4 eco-friendly switches to a sustainable household

Our planet needs us to do more for it. It’s our only home! I love taking care of it by buying pre-loved items, picking up garbage on walks, and trying to use more sustainable items in our daily lives. It definitely is tough to make the change and go zero waste. A good way to start is to change the way you do things at home, and the products you use as well.

Tru Earth is a Canadian company with a small team. They started their company with the belief that they were going to help people make better choices and help our planet in the same time. They now serve 40 countries! The company goal that most resonates with me is that they create products that empower people to choose sustainability without compromising convenience. Pretty neat!

Here I’ll share my four favorite products from Tru Earth! I’m happy to have added them to our household in order to achieve more sustainability, to reduce waste, and to help save our planet even by taking small steps.


Laundry detergent
I’ve been using Tru Earth laundry strips for a while now; it’s been almost 2 years! I’m pretty happy with them. They’re phospate-free, biodegradable, hypoallergenic, and the packaging is free of plastic. My favorite ones to use are the Baby eco-strips! They smell so good.

Wool dryer balls
Ever since I moved to the US, I’ve been using a dryer machine. We would always buy dryer sheets. Even though I would reuse them after they were in the dryers, I was always worrying about the waste. I’ve been using Tru Earth wool dryer balls lately to get rid of static in our clothes and to leave them softer. I had to get a new pack for when I do more than one load at a time.

Wool dryer balls replace dryer sheets & liquid fabric softeners, which ultimately help you save money. There’s other plastic dryer steamer balls on the market, but wool balls are eco-friendly and they’re a petroleum-free alternative!
TIP: You can add some drops of your favorite essential oil to each ball before each use.

Self care

Reusable makeup remover pads

I’ve been using reusable makeup remover pads for over 3 years. It was time to get a new set, so I went ahead and got the ones from TruEarth. Their bamboo rounds reusable makeup remover pads come with a reusable cotton laundry bag.

They come in a set of 14. You can use them either with water or your favorite makeup remover. I use micellar water since I wear waterproof mascara.

Photo from TruEarth.com


Swedish dishcloths

By using TruEarth Swedish dishcloths you can replace the use of paper towels! It’s kind of crazy to think, but one of them replaces up to 17 rolls of paper towels!

They’re made of cellulose-cotton blend, and they’re 100% biodegradable. They’re super absorbent, and to clean them you can either pop them on the top rack of your dishwasher, or you can put them in your washing machine. Eventually, by purchasing and using this set of 6 Swedish dishcloths and replacing your paper towels, you will save about $180 dollars, and 102 roles of paper towels!

Go to TruEarth and check out their amazing products to make true lasting change that helps save our beautiful planet.

By switching little by little to using eco-friendly products we can help save our planet. These are only 4 ideas. What else have you been doing for our planet?

Michelle | con limón, please






Screen-free fun with The Adventures of Cairo

Motherhood has me always thinking of ways of keeping my children entertained; specially my oldest son, Robbie, who is 5 years old. When my son is not in school or it’s the weekend, I always try to keep him entertained with screen-free activities. I like activities where we can all be together and participate in them, and that actually make us interact more as a family. Listening to podcasts has been the answer! Ever since Robbie started getting interested in them, we started looking for family friendly options. Today, I have a recommendation for you and for your little ones: The Adventures of Cairo, Wondery’s newest children’s podcast.

The Adventures of Cairo podcast

The Adventures of Cairo focuses on the life of Cairo Carter, a 7 year-old boy who lives in a big city. Each episode is filled with a life lesson, and day to day issues that little ones may face. There’s always a morale at the end, and you can find something to talk about with your little ones after listening to the episodes. The life of Cairo revolves around his family, friends, school, and exploring and learning.

The podcast episodes are well done. They do a great job with sound effects, the music, and each of the characters has a different voice. Children can start identifying the voices of characters, which I think it’s great!

What do we like about the Adventures of Cairo?

My favorite part about this podcast is that the situations are very common. Cairo has an older brother, Omari, and they live with their parents. Their dad works at the airport, and he has night shifts. It’s really cool that they give the dad a night shift, isn’t it? On another note, representation matters, and for me having my sons see and hear different people from different races and backgrounds is really important. There’s a little Latino boy named Enrique! The music is so fun! Every time we play the episodes, baby Antonio, who is 18 months old, starts dancing to the beat.

My son Robbie said when I asked him what he thought about it that the episodes have very normal situations, haha, that’s how he described it. However, after listening to them, he likes to go deeper in the topic. For example, we talked about bullies, what to do, and what not to do when being bullied, and so on. I think he really likes it!

New episodes are released every Tuesday, and you can listen to this family friendly podcast on Apple Podcasts, the Wondery app, or wherever you listen to your podcasts!

Listen to the Adventures of Cairo

I hope you and your little ones give The Adventures of Cairo a go, and let me know what you think about it!

 Michelle | con limón, please.

5 easy ideas to start the New Year off right!

The New Year is upon us. Whether you’re gathering up with family or friends, or staying at home with your family or alone, I have these ideas ready for you to start the New Year off right. Sometimes thinking about writing down resolutions gets boring and stressing even, right? Well, these 5 ideas are different, and I’m excited to get to them!

1. 52 week envelope challenge
I’m really eager to try this idea along with my husband this year. You need 52 envelopes, 1 for each week of the year, and you need to label them starting with $1, and all the way to $52. Each week you’ll grab the envelope that you feel comfortable adding that amount of money in it. You can start with the $1 envelope, or whichever you can afford to save that week. Once the year is over you would have saved $1378!

If you’d like to save twice as much, grab two envelopes each week. Reuse them after you’re done with the 52 envelopes and you’d have saved $2756.
Adapt this challenge to your currency of use. You could also skip the envelopes and download a free printable to the 52 week savings challenge.

printable of a 52 week challenge
Download this free printable for keeping track of it on a piece of paper.

2. Play the 30-Day Minimalism Game
Living a minimalist life is honestly hard. Doing this 30-day minimalism game helps you achieve a ton! The Minimalists came up with this challenge. We’ve done it twice at home. Joshua and Ryan, the minimalists, laid out this idea which helps you get rid of 465 items! On the first day you get rid of one thing, on the second day two things, and so on. As The Minimalists say: anything goes!
You can donate, trash or sell the items. The first couple days are easy, but as the month goes, it gets harder. Stay in track! I’ll be sharing my journey on my Instagram stories.

How to play the 30-day minimalism challenge by The Minimalists

3. Set reasonable goals
Shor term goals are much more manageable. If you’re thinking about a long term goal you’d like to achieve, break it down into smaller goals that would ultimately help you achieve that bigger goal of yours. Setting goals that we know that we’re most likely to achieve them gives us a different mindset. For instance, I’d like to stay more organized this year, so I’ll start with our house, and aspects of my life that I can actually control. I’m getting a planner this year!

4. Create routines
It doesn’t matter if it’s something small that you do for yourself, or for someone else. Setting up a routine helps us achieve goals, as well. For daily routines they can be as simple as trying to achieve a movement goal, a certain amount of steps (if you have a tracker), clean your kitchen every night, and so on. These routines can be divided into health, mind, family, friendship, personal development, and anything else you can come up with. Focus first on routines you actually need, and then routines you want.

5. Drink more water
Self care is so important. Here I am telling you about it and ignoring a lot of the times my needs. Well, drinking water is the most basic form of self care. Water delivers oxygen throughout our bodies, and it boosts skin health. Our digestive system depends on it, and water helps our bodies flush waste! Here you’ll find a great article where you can read 15 benefits of staying well hydrated.
I have an app on my phone that sends me reminders to drink water every hour, and you can also track how much water you’ve drunk during a day. Click HERE to check out the app I use. It’s really easy to set up, and you can even access it on your smart watch.

Starting a new year sometimes can be overwhelming. Seeing everyone else with their list of goals and resolutions laid out can be intimidating. Following one or all of my ideas this year can give you a great start to new beginnings. Most importantly, keep in mind that you don’t need to start on January 1st! Take as many days as you need so that you start off right.

What else would you add to these 5 ideas? Share in comments!

Happy New Year!

Michelle | con limón, please

Our Top 10 Christmas Traditions

It’s the holiday season! I love how the holidays make us feel joy and warmth even when it’s cold outside. In our home we celebrate Christmas, and I’m so happy that our little family has some traditions already! I hope some of these inspire you to add one or more to your list!

1. Get a Christmas tree
We buy our Christmas tree after Thanksgiving, and we like to decorate it as a family. We always buy real trees, since we believe it’s more sustainable, and better for our environment.

2. Send Christmas cards to our loved ones
This year we got a little better at it. We took the photos earlier, and we were prepared to have our cards printed out and sent. We worked with Nations Photo Lab. We got the cards printed on bamboo paper. I’m really happy with them! I always like to leave them blank and personalize each of them! By the way, it’s not too late! You can still get some printed and send them as New Year’s good wishes (just as we did last year!).

3. Make ornaments
I enjoy making sustainable ornaments for our Christmas tree. We usually make dried orange ones, like we did this year. Click HERE to see my blog post with instructions to my method. Salt dough ornaments are also so fun for the little ones! It’s like making cookies, and they can later paint them when dry.

4. Write letters to Santa
Even if Robbie doesn’t know how to write or read yet, we always write a letter to Santa where we either draw or paste cutouts of a toy my son would like. I don’t know about you, but our sons just get one present from Santa. We put the cards in envelopes and set them on the Christmas tree for some days before “mailing” them to the North Pole!

5. Decorate a gingerbread house
We’ve decorated a little house two years in a row, and I love the idea of making it one of our traditions. They’re so much fun! Robbie did a lot this time, and I can’t wait for next year when Antonio can join in the fun without trying to stuff his mouth with all the candy. Take a look at how we built our most recent one HERE!

6. Set up our Nativity
We got a little Nativity set that has been my husband’s for years. We teach Robbie and Antonio about it while we set it up, and along the way.

7. Advent calendar
This year having an advent calendar is really a game changer. Robbie gets a clearer idea about how far Christmas is! Last year we used one with Mexican candy. This year I didn’t have time to go over that, so I put together one using one of our letter boards.

8. Do volunteer work
We try to volunteer each year towards something that would be helpful for our community. This year my husband is helping out with a coat drive for a local organization.

9. Make Holiday cookies or dessert
Every year we make some Christmas cookies, but this year I got a little bit more creative with my favorite dessert. I made sourdough cinnamon rolls, and turned them into cute little Rudolphs!

10. Drive-in cinema
Thanks to COVID-19 we’ve been able to add this activity as a tradition. In Chicago you can go to ChiTown Movies. We’ve loved the experience, and you can get a gift card for someone as a present, and even find great discounts through Groupon!

There are other little tings that we try to squeeze in during this season. We go on walks around the neighborhood to see Christmas lights and décor. We also check out Christmas books from the library in addition to the ones we own. When it’s too cold out there we get in the car and we drive to see the lights. We also play Christmas songs in Spanish or English. And of course, we watch some Christmas classics on weekends, too.

I hope my list inspires you to add some to your list of traditions. I also hope that if you were thinking about one already, that you feel motivated to add it!

I wish you all a very merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

 Michelle | con limón, please

Some of my blogger friends also posted some really neat Holiday ideas and traditions. Check them out!

Memorable Christmas Traditions to start with Toddlers by Surabhi

Christmas Joy: My Favorite Memories, Celebrating Jesus, and Santa by Amy

Christmas Traditions Old and New by Nicole

5 Easy Holiday Traditions You Can Add To Your List by Alexa

Celebrating Nochebuena by Kimberly

Christmas Traditions by Stephanie

Host a Gingerbread House Contest by Alex

My experience with Croup

A little over a week ago Robbie, my 4 year old son, started coughing and had a runny nose. He didn’t have any other symptoms, but since his cough was persistent, we decided to take a COVID-19 test. It was negative, so he went back to school one he was feeling better. A few days passed, and my baby boy Antonio, who is 12 months old, started having a runny nose as the only symptom (this was 4 days after my firstborn started coughing). Antonio had a bit of a cough the next day, and I don’t recall noticing any coughing on Day 3. On Day 3 at night he went to sleep, and at midnight his situation was completely different. He had croup.

According to the Mayo Clinic, croup causes swelling of the larynx, trachea, and bronchial tubes, creating breathing difficulties, and a barking cough. Likewise, taking a breath often produces a high-pitched whistling sound (stridor). Symptoms usually worsen at night, exactly what happened to Antonio. Croup cough is medically known as laryngotracheobronchitis.

Fourth day with symptoms
At midnight, Antonio woke up crying, and each time he breathed he would have stridor, which is a wheezing sound when baby breaths in. We got him from his crib, used saline spray in his nose, he nursed, and then he fell asleep. We also placed the cold vapor humidifier on our bedside table. I placed Antonio on our bed, using my arm as his pillow so that he was a bit elevated, and so that he could breath well. At 2am he woke up crying, but this time was more alarming. He was visibly having trouble breathing, so we did some home remedies that are recommended in this case:

  1. Stay calm
  2. Use a nasal spray with saline solution and suck the boogers if you notice baby’s got a stuffy nose
  3. Take baby to the bathroom and run the shower or bath with hot water so that the steam clears their airways
  4. If it’s cold outside, bundle baby and take them outside
  5. If baby has a fever, use the proper dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen and keep monitoring temperature

We followed the first 3 steps. Outside wasn’t cold, and we noticed that the remedies weren’t really working, so we decided to take him to the ER. We arrived at 3am, and after my baby was admitted, Robbie and papá waited in the car. Robbie had croup once when he was around Antonio’s age. We’d taken him to the clinic, and his pediatrician gave him steroids in his throat to avoid it from swelling more. Robbie, unlike Antonio, had a fever, so we had to control it at home, and we just had to wait for his body to fight the virus. We thought this would be Antonio’s case.

Emergency Room
After having waited for a while for a room for my baby, we were given one, and they started evaluating his state quickly. He neededd a dose of epinephrine and oxygen. This treatment was given to him using a nebulizer attached to the oxygen mask. It’s really hard when a baby goes through this. They don’t understand what’s going on, and they want to take off the oxygen mask. We had to hold him down and wrap him like a burrito with the help of three medical assistants and myself. Also, Antonio got a steroid shot to help his throat from swelling. The advantage of having had all this situation happen in the middle of the night is that Antonio would fall asleep at times, and I was there on the floor by his bedside comforting him any time he’d wake up.

After 3h of having gotten the treatment, the pediatrician in charge said Antonio needed one more dose of epinephrine, and that he’ll be monitored expecting improvement, but if he didn’t, they mentioned he’d have to be transferred to a children’s hospital for observation. After this dose he didn’t need more oxygen, so I had to nurse him and let him rest. This time I was able to lay down with him on the stretcher. Thanks heavens that after 3h more he was so much better. The pediatrician in charge then decided to discharge him with commitment to take him back to the ER if he worsened, and we also had to take him to the pediatrician for a follow up on Monday, since this happened on Saturday.

At home
We were lucky my brother in-law gave us a hand taking care of Robbie because my husband had to go to work, so he picked us up from the hospital. My mother in-law was on her way from Michigan to be with us in case there was an emergency. That night Antonio was really well, and he slept soundly. During the day we had given Antonio 3 steam baths, and I motivated him to drink more water, and nurse more. He also ate super well. The next day, on Day 6, my mother in-law took my sons out so that I’d shower. Antonio started having symptoms again. We think it was because of the heat. She brought them back, and I immediately took him to the bath and started running hot water. He had stridor when he was breathing, but he seemed well, and he was playing. After that he had some popsicles, nursed a lot, and he drank lots of water. It is really important to offer babies more breastmilk or formula, and to increase water intake (or breast milk) in older children.

The early hours of Day 6 we had another session of coughing with wheezing sounds and stridor. My husband spent a good chunk of time with Antonio sleeping on his shoulder on the bathroom floor. We monitored him all night and kept him vertical. In the morning we took him to the clinic to his follow up. Antonio seemed to have left that night behind, and he was looking well. His pediatrician talked to her medical team, and they said they couldn’t prescribe him more steroids. Instructions were the same, to keep giving him steam baths if needed, to offer him popsicles, and to make sure his liquid intake was good.

Antonio kept getting better, even though sometimes he has a barking cough, so typical of croup. Children between 6 months to 3 years old are more at risk when getting croup since their throats are so small. In rare cases children need to go to the ER, and it is really important to follow your instinct. Doctors told me we had done the right thing by taking him in.

If your little one starts making a weird sound when they breath (stridor) or when coughing it sounds like a barking cough, call their pediatrician. The sound of their cough and/or stridor are a sign that their larynx and trachea are swollen. If you followed the home remedies for 20-30min and you don’t see and improvement, take them to the ER, specially if your baby seems lethargic. Stridor while at rest is not normal.

 Michelle | con limón, please





Here you’ll find some links to read more about it, and you can also hear the characteristic sound of the barking cough and stridor.

Croup (for parents) – Kid’s Health

Croup: Causes, Symptoms, Management, and Prevention – Cleveland Clinic

What is Croup? What Causes It? – WebMD LLC

Sounds of Croup – YouTube Medzcool

Stay at home date for Valentine’s

Valentine’s Day is coming, and yet we all get to stay at home. My husband and I have been trying harder to leave time for ourselves. Parenthood can sometimes be tiring, right? However, I think parents have to spend time alone together, too. The pandemic doesn’t make it any easier, so here’s an idea for a safe stay at home Valentine’s date!

Our baby is staying in our room, so it’s hard to watch something when he’s asleep without bothering him. We’ve been using the laptop to watch something at night. Rather than just sitting on the couch with the laptop on a stool, I thought it’d be a good idea to do a little romantic set up for my husband and I. If your special someone gets to leave the house, you can surprise them. Maybe ask them to take a shower while you put everything together.

Find a spot and make it look cute! I added all the cushions I found, a cute blanket, and a chalkboard sign. I also handmade those pom-poms. My husband loves sweet and salty snacks, so I made Valentine’s popcorn, dark chocolate covered pretzels, and I also added a bowl with Doritos with hot sauce and lime. There was some plain popcorn, too, but we ate it before we took the pictures. Get a bottle of wine, or maybe some hot tea or chocolate.

It was my first time making St. Valentine’s popcorn, and I loved it. It was more than perfect. The right amount of salty and sweet.

We usually like to go out to eat some South Indian food to our favorite restaurant for Valentine’s day. Maybe this year we will order takeaway, but for sure we will enjoy a movie night on our living room floor, safe at home.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Michelle | con limón, please

I’ve connected with some amazing Bloggers to share some blogs featuring some All things Valentines! Baskets, date nights, gifts and more! Head to each of their blogs to check out what they are sharing.

An Easy Valentine’s Day Love Basket with Items Found at Target by Heather

How To – Valentine’s Day Craft: Making a Love Tree by Amy

Heart Day by Anne

How To Create A Romantic Backyard Picnic for Valentine’s Day by Krystalyn

We’re part of the Green Explorers Club!

We were invited to be a part of the Green Explorers Club, and we had to say yes! They provide parents and caregivers with these cool project boxes that help us teach tools of sustainability through hands on activities. They have a wide variety of boxes, including their new Solar Oven box! Their core values are education, participation, awareness, and responsibility.

Green Explorers Club is owned by two Chicago moms! They wanted to help parents and caregivers prepare kids to care for our planet. They think children should grow up exploring and learning about nature and protecting Earth. Their professional background is politics, and they teamed up to create this club!

Robbie, my son, was so excited when the mail arrived, and his green box came out. We got the Compost in a Bottle project box. Each of their boxes comes with the materials you’ll need, detailed instructions, bonus gifts, and even a book!

This particular project box has instructions on what to do before you can start the project itself. We went over the materials, and read the book TWICE! The book included for this project is called Compost Stew, by Mary McKenna Siddals.
So, we were done with the box, and got our hands on gathering nature bits for the compost! We went out on a scavenger hunt for dry leaves and grass, and other nature bits that we thought they’d be good for the compost.I really appreciate how the projects actually take more than one day.
We also started saving some waste from our kitchen. Robbie loved talking about making compost stew! (caldo de composta, in Spanish).

Hands on Composting!

We gathered again everything we need to start putting together the compost. Instructions included in these kits are super detailed, and they don’t leave anything out. Here’s a collection of photos of the day we put the compost together!

Now, every day, Robbie reminds me about shaking the bottle! We got a card with care instructions pinned on our door.

I love how their projects don’t end in a day, and how involved children get with them. Green Explorer project boxes are perfect to keep children entertained, to give away as a gift, and also, to teach our children the importance of taking care of our planet. Green Explorers Club Projects were built to help families who want to take a step back from the digital world for a few hours, and explore what it means to be sustainable. Their projects will create a growing curiosity of the environment as our children grow into future engineers, artists, doctors, farmers, clothing designers, presidents, astronauts, or whatever they want to be! The basic tools of sustainability are SO important, and every human being needs to incorporate them into their initiatives!

Check them out! Use code MICHELLE to get 10% OFF your box purchase. All of their options are pretty neat! They’re great for those doing virtual or at home learning this fall!

 Michelle | con limón, please.

My Second Pregnancy Journey. I’m in the Third Trimester!

I can’t believe I’m in my third trimester of my second pregnancy! I sometimes feel that time goes flying but that at the same time I’m still ways away from getting to term.

I’ve been focusing my “writing energy” to write for Project Alive & Kicking blog. I was invited to write about my experiences monthly, which has made me really happy to share my journey.

Undoubtedly, each pregnancy is different, and even though experiences are similar, they’re not the exact same thing. I’m currently on week 29, and in 8 more weeks my pregnancy gets to term, and in 11 weeks I’ll reach my due date. Amazing!

Likewise, all of us in the world are experiencing the Coronavirus pandemic in different ways. In my case, my family and I have been super diligent with social distancing, and staying home. Being pregnant puts us at higher risk since our immune system goes down just because were expecting.

First Trimester

At the beginning of my pregnancy I had vaginal bleeding due to the fact that I had a subchorionic hematoma, which thanks heavens dissolved. Everything went well after that. Since March I’ve been attending my appointments on my own. Also, during the first trimester we went to an appointment with a maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialist. When I was pregnant with Robbie I developed a pregnancy condition called Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP). ICP is cause by a liver disorder, and this condition makes your pregnancy a high risk one. Another reason to visit the MFM specialist was because Robbie was born prematurely, at 33 weeks. We’d talk about appropriate treatment during this pregnancy, which basically is the use of progesterone, mainly.

Second Trimester

I think that due to the pandemic, Telehealth appointments, and the progesterone treatment I started at 16 weeks, among other things, the second trimester felt endless. I started progesterone treatment since week 16 of my pregnancy to help avoid a premature birth. Robbie was born at 33 weeks without an apparent reason. Actually, a day after he was born, my previous OBGYN told me about this treatment for my following pregnancies. I get weekly shots at the clinic behind my upper arms, alternating them each week. I have to go to these appointments on my own, thanks to COVID-19.

A little bit about my experience during a Pandemic.

Third Trimester

What a blessing it is to be 28 weeks pregnant! Now I’m almost 30. I feel strong and confident that everything will keep going well for the rest of my pregnancy. I haven’t gained a lot of weight, and my OBGYN congratulated me about it. She says women struggle to gain the right amount of weight in subsequent pregnancies. Besides, it’s during this trimester that babies double or almost triple their weight! I feel this baby is tiring me even more now, haha! But well, it might be the combo of being pregnant, taking care of Robbie, and our home.

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28 weeks pregnant

Now, I can’t do anything else but to wait, and to trust everything will be OK, to keep eating as healthy as I can (obviously, without counting the occasional craving), and to stay well hydrated. Thanks heavens ICP hasn’t showed up, even though I do get itchy from now and then. I hope it all stays like it is, and I do hope that this baby stays in my belly for at least 7 more weeks!

My First Pregnancy. Robbie’s Birth.

The first time I shared my pregnancy story was back when Robbie turned a year old. Robbie was born prematurely at 33 weeks. I also developed a pregnancy condition called Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP). I wanted to share my story now on my blog, as June is the ICP Awareness month.

March 3rd, 2018.

A year ago at 6:15, I felt the world was crumbling down because I was afraid to lose my baby.

I was afraid to lose him since the moment we knew baby was in my womb.

To begin with, Robert and I didn’t know what was happening. We went to a clinic to have a pregnancy test taken, which came back positive. However, the doctor thought I had an hectopic pregnancy because I was bleeding. I was asked to come back in the following days to have blood tests done to check for my HGC hormone levels. This hormone normally doubles everyday during pregnancy. A couple days after my last blood work, the doctor from the clinic gave us a call and asked us to go to the ER to get an ultrasound and see what was happening because the hormone wasn’t going up as expected. Hectopic pregnancies are very risky. That day, my husband had to go to work, so his parents came from Michigan to be with us in the hospital.

After a long wait, when I finally had the ultrasound taken, it was possible to see a flickering on the screen. It was our baby’s heart! We knew then that Robbie had been alive for 8 weeks. Even though he was where he was supposed to be in my uterus, I was diagnosed with a subchorionic hematoma. They thought this was going to be the cause of miscarriage. They explained to us that it didn’t matter what I did, or what I stopped doing, it was likely to happen and it was not going to be my fault. There was nothing to do, but to wait. It was the early hours of the next day and it was time to go home. We were walking through a very long hall. My mother in law, Julie, was reading the discharge documents. Then she asks me if I was told that baby’s heartbeat was 176 beats per minute. It was then when I realised how much I loved him and I started crying! I didn’t want to lose my baby!

That night, Robert and I went to bed, we hugged each other and put our hands on my belly. We cried until we fell asleep.

The days went by, and I would tell baby with a huge pain in my heart that I would totally understand if he had to go, that we already loved him with all of our beings. But if he chose to stay, to hold on hard, very hard, so that he would be able to keep growing.

We had more than a couple scares. Four weeks later, when Robbie was 12 weeks, we went to a medical Center to get another ultrasound. The subchorionic hematoma was smaller, which meant it was dissolving! Also, baby was growing perfectly! The following weeks were easy. We’d see my belly grow, and we decided to share the news!

At the beginning of December, one day I started being really itchy in different parts of my body. That night was hard to fall asleep because I just wanted to scratch and scratch myself. My husband and I thought it was due to weather change, dry skin, and so on. The next morning I had a regular check up appointment with my OBGYN. She was about to leave the room when I mentioned this itchiness to her, and that I had even enjoyed to scrub my face that morning when I took a shower. She asked me if my feet soles and hand palms were itchy. I said no. She grabbed her laptop and ordered some lab tests and asked me to go to the lab afterwards. We asked about them, and she said not to worry until it was actually a problem; she thought it was nothing serious. Of course after hearing this we felt worried. That night I started putting more lotion on my body. We actually thought my itchiness was due to dry skin, because it would stop.

Next week, my OBGYN gives me a call. Robert was working. It was a Friday. However, my memory of it it’s funny, as if it hadn’t been me the one who picked up the phone. As if I had been looking at me from outside the window, not being able to hear and understand what the doctor was talking about. Just words: I’m sorry, cholestasis, high risk, tests, early induction, monitoring, ultrasounds, growth… she gave us an appointment for the next week to talk to us. Having gone to google didn’t help; nor being alone.

When I started treatment I felt more secure, and Robbie kept growing as he should have. By the end of January we decided to find out the sex of our baby during a growth scan, and that’s when we found out baby was a boy! Everything was going well. Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP) is a liver condition where this one produces more bile acids, and the body struggles to get rid of them. The first and sometimes only symptom is itchiness. What’s the cure? Giving birth.

The following weeks I had more frequent check ups with my OBGYN. After week 32 I would have Non Stress Tests twice a week at the hospital. NSTs help monitor baby’s heartbeat, movement, and to see if I had any contractions.

We came home after the fourth scan at 33 weeks. Robbie was doing well, and everything was going as expected.

The next morning, on March 3rd 2017, at 6:15 I woke up because I felt something was going on. My water had broken. Y was so worried and distressed. I woke Robert up. He was so sleepy because he’d gone late to bed. He took Charlie, our dog, on a quick walk while I was getting changed. I tried calling the clinic emergency number. We decided to take off to the hospital.

The way to the hospital felt like ages. I was feeling I was losing more amniotic liquid. We get there, we sign up, then triage. Doctor tells me I have contractions and I’m 2cm dilated. He adds that I needed steroids injection to help baby’s lungs mature. He hoped for at least 24hrs more for baby to be in my womb, because that’s what it takes for the injection to work.

We then were in a room. After monitoring, contractions, epidural, and two pushes, Robbie came to this world at 19:58. He was crying, God bless. In the room there were around 15 people. They were ready to act since nobody had a clue of what Robbie was going to need. Thanks God he didn’t need all of them. We had skin to skin for a little bit, and then he was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. He spent 9 days in the NICU, progressing little by little, and achieving his goals! He was released on March 12, and we brought him home for the first time. Those were the longest 9 days of my life.

Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy is a disorder that it’s not well known, and it’s also rare. Nowadays, I’m an ICP Care volunteer. I help moms understand what they’re going through. In our Facebook group we offer support, solve doubts, and we’re there for other moms. I’m just trying to offer a hand just the way I had one when I needed it.

Robbie and I were the luckiest to have an OBGYN who knew about cholestasis. Not every mom is as lucky as we were.

To know more about ICP, go to www.icpcare.org

Book and Bear

We received a Book and Bear box last month, and the polar bear that came with it is now one of Robbie’s favorite plush toys.
Robbie knew that the bright blue box that arrived in the mail was for him as soon as he saw it.

We opened it together, and we first found adoption papers for the bear. By then we didn’t know what kind of bear he was getting. Book and Bear provides a box with a seasonal book, and a plush animal that goes with it. Book and Bear is a subscription box and an online community for parents and their children 3 to 8 years old.

We removed the paper, and found the cutest polar bear! Robbie was super excited to know we were going to stuff it, and that he was going to add the special purple heart with the legend Best Friend inside it.
There was a little craft included in the pack. Each box comes with the plush animal, a book, and an activity for the children and their parents. We worked first on the little craft, which was a little polar bear.

We had so much fun when we started stuffing the bear. Robbie made sure I stuffed the arms and legs right, and then he helped out with the rest of the stuffing, and put the special heart of his new best friend inside. These boxes are not approved for children under 3 years old.
The book included in this box is Hush Little Polar Bear by Jeff Mack. This book is perfect to be paired with a plush polar bear.

The bear has a zip tie on its back, and a velcro opening.

The lovely book and bear included in the box have become some of Robbie’s favorites. He spends time with the polar bear, and sleeps with it every night. I even caught him saying “te amo” to it! The sweetest thing! I think building the bear has helped Robbie’s connection with the bear.
We were thrilled to have collaborated with Book and Bear, and to have received this free box.
You can subscribe and choose the plan that most accommodates to your needs. If what you’re looking for is not a subscription, you can go to their store to get just one Book and Bear box to try them out, or to gift away.