be like that. So, here’s to my child self…I won’t be.

 

 

Fibroids Have Me 7 Months Pregnant?!

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Baby #2??

The next time I thought I’d hear ‘7 months pregnant’ was when baby #2 would come, God willing.

That’s me 7 months pregnant with our strawberry shortcake just over a year and some months ago. Basically what seems like many ages. Since then, strawberry shortcake has been born, we moved to a bigger home, and lots of other changes have come…including the status of my fibroids!

As you can see, I look like I’m ready to pop any day. Often strangers would mindlessly comment, ‘Are you sure you’re not having multiples?!’ (Oh just wait to you read my post on mindless-think-before-you-speak comments I received during my pregnancy! A good read if you have a lot of pregnant friends around you, some things on that list may surprise you!) Anyway, this large pump is all thanks to my friends enemies, fibroids!

1 1   M O N T H S   L A T E R . . .

“Your uterus is the size of a 7 month pregnancy uterus.”

My doctor said as he examined my fibroids.

Seven months!! Do you know how large that is? I had a wedding to go to that weekend and considered maybe watching what I eat that week. Although, now that I think about it, don’t think I really cared that much. Anyway, when one hears your uterus is the size of a 7 month pregnancy, that all kind of goes out the window. All efforts seem pointless to be removing any fat in a matter of a few days anyway!

As I lay there on the examining table, you could see the large bump protruding in the middle, slightly to the right. You could move it around and I amusingly do as I see the other areas of my otherwise ‘flatter’ stomach stay in place. My toddler occasionally looks over as she walks around wondering why her mother is being prodded as she simultaneously explores the equally interesting examination room.

Over a year ago, when this same doctor safely delivered my baby girl into the world via c-section, he managed to check out my fibroid situation. (In the UK, you don’t necessarily have the same surgeon be with you postpartum for so long). That same day, he came to check on me and he shared the good news that he thought the largest fibroid would be removable via key hole laser surgery. At the time, I was pretty sure I was going to breastfeed if I could and wean her off around 1. So, I thought, this would be give me enough time to see how we get on with any postpartum hormones as I heard sometimes it can help reduce fibroids. On our followup appointment, around 9-10 months postpartum, I said I would try changing my diet and lifestyle as well as try some homeopathy. Over the next couple of months, I horribly kept to these rules.

My intention was to:

  • reduce my
    • red meat intake
    • coffee
    • dairy
    • sugar
  • Exercise (notice I don’t even say ‘increase’, just exercise, period)
  • and wean my baby off breastfeeding by the age of 1 so that I can try black sugar molasses and the castor oil wrapping to excrete toxins from my system.

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(This is from our strawberry shortcake’s Korean 100th day Baekil celebration. Yea…you can see how I’m failing big time…)

Turns out some of the natural remedies couldn’t be carried out while nursing. I think the only thing I did well was reducing my sugar, dairy, meat and coffee intake for some time. Actually, I should give myself some credit as there were some months when I did without it (except sugar).

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T  I  P

 I found out breastfeeding helps to reduce the size of fibroids and it had actually reduced my largest one from 8-9cm to 5cm. This was amazing, especially when it never reduced in size the past couple of years! (Breastfeeding while we were away in Edinburgh. Like and comment below if you want to see any baby-friendly spots and tips for traveling Edinburgh with a baby!)

I’ve learned during the same time that I lack discipline in certain areas a lot of areas of my life. As I get older, I gain discipline in some while I lose discipline in others. One of the areas that I have lost discipline in in the past year or so is spending time in God’s Word. When this happens, I am first to admit, I lose perspective and the strength to do a lot of the things that I have managed to do in my life. I must say there was one moment where I was anxious about the risks of surgery and what would happen if I got pregnant again. The possibility of losing a baby is just something I don’t know how one can cope with. I have the utmost respect and love for them. I know that seems random, but I was told several years ago that fibroids can sometimes lead to a miscarriage. So this fibroid self-healing journey, if I could even shamefully call it that, has shone light on some other areas of my life that needs highlighting. I am thankful for that, albeit a little embarrassingly. One highlight/reminder is that fear can sometimes overpower faith in what God can do. My husband lovingly reminded me how God delivered our strawberry shortcake. Despite medically being told that I would most likely have another major threatening bleed before reaching full term, God honoured our prayers for protection and safely carried our little girl through to 37 weeks to the day.

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A part of me is embarrassed to write this post because namely, I feel like a failure. Now, to clarify, I never really was one to think of myself between two categories of a success or failure. I never struggled with that. I’m sharing this, not to boast, but because I don’t want to pretend I’m trying to identify with you if that was a struggle for you. That would be disrespectful to your journey. But I know that world of existing between those two exists in small and big proportions for a pretty vast line of topics so I want to address it.

Let me get real honest here. This 7 month uterus is a reminder that I wasn’t disciplined enough to work out and have a better lifestyle on the whole. It’s also a reminder of how much my lifestyle has changed in the past decade.

However, fibroids also have an unknown nature that the medical world is still trying to unpack with me. (Even as I write that, I sense justification). I remind myself that even with those natural remedies, there isn’t a 100% cure statistic, otherwise, it would be well known. It has worked for some and unfortunately hasn’t for others. I can’t speak of it myself. While I saw a reduction in size, I am not entirely sure, which part was due to my lifestyle changes and which was due to factors unbeknown to me. I am telling myself this not to comfort myself, although it is a byproduct of it. I tell myself because it’s a tricky situation and also because I can sometimes forget all the good that I’ve done. My husband always tells me I forget to give myself credit for a lot of things. Perhaps I can give myself a pat on the back for carrying strawberry shortcake while enduring a lot of discomfort and pain for all those months.

I’m also sharing these things to tell others. I had women all over the world contact me after opening an instagram account to share my pregnancy journey whilst having fibroids. It has been a blessing to walk the journey with them and to comfort each other. We answered questions for each other and I still keep in touch with some of them til this day as we celebrate our little babies. I am so thankful.

Sometimes, I am quick to note the negatives and what I should have done. If you are like me, often times, we need to quickly speak truth into lies. Is the fact that I didn’t have some discipline a lie? No. However, there is a lie in some of that in its purpose. I am not meant to feel condemned by it nor shamed. I often think of this in such scenarios,

‘Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.’ ~2 Corinthians 7:10

So the end of this thought cycle comes with the joy of repentance of where I didn’t make good decisions in my lifestyle and let it lead to change. I want to honour this body that God has given me, overall with good health otherwise. I want to keep it well while I can. Recently, hubby and I have made a decision to live a healthier lifestyle. We both used to love exercising and having an active lifestyle, but things quickly changed once we got married! Know what I mean? I’ll write another post on that soon!

Like I shared, my largest fibroid was around 8-9cm, but honestly the hard ball I feel in my stomach spans a much larger circumference than that. At around 9 months postpartum, a scan revealed it had shrunk to around 5cm. My doctor attributed it to breastfeeding and said the hormones were reducing it. I was ecstatic and hopeful that it could eventually disappear entirely or medically termed, degenerate.

I struggled whether to continue my journey with natural remedies and lifestyle changes, but that’s for another time. This post is long enough! Long story short, I am now having the keyhole laser surgery in November. I thought I’d share some things that I asked the doctor. Please feel free to share any tips if you had this surgery or if I missed an important question I should have asked. I think it is important to note that these are answers from my own doctor with my own medical history and everyone should seek a medical professional opinion for their own case.

F  A  Q

 

Can I get pregnant after the surgery? Are there any risks in getting pregnant?

Yes. He said once a patient is recovered, they could start trying again right away.

I spoke to another patient while at the hospital when I was admitted at 28 weeks of my pregnancy. She had fibroids removed and became pregnant the month after she had them removed.

With any surgery, there will be risks.

My concern was my fertility and whether an emergency hysterectomy would ever take place as I have read for some. My doctor said the chances were slim as he already had a look at my fibroid situation during the c-section, and he never had this situation happen in his cases.

How long is recovery time?

I will be in hospital for a few days and will need about a week in bed at home. I was told that I should get extra help in watching our little one and for me as I will need rest.

Since seeing my doctor, I found out a friend had the same surgery, but for bigger fibroids. She was given the same timeframe, but she ended up in the hospital for a week, with blood transfusion (which she was informed previously because of anemia. This is reminding me to check my iron levels!), and needed to be in bed for a whole month! So obviously check with your doctor and give yourself some extra time, so you’re not in a rush with your recovery. I’ll also write a post after surgery to share my journey as I’m expecting to spend a lot of time in bed!

Will this effect my c-section scar given it will be only about 1.5 years since then?

No

How invasive is the surgery?

Three incisions are made in your stomach region and a camera is inserted via the belly button. So essentially 4 incisions.

What exactly is key hole surgery for fibroids like?

(I’ll explain in basic, non-medical terms). It’s essentially like a mini food processor that is inserted and grinds the fibroid. Everything is viewed through a microscopic camera and the fibroid parts are then removed. I hear it almost comes out in liquid form. It’s an option for those who wish to get pregnant in the future and less invasive than open surgery.

 

**I hope this was helpful. I am not a medical professional so please seek professional medical opinion for your own situation. For all the ladies working with natural remedies, I hope it works for you all! If you made it to the end of this post, you’re amazing! Hope my baby brain kept this post clear enough…

Have you had any success with natural remedies for your fibroid? Please share in the comments below! Did you have the surgery done? Would love to hear your experience overall especially if you had a baby/toddler! And don’t forget to click on the follow button to your right to read about my upcoming surgery!

 

 

 

See you soon!

♥ Mommyormummy

Practical Tips that Helped Our Baby’s Eczema

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First of all, welcome to my blog! I’m a first time mom to our 1 year old baby girl. For more info on me, check out my About page. Otherwise, do carry on! I thought I’d just jump in really and start with a topic that used to take up so much of our time. Eczema! I plan on posting more on this topic so go ahead and –> click follow above my profile photo if you would like to stay updated on the next one!

Recently, we have been hearing the same thing over and over again when we meet up with friends, especially from those we haven’t seen in months. Often upon seeing our little one’s skin, they ask  “What did you do? Her eczema is completely gone!’

If you’re a mum struggling with your baby’s eczema, I know what you’re thinking. ‘Please let that be our story soon! and… how?! How?! How did she do it?!’ My fingers and time can’t keep up with typing and repeating the same stuff and I know I appreciated every source out there on eczema tips, so here’s a blog post sharing our personal journey dedicated to it!

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O U R    J O U R N E Y   |   A   G L I M P S E

That was my story a few months back. My little one experienced mild to severe eczema from when she was about 8 weeks old. I’ll talk about her eczema journey in a separate post so stay tuned for that as I set up home here in this space! We have a few flare ups here and there, but it’s mostly just  little bumps and slight itching. It’s nothing compared to what we were experiencing before. But to give you a glimpse, I was washing her face and hands multiple times a day, not allowing her to crawl in public spaces nor touch many things in public, moisturising her skin up to 10 times a day, keeping touch from others on her face and hands to a minimum, asking everyone to wash their hands even when she was almost 1, trying every different product out there while frustrated that nothing was working. Honestly speaking, a lot of the times, I was ok until someone in the family would note about how her skin was looking. In my mind, I thought Eczema is so common and this is just a phase we need to ride out and hopefully it will go away. But on some occasions, I would be ridden with guilt. I would have a panic attack as my thoughts began to circle around the thoughts of ‘What if this never goes away? Why is it getting worse? She’s suffering so much, I’m a terrible mom, I can’t even help her! My poor baby is suffering because of my inability to do something that is out there. Maybe I’m not doing enough. Where are the answers?! How come this product that usually works is not working for her?!’ Not in boasting manner, but these moments were few. I like to believe I had a good community to help me not feel overwhelmed by what we were going through. But they happened enough times to be major moments that effected me as a person, as a mom, as a wife, as a friend, etc. And when she turned one, these moments grew in frequency.

When my grandma visited us in the UK for little one’s first birthday celebrations, she showed me so much empathy and said this one thing that really spoke to my inner heart and broke me into tears. She said ‘You have it tough Erika. Motherhood involves so much hard work and sacrifice and you have it ten times harder. (No offense meant to other moms!). It really isn’t an easy task. You have 10x more things you need to do and consider before doing something other moms may not have to think twice about because her eczema. This eczema is so difficult physically and emotionally as you see your baby suffer. Its hard on both you and the baby.’ I can’t remember if I cried outwardly as I remember there were literally a million things to do around that time, but I definitely know my heart cried a waterfall. Her ability to empathise with me was so appreciated and for some reason, to have someone put it into such words brought comfort. If this is you, my heart goes out to you and I hope that one of these tips or all, will help you and your little one because baby eczema effects the whole family.

But I am also keenly aware that unfortunately, not everything works in the same way for all babies for some reason and sometimes it’s a trial and error. I’ve been there in that frustrating moment. It is tough and I’m sorry you are in that season. I truly am.

I’m sure I’ll be forgetting something, so will try to add or post more on this. In the meantime, here are some tips that I hope will help your little one! If you don’t have the time, skim through to diet for ONE tip that made a huge difference almost immediately for some!

T I P S

 

M O I S T U R I S E

  • religiously
  • downwards motion – not to disturb the broken skin cells and hair follicles

There were months when I would moisturise 7-10 times a day on certain areas of her skin, particularly her forehead and cheeks.

 

C L E A N

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  • Once we started solids, after every meal, particularly after eating fruits. I would clean her hands and face with just lukewarm water and hand (No soap unless she ate something very messy/meat/fish as it is very drying). Sometimes I would use a large one-use cotton pad.
  • No baby wipes to clean – I rarely used a baby wipe on her face or hands until she was around 11 months old. We only use Waterwipes because we didn’t want to use wipes with chemicals in it. She has only experienced two nappy rashes and she is now 14 months old and I believe that is mainly the reason why. But even with such a gentle wipe, I rarely used it to clean her.
  • Wash face and hands very gently, using downward sweeping motions and as little friction as possible to not disturb the broken skin
  • Tried bathing her daily, alternating evenings and also skipping a few days. They all seemed to help in different seasons.
  • Use a damp cloth to wipe surfaces at home to keep dust at bay

L  A U N D R Y

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  • We always run another rinse cycle for both her clothes and ours
  • We wash our clothes separately from hers
  • Use Non-Bio detergent

 

D I E T

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  • Having fibroids myself, I am a believer that what we eat effects our body
  • I believe that our foods are effected by hormones through pesticides and other added unnatural ingredients
  • Except for some occasions when we were out, in an emergency, traveling..and a few other situations, I made her food myself and kept store-bought pouch foods to a minimum. When feeding store-bought pouch foods, I only bought organic and watched which ingredients were in them. I have always been very conscious of how much sugar and salt she has. She has not had sugar until this very week when she had some cake for the first time at nearly 15 months. She did not have any salt until recently as well. We never add salt to her food, but when we are out or on holiday, we are aware some things may contain some traces.
  • I tried to use organic products if that option was available due to no pesticides/unhealthy fertilizers. We are fortunate that in the UK, organic produce is not priced at multiple times the non-organic option. I was shocked to see the stark price difference when I was visiting NY and was quite upset by it. Healthy eating options should not be made difficult by such obstacles that I know many families would find difficult to keep overcoming at every visit to the supermarket.
  • Remove High-histamine foods!!!! After an urgent, unexpected visit to the hospital with the little one, I had enough. I started researching all sorts of things trying to think outside the box. I came across research about histamines. I’ll keep it short and to the point. I have removed bananas and tomatoes from our little one’s diet and saw some improvement in less flare ups almost within a week or so. I shared this information immediately with another friend whose daughter was experiencing flare ups again. She tested it by removing the daily intake of bananas and saw an improvement immediately. This is one of my biggest tips I often share with mums! Hence the bold text! Don’t worry, I got you mama, I know you don’t have time and you’re probably skimming through this post til the next time you can actually have time to read!

T O Y S

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  • Our eczema specialist nurse told us to keep fluffy toys to a minimum when I mentioned the dust allergy possibility and instead to use plastic or wooden toys. Thankfully our little one wasn’t that interested in them anyway so it worked out well.
  • Clean them often to reduce skin infections. Because they are scratching often, if playing with or anywhere that’s dirty, it will eventually be scratched onto the open skin wounds leading to an infection.

F A I T H

Prayer. I prayed very specifically for her healing and our processing in that season. I was encouraged by others to believe in her healing and led to spend more time in His word. Now, this is where everything started rolling towards a different and better direction. My husband and I prayed for our daughter ever since we found out we were pregnant. One of the things we prayed about was her health. We would eventually pray about her eczema, but they were very general prayers. I will share more in detail in my post about the eczema journey, but this season eventually brought me to my knees in desperation. It wasn’t throughout, but rather towards the ‘end’ of the season that I felt this way. This season also challenged me in how I pray, when I pray and what I pray. It involves a friend at church receiving a vision and prayer with friends. This is not to ignore medical interventions as I am really thankful for it and I recommend always seeking professional medical opinion as we did and are still doing. Rather, this is about highlighting God’s ability to heal, our responses and His timing. It is all while holding the tension that God doesn’t always deliver in ways we expect sometimes and I know that can be very difficult. If you would like to read more, stay tuned for that post.

I hope these tips all help and would love to hear any other tips you may have! Did you try any of these? I’d love to hear which ones you tried in the comments below! I plan on sharing about the products we used (used so many!) and which we found the most helpful! Included in that post will be other non-eczema, home products that I find helpful! To stay posted with future posts, don’t forget to click follow above my profile photo! See you soon!