Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Parenting in the Age of the Internet

As someone who blogs I am clearly a person who uses the Internet a lot. I use Facebook, Blogger, Pinterest, Twitter (rarely), etc. I get my news from the Internet, rarely picking up an actual newspaper (despite the fact that one is delivered to our home every day. It is usually gone by the time I wake up, as Matt reads it on the train. And this is fine, because I don't have time to read the actual "paper"). I keep in touch with family and friends via the Internet. I get parenting advice from, yes, the Internet. And this last item has made me think a lot in recent days.

Clearly, the World Wide Web is an amazing resource. It allows me to feel "connected" to the world and to other moms on a daily basis despite the fact that from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. (on most days) my only prolonged interactions are with children 5 years or younger. As Matt and I continue to struggle to get pregnant (fingers crossed this month!) I have found the web to be an amazing source of support. Friends and family, and even people who I haven't actually talked to in YEARS (some a decade or more) have been so kind with their thoughts, well wishes, and love (some haven't been as supportive, but that's beside the point!)

And yet, despite all these "pros" of using the Internet, I am also at times overwhelmed by it. And I wonder, as my generation of Moms and those that will come after, get older, will we be better off because of the WWW? Or will we instead be anxious, strung-out, nervous wrecks after 2 decades of parenting in the age of the Internet?

Only via the instantaneous and easily accessible interconnected web that is the net can one on a daily basis be bombarded with proof that they're not doing this parenting thing "right." On any given day, as a direct result of something I read on-line I may wonder, am I giving Ryan enough whole grains? Should I not be feeding him grains at all? Am I slowly killing him because we don't buy organic produce, much less, grow it in our backyard? Does he drink enough milk (which is organic by the way) or too much? Can he have a munchkin at Dunkin Donuts, or is that slowly killing him. too? Is it our fault he was a terrible sleeper as a baby? Can we actually take any credit for the fact that he sleeps like a champ now? Should he be enrolled in pre-school at the age of two, or can we safely hold off until he is three, and not risk his chances of getting into Boston College? (We certainly wouldn't want him  to have to settle for some sub-par University located in South Bend Indiana! ;) Are we sacrificing his potential musical ability by not yet enrolling him in music classes?

Fortunately, I am able to keep a pretty level head about most of these things and feel confident in the decisions that Matt and I make based on what we believe is best for Ryan and for our family. I am grateful that we have an extremely down-to-earth pediatrician who supports our decisions and constantly reminds us that we are extremely reasonable parents and we make excellent decisions. And on most days I don't stress too much about these things. And usually I am more grateful for the "pros" of the web than I am stressed by the "cons." But I can say with certainty that I worry about the above list of "issues" a LOT more than I would if I did not have the wealth of information at my finger tips that the Internet provides.

So, what do you think? Are we raising healthier, happier kids because of the Internet? Or are we as Moms and Dads so stressed out by everything we read that our stress will eventually rub off on our children and they will in turn end up on a psychologists couch at the age of 19 because of all the "googling" we did??

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Open for Swimming!

So, I had my HSG today, and we got the results of Matt's testing. And, the results are all good! My tubes are open and Matt's "guys" are plentiful and good swimmers! What a relief! They did see something on the HSG that could be a polyp. So, I have to have one more test, a hysterosonogram. This will tell them whether or not I have a polyp. If I do, it could be the reason I am not pregnant yet and then they will likely remove it (through a minor procedure involving light sedation). If there is not a polyp then we hope that there was some small blockage in my tubes that got swept out during the HSG today. Hopefully I will be able to schedule the hysterosonogram in the next day or two. If not, we will do it next cycle, in which case we will hope I get pregnant before then and find it unnecessary.

I am surprised at how relieved I am that my tubes are not blocked. If they were, it would have been because of my c-section (I have no other risk factors) and it wasn't until I found out that all was well that I let myself truly feel all that I had been thinking. I had been doubting the necessity of a c-section when Ryan was born and wondering if I should have pushed harder to avoid it. Obviously, at the time I knew it was the right decision for many reasons, and my doctors agreed. But now, I can move forward, and simultaneously look back without any doubt that it was indeed the right decision and have no regret.

I'll be sure to keep you all posted!

And in the meantime, again, there are a few thank yous that I must send out:

1) My parents for arriving at my house at 7:20 this morning to watch Ryan so I could make it to my 9:10 appointment. And for staying on throughout the morning to watch my nieces.

2) My wonderful sister-in-law, Catharine who drove me to the appointment so driving would be one less thing I had to worry about. We sat in horrible traffic and she focused on driving while I focused on calling the clinic with updates on our time of arrival. And having her to chat with made me far more calm than I otherwise would have been sitting in all that traffic.

3) Shady Grove for still doing the procedure despite my arrival at the clinic 20 minutes late. I was so worried they wouldn't do it! When they said they still could I grew tearful in gratitude. I would have completely understood if they had not. Once again, everyone was so kind and sensitive. From the woman at the billing desk to the nurse, to the radiologist.

4) Matt, for continuing to be my biggest support and the love of my life.

5) Space Shuttle Discovery's transport crew for flying over 495 just as Catharine and I got on the beltway to head home. It was an exciting way to end an otherwise stressful morning! This was a pretty spectacular site:
Credit: The Washington Post. Also, we were no where near this close. But we could still clearly see it (and the  much smaller plane that trailed it) from our view on 495. It was pretty neat!
Again, thanks for reading!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter 2012: In Pictures

Our Easter Festivities started the Thursday before when my Sister-in-law hosted an egg hunt for Ryan and his Maryland Cousins (since we would be out of town on actual Easter). Here are Ryan and Caitlin working together to find eggs. 
Julia was more about eating the treats than finding the eggs. And once she realized the green bunnies weren't that good she offered hers to Ryan. 

We arrived in CT on Friday. Saturday morning we went to an egg hunt at the Mini Golf Course where Matt worked as a High Schooler. There was much waiting involved. But we were with good friends so a good time was still had by all. Here is Ryan off to "find" some eggs. 
Ryan with our friends' adorable daughter, Natalie. Future prom date??? 

Good friends! 

Sunday morning Ryan was off to find his basket from the Easter Bunny. He was very excited until....

We made him get dressed in his Easter Outfit. Then he was less than happy. But he recovered quickly. 

Family photo before Church. 
I don't know why, but I really like this picture. 

When we got back from Church Ryan had a blast finding the eggs I hid for him in his grandparents' backyard. 

My little Oliver Twist. 

Ryan showing his Uncle Adam (no, that is not Matt, they just look a lot alike) his eggs. 

Ryan with his Grandparents. 

My handsome boys! 

Me and my baby! 

We ended Easter with dinner with Matt's extended family. Lisa helped Ryan get a cookie (or two). That was worthy of a kiss! :) 

Dancing for Janet and Vanessa. 
 We had a very festive and happy Easter. I hope you did, too!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

No One Has Ever Asked Me That Before....

So, I had my "Day 3s" (as I learned they are called by the infertility crowd) today. And man, all doctors offices should run like Shady Grove Fertility. It is truly like a machine. Less so of the soft and gentle machine that I referenced before and more a true machine, but that was ok for what was going on today. I arrived at 7:00 for a 7:15 appointment. I waited maybe 5 minutes and was taken back for a blood draw. After that I was put in an exam room, where I waited about 5 minutes and then the radiology tech came in and did an ultrasound. In her words she "took a few basic measurements" and was done in about 2 and a half minutes. At least that's my guess. Maybe a little longer. But it was QUICK.

Once the ultrasound was done I met with a nurse who chatted briefly to make sure I had all my other needed appointments scheduled, which I did. During this conversation I asked a few questions. One of which was, "When they do the HSG do they use a water based or oil based dye?" She kind of looked at me funny and then said, "No one has ever asked me that before. I have no idea." I then explained that the reason I asked is because in a Harvard journal article I read that oil based dye has a slightly higher success rate of clearing blocked tubes but that it also results in a higher risk of pulmonary embolism. And no matter how blocked my tubes are, I don't want the oil based dye because I don't want an increased risk of P.E. She said, "Wow. What do you do?" I explained and she said, "I thought you were a doctor." HAH! Anyway, she said to let her know when I find out. And I will definitely be asking that the day of the test.

And then, I was out of there and headed on my way home. Total, (including the 15 minutes early I arrived) I was in the office today for 45 minutes). Talk about quick!

Today at 2:00 p.m. I got a call from the nurse who had my results and informed me everything was normal. And while that may sound like good news, I was kind of hoping they would find some easy-to-fix hormonal imbalance, I would take a drug, and all would be well in the world. We could go on to have babies easily again. But alas, that was not the case. So, we'll find out next Tuesday whether or not my tubes are blocked. I'll keep you posted!

And yes, I know, I still haven't posted pictures of Ryan. I promise! They are coming soon! I typically have time to post in the middle of the day (when all the kids are napping) and I only have access to my Ipad (which also explains any typos. I can't find spell check on the Ipad version of blogger. What the heck!?!?). When I am home in the evening, after Ryan goes to bed, I typically spend that time with Matt. But soon, I will be posting more pictures. There are some great ones from Easter!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Little Moments

Last weekend when my husband and I were on a run together (with Ryan in the jogging stroller, probably yelling, "Faster, Mama! Go faster!") we started talking about the little joys about parenting that you don't anticipate before you have children. We both find that there are so many more little moments of joy in our day now because of Ryan. We notice things that we previously took for granted. For example, on Fridays, my day working outside of home, when I go to visit one particular family I drive past what must be a company that sells construction equipment. They have a large parking lot filled with bull dozers, excavators, dump trucks, steam rollers, etc. And every time I drive by it I get a huge smile on my face and a warm feeling inside. I think of Ryan and know that if he were in the back seat he would be saying, "Look, Mama! Look at all doooes TWUCKS! Do you see dem? Do you see da ecavator!?!?!"

Likewise, Ryan has an uncanny ability to spot the moon in the sky, no matter how faint it may be. He can find the moon in the middle of the day, when it is just a tiny white sliver amongst huge puffy white clouds. As we drive down the road, or go for a walk, he will look out the window, and say, "Da Moon!" And then I will say, in a deep voice, pretending to be the moon, "Hiya, Ryan! It is good to see you again!" And then Ryan will reach his hand up to the sky and say, "Here ya go Moon! I have a lollipop for you!" and he will hand the moon an imaginary lollipop. To which the moon (aka: me) will reply, "Oh thank you, Ryan! That is so nice of you to share! I know you looooove lollipops! I love them too!"

See? Little moments of joy that I never anticipated.

But it doesn't end there. Every day when I watch my neices, one of the first things Ryan will do is turn on the music so he and his cousin Julia (who is 23 months old) can have a dance party. I like to stand in the next room, just out of their sight, watching them. I love to hear their giggles as they spin in circles, and watch the way they occasionally stop just to give each other a hug. And then, in mid embrace they will look around for me saying, "Look Mama/Auntie Titin! Look!" Because they know they are just so cute when they hug.

An old photo, but one of my favorites of Ryan with his buddy Julia 

The joy continues when Ryan and I leave his cousins' house and head back home. Without fail Ryan will ask, "We goin back home, Mama?" And I will say, "Yup, we're going home." To which Ryan will respond, "Daddy will come home soon?" Me, "Yup, he'll be home soon buddy." A few hours later when his Daddy does get home Ryan will stop what he is doing, smile broadly at his Daddy, while running to give him a hug, and say, "Daddy! You wide the twain today!?" And just like every day before it Matt responds and says, "Yup! I road the train today, buddy!" Ryan smiles even broade and gives his Daddy a huge hug and again says, "Look, Mama!"

Trucks, trains, airplanes, moons, dance parties, and hugs. They were all a part of my daily life before Ryan was born (well, maybe not the dance parties) but I never fully appreciated these things until he came along. And now, having had Ryan in my life, I don't think I will ever again look at these things in the same way. I will never again see a truck, train, or airplane without smiling. I will never give or receive a hug without imagining Ryan's "look Mama!" I will never be the same person again now that I have experienced life as a mom; life filled with so many little moments of joy. And that change in who I am is just fine by me.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Who are you????

Every time I post a new entry on my blog I have approximately 100 unique new hits. However, I probably only know of about 25 people who regularly read my blog. If you have never commented (either on my blog or on my facebook page) I would love to know you're reading. Leave a comment. Say hello! Remember, I write this blog because I want people to read it. I won't think you're "stalking" me if I find out you're a reader. And if I don't know you, even better; Introduce yourself and let me know you're following along.

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