How I Gave Birth, Almost Died and Lived to Tell About It

This is a quick disclaimer – Before you read this, please understand that there are some areas that some may consider graphic. The squeamish might appreciate the warning. My personal story below is intended for informational purposes only.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” This is the thought that kept going through my mind as I lay on an emergency room gurney just days after giving birth to my daughter. That, and how and why is this happening?

I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start over…

The day I found out that I was pregnant, it was 2008 and I was getting ready to go to work. I remember that I was wearing a bright yellow and white floral dress topped with a white cropped cardigan. After work, I was going to see the new Sex and the City movie with my girlfriends. Knowing that there would probably be a Cosmo or two in my future, I added, “take a pregnancy test” to my morning routine. I wanted to check that it would be safe to drink an adult beverage. Call it intuition. (I’m a Charlotte, by the way.)

As soon as I see that pink plus sign, I jumped on my sleeping husband waving around the pee stick and screaming, “I’m pregnant!” We had officially started trying for a baby six months prior and I figured that after years of birth control pills it would have taken longer than it did, but there we were, pregnant. I was going to be drinking water at the movies.

My pregnancy was uneventful, save for the fact that I developed gestational diabetes. I pretty much figured that this would be the case due to many factors, my age, weight, and genetics. I ended up being prescribed medication to help control that aspect.

I was 35 when I was going to deliver. Because I was considered a high-risk pregnancy, my doctor scheduled a time for me to come in to induce labor with Pitocin.

On Friday, January 30, 2009, I spent the day going through labor. The doctor came in periodically to check how far along I was. Near the end of the day, the doctor explained that my baby was “sunny side up” otherwise known medically as occiput posterior or OP position. She tried reaching in and manipulating the position, but my stubborn baby was not having it, and her heartrate would drop.

After discussing with my doctor, I opted for a caesarian section to avoid stressing the baby out any more than was necessary. After a quick prep for surgery, I was whisked away to give birth. It seemed like it took only a few minutes and before I knew it, my daughter, Olivia, was born at 8:50pm.

I couldn’t hold her as my arms were strapped down, which I guess is common practice during surgery – no flailing about and keeping a sterile environment. I had to wait for the doctor to close me up. Once I was back to my room, I held her for the first time. It was glorious and she was the most beautiful girl in the world. My family surrounded us and it is something I’ll always treasure, holding her for the first time.

Because I had the C-section, I was in the hospital for four days and Olivia had jaundice and spent the majority of her days in the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) getting phototherapy. We were both biding our time until we got home. While at the hospital, I found it hard to get comfortable. I was having pain above my left breast, below my shoulder. Nurses told me that it was gas due to the medication and that it would pass. I eventually asked for an antacid as the pain persisted. I figured eventually, I would pass gas and I would finally be done with the pain.

Once the baby and I got our clean bills of health, we set off for home. Forgive my bluntness when I say that I still had not “tooted”. Eventually the pain was so bad that I had to sleep sitting up as lying down made it worse. Weird, I thought, but didn’t think any more about it.

After being home for a day, my husband and I took Olivia to her first pediatrician appointment. On the way home, I mentioned to my husband that this gas, or the lack of passing it, was really starting to take its toll. I called my OBGYN to see if she could prescribe a more powerful antacid as the over-the-counters were not cutting it.

In speaking with the receptionist and explaining my issues, she put me on hold to speak with the doctor. Again, I thought, weird. Why does the doctor have to talk to me about passing gas?

My doctor got on the line and asked me a series of questions – Where is your pain? Can you lie down? Are you having trouble breathing? I answer with, above my left breast, no – lying down is too painful, because when I do, I am having trouble breathing.

She said that I need to get to the emergency room and that she is going to call the hospital regarding my arrival. I’m sorry, what? I was stunned. And yes, after all this, I’m still thinking, “all this for gas?”

She said, “You have a possible pulmonary embolism and I want you to go to the ER to rule it out.”

Thinking back on this conversation, I have to say, I had no idea what she was talking about at the time. Still, I relayed the information to my husband and we went to see my mother. I told her that I had to go to the hospital per my doctor’s orders. My mom took the baby and I kissed Olivia telling her that I would be right back. Little did I know that I just lied to my daughter.

By now, the pain was getting more severe. I checked into the ER and noticed that I was taken right back, despite the other patients in the waiting room. They started checking my vitals – blood pressure, oxygen intake, listening to my heart – all the normal stuff you see on television.

Nurses had put those stickers with snaps on them and I was being hooked up to a machine. The nurse asked me to lie down. Then it hits me, I couldn’t lie down because I couldn’t breathe. It hurt – my chest was hurting. Tears started to form and I was thinking that I was having a heart attack. I was gasping out, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!”

I looked at my husband and I thought, “I’m sorry but you might be a single father because I am dying”. Up until this point in my life, I had never broken a bone, never had a hospital stay and now I truly thought that I was dying.

They sat me back up and that was better. I was still having pain but I could breathe little gasps of breath. The ER doctor said that he was going to send me for a CT scan. He thought that I had a blood clot in my lungs. A blood clot. In my lungs. What? How? Why?

The ER doctor confirmed after the CT scan that I did in fact have a blood clot in my lungs and I was admitted to the hospital. I started to cry, I just had a baby, checked out of the hospital a couple of days ago and now I was back.

Needless to say, I was mentally exhausted, physically weak and severely depressed. I continued to pump for breast milk while in the hospital. My husband would take the milk back to Olivia every day. She wouldn’t take to formula and I felt it was my duty to give her what I could. I felt guilty for being away from her and it is still something that haunts me to this day.

Let me just say that my mother was our lifesaver. I was, and continue to be, so grateful to my mother for taking care of Olivia while I was in and out of the hospital. My parents even moved to Pennsylvania from Texas and found a house only a couple of blocks from ours.

I was put on blood-thinners and was told that I would be on them for up to six months, maybe more. I spent another five days in the hospital while trying to recover from the blood clot. I was told later that a blood clot could have killed me and I cried some more.

Leaving the hospital didn’t mean that I was out of the woods. I was set up with a nurse who would come to our house daily to check on me and take blood work. I spent a majority of the night and a good portion of the day sleeping. When I wasn’t sleeping, I was pumping. Due to my absence, Olivia didn’t take to breastfeeding and probably bonded to my mother more so than she had with me. Still, I pumped. In my mind, it was the only thing that connected us as mother and daughter and it was the very least I could do.

About six weeks after having had the baby, I noticed that my C-section scar was tender, more so than usual. In some spots, it appeared that puss was forming. I brought this up to the doctor and because I was on blood thinners, it was back to the ER.

Turns out, my C-section had gotten infected. Spots along the scar appeared slightly green even. The doctor was able to draw on my belly an outline where the infection appeared, like a map of a country. I’m told that they are going to treat me as if I have MRSA.

According to WebMD, “Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ( MRSA ) is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body. It’s tougher to treat than most strains of staphylococcus aureus – or staph – because it’s resistant to some commonly used antibiotics.”

The blood thinner that I was being treated with in pill form, was now going to be in injection form. Apparently, if the need for surgery were to arise, the reversal of the effects of the blood thinner works quicker if administered via injection.

I’m typically a glass half-full person but on that day, I couldn’t help but think that the world was against me. I was back in the hospital, away from my newborn daughter, suffering from blood clot pain and now my C-section incision was infected and I had to get injections every 12 hours. Oh and these injections were given in my gut. Yes, my stomach. This is the site where you get these injections. I was feeling quite defeated.

I was admitted back into the hospital but I felt like I was under observation, as if the doctors were waiting for something to happen. I was getting my twice-daily injections for my blood thinners, I was pumping every couple of hours and binging on America’s Next Top Model.

My incision appeared to have grown a boil on it, but still nothing really happens. Then on my second, or was it my third day at the hospital, I got up from a nap. My husband was also napping in the chair next to my bed.

I got up to use the toilet and I was dragging along my monitors and whatever other devices to which I was hooked up. I lifted my gown and lowered my underwear when I heard a wet slapping sound. I looked down and I was bleeding. I was bleeding from my C-section incision. The boil had broken and puss and blood were dripping onto the tiled floor of the bathroom.

You know that “pull in case of emergency string” that all hospital bathrooms have? I pulled it but nothing happened. I thought that someone would spring into action and an announcement would be on the speakers, “code (whatever color) in room 324”. I waited a good five seconds, nothing.

By now, I was panicked and called out to my sleeping husband, “ERIC!!” Next thing I know he had raced over to find me in the bathroom and I was just standing there with blood and goop dripping from my body. And I can tell by the look on his face, he is the one thinking, “I’m about to become a single father because my wife is dying.”

He ran into the hall and yelled for help and a nurse came in. She had me sit on the toilet, as it was the closest thing to a chair. Then it dawned on me, I didn’t feel any pain so I figured I was in shock and also, I never peed so I proceed to do so as my husband and a nurse held me. Modesty was definitely out the window.

Once that was done, I was moved to the hospital bed. One of the nurses cleaned me up and then a barrage of doctors rotated into my room – pulmonologist, OBGYN, hematologist, and wound care.

The wound care doctor explained that he was going to check the wound. My C-section scar was now being referred to as a wound. The wound care doctor lifted up the bed so I was at least four feet from the floor. He takes one of those long-handled swabs and inserts it into my C-section incision. He is able to push it in over two inches. The thought of that made me want to vomit.

My wound was unable to close because of the blood thinners. Talk about a catch-22. I had a blood clot so I needed the blood thinners but because of the blood thinners, my C-section was not healing.

The next few days were a blur of being poked and prodded by the nurses and doctors. I still got my twice-daily blood thinner injections. My blood was drawn every day. Now wound tape – medicated strips of a gauze-like material – got packed into my wound. This was as awful as it sounds. Apparently, the wound packing material allowed the wound to heal from the inside out and it was a long process.

Eventually, I was discharged from the hospital. In 2009 I spent a total of 17 days in the hospital. I was again set up with a nurse who came to my house to change my wound dressing. Eventually, I ran out of visits according to my insurance company and the nurse gave my mom and my husband “lessons” on how to treat my wounds. They both became experts on doing this, as my wound would take over four months being treated with wound tape.

A couple months later in May 2009, I visited my OBGYN. I still had weekly visits with her to check the healing process. I told her that the wound feels tender I showed her where the scar was healing irregularly. She called to one of her nurses to come into the room. She asked the nurse to hold my hands, saying that this might hurt a bit.

I had suffered chest pain from a blood clot, daily stomach injections and wound tape packing for a few months. I figured my pain tolerance was better than most. Then, she did something that I will never forget. She took one of those long-ended swabs and she was able to bypass my skin with little effort at the site of my wound. She proceeded to open the wound by dragging the swab down the length of my C-section, as if she was opening an envelope.

I remember crying out. I heard the nurse say to me that she has arthritis and not to squeeze her hands too tight. Seriously?! I was being cut open like a Thanksgiving Day turkey and I couldn’t squeeze your hands? Still, I felt badly for the nurse and I gritted my teeth and held her hands as delicately as I could while being shived with a cotton swab. The doctor was able to go most of the length of my C-section with a swab inserted almost an inch deep in some spots.

I felt like I was starting over. The weeks went on and I continued with my blood thinning injections and wound packing regimen.

All the while, I kept a breast-pumping spreadsheet to keep me on schedule. Looking back, I’m not sure why I did it but I would time my pumping’s every four or so hours and measure how much I was producing. I think that it made me feel like I was doing something important for my daughter that no one else could, despite all the issues I was battling. It was proof that I was somehow caring for my daughter.

Eventually, I saw my wound care doctor in his office when the wound became shallow enough that it could no longer be packed. He cauterized the wound with silver nitrate and I ultimately got better. I had finished taking my blood thinner medication. My wound finally closed. I was even able to go back to work.

Thinking back on this experience brought up some painful memories. Not just the recollection of bodily pain, but the pain felt by my family. My parents who just had a granddaughter but at the possibility of the loss of their daughter. My husband who had become so depressed but so depended on. My sister who I burdened with my medical issues while she was working towards her career in law enforcement.

I was stronger because of what happened. I even pursued a career in the medical field and worked at the hospital where this whole thing took place. Throughout this ordeal, I remember thinking that God would never give me anything that I couldn’t handle. In the end, I guess He didn’t.

Today, my daughter Olivia is a happy and healthy eight-year old. She and her sister, Emma, are the light in my life. Yes, I did have another child and that pregnancy was carefully orchestrated by my OBGYN and there were no issues to speak of with that birth. I gave birth in one of the operating rooms vs. the maternity ward, in case the need for surgery came up. I even had a plastic surgeon do the “close” of the C-section.

I decided on having a tubal ligation after the birth of my second daughter – no regrets. I try to think what I could have done differently during my first pregnancy but it turns out that after doing extensive research and multiple doctor’s visits of all kinds of specialties, it was a fluke. That blood clot was random. It can sometimes be hard to accept – trying to find blame and coming up short. But that’s the way it is sometimes, no rhyme or reason. The strength of my family and friends got me through the hardest time of my life. And I for one, am grateful for it.

Hiring a Marketing Expert Vs Doing It Yourself

Marketing is a complex field that includes different strategies designed to improve visibility, establish a brand presence, engage prospective customers, and earn more revenue as a result. Business owners need to invest time and money into marketing if they want to stay ahead of the game and stand apart from the competition. A good marketing strategy can help businesses grow and enjoy more success.

However, many small business owners hesitate to hire professional marketers to handle their marketing campaign. It could be lack of trust, no budgetary means for it, or that they feel it’s a manageable task. In the end, they struggle to share responsibilities and delegate tasks while they run a business; which means they don’t outsource marketing and rely on inexperienced in-house employees to plan and implement the strategies that they end up overseeing.

Why Hiring a Marketing Expert can Help

Modern marketing is an expansive field, and it includes everything from digital marketing online to traditional offline marketing. Business owners rarely have enough time to learn different marketing techniques and understand how to implement them well on their platforms. All kinds of businesses, especially small companies, can benefit from professional assistance. Here are some reasons why hiring a professional is a good idea:

1. To Navigate the Complexities of Modern Marketing Strategies

Modern marketing strategies involve a wide range of techniques, tools, skills, and platforms, which is why people work in teams to implement it. The digital marketing team includes professionals with different skills and qualifications who handle different tasks. These strategies are just too complex for a single person to manage, even if they’re qualified in the field. Even the simplest marketing strategy requires steps like:

  • Establishing Your Audience
  • Branding the Service for the Audience
  • Graphic Design & Collateral Creation
  • Creating a Website that Sells
  • Making the Website SEO Friendly
  • Promoting the Website
  • Creating Social Media Profiles
  • Establishing Brand Presence
  • Generating Content
  • Creating Ads for Paid Platforms
  • Managing Ad Spend
  • Managing Authoritative Links to the Website

All of these things require different skills and most business owners have to invest time to learn these skills if they want to handle marketing without professional assistance.

2. To Create Content that Establishes Industry Authority

Content is an important aspect of modern marketing strategies because it helps establish authority in the industry, engages with customers, distributes information regarding products and services, and include keywords to catch the attention of search engines. The Internet is saturated with content, so users are very selective about what they read. It’s not enough to just create generic content and include relevant keywords in the text. The content should provide the target audience with significant value.

  • Content should be well-written with sound grammar and spelling.
  • All the information should be current and relevant to the keywords included in the text.
  • The content should be in long-form and range from 1,000 to 2,000 words. The average word count of the web pages search on the first search engine results page is 1,890.
  • The keywords used should be specific, and the content should include long-tail phrases.
  • All information should be well-researched and as accurate as possible.

The primary purpose of content marketing is to attract organic traffic to the website and to ensure that users stay long enough to become interested in the products and services offered. The secondary purpose of content marketing is to establish authority and win the trust of the visitors.

Skilled and experienced content marketing experts know just how to generate the right kind of content for their target audience. This job requires skills, training and deep knowledge on the nitty-gritty of writing for online audiences. It’s something most individual business owners aren’t able to manage.

3. To Develop Creative and Interactive Resources

Content marketing doesn’t just involve text though it is one of the most commonly used formats in modern marketing. Text content is easy to create, and business owners can develop good articles and blog posts if they put in some time and effort. However, experienced marketers know content marketing must be diverse and approach the target audience from different directions. A sound content marketing strategy will include:

  • Videos and tutorials
  • Podcasts and live streams
  • Infographics and animations
  • White papers and research papers relevant to the industry

These types of content require different skills and software, and a business owner doesn’t usually have access to them. In comparison, professional marketers have all the tools and knowledge required to create visual and text content and can handle it with a marketing strategy in mind.

4. To Deliver your Brand Socially

Social media is a great platform for small businesses because it allows them to reach out and connect with their target audience. They can engage with their audience regularly, establish a personal relationship, hear customer concerns, complaints, and provide resolutions promptly; this helps ensure customers remain interested in the brand.

However, social media is a double-edged sword if it’s not handled properly. Even the smallest mistakes can compromise the reputation of the company and alienate the target audience. Experienced social media professionals know how to navigate these platforms well and will:

  • Understand different platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., and develop unique strategies to engage audiences on every platform.
  • Explore the paid ads, promoted content, and other such paid marketing options available on these platforms and use them to the best advantage.
  • Monitor engagements and interactions between the business and target audience to understand customer preferences.
  • Handle complaints, questions, and requests from customers on the social media platforms.
  • Build and maintain a good reputation on these platforms and establish authority through content.

Professional marketers will use sophisticated social media management tools to keep track of all this activity and ensure nothing goes wrong. Managing social media requires time and commitment, but it can be very rewarding. Social media marketers are very savvy on these platforms and know how to engage the audience efficiently.

Many small business owners struggle with this aspect of marketing and have neither the time nor knowledge to keep track of their social media accounts. The time to update, post content, respond, and then interact with their audiences just isn’t there.

5. To Develop your Brand and Website Concepts

A marketing campaign will fail if the business doesn’t have a well-designed website and a carefully crafted brand presence. A website is the foundation of all marketing campaigns and needs to provide a good user experience to visitors, regardless of the platform they approach it from.

The website should be easy to navigate, mobile-friendly, SEO-friendly, quick to load on all platforms, aesthetically pleasing, and informative. It should be designed in accordance with the branding to ensure it conveys the right message to the target audience. Experienced website developers and marketers will consider the factors mentioned below when they create a platform and branding:

  • Target audiences and their preferences
  • Type of products and services provided
  • Competitors and the industry in general
  • The company’s ethics, goals, and message
  • The location of the company

All of these factors are considered in the website design and branding process to ensure the online presence is unique and appealing to the target audience. While business owners know their industry, product and target market well, they don’t have the skills and knowledge on how to position themselves best when it comes to branding. A haphazard approach or unplanned branding strategy can have a long-term impact on the success of the venture.

6. To Research and Analyze Your Engagement Campaigns

Modern marketing strategies are fluid and dynamic. They need to change and evolve in response to the changing market conditions, search engine regulations, target audience preferences, and other such influential factors.

A marketing campaign that’s successful today might not be as successful six months down the line, which is why experienced marketers always keep an eye on the campaigns through analytics and research latest marketing trends regularly. Here are some of the many analytic reports professional marketers browse through regularly:

  • The analytic reports containing website activity like a number of visitors (repeat and unique), duration of the visit, bounce rates, most popular pages, etc. This information will help them improve the overall quality of the website.
  • Analysis of paid ad campaign performance on search engines, social media platforms, and even off-line strategies like direct mail marketing. They keep an eye on the performance of the paid ad campaigns and determine if the ads provide sufficient ROI.
  • Analysis of organic social media interaction. This often includes impressions, opened posts, comments, likes/dislikes, shares, etc. Experienced social media marketers will study these reports and alter their social media strategy accordingly.

Without regular analytics, it’s difficult to determine if the campaigns are performing well and delivering the right amount of ROI. The information from marketing analytics can also help with content creation, marketing campaign planning, social media campaigns, etc. A business owner will find it extremely difficult to handle all the aspects of analytics, which can lead to the failure of the marketing campaign.

7. To Save You Time and Money

Small business owners have many responsibilities and not a lot of time to attend to them all. Marketing can be an additional burden they don’t need, which is why DIY marketing is never a good idea. While DIY marketing seems affordable, it can have a long-term negative impact on the business, cause the business owner a considerable amount of stress, and draw their attention from tasks that can’t be outsourced and need their attention.

While there are multiple avenues and sources providing information about digital marketing strategies, nothing can replace the training, skill, and experience professional marketers have. They also have connections with different entities in the marketing world that can make developing effective strategies easier. Professional marketers will achieve more with less money so even if the initial investment of hiring a professional marketer seems a bit expensive, it can help business owners save money in the long run. Marketing research can prove it.

The How-To Guide on Using a Washing Machine

Believe it or not, there are many people that are not sure how to use a washing machine. This includes the types of washing powder and fabric softener to use and how much of it to put into the washing machine. The best part about living in the modern era is that most washing machines include the instructions to make your life easier.

In this instance, we are going to use a front loader as an example.

  1. First thing’s first – the sorting of your laundry. White or very light clothes need to be washed separately from clothing such as jeans, scarves and velvet. The reason why this is done is because certain fabrics lose colour after washing it multiple times.
  2. Next, you need to add the washing powder into the correct compartment. The washing machine will usually indicate which compartment it is using a small image. No more than a scoop or a small cup would be needed depending on the capacity and model.
  3. Fabric softener is a definite must if you prefer your clothes smelling fresh and feeling soft. Some clothes also look better when the fabric softener has been added.
  4. Now we need to turn the washing machine on so that we can pick the correct option for the type of clothing that has been loaded into the washing machine.
  5. The option you choose prior to starting the cycle would depend on the clothing that is inside the machine. The “Delicates” option should be chosen for small and fragile items such as underwear, thin t-shirts, and lacy jerseys that could be worn over evening gowns. “Duvets” could be bedding such as duvets, comforters and quilted blankets. Items such as jeans may also have an option that you can select that won’t damage the fibre.
  6. Some washing machines have the intelligence to determine the amount of time it will take to run the chosen wash so that you can plan your daily chores around that. This allows you to manage your time better at home especially if you are a parent or working professional.

If you are a working parent or busy professional, then you don’t have the time to run around for washing powder and fabric softener every month. So save time, buy wholesale and get the washing powder and fabric softener in bulk. This could also end up being a cost saving and time saving exercise for your household.

5 Tips For Planning A Move

Moving can be stressful, but also exciting. A new city, new house or new neighborhood can also mean new beginnings. So how do you turn the stressful part of moving into excitement? By having a plan. Below are 5 tips for planning your move.

Decluttering. One of the first things you can do when you find out you may have an upcoming move on the horizon is to declutter room by room. This is important for a number of reasons. First, when you put your house on the market, it will sell faster and for more money. A house always looks bigger with less “stuff” inside. Second, when you move, having less stuff to pack, load, unload and unpack will save you both time and money. It’s also a very freeing process once you get started.

Dispose of hazardous waste. Hazardous wastes cannot be packed in moving trucks. If you have things like gasoline, paint and chemicals in your garage, ask if a friend or neighbor would like them. If not, look online to find your nearest hazardous waste disposal site. If you plan to use any of the same paint colors in the new house, be sure to record the information needed before disposal.

Research your moving company. This is critical and can often get overlooked if your move is a sudden one. Be sure to read reviews online before deciding on a mover and don’t hire a mover based solely on price. Experience, knowledge of your area and skill level (like moving a grand piano) counts for much more. It’s also helpful to know that many movers will give a low bid to get your business and then later charge more. Reading reviews will avoid surprises and disappointments.

Transfer records. If you have school-aged children, you will need to have their school records transferred to their new school. Getting this out of the way now will mean less for you to do on the other end of your move. Medical records are another thing to have transferred. If you don’t have your new doctors lined up yet, you can ask for a copy of your records or make a list with phone numbers and addresses of the doctors/dentists/chiropractors from whom you will need to obtain information.

Update your address. You can update your address for the postal service online. It’s also important to share information with friends and relatives. Consider sending out a change of address group email or posting something on Facebook to let others know how to contact you in the future.

Essential Aspects to Know About Search Engine Marketing

At present, every online business owner is aware of the notion- search engine marketing, a cost-effective way to reach a larger segment of the population and that too within a short period. According to the latest research, it is only the people, who are on the verge of their purchasing cycle conduct searches on the internet. If executed properly, SEM can bring forth relevant contents and ads from a website to influence their buying decisions.

Using SEM along with SEO or search engine optimization is even more beneficial because when amalgamated, the strategies could enhance the online presence of a business dramatically, driving huge traffic and increasing conversion rates as well as sales. Even when used discretely, search engine marketing can offer exceptional advantages. Let us take a close look at them.

Why Use Search Engine Marketing?

• About 90% people use precisely targeted keywords when looking for products and services online. SEM makes sure that the consumers get pertinent contents so that they can stay engaged for prolonged periods.

• Organizations offering search engine marketing services have repeatedly talked about the flexible as well as configurable nature of a SEM campaign. You can maneuver all the associated policies and customize them as per the requirements of customers.

• Search Engine Marketing allows business owners analyze all the marketing tactics in details and give them an exact record of accomplishment. SEM has a wide-range of performance metrics through which you can optimize the keywords and measure the budget.

• SEM can bring an increasing number of consumers as well as keep the existing ones. It also effectually contributes to brand exposure. With time, a search engine marketing campaign would set up your business as a credible one in the online landscape.

• Recently, SEM has become mandatory and any business organization that does not invest in this strategy is bound to get mediocre or disappointing outcomes. If you do wish to stay ahead of the curve, opt for this campaign now.

• Just like the varied channels- out-of-home marketing, telemarketing, and offline marketing, SEM is just another extra outlet through which your business could earn huge profits. While this is certainly an advantage, the best thing about SEM campaigns is that you can personalize for maximum efficiency.

Now that we are aware of the brighter side of SEM, let us see the ways by which one can get hold of the best search engine marketing services as a myriad of options are readily available.

Tips to Choose the Best SEM Company

• Assess the projects that they were a part of and go through the customer reviews to gauge their levels of ability.

• See if the professionals working here are competent, efficient and experienced enough to handle delicate business issues.

• Make sure to check their working methods, which would confirm that the company uses cent percent legal tactics.

Following the above-mentioned suggestions would let your business succeed in the dynamic online world.

The Difference Between HVAC Certification and HVAC License

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technicians are skilled tradespersons that install heating and cooling systems. Additionally, they maintain and repair the system when problems arise. This may be in a residential setting or for commercial facilities. Those who work for a retailer are often responsible for selling service contracts to clients.

Types of Certification

Becoming HVAC certified will depend on the type of certification that you desire and the training that you have achieved. Since many people work in the field under a licensed HVAC person, they may have some experience before taking classes. Those who have over a year of experience in installation and at least 2 years in maintenance will have a wider choice when it comes to the type of HVAC certification they choose.

In order to become certified, the proper classes must be taken. Before doing so, a high school diploma or GED is required. This is required for admittance to most accredited HVAC training programs. These programs offer classes in the installation and repair of HVAC as well as reading blueprints, temperature control, construction and equipment design. The programs are available at various schools and colleges as well as online.

The programs are generally from six months to two years and depending on the length of the course, upon successful completion, the student will receive a certificate or an associate’s degree. There are also opportunities available for those who join the Armed Forces to receive specialized training in the HVAC field.


After completing the training program successfully, earning a certification or a degree, sitting for the HVAC licensing exam will be required by most states to work in this field. The licensing exam will differ somewhat from one location to another. The main consideration is the knowledge of all the aspects of installation and repair of HVAC systems. In addition, some licensing exams require the applicant to know electrical codes.

If the career chosen will include working with refrigerants, a separate certification is needed for this field. This includes high and low-pressure refrigerants and servicing small appliances. When this career is chosen at an early age, usually while in high school, it is beneficial to take classes that can help in preparing the student for the classes they will take next. The basic recommendations are mathematics, physics, electronics and mechanical drawing.

There are additional licenses needed if the HVAC career will include contractor services. This is often a career that is chosen after learning the other aspects of HVAC. The qualifications to apply for a license as an HVAC contractor include being at least 18 years of age, speaking and reading the English language and four years of verifiable experience in warm heating.

If the applicant meets these qualifications, they must take an ICC examination. The International Code Council (ICC) develops these exams and they are in charge of giving them for many states. They are given at approved testing sites across the nation and are required for anyone that represents themselves in any way as an HVAC contractor.

As seen, the HVAC career is quite diverse. It can include various aspects of this profession, each having their own requirements and licenses.

Safe Bird Air Purifiers – 5 Features to Avoid

Choosing a safe air purifier for your bird is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Your cleaner needs to be effective and safe for your avian friend as well as the humans who live with it. Here are 5 features to steer clear of in a purifier.

Ozone Generators— Ozone is a harmful gas that can cause irritation of the lungs and breathing problems particularly for those who already suffer from such as asthma, emphysema, and other respiratory ailments. It is particularly harmful to children and seniors. And with the sensitive respiratory system of birds, it is not a good choice for birds.

With all of the health problems it can cause, this technology has not been found effective at removing pollutants until the levels are extremely high. It can also cause toxic by-products such as formaldehyde to be produced when it combines with certain indoor pollutants. Bottom line is you don’t want it in your home or office.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states, “…ozone is generally ineffective in controlling indoor air pollution”.

Ionizer— This type of cleaner pulls air in and uses electricity to charge the particles that are then attracted to a collector plate in the unit. The problem is that sometimes these particles escape.

When inhaled these charged particles are more likely to get stuck to the lungs. That is exactly what you do not want happening with your bird or humans either. It is also believed that this type of technology also produces some ozone. Why take a chance on any of this with your life or your bird’s?

Plastic Housing— An effective cleaner should be able to run 24 hours a day to keep up with the dust, dander, feathers and other pollutants that your bird produces 24 hours a day.

Once the motor heats up, it causes the plastic casing to heat up as well. This often results in noxious fumes being off-gassed into the air. Birds are particularly vulnerable to odors and gases, and these fumes could prove fatal to your pet. Steel casing prevents this type of off gassing.

One Filter— One filter cannot possibly eliminate both particulate and gaseous pollutants. And a unit with one filter is guaranteed to need frequent filter changes. This means the air quality will suffer each time you are performing maintenance, and the unit is not filtering the air. It also means added expense to operate the unit with minimal effectiveness because it can not adequately remove all that you need it to.

A better choice would be a cleaner that contains both a filter for both gaseous and particulate pollutants. Carbon filters a well known for their ability to remove gases, odors, and chemicals. And HEPA or high efficiency particle arresting filters are the best at removing particles. A purifier with both types of filters will give you the total coverage that is needed.

One-Sided Intake— It unit that can only pull air in from one side seriously limits its flexibility of placement in your room. A better choice is a unit with 360 degree intake. This would allow you to place it anywhere in the room with only about a 6 inch clearance necessary for it to function efficiently.

Beware the LED Killers – Over-Heating & Over-Voltage

LEDs are the greatest lighting source available, but in the RV environment they have two Achilles Heels — Over-Heating and Over-Voltage.

LEDs are tiny slivers of semi-conductor material (p-n junctions for the geeks who want to know), a piece of silicon doped with rare earths that is mixed to emit photons in the visible spectrum whenever a proper voltage is applied across the junction such that an electrical current runs through the semiconductor. Like a true diode, LEDs resist letting current run in the wrong direction. The chemical composition of the p-n junction determines the wavelength of the emitted photons, so you can have red, amber, green, and blue LEDs, among others.

White LEDs are most often made using a native blue LED that shines blue photons into a phosper that in-turn re-emits a spread spectrum of light across a range that looks like white light to the human eye (for the geek, that is Stokes radiation).

Comparing regular lights to LEDs, the standard incandescent light bulb is only 15% efficient in converting the wattage into useful light. Fluorescent lighting is at best 50% efficient. LEDs have an efficiency of 85% or higher in converting the electrical energy into useful photons. This light source is the most efficient of all the choices we have for light in our RVs, boats, and homes.

None of our light sources are 100% efficient — there is always some residual heat. And it is the heat energy that destroys the light source. With incandescents, the 85% wasted energy is heating the filament to a temperature between 600 and 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. At those high temperatures the filament is literally vaporized away over time, most often within a thousand hours or so, and the bulb simply burns out.

LEDs, too, are heated by the flow of current through the circuit. LEDs will immediately fail when the junction temperature exceeds 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Properly designed LED circuits require two very important features to be successful: protection from over-heating and protection from over-voltage. Often the over-heating is related to over-voltage.

Even when an LED is operated at a carefully controlled voltage, it still generates some heat. This heat must be removed from the LED device at a rate that ensures the junction temperature does not exceed the operating limit. The best way to do this is to place the LED device on a “heat sink” that has the capacity to soak up the generated heat from the LED and move it to a place where it can be radiated into the air or some surrounding heat pit. Early generation LEDs did not bother with this problem since the printed circuit board they were used on was generally large enough to serve as a sufficient heat sink.

As LEDs became more advanced, and more LED emitters were placed upon a single semiconductor device, the problem of heat dissipation became more accute. The requirement for doing a good thermal analysis of the printed circuit board holding the LED chips became apparent to those who understood what they were doing. Others tried to use the old technology with the new chips, and their products consistently failed.

The heat generated by an LED device strongly depends upon the input voltage to the device. If an LED circuit is designed to handle the heat load and operate only in a 12.8-volt environment, it will not operate well in a 14.7-volt environment. It will deteriorate and die much sooner. It’s lifetime will be only a few thousand hours, rather than 100,000 hours. And if the over-voltage ranges up to 18 or 24 volts, the LED device may die immediately.

A fully charged type-27 lead-acid battery typically provides a maximum of 12.8-volts. Some people assume that is the operating voltage of an RV. But if you connect to the Shore Power Pedestal and let your AC/DC converter charge your battery, the line voltage will rise to 13.8-volts. If you have a solar system, the controller may raise the line voltage to 14.7-volts. Battery equalization runs typically increase the line voltage to 16.6-volts for two hours or more.

Most of the early designers producing LEDs for the RV environment assumed a 12.8-volt environment, and their products failed at a remarkable rate in today’s RVs and boats. Some learned that if they did not provide some kind of voltage regulation or power regulation on their LED circuits, product failure rates went out of sight.

How the designer protects the LEDs becomes important when you are concerned with overall power efficiency. If the LED circuit has a simple voltage limiter, it “throws” away any excess voltage, reducing the efficiency of your LED in using the available power. On the other hand, if the LED circuit has a power regulator, it converts excess voltage into usable power by taking less current from the main line. Ask your LED supplier how they are protecting their LEDs and what is the cost for such protection. Many of the LED sales people do not understand the basics of the problems with heat and voltage. Will they give you a decent warranty for all conditions, like the full 100,000 hours – about 11 years?

LEDs are a big investment. They are expensive, but if they are constructed properly and used properly, you will have many years of great service, and they will pay back their original cost many times over. But you must be sure the LEDs you use have sufficient protection against excess heat and against voltage vagaries that can destroy them sooner than they should die.

Go for quality, and ask for proof, and a warranty.

The Difference Between a Casio Baby-G and a Casio G Shock Watch

Are you looking for the perfect watch that can stand up to your tough lifestyle? There are two that come to mind: the Casio Baby-G and the Casio G shock. These two watches are remarkably similar. They are both tough and durable. They can withstand large falls and impacts that other watches would crumble under. They can both be used in water, and they both have sleek designs that set them apart from other watches.

Their similarities make sense, though. After all, the Baby-G is just a smaller version of the G shock. Despite their similarities, however, there are a few unique differences you should consider before you decide to make a purchase.

Analyzing the Differences

  • Men vs. Women – One of the biggest differences between these two watches is that the G shock is made for men, and the Baby-G is made for women. The sizes of the straps and the watch’s face are different because of this. The Baby-G’s face is generally about the same in length, but it is usually not as deep as the men’s version of the watch.
  • Water Resistance – A G shock watch is generally (although not always) water resistant for up to 200 meters. While some Baby-G’s are as well, many are only resistant for up to 100 meters. Unless your favourite activity is snorkelling or deep sea diving, however, this should not be a problem.
  • Colour – The men’s version of this watch generally comes in very few colours, like black, red, silver, gray, and white. The women’s version, however, is much more colourful. You can find these watches in red, pink, green, white, purple, black, blue, and silver. This allows women to pick and choose different and vibrant colours to match any outfit they put on.

What do These Watches Have in Common?

Aside from their sleek look and unmatchable durability, these two watch styles have several features in common, including:

  • Temperature resistance – Some of the watches can withstand temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius.
  • Electro-luminescent backlight – The backlight on these two types of watches allows you to enjoy them anytime- no matter what time of day it is.
  • Auto-Calendar – These Casio watches are programmed so you will not only know the time, but the date as well. While the number of years the auto-calendar is programmed until will vary, depending on the exact version you purchase, some are programmed all the way until 2099.
  • Long Battery Life – The Casio G shock and Baby-G both come with long-lasting batteries. You can use these watches for up to two years before you need to replace them.
  • Stopwatch – Are you in training or simply trying to lose weight? These watches can help with one hour countdown timers, complete with an auto-repeat option, and a one hour stopwatch.

Whether you are a man or a woman, you are going to enjoy all of the unique features available to you from Casio’s line of G shock watches. If you are a woman, you can enjoy the traditional G shock gives a masculine flair and has all the bells and whistles you need, and if you are a woman, you can enjoy all the same great features, but with a more feminine and colourful accessory.

Refrigerator Repair: How to Identify Common Causes of Refrigerator Noise

Is your refrigerator keeping you up at night with its various moans and groans? When you need immediate relief from your noisy refrigerator, there are a few steps you can take. Follow these helpful tips from your local appliance repair shop:

  • Locate the source of the noise – Is the noise coming from the inside of the freezer, or the outside back of the refrigerator? Determining what area the noise is coming from will help you narrow down the possible components that might be causing the sound.
  • Troubleshoot – There are only a handful of parts in a refrigerator that typically cause noise. Once you have narrowed down the general location of the sound, you can begin troubleshooting various components to try to resolve the issue. While some issues can easily be fixed with minimal effort, others will require that you call in a professional who is trained in refrigeration repair.

Noise Inside the Freezer

Noise originating inside the freezer can typically be attributed to the evaporator fan, which runs whenever the unit is actively cooling. If you notice a chirping, squealing, or groaning sound that comes and goes (rather than being steady), it may be an issue with the fan motor. To find out for sure, open the freezer door and hold down the light/fan switch if there is one. If the sound gets louder with the door open, you can be pretty sure that the fan is the cause. Unfortunately, there is no way to repair the evaporator fan motor–you must replace the part in order to resolve the issue.

Noise from the Back of the Refrigerator

Most noises that you notice will come from the back of the refrigerator, where most of the moving parts are located. If you have a self-defrosting unit, the first place you will want to check is the condenser fan. The condenser fan is located on the back of the refrigerator, often behind a thin panel. The fan can occasionally accumulate a buildup of lint and other debris, causing a buzzing or clicking noise. You can try to resolve the problem by removing the thin cover to access the fan, and then cleaning the fan of any debris using a soft bristled brush (old toothbrushes are great for this!). Once the fan is clear of dust or other materials, replace the cover and plug the refrigerator back in. If you still have noise coming from the condenser fan after cleaning it, you may have to replace the part with the help of an appliance repair company.

If your refrigerator is making a rumbling, or purring noise from the back, it may indicate a problem with your compressor. The compressor is located in a football-sized case on the back of the refrigerator, near the bottom of the unit, and usually contains either black or copper tubes with a variety of colored wires. The compressor is typically a sealed unit, so it can not be replaced by a do-it-yourselfer. If you are able to isolate the problem to the compressor, you will need to contact a refrigerator repair technician to complete the job.

Noise from the Bottom of the Refrigerator

If you have noise emanating from the bottom of your refrigerator, it is likely coming from one of two places. The first, and easiest to resolve, is rattling from a loose drain pan. To fix this issue, simply tape the pan securely in place to stop the noise. If that doesn’t work, you may have an issue with the defrost timer. The defrost timer is located in the front of the unit, behind the kickplate. This part is actually a heating element located on the evaporator coil and can not be repaired. If you are experiencing trouble with the defrost timer, you may also notice a buildup of frost in your refrigerator or freezer. To have this component replaced, you should contact an experienced professional for installation of the refrigerator repair part.

When to Contact the Professionals

If you complete the above steps and still can’t determine where the problem is coming from, or if you need to replace a complicated part such as the compressor or defrost timer, you should contact your

local appliance repair service. In addition to providing you with thorough troubleshooting and safe, reliable repairs, most refrigerator repair technicians also offer routine maintenance, which can help you avoid problems down the road. With their help, you’ll be able to sleep soundly without being interrupted by strange kitchen noises well into the future.