Pressures of Perfecting Motherhood Begin in the Womb.

mother and child figurine
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Babies change our world.

It’s your first baby and you are super excited! Or this is your second baby you have been trying for or it’s your third baby and you have this down to a science. You are well prepared. Or at least you think. Maybe this baby is your rainbow baby and a lot of emotions are rising during your pregnancy or even the planning or getting pregnant in the first place. Perhaps this baby is your first and you hadn’t planned this baby at all. Whatever the circumstance. I promise you. Married. Unmarried. Planned or Unplanned, pregnancy will leave you feeling absolutely in love and ready to take on any challenge for your baby yet at the same time scared of everything for them. You’ll feel pure joy some days and other days you’ll say to yourself ” how can I do this?” Am I ready to be a parent? Will my baby have all it’s fingers and toes? What will we do about money? Can I do this on my own? Pregnancy is hard enough making a little human being. This is pressure enough. There are certain pressures that are placed on us in society that are absolutely overwhelming. Post partum depression is very real in our society. I feel it’s even more of an issue now that social media is so alive and well. Highlight reels depicting mothers who have gained very little weight posting already visible abdominal, pictures 2 days post baby saying they lost all their weight and just feel a little bloated and can’t wait to get back to lifting regiment, their babies are perfectly healthy not one complication exists, baby is clothed in expensive crap, the mom never returns to work and the father of the child happens to be in all the pictures. Everything seems so perfect right? Let’s talk about some old and new topics and lay some silly notions about how we are supposed to feel during pregnancy and child-birth experience or how we should allow ourselves to feel.

You will gain weight /  or may not gain a lot of weight.

It’s necessary for a woman to gain weight during pregnancy. Depending on your size and weight prior to the start of pregnancy that will help you understand how much you should gain. It’s suggested that normal weight women to gain an average of 25 to 35 lbs in pregnancy. The range is lower if you are obese and more if you are underweight pre-pregnancy. My first pregnancy I gained 90 lbs. Wow that was extreme right? I did gain an extreme amount of weight. What you didn’t know is that I was under my natural weight when I became pregnant. I had been prepping for bikini competitions and strictly dieting for months and months prior. I still gained way too much weight with all that being said. I lost all that weight after my baby and got into the best shape of my life after that. I got pregnant again and gained 60 lbs. I have lost 45 of those 60 lbs. I haven’t gotten back into the best shape of my life again yet due to other health issues but my mindset is already there. 15 lbs is not going to hold back any of my joy.  I am not encouraging anyone to go out and gain a ton of weight during pregnancy but I am encouraging you to realize that scales should not define how you feel in pregnancy.

Everyone is created differently. Our genetic make up is so complex and each and every one of us is unique. Every woman’s body should be appreciated. I think as our culture is becoming more body positive towards bigger women we are starting to shame women that are naturally slim. Body positivity is every BODY. Some moms won’t gain much weight. Their bodies don’t need the same fat stores as others do, they have different life styles, their needs are different. I have seen numerous times on Instagram mother’s being questioned as to why they aren’t gaining when they are tiny or when they remain in fantastic shape while pregnant. Even if a mother isn’t gaining for a specific reason other than genetics and pure luck, we have no right to police others on those topics! You also have no idea if a mother is having health complications of her own, struggles with body image issues or has depression.

Stretch Marks!

Stretch marks, they were described to me as like one of the worse things in the world by other women. I was a woman who prior to having children had not one stretch mark on my body. When I mean not one. I mean literally! I once had a panic attack after a bikini competition because I thought my water intake caused me to get a stretch mark. How vain! Now I am covered in them! From shoulders to knees. What I learned about stretch marks is

  1. They aren’t that scary, they do not harm you physically in any way.
  2.  Buying expensive oils does not necessarily prevent stretch marks, stretch marks are caused by rapid weight gain or loss in a short period or time. The elasticity of your skin is involved in this process therefore, creams and lotions have nothing to do with improving the elasticity of your skin. With this in mind it comes down to genetics and cortisone levels ( a chemical produced by your adrenal glands). What you can do to help is stay well hydrated, eat a well-balanced diet and exercise. This maybe prevent/ limit stretch marks by  preventing undue stress levels and keeping your overall health well during pregnancy.
  3. Those stretch marks are so beautiful to me they changed my body forever. I will die with those marks on my body, whether my children remember everything I did for them or not those marks are like tattoos. I love them. I will never look to remove them.

Working while pregnant.

I will have to warn you, it’s not like the movies. Being pregnant at work is not a hall pass to put you feet up and rest. Unless you have great co workers. I was working full-time as a nurse in a nursing home with my first pregnancy and even with my baby belly popping I was being asked all the time to lift and transfer patients because I was known for being strong. ” thanks everyone.” Several days I vomitted into my hands and scrubs instead of my nursing cart while doing my rounds. I was left doing lots of 16 hour days because 3-11 nurses or 11 to 7 nurses weren’t showing up etc. I chose to go for another job that one wasn’t working out. I did not want to be discriminated against for being pregnant at my new job interview so I hid my pregnancy under a big shirt, I didn’t want my future maternity leave to be a reason for them not to hire me. This was a mistake later in my pregnancy. While I was lifting a patient I started to bleed profusely on an overnight case, I was working in home health at the time and could not leave because no one was aware I was pregnant. That was my fault.  I waited until the end of my shift to leave go to the hospital and check on my baby. I was very emotional for hours waiting to see if my baby was ok. By my second pregnancy I learned so much about working while pregnant and here are a few things that helped me along the way.

A few tips for a better work day.

  1. Always bring snacks, don’t catch yourself getting hungry or having to eat overly sweet or salty foods while pregnant. Always healthy quick foods if you don’t have the time to have a meal.
  2.  If you work in health care or a job where bad smells can make you feel very sick, having peppermint essential oil on you in your bag to smell every once in a while for a little aromatic reset really helps. Trust me.
  3.  Call out when it’s necessary, do not call out for BS things. Save your sick days and do what’s right.
  4. If you have a lunch break, put your feet up during the break! It helps with the edema! Get a good pair of supportive shoes, don’t worry about fashion at this time.
  5.  When you are exhausted and need that 2nd coffee, wash your face with cold water and do some light stretches to wake yourself up, drink your water girl !

When you prepare to go on family leave, give yourself the maximum allowed time available. Prepare your disability paper work online as soon as you are allowed to, this paper work takes a long time to go through, you don’t want to have the hassle of worrying about monetary things during your postpartum period. Even if you have a healthy uncomplicated pregnancy life doesn’t always hand us the opportunity to relax and get some down time. Perhaps you recovery quickly and are feeling great, you can take that extra time to spend with your partner or treating yourself. You may also need more recovery time. Not everyone progresses the same when it comes to recovery. If there are complications, you don’t need to worry. The time has been alloted for you. If you chose not to go back to work after having your baby that is good too!

Birth Plan

I encourage everyone that is a first time mother to attend the birth classes that are offered. Look into all your options.  Water births, getting a Doula (a Doula is a birth coach that encourages women during the birthing process and postpartum they are known for a high success rate in completing a birth plan as planned)  Having a Midwife deliver your baby versus having an Ob Gyn. Benefits of having a home birth vs hospital birth. C-section birth vs vaginal birth.  Gather all your information. Start manifesting what you see for your new family. Locate the best professionals you can find. Meaning if you want a home birth, find the best qualified Nurse midwife in your area. Ask around. Talk to all different women about their birth experiences. Tour the hospital you’ll have your baby in. It’s your experience. Birth is special! If you are having a high risk pregnancy and having a C- section but wanted a more natural feeling to your birth ask about a gentle C- section. I had a gentle C-section with my 2nd daughter and it was a beautiful experience. In a gentle C-section because it’s scheduled there is time to lower the curtain allowing the parents to view the baby coming out, then baby is cleaned and placed on their mother’s breasts for some skin to skin. My husband was able to cut my daughters cord. It was truly a nice experience compared to the emergency C-section with my first daughter. Whether you chose to give birth outside in a tent with a Midwife burning sage or get an epidural and have an Ob Gyn deliver your baby in the hospital. Birth is still birth. No woman should ever be discredited for the route in which she has brought her child into the world. Our end goal is to have healthy babies. I am one of seven children. My mom had two C- sections and five vaginal births at home in our livingroom. She had intense back labor with these hard-headed kids for over 24 hours a piece, I swear. She is one strong mother. She had them without so much of a peep most of the time. I cut my little sisters cord, which is totally awesome. It was truly an amazing thing to experience. In nursing school when we did the emergency birth scenario, I did the entire thing so quickly. My professor said, it’s like you’ve seen or done this before laughing. I told her “oh yeah my mom had my siblings in the livingroom.”

Home birth was something I had wanted for myself, I soon realized I wasn’t cut out for the task. After talking it over with my husband who was supportive of any route I chose. I decided on the traditional route. Looking back I am more than happy I didn’t have a home birth. Everything did not go well. After over 32 hours of labor. I needed an emergency C-section. I hemorrhaged with my first and needed two blood transfusions. Everyone is different. Everyone’s pain level, personal level of comfort and family support systems are different. Some women are weak and sick through out pregnancy the thought of battling hours of draining labor is daunting other women feel beautiful and ready to take on the world when they are pregnant empowered and very well. It’s important not to judge other people’s choices.

Supplements I took during pregnancy or prior to giving birth.

  1. Find a good Prenatal vitamin with DHA and iron.
  2.  Folic Acid
  3.  Vitamin D3 2,000 iu daily throughout pregnancy

Pre birth prep (targeting tissue healing post C- section)

Vitamin C –  ascorbic acid is involved in all phases of wound healing, it aids the synthesis of collagen in the body to build new tissue. 

Collagen –great protein source, increases elasticity of the skin and  improves gut health .

Molasses – black strap molasses is known for increasing your iron after giving birth. blood loss causes iron depletion, this will help increase your red blood cell count.I had a low RBC count throughout pregnancy and I started taking black strap molasses in orange juice a week prior to giving birth. My RBC’s were finally normal when I did my pre-birth check in and remained normal even after the surgery! I was super thankful for this!

Be careful with too much iron supplementation. If you are having constipation during pregnancy. Constipation is common in pregnancy. Only supplement at times where you know you are deficient and always ask your physician about the safety of supplements, especially in pregnancy! 

Use the nesting energy!

The extra energy that you have to do random things like rip boxes of clothes out and go through them or clean old cupboards and re decorate is called nesting. Do those things. As you can see in both photos I was feeling my nesting phase. While you are feeling that way, try to prepare some nice home cooked meals for yourself that you can freeze and have them reheated after the baby is born. Nothing is better than a good home cooked meal after having hospital food for a few days or take out. You’ll need some nutritious wholesome food and some of your favorite foods. If you are the breast-feeding try to avoid making meals with a lot of beans, brocoli and kale until you see how your little ones tummy is doing. Pack that hospital to go bag early. I had high blood pressure and I had a few scares where I may have needed to have my 2nd daughter early. I had to go to the hospital a few times. I was happy the bag was already packed. I didn’t pack my bag well the first time around because I planned to an uncomplicated vaginal delivery and thought I won’t need anything. I’ll be home about two days time. I was gone a whole week.

In my bag I packed

  1.  Contact solution and case ( yes something I forgot the first time)
  2.  My own shampoo, travel size body wash, tooth-brush and tooth paste, having your home stuff makes you feel better, deodorant, dry shampoo and body lotion . the hospital stuff is really greasy and heavy
  3. Multiple changes of clothes and no not clothes in my size before I was pregnant. My pregnancy clothes.
  4.  Dandelion root tea – helps reduce swelling and water retention ( important, this was my 2nd baby and I knew full well about my milk supply and about supply and demand, I do not suggest using this at all for mother’s with supply issues, this can reduce your breast milk supply!)
  5. Mother’s milk tea this increases your milk supply! get it!
  6.  Babies clothes, hats, socks, mittens, blankets.
  7.  Belly bandit C- section support panties- I started wearing this day 2. I was up walking around like crazy back and forth to the NICU to breast feed my daughter. This is also available for mom’s who have vaginal births. The extra support helped me feel more intact while walking around.

Don’t leak your nudes.. Wait what?

You are in charge of your personal information. When it comes to having a baby whatever information you chose to share with others is entirely up to you. You are your own media link. Every has their own opinions from how to carry your baby, what to eat, how to exercise, how to dress, act, sleep, stand, poop you name it! When you are pregnant people have so many things to say. Most everything is out of pure love and excitement for the new earthling but for a new mom with all her own worries, it can be quite overwhelming. I found a simple solution for the opinion problem, it’s easiest just not to share sensitive topics with people. I learned the less you share the less someone can have something to say about a topic. It saves you emotional stress and aggravation. As we all know pregnancy is a very emotional time. It’s not rude to share less. After all it’s only important we share our deepest thoughts and feelings with the people we love the most.

What exercise plan should I follow?

There are so many exercise programs to follow and with clearance from your doctor you can continuing enjoying most of the things you did to stay active prior to getting pregnant, through out your pregnancy. During pregnancy important not to push yourself or  looking for achieving personal records. Pregnancy is also not the time to be losing weight unless instructed by a doctor for health related reasons. If you lift weights it’s not time to get the heaviest dead lift. If you practice yoga, you need to keep in mind that a woman’s body is easily over stretched during pregnancy because of a hormone called relaxin. It loosens the ligaments and joints in the pelvis to prepare for delivery, this can be a pleasant surprise getting you into some great splits in your practice but you won’t realize you have gone beyond your edge. So be careful not to over stretch. Yoga is such a great mind-body connection that can prepare you and your baby for a successful birthing process. I practiced yoga religiously throughout my 2nd pregnancy and meditation, my daughter had health complications and that practice saw me through a lot of my emotional discomfort.

If you haven’t maintained an active lifestyle prior to pregnancy and want to make this an opportunity to get healthy. I would suggest starting with prenatal yoga classes and walking. Getting outside in fresh air, soaking in the sun’s readily available vitamin D. Even walking on an inclined tread the mill for 20 to 30 minutes a day can be beneficial. Benefits of walking are go beyond maintaining a healthy weight. Walking boosts your mood, controls blood sugar levels, helps with aches and pains in legs, controls blood pressures and helps move labor along (once you get to that point.)  If you are a mom that has been lifting weights or has been active and doesn’t know where to take things now that you are pregnant. I have something to share with you.

I found the perfect  workout guide for pregnancy and postpartum recovery. I really wish I knew of theses ladies when I was pregnant with my children. These ladies aren’t just pretty fit women on the internet selling workout plans ( be wary of that especially when pregnant) they are trained professionals that really put loads of work into making a pregnancy training guide called Expecting and Empowered comprehensive Pregnancy and Postpartum workout guide. Created by a registered nurse and a physical therapist you are in great hands. I’ll include their information below under resources so you can take a look at their amazing guide.

Baby Moons

I highly suggest baby moons. If it’s your first baby try to get away before it’s too late to travel, to a country or place free of the Zika virus. Mosquitos are carriers of the Zika virus it causes major neurological damage to babies in utero. I wan unable to travel to Mexico with my husband while pregnant with my second daughter for this reason. If it’s not your first baby. Getting out with your significant other for a few uninterrupted hours alone can be amazing. You may or may not be in the mood for anything super romantic but even if you get to spend a night away, perhaps you’ll get some better sleep away from the kids.  Before our first daughter was born some of my favorite moments was actually when my husband and I who were both working nights at the time, totally drained would go to sleep together it doesn’t seem like anything super amazingly special written down but it was, we got to hold hands and fall asleep together uninterrupted by children screaming at us to wake up and make them something to eat. It was awesome. Do the baby moon, mini vacation, run away! Do it!

Involve your spouse as much as possible.

You are the one that is pregnant and making the baby so twenty-four seven you are with the little peanut. You are developing this in separable little bond. Your babys heart is beating just underneath yours, something your husband or wife is missing out on. Not that their roles are any less or more than ours but it is different. It’s important for everyone to feel included. I am extremely blessed to have a husband that is all hands on deck during my pregnancies, he has held back my hair when I’ve vomited everywhere. Cleaned me up. Put me to bed like a little kid. He has gone out and brought me all the weird food I’ve craved in pregnancy and dealt with a whole slew of emotional melt downs. Somethings I’ve done to try to make him feel more included in the whole pregnancy process.

  1. Attend the Ob appointments– my husband came to every one of my 1st daughter’s ob gyn appointments he did not want to miss any. This was a great way for him to be included and fully aware of our plan of care and the staff of doctor’s. It’s also great to get a full family health history as a couple.
  2.  Attend a birth class– have your spouse attend a birth class with you a great opportunity to learn together.
  3.  Talk about how you want to raise your child – some conversations you don’t always have at first are about religion, are we religious? under what religious practices are we raising this baby? it actually changes somethings like baptism and  conversations with extended family, it’s good if you guys discuss it first and you already know where you stand together on a topic.
  4. Skin to skin-  after you or your spouse feed the baby place the baby naked ( if you are brave) on your bare chest and wrap both in your shirt or blanket. The baby hears your heart beating, the warm of your skin and feels very calmed.

Postpartum depression prevention plan

Make a postpartum depression prevention plan, either in your mind, say it out loud or write it down. Think of ways to check yourself or make others aware of ways to know when you are not well. Post partum depression is scary and isolating. It doesn’t matter how many babies you have had before it’s something you should always check yourself for.

What is my red flag?  ask yourself what your red flag is, we have all been depressed but what is your red flag specifically? for instance I knew I was really depressed when I no longer wanted to eat my favorite foods, do yoga or take a shower.

Talk- speak to someone as soon as you start having feelings of sadness or anxiety. Don’t be ashamed of your feelings and know it’s perfectly normal. If talking to family and friends isn’t helping talk to your doctor. I recommend both! 

Get outside-  getting some fresh air and some sunlight on your face after being cooped up inside the house with baby all day is very refreshing, even if it’s just to steal a few minutes alone.

Self care-  Self care in this time frame is so limited but speak to your significant other, tell them what your needs are, make a simple plan to just do 1 special thing for yourself. It can even be a face mask done at home and a hot tea!

Therapy–  family and friends may not be enough and therapy can be necessary. Attending a group can be uplifting and you can see you are not the only one struggling. 

Medication  I would suggest therapy together with medication. Never be ashamed of having to take medication for depression, if that is what you need. It’s needed. Don’t allow stigma’s to prevent you from getting the right help. 

Natural mood boosters  My Soul CBD oil for anxiety relieve and insomnia. It’s THC free and third party tested.  Vitamin B12 is a great mood booster.  Vitamin D3 something everyone seems to be in deficient in these days will help with feeling depressed and having low energy levels. Exercise to boost your mood.  Eat well. Drink water. e

Meditation – allows us to refocus our jumbled thoughts, slowing down our brain, our worries become less. Meditation increases our memory, improves our sleep, mood and promotes a sense of wellbeing. 

Pelvic Floor therapist –   Clearance to have sex within 6 weeks after vaginal birth and 8 weeks after for C- section post partum can be an overwhelming thought it is sometimes not enough time to get our pelvic floors back together. We may be eager to get back in the game  but our bodies may not be. We have created humans and either opened up enough to expel them out of our body or been cut open to do so. It’s extreme! Painful sex can be something that is contributing to a new mother’s post partum depression. Sex should be something everyone enjoys. So make sure you talk to your Ob Gyn about painful sex after birth and look for a pelvic floor therapist to get your sex life back on track. ( we know babies do their best to stop you anyways 🙂 Do your kegels and pelvic tilts in the mean time and lube up or take a longer break from sex if you need to.

Help with baby-  if your baby had health complications and you are trying to do it on your own. You maybe seriously burnt out. Look into having a nurse come into your home to help you out with some of the medical care. Speak to your insurance company and see what they cover. You’ll be able to have your eyes on baby at all times if thats what you want but maybe you need your hands free for a few other things. Having a medically needy child can be very hard on a mother’s emotions and having a small break to collect yourself before getting back into the swing of things can really help.


I wish you and your new family lots of blessings in this up coming year. I hope you found my blog helpful in some way. ~ Namaste~



This article is made just for information sharing basis only, sharing somethings I found helpful during my pregnancy journey. As always before starting any exercise regime, new supplement or medication consult your physician ( especially as a pregnant or breastfeeding woman)




The amazing exercise guide I was telling you about!

Try my favorite CBD oil from My Soul it’s 3rd party tested and THC free!

To learn more about the benefits of  Black Strap Molasses


Vitamin C for healing Wounds

Stretch Mark information

Pregnancy Weight information

Walking while Pregnant


A Puff Of Smoke. pt. 1

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars” – Khalil Gibran

bed empty equipments floor
Photo by Pixabay on

A puff of smoke?

No, this isn’t a smoking kills article. I hope in 2019 we have acknowledged that already and I don’t need to go into all that. A puff of smoke is the English translation of Moyamoya from Japanese. It’s a rare neurological condition. It’s most common in East Asia. Although there seems to be a genetic trait to the disease, it still has not been proven. It’s also possible that head trauma can cause Moyamoya as well. Risk factors are being female, having family members with disease, being down syndrome, having sick cell anemia disease, being of Asian descent and being young.

A puff of smoke is used to describe how blood vessels within a carotid artery appear when viewing the brain. When these vessels cluster together they block crucial blood supply and oxygen to the brain. The vessel clusters can cause an aneurysm or stroke. Patients can have seizures, mini strokes, developmental delays, severe headaches, numbness to limbs on one side of the body and face, difficulty understanding language and processing information. As you can imagine this disease is very rare and the complications and symptoms are so extreme. Now imagine yourself 16 years old with your whole life ahead of you and without warning having your first mini stroke! That was just the beginning of a long journey for Brigida. Before I share her story I have key medical terms I’ll share with you so you don’t get lost along the way.

Key words and terms to remember along the way.

  1.  neuro– relating to the brain
  2.  angiogram-  a medical procedure used to view inside arteries and veins ( normally in the heart chambers but not always)
  3.  angioplasty – a minimally invasive procedure to widen narrow or obstructed arteries or veins
  4. the left side of the brain- controls the right side of the body
  5. the right side of the brain- controls the left side of the body
  6.  TIA– transient ischemic attack also known as mini stroke the damage is normally shown on a CAT scan
  7. CVA- cerebrovascular accident also know as a stroke
  8. fistula– arteriovenious fistula an abnormal connection between and artery and a vein
  9. femoral artery– the artery running along inside of your inner thigh/ groin.

Meet Brigida.

If you met Brigida today, your first impression would be her smile. She is very beautiful and her smile radiates. She is very out going and has a pleasant attitude. She is care free and when asked about her medical condition she doesn’t speak of it in pain like most people would. She is a mother of three, a Zumba instructor and she sells Herbalife nutrional supplements and Monat hair products. Most importantly, she loves life.

If anyone has a reason to be depressed about life she does. If anyone has a reason to be thankful about life, you will after reading her story. I think you’ll come up with a few reasons, trust me. There is a saying that people create their own pain. That pain isn’t a physical pain, rather the perspective you choose to live in. Brigida could describe herself as stroke victim, disabled, moyamoya diseased, scarred, depressed, incapable, instead she is a warrior, empowered,  and strong woman capable of handling the crazy health conditions life has thrown at her over the years.

The Teenage Years.

Brigida was a normal teenage girl. She was pretty healthy and played sports in high school. Brigida had high blood pressure but her doctor assumed it was hereditary as her father had high blood pressure so it wasn’t too much of a  concern. Brigida began having heart palpitations in class and having to go to the school nurse when she was 16, almost 17 years old. Several times she had gone to the hospital but nothing came of it. At 17 years old Brigida was at home with her mother and her whole right side of her body became numb. Her mom called 911 and she was rushed to the hospital via ambulance. At the hospital doctors explained to Brigida’s mother that she had a TIA (ministroke). Unfortunately correct patient teaching was not completed and Brigida’s mother did not leave the hospital with a full understanding of what that really meant for Brigida’s health in the future. Brigida did have a full cardiac work up following her hospital stay.  She had a holter monitor hooked up, which is when a continuous EKG is on your heart to check for palpitations or abnormalities with daily activities over several days time, she also had an ultrasound of her heart (echocardiogram) and was told everything looked great! Perfect! Brigida continued to live life as if nothing ever happened.

One day everything changed.

It was November 2007. By this time in life Brigida was pretty busy. At 22 years old She was already married and a new mother. She had a job and was working towards her career as a Liscensed practical nurse. Attending nursing school alone is hard, being a new mother and trying to study is madness.
One day Brigida was at work, she noticed something strange she was slurring her words and wasn’t able to say her own name! Thinking that was strange. She continued her work day. Following her work day she goes to nursing school. While at school her fingers go numb.Brigida had been studying strokes in school recently and these symptoms began to concern her. She now recalled what happened to her when she was a teenage and went to her Dean of the school and told her ” I think I am having a stroke. The Dean challenged Brigida and assumed she was trying to skip school. The Dean told her if she didn’t want to be at school she shouldn’t come. Brigida assured her she wanted to be at school. The Dean said ” sit down I’ll take your blood pressure, and it was 150/200! It’s even more dangerous when the bottom number is higher than the top. Brigida made arrangements with her husband for their son to be taken care of and set off for the hospital.

Brigida was in the hospital for two months. Brigida was taken off her oral contraceptives and her standing blood pressure medications while in the hospital. The right side of her face was paralyzed from the stroke causing a facial droop. Her right arm was partially paralyzed. Her treatment during her hospital stay consisted of controlling her blood pressure. Physical therapy and Speech therapy. Brigida’s language returned to her within 3 to 4 days of her stroke. Brigida is a bi-lingual speaker. Her first language is Spanish and her second language is English. She speaks both languages fluently. Brigida is often severely anemic on top of her blood pressure problems. Her anemia is often monitored as well.

Her blood was tested during her hospital stay and she was told she had Hepatitis C. Brigida was told about agressive treatment options similar to chemotherapy. She would lose all her hair and possibly her life in the treatment process with this new drug. She under went more testing to prove she had Hepatitis C. Thankfully she did not. Three blood tests came back negative confirming there was a misdiagnosis by the hospital for Brigida having Hepatitis C. In the midst of everything she was dealing with, Brigida was thankful she did not have to under go any therapy or treatments and that the misdiagnosis was caught.

Brigida wanted an answer to why she had a stroke in the first place. She was so young and relavitely healthy woman aside from high blood pressure. She did not receive a diagnosis from the hospital during her time there or clear reasons on why she had a stroke. Her case was considered very special and she was referred to St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in NYC to a team of doctors lead by a Dr. Barenstein.  She had her first consultation in New York and scheduled some testing. She was told to return if she had any problems in the mean time. Of course she did, in April 2008 Brigida had another TIA. This time she received lots of tests from the team of doctors in NYC. These doctors told Brigida she had brought Moyamoya to New Jersey, that is how rare this disease is. They fully educated her one her rare condition and suggested she have a stent placed in her left Carotid artery to provide adequate blood flow and oxygen to her brain. Brigida agreed to having the proceedure done. Her alternative was to continue to have strokes and possibly die. Or have surgery and possibly have a stroke on the table and die. Her options didn’t seem very appealing. Only one option had a more positive outcome for her future. Brigida’s family was very concerned. Brain surgery is a very big deal! We all know the saying to denote anything that doesn’t seem impossible ” it isn’t brain surgery” well this was. I asked Brigida some questions about how she felt in those moments going into surgery.

Me: What were your thought’s exactly?

Brigida:” I’m going back to work, I’m getting up and out of this”.

Me: What did you think about your son?

Brigida: “At that time, I felt like I needed to get back to him,  I felt that made me stay positive, his dad was a big help,his family and our baby sitter at the time.”

Brigida mentions her family was consistently at her bedside during this time in the hospital.

Wow that is a great perspective on brain surgery.  I would have been losing my mind. Brigida had been in the hospital for a while. She was one of the youngest people who this surgery has been done on. They went in and placed the stent into her carotid artery through her femoral artery. Remember our little site key? When Brigida woke from her brain surgery she opened her eyes to a team of doctors clapping and cheering for her. Amazing! Also a little scary.  Brigida was doing so well she was allowed to go home just two day after the stent was placed. She was given a cane and instructed to not walk up and down the stairs too much and not to lift anything over 10 lbs. Although she recovered well from this surgery it was not the end of brain surgeries for Brigida.

The stent closed.

2008 held more ups and downs for Brigida. Nearing the close of that year Brigida had another TIA. An angiogram procedure was completed at the hospital and a decision was made to do an angioplasty. With much remorse Brigida’s physicians informed her that the artery was starting to close the stent. Brigida was told this was ” never seen before”. The stent surgery was ineffective. The angioplasty was completed and worked well for some time. Life continued. In 2009 Brigida was getting dressed and her left arm became paralyzed a first for symptoms on her left side, you know what this means? Remember what I told you about the brain? Her right brain is now being affected! Another TIA in the books for Brigida but this time affecting the opposite side of her brain. The side that had been fine. An angiogram was completed during this hospital stay. A mistake was made during the angiogram. unknown to Brigida once discharge she started to have a lot of pain in her groin. Severe pain. If Brigida was complaining about pain it had to be bad. She had an infection at the angiogram site as well as a fistula had formed from the technician accidentally puncturing her vein and artery creating a blood clot. This infection progressed to yet another hospital stay for a special wound treatment called a wound vac. A wound vac works with negative pressure and is attached to a wound to draw out excess fluid.

Once discharged for that ordeal. Brigida still needed to see her specialist. Brigida went to her specialist team in NYC they completed their own angiogram in the opposite leg of course and an MRI which revealed the Carotid on her right side also had Moyamoya she was told it can spread.

Brigida was informed that there was a high risk of placing a stent this time. The last stent did not work and was closed, the team suggested Brigida have a by pass surgery done. This was in June 2009. Brigida really didn’t consider this to be a big deal. Her thoughts were, they’ll go in fix what’s wrong and done. ” I didn’t want to make it a big deal in my head, if I did then I was going to freak out”.  Brigida thought it over. Schedules were made. Brigida recalls her father even made a burial plot arrangement for her. She was laughing when she told me about it, she said some of the family wasn’t really as hopeful as she was about how the surgery would go. Brigida was told so many scary things about what could go wrong. She could “die on the table, stroke again, be a vegetable, etc.”  One thing that bothered Brigida the most was having to shave her head. She loved her hair.

The doctor’s promised Brigida they would only shave the areas they needed to. I asked Brigida why it bothered her so much that she needed to cut her hair? Everything else was so extreme.

Brigida : ” What makes a woman beautiful is your hair, that is how I grew up my beauty was in my hair. Everyone used to compliment me on my hair when I was little”.

That makes perfect sense. I understand that completely, it makes me think of Breast cancer survivors it’s not always what the disease process entails but it’s also the feminine power that it can strip you of in its wake. . I think we can all relate to her thoughts. Brigida goes on to say that while the physical recovery was about 1.5 months. This surgery was more mentally challenging for her then when she had her first surgery.

Positive Mindset.

As you can see so far Brigida’s life hasn’t been all cupcakes, unicorns and butterflies. She does have a positive mindset. When asked about her thoughts before going into brain surgery it wasn’t I’m going to die! I am pretty sure if it was. She would have died.  That seems like an extreme statement on my part. Mindset is everything. We live inside our minds at every single moment we are alive. We don’t have a promised amount of days in life. If we spend our moments waiting for the next best thing. Our life may never happen. Take my Grandmother for an example she  died of cancer at 65 years old. She struggled so much and  I am sure I don’t know half the pain she went through but she was a pessimist. She saw life through worse case scenario all the way down to the weather forecast. It still bothers me she died at 65, that’s really young. Too young.  Perhaps if she saw things in a more positive light she would have just enjoyed the days she lived more even if she never lived anymore days over 65. Do you catch what I am saying?  Increase your life by moments, you really have no control over the days or what happens rather your reactions to those events. You can make your life easier.

Brigida’s story will be continued in next week’s blog.


More Medical information on Moyamoya

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This is a true story of  Brigida’s personal life she chose to share with me, there was no exchange of funds between her or myself. This is for the sole purpose of uplifting others.

~ Namaste~