I Can See Somewhat Clearly Now

I sit here and type this latest entry while my husband takes the baby for a long, much-needed stroll. My arms ached from holding Julia and rocking, fighting with an almost 11-pound mighty, crying, and feisty opponent. The sweat dripped down my back as I walked back and forth in our small apartment waiting for the telltale weight and even breathing of a sleeping baby.

I finally waved the white flag.

Uncle.

Mama needed a break. And she wasn’t ashamed to admit it.

I would love to say that a lot has changed with our darling daughter since my last blog entry, but alas that would be a lie. Julia is still quite fussy most of the day, and I just keep telling myself that this too shall pass in good time. I wish I could pinpoint the exact date so I could circle it on the calendar and then proceed to draw big black x’s on the days leading up to this milestone.

But, I cannot.

One thing is for certain: I love Zoloft and I love the departure of my pregnancy hormones. I can definitely FEEL a difference in my demeanor, my attitude, my outlook, and my interaction with my daughter. Yesterday was my first solo day with Julia while daddy went to work. I would say it went rather well, although Julia was indeed a challenge. She fought no fewer than four naps, the longest lasting a grand total of 50 minutes. I got more blissful silence as I held her in my arms in the rocking chair, as she dozed on my shoulder. Fuck it. I don’t care. She was quiet, and at this point in the game, that’s all that really matters, right?

I have to be honest.

I’m jealous.

I’m insanely jealous of those moms who enjoy ‘easy’ babies. You know the ones. Those babies that are happy to be in any number of extravagant contraptions such as swings or bouncy seats who look up at you with absolute adoration, all the while smiling and cooing and just basically chilling the fuck out. You know, those mythical babies who only ‘cry when something is wrong’ and then they are blissfully silent once again.

Do they really exist?

If so, it’s probably best not to tell me right now. Nah, that’s okay. I know they exist in small numbers.

I guess I figured I paid my colicky, fussy dues with Julia’s big brother, but nope. I have also entertained the idea that perhaps I genetically don’t make babies who aren’t high-strung and high-needs and high-energy. It may just be my lot in life.

Sorry, James. I should have mentioned that back when I saw those two lines on the pregnancy test.

Perhaps the biggest ‘downer’ is that with such a fussy baby, I feel a tad bit isolated here at home. I’m not that mother who can just throw caution to the wind, say ‘fuck it’, and take her fussy baby out and about, only to subject everyone else to her fits of crying. No way. Why? Because, I don’t know about you, but that’s the furthest thing from enjoyable that I can imagine. I long for those days where I can casually stroll around a marketplace, an outdoor mall, visit friends, take in activities with a calm, interactive baby.

But those days aren’t today. And they aren’t likely to start tomorrow.

So, until then, I wait here at home. Thankfully, the sun shines most days, and the days pass one by one. Please tell me I’m not alone here. There ARE other fussy babies, RIGHT?? Even if you’re lying, leave me a comment and tell me you had one.

I’m thinking I should start a business. A safe place for other moms to bring their crying babies and nobody is allowed to pass judgment. Moms can feel comfortable with their high-needs, fussy babies in this place, and of course, we will ALL have the finest earplugs made today.

Who knows? This could be a niche market that no one else has thought of quite yet. I could be rich. Or crazy. Or both.

In any event, our feisty gal is five weeks old today, and I only have a few things I wish for: longer stretches of sleep (what new parent doesn’t want this?), more calm, mellow moments of interaction so I can truly GET TO KNOW her, and yes, I wish this gal would figure out the simple mechanics of sucking on a pacifier. We have purchased no fewer than five different brands and 20 different models. Do your parents a huge favor, Julia. Suck it.

And then in between the crying jags and countless hours spent bouncing around singing nonsensical songs to calm the baby beast, Julia does this:

See? I CAN SMILE!

See? I CAN SMILE!

And this is quite possibly what saves her.

And us.

Don’t Bullshit A Bullshitter

In the days since my revelation regarding my battle with postpartum depression, I have been absolutely amazed at the number of people who have come forward with words of encouragement, thanking me for bringing into the spotlight something that others have suffered with in silence, but the best part?

Honest messages regarding early parenting and infancy.

“It’s hard fucking work. The lack of sleep is brutal.”

“When people ask how I like parenthood, I say, do you want the right answer or the real answer?”

“The crying drove me fucking insane. I used to say FUUUUUCK at the same time. No. It wasn’t effective, but I felt better.”

“I didn’t even bond with my baby for at least a month or two. I was too busy trying to stay awake.”

“I wish I would have gotten in touch with my doctor.”

“I didn’t say anything about how I was feeling. I should have talked about it.”

These are just a few of the things that were shared with me.

Yes. This early infancy IS hard fucking work. I don’t think I had an idyllic vision in my head prior to delivery, but I sure didn’t remember it being THIS difficult. Wait. Yeah. I remember. I guess I just chose to block it out somehow.

All this being said, I think there is something to be said for complete and total honesty when it comes to parenting. Do we all love our children? Of course. Do we all love being a parent all the time? Probably not. Do we all love each stage and phase of child development?

No.

I’m speaking for myself here.

I’m not a huge fan of the immediate infant phase. Yes. My daughter is beyond adorable. My son was also very cute. I am quite certain this cuteness is a direct causal Darwinian effect. They are cute so we don’t harm them. This one fact keeps our population humming along.

I am honest when I say that I am best-suited for childrearing when children are about four to six months old and beyond. Babies go from simple pooping, peeing, crying factories to actual interactive human beings. It’s this interaction and longer stretches of quiet calm that I long for at this early phase of Baby J’s infancy. I’m not wishing away time. I’m simply looking forward to a time that I know I will be better-equipped to deal with. To each their own. If you love the newborn phase, good for you.

Stop by. I’ll put you to work.

I have always been honest about how I felt about the newborn phase. It shouldn’t come to any surprise to those who know me well that I’m not very keen on it at all. I’m not embarrassed to feel this way. I own it. I admit it. I move on and look forward to the next phase. I might not be the most maternal person in the world, but I love my children.

But, one thing I cannot stand are those who LIE about parenthood.

Please. Don’t try to paint some glorious picture of how perfect and wonderful your ENTIRE postpartum experience has been thus far. I’m going to think one of two things: You’re high. You’re in denial. Or both. Nobody has a PERFECT postpartum experience. I don’t care who you are or what you’re claiming. And in case no one else will tell you, no other moms want to hang out with you, making us feel inferior and less than able to hang on during this crazy rollercoaster ride called postpartum and infancy.

This is a hard fucking job, and honestly right now we just don’t need someone sprinkling some bullshit glitter and rainbows in front of our heavy-lidded eyes.

It’s ok. We don’t believe you anyway.

I find it refreshing and honest when other moms tell me the TRUTH. I love it when they joke about their flabby bodies, bleeding for weeks after delivery, forgetting what fucking day it is, walking around their house with their boobs hanging out until it’s time for another feeding, reliving the tears and crying jags they had with their inconsolable newborns, and yes even depression.

I’ve come to the realization that more moms than probably care to admit were feeling a bit more than the ‘baby blues’ during their immediate postpartum experience. For whatever reason, they chose to keep silent.

Until now.

Many people, some friends and family, some strangers via Twitter have reached out and thanked me for being honest and speaking up about postpartum depression. I never intended to be any sort of spokesperson, but hey, I’m happy to shed some light on a condition that has been allowed to fester in the darkest corners of new mom’s minds.

We love our children. We love ourselves. We know that what we are feeling isn’t normal, but hey, as soon as you have a baby, what the fuck IS normal? Our bodies have completely changed, our hormones resemble a zigzag line, ever-changing, crying one moment, laughing the next, making us wonder if those closest to us will consider committing us to the nearest psych facility. It’s rough. It’s sleepless. It’s emotionally taxing. It’s challenging to a relationship. It’s work. It’s not easy.

Hear that, fakers and liars?

It’s not easy. But, yes. It’s worth it. So worth it. Even in the fog of my depression and blues, I can look down at my sleeping infant daughter and cry the happiest tears, smiling as I realize how much her father and I wanted her. She is so loved. She is the perfect reflection of a love between two people.

And I never forget this.

Now, where did I put my Zoloft?

Honesty Is The Best Policy

And while that title may be trite, it’s true. And it’s never been more true for me than it is right now.

I had to finally admit something to myself that I didn’t allow myself to admit fifteen years ago after the birth of my son.

I suffer from postpartum depression.

There. I said it.

Just typing that statement felt like a huge release of emotion, baggage, and above all, it allows me to move forward with a plan.

Fifteen years ago, after the birth of my son, I knew something wasn’t quite right. I felt anxious all the time, sad beyond what may be considered the ‘baby blues’, hypervigilant, unable to relax and rest whenever my son would sleep during the day, and the inability to turn off my brain and not worry about the smallest detail. These feelings continued well into my six-week checkup, but when my OB doctor asked me if I was okay, I lied. I said all was well.

I shouldn’t have lied. I should have been honest. I should have admitted that I was having a rough time. Back in 1999, there was still a bit of a stigma surrounding postpartum depression. While I never had feelings of harming my son or myself, I just couldn’t shake the feelings of despair, inability to bond with my own son or derive any true pleasure from our new family unit. My poor husband at the time probably wondered a time or two if I was really going to make it. I still feel bad to this day that I put HIM through that.

Fast-forward to two weeks ago. I felt those same feelings creeping in as soon as we arrived home from the hospital with Baby J. I shrugged it off, thinking it was just a case of the blues, and that I would bounce back just fine. I mean, hey, my husband is going to be home with me for a MONTH. What the fuck is there to be depressed about? I’ll have plenty of help with baby.

But, it’s not quite the type of help I need. I know this now.

As the days passed, and the lack of sleep began to rear its ugly head, I could feel those familiar feelings once again. The anxiety. The hypervigilance. The inability to rest well during the day. The complete lack of coping when it came to bouts of inconsolable crying by Baby J.

Cue the tears. Cue the hormones.

As if we women don’t have enough shit to deal with, we have hormones. We women really do get the short end of the stick. Our bodies completely transform and we begin the hormonal rollercoaster during pregnancy, only to have it completely freefall shortly after delivery. This shit is real.

I can’t stop crying. Sometimes I cry for no discernable reason. Sometimes I cry then I forget what I’m crying about. The tears flow hot and heavy and my face begins to resemble a prizefighter who has just been knocked out in the 10th round. So. Many. Tears. The four walls of the apartment seem to close in on me. The monotony. The passing hours of clock-watching, planning for the next feeding. The mere thought of venturing out with our daughter sends my anxiety level to such heights, I can’t possibly wrap my mind around enjoying it. The thought of taking my newborn out in her stroller through a populated outdoor area makes my heart pound. Why? The crying. Always the crying. Even when I try my best, and pull out all the best tricks, sometimes she won’t stop crying. And yes, that stresses me out beyond belief. If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you he doesn’t give a shit what other people think about OUR crying baby. I wish I had that mindset. I really do.

But, I don’t.

To my husband’s credit, he has pushed me in small ways to move beyond this irrational fear. We went for a nice stroll last week, and while Baby J screamed bloody murder for the first 10 minutes or so, she eventually settled down and slept for a few hours even after we returned from our walk. He encourages me to get out on my own sans baby to the store, get a manicure, pick up a coffee. He says it’s not optional. It’s mandatory for me to be someone other than a set of boobs for food.

I love him.

I should back up a bit. When my son was just weeks old, he cried. A lot. I mean, he cried upwards of 18-20 hours a day. Completely inconsolable. It felt like it lasted forever, but in reality, it probably lasted 4-6 weeks. With this experience forever etched into my subconscious, I tend to think that ALL postpartum experiences will be this way, even though all babies are different, and all experiences are different. This history does nothing to help my current state of mind.

So, with all that said, I have done something I should have done fifteen years ago.

I reached out to my doctor for help. I refuse to believe there is any shame in asking for help. I don’t want sympathy. I want solutions. I want to be better for me, my husband, and most of all my beautiful baby daughter.

I implore all of you who read this to reach out to someone you think might be suffering from postpartum depression. Offer to be a listening ear. Offer to stop by and share adult conversation. Offer whatever it is the new mother might need. But, don’t offer your opinion on what you think might be wrong, other than depression. Chances are, this mother doesn’t want to hear it. She also doesn’t want to hear from other moms who claim their postpartum experience was a breeze, and their babies never cry unless they ‘need something’. I’m convinced those mothers are in complete denial, or they are the biggest fucking liars I’ve ever met.

Life is too short for regrets, and I want to fully enjoy this beautiful baby girl that I have brought into the world. I want to be happy. I want to feel as if I’m functioning on all cylinders and most of all, I want to know that I did the right thing by reaching out and asking for help.

None of this would even matter if it weren’t for the loving support of the man by my side. My husband is my hero. He has lifted me up when I didn’t feel capable of doing it on my own. My husband is my rock. He inspires me to be a better mother. My husband is my best friend. He listens to me without judgment or disdain.

It feels good to come clean. It feels right. It feels like the best thing I could possibly do for myself and my baby girl, but most of all it feels good to come clean after all these years.

We will survive and we will all be better for the experience.

 

 

A Warm Welcome for Julia Mae Ford

This birth story is more than a week overdue, but I guess you could say I’ve had my hands full.  While hubby is on rocking detail, I thought I would pound this out real quick.

I went in for induction on Friday February 14th at 0700. Upon check in, they checked me and found that I was 2cm dilated and 50% effaced. Julia was still pretty high at -3 station, so it was decided that a Foley bulb would be used first.

Around 4pm, the Foley bulb was removed, and I was dilated to 4cm, 80%. Nice and steady progress. In the hours between the insertion and removal of the Foley, I was able to walk the halls numerous times, bounce on my birthing ball, sit up in a chair, and otherwise do whatever I wished and be on portable monitoring. I loved this.

After the Foley was removed, I then had the Pitocin started. Rather than follow the hospital protocol of increasing the dose by TWO every 30 mins, I chose to have it started at 1 milliunit, and increased by 1 mu each HOUR to start. I did this until the Pitocin got up to about 6 mu or so. My contractions began to ramp up, become more intense, and became more regular. I was checked around 2200, and was still 4cm, and 80%. I chose to continue the Pit at a conservative dosing protocol.

Around 0030, they checked me once again. I was STILL only 4cm. Now, at this point, I asked the resident to go ahead and break my bag of waters. I opted to try a dose of the IV Fentanyl, but to be honest, the half-life of the drug was so short, it wasn’t even really worth it. But, hey, I was equal-opportunity. No heroes here. I learned with my son that unmedicated labor can be a whole different ballgame. I was interested in playing a different kind of ball this time.

As soon as they broke my water, the resident left her fingers in and checked me immediately. I was instantly 5cm and I felt Julia’s head descend. BAM!

The contractions that followed literally took my breath away. Literally. I felt like it was an out-of-body experience. It was at that point I decided to give the ol’ epidural a try. Why not? My eyes pleaded with my nurse, as I asked her, “Can I please have that epidural now?” It was all I could do to be polite and not spout off a string of expletives.

Anesthesia came immediately, and with the help of my fantastic nurse, I was able to make it through three very intense contractions, hold still, and get the epidural in place. Within 15 mins it took effect.

I was in love. Seriously. In. Love. Where the FUCK was this pain relief all my life??

The pressure was still there, but there just was no pain. The block was flawless. My nurse set me on my right side with plenty of pillows, tucked me in with a warm blanket and told me to sleep. She turned off all the lights, and James laid down on his little corner bed as well.

Next thing I know, two and a half hours pass, and I awaken. While I was sleeping, the nurses ensured that my desire of being turned q hourly was honored. Since the epidural is gravity-based, I wanted it distributed evenly. It was. When I awoke, they checked me once again.

I was 9cm, 100%, and -2.

Holy shit. What? I slept from 5cm to 9cm. I felt great. I was smiling, laughing, chatting, and just enjoying the ride. I knew that soon the real work would begin.

Within 20 minutes, I was complete and we began to practice pushing. After about 30 minutes, a decision was made by myself and my nurse that since the epidural was working so beautifully, let’s turn up the Pit, allow the baby to gently come down a station or two, and THEN we can have this baby.

Voila. It worked.

30 minutes later, I began pushing. I asked for the mirror. They placed the mirror at my perineum. Awesome. The mirror allowed me to focus all my energy on the precise location. Best part yet? James was able to take part in the delivery, touching Julia’s head as it descended from the perineum and take video.

I cry every time I watch it.

At 10:01 am on February 15th, 2014, our Julia Mae was born spontaneously across a 2nd degree laceration, (which I’ll take any day of the week with a pound heavier baby and not a 4th degree tear).

I could not have asked for a better experience. I am forever in debt to the residents, attendings, nurses, and other staff members for an awesome labor and delivery. Now, we settle in and become a family. Sleepless nights, sleepy days, and finding our way in parenthood.

introducing Julia Mae Ford

introducing Julia Mae Ford

 

Making sweet introductions.

Making sweet introductions.

Dear Baby Girl

I’ve had these thoughts in my head for quite some time, and now that you’re about to make your long-awaited debut, I decided it best to capture them. Here. Now.

In mere days/hours, we will greet you for the very first time. To say that we are excited is a complete understatement. I remember peeing on the pregnancy test stick for the very first time, doing my best to calculate your due date. It seemed so far off. So distant. So far removed from that very moment.

The days, weeks, and months have passed.

I sit here typing this while you are squirming happily inside my belly. I marvel that you still have enough room inside to make any movements at all, yet you do. You reassure me constantly with your squirms, punches, kicks, and with the gentle rise and fall of my belly as you show me your practice breathing skills.

We love you very much, baby girl.

You are truly a love personified, and your daddy and I cannot wait to see what our love looks like in the coming days. We have dreamt of this moment, and while happy tears sting my eyes right now, I know that somehow I will have known you all along.

Let’s talk a minute about your daddy…..

Never has your mommy known a better man. Your daddy is a kind, loving, thoughtful, generous, funny, man. He waited many, many years to be a daddy, and now that the time has come, he is beyond thrilled. He will make you laugh. He will make you think. He will challenge you to be the best person you can become.

You will be loved fiercely. Protected unconditionally. Adored constantly.

Mommy still can’t believe it all. Even as all these months have passed, and my belly grows with the weight of you inside, it’s still surreal. I truly thought my days of becoming a mother again were over. Your brother was born January 25th, 1999, and I never thought that almost 15  years later, I would find myself pregnant with you.

Life holds many surprises, mark my word.

Speaking of your brother, he is a kind, tender, smart, loving soul. He is 15 years old now, and while that is a considerable gap of time, I have no doubts that over time, you two will find a way to become close as siblings. It’s my wish to have my children know and love one another.

My children…..wow. I’ve gone from ‘child’ to ‘children’ in a relative blink of an eye.

And mommy? Well, I write this letter to tell you how much I love you even before you leave the relative comfort of my belly. You are a gift to me, to your daddy, to your brother, and to all of our family. The anticipation of your arrival is palpable.

So, with all that said, when you are old enough to read this for the first time, I want you to remember a few things:

Be kind to everyone you meet. Kindness is free. It is appreciated and reciprocated. When in doubt, be kind.

Be compassionate. Whether you say it with a good word, a good deed, or something in between, show others you care.

Be a good friend. When you form friendships, remember how special those people are in your life. Friends will lift you up when you’re down, listen when you need it, and provide a listening ear when you need to talk. 

Be honest. Tis better to be honest and deal with consequences than lie and deal with the hurt later.

Be passionate. Live a life of gusto and filled with all the things you want to accomplish. We only get one chance to live, so take full advantage. Don’t look back with regret at what you wished you could have done. Do it. 

Be polite. Say thank you. Say please. Show appreciation to those you love and those who love you.

Be conscientious. Study hard. Do your homework. Don’t be late. Work hard. 

Be proud of yourself. No matter how well you do something, be proud of the results, and more importantly, be proud that you tried it in the first place.

Be respectful of yourself and others. Don’t allow others to take advantage of you, your body, or your mind. In turn, don’t disrespect others in the same way.

Time is fleeting. I hope you read this letter someday and realize most, if not all, of what was written. Life is precious, and with you in ours, it will be even more special.

We cannot wait to meet you soon, baby girl…..

Love, mommy and daddy

The Home Stretch

37 weeks and counting.

We are now down to literal DAYS before we greet this special little gal that is currently burrowed warmly inside my uterus. Amazing, really. Everything is ready. Clothes washed and put away, furniture built, bedding complete, glider rocker currently being broken in, cloth diapers at the ready. We wait for nothing, except baby girl.

What a journey it’s been….

While I would love to say it’s flown by, that’s not entirely true. Looking back, I can say that maybe it has at moments, but now that I’m on the verge of having my second child, I think it’s progressed about like I thought it would.

As for me, baby girl has ‘dropped’ into my pelvis, and perhaps the best news of all is that at our last appointment last week, we were treated to a special surprise. After weeks of being breech, baby girl made that big flip, and she’s now head down. To say that we were all shocked would be an understatement. The gasps in the exam room were audible. It was a sweet, sweet surprise. To see that beautiful round head presenting first was beyond awesome.

Locked and loaded

Locked and loaded

I can’t tell you how relieved I am to be able to have another vaginal delivery. I would have been fine with a cesarean section if she stayed breech, but now that she flipped, I am beyond giddy with the possibility of repeating what I did 15 years ago. More importantly, and perhaps selfishly enough, I am so happy that James will be able to experience a more natural birth experience. For a man who has waited many years to become a parent, I think this will be fantastic.

Let’s do this.

I’m ready. Technically, if labor were to start at this point, there would be no stopping. I’m keenly aware of this with contractions ramping up, becoming stronger, more powerful, yet still irregular (for now). The weight on my pelvis is real and heavy. Hips and back ache fiercely when I’m up and walking. My fingers resemble small Vienna sausages.

Of course, there are sensations and feelings I don’t quite recall from my last pregnancy, yet they are here, making their presence known.

I don’t remember anyone saying that your labia would resemble tumescent, gravid earthworms. Oh my.

The gas? Oh mercy. I can clear a room in seconds flat. If you don’t believe me, ask my husband.

The sweating. Jesus. I dimly recall feeling ‘warm’ during my last pregnancy, but this time? I am a fucking blast furnace turned on HIGH. I wake up soaking wet with sweat, thinking, “Am I in menopause?” only to look down and see my protruding, round belly, gravid with life.

The hormones. Last pregnancy, I don’t really recall these being any big deal. I wasn’t overly weepy, I wasn’t overly pissed. I was pretty even-keeled. This pregnancy? I cry at ASPCA commercials (well, maybe that’s a bad example. I think everyone does), or seeing a mother/daughter duo holding hands at the local car wash. And, ahem. Sex? Well, let’s just say there’s no problem there. I think at one point I was scaring my husband. I resembled the little Chihuahua humping the leg of the Great Dane.

The incontinence. Sneezing has become a contortion of legs crossing, hurriedly finding a chair to sit in before letting ‘er rip. If not? The flood gates just might open. Coughing is a close second.

The body image. Last time I was pregnant, I gained MUCH more weight, yet cared MUCH less about my appearance. This time? I have broken down, naked, in front of my husband, pleading with him to help me understand how he can love THIS body, THESE huge tree trunk, cellulite-marked thighs, THESE massive boobs that rest oh-so-sexily on top of my burgeoning belly. His response? He hugs me. Kisses me. He rubs his hands gently on my belly. He tells me that this is a temporary state, and that I am CREATING LIFE INSIDE MY BODY. That can’t happen without a bit of remodeling. And the best part? I believe him. And he believes it, too. How do I know? See entry above re: hormones, Chihuahua vs. Great Dane.

So, for now, we wait. We count down the days. With every hour that passes, we realize that our unit of two, will soon become a family of three. Yet, only baby girl knows the deal. She’s in there just biding her time, growing stronger, and deciding the exact moment to break free.

Tough Love

This morning in the grip of insomnia, as I perused my usual haunts on my smartphone, I stumbled across a post in a group I’m a member of on Facebook. The group is a small one of women who are all pregnant and due in the same time frame as me. We have grown close to one another, even though we haven’t met. We share in each other’s triumphs, joys, heartaches, and milestones.

The post that caught my attention was one about weight. The dreaded weight gain. It rears its ugly head often it seems, especially with pregnant women. We all say we won’t focus on it, yet somehow it always comes back to that issue.

I finally decided to expand upon my thoughts later this morning, and below is the exact post. I believe in every single word….

I feel as if I need to make this a separate post to expand upon my thoughts I shared earlier this morning in response to a concern for feeling less than beautiful and weight gain that we all deal with.

I am sitting here typing this post unshowered, hair a mess, boobs unrestrained, resting on my big belly, same big belly resting comfortably on the tops of my huge, cottage-cheesy thighs. And you know what?

I could give two shits.

I’m 45 years old. I’m pregnant. I’m ecstatic. I’m chubby. I’m in love with my husband. I’m in love with this baby inside my belly. I’m letting it all go. All of it. All of the self-loathing. All of the self-doubt. All of the insecurity.

You know what I do when I’m feeling less-than-desirable? I strip down naked and stand squarely in front of my husband. I smile. I dance around with my fat self, and tell him that I’m glad he knew me and met me when I was many, many pounds lighter, but this is the here and this is the now, and this is reality. And if he can love me for all my new curves, new flab, new cellulite, huge belly, fat ass and all, then I can, too. Spend some time viewing your body with objectivity, rather than negativity. I bet if you all ask your significant others, they will tell you how much they love you because YOU ALONE are bringing them a HUGE gift. A gift they perhaps can’t bring themselves. Isn’t that worth a few extra pounds?

We are bringing new life into the world, mamas, and that is no small feat. I’m getting tears in my eyes just typing this, thinking of all the mamas that didn’t get to this point in their pregnancies, and are perhaps even a bit jealous that they didn’t get to put on that weight for their babies, and I’m also thinking of all those women who NEVER GET PREGNANT. We are an honored group of women. WE GOT PREGNANT. Don’t ever forget the enormity of that.

As I said earlier, we are all allowed a bit of time for a pity party, but please, please remember the bigger picture. This body of ours is doing what it does for a reason. The reason is just below your boobs and just above your crotch. Don’t forget that. 

I love you one and all, and we have all traveled quite a journey to be here, some longer than others, and we deserve to love ourselves, too.

Now then, if you’ll excuse me, I have to figure out if I’m having mac and cheese for lunch or if I’m going to have McDonald’s. 

xo

Out With The Old. In With the New.

Another year has come to a close. Tomorrow marks the beginning of 2014.

I feel compelled to write something deep, meaningful, and thoughtful, yet all I can think to write is filled with exclamation points !!! with a smattering of vulgarities.

Fuck. What a year.

A new job for Lisa.

The boss lady.

The boss lady.

The year began with a new job that held the promise of my first stab at management. To say it’s gone smoothly would be a lie. It’s been a struggle at times, and at other times I can’t imagine doing anything else. Management is as difficult as all those who came before me described. Day by day, hour by hour, things became less a nightmare and more of a decent reality. At the year’s end, my job, along with those of my management peers has been completely revamped. For some, this is a welcome change. For others, it is the cause of much emotion, stress, and turmoil. For me, I couldn’t be happier. I will be an integral part of nursing education and will help support my fellow managers with the more technical aspects of management (i.e. reports, coordination of online resources, etc). I will step away from managing direct reports and focusing more on supporting others who will continue to provide this vital aspect of management. This change will allow me flexibility for my new family, and most importantly allow me to focus on education, which has always been my passion.

Moving on….

James and I opened 2014 pursuing our dream of starting a family in earnest. We spent time with specialists and decided to throw all caution (and perhaps sanity) to the wind and go for it. We were highly skeptical that this idea would even have legs, but it not only had legs, it left the gate running. I found myself pregnant by late spring.

Me. 45. Pregnant.

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Just let that sink in. I am still savoring those three words today.

To say this pregnancy has been ‘different’ than my first one 15 years ago would be a HUGE understatement. Everything is different. EVERYTHING. This pregnancy began with morning sickness before I even peed on a cheap plastic stick. It stuck with me for many weeks after the first trimester and beyond. The exhaustion was at times palpable and very real. Almost daily I would find myself incredulous at just how different this journey was for me. Upon writing this today, I am 34 weeks, and we are on the countdown to meeting our daughter. Wow.

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Our daughter.

Beyond the reality of actually getting pregnant, I am thrilled that I am sharing a child with a man who has perhaps waited longer than anyone I know to finally realize the joy of being a parent. As many times as I close my eyes and picture the exact moment when father meets daughter, I know I am not doing it justice. It will be a moment frozen in time, and I cannot wait to witness it.

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My son is growing up fast.

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My firstborn turns 15 next month, and I am probably more in shock over that, than the fact that his mother finds herself pregnant again. I couldn’t be more proud of the young man he has become. Polite, respectful, smart, conscientious, and still loves to hug his mom. I love him so very much, and look forward to hearing more about Robotics Club, high school, and his journey in driver’s training. Amazing, really. Seems like just yesterday he WAS a baby.

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A wedding.

Yay! A wedding!

Yay! A wedding!

James and I wed in September of this year. Rather than do anything elaborate or ‘fancy’, we opted for a casual, fun affair in Sin City. Vegas seemed absolutely perfect to begin our life together as man and wife. We are optimists. We are fun. We couldn’t think of a better location to share our day with a close group of friends and family. We also used it as a venue to reveal a surprise about our baby.

It’s a girl.

Think pink.

Think pink.

Just when you think life can’t possibly get any better, it shows you that the future isn’t something to fear, but rather something to anticipate. 2014 will bring many gifts to our family. A new and improved career for me, a continued fulfilling career for James, and the beginning our our family unit with the birth of our daughter. I find myself more in love with my husband than I ever dreamed possible. It’s the little things: walking in the door, seeing his face, and those damn butterflies are still fluttering around my stomach. The sweetness of his love notes he leaves in random places for me to find. The gentle kisses he gives me and now my belly. The hugs he envelopes me with. The sheer fact that even though I now outweigh him, he still tells me that with my blossoming bust, ass, and belly, I still look beautiful.

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What a year it’s been.

Okay, 2014. Do your thing.

Let’s Get Real

Most recent routine OB appointment this past Friday suddenly put everything into perspective and things got really fucking real.

We are having a baby.

And she’s coming soon.

This past Wednesday, I found myself in the middle of a work meeting and contracting more than really should have been happening, so I ended up spending a few hours in Labor and Delivery at the hospital where I will eventually deliver. While I wasn’t thrilled about going, it was nice to have a ‘dry run’ of sorts. All ended well, and the contractions were knocked out with a liter and a half of Lactated Ringers. Baby girl was beyond reactive on the monitor. She was indeed so active, the nurse had a helluva time KEEPING her on the monitor. I chuckled. She’s already a spitfire.

Friday I recounted my visit to L & D with my NP. In the course of the conversation, it came up that after an ultrasound there, we found that baby girl is sitting squarely on her bottom. Frank breech.

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Shit, she already seemingly has the concept of yoga down pat.

With this development, it was discussed that she really has three solid weeks with which to turn herself around. If she fails to flip vertex (head down) by my next appointment (1/13/14), we will go ahead and schedule my cesarean section. After going over all the pros and cons of surgery, discussion with my husband, and an external version, I had made the choice to go ahead with the decision of surgery, if necessary.

Am I disappointed? Let’s define disappointment. I won’t lie: I would love to attempt another vaginal delivery, but not with a breech baby. I’m not THAT confident in my hips and pelvis, and to be quite honest, I’m not willing to jeopardize this little princess that currently floats on her bottom inside my womb. It’s just not worth it. If she flips, I’ll give it the ol’ college try, and be happy with that. If not? Book the OR, Dano, and let’s get this show on the road. I originally felt as if I was cheating my husband out of the whole birth experience by opting for a cesarean section, but as he so adamantly told me, “We worked hard to get her to this point. Let’s not negate that by being selfish regarding which means she enters the world.”

He’s absolutely right.

Oh, and let’s not forget my lady bits. Fifteen years ago when I delivered my son, I became the proud mother of not only an 8-pound baby boy, but a lovely fourth degree laceration. I won’t post a picture of that. I’ll let you Google it on your own. Suffice it to say, when you are unlucky enough to get one of these, it can be the ticket to an immediate cesarean without question. Google it. You’ll see why.

So, for now we wait. And we wonder what’s going on in there. As of my appointment this past Friday, she had mixed it up a bit. Baby girl was now not only breech. She is a footling breech.

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This might explain why I feel this almost constantly:

So, after discussion with my NP, I realized that either method of delivery is a win. Vaginal is good, and I kinda know what to expect anyway, and cesarean is okay, too. Safe and healthy for mom and baby is key. Priority number one.

With cesarean discussion, NP said she would like to schedule the surgery at 39 weeks or so.

This means we could be meeting our daughter around 2/7/14.

Holy shit.

There is a light at the end of this pregnancy tunnel, and it’s only weeks away. We may actually have a DATE to meet our baby girl. I guess that finally just hit me over the head like a damn brick.

Ow.

We’re getting there, baby girl, we’re getting there.

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The ‘Go’ Bag

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32 weeks pregnant today, and I’m celebrating by packing my ‘go’ bag.

Contents include:

-5 hypoallergenic, organic pillows, custom-made for my head.

-1500-thread count sheets (made from organic cotton, of course).

-a small crock pot to hold the organic olive oil for my perineal massage.

-a personalized handmade hospital gown custom made specifically for me and my delivery.

-a militant, defiant doula (only the best will do).

-my birthing ball.

-a Boppy pillow.

-my own personal lactation consultant.

-a flip chart to monitor my own labor progress and use to contradict my doctor at every turn.

-my attorney.

-10 copies of my extensive birth plan.

-aromatherapy candles.

-a shaman to ward off evil spirits.

-a CD of specific labor mantras.

-my own personal chef and hand-picked recipes.

-and a partridge in a goddamn pear tree. (cage-free, of course)