Women’s Health

We’re Having A….

BOY or GIRL

{Photo taken at one of my favorite places ever: the James Turrell tunnel at the MFAh}

I decided that I wanted to wait to find out the gender.  It could have something to do with my fear of early attachment… but I don’t think so.  I’ve just always thought it would be great to wait to find out.  I mean, I’ve got enough issues that I don’t think I need to start projecting gender bias onto something still in utero!  I also kind of like the personal challenge of turning down the opportunity of finding out.  It’s like being able to say no to a piece of free chocolate cake. (I mean, what sane person does that?!)

One of the unexpected enjoyments has been how EVERYONE has an opinion about what I’m having.  I’m not kidding.  Just last week a lifeguard, parking lot attendant, entire Chipotle staff, and a random lady on the street offered up their unsolicited opinions.  Bradly even had someone at a taco shop tell him what they thought it was and I wasn’t even with him!!!

It’s pretty predictable and usually conversations go something like this:

[Stranger:] “Wow… how far along are you?!” or “Congratulations”

[Me]: fill in appropriate blank

[Stranger:] “Is this your first?”

[Me:] yes

[Stranger:] “What are you having?”

[Me:] Not sure, we’re waiting to find out.

[Stranger:] “What?!?! Really? Wow!  Well I think its a {insert boy or girl}!”

I’m not kidding.  People flock to this belly like free ice cream on a hot day.  Surprisingly, the misanthropic introverted part of me doesn’t mind this.  I actually think it’s really funny.   I’ve talked to more strangers in the last 3 months than I have probably in the last 3 years combined!

I’ve also really enjoyed reading about all the old wives tales about gender.  Most of them suggest that I’m having a boy.  I keep flip-flopping as to what I think it is.  I wish I could say I have this other-worldly connection and my intuition is spot on, but really I have no idea.  I think for sure that it’s human…  But these days this is what I think I’m having:

(more…)

It Is What It Is – Thoughts On My Pregnancy (so far)

Thirty one weeks….  T-H-I-R-T-Y O-N-E W-E-E-K-S people.

31 Weeks

I finally feel like I can spend some time reflecting on this whole thing.  Time is such a strange phenomenon and concept.  Pregnancy has been one of the most unusual and difficult experiences of my life (and sometimes overwhelmingly amazing).  Let’s go ahead and add to that experience the purchase of a new home, a remodel of said home, moving, and having a husband in a major accident and unable to use one leg for 10+ weeks.

I guess I should start from the beginning… (hang on, this is a LONG one)

(more…)

Is a “Meditation Challenge” an Oxymoron?

Meditation Photo

For the month of June I’ve given myself a new challenge: meditation.  I know it’s apparently all the rage these days, but it was last fall when my therapist recommended that I try it.  Well I did…sort of.  I was only practicing it very sporadically and at weird times.  Needless to say it felt forced and like me trying to put ice on a pulled muscle rather than a preemptive conditioning for my muscles.  Thus a proactive approach to my self-care has emerged.

Because meditation is hard, I thought I would build up my tolerance.  So starting on June 1st, I meditated for 1 minute; and on June 2nd, 2 minutes.  You see a pattern emerging.  So today is June 20 and I’ll meditate for 20 minutes tonight before I hit the sack.  Sitting for 30 minutes seems much more doable now because I know I can do 20 minutes.

I’ve learned 2 things since I’ve begun.  First, I can actually sit and calm my mind, but it does indeed take practice and it’s (still) hard.  Second, I do a lot better when meditating at night. I’ve tried at all times and places (hello bathroom, couch, floor, kitchen).  But “success” has come to me when I turn out the lights, turn on the twinkle lights (or light a candle), sit on the floor (with a block) or on the Eames ottoman and cross my legs.  In order to help get me calm I use an app — which I really like for background sounds and the fact that it has a really gentle alarm that lets you know when you’ve achieved your desired time.

I’ve really enjoyed my practice so far. But I think I would also like to try this “progressing” meditation while syncing up with my cycle.  That way when when I hit day 30-ish full of cramps, bloating, rage, and other general PMS, I’ll be able to get centered and tackle the introspective beast that sometimes threatens to eat me alive.

And I found this great infographic showing the benefits of mindful meditation.  And here is the full Time article and a response in The Huffington Post.

Meditation Infographic

{source}

weekend thoughts — finding my direction

Compass

Full disclosure.  I’m in a funk.  I’ve been in a funk for a little over a week now.  All that creative energy I wrote about two weeks ago, out the door.  I also feel weird physically.  I’ve felt like I’ve been fighting something.  You know, whole body aches, sensitive skin, etc.  And it was unbearably hot this weekend, 107 was the actual temp on Saturday!  But that doesn’t mean I didn’t do some great things.  We finally had dinner with friends Friday evening at a new-to-us-restaurant.  It was delicious and the conversation carried us through the evening easily bearing the heat and humidity on the patio.  On Saturday my sister came over and we at a new-to-her vegan restaurant.  We then tried to relax inside our apartment, but sans insulation, this place gets hot!  And on Sunday we finally watched a movie that’s been on our list for a year now. (And it was wonderful.)  But… there’s a but.  I’m weepy, achy, tired, and crazy sensitive about everything.  And I’ve been having really weird and vivid dreams.  Yes, this could all be PMS, but that seems like such a cop-out (and an insult).  I’m very aware of my cycle and very aware of my PMS symptoms, but this is industrial strength crazy I’m feeling.  I was very aware that I was experiencing a lot of changes, and I thought I was very open and prepared for said changes, but maybe I’ve discounted just how much they would be affecting me.  Part of my frustration is that the changes are all really good and things I’ve wanted: working from home, living with my husband (full time), starting my own business… So why do I feel so funky?  I guess a call to my therapist is indeed in order…

[image]

to corporate america: stop stalking my uterus!

Some time ago when I was sick with pink eye, my dad inadvertently signed me up for a Target pharmacy rewards card while picking up my prescription.  (He is still denying this fact mind you.)  However, ever since said card has been ascribed to me, I have been inundated with baby business.  It started with a few issues of something called “American Baby” and then onto Target coupons for maternity clothes and baby-esque things. I finally wrote to American Baby and asked them to stop sending me their junk mail magazine (but I have still received more issues).  Then came an onslaught of “Babies-R-Us” fliers and coupons.  To the recycle bin it all went… until last week.  Much to my surprise, I found a sizable package addressed to me on the porch.  Having not ordered anything myself, I was giddy with joy thinking someone decided to surprise me!  Well, the pastel lavender package should have been an immediate dead giveaway.  One quick flip of the box and I knew this was no gift for me, it was rather, a gift to my Corporate American Consumer identity.

According to this super-scary article about the tracking habits of Corporate America (and specifically Target) I should be having a baby.  I mean, they now know my age (a shocking 34!), my meds that I take (for a wonky thyroid), and that on my last trip to Target my purchases included a frozen (albeit organic) pizza, bottle of wine, and cookie dough.  That doesn’t exactly scream new-mom-in-the-making material to me.  But apparently these purchases along with my age and income (which they know!) have sent out smoke signals that “IT’S TIME!”

Well I’ve got news for you Corporate America, if a dying old woman with ties directly to the center of my heart can’t convince me to have a baby — then neither can you, even with all your fancy marketing material.  Lord knows I’m a sucker for good packaging and the big red box store will continue to suck me in with its affordable, semi-trendy designer goods, and newly-expanded-grocery-section (hallelujah!), BUT you cannot trick me into having a baby — or even thinking that I want one.  If anything, you are just continually reminding me of exactly why we have chosen to not reproduce.

Look, it’s not you — it’s me.  So you can stop wasting all that paper and packaging.  It’s not going to happen — at least not because of you or on your time-table.  When and if the time does come for us to make that decision, we will not be consulting the aisles of Target, Babies R Us, or any other store that sells STUFF.  Oh, and you might want to tell the tracking people that they missed they mark because pre-baby stuff has given way to post-baby stuff — starting with the TWO FREE jars of formula that were sitting on my porch last week.  (Well, maybe it was the wine that gave it away after all. I guess I will be getting a breast pump coupon next!)

on eating well

Ever since February I’ve had a bit of a shift in my eating habits.  After the binge that is the holiday season and a semester of classes that interfered with my exercise I reluctantly got on the scale and just about melted when I saw what number was looking back at me.  I know it’s not just about a number, but I had noticed that even my “cookie pants” were quite tight.  I even started realizing that I wasn’t wearing certain items in my closet because a.) they looked terrible and b.) they weren’t fitting!  Frustration and shock started to set in.  It had to change — and right then.  OK, so maybe it wasn’t a total lightening strike moment, but it was a wake-up call.

(more…)

Get In Shape, Girl! Grows Up

I have apparently been obsessed with working out (i.e. body-image issues anyone??) since I was young.  (Other than that quite-long, dormant period in early adult-hood!)  I ran across this childhood photo and couldn’t stop laughing.  But oh-the-memories.  I had all but forgotten about my awesome Get In Shape, Girl get-up!  I would pop in my cassette tape and perfectly place my instruction booklet on the floor and get to work.  It’s funny how 23 years later not much has changed.  Except instead of a cassette it’s a DVD and plastic weights have been exchanged for 3-pounders.  But I still look equally as dorky, just sans leg warmers.  These day’s I’m not rocking out to Debbie Gibson, but rather the Queen Bad-Ass herself, Ms. Jillian Michaels.  Holy-Mother!  That woman is INSANE; but, she has given me what many have tried and failed to do: the slightest definition in my arms!  I love that she says on her 40-minute disc, “Think of your arms as a naked body part that everyone sees.”  (I just about traded up to 5lb weights after hearing that!)

What I have enjoyed the most though, is her 30-Day Shred video.  It is only 20 minutes for each workout.  Did you hear me?!  I said, only 20 minutes!  I remember thinking when my Mom first told me that she was doing a new video that only took her 20 minutes that it can’t work because you need to have at least 30-45 minutes to be effective.  Boy was I wrong.  Holy-goodness, she kicks your butt for those 20 minutes… but it’s only 20 minutes!  Fortunately for people like myself, there are modified positions for beginners, but once I consistently did the tape, I no longer felt like I needed to be in the back of the room.  Now it’s become a bit of a habit (at least on the days that I don’t run) to come home from work, change clothes immediately and then get my Jillian on… for just 20 minutes.  I never thought that stay-at-home-jane-fonda-workouts could be so great.  I’m just glad my husband and mother have joined in my dorkiness and yell at the t.v. with me.

************

{Post Script}

What crazy person took this photo of me?  And why in the world did I set up the tape and booklet in front of the t.v. like that’s where the instructions would come from?

feeling good, again

I can’t believe that it’s the middle of March already.  I’m not quite sure just where time is going, but I’m really trying to stay present to each day, each moment.  Despite my temporary mental anguish, I feel really good… about life.  I was getting ready for bed last night and talking to my husband about how I don’t think I’ve ever really felt this good.  It helps that my thyroid is finally under control (therefore I don’t need 13 hours of sleep to feel rested), I’m completely hormone free (been using Fertility Awareness Method for 14 months), and I’m exercising regularly (like every day).  I don’t know if it’s the warm weather, the “happy” endorphins from the exercise, or all the AMAZING food at my fingertips, but life if good.  I’ve got family at my fingertips, I LOVE where I work, it’s not hot yet… I know, it’s probably a combination of all those things.

I don’t know that there have been many times in my life when I have felt so content.  Don’t get me wrong, my inner cynic is still ever-present, I’ve just been trying to keep her under control, because if not, then I’ll be on the ledge.  What’s great is that I went back and read one of my journal entries from 2 years ago and I talked about how I had this epiphany that no one else could motivate me.  There was not going to be some cataclysmic event to prompt me to “eat better, exercise, take my medicine everyday, not be motivated by guilt, etc…”  As I read those words I realized, “Hey!  I’ve done those things!”  In fact, not only am I able to take a pill EVERY DAY at the same time, but I just ran my first 10-miler two weekends ago…and I could have kept going.  It felt amazing!  And then I was disappointed to find out that this area is having a Marathon/Half Marathon event while I’m in Spain.  (Granted…I would rather be in Spain any day!)  But I would have totally signed up for the half.  I’m sure I’ll do one on my own, but it would have been nice to have the experience of the entire event, anxiety pooh and all.

I can’t believe that I’m 31 years old, I’m living in my childhood home — with my mother,  and I’m finally acting like a grown up.  It feels really good.

{image here}

death to the swimsuit

i hate going to the gym.  no, i loathe going to the gym. there’s something about the entire process of being in a crowded, smelly room full of strangers trying not to be seen while doing things to your body that make you look completely uncoordinated.  we get on these machines that have you run, climb, or cycle in place.  where’s the sanity in that?  i don’t usually like people that go to ‘gyms’ either.  (probably because these people see it as another social outlet)  i haven’t been to an official gym since grad school… until now.

a new gym just opened around the corner from my house.  and seeing is how there is snow everywhere and it’s been just painfully cold lately, i won’t go walk outside.  yes, i should be cross country skiing or snow-shoeing, but i seem to be losing my motivation for that.  it’s just so bloody cold.  it also seems that my motivation needs to be green…as in greenbacks.  and if i pay to go torture myself it’s more likely that i will go or that i can at least guilt myself into it.  so i figured why not try it for one month.  this gym — and i use that word liberally — is running a special called ‘afternoon delight’ (like such a fallacious title would suck people like me in).  if you’re willing to workout between 1pm & 4pm it’s only $20 for the entire month.  not a bad deal.  i also don’t mind that this is their lowest time of attendance and therefore i have to put up with fewer ‘gym people’.  most of the folks that go during the ‘afternoon delight’ are the old ladies avoiding afternoon tea with the girls.    i guess i’ll manage for a month…but we’ll see if i can make it a week.

part of the whole gym thing is knowing that spring is just around the corner and I will yet again be exposing myself to the world in ways i should not.  it’s bad enough that i’m pasty white (not the pretty-model-from-ireland-way, but rather that of one-dark-haired girl-who-has-not-seen-the-sun-in-months-sort-of-way) but to be flabby and pasty white is just humiliating.  i wouldn’t even be bothering with it except that my current swimsuit finally needs to be retired and this has forced me to face the fact that i will have to purchase another one.  i have had the same one-piece swimsuit since 2003, originally purchased from the only provider of non-athletic/old-lady one-piece swimsuits and call-girls outfits.  the underwire is popping out, the bottom has thinned a bit and maybe the elasticity is not what is should be.  if i’m going to have to don one of these vile contraptions, it might as well look like something other than a swimsuit, but not quite a moo-moo.  i don’t think i’ll ever be fully comfortable in a swimsuit again, but hopefully i’ll at least not scare small children this year.  while at a trip to mecca the other day I saw this little gem.  praise jesus for target because they actually have nice one-piece swimsuits this year…well nice-er than in the past.  this just might be the one for the next 6 years of my life…that is if i keep working out!