Wednesday, February 29, 2012


This is a follow up to this post, a post I wrote, a few weeks after Ryan was born, in an effort to be truly honest about how difficult newborn-hood can be.

Recently, I have had a lot of friends/acquaintances give birth, and as has become my practice, I have shared with them the essay I wrote when Ryan was a tiny little guy in order to let them know that it is OK to think having a newborn is pretty awful at times. But, I also find myself saying, "It really does get better! I promise!" And so, I want to give equal time to the truly amazing parts of parenthood.

Ryan was not an easy newborn. He did not sleep well at all. For the first three weeks he slept TERRIBLY until we figured out he had a milk protein intolerance and I cut out all dairy from my diet (since I was breastfeeding). After I did that he was like a new kid. But he still wasn't a kid who slept for long stretches of time. In fact, he didn't sleep allllll the way through the night until he was 14 months old. And no, I don't mean that he didn't sleep through the night consistently until 14, I mean the FIRST TIME he EVER slept all the way through the night was when he was 14 months old. Once he started sleeping through the night I realized how much interrupted sleep affected me! This is all to say that Ryan wasn't one of those super easy babies. But other than sleep, as of about 6 months, he was PRETTY. FREAKING. AWESOME!

For any new moms out there, I know 6 months sounds like such a LONG TIME AWAY! I remember when Ryan was about 4 weeks old and a friends said to me, "Just survive the first 6 months, and you'll be fine." I almost fell over in despair. SIX MONTHS?! I can barely think past the next 6 days. How do you expect me to make it through till 6 months?? I wanted to hear from them that it would be better in a week. But 6 months is when (at least for me and my husband) parenting got really great. As of about 5 weeks (again, for me, Matt, and Ryan) it was MUCH easier than it had been. And from 5 weeks to 6 months things got gradually better.

At 6 months Ryan started crawling. He was interested in and really interacting with his world. He smiled all the time and cooed constantly and even started saying Mama and Dada consistently at around 7 months. Caring for a child who can give back to you through smiles, coos, clapping, and kisses is so much easier than caring for a child who pretty much only cries, poops, pees, and doesn't sleep. Of course I ADORED Ryan as a newborn. I was intensely in love. In love in a way I had never been before. But looking back now, I can see how very hard it was and I can say that parenting just gets better and better.

Ryan is now 26 months old (or he will be in a few days). And he is so much fun. He talks in complete sentences and will say things like "I want to help Daddy put da trash in da dumpster," (after a jog during which Daddy picked up errant trash along the way as he tends to do. He is such a good citizen!) 10 word sentences like this that communicate such a robust understanding of the world stop me in my tracks. In only 26 months he has learned so much about the world. It is amazing to watch. He also will be found giving spontaneous tight hugs and saying, "I love you best, Mama!" He is a sweet, sensitive, caring little boy. And he just makes my heart sing on a daily basis.

Don't get me wrong. He can also be a sassy, loud, overwhelming little bundle of energy at times, too. Like at my Dad's birthday party the other night. He decided 2 minutes into sitting down to eat that he was "All done. I going to play now." To his credit, we were eating 2 hours earlier than his normal dinner time and he probably wasn't hungry. But I still wanted to wring his neck and say "JUST. SIT. DOWN!" I tried to contain him, but it was to no avail. So, we let him play. Of course, he didn't just go play quietly in the corner. He was getting into Nee-Nee and Pop-Pops fragile home decor items and sharing poorly with his cousins (who upon seeing Ryan soon decided they were done too). And of course, this stressed me out. Why is it that kids seem to be on their worst behavior when the most people are around to see them? Its embarrassing. My brother lovingly said "He's a handful." He didn't mean any harm, and I know he truly does think Ryan is such a good boy. But I wanted to cry and say, "No! Really! He's not! He is usually so good and so easy!"

And yet, even with these embarrassing and difficult moments being Ryan's mom is still the best thing I have ever done. Matt and I look at each other sometimes and wonder what we did to be so lucky. We truly adore being parents. It is rewarding on a level that cannot be surpassed by anything else. My favorite moments can be found during weekends when it is just the three of us living life: running errands...going for a jog...playing "Ice Cream Shop"...or eating dinner together (yes, most of the time Ryan sits nicely and eats a good meal). We are creating a family. A family full of love and joy and occasional frustrations. But the love and joy overflow in abundance. The frustration is just a little distraction along the way.

So, yes, newborn-hood is pretty exhausting and overwhelming. In fact, it is at times so miserable that I sometimes think, "Seriously? Do we really want to do this newborn thing all over again?" And then I just need to take one look at Ryan, and I can say, without a doubt, most definitely, YES!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Needles and Bling

So, have all of you been on pins and needles waiting for my acupuncture update!?!?! (Yes, pun definitely intended! :)

Well, I had my first appointment this morning and it went well. Though, its not like I can say, "YES! I feel things changing! I am definitely going to get pregnant this month!" But I can say it feels empowering to be doing "something" and it was nice to have a little over an hour just to relax and think of nothing...nothing at all.

So, since I can't really speak to whether the acupuncture is working or not (and I mean, let's be honest, even if I do happen to get pregnant soon, we'll never know if it was the acupuncture that worked or if it would have happened anyway) but I will give you a detailed rundown of what a first acupuncture appointment is like for those that are curious.

I was first asked to fill out some basic paperwork about medical history and any current areas of discomfort/concern. Then I met with the acupuncturist (is that the right word?) who looked surprisingly familiar to me, but I couldn't place her. We will call her Pam.

Pam went into a little more detail during our conversation about my concerns (how long I had been trying, if I had any previous issues, etc) and then she explained a bit about Acupuncture, the theories and evidence behind it. She explained that while there are certain points that address fertility issues (and she will be using those points) that much of acupuncture is focused on cleansing and freeing the entire body so that it can function at maximum capacity. So, in other words, acupuncture enables the body to heal itself. Or, so the theory goes, anyway. After this discussion she went to work.

She had me lay on a table that is identical (at least this one was) to the type of table you lay on for a massage. It had soft blankets and was in a small, cozy room with quiet music and pleasant artwork.

She first asked me to lay on my stomach, and explained that she would be doing a number of points in my back that give the body a general cleansing. Each of the points focuses on one major organ system. As she put each needle into each point she had me take a deep breath in, and as I let it out she put the needle in. She put in about 9 needles and most I didn't feel at all. There were two that I could feel a little pinch. Once they were in I didn't feel them at all unless I moved (at one point I moved my arms from my sides to under my head) and then I could feel the needles as my back flexed and that pinched a little. But it was never painful. Once she finished putting in all 9 needles she left the room for about 25 minutes as they "took effect." She explained that during this initial cleansing the points are left in. But other points simply are put in and then removed. While she was gone she encouraged me to just relax and welcomed me to fall asleep if I liked, which I did for the last 5 minutes or so.

Pam then came back in and removed the 9 (or so, I may have not counted correctly) needles in my back. I could not feel this at all. She then did two points, one in each wrist which are supposed to help with relaxation and stress, which, as you probably know, can be a key factor in fertility issues. For these points she just put the needle in and then immediately took it out.

Lastly, she placed 3 very small (about the size of a pin head) gold magnets on the inner part of my ears (2 on the right side and one of the left. Not in my actual ear canal, but on the cartilage) and she explained that these points are associated with uterine health. The magnets were attached with a tiny bit of glue. So, yes, I left my first acupuncture appointment with a little bling! ;) The magnets will stay there until I return for my next appointment which will be Friday. She said that typically once a week is what she recommends, but for fertility issues, she tries to get things "jump started" by having people come every 3-4 days for the first few sessions. I was lucky that I came at the "perfect" time in my cycle. Yes, I scheduled this to start when it did on purpose! :)

When I got home I was telling my mom about my experience (she was watching Ryan while I went) and I mentioned the woman's name. And she placed her for me. She used to teach at my Middle School. I never had her as a teacher but that is why she looked familiar. Its a small world! Apparently this woman (who my mom knows because my Mom also taught at my middle school) left teaching to become an acupuncturist).

Overall, it was a very positive, relaxing experience. Here's to hoping it works!

So, have any of you ever tried acupuncture? Does this sound similar to your first appointment?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thank you!

I owe a thank you to a lot of people! After my post yesterday so many people e-mailed, or posted comments on my facebook page, and one friend from grad school, who I haven't been in touch with except via facebook and occasional e-mail since we graduated even tracked down my number via the web, and called to say, "I'm here. I've been where you are before. I will listen if you'll let me." Other than being slightly freaked out by the stalkerish-ness of it (JUST KIDDING, KM!) I was touched beyong belief. I had a dear cousin (who shall remain nameless) e-mail me a NEJM article that he and his wife found helpful when they were in their baby making days. So, as much as I said, "No one talks about it!" I was thrilled to find so many people in my life who are more than willing to talk about it. So, thank you!

I also made note of a comment left on facebook in which someone suggested that one of the reasons people may not talk about it is because they don't want people constantly asking, "So, are you pregnant, yet?" And I can completely understand that! That would be painful. I know during the past 7 months, some people closest to me have already known of our struggles. And the occasional "Thinking of you!" or "Keep me posted when you are ready to share," or "You know I'm here to talk if you need to," have been extremely appreciated and not at all painful to hear. It is nice to know that people are thinking of you and sending "babydust" (as a blog commenter/so thoughtful friend said).

So, here's to lots and lots and lots of BABYDUST for Matt and me, and anyone else out there who is trying for a baby.

Stayed tuned early next week for a post on my first experience with acupuncture.

(Hey, if nothing else comes of this experience, at least I will have something to keep me motivated to blog. The community of well wishers has already been very comforting. Thanks again!)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mums the Word...Why??

I have been thinking about posting on this topic for weeks. But haven't for so many reasons. Namely, because its something people don't talk about. But then, today, I got a message from a facebook friend/former college band buddy (thanks Abby!) who was openly sharing her thoughts/experiences with me on this exact topic. She said, "it can be so isolating because no one talks about it. That's why I try to be as open as I can be about it." And that, that was the push I needed to go ahead and blog about this.

Matt and I have been trying to get pregnant with our second child for 7 months now. And so far we have not succeeded, but certainly not for lack of trying! (Sorry if that is too much information! ;) So, there I said it. And even as I put it "out there" I wonder why is this something we don't talk about? Well, I can think of a few reasons, because they are all things I thought about when I chose not to write about this:

1) No one talks about it. (Yes, I know, I said that already, but it bears repeating).

2) Everyone feels like "Oh, I shouldn't complain. So many other people have it so much worse!" (i.e. At least I have a chlid already, or "its only been 7 months. Some people have been trying for years.")

3) Its embarassing. I kind of thought that at first. But then I decided, no its not! Its not like either Matt or I have done anything wrong. What is to be embarassed about? (Feel free to fill me in here if I am missing something).

I am sure there are many more reasons why this is a topic about which people don't talk openly. And, I for one am not going to continue keeping mum. I know getting the e-mail from Abby (and talking with others who I know have shared similar struggles) has meant a lot to me. It is wonderful to hear from people who struggled and still made a beautiful baby as a result. So, if sharing my thoughts and experiences can help someone feel a little less isolated, then so be it.

And so, there you have it. We want another baby. And so far we don't have one. For those that think, 7 months is NOTHING! Well, its not "nothing" to me. Matt and I got pregnant fairly quickly with Ryan, and so, when we decided to start trying for #2 we were ready. We expected it to happen fairly quickly, and have been rather shocked that it hasn't happened yet. It is frustrating that even insurance companies have something to say about it all. You can't start any testing of any kind (and expect it to be covered by insurance) until you have been trying for a year (if you're under 35. I believe if you are over 35 you can start testing at 6 months).

Matt and I want our kids somewhat spaced apart, but not too far spaced. The longer it takes, the more that "perfect" spacing I have imagined in my head gets swept down the drain. And yes, we already have one child, and we should be grateful, and yes, of course we are. But as a mom, and as a sister, I have always pictured childREN in my life. Not one child. I know the wonderful relationships that are shared between siblings, and I want that for Ryan. I want him to know the joys and the struggles and the lessons involved in being a sibling, not just a son.

And yes, I know, in the grand scheme of things 7 months is not that long. But it sure can feel like an eternity when your heart aches every month when something you desperately want does not happen.

And so, I am trying to do "something" about the whole thing. I am a doer and feeling powerless just feels awful to me. So, I am going to acupuncture starting next Tuesday. I have never been before but I am anxious to see what it is like. I have read a lot, and know from various friends that acupuncture can be very helpful when trying to conceive. I'll let you know how it goes.

And in the meantime, send fertile vibes my way. And here's hoping that in a few months I will share that we are expecting. I can't wait!


I wonder what it is like to have one of those blogs where people actually notice when you haven't blogged in less than a week, much less over a month and e-mail you and say, OMG! Are you ok? What happened?

Well, I wouldn't know.

But for any of you out there who have noticed my absence, I have no excuse. Except to say that I have a post coming very soon. Until then, enjoy a recent picture of me and my little man that my husband captured of the two of us using my iPad. Which reminds me, if the new iPad comes out and has a better camera, I am going to be sooooo bitter! I just got this iPad for Christmas after pining over it for at least a year (Thank you, Matt!) and I am frustrated that the camera is so crummy....

Anyway, here is the picture....ok, never mind. I just tried to upload it from the Ipad, and apparently that is not possible on blogger....well, most people who read this can find me on facebook and the picture is already there.

Wow, this post sure is a whole lot of nothing! Sorry! Better post coming soon!

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