Posts Tagged ‘ NICU/Prematurity issues ’

A Goodbye to Blogging, and Many Thank-Yous

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Dear internet,

Well… it’s about that time.

I’ve been blogging for over four years, and for over a year here for Parents.  It’s been an interesting and, at times, a pretty amazing ride.  I’ve written about anything and everything, been on some awesome trips, received my share of hate mail, been published on and linked to from places like Yahoo!, Shine, and Time.com, and corresponded and shared my life with some pretty incredible people.

I have honestly enjoyed sharing my life with all of you.  Opening up about all of my experiences– the good, like giving birth to Caroline, graduating dental school, and finding a job… and the bad, like Caroline’s hospitalization, my postpartum depression, and my divorce– has been exciting, cathartic, therapeutic.  But with my new start here in a new state with a new job and a new home, the time has come for me to move on.

I’ll admit that part of it is that I’m simply burned out on the criticism and hateful email that I seem to get no matter what I write.  It is not easy to share as openly and publicly as I do, and I might just not have the backbone for some of the responses that I get anymore.  Having a job as a “real” dentist also means that I need to be a little more careful and professional about what I put out there on the internet, know what I mean?  I’ve always written whatever I feel about whatever’s on my mind, and if I have to constantly censor myself or worry about what I’m writing, then I’d rather just not write at all… or at least not write so publicly.  I also feel like I don’t have as much to say as I used to, and I really only enjoy blogging when I have something interesting to say.

I guess what it ultimately comes down to is, I just need my life to be a little more private right now.

I appreciate, from the bottom of my heart, all of you who have read and loved my blog, whether you’re a new or longtime reader; whether you’ve read occasionally or never missed a post.  Your kind words and support got me through some tough times, your advice helped me make some tough decisions, and what some of you have shared with me, in return for all I’ve shared, has touched my life as I hope I’ve managed to touch some of yours.  My favorite part has been the emails and comments I get from other single parents who have been inspired by what I’ve written to make changes in their lives, to go back to school, to move on, to find happiness again.  I’ve appreciated every word from you, more than you know.

Thanks for laughing and crying with me, everyone.  You might see me again on the internet someday, in a more anonymous or private space…you just might not know it’s me.

With love,

Julia…and Caroline

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Gluten-Free? Help Me.

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

I don’t know if I’ve ever actually written about this here before, but Caroline has some serious GI issues.  I know I’ve written about her reflux in the past because it nearly killed both of us (her from aspiration pneumonia and me from pure stress), but I’ve probably never mentioned her extreme constipation because a) I keep forgetting to and b) talking about poop on the internet is super gross, you guys.

But here we are because, as in the past, I need your help.  Ready?  Caroline’s dermatologist suggested that her combination of severe eczema and constipation might be due to a wheat sensitivity, so she recommended we try going gluten-free.  When I was a kid, I technically tested positive for a wheat allergy (which I have ignored completely and proceeded to eat carbs like it is my job), and she’s seen kids with these issues have them completely clear up when gluten is removed from their diet, so… we’re giving it a shot.

I have to admit I’m not exactly thrilled at the prospect.  Caroline, like most three-year-olds, is already an extremely picky eater.  I’m not sure how I’m going to get her to eat a balanced diet without gluten, since I have to put wheat products in most things in order to get her to eat them without a huge battle (i.e. macaroni and cheese with peas, blueberry pancakes, broccoli nuggets with bread crumbs, chicken nuggets, etc.)

In summary, here are the things she likes to eat: things with gluten in them.  Here are the things she doesn’t like to eat: things without gluten in them.

You see my dilemma.  She might starve and I might lose my mind.  (And yes, I am being dramatic.  I’ve been told I have a flair for it.  I don’t think it was a compliment.)

Despite the difficulties, I guess it can’t hurt to try, right?  Going gluten-free could be good for me, too.  I mean, I do technically have an allergy, and at the risk of sounding like a 14 year old teeny-bopper, I heard Miley Cyrus recently went gluten-free and have you seen girlfriend’s abs lately?  I’m just sayin’.  (I know she’s like 19, tops, and has never had a child that we know of but please just let me live in my fantasy world, okay?)

So, gluten-free parents out there, what’s a girl and very picky preschooler to do?  Any recommendations for recipes, websites, blogs, and/or gluten-free substitutes for wheat products?  How do you handle a child who has to go gluten-free when all they ever want to eat is carbs?

 

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Happy Third Birthday, Caroline!

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

My baby girl is three years old today.  What a difference three years makes!

From this

To this…

I can’t believe how far we’ve come.  Caroline makes me laugh and makes me proud every single day.  I may not have been expecting her to come into my life, but I am so very glad she did.  She is smart, hilarious, and adorable; forgiving of my mistakes, patient as I learn to be her mother, and sweet and loving to everyone around her.

Happy birthday, big girl.  I’m a lucky woman to be your mama.

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I Was a New-Mom Germaphobe

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

When I was a brand-new parent, I was a complete and total germaphobe.

Gallon-size jug of hand sanitizer at the entrance to our apartment as a hint to everyone who entered?  Check.  Shopping cart covers and antibacterial cases for her binkies?  Check, check.  Toys washed in diluted bleach, bottles boiled, and pump parts sterilized every night?  Check, check, and check.

To be fair, we did two weeks’ hard time in the NICU for pneumonia, so it was somewhat warranted…

However, I, like most of us, slowly made the transition from germaphobic brand-new parent to, well, it’s not that I want her to be dirty, but if it happens, it happens.  I hadn’t really thought about this until the other day, when we were on a train to Grand Central.  Caroline licked the window of the filthy train and I barely even flinched.

At work last week I walked into the conference room and some of my coworkers were having a conversation about how they think that growing up “too clean” can lead to improper development of kids’ immune systems.  “Hey, Julia,” one of the faculty said.  “You have a baby, right?  Are you a germaphobe about everything she touches?”

I snorted.  “No,” I said.  “Are you kidding?  That kid is constantly filthy.”  They laughed at me.  “I’m serious,” I said.  “If I were to keep her and everything she touched completely spotless and sterilized, I’d never have time to do anything else.”

Maybe it’s that I work at a place where there sometimes is literally hepatitis all over the counter (until I sterilize it, okay?  Don’t freak out), but a little dirt and grime doesn’t get to me like it used to.  Besides, she’s in daycare all day.  I used to whisper to her to stay away from the snotty kid as I was leaving, but she never listened (kids these days!) and anyway they were all “the snotty kid” by mid-December anyway, including her.

In any case, I believe that in many ways it’s counterproductive to raise your kid in a bubble.  I won’t go into technical stuff about the immune system, but I think it’s better for her health and it’s definitely better for my sanity if I don’t go around spraying everything she touches with bleach.  It doesn’t mean I’m a bad or negligent mom… it just means I’m realistic, you know?  For me, relaxing a little bit about stuff like this is sort of part of my development as a parent, just like I’ve slowly tried to let go of my helicopter mom tendencies.

So go forth, child.  Be free, and be dirty.

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Letting Go of “Helicopter Mom”

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

I’ve always been a total helicopter mom.  A “stage-five clinger,” if you will.

I don’t know why I’m so paranoid about Caroline hurting herself.  Maybe it’s just that I’m super uptight about everything, which I am, or the fact that she was gross motor-delayed and still kind of has two left feet, or maybe the whole NICU thing started me off with this parenting thing on the wrong foot, feeling like I could lose her.  Whatever.  The point is, I hover.  Always have.  While other kids are running freely around the playground, I’m fast-walking after my kid and trying to keep a non-crazy distance from her so that the other moms don’t judge me while still staying close enough to (hopefully) prevent her from cracking her head open.

I think about this a lot, actually.  I don’t want her to have issues from my overprotectiveness, but I don’t want her to get hurt, either.  It’s a fine line and I haven’t really figured out how to walk it.

This past Friday, I was at an amusement park for a dental implant conference (random, I know, but don’t ask) and once it was over, all of the residents had a free pass to the park for the rest of the afternoon and evening.  I had to leave to get Caroline from daycare.  I thought, hey, she’s too little for the rides, but why not bring her back and see how she likes the park? So I did.

I got her a hot dog for dinner.  (I am also extremely uptight about her diet, so we don’t do hot dogs in our house.)  She loved it.  Her GI tract did not explode and she did not develop any sort of mysterious hot dog-induced cancer.  (Yet.  As far as I know.)  Then I took her on the kiddie carousel.  I set her on a horse, buckled her in, and held onto her for dear life as the carousel started turning.

She loved it.  Like, loved it.  I relaxed.  We rode that thing over and over until she wanted a different ride.

Then we went to the kiddie swings.  I asked the guy who was running it nervously if she was big enough and he rolled his eyes and said “she’s tall enough but it’s your call, miss” without looking at me.  I buckled her in (with her stuffed Pooh Bear, who she refused to leave behind) and made myself go stand behind the gate.

Again… she was loving it.  The ride stopped and she cried “Mommy!!” so I ran behind the gate and knelt down beside her swing.  ”You want to get off?” I asked her, half-relieved.

“NO!!” she yelled.  ”AGAIN!!  A different color swing!”

She rode the swings again and again, laughing her head off and loving life.  I relaxed again.  I stood behind the gate and watched her.  And she did great.

We rode a few other kiddie rides together and had a blast.  After each ride she would say to me, “I not ready to go home yet, okay Mommy?  I not ready yet.”  You know… just in case I was getting any ideas about leaving.

Putting aside my anxiety about her hurting herself or getting lost or whatever I thought was going to happen was really freeing, and I had so much fun watching her experience all the amusement park stuff for the first time.  I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun at a place like that… not even when I was a kid myself.  And she had so much fun that she hasn’t stopped talking about it ever since.

So from now on, when I feel the urge to hover, I’m really going to try to keep it to a minimum.  She’ll get bumps and bruises, but as long as she’s safe, that’s okay.

And we’re definitely going back to the amusement park.

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