Wednesday, December 31, 2008

auld lang syne

Finally, 2009... I for one couldn't be happier.

After the gluttony of the holidays, it is now time to make empty promises to be better next year! Resolutions... do you ever think that perhaps the people who need them most are the ones with the least resolve? Most resolutions revolve around promises of better health or a vow to increase the proportion of virtue to vice (or vice versa). I suppose if they motivate change for the better resolutions can't be all bad, but the act of resolving to do something seems destined to fail. Better we choose our paths along the way, not just when the Gregorian calendar adds a year... no?

However, being of particularly sound and sober mind this year, I am ready to make a few... choices, myself. And not just regular boring 'get in shape!' or 'be nicer to my sister!' ones, but ones I can really do... or at least have fun failing at.

For 2009, I resolve and choose to:

Have a baby! Within the month of January!
Be able to do push-ups again, without my belly getting in the way. And chin-ups. Less one chin.
Continue to blog.
Not let this space turn into a 'mommy blog'. I'll try to remember why you come here - the health tips! The astute observances! The sarcasm!! (and... maybe a few baby updates...!!)
Aim for balance in my life. It is difficult enough at the best of times to balance being a chiropractor, a wife, a friend and an individual. Adding 'mother' to the mix can only complicate things, in the most wonderful way possible. I'm up for the challenge.

I hope whatever choices you make for the upcoming year bring you happiness and fulfillment. For me, 2009 promises to be a year of watershed moments and new milestones.

I'm ready. Bring it.
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Great Miracle Happened Where?

I've been told that my baby-to-be is a miracle.

People stare in awe at my bump, and declare it miraculous. And though the fact that there are garments generous enough to cover my circumference is somewhat awesome, it has more to do with the extraordinary properties of lycra than any metaphysical occurrence. The word miracle gets thrown around a lot, and while I'm blown away that a HUMAN BEING IS GROWING INSIDE OF ME and privileged to be its host, with 4 births occuring every second around the world, you'd think we'd stop being impressed by the event.

A miracle is defined as an extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause. A wonder, a marvel. The spiritualist in me agrees that this life being created is indeed a wonder, whose existence is the result of a love between two people, the whim of a higher being, and elements that we cannot understand like fate and chance. The scientist in me rolls her eyes, and says that specialized cells meet under favourable conditions, and approximately 40 gestational weeks later, baby is born. The scientist then goes on to ask, sarcastically, if something that can be created just as well by a pair of randy 16-year-olds can ever be called miraculous. She then gets kicked in the ribs by her very own miracle.

But 'tis the season, and there is a lot of talk about miracles, what with immaculate conceptions and oil lasting a week longer than expected, and it just has me thinking, 'tis all. I've decided that this is something of a miracle, but in the same way that a tree is a miracle; an everyday, beautiful, boring, miracle.

So whether you are spending this holiday season contemplating the arrival of a baby, thinking about people with big round bellies, lighting candles and eating deep-fried potatoes, or just spending time with friends and family, I hope it is a nice one for you. (I'll be doing all of the above!)

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Happy Festivus (for the rest of us!)!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

As the twig is bent...

There is a saying in chiropractic.  Well, actually there are a few sayings in chiropractic, such as "Chiropractic adds years to life, and life to years!"  (incidentally, this was disproved...)  and "See you next Tuesday, Janice".  But one I really like is "As the twig is bent, so grows the tree".  

It is used to illustrate the necessity of chiropractic for kids.  For some reason the idea of adjusting kids is off-putting to many adults.  They picture me cracking delicate little spines, crunching tiny vertebra.  They reason that kids don't, or shouldn't, have back pain, that this is an affliction of the middle-age, like arthritis and mom-jeans.  

I'm not going to convince you that your children need to be adjusted regularly, I'm not convinced myself.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?  But what do you do for the 8-year-old complaining of back pain?  Or the 4-year-old who fell really hard on his bum at the park? Maybe your child has been having unrelenting digestive issues but has been cleared by every specialist in town... and you've heard that chiropractic just might help??  What then?

Then bring that child to the chiropractor.  Find a doc who is comfortable working with little kids and little spines.  Learn how gentle adjustments are on children, the force proportionate to the person.  On tiny babies it is really more of a gentle, sustained pressure at a specific spot! 

We ask a lot of kids.  We encourage them to be active, making them vulnerable to the usual sports injuries, then sit them at a desk all day long like adults, predisposing them to postural problems.  Yet we are shocked when little bodies hurt, and often reluctant to treat them.  "Dylan shouldn't have back pain, he is only 10-years-old!"  Can you imagine doing this with any other health problem?  "Little Madison shouldn't have bronchitis, she is only 10-years-old!".  Pain is just as real and important in kids as in adults, and they are no less deserving of treatment than we are.  

One of the best things about treating kids is their lack of attachment to their aches and pains, combined with their short attention spans.  Most of the time when I treat a child, only two or three visits are needed to 'resolve' the problem.  They just... get better.  When I ask at follow-up how their pain is, they often shrug and say 'fine', as if only 3 days ago they weren't complaining about the pain and asking to be let out of gym class.  They just... get better.

As a chiropractor, I enjoy treating kids if and when it is appropriate.  As a parent-to-be, I'll treat the spine of my spawn the same way - conservatively, if and when needed.  I don't plan on ignoring their problems simply because they seem too young to be having them, and I don't plan to include back problems in their inheritance.  

So back to that saying.  As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.  Injuries in childhood can become big problems in adulthood.  Taking care of them early, nipping them in the bud as it were, will encourage good posture and spinal health.  

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Comings and Goings

I can't believe it is already now. Today, or soon from it, once seemed so far away. Impossibly far away. Unbelievably far away. In the spring, when I first considered the passing of time and what it would bring, the seasons seemed resolutely unchangeable. But it's astounding, how time is fleeting... almost like a time warp.

And here we are. Now is the winter of my content, and I'm full with child, (yes, still only one in there...), due in about 4 weeks, getting ready to take a break from work to do... well, I'm not quite sure. Other work, I suppose - more motherly, less chiropractically.

We all must leave sometimes, right? Change is good, right?

I will likely start my maternity leave around Christmas, just like Mary did. I anticipate returning to work... sometime in March, in part because our socialized government never thought to extend any maternity leave benefits to self-employed women (If I were the type to get angered by unfair politics and policies that punish female small business owners, I'd surely blog about this sort of thing...). This is of course dependent on the whims of my new boss and his feeding and sleeping schedule.

During my baby sabbatical, my patients will be attended to by Dr. Alanna Steiner and Dr. Zachary Bain. Many of you have already met Dr . Bain at the clinic, but please allow me to introduce Dr. Steiner, an extremely caring and competent chiropractor.

Dr. Steiner's technique is remarkably similar to mine, and I will be in regular contact with her to make sure that she is up to date on the details and particulars of any patients she will be treating. You'll be in good hands!

Remember, although I'll be absent physically (and mentally from what I hear - apparently Baby Brain progresses to Mommy Brain) for a few weeks, I'm never really gone. I'll be posting blog updates (chiropractic! babies! random thoughts!!) and I'm always reachable some way or another... in the meantime, I'm still here, so get that adjustment while I can still reach across the chiropractic table!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Miss Conception

All seems to be fine on the baby-making front, everything (everything) rounding out as it should. I seem to have entered the 'nesting' stage, a phenomenon seen throughout the animal kingdom as gravid mammals prepare the nest for their offspring. We are opting for a crib instead of a nest, but the preparations continue nonetheless.

I'm at mother nature's mercy, powerless against this cruel taskmistress's drive to clean and organize. I've cleaned the skeletons out of my closets, dusted the insides of all my envelopes and even done the laundry. It is doubly grueling work for me, because my new OCD doesn't stay confined to the house. At my clinic I'm cleaning just as frenetically, straightening up and straightening spines, and I find I cannot stand to let a patient leave with a single vertebra out of alignment - my baby simply must be born in a state of order.

As I obsessively and cleanly come to the end of my gestation, I've had time to reflect on this procreative era, and while I think I've mastered Pregnancy 101 (except for the final exam!), I still have a few outstanding issues that I'm confused on, misconceptions if you will. Raise your hand if you know an answer.
  • Is it OK to ask a woman how much weight she's gained? I thought the answer was almost always unequivocally NO. But it seems that the more protuberant my belly became, the more people wanted to know it's mass. Oh, I'll tell them, I'm not ashamed and it's not like I can hide this bump (hell, a muu-muu couldn't hide it) or the ice cream stains running down it for that matter... I just... thought that... people, MEN in particular... knew not to ask this. And by golly, they asked.
  • "Are you sure it's not twins?" Is this funny? Am I THAT large, or do you think that I may have already forgotten (one of) my babies? For the record, I'm sure.
  • What is the point of the linea negra, that charming line that appears down the stomach? I like to think it is slimming, being a vertical stripe and all, but perhaps I'm deluding myself? Why isn't there more research on this phenomenon?
  • Why the fascination with food cravings? This is one of the more popular questions I've heard - and don't get me wrong, meals are a favourite topic these days, but I feel like I'm a big fat disappointment when I don't cop to craving pickles and ice cream. Does 'food' count as a craving?
  • Baby stuff. Do I really need all this stuff? I'm being given lists of things that bounce and swing and vibrate and play music. Things to use for the first few weeks and a whole new inventory for the next few weeks. Things to sterilize with and things to stroll with, and their many, many accessories. Are these all necessary? Because I thought that all I really needed to start was couple of lactation dispensation devices (got 'em!) and some blankets...
  • What is the obsession with knowing the sex? I'd like to find out eventually, perhaps on the baby's birthday at the latest, but am I alone in savouring this delicious surprise? I want so badly to know, I can't wait to find out, I studied sex determination on ultrasound imaging and stared at that screen like my life depended on it...therefore I think I know the sex of this child, but I don't know for sure (I'm told that can look like a number of things...). And that uncertainty is tantalizing to me. It's like an unread book by your favourite author, an unopened letter, the anticipation of a good meal. (See? Back to food. Always back to food.)
The funny thing about being pregnant is that just when you think you've got it mastered, it changes. And from what I hear, that's what parenthood is kind of like too. But until then (5 weeks!), I'm enjoying this time between life before and life after, this pregnant pause if you will. Just call me Miss Conception 2008.