Dos Equis

Something has really been racking my brain lately.

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Gender Selection.

And I feel a little guilty about it. With my first child, all I cared about was just getting a baby. When my second ended up being another boy, I was still just as happy as can be. But when we start trying for the next one, I have to admit that this time I have a preference.

I really would like to have a daughter.

I know that it’s a little silly. Honestly, I will love any child that we have, regardless of sex. Having a healthy baby is my top priority. Part of the reason that I feel guilty is because most of the blogs that I read deal with baby loss and infertility, two issues that I myself have dealt with first hand. In that world, it seems that being choosy is a ridiculous notion. I understand that completely.

But I’m not thrilled at the idea of having a football team. I am ready to change it up and throw a ballerina in there. Is it so wrong to want a little family balancing? Seriously, right now I am outnumbered 3 to 1. Being the complete girly-girl that I am (the blog design probably makes that blatantly obvious) I know that eventually I am going to burn out on superheroes and racecars. My femininity can only take so much.

We aren’t planning on adding to the family anytime soon, but I thought I could start doing some research now on how to sway the odds in favor of a girl. The Shettles Method was the first thing that came to mind, so I started there.

Turns out, the Shettles Method doesn’t seem as scientifically sound as I originally thought. If you aren’t familiar with the Shettles Method, it basically revolves around the idea that you can sway the odds by timing your intercourse before ovulation to conceive a girl and during ovulation to conceive a boy. The rationale here is the girl sperm (the ones with the X chromosome) are slower but live longer and boy sperm (the Y ones) are faster but die sooner. I used to think this whole theory made a lot of sense. Especially since both of my boys were conceived using a fertility monitor on ovulation day. I figured that it had to be our timing and I was really ready to jump on the Shettles bandwagon. Until I read a study in The New England Journal of Medicine that concluded the timing of intercourse in relation to ovulation has no real bearing on the sex of the child. Bam! Myth busted.

My surefire plan for finally getting a pink nursery was completely shot, so I started researching other options. There are all kinds of things to try, from diets to entire books guaranteeing that you can choose the sex of your baby. The problem is that there is so much out there and none of it comes with any sense of reliability whatsoever. The only thing that has made me feel any optimism is a statistical analysis I found showing how unlikely it is to have children all the same sex in a family of 3 or more kids. The more you have, the more likely it is that you will at least have one of each kind.

The strange thing is, I feel like if we just threw caution to the wind and didn’t keep track of anything or control any variables…then we would end up with a girl. But if that didn't work, I’d probably regret that we didn’t try something.

I am realistic about this. I know that nothing we could do at home would be foolproof and absolutely get us a girl. I just want to stack the odds in her favor. Anyone have any ideas or know of anything that has worked? I am completely open to suggestions.

I want a double x. A dos equis.

Until then, it’s Pok√©mon and Transformers for this princess.

Uh-Oh.

Brain Freeze.

I had an MRA today and all I got were some pictures.

Of my brain.

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I have never seen my brain before, so I actually found this to be quite fascinating.

I guess that makes the twenty minutes I spent inside the machine, feeling like my head was next to a jackhammer, worth it. Plus, Phil Collins was there via a set of headphones, so I can’t complain.

Now I just wish I knew how to read a MRA.

On second thought, maybe I don’t.

Like a Hammer, to my Head

After years of putting it off, I finally decided to go to the doctor for a checkup. I needed to address some issues. For instance, I started running again so I needed an inhaler to help with my exercise-induced asthma.

That wasn’t the only reason I went though.

I have been having headaches for a long time. Bad ones. A few years ago I even went to the ER for the mother of all migraines.

Lately, my headaches have gotten more frequent and more severe. A few nights ago, I was hit with one that made me unbearably nauseous, and I ended up throwing up for about a half hour.

Normally, I wouldn’t be freaking out about this. However, my family has a freaky history of brain aneurysms. It has happened a few times and all to people on my dad’s side of the family who were in their early 30’s. I have been warned on more than one occasion that I need to get checked out when I hit the big 3-0.

I am still a few years shy of my thirtieth birthday, but the scary medical history and the sudden progression of my symptoms have got me more than just a little worried. It probably isn’t anything more than just some especially nasty headaches, but I can’t ignore it on the small chance that it could be something serious.

I had my blood drawn two days ago in preparation for an upcoming MRA tomorrow. Here’s hoping that it’s nothing to be concerned about.

In the meantime, I have been busy today getting my oldest son into the ER for a CT scan after he fell and cracked his head on the hard locker room floor at our local gym. Immediately after the fall, he projectile vomited all over me and himself. That warranted a no-expense paid trip to the local hospital and after almost three hours and a tremendous amount of crying, we found out that the little man’s noggin was perfectly fine. Thank goodness.

One scan down, one to go.

If Your Baby Can Read, then My Baby is a Rocket Scientist.

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As a compulsive shopper, the internet may be one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

And it’s probably the worst thing to happen to my husband’s wallet.

What you need to understand is that I have very little impulse control. Especially when it comes to buying things. I am a true victim of instant gratification syndrome and a complete brat. If I want it and we can afford it, I have to have it. Right Now.

It really gets out of control when I buy stuff for the boys. I go out of my way to spoil them.

So when I saw those TV infomercials for the Your Baby Can Read DVD’s, I immediately considered ordering it online.

Who wouldn’t want a little Baby Einstein in the house, reading Hop on Pop today and perhaps the Theory of Quantum Physics by kindergarten? Not to mention how awesome it would be to show off the little genius in diapers to the other moms at the playground with their ordinary, illiterate babies.

Still, I was a skeptic. That’s the one and only thing that keeps me from committing buyer’s remorse on a routine basis. I research what I am buying before I buy it. If I have any doubts, I walk away. I guess that helps keep my compulsive shopping somewhat in check.

I did my homework on this one. I watched the infomercial from beginning to end, I read online reviews and I even talked to my dental hygienist, who swore that it worked with her daughter. I have to admit, her testimony did sway me. I decided I would get it for the boys.

That was last Christmas. For whatever reason, I forgot about it and we never ended up buying the program. That actually worked out in my favor, because the more that I saw the commercials, the more I became convinced that the system had to be bogus. It couldn’t possibly be teaching babies that couldn’t even talk how to read. At the most, maybe these kids were learning to recognize certain words, but there was no way that they were truly reading and forget actual comprehension. It had to be a gimmick.

I was convinced that I was right, until tonight when I logged on to Amazon.com and almost bought the damn thing for fifty bucks. Almost, until I read a few more less-than-spectacular reviews and my skeptic side forced me to remove it from my virtual shopping cart.

Turns out, after a few minutes of soul-searching, I don’t even care if it does really work.

I still won’t be buying it.

My 9 month old doesn’t need to learn how to read. He’s got enough going on right now. He’s learning to crawl, he’s trying to talk, he’s starting to eat solids. I’d rather not overwhelm him.

Besides, I’m not quite ready to give up the privilege of being the one to read him his bedtime stories.

Fleeing the Cult.

I tried. I really did. But I just couldn’t fall in love with you. And now I’m just wishing that I could quit you. I wish I needed you, but I don’t. You are just a waste of my time.

I’m breaking up with you, Twitter.

BREAKUPTWIT 

I know my sister convinced me to give you a chance, even though all I have ever tried to do is avoid you. My blog followers swore that I would be addicted to you in no time. I was still skeptical, but I thought I’d give you a shot.

I hate that they had to be wrong.

I only feel bad that I have to abandon the 7 followers you gave me. I don’t like leaving collateral damage in the wake of our separation. I also don’t like doing dishes or laundry, but necessary evils are just that. Necessary.

Hopefully, your home page will never find it’s way onto my internet browser ever again… but I’m terrible at making a clean break. So, I’m leaving my account up. I’d hate to lose my awesome username.

Still, I am over you. I won’t miss you. And I won’t write.

Go on and cry. I’m better off without you.

P.S. Tell my MySpace that he’s next on the chopping block.

Does This Straightjacket Make Me Look Fat?

social-anxiety

I have thought about writing this post for some time, but I was scared that everyone would think I was crazy.

Actually, I WAS crazy. After my precious little Bronx was born, I completely lost my mind to postpartum anxiety.

Bronx was born early, without any warning. My labor and delivery went incredibly fast. And as soon as he was here, he was whisked off to the nursery and put in an oxygen tent.

I went into shock. I had no time to process what was happening and I was instantly put into hyper-vigilant fear mode over my newborn son’s health. I didn’t sleep for three days. Finally the nurse gave me some Ambien to get me to sleep, but I only stayed out for three hours.

I went for the next few months completely sleep deprived. Even though the doctors had sent Bronx home with a clean bill of health, I was terrified that something bad was going to happen. I was constantly having panic attacks. I couldn’t sleep and I was afraid to be alone in the dark. I cried about everything. My anxiety and my fears were reinforced even more when Bronx couldn’t keep his feeds down. He was tested for a variety of conditions and was even kept overnight in the hospital, but ultimately was sent home again completely healthy. I was so relieved, but by that time my nerves were totally shot.

I started to get scared of leaving the house. I was afraid for our family to go anywhere together because if something happened, then we would all be in harm’s way. I was also overwhelmed by spending almost everyday alone (my husband often worked long 16 hour days) at home with a toddler and a premature newborn. I was a total wreck, and I didn’t know what to do.

I called a resource hotline for postpartum illnesses, but they were no help. The only place she could refer me to was the mental health facility where my husband works.

Are you kidding me? My poor husband did not need his co-workers thinking his wife was a loony toon. I tried explaining to the lady from the hotline that this was not an option and then when I realized that she didn’t have any more answers to my problem than I did I just started crying hysterically. She asked if I was okay. I didn’t know what to say to that. What could she do if I wasn’t? I managed to choke out a yes through the sobs, and then I hung up.

I really had no options. No realistic ones, anyway. It was either I let the anxiety consume me and keep me from functioning as a wife and mother, or I overcome it on my own and take back my life.

I fought it. It took a few months, and I had to find ways to cope with the anxiety. I started making myself leave the house with the kids. As daunting as that seems when you have no help, it actually made me feel better when I got back home and realized that I could manage an outing with two little ones on my own. I also started hitting the gym. It is amazing what endorphins have done for me. I still get anxious from time to time, but I have restructured my thought process to make things more rational. And, as I get further and further away from all the events that triggered my anxiety in the first place, the fears have gradually lessened.

I wish that there had been someone or somewhere I could have turned to so I wouldn’t have had to fight this all on my own. I know that postpartum depression has been getting a lot more attention in recent years, but I don’t think postpartum anxiety gets the same recognition. That is unfortunate for moms like me who feel like they are all alone.

We shouldn’t have to be.

Diaper Drama

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While catching up on my daily current events, another baby-related red flag has caught my attention. Some parents have been reporting that the new Pampers diapers with Dry Max caused their children to suffer diaper rashes and chemical burns.

Guess who just loaded up the changing table with a big stack of brand new Pampers?

I’m concerned, but I’m not panicking, at least not yet. My sons have been wearing Pampers almost exclusively since birth (click here to read why) and have experienced no ill effects. The Dry Max version has already been covering their little baby booties for the past month and we haven’t noticed any problems. In fact, I’d almost be convinced that these “diaper rashes” that parents have complained about have been largely due to the parents themselves being a little less vigilant with diaper changes because the Dry Max technology is designed to take on a fuller load, so to speak.

Procter & Gamble, the company that manufactures Pampers, seems inclined to support my theory. And why wouldn’t they? It’s a solid stance to take on a possible impending PR nightmare. A spokesman for P&G’s baby care division, Bryan McCleary, said "There's no evidence that a single baby has experienced a serious skin safety issue as a result of Dry Max. Every day, about 2.5 million babies in the United States have diaper rash. About 10 percent of those cases are severe, with deep red coloring, blisters and/or breaks in the skin.”

Problem solved, right? It’s just diaper rash. A common skin irritation that could be attributed to anything, not just a different diaper design.

Not quite. There is still a phrase that has my mommy fear-factor on high alert. Chemical Burn.

I had no idea what something like that (allegedly caused by a diaper) would look like, so I went to the Facebook page: Pampers bring back the OLD CRUISERS/SWADDLERS. This page has been set up by parents who are claiming the Pampers Dry Max diapers have caused injuries to their children. You can click the link and check it out for yourself, but be warned. The photos are absolutely horrific. My children have had the occasional diaper rash, but it has never been even remotely in the same league as what is depicted in those pictures. And the ones that I would classify as chemical burns will make me cringe every time I change my sons’ diapers until the  U.S. Consumer and Product Safety Commission finishes their investigation.

I stand by what I said in my last post. Nothing is safe.

Poison Control

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Thanks to the McNeil company for completely destroying my faith in the safety of children's over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.

As you may already know, I have been involved in my fair share of
product recalls. All involving products that are used by my children, and all prompted by injuries or fatalities (or excessive amounts of lead paint). This recall is entirely different. There have been no reports (or at least no reports made public) about any adverse effects from the medications in question.

From my understanding, McNeil is recalling infant and children's Tylenol & Motrin, Children's Zyrtec and children's Benadryl because of some quality control issues, involving some medications that contain more of the active ingredient than specified or some that contain particles.

Strangely enough, that doesn't make me any less freaked out.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not one of those moms that shoves droppers and spoonfuls of bubble gum flavored syrup down my kids throats for every little pain or cough. I am not a big fan of medication period. Personally, I won't take something unless I absolutely have to, and then I usually pay for it by suffering side effects that are just as bad (if not worse) than whatever ailment I was trying to relieve in the first place. Add to that, the fact my coping skills for pain management include cursing and screaming like a banshee, meaning I will get desperate and take meds and still end up miserable. It's a lose-lose situation.

But I do appreciate the miracles that Tylenol and (it's magical cousin, Tylenol PM) have done for me. And I keep the baby and kid versions of Tylenol and Motrin in my medicine cabinet for those times when I have a infant screaming with excruciating teething pain or when my preschooler comes down with an unbreakable fever. Occasionally, it is necessary.

So, I went through my drug stash and I discovered that we have 5 affected products. FIVE. All of them except for one have been ingested by my children. This scares me because according to the recall, I have either A.) allowed my children to ingest particles of god-knows-what or I have B.) accidentally let my children to OD on acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

The only thing that makes me feel better is that the kids have taken the recalled medication and they are still okay.  However, this recall almost seems worse than all the others just because my babies actually swallowed this stuff.

I don’t understand how this kind of thing even happens in the first place. You’d think these companies would be more careful because their products are for children.

But they aren’t. Nothing is safe.

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