Twosome Traveller versus High Maintenance Mommy.

The holidays are approaching and we are readying ourselves for our Thanksgiving trip to San Francisco.  First point of thankfulness: the plane ride is only 2 hours and not, say, 8. Thank you, in-laws, for residing on the West Coast.

I remember when I was single and/or childless, I was so organized about trips. I packed gradually over a few days with a good list. I had just the right amount of food to feed us through the departure date. All perishables were perfectly consumed right before we left for the day. A day of pre-made and well preserved foods were prepared for the return trip. I left a clean and tidy house.

Oh and I usually traveled with a carry on bag that met my every need well enough.

Usually packing and travelling with a two year old is a little different. We'll leave the house in shambles, half-dressed and running late, and return with a bag full of lord knows what and a desperate need for take out, I imagine.

It's always a mixed bag, traveling with a two year old. Often literally. Our luggage is complex, confounding and always light on something. But I oughtn't blame all the travel headaches on my kiddo.

Of late, my body continues to attempt to outdo itself with various cavils and conditions. I'm sure there's something in between the eczema and the back pain and the indigestion and the... yadda yadda yadda that connects everything in one nice House, M.D. type package. Being alive, for instance. That's a pretty strong comorbidity. I have some additional theories. I think that the whack back and pectoral muscles speak for themselves: children are simply *not* ergonomic and I've been lax on the self care that would help correct some of the things that threw me out to begin with. The stresses of being underweight for a long time are still present while the side effects of weaning and weight gaining are also running rampant.

Chaya hasn't nursed in four days now. We had a pretty abrupt decrease a few weeks ago and then I was going to stay the course with that last feed until after our trip. But she skipped a night feed a few times in between resuming the demands and finally went two days straight of starting to nurse and then laughing with hilarity and wanting to go back in the crib. I figured enough was enough and we'd just roll with it this time. I'm not sure it will survive the sleep-traumas of a trip away from home (last year our visit was slightly shorter and still seems to have been a trigger for a massive month-long sleep regression, so who knows what will happen). But at the moment my body is taking this seriously and I can feel all kinds of strange physical changes that are a little bit "going through puberty all over again" and "midway through pregnancy and my body is strange"...

Things that could conceivably be blamed on weaning and the resulting hormonal fluctuations: allergy and eczema flare ups, dry eyes, the last two to three days of non-stop head aches, eye twitches, emotional mood swings, fatigue, occasional spells of mild nausea, my increased tendency to get overheated in a room hotter than about 66 degrees (complimenting my Reynaud's and cold hands and feet not at all)... there are more that could come up soon, so who knows!!

It's kind of a tradition to go into the Thanksgiving holiday with something bizarre happening to me. The last two years have just been the usual "tired and with baby." The year before that Chaya had just been conceived (though we didn't know it yet) and i was on heavy progesterone supplementation. I guess before that, things were "normal." But yeah.

Currently I'm kind of a mess. I've always been sensitive, mentally and otherwise, but I'm coming with a much longer list of props and ways in which lacking control and a home base can be tough.

At any rate. We have our literal baggage to pack and cart. Figured it might be worth pitting me against the two year old for the most difficult travel preparations there.

In vague categories because why not?

1. Sleeping

We do have a head start with a pack and play already in San Francisco. After some traumatic sleeplessness, I've strongly martialed for having some separation between Chaya's room and our own sleeping quarters, so she might be camping out in a bathroom. Not the worst place to chill. We're going into this sight unseen though, since memories are poor, so who knows how it will all work out.

Chaya needs her books, her pajamas her sleep sack, her bunnies, and about a forty to hour long ritual to sleep. That's a bare minimum. At that, she probably still fights it, although not nearly to the level of some. The world is too engaging when you're two! We also have an ok-to-wake clock so she doesn't wake up in the middle of the night. It's also a good night light, but we'll probably want another lamp of some sort for stories. And a sound machine to level out distractions. I have no idea if she'll be able to nap, but we'll probably want something to black out the light streaming in from the bathroom windows. It's already often a long slog at home, but she's comfortable and familiar there. And of course I want a baby monitor so I can go upstairs while she's nursing but still be in range.

Me: I rarely sleep well even with the most elongated and careful rituals, but I can control a lot of that when I'm at home. And I have the props to do it. I'm currently sleeping with three pillows to my back and one under my legs. One blanket over most of my body. A robe wrapped around my feet since they get cold, and a smaller blanket that goes over my upper body so my gloved hands can rest outside of the covers (they get itchy if they're underneath or too warm). I am sensitive to noise and light so I'll be bringing at least an eye shade and ear plugs. None of this is foolproof. Especially if/as Chaya's sleep deteriorates during an off-schedule exciting holiday. I probably won't bring all the pillows but I'm tempted. Really.

2. Hydration

Me: After that ER visit, I've been ordered to drink at least two liters of isotonic beverage every day before about 2 p.m. It's not that difficult, but it means (1) either making 2 liters per my recipe a day or taking a small army of nun tablets along, (2) always having two water bottles on me on an average day. Worse when we're travelling, (3) and having to pee a fair bit. Bathrooms are always a necessity, but still not that much extra I need to take.

Chaya: Chaya has a tendency to get backed up due to insufficient hydration. She does best with one serving of Miralax a day but guessing what drink to put that in is a crapshoot. Flavoring water with as many different vitamin powders and hydration packs as I can. Changing up cups. Adding as many liquidy fruits and veggies as she'll take. She usually goes through at least one sippy cup, one small open cup, one straw cup, and one of my water bottles, just to get a middling amount of liquid.

3. Food 

Me: No, re-gaining a bunch of weight hasn't suddenly made me easier in this fashion. I'm am still a grazer. I still get light headed if I don't eat often. And I still can't eat a lot at once. My family has a history of IBS. I don't exactly have IBS, but I pretty much only thrive on a pretty high fiber diet with lots of veggies and whole grains.

Travelling can make that really challenging, since a lot of people eat, say, three times a day. And not having control over when and what I eat can be kind of tough. Often I end up eating a diet of meal bars and various other smaller snacks that I have with me at all times. I'm better if I just live in the kitchen surrounded by roughage basically. So I often pack a ton of food for myself and try to have food and drink on me at all times.

Chaya: She gets constipated if I hadn't mentioned a million times. She LOVES cheese, but of course that becomes a no-no pretty quickly. And handfuls of white crackers don't really help. She isn't super picky, but she's been known to eat a diet exclusively of ketchup for sure. I'm desperately trying to encourage her to listen to her thirst, but I also have a tendency to try to make up as much as I can in food. That involves soaking oatmeal and chia seeds over a long period so they absorb a crazy amount of liquid. And all kinds of water based fruits and veggies. That means bringing along some of the very particular foods she'll only eat a certain way and bringing various containers, bowls, spoons, and t-shirts.

4. Toiletries and Others

Me: I've always had eczema, but I feel like the hormonal challenges of weaning fairly quickly during winter has upped the ante quite a bit. My hands are a disaster and my whole body itches. I requires several varieties of gloves for every occasion. I mostly look like a mime with white cotton gloves, but also have vinyl gloves for food and regular kitchen dishwashing gloves. I need heavy duty moisturizers and emollients and do best if I apply grease about 3 times daily to all of me (plus my hands non-stop). I need to have a soak in luke warm epsom salts every other day. I'm also bringing benedryl and Claritin for anti-histamine effect. And it seems to be starting in with headaches and the like. Luckily with Andrew's collarbone, we'll have plenty of ibuprofen around!

And I need my vitamin D, my fish oil, my Calcium, my thyroid medication.

Of course then I also have tooth brush and paste, allergen free soap... the usual stuff.

Chaya Largely she needs a ton of wipes for all occasions. A few eczema friendly bubble bath packs. And about fifteen different toothbrushes. She likes to exert control over her world by selecting the brush for use each time. And for helping her various friends also brush.

5. Um... TMI zone

Me: Ok, I clog toilets. Regardless of what or how I eat, but I'm assured my current digestion is healthy, if embarrassing. And it makes it a little extra stressful being away from my home bathroom with a trusty plunger. Yeah I've packed one before. I don't think we'll have room this time.

Chaya: As above, Chaya needs Miralax. Wipes. Changing gloves. a plenty of  daydiapers since she goes back and forth between encopresis like seepage, dry and hard, and gushers. A handful of overnight diapers. Sometimes she gets a yeast infection that needs a prescription ointment, so we'll bring that too.

7. Travelling Olio

Me: Chargers of course - at least a few. Clothes. Socks. Coat. Warm warm warm socks for my feet to go underneath slippers. I do better if the slippers have arch support because - oh yeah - I also have plantar fasciitis. I have given up on books largely. I'd love to have my computer but doubt I'll use it enough. A USB adapter to charge my fitness watch. And oh yeah then there's however much lumbar support my back needs through plane and car rides. I would probably do well to go out shopping now and replace my ill-fitting polyester clothes with pure cotton, but let's be realistic about what's getting accomplished before we travel!

Chaya: More books. Roughly ten thousand toys for the plane and for the dinner table and  and and and... This is the area where I"m not entirely sure how much to bring. At any moment Chaya can urgently demand any item she's ever seen in our household. We can't pack it all. So how much to bring? Lord knows.

But she's getting my old phone on the plane for sure. And don't forget the stroller. We ought to bring a carseat for the plane but with Andrew's shoulder, that's not happening.

Ok, so basically, I could be a huge PITA traveller and need extra luggage, but I'm guessing Chaya's stuff goes first and we'll go from there.

Despite all this, I'm mostly thankful. Thankful that we have so much to even consider stuffing into an oversized suitcase. Thankful to have a toddler to need all the extra luggage. Thankful that the things I can bring are for irritating but not hedonically-destructive conditions. And grateful we have such a warm and loving family that makes room at the table for us and all our unique needs.

Also, again, that the family is only a 2 hour plane ride away. Because let's not talk about the

Winter Wonderlandz and the Whee Whee Wheeeening Wiggles.

The months are sneaking away now. All the hubub of summer and fall and apparently we are now hitting winter!

Not a fan, as it appears to have triggered a massive eczema flare-up to accompany all my other vexing health issues. I really feel like Humpty Dumpty some days. But the snow is pretty to look at. From the inside of course.

And we did have some fun in the interim. We sucked up the honeysuckle sweetness of autumn like nobody's business.

There were pumpkins.





And time changes.

So relieved now for DST to be over after a good month of groundwork preparing for it. Chaya's now back on her original schedule more or less after a weekly "nudge" back of fifteen minutes.

And now, it's time ot settle in and cozy up and apply some more steroid cream to our chafed hands before the Thanksgiving madness.

After all these long battles to establish breastfeeding. After the horrible mastitis. The gradual and uncomfortable weaning from domperidone. The year of attempting to "shove a boob in the mouth" of a distracted baby. After the year plus of on demand toddler nursing gymnastics.

Here we are.

This shiznet from start to finish isn't easy.

I'm not 100% emotionally ready to be done, but I also am. More to the point, I'm ready to deal with my own body. It is starved for hormones other than prolactin.

We've actually just progressed to nursing only once before bedtime. It came in starts and stops. The initial warming to the idea was harder and took some major adjustment for both of it. The distraction of Grampa Tom's visit and a lot of laying of groundwork helped the the other two nursing sessions flicker out of favor more quickly. I have NO idea how I'm going to drop that last nurse before bedtime. It's going to be tough. On a regular time table I'd start working on whittling it down for the next few weeks and then phase it out, but we have a long Tday trip in the middle of November that just doesn't seem like the ideal time for any additional impediments to sleeping. We'll see how it all progresses.

Weaning when your toddler isn't leading the way is a pain, sometimes literally. It's involved. It's as obscure and confusing as most anything in a field of study dominated by domestic farm animals over actual lactating women.

Nobody knows a darned thing about It's rife with folklore and minimal peer review. And it's about as "natural" as a hungry black bear in your backyard.

SO let's take a tour of the general proscriptions.

1. Take it slow.

This is superlative advice if possible. For several reasons. One, it's emotionally hard. Two, a woman's body takes a while to get the hint. And if the milk doesn't come out, the breasts get engorged and then they get backed up. And then that turns into mastitis. And that sucks (it sucks if baby doesn't!). The boobs want to be absolutely sure that baby is fine before "drying up" and more or less eating itself. In fact, you can typically re-establish nursing up to about six weeks after a last nurse.

which leads to the big struggle

... be consistent.

Because a missed nurse here or there won't do anything. It's also easy to backslide into emotional or boredom or routine related nursing.

Dropping a nursing session every week is about the recommended minimum. And honestly, that's difficult. Some days, it's easy, but I swear when I started dropping the late morning nurse, it took roughly five times more attention, time, snuggling, and distraction to accomplish the same as a quick pop off of the shirt.

And on rough days, we are still having to distract.

It's getting easier, so I appreciate the hard work so far. But I'd better stay consistent. And Chaya had better not start popping those darned two year molars or get too ill anytime soon.

Leading to

2. Create distractions

If your baby has certain times of day they ask to nurse, change up your routine so they are out or otherwise occupied.

The bummer about this is the aforementioned overwhelming amount of energy required to completely change your schedule, make sure to be out, and make sure to be a whole lot of fun in the interim.

It also means getting ahead of thirst and hunger, which often lead to shirt-clawing. Since Chaya hardly drinks on her own, I'm mostly flailing around with a water bottle of flavored water, her orange juice, the perpetually rejected chocolate milk, and any variety of very watery foods. I have found that trying to get her to drink little sips through the day works best if I offer and if she's moderately distracted. So youtube time or when she's reading or playing in the bathroom or in the car... I have the water bottle out at least. And maybe a few different cups, as a new cup holds her interest for roughly two or three days.

Since she's getting less and less from me, I am hoping she'll start drinking a bit more. So far that's all elbow grease on my part. Listening to her thirst is not high on the toddler list of priorities so far.

3. Cabbage leaves

Ok seriously this is a thing. I'm not just channeling a Batman villainess or packing a snack. Women historically have worn these around their breasts to handle engorgement, mastitis pain, and it has a legendary aura of being able to dry up milk. I assume that the uitlity of cabbage leaves is restricted largely to (1) being cold, and (2) having a perfect mammary shape.

The only study looking into any of it found it was about on par with a cold or hot compress for relieving pain. but trust me, every one and their mother swears this helps reduce supply.

My best guess is that it may inhibit let down, being cold, and relieve swelling while the body regulates. It's more comfortable because the cold reduces swelling. And the nursling maybe nurses a little less because the milk takes longer to flow.

Nonetheless, I like cabbage. It's tasty. So I did stuff a bit in my bra for a bit there.

The cold did seem to help. And I could have sworn that the day I started this, Chaya finished nursing much sooner and barely nursed at all in the evening. Could have been adjusting. Could have been her weird mood. Who knows. I enjoy a tasty snack in my brazier. Next time maybe I'll go with apples and oranges too.

I'll probably break them out again when we drop the last session. But for now my breasts have mostly responded.

4. Peppermint

Speaking of things you can slather on your body. I have yet to try this and probably shan't. The research on peppermint oil is largely that it can help sooth nipple pain for new mothers. All the anecdotal beliefs that it reduces supply are unsubstantiated.

You're not supposed to drink essential oils, but some do. Some also swear that just a few altoids a day or a shamrock shake can tank their supply. I'm skeptical.

But peppermint tea is nice. Even the peppermint fans say you'd have to drink gallons for it to really help but it's tasty and i needed some kind of tea for my electrolyte drink.

5. Sage

Sage tea is a big thing that actually might have some suggestion of a mechanism and research, since it has a mild estrogenic effect.

I'm not really sure, but it's tasty enough. Most drink a teaspoon in tea for some period of time. I had a little every day for a few weeks. I also doubt it does anything, but why not?

6. Oregano, jasmine petals, and a million other herbs - who knows. Haven't tried. Though technically parsley is on that list as well, and I do eat that frequently.

7.  Sudafed and diuretics. Actually clinically shown to be effective, but, since I'm on a doctor assigned quest to stay hydrated and then some, it seems like a bad idea.

8. Anti-histamines. Also effective, but those also can mess with heart rate so I was originally avoiding. But Then with my hands flaring up, I've been taking benedryl at night. Not sure it's made a difference, but...

9. Birth control.Why I am stubbornly insisting that I want my hormones to sort themselves out, I don't know. I won't have time to do this before the doctor puts me on hormone replacement, but somehow I just am resistent. I want my body to be able to do this on its own.

10. Be prepared to be totally slammed.

Hormones are a biyatch front and back. Somebody else put it as feeling simultaneously pregnaant and having the owrst PMS ever. It comes and goes, but I am having spells of nausea, discomfort., tiredness, and this weird hormonal feel I recall all too well from HRT days. It's a strange kind of tinny spaciness.

For all I know the eczema is also hormonally incited. This is a thing.

At any rate, Chaya's been a champ mostly, although I think it's left her ea bit more momma-centric at other times. And it is exhausting work.

Hopefully once hot cocoa weather is upon us, she'll change her mind about that chocolate milk stuff, but given it's apparently Christmas season, I'm not holding my breath.

Wish us all luck and happy snow days for all!!

Mounting the Vernon Semi-Anniversary (Belated) and More Weighted Wonderings

In all the excitement of birthdays and busted bodies, I let a semi-anniversary pass by unremarked upon: We've lived in Mt Vernon now for six and a half months. Strange to imagine what a large percentage of Chaya's life that now is. 

Moving Day


As a moment of reflection, I say that the quarter span of my kiddo's life is a momentous epoch, and of course the brain meets landmarks with pointless tallies. 

Besides, it's not like I don't constantly answer the "so how's it living in Mount Vernon?" Question. 

More than anything, Andrew/Daddy is happier and better rested. That pretty much trumps everything else in all relevant categories. Or at least to the extent that his well-being impacts ours directly and in second and third order ways. There's less conflict between his downtime, fun time and family time and that leads to less conflict over all. I feel less resentful when we don't make the highest check on the priorities list. I feel less resentful that he needs a job that engages him in a way that northerly jobs didn't seem to promise. I feel less guilty and defensive at his daily kvetches. I'm more willing to expect and protect my own time when whatever additional mental load items don't occur to him. And we both have a little more time and energy for each other.

On a more structural note. I think our new house is a superior house for Chaya's next stages for the most part. No paper shades against glass windows for Chaya to destroy, for one.
Not enough mirrors, for her preferences, but we'll get there. She now can climb up onto the ledge in my bathroom to get a really good look at herself, so that helps. I do kind of miss the simplicity of having a condo association handle all these bits and baubles. But there are advantages to the alternative as well.

I love being able to walk to Hillcrest Park

I love driving to The (Vastly Superior) Skagit Children's Museum.

Mt Vernon has a cute downtown. Farmstrong is an awesomely superior brewery.

 Shambala bakery is pretty awesome crazy vegan hippy food. The food Co-op here is nice, even if I haven't really spent much time there. There are plenty of good restaurants here to make up for the ones I've left behind in Bellingham. And I've lost a TJs but gained a Costco.

It is of course a positive and negative together at once that we're this distance from "home" (Bellingham). I love that we're close enough to visit with my peeps. I love that I can still see my mom a few times a week. 

I also wish it were more, of course. 

And I love how easily we can reach the vastly wider children's opportunities in Bellingham. But I also find it a long enough distance, that it's not as easy to just go to the Trampoline Zone on a whim.

 Or have a playdate arranged around various baby naps and meetings. 

And it's a pretty big endeavor to make Toddler Music Class (though so worth it)

I miss Perch and Play. I miss the Bloedel indoor gym times in winter. There are a number of buffets and other restaurants that Chaya was just about to age into. There are so many cool dance and gymnastics opportunities for two year olds that don't exist in Mount Vernon yet. It's getting easier with her nap needs dwindling down to "one nap is a pretty darned important thing for most days, but there's wiggle room". As Chaya gets to preschool age, there will be even more flexibility to go both north and south. And that will be great. 

Then there's community. After six months, I really haven't made huge headway in growing a community here, beyond what I already had (namely, the friend who pioneered our way here - and who would chose to move back to Bellingham if she had the choice - and the very very busy but delightful cousin who's lived here for years). I have reached out. But it's harder and smaller here. I have hope and faith. But it also really affirms how grateful I am not to have moved further away from Bellingham, where so much of my community still exists. And it is cool enough that we're closer to Andrew's community (but not *too* close to work, for reasons I'll say no more about, but I'm sure some can relate). 

So it's mixed

Until, again, I remember that Andrew is so much happier and thus our entire family is so much happier. I definitely feel like we are closer for it and that is worth a million Trader Joe's. I really appreciate that we could find this compromise between our two ideals. 

And goshdarnit, I'm all for Chaya someday going to the Skagit Children's Museum Preschool. Yes, please!!

It's lightyears away from when we first moved in some ways, but less dramatically than any other 6 month chunk in Chaya's life. Her personality (and crazy hair) grows more and more vivid everyday, but these days it's about saturation and shading on the outlines already well established.

Chaya's not in a hurry to grow up. She has no consistent interest in potty training. She nurses at least three or four times a day. She is still in her crib. She might not believe me all the time but she still needs her afternoon nap (and amazingly agrees to settle for it on her own most days).

I've never been one of those "never grow up, baby" folks. I'm excited to meet the person she will become. I really do sometimes fantastize about how much easier the tough nights will be when I can slip in and out of a toddler bed to snuggle with her. I think about days where I'm not buried in diapers and likely to find an err bit of feces tracked about the house after a diaper-changing-calamity. And I do feel like a lot of my health concerns remain on pause while I wait for her to open up the weaning dialogue (that's a whole 'nother story coming soon)

Over all, I'm also happy not to rush. We're past comparing milestones at this point. There is the highest height of something soon to dissipate. Before I was a parent, I never realized the full depths of physical affection unhitched from sexual attraction. I danced, have had pets, and have never been particularly reserved, so I understood that deep intimacy. But not like these utterly pure and engrossing moments where I hold, kiss, snuggle, and fully embrace my little toddler. And somehow that she now chooses to be with me and reciprocates makes the toddler cuddles more intense than the nonstop kangaroo care of infancy.

And sometimes I want to say to my mom how much my heart breaks for her for that first day that I flinched when she hugged me or that day where I just didn't fit in her lap anymore. I celebrate the transition to cerebral from visceral, as the affection remains fiery and strong, but I mourn that loss of essential wordless physicality. I know the joy she felt at setting me free, but that it must have been complicated. The necessary rejection of independence celebrated with a different sort of homecoming.

So on those grounds Chaya can stay in her diapers until she's ready (or we're talking preschool). She can hold up breakfast a little while longer because she needs to sit on my lap while attempting to put bunny to sleep in her favorite book. And she can keep clawing at my shirt and nurse before bedtime.

Well for a while. As I continue to reflect on my physical health, I've come to realize a few things: (1) the last time my body felt fully physically healthy and functioned without hormonal supplementation was just before lawschool. s

I weighed roughly forty pounds heavier than my lowest weight. Possibile about 15-20 pounds more than now. And I had a BMI that was exactly mid-range healthy.

I think there's this insidious mentality that too thin isn't great, but one should be as thin as is healthy. And I'm starting to challenge that for myself more and more. So that's an adjustment. Just enough isn't good enough. And I'd really like my body to rediscover that point of homeostasis it once had. I remember being very happy with my body at that weight. It's silly how one feels fear about returning to a point where I was - again - happy. But this is the confusing nature of our society and our weird association

(2) In a sense, the best way to know if I hit a "healthy" set point for me would be to see if my body starts cycling again, but this has a rather large snag: I'm still nursing. And I probably shouldn't be from purely medical view. My bone mass is dwindling. I didn't think I'd be nursing so long. I revel in it. But i also recognize that it's complicating a lot. At my current bone density (not quite osteoperosis, but give a few years), I'm likely needing a lot of extra estrogen (that could be coming from increased fat stores, but again it would be hard to know) or other medications. It seems odd to go on hormone replacement to fight my own body when I'm still nursing (this would be the first recommended approach). I am not keen on other stronger medications when I don't yet have osteoperosis but continue to put myself at risk of developing it.

It's a lot to balance. I've started bandying the topic with Chaya. I know she's young for a long dialogue, but I know she also understands more than I think. I am telling her that she'll grow older soon and we will nurse less, so mommy can be healthier. I'm shortening some of our sessions a little. Often I can distract her after a brief nursing session with a book. I'm trying to find new ways to cuddle, so she doesn't associate weaning with diminishing affection, but it's hard because sitting together triggers assocaitions for her. And I'm going to try a little harder to distract and shorten the two daytime habitual feeds. I know she can skip them, since she does when we're travelling or having a big day. But she rarely replaces that with water or other fluids. I wish I could find something she enjoyed drinking. And I hope we can develop a place where we can cuddle together with that same attention without it becoming a mad grab at the shirt.

Because right now, it's exhausting finding OTHER THINGS to keep her happy/distracted/occupied comparred with just getting to chill together and browse my phone while she suckles a bit.

It's exhuasting to contemplate. And emotional. And we'll see. I really do want to be around for the long run here.

I still hope and think I foster the more nuanced physical intimacy of a husband one both loves Platonically and romantically. And I think we'll build upon that even more as she moves away. But I know we'll both have a little hesitation and holding back when we moved to kiss our grown up Chaya. And I know that my cuddly nights are numbered. They'll still kill me sometimes, and I'll still need breaks, but I'm living in a moment of gratitude that time can take some time and that Chaya is happy enough to keep on playing at being toddle-waddle a little while longer.
And happy enough to have had six more marvelous months of mayhem and madness.

Here's to the next quarter of Miss Chaya's life and the next stage of my rollercoaster existence.

PITA PETA to Peskytarian and other Medical Mixes


Still not dead yet?

Not even really all the thoroughly diagnosed yet. That's not true. I got a diagnosis early on and it's sticking through the other testing whether it satisfies me or not.

Having returned my Ziopatch and let some complex algorithm review all my daily rhythms, I've been declared "not particularly out of the ordinary." I'm hurt. I was hoping for FUNKY PHUNKY ALL NIGHT LOOOOONG. Or something. Like "exquisitely syncopated with a cheeky rubato."

Anyways, this is comforting and frustrating at the same time. On the one hand, not one of those anecdotes in which I get called in upon results to get an emergency ablation immediately! Because that would have been less fun and logistically complicated with the nursling.

On the other... I had symptoms of something while wearing the patch. I pretty much still do on and off. Granted the holding theory that it's a long road to recovery from low weight maybe malnourished dehydration (that never actually medically shows up on anything) to normal.

And about that low weight. I'm not at all anymore. After a fairly impressive scurry up the scale (I didn't add water weight as much as I gained a subdermal water bed), I've continued to gain steadily if at a slightly less staggering rate. I'm mid-range healthy at this point and counting.

Mind-boggling how accommodating athleisure is to fluctuations in weight. I'd guess I've now gotten about 20 pounds and at least an inch and a half on my summer low. And my most structured clothes are starting to feel snug, but they do still fit.

(Yes, yes, I want to be totally cool and zen, but it is vertiginous gaining a ton of weight fairly quickly. I don't necessarily notice it and am surprised how little of a difference it makes in some ways, but it does trigger all kinds of alarm bells. I was really trying at first, but now I am just kinda doing my thing. And it makes me worry that some floodgate are opened and about what if I just keep gaining a few pounds a week for the rest of my life and suddenly I am now having health problems because I'm overweight??? And yes, I feel like I've checked off that box so I should be totally healthy because if I'm going to have a thick waist now - which appears to be the favorite spot for new distribution - I should have excellent health as a trade-off. But that's a different story).

I also had a stress test. This began quite appropriately by having to come a half hour early and then wait for an hour because they were also "running late" not otherwise specified or updated. Talk about Adella-stress. Before that, they prohibited me from eating within two hours of the test and from having chocolate the entire day before. Next I thought they'd throw me into a room full of networking professionals, tell me that Andrew had lapsed into a coma, we'd lost our insurance and that I would need to get a job within the day or our whole family would be destitute and Chaya would be deported to... wherever our current administration is deporting small children these days.

The actual test was entertaining. The professionals were fairly incredulous about my low resting heart rate and low blood pressure as the test continued. Not in a "this is a problem way." But apparently I broke a record for "lowest blood pressure on phase one... looking good and not half dead." The test involved taking heart and blood pressure measurements in various positions: laying down, sitting, walking at a low speed and incline, and walking at increasing speeds and inclines in three minute increments. They mostly go to Phase Four, but people in my age and fitness group usually can squeeze to Phase Five (running a fifteen percent grade at some speed that makes you feel likely to go flying off the back). Apparently there too things responded appropriately. I was deemed to have excellent exercise tolerance and was further congratulated for my low blood pressure. They gave the proviso that this was not the official word but everything looked normal.

So, again a relief. And less surprising because other than having a fairly high stress waiting room experience pacing around a monitor blaring Fox News. But, you know... A few days ago I felt horrible and my body did all those vague bodily things that bodies do and all I knew was that "it wasn't something that likely would show up on a Ziopatch."  Then suddenly fine again!

I can so see why people turn to naturopaths and the like. You want to hear something concrete. Clearly I was/am not getting some things I needed/need. Blood work only said low vitamin D, "but not enough to cause those symptoms." A few electrolytes were in low normal, but given the low blood volume and saline it's really hard to say what that really means.

So in problem-solving mode I think "well maybe I have a magnesium deficiency." Then I realize "but magnesium can cause bradycardia!" Etc. etc. So you go to somebody who coaches you through it. And maybe allopathic medicine requires a little more rigorous review, but sometimes I just want to be told that if I have licorice tea and take algae supplements things will be better. At least as convincing as "gain some weight and drink more!" Which is definitely a holistic allopathic approach that's been played out over my life. Though I haven't given it the fairest of shots.

And, well, I've gained weight. I'm drinking more. I've had roughly the same amount of salt in the last two months that I've had in the year preceding probably. And blood pressure is still what it is and really always has been from my recollection. I do feel better than the lowest point for sure. But there were a lot of years before that where I was lower weight and not salted to the gills that I felt about this fine or better. Yes, yes, tipping points. Still: kvetch and cavil. Where's my licorice algae tea (wait licorice lowers blood pressure too maybe!)

Anyways, I suppose in light of that...

I've started eating fish. Because, I don't know. I guess when I first started trying to gain weight more ambitiously, my body didn't love it. So, I started reading about gaining weight and the only really helpful resources on the physiological effects of gaining weight from underweight were directed at eating disorders. Thought it was interesting that there's new research that eating disorders are so persistent and invasive because they rewire the brain. So even when you've "recovered" you habitually still make the same food choices you did when you were trying to lose weight. Rewards centers get kind of renovated apparently. Because, as I often semi-rant about, food is as much religion as it is anything specifically health-centered.

 It did cause me to ponder about the concept of unnecessarily concrete dietary rules. Or holding onto dietary mores because they slowly become an intrinsic part of identity and ritual. I see that increasingly in a society that holds evermore complex dietary paradigms as moral paragons and class markers. We have so much to suggest that the healthiest people are those who eat fairly flexibly, with moderation in most things. But that's really an unsatisfying answer to life-the-universe-and-everything. Just like "love thy neighbor and don't start a Holy War" is apparently far less fun than dictating the way a ceremonial cup is held on a high holy day.

One of the reasons I fell into eating a low sodium, less processed, less fatty diet was that after a certain period of not eating those (read: law school when I was too stressed to eat and really did probably exhibit some pretty disordered eating and exercise behaviors) things, doing so made me feel really sick. Which I took as a sign that my body was just as happy not eating those things.

Apparently the body can sometimes be a bit like my toddler. It may tantrum when I coax it into the bath, but then two hours later, it's still splashing!

It appears there are ways that my diet can serve me better and there are ways to reacclimate to that. So still not really going to force myself to love maple bacon ice cream, per se. But certainly I've worked over some years to re-acquire a taste for fats and now salts. Do I sound like a broken record yet? How dated was that reference? Am I an mp4 looped on iTunes?

 Which all got me to thinking about vegetarianism. I'm a largely vegetarian because I'm a vegetarian. I decided to become one way back in 4th grade because the idea of eating a living being creeped me out. Since then, my philosophies have become more or less sophisticated and I have less issue intrinsically with "living being." I grant some of the environmental arguments, but think there are plenty of ways to be far more environmentally sound. I'm not Buddhist and I'm not purist about it.

My body has completely acclimated against eating meat and meat products. The smell and taste and texture makes me gag. Not psychologically, but physically. Yes I can usually suss out products with meat even if I can't put a finger on why they make me feel icky.

Any kind of restrictive diet makes eating outside of your dietary bunker harder. It's harder to eat out when you don't like salty fatty foods. It's harder to eat  at a friend's house when you're the only vegetarian and are thus not surrounded by clean eating tofu swilling seitans with lentil quinoa stews up their sleeves. You end up eating little and having to bring your own protein/nutritional supplements whatever. So it does impede your day to day life.

I disagree that vegetarianism is unhealthy and think there's a lot of mythology around that. People have ridiculous concepts about how much protein people need, for instance, and I've actually occasionally had quite a high protein diet based on plants. But I admit that there's a lot more planning and mindfulness to make sure I'm getting my omega-3s or enough B vitamins or what have you. Except for my Law School askesis, I've mostly been pretty comfortable with guzzling milk and eggs, so that's helped.

SO... reevisioning vegetarianism? I have no reason for being one exactly, except that it's some intrinsic part of my identity (but hey aren't eating disorders in a certain way?) and it makes me feel sick to try to eat differently.

And, I don't really see the argument for reintroducing meat. For not quitting meat, sure, there are plenty of arguments. If it brings you pleasure, I think a moderate portion of meat is healthy enough. But it's not healthier most of the time and I really do not enjoy handling, eating, or cooking it.

Anyways, epic sage abbreviated: I actually see a compelling argument for introducing seafood, healthwise. I'm not a strongly holding vegetarian on any particular point, but I like that there are fairly enough options for eating sustainably.

And I never really gave seafood much of a shot before I "turned" in fourth grade. Like none.

Turns out it doesn't really feel or taste like meat. It stinks sometimes. And I don't love prepping it yet. But there is some really good fish. I've had a pretty amazing simply grilled salmon. I've had the meat of Chaya's fishsticks. I've had shrimp in spring rolls. I've made a pretty amazing tuna salad with greek yogurt, lemon juice and dill.

I am not ready for sardines. We tried. I thought I'd even managed to pour enough complementary spices to cover the taste, but that smell just burrows into your nose and start kickboxing. I'm afraid of shell fish, still. But I am trying things out.

Wish me luck and then Smoke me a Kipper... I'll be back for Breakfast.

Though I'm not sure I'm up to kippers yet.

The Million Dollar Mom: Cyborg Mommy and Tremendous Twonagers

SO we left off in a bit of a to-be-continued holding pattern. There was our little two year old.

Her whole life ahead of her. Endless potential. And boundless energy.  Kangaroo farm tours be damned, she's happy to mill with the less animated animals and poke her fingers through the gates.  That will continue to continue.

And then there was her mamma. Looking a little bedraggled on the peak of her thirties.

Well, I mean, looking FAAAAGULUS (as Chaya would say, before rounds of Oooopah and "raise roof raise roof"). But a little physically worse for the wear recently. It all held together pretty nicely for the first two years of ignoring my physical health to tend the baby. But it certainly has started to catch up with me just in time to devour any remaining deductible on our health insurance.

So let's see. I've not made any returns to the Emergency Room (sorry, Chaya, I know you had a blast in the hospital). I'd call that a win, yeah? For about a week there, I got some pretty amazingly deep sleep. Just kind of out of nowhere. One day I was reconciling myself to a long slog out of insomnia and the next I'd passed out in my own drool by 8:30 p.m.. The last week has been a little less magnificent on those terms, but not as bad as the total sleepocalypse of mid-August. I am truly looking forward to cooler evenings, as I think some of the cooler nights have definitely helped. The heat and humidity are paralleled only by the click and WHIIIIIIIR of the air conditioner for sleep disruption.

I'm mostly back to my regular activities. Running pretty well. Doing a few mini-hikes. Walking in the mornings on my treadmill to get the blood pumping.

I'm currently drinking a small saccharine ocean every day. I hope it's helping. I've gained a great glob of weight, so there's that, I suppose. My blood pressure tends to remain low regardless. And some days - I imagine the poorly slept ones in particular - I still feel pretty light headed and "off," but not in a way as to completely interfere with everyday Chaya worship. This is a blessing in and of itself.

In fact, it's been a whirlwind of a fortnight.

Chaya's bestie joined her in the ranks of TWONAGERDOM!

And then there was a PARTY!

At Hillcrest Park. I was berating myself for being unable to get it together and go reserve a picnic space since we were meeting up on a beautiful, sunny day in Saturday. But apparently that was not necessary.

Chaya was surrounded by friends. Naturally, she spent much of the event attempting to leave for various other neighborhoods. But she also came back and stomped in the cornbread. Ate half a cheese plate and some other peoples' crackers. Discovered that the sprinkles on cupcakes are the best thing ever. And generally Wonder Womaned up the place. 

These kiddos have been buddies since about 4 months old. Can't believe how much they've grown.

AND then... The Falconers returned!!!!

And there was much bouncing.

And restauranting:

And more bouncing. 

So sometimes, I feel a little less yippee yippee woo and more just whoah, but not in a way that's stopped me from having a pretty incredible couple of weeks.

And back on the weight counter: Currently still gaining like a well selected index fund. I'm roughly 13 pounds up from the death knell dehydrated low. Which translates to about 5 or 6 pounds up from my summer average. And a healthy pound and a half up from last weeks weigh in. Technically a healthy BMI at the moment, though just barely and still leaning pretty heavily on some serious sodium-bloat. 

Of course I'm resentful that I'm being so terrifically compliant in my salt guzzling and weight gaining yet my body has the temerity to exhibit anything but the happiest of health. I mean, yeesh, I'm doing my best here.

Ah well. I have lots of medical excitement in the next few weeks.

But first, a product review(ish)

Humpty Diggety Dog Mamma got a brand new braaaacelet. On my birthday, I was still having transient symptoms of any unpleasant variety. Either the stress or the massive salt increase seemed to also be producing an uncharacteristically high resting heart rate (... for me... 70s...which was just strange). I'd asked to borrow Andrew's heart rate monitor. He tit-for-tatted and offered my non-materialistic (sure sure) wrist with a brand new Garmin VivoFit-HR.

I admit I'd been curious. I've trained with heart rate before, so it's something I do find fun to know about even when I'm not wondering if I'm having "an episode" (I'm embracing being old and transitioning from saying "I feel randomly whack" to "having an episode"... it makes me feel like a character in a British Romance)

But this is so much more than JUST a heart rate monitor. It gives my phone a run for its money by fulfilling many of its major functions: (1) stalking the heck out of me with GPS tracking, (2) buzzing with various notifications and rewards and other things that allow me to paw absentmindedly through various screens and otherwise jolt myself out of any present moment with data about THE PRESENT MOMENT, (3) needing charging just often enough that my brain must fixate on finding perfect times and places to plug it in.

Also it manages to notify me in a meaningful way when I receive a phone call by vibrating. Since I never notice my phone when such an event occurs, this has been life changing.

The Garmin is an activity monitor. As such it seeks to encourage activity. Possibly not the ideal urge for somebody who is apparently back at the old game of "gaining weight," but a putatively noble goal. Garmin does this by picking a few goals at seeming-random and rewarding you with a fulfillment countdown and little badges when you meet your apportioned "goals."

The first goal is naturally "steps." Which doesn't really mean steps. It means some degree of movement-based bouncing. Sometimes it doesn't seem to count steps. It definitely counts when I bounce up and down on my exercise ball. It does not count moving your hands while sitting. It only sorta counts riding in a car.

The second goal is "stairs." You're supposed to climb and descend ten a day. On the day I went running and hiking, I apparently "climbed" 36. On days when I actually go up and down the stairs repeatedly, I'm told I have gained zero stairs. This maddens me to no end. I typically go up and down our basement stairs roughly 5 times in a day. I grant our staircase might not count as a full flight, but there's more to the story, since I've also managed to get 3 flights of stairs before breakfast. And yes, I've paced up and down the stairs several times in a row to see if I get any "stairs" - it doesn't seem to change anything.

And then there are "intensity minutes." These are apparently minutes that fit into the weekly recommended "164 minutes of moderate activity or 64 minutes of vigorous activity". Considering I do the same treadmill walk, with roughly the same heart rate maxes, I couldn't tell you why my only intensity minutes were accrued on Thursday and Friday this week.

It also tracks "sleep," but this is inaccurately tied to "stillness" and maybe HR. According to Garmin, Andrew barely sleeps at all, while my most insomnia plagued evenings are counted as a chock-full of deep sleep, because I do a pretty good job of laying still and letting the gymnastics occur in my mind.

It's just enough information to drive a woman mad. Possibly driving her to desperately charging it during the only still moments, and then bounding up and down on her yoga ball to make up "lost steps" (thinking she's cheating, and yet actually raising her HR higher by doing this than pacing).

It's an odd sort of nag. On the one hand, I don't really care about being "more active!" If anything, I have typically benefitted from nagging to be "more idle." Or to "eat more." Nutritionists and professionals have been telling me for years that I'm more active than I think in all my little fidgets and whatnot. Perhaps I expected a little more confirmation from Garmin than I've received.

Probably doesn't help that I have a typically low heart rate, but one which elevates pretty well during aerobic activity. It also doesn't help that garmin has no metric - or any clue - about the breastfeeding, since my heart rate typically goes quite low during a Chaya feasting session.

This could be a problem if I were paying more attention. I've long given up on tracking my food (once quite a helpful metric for adding calories but totally confounded by my "eat everything in toddler range all day long and not a lot of contained meals" approach to eating. I know how to have "an additional 500 calories at least" by just adding juices and drinks where I wasn't. But if I were to compare my logged caloric intake and garmin's estimate of my activities, I suspect I'd be seriously underselling mysefl.

But enough about my bangles, I got chest-gear too!

On Monday I was fitted for my very own ZIOPATCH.

This thing is my first step towards becoming a cyborg. It is a smallish little pod that is glued over my chest with two electrodes in order to track two weeks' worth of heart rhythms. When it's all done, I mail it in and they plug it all into a computer and ... I GET MY VERY OWN ALBUM OF SICK HR BEATZ, baby! No, I think the computer analyzes it and looks for irregularities. There's a huge button on the top so you can record when you're having symptoms. It produces a little marker for that period to make it easier to locate and analyze. And then say "dude, panic button much?" Because lord knows if you've pressed it at an appropriate time. I spend a lot of time wondering if it's worth pushing the button for various non-events. Like how do you press a button for "felt lightheaded for several hours." Or "Kind of had a pain in my chest but really that was probably my skin reacting to this itchy adhesive stuff" Anyways. Many of my recorded symptos will likely be "toddler started tearing at the big shiny button on mommy's chest." But I'm almost grateful for the sporadic return of smoky air and sleepless hot conditions during the wear time. I'd like to pick up whatever can be found during the wear period. I'm not going skydiving, but a little nudge towards "seee THAT" wouldn't be minded.

And Chaya has been far less frenzied with it than expected, though it's taken some maneuvering. Since you aren't supposed to submerge it and Chaya only bathes if she's allowed to start the bath nursing, I haven't really cleaned the beast all that recently. We'll have to try it before I take it off (in two weeks)

... in Port Townsend! OOOOOOH AHHHH. Just because August is over doesn't mean the summer fun is! We'll rock this toddler right into The HOlidaze at this rate!

Finishing up the household tasks and Konmari is totally overrated.

I'm more excited about my upcoming stress test and - if I'm really lucky - lots of blood letting. With all the sodium in my system, it should at least come shooting out this time!

Third and Thirty-Sixth Slices of Heaven: A Tale of Two Birthday Girls with a Medical Mix

Chaya's SO very two now. No questions about that (though there are questions about everything else, because despite her articulate two-ness, sometimes spending time with a two year old is like playing angry drunk charades). Going on three. Rocking the starry eyed wonder. The sing-songer self-story omphaloskepsis of children and her parental lineage. Running with the abandon of a teeny kiddo. Taking excellent, albeit violent, care of her animals and friends. And otherwise being amazing.

Her birthday has been an unfolding celebratory wave. We began with amazing Indian with the Uber Aunties on the 14th (Happy Due Dateaversary)

(the phone was a lender not a gift. She named it CHAYA due to the selfie-camera, and she thoroughly blew Siri's mind)

On the day proper, mommy and Chaya had an amazing time with balloons, stickers, and all of Chaya's favorite foods.

Peanut-butter rice krispies for breakfast (Rice Krispies in milk with hempseed and then scooped in PB). Mac and cheese and three kinds of popcorn for dinner. Baby corn and mushrooms and cheese for lunch. We even had a strange power outage in the morning for a little extra adventure.

As she's currently refusing to drink anything that I've laced with the increasingly necessary Miralax, her week has been a little intense (anyone who thinks I cringe when she's offered cheese or highly refined baby-crack-crackers... it's not the inner health nut, it's the inner "but she ALREADY WON'T SLEEP because she's backed up... please just slather that wonderbread and corn syrup in metamucil and we'll call it even). With high moments. Good sleeps. Then bad.
Head Shoulders Knees and Toes!

 And of course, she's two, so there are no middle-grounds between agony and ecstasy.

Ok enough of the cute child.

Almost. Here she is with her cousins. She was a bit intimidated at first, until she was able to retreat to her crib and hold court for several hours, while they returned various animals and toys to her. Then it was love at fifty-millionth sight (we have a photo calendar of them that is one of Chaya's most cherished toys)

I think they fit right in together, don't you?

OK, but moving on...

How about Humpty Dumpty (but ne'er DUMPY) Mama?

Did I mention I'm falling apart?

Not exactly, but this August lead-in has some serious hangover to add to my self-reassembly project. Dental work, done. PT begun but derailed by several spine mangling postures in the hospital bed and at home. And now...

So it's twin issues in that they both began around the same time and probably have roots in that similar incident. Official current diagnoses include: dehydration/electrolyte imbalance, low blood pressure, and nighttime anxiety/insomnia.

 I don't really know what triggered off the bodymaggeddon. If I had to guess I'd say that I'm sensitive (duh) for whatever reason. Underlying condition may exist or sensitivity may be the underlying condition. The smoke and heat gave me a wonky GI tract in addition to a stuffy head. It all made me lose water in any variety of ways. Then Chaya, little sweat monster, started nursing in triplicate to add to the load.

I tried to make that up drinking more water, but just-water essentially continued flushing out electrolytes and the water itself wasn't retained. So, dehydration escalated. Meanwhile the GI discomfort meant I wasn't eating much, which threw things off further. Then all the symptoms made it harder to sleep. Which made the idea of sleeping more stressful, especially when I felt like i was maybe about to kick the ice-bucket at any moment. Re-enter heartburn, upset stomach, insomnia related lightheadedness.

I had a visit with the cardiologist On Wednesday. My blood pressure was like 50/75 or something insane like that. My pulse at least was in the upper 40s, due largely to the sheer shots of adrenaline and shaking going on in that waiting room. But not exactly ideal. The Doc so helpfully said "oh no, don't lose sleep over this. It's really a simple thing. You'll be fine."

You'll never guess what the medical prescription is for the cardiac issues. Never!

Ok, you might not know what a Ziopatch is, or exactly whether I get to do a stress test in a month.

But the main advice could have been culled from so many medical files over the last decade. I'll start this the less ubiquitous one: I need to be consuming significantly more salt. When he said 8 grams, I was a little shocked, until I did the math and realized that's "just" 3100 mg of sodium. While that's pretty par for the American diet, I imagine it's still a lot lower than what I often get. And I'm sure the imbalance was pretty nuts when I was almost exclusively consuming unsweetened iced rooibos tea and cucumbers.

Oh yeah, also... He wants me to gain 10-15 pounds by our follow up in November. Deja entende?

You'd think the number of times I've been told to gain weight, it woulda stuck by now. And actually it does kinda. I am definitely less scrawny than four years ago. I have pictures to prove that point but I'd have to download them.

Anyways, some sticks. Then it drifts back down when I get stressed or distracted. And I'm kind of a defiant person, so the more that people (my beloved loved ones, especially) tell me to eat ice cream or whatever the less I want to. I'm not actually as rigid about my diet as the belief goes. I snack on chocolate through the day. Eat crackers and peanut butter habitually. Munch on Chaya's mac and cheese. I have my preferences. But the more I get pushed to eat more/saltier/sweeter, the more I want to go full purist to prove some kind of point. I'm going to have to get over that.

In many ways, that's actually a lot easier than it used to be. I've done this before. There's a litlte sinking feeling in that. I did in fact gain 10 pounds in the past (per doctors' orders) and it didn't magically clear up all my fertility issues, etc. I also feel like I have been pounding the saltwater and caloric intake this last week, while issues intermittently persist. My resting pulse seems to have shot up, at any rate. I don't know about my blood pressure. But I'm not magically rehydrated in a way that makes all the lightheadedness and occasional weirdness pass. There may be more to it. But I suppose we have to start somewhere.

I think maybe my error in the past has been making it just to healthy. Which is all well and good when I am healthy, but as soon as I'm stressed (traveling, moving, having a child), I immediately lose a little weight and that can slip-slide pretty quickly. If I were smack dab in the middle of healthy, I'd actually have some cushion (har har). And if there's something else wrong, having a little extra weight seems to improve outcomes, so either way/weigh...

Since I'm not walking astronomical miles on the treadmill everyday, It feels like I'm starting in less of a hole. You only need an extra 500ish calories a day to gain that kind of weight in that timeframe. And  I also know that I lost about five pounds in the last few weeks, which I am 90% certain is water weight. As soon as I got back from the hospital, I'd gained it all back (though it didn't remain).  I'm holding at that same steady and a little more this week after an insomnia related dip on Wednesday

I imagine adding a teaspoon of salt to two electrolyte recipes a day should handle a lot of that..

Not to mention the salted nuts Dr. Parmar's prescribed on my chocolate ice cream. I swear doctors LOVE talking to me. They're all frustrated chefs and i think they get extremely sick of telling people to knock off the salt and eat more celery. When they get to lay it on with healthy indulgences, they get incredibly creative! I should write a cook book of "Delicious Delicacies Docs Swear Will Gain You Weight in No Time!"

For now I'm adding tablespoons of nut butter to my usual snack breaks and channeling my grazing behavior with heavier ammo. Have almond butter on a cracker instead of a carrot stick, dried fruit and larabars instead of cauliflower etc etc. Sprinkling everything with hempseeds, chia, and other ground nuts. Doubling up my dairy (cottage cheese is pretty darned salty, after all), adding a glass or two of milk, and adding fruit juice back into the electrolyte mix doesn't hurt. And going with "when I usually would take a nibble, I will take a HUGE bite." It sounds minor, but I need sustainable lifestyle changes. And I still really just don't need to eat an ice cream every day. Though of course there will be some birthday ice creamery in there somehow.

There certainly was birthday cornbread with strawberries. And then cornbread with chili. And then cornbread because there's still cornbread and probably that needs some chocolate.

(Also, cars)

As for the sleep, well... that's going to be a slow process.

Since just before the ER, I was getting to a point where my heart would start pounding, my mind racing, and my body jittering as soon as I hit the pillow. I could feel utterly fine and drowsy until then, but as soon as I hit the bed, it all went acidic. Recently I've alternated between falling asleep fairly immediately, but then waking up feeling shaky AND just not falling asleep for a really long time and sleeping fairly lightly between restfulish chilling.

I should add that I have fairly fastidious sleep habits, due to a youth spent with bouts of insomnia. I unplug well before bedtime. I unwind. I turn off lights. I use the oft recommended sound machine (to Andrew's angst). I deep breathe. Write away my thoughts before bed. Etc. etc. But honestly, until I was married, my one hands down cure for riding out these periods was going into the living room, putting on tv/netflix and just passing out on the couch. That's not exactly workable when I want to go to bed ninety minutes before Andrew usually does. And the inevitable in and out of the bedroom is fairly disruptive to any light sleepers.

On many nights I've realized that as long as I'm not technically trying to sleep, I can coax myself into it. Sitting in bed with the light on. Laying on the couch and reading with my head propped on a pillow. If I can just trick myself into a certain coma, I might be able to transition. But of course, if I wake again.

It's seriously like self-sleep training. Learning how to fall back asleep again and again! It's actually gotten better the last couple of days, but I don't want to jinx anything.

And with that, we're off to the races, off to third and thirty-sixth year amazingness, and I'm off to uplink my fancy new Garmin (thanks to my very sweet husband who made an emergency birthday stop at Best Buy yesterday evening)