Acupuncture for needle hating fraidy cats like me

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I have always hated needles. I’m not sure, but it might have started when I was 12 and was getting immunised against either Hepatitis A, B or C (I can’t remember which one). Anyway, I was at school and in line with three hundred other kids, all thrilled to the core to be lined up to get jabbed with a needle. It was a factory belt of nervous, green gingham tunic clad children with one sleeve rolled up and a look of petrified anticipation on their faces. In our ‘non-rolled sleeve arm’ we clasped in trembling fists, our permission slips from our parents.

Oddly enough, I wasn’t paying close attention. I thought the series of events went:

1.Hand over permission slip

2. Get stabbed in the arm with a needle

3. Get permission slip back, possibly with a “I braved the jab” stamp emblazoned upon it.

I was incorrect in my assumptions.

My series of events went like this:

1. Hand over permission slip

2. Get stabbed in arm

3. Stand still

4. Get stabbed in arm again

5. Squeal

6. Hear the doctor say a naughty word

7. Get whisked to the principal’s office

8. Get picked up by Mum who looked very concerned in the principal’s office but opened up a can of motherly telling off whoopass in the car on the way to the doctor’s

9. Lie on the couch for the rest of the day while being ‘observed’ by Mum who, after throwing her hands up in a ‘what the hell are we going to do with you?’ gesture put her feet up beside me on the couch and watched Days of Lives and ate wine gums with me.

So after this brutal acquaintance with needles I began to fear them with great gusto. Getting a blood test was a palaver. A hell of a palaver. As well as me crying, sometimes fainting and often retching, my veins would also hide deep within my arms, shrinking into my flesh like cunning little castaways. Part of the rationale for my first tattoo was to overcome my fear of needles. That didn’t work.

And then, rolling forward a few years, I got pregnant. And upon discovering deficiencies in most vitamins, I was welcomed to a world of blood test after blood test. I would steady myself by saying “the baby needs me to do this” and, somehow, I got through the entire pregnancy without vomiting on a single nurse. But the real key to overcoming my fear of needles turned out to be acupuncture.

I was introduced to acupuncture while going through some pregnancy-induced back-pain. Back pain unlike any other back pain I had experienced before. It was in the bra-strap region and saw me wearing a bikini top instead of a bra for oooh, about the last three months of the pregnancy. There was little chance of me doing any bouncing type activities so support wasn’t a big factor in my underwear decision making. Nobody could tell me how to fix my backpain. I would cramp up while driving and want to be massaged but curl away from the pain of being touched. My doctor suggested I lie on a tennis ball and roll around. She was serious.

And then someone suggested acupuncture. To be fair, at that point, if someone had suggested I strap a cactus rub my back on a lamp-post, I would have given that a go too. But acupuncture was amazing. Yes I was a bit scared about the needles, but I was beyond caring and I just wanted some relief. After the first appointment my back was 80% better. After two appointments my back pain had gone. As the pregnancy progressed I went back almost every week, for everything from labour fears to cankles – and a combination of massage, herbs,cupping, an incredibly understanding practitioner and a lot of acupuncture eased my body and eased my mind incredibly.

After Bubba was born I didn’t feel I had the same need to go back for more acupuncture, in retrospect I could have gone in for my milk supply issues and various other things but it wasn’t until yesterday that I made it back for another session. My lower back has been playing up, due probably to sitting on a soft couch cradling my crochet of an evening and lifting a hefty toddler during the day. Plus, I thought it was time to address my hay fever issues. To be honest, I’ve sneezed like a lunatic since I was a child. It is nothing for me to sneeze twenty times in an hour. When my niece was very little she would look turn at the sound of a sneeze and say “Aunty Skef?” Had I not been shackled with hay fever perhaps I would have been a cat burglar. Possibly not but we’ll never know.

So I decided to address my hay fever with some stabby stabs. IN MY FACE. As I lay back, eyes closed and covered in blankets, with needles being tap tapped into my sinuses, forehead and neck I thought “You’ve come a long way Charlie Brown.”

Which is weird. Because my name is Steph.

 

I was going for an 'unflattering yet serene' angle. Mission accomplished.

I was going for an ‘unflattering yet serene’ angle. Mission accomplished.

And it’s early days, but I haven’t sneezed since the appointment. If you want to try acupuncture, I say go for it, especially if whatever you need treated is bigger than your fear of a tiny, skinny needle. It feels like a little pinch as it goes in, if you actually feel it at all, and then it’s weirdly relaxing. The only ones I remember hurting a bit were some I had in my little toes, and that was really discomfort more than pain – like a bizarre ‘why is there something impaling my toe’ type feeling rather than a bee sting or kicked toe in corner pain.

Have you had acupuncture? Did it work? Or are you a fraidy cat like I was?

Say laters to leather-skin – my top 5 moisturisers

tumblr_m3ervkCSMb1qg1kcso1_1280 Summer is done so it’s time to put the long pants on, throw the razor away and look at your jungle legs in about a month and gasp with awestruck disgust. It’s dry skin season people! I am not one for naturally dewy skin, I am one for lizard-like scales and unless I moisturise about five times a day, I basically turn to dust and fall through the cracks in the floorboards. The Viking is equally as dehydrated, although he impressively got frostbite on his fingers while doing military training outside in -30 degree Norwegian winter temperatures and suffers dry skin as a result. Kind of adorable. Anyway, moisturisers are located in every room of our house, and we have road-tested our fair share.

Here’s my top 5 anti-lizard skin moisturisers: 1. Aveeno – Daily Moisturising Stress Relief Lotion $13.95 342853 This is a supermarket staple for us. It’s cheap, smells like lovely sleepy lavender bedtime and is quickly absorbed. Definitely my number one. 2. Grown – Intensive Body Cream – $29.95

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A friend gave me this cream and I’ve got to say – I love it. I’ve hidden it from the Viking so I can savour every drop of it. It’s full of a bunch of amazing ingredients,  pomegranate, capuacu butter, acai berry, the list goes on. It’s all natural and has a gorgeous light fragrance. Perfect for crunchy elbows and dusty kneecaps. Not the cheapest but worth the splurge if you need a pick-me-up this winter. 3. Trilogy Everything Balm – $29.95 (95ml) or $18.95 (45ml)

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Not only is this an amazing balm for lips, face, hair and hands but it’s an awesome gift for any pregger in your life. Apparently Danni Minogue used it as a belly rub when she was up the duff to fend off stretch marks. I’ve also taken it on planes to lather on before the aeroplane atmosphere sucks every drop of moisture out of my body. One 95ml tub will last you forever and ever. I also rub it in the palms of my hands to squish down split ends if I’m ‘between’ haircuts. It’s made from evening primrose oil, sweet almond oil and rosehip oil.

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4. Melrose Coconut Oil $11.95 Now this cold-pressed, unrefined oil is amazing. A friend of mine put me onto Coconut oil as a beauty product a few years back and I’ve kept a jar in the pantry ever since. That’s right, the pantry. Coconut oil is super good for you when used as a replacement for other cooking oils and it’s fabulous as a beauty product too. And talk about cheap! I use Melrose but there are many others out there, just look for cold-pressed virgin coconut oil. You can use it on your face, your body and your hair, and if there’s some left you can make a stir-fry with it. You know it’s got to be good for you if you can spread it on crackers! Sometimes I find that the oil doesn’t absorb that quickly into my skin and needs to be dabbed off, but if you’ve got time to spare it’s a good one to let sink in for a while. Whenever my hair looks like it’s going to snap off from dryness I whack some big clumps on my hair, rub it in a bit, pile my hair up in a topknot and sleep with it in, wake up and wash it in the morning and it’s the best intensive moisturising treatment your hair will ever get. Lait-Corporel_200ml 5. Biotherm Lait Corporel Anti-drying Body Milk $39 I am blessed with lovely in-laws, but I’m particularly blessed because they regularly buy me French luxury line – Biotherm as Christmas presents. I probably wouldn’t spend $39 on a body moisturiser for myself, but I’ve got to admit – this one is worth it. Biotherm is huge in Europe for a good reason, it’s beautiful, light, smells amazing and goes on like silk.   What about you? What’s your staple moisturiser? Feature photo credit: Take over time

Top 5 pregnancy comeback lines

Overall, I think I milked my pregnancy pretty well. I got offered a lot of seats, second helpings and about three foot rubs, and I took them all. But, in retrospect, I really think I could have made better use of those nine months.

I believe that there are far too few opportunities in life to get away with being truly cheeky. Really, the only solid excuses for outlandishly impolite behaviour are pregnancy, childbirth, finding out your husband has been sleeping with the nanny (or pulling a ‘Jude Law’), being elderly and in a supermarket, or being Chelsea Handler.

So I say make the most of it. Tell more people to piss off if they say stupid things to you about being huge/ready to pop/carrying twins/walking like a penguin, but be creative in your comebacks. I know it can be tricky to come up with cheeky retorts when you’re overheated and hormonal so please feel free to use any of these you find appropriate: [Read more…]

Your pregnancy is making me glow

Today I am all hopped up on the fizzy happiness of hearing that another good friend is up the duff. Oh it makes me smile! It also makes me think about how times have changed, it didn’t seem that long ago when we would whisper behind hands “I think she’s pregnant!” and there would be a sharp inhalation of breath and a flurry of oh-my-gods and what’s-she-gonna-dos.

No, no, I guess being in my 30s means that most people I know who fall pregnant have done so on purpose, not as a result of a shag under a stage at a festival (this is a true and funny story told to me by a hairdresser – not the ‘no kids at wedding’ hairdresser, a different one, about her brother impregnating someone against a speaker box under a stage at a music festival, and only finding out that he was to be a father when she called him from the hospital to come and meet the baby). [Read more…]

The sun comes out, the house comes down

The sun is shining, and it feels like summer is finally here – which in my neighbourhood is a clear sign to start ripping your house down.

As I type this, there are two houses being demolished around me, we’re on the corner and there’s one a house away from me on either side. On top of this, there’s a neighbour with a leafblower, somewhere. It takes me back to this time last year, when the house next door was being ripped down and rebuilt, I was about 100 months pregnant, or something like that, and it was stinking hot and I’d lie my weary head down for about thirty seconds before the machines would start up. After the demo finished I thought, oh well, at least it’ll just be a bit of hammering and such now won’t it – but I was wrong. It wasn’t long before the singing builder started up and this rhinestone cowboy was not afraid of classic rock, or country or a spot of Katy Perry either.

I’d go and hang the washing out and he’d be livin on a prayer, I’d waddle out to the garage and he’d be shaking his bon bon, I’d attempt a cup of tea in the sunshine and he’d be holding out for a hero. It was disconcerting to have a toolbelted rooftop warbler shaking it down to nickelback while you’re hanging your smalls on the line. (And everyone knows that maternity smalls aren’t really that small at all).

Um – actual shiver of fear – what happens if he comes back to work on the new houses this summer? What if he’s learnt that ‘call me maybe’ song? We’ll have to consider subletting our house out. I couldn’t put my child through that, there’s probably a rule against it. [Read more…]

When cute goes feral

When I was pregnant I ‘won’ a free baby photo session. We’d gone along to a pregnancy and baby expo, where – just quietly – if you think the idea of being pregnant in a big hot room surrounded by a million other pregnant women or new mums and screaming babies with no air flow, no decent place to sit down and prams being driven into the back of your heels for a couple of hours sounds awesome, you’ll be in heaven. Little did I know that every person who filled in a form ‘won’ a free baby portrait.

We took our delicious little bundle along to the photographer’s studio when she was about four weeks old, so we were still well entrenched in the ‘what the hell are we doing’ phase. I’d dressed her up in a crazy combination of what I thought, in my sleep deprived mind, was kind of ‘street adorable.’ There was pink, there was velour, but there were some emo striped tights and comedy shoes to top it off. I also took along a ridiculous hat I’d bought online from China that looked a bit like I’d scalped a tie-dyed Swedish monkey and embroidered a flower on it. [Read more…]

Why all pregnant women need tasers

Pregnancy taught me many things, that the female body is an amazing whatever bla bla, that if I didn’t look like Kourtney Kardashian before I got pregnant I sure as hell wasn’t going to look like her 6 months into it and that if I could have put one thing on my pregnancy Christmas card list (especially bearing in mind I was 8 months pregnant in 35+ degree heat during the Australian festive season) it would have been a taser.

Now, I’m not generally a pro-weaponry type of person, but add thirty kilos, cankles and a few hot flushes and my mindset changes somewhat. People are, unfortunately, idiots. Not all people, but just a select few who think it’s hilarious to point fingers at pregnant bellies and make comments about how incredibly massive the baby inside must be. Now, if my doctor had said to me “far out Steph, there’s a fricken massive unit of a baby in there” I would have freaked out. But she didn’t. She said the baby was growing at just the right rate. Average. Fine and dandy. But of course there were numerous people with zero medical knowledge who would say things like “wow – you’re HUGE!” And, I got tired of smiling through gritted teeth and saying “you do realise that there is an entire person growing inside me don’t you?” Had I the energy I may have whipped around and stamped off, but considering I was using a human pulley-system to get myself off the couch by this stage I wasn’t whipping around for anything.

[Read more…]

Let’s be honest, I got fat

So one aspect of having a baby is that most woman put on a few pounds, hardly surprising given the whole growing a person inside you thing. But something I didn’t really bear in mind was that you can be fat AND pregnant, and that whole ‘eating for two’ thing doesn’t really work when one of the two is about the size of a loaf of bread – mmmm bread.

I did well for the first two trimesters, sure I said “yes please” to a second helping of baked delights at office morning teas but I also did pre-natal yoga, aquarobics and daily walks. Unfortunately, by the third trimester I was feeling pretty uncomfortable with backpain and swollen feet so I slowed down on the exercise and amped up on the sitting with my feet up eating a box of tiny teddies every day. Probably not a good move. And then there were the 11 days of sheer hell of waiting for an overdue baby that I spent crying and inhaling every calorie within a three mile radius – I’m pretty sure I just absorbed carbs everywhere I went.

[Read more…]