Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Poor Gary

Oh no! Got a snail last night for the fish tank, to help with a little algae issue that is growing. (Pun intended)

Unfortunately no one at the pet store mentioned not to put it in a tank with aquarium salt, which I have in my tank for the ghost shrimp.

So this morning I found my poor beautiful "Gary" dead.  How do I know it was the salt that killed him?  I found him shell up IN the salt cup!

As soon as I saw him in there, I thought: Hey, doesn't salt kill slugs?  Aren't snails basically slugs with houses? D'oh!!

I'm sad. I spent 45 minutes picking out just the perfect snail.  And the kids were so excited about him. And then I mercilessly killed him.  Poor guy never had a chance. :(

Update: So, because I wasn't 100% sure he was dead (he was still black and shiny in the shell, not discolored and dry) I put him in a plastic cup with water from the tank.  I wanted to a. observe him to confirm he was dead and b. return him for a refund if he was.  But when we were leaving for school/work I saw him crawling around!!  So, he's not dead!  But is he dying?  Hmm... I have done some preliminary googling for "mystery snail" and "aquarium salt" and I have found conflicting opinions.  Some say it will kill them for sure.  Some say that they can tolerate a high level of salinity in the water.  I need to find out for sure, so I can know how to proceed.  (If he is still alive when I get home from work)

Any experienced aquarium aficionados...please feel free to offer some advice.

Friday, February 24, 2012

It's working! Isn't it?

It's working, internets!

Remember a few days ago, I told you about Thing 2's bedwetting problem?

He has been wearing the GoodNites® Underwear now since Saturday night and he hasn't woken up with wet pajamas once.  Every morning, except for one, he has woken up with a very saturated pull-up, but nothing else has gotten wet.  Meaning: I haven't had to change his sheets even once this week!!

Wednesday night, when Superman and I went out for our date night, Grandma and Grandpa Train came up to babysit for us.  They haven't been around much lately, due to some unfortunate family drama (oh, that is a-whole-nother blog of it's own, internet), so they did not know about the whole bed-wetting dilemma.  So when we told them not to forget to put Thing 2's pull ups on when getting him ready for bed, she was surprised.  (They haven't worn any potty training anything in over a year.)  We were in a rush to leave for the concert, so we didn't stay and discuss it very long.

This morning, I was talking to her on the phone and she mentioned that she had this conversation with him before bed.:

Grandma: You need to go potty before bed.
Thing 2: No I don't.  I have my pull-ups on, so I can just pee in them.


Grandma voiced her concern that by letting him use the pull-ups that maybe he will become dependent on them and not pee in the toilet on purpose.

But, I don't think so internet.  I truly think that at this point, it is truly a medical issue for my little one.  And that the pull-ups are helping us all get a good night's sleep.  (We are used to good sleep in our house.)

I think for right now, he sees the pull-ups as a novelty.  Something special that he has, that his brother doesn't.  Kind of like how when I was a kid I was weirdly proud of my cast for the first few days, but then got annoyed that I couldn't play or go swimming like my friends could.

I think, eventually, Thing 2 will become embarrassed of his pull ups, and not want to wear them. (I'm just cringing in anticipation of the day that Thing 1 tells him "you wear a diaper, and diapers are for babies")  And I will do my best to try and comfort him that they are nothing to be ashamed of.  And that he just wears them to help him stay dry at night.  And isn't it better than waking up all wet?

I am still confident that this is the right choice for us right now.  And really hope that he grows out of this phase sooner rather than later....

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Embrace the camera

Click here to learn more about Embrace the camera Thursdays.

Last night, Superman and I headed to downtown Indy to see the Van Halen concert.  It was nice to have a little evening for ourselves.

Celebrating good times watching Kool & the Gang perform.  They were excellent!

He truly is my Superman!

The main event!  Watching Van Halen.  They were much better this concert than when saw them in 2007.  In '07 they seemed like 4 individual musicians sharing a stage, but this time they performed more like a cohesive group.  I still prefer Michael Anthony to Wolfgang though.

Van Halen 2012 Tour

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

To Boob or Not To Boob (Guest Blogger)

I have talked before on my blog about the hardship I experienced trying to breastfeed, and the guilt and judgment I felt/still feel for not being successful.  So, I asked my best friend (who blogs at A Jane of All Trades, Master of None), to do a guest blog on why she chose not to breastfeed.  So with that, let's welcome a wonderful woman, teacher, mother, and BFF!....

Ever since I was pregnant with my first daughter I have been plagued with the question, “Are you going to breast feed?” 

The first time someone asked me, I was barely pregnant and I was a little taken aback by this question.  I didn’t know people readily asked this question and I didn’t know it was anyone’s business.  I know I had never ever thought to ask another woman this question.

Then another person asked me. 

WHAT!?  Is this normal?

Then another person asked.

Each time I was asked, I responded with “We’re going to try.”  It seemed like the right answer and it usually stopped any further questions that concerned what my child would eat and where she would get it from. 

Deep down though, I knew I was really struggling with the thought of breastfeeding.  I knew all the health benefits.  I knew it would save us money.  I knew I would lose the weight faster, but honestly it creeped me out.

And before you judge, let me explain.  My mom had me at 17 and her number one goal in life was to make sure that NEVER happened to me.  From the time I was 12, I was told “I don’t care if you have sex, but he and you better be protected.” 

I felt like I heard this every day of my life...

And you would think with talk like that, sexuality and your body would be an open discussion in our house.  No.  It was actually quite the opposite. 

Some examples: I was not allowed to walk around in t-shirts because of my brothers.  My mom mortified me by telling her friends when I got my first period.  I once had a friend (around 13) who didn’t wear underwear to bed, and when I asked my parents about this, they practically chastised the girl and her parents.  If I wore an outfit that was maybe tight or slightly inappropriate, my aunt told me I deserved to be raped.

By the time I was actually at the age of being sexual, sex was cold for me.  I associated sex with teenage pregnancy, and I associated my body with something that needed to be secret.  To this day, I will do everything to make sure no one sees me naked.  Even my husband didn’t actually see me naked for a good while after we were already having sex.

Fast forward to January 2007.  I was 3 months out from being a mom and I still had no idea what I was going to do about breast feeding.  I had gone from “I will try” to “maybe I’ll just pump.” 

Then I visited my friend after right after delivering her baby.  While I was there it was feeding time, and she fed him without hesitation right there in front of my friend and me.  She didn’t cover herself, and honestly, she didn’t need to.  But it was in that moment that I knew I was not going to be able to do it.  I knew that I was so uncomfortable in my own skin that breastfeeding would not be possible. 

I am not disgusted by others that breastfeed.  I’m not anti-breastfeeding.  I hate that society accepts Brittney’s cleavage spilling out, but then want women to breastfeed in a restaurant bathroom.

What I disagree with is the constant judgment that I faced (and still face now with my second child).  Worse yet, I hate the judgment that women who really did try face.  And ladies, it is not the men who judge us...it is other women. Women are so mean.

And we call ourselves a sisterhood?  Really? 

Each and every mother will be faced with a point where she will know all the disadvantages and advantages of her actions, and will make the decision to do what is right for her. 

And they can call her selfish.  And they say she is a bad mother.  And they launch campaign after campaign that puts her down for her choice.  But in the end, it is her decision.  And just as I don’t want the government making decisions about my body, I don’t want my "sisterhood" deeming me unfit because of MY decisions about my body.

With my second daughter, who was born just a month ago, I have learned to say “breastfeeding didn’t work for us,” when asked if I am breast feeding.  What I really want to say though is "What did you feed your kid last night?  Was it the best possible choice?  Could you have done something else?"  Just so they get how inappropriate and not their business their question is.

Five years late, I can say that my first born is very healthy.  She has the occasional ear infection, but honestly we really only have to go to the doctor about twice a year.  She is incredibly bright and inquisitive.  And her weight is exactly on point for her height and age.  She is all of those things that the breastfeeding campaigns promise you your formula fed baby won't be.

And so maybe I didn’t lose that baby weight, but I’m okay with that.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A common problem

Thing 1 and Thing 2 have been completely potty trained for about a year now.  In fact, last year we got them big boy beds for their 4th birthday to celebrate the achievement.  We had made a conscious decision to wait to get the big boy beds until after they were nighttime trained, because we didn't want them ruining the new linens and mattresses with accidents.  Just to be on the safe side though, we did buy vinyl mattress covers for that occasional accident.

And for months, we had what seemed like no accidents.

Then, Thing 2 began having the occasional nighttime accident.

Then it became 2-3 times a week.

Then it became almost every other night.  Around this time, I actually put a post on Facebook asking for some advice.  I got a lot of "make sure he empties his bladder before bedtime", "don't let him drinking anything for two hours before bedtime", and "layer a mattress cover and a sheet, then another mattress cover and sheet to pull off at night."  But the accidents continued.

Then, around Christmas time, it seemed like the accidents were getting less frequent again. 

But after the new year, they came back, and more frequent than ever.  In fact, for a little over a month now, Thing 2 has wet the bed every single night.  Every night between 2 am and 4 am I hear the crying "Mommy!  Mommy!" and I go in to find him standing by his bed crying "my pajamas are wet".  And I help him peel off the soaked clothes, then bring him into bed with us.

Exhausted (both from the amount of sleep I was losing and the extra loads of laundry I was doing), I decided to turn to the internet for some help.  I put up a plea on Facebook, asking any of my friends for serious advice.  One mom suggested I check out GoodNites® Underwear, which she said were designed for older kids who had night time accidents.  So I began doing some research on them, and what I found out was that my son was exhibiting textbook symptoms of nocturnal enuresis, also known as bed wetting.

Bedwetting is common.  In fact, according to some research, as many as 1 in 10 children ages 4-11 experience chronic bed wetting.  And the vast majority of these are boys.  Moreover, bedwetting typically starts just as it did with Thing 2.  They are completely potty trained (even at night) and then they slowly start having accidents.  Then often seem to get better.  Then the accidents get more and more frequent.

I won't go into lots of detail here about the facts about bed wetting, and how to deal with it, because there are already tons of great resources out there (especially on Goodnights.com), so I don't feel the need to reinvent the wheel.  I'll just end the blog on these last notes.
  1. If your child is having night accidents, I strong urge you to check out Goodnights.com for more information on bedwetting.  They have lots of wonderful resources and articles to read.
  2. Don't be afraid to put your child back into training pants.  We invested in some GoodNites® Underwear this weekend, and I am so glad we did.  First, they are specially made for kids 4 and up (are very absorbent!) and specifically designed for being used while lying down.  I was skeptical that they could keep Thing 2's pajamas and bedclothes completely dry at night, but two nights in a row they have!  That pull-up is saturated, but everything else was dry.  And the pull-up didn't feel wet to the touch either (sorry, I know that is gross, but I had to...it is on my baby boy's skin, I had to make sure he isn't going to develop rashes from the moisture).
  3. Don't make your child feel bad for his bedwetting!  This is a physical issue, not one of obstinance or laziness.  It was hard to show Thing 2 a lot of sympathy at 3 am in the morning, but I tried very hard to remember that he wasn't doing it on purpose.  I tried to use sympathetic tones and tell him it was okay, that we had plenty of clean and dry pajamas to put on.
    I was afraid that he would be resistant to the pull ups, and say "those are for babies".  But I explained to him before I went to buy them that I was going to get him some underwear that would help him not make his pajamas wet.  He seemed fine with this.  Then, when we were getting ready for bed, I again talked to him about how these would help keep his pajamas and bed dry all night.  But I didn't have to do much explaining, because he put them on with no reservations. In fact, he seemed very happy about the idea.  I had to remind myself that I'm sure he doesn't enjoy waking up in a puddle of his own urine anymore than I enjoy waking up at 2 am and changing him out of urine soaked clothes.
  4. YOU (and your child) ARE NOT ALONE!  I will say that ever since I found that Goodnights.com site, I feel so much better.  Just knowing that my child is not the only "potty-trained" 4 year old having this problem, I am just, I don't know...relieved.  Also, it makes me less afraid to talk about the issue.  I just wish I hadn't waited so long to ask for help.
As a parent, I have already faced many things that haven't gone as planned: not having a normal pregnancy, when the boys wouldn't/couldn't nurse, their speech delays, etc.  Now my child bedwetting.  It's disappointing and frustrating, because we just want our parenting and our children to be "normal."  But I have never been one to sit back and pretend like if I don't deal with it, it will go away.  So my child is a bedwetter.  That does not define him.  And one day he will outgrow this and probably will barely even remember it. In the meanwhile, we will just love him, and be supportive, and reassuring, and let him know that this is natural and nothing to be ashamed of.

    Thursday, February 16, 2012

    Embrace the camera

    Emily, a wonderful blogger that I've recently begun to follow at http://andersonfamilycrew.blogspot.com has this thing called Embrace the camera Thursdays.

    Basically, she started this because she realized that she has very few pictures of her and her dying mother together. And that she wants to make sure that whatever happens in life, she can leave behind lots of memories for her children through pictures. And not just of them, but of them with her.

    I definitely feel moved to participate in this, because I know that I am incredibly guilty of taking LOTS of pictures of Thing 1 and Thing 2.  And LOTS of pictures of Thing 1 and Thing 2 with Superman, but I very seldom am in front of the lens, because I am always behind it.  But I vow to begin Embracing the Camera every Thursday with Emily.  Starting today.


    I've always loved bedtime.  Thing 1 and Thing 2 have always been pretty good about going to sleep.  There is the occasional "just one more story" or "I'm thirsty," but mostly, they just lay down, listen to their stories, and lay quietly flipping through their books after we've said good night.

    Lately though they are very into Mommy telling them stories.  The stories almost always are about Grandma and Grandpa's dogs.  Those dogs have gone on some amazing adventures!  They've gone camping, taken a train ride, ridden a roller coaster, visited Thing 1 and Thing 2's school, and gone to the beach, just to name a few.

    Thing 2 is my mini-me.  He is stubborn. And strong willed.  Obstinate.  He is the child my mother always cursed me with, when she'd yell "One day you'll have one just like you."  Yet he is creative, and lovable, and thoughtful.  And strong.

    I love how the boys love to pick out their own pajamas now.  Thing 1 would wear these green lantern (short sleeved and shorts!!) pajamas every single night if he could.  He cries when we put them in the laundry.  Thing 2 just grabs whatever is on the top in the drawer.  He is not so picky.

    At first, it was tough for me, because we'd always dressed them in coordinating outfits, but I quickly began to cherish how this simple act of independence on their parts really shines a light on how perfectly different my twin sons are.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    The Back-rub Scam

    I am often guilty of pinning pinning pinning on Pinterest, but then not doing anything with those great ideas.  But not this time internet. Not this time.

    A few weeks, or maybe months, ago, I pinned this idea (on my Playing with my kids board) of a dad who drew a car track on the back of a tshirt in order to scam a free back-rub.

    And last night, after Valentine's Day dinner, I was really wanting a back rub.  But Superman doesn't do back rubs, so I retreated to my craft room and about 15 minutes later came out with this:

    And guess what internet...it works!!  Thing 1 and Thing 2 snuck into my room and saw what I was doing, so I told them to go grab some cars.  And they were back in a flash!  Then, they spent a solid 45 minutes playing cars on my back (and my butt and legs. I was not excited that my butt was the "super huge mountain", but hey it felt so good they can call it whatever they want!).

    But before you go judging my lazy parenting, I will tell you this, the unexpected benefit from this arrangement was that it forced me to just lay and listen to them play.  Not do any parenting or instruction.  Just listen to them be them.  Not listen while cooking dinner.  Not listen with one ear, while listening to the news with the other.  Or listen intently for 3 minutes and then return to another task.

    As a mother who works full time, I often find that I'm so busy juggling everything that my mental to do list is on constant scrolling in my brain (scoop the cat litter, feed the fish, make dinner, clean up from dinner, fold that laundry, put that laundry away, vacuum up that cereal, sew up the tear in that snow suit, etc. etc) which makes it hard to just focus on any one thing in the evenings.  But thanks to this t-shirt, last night I spent 45 solid minutes just listening and taking joy in hearing how imaginative and creative my sons are.  And hearing them bring in situations from their real life. I couldn't stop smiling, and not from the scammed back-rub (although that did feel good!).

    It was definitely a great way to bring a close to a day that celebrates love.

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Reason #19 Why My Husband Is A Lucky Man

    (Okay, so I randomly made up that number, but I'm sure there have to be at least 20 reasons, right?)

    But seriously, Superman is a lucky man because I don't really care about Valentine's Day. Wait, back up, I said that wrong. I love Valentine's Day. I love all the pink and red, and hearts, and candy, and cards. It's just a pretty, superfluous just-because holiday, and there is something I like about that.  But I don't care about the big deal. You know what I mean...the flowers, the jewelry, the reservations, and $40 bottle of wine.

    I handmade 48 Valentine's Day cards for Thing 1 and Thing 2's classmates and teachers and helped them give them out at school. I made 24 cupcakes, bought candy, and then arranged this surprise treat for the teachers and staff at their school:

    Then I handmade Valentine's Day cards for Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Superman and me.

    I found the perfect Valentine's Day card for Superman (It is funny, not romantic. And it talks about my boobs.) and a box of candy that looks like a giant baseball heart.
    Tonight, I'll make him one of his favorite dinners: fish tacos.

    At bedtime I'll read the kids several books that have love themes, like All the Ways I Love You, and I Will Love You Forever.  Then I'll kiss them goodnight and head off for my shift at the local homeless shelter, like I do every Tuesday.

    For me, Valentine's Day truly is just about giving and focusing on how good I feel when I show my love to others.  And I mean it when I say that I don't expect anything in return.

    I won't pout it he doesn't send me flowers.  Or buy me gifts. Or take me out for a fine dining experience.  I've assured him over and over that I don't want him to buy me jewelry. Ever. For any holiday or anniversary or occasion.  (Except for earrings.  He can buy me cheap costume jewelry earrings anytime he wants.)  I don't even care if he doesn't buy me one piece of candy (because I have a debit card and two legs, and I will hit up CVS tomorrow and pick up my favorite candy wrapped in red at 50% off!).

    But if he doesn't get me a card (and I mean a good card, not a 2 for $1 dollar store card), then so help me I might have to spit in his fish tacos.

    Saturday, February 11, 2012

    Hormonal Decisions (Guest Blogger)

    A friend of mine named Sarah, who blogs at I Love Nail Polish (you should check her out!), told me a while back about unexpected complications she'd had from having her tubes tied after her second child.  I had never heard of these complications before, so I thought it would be interesting to have her write a guest blog about her experience.  Like I said in yesterday, everybody and every body is different, what works well for some might not work well for others, and vice versa.  The key is to make informed decisions for yourself.  So with that, let's welcome Sarah!....

    It’s a Girl!

    With that announcement I knew Adam and I would need to discuss permanent birth control. Prior to my pregnancy with Bryce I was on “the pill” for about 7 years. Afterward, I had the Mirena IUD for 3. At my 20 week ultrasound, we learned our second child would be a girl, thus (for us) completing our little family. At my next OB/GYN appointment, Adam and I talked briefly with the doc that this baby would be our last. The OB/GYN practice I was using had several practitioners; each patient was required to have an appointment with each doctor. At every appointment we explained to each doctor that this would be our last baby. One doctor suggested the Essure procedure. Essure is a permanent birth control procedure that works with your body to create a natural barrier to prevent pregnancy. To find out more about Essure, ask your OB/GYN and visit www.essure.com.

    For me the cons of Essure were:

    • It would mean an additional OB/GYN visit.
    • Additional cost, as it was not approved by my insurance.
    • I’d never heard of it before and it looked strange. (I wasn’t exactly excited to have inserted into my vagina what looked a whole lot like mattress springs, just on a smaller scale.)

    The other choice in permanent birth control was a tubal ligation (AKA having my tubes tied). So, that was that. I honestly didn’t ask a whole lot of questions, with only two options tubal ligation seemed to me to be the “only” choice.
    Courtesy of theprickcushion.com

    What I understood about having my tubes tied was

    • It’s 99% effective.
    • It could be done immediately after giving birth to Maggie.
    • It is covered 100% by insurance.
    • It is “permanent,” unless one decided to have a reversal.
    • It is the most common form of birth control among married women.

    What I didn’t know, but found out later

    • Post tubal ligation syndrome is more prevalent than the medical community will admit.
    • Afterward, most women need some kind of hormonal support, in the way of hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills.
    • Many women experience emotional changes so severe their mood can only be improved with anti depressant treatment.

    My personal experience is not one of regret because I am no longer able to have children; the regret stems from not educating myself or exploring other options. It turns out that tubal ligation is more costly and has more complications than a vasectomy. Looking back, continuing use of the Mirena may have been a good solution until we thoroughly researched all of our options. Since having the tubal ligation in May of 2009 my body has gone into what my doc is calling “early menopause.” At the age of 32 it was the last thing I thought I’d be experiencing. My OB/GYN recommended hormone replacement or I could try taking birth control pills to see if they helped. I wasn’t going to take birth control pills; why should I pay for more birth control and put anymore hormones into my system? Instead, I suffer terrible night sweats and hot flashes so severe they send my coworkers searching for sweaters to escape the frigid temps in my office. Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome (PTS) is not something I ever heard or read about prior to my own experience. PTS results from a rapid decline in estrogen levels due from the blood supply being damaged to the ovaries during the TL surgery.

    Symptoms of PTS are:

    1. Eptopic pregnancy or pregnancy-I was unaware of the number of women who experience these following a TL.

    1a.Hot flashes, flushes, night sweats and/or cold flashes, clammy feeling, chills

    2. Bouts of rapid heart beat

    3. Irritability

    4. Mood swings, sudden tears (I’ve been on Zoloft since my pregnancy, without it, I am mush)

    5. Trouble sleeping through the night (with or without night sweats)

    6. Irregular periods; shorter, lighter periods; heavier periods, flooding; phantom periods, shorter cycles, longer cycles

    7. Loss of libido (not having this)

    8. Dry vagina (or this)

    8a.Itchy vagina-at time raw like, can radiated from whole area, with absence of yeast infections. (or this)

    8b. Color change in vaginal area. (color gets darker - purple/black) (or this)

    9. Crashing fatigue (sometimes)

    10.Anxiety, feeling ill at ease (for real)

    11.Feelings of dread, apprehension, doom (again without the Zoloft I’m a wreck)

    12.Difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion (seriously!)

    13.Disturbing memory lapses (yeppers)

    14.Incontinence, especially upon sneezing, laughing; urge incontinence (hmmm, this is particularly bothersome)

    14a.Prolapse of uterus do to rapid decress in estrogen levels.

    15.Itchy, crawly skin (not experiencing this)

    16.Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons

    17.Increased tension in muscles

    18.Breast tenderness (not this one either)

    18a. Decrease in breast mass (definitely no trouble here)

    19.Headache change: increase or decrease

    20.Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea (yep, had to have my first colonscopy due to blood in my stool and vomiting blood)

    21.Sudden bouts of bloat --sucks

    22.Depression (Zoloft, 200 mg PO QD)

    23.Exacerbation of existing conditions --??

    24.Increase in allergies --yes

    25.Weight gain (everything “except Weight Watchers” makes me gain weight..primarily food is the culprit though)

    26.Hair loss or thinning, head, pubic, or whole body; increase in facial hair (…ewe glad I’m not experiencing this)

    27.Dizziness, light-headedness, episodes of loss of balance –yep this is scary

    28.Changes in body odor –I don’t think so

    29.Electric "shock" or "stabbing" sensation under the skin. --nah

    30.Tingling in the extremities, --nah

    31.Gum problems, increased bleeding --nah

    32.Burning tongue, burning roof of mouth, bad taste in mouth, change in breath odor --nah

    33.Osteoporosis (after several years)

    34.Changes in fingernails: softer, crack or break easier –nah

    If those life changing symptoms aren’t enough to scare a person out of having a tubal ligation I’m not sure what would be. However, the beauty of living in the U.S. is that women are able to make these decisions for ourselves. And we do have options. It’s too late for my hormonal mess, but do yourself (and your spouse) a favor and do a lot of research, ask other women, talk to your doctor(s) and explore every option available.

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    TMI pt 2

    **Warning male readers...turn back now**

    So, months back I wrote a blog post entitled TMI and I urged my man friends not to read it.

    One good friend emailed me and said "Uh....I shouldn't have read that."  And I said "I warned you."  And he said "I know, but I was curious."

    I'm sure he thought it was going to be a post giving all the secrets to pleasing a woman sexually....and then he was severely disappointed to read that it was about menstrual cups.  :)

    Well, here is my warning again, in plain English: Men do NOT read this post.  Unless you like reading about vaginas.  The inside of vaginas.

    Okay, if they haven't turned back now, it's their own fault!

    So, today I'm going to talk about IUDs.  IUDs, if you don't know, are contraceptive devices that are inserted through your vagina and up into your uterus. They are left there for YEARS! to prevent pregnancy.  (5 years for Mirena*, 7 years for Paraguard*)

    I'm not going to get all medical on you here.  If you want to know more about IUDs, you can google them or read about them on wikipedia.  And if any of the facts I give you are wrong, sorry, I'm not a doctor.

    I'm just going to share my own personal experience here.  In my layman's terms.

    First, I'll tell you what birth control we have used and why we stopped.

    The Pill.  I used the pill for 10 years with great success. But for some reason when I restarted the pill after I stopped breast feeding, I just kept forgetting to take it.  I tried to take them when I brushed my teeth in the morning, but I was even forgetting that sometimes (don't worry, I keep a back up tooth brush and paste in my desk at work just for this reason).  I thought the habit might come back if I just gave it time, but I was on it for about 6 months and STILL kept missing pills.  This was no bueno for a couple that got pregnant with twins the exact month she went off the pill.

    Nuva Ring*.  I actually really liked the Nuva-Ring.  My doctor gave me 3 or 4 rings to sample, and I was very happy with them.  I especially liked the "set it and forget it" convenience that I so badly needed, and I experienced none of the possible side affects.  But it was $45 a month.  Not to be crass, but Superman and I were just not having $45 worth of sex a month.  I know, I did the math.  We needed to up our monthly copulation averages, or find another route of contraception.

    Condoms. I was surprised that Superman was willing to go for this method, considering we had dumped condoms long ago into our courtship (we were monogamous and got tested for all the STDs first young ladies!), and I always just assumed men hated condoms.  But this was a cheap method that was pretty effective (we used it for over 2 years with no pregnancies!). However, there are some draw backs.  Just to name one....While we typically had a healthy supply in our bedside table, we were terrible about having them with us outside of the house.  And there were the occasions where we felt spontaneously amorous, but lack of protection kept us from being able to act on those impulses.  (Hey, we are married, not dead!)

    I had heard about IUDs before, but had heard mostly negative things about them.  I had a few friends/acquaintances who had used them and complained of terrible cramping and lots of break through bleeding, and in the end had had them removed. (Actually, one said hers came out!)  So while the concept sounded great (insert a device, minimal hormones, last for 5/7 years) I couldn't bring myself to look past the bad reviews.  But overtime, the more I thought about the IUDs the more I thought: if they are as bad as my friends say, why are so many women still using them?  Then I thought back to all of the negative reviews I'd read about the Nuva Ring after I had already started it.  I had experienced none of the symptoms and complications those women reported.

    So I decided that the only way to know for sure if the IUD would work for me, was to give it a try.

    At my next annual visit to my OBGYN, I let her know that I would like to try an IUD.  We talked about the pros and cons of Mirena and Paraguard, the two leading IUDs and she sent me on my way with literature and instructions to call me when I started my next period.  (The IUD is inserted during the last days of menstruation, since the cervix is softer.)  Also, during this time, her office staff would contact my insurance to find out what they would cover for each of my two choices.

    Here is a break down of my choices:

    • A plastic device that uses a very low dose of progesterone locally into your uterus.  Now, my doctor wanted me on very low or no hormone birth control, so originally I was not considering Mirena because of this, but it turns out that Mirena is okay because it doesn't use estrogen, and because the hormone is distributed locally and very little of the hormone gets into your actual blood stream.
    • Lasts for 5 years
    • Because it uses hormones, majority of users report lighter periods (less cramping, lighter flow, less days) and many users report that periods go away completely after about 6 months.
    Para Guard
    • A plastic device that has copper coils.  The best I could understand was that no one knows exactly why the copper works, but that they think it kills sperm.
    • Lasts for 7 years
    • Many users report that their periods are actually heavier and longer than before insertion.

    Both devices are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.  And as it turns out, both were covered 100% by my insurance company.  All I had to pay for was my actual appointment for the placement (just a doctor's visit co-pay) and the cost of my 6 week post-placement check up exam (another doctor's visit co-pay).  So for me, that was $80 for 5 or 7 years of birth control!

    So, I decided that I was going to try Mirena.  The idea of lighter (and possibly no) periods just sounded too good to pass up.  So, the first day of my menstrual cycle in December, I called and made my appointment.

    The actual placement was not too bad.  It wasn't pleasant, but I wasn't screaming or crying or anything.  Imagine if you will a pap smear, but instead of the swabbing portion taking 10 seconds, it took a minute.  It really wasn't a long amount of time, but it seemed like forever when I was naked from the waist down and my hoo-ha was being held wide open by a plastic crank.  The first thing they did was insert a speculum and opened it up, just like a pap.  Then, she measured my uterus, to make sure it was big enough for the device.  I don't remember exactly how much mine measured, but she assured me that it greatly surpassed the minimum. She said I could thank having twins to stretching that bad boy out.  (I think this is also why IUDs used to only be recommended for women who had already experienced a pregnancy.)  Then, she inserted the device using a special tool-thingy.  It didn't take long, just about 30 seconds of pressure and a slight pinching feeling.  Then she cut the string that was dangling through the cervix into the vagina.  Then she was done.

    Afterwards I did have a funny pinchy feeling.  It is difficult to describe, because it wasn't quite in the hoo-ha, but it was "down there" in that region.  I had been forewarned of pain by the literature, so I was prepared with a bottle of ibuprofen.  I took two, then headed back to work.  I felt kind of crampy, like normal menstrual crampy, but otherwise I felt fine.

    When I got home, I was curious, so I felt for my string.  It didn't feel like a string at all, it felt stiff, more like fishing wire.

    Later than night, Superman and I decided to celebrate our condom-free lifestyle by taking it out for a spin. (Another bonus to the IUDs, they are effective against pregnancy from the moment of insertion, no waiting a few hours or 30 days.)  I was curious if he could feel anything, but of course he couldn't.  I've read some women say that their partners were poked by the stiff string, but we didn't experience this.  I actually was a bit uncomfortable, and certain positions were down right bad.  A small part of me worried that certain positions would have to be taken out of our rotation for good, since they actually shorten the vaginal canal and allow the penis to penetrate deeper.  (I did title this blog TMI, y'all!)  Looking back, I should have just waited a few days before trying to have sex, and that is what I'd recommend to others.

    Since I was already on the tale end of my cycle, my bleeding was incredibly light.  It could best be described as spotty.  I did expect it would get heavy again after the placement, but it didn't.  But the spotting did last a big longer than if I'd had a normal cycle.  I think I had to wear a pantyliner for like a week afterwards.

    By a week after my placement, my spotting was gone.  I could no longer feel any cramping or pinching.  And by this time we had tried having sex again and no positions were off limits.

    A month later I had my first post-placement menstruation and it was mostly normal.  I normally have one day of bad cramping (usually the 2nd day), 3-4 heavy days where I use my menstrual cup, and then 1-2 days where a panty liner suffices. For this period, I did notice that my usually heavy days seemed a little less heavy, and by the 3rd day it was almost light enough that I didn't need the cup.  Almost.

    I had no breakthrough bleeding.  No non-menstruation cramping.  Things were going so well that for just a second I worried that maybe it had fallen out, like the woman who'd warned me about her bad experience.  I decided to try and feel for the string just to check.  I couldn't feel it.  I enlisted Superman to help (there was a lot of bribing for this!) and he couldn't feel it.  I wasn't panicked enough to call the doctor though.

    At the end of January, I went back for my 6 week post-placement check up and crossed my fingers that it was still there.  She examined me and said everything looked great.  She said the reason that I couldn't feel the string was because it had curled up (I've read they tend to curl up and soften over time), but that it was still perfectly in place.  I was cleared as good to go until my next annual pap smear.

    A few weeks later, I started my second post-placement menstruation.  And this one was so not normal.  I've had no cramping.  None!  And I had two very light days, followed by one day that I used my cup (but never got a significant amount of stuff), and then four days of light-pantyliner bleeding.

    So, in the end, I've been using Mirena for almost 3 months and I have experienced no side effects.  I have experienced no breakthrough bleeding (this was a major problem for a good friend of mine who tried it before), no cramping (I heard a lot of this prior to my placement), it hasn't fallen out, it's not affecting our sex life, my blood pressure has not been affected by the hormones, and my periods are less intense and getting shorter. (Knock on wood, but I'm hoping my next post-placement menstruation will be even lighter than this last one was!)

    So, my recommendation to anyone who is interested in the IUD: give it a try.  Remember that everybody (and every body) is different. Just because it wasn't a good fit for your best friend, that does not mean it won't work well for you.  And don't spend a lot of time looking for opinions on chatboards...remember that people generally run to those after bad experiences.  Most people having good experiences don't feel the compulsion to share it with the world.  Which is exactly why I wanted to write this blog and share my good experience.

    I promised myself pre-placement that I would give the IUD 3 months.  If after 3 months I wasn't happy, that I would have it removed.  But, I think based on the last 2.5 months that the Mirena has surpassed my expectations, and I predict that I won't be going to have it removed until December 2016.

    I hope that you've found this blog useful in helping you make a decision.  If you have, please leave me a comment, and share your experience with an IUD here.  Especially if you've had a positive experience.

    *I have not been solicited or paid or in any way encouraged to mention any of the products on this page, this blog is completely and totally my own opinion.

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012

    Not so winter-ish

    Like many other parts of the country, we are experiencing an incredibly mild Winter.  Hmm, that doesn't even seem to cover it.  We are experiencing what seems like an incredibly early Spring.  That seems to describe it better.

    Superman likes to think that Winter is over for the season, and that we are going to transition straight into full blown Spring.  But I'm ever the weather pessimist and believe we still have plenty of Winter weather ahead of us, that this short burst of Spring weather is a short-lived cruel joke on us by Mother Nature.

    But regardless of who is right, we are certainly enjoying the sunny skies and warm weather.  The kids are playing outside almost everyday and we have even been able to open up the doors and windows to enjoy the fresh air.

    Here are some pictures of the boys helping Superman do some bike maintenance.  Yes, they are riding bikes, not sleds (without jackets, let alone snow suits!) in early February!

    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    New Blog!

    When I first started blogging in January 2010, I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to blog about, but figured it would revolve around my life as a mother, specifically being a mother of twins.  Which is why I decided to name this blog Twinfamous (rhymes with infamous).

    A year later, I'm realizing that I'm blogging more and more about the crafts I've made, and projects I'm working on. And I've even opened my own Etsy page and Facebook fan page.  At this point, I feel like the right thing to do is to start a new blog for my crafting, using the same name I use on Etsy and Facebook, Do It Myself Crafts, to keep it consistent.

    I will be importing in my craft related posts from Twinfamous.  And for now on, all of my craftsy posts will post to Do It Myself Crafts, and my personal posts (life, love, motherhood, etc) post here.

    If you follow me here, and would still like to follow my crafting, please feel free to follow me there as well!


    Just one of those days...

    I guarantee you G.C. did not hate his job.
    I hate my job.

    I know people say "everyone hates their job."  But that is just not true.  First of all, I know plenty of people who love their jobs.  Second of all, I have had several jobs that I loved.

    For instance, I loved my old job.  Were there things about it that I didn't like?  Sure, it could be a bit isolating for example.  But overall, it was a great job, very flexible, great benefits and compensation, and something very important to me: colleagues that I liked and respected and that liked and respected me.  It was just a pretty sweet gig.  And I hardly to never dreaded getting up and going to work in the morning.  Sure, I would rather have stayed home with Superman and the boys, but that can't be helped.

    Why did I leave that job that I loved?  Well, as much as I loved it, and actually really liked the town we lived in in NW Ohio, we did not like being so geographically far from any family.  We moved there pre-kids, but once Thing 1 and Thing 2 came along, we knew we wanted to be closer to one of our sets of parents.  So, I started looking for a new job.

    I won't go into specifics about why I don't like my job.  Dude, this is the internet, and although I highly doubt anyone from my job would ever stumble onto my blog...it could happen.

    Here is my problem though.  I'm 32 years old.  I'm well educated.  I'm happily married.  I have two great kids.  But I spend 40 hours a week, wishing I was somewhere else, doing something else.  I feel like that is a problem.  If I'm going to spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week NOT being with my kids, I want to at least enjoy what I'm doing, feel like I'm making a difference in the world, be productive and creative, and enjoy the people with whom I'm working.  Is that really too much to ask?

    Life is short y'all.  We never know how many days we have left.  Or our loved ones have left.  Shouldn't we ENJOY our days as best we can?

    I love crafting.  I love being creative.  I really, really, really need to figure out a way to turn my love and passion for making things into a way to make a living.  Because I'm slowly dying an emotional death in this job.  In the three years I've worked here, I've be come an unhappier person.  A more pessimistic person.  Frustrated.  Grouchy.

    No wonder I'm having a hard time making friends.  I wouldn't want to be friends with someone whose always in a bad mood either!  I miss the me who used to be happy and upbeat.  Sure, I was no Pollyanna, but I was a lot more joyful once upon a time.

    How do I solve this problem?  Part of my issue is that I just don't know.  I can't just quit my job, because we need the income.  I've applied for job after job after job in this area, but in three years I've only had three job interviews and not one offer.  (But even then, I worry what if I hate that job even more than this one!?!)

    Part of me is pissed that I can't find a job because I know I'm a rockstar, but the longer I stay in this job and don't get interviews and job offers, the more my self-esteem and confidence diminish.  Why don't the want me?  Maybe I'm just not as awesome as I think I am.

    I wish this blog was ending with a resolution of how I'm going to fix things.  But it's not.  It's going to end with a frowny face.  And me feeling sorry for myself.  And sad.  And confused.  And wishing I was at home, in front of my sewing machine, instead of at my desk wishing I was anywhere but here.

    Something has to give.  And soon.  Because I refuse to be this unhappy every day.