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September 16, 2011

New name, new location! Visit

Do Not Faint

to see the latest posts!

We’ve moved!

September 16, 2011

New name, new location! Visit

Do Not Faint

too see the latest posts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Psychiatrist Calls Me Back on Sunday! and Introducing BuSpar

September 11, 2011

Quick update: I’m back up to 1.5 mg of Klonopin as of today. I talked to my psychiatrist, who has always encouraged me to call or email whenever I have a question. He called me back on a Sunday! Yes, that’s right, I have one responsible doctor. Probably because it was Sunday, the conversation was short and sweet: what I am experiencing is too intense. The vivid dreams and night sweats shouldn’t be happening. The high-level daytime anxiety pretty much confirms that it’s Klonopin’s fault. He asked questions like “Have you accidentally forgotten a dose of Effexor? Accidentally doubled up?” But no. I’m super careful. I also have a really dorky pill container with the days of the week, to take even more thinking out of the daily medication routine. I don’t wake up very quickly and sometimes wonder if a conversation or event that took place while I was half asleep did actually happen. I sometimes have to check to make sure I took the meds and counting how many are left in the bottle gets old real fast.

This is what my meds look like in the morning. See the empty "S"? That's for Sunday--yep, I took my meds today.

So here’s the next step: I go on a replacement medication called BuSpar/buspirone. When it kicks in, we try tapering the benzos again, hoping that the anti-anxiety BuSpar will prevent the kind of anxiety I’m feeling with even the smallest decrease Klonopin. This one is “mild,” in the words of my doc, so we’re hoping I can stay on it, even during pregnancy. Let’s switch it out! Adding another chemical is preferable to going through anything like this past week ever again. Because guess what? Pregnant ladies/fetuses and mommies/babies cannot afford to be getting any more bad sleep than they already get and feeling super high anxiety is really bad for everyone. Oh, and that link up there? That’s the Wiki article on BuSpar which, strangely, is the closest thing I could find to what my doc said on the phone. So start there if you’re curious about the drug. Well… Here we go again…

Previous related posts

Too Soon to Cry Mercy? I Want My Medication Back!

September 10, 2011

“I have no talent for certainty.” Jane Austen

It’s been eight days since I tapered my morning dose of Klonopin from 1.5 mg to 1 mg, and it’s been eight days since I had a good night’s sleep. I wake up soaked from night sweats with a jaw clenched so tightly it aches all day. Sometimes I sleep for twelve hours, sometimes for four. I dream about looking for some lost thing or person, but I never know exactly what I am looking for. My nights are full of problems with solutions that seem just out of reach. I just want to go back to eight hours. I want to fall asleep at 10:00 pm and wake up at 8:00 am again. I want to stop grinding my teeth so hard I’m afraid to knock out a filling.

For the first few days, I thought I just had to tough it out. But when I don’t get enough sleep, I get migraines. Understand this: I do not remember ever getting regular, consistent sleep until my early twenties. I remember watching the clock tick past ten, eleven, even midnight, as a child in grade school. (This is a classic sign of childhood anxiety, by the way.) Regular sleep was the first change that helped my anxiety, outside medication. I want my sleep back!

I’m not sure what to do, except ask my psychiatrist if this will end soon. Maybe I need a sleep aid to get me through this time. Maybe we need to make some other change to my medication. But I’m discouraged. I just didn’t see this coming. I expected harder days; I didn’t expect to feel lucky that I only had one migraine in over a week of terrible sleep. I didn’t expect to fall asleep with the kids I babysit in the middle of the day. [For the record, I wake up at the tiniest noise if I'm babysitting. R (18 months) threw one little teddy bear out of his crib, and the sound woke me up.] I didn’t expect to be baking scones at 3 am and watching Dr. Who. Everyone knows that’s a daytime activity!

Brown Butter Scones, with Teff, Whole Wheat, Oat and So Much Butter.

In the meantime, I think today I’ll go for a very long bike ride and hope that wearing myself out physically helps. Any other suggestions?

Save Girlhood! and How I Learned to Accept TV

September 9, 2011

Two events coincided at an interesting moment yesterday. One: my husband’s dream came true, and Direct TV hooked up the satellite dish that brings him a ridiculous amount of NFL and college football. We haven’t had anything except the XBox hooked up to our TV as long as we’ve lived together, so he’s pretty darn excited. I, honestly, am more excited than I expected. What I didn’t realize was that we were signed up for a two-year contract. Whatever. I now have access to BBC America, and this Anglophile is one happy camper.

TV with DVR

Evil Media? Not if used properly! And it's pretty cool looking, you have to admit!

So last night, while my husband watched football, I participated in a discussion called Save Girlhood on Twitter. (This blogger is officially media savvy. Well, I’m getting there!) What do we want to save girlhood from, you ask? Why, sexualization, of course. The kind we see in, well, the ads that air during NFL games. But for those of you who are new to this debate, I’ll let this fantastic lady fill you in:

@nancy_newmoon sexuality is the inner person, as the subject and proactive. sexualization is others projecting on you as passive object.

(Nancy Gruver is an “Expert on girls, author: How to Say It To Girls, Founder: Daughters.com & ad-free @NewMoonGirls Safe Social Network & Magazine for age 8+ http://www.newmoon.com http://blogs.newmoon.com/parent-girls” – from her Twitter profile. I have loved New Moon since I was small.)

Read this blog, in its entirety, or, if you don’t have time, this post on Lingerie for Little Girls (not a joke) will fill you in on what exactly we’re up against. What does TV have to do with it? Well, I want to have a kid, right? And this isn’t just about girls. It’s also about the messages we send boys about girls. So whether I have a boy, a girl or both, this matters. Here are some highlights from last night’s conversation about the media and its role in the sexualization of girls:

@PigtailPals Q3: Do you limit toys/music/media for your daughter with concern to sexualization?

@DrRobyn: Q3: I’m a fan of actually taking the media, toys, etc and showing #girls the problems. discussing them.

@DrBeckerSchutte: when we teach our girls to be critical of media, we give them tools to push back against peer pressure.

@MauveDinosaur If their peers and media is all they have, that’s all they see.

@KnowldgeLinking: Want another shocker? 29% of kids age 2-3 have TV in their bedrooms. 43% of kids age 4-6 do

@DCalifornia: I think TV is a wonderful conversation starter. Good or bad, talk about it, discuss it, point out why it is or isn’t ok

@TheMomarchy Watching TV w kids is one of the best strategies. Called “co-viewing” in research.

I have never been sure what I think about kids and TV. Obviously, TV is not a babysitter. Unsupervised TV is not an option. A DVR will allow us to remove the commercials. [FYI: Kids can't tell the difference between the program and the commercials! They don't have that necessary "this is an ad, and advertisers lie to me" automatic response!] For most of my childhood, we watched movies but didn’t have channels via cable or satellite. I think that this was probably for financial reasons. I’m thinking maybe having TV in our house isn’t such a bad idea, with limits and not in the bedroom and, for many years, watching with the kids. I reserve the right to change my mind at any time. Well, I reserve the right to ask that we do not renew the contract. But even if we decide not to pay for this after we have a kid (and let’s face it–there are lots of things we won’t be able to pay for after we have a kid), our children will encounter the crap that’s on TV, and the good stuff too, somewhere. It’s just so accessible. And that’s now–I am going to have to know a lot about what is out there if I want to have a conversation with my child when she or he is ten years old. In 11+ years, it’s just going to be easier to get access to anything we try to ban.

I don’t want to ban media; I want to talk about it and teach our kids to make healthy choices. And the more Nathan and I talk about parenting, the more we agree that all we can do is try to raise healthy, compassionate, self-respecting children who make (mostly) good choices. Our shared goal is to model those choices for our kids. What we choose to watch on TV? Role modeling opportunity! Showing our kids that men and women like sports? Awesome! Talking about why that commercial we just saw during The Game is Bad Media? Teachable moment. Ok, so that’s not going down as easy… maybe too many teachable moments in that scenario. But we’ll figure this out as we go. With help from a seriously awesome support group, if the parents and friends of girls I met last night are any indication!

“BPA is illegal now, isn’t it?” NOPE.

September 8, 2011

From Healthy Child, Healthy World and AP:

“Better labeling news comes to us from Washington state, where a new law went into effect this week that forces manufacturers of toys, cosmetics, jewelry and baby products to report to the state if their products contain hazardous chemicals such as formaldehyde, bisphenol A and phthalates, according to the Associated Press.

P.S. On the BPA front, California is well on its way to passing a law banning the substance from baby bottles, sippy cups, infant formula and baby food.”

Know what that means?

  1. California has NOT YET banned bisphenol A from baby bottles, sippy cups, infant formula and baby food. (Please tell me that means formula and baby food containers!)
  2. In Washington state, you can use “formaldehyde, bisphenol A and phthalates” in baby products. You just have to LABEL it, now.
Let’s start with BPA. I talked about it in an earlier post, but let’s look at why parents should definitely pay attention and the rest of us should feel concern. I even found a nice little picture for you! The National Toxicology Program has a handy website with no alarmist rhetoric (this blog is TAME, people, compared to what else is out there) devoted to educating us, the public, about BPA and how to avoid it, if we want to.

Concerns about BPA are on the left. The level of concern is in handy stoplight color. This is the most conservative statement about concerns surrounding BPA, from the National Toxicology Program.

In case that’s hard to read, there is “some concern” (that’s orange, or yellow-turning-to-red: consider stopping!) for “Developmental toxicity for fetuses, infants, and children (effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland).” How? Well, it’s an “endocrine disruptor.” Which means that it messes with hormones (endocrine system). And here’s another tip from the NTP–if you’re concerned, avoid plastics with the recycle codes 3 and 7. The ones that look like this:

See the 7? Recycle it now. See a 3 in there? Recycle it. Just don't risk it.

These charming folks would like to assure you that your BPA intake is very low, and that there is therefore, no need to worry. Not true. As Annie Murphy Paul writes, in her book Origins, in this case, traditional views are not helpful, because with endocrine disruptors, “the dose does not make the poison.” In fact, a tiny amount might be more dangerous than a large amount. According to Paul, a tiny amount of an endocrine disruptor fails to trip immune system “alarms”–it looks a lot like a natural hormone. If you drank it, undiluted, I’m not sure what would happen, but your body would definitely say “That’s a foreign substance!” and fight it. But we’ve known for awhile now that endocrine disruptors are more dangerous in smaller amounts because they sneak past those alarms and make it straight into breast tissue, umbilical cord tissue, and other scary places.

And just in case you thought you were safe because you use a stainless-steel water bottle and avoid plastic dishes, there’s one more dirty little BPA secret: it’s in your soup can. I have signed two petitions trying to get Campbell’s to stop putting it in their cans; they refused to respond to either. And guess what’s got the highest concentration? Chicken soup. That’s right, the stuff with the character-themed noodles marketed directly to children. Also, ravioli and BABY FORMULA. Okay, enough yelling. But seriously, if you don’t believe me, read this from the Environmental Working Group.

So if you’re one of the people who told me, after my earlier post, that it’s okay to relax, BPA has been banned, this one’s for you. It has not even been banned from baby bottles in all states. True, far fewer baby bottles have BPA in them, but chicken soup and infant formula cans still have it.

Send a letter to your senator. Ask that our kids be protected from BPA. The smart people at MomsRising.org, “where moms and people go to change our world,” have already written a great letter for you. All you need to do is sign it.

No, I’m Not Pregnant, but Since You Ask…

September 7, 2011

It could be worse. People could keep asking me if I’m pregnant because I look pregnant. I don’t, and I proved it today, when the cooler weather allowed for the reappearance of my best jeans. People ask me if I’m pregnant because, let’s face it, I’m begging them to ask. I use my Facebook page to promote a blog about conception. I use “pregnancy” in a lot of titles. I belong to online communities composed largely of mothers. I get it. But here, for everyone who hasn’t seen me in a while, is a photo of just how not pregnant I am:

Is There a Baby in There? Nope. Not Yet. See? Still Skinny!

I even added a dreamy filter effect to celebrate the dreaminess that is my pre-pregnancy waistline. (That’s for all of those dreamy baby photos I keep seeing. So there, friends with adorable infants!)

But seriously, I wanted to share this story as a tribute to my marriage:

The baby fever stuff started awhile ago; I don’t remember how long ago. It seems like forever. But at one point, I asked my (then) new Connecticut therapist if she wanted to meet Nathan, to put a face to his name. The three of us ended up talking about my baby daydreams and Nathan’s reluctance to engage with them; he didn’t want to get my hopes up. I knew that it would be awhile before we could practically consider having a child. But he is careful with my feelings, this husband of mine. My therapist had an excellent suggestion, and we agreed to meet back in her office in one year. By then, I thought I could safely taper off my medication and we could be a little more settled, financially. Nathan agreed.

Early next spring, then, we will meet in her office again. We will discuss whether we are ready to start trying for a baby. If we decide that we are not, we will set a date, about three months later, to return and discuss the choice again. The idea, here, is to create a safe space to discuss this delicate issue. We don’t exactly need a mediator, but when I have my heart set on something, a calming influence really can’t hurt. It limits the discussion to an hour. I don’t expect that any surprises will come up; we’ll both know the answer, going in. If the answer is “not yet,” I will need to limit the number of times I allow myself to talk around the circle of reasons why we should wait. If the answer is “yes,” then I’m sure Linda will have plenty of questions for both of us.

I see this as a tribute to the kindness of my spouse, and to his patience with me. If we did not have so much kindness, or if we loved each other less, this year of waiting might be a strain on our relationship. We are able to enjoy each other and our quiet life together. I can honestly say that lazy weekend mornings are sweeter, knowing they might end some time next year. I love that we have all this time to know each other, and our partnership, before making such a big change. No one ever really knows what happens inside a couple’s life together, except the two who share that life, but their children do see an awful lot. I don’t mind holding on to the smaller secrets of our marriage a little longer. They are precious and ordinary, sweet and complex, small and important. I love you, Nathan.

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