Monday, March 28, 2016

AlabamaTongue and Lip Tie Support Group Is a Great Resource

Photo from Stanford Medicine.
by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

Alabama mothers are fortunate to have a terrific new resource if they are struggling with breastfeeding due to upper lip and tongue tie. This Facebook page administered by Jaclyn Clark and Jessica Claire Hall offers a wealth of information. From provider reviews to incredibly informative articles about ties, this group is the perfect place to really educate yourself on this issue.

Jessica is a peer breastfeeding supporter who had local moms coming to her with questions about this issue. She was sharing information that she had discovered on an individual basis mother by mother. It just made sense to her to put all that information in one place and create an Alabama-based resource for families.

Jaclyn had problems nursing from the very beginning with her baby. Even though I saw him as a newborn, I didn't recognize his posterior tongue tie. Jaclyn says, "No one here was very proficient at PTT then, and I couldn't get anyone to validate my belief that it was. At the time, I couldn't go against my husband who was concerned about a possibly unnecessary painful procedure to go out of state to a preferred provider. The closest one at that time as 6-8 hours away." He was 6 months old, and she was struggling with supply; she did the best she could, taking domperidone and supplementing with donor milk and formula. Most people didn't see the need for any kind of revision. Through all of this, Jaclyn was tireless in her pursuit of answers: "The 'process' of trying to figure out why my son couldn't transfer milk efficiently was what led me to the wealth of knowledge and connections with trailblazers in the world of tongue ties and breastfeeding. And it gave me a certainty that a mother's intuition is to be trusted and listened to."

In the month since beginning the group, multiple families have posted glowing reports about their providers and their revision experiences. Many people have joined the group with questions about tongue and lip tie, and they are met with quick responses both from members and administrators. This group is designed to provide relevant information to families in Alabama and surrounding areas.
Image from First Food for Baby
Jessica Mays is a local mom who received a lot of input from the Alabama Tongue and Lip Tie Support Group. Both of her babies have had ties, but she became aware of it immediately with her second child. She says, "The group has been good. A lot of the resources have helped us. The exercises they have shared have been really helpful, too. Beyond the information that they have shared, the women themselves, especially Jessica Hall and Jaclyn have been incredibly helpful. They have first hand experience, have been there and done that, and aren't afraid to share what they've learned."

This page represents an independent state chapter of the Tongue Tie and Lip Tie Support Network. The network exists to raise awareness and provide research-based information about ties. They also help parents find providers who understand the relationship between an infant's oral anatomy and breastfeeding.

While many providers will simply look at baby's weight gain and assume that good weight gain means there is no problem, that is not always the case. Upper lip and tongue tie can be the reason a baby is slow to gain weight, but they can also cause several other problems. Often what is treated as reflux can be traced to a tie because of the excessive air baby is swallowing during feeds. Ties can also be responsible for a mother having an overactive letdown or excessive milk supply.

If you are concerned that your baby might be having some of these issues, check out this group!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Realistic View of PPD from a Mom Who Has Been There

From Chasing Supermom
by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

Last Monday at our Huntsville Mommy Milk Meet-up gathering, we talked about Postpartum Depression. This subject is so important to me because several years ago I missed the signs in a mom I was helping with breastfeeding. Her PPD went into postpartum psychosis that ended up causing permanent damage to her family and her relationship with her children. I swore to myself then that I would never again let that happen to a mom on my watch. So I am very proactive when I see any signs at all of PPD to encourage both the mother and those around her to make sure she talks to her doctor and gets some help.

Anywhere from 11-20% of women suffer each year from PPD according to Postpartum Progress. Although some do feel like harming themselves or their child, many never have those feelings at all. Rather, like Sabrina in the video below, they find themselves either filled with anxiety or just melting into the couch and unable to do anything, perhaps feeling like they're going crazy!

All the moms in the meeting on Monday shared, but I specifically asked Sabrina Azemar to share her story because I had heard her speak on this topic previously. Sabrina brings warmth, humor and insight into what can be a very dark topic. We have dealt with PPD in our blog previously, but we are excited to offer you Sabrina's insights!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Best Friend's Gift of Love

by Rae Sells, Guest blogger

Amy and Rae never dreamed where their
friendship would take them. (Picture from last fall)
The journey of our friendship began in 1999.  I was living with my best friend Leslie in the apartment complex where I would meet my soon-to-be husband.  I was in my long hippie skirt and quite the delinquent when I met Amy.  Jon and I had just started dating the first time I was introduced to his best friend Charlie's wife.  It is safe to say that we both judged each other immediately.  We were opposites in almost every way.  She was small, blonde, with perfect hair and makeup, and fashionably dressed.  I probably had on a tie-dyed t-shirt that hadn’t been washed in weeks and I smelled like incense.  She was a newlywed and I was, unequivocally, a hoodlum.  When we were introduced we said about three words to each other and then I retreated back to my apartment.  If you would have told us on that day where our friendship would be 15 years later we would have both laughed in your face and told you to take your meds.  Not going to happen.  Fast forward one year and she was fastening a string of pearls on my neck as I prepared to say “I do” to my husband. 

They've made lots of fun memories in the last 17 years!
This picture was taken about 3 weeks before Seth 's birth.
As I grew up and matured our friendship deepened and we really got to know each other.  We found out that we had more in common than we originally thought.  When it came time to start thinking about having kids our relationship grew even more.  We both desperately wanted to be mothers.  We talked about it constantly.  I was just about to graduate from college in 2005 when Amy told me that she was pregnant.  We were both ecstatic.  It consumed us in the most magical way possible.  Baby names and breastfeeding was the topic of conversation on most days.  We thought about decorating nurseries and talked about what we thought being a mom was going to be like.

 On the day before graduation, as we were having a party at the house, I got a call from Charlie.  He asked to speak to Jon, but I knew something was wrong.  I refused to give the phone to Jon until he told me what was wrong.  They were in the ER and Amy had lost the baby.  I remember sitting in our tiny bathroom and crying until I could get myself together and rejoin the party.  The next day though, there she was.  Sitting with my family and watching me walk across the stage to get my diploma.  I told her that she didn’t need to come, but she wouldn’t hear of it.  As much as she was hurting, she wanted to be there for me.  I thought that I knew her well, but on that day I learned much more about her heart than I ever could have learned in happier circumstances. 

Amy and Hannah in January, 2007.
About nine months later we learned that her daughter Hannah was on the way.  We were once again ecstatic and consumed with all things baby.  I started infertility treatments, and one week before Hannah made her appearance in November of 2006 I finally got those two lines on a pregnancy test.  Amy and I were both huge breastfeeding advocates and nursing our babies was extremely important to us.  When Ella was born my milk supply was horrible because of my PCOS and more than once she listened to me cry hysterically because Ella was losing weight and I couldn’t nurse her exclusively.

 In 2009 we decided to add to our family and we began infertility treatments again.  Things proved to be even more difficult this time around and it would be 2 ½ years before we would finally be pregnant again.  I cannot tell you how she was there for me during this time.  We cried together, prayed together, and she was just as excited as I was when we found our Charlotte Leigh was on her way.  I had joked that she needed to get pregnant again so we could be pregnant together and our youngest kids could be close in age.  In September 2012 I got a call from her and she said, “Well… looks like you’re going to get your wish.”  She was pregnant with her fourth and our babies would only be about five months apart.

A few weeks before Amy delivered Seth.
I will say that I already knew how strong and how amazing Amy was, but what would occur over the next several months would only deepen my love and respect for her.  At her gender ultrasound Amy found that she was carrying a boy, but that there were several complications.  The day after Christmas Amy and Charlie found out that their son had Trisomy 18, a condition that is considered “incompatible with life.” Amy made the decision that she would carry Seth as long as the Lord allowed.  The next few months were a blur.  We cried and we talked and we cried some more.  I watched this amazing woman handle the unimaginable with such grace and faith.  She was in pain, both emotionally and physically.  During this time I was trying my best to nurse Charleigh, but was having a lot of issues once again.  I was not making enough milk to nurse her exclusively and had to supplement.  I used formula and was fortunate enough to have a friend, Alyssa, who donated milk and would ship it to me all the way from Texas. 

On May 2, 2013, I was in the room with Amy and Charlie when sweet, tiny Seth was born sleeping.  I think there are days in our life that our so seared into our memory that we see it almost as pictures when we look back.  That day is one of those.  I was able to have some time with Amy that day while she labored, and we were able to even have a couple of moments where we laughed together.  As Truvy said in Steel Magnolias, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”  There are two moments, in particular, of that day that I will never forget.  The first is watching Charlie bounce and rock Seth in his arms as the doctor cleaned Amy up.  And the second is the sound that Amy made right after Seth was born when her mom came to embrace her.  If I never hear that sound again for the rest of my life that will be just fine.The whole day there was such a sense of calm and grace in that room…..I have never experienced anything like it.  If there was ever a case of “peace that surpasses all understanding” then this was it.  I have never lost a child so I could never fathom the pain that Amy and Charlie have gone through, but the greatest pain I have ever felt was watching someone that I love so fully go through this. 

Amy was gifted a rental of a hospital grade pump from A Nurturing Moment to help ease her discomfort of her milk coming in and to relieve engorgement.  When she started to pump she called me and, in true Amy fashion, showed me the depths of her friendship and love for me.  She wanted me to have Seth’s milk to help in supplementing Charleigh.  She knew how important it was to me that Charleigh have as much breastmilk as possible.  So in the time of her greatest pain she, once again, thought of me.  The night she gave me all the milk she had pumped we stood in her kitchen and cried. 

From left: Charleigh, Ella (Rae's children),
Hannah, Mason and Levi (Amy's children).
Breastfeeding and breastfeeding advocacy has brought so many amazing women into my life.  And my own struggles with breastfeeding have made me more sensitive and empathetic when other women experience similar problems.  The most important lesson that breastfeeding my girls taught me is that sometimes love means sacrifice.  Actually, I think MOST of the time love means sacrifice.  But when you love someone so much, that sacrifice is worth it.  I feel incredibly blessed and fortunate that the perky blonde I met nearly 17 years ago stuck with me long enough for me to grow up and be worthy of her amazing friendship.  Her love and selflessness have never gone unnoticed. 
Rae Sells is a breastfeeding advocate, homeschooling mama and busy wife. She runs a small embroidery and monogramming business in her spare time. It is especially fitting that this is published on International Women's Day because it is the perfect way to honor one of her favorite women!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A New Scam Has Hit Huntsville

Huntsville Utilities downtown office - if in doubt about a bill,
go straight to this office...not some other payment location!
by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

I got scammed out of $400 yesterday. I'm embarrassed. I feel stupid. I cried with anger, frustration and hurt when I realized what I had done. Our culture at ANM is to serve and give, so it grieves my spirit deeply that I allowed this to happen to me. But I really want to make sure that YOU don't fall for this!

The Call

At about 11:10 yesterday I received a phone call purportedly from Huntsville Utilities saying they were in route to cut off my power. I told them I had just paid my bill, and it wasn't late. They said that they had sent 3 notices about my account being tagged because I was late on payments twice last year, so they were requiring a $500 deposit. I responded that I hadn't received anything at all from them about this; I was really upset by this point. So the caller said he was transferring me to his supervisor.

A few seconds later "Jason Williams" got on the line and said that he was indeed the supervisor in charge of my account. He had signed off on three letters to me, and because I hadn't responded, I was scheduled for cutoff at noon. I told him there was no way I could leave the store to pay in time, and asked if I couldn't just do it online. He replied that online payments take 24 hours to process, so I had to make an immediate cash payment. 

I was starting to panic at this point. I knew I had to go to the hospital for my Monday afternoon shift later in the day and didn't want the store to be without power. I didn't remember being late with payments, but since I pay online I thought maybe they had been credited late or something. It was awful! In response to my distress, Jason said that he would delay the cutoff until 12:30, but couldn't delay any longer. He also reduced the amount to $400, but insisted I had to go pay it so that I would have a reference number to give the cutoff crew when they showed up. (after I paid, he said he was calling them off)

These crooks want to take advantage of Huntsville!

He told me the nearest place to pay was the CVS on Whitesburg. He told me to go in and pick up the red phone then call him back so he could give me my meter number. I locked the store, put a sign on the window and ran to the bank to get the cash, then headed to CVS. I actually thought about just going straight to the Utility office, but was concerned that might take too long, and I had to get back to the store.

The Red Flags

Huntville Utilities will never ask for a Moneygram
If I hadn't been is such a state of panic, I would have seen the bright red flags at every turn. But that is part of their game...they get you into a panic. I have heard and seen reports of scams and wondered how in the world people could possibly fall for I know...the caller plays on your emotions, and in this case, my concern for my business. In fact, I suspect that this scam may be directed at small business owners.

When I pulled up at CVS, I thought it was odd that there wasn't a sign saying this is a place to pay Huntsville Utilities. But I wasn't thinking clearly because I was just so relieved that I was getting my payment in before cut-off time. The red phone was a Moneygram phone. If I had been thinking right, I would have know right away that I was being scammed. But I was so confused about everything. When I called Jason back, the number answered just like Huntsville Utilities. They had pretty much copied the Huntsville Utilities phone message. 

The next red flag should have been when he said Rushcard. At first I just thought that meant the payment was being rushed. After I made the payment Jason told me it would be credited back to my account in 6 months after I had clear payment history. He further told me that he was now my contact at Huntsville Utilities, so any time I have a question, I should just call him. 

The Sickening Realization

If somebody asks you to go find the
red phone, STOP and call police!
It wasn't until about 3 hours later that I realized I had been scammed. I looked up the Huntsville Utilities number (sure enough, it wasn't the number "Jason" had given me) and called them only to find out that I had been taken for a ride. The kind representative at Huntsville Utilities told me to file a police report, so I headed to the police station where I sobbed my way through my report. I'm sure the officer who took my report probably thought I was a nutcase, but he was very understanding and responded that this was a new twist on an old scam. He even made me feel better by saying he understood how I fell for it.

I want to get the word out immediately to every media outlet in the Huntsville Utilities service area because I don't want anyone else to get scammed like I did! Please share this blog with every small business owner you know. These crooks have obviously purchased an 800 number that as of today is still functional and answering as Huntsville Utilities, 800-345-0597. So they are trying to take advantage of us here in Huntsville. HELP STOP THEM NOW!!!!