If I am being honest, that is how much weight I need to lose. Essentially, I need to lose what I lost prior to getting pregnant. On the one hand, I’ve done it before so I know I can do it. On the other, I’m 47, 4 (almost 5!) months post partum and severely lacking the mental fortitude/motivation to do it.
I am so unhappy and uncomfortable at this weight. And, while I have returned to regular exercise, I KNOW that in order for me to actually lose weight, I need to re-vamp and rein in my eating. I found through doing WW the first time, that in order for me to even see a .5# weekly loss, I need to be consuming no more than 1,400 calories/day (and closer to 1,200 is better). And that’s with regular exercise. I wouldn’t be surprised if I am consuming 1,800-2,000 calories/day now.
It took me almost 4 years after the birth of my older son to finally be mentally ready to commit to and stick with a program. I erroneously thought that just having that success under my belt would make this attempt that much easier. No such luck. And, I keep trying to tell myself that at least I’m trying to get it in gear 4 months vs. 4 years later. But that alone does nothing to motivate me (in fact, I think it has the opposite affect, as in, “why the hurry?”).
And, oh, the negative self-talk and self flagellation. It is so un- and counterproductive but I can’t seem to quiet it. Every day I think that THIS will be the day that I stay on plan and finally start the journey of a thousand steps. And every day I sabotage myself and throw the plan out the window.
I don’t understand why something that I know to be good for me both in terms of how I feel and how I look takes such daily Herculean effort to start. Oh, to have been born naturally thin, with a completely different relationship to food.
Throughout my forties, I have been much more pragmatic and rarely give in to fad anything. I don’t ascribe to ‘cleanses’ or ‘detoxes’ as a rule (anyone else do the Hollywood 48 Hour Miracle Diet?). However, I do think that I am addicted (and if not addicted then show a strong preference) to sugar and carbs and that both cause bloating and inflammation. I don’t think that a carb-free diet is sustainable over the long term, but I do think there is something to be said for weaning off and adding back.
So, it is with this in mind, that I am considering doing a 21 day cleanse that is being offered by the studio where I work out. It is called the “Body Bliss Detox” and is a comprehensive, supported program (meal plans, recipes, a road map of what to/not to eat, conference calls, a secret FB page, etc). While those that I know who have done it have largely stuck with its principles, it does seem extreme. In a nutshell: no dairy, no refined sugar, no caffeine, no alcohol, no gluten for 21 days. And, as hard as it sounds just typing it out, I know it is the way I should be eating (adding to that no red meat which I already do) anyway.
The cleanse is $97 and I’m not even sure what that includes. I’ve heard that women have lost anywhere from 8-15#. But, for me, it’s actually not the weight loss that I am after, it is the jump start to better eating; the dietary rehab if you will. Or, maybe I just need to re-join WW, start going to meetings, and let the weekly accountability of weighing-in do its trick.
The detox starts on June 3rd so I have a few days to make up my mind. In the absence of doing something extreme, I’m not sure where else I will find the kick in the pants I need.
If you have enjoyed the benefits of a cleanse or detox, please share (or, if the contrary is true, I’d like to hear that, too).
Something has got to give. Carrying around these extra pounds is literally weighing me down.
I have one friend who is cycling at the moment who just got a positive HPT the night before beta. I feel so out of the loop, knowing no one else who is trying at the moment, not even fellow bloggers. I have been counting the days post transfer, knowing she was going to test today and surprised myself at how my happiness and relief for her made me cry.
I posted as my Facebook status that good news for a good friend, is, well, good. And I couldn’t mean it more.
I feel such a kinship with those I’ve been in the trenches with and am so happy when their hard fought journey has good news.
So, if you’d like to send your congrats or follow her story (tomorrow is beta and who doesn’t like to cheer on a good beta?), you can find her here.
I have spent more than a fair amount of time in recent weeks marveling at Baby G. And, by marveling, I mean staring at him, kissing him, taking in his every feature, breathing him in and praising the universe that he is here, the missing piece of the puzzle that brought the complete picture of our family into view. I catch my husband doing the same. We never miss an opportunity to be with him.
Part of my marvel is that he was a mass of cells, left-over from someone else’s cycle to create their family. He was frozen, suspended in time, just as he was. Knowing that this is the state of some 500,000 embryos in this country alone, brings me to tears every time. Not that every embryo is destined to become a live baby, but that so many won’t ever get the chance. I think I read the loose statistic that only 1-2% will ever be cycled with and far fewer as part of a donated embryo cycle.
I sometimes don’t even know what to make of our good fortune. It is that, isn’t it? We tried so long in so many ways and it was not happening. Failure after failure, months turned into years, and still we kept at it, knowing that another child was out there for us, but never considering that he might be a frozen embryo that would be gifted and entrusted to us, come what may. How is that even possible?
Love and pain are on the same continuum. The manifestation of my love for him is a sensation in my heart. Almost always it is an intense, warm tug. However, when I think that he might have never been, that he could have been in the 99.5% of embryos that are never donated for another couple to use, my breath catches and the tears well up.
Some years after my brother died, I read that each person has a maximum amount of tragedy that they will endure in their lifetime. I remember thinking that having been adopted, living through a horrific accident that killed my brother, the untimely deaths of my beloved uncle and grandfather in rapid succession, meant that I may have met my quota early. I bought into a belief system that no matter what else life had in store for me, struggle and strife, joy and happiness, that I’d already lived through the worst of it.
The universe has kept that promise to me so far. She has whispered to me in the darkness of the night and at the depths of my sorrow that I have already been through the worst of it and to just hold on. I’ve never known exactly what that has meant but I have been comforted that if I just keep moving forward, learning the life lessons that I am supposed to, and employing the resources at my disposal, everything will be OK.
I never knew that Baby G was a boy, let alone suspended in a straw frozen in time. I never knew that my body would once again be a vessel for life. I never knew that the kindness of a stranger who wished to remain anonymous would bring him to me. All I knew was to keep plugging ahead, never letting any one failure or the accumulation of them, to take their toll, rob me of my purpose, stop me in my tracks.
The universe whispered that he was out there; I knew in my bones that he was. I felt blind in my pursuit of him, not knowing for sure which path would lead me to him. Tenacity, stubbornness and perseverance were my guides, literally. There is no other way I can explain the paths it took for us to get to him. No.other.way.
My heart is still heavy for those who are in the throes of trying to create or complete their families. Some have gotten off the train completely and they are especially close to my thoughts. However, if you are reading this and you feel compelled forward even in the face of decreasing odds, it is the universe holding your hand, ushering you forth. You are not being whimsical or foolish, you are trying, mightily, to get where she is leading you.
I’m in no way suggesting that you should chase this goal at the exclusion of living your life. You must find a way to do both and not be foolhardy. You must invest in the relationships that are important to you. You must nourish your body, mind, and soul in the ways you find most self-loving. You must maintain and develop other interests, hobbies, talents. You must be prudent with your finances as nothing can bleed the rest of your dreams dry like the pursuit of a baby. But, if your instincts tell you to continue, if you can remain balanced and not depleted, if the toll on you physically, emotionally, financially is not too great, then you WILL get there. It may not even be in the way that you think or are planning. Keep an open mind. Listen to others. Do your research. Let go of false pretenses that it can only happen one way or the other. This dream is bigger than you, perhaps bigger than all your other dreams combined, and you owe it to yourself to hear all options and pursue those that feel the rightest to you at any given time.
Oprah defines luck as ‘preparation meeting opportunity’ and I believe this to be true. Otherwise luck would merely be some arbitrary happenstance and while that may be true of odds in Vegas or with the lottery, it is not true in life. And, if being held in collective consciousness helps in any way, know that you are in my thoughts and heart and if I could will this to happen for you by merely wanting it to be so, I would. I may finally be on the other side, but I am next to you. Use my journey, not necessarily my path, as a beacon.
“This is my wish for you… That the spirit of beauty may continually hover about you and fold you close within the tenderness of her wings. That each beautiful and gracious thing in life may be unto you as a symbol of good for your soul’s delight. That sun-glories and star-glories leaf-glories and bark-glories flower-glories and glories that lurk in the grasses of the field, glories of mountains and oceans of little streams of running waters, glories of song, of poesy, of all the arts may be to you as sweet, abiding influences that will illumine your life and make you glad. That your soul may be as an alabaster cup, filled to overflowing with the mystical wine of beauty and love. That happiness may put her arms around you, and wisdom make your soul serene. This is my wish for you.” ~Charles Livingston Snell, 1914
I celebrated my 47th birthday on Saturday with a party with friends at our house. It’s the first party we’ve hosted here and, I won’t lie, it was a lot of work. My husband and I worked all day long prepping the house and yards. We had parties down pat in our old house but we needed to find our party groove here. It’s no surprise to me that people don’t host parties because they are costly and tiring. And, it’s a lot harder to get things prepped with two kids in tow making messes behind me as I cleaned.
The day started when my older son came in with a birthday bag with magazines and candy bars and a handmade card. But, he was thrilled to unveil the pièce de résistance, a gorgeous bird bath which I absolutely love and has been lovingly placed outside our bedroom window:
For the last 10 years, my every birthday wish has been for a baby. In fact, we also have a “Wish” ornament where you write your wish on a slip of paper and put it inside the ornament, and the Christmas before I cycled with donated embryos, that was the wish I wished, too. So, when my birthday cupcake was placed in front of me this year, aglow with a solitary candle, my mind was free, for the first time in a decade, to wish a new wish. I prefaced my silent wish with my gratitude for the abundance in my life, from good friends to celebrate with, to my husband, and my already fulfilled wishes that are my sons. I felt greedy, like a thief, daring to wish for anything more. But what I wished for is what I am sure all mothers wish for for their family. I’ll leave it at that.
I have come to a place with this space where I don’t know what it will or should become. I must write as it is a cathartic outlet for me. And, while this started as a safe place for me to share my very dark feeling when I wasn’t sure if we’d even pursue having #2, let alone how, it has also been a place for me to share the pain of my estrangement from my family (none of which, save a quick post to my FB wall from my sister, acknowledged my birthday, even those I’m in good standing with), and the search for my birth parents. I’ve posted about my weight loss, something I need to begin again in earnest and I’ve also wrangled through the emotion of lost friendships here.
Speaking of friendships, I finally ended the one-sided one I had with K. Without going too far into the somewhat boring if climactic details, I spent about 8 hours over a 10 day period consoling and counseling her through the break-up with her boyfriend. Two days after one of these marathon conversations, she hosted a birthday party for her daughter who is in my son’s class. Not only was he not invited but she didn’t so much as mention it to me. I happened to notice all the cars at her house when I picked my son up from school on Friday and then she posted pictures on FB as the party unfolded. If you are thinking it was a girls-only party you’d be wrong. It was the straw. I emailed her that I’d been trying to cultivate a friendship with her for 5 years and I listed the very tangible ways that I had been a good friend to her but that her disregard for me and my son was unacceptable and hurtful and that she was no longer welcome at my party. She really has no clue how to be a friend. Regardless, it is done. Relief.
Back to this space. If the writing is just for me, I can continue chronicling my life here. But, things have evolved to include the dialogue I have with those who still follow along and comment and I hope that there is enough of substantive interest for that to continue. I would be a bit lost without it, frankly. Writing about infertility and one’s treatment is such a hook as those who are also in the throes or know someone who is have a place to commiserate and cheer on. There is an arc to the story from cycle to transfer to beta to u/s to hopeful live birth, each its own cliff hanger. In the absence of that, where water seeks its level, is the unfolding of the memoir of one’s life, in blog form, enough?
I don’t yet have an answer other than I will continue to share until its time not to. I am in pursuit of my birth father, I have 40# to lose (UGH!), I am in my late forties raising two very young boys, I have a marriage to work on, and a new career to figure out and start at some point. Maybe there will be kernels in there to keep you coming back.
As I approach my 47th birthday on Saturday, life is busy all of the sudden. I decided, quite on a whim, to host a party at our house. It will be the first of its kind in our new (although we’ve been here two years!) place. We used to have parties all the time at our old house (for up to 100 people!) but young children can have a way of putting the brakes on some plans. That, and, well, between fertility treatments and pregnancy, I wasn’t really in a position to host.
Baby G was 20 weeks yesterday. I put him on the scale this morning and he is 19#. That means that as of today, 4m3w1d, he has doubled his birth weight. We started solids a couple of weeks ago. My oh my has baby food come a long way since my older son was an infant (and there were three brands: Gerber, Earth’s Best, Beechnut). Now, there are all kinds of pouches of organic, pureed delights (for lunch today he had apples/carrots/parsnips) by companies called Happy Baby, and Plum, and Ella’s Kitchen. And they have flavors that include mint and Cinnamon and nutmeg. I won’t lie, I sucked down a pouch of ‘Just Peaches’ just because they were that good.
And, so, here we are, having quite nicely settled into this current phase of 5- 6 time a day bottles, a couple of bowls of starter foods, regular naps and regular overnight sleep. He is rolling over and laughing and cooing and screeching and smiling and otherwise being interested and engaged in the world around him. He is still the most fascinated by his older brother and our dog. He can hear both from across the house and he turns to look to see if they are coming his way. If either cross his path he is mesmerized.
Now that he can roll, we will need to decide how and when to ditch the swaddle. Because he naps in the swing, there’s no chance of rolling and he is only in the swaddle strap, with his legs out and cradled by the seat of the swing. Nighttime is a whole other rodeo that includes the swaddle strap and a SwaddleMe. Because he is so restrained, he can’t easily use his foot to push or his arms at all for momentum. So, I’m not worried, yet, but we need a plan. We tried putting him down in his crib with his legs out and it was an utter disaster and if he somehow manages to wiggle an arm free overnight he dissolves into hysteric tears until he is cocooned again. Our pedi has recommended going cold turkey while other moms have suggested transitioning over time, first one arm, then the other, then the legs. I don’t know. I cherish the little good sleep I have so am not keen on upsetting the apple cart, but it’s something that will have to be done for his safety in the coming weeks.
The love. Oh.the.love. They say that the love expands and it is so true. It expands and it deepens and it colors the world in hues of purple and pink and orange . I may be tired, I may still be carrying around the pregnancy weight, I may even be frustrated, but one look at him and his wide, toothless, gummy grin that lights up his eyes and anything within a 2 mile radius, and I am done in. I don’t know if it is a product of my age and wisdom, the hard fought battle to have him, maternal nature or some combination of all three (I suspect it is), but I can’t imagine a greater love. If there was a word for it, I would use it, bold and in all caps. It is an all consuming, knee buckling, heart-filling, bone deep love.
I never questioned whether I could love a child that was not genetically linked to me because as an adult adoptee I knew in my DNA that I could. I just never knew how it would feel to have and love another child. I mean, my mind’s eye thought it saw it and there it was in the pause between heart beats, but until he was out in this world, fully dependent on me, with his fair skin and deep blue eyes, I didn’t know know it. And, now that I do, I can categorically say I would not have wanted to live without it.
As those of us who are mothers are celebrated by our children and loved ones, let us all take a moment to hold in our thoughts those women who are still struggling to have their first child, those who have lost a child, and those who have lost their own mothers or whose relationship with their mothers is strained making this day difficult. As a sisterhood of women, my thoughts are with all mothers, especially those whose children are in their hearts.
“In a child’s eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way. I am convinced that this is the greatest power in the universe.” ― N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
I wrote this post almost 2 years ago and thought, as my 47th <gulp> birthday approaches, that it could use some updating. I’ll only briefly mention the products from the original list that I still use. In some cases, I’ve been using these products for years, or a decade+, and, while I may have tried other products in the same category, the original is still far superior.
I stopped using some products mostly because I just no longer wanted to spend the money on them, not because they stopped working. And, I’ve taken a less is more approach to consumerism since having kids, both in terms of saving time and in terms of consuming less overall. I no longer use a serum or a neck cream and stick to one powder foundation. And, I’ve started using at-home products that allow me to extend the time between salon services. Winning!
Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser This is new as of a few months ago to my facial cleansing routine. It cleans without stripping my face. I mix in a squirt of the below product in order to exfoliate at the same time.
RoC Retinol Correction Eye Cream I searched for a long time and tried a bunch of products inthe eye cream category. I have fine lines and sometimes puffy eyes and wanted something that had a smoothing and tightening effect. I wasn’t looking for anything that pretended to be a lasting solution in a jar, just something that would get me from day to day. I found it in this product.
Also, I generally get my face waxed (brows, lip, chin (oh, yes, the joys of aging) every 4 weeks or so, but haven’t had the time to go as often. So, to extend the time between services, I now use Sally Hansen Creme Hair Remover For Face. I just started using and wonder why it’s taken me so long to get with the program. Works like a charm.
I went on a mission to improve the health of my hair both in terms of length and appearance. That required a complete overhaul of the products I was using in addition to the services I was getting. I now only get my hair cut 3-4 times/year and instead of getting near monthly permanent color and highlights, I get a semi-permanent color applied every 2 months and cover the grey at my roots in between at home. THIS has been a hair saver and my hair is now the longest it has been since the 1990s! A friend recently commented that I have Pantene hair which is high praise indeed.
John Frieda Frizz-Ease Smooth Start Repairing Conditioner I actually started with this product before buying the companion shampoo. Truth be told, I wanted an economical conditioner to mix with the below product which is too spendy to use everyday. This product alone is great, but coupled with a richer conditioner is a winning combination.
Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Conditioner This product has almost single-handedly repaired my hair. But, given the size and cost of the bottle, I couldn’t justify using it every time I washed my hair so I mix less than a quarter sized dollop with the John Frieda conditioner. It has made my hair silky soft without weighing it down, manageable, and all around more healthy (less breakage, less fly aways, no split ends between trims).
To de-tangle and straighten my hair, I use Joico K-Pak Smoothing Balm. It doesn’t take very much applied to my towel dried hair to be able to run a wide tooth comb through it and blow dry it straight. I have never been good at using a round brush so needed a product that would provide enough ingredient to straighten my hair without weighing it down when only using a paddle brush. This is it. And, it acts as daily leave-in conditioner which has also helped the health of my hair.
Clairol Root Touch-Up I have always been afraid of any at-home hair color products. I’m just not that skilled, I thought. And, how could I possibly match the salon color without looking like a skunk (or reverse skunk, as the case may be). Boy was I wrong. I inquired with my FB friends how they extend their salon color and this product was the overwhelming reply. I’ve now been using it for months. It is SO easy to match (um, can you say Dark Brown) and so easy to apply. I mean, really. It is the secret most colorists don’t want you to know. Instead of going to the salon, on average, every 5 weeks, I can now go eight weeks or more depending on how often I want to use the below product. Such a time and money saver!
To buy myself another week between colorings (usually before using the Clairol product), I use DreamLook GreyFree Instant Touch-Up Seriously? Best kept secret for touching up greys in one’s part or around the temple. Takes a bit of technique so you don’t end up with it where you don’t want it, but, really? Gosh, why didn’t I know about this sooner?!
As Wendy Williams would say, I’m a woman of a certain age and I can’t escape needing a few tricks in my home beauty supply kit to help me feel and look my best. It is especially important now that I have an infant at home and am unable and unwilling to spend much time in a salon or spa (although, I have $400 in spa gift certificates that have been accumulating since my 45th birthday and I do look forward to a professional treatment or two). But, really, how can I leave this for very long:
Who knew that May 4th would have such significance in my life. One year ago today, what was on my mind was having a 4th beta, not being able to hold out until my first ultrasound the following week. It would be the last beta I will ever have in my life and decidedly the most important. At 20dp3dt my beta progression looked like this:
Beta #4, 20dp3dt 3,939 (doubling time of 41 hrs)
Beta #3, 16dp3dt 777.8 (doubling time of 36 hrs)
Beta#2, 12dp3dt 125.7 (doubling time of 34 hrs)
Beta #1, 10dp3dt 48.4
And, today, one year later, those betas have become this: