motoring full-speed ahead on the road of life

There we were, driving in our new SUV with the windows rolled down. Audrey was in her car seat, munching on Cheerios. I was snapping at Chris’ every touch to turn up the volume and remind him “to keep it down for the baby.”

He sighed, looked at me with a gravy-thick pout and said, “I’m just an SUV dad now, huh?”

Both of us stared out the large, sparkling windshield and momentarily drifted away. Drifted to a time where we would blast Def Leppard and I would cozy up next to him in his pickup after a spontaneous date night. A night when we were still awake at 10 p.m.

I thought about the recent selling of my five-speed Honda, which I’d had since high school. Bumper stickers, CD mixes, old pictures attached to the visor and a travel makeup supply were replaced with a car-seat viewing mirror, a large selection of snacks, a DVD player that plays Clifford on repeat and a “Baby on Board” sticker.

I went back to the day we went car shopping. The salesman just looked at us and knew — a young married couple, toddler and snack pack of Cheerios. “Mini van?” he asked. “No!” we both barked. “SUV,” I said.

We talked cargo space, child safety locks and extra seats for the kids for hours.

Audrey’s tantrum snapped us both back to reality and I turned around to hand her more Cheerios. I could visualize all the back seats filled with children screaming, “Are we there yet?” I could see annoyed teenagers with their iPods plugged in and cell phones at hand. Soccer teams and play-date car pools.

“Yep, SUV dad and soccer mom,” I finally replied. “A lot can happen in two years,” he said.

We celebrated our second wedding anniversary this month. In the past two years, we’ve done about everything a couple could do. We got married, bought a home, had a baby and, recently, upgraded to the family-friendly automobile.

Being a parent can consume your life. It is the biggest blessing, but at the same time, you don’t have a moment to say goodbye to the magazine subscription of Cosmopolitan that was replaced with Parents and Good Housekeeping. Goodbye to your quiet hours of sipping coffee in the morning, replaced with cartoons and cleaning bananas out of hair. Goodbye to the spontaneous date nights that didn’t require finding a babysitter. And goodbye to the little race car that was replaced with a seven-seated four-wheel drive.

I never imagined that Cheerios would start running my life. They are in my purse, my car, my diaper bag, my house and every house that Audrey visits. They are in the cracks of the couch, corners of the house and even in the lawn.

While it may be in my motherly nature to make these lifestyle adaptations with ease, my tough logger of a husband has had to find his soft side.

When Chris pictured his future family years ago, he probably didn’t imagine carrying a pink diaper bag, cleaning poop out of the bathtub or driving an SUV to the tunes of Disney.

We’ve both had to make changes, say goodbye to things of the past and proceed down the path of grown-up life.

But we can still get a babysitter and easily snap back into the rugged logger and city girl couple that we are behind Mom and Dad, turn up the music, cuddle up in the dirty pickup and maybe stay up until 9:30 p.m.

Nothing could have prepared us for transforming into the SUV dad and soccer mom, but now that we’re here, it isn’t so bad.

“At least I didn’t get the mini van,” I chuckled to him.

You can also read this online at The News-Review.

ibuprofen doubles risk of miscarriage

Risk of miscarriage more than doubled in women who took non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, during the first 20 weeks of gestation, according to researchers who scrutinized health records from nearly 50,000 Canadian women.

The study appears in the latest issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

“I would strongly suggest that women take no non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during the first trimester,” said study co-author Anick Berard, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Montreal and director of the research unit on medications and pregnancy at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Ste. Justine.”If a woman is taking an NSAID for a chronic condition she really has to talk to her health care provider to see if it’s feasible to stop at least during the first trimester.”

Use of NSAIDs is fairly common, Berard noted, adding that studies have shown that up to 17 percent of pregnant women take the drugs, either in prescription or over-the-counter formulations. The new study investigated use of non-aspirin NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen and other drugs.

However, a leading expert in maternal fetal medicine cautioned women not to overreact to the new findings. The increased risk could be due to something else that women who took NSAIDS had in common, said Dr. Hyagriv Simhan, associate professor and chief of the division of maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and medical director of obstetrical services at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC.

Don’t overreact, expert says “I wouldn’t want this to be a reason for women who have taken a Motrin before they realized they were pregnant to freak out,” Simhan said.

Beyond this, Simhan said, there are legitimate reasons for women to be taking NSAIDS. “This study wouldn’t necessarily make me change the way I practice,” he added.

The Canadian study compared the medical records of 4,705 women who had a miscarriage during the first 20 weeks of gestation with records of 47,050 women who became pregnant and delivered a child. The women in the study were aged 15 to 45 when they became pregnant.

Berard and her colleagues considered a woman to have been exposed to an NSAID if she had a prescription for the drug filled before she became pregnant or during early pregnancy. Most NSAIDs in Canada are available through prescription rather than over-the-counter, the authors said.

Among women who had miscarriages, 352 had taken NSAIDs, compared with 1,213 of the women who did not experience pregnancy loss.

When calculating the risk associated with NSAID use, the researchers accounted for other factors that might increase the likelihood of miscarriage, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, depression and anxiety.

Taking all those factors into account, Berard and her colleagues determined that women who took prescription NSAIDs early in pregnancy were 2.4 times as likely to have a miscarriage as those who did not. The rate of miscarriage in women who took NSAIDs was about 35 percent, compared with the normal rate of miscarriage, which is about 15 percent.

While the study didn’t address the kind of over-the-counter use of NSAIDs found in the U.S., the authors cautioned against any use of the drugs in early pregnancy.

“Gestational exposure to any type or dosage of non-aspirin NSAIDs may increase risk of spontaneous abortion. These drugs should be used with caution during pregnancy,” the authors concluded.

NSAIDs may affect prostaglandin levels The researchers hypothesize that NSAIDs could have an impact on pregnancy because the drugs affect the levels of hormone-like substances known as prostaglandins. Normally in pregnancy, prostaglandins decrease in the uterus in a consistent way, Berard said. It’s possible that NSAIDs cause these levels to fluctuate, she suggested.

One thing Berard and her colleagues don’t know was why the women were given prescriptions for NSAIDs. That’s an important factor, Simhan said. It’s always possible that some of the women who miscarried were taking the medications for cramping which is a sign of impending pregnancy loss, he added.

Berard doesn’t believe this is the case. Women who had miscarriages generally didn’t get more prescriptions for NSAIDs in the two weeks leading up to their pregnancy losses, she explained.

Previous studies about the impact of NSAIDs in early pregnancy had shown mixed results, Berard said.

Nevertheless, she does allow that this kind of study can’t prove that NSAIDs actually cause pregnancy loss.

“We cannot say for 100 percent sure that this is a true drug effect,” she said. “But we’re one step closer to proving causality when there is repetition of the finding. And there is at least one other study looking at this specifically that found an increased risk.”

By Linda Carroll contributor