Saturday, January 2, 2021

Lessons Learned: Some Old, Some New

 Well, We have all survived as a family of 4 for 10 days! Boy has it been a journey! Not just week one of newborn life, but just for fun throw in a toddler, Christmas Day and New Years in the mix also, OH and a pandemic. And just for extra sprinkles on top, a crazy dog and 2 cats. 

Alas, we are all alive. Somehow our memories make us forget what the newborn days are like so that we procreate again, because we are both wondering "Was it this hard with our first??" And the answer is no and yes. It is different. Being the second child makes it easier because we know what to expect (mostly), but much harder juggling a toddler and a newborn this time around. But things do come back to you like riding a bike, like breastfeeding, diaper changes, newborn baths, etc. 

My toddler (2 years and 4 months) hasn't really warmed up to him yet. She does seem to care for him, and frequently wants to know his whereabouts, wants him to be in the same room, brings him toys, and now is into shouting "It's Okay! It's Okay!" when he is crying (it's the cutest). But she does not want to hold him, or touch him, or any type of contact yet. We are letting her do it when she is ready on her own terms. We are definitely seeing some behavior changes as well with her as she adjusts to this new transition and realizing she's no longer the center of attention. I am trying to do all the things, give her 1:1 time, tell her I love her, keep her routine as stable as possible, give her clear explanations for what I am doing with baby boy but not blaming him for why I cannot play with her. Hopefully she adjusts soon! We also struggle to adequately keep her entertained and busy, but due to the fact that we are all in what I call "basic survival mode" meaning making sure everyone is alive, fed and somewhat rested- entertainment is hard to muster up. So, big amounts of gratitude go to Disney +, as I can now proudly say I have memorized the scripts to not just Olaf's Frozen Adventure, Frozen, Frozen 2, but also now working on Once Upon a Snowman. Frozen is now officially her favorite thing ever. Normally I might feel guilty about letting her watch all of these in one day....um, every day, but again, survival mode. Honestly, if my toddler will sit there nicely playing toys and watching movies that I  in fact also like, then its a win right now. We will work on the screen time later. We are parenting a newborn and a toddler in a pandemic! Basic-survival-mode. 

But week one, it's been rough. However we are so blessed that we have a support system, although it is more challenging this go around with COVID mixed in. We can't really accept much external help due to the fear of introducing COVID in this vulnerable household right now, so yet another change in how we have been able to welcome him into the world.

The nights have been rough- He is awake about every 2 hours (sometimes 2.5) at night, and changing him and feeding him takes about 30-40 minutes, giving me about 90 minutes maximum to sleep in between. And thats if I fall asleep right away. That is sometimes the hardest part of new motherhood. It's easy enough to say, "okay I have 90 minutes, let's sleep the whole time!" but really, mom ears are always open and every little baby grunt or whimper whips me wide awake again, and I spend a large amount of time stressing myself out with thoughts like, "Okay, now is your chance- ya better sleep now...like right now...go to sleep...count the sheep...now's your chance...Soon he will be awake again...sleep now or forever stay awake...soon your time is up..." and it goes on and on. During the day I get about 3-3.5 hour naps out of him, but of course we are chasing our toddler around all day. So "Sleep when the baby sleeps" carries a new meaning when you introduce your second. And it's pretty much nonexistent. Basically we have still been able to take naps with the use of "who's turn is it to nap" and one parent will man both kids while the other can peacefully get a solid 2 hours. 

At night I also find myself not sleeping in my desired positions either. After you put the baby in the bassinet, of course you must awkwardly stand there making sure all your efforts have worked and it appears in fact that he will go to sleep. Once you've accepted the fact that just maybe, he does indeed appear to be falling asleep, you realize OMG my 90 minutes has now started, its now like 87 minutes! So you carefully crawl into bed (our bassinet is right next to my side) so as not to make any noise. But THEN, You can't get into a perfectly comfortable position because THEN you are pretty much asking the baby gods to wake your baby up, thus you must let go of your comfy position and attend to baby. So INSTEAD, you awkwardly lay there in pretty much whatever position you got in the bed, and compromise with the baby gods- "I will agree to lay here uncomfortably if you just give me 2 hours of sleep" and there we go. Except sometimes the baby Gods still go back on their word, and on nights like last night, baby is up at 2 am and doesn't truly find more sleep until 6:30 when we all give up and come downstairs. These days, I find extra comfort in latching on to dreams I have had, because they are proof that I did in fact sleep. I'd also be lying if I said I haven't googled how much night nurses cost! Just kidding, I won't go there...yet. 

Having a boy has its other challenges of course that having a girl did not bring prior! Of course I am talking about the lovely diaper changes. Prior to newborn life, I heard all the warnings, but thought, how hard can it be? Just keep the diaper over the area and you won't get peed on. HAH! HA! We have been shot with valiant streams of pee (it really is amazing how high it can go) multiple times. On our first night home, I assure you we went through approximately 5 outfits (JUST overnight). Luckily we have improved slightly since then and *only* range 1-2 outfits per night now. If we are lucky enough to catch it from shooting in the air, we still sometimes face it creating puddles underneath as well. BUT I have learned some tips, in which I will share with you- in possible hopes it may help another boy mom out there!

From this point forward, lets just refer to "it" as well...It.

Step 1: Roll up the onesie as far up as you can go as to prevent babies outfit from getting soaked. 

Step 2: Place a new diaper directly under the still fastened, dirty diaper, so as also to protect the changing pad from puddles.

Step 3: Open up the old diaper. NOW WAIT. NO SUDDEN MOVES. "It" has now seen the cold and you are now in the danger zone. DO NOT TAKE YOUR EYES OFF IT. THE MINUTE YOU TAKE YOUR EYES OFF IT, IT WILL SHOOT HIGHER THAN THE YELLOWSTONE FOUNTAIN GEYSER. 

Step 4: If you aren't lucky enough to promote the pee fountain during these first 30 seconds with the old diaper still there ready to re-shut to capture the pee, then try waving at it to further induce coldness. No I don't mean waving hello, you know what I mean- just wave to blow air on it. Repeat Step 3. 

Step 5: If you have not been able to induce the stream of pee, you're now on your own. Ya gotta do the rest As-Fast-As-POSSIBLE. Have your wipes ready, have the butt cream ready and ready set GO! Get that old diaper out and new diaper fastened as soon as possible! Beat your own record every time! We still sometimes have gotten hit during this danger zone, but the likelihood has been a little less. 

We did buy these little "pee pee teepees" that basically provide somewhat of a pee shelter in hopes of catching most of the pee if he does go. But these have not quite stopped the other problem of the puddles underneath, plus they don't stay on great, especially with small squirmy babies like mine. 

Speaking of buying things, holy canoli. First off, let me express my gratitude for Amazon, especially during this pandemic. I realize I suddenly need something, and I'm on Prime ordering it right away. Sometimes I don't even know if the product exists and Amazon shows me the light! (Like the pee pee tee pee!- I just typed "pee shelter" into the search bar, and who knew- it exists!) And also I'd like to express even MORE gratitude for Amazon's return policy. Four products in the last 10 days, FOUR, I have bought hastily because I was convinced I needed it for my postpartum recovery or for baby, and by the time it arrived (granted there were holiday shipping delays), I realized I did not in fact need it. RETURN. 

As for my recovery, I must say it has seemingly gone much better than I felt it did with my first. Maybe its because I knew what to expect, maybe not. I had the same degree tear but this time overall felt like I healed faster. My biggest piece of advice to any pregnant mom is to start a miralax regime about a month prior to expected delivery and continue post partum. It will REALLY help that first poo after birth which is NO-JOKE. In fact Miralax might be my new go-to present I gift to new moms at their baby showers. I might get weird looks but they will thank me after their first poo. 

My milk came in around day 3, 4 ish and hot diggity. I cannot actually believe women pay a lot of money to feel like this ALL THE TIME. I truly feel like I am a breast size X right now and it is ridiculous. I know my body is still figuring it out but MAN. Whenever the baby nurses, he's basically telling my body each time and each day how much my body should continue to make, and frankly the  milk chef is having a hard time keeping up. I visualize a milk waiter taking his order, like- ok so you want 2 oz now, 7 oz later, 5 oz after that, Left boob right boob, 6 oz tonight- and then the waiter gives up and delivers 2 gallon milk jugs and just basically installed a gallon on each boob and told the baby to figure it out. It is insane. 

I'd say the last biggest difference between the first and second kid (besides the gender, duh) has been the comfort level. Although caring for newborns is still really scary and still generates anxiety, the comfort level is still noticeably higher. With my first we literally logged every time I nursed, which boob, how long...every pee, every poo, etc. We used the Glow Baby app and it was great, I highly recommend for new parents. I even printed the spreadsheet it gives you and brought it to my pediatrician and he laughed at its insaneness. This time around, we made it to day four with logging everything. Basically, is he peeing? Yes. Is he pooping? Yes. Is he eating? Yes. Thats all we need to know. Everything works. As for remembering which boob I handed out last and exactly what time it was? No idea. But we're figuring it out. 

The last thing I leave you with is the emotional state. Being a new parent is so hard, so emotionally and physically exhausting that sometimes each day its hard figuring out how to keep going. How to face yet another night of no sleep. The best advice I can help give is to do teamwork parenting. Take turns on who is doing what. Give each other turns napping like I mentioned above. Give each other GRACE and don't get on each others case about what they are or are not doing right now. Show each other love and support as you are each struggling in different ways. Balance the duties. If the mom is exclusive breastfeeding, then dads can help with more diapers, or the dishes, or laundry, etc. Set goals for the day. That sounds overly ambitious, but I actually mean it to be the opposite. Set one goal or intention for the day, and everything else is icing on the cake. For example, "today we will just do one load of laundry", or "today I will fold yesterdays load of laundry", "today I will wash the dishes", and literally GO YOU. You set a goal, even if its a small one, and rest the rest of the day. In fact, writing this blog today was my only goal. The rest of the day has been baby snuggles! And lots of pee and poop. But give yourself grace. Give yourself rest. 

So many people have asked me in the first couple days, "do you need anything", or "how can I help", but I don't know what to tell people. What we need is someone to help pick up all the toddlers toys off the ground for the millionth time, someone to help make dinners, someone to do laundry, the dishes, etc. Unfortunately with COVID its a lot harder to even accept that kind of help right now.  So we cope. See above: basic-survival-mode. When hubby goes back to work....I'm still trying to figure out how I will survive, but again I plan to use my goal/intention technique above- one goal, one task, and the rest will be icing on the cake. 

Thank you all for reading my extensive word vomit. Newborn life is no joke. Its ONE of the hardest parts of parenting but also one of the best, too. The newborn snuggles are THE BEST, truly, the BEST. My toddler doesn't really snuggle anymore because she's always on the go, so when my little man will fall asleep in my arms, it is the best feeling ever. I cherish these days and am doing my best to record them in words and in pictures because I truly know how fast they go! 

Thank you for reading, 

Love, The New Motherboard. 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

A Birth Story: Volume 2!

 Hello Readers!

So the day has come, baby #2 has arrived! I soooo had intentions of writing one final blog while pregnant, but, life had other plans! So everyone loves a good birth story, so here is mine! If birth stories aren't your thang, I suggest you skip this one. 

Last weekend, i.e. December 19th & 20th and into the beginning of the week, I was having a lot of contractions, but nothing regular. Sometimes 10 minutes apart, sometimes hours. I felt like labor was close but didn't want to get my hopes up, as I had thought the same thing with my first child and she was a week late. I was also 3 cm dilated already as of Friday December 18th! Another indication labor could be soon. We saw my OB Tuesday the 22nd and all agreed that due to babies bigger size and my dilation, I was a candidate for a scheduled induction December 30th. Okay, cool! 8 days to go, hah. Spoiler alert, baby had other plans. 

My week started out normal despite the contractions. I felt an overwhelming desire to finish the artwork I had planned to make for the nursery (our bodies are weird in somehow prepping us to nest like that just in time!). Other than that, I was working full time as normal, and in fact was up late Tuesday night studying for an exam for work scheduled to take the next day (the 23rd). 

I slept horribly overnight, partly attributed to my extraordinary hip pain, bathroom trips, back pain, anxiety for my exam the next day, the usual. Amongst the sounds of my husband getting ready for work I was in and out of sleep as I waited for the sounds of my toddler on the baby monitor. Then all the sudden I was jolted awake at 6:50 AM exactly  by what truly did feel like a 'pop'. They say thats what to expect when your water breaks, but I wasn't convinced yet. I did feel warm water, and started thinking....oh gosh. I sat up, and yep! Water was breaking! Water broke! Holy moley baby is coming TODAY! I ran to bathroom and texted my husband from the bathroom that it was time! The next hour was a rushed madhouse mixed with calling doctor, getting toddler out of crib and ready without alarming her, feeding her a snack, me eating a breakfast feast before labor, packing last minute things for labor and getting out the door...all while continuing to leak, a lot! Luckily also the contractions hadn't really started yet. 

We delivered our toddler to where she needed to go for our labor plan and got to the hospital by about 8:30 AM. Keep in mind, this was so far a completely different experience for me because my first child was a planned induction so things started off much smoother rather than water breaking. So they brought me back to triage and the doctor is all like, "so I hear you think your water broke", and I'm like, geez how many people do you guys get that think they broke it but didn't? But regardless I was like, uh- yep. He needed to confirm it and looked "down there" for about 2 seconds and was like, "Yep I've seen enough!" So admitted I was- you get to go straight pass GO. 

We were admitted by about 10 am or so. The beginning was smooth enough, just answering lots of questions (multiple times), me begging them for food (I was ALREADY starving despite my best efforts at a pre-labor feast), and them monitoring baby. Unfortunately however I was not making much dilation progress on my own after that and contractions were infrequent to their liking. So I had to start Pitocin, the fun drug that speeds up labor by telling your uterus to contract. I dreaded this because of the memories of the painful contractions it brought on with my first induction. I wasn't aware of the fact that you still may need Pitocin even if your water breaks on its own, so news to me! They started the pitocin around 12 pm, and I wanted to at least attempt to see what these contractions would feel like this time around even though I knew it was about a 0.0000534% chance I would make it far without an epidural. Sure enough, by about 2 pm I was knocking down the anesthesiologist's door to get that epidural STAT. It went a lot smoother this time because I was able to stay still with ease this time as contractions weren't AS painful YET. Plus I got a fun button that I could bolus more pain meds whenever I wanted- Rollin'! 

About 4 pm I thought for sure, boy by now I must be dilated- but nope- my body only went up to 5 cm since getting the epidural. Which, okay, great. Progress. The nurse said once I got over 5 the rest would speed up. Cool. They positioned me in all sorts of weird poses involving peanut shells and throne positions to try and convince baby to move down. I still was begging for food and trying to con anyone and everyone into slipping me some dark chocolate, but to no luck. I never realized how fast I would eat orange gelatin like it was the best food ever in my life. Couldn't say the same thing about chicken broth, though. 

At about 5:30 ish, the resident and nurse come in and are basically like "the monitor is showing your contractions are too close together, so we need to place some sort of device "up there" to get a more accurate picture" and I'm like, oh okay yeah whatever you need to do. Well she checks "up there first" and is immediately like- well- nevermind! We are ready to push! 

So in the blink of an eye we went from 2 people to 8 people (maybe more, I lost count especially with everyone in a mask). Even though I was at 10 cm, the baby apparently wasn't far down enough yet so I had to still sit up and "wait until I feel pressure" (and also wait for my OB to get there). I am the type of person that does better when prepped as much as possible for what to expect- and all the sudden when there are all these people in your room it just feels really scary! 

Basically once my OB arrived and everyone was in position, we did a "practice push" at 6:25 pm, and that suddenly turned into a whirlwind of "Wait, don't push!" because the head was coming out and the OB wasn't ready yet. She finished getting ready with all her gear and we did 3 more pushes and literally by 6:27, he was here!! 6 pushes and 2 minutes! He was 8 lbs, 3 oz and 20 inches ! Big baby for being 38 weeks gestation!

The rest was magical, lots of goo and skin to skin and ALL love. Everything was great with baby boy and we snuggled so much for about 2 hours minus the checks they had to do. 

The rest is boring- due to COVID my husband and I were pretty much trapped in our room until discharge. No visitors allowed was hard for us not being able to have our parents come by. Lots of TV was watched and baby snuggles! 

Overall what strikes me the most is how similar my two deliveries were. Even though my water broke with this one and I was induced with the other, besides that the timelines were remarkably the same. With my first, I arrived to the hospital at 7, pitocin started by 9, water broke (by them) by 12, epidural by 2, and pushed by 5:40 and she was out by 5:55! Our kids are only about 30 minutes apart, and both born on a Wednesday, and even just one day apart in the month! (my first born on the 22nd of the month!)

We officially came home Christmas Day and have been in a sleepless but also still magical time as a family. Look forward soon to my next blog of our newborn week 1 adventures! 

Thank you everyone for reading! 


With Love, 

The New Motherboard



Sunday, November 15, 2020

Baby Prep, Refrigerators and COVID

 Well here we are, 32 weeks (almost 33) weeks pregnant with number 2. How is it even possible that this pregnancy feels like it truly has gone by so fast? I truly do try and pause often and just soak it all in. I don't think a third one is in our future (but you never know!) so I want to truly treasure these weeks. 

About 7.3 weeks to go, and we have... not much ready. But yet, I don't feel that nervous about it? Maybe a little but not much? It's like with the first baby prep, we had no idea what we were walking into and had no idea what we needed, so I felt a lot more anxious. I coped by making sure our nursery was ready well in advance. Well, this time around we have to shuffle some things around. We decided to move our oldest down the hall so she has more room to grow as she ages (didn't make sense really to give the little baby brother a bigger room than his older sister). So we are in the midst of remodeling that room down the hall for my daughter. Once that is done (almost), and she's moved in, we can forge ahead with final preparation on the nursery. We have zero furniture and I keep procrastinating on that. We have a crib someone luckily gave to us so we just have to match furniture to that and roll with it. It will get there! Plus, now we know that baby truly won't need the nursery anyway til he is 3-5 months old when he transitions out of the bassinet in our room. 

In addition to the bedroom remodeling, our kitchen refrigerator also is kicking the dust-- which you may think, ok, just buy a new fridge. And it surely COULD have been that simple EXCEPT the silly architects of this house thought it would be brilliant to box in the fridge with cabinets and countertop- leaving very limited and small room and choices for what fridge we can get next. So, another remodel we undergo. We (well, I supervised- hubby did), tore down the cabinets (no cabinets were harmed), leaving our dying fridge just kinda hanging out there awkwardly. All our stuff that was in those cabinets is is random boxes as if we are moving, making it super fun. AND THEN we find out when we start fridge shopping that apparently refrigerators are the hot thing right now and hard to come by because of COVID and manufacturing/shipping issues- so most are on backorder til the new year. Cool. We still bit the bullet and took a chance on one we found from Lowe's, so lets pray it actually comes when it is supposed to so we can start putting our kitchen back together! Something about pregnancies in this house and major remodels. With our first pregnancy, I broke our oven- so we had to replace our oven & microwave, plus the nursery remodel AND remodeling our dining room into a playroom- whew! So if we do ever get pregnant a third time, I guess that leaves the dishwasher and a few other rooms to choose from to remodel! 

Everyone always asks me if my daughter is ready for baby... It's so hard to say. I mean who is ready for baby? She is 2 and 3 months, and every single day she surprises me with something new she has learned. She is able to understand complex commands now, is demonstrating caring, nurturing, responsibility... She knows there is a baby boy inside of mommy but I don't think she's fully grasped the fact that there is a baby that will be arriving into her world soon. She recognizes the baby has a soul though, I think, for example today she sat on top of me and I groaned in protest and said "You sat on the baby!" and she said "Ooops, sorry baby!"  We are trying to prep her as much as possible for understanding the fact that there will be a baby crying, we will have to be quiet sometimes, mommy will be holding another baby and most importantly, breastfeeding the baby. Abby hasn't breastfed since 14 months (about a year ago), so I hope there aren't any jealousy issues- but we will handle that as it comes! So is she ready? I guess as ready as we are! It will be amazing to see their interactions with each other and to see how she is nurturing him. 

Besides all that, life is revving up in intensity but also slowing down. My work life is revving up in terms of I need to get all my projects in a stable enough spot to be able to hand them off, but also I don't want to pick up new projects either. I am earning a really important certification through work this fall- I have already passed through one big project and one exam- and have three more exams to go. In 7 weeks. No big lol. So my brain feels like it will explode most days at work, but then on the flipside, life is significantly changing again on a personal level, and not just because baby is coming. COVID is ramping up in intensity at an ALARMING level, with new cases in my state (Pennsylvania) ranging around 5,000 per day. It is worse now than it was in the beginning of COVID. Granted we know more about it now, are more prepared, AND we are testing more people thus more numbers- but I still am confident in saying we are seeing more cases than we did back in April. But yet the world still is turning here, stores are still open with not many protocols, restaurants are open for dine in still, schools are open, some aren't. But given the fact that I am now almost 33 weeks pregnant, my husband and I have decided to "hunker back down" as a family unit as much as we can. Which is hard. So hard. I compare it to a diet. We all went on a diet in the spring because we HAD to, but we were all in it together. Then in the summer things relaxed a little and we all had a few donuts (okay a lot), i.e. we went out to restaurants, the beach, family outings, etc... and we got lucky. But now our family has decided to go back on that diet which is so hard after binging on all the things, and not everyone is doing it. Its hard not to go out to eat when the restaurants are open, as opposed to when the restaurants were closed in the Spring and we had no choice anyway. But, we are coping and it is a little easier as it gets colder as there isn't much to do anyway. We have lots of food packed in our freezer and will be staying in as much as we can, besides necessary grocery shopping and doctor appointments. As a nurse and with my gut feeling, I don't think COVID is going away any time soon. It's proven to be way too aggressive of a virus. It blows my mind to think back to my mindset back in March 2020 when we all thought this would just be a few weeks. Then we all thought, ok- maybe just till Summer. Now it's truly settling in that we are looking more like years. We still mourn normalcy like having normal date nights and going to the movies, not worrying about germs all the time, going out to eat without feeling like we are doing something wrong, not having to mask...but slowly we are just going to adapt to this just being the new normal. Our daughter already thinks it is normal to check our temperature every day- If we forget she literally asks to do it, forehead AND ears lol. She will likely grow up with her first few years of life thinking its completely normal that everyone wears masks. It will be very interesting to see how this will change their generation, how it will change ours... I think this could be a time period that gets referred to. Similar to how we refer to "the Great Depression", we will refer to this set of years, yes years, as "COVID". 

Well, I could probably continue word vomiting out my thoughts, but its lunch time here and I have a hungry toddler! I hope to write again before baby comes! 


Thank you for reading, 


Love, the New MotherBoard

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Holy Bananas! Third Trimester!

 Holy Bananas- I feel as if I have already let this second baby down by not blogging about him more! My last post was about the first trimester fun! This Tuesday I enter into the third at 28 weeks (although some sources say I already am at 27 weeks). 

I'd say for the first 20 weeks or so, until we found out the gender, it was an exact same pregnancy as my first. Same nausea, same headaches, same symptoms. But since finding out the gender (coincidence or not, dunno!) I am noticing more differences. More to come on that, BUT! For any blog readers that don't already know, we are having a baby boy! Turns out this makes us a "Millionaires family" which I had to look up when people told me- It means we have one of each, a boy and a girl--who knew? My husband is stoked to have a boy as am I! I hope he is 100% game for lots and lots of boy mommy snuggles, because I am! By the way, I wish the actual income came with term "Millionaires family" because, that would be awesome. Just saying. 

Anyway, as for differences in the pregnancies, the main differences are: 

1) His movements. I am convinced he might be a....tap dancer? Or a fish. Either one. He has distinct movements different than what I remember for my daughter. Although he definitely throws a good punch/kick at times, he also does this thing, where if I had to describe it, it would be a fishes fin saying Hi- like wiggling in the wind. I usually get that feeling in one spot at a time. I call him a tap dancer because there are other times it feels as if he is moving his whole body and dancing- all limbs moving at once-crazy fun! 

2) Cravings. With my daughter, I was addicted to Tropicana 50 Orange Juice, and organic gorilla munch cocoa puffs. This pregnancy, don't even mention OJ to me- I don't want it. This time around--bring me all the bagels. This craving has resulted in a few extra pounds lol. 

3) This next one is full of lots of girl gross stuff so if you aren't interested, skip to next paragraph: So as I approached ~26 weeks or so, I started having pain "down there" in the lower pelvic region. It literally felt like my bones were being squeezed- usually when I walked, or moved, really. But by 27 weeks the pain was nearly unbearable, and I was (barely) walking around my house like a 97 year old. I desperately spoke out to my OB in cries for help who referred me to Physical Therapy- who knew we have physical therapists trained in woman's health specifically? Turns out I have "symphysis pubis dysfunction" which is a fancy way of saying my pelvic bones are too relaxed (you would think this would mean less pain but no) and since it is my second baby and my body knows what to do, the pelvic bones are shifting around and preparing for birth. Cool. Luckily I got a special brace that is SUPER attractive that I get to wear around my butt- no really, super attractive because I even get to wear it OVER my pants-gathering tons of cool looks but I don't even care because it has made a 180 degree difference! As long as I have my super attractive belt on, my pain is minimal- like a 1/10, compared to a 8/10. Who knew?

I'd also like to give you this mental image of me with my super attractive belt. I also drew this with my finger on my computer, so don't judge my art skills. 

Dunno why I gave myself pigtails, but it felt right at the time. She also is shrugging, because she has no idea what's going on. Her smile is half smile (yay pain relief! but also half confused. But overall she's one heck of a badass, super attractive mama.

As we settle in for the soon to be holidays and get ready for baby number 2....wait, did I say get ready? Lol we are no where's near ready. Physically or mentally! My husband and I take turns on whose turn it is to completely freak out that we are bringing a second child in and all of the unknowns that come with it. But we are also super excited. But believe me when I say, besides a few clothes that we happen to have found while out and about, and all of the baby stuff we already have from baby #1, we have nothing else ready. I swear we were ready by now on my first pregnancy, but life was oh so good back then and I didn't even know. I was basically "just" working full time for my first. This time I am working full time, taking 2 classes per semester for my Masters (1 at a time thank God), and running after a toddler. During the school year, this gives me approximately 1-2 hours a WEEK of "free time" that isn't already dedicated to my daughter, housework, or homework. And you think I want to sort through baby stuff on that last 1-2 hours per week? No! It's NAP time during that time! God bless my husband for letting Mama take a good nap on a weekend!  But no really. Zero things are ready in the nursery. So cool. Another factor we are working on is Mission Move Daughter to New Room- A very involved mission. Our nursery, aka my daughters room now is right next to the Master Bedroom. The next closest room thats equivalent in size (maybe a little bigger) is further down the hallway. After much back and forth, we decided that although a significant struggle to achieve it, it is best for both kids if we move my daughter down the hallway and put the newborn in the nursery. So our project now is prepping my daughters NEW room so that we can move her first- then prep the nursery... Andddd we have ~ 12 weeks to go. 

I am also emotionally terrified on what it will be like bringing in number 2. I already am way prone to suffering from excess anxiety, and when children come into the mix, my anxiety just spirals out of control. I am not worried about caring for a baby again, I feel familiar enough with those steps of what worked and what didn't from my first child. What makes me nervous is all of the factors of caring for a baby and a toddler. The last thing I want to happen is for my daughter to think she has been cast aside for the newborn or that she is any less important. I want her to have as much mommy and daddy time as she has now, but I know it will be hard finding that balance. I worry about things like- how do I watch a toddler and a newborn? What if I am on the couch breastfeeding by myself and I hear my daughter say "uh oh" (she does this a lot) in another room? What if I finally get the baby to sleep but then my toddler wakes up? Or I get the toddler to sleep and the baby wakes up? What if I never sleep again??? I know. I get out of control. All I can tell myself to get me through is- one day at a time. I have no idea what the days will look like, but all I can do is one day at a time. I know there will be crazy days and days I question all my life choices, but there will also be so much love and snuggles and perfect moments too. My daughter is getting big enough now (she just turned 2 in August)- that I can give her simple tasks that will be a big help to Mama when baby is here, like "can you get the burp cloth", "can you give baby the binky", etc. As for my daughter, people ask me all the time if I think she has any idea what's coming. We have tried to prep her but I am not convinced she REALLY knows. If prompted, she will point to my stomach when asked where the baby is. She will say "baby boy" and will say the babies name, she will give it kisses through my stomach, says hi...but I think she just thinks a baby lives in my stomach all the sudden and that's probably it! We have seen little babies in public, or on TV, or in books, and have tried to explain that is what baby boy will be like, soon! And she kinda just looks at us. Soooo we will see! 

Well I couldn't not write about what its like to be pregnant and parent a child during a historic year- 2020- during a global pandemic. The world is such a weird place right now, especially being pregnant during this time. We found out we were pregnant on May 8. Literally since then (actually since March), I have seen no more than 5 of my coworkers. That is so weird! I am full time working remote, so although I get to talk to them all the time, I have lost that aspect of people seeing my bump, having hallway mama talk, etc. But then again I also don't miss random strangers on the elevator asking if I know what it is, what is it's name, etc. 

Going to the OB is also a different experience. Like many outpatient offices around my area, when I get to the office I have to "check in" from my car. The front desk staff then lets the clinical staff know I am here. Then I wait. The clinical staff then call me back and complete all the screenings, ask me all the questions, the fun stuff. They direct me to come up (in a mask of course) and we finish the rest of the visit as normal. I am blessed enough that in my part of the country/world (East Pennsylvania) my husband is allowed to join me for the ultrasounds. I cannot imagine and deeply feel for the mothers that have had to do that alone. 

Even when the world isn't in a pandemic, it is stressful being pregnant. Everything you do or every place you go, you wonder- Is this safe for me, for my baby? Now add in the huge unknown factor of a virus outbreak that you can't see but know it could seriously affect you and the unborn baby. Trying to find a balance of still trying to live our lives and let my toddler experience life but also keeping us all, especially baby and I protected, is super stressful! Every sneeze you hear, every cough, you cringe- wondering if you just exposed yourself to the virus, and having no idea if you do get the virus, what long term outcomes/consequences it will have on you and baby. There is no visible end in sight for this virus, as we approach month bajillion, and I know it will be a way different experience having a baby and first few months post partum during COVID. No more big family parties to see the newborn. No more taking newborn out in public (to the mall, restaurants, shopping) to 'get out of the house' (He is also born in January so the cold changes things too even in a non-pandemic world). It will certainly be different, but all we can do is hope. Hope for a vaccine. Hope for a change. Hope for better virus management. Hope for better days ahead. Luckily the kids are/will be young enough they won't remember this, but will be interesting to explain to them what life was like during this time, when they were oh so little. All we can do is love them and keep home life as normal as possible and keep things positive within our 4 walls and we will survive. This too shall pass. 


Well, I could keep writing about anything and everything, but I will stop here. Little daughter is currently shouting "mommy change pooey!" from her crib- post nap- her favorite time to poo. SO I better get on that! I thank you kindly for being interested enough to read this post, it means a lot to me. I am excited to be able to document these things that my children can also look back on in the future. 


With love, 

The New Motherboard. 

Sunday, July 12, 2020

First Trimester: Twice and Done?


Hello Readers!

I come to you today with great news! Abby is almost 2 years old, and we are officially almost 15 weeks with our newest little addition! So I wanted to document how my first trimester has been and how life is with a toddler!

It was May 8. We found out May 8. We purposely waited to test on a Friday so that either way how the news went we could soak in it over the weekend. We had been trying for our second for a few months (since Fall 2019), so we were starting to fall into the same pattern of hoping every cycle and being really bummed out when it was negative. Well, it was a rather underwhelming and confusing test this time around! We took the test and saw the results and it looked negative. We went through our usual "bummer"s and hugs and "next times" and continued on with our morning brushing our teeth. But then we kept looking at it... was that a second line? Was it? Nah. It was SO faint. SO FAINT. It couldn't be. We had no idea and didn't want to get our hopes up. I was two weeks late past my cycle, but that was nothing new for me and my cycle patterns. So, was I 6 weeks pregnant or was this faint line just a tease? We googled it and sure enough, it seemed convincing that the faint line was indeed a positive. But it was hard to believe and I didn't want to get my hopes up.

I called my doctor to explain this faint line syndrome and she advised to test again in one week. But man did that week feel like an eternity! And in the meantime, my body definitely started acting like I was pregnant *right away*. Nausea was in full effect from day one, so it was even harder to not get my hopes up. Well sure enough, we ended up testing two more times, and although still faint, definitely two lines! We were pregnant!

Then...then something happened to my mindset. Let me explain.

Before May 8, I had been making huge strides in working on myself. Not only was I working out 5 days a week, I was losing inches and weight, I was waking up at 6 am every day doing my daily affirmations and journaling-- I had concrete plans on releasing a book journal template, finishing my book I've been working on, potentially starting a new business, working on my data scientist skills, and a few other goals. And then I found out I was pregnant. And don't get me wrong in any way, like I said earlier, we WANTED to get pregnant, I wanted this and I already loved this baby so much. But another part of me felt like...why go after the new fit body when I was just going to become huge again? Why start a business now when I might feel overwhelmed about it all when I might have a business, a toddler and a baby in 9 months? What if my momentum now will cause too much stress in the future? A huge part of me has a lot of anxiety of the unknown. Reading my past posts before Abby even came into the world, I had a lot of anxiety about what it would be like to a mom of a newborn, and then a mom of a toddler. But then I knew I had to just take it one day at a time. And I know I still do. Sure, life with a 2.5 year old and a newborn will be an adjustment but I can't worry about that now, I can worry about it when January 2021 comes. And as for my mindset switch? I decided to let it be. My body needs to rest and thats what felt like being right at the time for me. I'm 32, the books and business ideas and projects have plenty of time. And for the longest time, I blamed it somehow on the news of being pregnant. But a few weeks ago, I had another epiphany. Something else happened May 8- That week was my last week of my semester in my masters program. I'm the type of person that thrives on being busy. Got lots of homework? Great! Lets power through and get that done and start a business at the same time because I'm already going at full speed. And at the end of every semester I always say, THIS summer I am going to get SO MUCH done. I'm going to maintain my practice on my data scientist skills and I will come out so ahead. And maybe I would have if I hadn't found out about the pregnancy, but my track record of last summer would state otherwise. When I find myself with more time, I somehow want to do even less.

SO yeah. I have slowly, slowly, been working on putting back the pieces and trying to get up and work on my daily affirmations and journaling still. But getting up at 6 am to do that sounds so hard when the bed is so inviting at the same time! Still working on that. Throw into the mix 4 months of quarantine will also mess with the best of us working on our goals.

The pregnancy itself has almost been a carbon copy of my first pregnancy with Abby. And disclaimer- I do not intend to sound like I am complaining about being pregnant. I LOVE being pregnant and having the *privilege* to be so lucky that I am blessed enough to carry not one but two babies into this world. I am so blessed, I know that every day and I am so grateful every single day.  BUT that doesn't mean I have to hide the hardships of the pregnancy either. For me, my experience in the two pregnancies I've had, the first trimester brings immense amounts of nausea. No vomiting, thank god, but crazy nausea. Like usually by 8-9 am, until bedtime. I get to sleep nausea free (usually) but then repeat cycle. Being so nauseous just makes you feel so unstable. You feel so vulnerable and your stomach just feels like it could fall right out of your abdomen. I started craving carbs- any carbs (especially bagels) and it was one of the few things I could tolerate that not only helped me feel better but didn't make me feel worse. Vegetables? Forget it. Salad? Ha! Bread? Bring me all the bread. I swore to myself when I was losing weight and learning about nutrition I would do pregnancy better this time around, eat better this time, but when you feel like total crap and have been nauseous all day, and that bagel with butter is calling your name, nutrition (for me at least) goes completely out the window.

*Total disclaimer* I am not a doctor, obviously. But I want to share what my own doctor suggested for my nausea, and it has been a game changer. I had actually completely forgotten about this from Abby's pregnancy and when the doctor reminded me at my first prenatal I was so relieved. Half a tab of Unisom (yes, its a sleeping aid pill) before bedtime. Half a tab. Thats it. It makes you sleepy, sure- but for some magical reason it curbs the nausea almost completely the next day. I hope this trick can help anyone else out there.

After the nausea faded, about 2-3 weeks ago my headaches started. I got these in Abby's second trimester also, but I was hoping to have more time before they got this bad. I plan to write a whole separate blog on how to deal with pregnancy headaches, but it is no easy feat. Especially trying to care for a toddler and a pounding pulsating head at the same time. I thank the Lord that I have an amazing husband that helps so much in these times (and all times).

Needless to say, between the nausea, headaches, and total and complete exhaustion, it's been hard keeping my workout routine. I've been lately in these last few weeks to get 2, maybe 3 workouts in per week. And I hate that. But I also have to give myself some grace, and know that I will get back to it in full swing, one day. One day soon!

Abby is the most beautiful and smartest creature I've ever met and it's hard to believe I helped make her and bring her into this planet. Her favorite things right now are planes, going on walks, playing with stuffed animals, playing house. Her favorite things to watch are Monsters Inc, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Doc McStuffins. She can sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the ABCs. She can correctly identify most letters when written and gets most of her colors correctly identified, although still has trouble verbalizing the colors. She is starting to string together 3 word sentences and amazes me every day with each new word she learns every day. She is the sweetest little girl and knows when I am sick because she gives me extra snuggles and hugs those days. She is also almost 2 and is definitely testing Mommy and Daddy's rules and her limits, so thats been real fun. She's exercising her right to shout NO and throw things in defiance, so we are working on that. But seeing her smile and getting her hug and her head on my shoulder, hearing her giggle is the best thing on this entire planet. Always will be.

Almost 15 weeks, and counting. I plan to update you all on this pregnancy and am so happy everyone finally knows (it's always so hard keeping it from everyone when you just want to shout it from the rooftops!)

Til next time,

The New Motherboard.












Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Leveling Up in Life

So this concept has been floating around my brain for weeks, maybe even months- Looking for its escape route out of my mind. So I hope I can do it justice.

Do you ever wonder or feel as if we are just playing pieces in one big game? What if we are the SIMS in SIMS100 being played 100 years from now by some kid enamored by the life we live? Or if you are religious or spiritual, are we all just playing pieces in one big game?

The goal in the game isn't to get to the end. Or to win. Because really, there is no winning or ending. The point is that you keep leveling up. The point is that you keep showing up to play.

What if your whole concept of reality was actually just you as the player, and everyone that you know or have done has been placed in your game as something or someone that will show you something, give you a blue, teach you a lesson (good or bad), give you something, or lift you up when your battery is almost dead? These are all strategic items placed in the game of you, the game of me, the game of all of us. We're all playing our own game. There are obstacles and challenges put in our way for a reason, to challenge us to think in different ways to unlock new keys to level up. If you've ever played a video game, there has always been that time where you tried everything you can think of and nothing, NOTHING is working- The game must have a glitch or something because you cannot find the answer in order to get to the next level. So you take a break from the game. You go about your life, unplug and then BAM! You think of a way that just might work and you do it and you Level up! Don't you feel a sense of immense accomplishment!?

There are an infinite number of levels in each one of our games, and the beauty and fun of it all is that we will never know how many levels there are yet to go until we reach the top. And the top is also different for everyone. But at the top, we feel a sense of fulfillment and no regrets as we leave the game. My hope is that we get to look back on all the steps and all the levels and get to review all of our accomplishments and hardships and know we rocked it all. We learned. And then we get to play again, as a new player, this time with a different set of circumstances.

What do I mean by levels? I've been thinking a lot about that too.  We might never truly know if we hit a "level up" as there are no fancy lights or music that will go off above your head when we hit a new level, but that has to come from within your heart. If you listen to your own self, you'll feel it in your heart when you've leveled up. For example, think about someone who is in a level- and in that level she gets up every morning and doesn't like her body she sees in the mirror. So she begins to change. She shows up for herself, she eats the right food and does the workouts. But she doesn't feel like much else has changed yet. She looks up to the game controller and says OKAY, I'm doing the hard work, where is my level up?!  The game controller looks down and shakes his/her head and says, nope, not yet. Determined the girl keeps showing up and keeps doing the hard work. And after doing a lot of soul searching, daily affirmations and gratitude, she finally one day looks in the mirror and begins to see herself for not what her body is- but what it can do. Who she is inside, what she brings to the table, her skills, what her body is capable of. And then she hears the music go off because she found the golden key to get past that level of body acceptance. She twisted that key in her mind to level up into a place where she loves herself no matter what, no matter what size or weight.

I think we are all in a different level, and they aren't in any particular order for all of us, we are all playing a different game and we are all playing at a different pace. So don't compare what level you are on to someone you know that you feel is on a much higher level. Because comparing yourself to anything or anyone certainly won't get that level key unlocked.

Maybe the level you are on right now is in your work. Maybe you've been trying and trying, clawing your way to a promotion and doing all of the right things, but still can't seem to reach that golden key after months, maybe even years of searching. Then one day you come to a revelation that you are enough no matter what. No matter what job you have or what salary you make, none of it matters. What matters is you, are you happy? When you can finally break free of that mindset and start doing what makes you happy, maybe it is then that you level up.

Maybe it's not all one consecutive string of levels like levels 1-100 for each player, but perhaps we can level up in categories. Maybe there are branches, family, relationship, work, self awareness, self development, self purpose, where we can level up in each area. What are those branches like for you? What level are you on in each of those branches? Are you at level 50 in work but level 2 with your relationships? Or are you level 42 in your relationship but level 1 with self awareness and self purpose? Where can you put part of your game on hold while you explore parts of yourself that you want to level up?

Don't spend your whole life stuck in level one. Level one is easy. You can coast through an expert in level one but never progressing to level 2 but you will never feel challenged, fulfillment, satisfaction, achievement. If you are not feeling any or all of those things right now then where can you level up? 

Thank you,

The New Motherboard

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Predictive Analytics- Not as Scary as it Sounds

Hi There!

This is a post I've had heavy on my heart; growing in immensity for about 2 years now in my brain.

I wanted to take a little time to do my best to break down exactly what I am studying and make it possible for anyone to understand.

But first, a little background.

I am a Registered Nurse, and have been for 8 years. I have been in healthcare for 13 1/2 years. About 4 years ago I took a position that actually removed me from the bedside but instead I got to be a part of helping to design and change our electronic health record in a way that improved patient safety and made more sense for nurses and physicians to use.

I remember within my first month on the job, I was quickly drawn to the fact that we could use this electronic health record to capture data and summarize data on hundreds of patients. Better yet, in this new electronic health record, we had abilities to build our own reports! Someone very influential to me, someone I think was placed temporarily in my life for the sole purpose of steering me in my life's direction, sat with me or initially two hours and gave me my first high level crash course in reporting. I-was-hooked!

From there, I continued to grow and expand the use of reporting and my passion for it became apparent. I became the person on my team that was known for being able to whip up new reports and to also be a whiz in Microsoft Excel. These skills allowed me to not only create and put together data from within the system, but to also summarize and track that data.

About a year or so into the job, I knew I had to advance my degree. I have a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing, but I needed more. I've always loved school and am a total school nerd. I enrolled into my local college for a Masters in Nursing with a clinical nurse leader track. I was doing well, about 2-3 courses in- but......I hated it. Guys, nothing felt more nauseating and not right to me in my entire life. It was all research papers and evidenced based practice and blah. Not for me. I didn't really know what else to do, so I switched to a Masters in Nursing Administration. In this track I started to see how cool the whole business aspect of the degree was, but again felt nauseated in what I was learning with regards to how broken our healthcare system is. I spent years on the floor doing my best and it was never enough to the same people that I was in a degree trying to become. Again, it didn't feel right. I took a break from school when I was pregnant with my daughter and in the post partum period as well. I thought long and hard about returning and what felt right.

Then I saw it: A new program at the same college- It was a sign! A Masters in Science in Predictive Analytics. Technically this isn't a healthcare degree, its a business degree. I always had felt that I had to stay in nursing because that's what my background was, even if I hated the pursuit of anything further in it. But this degree.... it felt right in my bones. Multiple people have told me that when I start talking about data analytics/predictive analytics, they can visibly see the light in my eyes go on fire, the rise in pitch and rate of speed in my voice increase, and I could talk about it forever. That right there everyone, is passion. And I knew I had to pursue it. I always joked in the last 4 years in my job that if I could wake up and spend all day in an Excel spreadsheet, I would love-my-job. Data to me makes sense. Its tangible but also infinite. It's like a math equation. There's an answer at the end but also infinite answers! It makes me jump up and down inside, can you tell?

So I started this program in January of 2019, when my daughter was ~ 5 months, leaving my husband to watch Abby for the 3 hours a week I spent in class. It sure has been a whirlwind ever since, and I still am spending 12-15 hours a week involved in the program with homework, reading and in class time. But, what's difference in this is that those 12-15 hours don't even feel like "homework" or "work". Sure I need to make sure I get it done within the deadlines, but its FUN! When I make a dashboard or create a model I get a sense of immense joy and celebrate in my newfound abilities. It kind of feels like what I imagine it felt like for Spiderman to suddenly wake up and realize he has superpowers. This is my superpower.

But, as I started meeting other moms and introduced myself and what I do or mentioned my degree, or talked with friends and family about it, I started noticing a frustrating pattern: No matter who it was, within a minute of talking about it, people's eyes started glazing over and they'd switch the topic. I told new people that I was getting my degree in Predictive Analytics and they acted as if I said I was getting the degree in astrophysical quantum mechanical engineering (if that's even a thing?).
It was sad for me because this was my passion and I wanted to tell the world about it. To me, at work or in school, it was all common talk and people understood it, but I wanted to be able to share it with more than that.

So, I'm here to break it down as best I can.

I don't want to give any fancy definitions of what it is, because even I don't understand those. Lots of statistics and blahblahblah.

To me, predictive analytics is as simple as using and understanding data from the past to predict future events. That's it!

Ok so let me break it down into a real elementary example, then I will advance a little from there.

This example brings in my love of epidemiology also, so its fun. Let's say there was a big gala held last weekend celebrating something. 100 people were in attendance. There was a lot of food served, but lets focus on 5 foods: They served chicken, salmon, filet mignon, and ham as the meat choices. They had a big salad on the side for vegetarians.  However, unfortunately, a few days later the party hosts found out that 20 of their guests got really sick! They called and blamed the food they ate. So the hosts had to find out, what was it that made everyone sick? So they interviewed each of the sick to find out what they ate. But what is important here, is where predictive analytics comes into play is not just interviewing what the sick ate, but what the non-sick ate too. For example, if the 20 sick people all had the ham, but so did 70 non-sick people, it's probably not the ham that made everyone sick. But how could we really say for sure? Well, nothing is ever really sure in data analytics. Data analytics treats words like "always" and "never" like the black plague.

So what we do here is treat each one of those food items as variables. (I'll explain that more). Each variable would be "Did this person eat the ham, yes or no?" or "Did this person eat the turkey, yes or no?"  By then viewing the list of the 20 people and what they ate, we could likely identify a pattern of the common thing(s) that the people ate that got sick. OK now stay with me- we can use that knowledge of understanding what we THINK got sick and assign them values. So perhaps those that ate the turkey were 80% more likely to have gotten sick and assign it a value of 0.8. We now PREDICT, will the rest of our guests get sick? So we take that list we have of our 80 non-sick people, and essentially run it through a model to determine a prediction of how likely that person is to be sick. If we found out that ham and turkey were the culprits that made everyone sick, if we took one of the non-sick people and found out he too had ham and turkey, we could give him a pretty accurate high prediction that he may end up also getting sick. However, if one of the non-sick people say they only had the salad, and non of the sick people ate the salad, we can give that person a pretty accurate prediction that they won't join their friends in the quarantine.

This sounds like a silly example, but its how these predictions work. In examples I am involved with at work, the "20 sick people" that are used to learn and understand the variables, is actually 500,000+ people (perhaps more likely in the millions). Taking data from only 20 people can lead to a lot of inaccurate predictions. Maybe they were lying or forgot details. But if we are seeing common patterns on half a million people, we can gain better accuracy in applying what we learn to future predictions. Instead of the "variables" being 5 food groups, we instead look at hundreds of variables to better understand everything we can about these instances. In this way, we actually can learn new things that may be correlated to a disease or effect.

Some examples I am working with in healthcare now are predictive models that can predict how likely a patient is to have a cardiac arrest event, or code blue. We use close to a hundred variables that were studied on thousands of patients that DID have a cardiac arrest (think back to the gala example-the people that DID get sick). By learning what was unique about those patients that did have a cardiac arrest, we can then match that set of variables up to a new patient that walks in the door, to see how closely they align to those variables. Perfect match? Yikes, lets get the code cart ready! Hardly a match at all? Pretty good chance they aren't coding on our watch (Again, nothing is certain).

But think of how useful these models are to us, in healthcare and around the world (I'll get to that). By having a prediction like how likely a patient is to have a code blue, we can better prepare as healthcare workers to make sure that doesn't happen. We can better plan staffing ratios, adjust the treatment plan, get other specialists on board, etc.

I'm working on a few other models in healthcare right now, but there are more than I can even count that are actually out there. We are gathering the ability to predict who will experience a fall, who will contract sepsis, who will come to the emergency department, who will not show up for their appointment, who will come back to the hospital, etc. In each of these cases, these accurate predictions allows us to prepare.

But think of it more globally. These same concepts can and are applied to other "predictable" events. We could essentially predict tidal waves, hurricanes, tornadoes by understanding what variables or conditions were in place before those events happened in the PAST to help us predict the FUTURE. We could predict mass shootings by understanding conditions and variables that were attributed to past mass shootings. We could predict train delays or breakdowns, airport delays, stock markets, retail surges, etc. With the growing amount of data being made available to all of us, even you, we will have more and more ability to predict almost any event that can have attributable data to it.

Anyway, I hope I didn't lose you all! If you can't tell, this stuff is my life's passion and I can't wait to see where it takes me. This is really just the beginning. There is so much more involved to it all than what I wrote about in this blog, hence the need to get an entire degree in it (and even that will barely scratch the surface), but I wanted to at least get the concept out there as easily understood. Maybe I'll even inspire someone to go chase the dream for themselves, too!

Thank you for reading.

Toodles!

_ The New Motherboard