Tag Archives: birth

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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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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