The Last Day of My Life

Monday, January 31, 2011

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January has been, for most of my married life, the end for me.  It was the last month that I knew the innocence of being newly pregnant; the last month before I knew that dreams were shattered every day, that babies still died, that it didnt happen to "someone else".  It held the last shred of my naivety in believing that pregnancy=40 weeks=baby in your arms.

10 years ago, on February 11th, I said good-bye to my first dream, my first baby.  My first miscarriage.  My womb was empty and my heart was broken and there were- and still are- no words to express that grief.  I've dreaded February, the memories of that ultrasound, the pills to induce the miscarriage, the "I'm sorry" from the doctor.  Telling Peter.  Watching his heart break.  Crawling under the blankets. Crying.  Destroyed.  I never thought I could feel worse than that moment.

3 years ago, today was the last day of my life.  The woman who emerged after the next day would never be the same.

January is always the end of an era to me... Each year, it replays that sweet innocence, that hopefulness, that unabated joy- untouched by the grief of delivering a tiny little baby who, although he did his very best, just as his sister did 2 weeks after, could not overcome the weight of the world's oxygen and eventually fell into what I pray every second was a peaceful sleep.  I can see myself, 3 years ago, working, discussing nurseries and deliveries and candles and music and a birthing bar and god-only-knows what else.  I can see that woman who thought that the hardest part was over, that "preterm" for her would be 36 week twins, that the worst thing to happen was leaving her babies in the NICU for a few days.  A woman who couldnt fathom leaving her baby in the morgue.  Who couldnt anticipate second trimester deliveries and the cold that robs her children of their last breaths of life.  Who never imagines having an undertaker hold her babies...  Her husband putting them in a crematory... Their bodies reduced to ash and air, even as their hearts continued to beat in her own.

To think of that woman catches my breath because, truly, I no longer know her.

The Date

Sunday, January 30, 2011

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Tonight, thanks to the generosity of Peter's mom (aka Uita) and my BFF Sarah (aka Aunt Sarah), Peter and I enjoyed a lovely chorale concert, followed by dinner at our favorite Italian place.  They watched the kids, got them dinner, and handled their bedtime routine; thankfully, we didnt miss out on all the fun and made it home before they fell asleep so we could have some snuggles and enjoy their falling asleep.  But, truly, THANK YOU guys.  We really had a lovely time. :)

This, as I've posted before, was Peter's gift to me, a celebration of crossing over the "200" on the scale.  As of this morning... 194.5.  I'm pretty happy, since my goal for Nicholas's birthday was 200lbs.  I'm quite a bit ahead of schedule!  To celebrate, not only was I treated to a new dress from Shabby Apple, but I also (after an AWESOME run with Sarah this morning and some equally awesome girl time in the sauna after) enjoyed a deep tissue massage at a local day spa.  Can we say nice day?  Then, we dressed up and headed out to a church in a nearby town where the chorus was performing.  It was a lovely concert.  Although we didnt love all of the arrangements, the music was gorgeous.  I'll post some excerpts from the poetry and religious texts used later on.  But, suffice it to say, we were really happy our friend (who is in the Chorale) told us about it and that we were able to attend.

We havent been to Bocelli's since September, when I posted my Shabby Apple review dress.  Looking back at that post, I can see where the 40+ pounds were... I dont see it in the mirror, but I see it in pictures. Clearly.  But, I digress...  We had a lovely dinner!  And, we even shared dessert.  While I posted about what I ate, etc, the best part was that there was no guilt.  It was a lovely evening; I ate what I wanted, stopped when I wasnt hungry, and it was great.  The company, of course, was even better. :)

So, here are some pictures of the love of my life and I, getting ready to enjoy a night of music, wine, food, and (even better) love. :)



The Monkeys...

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...nearing 17 months old.

Maya, playing with my sling.  Earlier, she was walking around "slinging" her baby.  It was hysterical.


And this little guy... Can I even tell you just how much cuteness there is in his face?  Sometimes, it breaks my heart to know that I wont be the only lovely lady in his life (although, I guess, technically, I'm not already!)

(see more of our January pictures here)

PWFC3

Saturday, January 29, 2011

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To be read P-W-F-C-cubed...

And, otherwise known as "Peter's World Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies".  However, after today, they may be known as "Wheat Free" instead for the W and F!

One of our dear friends was diagnosed quite a number of months ago with Celiac's Disease and now lives a gluten free lifestyle.  It's been hard; she and her husband and Peter and I are all foodies together and this was devastating news (not just for her!).  But with some adapting and just a little extra effort, we've been able to enjoy numerous meals together and I've really been excited to try modifying recipes.

However, something I learned for 8 years of being a die-hard vegetarian was that it's not always fun being "special".  Sometimes, you'd like to eat what everyone else is having.  Tonight, they are coming over for dinner and, as I told Lys in an email, "tonight, we're all living the lifestyle".  I'm making GF Mexican food and there's no being special!  We're all eating delicious veggies with some rice and potato products!  And, in honor of the night, Peter transformed his delicious (I MEAN DELICIOUS) cookies, that he normally makes with a combo of white, wheat, and coconut flours, into GF delights!  They weigh in at 100 calories each (the recipe makes 43 cookies) and are extraordinary.  So, impress your GF friends (and your non-GF friends alike!) with this awesome Peter recipe!


1/3 cup Hazelnut Flour
1/3 cup Coconut Flour
scant 1 2/3 cup Rice Flour
1 cup butter
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
3/4 Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 large egg
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 bag (Ghirardelli) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/8 cup water

Cream the butter and sugars.  Add the eggs, vanilla, and water.  In another bowl, mix all your flours, baking soda, and salt.  Add to the wet ingredients.  Add the chocolate chips.  In 375 degree oven, bake for 9-11 minutes (depending on your soft-hard cookie preference; we did 9:30).

ENJOY!

Zombies

Friday, January 28, 2011

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As I posted recently on my FB status: 2 words- Sleep Deprived.

I have to admit, I've been (dare I say) flip (at least in my head) about baby sleep issues.  We were lucky.  Our kids... they slept!  3 months- sleeping all night.  Yay!  That meant we were sleeping all night!  Sure, we had our moments.  I mean, teething is NEVER fun and usually results in missed sleep, but as the kids left the "infant" stage and progressed into the "toddler" stage, I thought we'd pretty much left the sleep issues, save a night here or there, in the dust.

They have proved me wrong.  Or, should I say, Bobby has proved me wrong.  Maya, if given a quiet night, will sleep to her heart's content.  She might make a noise here or there as she rolls over, but that kid knows how to sleep!  Teeth hurt?  Sleep it off.  Not feeling well?  Sleep it off.  It's night time?  Must be time to sleep!  I wish I could sleep like her!  But, with the tears that sometime ensue from the bedroom next to her, she ends up waking a few times too, and because she get's so pissed off, it's really not fun.

We've been having periodic "bad" nights and, in light of their growing and my desire to have them independent nap (not because I dont want to hold them prior to nap, I do, and we have already cut the whole bottle then nap routine), I decided to look into a no-cry method to help them independently sleep.  (We have no desire to practice any sort of cry-it-out/CIO method; it does not fit in with our belief in attachment parenting.  Part of the reason we are moving towards independent napping is because the kids are trying it on for size and we want to support that as well as support their growth.)  So, I ordered The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers, a book that is geared primarily towards 12-36 month olds.   As I read the few opening chapters, I thought I'd wasted my money.  We dont have these kind of issues.


Did I mention my kids like to prove me wrong?

So, last night, we have dinner at my in-laws, then get home for a little bit of play and then "bedtime ritual".  Around 7:30, we start their bath, then they get a massage and PJs, followed by a bottle, snuggles, and songs.  By 8:20, they were out, but, when we went to put them down at 8:30, they werent quite ready... So, cue holdings and songs for 15 more minutes, and then, out.  8:45.  Nice.  Now, in the book, she states that they should do a 2-3 hour nap (score 1 for us- 2.5 hour nap!) and then sleep 11-2 hours at night, for a total of 14 hours.  I kind of chuckled...  I didnt expect them to sleep until 8:45am!  7:30 is when they normally wake for playtime, Super Why at 8am, and breakfast at 8:30am.  But, I dutifully started the bedtime journaling she recommended and read a few more chapters.  By 9:45, I was happily in bed.  At 1:50am, I was not-so-happily in Bobby's room.

Well, Peter was.  I came in at 2am.
Then, we traded at 3:20am.  (After B woke up Maya and Peter went to her room around 2:50am).
Then, Peter came back to bed at 3:50am.
TWO.HOURS.  He was awake, whining, SO TIRED, for 2 hours.  We sang, we snuggled, we let him whine a little, we gave him a few ounces of milk, we snuggled some more.  I sat next to his bed and rubbed his back.  He wanted us to crawl into bed (and, I wanted to SO badly... I was so tired) but we were trying to not do that (even though we knew he'd go sleep).  Finally, we were both in bed.

...And Maya woke up at 5:20.  Of course she did...  So, being as I was SO tired, I just crawled into bed with her and finally got her back to sleep.  But no sooner did I leave, than she woke up.  And this point, I accepted defeat, drug her into bed with me (Peter was in bed with Bobby, since he had woken up in the interim) and tried to catch a few more minutes of blissful sleep... Until Bobby was up, playing and loud, at 7:15.

So much for not having a problem!!!

The poor kid was so tired today as we drove to music class that I had to force him to stay awake.  It worked, we had music class, and made it to my dad's.  But after I picked him up and we were on our way home, both kids were out.  I was hoping to have them stay awake, but they ended up with a half hour nap in the car.

At least they were happy to have lunch when we got home!

So, we shall see.  I'm really missing those "good sleepers" (and, really, Maya is still a good sleeper, excluding environmental issues), but seeing as B is cutting his 2 canines and M is cutting 2 more molars, it's not surprising that we arent getting great sleep.

(And part of me feels bad for saying I'm sleep deprived.  I mean, of 7-8 hours, I had 4 hours of uninterrupted and then 2 or so hours if you add up the rest.  So, that's 6 hours. Not really deprived.  But Bobby only got 11 of 14 needed hours and Maya 12.5 of 14 needed hours.  I guess it isnt as bad as some families, but we used to have good "all night" sleepers.  At this point, I'd settle for 10pm-6pm without a wake up!)

I'll let you know how it goes as I read the book...  From FB and other posts, it seems that sleeping is becoming an issue for quite a few folks right now! 

More Than Halfway There

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As I type these words, I've just gotten off the scale... 194.   46 lbs lost in a 4 months; 44 lbs to go.  Will it take 4 months?  5?  10?  I dont know; it's not important to me.  Slow and steady wins the race.  But, I'm over half of the way there!  I have less to lose than I have already lost!

I have to be honest.  When I started my weight blog in October and, even before that, put out my feelings in September, I wasn't sure where I'd be, come the new year.  If I am really honest, then I'll admit that I didnt think I'd be here (or anywhere close).  I thought that maybe, just maybe, I'd lose a few pounds but it probably wouldnt last or, if it did, it wouldnt be very much.  I felt like I'd tried in the past to diet and nothing.  And that, I realized, was my problem.  A diet wouldnt work, but a lifestyle change would.

And it has.  And I'm so excited!  I cant believe that I've lost half of my goal so far.  I havent weighed this since the early years of our marriage (when I got pregnant the first time, at the end of 2000, and miscarried Feb 2001, I had gained quite a bit and the weight just kept coming on).  When I was training for the triathlon last year, I thought the added exercise would help... and was really disappointed when, at the end of several months, a 5K, and a sprint tri, I had lost... ZERO.  Nada.  My weight was still 240.  No up, but no down.  Now, the argument of "muscle weighs more than fat" not withstanding, I was still 240 pounds, still had a BMI of 37.6, and that BMI still registered as "obese" on the charts.  

It wasnt until I really evaluated my plate (and my glass) that I saw my problems.  It really blows my mind when I think about how much I ate just a mere 4 months ago.  The piled high plates, the (God only knows how many) glasses of Coke or Dr. Pepper, the 20-30 ounces of designer coffee...  500 calories in a 20oz Starbuck's mocha.  Really?  Now, dont get me wrong... There's nothing wrong with one of those every now and then.  But I was drinking them a lot (and not always at Starbucks... I make my own high caloric coffees pretty well!).  

It wasnt until I realized that what I ate (and how I felt) wasnt just going to weigh my down; it was going to weigh on Bobby and Maya, too.  

4 months later, I feel better.  I'm lighter, but not just in weight.  My personality is lighter.  I find that I'm finding new joys in the every day little things.  I actually enjoy figuring out healthy meals that are not just delicious but also things Bobby and Maya can share in completely.  There was a time where I would give them the "healthy" versions of what I was making.  And that led us to establish a household rule: If you wouldn't give it to them to eat, then you probably shouldn't be eating it either.  There are exceptions, of course, but they are the exception rather than the rule, and it really promotes mindfulness in eating.  (This rule joins If you wouldn't eat it, don't expect them to eat it either.  I mean, have you tasted some of the nasty stuff marketed towards babies! Yuck!)  That's why feeding the kids from the table is so easy...  The choices are positive.  I've always liked to cook and this has encouraged me to cook with portion control in mind (it wasnt what I was cooking... it was really how much I was eating).

What is really something, to me anyway, is how, even now, cooking in proportion, I find myself "full" before my plate is empty.  And I can tell!  There was a time where I couldnt. I remember, in the beginning, talking to Peter and telling him that I couldnt tell if I was full or not.  That the whole "shutoff" valve of my brain saying "HEY! STOP EATING! MAXIMUM CAPACITY REACHED!" wasnt working.  Now, it doesnt just work, I know when I'm satiated.  And that's when I stop eating.  It's not about being full anymore; it's about not being hungry.

I didnt realize that our bodies were meant to be satiated not stuffed...  That the whole "full" feeling after a meal isnt the way our bodies want to feel.  It's not an endorsement of a good meal, it's a sonata to obesity. And, now that I know that, I find myself practicing not just mindful eating, but eating until I'm satiated and no more. The other night, I made some seasoned mixed vegetables (we each had about a cup) and then stuffed a portobello cap and tomato (each).  I ate all my veggies but after having half of my mushroom and tomato, I was done.  I had been hungry beforehand and, looking at my plate, I easily thought I'd be hungry after dinner!  But, no... I was done.  Satiated.  My tummy didnt want to bust open at the seams and I didnt feel like I needed to just go to bed because I couldnt fathom doing something else.

Some nights, I do have seconds- and that's okay too.  As long as it is done mindfully and I'm not eating to that popping point, I just tally the calories and move on.  I'm all about enjoying my food and my lifestyle; if it became some sort of deprivation chamber, I'd be miserable and 194 would be the lowest the scale would ever see.  If I want one of Peter's homemade cookies, I'm going to have it.  If I want to make cupcakes, I'm going to.  (And I'm not a proponent of making it "healthy" at the sacrifice of taste.  I dont mind healthifying recipes, but they have to taste like perfection in a slice!)

But, I'm rambling... Because I'm really thrilled...  I'm at my half-way point!  No, I'm over half-way there!  I'm 194 pounds!!!  Peter and I are celebrating my "crossing the 200 threshhold" on Sunday.  (He wanted to do something special and was so sweet as he agonized over whether I'd be upset by his making reservations at our favorite- and I'm sure VERY caloric!- Italian restaurant ... Far from being upset, I'm super excited!  Delicious food, wonderful wine, outstanding company... And we're going to a concert first!  Even better!  I cant wait to enjoy every single second!!!)  It really warms my heart that he's so excited for me and wants to my milestones :)  

Well... If I dont stop, I'll keep rambling because I'm bursting with excitement. :)  So, I'll go... For now...

HALF-WAY THERE!!!!

CSN Product Review: Le Crueset Bakeware

Thursday, January 27, 2011

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January 20th: I searched through the variety of CSN stores and found my happy place: the kitchen store!  I have an addiction to kitchen items and my heart belongs to Le Crueset, even though they are too pricey for me to afford.  But, happy of happies, I found a great LC addition to my kitchen!  And, it was a two for one special!
In my head, I have images of lasagna, peach cobbler, and au gratin potatoes!  Immediately, I select that item as my review item.  In a matter of seconds, my order is placed and I'm told, via the computer screen, that my order should arrive on or before January 24th.  That's Monday!  Excellent!  I'm having Peter's aunt for dinner on Tuesday night, and this would be lovely make-it-and-serve-it dishes!

January 24th:  Where are you, beautiful dishes?

January 25th:  I checked the FedEx page.  They state that my package was on the truck for delivery on the 22nd but they opted to deliver it the next business day instead!  Which, would have been yesterday!  As of 7:20am, it's ready to be delivered today...  I sure hope so!  I wanted to use it for dinner tonight!



And, yay, they arrived by dinner time.  Due to my changed menu, however, I didnt get to cook in them, however, I used the smaller dish to serve and it was a beautiful addition to my tableware, but, alas, beauty is only skin deep.

Or is it?  Last night, I decided to make stuffed portobello caps and tomatoes.  The larger dish was the perfect size for 2 3-oz caps and the smaller dish worked well for me 2 medium tomatoes.  First things first, the clean dishes were sprayed with cooking spray then the clean and slightly damp veggies were placed face down and popped in a 350 oven for 15 minutes.  When I took them out to flip them over, I could see that the dish was starting to get veggie residue on it (perfect!  let's get something nice and baked on!).  The cooked again for 15 minutes and then I stuffed them and put them back in the oven for 10 minutes.  At this point, the tomato dish was getting especially "baked" and I was imagining cleaning the dish later...  Fun times.  The timer went off, I plated the veggies and sprinkled them with feta, and then... didnt soak the dishes.  There was some definite veggie stuff on them and then, where the stuffing had come out, it had baked into the dish.  And I just left them on the stove.  I didnt soak them, didnt try to flake off the nasty.  Nada.  I mean, I wanted to see just how these dishes performed!

After dinner, I opted to not clean the kitchen right away.  We played, Peter and I chatted, and then, finally, I went in.  The dishes were cold and the dirt was dried on.  P-E-R-F-E-C-T!  And, just to add insult to injury, I cleaned them last!  With my sponge having already washed a few things, I didnt bother to add additional dish soap, so imagine my surprise when the junk wiped right off!  (I was actually really surprised.   I recently baked in a well known glass 9x13 pan and that thing still has burned on gunk that I, two washes later, still havent been able to get off, so I didnt have too many high expectations going into last night).  I cleaned the two dishes in about as many minutes and they sparkled like they had just come out of the box.

So, 2 Le Crueset pans turned out to make 1 delicious dinner and then made for extremely easy clean up.  I think I'm in love!!  I might be begging for new kitchenware for my birthday and Christmas this year!

What They Eat (HHB)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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(Originally posted here)


I've gotten quite a few emails after yesterday's post, asking what exactly the kids eat, so while this is no way the full list (because it constantly changes!), this is some of what goes on in our kitchen.

First, I'd like to start by saying that once they were able to start handling food, we've introduced what we eat to them.  And we've been heavily rewarded.  They both enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, all sorts of ethnic food (Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, as well as Italian and Puerto Rican just to name a few), and typically can be found eating some of what we are eating.  When they are at my MIL's on Wednesday's, she typically still utilizes babyfood for some of what they eat, but that is becoming more and more rare around here.

A second big thing is that our kids eat at our dining room table.  When they were much smaller, we used high chairs, but, once they were able to better sit, we bought booster seats with removable tables.  They usually sit pulled out from the table a bit (so they cant attack the table cloth!) and with their trays, although at restaurants we take our portable boosters without self-tables and they eat at the main table.  Mealtimes are family eating times.  For breakfast, they have their food and we have ours, which tends to be similar.  For lunch, they eat while I eat.  For dinner, we are all (usually) together around the table (unless something comes up and they have to eat without us, i.e. bad traffic when Peter is on his way home, etc; in that case, I feed them first and we eat after).

So, as to what to do they eat...  They'll eat just about anything!  They love shrimp, scallops, and salmon.  They really enjoy scrambled eggs with olives and (funny thing) rye toast (although they'll eat pumpernickle and wheat, too).  They cant get enough of the newly introduced peanut butter and I think, if we'd let them, they'd turn into an avocado.  Pickles are still a big hit.  Apparently, oat milk is a good thing too.  They'll each eat a piece of veggie pizza themselves!  If I'm making it for dinner, they get some and, if they want more, then we give them more.  So far, we havent run into too much that they dont want to sample.

Typical Breakfast (served with organic whole milk or, as of 1/24, organic oat or nut milk, or sometimes juice):
1) eggs scrambled with milk, butter, & black olives and toast, with some maple puffs as an appetizer and a shared fruit bar
2) whole grain cheerios (no milk), diced fruit (pears, peaches, apples, bananas, grapes- you name it!), animal/graham crackers with creamy peanut butter,  cheese
3) maple puffs to start, pancakes or waffles, diced fruit

Typical Lunch (served with milks from above or water):
veggie or cheese puffs to start
diced fruit
cheese crackers
cubed bagel with cream cheese or cubed pita with peanut butter
yogurt or banana custard (baby food)

Typical Dinner (served with milks from above or water):
In addition to whatever we are eating, I usually give them yogurt or custard and their meal starts with cooked mixed veggies (carrots, corn, green beans, green peas, lima beans).  Our dinners consist of a protein source, a vegetable, and a starch, and sometimes bread and salad.  (For example, last night, dinner was scallops, roasted squash & carrots with olive oil and herbs, yams mashed with almond butter and cardamom, and salad).

Throughout the day, they get 2-3 snacks: rice cookies, graham/animal crackers, cheese, fruit, or rice cakes.  They also get their cups with milk (no more than 16-20oz during the day), juice (no more than 4oz a day), or water.  At night, they take an 8-9oz bottle, fortified with 2 scoops of rice, before bed.  (And, since we're discussing routines, they also get a 1ml dose of vitamins with flouride, take a bath, and brush their teeth daily... I'm about to add a second tooth brushing since they like it so much.)

Obviously, these menus change based on what we have in the house, what I'm making for a meal, or if we eating outside the home.  Kids should get about 1000-1400 calories per day, approx 40 calories per inch of height.  Using that calculation, Bobby needs about 1320 and Maya about 1200.  They average between 1200-1300 with their drinks and snacks added.  About 500 of their calories come from milk or milk-like beverages.  That leaves 7-800 from food.  Each meal tends to be 200-250 calories (600-750 calories total). Snacks tend to be 50-100 calories each (2 snacks=100-200 calories for the day).  So, on average, that comes out to 1200-1450.  It's a little bit of work to figure out how much they are getting but well worth it to watch them have such a varied diet that keeps them growing.

(Oh, and, this morning, we're trying hazelnut milk... doesnt, so far, seem to be as big a hit as the oat milk!)

Different Milks (HHB)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

6 comments
(Originally posted here)


When the kids turned a year old, they switched from the preemie formula they'd been on for 9 months (since my milk dried up) to organic whole cow's milk.  I'd talked to the pediatrician about other types of milk (rice, almond, etc) but her concern was that they would need the calories offered by the cow's milk (150c/8oz).  This is a large difference, when you consider almond milk is 60c/8oz (for original; unsweeteend is 40c).  That being said, these kids are good eaters, so as we've been discussing adding even more new foods into their diets, nut and grain milks have once again come up.  Some are fairly high calorie, so it wont be a big deal, calorically. And, since I keep up with what they eat and about how many calories they are getting per meal, adding in a little extra for a snack or meal isnt an issue either.

So, today... Their cups have been filled with oat milk!   With 130c/8oz, there's only about 40 calories I'll need to make up throughout the day (they normally drink about 16oz of milk throughout the day from their cups).  That's easily made up with a cinnamon graham animal cracker covered with peanut butter (the kids get the creamy while I love the super chunk!).  The problem is that they will go through a box of the oat milk today!  Since they are a little over $3 each, it makes it out to be about the same as the organic milk we buy ($7/gal, and we go through a gallon every 2 days).  I bought one box of oat and one of hazelnut milk too, although at 110c/8oz, I'll need to add in 2 more cookies/PB to their snacks.  And, I have a box of hemp milk (140c/8oz) to try. 

The oat milk is a hit it seems... I gave them their cups with breakfast at 8:30am.  Normally, they need a refill at lunch time (around 1-1:30pm) and that carries them through the afternoon, when they get water (or, if I give them juice, then they get their milk at lunch and drink through dinner).  But, at 9:30, I had to refill Bobby's cup!  Usually, he drinks more than Maya by an ounce or two (she's drank half her cup so far), so this is quite the love of (oat) milk!  We'll see if hazelnut and hemp milks are as loved!   EDIT@11:30am- The box of oat milk?  GONE!  I just filled up their cups (M for the 1st time, to make for her second cup, and I topped B off to make for his 2.5 cup).  Talk about excited to drink!  

(Just a side... I dont plan on introducing soy milk into their diets in the near (or distant) futures.  We do eat a fair amount of meat substitutes, but we typically eat Quorn products which are soy-free.  However, when I make things using Morningstar or Boca, those items do contain soy.  With them getting it in that, as well as a food additive (which, it seems, it is in everything!), they already get soy.  Nine times out of ten, I'm cooking with Quorn so I dont worry about it, but it isnt something I want to add on top of everything else.)

Following "...a Dream"

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If you havent stopped by Working on a Dream, a new blog of parents to a sweet baby who is no longer on this earth with them, please stop by and, if you feel called, follow them.  For each follower, they will add a quarter to a $100 pledge that they will then match (for a total of $200) to be donated to "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep", a company that takes memorial pictures for families.  These are the folks who took Nicholas and Sophia's pictures for us (the hospital took Alexander's pictures) and their work is such a gift to orphaned parents.

Also of note, this new blog is written from a dad's perspective...  There aren't enough places where Dads can share and, with our support, perhaps there will be more.

Yoga Baby

Monday, January 24, 2011

8 comments
Like mother, like daughter...


Edit: 10:50pm...
Not to be outdone!

Prayer Request for a Dear Friend

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When I was a kid, my best friend, Amy, lived next door.  We're only 3 months apart in age and we did everything together- EVERYTHING.  At different times, we even dated the same guy.  (Different times- we werent mean to each other!)  She was my confidant, my sleepover buddy, my trusted companion.  As is often the case, time and circumstance got in the way and we grew apart.  I moved away for college and got married and settled here.  She married and settled down south, where we are from.  We kept up with sporadic Christmas cards and the like... But then, the joys of FaceBook!  We've gotten back in touch and it's great.  I can see pics of her kids and keep up with how she's doing.

And, that's where you come in.  A is pregnant with her third and, due to some underlying health issues, her pregnancy is high risk.  She's had a lot of bleeding and her doctor thinks she is on the verge of a premature delivery.  She's only 21 weeks right now, so a delivery would result in the unthinkable... an unthinkable that a lot of us are intimately acquainted with.  I dont want the loss of a child to be something she and I have in common.  I was thrilled for her when she told me she was pregnant and terrified for her when she told me she was bleeding a few months ago and that her doctor was afraid she might lose the baby.  Now, she knows she is carrying this beautiful little girl and is afraid of losing her...  Please, offer your prayers and thoughts to the universe for her.

She reads here from time to time, so, if you could offer her a word of peace and comfort in the comments section, I'll pass this link onto her.

Struggling

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I'm struggling with WiseGuy's news... I know that, in our community, we are faced every single day with infertility and miscarriage and stillbirth and infant death.  All you have to do is check out LFCA on any given day.  If there arent loss announcements, there are remembrances or calls for people asking for infertility support.  It's there every day.  And, even those of us on the "other side" (which, I think, is a fallicy... there is no other side.  I have living children but I still have dead children, too...), are still infertiles, orphaned parents, grieving while living with happiness.  It's there.  It's always there.

And, dammit, it hurts.  It hurts so much.

People may ask how we could possibly care for people that, in most cases, we've never met.  But we can.  Because we understand.  Because, in some way, we've been there.  We've met because we were infertile or through fertility treatments or because, somehow, our child died.  We've reached out to wipe one another's tears through our keyboards and sent hugs of happiness at our joys through our computer screens.

And I know that all of that continues, no matter what.

But this weekend... It's been different.  I cant explain it.  I've been hit hard by every loss I read about and, most times, I shed tears in sympathy with these dear friends I've made over the last three years.  But this weekend has been full of sobs... Out and out, hold me while I cry, sobbing.  There has been something about Lola's death that has hit me in that secret, vulnerable place that rarely comes to light these days.  Perhaps part of it is the proximity to Nicholas's birthday and, soon after, Sophia's.  Perhaps part of it is the fact that I prayed for viability with Bobby and Maya and never looked beyond; I remember celebrating 26 weeks with Dr. B. because, that was the point where our NICU had such outstanding outcomes.  Sure, I was scared when they were born at 27 weeks, but, for the most part, I expected they would come home with me at the end of their NICU journey and that they would be healthy.  It isnt that I dont feel extremely grateful- I do.  I meet other 27 weekers- and older preemies too- who have ramifications of their prematurity or who are delayed; I realize how incredibly lucky we are that Bobby and Maya, thus far, are chronologically up to speed and healthy.  I look back and, even with my history... even with knowing people who delivered preemies in the 30s who passed away due to results of their prematurity...  I had such a naive belief that they would be okay.  All of this makes me realize just how simple that all sounds now... in light of this...

And part of it is that my heart just hurts... It hurts for WiseGuy and her family.  It hurts for everyone else who has ever had to face the road of infertility only to be faced with losing their child.  It hurts for everyone who identifies as infertile or as an orphaned parent, for everyone who has ever had their miscarriage white washed as not "really" a baby, for everyone who has ever faced Mother's Day or Father's Day with an ache in their soul that could only be filled by their child(ren) who are not with them on this earth.

Somedays, I can face the day knowing that we will face hurt and suffering...  But, other times, like right now... I just wish it over.  I wish it were not something that any of us ever had to face or, at the least, face again.  I'm angry and I'm asking "WHY!" and I'm cursing and I'm just so heartbroken...

Please, if you would and havent had a chance yet, visit Kristen's site and take part in a remembrance of Lola for WiseGuy.  There isn't a lot we can do right now, other than be here for her, and this is a way to be there physically as well as spiritually and emotionally.

Bottle Weaning (HHB)

2 comments
Originally posted on The Haytko Homeschooling Blog


I'm not sure why it is so hard for me to contemplate weaning Bobby and Maya from their bottles.  Part of it stems from my view of them as "babies" still.  I know that, technically, they are toddlers, but to me, they are babies.  My babies.  My itty, bitty 2lb babies.  Nevermind that sixteen and a half months have passed since that time...  Nevermind that, together, the two of them are 50lbs (instead of barely 5lbs).  I dont know when I was weaned from the bottle, but Peter was 2!  It just seems so strange to be contemplating taking away the bottles of my little ones now, so early.

It's strange, too, because, in some ways, we have done things quicker than other people.  For example, our kids haven't been in a crib since they were 7 months old.  Practicing the Montessori (and, I think, practical) method of putting them in twins, they love their beds! They climb in and out, "help" make the beds in the mornings, and love to snuggle in their comforters.  We're often asked if they get out in the middle of the night, but that's never been an issue.  They know that their beds are their beds.  They sleep there.  The same people who chastised me for dare removing the crib from the equation now ask for my advice because their kids dont want to leave the crib.  Ours dont know any different.  Their bed is their bed.  But, I do realize that, at 7 months old, most people are not thinking of putting their infants in larger beds.  It worked for us (and still does) because we cosleep if the need arises.  I havent tried to crawl into a crib, but I'm sure it wouldnt work so well!     But the bottle thing... I hear people saying they are weaning too and I am on the other end, asking "arent they awfully young for that?..."

We're down to 1 to 1.5 bottles a day.  If the kids happen to wake early because they go to bed earlier than normal (normal is 9-10pm, early is 8am, in which case, they wake around 4am), we'll give them a small bottle to help them go back to sleep.  At night, they get their 9oz rice-fortified bottle.  But, throughout the day... I've stopped with the pre-naptime bottle.  And that is tough for me.  It's easier to give them a bottle (and, with a 2 to 1 ratio, I love easy!) than to give them their cups and try to figure out how much milk they've got and if they want more or if they are just playing with the cup, etc. 

But, it's working.  Friday was my first full day of the no-bottle-before-naptime experiment.  Previously, I've tried to limit it to only before one nap (they still, most days, take 2 naps, but I can see that may soon be coming to an end!), but Friday, I made the decision to go all the way.  It's hard when it is just me because, if they both want to snuggle pre-nap, it's difficult to do so and then, when they fall asleep, get them both to their beds, but they are good about sharing.  It's like they understand that Mommy only has one set of arms (and that they are heavy!)

So, we'll see how this goes... I dont expect to end the nighttime bottle anytime soon, but for now, the weaning is underway!

Remembering Lola

Sunday, January 23, 2011

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Stop by Kristen's blog and participate in this special remembrance...

Lola

Saturday, January 22, 2011

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Wiseguy's  sweet daughter Lola passed away; please, please send her your love.

I have no words.  So many tears, but no words.

Remembering... 38 Years Later

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Maybe you see the title of this post and you know exactly what I'm talking about... Maybe you dont.  Maybe it makes you not want to keep reading...  Maybe you are intrigued...  It's a polarizing issue, isn't it?  Should it be?  Shouldn't it be?  Right? Wrong? Downright immoral?

I'm talking, of course, about abortion.  38 years ago today, the Supreme Court of the U.S. decided the controversial and, even today, hotly debated Roe-vs-Wade case, which legalized abortion in the States.  Nearly 4 decades have passed and, although estimates put the number at 50 million, including non-surgical abortions, there is no way to know the countless of children who have died since this decision was made law.

But I dont want to debate abortion.  I dont care if you are pro-life or pro-choice.  I dont care if you've had an abortion or if you cant even fathom the thought.  It doesnt matter.  It really doesnt.

We all know someone (even if we dont know it) who has had an abortion.  The people we celebrate holidays with, the people we call on their birthdays...  Someone, somewhere has done "the deed".  The women we call "mom" and "aunt" and "sister" and "friend"...  The men we call "dad" and "uncle" and "brother" and "companion".  Someone, somewhere has made the decision to take the life of their child... their flesh and blood...  They've taken a pill or laid on a cold table while an ultrasound guided the hand of a doctor to either inject a lethal chemical into their child's beating heart or to use a catheter to literally suck the child from their womb.  Perhaps, even more heartbreaking, they've delivered their child and it has either been left to die in a garbage can or was killed on the spot by their so-called doctor.  Some of them mourn their babies and regret their decisions; some dont.  But they all share that one word: abortion.

I know some people... Actually, I know several people.  Some know that I know, some dont.  And they all had their reasons, reasons I wont- cant- judge because, in my book, the Great Spirit judges all our sins and they are all equal...  The couple who killed their child because they were struggling to feed the two they already had and could barely do that.  The mother who wept as she made the choice to kill a child she would have kept, except that the baby's father didnt want another child.  The couple who decided it wasnt really a baby at that point and, since a baby didnt fit into their plans at that point in their life, they would take care of the situation and have children when they were ready.  The scared young girl who unexpectedly found out she was pregnant and, fearing she had no other options, made the choice that still haunts her.  There are others too... And they all have had their reasons.  Not wanting a child, not feeling like they could take care of a child, not wanting multiples or fearing the health of multiples chose to reduce (although interestingly enough, women who find out they are carrying multiples are LESS like to abort if that is their initial thought), finding out their child has an illness incompatible with life and thinking their abortion is the "compassionate" choice, finding out their child has an illness that they simply cannot face.  There are so many reasons... So many.  One cant look at the issue of abortion and not see the reasons.

It's easy to demonize the people who make the decision to kill their own child.  I mean, let's be honest, if I posted tomorrow that person A poisoned their 2 year old, we'd all jump on the "OH MY GOD!!!" bandwagon or if I told you that a pregnant woman was hit by a drunk driver and her child- regardless of gestational age- died, we'd all send her sympathy.  But an abortion...  That muddies the water a little... Easier to judge the parent, pray for the baby and move on.  Or, to say that it doesnt matter because it was the mother's choice.  Either way, people die and people are hurt.

We miss the point, dont we?  So many in the pro-life camp make abortion the poster child of the Life Movement and forget about those on death rows throughout the world, the elderly who are being left to whither and die, the countless poverty-stricken forgotten.  And, in doing so, we drop the ball...   We make it easy for people to say that we only care about "life" but not about living...  That only certain life matters... That we just want to tell people what to do with their bodies and screw the emotional turmoil they may have.  So many in the pro-choice camp want to talk about women in crisis and how abortion is an equal-opportunity issue and a sex rights issue and that if we let the government into our bedrooms (and our bodies), then we'll never get them out.  They want to make people see that there are living-out-of-the-womb people who are suffering and that their suffering weighs more than the suffering of the in-the-womb person due to be killed.  That, really, a child in early gestation is nothing more than a ball of cells, like those that could be removed if you swabbed the inside of your cheeks- if we give the blastocyst rights, then what's next?  Snot rights?  Hair rights?  That parents should be able to end a pregnancy if the child they are carrying is deformed or sick or...  THEY are the parents.  THEY should make that CHOICE- not you or I or a court somewhere.

There are people in crisis... Both camps have that part right.  And where does the "right" answer, the moral answer, the just answer lie?  Pro-Choicers are right: if abortion is illegal, people will just find another way.  But Pro-Lifers are right too: legal abortion doesnt mean safe abortion.  Just look at the Philly doctor who is on trial for murder.  Even pro-abortion supporters cringe at this creep.  So, if we are both right... If we both see people in crisis and want to help, then the answer should be easy... It should be right there in front of us.

I know the face of abortion... The faces of children I will never get to hold.  Babies who bled from my body...  Babies delivered too early to live a life on this earth.  The only difference was my want, my desire for those children.

I am the face of abortion... I am the product of a rape.  I am an unwanted child.  The only difference was want, the want of a woman to give her child a better life by abandoning her to parents who would raise her.

I understand the fears that lead to abortion...  The fear of being too young to parent, of being too poor to raise a child, the fear that carrying a child may harm your own health, the fear that your child will die anyway so what is the point in continuing, the fear that one child in your womb may harm the other and that it is better to let one die to save the other, the fear the carrying more than one child puts all those children at risk and that it is better to risk the pregnancy and have the one child versus carrying multiples and losing them all.  I was in college the first time Peter and I thought we were pregnant.  My cycles were beginning to become irregular and I just wasnt sure.  And we were frightened.  We sat in the chapel, praying, wondering what would happen to us- to the possible child.  I was afraid, sitting in the university health center, waiting for the test- a test that would ultimately be negative- to come back.  I was working part time and Peter was unemployed when I found out I was pregnant the first time.  We were terrified... We could barely make rent and we didnt even have health insurance; how would we support a child???    After Nicholas was born and I was still carrying Sophia, the doctors told us how the risk I would get an infection that would not only take our daughter's life, but my uterus and ability to ever carry a child as well, was through the roof... than an abortion was the best way...  That Sophia was going to die anyway, either from a second round of PTL or from an infection, so why not save ourselves the trauma of X weeks (and, besides, then we could try again sooner...).  I sat, hooked up in L&D, barely 24 weeks with Bobby and Maya, as his SVT drove his heart rate into the 200s and we were told that our options were to deliver and risk them both or do nothing and let Bobby die to try and give Maya a better gestational age delivery.  That, since her heartrate was fine, medication might slow hers too much even as it saved him.  Wait and lose them both?  Deliver and lose them both?  Lose one, save one?  Is that even a choice?  And, then, even before that point, being told (not by our doctors, thank God) that a selective reduction, with my history, would be understandable...  (Just not to me.)

I'm not a beacon of light; I'm not an example because I chose to continue my pregnancies in spite of risks and fears.  We all make choices, in every single thing we do.  And those choices impact those around us, and sometimes, those in us.

Who speaks for the girl who is afraid to tell her parents she is pregnant?  For the single-mother who already has a few children that she is struggling to support and who finds out she is pregnant again?  The young couple who thought they were practicing "safe" sex only to find a positive pregnancy test?  The poor who feel they have no option?  The couple who wanted their baby only to find out their child has an illness incompatible with life outside the womb?  The woman, raped, who now relives the trauma in a positive pregnancy test?  The couple who struggled to conceive who now, through whatever means (because IUIs and ovulation induction with timed intercouse can produce higher level multiples), find they now have more babies than they could have imagined growing in the womb?  The couple who have living children at home and find out their new addition has a genetic issue that they cannot fathom?

Who speaks for the child in the womb?  Innocent in their part of conception?  Innocent of how their genes came together?  Innocent of their creation?  Innocent of their part in being part of a multiples set?  Who speaks for them?

They are all victims, arent they?  They all deserve voices.

It's better that a child be aborted than abused and killed after.
It's better that a child be aborted than raised in poverty.
It's better that a child be aborted than have X illness.

I cant raise a baby with X.
I cant afford a baby.
I cant afford another baby.
I'm too young to be a parent.
I dont want a baby.
I dont want twins/triplets/quads/etc.
I dont want a baby with X.
I dont want a boy.
I dont want a girl.
I have X and that makes carrying this child too difficult.
I dont want a baby at this stage of my life.

Give the baby up for adoption.
There are so many people who want children and cant have them.
It's not fair.
It's not the child's fault that they have X.
Aborting disabled children is a prejudice against the disabled.
Babies are a blessing.
Twice the babies, twice the love.
All children are gifts.
It's not the baby's fault that you got pregnant.
There is no greater love than to give up yourself for your child.
We can help you raise your child.
There are options.
You arent alone.

Questions on both sides... Answers on both sides...  Tragedy, heartache, loss.  For every person who doesnt regret their abortion, there is one who does.  There are those who have their children and wonder every single day what would have happened if they had chosen to raise, to abort, to adopt out.

I am pro-life.  All the way.  Even when my heart breaks for a child who has no hope- save a miracle- of life outside the womb.  Even when a convicted murderer gets to breathe another breath of air after committing the most savage of crimes.  Even when...  I dont get to make the choice to end another's life.  At any stage.  For any reason.  I'm not the Divine.

Dont get me wrong... There are ways that the death of another is incurred without desire, such as a mother taking chemo during cancer treatment or a mother losing her tube during an ectopic or someone defending their family from a home invasion.  But those are for another post... Some other time.

I dont believe (the majority of) people walk into an abortion clinic with the desire to murder or believing that they are selfishly putting themselves above the life within them.  I think they walk in feeling that they have no other choice.  They are in crisis, much in the way their unborn child is in crisis.  I think they walk in believing that the being in their womb isnt a "real child" yet.  And yet, the child is here already...  Abortion remedies a pregnancy problem; it doesnt suddenly make the child involved unreal.

Some of the women I know walked away from their abortions to never speak of them again.  Some may say it's because it wasnt a real child to start with.  Others, that they dont mourn the baby because it wasnt a baby to them.  In some cases, it may be because being a parent is the hardest damn thing you can ever do and they felt they made a 'hard' decision that was in line with them trying to parent the best way they could and what is the use is dwelling on it.

Some of the women mourn to this day.  They regret killing their child, regardless of the situation that led to it.  They mourn the child who would have been X years old, who would, possibly, have brought them grandchildren.  They wonder every day what would have been different, if only if they hadn't made that one decision.  Even the pro-choice posterchild, Roe, regrets her abortion and the fallout from it.

But this isnt an abortion debate.  It isnt an "it's wrong" or "it's right in some situations" or "it's right no matter what" post.  It's about a simple truth.  Today marks 38 years since Roe-vs-Wade was decided in Washington, D.C... Since millions of babies have been put to death for the crime of simply being...

And, perhaps an even deeper truth: abortions- no matter the cause- leave victims in their wake: babies, mothers, fathers.

And that makes me fall to my knees and weep prayer.

(Will you pray with me today?  Regardless of where you stand in the Pro-Life/Pro-Choice debate, will you say a prayer for the countless innocents lost through abortion at all stages and for their parents who, for whatever reason, made the choice to abort?   No judgement, no shame: just a thought to the Universe and a prayer for peace.  Want something more formal?  Join in a 20-Mystery Rosary for Life; the mysteries can be found here.)

Sending More Love

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Lori is coming to terms with life as a widow and single mom, and could really use your love and support. If you have a minute, stop by and send her some of that awesome love and affection you so often show here.

Plateau (LOMIM)

Friday, January 21, 2011

2 comments
(originally posted here)


I think I'm here... The dreaded "P" word... Plateau...  No, not a flat land mass somewhere (unless my ass qualifies as its on landmass... so, maybe...)  It's sounds so nice, so... French.  It's as nice as a greasy french fry though, when it hits me in the gut- literally. 

The last few months have been hard work, but, relatively speaking, they've followed a plan: exercise 3x/wk + 1700 calories a day = losing 2-3 lbs/wk.  Apparently, once I hit the 200 lbs mark (and dropped 40lbs- that's like Bobby and Maya- together!), my body decided that the "old" way wasn't worthwhile anymore!  Damn- I'd just gotten into the swing of this one!

So, it looks like I'm going to have to make a change.  I'm not excited about it...  I've struggled to get my eating and portions under control, but I think I can point to a couple of things I can improve with.

Mindless Snacking: You'd think that, at 1700 calories a day, there wouldnt be too much mindless snacking but I still find a way!  I think it's because I think I have the calories that I'll use them even when I dont need to.  For example, I was full last night after dinner, but I wanted something sweet so, instead of eating 1 M&M (which, funny enough, helps!) (11c), I had a frozen fruit bar (60c), then before bed, even though I wasnt hungry but "had" some extra calories for the day, I had a 100c choc-mint bar.  Did I need it?  No.  Was I hungry?  No.  I just wanted the taste and felt like I could have it.  But mindless snacking is something I've been striving to get as far away from as possible.  So, it's time to start asking the hard question- ARE YOU HUNGRY???- a little louder!

Portions (yes, still): Sometimes I find that I make my meals larger because I feel like I have the leeway, since I "have" the calories.  Breakfast is a good example of this.  I'm full on a bowl of 29g of whole grain cheerios (110c) with 1/3c almond milk (20c).  But, because I know I "can" get away with more calories, I'll toss in some yogurt (45-50c), fruit & yogurt bites (80C), and juice (50c).  Now, 320 calories is NOT a big breakfast count.  And, when I make a "big" breakfast, like pancakes or waffles, I'm closer to 400 calories! But, even though I'm not hungry for the yogurt and fruit and juice, I'll still have them.  I'll feel more stuffed than satiated and, I still eat lunch between noon and 2pm (a lot depends on when the kids go down for their nap and when I get hungry).  So, I think what I need to go back to is stopping with the thought of eat more and eat fewer meals, and get back in the hang of smaller meals and snack (mindfully!) more.  Today, I ate cereal for breakfast at 8:30, and, my guestimate is that I'll have a 100c snack around 11-11:30 or so.  We'll see if I'm right!!!

I already exercise 3x/wk, but perhaps I need to increase it to 4x/wk (which was my ultimate goal and one I actually meet on a regular basis) but make sure that one of those workouts is, indeed, a workout and not more cardio (like running or biking).  I've been debating taking a kickboxing class.  The gym that I used to go to (it's still part of my membership, but it's in my old town) has two offerings:  Tuesday at 9:30am, which, due to having the kids with me, I can't do (we dont do the whole gym daycare thing at this point) or Wednesday at 6:30pm, which wont work because we go to my in-laws for dinner on Wednesdays after my day of cleaning, which is a nice break.  So, not sure if, right now, taking a KB class will work for me.  But, it was an idea!  We'll see...  I actually dont mind doing the Fit TV exercise classes that are On Demand, so maybe I'll work on fitting some of those into my week (at least once/week) until group class schedules and my schedule better work out!

I'm trying not to be thrown off by a few days, but it's hard.  I know that a game plan will help me feel more in control, so that's what I'm going to try.

1) Stop the mindless snacking
2) Keep an eye on portions and hungry=satiated, not stuffed
3) Exercise 4x/wk, where at least 1 is a strength training workout (not 4 cardio's)
4) New calorie goal: 1600/day (instead of 1700/day)

We'll see if I can turn this week around and make it a weight LOST week instead of a gained or stayed-the-same week!

Send Some Love

0 comments
Lola, although born "full term", is having some complications.  Please stop by WiseGuy's blog and send her some love.

This Is Not What I Planned

Thursday, January 20, 2011

12 comments
I was talking to someone recently and they expressed shock that I supported the natural, homebirth community, given my "labor choices" and how I "chose to get pregnant".  They followed up with the  the comment that I do really well with how my life has turned out, even though it didnt follow my "professed belief in natural birth".  Doing well in my life is a complement, no doubt, but this isn't how I wanted my life to be.

After I met Peter, I wanted to be his wife and mother his children.  In that regard, I've gotten everything I wanted.  I'm blessed by being able to say those words.  I am wife to a man I deeply love and respect, and I have him to kiss good-bye as he leaves for work, to make his meals and wash his laundry, to snuggle with him at night.  I have been able to share pregnancies, labors, and children with him.  So yes, I'm lucky that my life has turned out as it has.  We have bought a home (I hasten to say "own" a home because, really, the bank owns it... I may own the half bath and my pantry, but the rest... work in progress...), I dont worry about keeping the lights on or food on the table, and I can stay home to raise my children.  We aren't rich financially, but we are rich in love and in all the things that matter.

But...  And it's an awfully big but... this is not the way I wanted my life to be.

I wanted to get pregnant... Not struggle with infertility and, ultimately, have to go to a R.E. to have ovulatory help because PCOS took away the opportunity for me to "just relax".  I wanted to bask in the joy of pregnancy, not lose 4 of my children to miscarriage, not worry about losing all of them to miscarriage (since a m/c was my first pregnancy experience), not constantly check toilet paper for signs of bleeding.  I wanted to enjoy watching my belly grow and stretch, read books on how things would change, decorate nurseries, and waddle around, full term, waiting to explode!  I didnt want to hug my belly, wondering if it would be the last time.  I didnt dream of months of bedrest or inversion or cerclages or wondering if my water would break prematurely.

I wanted to have children... Not bury them.  I wanted to plan baptisms and first communions, not funerals and memorial luncheons.  I wanted to send out invitations for birthday parties not invite people to yearly memorial Masses.  I never imagined delivering severely preterm babies.  I never thought I wouldnt make into the third trimester.

I wanted a natural, drug-free home birth.  I didnt plan on delivering a 16 week son at home...  I didnt plan on delivering two children naturally in a hospital bed.  I didnt expect to deliver second trimester twins via emergency c-section, where I couldnt hear their cries or reach out and touch them.  I wanted soft light and music, not the bright florescents of an OR or the PA system paging doctors to their wards.  I wanted my babies placed immediately on my chest, bare skin to bare skin, and to nurse immediately; I never imagined not being able to hold them right away because it wasn't safe...  I took natural childbirth classes, but I didnt expect to not be able to finish them because of preterm labor and, in a subsequent pregnancy, bedrest.

I planned on nursing for 2 years.  I didnt think my milk would dry up at 3 months.  I hated the very thought of formula, but I hated the thought of starving my children more.  At one time, I was pumping 15 minutes of every single hour.  I wasnt sleeping so that I could be hooked up to a machine to try and force my body to make milk.  I was popping herbal supplements and using a supplemental nursing system and consulting lactation consultants and reading and latching and... And still... It ended.

I believe in natural remedies and holistic medicine.  I saw a midwife for years.  I tried tinctures and herbs and yoga and meditation to try to regulate my body.  Just because it wasnt able to help me didnt negate my belief in it.  I believe in it still.

I believe that pregnancy and birth are natural, beautiful experiences that shouldnt be relegated to the medical establishment.  Just because my body didnt have natural fertility signs to listen to or because my cervix was incompetent and made preterm labor a given, requiring high risk doctors and hospital technology doesnt change the fact that pregnancy and birth are rooted in nature and, all things equal, can progress well without intervention.

I believe that a woman's body is best expressed through the beauty of natural labor, and that methods (like Bradley, which is our method of choice) can help a couple fully embrace the beauty of the pain and struggle.  I am grateful that I was able to have several natural deliveries.  Just because the delivery that brought Bobby and Maya into the world safely was a surgical, cesarean delivery doesnt take away from my belief that natural birth is the natural way of things.

I didnt plan to be an advocate of a natural, holistic lifestyle and homebirth, and have used injections to ovulate, cervical stitches, and c-sections to bring children into this world.  I didnt plan on encouraging the use of herbal tinctures, meditation, and acupuncture, only to lay on cold, steel tables for IUIs, be probed to find out if I indeed ovulated, or be hooked up to machines to ascertain whether or not my desperately loved and wanted children were okay.  I didnt plan on throwing blessing ways for others while wondering if I would ever see a shower of my own.  I didnt expect to buy cloth diapers only to have every single thing irritate my baby's skin except an organic, biodegradable disposable.  I didnt expect to spend money on tubs of high performance butt creams when I could easily make natural ones at home.  I didnt expect to have a beautiful nursing pillow and breastfeeding covers only to end up strapping myself to a milking machine in order to try and feed my tiny infants.

All of this being said, there are valid reasons for medical births (and no good midwife would deny that).  It cant be a be all, end all.  When it comes to pregnancy and labor and parenting, the best thing we can be (in my opinion) is flexible.  For some of us, that flexibility just happens to start before we start trying to conceive (and sometimes not out of preference but because there is no other way).

I often go back and look at the birth plan I had written for Nicholas and Sophia . I had a few edits.  After talking to my midwife and her recommending Dr. B., once I met and adored him, I changed it from midwife/homebirth to Dr. B. and a hospital birth.  He and I discussed different possibilities, from birthing bars to stools... I even remember him telling me that he could care less how I labored, as long as I was comfortable!  I would be the first person he was forced to contort in order to catch a baby!  It was reassuring that he believed C-sections were for emergencies and not because he had dinner plans...  That he supported breastfeeding and natural births.  But, still, there was no denying that he was a M.D. who knew what could go wrong and that, if it did, he would act accordingly.  When pregnant with Bobby and Maya (and by the time birth plans were thrown out the window!), I remember him telling me that he knew my hopes for delivery and that he would do whatever he could to accommodate them, but that I wasnt his only patient- Bobby and Maya were his patients too, and he would always recommend what was safest for all three of us.

No one (maybe I'm generalizing here, but I think it's a fair guess...) goes into trying to conceive thinking they will need reproductive assistance.  There's a lot of shame attached to it and it creates an ache in your body that you cant "just do it" and find yourself expecting.  But, being ashamed about infertility doesnt make it go away.  Embracing it doesnt resolve it either, but at least it is one less thing to worry about in life.

No one (and I'm sure this is true) goes into pregnancy with ideas of miscarriage or premature birth or infant death or stillbirth.  There's grief and such guilt...  But the guilt... That doesnt bring our children back.  It doesnt take the pain away.  Accepting it doesnt move us beyond, but it enables us to go on, one day at a time.

No mother goes into delivery unafraid of prematurity (if that is the case) or without the fear that their child(ren) may be injured or hurt.  And yet, all we can do is trust our bodies (even when it is hard) and our midwives, nurses, and doctors, and hold our children as people more important than our best laid birth plans.

When this person asked me if I regretted my cesarean, I honestly said no.  Do I wish that Bobby and Maya had made it well into the third trimester and that a natural delivery would have been safe?  Of course, I do.  I also wish that a homebirth had been possible.  But why pine for those things?  They are here, safely.  They (as of yet) have no signs of prematurity and are your typical 16 month olds.  How could I possibly regret something that gave me those gifts?

I didnt plan it, but this is it.  We dont always get what we ask for or what we want.  This is life...  This is MY life.  This is what I have.  And I'm grateful- extremely so- for every second.

I WANT CHOCOLATE (LOMIM)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

2 comments
(Originally posted here)


Or something sweet.  At this point, I dont care what it is.  I'm just tired and hungry and emotionally drained... hence the desire for food, and bad-for-me food no less. 

Honestly, I dont feel that way about chocolate, that it's bad for me.  Everything's good... in moderation.  It's more the fact that I want an entire tray of cupcakes that I'm thinking is a bad sign today...

Part of it is that Bobby and Maya opted to take a morning nap yesterday but no afternoon nap.  So, by 8 o'clock last night, they were out.  For the count.  Now, some people may say, "Great! An extra long bedtime!"  But these kids took one trait from Mommy: 8 hours of sleep is not the recommendation- it's the max.  So, while we were hoping for an 11 hour stretch, that is not what we got...  They were up... at 4:30am...  And they weren't going back to sleep.  Which, had we gone to bed at 8pm, might have been fine.  But, after they went to bed, I went to the gym for a bike ride (which was great, by the way), and then came home and we chatted until well after midnight.  I didnt doze off until almost 3am.  So, when you add in the 4:30 dual alarm... Nice.

Peter took Bobby duty and I had Maya.  Both were happy to be awake.  We tried snuggling, nuzzling, even  a bottle!  I'm not sure when Mr. B. eventually crashed again, but Maya decided to fall asleep around 5:30, then wake up at 5:45 as soon as I got up (so I quickly returned because, at that point, I just wanted to sleep and I didnt care where).  Of course, just shy of 7am, Peter woke me up to tell me he was showering and, five minutes later, Bobby was up and ready to go.  Of course he was...

So, up I was and up I've been.  I tried to snuggle him back and that worked for all of five minutes before he decided he wanted to P-L-A-Y!!!  And, a little later, Maya joined him. 

And here we are.  With me wanting to eat a pan of brownies... or an entire chocolate cake... Or just SOMETHING!!!

Part of it is that feeling control.  I can eat and eat if I want- I CAN!  I cant do that!  Last night... early this morning, rather... no control.  The other part of it, as any food addict knows, is that feeling of "mmm...delicious" that comes with that first bite.  (and, no doubt, the fact that I'm pissed that the scale didnt show me what I expected and wanted to see isn't helping!)

The thing is, I have desserts in the house.  In fact, I'm standing next to the M&M bowl and candy dish right now.  I have some chips in the pantry, and a variety of other 'eat the whole box' treats.  I know I'd have instant food regret the second I gave in to the "evil monkey". 

It's strange, the pulling in two directions.  The one that says "Just eat it... It'll be okay... You can always get back to normal tomorrow."  The one that says "It's okay.  You don't need food to satisfy an emotional craving.  Kiss the kids.  Write a blog post.  Call Peter.  Call Sarah.  Food is fuel...  Right now, it would just be emotional baggage.  Walk away."  I know what I'll do.  I'm already doing it.  And it's the right thing, on all counts.

But, it doesnt deny that those old urges can still come back- and with a vengeance.    It's strange, too, though...  I dont feel commanded by them.  I dont feel enslaved.  They are there.  I want (fill in the blank) but, at one time, I would have felt like there was no other option but to give in.  Now, not so much.  That's something...

A big something...

I'll put this one in the win column.

Visit to the Shrine

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On Sunday, a month from Sophia's 3rd birthday (really?  35 months have passed???), we went to the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, where the kids (and Peter's brother) have a candle in the memorial candle chapel.  We decided to attend Mass there (and this time, actually made an English Mass!  The last time, we missed the timing and ended up going to confession with a priest who didnt speak English and then the Polish Mass after... It was beautiful and convinced me that the Divine needs no native language for us to connect...) and then go to the cafeteria for Sophia's special meal.  That child connected with the Polish roots of Peter's Ukrainian side with her love of pierogi and kielbasa, both of which are served in the Shrine's cafeteria.

The Mass was lovely.  Afterwards, in honor of the feast day of the Pauline Fathers patron saint, St. Paul the Hermit (who is also the patron of children), the children each received a special blessing post Mass.  Many of the monks are quite young and it was so sweet watching them bless babies as well as older people.  The priest who celebrated the Mass made a special point of telling us that we are all God's children and that, regardless of age, there was no shame in being blessed.  It was a nice sentiment.

Afterwards (and, after Bobby peed on Peter on the day when, OF COURSE!, I didnt pack a spare outfit), we went to the visitors center for lunch.  And that's where the day kind of crashed.  The ATM was out of cash and, of course, we had no cash.  (Who carries cash anymore?)  So, no pierogi.  No kielbasa.

In the grand scheme of things, this isnt a big deal.  We went home and had lunch there.

But, to my heart, it was a jab.  I love going to the Shrine.  I love the familiar smell of Sophia's dinner when we go to the caf.  I love thinking that this would have been a place she would have loved to visit.  I love the taste of the homemade food that takes me back to her pregnancy.  There isn't a lot I can do or give them; visiting the Shrine is a special gift for all of them, but especially my sweet girl.

And it really hurt.  In a way that I was caught off guard by because, really, the Mass was great, the candle chapel was beautiful, and we were able to celebrate being there.   It was just so bittersweet.

But beauty from pain...  When we went to the candle chapel, I lit a candle for your babies... All of them, whether lost because of a chemical pregnancy or through miscarriage or because an IVF transfer didn't end in implantation or because your child died in childbirth or was stillborn or born too early to live.  A candle was lit for all of them... And for you too.