Monday, August 30, 2010

PSA: Save Your Photos & Then Save Them Again Elsewhere!

It's the weirdest thing, to go from 2,000+ photos in iPhoto to 0.

Zero photos of my sweet baby's face. Zero photos of her birth. Her first smiles. Her sticking-up hair. Zero.

All because of a stupid faulty hard drive and a misplaced faith in the foreverness of digital bits. Computer failure could never happen to me. That happens to those other foolish people who don't back-up their computers. Carrie Bradshaw. But ME who doesn't back up my computer? Surely I'd be forever immune from all such pedestrian troubles.


So while I'm begging graciously accepting photos from others who might have snapped a shot or two of the monkey girl (and am I ever glad the proud momma posts from my blogs survived the wipe) here's a quick reminder to all of you to GO BACK UP YOUR PHOTOS. Yes, right now. Or, okay, tomorrow. But don't get all slacker and wait a week or anything. I managed to put off my back-up by more than 104 weeks, one week at a time (I'm quite the accomplished slacker, really) and look where that got me.

A moment in time, Summer 2009. 
Nearly lost forever, now restored.
 (Thanks, Em, for saving this pic!)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nursing Rules for Toddlers

It may be time to Lay Down the Law.  A nursing law, that is. And not this one that was signed into law this past year (go, Wisconsin!), but no, an actual Nursing Rules For the Propson Household law of sorts.

Because, while I don't want to wean her before she's ready, I do want to:

-sleep through the night. An actual 7+ hours. In. A. Row.
-avoid being bitten awake in the morning by a ravenous toddler
-eat my breakfast while it's still warm
-sit at lunch with a friend without having to lift up my shirt more than twice every ten minutes

And right now we're struggling on all these points.

Our nursings before bed and first thing in the morning are usually gentle, quiet, sweet times together. And her speed snacks during the days when I'm home with her seem pretty practical still.

But I do wish that when she wants to nurse she would nurse and when she wants to play she'd play and the two wouldn't always be so intermingled. As it is, she often tries to both nurse and play at the exact same time and ends up frustrated (-ing us both) by not really being able to satisfactorily do either well. Either her latch loosens or she drops her truck and then she stops both nursing and playing and seems saddened by the world's difficulties.

She sometimes compromises on the nursing/playing by squeezing a breast so that milk squirts out onto my shirt, which she thinks is a hilarious and thrilling and never-dull game. I am less enthralled.

I'm also thinking that a "code word" for nursing might come in handy, for clarity's sake. So far she's happy to say or sign "milk" when she wants to nurse, but I think she's confused about anatomy versus food. No part of my body is called "milk," but I think she understands it as all the same. At least, she certainly points to other women and says "milk" rather often now, and while they're quick to say they don't have any milk, I can see the glint in her blue eyes as though she's well aware of they're full of lies. And maybe they are from her point of view if all she's doing is simply pointing out anatomy.

Anyway, I don't actually have any particular life-changing rules in mind. Nor an idea for a code word. And maybe I don't even need to make serious changes. Or any changes. Overall, Uli's nursing less and less and I can see our days as Mamma and Nursling are numbered. Perhaps I should just enjoy this fleeting time as-is.

But I am getting irritated by my closet-full of milk stained shirts.

Maybe I'm just grumpy because it's been 2 years since I last slept longer than 5 hours in a row.

[Insert picture of my happy girl enjoying her milk. 
If only they hadn't all been lost in the computer crash.]

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

At least SOMEONE has something to say...

Uli's become quite the wordsmith, finally stringing two and more words together as of last week. Here are three of my daughter's most charming first sentences:

"Mama poop!"
"Puh" (or "Ya-ya") poop!" ["Puh" is what she calls our dog Ruby, "Ya-ya" is Lula]
"Mama (or Dada) potty. Poop. All-done!"

Needless to say, her father and I are very proud.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Choices, Choices...Vanity vs. Radioactive Breasts

I've been MIA, I know. It's been difficult for me to blog lately. Partially because of an overwhelmingly freakish writer's block that is now showing signs of lifting (it's not gone, though. It's taken me more than two weeks to construct this single post. Sentence by painful sentence), but also because honestly I prefer to write about real-life, day-to-day things and there are things that have been happening of which I cannot yet blog. Someday soon, perhaps, but not now. And that act of holding back, knowing I cannot share specific items of my life, just feeds the block.

But something happened this week three weeks ago of which I CAN write.

It's actually kind of a bummer.

I'll be having surgery in September.

I've been struggling with Graves Disease and hyperthyroidism for just over a year now. Symptoms showed up in force after my daughter was born, though I think I saw a ghost of them years before. Shaking. Sweating. Heart palpitations. And then with my newborn also came my low milk supply.

The endocrinologist put me on a medication called PTU. And I've felt better.


PTU has been known to cause liver damage, so it's not fabulous to be on long-term. And the alternative medication available doesn't work for my situation right now. So I can't stay on my current meds and I can't take the other one offered. And going off meds all together doesn't seem like a good idea, what with the heart palpitations, jitters, heat sensitivity, etc...  Adjusting my diet hasn't made much/any difference, it seems (I did try!). Sadness. And that leaves surgery.

There are two kinds of surgery being offered to me: the physical removal of the thyroid (thyroidectomy) and the killing of the thyroid (using radioactive iodine) whilst leaving it in my body.

The radioactive iodine was most recently the only treatment that my endocrinologist mentioned; however,  you cannot be breastfeeding if you get the radioactive treatment. That was enough for me to refuse the treatment when it was first mentioned and it remains a primary reason I've decided it's not for me at all. True, I'm not nursing very much any more, but our bed- and morning time routines still include it as a cherished moment, and I'm not yet willing to forcefully end it if my daughter still wants her milks.

Plus, even if I were to reconsider total weaning at this point, the doctors said that the longer it'd been since I'd been actively lactating the better/safer it would be for me in the long run. Thing is, the radioactivity apparently concentrates in breastmilk, which means that if I weren't completely dried-up I'd have radioactive bits of milk hanging out in my breasts for a while after the treatment. And that is not so great when it comes to avoiding things like, oh, breast cancer.

Also, patients having the iodine treatment shouldn't be around children for several days to a week (so Uli wouldn't be able to be in the house with me. Because how do you tell a toddler to stay on the far edges of any room Momma is in? Stay away from Mamma! No hugs!) and even around adults you need to be careful, flushing twice after using the toilet, and scrubbing down the shower/tub after you bathe. Kind of intense.

So I'm not doing the radioactive iodine.

Instead, I'll be having the thyroidectomy. And it's okay. The surgeon said that it's actually the best option for people with Graves because getting rid of the thyroid altogether will mean the antibodies currently circulating in my system an attacking my thyroid will hopefully calm down once the thyroid is gone (leaving less risk to my eyes and to any future fetuses' thyroids).  

But I'm still not totally thrilled.

I got lasik so that if civilization came to an end I would still be able to see even without contacts. That was important to me, to have healthy eyes that could help me survive in a time of crisis. And now I'm struggling to accept the idea that without my thyroid I'll be stuck relying on hormone pills for the rest of my life. Or I'll die. Die! I'll be a lifelong Walgreen's customer or I'll die. I hate that thought.

Also, and embarrassingly, mostly I'm worried about the thyroidectomy scar. Which, rather than hiding quietly below my bikini line as the cesarean scar so thoughtfully rests, will be right up there POW! on my neck. For all to see and gawk at and make Nearly Headless Nick jokes about.

Yes, I am hardly better than my thirteen year old self. I could be worrying about surgical mishaps, flooding and famine, car accidents, the night Uli will have to spend away from me while I'm in recovery. But no, I am concerned about a red line on my neck.

But that's how it is. I predict I'll be wearing a lot of scarves this next year. I'll pretend it's because I'm all into fancy retro looks, but you'll know the truth.

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