Category Archives: Food

You wouldn’t think eating would be this complicated

I feel like January has entirely revolved around food. It’s gone like this:

  1. P. started to get interested in actually consuming food rather than just holding it in her hand and licking it. Upon starting to eat she almost immediately cut back on how much she was nursing.
  2. As a result of P’s fussy nursing, my supply dropped. This meant P. got frustrated and started having to wait for a letdown, which led to lots of pulling at the breast and a super-cranky baby.
  3. I finally realized what was happening, cut solids out entirely for a few days, and started pumping whenever I could.
  4. My supply came back but I now had a mental block about nursing because I was so worried that P. was going to do what E. did and try to self-wean. We’d have the same problem with switching to formula- her MSPI would limit our options. I didn’t think I could face pumping for five months. Also I really really really was not ready to stop breastfeeding.
  5. My mental block got so bad it started to hinder my letdown, which meant that P. would get fussy and impatient, which would make me more nervous and worried, which would hinder the letdown even further, and so on. I started to feel like I was having an anxiety attack every time I could feel a letdown beginning and the adrenaline would trap the milk in my breasts. P’s only good feeds for a few days were before her naps and in the middle of the night- any other time I offered she’d get frustrated waiting and waiting for the letdown.
  6. I solved the mental block by playing on my phone when P was nursing- writing out a message with one hand occupied my brain enough to let my body do what it needed to do. A letdown is a conditioned reflex and I was eventually able to recondition the reflex so that it became easy again.
  7. In the meantime, we reintroduced solids and discovered that BLW was NOT going to work for P. After one too many rounds of “choke until you vomit and then cry and want nothing more to do with food”, we decided to stick with spoon feeding for now (or finger foods that dissolve easily like those Mum Mum things which we never bothered buying with E).
  8. P was back to nursing at least 8 times in 24 hours. I was able to put my phone away and just go back to cuddling. She was really enjoying solids and was starting to eat quite a lot. Other than not being able to figure out when I was supposed to get anything done outside the house (as our days were a sea of drop off, nurse, nap, nurse, eat food, nurse, nap, pick up), I felt like things were going smoothly.
  9. Two days after thinking that, P got super constipated (again, something we never encountered with E.).

And that’s where we’re at. I’m pumping during her first nap every morning to get some milk for her cereal (oatmeal, not rice, so it shouldn’t be contributing to the constipation). And today we’ll be going out to buy pureed pears and prunes to try to sort out her poor tummy as she’s obviously uncomfortable.

This too shall pass.

But it’s been a real pain while it’s been happening.

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Filed under Anxiety Overload, Food, MSPI, Nursing, P.- the first year

On the perils of eating while pregnant

12:00 p.m.
Me: Oh. It is noon. I should eat lunch soon. I’m so close to finishing this PowerPoint though. I’ll get it done in the next fifteen minutes and then I’ll eat.

12:15 p.m.
P.: Wriggle, squirm, wriggle.
Me: Yes, I know I need to eat something! I am almost done! Maybe four slides to go.
My stomach: Rumble, grumble.

12:30 p.m.
P.: WRIGGLE, SQUIRM, TWIST, WRIGGLE, SQUIRM!
Me: I KNOW! I am hungry too! Look, I just finished. Now I can record it this weekend and it will be ready to post on Monday. Ok. What are we going to eat for lunch?

12:32 p.m.
Me (in kitchen): I will make avocado and goat’s cheese on toast. That will take maybe four minutes to make, so it is super quick.

12:33 p.m.
Me: Why am I SO HUNGRY? I need to eat RIGHT NOW.
*puts down bread in toaster; starts slicing avocado, realizes hands are shaking*
P.: *general sustained protest at lack of nourishment*

12:34 p.m.
Me: Why does it take SO LONG for toast to finish?
*starts searching in pantry. Eats six rice crackers, three dried apricots and four thin Oreos in time it takes toast to pop.*

12:35 p.m.
Me: I really don’t like Oreos. I should throw them out since I only bought them to make the wheels on E’s steam train cake.
*eats another three Oreos while spreading avocado and goat’s cheese on toast*

12:39 p.m.
Me: *finishes inhaling eating two enormous slices of toast with avocado and goat’s cheese and drinking two glasses of water. Shaking subsiding. Rational brain returning.*

12:45 p.m.
P.: *hiccup. hiccup. hiccup.*

12:55 p.m.
Me: Well, I hope you are feeling better now, P. I can’t decide if I feel sick because of all the sugar I ate or because I just consumed twice as much food as my stomach has room for at the moment.
P.: zzzzzzzzzzzz

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Filed under Food, Me? Pregnant?!

PCOS and Dairy: Just Say No

Readers, this is a game changer.

If you recall, after ovulating on day 21 in my third cycle, last cycle I didn’t ovulate until day 27. That was the cycle where I had been eating ice cream on a daily basis for well over a week (yes, I know that’s embarrassing).

So I set myself a goal: with cycle #5, I was not going to eat ANY dairy, other than Greek yoghurt at breakfast, until after I ovulated. I wanted to see if it would make a difference.

Oh, and I also eased back on the whole carb/protein ratio issue, because I was so convinced dairy was the major culprit.

Oh, and my metformin ran out right before I ovulated in cycle #4 and I didn’t go and get more because I couldn’t stand the thought of going into the clinic and possibly running into my new doctor (or, worse, my old doctor) and having to explain where I had been when we were supposed to have done an IVF cycle by now.

Not exactly perfect scientific conditions with no fewer than three variables at play. What can I say. I’m a historian.

So cycle #5 started, and I stuck to my plan. No butter. No cheese. No milk. No ice cream UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES even if it looked delicious.

I still ate Greek yoghurt at breakfast most mornings. And there was some milk used in cooking now and again.

And I ovulated on day 18.

DAY 18!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Once I knew the high temperature wasn’t a fluke, I immediately tucked into the cheese.

I am still in my luteal phase (7dpo), so I’m still eating dairy occasionally. But I will cut it all out as soon as my temperature drops, and we’ll see if we can repeat this next month.

I cannot cut it out entirely, but cutting it out (except yoghurt) for half the month, and then only eating it when it’s something that I really love, that is a situation I can live with.

It boggles my mind that my “cereal and milk” breakfast habit (that has been a habit for my ENTIRE LIFE) could fundamentally be the problem behind my PCOS and my total lack of anything resembling (even remotely) a menstrual cycle before this summer.

Yes, I wish I had known about this earlier.

Yes, I wish I had made these dietary changes a couple of years ago.

Yes, I wish things could have been different with our family.

But right now, I am excited for the future, because for the first time in my life I have a way to manage my PCOS. Truly manage and live with it, not just hide it with birth control pills.

THAT is better than ice cream.

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Filed under Cycle Madness, Food, PCOS

Cycle #4 recap

38 days this time.

Fertility Friend and I are disagreeing about when I finally ovulated (which happened pretty much as soon as I stopped eating ice cream on a daily basis- coincidence, I think not). FF says Day 25, but I think it was Day 27.  My chart has three earlier points where my temperature plummeted one morning before popping back up to the normal range for a few more days. I think my body was trying to ovulate and just couldn’t quite manage it.

Luteal phase was somewhere between 11 and 13 days, depending on who was right about the ovulation. Spotting started late on the last day, just like last cycle, and af started in full force overnight.

Even if I’m right about the date I ovulated, that still makes my luteal phase one day longer than last time. And if FF is right, it’s practically textbook in length.

This cycle, I’m determined. I am NOT going to eat any dairy, other than my Greek yoghurt at breakfast, until I’ve ovulated and we’ll see what kind of results I get. I am more and more convinced dairy is the major factor. So we’ll see.

This is kind of fun. I like puzzles. I am intrigued by the possibility I could actually understand what is going on in my body and how to affect it.

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Filed under Cycle Madness, Food, PCOS

Random thoughts on a summer Thursday

Item: The second week of August is almost over. I am not sure how this happened.

Item: This means that school is less than a month away. REAL school. Five full days a week. We’ve found out that despite having nine other children from his nursery school going to his new school, only one of them is in E’s new class. A new class which is a split JK/SK, which means it could have upwards of thirty kids in it. I am trying not to freak out, but it is hard.

Item: I am freaking out about lunches instead. We are supposed to send two snacks and a lunch daily. Nut-free, but that seems light compared to the restrictions imposed on some of my friends who live in other cities (no homemade items being the most egregious). I am not sure what we will do about protein given a) we cannot send nut butter and b) I’ve found more than one study that suggests an insulated lunch bag and cold packs still doesn’t keep food cold enough to be safe. I am also utterly overwhelmed by the sea of lunch packing options and am trying to strike a balance between getting good stuff and not freaking out at the cost of replacing it if E. loses it all in the first week.

Item: As a result, I have yet to buy any sort of lunch packing equipment. I have a week to sort this out (E. will need a lunch packed for his week of full-day camp run by his nursery school, which we are hoping to use as a transition point to JK).

Item: At no point am I likely to turn into one of those Pinterest bento box mothers who constructs unique, adorable, and nutritiously balanced lunches, all cut into beautiful shapes and designs, each and every day. That way lies madness.

Item: Not that I am complaining, but my child is going to have to stop this “go to bed at 7:30 or 8:00 p.m. and sleep until 8:30 a.m. or later the next morning” phase before school starts. He slept until 9:45 a.m. the other day. School STARTS almost an hour earlier.

Item: Child is also eating like there is no tomorrow, so hopefully this is just a growth spurt and not some new need for thirteen hours of sleep a day.

Item: I had a Skype conversation with my supervisor this week where he wondered about my progress on getting a couple of articles ready to be sent to journals. Answer: none.

Item: The day before, E. spent twenty-five minutes of his hour-long quiet time singing (loudly) “When is quiet time going to be over?” to the tune of “Bumping up and down in my little red wagon”. And my supervisor wonders why I get nothing done.

Item: I heard back from the academic press where I sent my dissertation/book manuscript in March. Two very long, very detailed reader reports. One generally in favour of the book, one more on the fence. Editor wants the book again when I’ve made the revisions and seems very positive about it, so it’s a good result, as the two expert readers have basically given me a road map of what I need to do to make the book better. I could have tinkered with it for months without being able to reach the same conclusions.

Item: Supervisor wonders when I might get the revisions done. “By Christmas?” I laughed. “If I’m still unemployed, maybe.”

Item: I am still unemployed. Still putting out applications, still have irons in the fire, but nothing concrete as of yet. I just applied for a job that would be absolutely perfect- permanent, part-time doing interesting work involving research and writing for a non-profit organization that does a lot of good in the community. See? Perfect. I am just hoping I get an interview with them as I know I could do the job, but my background isn’t quite approaching it from the angle they wanted.

Item: Cycle day eleven today. This cycle’s experiment is apparently “let’s not follow the diet we have been and eat a lot of sugar and dairy products and see if we still ovulate”. Oh the ice cream.

Item: Out of the last seven weekends, we have had grandparents staying with us for six of them. That is too much. E. has forgotten how to play by himself.

Item: I read Station Eleven, The Bone Clocks, and Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood trilogy all in the last month. It turns out that is too much dystopian near-future fiction. I might have to go back to Guy Gavriel Kay for a bit. (I recommend them all most highly, just not all at once.)

Item: The sun is going down noticeably earlier in the evenings now. I’ve realized one of the things I miss most from my pre-kid life is going for long walks on summer evenings after dinner. E. was staying up later earlier in the summer, but he’s too tired at the end of the day to want to go on yet another walk (and I’m not really at a point where I can handle the constant barrage of questions as we walk).

Item: I had to take E.’s balance bike away from him for a week because he twice forgot to stop before rolling out into an intersection. This is a punishment for me as much as it is for him as running errands now takes four times as long.

Item: I had a birthday recently (post to come on that). E. dictated my birthday card to his father. It said: “Dear Mummy, I think you have had a good supper and a wonderful birthday. We’re about to give you lovely presents. I hope you’ve had a lovely birthday. Love, E.” (with his name signed). Heart exploded.

Item: E. is currently shouting the alphabet (alternating in English and French) from his room. There is not much quiet in quiet time these days.

Item: Really though, FOUR is awesome. Loud. But awesome.

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Filed under A (Good) Day's Work, Books, Brave New (School) World, Cycle Madness, E.- the fifth year, Food, JK, Life after the PhD, Who am I really? (Career Angst)

Masquerading as Normal

31 days this time.

And that, my friends, is within the doctor-approved normal range!

But before we get all excited, let’s look at what my chart showed (imagine you can see my chart here, because I’m too incompetent to figure out how to provide a web link. Not that you need to see that, but I’m rather proud of my temperature raise post-ovulation.).

Ovulation on Day 21. Late, but just squeaking into the normal range. I was ridiculously excited by this. Ridiculously excited.

I stayed excited right up until 9 dpo, when my temperature made a slight, but significant dip.

Surely, I thought, it’s not dropping already.

It was.

It dropped again, significantly, the next day, and I had a lot of spotting that afternoon. And AF was there in full force by the next morning.

I called it a 10 day luteal phase, but the tenth day wasn’t ideal, not least because Q. and I had gone away for a minibreak staycation while my parents looked after E. This would mark exactly the SECOND time Q. and I have left E. with my parents for a night. The last time was in November 2013 (when my mother famously locked herself and E. out of the house the following morning, which, if you know how the locks work in my house, you would know that’s quite a feat. Luckily we were still in the city and were on our way home when she called).

Anyway. Last weekend. Just us, a fantastic hotel room, some musical theatre, a great dinner, a bottle of wine, and my most unwelcome hanger-on.

SERIOUSLY, body. You choose THAT MOMENT to decide you couldn’t be bothered with a reasonable luteal phase? After YEARS of inaction?

Ahem.

It was still a great staycation, and even with all the fun of the previous day (musical theatre! tasty dinner!) I think the best part remains when we got to read the newspaper IN BED THE NEXT MORNING UNTIL 11:30!!!!!!!

I did all the puzzles.

I don’t think I’ve done that since E. was born.

Possibilities:

  1. My body is still figuring itself out and this time my LP could be longer.
  2. Something isn’t right with my progesterone levels (or the balance between estrogen and progesterone) and I have an LP defect that would send me to a fertility clinic if I weren’t already at one.

I’m going to withhold judgment until I see what happens this month, but you know I’m expecting more problems. Because that’s just how my body rolls when it comes to reproduction.

In the long run, a 31 day cycle with a 10 day LP is just fine and dandy. It’s only an issue if I want to get pregnant.

And maybe I still want to get pregnant. I’m not sure these days.

So I’m opting to stay off the birth control, delay returning to the clinic by at least one more cycle, and wait to see what happens.

But if my body repeats what it did last cycle, I won’t have to wait that long.

And that in itself is terribly exciting.

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Filed under Cycle Madness, Food, PCOS, Second Thoughts

44 Days

I have lots of things I’d like to post about on here but E. is out of nursery school now and we’ve had family visiting and we’ve been travelling and it’s just generally been a fantastic summer thus far, but not one that’s left a lot of room for blogging, especially since I’m still choosing sleep (or snuggles) over getting up early in the morning.

This post is brought to you by an unscheduled quiet time. E. and I went out West (or out Middle of the Country) to see relatives over the weekend and he obviously picked up some sort of bug on the plane coming home. Yesterday, right before lunch, he started complaining that his arms and legs hurt. He then proceeded not to eat any lunch, asked to go up and have a nap (!!!!!!), slept for three hours (!!!!!!!!!) and then woke up with a raging fever (39.8). The rest of the day was pretty rough, last night was not much better, and while he is clearly better this morning (no fever), he requested another nap after lunch and has been asleep for the last hour and a half.

So here I am. At least this post isn’t brought to you by vomit (knock wood).

Why the title?

Because, dear readers, I got my period AGAIN.

And while I can’t be certain of the exact length of the previous cycle, as I didn’t keep track of when my period started, not thinking this would be something worth tracking, I am relatively confident that it was a little bit longer. More likely to be 46 or 47 days.

Annoyingly, I can’t pinpoint when I ovulated this past cycle because I stopped temping in disgust on day 22 when it was clear no ovulation was happening. I knew my cycle needed to be 35 days or shorter to be what the doctors would call ‘normal’, so I threw a bit of a tantrum and then went away for a weekend and then couldn’t be bothered to start up again.

I am pretty sure I did ovulate because I took my temperature one morning on a lark because I felt like I did before my period started and it was sky high, then lower the next morning, then lower again on the third day, and that was the same day my period started.

So if you guessed that I’m back to temping, you’d be right. Today is day 21 and, once again, no sign of a successful ovulation. Lots of signs that my body is trying, which is what it was doing last cycle at about this time as well. So I’m going to show more confidence in it and keep charting and hopefully this cycle will be a couple of days shorter again.

Forward progress, no matter how small, is a good thing.

What I think I really need to do is cut out dairy entirely for a couple of months starting on Day 1 of a new cycle, because I have two friends with PCOS who cut out dairy and had their cycles regulate, but I can’t figure out how to do that unless we take IVF off the table because I need the Greek yoghurt for protein. And we’re not yet ready to decisively take IVF off the table, although I am very reluctant to go in at this point because I don’t want to fuck up whatever my body is trying to do by going back on birth control and then pumping it full of hormones.

I suppose that tells you something about my mindset, in that I am more interested in the option to possibly have a normal menstrual cycle for the next twenty years or so (or whenever menopause hits) than I am in the option where we get another baby. Probably because I don’t really believe that we will get another baby, so the option where we just establish that as a fact isn’t particularly enticing. The option to not have to stay on birth control pills until menopause, on the other hand, is ridiculously exciting.

So. Nothing from me for almost a month and then a long, rambling discussion about my menstrual cycle. I’m excited, but I’m not expecting you to be.

 

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Filed under Cycle Madness, E.- the fifth year, Family, Food, PCOS, The Sick