The sacrificial lamb

This is how I feel. It must be the daily blood letting. It is an unfortunate yet necessary evil during pregnancy, especially the early weeks. If you have a problem with needles, seeing vials and vials of your own blood draining from your borderline anaemic body and numerous other tests but still intend to have children, you had better wrap your head around it pronto. There is no way around it I’m sorry to say.

Now that I have sufficiently scared the crap out of some of you, relax, unclench your trembling hands before you dislocate your knuckles, all is not lost. As a general rule, the ladies in pathology are very good at their job. They drain veins all day every day and can be in and out of your arm before you even break a nervous sweat. Seriously, you won’t feel a thing, they are magnificent.

But I should mention that blood tests are not the only tests to endure. You will also be subjected to a monthly urine test to check for infections, ketones, proteins and other things that should generally not be present in your pee.

There is no dignity in pregnancy. It’s true. Check your pride and modesty at the door folks along with your sex life and a good nights sleep. Pregnancy is not for the faint hearted. I won’t scare you too much in these early days, we will just focus on pee for now if you will.

There is an art to the urine test. You may be thinking, what is she on about? Peeing in a cup is not exactly rocket science, right? Wrong Einstein! It requires a degree in aeronautical engineering as well as a test in reflex. They want a midstream sample. This means you pee a little bit before you position the cup. This gets trickier as the pregnancy progresses, after a certain month it becomes a physical impossibility to stop peeing midway, the sheer suggestion of it from the midwife attracts many a raised eyebrow.

The day someone achieves the midstream urine test with perfect, drip free precision is the day that world hunger ends, the Japanese decide to stop whaling and Bob Geldof finally gets his wish of world peace. Personally, I think hell will freeze over first. For now, I just aim, pee, fire !!

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Not all pregnancies are created equal!

As my title suggests, not all pregnancies are created equal. Indeed they are not. I am experiencing alot of familiar things right now. My morning nausea that never happens until mid afternoon. This is what actually clued me in at 10 weeks that I was actually up the duff. Normally I am way more observant but I blame owning a business, Christmas and regular irregularities due to having PCOS as to why I let it get by me for so long. The point this, this is familiar.

Sore boobs, fatigue, a level of air headed bimbo-ness that leaves Anna Nicole Smith looking like frigging Einstein …….this is familiar.

Food cravings? What have we here? This is new. I never had one with my first child. Not once. Never ate a pickle dipped in ice cream. Never drank a chickpea and alfalfa smoothie. I just ate pretty much normally the whole way through.

This time? I am like a woman possessed. Like the spirit of Betty Crocker has taken up residence in my body. I want cake. No scratch that. I want baked goods. I mean, why limit myself to one particular type of baked good when there is a whole bevy of baked beauties out there for me to enjoy, right?

I read somewhere once, probably during my last pregnancy, that cravings while pregnant were our bodies way of saying that we need something in that particular food. So basically, we should indulge in our cravings to gain said hidden nutrient.

What absolute garbage. I have never heard of a pregnant woman craving broccoli unless it was smothered in Hershey’s chocolate syrup just as carrots are not usually at the top of the midnight craving list unless being used as a medium to scrape Nutella out of the jar. What kind of “nutrient” could my in no way underfed body be needing from a damn cookie???

Oh, now I know, I just really needed the vitamin e and omega 3 from the walnuts in these chocolate brownies. Yeah, that must be the reason why I just ate the entire tray of the damn things. We all know how important omega 3 is to our growing baby and vitamin e is great for stretch marks so I best be eating a brownie a day then. All hail the newest “health food” , next week there will be a book about the brownie diet and how to lose 500 kilos by eating 500 brownies in 500 seconds. We shall call it the 500 diet and it shall be endorsed by Oprah.

What does a craving feel like, you ask? Well imagine happily going about your business when, wham bam, all of a sudden you feel like there is a gaping hole in your stomach that only a ( insert craving) will fill. The longer it takes to satisfy said craving, the larger the hole gets until your entire being is consumed with thoughts for cookies, cakes,pickles etc etc. fear not, it is possible to deny cravings, you will not die of cookie starvation ( a terrible affliction, just ask Cookie Monster , he is a shadow of his former self I hear) You just have to get really good at distracting yourself.

Yeah, seriously, this is the kind of shit my pregnant brain goes on with these days. Thank god for this blog, I think my husband has stopped listening to my ramblings, diatribes and tirades.

But you won’t abandon me will you readers? After all, if you have never had a baby, you will need to know this one day. Lesson: cravings are fun but they will still add to the expansion project that has become your pregnant ass. Crave in moderation for the sake of the seams of your maternity pants!

Paranoia, paranoia, everybody’s coming to get me

After the exhilaration fades, once all of the congratulations die down, there is not enough to occupy my mind. This is when my old friend paranoia pops her ugly head in for an unwelcome visit.

She is like that annoying friend we have all had at some stage or other in our lives who always knows the worst possible time to show up on your doorstep. Once she gets her stiletto clad foot in the door, she makes a beeline for the couch, kicks up her well shod, perfectly manicured feet and settles in for a while. Getting rid of paranoia is like trying to get rid of cellulite, damn near impossible once it has found it’s way to your ass cheeks.

I have spent the day bordering on an anxiety attack, attempting to keep myself busy at work and failing miserably. I am repeating this silly little mantra over and over. “Please let it stick, please let it stick” if you have never been pregnant before, let me tell you in no uncertain terms, the first trimester will absolutely, positively do your head in.

And it doesn’t matter if this is your first, second or fifteenth child. There is no escaping the paranoia. That dreaded feeling that at any moment this could just simply cease to be. Especially if you have had a miscarriage before. If that is the case, then multiply the paranoia by twenty thousand. I see your paranoia and raise you a full blown panic attack.

That bitch, paranoia, sits perched in your favourite seat pointing out all of the things that could go wrong. Reminding you of all the things you did, ate, drank before you realised you were pregnant. Before long you are convinced that your uterus is a barren,lifeless wasteland that couldn’t sustain a cactus let alone a baby. And it is all my fault because of that piece of Brie I ate, or that one apple cider I had with Christmas dinner.

The thinking gets to be ridiculous, it got the better of me today. I went to the doctor to schedule my first trimester blood letting and while I was there I made him do another pregnancy test just so that I could gag my unwelcome, nay-saying paranoid doppelgänger with the positive results.

All day I kept thinking, five tests, all positive, doctors test positive, sore boobs, nausea, extreme tiredness, more time spent peeing than actually working, a craving for chocolate chip cookies so hardcore I would have sold my soul for one. Yup, I’m pregnant. Definitely pregnant. Please let it stick, please let it stick, please let it stick.

The doctor places me at about 10 weeks tomorrow. Two more weeks until I can kick that bitch off of my couch and out of my house. Until then, I’ll just keep repeating my little mantra to ward off the anxiety.

My baby ( whom I am almost certain will be a little girl but don’t quote me) is approximately the size of a prune today. About 3cm long, she officially graduates from an embryo to a foetus tomorrow. Her brain is starting to spark up and her vital organs are in place and are beginning to function. Se has tiny little nails on her fingers and toes and she can now swallow fluid and begin to move her little limbs although it will be a little while before I can feel her efforts to make a break for it through my stomach.

My daughter is making it her mission to tell everyone that mummy has a baby in her tummy and when it is grown up enough it will burst out of my tummy. She has picked out and helped me buy our first few baby things. A little toy rattle, a green fluffy bunny rug and a couple of very hungry caterpillar outfits.

When my first daughter was born, I was unprepared for the overwhelming, unconditional love that I felt for my child. It literally knocked the wind out of me and left me gasping when I realised how much love we were capable of feeling for such a tiny little human. At that stage I did not believe it possible to love another child as much as your first. How could it be possible when she was my everything. Now I am learning that you don’t sacrifice space in your heart reserved for your first child when you have a second, your heart just grows larger to accommodate the love you feel for them both, equally.

Now we just gotta get through the next few weeks. Please, please, please let it stick.

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Disney can wait.

What a week! Seriously, there were more ups and downs than a Disneyland worthy roller coaster. Disneyland you say? Funny I should mention the most wonderful place on the earth because that is the very thing that started this exhausting, exhilarating and exciting weekend.

I will start at the beginning for you. Try to stay with me now because I, myself, have only just begun to wrap my head around what has happened.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday went by without a hitch. Apart from feeling more fatigued than usual , the days went by in the shop as they usually do. Sure, it was a bit busier than normal and I spent most of the day talking to customers. I thought this was the reason why I felt tired. The customers seemed to be draining me, which sometimes happens when you get inundated.

Thursday was worse again, I just wanted so badly to crawl up on the couch out the ack of work and snooze but the customers had other ideas. That night I called my Mum and to cut a long story short, she was going to take me and my daughter , soon turning four, with the family on a 21 day trip to the USA incorporating Vegas, Hawaii and of course the holy grail of the USA trip, Disneyland.

Picture a grown woman running up and down her hallway, jumping and shrieking with excitement . Now stop shaking your heads, I defy you not to do the same if the same opportunity arose for you to go on this awesome trip! I hardly slept that night. After talking trip details with Mum until the early hours of the morning, once I finally did get into bed, my thoughts were overrun with luggage styles and passport renewals. I was going to America and it was so close I could almost taste the baby back ribs and pork breakfast sausage from IHOP.

The next morning, Friday, was no better, I ran around the house like a kid on Christmas morning. My husband knew that I was going to exhaust myself by the time October came around but he did not rain on my Disney parade.

I was determined that Friday was going to be a great day at work. I was going to use all of my excess excitement to make it a great day, come hell or high water. Sadly it wasn’t to be. I was tired and cranky. The customers were really taking it out of me and I just wanted to curl up and sleep. Not even thoughts of Mickey Mouse and boysenberry syrup could keep me going. It was no use.

Somewhere around 4:30pm, I was finally experiencing a lull in the flow of customers so I sat down at my computer to do some stock inventory. I felt sick. Not like a flu or gastro, just really off. I figured that seeing as my boobs were sore and I was tired and cranky that I must be getting ready for my period. Yup that had to be it, after all it had been how long since my last one?

Oh shit, November. I missed a month. Usually, with PCOS, this would be no big deal, but since losing some weight doing the 12wbt and then adjusting the Michelle bridges nutrition to a paleo diet, I had been as regular as clockwork.

My mind started ticking, surely this was a hormonal thing. I mean, it took me seven years to conceive my first child and it had been four years since she was born and it did not seem like it was ever going to happen again. Never the less, I went to the supermarket and bought a pregnancy test. Actually I bought four. All different brands. I figured I better be damn sure before Mum went and booked $4600 worth of plane tickets for my daughter and I .

I got home from work and raced straight upstairs. I lined my tests up all in a row and wouldn’t you know it, all of them came up positive. Straight up, immediate, strong positive.

Holy shit! I’m having a baby!!!!

I stared at those sticks for what felt like hours but in actuality was only a minute or two and then called mum. I told her that I couldn’t come to Disneyland with her because right about the time they are having their photos taken with Mickey , I am going to be giving birth.

I guess it is just the rebel in me, to defy medicine not once but twice! Obviously losing what seemed to me to be such an insignificant amount of weight made a huge difference in my body. It may have only been seven kilos but I can only attribute my pregnancy to these few things,

* losing weight, even a small amount.
* quitting smoking
* going organic and cutting out all processed and refined foods
* regular exercise even if at just a moderate pace

So, by my calculations I am between six and eight weeks cooked already. I feel this blog may be heading in a new direction for the next few months at least. But never fear. I do solemnly swear to you, dear readers, never to blog about constipation or haemorrhoids, pelvic exams or frequent urination.

It looks like Disney will have to wait because I’m back on the road to the dreaded maternity ward. Wish me luck, I think I’m gonna need it.

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This is me about five minutes before my first c-section. I believe at that stage I had changed my mind and expressed a strong desire to go back home to bed.

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This is me two days before my c-section. It was hot, I was uncomfortable and my baby was the size of a small elephant, I think this adequately explains the look on my face

Anatomy of a liar.

What makes a liar tick. More importantly, what makes a liar lie even when they know that you know they are lying? That is the question that will undoubtedly keep me up tonight. This morning I had a run in with a liar and it unfortunately set the tone for the rest of my day.

Now, I am sure that I get lied to much more often than I really think. And if this is the case, I don’t care. It really is a case of ignorance is bliss when it comes to that because if I catch you in a lie, you better start running. The four horsemen got nothin on me!

I heard a saying once that springs to mind now. If you are going to be a liar make sure you are a good one and make sure you have a damn good memory. Well this mornings liar is neither a good one and has the memory capacity of a gnat.

Not to worry, I have my ways of getting even and the difference between me and her is that I have enough intelligence to do so without resorting to petty lies.

All this thought of lies, lying and liars inevitably came back to the subject of nutrition. When it comes to the food that goes into our bodies, pretty much the majority of food found on the inner aisles in the supermarket is nothing more than a brightly packaged lie.

Pictures of glossy, highly pigmented fruit will garnish the wrapper of a food that contains not one natural fruit ingredient at all, rather a whole host of unpronounceable chemicals carefully mixed to replicate the taste of said fruit. What the? Why on earth do we need to replicate the taste of fruit when we have easy access to nearly every variety of fruit and veg at our very fingertips?

The scary thing about the abundance of processed foods on our supermarket shelves these days is that the structure of the ingredients ends up resembling something more closer to a plastic than an edible food item. I often muse that we would be better off eating the actual wrapper they arrived in than the foods themselves. In the case of the dreaded 2 minute noodle, I am almost certain that this is true.

The scientists that manufacture these foods concoctions and chemical cocktails for our consumption are liars if they believe that what they do has any positive effect on the health of humanity at all. The companies that market these foods towards us and our children are liars of the highest level, stooping to dirty advertising gimmicks to lure people into eating the ” all new, low fat apple flavoured , diet apple slices” and making us think that somehow this would be a more sensible and healthy approach to eating a plain old apple!

The worst part of it is that every time we eat this crap, we lie to ourselves when we try to tell ourselves that it is a good choice. Or that it is only every once in a while. Or that it is ok because I am stressed, tired, emotional, angry, upset etc etc etc. Even if we eat garbage because we are uneducated about what constitutes a good choice and a not so good choice, we are still lying. We are just lying by omission in that case.

And seriously, I am going to go out on a bit of a limb here and just say this……education or no education, is there really anyone out there who can honestly say that they think McDonald’s is a healthy meal or that a double beef whopper should be a part of a balanced diet? How about soda, is there ever really an excuse to choose that bubbly, acidic, bone dissolving Black Death cola over fresh, cool water? We are lucky to live in a country where fresh water is available to us everyday, every where without the risk of deadly disease or bacteria. Yet so many of us choose soda instead. Madness I tell you, madness!!!

My husband is kind of half heartedly following along with me on my “better living with paleo” adventure. The problem is that half assed doesn’t really cut it if you want to feel the great results of feeding your body the foods it really wants and was designed to eat. Imagine being your body and eating a wonderful fresh meal of grilled chicken, salad with avocado. Followed by a lovely fresh fruit salad and washed down with a mineral water with mint and strawberry to flavour. Then next meal chugg down some processed white bread with lashings of trans fat , refined sugar and chemicals. Do you really think your body is going to thank you? I think not, it most likely retreat to the corner and rock itself slowly back and forward wondering what went wrong and when the bad feelings are going to go away.

I think it is time I had a talk to my husband about lying , lying to himself and how in the end the only person suffering is himself.

The Irony Is Killing Me !

Oh irony, sweet irony. And I mean real, honest to god irony too. Not the non- irony of the Alanis Morissette song of a similar name where everything she claims as being ironic is actually just really, really unfortunate. Nope, I am living in a new dimension where there is irony at every turn, waiting there to point and laugh.

There may also be a little bit karma thrown into the mix just to add some variety but I will save my diatribe on karma for another day, another blog. But before I digress any further, allow me to explain my opening paragraph to you in some further detail.

My 12wbt days are officially over. No, my second round of twelve weeks has not quite come to a close but I have officially thrown in the towel. Don’t panic dear readers. I promise that I am not typing this blog whilst waiting in line at the nearest buffet or cramming a burger down my throat. I actually have what I believe to be a legitimate reason to throw in this particular towel in favour of something else.

Some of you may recall back in my early 12 week body transformation days that I spent a fair amount of time at the doctors, having blood drained and examined and all manner of other tests in an attempt to get an idea of my current health situation. Well , all that poking and prodding resulted in a lengthy diagnosis:

Fibromyalgia ( to explain the chronic pain and fatigue)
Costalchondritis ( spelling ? To explain the persistent chest pains)
Poly cystic ovarian syndrome ( to explain numerous other symptoms)

I returned home, relieved to finally know what was wrong with me and went along my Michelle bridges 12wbt way. I followed her program to the letter. For the first six weeks, I was stoked. I was losing weight. Slowly but surely. I had been told that it would be incredibly slow going due to the poly cystic ovaries but I persisted. 6 kilos in 6 weeks.

Then I hit a wall. I followed the program still, no more weight would come off. I exercised 2 hours a day instead of 1. The numbers would not budge. I tried more calories, less calories, nothing was working? One week, I exercised for three hours straight on the cross trainer, five days in a row. Nothing, nada, zilch .

The chest pains started to intensify, which was concerning to say the least. The chronic fatigue hit an all new level. It got to the stage that after a meal I would drag myself to the couch at the back of the shop and pass out for three hours. During the time I was so very lethargic that I could not even lift my arms.my entire body felt like it was made of lead.

I spent my Christmas holiday feeling like garbage, it was hard to enjoy the beach when roughly six hours of every day was taken up with recovery after meals. Once I returned home, I was to have some time to myself with my husband taking our daughter to see his parents for a few days. During this time I spent quite a lot of time reading and researching why I might be feeling this way. I felt that there had to be something more to it. There had to be a way for me to lose weight and not feel like absolute shit all of the time!

I stumbled across a website for people with food intolerances and started reading the stories of all these different people suffering exactly the same symptoms as I was. After three days of heavy reading I had a theory. Gluten intolerance could have been responsible for my fatigue but dairy intolerance or more specifically, casein allergy seemed to be causing my chest pains.

I decided to conduct a little experiment . For a week, I ate no gluten or dairy at all. Within 24 hours my energy levels felt restored, I felt like a new person. For the first time in 2 years, I had no pain in my body at all…anywhere!!!! It was the best week I have had in a very long time and to finish it off with a bang, my Sunday weigh in showed a loss of 2.7 kilos, in one week. That was previously unheard of for me.

Then I had a glass of milk. Skim milk. The chest pains came back, before I could even finish. I had heart palpitations and felt very anxious and jittery. It was horrible and scary and I had to wait a full 24 hours before it fully passed. Ok, I knew then that dairy was out.

Once the chest pains had passed, I ate bread. I had a breakfast containing much gluten. Immediately I was bloated. Like six month pregnant bloated. The fatigue came soon after and I spent the majority of the early afternoon in bed. Gluten was out too. No question.

So seeing as gluten was on the banned substance list in my house now, I stocked up on rice products. I had learned that rice was somewhat of a staple for gluten intolerant individuals such as myself. The only problem was that the rice was making me feel kind of sluggish too. Not in the same way as wheat but I knew that when I had say steak and salad, I felt much better compared to when I ate chicken breast, rice and salad.

Back to the Internet. What I found led me to the diet that I am now an avid follower of. And drum roll please……introducing….irony…..

The paleo diet. Yup, you heard me, the sticks and leaves diet that I spent so much time poking fun at in my earlier blogs is now pretty much the only thing I can follow and not feel like crap!!!!

I eat paleo, I feel great, I have no pain, I have energy and I lose weight. I eat as much as I want until I am satisfied and I exercise when I feel like it. I don’t count calories. I don’t count calories burned. I just stick to the foods on the list in whatever combination I choose and it works.

My skin is clearer than it has been in ages. My brain is no longer foggy and forgetful . I have avoided illness when everyone around me has been ill. I am converted. I am not a fanatic….I still reserve the right to poke fun on occasion. I will not disown anyone I know for consuming gluten or dairy. But I cannot gloss over the positive effects of this way of life. It is not a diet. It is a way of life. It has to be because there is no way I am ever going back to feeling the way I felt every day before I got on the sticks and leaves boat.

So fibromyalgia turned out to be gluten intolerance, costalchondritis is in actual fact casein allergy and PCOS is still PCOS but the symptoms are improving every day. Sorry Michelle bridges , I gave it a good go but your menu is a food intolerance nightmare.

Wish me luck people, I am hoping this year brings good results. I am off to have a twig salad for lunch 😉

Heaven is an egg.

A chocolate-y, gooey, cadbury egg. Hang on a moment while I wipe the drool up from my keyboard. Yes, it is THAT time of year again. Cadbury creme egg time. Or as I have come to know it, Hell time.

I was un-prepared and the sight of those sugary, diabetic coma inducing babies all piled up in a huge mountain of calorie dense goodness hit me like a ton of bricks. Which is precisely the same weight as my ass if I were to indulge in as many of these eggs as I would ideally like. I felt my new years resolution flash before my eyes as my resolve wavered.

Instead of grabbing a hand basket and shovelling handfuls of artery-clogging goo into its depths, I turned, and walked purposefully towards what I actually came to buy. Lettuce. I could not believe how easy it seemed to walk away yet how badly my mind was craving one, just one little egg. When I say craving, I mean craving too. Like “steal your grandmothers tv to fund your habit” craving. What kind of sorcery is this? I wanted a chocolate more than I have ever wanted a cigarette. In fact, if ten years from now I had to choose between the feeling of quitting smoking and the feeling of quitting chocolate, I would choose smoking hands down.

I grabbed my salad goods, made my way towards the checkout, deliberately avoiding the asile where I knew that golden pyramid of eggy-ness resided and came face to face with yet another seemingly mystically built monument of eggs.

This time my daughter broke from my grip and ran with glee towards the eggs and asked me ever so sweetly if she could have one. I caved in. I said yes. I figured that there was no need for both of us to suffer and secretly I hoped that I would be able to at least smell the chocolate if I sat close enough to her when she ate it.

We went to the car. As I buckled her in, she asked if she could have the egg now. I caved, I said yes and I figured that it was now or never otherwise it would melt in the heat before we could get home anyway. As I peeled the wrapper off, I felt like Charlie peeling the wrapper off of that Wonka bar hoping to see a little flash of gold underneath the foil.

It looked just like I remembered it. And I should remember it because I think I ate roughly 1000 of them last year alone. Don’t act so surprised, asses don’t get this size from eating carrot sticks you know! It smelled divine, I know this because I actually brought the damn thing right up to my nose and inhaled very deeply.

Every fibre in my body wanted that egg. Every last empty, nutritionally void calorie of it. But what kind of mother would I be if I actually took candy from a baby? A junkie mother, that’s what kind. I did’nt do it. I handed it over and throughout the drive home I snuck the occasional glance in the rear view mirror so that I could attempt to live vicariously through the look of sheer joy on her face.

The new years resolution stands strong. I resisted the siren song of the creme egg today. I must now go and plan how I will avoid all supermarkets and food retail outlets between now and say…September, so that I may make it through the year unscathed.

Wish me luck!! I’m going to need it.