Sunday, October 24, 2010

Birth Stories

There are lots of types of blog posts that I like to read: funny, serious, life changing, overcoming challenges, funny, but one of my favourite narratives is the birth story. There's a birth story bonanza going on at Mommypotamus, go on and check it out!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dropping some products

I remember a couple of years ago, I could go to the drug store and buy something I allegedly needed at least twice a week. Today I was in a drug store and bought socks and a baby toothbrush, and wandered around looking for something else I needed. Couldn't find a thing. (The baby keeps hiding her toothbrush!)

First, my tweeps, Amber and Amber, inspired me to stop using shampoo. I have been using a water and baking soda solution to wash and apple cider vinegar to condition my hair for a couple of months and I love it. I had a link with some great #nopoo troubleshooting tips but I can't find it; this page has some helpful ideas but is less comprehensive than the page I misplaced. Both Ambers have good info on how to wash and condition your hair this way. Each head is different: you'll need to experiment a bit to get it right for you.

A lot of the #nopoo people go on about how their hair is nicer without shampoo. I'm not sure if my hair is softer or nicer: it might be, but it might be that I want it to be. What is indisputable, and DH even commented on before I told him I'd stopped using shampoo, is my horrendous dandruff has totally gone away. I used to be very uncomfortable about the snowfall from my shoulders, and it especially made me crazy when I was wearing black, which I do a lot. A couple of weeks into the #nopoo experiment and it's gone. Not a flake. Awesome.

I've also stopped using antiperspirant. Instead, I'm using a paste of baking soda and coconut oil. I'm a bit meh about this, as it doesn't have the redeeming quality of no dandruff. Of course, I don't have armpit dander that I am aware of... It's more of a 12 - 15 hour thing. After 24 hours of BS/CO, I'm a bit stinky. But I'm using less plastic and putting less chemicals on my body and into the environment, so a wee bit of stinky isn't the end of the world.

Finally, I've also dropped facial wash. I'm using honey to wash my face. No really. Amber also inspired me to try this, and I totally dig it. We are calling it #honeyface. As noted in yesterday's post on the post-partum body, I have adult acne going on again, but I did when using expensive product on my face, so it's just fine. I miss using retinol on my face: it was awesome for the pimples, but apparently it can cause birth defects. Since our method of birth control is a bit sketchy, I'm not seeking out more retinol for the moment.

After washing my face with honey, my face feels clean but not tight and thirsty as it often does after commercial cleansers.

So here's my question: the other big chemical stuff I'm using is to clean my teeth: what are you crunchy people using instead of mainstream toothpaste/mouthwash/floss? I assume these products are also chemical laden and problematic and that I just haven't read about why yet. There is certainly a lot of packaging involved. I have used a BS/peroxide combo to clean my teeth from time to time but it tastes seriously nasty. Any recommendations out there?

Also, any questions from would be nopoo-ers or honeyface-ers?

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Post-Partum Body

So since my post on weird pregnancy symptoms is by far and away the most popular post ever, on my wee blog (50% of all traffic, thanks to accidentally hitting on a popular search term), I've been meaning to write a bit about what's happened since.
  • Regarding what I wrote about hair loss: during pregnancy I may or may not have stopped losing hair. About four months after I gave birth, WHOMP out went half my hair. Seriously, there was so much hair falling out of my head that DH and I were worried I was going bald. The hairstyle wasn't noticeably affected, to me at any rate. Ask my hair stylist if you want to know for sure.
  • All that stuff I mentioned about darker body hair and moles: no change. Ahem.
  • Belly: still no stretch marks, but poochy and jiggly. I haven't done a lot to try to change it. I've been exercising intermittently and eating like I'm still pregnant but with the addition of a moderate amount of wine... so... no change expected.
  • Breasts: fourteen months of breastfeeding and every once in awhile, I look in the mirror and say 'hey I've finally got the cleavage I've always wanted. Meh.' 
  • Lady bits: the small tear took longer than I expected to fully heal. And by fully heal, well, I'm not going to explain that. But it was six months or so before... I was going to say back in the saddle but that's not quite right. Sad face.
  • Behind the lady bits: also, the side effects of my intestinal slow down took a long time to heal. I wouldn't say things are totally back to my pre-pregnancy state even now but thankfully a lot better. 
  • Birth control: around one year post-partum, menstruation returned for me (thank you lactational amenorrhea!) so we gave up the condoms (yay!) and I went back on the pill. Or rather, I thought my period had returned. So far she's made only one appearance. At any rate, being back on the pill has changed my...
  • Skin! Nasty old adult acne that I used to get while on the pill, if not using retinol, is back with a vengeance. Ah well.
A couple notes on the post-partum mind:
  • I was never much for horror and suspense genre entertainment. I find it totally unwatchable now. I am writing this with an episode of Bones running in the background. The storyline involves a kidnapped 8 year old boy. I can barely tolerate it and it helps to be distracted by writing this and watching the twitterstream flow by. I'm just watching for the shots of DC. I should watch Legally Blonde or something instead. Blog posts about miscarriage and sick children are pretty much guaranteed to get me bawling.
  • Don't get me started on long distance commercials. I will cry at the drop of a hanky, or the sound of a kid saying 'Mom?'
  • Pre-birth, I gave myself a manicure every Sunday night, and a pedicure every two weeks. I think I've half heartedly painted my nails three or four times in the past year. I miss it but I often can't be bothered. 
Poor kidnapped kid in Bones had a finger cut off. I want to throw up.

Speaking of nauseated, after almost a year of unplanned bedsharing with the baby, I love it. It made life easier and mornings are so snuggly and delicious with the baby right there. She wakes up in such a happy mood. Oh right, on nauseated: I just feel sad for the babies being left alone to cry themselves to sleep every night. I wish I could snuggle them all. 

Some of these things have been a surprise, some not so much. All of them, I hardly notice, especially when I'm schmooshing my baby girl!

What has your post-partum or post-adoption body, mind and life been like?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Magical Anti-Fungal Breastmilk

No really.

I too have been told the wonders of the human breastmilk. That it'll cure eye infections, skin rashes, stomach upset, maybe even cancer... You name it, some has said breastmilk will cure it.

I listen, and think about it, and I got to the point where I think perhaps a bit too much is being made over the wonders of human breastmilk. It can probably do some of those things, some of the time, depending on the type of infection or cancer it's being asked to fight. I'd love to be proven wrong.

As I've mentioned, I believe in science, and figure I'd wait until I saw some a few peer reviewed papers showing support for these things before I started going off on the other powers of human breastmilk. I haven't gone looking for them, I'm busy. I'm sure some of them are there.

Of course human breastmilk is good for babies and mamas, and useful too. But so much magic and other benefits? I was a little skeptical.

The bottle, insert & sippy top
Well, we feed the little one pumped human breastmilk in a Born Free (tm) nipple topped bottle when she's in daycare, and we feed her filtered tap water in a Born Free (tm) sippy cup topped bottle at daycare and at home. The nipple bottle has been our preferred for probably ten months. The sippy cup bottle is new to the home, probably as of about four months ago.

Both bottle configurations require an insert. It's part of their probably patented bottle design that is supposed to reduce colic or something. All I know is the bottle leaks if you don't put it in there. The insert looks at first glance like it's all one solid state unit. We never bothered to try to clean inside it (though I'm now sure the directions we never read probably say to do so. Sleep deprivation. It does wonders for your literacy).

Didn't occur to us that this is a two piece unit
Until this evening, when I was giving the water sippy bottle a swipe before leaving it out to dry for tomorrow. I noticed some black ooky looking stuff inside the insert. I showed my husband. We decide it's mold. YUCK! Mold in my baby's water bottle. We clean it out.

We remember the milk bottle, which we've also never cleaned and been using much longer. It's clean and shiny like new. No mold.

The cleaned insert in two pieces
It's NEVER BEEN CLEANED. It's just had pumped human breastmilk. Which, to add to all the other magical properties of human breastmilk, is now anti-fungal. Wow. So, I'm sold. Human breastmilk might just cure cancer too for all I know.

PS: The insert that we'd never cleaned doesn't pass liquid through it, it just lets air vent out the side or something.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Nursing Baby to Sleep

Every evening, and afternoons when I'm not working, I breastfeed the baby to sleep for her nap or for the night. I've noticed that lately, she'll be fussy and acting tired, so we'll go lie down in her bed and she'll nurse, and look like she's about to fall asleep. Suddenly, she perks up and she's ready to play for a few hours! Now that she's just past one year, I guess she's reducing how much sleep she needs each day. Not long ago, she needed two to three naps every day, and now it looks like one.

An acquaintance who is also a breastfeeding mom referred to the time spent nursing her baby to sleep as baby jail - that is, she said "Last night, in baby jail..." I had to ask what she meant.

I was a bit taken aback. There are lots of times that I'd rather be doing something else, and sometimes I kick myself for not bringing my beloved iPhone to bed with us, so I can read/tweet while she dozes. But to call it jail?

Someone needs to parent her to sleep, I'm firmly committed to not leaving her to cry her way to sleep. (Here are some good reasons, other than one's gut instinct, on why not to let babies cry every night to go to sleep.)

It's usually easier for me to breastfeed her to sleep that it would be for my husband or I to rock/walk/stroller/pat her to sleep. She loves to nurse.

We fought hard to be able to breastfeed and overcame a big obstacle (that shouldn't have been so big). I feel like I won that battle and I don't want to stop doing it just because it's inconvenient or I might be better off blogging/talking on the phone/... um what else might I be doing this evening?

I'm glad I can help her sleep this way and will continue to do so as long as she wants. Unless she wants me to come to college with her!

Any odd things you've heard lately from committed breastfeeders?

BlogHer 2010 Pity Party

Last weekend, the little one and I drove across town in insensible traffic to park in the wrong spot, enter the park in the wrong side, not take a stroller or baby carrier for the 27 pound not quite walking yet baby, walk way to far along the wrong side of the park, finally phone Amber and get directions to the

Not Going to BlogHer 2010 Pity Party!

In which there are free burgers, and I finally get to meet Crunchy Carpets and Pomo Mama in person.

The little one enjoyed eating everything she could get in her mouth, including quite a bit of coleslaw and roasted veggies. It was loads of fun, once we got there.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

On Trying to Conceive

First, I'm not. We're not. Not yet, not sure if/when.


Gina's recent wonderful post announcing her pregnancy reminded me of how I felt when we were trying to get pregnant.

I was working full time and going to school part time. We waited to start trying to conceive until after the theoretical due date had passed my expected graduation from grad school date. And then we got busy.

And got busy.

After a few months of trying - right, I know, I'm not a very patient person - I read that stress can negatively impact chances of conception. I felt very stressed.

(Thinking back on that time now, I think HA! You, young lady, don't know from stress. But, back to our story.)

I figured I would get pregnant after I graduated, which was quite alright with me. So that moment when we were getting busy, right around Obama's election, I probably only had the most fleeting of thoughts that this time it might be baby making time.

For someone trying to conceive, it took me a hilarious amount of time to get around to taking a pregnancy test: LMP was Oct 24 and my sore breasts weren't enough to prompt me to go pee on a stick until Nov 30. How about that for pessimism?

What has surprised you about fertility recently?