Her first big-girl ponytail!
Her first big-girl ponytail!
I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection as we’ve approached the New Year. It’s been a bit of a process, full of pitfalls and brief moments of clarity. I know many of you have noticed that I’ve done little writing over the past several months. Some of you have even been so amazingly loving as to send me little messages and comments of encouragement. I thank you deeply. As much as for myself, it is for you that I am writing this.
Pregnancy and motherhood brought with it a set of challenges that I somewhat expected, but not as fully as I thought. My depression threw me to depths I couldn’t have imagined and had not previously experienced. Today, I’m having a good day. I’ve done laundry, done the dishes several times, and even made a couple of business calls that I haven’t been able to make in over a month. 4 days ago, I was an emotional wreck and barely functional. I can tell that much of it is hormonally triggered, but not all of it, and none of it is nearly as manageable as I feel it used to be.
This is all a topic that I can at least somewhat talk about, but this is the first time I’ve ever written it down. Perhaps you’ve experienced this. You can talk about something all day long, but the minute you write it down… it’s inescapably unavoidable. There’s a moment of heartbreak that you can’t describe, and you suddenly don’t know what to do next. For months I’ve gone back and forth about whether I can overcome this naturally, or whether I will have to finally give in and take prescription meds that I REALLY don’t want to take. I’m still praying that I’ll find the right supplements that will help me conquer this thing, and the anxiety that has recently added itself into the mix.
I have also discovered that, in the middle of battling off this depression and anxiety, I’ve also been in a pretty mega pity party mode. Maybe that seems redundant, but there really does seem to be a separation for me. It’s as if I’m having a pity party over struggling with my moods, lack of interest and motivation, and my anger. At times I feel completely at the mercy of my emotions and I start to feel sorry for myself as a result. I guess it’s just more to add to the crazy.
So, as I began, leading up to this year, I’ve started to feel a little smacked around. In a good way. I’ve started to recognize those pity parties for what they are – NOT part of the depression, but in fact, something I CAN control! – and I’m tired of living that way. My life was not meant to be lived at the mercy of my hormones and emotions. There are so many things that truly excite me about life, and I’m tired of feeling such intense apathy towards them. I’m tired of how quickly I get irritated with my daughter’s babyness. Guess what, folks? SHE’S A BABY!!!! I’m tired of being angry all the time at things that I have absolutely no control over. And I’m tired of saying that I own my own business, but I’m doing absolutely nothing to create success for myself and my family. I have utterly failed myself because of one giant pity party!!!
This year, it’s time to give a shit again. I’m not sure if I even remember or could pinpoint the last time I did that. Not really. I remember that there WAS a time, I just couldn’t tell you when it occurred. I’m not sure if I’m exactly making resolutions this year… perhaps that’s what they are. But really, they all revolve around me remembering that I actually matter. That I’m worth caring about myself. I’ve already starting walking 2 miles about 5-6 times a week on average. Next, it’s my teeth.
REALLY embarrassing confession here, but at some point, I kind of gave up on my teeth. They’re bad anyway, and I have soft enamel. You would think that would make me work harder to keep them as clean and strong as possible. But something happens when you stop thinking you matter. If you don’t matter, neither do your teeth. So now, my mouth is a horrifying mess, but it’s time to start caring about it again. Pray for me on that one… good habits have always been agonizingly difficult for me to build.
I’m also embarking on a lifelong endeavor to get my life more organized. I require massive, obsessive organization in order to function, right down to tedium and minutia. This explains entirely why my life/room/ house is such a hot mess. If that organization is remotely taken out of balance, as unstable as it is, it’s like a bomb going off, and there’s no going back. I want to reclaim that. I knew it once… for about one semester of college. It was wonderful. I’d like to see if I can get it back.
Next, this blog. I’d like to see if I can post once a week. Daily would be amazing for me, but maybe right now I just need to take baby steps. I’m bad at that. REALLY bad at that. I either take on my ventures at full speed, or not at all. Baby steps is a practically foreign concept!!
Finally, my guitar. That poor dear has been waiting so patiently while I try to sort out my drama. I’m grateful that she is so steady a companion, silently there, knowing I’ll come back when I’m ready. She knows I love her, but I really do miss her. Part of me wonders that if I could get her back as a regular part of my day, maybe things would make a little more sense in this world. Maybe some semblance of peace would return.
My upline manager with Gigi Hill has given our team a challenge this year. We have been asked to come up with a one-word theme for ourselves this year. I struggled for a few days to really get what mine needed to be. I knew I wanted it to be motivating and something that would make me feel the little kick in the but I know I need this year. While watching Tuesday’s The Biggest Loser with my family last night, there was one particular scene in which Bob and Jillian’s team has to push a truck around the Ranch. At at moment, the underscore starts playing, and it’s Switchfoot’s “Dare You to Move.” In an instant, I knew. That song has always spoken to me, and I hear it screaming a little more loudly right now, exactly when I so desperately need it. And so, my one-word theme for this year is this. MOVE!
Who knows. I guess we’ll see in a couple of months how well I’m doing with any of this. BUT, for today, I can at least be proud that I did that laundry and kept the sink clean for a decent part of the day. Some days, it’s the little things.
After leaving my final petsit, you would think I’d have run screaming to the hospital to get this kid out! But no, not I. Honestly, I had no interest in spending hours of my life at the hospital if nothing was happening yet. And they have proven that once your hit those front doors, everything slows down. It’s a combination of stress and environment change. No thanks!!!!!
So instead, I called Scott to let him know and made a couple other phone calls – dad, Grandmama, a couple others – and drove to meet the woman who would be taking over my route. I sat in Starbucks, sipping on my delicious Venti Sweetened Green Iced Tea, and she was staring at me, bug-eyed, in a total panic as I talked about my clients and paused for contractions. I was fine!!!!! It was funny to me then, but it’s even funnier now, I gotta tell ya!
On the way home from Starbucks, I called one more friend of mine, who said “So have you called the hospital and doctor yet?” “Ooh… no.” “Do you think maybe you should do that?” Riiiiiight….. THAT!
Here’s the really fun part. I called the doctor on duty, and she proceeds to tell me that my water hadn’t actually broken! OVER THE PHONE, LIKE SHE COULD ACTUALLY TELL FROM THERE!!!!!! So I explained to her that it looked, smelled, acted like “water,” and she finally decided to believe me. I have to tell you, the doctor I had for my delivery wasn’t exactly the picture of a mommy/baby friendly doctor that I’d been hoping for. I’d seen her a few times during my prenatal appointments, and she’s one of those doctors who knows too much, and not enough, and is a little too big for her britches. She has this attitude like, “I’m the doctor; you’re the patient. That means I know everything and you know nothing. You asking questions is an insult to my 12 years of schooling and my intelligence is far superior to anything you could come up with off the bloody internet or a book. My being a doctor CLEARLY means I know more about childbirth than any mother out there.” YAY!!!!!
I think if I had stalled long enough, I might have been able to just have the baby in the kitchen, which would have mostly been ok with me, but everyone finally convinced me that it was time to go to the hospital. We hit the road, made a few more phone calls, and strolled into the hospital to check in around 7:30 pm. Pretty boring stuff there. “I’m in labor.” “Ok, fill this out please.” You’d think they’d have a speedier method for getting that information, instead of making you fill out paperwork while you’re standing there trying not to have a baby on the waiting room floor, but clearly as many babies go in and out of hospitals each year, it hasn’t alerted anyone to that necessity.
So, after checking my vitals, and the baby’s vitals, the nurse confirms that my water has, in fact, broken. WHAAAAAT????????? Incredulity!!!!!!!!! They set me up in my L&D room… and then switch nurses on me. Awwwww. Bummer. I really liked the first girl I had. She was sweet, and incredibly calming and understanding. BUT, she promised me that she was switching me to a girl who was very cool and would make my experience great. Enter Melissa. ROCK STAR!!!!! Yep, best L&D nurse on the PLANET!!! Funky style – I told you before about all the jewelry right? It was cracking me up. Perfectly timed and executed sarcasm. She definitely helped to keep me sane.
Obviously the above picture was taken before anything really started. About 2 hours later, the LAST thing I’d have been doing at a camera was smiling.
My labor didn’t get really bad until about 10pm or so. Before that, I was up and walking around the hospital wing, trying to stay comfortable and move things along. My mom and mother-in-law were walking around with me, talking about breast pumps and baby carriers, and all sorts of other exciting things. Rather, DISTRACTING things. Good times. When we got back to the room, I got a contraction so bad I was on the floor, on all fours, in the corner of the room. Melissa walks back in and says, “You know, you might be more comfortable if you do that on the bed.” Oh. Right. Thanks.
For the next few hours, no one could really have told me how much time had passed. The contractions of hard labor came on so fast it was all I could think about. I was on the bed with my hips in the air, gripping onto Scott’s hands and arms while he just kept whispering that I was “doing great.” To which I once responded, “You’re never. Having. Sex. Again. Ever.” He told me later that it was everything he could do NOT to laugh at me, for fear of being murdered right there in the L&D room. Smart man.
I stood up and swayed, I “danced” with him – which ended with me squatting, whether I had intended to or not, and him holding all of my 170 lbs in his hands. Much of the time I was just bending over the bed, gripping onto the sheets, or anything else I could hold onto, waiting for that wave to pass, and collapsing so I could try desperately to grapple for recovery before the next one crashed down.
Some friends from the neighborhood came by to visit me, at one point even helping to prep me for the next contraction. At that point they were still showing up on the monitor before I could feel them. As briefly as it lasted, it was immensely helpful. Unfortunately for me, all that ended with everyone – friends and moms alike – against the wall biting their nails with pained expressions as they watched me bring life into the world. I’d had enough and I made Melissa kick everyone out. From then on, it was Melissa, Scott, and me… until the stupid doctor showed up.
I had what I would call a reasonably short labor. Granted, my water broke at 11am which made my FULL labor something like 13 hours, but from the onset of hard, productive labor to delivery, we’re talking about 4-5 hours tops. I don’t know if anyone’s ever told you this before, or if maybe you’ve experienced it yourself. But let me tell you. For many women, a short labor is about the same as a long labor. Same amount of pain and exhaustion. It’s just a lot more impatient and insists on all taking place within a shorter amount of time. Same pain, concentrated. Kind of like orange juice in a can. You don’t want to drink that stuff straight.
The worst part about the labor was that my contractions were SO severe and so close together, but I wasn’t progressing fast enough to warrant the intensity I was experiencing. They were coming one right after the other with no break. I always knew that girl was impatient. And she still is! Have you seen her eat?? At one point, Melissa came in and asked me if I wanted some IV narcotics to take the edge off. I said no, and later, hunched over the bed, I was loudly whimpering, “I don’t want druuuuuuugs!”
I swear it hadn’t been that long since the initial offer, but her response to me was, “Oh honey. I can’t give you any of that now. If you want anything, it’s gonna be an epidural.” DON’T YOU SAY THE ‘E’ WORD AROUND ME!!!!!! Like HELL are you gonna stick a needle in my back. Forget it! Damn things don’t even work right half the time. So instead, they hooked me up to a saline drip to help ease up the contractions. No drugs (hurray) but I was getting a little dehydrated and for a short time, the contractions stopped being worse than they had to be. And I stuck it out like a champ. A champ that screamed a lot. There was a chunk of time that I had noticed the door to my room open behind the privacy curtain. I found it odd, but didn’t really care enough to say anything about it. I guess my cries got bad enough that I was starting to scare the other new moms on the floor because someone came by and finally closed the door. If I hadn’t been gasping for air, I might have laughed a little.
Also, I might mention that I was impressed and surprised at how eager I was to be waddling and rolling around the room STARK NAKED! I started out the whole experience wearing two hospital gowns. They were both done very shortly after I kicked everyone out. Melissa told me that happens a lot with natural labors. I tend to believe her. I also understood very quickly why so many natural mamas have learned to wear labor skirts and tops. Wear your own clothes and things might tend to be a lot less annoying.
Then, Doctor P showed up. She says hello, and then she says, “We need to start thinking about a C-section.” “What?! Why???” Seriously? That’s the FIRST thing you have to say to me when you walk into the room? You haven’t even BEEN here!!!! The woman is knife happy, I’m sure of it. “Oh, well, it’s just good to be prepared just in case you can’t deliver.” “Ok fine, but let’s just stay where we are and see how it goes, huh?” Crazy woman doctor. I bet she doesn’t even HAVE kids.
At this point, they were checking my cervix pretty regularly. I don’t mind this, personally. I’m the kind of person that needs to know what’s going on. Give me the numbers and I’ll feel better. Those contractions were the worst. I was stuck on my back, clawing at the ceiling, gritting through a contraction while they checked my dilation. I was starting to feel the urge to push, but I was only at 7 cm, and that would have been a BAD thing. From that point on, I got to lie on my side with my legs crossed, burying my face in Scott’s arms, as I waited for them to pass.
Then I got the bad news. My anterior wall wasn’t fully dilating. Relatively speaking, I was ready to go, except for this one lip that wouldn’t budge. Doctor P decides she’s ready to deliver and drops the bottom out of the bed. Obviously she couldn’t be bothered to have read my birth plan, which CLEARLY stated I wanted to be squatting or on all fours for this one and NOT on my back. She didn’t even bother to communicate anything with me like, “I know you wanted to do it this way, but with how you’re progressing I don’t see it as an option.” That would have been nice, actually. I’d have probably gone along with it too. But no. Bed dropped down, stool swiveled in, and Doctor P’s convenience ahead of the patient’s as usual.
Flat on my back, pulling my knees up to my ears was not how I had imagined bringing my daughter into this world. Especially since I kept begging for help holding my knees up because I my arms were just too tired to do it right. I’m not even sure how I did it, but I did the best I could, arms shaking, and I felt like I was more constipated than I’d ever been in my entire life! Guess what, kids, that ain’t poo. That’s the baby! So, with Doctor P’s hands holding back that rotten anterior lip, I pushed out my baby girl’s 13-in circumference head. Is it any wonder that I tore??
And then, she was here. My little fat Asian man screaming at the top of her lungs. 8.5 lbs of bright red flesh and nearly black hair. For all the angst she put me through being so impatient to come into this world, I suspect she was having second thoughts for a while there. The pain was mostly gone, and I just didn’t care anymore. They say you forget the pain, but I don’t thinks that’s exactly accurate. You remember. But you’re not knee-deep in the middle of it anymore. And for all the pain there was, it just doesn’t matter. When you’re finally holding your baby in your arms, nursing her for the first time immediately after birth, the pain is irrelevant. You’d go through it again if you had to… not that you’d want to. But you would. She was, and is, MINE. She’s 9.5 months old now and I still have a hard time sharing her. I can only pray that our relationship is this incredible for many, many years.
6 pounds and 7 ounces.
A ball of bones and flesh and tears were you.
Now your hands, your tiny pink hands,
grew larger than my hands ever grew.
We don’t say a word.
There’s nothing to say that hasn’t been heard.
And how you’ve grown my little bird.
I’m regretting letting you fly…
– Ingrid Michaelson, “Highway”
I found this post, unfinished, in my old blog. I decided to dig it out just for you and post it. Enjoy!!
I’m Not Ready For This!!!!!
But then again, who ever really is? In any case, that is about the most accurate way to describe the way I’m feeling right about now. Panicky, unprepared, and like I’ve made the biggest mistake thinking I can safely and sanely bring a child into this world. What the hell was I thinking?! The truth is, I know it will pass. I’ll have my little girl in my arms and all that will matter is taking it one day at a time with her and learning how to do this whole “mommy” thing as I go. I’ll screw up, I’ll succeed, I’ll pray like crazy that I don’t ruin her life (haha!)… but it WILL all be fine. Momentary panic in overall peace. I guess that’s a pretty good way to express it.
I’m 35 weeks and 2 days today. Over the last couple days I’ve been experiencing new sensations, pains, and pressures that tell me the “end” is nearing. Sunday evening, my dad helped bring stuff to my house from the Baby Shower that the new grandmas-to-be (and great grandma!!) threw for me at my mom’s house. He was setting up the stroller and I was going through all the cute little girl clothes and trying to figure out what I should take with me to the hospital to bring her home in!! (If I were smart, I’d have taken pictures to show you right now… but I’m not smart so I didn’t. Sorry!!) I stood up and suddenly felt heavier than I had just a little while prior, and I started having what is described as “pelvic pressure.” No pain, just low pressure in the well, pelvic region. Duh! That continued on and off for maybe 30 minutes to an hour, and after my dad left I lay down for the rest of the night so I didn’t add any extra pressure to it. I was noticing that it increased when I walked around and seeing as I’m not quite ready to become a mom THIS week, I wanted to give it a rest.
Wow… I don’t even remember the rest of what I was going to say in that post. That’s disappointing. I will tell you, though, that I had the nurse line convinced I might go into labor in the next week or so. Thank GOD that didn’t happen!!! I’ve since come to learn that having a brief bout of contractions around 7 months is TOTALLY normal. Just take it easy, and the stupid crazies will usually go away. They did in my case, anyway. I played this game of dilating, closing back up, walking dogs and getting contractions, wondering if I was going to give birth on the sidewalk, and on and on. But she still held out for another 3 weeks and 5 days…