December 31, 2016

Our Birth Story

On December 24, 2016, our baby girl decided she was ready to enter the world! What I thought were Braxton hicks on the night of December 23, turned out to be real contractions, but because they didn't bother me, I went to bed not expecting to wake up around 2 AM to some intense contractions.

I ended up waking my husband around 3 AM when I noticed they weren't going away. Around 4 AM We agreed it was time to call the doctor. The doctor said it sounded like I was in early labor, but to give it an hour to see if the contractions continued or would come to an end. They only got more intense and closer together, so we decided to head to the hospital at 5 AM. We decided it was better to be safe and if we got sent home, it wasn't the end of the world.

When we arrived, It turned out I was already 6 cm dilated! The pain got even worse and the nitrous oxide gas was not working (not sure what happened here, but we weren't confident that the nurse actually had it working right), so I requested pain relief through an IV, but that didn't work either. I broke down and wanted an epidural, but by the time the epidural was ready, I only had 5 more minutes to wait for the midwife to arrive, so I chose to skip it at that point. I am actually glad that they took so long because I originally didn't want an epidural and caved due to the pain.

When the midwife arrived, I was ready to push and 10 minutes later, our baby girl entered the world! I only suffered a 2nd-degree tear.

I had a really fast labor, which was unexpected, especially since this was our first child. She also was a week early, which most first born are late! My midwife almost didn't make it in time, but so glad she did!

 Our Doula also wrote this lovely birth story for us:
"It began around ten o’clock at night on Friday, December 23, 2016. Mom began having mild contractions. She thought these were nothing to worry about, and after relaxing for awhile, she decided to go to bed. Mom never suspected that she would soon meet her sweet baby girl.

Around 2am, Mom awoke from her sleep and realized that these contractions were becoming more frequent and stronger. After a few hours, Mom and Dad agreed that it was time to call the midwife. The midwife suggested that they head to the hospital to get checked on progress. Was this labor?

With bags already packed, Mom and Dad headed out the door, hoping they would soon return home cradling their beloved baby girl. When they arrived at the hospital around 5am, they were surprised to hear that baby would be coming very soon! When the nurse checked Mom, she was already 6 cm dilated. Mom had completed her first stage of labor already—mostly while she had been sleeping!

Mom and Dad prepared themselves for the final leg of the race to meet their early Christmas gift. Dad encouraged Mom as contractions grew stronger, almost unbearable. But Mom was a warrior and endured the pain for another three hours until the time came for her to push baby out.

About eight o’clock in the morning, Mom’s water broke and she began pushing their little girl out into the world. Mom was determined to meet her quickly, and within ten minutes, Elsa entered the world. She measured a healthy 6 lbs 12 oz and stretched to 19.25 inches. Overcome with joy, Mom and Dad embraced Elsa wholeheartedly and began their new journey as a family together!"

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December 23, 2016

The Flu Shot When Pregnant

If you are going to be pregnant or give birth during the cold and flu season, you should get a flu shot and you should enforce anyone who plans to hold the baby after birth to get a flu shot as well.

Here is why you should get the flu shot when pregnant according to the CDC website:
Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant. Changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum) more prone to severe illness from flu, as well as to hospitalizations and even death. Pregnant women with flu also have a greater chance for serious problems for their developing baby, including premature labor and delivery. (source)
A common myth with the flu shot is that it gives you the flu. This is false because you are given a dead virus:
The flu vaccine injection contains no live virus, only viral proteins, said Dr. Dennis Cunningham, an infectious disease specialist at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. 
"It's impossible to get the flu, and it's impossible to spread the flu," from the injection, Cunningham said. (source)
The nasal spray on the other hand (which is NOT recommended for pregnant women), does have a live virus, but it has been weakened to the point that it can't harm you:
The flu vaccine that is delivered as a nasal spray, rather than as injection, does contain live viruses, but these viruses have been weakened, and so they also cannot cause the flu, according to the CDC. (source)
Another common myth floating around in the forums that I often see is that the flu vaccine contains mercury that is harmful, however, that isn't entirely true:
Thimerosal — a preservative that contains mercury — has never been shown to be harmful, Cunningham said. The type of mercury linked with nervous system damage is methyl mercury, he said. Concerns over methyl mercury levels have led to recommendations that pregnant women avoid eating large amounts of certain types of fish, such as swordfish. (source)
Basically, the mercury in fish is more harmful to you than the mercury in the flu shot, yet many pregnant women won't give up their seafood but will happily choose not to get the shot. I guess food is more important than health to some pregnant women.

However, for those concerned about thimerosal, you will be happy to know that not only is it safe, but you can get a flu shot that doesn't contain it:
While all vaccines carry some risk of adverse effects, such as an allergic reaction, no research has shown an increased risk of complications associated with the flu shot for pregnant women. Women can get the flu shot at any time during pregnancy. There also is no evidence that adverse effects occur in the children of women who receive vaccines with the mercury-based preservative thimerosal during pregnancy. However, it's possible to get a flu shot that doesn't contain thimerosal. Talk to your doctor if you're concerned. (source)
Not only should you get the flu shot if you are pregnant, but anyone who plans on holding baby after birth should also get the flu shot because babies can't get a flu shot until 6 months of age, so it's up to you, your family, and your friends to get the shot to prevent them from getting the flu, to help protect baby from the flu, which can have serious consequences:
Children younger than 5 years of age – especially those younger than 2 years old – are at high risk of serious flu-related complications. CDC estimates that since 2010, flu-related hospitalizations among children younger than 5 years ranged from 7,000 to 26,000 in the United States. Many more have to go to a doctor, an urgent care center, or the emergency room because of flu.
Complications from the flu among children in this age group can include pneumonia (an illness where the lungs get infected and inflamed), dehydration (when a child's body loses too much water and salts, often from not drinking enough fluids/liquids), worsening of long-term medical problems like heart disease or asthma, encephalopathy (inflammation of the brain), sinus problems and ear infections. In rare cases, flu complications can lead to death. (source)
To me, it seems silly to refuse to get the flu vaccine as all evidence points to it being completely safe and will help protect your baby. Also, as someone who has had the flu before, the shot is totally worth it. Feeling like you are going to die for two weeks is no fun, and that was with medication! I don't know how pregnant women who get the flu survive!

Sources


Attribution: Image used in blog post photo does not belong to me and was found on MorgueFile.

December 18, 2016

$25 Visa GC & SmartBones Prize Pack Giveaway

Hosted By Tammie's Reviews, Giveaways and More, Queen of Reviews, Seasonal Family Fun, Michigan Savings and More and HeartBeats-Soul Stains.

And

Sponsored By SmartBones


SmartBones are the perfect alternative when you want to give your dog a treat other then a rawhide treat. Once I gave Sam these treats, He could not stop eating them. I have never saw a dog who reacted to treats just like he did. They are available in a variety of flavors and types.


Onto The Giveaway~

  • 1 READER WILL WIN A $25 Visa GC & A variety of SmartBones Dog Treats

  • THIS GIVEAWAY IS LIVE AND WILL END ON 12/31 AT 7:00 P.M.

  • WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN AT RANDOM, NOTIFIED WITHIN 48 HOURS AND HAVE 24 HOURS TO RESPOND TO THE EMAIL TO CLAIM THEIR PRIZE OR ANOTHER WILL BE CHOSEN

  • MUST BE 18 YEARS OF AGE TO ENTER

  • VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW

ENTER BELOW AND GOOD LUCK TO YOU~



Disclosure- The participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received Open to the US 18+ only. Confirmed Winner(s) (by Random.org) will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this giveaway. My blog is not responsible for product shipment/delivery nor did I receive compensation. Only 1 prize per household. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements. Entrants must only enter with either one email address, IP address and/or Facebook account, anyone found violating these rules will be disqualified. It is at the sole discretion of the admin of the giveaway if the winner has met the rules or not.Contact Tammie at info@tpankuch.com and see how I can promote/feature your product for you.

December 16, 2016

$100 Bath and Body Works Giveaway


Welcome to the $100 Bath and Body Works Giveaway Event! 



Just in time for the holidays, this great group of bloggers wanted to partner up, to bring you one great prize! You can never go wrong with Bath and Body Works, right?!

Remember to follow this blog using the social media icons located at the top of the right side bar to keep up with the latest updates and giveaways! 



The Giveaway
One lucky winner will receive a $100 Bath and Body Works Gift Card.
Good luck everyone!
Enter with the easy form, below:



 

  Disclosure: The bloggers involved in this giveaway were not compensated, and are not responsible for prize fulfillment. Lil' Blog and More will be sending the prize out. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter this giveaway. This giveaway starts December 17th, 2016 , and will end on January 16th, 2017 at 11:59 pm. The winner will be emailed, and have 48 hours to respond, or a new winner will be chosen. Once a winner is drawn and confirmed, the name will be announced on the GiveawayTools form. Open to US and Canada. 

December 9, 2016

10 Pregnancy Must Haves

Disclosure:  Affiliate links are used in this post.  Any purchase you make using these links supports this site.


1. Extra pillows - You will often see a maternity pillow (also known as a snoogle) as a must have on many pregnancy lists. However, I decided to go with the inexpensive, regular body pillow, and am glad I didn't invest in the snoogle as it would have been a waste of money.

At the beginning of my pregnancy, I found I preferred a regular pillow (often tossing my body pillow on the floor), which was way easier to move around when I decided to sleep on a different side. When I entered the 3rd trimester, the regular pillow no longer worked as it had before and I began to love my body pillow, couldn't sleep without it!

I would suggest starting with just using regular pillows or a body pillow and see how that goes before deciding if a snoogle is worth the price tag for you.
2. Maternity Swim Suit - This only applies if you enjoy swimming, but it was a must for me! I used to run before pregnancy but found it too exhausting after getting pregnant. Swimming was a nice way to get in some exercise and will come in handy if you decide to labor in a tub or do a water birth and want some more coverage on top. 

Now you may be able to get by with just your regular suit in early pregnancy, but when 12 weeks came around, my breasts would no longer fit in my swim tops. I didn't want to waste money on just getting a suit a size up when I knew I would continue to get bigger, so I bought a maternity top. It was a little loose in the beginning, but by week 16, I was glad I chose to go straight to a maternity top! I got this swim top at Destination Maternity.

Some pregnant women still rock their bikinis (if you go the bikini route, you might have to get a bigger size top to fit your growing breasts), but I prefer two pieces that cover more. 

3. Lotion - And lots of it. Your breasts and your belly will itch like crazy as they continue to grow. You will probably hear from women who swear by cocoa butter or some other cream they found that works miracles, but plain old regular lotion works just fine for soothing the skin. Find what works for you and stick to it! Also, always put lotion on after a shower or bath, that is the best time for it to soak into your skin. I highly recommend using a lotion with Aloe Vera, such as this one.

Remember, no matter what you do, you can't prevent stretch marks. If you get them, you get them, but you can help soothe them and help them fade faster by using lotion.

4. Nursing Tanks & Bras - Your breasts will grow and I found nursing tanks and bras to be the most comfortable, even if you don't plan on breastfeeding. They provide the support your breasts need while you sleep. You can find cheap nursing tanks at Old Navy and Target.

My favorite nursing tank is the Rosie Pope brand. I found it on a whim at a discount store, but they only had one left. They are quite pricey (ranging from $34-$40 depending on retailer), but if you lucky, Amazon sometimes has them on sale for half the price! I snagged a couple when they were only $17! Otherwise, you can find them online at their website, or at Nordstrom or Von Maur. They are super soft, wash well, and I so totally plan on wearing them after nursing or even if I don't breastfeed! If you plan on wearing them during your pregnancy, go a size up to cover the belly.

My favorite nursing bra is the Bravado Basic Nursing Sleep Bra, which I found at Target, but have recently noticed that it is no longer online or being carried in stores in my area. The Medela Nursing Sleep Bra would be the closest thing to it, but it is not as comfortable as the Bravado Basic in my opinion. However, it is the next best thing if you are unable to find the Bravado Basic in your area.

Also, if you are like me and do prefer to wear a padded bra in public, you will either want to splurge on a few maternity bras, or be prepared to possibly buy bras in several different sizes as your breasts grow (this is when the clearance section at Target and Kohls comes in handy).

5. Squatty Potty - During pregnancy, many women experience constipation and other bathroom problems. A Squatty Potty may seem silly, but it is definitely worth having, pregnant or not pregnant, as it forces you to squat while on the toilet, which is the proper way our bodies were made to relieve themselves. This makes bowel movements a lot easier and will also help prevent hernias and internal tears.

You can also use a stool or stack of magazines/books to lift your legs to get the same effect, but the nice thing about the Squatty Potty is that it wraps around your toilet so it takes up less space, and is easier to store and take out when needed versus having to stack magazines every time.

6. Maternity Coat - If you are going to be pregnant during the winter, a coat is a must. Someone told me to hold off because I might not need one since she found she was always hot and could get by with sweatshirts. Well, the temperature began to get chilly in October and I found myself freezing in my jackets, so I broke down and bought one, so if you find that you don't get frequent hot flashes. you will want a coat.

Just be prepared that this will be the most expensive thing you have to buy, so if possible look for a good sale or find a used one! Thank goodness I work in retail so I could get half off! A lot of stores have 60-90 day return policies too, so you can always buy ahead of time if you find a good deal and if you end up not wearing the coat, then return it after the winter season. Just be sure to keep your receipt!

7. Maternity Jeans/Leggings  Skip the belly bands and go straight to a nice comfy pair of maternity jeans or leggings, or both! I got a couple of bands and did not like them at all, they were just too uncomfortable for me. Luckily I worked in retail so could get half off on the majority of my maternity items, but for those who don't and need a good deal, Old Navy has great maternity leggings and always look in the clearance, you can find a great deal on maternity jeans there.

If not Old Navy, go to Motherhood or Destination Maternity and look in their clearance. I managed to score a pair of jeans for $14 there and a couple of leggings for $7 each! Go when there is an additional half off on clearance! The leggings are my favorite thing to wear, so if you can't find a cheap pair of jeans, at least get leggings, they are so comfy! Tip: Fleece lined leggings are the best for winter.

8. Epsom Salt - Pregnancy comes with many aches and pains, unfortunately, and the best cure is a warm Epsom salt bath! I found this to work better than Tylenol. Plus it's relaxing!

If you don't have a bathtub, you can easily get a dish tub or bucket of warm water and mix in some Epsom salt to soak your feet, but unfortunately, it would be tricky to soak anything higher up like your thighs without a bathtub.

9. Sugar Scrub - When my breasts started growing, the old, dry, dead skin would begin to flake off and cause them to itch. I found using a sugar scrub once a week to exfoliate my breasts helped remove that dead skin faster and make my breasts softer, and less itchy. You will want to put lotion on after doing a sugar scrub and limit it to once a week to prevent rubbing them raw! My favorite sugar scrub is Mayfair - Sea Lily Jasmine scent, which can be found at Target.

10. Liners - During pregnancy, you will notice an increase in discharge (cervical mucus). It is the same as when you ovulate. The further along in pregnancy, the more discharge. I found the third trimester to be the worst for me. You will discover that you will want to wear liners or find yourself changing your underwear a few times a day.

The only time you have to worry about your discharge is if it is any color other than clear or white, or has a foul/fishy smell. This can be a sign of a yeast infection, which should get checked as soon as possible.

Attribution: Image used in blog post photo does not belong to me and was found on MorgueFile.


December 2, 2016

Falls River Soap Company Deluxe Gift Basket & $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Welcome to the 
Falls River Soap Company Deluxe Gift Basket & $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!! 

Hosted By
Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews


Sponsored By: 
Falls River Soap Company
~1 Winner~
Open to US
12/02 (12am) to 12/16 (11:59pm)
~Prize~ 
 1 Deluxe Gift Basket 
$100 Amazon Gift Card

A special shout out to my awesome co-hosts for this event
Deliciously Savvy IMHO Views Reviews and Giveaways~ Michigan Saving and MoreInezbyDesign~ Heartbeats ~ Soul Stains~ Dorky's Deals~ Finding Sanity in our Crazy Life~  Just Happiling~ Babushka's Baile~ Your Strong Tower
Thank you to all of the bloggers promoting this giveaway. All of our giveaways are so much fun when we do it all together.

Don't want to wait for the giveaway to end? How about something until then??
15% OFF + FREE SHIPPING  
Click Here to get your Falls River Soap Company items now. 
Use the Code"WINTER16" for 15% OFF & Free Shipping on all orders $35 with Coupon!!

Find Falls River Soap Company on social media
Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

If you are looking to forever change the way you wash and experience the pleasure of the perfect bath or shower using the finest natural ingredients, it is time to discover Falls River Soap Company! Right now you can enter below for a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card and a Deluxe Falls River Soap Gift Basket!
Falls River Soap Company is a small family owned business located in Ohio, specializing in handcrafted artisanal soaps since 2004. At Falls River Soap Company they use organic and high quality natural essential oils, herbs and botanicals sourced from all over the world to create homemade soaps the old-fashioned way, through the cold-process method of soap making.

Unlike mass-produced commercial soaps sold by those “other” companies you find in your local supermarket or drugstore, it takes a little extra time to create a Falls River Soap. The soap makers at Falls River Soap Company are busy working by hand in small batches at a low temperature and aging the soaps for up to four to six weeks to preserve the natural glycerin, producing the most luxurious, pure and gentle moisturizing soap imaginable for every skin type, scent or texture preference.

The eco-friendly natural soaps created by Falls River Soap Company do not contain harsh chemicals, animal fats or synthetic preservatives. They do not test products on animals and their handmade soaps are 100% vegetarian.
Falls River Soap Company uses earth-friendly ingredients like fresh goat milk, olive oil, shea and cocoa butter, coconut and avocado oil. Natural exfoliates include lemon peel, ground coffee and calendula petals and more.

And that’s just about it, natural ingredients and a whole lot of love combine to make the best handmade soap available anywhere at any price!

Now for the fun stuff. This giveaway is open to US. There are daily bonus entries so please check back tomorrow. Share it with your family and friends, they'll want to enter to win too!!


 I can't ask you to "Like" our pages but, if you see something you like, let us know so we can bring you more of it.We LOVE it when you "LIKE" our pages.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 If you have any questions about this product, Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews- reviews, or our giveaways, please feel free to email us directly at grovesamy81@gmail.com or amy@aarlreviews.com

November 23, 2016

Honeybuns Baby Bundle Giveaway

Welcome to the 
Honeybuns Baby Bundle Giveaway! 

Hosted By
Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews




Sponsored By: 
Era Organics
~1 Winner~
Open to US
11/23 to 12/07

~Prize~ 
 Honeybuns Gift Bundle that includes Diaper Rash Cream, Organic Baby Wash and Talc Free Baby Powder

Check out Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews review of the Honeybuns Diaper Balm.

Don't want to wait for the giveaway to end? 
Get your Honeybuns Here and use code 
AMY25OFF for 25% Off your 

A special shout out to our Co-Host
 IMHO Views,  Reviews, & Giveaways, Momma WIthout a Clue, and Candy Crush & Snowman Butts.

Thank you to all of the bloggers promoting this giveaway. All of our giveaways are so much fun when we do it all together.

Now for the fun stuff. This giveaway is open to US. There are daily bonus entries so please check back tomorrow. Share it with your family and friends, they'll want to enter to win too!!


 I can't ask you to "Like" our pages but, if you see something you like, let us know so we can bring you more of it. 
We LOVE it when you "LIKE" our pages (but it is not required to win!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway
None of the Bloggers promoting this giveaway are responsible for shipping the prize.

 If you have any questions about this product, Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews- reviews, or our giveaways, please feel free to email us directly at grovesamy81@gmail.com or amy@aarlreviews.com

November 12, 2016

Illumacollar Dog Leash Giveaway

illumacollar-giveaway

Hosted By Tammie's Reviews, Giveaways and More and Queen of Reviews

And

Sponsored By Healthy Paws Pet Insurance


Healthy Paws Pet Insurance® is the #1 customer-rated pet insurance, and is there when you and your pet need them the most

  • Healthy Paws® pays up to 90% of vet bills*
  • Pet insurance helps you focus on giving your pet the best care without worrying about the cost
    • Many human health-care techniques are becoming available for pet family members; however, these medical advances are expensive
    • You can avoid unexpected vet bills and protect your family’s budget with pet insurance
    • Pet insurance also does not cover pre-existing conditions, so it is important to sign your pup up early. Signing up early not only helps care for your pup with future illnesses and accidents, but lowers the cost for you too
  • Every day, more pet parents are educating themselves on the importance of pet insurance- how it works, what it covers, and when they would need it
    • Though only 1% of pet parents have health insurance for their pets, it is the fastest growing voluntary employee benefit
    • With every free quote, Healthy Paws contributes money to the medical care of homeless pets
    • Through the Refer-A-Friend program, participants earn $35 for every friend who enrolls with Healthy Paws. Visit the FAQ for more information
*Pet insurance, however, does not cover wellness care, such as regular vaccines, checkups, flea and tick or heart worm preventative, etc. not related to an unexpected accident or illness.


Onto The Giveaway~

  • 1 READER WILL WIN AN Illumacollar Dog Leash

  • THIS GIVEAWAY IS LIVE AND WILL END ON 11/22 AT 7:00 P.M.

  • WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN AT RANDOM, NOTIFIED WITHIN 48 HOURS AND HAVE 24 HOURS TO RESPOND TO THE EMAIL TO CLAIM THEIR PRIZE OR ANOTHER WILL BE CHOSEN

  • MUST BE 18 YEARS OF AGE TO ENTER

  • VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW

ENTER BELOW AND GOOD LUCK TO YOU~



Disclosure- The participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received Open to the US 18+ only. Confirmed Winner(s) (by Random.org) will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this giveaway. My blog is not responsible for product shipment/delivery nor did I receive compensation. Only 1 prize per household. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements. Entrants must only enter with either one email address, IP address and/or Facebook account, anyone found violating these rules will be disqualified. It is at the sole discretion of the admin of the giveaway if the winner has met the rules or not.Contact Tammie at info@tpankuch.com and see how I can promote/feature your product for you.

November 7, 2016

Circuit Scribe Maker Kit Giveaway

Welcome to the Circuit Scribe Maker Kit Giveaway!! 

Hosted By
Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews



Sponsored By: 
Circuit Scribe
Check them out on  
Facebook and Twitter

~1 Winner~
Open to US
11/7 to 11/21
~Prize~ 
Circuit Scribe Maker Kit

Check out Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews review of the Mini Kit and Ultimate Kit Click HERE

Don't want to wait for the giveaway to end? 
Get yours at Circuit Scribe now. 

Use code AMY15, to save 15% off anything on the site at www.CircuitScribe.com  through Nov. 21.


Thank you to all of the bloggers promoting this giveaway. All of our giveaways are so much fun when we do it all together.

Now for the fun stuff. This giveaway is open to US. There are daily bonus entries so please check back tomorrow. Share it with your family and friends, they'll want to enter to win too!!


 I can't ask you to "Like" our pages but, if you see something you like, let us know so we can bring you more of it. 
We LOVE it when you "LIKE" our pages.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

None of the Bloggers promoting this giveaway are responsible for shipping the prize. 


 If you have any questions about this product, Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews- reviews, or our giveaways, please feel free to email us directly at grovesamy81@gmail.com or amy@aarlreviews.com

October 29, 2016

Truly Pawsome Giveaway

Truly Pawsome Giveaway

Sponsor: Truly Pawsome

Prize: Truly Pawsome Doggie Box RV $40

Truly Pawsome is inspired by their senior pug, Pork Chop.  Wanting to give him the best of everything led them to create specially curated boxes that everyone will love.  Pork Chop and his little brother Murray are chief taste testers and approve all treats and toys before they send them out.  They both demand the very best and they wouldn't offer them (or anyone else) any less!  The Truly Pawsome team is also dedicated to making all dogs happy and they pledge to donate 10% of all purchased subscriptions to rescues and shelters as they want to help all dogs find their forever home.

Dates: 10/29-11/12
Open to: US Residents 18+

Enter to win using the widget below. Good luck!

 
Disclosure: Before and After Baby did not receive compensation for this post and is not responsible for prize fulfillment.

Scattergories Categories & BRAINSPIN Giveaway

Scattergories Categories & BRAINSPIN Giveaway

Sponsor: Winning Moves

Prize: Scattergories Categories & BRAINSPIN RV$28

If you love The Game of SCATTERGORIES, then SCATTERGORIES CATEGORIES is the next game you will want to play! It's a great twist on your favorite. Keep the fun coming with this fast-thinking categories game.

BRAINSPIN - A great ice-breaker and creativity game. Players open up their minds and write down everything they see based on the card in play. No answer is too crazy as long as you can convince your opponents of what you see. Let your creativity explode!

Dates: 10/29-11/12
Open to: US Residents 18+

Enter to win using the widget below. Good luck!


Disclosure: Before and After Baby did not receive compensation for this post and is not responsible for prize fulfillment.

October 28, 2016

Spanking Is Abuse

I have always felt that spanking is abusive and recently a study came out revealing that physical punishment is not an effective form of discipline, and can cause more behavior problems in the long run:
"The odds of a child being more aggressive at age 5 increased by 50% if he had been spanked more than twice in the month before the study began," says Taylor. (source)
Of the nearly 2,500 youngsters in the study, those who were spanked more frequently at age 3 were much more likely to be aggressive by age 5. (source

In the study they even found that spanking can cause the same problems as physical abuse:
Gershoff and Grogan-Kaylor also compared the negative effects of spanking with those of "physical abuse" against children. Both were associated with the same harmful outcomes, according to the news release. (source

So why isn't spanking considered a form of child abuse by society? It is most likely because it is ingrained in our culture. Our grandparents spanked our parents, so our parents spank us, and then we spank our kids. It is an endless cycle:
The reason for this may be that spanking sets up a loop of bad behavior. Corporal punishment instills fear rather than understanding. Even if children stop tantrums when spanked, that doesn't mean they get why they shouldn't have been acting up in the first place. What's more, spanking sets a bad example, teaching children that aggressive behavior is a solution to their parents' problems. (source)

Rather than solving a problem, spanking creates a chain of more issues. Spanking shows that physical punishment solves problems, and children learn from that, continuing the cycle of abuse. However, I believe we know enough now that we can stop this vicious cycle.

I was spanked as a child and I do not ever intend to hit my child. I will not let anyone hit my child. I personally fear, because of how I was raised, that I might slip up and break this oath on a bad day. It is the one thing I am most worried about becoming a parent because I do not want my child to ever fear me like I feared my mother growing up. I want a closer and better relationship with my child than I had with my mother.
It undermines trust. Children trust their parents just a little less. They are more likely to step back from the relationship and build a self-protective shield around themselves in terms of relationships generally.  (source)

Even now that I have grown up and of course, no longer get spanked, I find it hard to forget about certain events growing up. I have forgiven my mother. I know she only did what she thought was right and just at the time. It was what she was taught and so it was the method she used. Not much about spanking was known back then, but in this modern world, I believe there is no reason to do as our parents taught us, but to instead strive for better. There are more resources out there and better ways to discipline children, like timeouts:
Instead of spanking, the AAP recommends time-outs, which typically involve denying the child any interaction, positive or negative, for a specified period of time. These quiet moments force children to calm down and think about their emotions rather than acting on them reflexively. After all, the goal of punishment is to get children to understand not just that they did something wrong but also what motivated them to do it. (source)

Yes, many parents will say spanking works, but it is only a temporary solution with long-term side effects:
Physical punishment can work momentarily to stop problematic behavior because children are afraid of being hit, but it doesn’t work in the long term and can make children more aggressive, Graham-Bermann says. (source)

This is because you show hitting to be an okay way to stop a behavior, so for example: if your sister was doing something you didn't like, you would hit her because that is what your parents showed you as an okay method to stop her behavior. Children follow and learn from their parents, so if you do not want your child to ever think it is okay to hit someone, then you have to show them that by never hitting them or anyone else around them.

Time outs have even proven to be a more effective and better method of discipline:
In one set of analyses with young children in the laboratory, time outs worked just as well as spanking for (immediate) subsequent compliance on 30 tasks assigned by the mother. Long-term compliance is decreased after spanking (Gershoff, 2002; Gershoff & Grogan-Kaylor, 2013). (source

So there is no need to result to spanking because a timeout has the same response with no long term side effects, and the child is more likely to understand what they did wrong, so they will less likely do it again.

Another thing I would like to suggest is that once your child has calmed down, to ask them if they knew what they did wrong and if not, to explain it to them. This is how a child learns. If you hit them, they aren't going to learn anything, they are just going to fear you.
Spanking does not convey positive guidance on how to behave in a particular situation, only how not to behave if a threat of punishment is at hand. (source)

Some countries have even banned physical discipline:
Around the world, 30 countries have banned physical punishment of children in all settings, including the home. (source)

It is sad to think that that the United States is not one of these countries despite how advanced we are as a country. It seems we still lag behind in crucial areas.
On the international front, physical discipline is increasingly being viewed as a violation of children’s human rights. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child issued a directive in 2006 calling physical punishment “legalized violence against children” that should be eliminated in all settings through “legislative, administrative, social and educational measures.” The treaty that established the committee has been supported by 192 countries, with only the United States and Somalia failing to ratify it. (source)

Even The American Academy of Pediatrics is against spanking:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not endorse spanking under any circumstance. It's a form of punishment that becomes less effective with repeated use, according to the AAP; it also makes discipline more difficult as the child outgrows it. (source

I think the problem with banning physical punishment in the United States is because it is a freedom issue. Parents want the freedom to raise their kids as they see fit and do not want the government involved in their parenting. It is also an issue because many kids were spanked when younger:
As many as 80 percent of parents around the world spank their children, according to a 2014 UNICEF report. (source

Thus that is the only method they know when it comes to raising their kids. The only way to end the cycle is for you to decide not to spank, and to instead look for better ways to discipline your children. A great resource for this is stopspanking.org.

In the end, as a parent, you get to decide whether or not you want to continue the chain of spanking or if you want to stop it and use different and better techniques. No matter what anyone says though, you can never convince me that spanking is not abusive.

SOURCES

APA - The case against spanking
Times - The Long-Term Effects of Spanking
Psychology Today - Research on Spanking: It’s Bad For ALL Kids
MIC - Here's What Getting Spanked as a Kid Did to Your Personality, According to Science
UT News - Risks of Harm from Spanking Confirmed by Analysis of Five Decades of Research

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October 14, 2016

What is the Glucose Test?

The glucose test is usually given in the 3rd Trimester. This test is heavily encouraged as it tests for gestational diabetes, but you have the right to refuse. However, if gestational diabetes isn't diagnosed during pregnancy (because you didn't do the test), you could end up with type 2 diabetes after pregnancy. In cases where pregnant women refuse the test, the women often follow the recommended diet for gestational diabetes as a precaution.

I did the test because I have PCOS and knew going in that it would put me at a higher risk, and I would hate to have to follow a certain diet if it turned out I didn't need to! (Plus it was highly recommended by my doctor).

Usually, your doctor will have you take what is known as the glucose challenge first. This is where you drink a sugary drink, there are different flavors apparently, but my hospital only ever offers the orange flavor. It tastes like Fanta that has gone flat and is pretty sour in my opinion. You have to sit for one hour without drinking or eating, and then your blood is drawn at the end. If you pass this test, you are good to go. If you fail, then you will have to take the 3-hour glucose test. 

For the 3-hour glucose test, you will have to fast 12 hours before your scheduled appointment (you don't have to fast at all for the 1-hour challenge). This is dreadful for a pregnant woman. I, unfortunately, failed my 1 hour, so I had to do the 3-hour test. I stuffed my face before bed, but still woke up hungry. Luckily, after drinking the orange stuff again, I no longer felt hungry, but definitely a little nauseous. The thing that sucks is if you throw up, you will have to repeat the whole process again, so do your best to keep it down! I was allowed to take little sips of water during the 3 hour period so that helped a lot. 

But before they give you the sugary drink for the 3-hour test, they will do a blood draw. Then you will have to chug the sugar drink within 5 minutes. After 1 hour, they will draw your blood, then they will draw it again at the 2-hour mark, and draw one last time at the end of the test. They went every other arm for me so one arm wasn't constantly being poked with a needle. Why so many blood draws? It is because they are checking to see how your body processes the sugar, so they need to see the change over time.

The thing that bites about this test is that you can't leave the building, so you are often stuck bored in a waiting area, so plan to bring entertainment in advance such as a book to read or maybe your hospital is nice and has a TV like mine did. 

The reassuring thing is if you fail the 1-hour test, it doesn't necessarily mean you have gestational diabetes, you still have a chance to pass the 3-hour test. I failed the 1-hour, but I passed the 3-hour test, thankfully, and do not have gestational diabetes. I did have one high number that was outside the normal range, but my doctor said you need 2 to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes, so don't fret if you see your test results and notice 1 number is outside the normal range! Now if you see 2 above normal numbers, then that is a cause for concern and your doctor will most likely contact you about it as soon as possible.

If you do have gestational diabetes, it doesn't necessarily mean you will end up with type 2 diabetes after birth. It just increases your risks. You can lower those risks by following certain diet restrictions and your doctor will talk you through that if you happen to have gestational diabetes.

Attribution: Image used in blog post photo does not belong to me and was found on Canva.

October 3, 2016

Ovia Pregnancy - A Review

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I previously did a review for Ovia Fertility which you can checkout here, but have obviously switched over to Ovia Pregnancy once I found out I was pregnant 6 months ago.

Ovia Pregnancy is a great little app for any pregnant woman because not only does it give little tidbits as your pregnancy progresses, but you can record so much information, such as your sleep patterns and exercise. There is also an anonymous community forum where you can talk to other moms and ask for advice.

However, I find the community feature to be quite shocking at times, which is probably due to the fact that it is anonymous so people feel free to share the craziest stories or it is possible they are just trolling. In any case, if you have a serious question, always consult your doctor, but if you just want to know which diaper brand is best or what to pack in your hospital bag, feel free to ask away (Although you can get the same answers just by googling).

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I didn't make much use of the recording/calendar feature. I just didn't care to keep track of milestones on there, such as first kick, or to have it keep track of doctor appointments and what not. I just used my google reminder app for that. I didn't feel a need to count calories and record symptoms, but you might and if that's the case this app is for you! I, personally, just chose to go with the flow!

Overall I like this app and haven't felt a need to try another one. I like the daily tidbits about baby's progress and seeing what strange animal or vegetable/fruit baby is the size of from week to week. The growing hand is kind of neat too.

I also like reading the community questions and responding to others questions, sometimes the drama on there is just entertaining, but other times I learn something new and find myself googling for answers or to learn more about it.

I highly recommend this app if you are a first time mom, but even if you already have kids, this app can still be useful as every pregnancy is different.

To learn more about Ovia Pregnancy and to download the app, click here!

This review is my honest opinion and I was not compensated in any way. 

September 1, 2016

Complete Sebamed Baby Gift Package Givaway

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None of the Bloggers promoting this giveaway are responsible for shipping the prize. If you have any questions about this giveaway please feel free to contact Before and After Baby at diana@beforeandafterbabys.com

August 18, 2016

What Happens at the Anatomy Scan?

The anatomy scan typically happens between 18 to 21 weeks, but usually, they aim for 20 weeks (which is why you will hear it called the 20-week scan as well). I was 20 weeks and 2 days for our appointment but could have scheduled as soon as 19 weeks, it just didn't work out with our schedule though so we had to wait another week.

This ultrasound not only lets you find out your baby's sex but is to check on your baby's health. It can last up to 2 hours depending on how cooperative your baby is. Our appointment lasted a little over an hour. Our baby got the hiccups halfway through which made it a little harder for the tech.

The first thing the tech does when they walk into the room asks "do you want to know the sex/gender?" If they don't ask this, make it known right away that you don't want to know (if you don't want to know) or they will tell you and show you! We found out we are having a girl! Finding out right away made the rest of the appointment a little boring. The nurse explained before that the tech is not allowed to tell us too many details, but our guy told us a lot more than we expected, so I am not exactly sure what they are not allowed to say. He told us what he was looking at and constantly said "that looks good" or "that's normal." We're guessing if anything was wrong, he would have probably kept quiet.

He did mention that baby was measuring a week ahead but explained it would not change the due date. Our baby is just growing a bit faster, which is fine, all babies grow differently. She currently weighs 1 pound! I'm hoping she stays under 8 pounds when it comes time to push!

After he was done getting all the pictures he needed, he printed off some ultrasound pictures for us and then also made a disc. We had asked the nurse earlier if they do videos or if we could record and she said that unfortunately they don't and do not allow videoing of the screen. The baby was not as active this time though so not a huge loss and we got way more photos than last time. So if you plan on getting a video of your ultrasound, make sure to ask in advance to know your hospital's policy otherwise you might have to pay for a private screening that will let you.

We were then moved to a room right across the hall to talk to a doctor about our ultrasound results. She came in and basically said everything looked good, normal. Baby girl is healthy and she did not have much else to say but asked if we had any questions. The only thing I asked was how positive they were on the sex of the baby and she said they can't guarantee 100% unless you to do an amniocentesis or they see the baby at birth but said they were 99% positive. I guess they don't want to get themselves in trouble if they happen to be wrong, but it is pretty obvious to us in the sonogram that it is a girl. The doctor said that she would send the results to my OBGYN and it would be up to her if she thinks anything else needs to be done, which isn't likely, and we were good to go!

After reading online, that last part seems pretty rare. It looks like most people have to wait till their next OBGYN appointment to speak to their doctor about their results. I'm glad we live in such a nice area that we were able to find out right away that our baby was healthy.

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