Meet our mom of the month, Jeanine Hemmingway. Jeanine is a breast cancer survivor and the awesome mom of 4 children, including one set of triplets (2 boys and one girl). To keep things simple, Jeanine had all of her children in November (just kidding, life just happened that way!), so as of this November, the triplets will be 4 and the baby boy will be one. Jeanine went on “House Arrest” at 4 months when she was pregnant with the triplets which consisted of a marked reduction in her activity level, yet she was not confined to bed. She delivered the triplets at 7months. Her daughter stayed in the NICU for 26 days and her sons stayed in the NICU for 28 days. Her youngest son was born 2 days before his due date and is already scurrying along behind his older sibs. I tease Jeanine about being on the run behind her crew, and she just laughs and says, “After all I’ve been through, to have the children and the life that I have now I know that I am blessed by God.” In her “spare time” Jeanine runs her solo accounting firm, Jeanine Hemmingway, CPA. She specializes in personal and small business accounting. For more information on Jeanine Hemmingway, CPA services, visit www.Jeaninecpa.com.
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There is an old wives’ tale that says, “If you have heart burn when you’re pregnant, then the baby has a lot of hair.” This was certainly true with my first pregnancy. I had horrible heartburn for the entire pregnancy and my daughter was born with a head full of straight black hair.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I carried her high right at the junction of my ribs. Everything was pushed up which made me a prime candidate for heartburn, which is actually acid reflux.
Acid reflux is really common, even amongst the non-pregnant, but can really be a problem for pregnant women. As the uterus grows, all the internal organs are displaced upwards. This can lead to upward pressure on the esophageal sphincter allowing reflux of the stomach contents. Additionally, the additional hormones present during pregnancy relax the body’s muscles adding to the relaxed sphincter and the back flow of the stomach’s contents.
What can an expectant mama so for relief?
- Eat several small meals throughout the day. By not filling the stomach to capacity there is less to reflux.
- Avoid spicy and/or rich foods which seem to aggrivate the condition.
- While the recommendation is to drink less while eating, I found that If I drank water with my meals, I experienced less reflux. You can experiment with this tip and see which way works best for you.
- Don’t lay down for an hour after eating. If you are on strict bedrest, elevate the head of your bed so that you are always inclined and never laying flat (which increase the likelihood of reflux and heartburn occuring.)
- Check with your doctor to see if you can take Tums or Maalox. These medications are usually safe during pregnancy, but make sure they are safe in your case.
Hang in there! Heartburn is another one of those “special memories” that accompany pregnancy. But speaking from experience, it’s well worth it.
Ever had the experience of going to the doctor filled with questions and yet returning home with few if any answered? As a physician assistant with 8 years of hands on clinical experience, I am loathe to admit that at times I too made the hasty exit from a patient room without stopping to see if there were more questions. Let me assure you, it’s not a personal affront. Most times the hasty exit is due to the fact that we clinicians are running behind schedule and have other patients waiting in other exam rooms. Still, that is no excuse not to give the patient before us our undivided attention.
But as a patient, you can maximize your office visits and make sure that all of your concerns are addressed. Having now been on both sides of the table, I share these tips with you to tell you what has worked for me as a clinician and as a patient.
Come Prepared. The reality is that many clinicians are overbooked. While this should not be the case, it is and I doubt offices are going to change this practice anytime in the near future. So with that in mind as much as possible, have your questions ready and written down before you meet with your clinician. This will maximize time and ensure that all your concerns are addressed.
Preface the visit with, “I have several concerns that I’d like to discuss.” This lets your clinician know right away that you have questions you’d like answered and believe it or not, they are more inclined to direct their undivided attention to you. You can also say “I have questions that I’d like answered before you leave,” thereby putting them on notice not to make any hasty exits.
Bring Another Person with You. Having a spouse or other support present expands the conversation. They can remind you of issues that you may have forgotten and the added set of ears can help you recall details and instructions once you return home. Additionally, have them take notes while you speak to your clinician and periodically reflect back what is discussed.
These seemingly simple suggestions can truly maximize your time with your clinician. It also reduces the feeling that your concerns are not important and that they have already moved on before they have even left the room.
One point that must be made. If your are continuously subjected to lengthy waits in the waiting room, the hasty exit persist and lack of attention to your concerns and requests are repeatedly ignored, you may need to consider changing clinicians. Remember, your clinician works for YOU! And if they are not meeting your needs, take your business elsewhere. Your time is just as valuable as theirs and if they cannot respect you, they don’t deserve your business-now matter how “renowned in their field” or “respected” they are in the community.