Nursing Under the Influence: Legal Pain Killers and Infant Death

Stephanie Greene, 39, of South Carolina

Stephanie Greene, 39, of South Carolina

Trigger: this article has the potential to emotionally disturb sensitive individuals. 

This week, Stephanie Greene, 39, of South Carolina was charged with the murder of her six-week old baby girl. According to the Daily Mail, “A toxicology report revealed baby Alexis had a level of morphine considered lethal for an adult,” and

“Prosecutors said Stephanie Greene, 39, was a nurse and knew the dangers of taking painkillers while pregnant and breast feeding, but chose to conceal her pregnancy from doctors to keep getting her prescriptions.

She lost her nursing license in 2004 for trying to get drugs illegally.

However Greene’s lawyer said she was only trying to stop debilitating pain from a car crash more than a decade before and relied on her own judgment and medical research on the Internet instead of the advice of doctors.

Alexis’s death did not need to happen. And, although it is incredibly irresponsible to withhold pregnancy from a doctor and take substances while nursing, from most of the breast feeding “advice” and pressure found on the Internet mommy communities, I can see why Greene thought taking prescription pain killers would be totally okay. In fact, according to KellyMom, morphine is an approved pain medication for nursing mothers:

Are you fucking serious?

Are you fucking serious?

You can find the list of drugs KellyMom approves here. And, BTW, morphine is a class “B” on this chart:

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 3.27.26 PM

“No evidence of risk in humans”. Really? Morphine? Really? WebMD clearly states that morphine passes through breast milk, so it’s shocking that KellyMom would make a blanket endorsement regarding morphine’s safety while nursing.

The major issue here is that this baby’s death could have been avoided if, instead of trusting extremely biased Internet sites, Greene spoke with her doctor instead. I’m willing to concede that Greene does, undoubtedly, have a substance abuse problem. But even if she did not, I can see how someone would easily make the mistake of using dangerous drugs during pregnancy and while nursing based on the misinformation found in propaganda sources.

In the past, I’ve been called “bitter” for my articles questioning the validity of KellyMom’s statements. Allow me to clear the air: I’m not bitter, I’m educated – but that does not mean I know everything. What it, most honestly, means is that I understand my own limitations and I have empathy for the limitations of others. I believe wholeheartedly that any mom-geared website that degrades women and uses misinformation to persuade and guilt moms into a one-size-fits-all parenting method should be scrutinized.

Greene certainly had an issue with substance abuse, but she was not encouraged to seek help for her problems. Part of the reason is because she was not honest with herself or her doctors, but an equally large part of the problem is that her substance abuse was validated by inaccurate charts on KellyMom and similar parenting websites and/or communities (the resident breast feeding nazis of BabyCenter, WTE, and CafeMom might have had something to do with the social pressure).

The fact is, if Greene needed morphine for medical reasons, she should not have been breast feeding. Period. We shouldn’t be taking risks with substances that are known to enter the blood stream and test positive in breast milk. A baby’s health is not something to gamble with. Period.

11 Thoughts on Alcohol During Pregnancy

 

Wine is delicious, but is it worth drinking during pregnancy?

Wine is delicious, but is it worth drinking during pregnancy?

The Harvard Health Blog recently reviewed a study on alcohol and pregnancy. Although Dr. Howard LeWine admitted that the “medical evidence supporting strict abstinence [of alcohol is] not very strong,” at no point in the article did the Harvard Health Blog condone drinking during pregnancy. In fact, Dr. LeWine went on to write, “Since it’s not clear how much alcohol it takes to cause problems, the best advice remains the same: women should avoid alcohol if they are pregnant or might become pregnant.” If that statement wasn’t enough, LeWine finished the article with this statement: “Looking at the evidence, a strict recommendation to have zero alcohol during pregnancy seems extreme. Will there be consensus about whether it’s safe for a pregnant woman to have a glass of wine or a beer once or twice a week? I don’t think we will see that any time soon.”

So, what does this mean? Is, as the United Kindgom’s Department of Health indicates, a drink a couple times a week O.K. during pregnancy? Or, as a UK non-profit suggests, should drinking be eliminated entirely based on the fact that “Foetal Alcohol Syndrome is the biggest cause of non-genetic mental handicap in the western world and the only one that is 100% preventable.”

As a mother, the answer is a no-brainer: don’t drink, and there’s zero risk of your child having fetal alcohol syndrome/fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. With all of the things you can’t control – genetics, accidents, illness – why would an expectant mother dare to roll the dice with something like alcohol consumption – something she should be 100% in control of preventing? If we’re being honest, drinking during pregnancy is absolutely irresponsible because it presents an unnecessary risk to the fetus.

There are many options on alcohol and pregnancy, from the self-proclaimed “educated” moms and those citing European customs. But let’s be real: these opinions are often just excuses to drink while pregnant. And that’s just pathetic.

What do I think of drinking during pregnancy? I’ll share a few thoughts with the class:

drunk chicks1. Alcohol influences the behavior of a grown adult; it absolutely has an effect on the fetus. It doesn’t matter if the amount of alcohol that reaches the fetus is less than the amount you consume; the fetus is much smaller and less developed, thus less equipped to deal with alcohol consumption. Studies have shown that, even in adults, alcohol absorption varies greatly; in fact, the older a person is, the higher their blood alcohol level will be when compared to a younger consumer of the same alcohol content (Source: University of Rochester Medical Center). To break it down: if you’re at an “advanced maternal age” and you’re drinking alcohol during pregnancy, there’s more of a chance the alcohol will reach your baby’s system. 

2. Giving up alcohol should never be a struggle. If you can’t go 9 months with a drink for the health of your child, you need to go to AA. And, please, before you get all angry and up-in-arms about that statement, take a minute and think, “Do I really want to be that pregnant lunatic crying over my right to have a beer?” No, you do not. Also, WebMD might argue that, based on the riskiness of drinking during pregnancy, you may be an alcoholic.

Before: Snooki Pre-Pregnancy

Before: Snooki Pre-Pregnancy

3. Defending your decision to consume alcohol while pregnant is trashy. How trashy? Well, even Snooki didn’t drink while pregnant. So, yeah, super trashy.

After: Snooki During Pregnancy. Good job, Snooki!

After: Snooki During Pregnancy. Good job, Snooki!

4.  Drinking is cool for maybe 6 months after you turn legal age. After that, it’s lame. Every bar is the same. Every time you get “drunk” you do something more stupid and more costly than the time before. If you’re not getting “drunk” but instead you’re getting buzzed to “relax”, you probably have other issues. And, likely, alcohol dependence.

5. The fact that there are “no known safe levels” of alcohol should not read as an invitation to test the limits. It doesn’t mean that science hasn’t gotten around to the question; it means the question is so moronic, science doesn’t think it needs to address the issue. See point #1.

duhgif

6. If you’re whining about not being able to drink while pregnant, you probably should reconsider this whole “parenting” thing, because if you envision yourself sipping martinis in the near future, you are on crack. Which, coincidentally, is also not good during pregnancy. Basically, you’re a mess.

7. There are so many other things you should be doing during pregnancy. Like, I don’t know, reading a book? Actually, you should probably read many books. Because if you think alcohol & pregnancy are a good combination, your education thus far has been useless.

8. Pregnancy weight gain doesn’t just happen to your belly. But, while we’re discussing bellies, you really want to add a beer gut to that basketball you’ve got going on? Seriously? Don’t waste your calories on something that’s bad for you and your baby.

9. On the subject of bodies, alcohol damages your body and makes it look older. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

10. Doctors who say drinking while pregnant is okay are fucking alcoholics. Yeah, doctors are human and, thus, can also be susceptible to alcoholism. A medical professional who sympathizes with your need to have a drink or two is not concerned about your health or your baby; he/she is concerned with getting acceptance from people, earning your insurance dollars, and drinking away the guilt at the end of the day.

11. If you’ve read about fetal alcohol syndrome/fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and that isn’t enough to dissuade you from drinking, you absolutely have a drinking problem. To even take the risk of giving your child a lifelong sentence of struggle just so you can “relax” or “unwind” is despicable and pathetic. Read: you are pathetic.

Please, feel free to leave nasty, idiotic comments about how alcohol should be socially acceptable while pregnant. Or how you only have alcohol on special occasions so it’s totally fine. Fearlessly defend your selfish decision to drink during pregnancy. Prove me wrong. Then, read this Pulitzer Prize featured piece, “My Baby Was Born A Drunk” by Eric Newhouse and tell me that wine is worth it. I dare you.

39 Healthy, Pregnancy-Approved Snack Ideas

When you’re pregnant, having to prepare a snack can often lead to the path of least resistance: junk. Except, in the long run, that chocolate bar or small order of french fries will weigh you down. Here’s a list of 39 pregnancy snacks that are both healthy and fast!

1. Green pimento-stuffed olives

Perfect for salty cravings.

Perfect for salty cravings.

2. Carrot sticks & hummus

Filling and yummy.

Filling and yummy.

3. Zucchini slices & greek yogurt tzatziki sauce

Daring Gourmet has a great recipe!

Daring Gourmet has a great recipe!

4. Cherry tomatoes with homemade greek yogurt ranch

Or get creative with this great recipe from The Curvy Carrot!

Or get creative with this great recipe from The Curvy Carrot!

5. Grapes & cheese

grapesandcheese
6. Banana, oatmeal, cinnamon and almond milk smoothie

If you're searching for a heartier option, The Lemon Bowl has a great peanut butter banana oatmeal smoothie recipe.

If you’re searching for a heartier option, The Lemon Bowl has a great peanut butter banana oatmeal smoothie recipe.

7. Blueberries

So fresh and delicious!

So fresh and delicious!

8. Cucumber slices topped with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of bacon bits

Please ignore the juicy chicken leg in this photo.

Please ignore the juicy chicken leg in this photo.

9. Almonds

almonds
10. Peanut butter and banana slices

peanutbutterbanana
11. Pizza bites made with zucchini slices for crust

Recipe from The Comfort of Cooking.

Recipe from The Comfort of Cooking.

12. Whole wheat toast with organic, no sugar added orange marmalade

Toast-and-marmalade-006
13. Avocado halves

avacado_0
14. Bananas with wheat germ

wheatgerm
15. Tomato, basil, mozzarella slices with balsamic

caprese-420x280
16. Roasted artichoke with garlic aioli

Recipe & Photo from Dish Of Savory

Recipe & Photo from Dish Of Savory

17. Apple slices & cheddar cheese

Cheese snack
18. Deviled eggs with guacamole instead of traditional filling

Recipe from Primal Bites Blog

Recipe from Primal Bites Blog

19. Grape pops. Frosting = Greek yogurt or pasteurized chèvre. Texturize with your favorite chopped nuts.

Buh-bye cake pops! Hello, grape pops!

Buh-bye cake pops! Hello, grape pops!

20. KIND bar – any flavor!

kind-snacks
21. Guacamole & celery

guaccelery
22.  Watermelon, feta (pasteurized) and mint salad

Recipe & Photo from The Shiksa In The Kitchen

Recipe & Photo from The Shiksa In The Kitchen

23. Sliced peaches & prosciutto

peaches
24. Carrot sticks with greek yogurt ranch dip

carrotranch
25. Cherries

Cherries
26. Turkey bacon wrapped asparagus

baconasp
27. Popcorn – add your favorite herbs and spices or buy a special kind.

Little Lad's Herbal Popcorn
28. Pumpkin energy bites

Recipe & photo from Shugary Sweets

Recipe & photo from Shugary Sweets

29. String cheese or cheese sticks

sargentocheese-730817
30. Applesauce

applesauce
31. Pretzel crackers with cream cheese, black olives, and carrots. Otherwise known as “penguin snacks”

penguinsnack
32. Frozen yogurt bites

strawberry-snack
33. Roasted grapefruit with honey

roastedgrapefruit
34. Strawberries & whipped cream

strawberries
35. Flavored roasted chickpeas

honey-cinnamon-roasted-chickpeas2
36. Coconut flakes or “chips”

coconutchips
37. Roasted seaweed snacks (Wasabi is my fave!)

seaweed
38. Baked veggie chips (sweet potatoes, kale, brussel sprouts, zucchini, and pumpkin work well. Spice with your favorite flavors – garlic & olive oil, rosemary & coconut oil, etc.)

veggiechips
39.  Popcorn edamame

Great photo & recipe from Thyme Bombe.

Great photo & recipe from Thyme Bombe.

Will Getting a Tattoo During Pregnancy Cause a Miscarriage?

I will be the first person to admit that I don’t like tattoos. It doesn’t bother me if you have tattoos, but I would never get one. However, a recent poster asked other expecting moms if getting a tattoo during pregnancy was okay. Instead of receiving actual information from reputable sources, this pregnant lady was attacked. Honestly? No one bothered to Google it. No one bothered to check the APA, WebMD, the Mayo Clinic, or suggest asking a doctor. Instead, the poster was met with this:

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 6.13.22 PM

 

Don’t get a tattoo because it “can cause miscarriage”? Oh, I get it. The poster is covered in tattoos. Naturally, this makes the poster a medical doctor certified in speaking the truth about tattoos & pregnancy. Silly me. This lady is an expert! (Seriously? What happens if you get a cut and it becomes infected during pregnancy? Your baby dies? Uh, let’s get real.)

A three-second Google search brought me to the American Pregnancy Association‘s website, which (SPOILER ALERT) contained wildly different information than was provided by novices on BabyCenter’s birth boards. In fact, the APA provides guidelines for getting a tattoo while pregnant, things to consider, and, although it suggests waiting, writes that the decision is ultimately “up to you”.

Although BabyCenter’s official stance is to wait until after childbirth (in alignment with The Bump’s expert) the risks outlined do not suggest that miscarriage is a possibility. Period.

The only statement remotely close to the poster’s declaration is this: “Unusually stressful events during pregnancy may result in premature labour. We don’t know whether having a tattoo would cause this level of stress, but it’s best to play it safe.” (Source: BabyCentre UK)

The operative word here is “may”. It may result in premature labor.

I absolutely agree with the experts that getting a tattoo while pregnant is not worth the risk. It’s not worth it at all. But to lie to someone asking for help, and state that something is known to cause a miscarriage, is irresponsible.

Dr. Saad Ramzi Ismail

Dr. Saad Ramzi Ismail Responds to My Article on the “Ramzi Theory”

Dr. Saad Ramzi Ismail poses with ultrasound equipment.

Dr. Saad Ramzi Ismail poses with ultrasound equipment.

I can hardly contain myself. A couple days ago, I published a post on the Ramzi Theory being a hoax. While I’m not entirely wrong about that, I did have the privilege of chatting with the man behind the method, Dr. Saad Ramzi Ismail, about his groundbreaking study on ultrasounds.

First, let’s go over a few things Dr. Ismail shared with me in response to my article, “Can You Predict A Baby’s Gender Using The Ramzi Theory?

For one, Dr. Ismail is not an M.D.; he holds a PhD in Public Health and a master’s degree in medical ultrasounds. Again, Dr. Ismail is not a medical doctor. That’s not to discount his PhD or ultrasound accomplishments, it’s just important to know when evaluating his research and applying it to your life.

Now, here are a few more details. Dr. Ismail (or should we call him Ismail, PhD?) confirmed that his hypothesis could work with an EV (endovaginal or transvaginal) or abdominal scan; however, the ultrasound tech or doctor taking the images would have to follow the same exact protocol as the study. This means no mirror images or turned sides; unless you’re directing the doctor/ultrasound tech performing your ultrasound, you won’t know if the ultrasound has been done in the same way. If you’re absolutely set on putting the Ramzi Method to the test, perhaps you should print Dr. Ismail’s article and bring it to your OB/GYN. 

What Dr. Ismail has stressed to me is that determining gender at 6 weeks is not “ethical”; this is because, at 6 weeks gestation, the mother/parents can still choose to abort the fetus. Thus, in countries like India and China, the Ramzi Theory could be quite controversial as families prefer boys over girls.

As for calling his method the “Ramzi Theory”? Well, it’s a nod to his late father, Ramzi.

Believe it or not, Dr. Ismail did not conduct the study to help desperate, over-privledged women discover the sex of their babies early; “The research was designed to help those women with XXY (otherwise known as Klinefelter Syndrome) or other syndromes that can be seen in one gender than other and give an early management start to parents and doctor to make the correct choice. and it is also good for helping the vet science with endanger specious like panda etc  if we want to select male or female,” wrote Dr. Ismail.

Regarding women/parents interested in using his study to predict the sex of a fetus as early as 6 weeks gestation, Ismail had this to say:

Ma[n]y of the techs and doctors are not familiar with this method , please ask them to make sure that the tech must do true transverse section of the uterus to show the chorionic villi or the early placenta must be true transverse –  not sagital, not oblique –  and to make sure that if the uterus is retroverted or retroflexed that the tech do the true transverse accordingly,  and let the ladies know that it is not the baby position in the uterus but it is the placenta bulk, and that the placenta bulk either to right or left. I know that the sex chromosomes are in charge but there is a great deal that the sex chromosome do change and switch depending on the placenta position in the uterus, and this research is too long to explain and it is still controversial. Many pictures sent 90%  WERE NOT TRUE TRANSVERSE [ultrasounds]. And if the placenta sidedness and the gender do not match, it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the method, but there is more than 60% chance that there is fetal pathology read my paper and to see the relation..but I don’t want them to be alarmed and stressed out; as long as you have a healthy baby thats all matter and if it works that the gender and the placenta do not match I want you to check the baby renals ( kidneys), the baby Brain, and the baby heart for any defect or mild pyelectasis, and other markers.”
Additionally, Ismail is “working on other new marker and this time will publish with med journal that have more peer reviews etc….Rhis new idea is even more better but I have to keep collecting the data and see what I get.”
So, word on the street is to watch for more research from Dr. Saad Ramzi Ismail.
Although he’s a very busy man, if you do wish to write Dr. Ismail, please direct your questions to steveramsey46@hotmail.com. And, BTW, he goes by “Steve” (his Christian name).

Pink Lines and Plus Signs: Pregnancy Test Tweaking

Ladies, I honestly don’t care how unpopular this statement is: buy a pregnancy test that works. I’m so sick of seeing women posting photos of their gross pee-sticks and photoshopping the snapshot into eternity in hopes that maybe, in different lighting, the test will read positive.

I know a lot of women have difficultly trying to conceive, but taking 87 pregnancy tests will not up your chances. Neither will photoshopping, or “tweaking”, the results. Buy an accurate pregnancy test, and wait an ample amount of time before testing. Because, like it or not, if you do wind up pregnant, you will have a whole 9 months to obsess over your pregnancy. And a ton of things you need to buy. And you’ll wish you didn’t waste $18.99/month on shitty, inaccurate pregnancy tests for the last three years. If you don’t end up pregnant, you’ll wish you saved the money for IVF, IUI, other fertility treatments, or adoption. You will not want to look at your bank statement a few years from now to find that you’ve spent hundreds – possibly thousands – of dollars – not trying to get pregnant – simply buying pregnancy tests.

There’s a reason the digital pregnancy test was invented: pink lines and plus signs are ridiculously hard to decipher. The digital test takes confusion out of the equation. It tells you “pregnant” or “not pregnant”. No guesswork! No tweaking! No stress!

There’s a myth going around that digital pregnancy tests are “less accurate” than traditional lines and plus signs; that is false. And, even if it were true, it would only be 0.03% more accurate. Honestly, it’s negligible. If you are pregnant, a digital test will tell you.

Another thing, when you post those pregnancy test photos on message boards, everyone is rooting for you – but all the positive vibes in the world will not impregnate your uterus. SORRYNOTSORRY.

Here’s an example of a test someone wants to be “tweaked”:

One line = pregnant, two lines = not pregnant

One line = not pregnant, two lines = pregnant

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to read this test. Clearly, this lady is not pregnant. The faint line is called an “evaporation line“. It’s basically showing up because of the way the urine has evaporated in the test; it is not an indication of pregnancy. However, she’ll enlist the powers that be on the mommy boards to alter the photo “just to make sure”.

What ends up happening is this:

 

Sad. Inaccurate. Deceiving.

Sad. Inaccurate. Deceiving.

Women get “false positives” in the form of social media and mommy message boards. Perhaps the most devastating thing that can happen to a woman who is trying to conceive is being told “HOORAY! You’re pregnant!” only to visit the OB/GYN and discover no, it’s not true. Even worse, these women then get their periods and think they’re suffering a miscarriage, when, in actuality, their pregnancy existed only in fantasy land.

So, ladies, stop doing this to yourselves and to others. Buy a test that works. No need for the drama, mama.

boyorgirl

Can You Predict A Baby’s Gender With The Ramzi Theory?

I had the privilege of chatting with the man behind the Ramzi Theory, Dr. Saad Ramzi Ismail himself. Please see the update in a more recent article, “Dr. Saad Ramzi Ismail Responds to My Article on the ‘Ramzi Theory’“. 

When I was pregnant with Clark, I didn’t discover the “mommy boards” until I was a few months pregnant. By that time, all of the posts with ultrasounds and gender had sort of died down. People were finding out if their baby was a boy or girl with official ultrasounds; there was no longer a need to speculate. This time around, I have joined pretty early, and the amount of “Ramzi Theory” posts are startling. I began to wonder why I hadn’t heard about this during my first pregnancy. To be fair, two doctors confirmed that Clark was, indeed, a boy at 12 weeks, so maybe that’s why I wasn’t super anxious. But then again, if the Ramzi Theory was a real phenomenon, wouldn’t my OB/GYN have told me about it?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it turns out the Ramzi Theory isn’t really a theory at all; I would even assert it’s a hoax. The story goes that Dr. Ramzi Ismail came up with the hypothesis that gender could be predicted “with 97%+ accuracy” from the first ultrasound based on the location of the placenta (Source: Ramzi’s Method to Determine Fetal Gender). From the start, there are several red flags for the Ramzi Theory or Ramzi Method. First, the doctor’s last name is Ismail, not Ramzi. If a real, scientific theory was discovered by this “doctor”, the theory would be called the Ismail Theory – not Ramzi. Some of you will argue that’s just “lexical order”, but it’s the first clue that the “theory” you’re using is not, in fact, a real scientifically tested theory at all.

Next, the original study is published on “obgyn.net” only; no official medical journals have published the study. For those of you who don’t know what obgyn.net is, allow me to explain: obgyn.net is something of a social network for OB/GYNs. Anyone can submit an article to be published; studies do not need to be peer reviewed. This is incredibly important, because a peer review, in academia, is a stamp of approval. Also, for Ramzi’s Theory to be sound, it would need to be replicated; if the study cannot be replicated, it’s not scientifically sound. Furthermore, obgyn.ne is owned by UBM plc, a multinational media company – not a board certified association of medical doctors.

If you’re still don’t understand my skepticism, here’s another piece of information to think about: even if the Ramzi Theory/Method is true and scientific, the study was conducted using “2D sonography with color flow or angio power color flow Doppler to mark the laterality of the chorionic villi color flow that represents the blood flow in this region (future placenta).” Chances are, your in-office ultrasound did not use this technology. Thus, using the Ramzi Theory (or Ramzi Method) to attempt gender prediction is impossible - even if the study was 100% accurate.

So, now that you understand, let’s inspect “Dr. Saad Ramzi Ismail”; is he a real doctor? Is he even a real person? Well, there is a Dr. Saad Ramzi Ismail who did publish a study on sonograms in the Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, however, it has nothing to do with gender prediction. The contact information listed for this Dr. Ismail is a hotmail account and a P.O. Box address – not a university, hospital, or practice.

I’ve also found a LinkedIn account for Dr. Saad Ramzi Ismail Al Kubaisi, but even this is shady. Here’s a screenshot of this alleged authority’s LinkedIn history:

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 11.37.51 AM

 

Seems like a total winner. I would trust this “ultrasouind superviosr” to predict my baby’s gender. For sure.

For a theory that seems so painfully, obviously false, you might wonder why I’m bothering to write about this at all. Well, here’s why: when I Googled the Ramzi theory looking for answers, I discovered a multitude of crazies using this theory on message boards as if it were real. There are women on What To Expect When You’re Expecting message boards propelling this myth. The moms of Momtastic are also hooked on the “theory”. We have others on MumsNet.com, The Bump, BabyCenter - you name a mommy board, and the Ramzi Theory has infiltrated every single birth club.

It’s sad, really, that women are so desperate and bored that they resort to using fake theories to pass the time. The Ramzi Theory is nothing but a modern old wive’s tale, and some may wonder if there’s any harm in sharing an interesting game. Here’s the problem: this Ramzi Theory is being shared with statistics. Over 97% accuracy – “it’s been studied”! When, truthfully, it’s all a big lie. There’s no Ramzi Theory. There’s no Dr. Ramzi. It’s all just a giant hoax. And, let’s be real: it was started by a major media company to get links. Everyone links to obgyn.net. Obgyn.net gets revenue; they don’t care if it’s real or fake.

For the record, I emailed Saad Ramzi Ismail, MSC, BSC, ARDMS, RTR, CARDUP at his given email: steveramsey2000@hotmail.com. No response. Also, who’s Steve Ramsey?

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 11.54.21 AMApparently, he’s a doctor with two names, a hotmail account, and a strong dislike for South China.

You’re welcome, Internet.

Why I Do Not Care About the “Mommy Wars”

Real talk: I am so sick of reading all of these phony “end the mommy wars” posts on popular mom/parenting sites. First of all, it’s not genuine. By dissing the mommy wars, and women who judge other women, you are essentially doing exactly the same thing: judging other moms for their opinions. Second, we all have different ideas. Some women are more opinionated than others. Just because you don’t like how an opinion is expressed doesn’t mean that person shouldn’t be able to share their own opinion. And, finally, the whole “positive” “happy” “omg let’s make heart sandwiches” vibe is revolting. The fact is everyone judges everyone else’s methods. Instead of focusing on individuals, focus on the methods. It’s not a “mommy war” if women are sharing differing opinions on methodology. And it doesn’t mean that we, as moms, hate other women as people. We just hate their ideas. No big deal.

I guess, in a way, I do care about the mommy wars. The mommy wars are valuable. The mommy wars raise questions. The mommy wars challenge us to reflect on our parenting skills. The mommy wars make us better moms.

We need the mommy wars to keep us in line. To read a furious defense on spanking and think, “Wow, do I really want to be this lunatic?” (I hope your answer is no, because the collective quotations that comprise that post is, clearly, bat-shit-crazy. Honestly, an adult hitting a child is never okay. The fact that a popular mommy site would publish an article entitled “In Defense of Spanking” is absolutely gross. Feel free to post your hate-comments.)

“I really think it’s crazy that we hit our kids. It really is–here’s the crazy part about it. Kids are the only people in the world that you’re allowed to hit. Do you realize that? They’re the most vulnerable, and they’re the most destroyed by being hit. But it’s totally okay to hit them. And they’re the only ones! If you hit a dog they fucking will put you in jail for that shit. You can’t hit a person unless you can prove that they were trying to kill you. But a little tiny person with a head this big who trusts you implicitly, fuck ‘em. Who gives a shit?” – Louis C.K.

Anyway, back to the moms, I have an opinion on things. I can back my opinions up with research. Some people don’t like research. We call those people morons. And, yes, that’s the scientific term for a stupid person. Because only a stupid person would think that research should be dismissed.

If everyone just does whatever they want to – with no checks and balances – the world, well, honestly, I was going to say it would be insanity, but there would be a lot of people who just wouldn’t exist. They’d be dead. Or their ancestors would be dead, so they wouldn’t be alive. So, the world, it would be less full. Empty in a sense. We all need safety nets. And the mommy wars, for better or worse, provide moms with just that: a safety net. There’s an article for everything. A post to put each mom and her opinion at ease. A thread to challenge her ideas. A comment to force her to say, “Am I the crazy one?”

So, to the mommy wars, I say: wage. Carry on. Continue. Because, like bad pop music, you’re never going to go away. Bieber fever. Backstreet Boys. New Kids on The Block. Stupidity forever. Amen.

 

Announcing your pregnancy with a meme

Brian and I found out a couple weeks ago that we’re expecting baby #2! We are super excited, and we were finding it extremely difficult to keep our mouths shut. We told our immediate family members right away, but we were hesitant to tell our extended family and friends. Then, we decided this is not baby #1, so no need to be elaborate. A Facebook meme announcement would suffice. With over 300 likes between our posts, I think the meme announcement can be considered a success. Basically, you use a meme generator with a picture of your current child. Bonus points if your child is grumpy. Extra credit if you have more than one child and all of your children are in the meme.

Here’s some meme-spiration for your announcement plans:

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 2.12.19 PMScreen Shot 2014-02-27 at 2.06.56 PMScreen Shot 2014-02-27 at 2.01.30 PMScreen Shot 2014-02-27 at 1.53.11 PM

We also toyed with the idea of something more elaborate, but, honestly, we have diapers to buy. And more in October.

Tell me why we thought this was a good idea again? Oh, right, the “Clark needs someone to play with” theory. It’s totally going to work. Absolutely genius idea. Because two babies are always easier than one baby. Duh.

 

 

My first sushi feast after Clark was born. The question is: did I really have to wait 9 months?

Is It Okay To Eat Sushi During Pregnancy?

FACT: You are 80 times more likely to get sick from chicken than raw fish.

Read on for more information about sushi during pregnancy

My first sushi feast after Clark was born. The question is: did I really have to wait 9 months?

My first sushi feast after Clark was born. The question is: did I really have to wait 9 months?

When I was pregnant with Clark, I abstained from sushi. It was probably – no, definitely – the hardest part of my pregnancy. Sushi is my absolute favorite food. Despite doing a ton of research on sushi during pregnancy, I was too scared to take a bite. I felt that if something went wrong, I would blame it on the sushi. And then I would never be able to eat sushi again, because I would associate it with gut wrenching guilt. But now I realize how silly that would be. A simple roll of rice and raw fish would cause birth defects? Meanwhile, as my mother likes to defend her heavy reliance on caffeine in her third and final pregnancy, “there are crack babies being born normal” (I don’t actually know if this is true. It’s just my mom’s mommism. So, please, do not do crack and cite me as your permissive resource. Again: DO NOT DO CRACK WHILE PREGNANT. I DO NOT ENDORSE CRACK WHILE PREGNANT. DO NOT HAVE A CRACK BABY.)

Back to sushi. Is it okay to eat sushi during pregnancy? Let’s look at the sources, and we’ll start with the United States.

Spicy mayo. Caviar. Salmon/"Sake". Tuna. How did I live without these things for 9 months?!

Spicy mayo. Caviar. Salmon/”Sake”. Tuna. How did I live without these things for 9 months?!

The Mayo Clinic lists sushi as one of its “foods to avoid during pregnancy“, and WebMD’s list, “What Not To Eat When Pregnant“, agrees with this. LIVESTRONG’s guide to seafood goes as far as to suggest that “pregnant women [should] avoid uncooked fish and seafood entirely”.

In spite of all the medical warnings against sushi, many bloggers and newspaper contributors have called the research behind the guidelines into question. The New York Times published an op-ed piece titled, “Chicken of the Sea“, and author Steven A. Shaw defended the pregnant population’s sushi consumption. He wrote, “If you take raw and partly cooked shellfish out of the equation, the risk of falling ill from eating seafood is 1 in 2 million servings, the government calculated some years back; by comparison, the risk from eating chicken is 1 in 25,000. (Over all, 76 million cases of food poisoning are reported a year.)”

Shocking, yes, but absolutely true: you are more likely to get food poisoning/illness from chicken than sushi. About eighty times more likely, in fact.

Now we know what the U.S. camp says, what are the guidelines for women in other countries with equal health statuses?

According to health authorities in the United Kingdom, eating sushi during pregnancy is perfectly fine. In fact, according to the U.K. guidelines, you can add smoked fishes to your diet, too.

Homemade sushi with smoked salmon? The United Kingdom says yes! Totally fine.

Homemade sushi with smoked salmon? The United Kingdom says yes! Totally fine.

This article from The Guardian sparked a discussion about pregnancy guidelines around the world. The comments show just how different the advice can be from country to country. Commenter “FijiK”, who was pregnant in Japan, wrote, “As for food, Sushi is recommended by Japanese doctors, its not considered risky. As are meat, and raw eggs. If your admitted to hospital you will be given a diet which is very traditionally Japanese.” The comments on this article are fascinating. If you have time, I recommend reading some. You’ll start to think very differently about dietary guidelines during pregnancy.

If you do choose to eat sushi during pregnancy, AmericanPregnancy.org has a great list of fishes low in mercury. This way, you can make the healthiest choice on that sushi order!