Category Archives: Pregnancy

Mission: COMPLETED

About three and a half weeks ago, my family, my life, and truly my whole self was completed.  On October 10th at 4:26 PM, I gave birth to my son, Myles.  The labor and delivery, of course, did not go according to my “plans”. I was induced early and fairly suddenly, rushing to the hospital the previous night in more than a little of a panic.  Upon checking in, I was treated to the most beautiful sound a mother can hear… the sound of a strong and healthy heartbeat.  My son was fine, but I had to be induced 11 days early due to low fluid.  Needless to say, sitting in a hospital room all night, hooked up to every monitor they could think to torture me with, and watching Breaking Bad on my iPad was not the beautiful and natural labor I had imagined. (Sidenote: Breaking Bad: Holy shitballs, right?!) But, the next day I was blessed with the most beautiful baby boy I have ever seen. He was small, but perfectly healthy, and all mine.

Since then, life has been a whirlwind, as you can imagine. Waking up every two hours (which really means a single hour of sleep in between the feeding, diapering, burping and rocking) throughout the night, and dealing with a slightly jealous and totally “two” two-year-old during the day. And so, I haven’t been blogging, as you may have noticed. Or maybe I flatter myself too much and you actually have not noticed, nor do you really care…which is probably closer to the truth, but I will choose to ignore that simple truth the same way that I choose to ignore the fact that Toms shoes are actually butt ugly, and keep wearing them anyway.

It is not that I haven’t had time to blog, because I could find the time. I always did before, although admittedly, it is a bit harder now. It is not that I don’t have anything to say. I actually have so much to say… too much. Every day I write a few blog posts in my head. The truth is that I haven’t been writing because I am terrified of what I might say. Everything is too real right now. Too raw. Too close to the surface. Every emotion. Every fear. Every joy. Every beauty. Is all… right. there. I feel like a wound that has just barely closed over and might suddenly break open at any minute. I am deliriously happy, deliriously tired, and deliriously frustrated. All of it. And I am scared that in this state I might write something that I don’t mean, or that I mean right at that moment, but don’t mean the next day, or the next 5 minutes.

But I guess that is why I started this blog, right? To be real and honest and true. And maybe even to say things that I regret later. Because that is motherhood.  And as hard as it is to say some of these real and honest and true things, I need to say them for me, and for anyone else who feels them too and, like me, is scared to say them. So stay tuned, because I have a lot to say, and I promise to say it. At least, most of it.

For now, I will say this about my new status as “Mother of Two”-  I remember a few years ago, asking my friend who had just had her second daughter, if it felt different to be a mom of two. And she said, “It feels like my family is complete.” At the time, it was hard for me to understand this. I only had my daughter then, and even though I knew we wanted one more, I felt complete with just her. But I have to say, when I gave birth to my son, and I gazed down at him for the first time, something in me shifted.  Everything clicked into place. I looked into his eyes and thought, “Oh. There you are. I’ve been waiting for you my whole life and I didn’t even know it.”

And that, my friends, is the real and honest truth.

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Women Make Plans…

Babies... they sure are cute, but they don't listen very well!
Babies… they sure are cute, but they don’t listen very well!

“Women make plans and God laughs.” That is the phrase that I jokingly uttered to my doctor last week as we were discussing my birth “plan.”  It became yet another shining example of why I should learn to keep my big fat mouth shut. Because, now, someone is laughing. And it sure as hell isn’t me.

I know that when it comes to pregnancy, as well as most things in life, the only thing you can absolutely plan on is that nothing will ever go as planned. I really, really DO know this. But, despite this knowledge, and against my better judgement, I had a plan for how this birth was going to happen. My parents were going to fly in from Colorado on the 19th, and I was definitely going to go into labor on the 20th. (My actual due date.) They would be here to take care of my toddler while I rushed to hospital – and it’s a good thing that they would be here, because this labor was going to go fast! That’s the way it’s supposed to happen with baby #2, right? That’s what various moms, doctors and articles all claimed. A fast and (relatively) easy and (somewhat) painless birth. This promise of an easy labor was the one thing that I clung to throughout this pregnancy. It was the one thing that got me through when everything else was so much harder the second time around. I should have gotten a money back guarantee on that one.

Ok, so where was I? Ah yes, my “plan”. So after this miraculous and joyous labor, my perfect, healthy, handsome and not-at-all-coneheaded boy would emerge into the world. My husband would hold him up above his head and all the nurses would hum “Circle of Life.” I would stay at the hospital for a couple of days, and my parents would bring my daughter to come meet her new baby brother. We would do everything just as friends, blogs and books recommend to ease the introduction between the new siblings, and my daughter would be delighted to meet her new best friend. She would hug me hard and kiss him very gently, and declare that she loves her new brother more than anything! And we would capture it all in photos and videos, and in these captured moments I would look as fresh and beautiful as Duchess Kate. And we would all live happily ever after. Are you laughing yet? Because, like I said, someone is. And it still aint me.

On Monday I went to get an ultrasound because the baby was measuring a bit small. Ironic isn’t it? I spent the first half of pregnancy complaining that I was too big and now I am concerned that I am too small. The baby is fine, thank God. Actually, he is more than fine. He seems to be having the time of his (short) life in there.

As the doctor was looking at the ultrasound, she says, “So the first interesting thing I see is that the baby is breech (head up instead of down).”  And my reaction?  “Wait, what? I’m sorry. I thought you said he was breech! Heh-heh. That is hilarious because on Thursday his head and all other body parts were exactly where they were supposed to be and I am 37 weeks along and dangerously close to giving birth and babies don’t just up and move like that, do they?”  Apparently they do. I guess kids don’t follow our plans, even when they are 0 years old.

After listening to the ultrasound doctor crush my dreams of an “easy” and “beautiful” labor with her doom and gloom predictions of a necessary C-section, and after an embarrassing explosion of tears in the elevator, complete with requisite strangers totally staring and yet somehow awkwardly avoiding eye-contact, I sat in my car in shock for a full 10 minutes. And cried. Then, realizing that this was costing me $1000 per minute in doctor’s office parking fees, I started my car, stopped crying, and did the only thing that someone like me could do in this situation… began planning.

After talking to my OB, I got a bit more hopeful. She was optimistic (although I am pretty sure that she cursed when she heard that the baby was now breech.) She had a plan. And once I had a list of things to do, I began to feel better.  I went to prenatal chiropractor, who opened my hips to make my pelvis more “inviting”. I stacked up pillows and lay inverted while I watched “Breaking Bad”. I burned incense at my pinky toes for 10 minutes to encourage movement. I talked to my baby and asked him to please turn around. Then I yelled at my baby and demanded he turn around. Then I felt guilty and apologized to my baby for yelling and gently told him that he could do what he thought was right, but I would really appreciate it if he could please, please turn around. But most importantly, I started to get right with the idea that I may have to have a C-section, or I may not. But no matter what, nothing was going to go as planned and maybe, possibly, potentially, that was ok.

And then somehow… it all worked.

He is now head down where he is supposed to be and I am tentatively excited. I don’t know what will happen now. He is small and still moving more than he should be, so there is potential that he could flip again. The doctor thinks she may have to induce next week. Or that I will possibly go into labor naturally any time now (2 weeks early). Or that he might continue to surprise us all, and hang out just a little bit longer. The only thing I know is that I can’t plan on anything anymore. And maybe, possibly, potentially it will all be ok anyway.

Alright, now I’ve gotta run. I have birth announcements and first birthdays and preschool and college and weddings to start planning for.

photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography via photopin cc

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Signs You Have A Toddler

Toddler

You can’t remember what color your floor is under all the Cheerios, goldfish crackers, smushed peas and other various discarded food products.

You have heard the word “NO!” more frequently than any other word in the English language.

You have said the word “NO!” more frequently than any other word in the English language.

You cannot remember the last time you laughed so hard.

You have more conversations about “the potty” than you ever thought possible.

You are ready for bed long before your toddler is.

Your definition of “dirty” has changed dramatically.

You know who Dora, Peppa Pig, Thomas the Train and Yo Gabba Gabba are.

You have miniature toilets and other potty paraphernalia scattered around your house in places you would have deemed disgusting and inappropriate pre-toddler.

You find yourself doing a million of the things that you would have judged someone else for doing pre-toddler.

You find yourself sounding more and more like your mother.

You can’t remember the last time you used the bathroom alone.

If you are a man, you have taken more groan-inducing hits to your junk than an episode of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”

You have been forced to abort your shopping mission and flee to your car due to a total meltdown… by toddler and/or yourself.

You know all the words to “Wheels on the Bus”… not to mention hand-motions.

You spend 50% of the time wondering how you got so lucky, and the other 50% wondering why you are being punished.

You are crazy enough to think about doing it all again…

photo credit: Ben McLeod via photopin cc

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Roller Coasters

Do you like roller coasters? I used to… until I got on one that I can’t get off.

Check out my new posts on my new page, including Roller Coasters.

Have a great weekend!

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My Lovely Lady Lumps

Got Lumps? Me too. Check out my new post!

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Things Never To Say To A Pregnant Woman

My new post.  Check it!  And while you are there, sign up to follow my blog by email, on Facebook or on Twitter. Have a great weekend!

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To Spawn or Not to Spawn

As soon as I hit the ripe old age of 22, there seemed to be only one thing that anyone could talk about.  “So, do you have a boyfriend?” “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” “When are you going to settle down and get a boyfriend?”  “Your dad thinks you’re a lesbian.”

By the time I turned 25, I was so annoyed with all the questions that I finally did get a boyfriend.  Then, after about a year or so, the annoying questions started again.  “Have you thought about marriage?”  “Are you guys going to get married?” “When are you going to get married?”  “You are a sinner, living in sin, you unholy slut!!” (ok, that one’s not actually real, but I felt like people were thinking it so it totally counts.)

So, after 4 years, my boyfriend and I were annoyed enough that we did, in fact, get married.  But then – surprise, surprise – after 5 whole seconds of being married, the questions started again.  “Have you started thinking about a family?” “When are you going to get knocked up?” “Have you started trying?” “You aren’t young anymore, I wouldn’t wait too long.” At 30 years old, me and my dried up old ovaries were doing just fine, thank you.

But finally, to shut up everyone (including my ticking biological clock and my shriveled raisin ovaries) we had a baby.  Phew… safe from annoying questions, right?  Wrong.  After finally slogging through the first amazing, exhausting, awesome, terrible first year, the questions started again.  “Have you started thinking about the second one?” “Ready for baby #2?!”  “You do want to have more than one, right?” “Put down the wine, coffee and sushi because it’s time to get knocked up again.”

Ok, so here’s the thing.  I DO want to have another baby if we can.  I have a brother who is 2 and a half years younger than me, and he is amazing.  He is my best friend, and even though we spent a LOT of time fighting when we were younger, he has always been my best friend.  All of my greatest childhood memories are somehow tied to him.  He was my constant playmate, plaything, teammate, opponent, doll, and confidant.  Yes, there were times that it was me against him, but most of the time it was me and him against the world.  Or at least our parents.  I can’t imagine not having him in my life.  And so I can’t imagine my daughter not having a sibling in her life.

But… I am scared.  I know that I was scared before having my first baby, and that all worked out ok.   And I know that there are fears that I had then that I probably won’t have again, like:  What if I am not a good mother?  What if I don’t like being a mom?   What if she doesn’t love me?  What if I drop her? What if her swaddle blanket comes unwrapped and chokes her to death?  What if I never sleep again?  What if she has red hair?! (ps. that fear was actually realized and her red hair is absolutely beautiful!)

But there are some fears that I don’t think will ever go away:  What if I never lose all the baby weight?  What if I get postpartum depression?  How are we going to afford this?  What if my baby gets SIDS?  What if my baby dies?!

And then there are a brand new set of fears that come with adding a new baby into the mix. First off, there’s the whole pregnancy thing.  Been there.  Done that.  Didn’t like it.  Call me an asshole, but the thought of voluntarily being nauseous,  uncomfortable, fat, tired, swollen, acne-prone, and emotionally unstable just doesn’t appeal to me.  And don’t get me started on the whole no-alcohol, no-caffene thing.  As I mom, those two things (plus a bit ton of chocolate) are sometimes the only things that get me through the day.

And then, after surviving the joys of pregnancy, I actually have the new baby to contend with.  Or course, I worry about how tired I am going to be. The never-ending carousel of newborn baby exhaustion is tough enough, but how can I possibly manage doing that while waking up at 6 am every morning to take care of an energetic toddler.  An energetic toddler who doesn’t understand that mommy was up all night with the new baby and doesn’t have a single brain cell left in her head to remember all the words to “Itsy-Bitsy-Spider”. (Why oh why do they make these children’s songs so hard!?)

Ok, I know that being tired or being afraid of not losing the baby weight is no reason not to have a baby.  If it was, no one would ever have a baby.  EVER.  I can get over being tired.  I can get over stretch marks and saggy boobs and cellulite.  What I am most afraid of has more to do with the inconcrete questions about bringing a second child into my household.  I am worried about what this will do to my daughter. Will she understand? Will she feel resentful or even angry?  Will she feel that we don’t love her as much? How will we have enough time for both of them?

I know that many, many people – including my own parents –  have faced these questions and fears, and many, many people have two-plus happy healthy children in their happy healthy families. I know that having more than one child is normal, if not the norm. BUT I haven’t yet revealed my biggest fear.  It is not only my biggest fear but my deepest, darkest secret.  A secret that I haven’t confessed to anyone yet… not even to myself really.  The true reason that I am afraid to have another baby.  Deep breath, here goes…

I love my daughter, Lyla, so much.  So much that it physically hurts.  I love her in a way that I cannot possibly describe (although if you have children you likely know.)  I love her, not simply because she is my daughter, but because she is Lyla.  I love her in a way that I cannot imagine loving anyone else.  Not even another baby.  I feel pretty positive that there is no way I could ever love anyone as much as I love her.  You see, I was never really a kid person.  But then I had Lyla, and she is so wonderful that she can turn even an angry, drunk, homeless man into a kid person (true story.) I worry that if she wasn’t so sweet, funny, charming and relatively easy, that I wouldn’t love her as much.  And I am terrified that if the second baby is a crier or doesn’t sleep or doesn’t eat or is sick or even if he or she just isn’t Lyla, that I won’t love him or her as much.  And it makes me feel like a horrible person.  And it makes me feel really scared.

I suspect that it is the same as the way that no one can tell you how truly amazing it is to have a child until you have one of your own.  I assume that no one can tell me how I much I will unconditionally love another child, until I find out for myself.  Odds are good that I will love a second baby as much as the first.  But it seems a pretty big gamble, and I have never been a gambling woman.  Hell, I only play the penny slots in Vegas… and there’s a lot more than 100 pennies at stake here.

To spawn or not to spawn… that is the question.

That is question that keeps me awake at night sometimes.

But I guess, it might be time to roll the dice.

 

 

photo credit: Nick Harris1 via photopin cc

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Prepare Yourself (Pt. 2)

Last week I gave you my list of things to BUY  to prepare for your baby:  Mommy Must Haves. This week’s topic is even more important… things you should DO to prepare for your baby. These are the things that no one ever tells you to do.  These are the things that I wish someone had told me to do. These are the things that I am now telling you to do. These are the things that… well, just read ’em.

– Buy an alarm clock. Set it on the loudest, most obnoxious, earth-shattering, sleep-destroying alarm you can find. Now set it to wake you up every hour. When it shocks you out of sleep, wake up and rub your nipples with a rough washcloth for ten minutes on each side. Reset alarm to wake you up in an hour, then go back to sleep. Spend a couple of days/nights doing that. Now throw the alarm clock away and get some sleep while you still can, you idiot!

– Buy a 12 lb. bag of frozen peas (can substitute a 12 lb. water balloon, 12 lb. dead fish or any limp, heavy, hard to carry object). Carry it around with you for an entire day while cooking, cleaning, putting on make-up, napping, checking Facebook and talking on the phone. The next day, do it all while singing and/or humming the entire time.

– Get out your blender. Add the contents of your refrigerator. Start blender on highest setting without the lid, making sure that the mess inside reaches the countertops, cabinets, windows, floors and ceiling. Now dump whatever remains in the blender on the floor. Debate cleaning but instead leave for your husband to clean up.  Wait two weeks.  Still not clean?  Huh?

– Set your oven timer (you know the really loud, annoying one that always scares the shit out of you) for 26 minutes. Then start watching a movie, totally forgetting that the oven timer is on until it goes off and scares the shit out of you. Stop the movie, hop up and pick up your 12 lb. bag of peas. Now do laps around the house for 30 minutes. Gently put the peas down and restart the movie.  Lower the volume so as not to wake the peas. Reset alarm for 26 minutes. Repeat process until you eventually give up hope of ever watching a full movie again.

– Now repeat the above while cooking, showering, talking on the phone and having sex.

– Put on your favorite shirt. Add 1/2 cup whole milk to each shoulder. Go to work. Pray/pretend that no one notices the stains or the smell.

– Take your junk drawer (Oh, stop it. You know you have one.) and bring it into your living room. Now turn it upside down and empty its contents onto the floor. Retrieve one jumbo size box of Cheerios from the kitchen and empty the contents onto the floor as well. Now take off your shoes and pick up our 12 lb bag of peas. Turn out the lights and walk around in the dark for two hours while humming every children’s song you swore you’d never sing. If you step on something and cry out in pain or stumble even slightly (either could wake your almost sleeping peas) start over from the beginning. Do not pass Go.  Do not collect $200.

– Think back to your college days during finals week, when you pulled three all-nighters in a row (1 actually studying, 2 partying.) Remember how tired you were? Now, multiply that by 10,000 because now you actually have shit to do, and let’s face it, you’re not young anymore.

– Think about how much you love your parents. Now multiply that by how much you love your siblings and extended family members… subtract Drunk Uncle Steve. Now, add the laughter you have shared with your best friends over the years plus the sum of the pride you have felt at your own achievements, times 100. Subtract your heartbreaks. Now, multiply by the love you feel for your husband, wife, boyfriend, and/or partner. And add the cuteness of a basket of baby kitties… squared. Got it? That is 1/1000000 of what you will feel during the first year of your baby’s life.

Good luck.

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Slow Burn: Looking Back on the First Year

Exactly one year ago… and precisely one week late… my life changed forever.  Ok, well it actually changed forever exactly 41 weeks + 52 weeks ago…what is that… 93? I’m tired.  And why do people with babies insist on counting time in weeks?  But  then again, exactly 93 weeks ago, I didn’t know that it had changed yet, so does it count?  So maybe it was 93 – 4.5 weeks (that’s math I can’t do right now) ago, when I found out I was pregnant that my life changed forever.  Hmmmm…  Is it the moment of conception, of realization or of admission into the world that changes your life?

Anyway, I digress…

I had a fairly easy labor and delivery… considering that it was labor and delivery (for those of you who have not had the opportunity to squeeze a human being through your body, past your internal organs and out a hole that somehow is just never big enough… I’ll spare you the grisly details.  I’ll tell you when you are older, or perhaps when I am drunk.) Then the magic moment came when my daughter sprung forth… actually she sort of oozed forth… from my loins.  The nurse immediately placed this sweet, tiny (albeit screaming) baby on my chest and I finally stared into her beautiful blue eyes and felt… really fucking tired.  I was expecting to feel fireworks, or a sparkly magical connection, or at least somewhat like a mother.  I didn’t.  What I felt was definitely joy, but it was tempered with disbelief and pure exhaustion.

I felt as though I were outside of my body, looking down at myself.  Looking down at a mom who had an ecstatic husband and the most beautiful baby in the world, but who didn’t know what to do with it all.  I felt numb.  And because I felt numb, I felt fear.  What if I didn’t love my baby as much as I should?  What if I wasn’t cut out to be a mom? What if I had postpartum depression? What if this whole thing was a mistake? And because I felt fear, I also felt guilt.  I guess that was when I should have known that I was truly a mom.

For those of you who are judging me right now, try to give me a break.  God knows I didn’t give myself one. But let’s take an honest look at the situation.  When you give birth to a baby, you top off the most tiring and uncomfortable ten months of your life  (TEN MONTHS, NOT NINE. 40 weeks. Do the math) with the final month of total discomfort and pure exhaustion (it’s really hard to sleep when you have to pee all the time, every appendage is swollen to 3 times its normal size, and you have a baby doing zumba in your belly all night, every night).  The good news is that all of this leads up to the most physically demanding thing you have ever done, which, besides being a marathon of huffing, puffing, pushing and tearing (sorry),  almost always involves not sleeping for at least 24 hours.  Then, right away you get to start the toughest job you’ll ever have, working for the most demanding boss in the world.  I mean, if any other job required working around the clock, sleeping for only single hour stretches, and taking care of every single solitary need for a thankless boss prone to total meltdowns… the unions would be all over that shit.  I mean, I was up all night without sleeping, going through a very painful as well as physically and mentally demanding journey,  when suddenly this creature who has been in my belly for 10 months is laying on my chest, greedily searching for my boob as I lay there helpless as a rag doll.  So yes, I was tired.  And no, I didn’t have the immediate and earth-shattering connection I expected.

For those of you still judging me… go ahead.  I truly hope that you had or will have an immediate connection with your son or daughter.  Some people do.  But not everyone.  And not me.

What I can say is that as the day wore on, I started to come down from the high induced by extreme exhaustion, physical pain, drugs for that pain, the euphoria of finally seeing my baby, and the intense fear that comes from knowing that you are now 100% responsible for someone’s life… and that someone happens to be the most important person in the world.  And as I started to emerge from my fog, I started to submerge into my daughter.  The less I thought about the birth itself, the more I started to appreciate the miracle of it. I spent a lot of time examining the tiny little girl who was now semi-attached to my breast.  I studied her tiny hands… so much like mine but so very, very small.  The detail that went into making those hands in miniature was insane.  The tiny white crescent on her fingernails, no bigger than a swipe of a pencil.  The wrinkly little fingers, with a fingerprint 100% her own.  Her perfect little mouth.  Her teeny little nose.  Her big eyes, staring up at me as if they could see directly into my soul. And most amazing of all was her personality… even at birth, already more individual than her fingerprint.

From those moments in the hospital, when I should have been resting but couldn’t for the fear and excitement I felt, and from every moment afterward, my love has grown.  So my daughter and I might not have had fireworks right away, but as I have come to find out, we had something better.  We had a spark, just enough to catch fire.  Every single day it burns brighter than the last.  And this fiery love and my daughter herself have illuminated my life in ways I never thought possible.

Thank you my darling Lyla for not giving up on me that day.  And thank you for filling my life with more joy, more laughter and more poop… than I ever imagined.

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