And finally that HCG diet follow up...

So I told you all I'd follow up about that HCG diet my naturopath suggested, like, 3 years ago to help me lose weight to counteract PCOS to have a baby. Here's what happened:

- I did lose 20 pounds in 30 days without really being hungry or having too hard of a time or feeling icky
- I lost entirely only abdominal fat
- It didn't fix my PCOS (or help me have a baby as far as I know)
- I gained almost exactly the 20 pounds back over the course of a year, all back on my abdomen
- During that year, I ate sugar and other blood-sugar spikers freely, which I understand is likely to cause more abdominal fat gain if you have PCOS or other pre-diabetes type things
- Over the past 3 years, my weight has since been stable, so I probably didn't permanently fuck my metabolism

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The boring short post instead of the interesting ones I've been thinking of

So I've totally been meaning to post about the concept "can you change your diet without dieting" that I saw on the lovelivegrow blog and I've also been meaning to do an in-depth response to this atheist book [personal profile] wild_irises sent me and my thoughts about how the arguments do and don't apply to my religion as I practice it.

But I have no time for these interesting long posts. So instead, here's me seeking info.

I went to the doctor and she said there was nothing I could do about my elevated liver enzymes/fat-marbled liver except lose weight. (To be fair, she didn't say it like she was prescribing weight loss or like OMG OBESITY!!! either.) So I was like, "That's interesting because I was just reading about how studies show there's no way to do that in the long term." And she was like, "True. Except there's some more studies that show that if you do these three things, you'll gain back 10 - 30% instead of 95-110%." I asked her if she knew which studies, but she didn't know off hand. So I'm wondering if these were really studies, or just "what everyone knows" or "some shit the CDC said." Do any of you know? Because if it's true, that kind of changes how I look at the choice to diet for me personally (not my opinion that people deserve human rights, respect, and good treatment regardless of body size, btw). Do any of you know about these possible studies, or know of a resource where I might be able to dredge them up (in all my copious computer time these days).

Incidentally, the three things are:

- Lose weight gradually so that you don't trigger your body's "I'm starving!" response.
- Do a diet that you can switch to a modified version of when you're done losing weight. (I'm assuming "modified" doesn't mean modified back to how you were eating before?)
- Exercise at least 90 minutes a week, 45 of which are something like weight lifting which will build muscle mass.

If any of you all have info on this, I'd totally appreciate it!

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Sleeping when the baby sleeps...yeah

So, whoever came up with that clever little adage apparently didn't know that some babies only sleep when they are being rocked or walked or bounced. Thank God that's not my little dude most days, but yesterday it was.

This time around, I have a ton of help--my sister and mom are mostly both here and my spouse had time off. But yesterday, my sister was gone all day with appointments, my mom was still down in CA on one of her regular "breaks" she takes back at home, and Spouse was at work a full day. At first it was awesome, hanging out with the big kid and the baby and getting All The Things Done! I could do it without guilt because the baby wouldn't sleep without me being up anyway. But then around 3:00 or 4:00 my energy suddenly gave out entirely and it was miserable. It reminded me of everything that didn't work about postpartum with kid 1.

But that evening my mom came back and today has been all about the napping while Grandma got the baby to sleep in the bassinet and then cleaned my whole kitchen! My relationship with my mom can sometimes be sticky, but right now I am just appreciating her so much. I wish every postpartum mom had a couple people hanging out helping full-time.

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The baby is here!

The little dude arrived on the 11th, healthy and very, very sweet. I'd have let you all know sooner, but our internet was down and, well, we've been busy.

Short disorganized thoughts that may end abruptly when he wakes up ready to nurse:

* Labor was brutal. My doula says I had a couple hours of three minute contractions with very little rest between. Like 20 seconds.Thank God the memory is already fading. I do remember three contractions in a row that felt like there was no time in between, during which I had to pant and not push even though I wanted to. Very awful.

* I am a fucking rockstar.

* I meant to labor in the birthing tub and deliver outside it, but it worked out opposite. It wasn't ready until pushy time and once I started pushing there was no way I was getting back out of that thing to deliver. But it worked out really nice. I thought the actual water birth thing was a little too weird and hippied out even for me, but it didn't seem weird at all when the time came.

* I will never forget drawing the baby's precious little self toward me through the water. It was like something some lame movie would try to pull off with imagery about the pathways between worlds or something, but it was /real/. I hope I can be more articulate about it later. But it was beautiful.

* I remember one of my first thoughts post-birth was "I'm so glad I never have to do that again." I hope I thought it after the wonderful "OMG my baby is so beautiful" moment but I can't remember. During the pregnancy I was trying to talk Spouse into having one more before I was too, /too/ old. Spouse was not down. Luckily, now we're not disagreeing anymore.

* The baby is completely fine and healthy. But we did bring him into the ER Saturday evening. His face was a little blue and my midwife said via txt that he was probably fine but then his color got worse and I was like, 'screw the midwife, I'm calling the nurse hotline." The nurse said that face color changes was an automatic 911 call, so we called them. He was pink again by the time they arrived but his blood oxygen saturation measured in the 80s so the paramedic suggested we take him in. It was all very opposite what we were trying for with the gentle, quiet home birth--sirens, way too many stompy adrenelated men. Six hours, three heel pokes and one vein-draw (read: session with a nurse jabbing and digging around in his arm with a big needle--Spouse actually teared up watching it) later, the ER doc tells us he has some condition that basically means "kinda blue sometimes" (acrocyanosis, I think?) and that there's nothing to worry about unless he stops breathing for like forty-five seconds or turns totally purple in the face. It was a horrible expreience (and incidentally freaked out my MIL who is now convinced that he's sick) but in retrospect I don't regret deciding to take him in. It's like, the whole thing kind of reaffirmed my feeling that there's something inherently wrong with the whole medical model and at the same time reaffirmed my wonderment and appreciation for what medicine can do these days. I'm very glad to be in a position to pick and choose which of it and how much of it I want.

Okay, baby just cried and then went back to sleep. I'm thinking I have about 2 minutes before I need to be boobs-out over the boppy. I probably won't be back on the computer for another several days.

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On being visibly pregnant and invisibly queer

I feel like I had really started to find a way to live with being queer while looking pretty much like a typical straight, suburban, stay-at-home mom. I found some ways of expressing the rest of me, made my peace with most people I met making erroneous assumptions about me, and did the work to really decide whether a monogamous relationship with my spouse was worth giving up the variety of sexual experiences I really wanted.

But now this being pregnant thing is kind of tripping me up. Like, I'm still really happy with my life, but I'm feeling this internal pressure to conform more closely to my conception of what the cultural norm is for mothers. I can't even believe this, but after a trip to the children's museum where I saw a bunch of very thin, beautifully dressed moms with their babies, I actually seriously considered trying to lose weight after the baby's born. It's kind of freaking me out! Like, who has invaded my brain, and why is she totally crazy! I mean, I've come to terms with my periodic urges to lose weight so that sexy women will think I'm hot and want to come talk to me. But wanting to diet so that I'll fit in with the weird mommy cliques in the freakin children's museum? This is actually frightening me.

I think that my trust in myself, that I wouldn't stuff my poor inner baby dyke back in the closet again, was pretty tenuous even before I was pregnant. I mean, I was doing my work and all, but occasional forays to the Big City to attend queer events and some occasional journaling just wasn't a lot, you know? And now I'm not going to be doing many forays, I'm not going to be learning to ride a motorcycle, and I gave up on my cute butch hair. Add to that how I'm contemplating buying sweater sets and losing forty pounds, it just doesn't make me feel so trustworthy to myself.

A new family member--premiering in July

It feels like time to let the word out--I'm gestating a baby! Baby's due date is July 1.

Most of you probably know about the fertility problems we've had--it took some migraine-inducing drugs and three pregnancies to have my daughter. This time, it took high doses of more intense (and more expensive) drugs. And it still took three cycles, but no miscarriages.

Now that I'm posting this, I'll probably go back and unlock my earlier posts about being terrified of miscarrying. I'm not sure I really got all my feelings down in those posts, but it's what I have. And I think it's important to share the whole experience. In our culture, the dominant baby narrative is: you get a positive pregnancy test, you barf a bit, you twirl around in a happy pastel haze, and then Baby! Really, it's like no one knows that the miscarriage rate in the general population (healthy people with no reason to expect to miscarry) is 20%. It would have helped me a lot that first time to know.

I've been really, really sick and exhausted. More so than the first time. The whole pregnancy thing has been a lot less fun than last time, because the rest of my life didn't magically stop being a concern.

But! I'm really, really happy. I was getting close to being pretty sure I wouldn't have another kid, and I wanted one. Even knowing ahead of time about the work and all, I'm getting a little bit into a dreamy pastel haze. And it's nice.

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Some nice brain candy

I picked up Harry Connolly's Child of Fire off of the freebie table at WorldCon and totally enjoyed it*. There is nothing deep about it--no genderbending, no overarching metaphor or commentary about the futility of modern life, no profound study of the concept of alien, nothing. But you know what, I totally had a great time reading it. And it's been too long, you know? 

I've started doing a lot more reading lately, but it's been in a Responsible mode. Like, I've been trying to read stuff that is like what I hope my work turns out to be someday. Or that is outside the mainstream, that is maybe underread. Or is published in Strange Horizons I fantasize about someday being published. Or that is very smart and was published somewhere like Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet or a university press. I usually enjoy all these things; don't get me wrong. Often the stuff I read amazes me and moves me and inspires me. (Especially Strange Horizons. Which is why I dream of them publishing a story of mine. There's a great story up there right now.) But me picking them up and reading them is "justified" by some reason or other.

And the reading experience just isn't the same. Reading Connolly's book, I wasn't improving myself or my chances of being published. I was just kicking back and having a great time. It reminded me of being in fourth grade and finding some new awesome book that was the Best In The Whole World and slurping it right down. It was really great, and I think I need more of that in my life. So I ordered the two sequels.

*Before you all take this as me saying, "Go buy it! Now!"** I need to make some disclaimers. (1) It fails the Bechdel test. But there is one female character I really liked who has a ton of agency, just off the page. Except she's a little bit of a Strong Female Character. But at least not sexy. (2) Everyone in the book seems to be white, straight, and able-bodied. (3) Connolly has the nasty habit of making fat equate to stupid/bumbling/loserish. Also, his supervillain used to be fat, until he became evil and mightily powerful.

**But if you can set aside these pretty serious failings, seriously go buy it now. It was a super, super fun read. And it's not like Heinlein or anything.

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Angstiness about self-promotion on the internet (meta, not actual self promo in this post)

It has recently become clear to me that, at some point (when I decide to stop sitting on my short stories and instead start subbing them), I will want to come here (and on FB and twitter) and in some way try to induce you all to read/buy/review/link to my work. The idea of which makes me fret and feel awkward and nauseated.

In my head, I get into all these layers of inauthenticity. Like, hey, I should have more internet presence *before* I sub anything, so that it looks like I am on the internet posting things for non-self-promotion reasons! Which kind of horrifies me when I catch myself thinking it.

This whole thing would be a lot easier if I had a lifestyle which included being on the internet for fun a lot. I mean, I love surfing around, reading DW and Shakesville and Tiger Beatdown and the Fat Nutritionist. And every time I spend even a little time poking about on the internet, there are fifty million things more I want to watch/read/listen to. But I've mostly triaged internet time out of my life, to make room for parenting and householding and writing. So, really, any more posting that I do beyond the occasional DW/LJ entry like this one would truly be for self-promotion, not because I love FB or Twitter or whatever so much that I'd be there anyway.

The self-promotion thing seems important, and I've seen people (frex, Jay Lake) do it in a way that is totally not annoying. And I think I could pull it off OK by making it a regularly scheduled thing (say, every Tuesday at 11:00 or something) with a timer to remind me to stop. But I worry about alienating my internet friends--I care about you all and your good opinion of me. I hate the idea that I might write something that makes people feel like I don't care about them or that I'm trying to use them.

What do you all think? I'd love to hear opinions and anecdotes from y'all, either from the perspective of trying to promote something or from the perspective of the promoted-to.

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...aaand more about the carbs

A rather counter-intuitive thing happened with the new, time-released meds. Basically, I got all draggy and kind of low-level depressed. Turns out, I was so focused on eating "perfectly" that my blood sugar was kind of nonstop low. I was all worried that if I ate carbs, I'd be sprinting to the bathroom, so I didn't eat any and, well, that just didn't work for my body.

So I eventually worked up the courage to test out the limits of how many carbs I could eat while taking the new medicine, and it turned out that the answer is a fuck-ton. I actually seem to need /more/ that I did before I started taking this medicine. And it's actually hard to make myself sick unless I eat sweets.

It feels like one big lesson in There Are No "Bad" Foods. (At one point this weekend, I was feeling horribly ill until I ate a bunch of potato chips; then I felt great.) (I need to write one of those New Miracle Health Food! books now, about Lays potato chips.)

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