What happened to your hair?

I keep meaning to sit down and write but then something else always seems to demand my attention.  I realize I’ve barely written anything since I went back to work and I’ve been particularly bad in the past couple of months.  I certainly haven’t stopped reading everyone else’s stuff, but I just can’t get my act together to spend any time in my own space.  I don’t know what that means for this blog…

But, I do have something new to talk about right now.  My hair!

I’ve always known that pregnancies can cause crazy things to happen to women’s bodies.  I’ve heard about a lot of people whose feet grew (ugh, imagine having to replace all your shoes!)  And, of course, after months of breastfeeding, many of us will never have full, perky breasts again (at least without some serious help).  But what I never expected was the most recent change that just happened to me.

Ever since I was a pre-teen, I’ve always envied girls with curly hair.  In the ’80s, my mom would spend hours painstakingly crimping my waist-length, pin-straight hair.  Much to my dismay, my hair generally refused to hold a curl, so the crimped look didn’t last long.  I tried braiding damp hair.  I tried hot rollers.  I even remember sleeping with my hair wrapped around some awful, foam-covered, bendy things in an attempt to have something other than perfectly straight hair.

By high school, I had given up and accepted that my hair was straight.  One benefit of the absolute straightness, was that I didn’t even need a blowdryer to get it straight.  I could wash my hair and let it dry naturally.  It was still straight.

As I got older, things slowly began to change.  My hair got a little frizzier and needed to be blow-dried in order to look smooth.  After my first son was born, I noticed a bit of a kink (or one giant wave?) had appeared at the very back of my head.  Kind of annoying, but relatively easy to deal with when blowdrying my hair.  After my second son, I noticed the kink was more pronounced.  When I’d finish drying my hair, it would never lie flat.  There was always a bit of a zig-zag there.  Kind of like this… 

 I wasn’t super excited about adding more time to my morning hair routine, but off I went to purchase a straightening iron.  After washing and blow drying, a quick straighten was all I needed and my hair was good for a couple of days.  Excellent.  Everything was under control. 

 But wait!  September arrived and it was the first week of school.  I had to drop both kids off at their respective daycares one morning and it was a very hot and humid day.  I had washed, blow dried and straightened that morning, right before we set off down the street.  I was pushing the stroller and Littleman was scurrying along beside me in an attempt to beat the imminent rain.  No such luck.   A misty rain began to fall.  I did my best to push the stroller with one hand while I held an umbrella with the other, but my hair got a bit exposed to the elements.  When I arrived at work that morning and popped into the ladies room, I was greeted with a surprise.  The whole top layer of my hair was wavy.  The underside was still pretty straight because it had remained relatively dry, so I looked pretty weird.  But, ignoring the weirdness, this was a bit of a breakthrough.  Wavy hair?!  Could it be possible?

I got some advice from my curly-haired friends and decided to play around with my hair to see what was really going on.  I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty shocked with the results.  It turns out my hair has COMPLETELY CHANGED since having kids.  I’m now the proud owner of full-blown wavy hair. 

 That’s right folks.  I’m the girl whose hairdresser couldn’t even get her hair to hold a curl.  Now, I actually have some texture to my hair without using any type of curling device.

I know I have a lot of experimenting and learning to do when it comes to styling my wavy hair.  I still haven’t actually figured out how to make this newly-discovered hair look nice.  I’ve purchased a couple of products (I’ve never used any products before so this feels so crazy) and I’m still trying to figure out what is the best combination of products and/or techniques to use.  I want something that will hold the wave without making my hair super-crunchy and wet looking.  I’ve tried to scrunch it to get rid of the crunchiness, but the more I touch it, the frizzier it gets.  This will take some practice.

I definitely don’t see myself as someone who will wear her hair wavy all the time, but it’s kind of fun to finally have some hairstyle options (beyond down or ponytail).

Anyone else discover any weird changes after having kids?  And, most importantly, any advice for styling wavy hair??

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Horsing around

Two years ago, we were here at the farm celebrating this May long weekend. The horses had arrived back in our pasture after spending the winter at their owner’s farm. I wrote about my envy of the horses and their babies, feeling sad that I had been trying to conceive and had recently miscarried. 

Two years later, I’m here again with my two boys. The horses have returned and, this time, it’s them who don’t have their babies. Of the three mares that arrived at our farm the other night, one recently suffered a still birth and another had two miscarriages this year.  One is currently pregnant and on some medication to help sustain her pregnancy. 

I was so surprised when I heard that. And sad. I wonder what an animal feels when they lose a baby. I know horses have a really long gestational period (something like 11 months!) and I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t be aware of the loss after all that time. 

I’m not an animal person. In fact, I’m actually quite terrified of most animals (including these horses) and usually stay as far away as I can. But I do find them interesting and I’ve been amazed by what I’ve seen as I observed these creatures (from a safe distance!) I watched as the babies were separated from the moms one summer when it was time for them to be weaned and I heard their cries.  I saw the grandmother put the babies in their place when they wouldn’t obey their owners. I watched them mourn when one of their sisters died. 

Two years ago, I knew that I was being irrational when I felt a bit of anger towards the horses for having something I wanted.  Nonetheless, I still felt what I felt. 

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this except that perhaps I can learn a little lesson from these horses. If nothing else, I think this is a good reminder for me that I don’t always know the full story behind someone else’s journey. When I’m jealous that someone has something that I want, I need to take a moment to realize there may be something there that I don’t want…something they won’t or can’t tell me about.  Of course, this is something I’m going to need to work on. Just this morning, I received an email pregnancy announcement from a friend and, as happy as I am for her, I also felt a little twinge of jealousy. I guess I’m a work in progress.  

 

Heartstrings

I sat in the waiting room of my OB’s office this morning with a bit of a lump in my throat. I wasn’t there for anything exciting. Just a post-IUD-insertion check-up. Nevertheless, I felt a strange sadness as I sat there.

You see, that hospital is where I experienced the best and worst days of my life. It’s where I lived out some of my scariest and most joyous moments. It’s where I found out I had miscarried baby #2. It’s where I learned that Bo was still ok in there, despite my heavy bleeding. It’s where I felt the worst pain I’ve ever endured. And it’s where I met the two most incredible little boys in the world (in my humble opinion).

I guess that’s why the knowledge that this could be my last visit to this doctor’s office made me a little emotional.

I realize that I have some things to work through with respect to the end of our family building. I never thought I wanted more than two kids but now that the baby is almost one year old, I find myself struggling to accept that we are done having kids. Logically, I know a lot of my feelings stem from the fact that I’m about to go back to work. My emotions are all over the place (I cried during Bo’s first haircut this afternoon!) and I’m sure (at least, I hope!) that I’ll feel differently once we’re settled into our new life as a family of four with a working mom.

While part of me worries that I’ll always wish that we had another child, I know that I need to focus on our current family right now. Things are about to get a lot tougher for all of us as my time at home ends.

My doctor’s appointment ended up being quick and painless. The doc wants to see me again in six months, which means this wasn’t, in fact, my last time there. (More to come about my IUD experience in a future post). I felt a bit lighter as I walked out of there, knowing that I’ll be returning again. Hopefully by then I’ll feel a bit less emotional and be ready to walk away with no regrets.

Testing, testing, 1-2-3

I took a pregnancy test yesterday.

I woke up at 7am, needing to pee, and stumbled into the bathroom.  As I’ve done countless other times, I reached into the cupboard and fumbled around in the dark for my (dollar store – no sense in wasting big bucks) test and the empty cup that I’d stashed there the night before.  I peed in the cup and used the dropper to add the required amount of urine to the test.  And then I waited.

No, I didn’t think I was pregnant.  In fact, I knew the chances were slim to none.  But, my OB required me to take one before he would insert my new IUD.

Over the past six years, I’ve done the whole pee-on-a-stick routine a lot.  Each and every time, my heart pounded in my chest as I waited with hope for the second line to appear.  I’ve never taken a pregnancy test hoping that it was negative.  And, crazily enough, this time was no exception.  I knew, for practical reasons, that it wouldn’t be good if I was pregnant again.  Financially, it would be bad for us.  Work wise, it would be bad for me.  But knowing I was about to take measures to prevent pregnancy for the forseeable future, I had a brief moment of wanting to be pregnant again.  The test, of course, was negative.

The logical side of me was relieved.  Of course I couldn’t be pregnant.  We don’t have enough space!  We don’t make enough money!  I wouldn’t be back at work long enough to be eligible for a mat leave top-up again!  The emotional side of me felt a bit disappointed, though.  My baby is getting so big!  He’s going to be going off to daycare soon!  He’ll wean from the breast before I know it!

As planned, my OB inserted the IUD that afternoon.  It hurt like a mofo and I bled a little bit afterwards.  I have to get an ultrasound in a couple of weeks to confirm that it’s in the proper place.  And then, after that, we won’t have to worry about birth control anymore.

I know this is a good thing.  Although I’m not totally ready to accept it, I know we don’t plan to have more children.  I don’t expect that our family plans will change but at least I can take some comfort in knowing that we haven’t done anything permanent.  Maybe one day our situation will be different and we will try to have another child.  Likely not.  But, either way, that option is open to us.  For now.

Pulling my hair out

I’m pulling my hair out these days.  No, not in the “I’m so frustrated” sense.  More like literally pulling out handfuls of hair every time I touch my head.

I’ve always shed a lot of hair, even prior to becoming pregnant for the first time.  My husband always complained about the piles of long, blond hair that would gather on our dark hardwood floors, especially after drying my hair.  When I got pregnant with Littleman, all of that stopped!  It was miraculous!  All of my hair stayed on my head (or so it seemed) for my entire pregnancy.  It was my favourite pregnancy symptom, by far.

Of course, after Littleman was born, I went right back to my old, hair-shedding ways.  Nothing worse, mind you, just your average, run-of-the-mill shedding.

With Bo’s pregnancy, my hair continued to fall out as usual.  I kept waiting to stop shedding, but it never happened.  What a disappointment.

After Bo was born, though, things got worse.  When I wash my hair, I pull out huge clumps.  When I dry my hair, my bed (and clothes) end up covered in it.  I find hairballs everywhere.  It’s gross.

I’m sure it doesn’t help that I haven’t had my hair cut since January.  Luckily, I’ve lined up my mom to watch the little guy so I can go to the salon on Wednesday.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that a good haircut will help a bit.  If not, it is entirely possible that I will be bald by the end of the summer.

Ahhh hormones… gotta love ’em.

Getting my body back (or at least trying to)

So, I’ve officially started exercising again.  Not just walking around the neighbourhood (although I do a ton of that too) but full on, intense exercising.

When I was on maternity leave with Littleman, I found a mommy and baby fitness class to join.  I’ve always preferred classes to exercising on my own because I need the motivation of someone telling me what to do (and, since I tend to be a teeny bit competitive, I work much harder when there are other people around!)

I ended up loving the class and did it a couple of times a week for the majority of my time at home.  I met some great friends, spent time with my baby AND worked out.  By the end of my maternity leave, I was in the best shape of my life.

I was super excited to start taking the classes again this time around and it didn’t disappoint.  The same instructor still teaches the class and it is just a hard as I remember.  I was pretty much dying after the warm-up but I kept reminding myself that it would be worth it.

I’m back in my pre-pregnancy pants but I still have some unsightly belly flab and extra weight to lose.  Breastfeeding makes me starving (and causes me to crave sweets!) so I know I need to find a way to balance it all out.

Once the weather gets more consistently nice, I plan to join a strollerfit class as well.  Nothing like running up a hill pushing a 14lb baby in a stroller to make you sweat (and hopefully help shed those pounds!)

I don’t expect my results to be as good as they were the first time around… I’m not totally delusional!  But I hope that, by working hard, I can get a little bit closer to having my old, pre-pregnancy body back.

Waiting for the call

What’s worse than waiting to go into labour spontaneously?  Waiting to be called into the hospital for a planned induction!  Holy crap.  It’s now 6pm.  D and I have been waiting 12 hours for a call.  Ugh.  We got up bright and early, got Littleman off to daycare and got ourselves showered and ready.  Then we sat.  And waited.  And watched crappy TV.

I made sure I ate a healthy breakfast.  Then I got hungry again so I had to eat lunch.  I tried to nap.  Then I tried calling the hospital.  The receptionist in the birthing unit said the charge nurse would call me back with a status update.  That was about 3 hours ago and I haven’t heard a thing.  I had a snack and tried to nap again.  Then I got hungry.  D just went out picked up subs for dinner.

I’m sure the hospital is busy and I’d much prefer to be waiting at home than sitting in a hospital waiting room.  But it kind of sucks.  I barely slept last night and now I know I’ll be going into this labour and delivery exhausted.  I just hate not knowing what’s going on.  Will they call tonight?  Do I just go to bed as usual in case they don’t?  Could they call in the middle of the night or will they wait until morning?  What the eff?

Anyway, I think I’ll call back again after shift change and maybe I’ll have better luck getting an update.  If not, I’ll go to bed and hope to get at least a little bit of sleep today.