Back in October last year I wrote about my cousin Jeannie who struggled with diminished ovarian reserve and finally got pregnant via egg donation. She was due mid-June. Throughout her pregnancy I had kept in close contact with her, and had been so happy for her that her pregnancy was uneventful. Although her pregnancy was healthy, she was anxious about it. I can’t blame her because I had the same thoughts. Everyday when she got up in the morning she’d wait for the baby to move before she could relax a little bit. I think many of us have been so traumatized by infertility that stillbirth is a big fear. It is no different to my cousin. And I had the same fear when I was waiting for my kids’ birth. Jeannie’s due date came and went, and baby did not show any signs of coming out. Jeannie is a small business owner and started her maternity leave two weeks prior to her due date. I told her to enjoy this down time a bit before the craziness of a newborn began. She said that she was so uncomfortable that it was hard to enjoy her time. She just felt like she was wasting her maternity leave. Anyhow, a week after her due date was when her doctor started induction because baby was just not coming on his own. Induction started on a Monday late afternoon, and she was only 1cm dilated 24 hours later. Throughout this time, she was still very anxious about losing the baby at the last moment, because, you know, we as infertiles just have those crazy/not so crazy thoughts. Being induced for 48 hours didn’t bring her closer to her baby so a C-section was done. My cousin finally became a mother! I am so happy for her but at the same time have been feeling bad for her for all that she has had to endure with this birth. It has been quite rough for her physically and emotionally. She is entirely swollen and is puffy everywhere. She could not bend her legs. The crazy hormones make her cry all the time. Basically she is a mess. But she will eventually come out of it and did I mention that she has a baby now??? And he is so precious and perfect, and is so healthy and doing so well. It’s hard for me to believe that after all these years of wanting a baby and trying for a baby, she is finally at this point. She is holding her baby. I can’t wait to see how motherhood unfolds for her. During her pregnancy, Jeannie mentioned to me how she was envious of me having my mom here with me and so wished that her mom would still be alive and have the joy of being a grandmother. I feel for her and it makes me cherish my mom even more.
Last year my annual check up was the day after my in-laws left. My blood pressure was exceedingly high on that day. I chalked it up to eating extra salty Indian homemade food and being nervous in front of my doctor. I went back to see my doctor for a check up exactly one year after last year’s. The initial reading of my blood pressure was a little high but not too high. When my doctor remeasured my blood pressure, the number shot up. It didn’t help for him to tell me to relax. I was thinking, whenever someone tells me to relax, I get even more nervous. The interesting thing was, a couple of days prior to that, my mom asked me to take my blood pressure on her home machine and it came out totally normal. So I still don’t know if my extra high reading was truly due to white coat syndrome. But one thing that I did confess to the doctor was that I hadn’t gone back to consistently exercising since my kids were born. I am always tired and would rather take a nap when the kids take a nap. My weight has been steadily climbing up. Now with the potential high blood pressure, I am determined to take care of my health better. After considering my day and my fatigue level during the day, the best time that I could come up with for exercising is early in the morning. I am NOT a morning person by any definition, but I did attend fitness bootcamp for 5 years straight in the past for a 6:15am class, so it is doable. Getting up early for fitness bootcamp took a lot of willpower, so I know that it will be a challenge to get myself up. But again, I am determined to get myself in better health. I know that mental and physical preparation would be important for my success. The day after my doctor’s visit, I lay out my workout clothes on my dresser. I also downloaded a walking app to track my progress. My biggest strategy for maintaining my progress is to listen to a fascinating podcast that is a series. I chose Serial because each episode is a continuation of the last. Plus, who doesn’t love a murder mystery? I went to bed a bit earlier that night to ensure enough sleep for the night. The alarm went off at 6am the next morning. I got up, washed my face, changed into my workout clothes, and headed out the door. My goal was half an hour and to return by 7am to make breakfast for the kids. I put on my headphones, turned on Serial, started my walking app, and started my first workout in many many months. I walked uphill, downhill, and turned the corner briskly. The show was gripping and kept me going. The app reminds you of your pace every mile, which is motivating to me. I chose routes that go uphill for a long stretch. When I got home, surprisingly and amazingly, the route that I took was 2.01 miles. I would call that exactly two miles. My average pace was 16:10 min/mi, which took 32 minutes 38 seconds. I felt so good after the walk! I did that again the next day in the drizzle and was a bit faster. Average pace was 15:40 min/ml, and the total time was 31:29 min. Yesterday was my 3rd walk. This time, I was wearing the Airpods that Bob bought me, so it was a bit more convenient for me not to have cords attached to my phone. But I was tired. I lingered in bed for an extra 8 minutes and decided to get myself out there. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. I could feel that my body and my steps were heavy. The murder mystery really kept me going. The longer I was out there, the smoother my walk was. By the time I was done, my pace was 16:11 min/mi, which was similar to day one. I am so glad that my initial effort to take good care of my health was off to a good start. I just hope that as the days get shorter and sunrise gets later, I am still going to be motivated to get myself out there for a good workout. I really need to maintain my health for my own sake and for the sake of my family. If anyone has any recommendation on an excellent podcast that will have me hooked for my future walks, please send them my way! I would love to keep my workout interesting for a long time to come.
I hate getting my hands and clothes dirty. Hence I am not quite a beach person, and never really wanted to have water play or other sensory kind of activities for the kids I worked with. Now that I have my own kids, I am still kind of averse to dirt. My mom and I constantly wipe the kids’ hands during meal time and wipe the floor whenever food drops. When I take the kids to a playground, I often steer them away from the sand area. I would hate to have to clean up their clothes, their hair, and their socks and shoes from sand. The thought of it just made me shudder. My effort is proven to be futile because the kids are naturally drawn to dirt and sand. They see other kids there and just walk over, sit down, and start playing. They take other kids’ shovels and pails and start digging. They pick up sand and put some in their mouth. They pick up twigs and barks and taste them. At first I was quite grossed out by sand going into my shoes and kids having dirt and sand in their mouths. I have to say now that I am quite proud of myself because I have evolved to a point where I sit in the sand area with the kids and let them do whatever they want with the sand including tasting some. I do tell them that it is not for eating and it probably doesn’t taste good, but I have let go a lot more than I thought I would when it comes to dirt and sand. I clean out all the sand from their clothes and shoes/socks before loading them back in the car. When I told my mom that the kids played in the sand and tasted some, the horrified look on her face was priceless. Haha. I know that playing in the sand is good for their play skills and their sensory development, so I am going to continue to let go. I even bought them a whole set of sand toys and vehicles for our beach vacation in a few weeks!