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Wednesday
Apr102013

Arizona Baby Who Got Melanoma in Womb Still Thriving

KNXV/ABC NewsPHOENIX) -- Addison Cox, the Phoenix girl who mysteriously contracted her mother's deadly melanoma while still in the womb, has surprised doctors and will soon celebrate her second birthday.

Her mother, Phoenix police detective Briana Cox, died last year of cancer that had metastasized during her pregnancy. She was only 33 years old.

In a rare and unexplained medical mystery, Briana's cancer cells had crossed the placenta to her developing fetus.

Addison was just 6 weeks old when doctors found tumors had spread throughout her body. Her family was told she would likely not survive much beyond a year.

"Her original diagnosis was 12 to 18 months," her father, James Cox, told ABC News. "She turns 2 in May."

"We sure are pleased," he said. "Basically our family has gotten so much support from each other and friends. ...The local church took us under their wing and my co-workers have been so kind to all of us."

Addison has a 4-year-old biological brother who has been in counseling since his mother died.

"He still thinks about his mother and misses her," said James, 37. "But talking to a 4-year-old kid about anything can be difficult."

Addison also has two teenage stepbrothers. James' mother, who is from Texas, has been living with the family to help out for the last nearly two years.

The cancer has affected the child's brain, shoulder, lungs, kidney, liver, leg, and even the back of her tongue. Addison has had chemotherapy, radiation and brain surgeries at Phoenix Children's Hospital, which is hosting a telethon to benefit the family.

"One hundred percent of the proceeds raised will have a direct impact on care, along with critical programs services provided to patients and families," said hospital spokeswoman Stacy Dillier.

The toddler has been on chemotherapy for 20 months and has undergone radiation. A month ago, she had two brain surgeries four days apart.

A fundraiser by the police department where Briana Cox worked has helped the family deal with their financial needs. "Most has been covered by medical insurance, but it's the cost of day-to-day life that really hammers us," said James Cox.

So far, Addison has progressed well, understanding speech and saying a few words, like any child her age, according to her father.

"That gives you a lot to look forward to and know she's still doing this well, it just kind of keeps you going," said James.

Addison's mother had a malignant skin melanoma removed in 2006 and was assured by her doctors that the cancer had not spread and all her margins were clear.

Briana Cox went on to have a son David, now 4, and again became pregnant with her daughter Addison.

But just two months after the baby was born, in June 2011, Briana had a seizure and collapsed during a run. Scans revealed her brain and other parts of her body were riddled with advanced cancer.

And when four dark bumps appeared on baby Addison's forehead in September, she too was diagnosed with the same stage-four melanoma.

Briana Cox died in February of 2012, but her last wish was to tell her family's private, but painful story to help others better understand the dangers of the disease.

James Cox was in the Azores, serving in the U.S. Air Force, when his wife was diagnosed. Today, James works in emergency management.

"It was like running into a brick wall," he said in local press at the time. "It knocks the wind out of you. It was like being punched in the chest. And when Addison was [diagnosed], it was like being ejected from a car. You wonder, what's next?"

The phenomenon has only been recorded "a handful of times" in medical literature, according to Dr. Pooja Hingorani, a pediatric oncologist who treats Addison at Phoenix Children's Hospital.

"All cancer can happen in pregnancy," Hingorani told ABC News last year. "But melanoma is the most common cancer to pass through the placenta from the mother."

About 30 percent of all mother-to-fetus cancers are melanoma, according to Hingorani, who said she has only seen four to five cases ever.

"When it is in the blood stream, it can go everywhere," she said.

Melanoma is a virulent form of skin cancer that begins in the cells that make the pigment melanin, but it can also begin in the eyes or intestines. According to the National Cancer Institute, about 76,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and 9,100 die of the disease.

Sun exposure is thought to be one of the causes of melanoma. Hingorani said cancer among women of childbearing age is on the rise, and those who are pregnant, should tell their doctors if they've had melanoma.

"After the birth, the placenta needs to be examined carefully," she said. "It's hard to say if we would have picked it up at birth, if Addison would have had a less extent of disease."

Meanwhile, James Cox said he has been overjoyed with the medical care that Addison has received.

James said Addison's doctors hope to get her into clinical trials, if treatments start to fail.

"They got her in immediately when it was discovered, coordinated her care and are constantly looking forward to the next step."

"If Phoenix Children's had not been there," he said. "Addison would have already passed away."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb152013

Doctors ‘Freeze’ Baby to Save Newborn

Photodisc/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- When Claire Ives was seven months pregnant with her third child, she used a handheld device to listen to her unborn son’s heartbeat.  As she turned the machine on, she thought something had malfunctioned.

“I thought I wasn’t listening right or something,” Ives, a nurse in London, told ABC News.  “I didn’t believe his [heart] rate could be that fast.”

Ives’ son had a heart rate of about 300 beats per minute, nearly double the normal 160.

After doctors were alerted to the baby’s elevated heart rate, Ives delivered her son, Edward, five weeks early via emergency cesarean at the University College London Hospital.

Edward was born with supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) and was given a 5 percent chance of survival.  SVT is caused by improper electrical impulses in the heart that lead to an irregular rapid heartbeat, which then can lead to heart failure or affect internal organs.  When the heart beats too quickly, it can’t fill up properly and then distribute blood to vital organs correctly.

“I just thought he was going to die,” said Ives.

A few hours after Edward was born, his heart started to race again.  Doctors attempted to reset his heart rate by shocking his heart and giving him different medications, but when that failed, they were left without many options except one they had never tried for SVT: They would lower Edward’s body temperature to protect his vital organs and slow his heart rate.

“We’d gone through all the usual maneuvers that usually work in babies, giving drugs … trying to shock the heart, the baby and get [a healthy heart rate back],” said Dr. Nicola Robertson, who works in the neonatal unit at the University College London Hospital.

Over a period of hours the doctors used a cold gel blanket to lower Edward’s body temperature to approximately 91 degrees, which both protected his organs and slowed the electrical circuit in his heart.  Unfortunately, over the next day, as Edward was warmed up, his heart began to race again.  So the team again cooled his body temperature, three days after they had initially lowered it.

“That was one of the worst nights,” recalled Ives.  ”I asked one of the nurses if he was going to die and she said he might.”

Ives was sent out of the room when the doctors again attempted to slow his heart rate down by not only cooling but administering medication.  Eventually, they came to tell her that his heart rate had slowed, although he would again need to be warmed up to see if his heart rate was stable.

Doctors then began the slow process of warming Edward, this time going at a slower rate as they carefully raised his temperature only half a degree every 12 hours.  This time his heart rate remained stable.

It wasn’t until 10 days after giving birth that Ives was able to hold her son.  A month later, she and her husband were able to bring Edward home to join his two older siblings.

Now a healthy 6-month-old, Edward has an excellent prognosis and is unlikely to need further hospitalizations for SVT although he is being closely monitored to see if the irregular heartbeat returns.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb072013

How Kristin Cavallari Lost Baby Weight

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Kristin Cavallari showed off her super trim post-baby body earlier this week and shared her secret of how she got back into shape so quickly: a healthful diet and no alcohol.

“I’m like a freak about eating healthy,” the 26-year-old former Hills star told Us Weekly at the launch of her new jewelry collection for Glamboutique in Los Angeles.  “I’ve always been a really healthy eater.  I think when I got pregnant I took it up another notch, just because I was so aware of what I was putting in my body."

"I’ve just maintained that since I’ve had Cam," she continued. "And honestly, I rarely drink alcohol, which helps too.  It’s just empty calories.”

Cavallari and fiance Jay Cutler, the Chicago Bears quarterback, welcomed their first child, son Camden, in August 2012.

The new mom admits she doesn’t completely deprive herself, giving into occasional sweets, and even fast food.

“I have a huge sweet tooth,  but I’ll get dark chocolate with caramel,” she explained.  “Or there’s an ice cream at Whole Foods called Coconut Bliss, which is made out of coconut milk, and so, to me, that’s not really cheating.”

As for the fast food, she shared, “There’s a place called Portillo’s in Chicago, which is fast food [and] has the best burgers.  So we’ve had that I think twice this year.  But that’s a lot of fast food for me in that short amount of time.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan192013

Community Rallies to Raise Money for Nine-Month-Old's Prosthetic Arms

Courtesy Davis Family(SPOKANE, Wash.) -- At 20 weeks pregnant, Brooke and Jim Davis of Spokane, Wash., knew their son, Jameson, would be born without arms months before he would come into this world.

"They basically said the ultrasound was inconclusive, that some things were inconclusive," said Jim."And they left the room and that was it. We didn't know for a week. Were his arms hiding? Were they in a funny position? Did he have any arms whatsoever?"

After a week, a geneticist expert explained to the Davis' that their son would be born a bilateral trans-radial congenital amputee or born without forearms or hands. After two miscarriages, Brooke was excited to finally be carrying for a third time--only to find her son would be born with difficulties.

"I have had a hard time coming to the realization that I will never ever get to hold my child's little hand in mine. I worry about how he will be able to pick up a spoon, a tooth brush, and someday ride a bike. The list goes on," said Brooke. "It was tough information to swallow when they told us he'd be missing the lower parts of his arm."

"He did have arms, he just didn't have any hands or fingers or digits," said Jim. "His arms stopped growing at the end of the humerus bones. He has a bit of soft tissue but no bones past the humorous."

As the first-time parents began to process the news, Jim says doctors wanted to send them to a place in Seattle to "look at their options" but Jim says abortion was "never, ever the answer."

"We turned that news into, 'This is our baby. This is what God gave us and we're going to raise him the best we can,'" said Jim. "For us, that's providing him with the best tools that are available for him to have the fullest life possible."

"We found out that they recommend starting prosthetics as soon as possible," said Brooke. "We decided to go that route and started pursuing prosthetic children's companies."

Throughout the rest of her pregnancy, Brooke and Jim began researching prosthetic options for their son. After a few failed options, Jim eventually found Advanced Arm Dynamics, a Texas clinic that specializes in upper limb prosthetic rehabilitation.

"They were wonderful and they specialize in upper extremity prosthetics," said Brooke. "It seemed like the perfect fit, so to speak."

Upper limb prosthetics for bilateral amputees can vary in price and cost between $10,000 and $25,000. In this instance, Jameson's prosthetics would cost the Davis' $25,000. Their insurance would only cover the cost up to 44 percent. To garner financial support and awareness, Brooke started a blog called, Davis Day 2 Day. The blog features updates on Jameson and a section called Hands for Jameson where visitors can donate to help purchase Jameson prosthetic arms.

"The first set of prosthetics will cost around $25,000. He will need a set every year until he is finished growing and each set will progressively get more expensive," said Brooke on a Nov. blog post. "We are unable to finance that kind of treatment, so we need to raise funds in order to complete our mission."

 

Brooke says that she and her husband are "on a very important mission to have Jameson fitted for both lower arm and hand prosthesis." She said they will be a "much-needed tool to help give him a better chance at a fuller, more normal life."

Brooke continued blogging and soon set up a donation section called "Hands for Jameson" where visitors can give money through a PayPal system. Once "Hands for Jameson" was posted on the site, the donations began pouring in.

"College friends I hadn't seen in 10 years sent us $200 and local people we've never met started sending money," said Jim. "We had a family mail us $100 and said they didn't need Christmas presents this year and wanted to give that money to Jameson instead of buying presents for each other. The stories go on."

Last year, baby Jameson was born on April 12, in Spokane, Wash. weighing six pounds 13 ounces. With her third prenancy, Brooke describes the beginning of this one as "a little rocky." Brooke bled daily throughout the first 13 weeks.

"Luckily, it was just one of those things and did not affect the baby. Thank goodness! After that it was smooth sailing," said Brooke. "When we hit 20 weeks our extreme excitement and happiness took an abrupt turn for the worst."

With enough money for a down payment on Jameson's first set of custom-made prosthetics, the Davis' drove seven hours with a teething toddler to Portland, Ore., to AAD's Northwest Center of Excellence. Over the course of three days, the Davis' met and eventually worked with certified prosthetist Mac Juilian Lang to fit baby Jameson who was only six months at the time.

"Jameson is the youngest patient I have personally worked with," said Lang. "I've worked with pediatric patients before but rarely do the parents have the foresight to search out care for their child that soon."

Lang said Jameson's passive arms prosthesis, which only move with the help of his parents, are comprised of three parts including a silicon liner, a socket and frame. Lang explains the liner takes up some of the excess room between Jameson's arm and the prosthetic. The other pieces are a socket and frame, which is the part that goes right up against the liner. "This creates the stability in the prosthetic and is the connection between his arm and the prosthetic." Lang says it's important for the prosthetic to be comfortable and stable "otherwise he won't use it."

"It's rare to have your child missing one hand, it's really rare to have them missing both," said Jim. "We're just giving him the options to do both--use prosthetics now or just his God-given arms later."

Now Jameson is 9-months-old and the Davis' say he's hitting all his regular milestones and "uses his short arms just like had fingers." As Jim and Brooke watch Jameson with his first set of prosthesis, they see he's able to hold his toys while exercising hand-eye coordination and balance all while strengthening his back muscles.

When Jameson is about a year and a half old, he will have outgrown his current set of prosthesis. The next set will feature at least one Myoelectric arm, which is a prosthetic that will be fully operated by Jameson himself. His current set are passive arms which must be manually adjusted for him by Jim and Brooke.

In the meantime, the Davis' are planning ahead and organizing fundraising efforts over the following months. Next month, the Davis' will hold an event called High 5's and a Thousand Hearts for Jameson.

"Jameson is beautiful, healthy and perfect in every way to us. We have to look at doing things a little bit differently," said Brooke. "We have to stay positive and be role models for him. I think kids and adults will look up to him and be inspired by him."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov212012

Baby Born with Heart Outside Her Chest Saved by Surgery

Photodisc/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- Five weeks ago, Audrina Cardenas was born with her heart outside her body. The condition is usually fatal. But Audrina has survived, and doctors are hopeful after they performed surgery to tuck her heart back where it belongs.

Audrina had a rare congenital malformation known as "ectopia cordis," where the heart is abnormally located either partially or totally outside the chest. Audrina was born on Oct. 15 with her heart exposed.

Eight babies out of every million are born with her condition and 90 percent of the eight are either stillborn or die within the first three days of life.

A statement by Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, where Audrina was born and operated on, said that on Oct. 16 "a multidisciplinary team of surgeons at Texas Children's saved Audrina's life during a miraculous six hour open-heart surgery where they reconstructed her chest cavity to make space for the one-third of her heart that was outside of her body.

 

Audrina's mother, Ashley Cardenas of Odessa, Texas, told ABC News she learned of the baby's condition when she was 16 weeks pregnant.

"I was told that it is a very rare condition and that the survival rates are really low and that if she did survive they don't know what kind of life she will have," she said.

"They gave me the option to terminate the pregnancy, continue with the pregnancy and do something called comfort care at the time of delivery, where instead of doing anything painful to her or do surgery they let you spend as much time with her until she passes, or opt for a high-risk surgery to help repair the heart," said Cardenas.

Cardenas decided to carry on with the pregnancy despite low chances of Audrina's survival.

"As soon as I made my decision to continue with the pregnancy, the physicians in Midland referred me to Texas Children's Hospital where a team of miracle workers provided the specialized treatment and care my baby and I both needed," she said.

"This risky operation on such an uncommon condition required specialists from a variety of care teams including cardiovascular surgery, plastic surgery and general pediatric surgery," Dr. Charles D. Fraser, surgeon-in-chief at Texas Children's Hospital and professor of surgery and pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) told ABC News.

"I have only seen this condition a few times in my career and these are always very tricky cases; in fact, many of these babies do not survive ... Audrina is a true fighter and we are so excited that this was a good outcome," he said.

"She's a fortunate child to have gotten through difficult circumstances. She is a very strong baby and is also fortunate because her other systems are normal," said Dr. Fraser, who added that it was promising that she still is showing improvements.

"We're not definitive about her prognosis, but so far, so good. We are very optimistic about the long-term prognosis. The baby will probably have to have operations in the future. Her sternum is about half formed but these are things we can deal with," said Fraser.

"Despite Audrina's misplaced heart, she was born with no other syndromes or genetic conditions that would cause additional stress or complications on her heart," Dr. Carolyn Altman, a pediatric cardiologist at Texas Children's Hospital and associate professor of pediatrics at BCM, told ABC News.

Dr. Larry Hollier, chief of plastic surgery at Texas Children's, played a key role in the surgery. "After reducing the heart into the chest we needed to mobilize the surrounding soft skin tissue to cover the heart itself to get it back in," he said when explaining his part of the surgery.

Audrina is still at Texas Children's for an open-ended stay, said Dr. Fraser.

"It would be a great blessing if she can celebrate Christmas with all of us at home," said Audrina's mother. "I want to tell the team at the hospital, 'Thank you for everything.' If it wasn't for them and the grace of God she wouldn't be here," she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov192012

How Jessica Simpson Lost 60 Pounds of Baby Weight

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Jessica Simpson Collection(NEW YORK) -- In just six months, singer, reality star and fashion designer Jessica Simpson has lost an astonishing amount of weight.

New photos taken over the weekend are the most revealing look at her post-baby body since Simpson was a special guest on ABC's Good Morning America in September.

“After having the baby, I’ve had to really, really focus and start training,” Simpson told GMA then.

And all that training now appears to be paying off.  Simpson says she’s shed 60 pounds since giving birth to daughter Maxwell in May.  That’s just 10 pounds shy of her pre-baby weight.

Simpson, also a Weight Watchers spokesperson, says that in addition to changing her eating habits, her personal trainer is her secret weapon.

Harley Pasternak trains Simpson, along with other stars like Megan Fox and Jennifer Hudson.  With a masters of science in exercise physiology and nutritional sciences from the University of Toronto, and an honors degree in kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario, Pasternak is a renowned fitness and nutrition expert and best-selling author.

Pasternak’s workout is made up of five phases:

  • Phase One: Cardio Warm-UP
  • Phase Two: Upper Body Strength Training
  • Phase Three: Lower Body Strength Training
  • Phase Four: Core Training
  • Phase Five: The Cardio Cool Down

Simpson says she’s not giving up on shedding those last few pounds, but she is giving up macaroni and cheese, her favorite pregnancy craving.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov122012

Post-Surgery Baby Pic Goes Viral

Joseph Powling / Facebook(NEW YORK) -- Three-month-old Joey Powling is the latest Internet meme, thanks to his cool smirk just five days after open-heart surgery.

The baby best known to the world as “Ridiculously Good-Looking Surgery Baby” was born with tetralogy of Fallot, a heart defect that hampered blood flow to his lungs.

“The lower ventricles didn’t grow and connect, leaving a little hole there,” said, Joey’s dad, Joe Powling, who found out about the defect when his wife was 24 weeks pregnant. "It was kind of nerve-wracking."

Because the lungs keep the blood rich with oxygen, babies with tetralogy of Fallot need early surgery to correct the problem.

“The long term risk of arrhythmias is lower, and the function of the heart is much better if the repair is done earlier,” said Dr. Christopher Snyder, chief of pediatric cardiology at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.

On Oct. 25, the Powlings held their breath during the 7-hour procedure.

“It felt like forever,” said Joe Powling. “You have no control over the situation. There’s really nothing you can do.”

The surgery to repair tetralogy of Fallot has been around since the 1960s, according to Snyder.

“It’s the first heart defect that we were actually able to fix,” he said, adding that the prognosis after surgery is good. “There is no simple cardiovascular surgery, but this repair’s been going on for a long time.”

Joey’s surgery went well, but he was hooked up to a ventilator for two more days, according to his dad.

“He was still intubated and had about 15 different lines and tubes into him,” said Joe Powling. “But by the fifth day he was back to himself.”

That’s when the Powlings snapped the now-famous photo, which, with more than 1.6 million likes on Facebook, has been transformed into a string of Internet memes like, “If Chuck Norris had a baby, he’d almost be as tough as this.”

“That one’s my favorite,” Joe Powling said, noting his baby’s knowing grin. “He’ll usually give you a little smirk like that.”

But Joey’s not out of the woods yet. He might need a second round of surgery in a year, according to his father.

In the meantime, the Powlings are using their Internet fame to raise awareness about tetralogy of Fallot.

“So many children are born with congenital heart disease, and the world needs to know that it is common and it can be treated,” they said on their website, JoeyHeartsYou.com. “With the proper medical attention, many children can grow up to live normal lives. Joey wants you to know that it will be okay.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct162012

Baby with Rare Disease Closer to Getting Life-Saving Treatment in Belgium

Baby Casen Buswell suffers from a rare vascular condition called GVM plaque type. (Courtesy Jenna Buswell)(PUYALLUP, Wash.) -- It was after bath time and just before Jenna Buswell sat down to rock her 7-month-old son to sleep, when his body went limp.

"It was awful. He was unconscious for 25 seconds and taken to the hospital by ambulance," Buswell said of her son, Casen.

The infant is only one of 14 people in the world who suffer from a rare vascular disease called glomuvenous malformations plaque type.

The disease causes Casen's breathing to be labored and his blood vessels, skin and muscles to harden. It will only worsen as he gets older unless he receives life-saving care in Belgium costing hundreds of thousands of dollars that the working class Puyallup, Wash., family just doesn't have.

One week after the hospital scare, the Buswells have a lot to smile about. Not only has Casen had a "good" week, but they've received some significant financial help.

Racing enthusiast Ron Cook, 53, from nearby Arlington, raffled his beloved 1957 Chevy Bel Air on Sunday, netting $11,000 for the family, who were complete strangers to him before he saw a report on ABC News' affiliate KOMO.

The good deed was then carried on when the winner of the car, octogenarian Della Phillip, vowed to sell it and donate the proceeds to the Buswell family.

"It's hard to put into words that emotion when people you don't know are so generous," Buswell said. "This whole experience has shown not only me, but the entire community, how good people can be."

For Cook it was personal. Baby Casen's choppy breathing reminded him of his mother on her deathbed.

"My mom's disease was from smoking cigarettes," Cook said. "Casen hasn't even had a chance to live."

Tens of thousands of dollars have been raised in the community and at an online page set up by Jenna Buswell, but Cook wants more people to know about Casen so he can get the lifesaving treatment the boy needs in Belgium.

"It's going to take hundreds of thousands of dollars," Cook said. "We're not going to be able to raise the money here."

Dr. Miikka Vikkula and his wife, Dr. Laurence Boon, are the only doctors in the world who have established a treatment for the condition. The couple practices in Brussels, 5,000 miles from the Buswell's Washington home.

This past summer, the family made the trip to Belgium to meet with Vikkula and Boon, where they learned Casen will need monthly laser treatments for up to three years, which will help keep his vessels from hardening. The procedure will hopefully give him a shot at living a normal life, Buswell said.

"Our doctors in Belgium are the only doctors we've seen who have been able to give us a clearer picture about what we need to do to treat him," Buswell said. "We're struggling with how are we going to provide that for him."

The laser treatments were supposed to start when Casen turned 18 months, however his labored breathing and his hospital scare last week have caused them to reevaluate their plan.

Next month, the family will travel to the University of California at San Francisco where they will meet with a board of doctors who have been communicating with Boon and Vikkula.

"They will do an evaluation to see how progressed he is. We need to find out, is our timeline now or do we have a few months to get everything organized before we make a life-altering move to Belgium?" Buswell said.

Buswell, a special education teacher, and her husband, C.J., a contract administrator at a construction company, are looking to move to Belgium, a place where neither has ties, to cut down on the costly commute and hotel expenses.

The generosity of people like Cook and Phillip, and other strangers around the world, are giving Buswell hope her family will be able to soon afford a move to Belgium and alleviate Casen's suffering.

"Not a day goes by I don't receive some uplifting note, message, donation or card on my doorstep," she said. "The outpouring [of support] is what is keeping us fighting."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug232012

When Is It OK for a Parent to Leave a Newborn?

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Parents with young children always face the dilemma of when they can leave them with others to have a little “me time.”

For Rebecca Eckler, a Canadian journalist, it was after 10 weeks when she took a vacation and left her newborn son with her fiancé’s mother and the nanny.  Eckler never thought taking a vacation would generate the backlash from readers of her recently published article.

“My fiancé runs a charity golf tournament every summer in Mexico,” she wrote in an article for Mommyish.com.  “I will be tagging along, not to golf, but to lie around, read, visit the spa, and eat a lot of guacamole.”

Eckler told ABC News, “I think a happy mom makes a happy child and you know your child better than anyone else.  Everybody’s going to have an opinion about something including this.”

Eckler admitted that her six-day trip was “… a vacation for me … since I can’t read the mind of a 2-month-old baby, I’m not sure he’s really going to miss me.”

She added: “Yes, I’m ditching my baby… I think that, even from his early age, I’m teaching him a sense of independence.”

Fellow Mommyish.com blogger Lindsay Cross had a different opinion.

“When my daughter was young, spending a night away would have been more stressful than relaxing,” she said.

One reader said Eckler is “self-indulgent,” adding that “if you need a weekend away after only 10 weeks, you weren’t ready to become parents.”

This is Eckler's second child and she admits in her story that she didn’t leave her daughter for a night until she was 3 months old.

“I spent my night looking at photographs of her, calling my parents every 30 minutes to see if she was all right,” she wrote.  “But I was a first-time mother then."

“Nine months of pregnancy is a very long time and is very hard on a woman’s body,” Eckler said.  “Pretty much by two weeks in I think most women actually do need a vacation.”

Eckler has authored three books on parenting and her work has been published in The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, according to her website.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug202012

Celebrity 'Momshells' Pressured to Look Perfect After Giving Birth

Alo Ceballos/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Applauding new Hollywood mothers for slimming down in no time flat after shedding their baby weight has become one of the hottest trends splashed across celebrity magazines.

Call them "momshells" (mother-as-bombshell) for bouncing back after having a baby and jumping right back into their busy Hollywood careers looking svelte and stylish with no signs of baby weight.

Janice Min spearheaded many of those kinds of covers during her six-year stint as editor of Us Weekly, but now, after giving birth to her third child, she's pushing back against what she calls unhealthy pressure on everyday new moms.

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In a new article for The New York Times, the 42-year-old Min says, "…the notion that instantly stick-thin figures after birth are normal is untrue. Sometimes, in my sleep-deprived nights, I ponder our ideal of this near-emaciated, sexy and well-dressed Frankenmom we've created and wonder how to undo her."

Hillary Duff, 24, gave birth to her son, Luca, in March and recently faced a barrage of critical tweets for not losing her baby weight fast enough. Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai and Bryce Dallas Howard, who starred in The Help, also faced similar backlash.

"You see these magazines that are filled with celebrities, that within weeks, have bounced back and they're back to their pre-baby weight, and I think for most women it really puts a lot of pressure on them," CloudMom.com CEO Melissa Lawrence said.

Actress Kelly Preston, 49, said she refused to rush her weight loss after giving birth to son Benjamin in 2010.

"I actually took my time purposely because I really wanted to. You can do it much more quickly," Preston told Robin Roberts of Good Morning America in December. "I'm not into the three to four weeks. But, I did it over the course of eight months."

Katie Schunk is among a group of new moms who are fighting back against the blitz of magazine covers.

"If we could reach one woman to maybe not feel so bad about herself, I think that's exactly what we wanted to do," Schunk said.

Much like Min, Schunk says new moms shouldn't feel pressure to be thin, that being a great mother is what makes them "momshells."

Women need to have realistic goals when it comes to getting back into pre-baby shape, More magazine editor-in–chief, Lesley Jane Seymour, and women’s health expert, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, said Monday on GMA.

“Nobody can live to that standard,” Seymour said. “[Celebrities] have $40,000 exercising gurus. You’re not being paid for that. That is not your job. They have to get in shape in two weeks because they’ve got to go on the set. That is not the normal human being.”

Ashton said the pressure on women to bounce back immediately after giving birth is a type of “peer pressure,” but that it does “behoove a mother to get into as good of a shape as she can be.”

"As moms we know that being a mother and running a household is an athletic event into itself,” Ashton said. “Two seconds after she gives birth? No. ... Give yourself at least nine months to get back.”

Seymour, also a mother, said “it takes a year” to get your pre-baby body back and that’s the real message celebrity magazine cover stories should convey to readers.

“We should remember what it is. They’re celebrities,” Ashton echoed. “You don’t want to ‘keep up with the Joneses,’ you want to do the best you can for your body and your family.”

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