Croup Vs. Asthma

An interesting thing happened this past weekend.

My attention was drawn to an article on Scary Mommy about an Australian mom, Sophie Cachia, who featured a video clip of her baby having an asthma attack on her Instagram account, as awareness to other parents on what an asthma attack looks like. If you haven’t seen the clip, I encourage you to do so.

I found all this interesting because as a mom, I’ve been there, done that, and gone through a lot, so, I know just how worrisome or terrifying something like a respiratory condition can be, even if it isn’t your first experience with it. Both of my kids have a history of Croup and my son had a small asthma attack once before already, but he isn’t diagnosed as asthmatic. No matter how many times I go through any of these common respiratory illnesses, it’s always just as scary and I worry just as much for my child.

I thought it was a great idea that this Australian mom thought of posting this! It’s common for parents to be unsure if what they are witnessing happen to their child is cause for concern or when it’s the right time to get help. Brilliant! Way to go Sophie Cachia! Points out to you, I thought!

That was mid-day Saturday that I came across this post. Little did I know then, that I would be in the hospital ER mid-day Sunday (yes, the VERY next day, 24 hrs. later) with my son for an asthma attack!

Although a seasoned veteran when it comes to these respiratory issues, I too, was a bit unsure about what was happening. Was it a Croup attack? Was it an asthma attack? Is his chest moving enough to be considered an ‘attack’? Is he wheezing, having a barking cough? I wasn’t sure! Should I try one of the tricks I’ve learned throughout the years or head straight to the hospital? Albuterol or saline?

Turns out it was diagnosed as an asthma attack. I attempted to get my son home immediately to see if a steamy bathroom would help him breathe better, which is usually what happens in the case of Croup, but he continued to deteriorate.

Then I began to think, he doesn’t have that barking or seal cough; Maybe this wasn’t Croup, but an actual asthma attack. His chest looked exactly like Sophie’s baby. Should I try and give him Albuterol inhalations? I didn’t want to risk it. I wasn’t sure and if it was Croup, Albuterol should not be given! He was unusually quiet and getting clammy, sweaty, even though the a/c was on. I finally decided to have him rushed to the nearest hospital ER, where they immediately began several Albuterol treatments and gave him some oral steroids.

3 or 4 hours later (seemed like forever and he was so close to being admitted), he was better and we were released with instructions for continued care at home.

This morning we visited his pediatrician, where I got a great lesson on Croup versus Asthma that I though was worth sharing!

 

 

Croup

  • Viral illness (this means antibiotics do not help)
  • Causes narrowing of airways; narrowing of voice box and windpipe
  • More prevalent with change of seasons, primarily around Fall and winter, and in the North
  • Affects breathing IN
  • Symptoms worsen at night
  • Most notable symptoms include a ‘barking’ or ‘seal’ cough (sounds almost like a dog or seal) and a visible struggle to breathe (chest heaves in and out as child struggles to breathe)
  • Higher than normal temperature

Treatment

In severe cases, a steroid is given and should keep the illness under control for about 48 hours. My son has been given a steroid injection at the hospital when he was a toddler. Albuterol is NOT given to a child suffering from Croup as it could make symptoms worse. Rather, inhalations of Saline are effective.

Ways I Keep My Child’s Croup Under Control

All the following can be done as many times as needed. I like to start these practices as soon as I hear that distinctive ‘barking’ cough until the cough sounds normal again and child seems to be under no more distress.

  • Letting a hot shower run (at its hottest temperature) so that it fills the bathroom with steam. The steam helps to hydrate the voice box/vocal cords and helps to open the airways again.
  • Immediately after the steam, expose my child to some type of cold air. Pediatrician told me not to be afraid to putting them in front of an open freezer (clothed, of course)! If it’s a chilly night, just taking them outside helps. Also, a car ride with the a/c on or the windows down if it’s chilly out (some parents find that the ride in the car on the way to the hospital alleviates the symptoms by the time they arrive).
  • Saline spray through the nose or via nebulizer machine.
  • Humidifier in room (some people prefer a vaporizer and say it works).
  • I like to diffuse high quality Eucalyptus Oil in room throughout the night
  • I like to rub high quality Eucalyptus Oil at the bottoms of my kid’s feet and sometimes on their back where their lungs would be.

When in doubt and/or if nothing seems to alleviate symptoms, seek emergency medical assistance… go to the hospital! Call 9-1-1 if child begins to change color (blue is not good, people!), has extreme difficulty or even stops breathing, or if there are drastic changes in mood/behavior!

For more great info and helpful videos on Croup, visit:

https://www.asthmafoundation.org.nz/your-health/other-respiratory-conditions/croup

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1FoWWD_on4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qbn1Zw5CTbA

 

 

 

Asthma

  • Genetic susceptibility and/or environmental factors (http://acaai.org/asthma/about, para. 2)
  • Shortness of breath and wheezing sound as child breathes OUT
  • coughing
  • “two types of asthma: allergic (caused by exposure to an allergen) and non-allergic (caused by stress, exercise, illnesses like a cold or the flu, or exposure to extreme weather, irritants in the air or some medications),” (http://acaai.org/asthma/about, para. 3). My son has only experienced non-allergic asthma twice that was brought on by exercise (he’s VERY active) while he seemed to have a cold (normal cough, slight congestion)
  • visible difficulty breathing in the chest; tightness of chest (as in Sophie Cachia’s Instagram post)

Treatment

  • PREVENTION is key! I usually need to be aware of when my son has a cold or cough so that I can try to keep him calm and limit his physical exertion. We’ve learned to keep him from training or sports during a persistent cold. Learn your child’s triggers and avoid them!
  • There are “quick-relief” or “long-term” (https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/faqs.htm, para. 12) medications when it comes to treating asthma and medications may vary depending on the individual.
  • Asthma attacks, or flare-ups, are usually treated in the hospital with a series of nebulizer treatments. Steroids are usually also administered and, like croup, keeps another attack from happening. My son was given several little steroid tablets to be taken orally and two rounds of 3 doses of Albuterol via nebulizer (w/ something else; I forget the name… you know, one of those complicated medical names), per round. If he didn’t improve enough after the second round, he would have been admitted. However, my son did improve and we were discharged with instructions to do an Albuterol treatment via nebulizer at home every 4 hours for the next 72 hours. Then, if there is significant improvement, we could gradually decrease the Albuterol treatments because it should never be halted abruptly when prescribed over long periods of time. However, any sign of fever or another flare-up and we were instructed to go back to the ER or pediatrician.
  • Inhalers are sometimes recommended to help control a flare-up

Ways I Keep my Child’s Asthma Under Control

  • Since I already know my son is susceptible to a non-allergic type of asthma that seems to be caused by physical exertion while having a cold or cough, I limit his physical activity when he displays a cold or cough of any type.
  • My son does not seem to have any allergies so I don’t worry about avoiding anything in particular, but I like to do the following while he is sick or has a cough:
  • I like to diffuse high quality Eucalyptus Oil in room throughout the night
  • I like to rub high quality Eucalyptus Oil at the bottoms of my kid’s feet and sometimes on their back where their lungs would be.
  • I have also learned that because my son is susceptible to respiratory illnesses, also triggered by changes in weather or temperatures, I start Albuterol treatments via nebulizer at home if he displays a persistent cough that DOES NOT sound like croup (remember, Croup = NO Albuterol; Croup = Saline). I’ve learned to travel with a nebulizer system and Albuterol. My pediatrician allows me to keep a supply of Albuterol at home for whenever I feel any of my kids needs it and I’ve learned to determine when it is needed and how often.

Again, and I can’t stress this enough, when in doubt and/or if nothing seems to alleviate symptoms, seek emergency medical assistance… go to the hospital! Call 9-1-1 if child begins to change color (blue is not good, people!), has extreme difficulty or even stops breathing, or if there are drastic changes in mood/behavior!

For more great info and helpful videos on Asthma, visit:

http://acaai.org/asthma/about

https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/faqs.htm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzfLDi-sL3w

I’m Sorry For My Lateness — Scary Mommy

Great post to share to follow up yesterday’s post! Read and follow Scary Mommy below!

Getting out the door on time feels like a race every damn day. I am sweating. I am looking for the car keys. I am yelling for everyone to get in the car, and my hands are overloaded and I have to pee — again. I drop my purse and water bottle on the kitchen island and run…

via I’m Sorry For My Lateness — Scary Mommy

Higher Perspective

Teacher: “Why are you late today?”

Student: “I have a very blessed and amazing life.”

Our kids were late to school today….again. I mean, they’re not late everyday. Each semester our kids are late to school anywhere from 3 – 5 times. Honestly, it may be a tiny bit more this final semester as we approach the […]

via Higher Perspective — Team Valdes

Just a little piece written earlier in the year over at Team Valdes.

Kid’s Parties Are Overrated

Have you thrown your kid a birthday party before? If you have, then you know how expensive they are. If you haven’t, then take it from me, just pack up everyone’s bags and leave town for a weekend; DO NOT throw the damn party!

I’ve never been a fan of kid’s birthday parties, which is why I generally don’t throw one, but I make exceptions. My kids get a 1st birthday party, maybe a 5th, and more recently, I threw my son a 10th birthday bash. I’ve now decided that after 10 years old, NO MORE parties!

Here’s the thing:

1- You’re going to spend a shit load of money on just a few hours. You might as well take that money, use it to take a small, family vacation anywhere, and make days worth of memories with your kid. Besides, who doesn’t need another get-away or reason to escape the mundane???

2- You’re going to invite guests and guests are too damn difficult to please! Forget it! Don’t even try! It’s impossible to please everyone. There will always be nay-sayers and negatives. It doesn’t matter how big or small you go, people are difficult to please and can be critical! Not like this should matter, because the only one that should matter is your kid, but seriously… it bugs.

3- Once you’re in it, you have to go all the way! Once you decide to throw a kids party, you can’t go half ass and there’s a lot that goes into it: a variety of food, enough cake, a theme, some type of decor, kid’s take home thank you baggies (I don’t know when this started because when I was a kid I never took anything home with me when I went to a party, but it’s for real now!), activities, invites, details, etc.. All of that equals ‘mula‘ (💰), baby!

Oh, and about those thank you baggies… IMG_4484it’s always full of stuff us moms want to throw out anyway! Am I the only one who hates finding candy and annoying little, useless, plastic toys (AKA ‘trash’) around the house after a party?! I know all that crap ends up in the trash within days, maybe even hours! Why do we continue to spend money on this?! Why is this a thing?! No matter how much I tried to keep them simple, homemade, and affordable, I still spent about $50 on 15 of them… and got left with about 5! 

4- The prep. Nothing more to say.

5- The clean-up. Again, nothing more to say.

6- You will always get left with a ton of shit you don’t need, nor want. Example: I just threw my son a 10th birthday party and got left with 2 boxes of large pizzas (after giving away about 5!), almost a whole cake, balloons, an extra tray of finger food, extra ‘thank you’ baggies, etc.. All things you already spent good, hard-earned money for. How does this happen? Well, you always have to plan for those that RSVP with a ‘maybe’ or those that RSVP with a yes, but don’t show. It happens.

7- The after party exhaustion that only Mom will endure is real. Nothing more to say here either, except that at 5 months pregnant, it took me the whole next day to recover. The exhaustion was physical and real!

I highly recommend taking a few days to get away with your kids over throwing them a birthday party. In the end, what we spent on our son’s birthday bash, we could have gone out of town for the weekend, and, in my opinion, it would have been less stressful.

However, because I don’t generally throw birthday parties, the kids are left with that want, which is why I throw about 3 per kid’s childhood… no more! In the end, they do have a great time and are, hopefully, thankful for all the effort you put into their big day. There is also that amazing feeling when you see your child smiling and loving all the attention on their day. I guess that could be worth, at least some of, what was spent.

IMG_4472

My son turned 10 last week and we threw him a paintball party for him and his friends. I have to say it turned out to be a great success and everyone loved it, but it’s always a difficult expense and a tad stressful. Not to mention, this all happened only 1 month since we experienced a serious hurricane in our South Florida area, where displaced without power for about a week and a half, my husband has been working around the clock, our city is still cleaning up debris, and I am 5 months pregnant. Just a jolly combination, huh?!

So, if you were wondering where the Hell the ‘chaos’ part of my life is… oh, believe me, it’s DEFINITELY there! My house is a mess and in 4 days my husband has yet another triathlon race… a 70.3 half Ironman. That only means my house will be a mess, again, next week.

IMG_4481

shutters still up on the other side of that glass sliding door, piles of laundry that got put aside while I planned a party, worked par-time, and drove the kids around town all week, a paddle board sticking that we stored inside during the hurricane and bags of charcoal we bought just in case. Bikes are serious in our house; We ARE bike people! And.. that is a new frame I still haven’t been able to get to.

 

Yup, life is crazy busy! Just taking one day at a time!

 

 

 

I Love You, Girl!

I’ve been asked several times in my life, “who do you admire most?” It’s a common question. I’ve always struggled to come up with something good, but I’ve never really had an automatic, immediate answer that I felt confident or sure about. Sure, there is always the admiration for important people in history, significant people in the world who make great humanitarian contributions, political figures (well…. maybe not too many of those 😉), and then there is another common response:

“I admire my mom/dad because they worked hard for me and my family and they have always been there for me.”

However, this past weekend, I found my true answer.

I admire my daughter.

My daughter is 8 years old. She’s a ray of sunshine. She’s a beautiful, boundless, creative, confident, sassy, loving, dramatic, sensitive, fearless, happy, easy-going gift that I truly believe was sent directly to me, for me. She is everything I am not, nor ever was, but everything I always wanted to be.

This realization came to me this past weekend when we attended a Oktoberfest celebration with friends at our local German American Social Club. We are not German, nor are we members of this club, but they throw the best annual, family friendly Oktoberfest in my area! They have amazing, home-cooked, German food, live bands, bounce houses, friendly competitions (my hubby participated in the Stein holding competition this year), and plenty of beer, but never any worries. The atmosphere is safe, amazing, friendly, inclusive, and lively! Oktoberfest has become another one of our favorite Fall celebrations even though we have no known German ancestry!

At this celebration, I watched my daughter dancing on every dance floor and have the time of her life, without a worry or care, without a doubt. She made new friends all on her own and learned new dances. She held hands with adults and children and learned German folk dances without any worries. I watched her carry herself confidently and happily. I watched as she didn’t take herself too seriously or get in the way of herself. I watched and admired how different she was from me.

I’ve always been more withdrawn, social, but still withdrawn; As if too uneasy to really let myself go for fear of people really seeing me. I’ve always been my biggest and worst critic. I always get in the way of myself. I’ve always loved a good time and enjoy a healthy social life, but I’ve always felt inhibited… by myself, my head. My head is my own worst enemy. It never stops. I’ve had to work hard for many years to learn to control my racing thoughts and learn to let go or relax. It’s still a work in progress. I would never just get up on a dance floor, empty or full, and just dance my heart away. Less, with people I didn’t know. Sure, I enjoyed my fair share of nightclubs when I was younger, but it usually took a few drinks to loosen me up. I’m the girl sitting on the side and watching, always thinking; wishing I had the courage to get up and just have fun, but never being able to. I live a lifetime of half-lived moments. My daughter… she lives, fully!

That night, I watched as my daughter had the fun I’ve always wanted to have. That innocent, confident, easy-going fun where you don’t care and it doesn’t matter. I watched as she fully embraced the moment, life, the experience. As I watched, admiring, loving her personality and confidence, I thought of how I need to live more like her. I need to live more like my daughter and less like me. I need to embrace every moment, love fully, not care about anyone else, and enjoy the gift, the opportunity of the moment I’m currently living. I need to let go more easily.

So, I got up and danced.

I walked onto the dance floor, let go of my inhibitions, and danced with my daughter, 5 months pregnant and all. I danced more that night than I had ever danced before because it was real. It was just innocent, spontaneous, fun! She loved dancing with me, but I loved it so much more! I even danced to the ‘chicken dance’ and it was a blast!

My daughter is the person that hugs you tightly and means it even though she’s only seen you a handful of times. My daughter is the type of person who sincerely declares, “how are you?! I haven’t seen you in a while! I’ve missed you,” because she truly means it. She doesn’t take herself, or anything for that matter, too seriously. I’ve struggled with her and I know that I will continue to, only because we are so different and sometimes it’s difficult for me to understand her, but I know it’s she who will fully live, truly happy.

I believe she was a gift to me, so that I can learn from her. We think that as adults its only the kids who have so much to learn from us, but I know there is so much that adults can learn from kids. Children are reminders of the things we should know, but sometimes are too busy or distracted to remember or live out.

My daughter is a ray of sunshine in my busy life and although I know she will need me to help guide her along her journey (God knows she’s going to need someone to help her get past the whining and drama!), I also know I have a lot yet, to learn from her. I admire my daughter and aim to live more like her, less like me.

I love you, girl. ❤️

My Body, My Choice, Right?

Life is full of people trying to tell you how you should live. Let’s face it, there will ALWAYS be critics and there will ALWAYS be someone willing to let you know they disagree. The beauty of being an adult in the U.S.A is that you can do whatever the fudge-nut you want… well, just about.

If you don’t know yet, I’ve made the decision to have my third baby at home. I have chosen to partner with the best licensed Midwife in my area (really, she is! She’s been featured in several articles and outlets and has years of experience! Plus, she works closely with practicing Obstetricians) rather, than put my prenatal care and labor in the hands of an Obstetrician. This may not sound like that big of a deal to suburban women, but where I live, it seems to be.

You see, the norm for us urban, city dwelling women, and even for much of America today, is for you to pick an Obstetrician when you become pregnant and plan to deliver your baby in a hospital, surrounded by trained staff, all the emergency equipment possibly needed, and with access to all the magical meds needed to eliminate the pains of labor. I think all of that is absolutely great, necessary even, and I actually went that route with my first two pregnancies, but that isn’t the only choice there is. That’s ok, great even!

I’m planning a home water birth for when it’s time to welcome my third child into the world. Here’s the thing: it isn’t my first time around this merry-go-round! I know what to expect. I know what it feels like. I also know myself, my body and how it tends to respond to labor. If this were my first time, my first baby, I would not go this route; I would choose an Obstetrician and deliver in a hospital, like I did. That first time is pretty scary. You don’t know what to expect, you don’t know how it really feels, you don’t know what happens or how, you don’t have any reference point. You’re going into that shit blind… excited and hopeful, but blind!

I was young, well, according to modern society’s standards, when I had my first baby and very scared. Less than two years later I found myself in the same place, having my second baby, and I chose to stay with the same doctor, same hospital, same experience. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? I was young, didn’t have any reference points, didn’t know too much about this whole ‘raising a family’ thing yet (can’t say that I know too much more now 😂), and was just going with the flow, with what others recommended. All in all, it turned out great and I can’t complain.

Everyone is different. I never liked going to the hospital too soon during labor and being strapped in to all the monitors, not being able to move about freely, not being able to deal with the pain naturally, through movement. I waited until I knew that I was entering into full-blown active labor to go to the hospital. So much so, that I arrived at the hospital already 8cm dilated with my second. (Look for my previous birth stories on the blog soon!) For me, the pain is worse when you’re strapped in and unable to move. I like to move. My body needs to move during labor. It’s actually the natural way of dealing with labor. Animals move about in nature when in labor. The biggest reason for being strapped in to monitors and IV’s is safety and liability. The hospital staff’s main goal is safety so, they have to take all the safest measures, every precaution, which includes monitoring you and baby constantly, even if everything is going well, because the reality of any situation is that it can go bad… quick! Don’t worry, I’m not even going to get into the whole ‘business that labor has become in the U.S.’ shit! Someone else can tackle that topic!

I experienced back labor with my first baby and regular labor with my second. I think that’s about all the possibilities there are and I already know what they’re like. I admit, once I got to the hospital, was strapped in to all those machines, and I was in the middle of active labor, I opted for an epidural so, I know what that’s like too. I know how absolutely life-changing that magical medicine is! I went from Ogre to Selfie-ready, although, selfies were NOT a thing yet, in less than 5 minutes… literally! My husband loves the epidural more than I do and calls it magical too! I know what I’m missing out on by having a home birth.

I’ve always been a very active and healthy individual. I think all of that, along with genetics, has played a role in how well my body responds to labor. In both previous labors, I was only in active labor for under 5 hours; not all of those 5 hours is excruciating and it does go by QUICK! In both previous labors, baby came out immediately after my water broke. In both previous labors, baby came out quickly and effortlessly. Compared to so may stories that I hear, I think I had amazing labors! I’m so thankful… believe me!

So, here’s why I’ve chosen a home water birth for my third labor experience:

First off, I’m more comfortable in my home, duh! You can’t beat the comfort of home where you know things are clean, where everything is, who is there, and what’s going on. I want to be in my comfort zone.

Secondly, I want to be able to move naturally throughout labor. I want to sway, swing, crouch, squat, lie down, whatever! I want to be able to move in whatever way my body feels like moving, whatever way feels right. I believe in listening to the body and intuition. In my past experience, movement helps to deal with labor and it helps progress the process naturally. I want to move about just like April (remember that damn Giraffe on FB?) did when she was in labor… walking up and down, all over that stall!

Thirdly, it is my experience that water really soothes me! During the last weeks of my first two pregnancies, I often took warm baths and soaked in the tub to feel better, to ease the Braxton Hicks contractions, and all the discomforts associated with that final stage. Water is my thing! Besides being part mermaid (seriously, I was a swimmer growing up and through high school; you couldn’t get me to EVER say no to a beach or pool! If there was a body of water nearby, I was going to end up in it!), I have always found water very relaxing and soothing. There is nothing a long, hot shower or bath can’t make better for me!

Fourthly, like I said before, this isn’t my first time around this merry-go-round. I have a reference point now and I know what to expect. I’ve felt the pain. I’ve experienced the process. Because of this reference point, I also know how my body should respond and I trust it. Because of this reference point, I am very confident with my body. I got this. I’ve also done my research. Anyone who knows me knows that I research EVERYTHING before making a decision! I’ve made a pros and cons list. I’ve weighed my options.

Fifth, I live right next door to a hospital… literally! Listen, I know that just because I had a great experience with the first two, it doesn’t guarantee a great experience with the third. I know every pregnancy is different. I know complications can happen and when they do, they usually happen fast! If I lived 50 miles from the nearest emergency facility, I probably wouldn’t consider giving birth at home. There is no way in Hell that I would put myself at risk, having two other kids that I need to finish raising, or put my baby at risk! So, it truly helps to know that if anything should happen, I can be inside a hospital within 5 minutes… LITERALLY!

Sixth, it is VERY important to me that my children are present when their sibling comes into the world. This was the greatest determining factor. I can’t think of a more beautiful experience for them. What better way to help them feel connected to this baby than to have them there when it enters the world and allow them to help cut the cord? I want them to feel all the feels too! This is their baby too… literally, cause momma is going to need help and they will be old enough! This is our family and they should be there. I want them there with me, with us.

Finally, I’m going into this taking every precaution. I will receive all the typical tests and sonograms that any other pregnant woman working with an Obstetrician will receive. Every precaution is being taken to make sure that home delivery is safe. In fact, I had to meet several criteria before my midwife allowed me to consider home birth and turns out I’m actually a perfect candidate. Along those lines, I am fully prepared to deliver at a hospital if need be. If for any reason, I or my midwife feel it is best to deliver at a hospital, then I have no problem doing that! If baby is breached or a complication is detected, because I will be monitored closely, then to the hospital I will definitely head! No problem! Safety first!

These are just the main reasons why I am choosing to give birth at home this time around. I do have some other minor reasons, but lets be frank, I don’t have the time to keep typing them all and I know you don’t have the time to keep reading!

Believe it or not, this is a safe option, people! It’s not that big of a deal! In fact, women all over the world still deliver in this ancient way… really! Look it up! I completely get how some people might not be comfortable with the idea of a home birth and that’s perfectly ok. However, I’m so thankful that I do have options. Just don’t condemn someone else for their choice when it’s different that yours.

I’ll let you all know how it goes!

 

 

Conversations With My Boy…

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This may be TMI for some, but hey, it’s the truth! This is an actual conversation between my 10 year old son and myself today, when I HAD to use our only bathroom while he was still showering because I REALLY couldn’t wait…

Son: “UH! Mom, you’re pooping?!”

Mom: “I’m sorry! I’m pooping for two now, not just one, and eating super healthy so, it’s basically like my ass goes to war with the toilet, regularly…. and wins.”

Son: laughs hysterically 😂

I just totally LOVE the relationship I have with my son! He’s awesome!

Don’t worry, he didn’t suffer long; He was basically done with his shower and walked out laughing after our little exchange. As for my war with the toilet… it didn’t last long either, thanks to a healthy diet. 😜

You know there’s a somewhat related blog coming soon, right?!