Candid Chatter

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Don’t Mess With Lactation January 15, 2009

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 8:47 am
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Soooo…

I have said in the past that a person’s decision to breastfeed or not is personal. I can see why you would. I can see why you wouldn’t. I like to try it out. This time, thankfully, it’s going quite well. My milk came in late last night and Jaxon is very content and only requiring every 2 to 2 1/2 hours to eat. I am sleeping soundly between feedings. All is well.

However, the lactation consultant here is quite a challenge. Not my cup of tea, for sure. She’s annoying and if I was on the fence on whether or not to breastfeed she would make me decide to quit. Blah!

Yesterday Jaxon needed his blood sugar checked before eating. I called my nurse to tell her he was ready to gobble. The lactation nurse must have heard the call and came rushing into my room. She saw the pacifier in Jaxon’s mouth (from the NICU by the way) and about had a coronary right here in my room. She told me to take it out and feed him right away “he is obviously hungry since he is vigorously sucking that *thing*”. I told her I was going to wait until he gets his blood sugar tested. I didn’t want him back in the NICU for another 24 hours. I obey orders when it’s medical stuff. She flipped out, left the room, shouting something about “speaking to your nurse”.

Oh boy!

Nurse comes in about 10 seconds later and I haven’t seen the Boob Nazi since.

Why the drama? Seriously? Jaxon wasn’t going to starve in 4 minutes. He wasn’t even crying. Just sucking a pacifier like it was his last meal, but he was happy otherwise.

Sheesh. Drama follows me to the hospital even. Guess that’s why they call me a Drama Queen.

Jaxon is doing great. Word is, I might be released tonight if all goes well with his circumcision. I think I just heard the men moan just now. LOL!

I’ll check in when I can. Thanks for coming over here and for all the sweet, sweet comments. I have more great pix of the kids seeing Jack for the first time. I’ll upload them in the next few days.

Hugs to all!!!

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The Last One as Four January 9, 2009

Well, this is it. Every time we are about to have a baby I go through these “last” thoughts. This is our last weekend as a family of four. In fact, this is our last Friday as a family of four. Next Friday I will be discharged (God willing) and we will be on our way as a family of five.

Enjoy your weekend. We plan to do a whole bunch of nothing, truly. I need to rest as much as I can.

You’ll get one last post from me on Monday and then I may not be back on for a few days. Melanie will post on Tuesday when she can to give you all the glorious details about the baby so check in for that fun day of awesomeness.

I will try for internet access from my laptop at the hospital. If I can manage to make it happen, I will post pictures.

Thanks for visiting Candid Chatter. Thank you for the thoughts and prayers. Thank you for being my internet buddies. Thank you for everything.

See you soon!

 

The C-section Experience January 6, 2009

I know some women who are afraid of this particular birthing method. I don’t understand why, but I’m sure they have their reasons. Maybe because it is major surgery? Maybe because of the spinal block? Maybe ORs are scary places? Maybe it’s all the lights and sterile atmosphere? Maybe it’s the big blue sheet all up in their faces? Maybe it’s the fear of having their arms strapped down crucifixion style? Maybe it’s all the tubes and machines and monitors and team of “incase something goes wrong here” nurses from the NICU? Maybe it’s the “we might have to put you all the way under if an emergency arises”? Maybe because of all the waivers that need signed?

I don’t know. Whatever it is, I’d like to explain the c-section experience from my perspective. I’ve had two of them. Both were planned. Both were exactly the same, yet different (I’ll explain so read on). Both were fine. Neither had complications. I healed quicker than a lot of women I know who had vaginal deliveries. Granted, I am a quick healer, but there was nothing to fear as far as the healing process goes.

Since one week from today I will have another c-section, I thought I’d lay it all out. If you are easily grossed out by surgical and/or medical procedures then stop reading here and come back tomorrow for a less graphic post.

This post will be a long one. I am mainly writing this for women who are facing a c-section birth — some of which are scared to death.

Brianna’s birth – 9/1/04 – Columbus, Ohio

Since this was my first experience with c-section I didn’t exactly know what to expect. I had watched my fair share of Birth Day on TV and they showed their fair share of c-sections. I was mentally and emotionally prepared for it and had a rough idea of what would happen. I had several surgical procedures before my first c-section so I had no fear. None.

Upon arrival, I was escorted to a bed and told to take all of my clothes off and put on a hospital gown leaving the back open. My clothes and shoes went into a plastic bag. My husband was given scrubs to put on over his clothes and shoes as well as a hair cover. They inserted one IV tube for fluids and one for anesthesia to use, which was later used for nurses to inject pain meds. Then they gave me a catheter. My stomach was strapped to two monitors. One was to keep tabs on the baby’s heart, the other was to keep tabs on my uterus (just like a non-stress test). They gave me some icky junk to drink which was to empty my stomach into my intestines. It’s sour and yuck, but I’d rather down that than puke after the surgery. I stayed like that for about an hour.

Nurses asked me a ton of questions (which they kept repeating) and I had to sign some papers. My OB came to check on me a few times. I spoke with the anesthesia folks, the NICU folks, and some random scrubby wearing folks. It was funny sometimes and serious other times. During my wait for an OR (busy hospital in a big town) two girls had emergency c-sections. They obviously took priority so my wait was a bit longer than usual.

Once in the OR I had to get my spinal. That was interesting. I leaned over into a nurse (like she was hugging me) in the worst possible posture I could manage trying to push my spine out like a cat. The feeling of the needle being inserted in my epidural space hurt a little — about a 3 on a scale of 1-10 — but I am told I have a moderately high threshold for pain. Immediately it felt like little cold slivery needles were shooting through my legs (this feeling is very unpleasant to me). The nurse caught me and leaned me into the anesthestist and they laid my on my back. I could feel nothing from my chest down. They strapped my arms to the table, pulled the sheet up so I couldn’t see anything below my chest, and started asking me if I could feel this or that and telling me to move my legs, which I could not do no matter how hard I tried. If I remember right, one of my legs slipped off the bed and I had no clue until, along with giggles, the nurse told me.

My OB and the intern assisting walked in, greeted me, and began scrubbing up. My OB walked around the table to tell me a few last minute details and about then I started to feel nauseous. I told her and she looked at the anesthetist who cranked something into my veins and from that point on I nicknamed him “Dr. Feel Good”. I felt amazing. Whatever that drug was, I still want more. LOL!

Rich came in right before they opened me up. I felt nothing. Since my OB was being assisted by an intern she explained in detail each part of the surgery. I was in awe. I love that junk anyway. I heard her say “her head is too big, we’ll have to make the incision bigger”. I heard “her head is out” and Rich jumped up and started snapping pictures. Brianna’s head popped right out when my doctor reached inside my womb. She eased her body out and I only felt slight pressure and a few jerking motions. I heard them suction Bree and the gagging and choking my newborn girl was doing. I didn’t like those sounds, but I knew how necessary it was for her in order not to swallow amniotic fluid as she tried to take her first breath.

My OB brought my naked and screaming newborn around the table to show me. She was gooey, slimy, bloody, and mucousy and it was the most beautiful sight I had ever laid my eyes on. And she was screaming. I know I said that, but our little Brianna hasn’t stopped screaming since that moment. Well, almost. She’s a vocal little thing.

Rich went to be with the nurses who were working with little Bree and I heard my OB explain what they were doing to close me up. I heard the staples going in and I told everyone in the room how much I loved each and every single one of them — esp Dr. Feel Good. It was truly amazing.

I was in recovery for a little over an hour. Once I could dig my heels into the bed and lift my bottom and legs off the mattress they allowed me to go to my room.

Jeremy’s Birth – 3/27/06 – Stuart, Florida

I had been having what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions all morning. I left my 18 month old daughter with a sitter and headed to my doc’s office for a regular OB appt and non-stress test. I told the sitter and my little girl before I left that I’d see them in 2 hours. That was the last time I saw my daughter until the next day.

The nurse monitoring my non-stress test couldn’t have been more shocked when she came into the room 20 minutes after starting the test. “You’re having contractions. Don’t you feel those? I have to go show this to your doctor. You will probably have that baby today. I’ll be right back.” She ripped off the strip of paper showing my contractions and left the room. I was in a state of disbelief which lasted until I got to the hospital.

All the same procedures were performed as when I had Brianna. The situation was a little different, but it was no emergency and I had time to chit-chat with the nursing staff while they got me ready. Even though the c-section for Jeremy was planned, it wasn’t supposed to happen until April 5th. He was born March 27th. He had his own idea of when he wanted to be born.

There was a difference as far as the delivery experience for me. Jeremy must have been a stinker to get out. I felt so much pressure this time around and it scared me a couple of times. No pain. Pressure. They pulled, jerked, pulled, pushed, jerked, pushed more, pulled more and it literally felt like someone was sitting on my chest bouncing up and down until my lungs collapsed (my lungs did not collapse, but it felt like they did because I felt like I could not breathe). At one point I told Rich to “get that nurse off of me”. He looked at me like I was a crazy loon and the anesthesist told me nobody was on my chest. I hated his delivery. I felt like I was being torn apart from my chest to my pelvis. Again, I felt no pain, but the pressure was overwhelming. Once he was out complete peace filled the room and I was fine.

Jeremy choked and gagged on the suction too. But his cry was so much quieter than Brianna’s screams. To this day, he is a much quieter child than she is. Anyway, I got to hold and kiss him for about 30 seconds and then off he went to the nursery with Rich following close behind.

I heard them staple me up and I complimented everyone. Into recovery I went and stayed again for about an hour. They brought Jeremy to me after his bath and he began right away to eat eagerly. After he ate, we went to my hospital room and there we stayed until Thursday morning.

The truth about cesarean

  • The sooner you start walking the faster you will begin to heal. This is not a myth. Walk and walk as much as you can.
  • It hurts to laugh and to cough, but if you hold a pillow to your incision area before you do either it eases the pain considerably.
  • Catheters are great for the first few hours and then they become a real bother.
  • IVs suck after about 5 hours when you start to want to rip them out yourself.
  • Take pain meds. Just take them. You’re welcome.
  • If you don’t poop you don’t eat solid food and you won’t be discharged. Ask for stool softeners and laxatives. Your nurse will probably offer them to you, but if not ASK.
  • You will bleed from your hee-haw like you’ve been shot. Be prepared.
  • Staples look bad. Don’t look if you can help it. It’s like Frankenstein.
  • Staples sometimes hurt when removed and sometimes not. I think it all depends on who stapled you and how gentle the nurse is who removes them. Both times (2 diff hospitals in 2 diff states) my staples were removed right before I was discharged.
  • You will be in the hospital a minimum of 3 days.
  • Once home try to take it easy. However, the day I was discharged my daughter fell off of my platform king sized bed and I jumped off the bed, scooped her up, and ran to her bedroom. My husband ran after me, made me sit down, and I held her until she stopped crying. Guess what? Nothing happened and I was fine (she was too by the way).
  • By the end of week one I was walking and functioning and feeling almost like myself. By week two I was dying to start exercising. I didn’t do that, but I felt like I could have. By week four I felt totally normal and the bleeding was pretty much gone. By week eight I was normal and couldn’t believe they made me wait that long to heal. I felt fine by week 4.

The benefits of cesarean

  • No sore hee-haw
  • No torn hee-haw
  • No stretched hee-haw
  • No bladder control issues
  • No troubles down below whatsoever
  • Your hee-haw stays the same as it was before you got pregnant

Cesarean cons

  • Long hospital stay
  • Bye bye flat stomach no matter how tiny you get post-partum (I wore a size 4 about 10 months after having Jeremy and still no flat stomach)
  • Itchy abdomen as the incision heals
  • More complications can happen — hopefully they won’t happen
  • It’s major surgery
  • You are physically limited for 2 weeks, at least

One more week and I’ll have my third, which I’m sure will have a story all its own. And you know I’ll post about it.

If you’re facing a c-section, be not afraid. It’s not as bad as you might think and it’s definitely better, in my not so humble opinion, than trying to squeeze an 8 pound baby out of a quarter sized hole. You’ll be fine. You will.

 

The Unanniversary – Part One December 11, 2008

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 6:11 am
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This post will undoubtedly take on a life of its own. I have wanted, yet not wanted, to write it. Since November turned into December it has been lingering in my mind.

The unanniversary. The unbirthday. The one year mark of a tragedy within my heart.

In August of 2007, I was embarking on a mission. I was preparing our lives to adopt a Chinese baby girl. I had contacted several adoption agencies and whittled it down to three. I called my first choice and was told almost immediately that they would not take our case. Disappointed, but not shaken, I called our second choice. I was given encouraging news. We decided in April of 2008 we would start the process officially, but I was already getting “all my ducks in a row”. People were praying for us and I was seeking out those who had experienced the adoption miracle themselves. We were rolling.

A few weeks later my husband sat me down to tell me that he was not interested in adopting. I don’t remember the exact way he said it, but I do remember feeling like someone had just jerked a rug out from underneath me. What? What did you just say? You’ve been on board with this for 3+ years and you decide to tell me now that you aren’t interested? Not only that, he told me he was perfectly content with the two children we already have and didn’t want three.

Divorce crossed my mind. I won’t lie. It crossed my mind. I decided we were going to need Christian marriage counseling. I was not accepting this. We agreed on three children before we were married. Why the hell did you marry me then? You know I come from a big family. You know I want four children. You know that I compromised and agreed to three because you only wanted two and were willing to compromise and have three. What the hell just happened here and I’m not taking this lying down Mister Reed. We needed help.

In September we heard news that my ailing Grandmother was getting worse. We made the final decision to fly to Arizona at the end of October to see her one last time. She had never met our kids and we were excited to have the opportunity to introduce them to her. It was a somber trip, but worth every minute that we got to spend with our family.

Shortly after we returned life got back into full swing and we were so busy. Rich was preparing to go on a business trip. I was getting ready for the holidays. The kids were just their normal little selves.

Rich left for his trip. I did my thing with our kids. Then one day while driving in the car with both kids I didn’t feel right. I felt sick to my stomach and strangely aware of every smell around me which was making me even sicker. Uh oh. I was familiar with this feeling, but it had been awhile.

Nervously I pulled into the drug store parking lot feeling like a fool for even thinking this and dashed inside with both kids to buy a pregnancy test. Once done I rushed home to check the calendar.

Really? Really. I was late for my cycle. But since August my cycles had been wacko and way off schedule and twice I thought I was pregnant when I was actually only a week late. Maybe this was the same thing. Afterall, I was busy and stressed out and concerned for my marriage and my grandma and other things.

Rich was due to come home on Saturday. I took the test Friday morning. Brianna was with me. She had come into my room early in the morning and I told her Mommy has to go pee on a stick did she want to come too? She said she did and off we went. I was shaking. I was so nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I thought if it’s negative I’ll just bury it in the trashcan and move on. If it’s positive I’ll be so happy, but Rich will be so ???. What? What would he be? Mad? Upset? Would he think I tricked him? Would he feel the same for this child as he does for the ones we planned? What would happen?

All this ran through my mind as I waited the 3 minutes to check the results.

Positive.

I was so excited. I hugged Brianna and we went to my bed and cuddled. I started planning what I was going to say to Rich the next day. I joked with God that He must like me better than Rich because He answered my prayers for another baby. I didn’t expect it would be a natural birth, but I was happy He decided it for me. Thank you Lord. Thank you. I didn’t have to fight so much for this baby afterall — it was in Your plan all along.

Rich came home. I waited until the kids were in bed for the night and then I told him the news. He felt badly that I was afraid to tell him. He assured me everything was well with him and he would love this child as much as the other two.

A few days later my grandmother died. That was the middle of November. I was happy we had the chance to tell her the news about our baby on the way before she passed. November was a hard month. I would have bouts of depression over my grandmother’s death. I knew it was better for her to have gone on, but it sure was hard when all of the memories came flooding in. I would sometimes just sit and cry for awhile.

Thanksgiving was fun. We met Rich’s family for breakfast at a nice local restaurant near the ocean. We had a great time and our nieces were so excited about the new baby that they were already asking me what names I liked. I remember telling them “if it’s a boy he’ll be Nathan and if it’s a girl she’ll be Julia”. I had already scheduled an ultrasound and was looking forward to it.

December promised to be busy. I was hosting our family’s Christmas dinner again. I started decorating right after Thanksgiving. Actually, I might have started before Thanksgiving. I can’t remember. I just know I was excited and couldn’t wait to start making the house glow with lights. The kids were enchanted. It was a magical time. Rich and I had burried our hatchet weeks before and life just felt like a fairytale to me. I had everything I wanted. Everything.

I went to my ultrasound and saw the baby’s heartbeat. Despite the brownish spotting I was experiencing, everything looked good I was told. My doctor called later that day to tell me that there was a pocket of fluid behind the yolk sac, but even though I’m not out of the woods yet most of the time these things resolve all by themselves. I saw the heartbeat so I was not concerned. A couple days later the spotting stopped and I felt fine.

December 10th I was up on a ladder putting up Christmas tree branches when I felt a little trickle. Hmmm. I went to the bathroom to check and was surprised to see pink. Not much. But definitely pink, not brown. I called the doctor.

December 11th I went in for another ultrasound. Pink can be something or it can be nothing. Red is the one that causes immediate worry. Just a routine ultrasound and we’ll send you on your way. Don’t worry they tell me. Just a routine ultrasound to see what’s going on with the yolk sac and that pocket behind it.

I was as jolly as I could be as I climbed up onto the table, laid down, and exposed my abdomen. The sonographer started with an external scan. I saw the baby. It looked so much bigger and its tummy was all round and bloated looking. Adorable. Sweet little thing I see you.

Wait. Something isn’t right.

Where is the heartbeat? Where is the fetal movement? Oh no. Oh no no no no.

“Honey, we need to go ahead and do an internal scan. Please go undress in the restroom from the waist down.”

Ok – maybe it’s too soon to do an external scan. Maybe. Hope. Fear. Hope. Cold sweat. Push away negative thoughts. Get on with it.

I was less jolly hopping up on the table this time. I put my feet in the stirrups, scooted my bottom to the edge, and waited for her to insert the probe.

Nothing. No heartbeat. No fetal movement. Cold.

Bless her heart she kept trying. She even pushed on my stomach to try to arouse the baby. I knew it was dead. I had seen my fair share of ultrasounds and I knew it. I wished she would just stop. Just stop. It’s gone. Let me leave.

She excused herself from the room while I got dressed. She told me she needed to talk to the doctor. I knew what she needed to do. I got dressed and sat down in the chair next to the table and just stared at the monitor. It was black now, but moments before that it held the final picture of my unborn child. The motionless, peaceful looking sweet tiny baby who I prayed for.

What is happening? Why?

I prayed for that baby! I prayed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You answered my prayer. Why did you take it from me? WHY???!! I would have taken him or her no matter what — whole, not whole, normal, not normal. Just give it back! Not fair. You are killing me. You are hurting me. Why would You do this? God, where are You now? Where???!!!!

She came back in, told me to drive to the other office and see my doctor, she expressed her sorrow for me, and I walked out of there on numb legs. As I passed through the waiting room I saw a pregnant mom followed by her 3 small children. I smiled at them and gulped the rock mountain that had grown in my throat.

I couldn’t get in my van fast enough. I whipped out my phone, called my husband, and as soon as he said hello I dissolved. I fought back the desire to throw fire at him over the phone. THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT YOU DIDN’T WANT THIS BABY ANYWAY ARE YOU HAPPY NOW YOU ASSHOLE. I didn’t say that to him though. I felt it. I didn’t say it. I just cried and heard him tell me he was sorry and that he loved me and what do I want him to do. Call your family and tell them. I am making exactly one more phone call and then I’m not talking about it any more. I’ll see you when I get home from seeing the doctor.

I called my dad. My parents have lost 4 babies via miscarriage. I cried my heart out. He was so tender and loving and he understood like nobody else what I was feeling. He told me he would relay the news to the rest of my family and that he loves me. That day my Dad was my hero. I will never ever ever forget that phone call. Ever. He rescued me in that 5 minute conversation.

I saw the doctor. She told me to be at the hospital the next day so she could perform the D&C. Everything else was a blur. I called my best friend later that night. She has also experienced miscarriage loss. I didn’t have to say a word. She heard me crying when she answered her phone and said “oh my god, Heidi, when?”. She. Just. Knew.

December 12, 2008 was the day of the D&C procedure. That day my unborn, unmoving child was removed from my body. Gone. Empty. Rest in peace.

God please kiss him or her for me. Please tell that baby how much I already loved it. How much I wanted it. Please don’t ever let it forget me until I have the chance to hold it myself on Your side of heaven. Please God. It’s the least You could do.

I lost my grandmother November 13, 2007 and then I lost my baby December 11, 2007. I like to imagine the first person my baby got to see when he or she crossed over was my grandma. I like to imagine she held my baby and told him or her how she’d care for it until I could come myself. It’s probably a fantasy, but it’s how I like to play it out in my mind. It comforts me.

I don’t remember much about last Christmas. I know it was painful. I know I just wanted to get through it. I went ahead with our party plans, but I don’t really remember much about it. I was going through the motions for my children’s sake.

Depression soon followed. Bitterness in my heart towards my husband nagged at me. Anger. Hurt. Frustration. I kept in touch with my doctor. I started to research antidepressants. I was suffering.

I decided to memorialize my baby by getting a tattoo. On February 1, 2008 I did exactly that. You can view “All Things Tattoo” in the blue bar at the top of this page.

Part Two tomorrow.

 

I Don’t Know if I’ll Ever Understand This August 5, 2008

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 8:02 am
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Controversy ahead — you have been warned!!

I belonged to a message board about 4 1/2 years ago with women who were all pregnant with their first child. There are a couple of them who visit my site here. I quit being a ‘member’ shortly after Brianna was born. I was struggling as a new mother with many things that made me less than excited to be a new mom. It seemed nobody understood. With the exception of 4 of those women, I also believed nobody in that whole group cared. One day I decided I would leave the group. It was complicated, but it ended up being the best decision for me.

One of the debates or issues that regularly came up while we were all still pregnant was giving birth without pain meds vs. having something (pills, epidural, or whatever). Even though I knew from a few months into the pregnancy I would be having a c-section, I still chimed in on the subject. Four pregnancies later, I still do not understand any woman’s desire to give birth without some sort of pain relief. Back when I was pregnant the first time, it was not only that I didn’t understand it — I also thought those women were freakin’ crazy. Nuts! I still feel that way to some degree, but mostly I just don’t get it.

I have 2 very close friends who have given birth without pain meds. My sister did too, with her first. I’m not sure what she did with the third, but with the 2nd she got an epidural. Anyway, my friends are both so proud of their “accomplishments”. Really.

I don’t look at it as an accomplishment. I look at it as old-fashioned and so before our time. This is why. I would never go to the ER with an injury and tell them to just stitch me up without numbing me first. The doctors probably wouldn’t listen to me, first of all, and if they did I don’t think I’d go around bragging about my “accomplishment”.

To me, having a baby without the assistance of modern medicine is silly. Maybe there is a circle of women who believe this is some sort of gold medal event. I think it’s borderline insanity. If I’m completely honest (running the risk of offending people I care about here), it has the opposite effect on me. When a woman tells me she gave birth without pain meds (that she clearly could have received) it takes her down a notch in my judgmental intelligence rating. I think she’s either brainwashed by some cult that tells women it’s more noble to give birth that way or that she’s just not that bright. Now that I’ve said that I need to interject here that both of my friends who have done this, as well as my sister, are all very bright young women. I know them and knew one friend and, of course, my sister before they had their children. The other I knew was smart b/c she has a Master’s Degree in education. No dummy there. I know her better now and she’s darn smart.

But why is this birthing method so praised by some women to the point that they start to hang their identities on it? She-women or something. Bionic. Full of super powers. Do they think it makes them more of a woman or some sort of female hero? I don’t know.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand this way of thinking. What got me on this subject is watching Birth Stories on Discovery Health again with my ever so curious daughter. A woman not only wanted to give birth without pain meds, but also in a birthing center rather than a hospital.

Don’t. Get. Me. Started.

If you think I’m harsh about the subject of no pain meds, give me the other subject that is usually intertwined of no doctors or hospital staff and I will really begin to soapbox.

Why? What’s the point? What are you trying to prove? And, seriously, do you think you deserve a medal or award for doing something most of us think is absurd?

So enlighten me. I have given my honest perception of this practice. What’s yours?