Blog Posts by Erin Zammett Ruddy

  • What It's like to Have Kids After Cancer

    How lucky am I? Today I restart my cancer treatment after being off of it for over nine months. I've had chronic myelogenous leukemia (a slow-moving form of blood cancer) for 12 years and though the disease has been in a deep remission for 10 of those years, I still take meds every day. I am extremely lucky that those meds come in pill form and have almost no side effects for me. Gleevec, a targeted therapy considered a miracle drug for CML patients, was approved by the FDA just six months before I was diagnosed (it brought the CML survival rate from 50 percent to 95 percent — a miracle, indeed). But Gleevec is not a cure, which means I have to stay on it indefinitely. It also means I had to stop treatment and risk my life in order to have children (the drug is not pregnancy safe). I know some of you will think this next part is crazy, but…I did that three times.

    On November 16, I gave birth to my third post-cancer child. When I was diagnosed — at 23 — I didn't know if I'd live five years let alone if

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  • The Controversial School Lunch Policy I Fully Support

    Seems like a no-brainer to meI just signed my 1st grader up for a school lunch account (he's been begging for pizza Fridays and with a newborn in the house I could use one less lunch to make each week). When I called the school to set it up, they informed me that he would only be allowed to use the account for lunch (which is relatively healthy thanks to federal guidelines) not snacks or juice — for those he'd need to bring in cash. The cafeteria sells chips, ice cream, cookies and all sorts of crap snacks, so I love that my son won't be able to treat himself whenever he feels the urge (he's six so something tells me he'd feel the urge for ice cream a lot). I told the woman that was a great rule and she said, "Well, a lot of parents hate it." Apparently, there's been some pushback to get it changed. I'll admit I was kind of shocked. This is a K-2school we're talking about, not high school.

    What my kids eat is really important to me. We try to feed them healthful, mostly organic, real food (as opposed to food Read More »from The Controversial School Lunch Policy I Fully Support
  • The Best Gift You Can Give Someone Who Just Had a Baby

    Yum!I gave birth to my third child two weeks ago and the day we got home from the hospital a friend asked if she could swing by quickly to drop something off. It wasn't a cute outfit or flowers or Goodnight Moon (all great presents, by the way), it was a giant vat of chili with all the fixings, including homemade cornbread and instructions on how to heat and serve. Dinner! This friend happens to be a classically trained chef (one of the many reasons I adore her) and she had told me ahead of time that she'd be making me something. But chili was absolutely perfect, so I had to write about it here — and share her recipe and tips.

    The chili itself was flavorful and fantastic but what made it over-the-top — and extra new-baby-in-the-house friendly: all the delicious toppings my friend had chopped and packed in separate Ziplock bags. Cilantro, scallions, cheddar cheese, lime wedges — plus an avocado, a container of sour cream and a bag of tortilla chips she recommended crumbling on top. All we

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  • What I'm Most Thankful for as a Mom (The Not-So-PC Version)

    Cheers! I have more than my share of amazing things to be thankful for this year. I just gave birth to my third child — a healthy baby girl — 10 days ago. I was off my cancer meds (I've had chronic leukemia for 12 years and had to stop treatment while pregnant) and the disease stayed in a deep remission the whole nine months. My older two kids have adjusted seamlessly, they're behaving like angels (I kind of don't recognize them) and we are basically in post-birth bliss over here. Trust me, I could definitely get sappy and sentimental this holiday. I am sappy and sentimental. But that's not what this post is about. This is about the other stuff that makes life as a parent worth living, or at least easier to live. The treats and tricks and corner cutting that I've come to rely on as a mom. The stuff I secretly celebrate on a daily basis. When my family goes around the table on Thursday to share what we're thankful for, I won't be mentioning this list but it doesn't mean I'm not deeply Read More »from What I'm Most Thankful for as a Mom (The Not-So-PC Version)
  • 10 Super-Selfish Reasons for Wanting to Induce Labor

    This is me, walking through the mall last night trying to bring on labor. No such luck. Last week I posted 10 reasons I'm not ready for my pregnancy to end. Be careful what you wish for! I'm now four days past my due date with no signs of labor starting any time soon. I could get induced but that's not my style and the baby is still very happy and healthy where she is. I know a lot people would have opted to be induced the second their doctor offered. Trust me, I get it. But I don't really believe in inducing labor for non-medical reasons. For me. I want to have a drug-free/intervention-free delivery and if I'm induced, those things will be less likely. And I don't want to spend a whole lot of time in the hospital, which is where I'd need to stay under those circumstances.

    Mostly it's because I want the baby to come when she's ready — and when my body is ready — so that labor/delivery/recovery are as smooth as can be. I'm not going to evict her unless I have to. That said, I'm getting kind of tired of waiting. For the longest time I didn't feel like I was ready for her —

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  • Are Postpartum Hospital Visits an Intrusion?

    She looks ready to hold court. Were you? Some moms love a constant parade of well-wishers and ooher and ahhers coming through their rooms; others prefer to keep that time more private and intimate. Having given birth twice, I can say that I definitely lean more toward the latter. Close family and close friends are plenty for me. And if my close friends would rather wait to see me when I get home, I'm cool with that, too (I tell them this ahead of time because I don't want anyone to feel obliged to come see me, which I think is often the case). I have vaginal births so I'm only in the hospital for two days, max (with my second it was 25 hours). And most of that time is spent resting, recovering, bonding with the baby, bonding with my husband about the baby, processing the fact that a human just came out of me, feeding the baby, feeding myself, showering, going to the bathroom, etc. All things that, if you ask me, I'd rather do without an audience.

    I'm about to give birth to my third (my due date is tomorrow — yipes!), so I've

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  • 11 (Somewhat Ridiculous) Reasons I Don't Want My Pregnancy to End

    One of many pregnant ice cream runs with my kids...I'm due to have my third baby in less than a week. There are plenty of reasons I'm ready to be done — and lots on the non-gestational horizon that I'm genuinely giddy about: drinking alcohol, sleeping on my stomach, getting my body back, meeting the baby. But I am not one of those women who gets to the end of a pregnancy and thinks, get this baby out of me! I'm lucky that I have easy pregnancies. I'm not uncomfortable (being 5'10" helps with that). And: Knowing this is my last time doing it (we are definitely done after number three) has me clinging to the final days. The past nine months have flown by, which is a great thing, don't get me wrong, but I feel like I haven't savored the good stuff enough. And I'm just not ready to say goodbye to my pregnant self. Here's why:

    1. Being 30 pounds overweight and having people tell me I look great does not get old. As soon as I give birth, I'm on the clock for getting back in shape (my clock, which is certainly not a Kardashian clock, but I do

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  • Is it Wrong to Wear Makeup in Your Post-Birth Photo?

    Made up or stripped down--what's your delivery room deal? I've seen some seriously glammed up "I just had my baby!" shots popping up in my Facebook feed and around the web recently. You know, where the baby is literally just out of the womb but the mom looks like she's heading out for the night…in Vegas. I'm not judging, but as someone who's about to give birth, I'm curious how everyone feels about this seemingly new phenomenon….

    I'm not talking about celebrities. Frankly, I don't consider them real anyway, so what they do and how they present themselves postpartum doesn't really affect me (though I was happy to see that Kate Middleton still looked a little pregnant in her post royal-birth reveal). Plus, so many of them don't share photos right after giving birth anyway, and once they do, it's an airbrushed staged thing in People or Us Weekly and their trainers have already had their way with them. Not real. I'm talking about women like you and me and how they share their post-birth selves on social media—and whether their decisions affect

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  • My Most Embarrassing Mom Trait

    .We all think we're going to be a certain type of mother and then we have kids and reality hits hard and our ideal versions of ourselves go out the window. In my case, they went out of the window of my very messy car.

    Embarrassing confession: More often than not, my car looks like a cross between a school's lost and found, a recycling bin and the land of misfit toys…with crumbs sprinkled on top. My kids and I affectionately refer to it as "the junk bus." (My husband, a neat-car freak, does not think this is funny.) I mean the car itself is nice enough—a spacious 2008 SUV—but the inside is, well…. Before I wrote this post, I took inventory of what was floating around in there: Alex's baseball glove, a soccer ball, dirty socks (his and hers), a few dollar bills, a few school projects, half-opened junk mail, a pumpkin, a baby doll, one of those Hallmark stuffed, singing snowmen things that my three-year-old daughter found in our garage (I love Christmas so hearing her lispy rendition of

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  • Baby Names I Love (and Why I Can't Use Them)

    Naming a baby is hard work. We are struggling--struggling--to come up with a name for our baby girl who will be here in roughly two weeks. By this point with our first two we had narrowed it down to two names to bring to the hospital (Alexander or Christopher for Alex; Nora or Charlotte for Nora). But naming a third is exceptionally hard, especially if you already have one of the same sex. Chances are you've used your favorite name. Plus, you have to name your third something that works with your first two ("at the very least so it looks good on the Christmas card," a mom friend of three, who's been helping with ideas, joked). I wouldn't want to have an Alex, a Nora and a Buttercup, for example. Which is a shame because Buttercup Ruddy has a nice ring...

    Other than actually giving birth, coming up with a name is the most exhausting/excrutiating part of having a baby for me. Especially this time. I just feel like it's a big responsibility and one I don't want to screw up. Especially since I had those second

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