Earlier this year, I wrote about one of my biggest pregnancy regrets–foregoing the opportunity to bank placenta blood cells, cord blood cells, and tissue because I thought we couldn’t afford it. Since my pregnancy 4+ years ago, the cost and application of this innovative technology has improved. And things will only get better going forward.

The ability of stem cells to save lives via cord blood banking has already proven successful for replacing abnormal or diseased cells, and treating life-threatening blood disorders such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. In fact, since 1988, stem cell transplants have been used to treat some 80 diseases.

Through cord blood banking, you can collect and preserve potentially lifesaving stem cells, and doing so could one day save the life of your child or a blood relative. You can bank even more stem cells by collecting them from 2 usable sources of stem cell-rich blood: the umbilical cord and the placenta. This service is called Placental and Cord Blood Banking, and it’s available only from LifebankUSA. Whether you choose Placental and Cord Blood Banking or Cord Blood Banking alone, there are many important reasons to choose LifebankUSA.

When you bank with LifebankUSA, tissue banking (tissue from the placenta) is included for free.* Placental tissue contains mesenchymal cells (MSCs) and MSC-like cells. While stem cells found in cord blood and placenta blood have been used to successfully treat patients, there are currently no approved uses for stem cells derived from the umbilical cord or placenta tissue. Possible therapeutic applications are in early research stages and LifebankUSA’s parent company is actively involved in their development.

LifebankUSA will store the placenta tissue for you as part of its complete banking package using their cryogenic tanks for long-term preservation. In the event your baby’s tissue cells are ever needed for future therapies, the tissue may then be processed and cultured using available technology at that time.†  Tissue banking is just one more layer of protection and peace of mind offered by LifebankUSA.

I will always regret not finding the means to take advantage of this service when I could. I urge those of you who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant to research more about LifebankUSA.

LifebankUSA is having another awesome contest on their Facebook page. They’re giving away three top-rated and highly desirable Britax Marathon 70-G3 Convertible Car Seats (value $260 each) in a random drawing from entrants in the Facebook contest. You can learn more about & enter the contest here.

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*Storage fees apply after the first year
†Clients will be responsible for the cost of shipping the tissue and any culturing or expansion of the cells.

I'm Blogging for Mental Health.
One of my anxiety triggers is health. It’s safe to say my biggest fear in life is poor health–my own as well as that of someone I love. Good health is not something I take for granted for even a single day.

Since my earliest memories, my anxiety has been set off by thoughts of impending doom related to someone I love becoming ill or injured. I’ve had to deal with intrusive thoughts, with scenes playing out in my head that I’ve been unable to stop. As a child, I worried endlessly about something happening to my mom. As a new mother, I worried about something happening to Jax. Thoughts like these don’t occur often now, thank goodness.

The positive side of health anxiety is that it makes me proactive. I’ve initiated difficult conversations with my physician and my therapist just to relieve myself of worry and for reassurance. I eat well, I rarely drink more than one alcoholic beverage in a day, I take walks almost daily, I talk about how to alleviate my stress with a therapist regularly, and I take vitamins and supplements that are good for my body.

Most importantly, I try to never consult Dr. Google for a diagnosis if there is something perceived to be wrong!

Knowing your anxiety triggers is crucial for overcoming it. So is knowing how to handle the anxiety when you can’t stop it from happening. Here are the techniques I rely on to nip anxiety in the bud when it happens.

If you have any anxiety-busting tips, please share!

 

I cry often. Sometimes this makes the people in my life very uncomfortable. It can make them a little judgy, too. There is such a stigma about crying–have you ever heard anyone say that crying means you’re weak, that it isn’t good to show emotion, not to ever let them see you vulnerable, and so on? I have, too many times to count.

I’ve also been called a “sissy” because I am quick to cry and have been told countless times by countless people that I need to “toughen up.”

What those people don’t get is that for some of us, crying is a way to release tension. Nothing more. It doesn’t mean I’m depressed or that I am not “tough” (whatever that actually means). It means I am releasing stress and tension in a way that feels good to me–and this is a positive thing! Physiologically speaking, tears activate parasympathetic activity, which helps relieve stress and ease distress.

Crying activates both the arousing sympathetic nervous system and the sedating parasympathetic nervous system. However, the latter is activated for a longer period, which no doubt explains why people tend to remember crying as a calming and cathartic experience. (Source)

Yes, crying around others does make me vulnerable, but I feel this vulnerability is usually a positive thing, with positive results (if you do it around the right person/people). I’ve strengthened relationships as a result of allowing myself to be vulnerable in front of others. Sure, I’ve also damaged relationships by wearing my heart on my sleeve, by not containing my emotions–but how solid were those relationships in the first place if they’re so easily strained?! I’ve found that crying has sometimes led to increased connection. I betcha Brene Brown would agree with me on this one.

I spent a little time this morning reading about the myriad benefits of crying. Did you know there are 3 types of tears: basal, reflex, and emotional?

[Emotional] tears may have a number of social functions, in particular (1) communicating our emotions while emphasizing their depth and sincerity, (2) attracting attention, sympathy, and help at a time of danger, distress, or need, and (3) serving as a signal of appeasement, dependency, or attachment (for example, by blurring our vision and handicapping our aggressive and defensive actions). (Source)

In addition to all the social benefits of crying, there have been many studies stating the health benefits of emotional crying. For example, the chemicals that build up in your body as a result of stress are released through your tears.

Biochemist and “tear expert” Dr. William Frey at the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis discovered that reflex tears are 98% water, whereas emotional tears also contain stress hormones which get excreted from the body through crying. (Source)

If you’re someone who feels uncomfortable seeing others cry, please ask yourself why this is. Please try not to pass judgment on the crying individual or see their crying as weak or merely an attempt to garner attention. Please read this article.

Bottom line: It is healthy, not weak, to cry.

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It’s Monday, and it’s raining. I think this calls for measures of extreme self-care.

I scheduled a routine physical examination months ago–just because–and this afternoon, I have to go to the appointment for the bloodwork results and remainder of the exam. Blah. I’m keeping anxiety at bay by avoiding caffeine this morning, which is painfully difficult given that I’ve slept poorly for a week now, and have I mentioned it’s a rainy Monday? I’m also listening to my favorite music while I work, and that’s helping to keep me focused and calm.

Some people think that having a routine physical and accompanying bloodwork is like asking for trouble–why look for any problems if you’re feeling fine?! But I think having this done every year or two is part of my responsibility to my family. I want to ensure I remain in optimal health as long as possible and figure out any problems before they really become problems. I know there is only so much you can do to protect your health, I do. And yes, maybe all my anxiety about the bloodwork and then waiting for results is doing more harm than good (assuming the results are fine), but I can’t shake the feeling that having a physical is not only an act of self-care but also the right thing to do for my family. I do not take good health for granted whatsoever. It is what I am most grateful for in life (besides Jax, of course).

So, to treat myself for my good behavior and to help alleviate some of my anxiety about my appointment later, I’m using my 2.5 hours of free time between work and the appointment to indulge in a few things that make me happy. Like blogging. Calling a friend to catch up on my drive home. A slow lunch in front of the tv. A bubble bath.

When was the last time you had a routine physical exam? Consider this your reminder to take care of yourself!

 

When I was pregnant in 2008-2009, during one of my OBGYN visits, my provider asked my husband and me whether we were interested in cord blood banking. Being interested in science and healthcare, of course we were very interested, especially given the health status of some of our family members and the uncertainty of the future of anyone’s health. However, we had just bought a house months earlier and found ourselves in a tanking economy, complete with my husband’s job loss and my impending reduced paycheck during a 12-week maternity leave. Can you say scary?? There were moments in my pregnancy when I didn’t think I could afford to have a baby, let alone bank his cord blood.

It isn’t cheap, but it’s something we should have invested in. Looking back, I now wish I’d thrown the expense on my credit card. It would have been paid off by now, and I wouldn’t have this regret in my gut.

Through cord blood banking, you can collect and preserve potentially lifesaving stem cells, and doing so could one day save the life of your child or a blood relative. You can bank even more stem cells by collecting them from two usable sources of stem cell-rich blood: the umbilical cord and the placenta. This service is called Placental and Cord Blood Banking, and it’s available only from LifebankUSA.

The ability of stem cells to save lives via cord blood banking has proven successful for replacing abnormal or diseased cells, and treating life-threatening blood disorders such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.  In fact, since 1988 stem cell transplants have been used to treat some 80 diseases.

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Like I said, I regret that we did not think more about how we could have banked Jackson’s cord blood and placenta tissue. Every parent, I’m sure, has his or her regrets when it comes to the birth of their firstborn. This is one of my biggies.

So if you are pregnant or thinking about having children eventually, I hope you’ll visit LifeBankUSA’s website and learn more. Throw it on a credit card if you must. It’s that important.

LifeBankUSA is having a contest on their Facebook page that runs until midnight on 4/30/13. You can visit the page and enter the contest here: www.facebook.com/lifebankusa. They’re giving away THREE top rated, Britax Marathon 70-G3 Convertible Car Seats in a random drawing. The value of each car seat is $231.99. Winners will be notified the week after the contest ends.

Thanks for reading! Good luck in the contest!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, but all opinions–and regrets–are completely my own. Please check out LifeBankUSA. :)