April 1, 2011

I am terrified of forgetting.

The little things… you know, like the smell of a newborn. I can hardly remember it, less than nine months later.

There’s so much I don’t want to forget. Like the feel of a sleeping baby on my chest. The imprint of an ear left on my skin.

Baby giggles, his belly laughs. How I felt when he smiled at me for the first time.

The relieved, blissful look on his face when he’s hungry and finally latches on. The sound of a nursing baby, the swallowing.

The silly expressions; the way he raises his eyebrows and I can tell exactly what he’s thinking. (I hope that doesn’t go away.)

The weight of him in my arms, increasing every day. How he gets heavier as he gives in to sleep.

The babbling. The nonsense words. How proud he is when he figures out a new sound and has to repeat it over and over (and over) again.

His creamy skin and perfectly pink cheeks. The fatty folds in his thighs, the way his hair curls slightly just behind his ears.

Those quiet moments in the middle of the night, when it’s only the two of us awake. Sleepy, treasured time.

How bittersweet things can be. How proud I am when he figures out something new, but then have to fight back tears because he’s big enough to roll over, or cut a tooth, or eat solid foods. It’s like I have to pack away outgrown clothes and toys faster than I can pull out the new stuff. I can’t keep up.

I’m already forgetting. What was the exact color of his eyes when he was just a week old? What did I do that made him giggle for the first time?

I take pictures and pictures and more pictures, but they aren’t enough. They can’t capture the FEELING or the SMELL or the SOUND of this amazing little boy. How I feel when he shows his love in his own little ways.

But wasn’t it only yesterday when I got that positive pregnancy test? When I felt him move for the first time? When my water broke?

I look forward to the things we will do together in his life. The things we will learn, the things we will teach. Every day he gets more fun, more hilarious, more amazing. But damn it if it isn’t hard to let go of some of what we lose.

“Change is hard; you fight to hold on and you fight to let go.” [The Wonder Years]

So worth it.


Thinking About Another

March 7, 2011

Yes, I mean baby.

Boy has this issue been on my mind a lot lately. When should we have our second child?

I have such mixed feelings about it all. There is no denying that I can’t stop thinking about it. That I miss being pregnant, that I miss some of the newborn stuff, that I like the idea of a second child. Is it just because my son is getting so big? Is it a way of holding on? Or are we really ready?

I can answer that question with a resounding NO. We are not ready. I am more ready than my husband, for sure. It’s something we “discuss” but we never really finish the conversation. I think he still feels overwhelmed sometimes with the one (as do I) and has trouble with the idea of adding another baby into the equation… but I wish he’d look at the whole picture with me. We approach things from different angles on this topic, that’s for sure.

I like the idea of having children who are very close in age. I know my husband does as well; we both have huge age gaps between our siblings (and are both the youngest), and we don’t want that for our children. Yes, it would be a lot of work to have them close together, and I’m sure it would be exhausting and stressful. But they’d be so close. You could do all the baby stuff in one stage, then move on to the next.

But then… then I think about my beautiful son. How could I ever love another baby this much? How could I share my love? Of course, I know that’s silly, obviously you don’t love your first child less because you have a second child, you don’t share your love (just your time) and I know your heart and your ability to love just grows.

I’m so torn. I don’t want to miss out on my son’s firsts. I don’t want to be preoccupied. I want to enjoy it all.

It goes fast.

But does that mean I wouldn’t enjoy it all if I was pregnant, if we had another baby, if I got to see him love and interact with a sibling? Would he benefit more by having my full attention for a few more years, or would it be easier for him to adjust sooner to having a sibling?

Too many questions and so few answers. I know there isn’t a right or a wrong when it comes to this situation. Right now, I don’t even think I could conceive if I wanted to try (my period still hasn’t returned). And what if we have troubles? But it’s weird to think that, if I got pregnant right this second, G would already be about a year and half old when the baby was born. I don’t know what the best age gap is… 2 years? 3 years? less or more? I don’t know. But it’s on my mind. Oh, it’s on my mind…

I had seen the advertisement for the tv show “One Born Every Minute” on Lifetime (I think they show the ad on TLC?) and I decided to watch it this afternoon.


That will sum up my opinion of this show.

To actually sum up the impression I got from this show: Epidurals and pitocin are good and pretty much a necessity. Get the drugs ASAP (Woman A). If you had a bad experience with your last baby, why the heck aren’t you having a c-section right away, silly woman (Woman B)? Natural labors are bad. Bringing a birth plan with you means you are rigid and expect too much (Woman C).

If you don’t want an epidural, they will not suggest you (Woman B) move around or try anything to help with your labor and the pain; instead, they will wait around for you to ask for meds. Oh wait, they finally gave her a ball to bounce on. And… there’s her epidural. (To be fair, she ends up going for a c-section because the baby’s heart rate starts to drop, it is a large baby, and her last birth resulted in her large baby’s collar bone breaking during delivery.) Her baby ends up being 9 pounds 12 ounces. She’s not a tiny woman and it makes me curious about the circumstances of her last labor, if she was induced, etc. but they don’t share much other than that it was difficult and the collar bone broke.

The loving couple working through their natural labor? You know, the pushy ones with the birth plan? They aren’t progressing. After 11 hours, it’s “stalling.” Wait, did you hear how they said “doula”? Look at the silly crazy couple. Listen to how funny she sounds. What is that sound? The labor & delivery floor shouldn’t sound like that! Um, wait a second… are these nurses really laughing about it with each other? Making weird faces? Uh oh, 15 hours have past. Uh oh, they aren’t listening to all of the nurse’s suggestions. Go complain to another nurse about that. Go start to discuss with the couple how the longer the labor the “harder it’s going to be.”

*cue the “the nurse is the victim” (er, I mean “advocate”) talk and portray the couple as ridiculous for standing up for themselves*

Throw out the word “safety” a few dozen times and drop the “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result” line. More weird noises from the laboring mother. It’s been 18 hours now. They don’t want to “throw in the towel.” The nurse insists on a cervical check, despite the couple’s wishes. The couple says the certified nurse midwife should do it, not her. She’s at 8cm at this point and the CNM recommends pitocin; they accept. The nurse complains that she felt like her “hands and feet were tied together” that day. She’s “glad the shift is over.” The woman is at 10cm and can push. She is successful at vaginally delivering her baby after about 24 hours of labor. It’s a girl. She gets immediate skin on skin contact and the narrator emphasizes that they were able to have it “their way.”

Oh, but don’t worry, remember the woman who loved her drugs (Woman A)? She is already cuddling with her baby. Has been for quite awhile, actually, since only a few minutes into the show. Hardly had to show her on this episode, she was so easy to work with! (If you want an easy labor, just get the pitocin and epidurals before you settle into your room, people!)

All joking aside… I just got bad vibes from this show and how things were portrayed (though I do plan on watching it one more time, just to see). I felt like they really pushed the positivity of medical interventions, even before they become necessary. Labor is considered “stalled” at only eleven hours. The couple hoping for a natural birth are depicted as being difficult, stressing the nurse out, and like total weirdos. Maybe I’m just feeling argumentative, but I didn’t like how I felt watching this show. And it made me wonder what the nurses and staff thought of me when I was in labor, making lots of noise and asking for more time and being held by my husband and massaged by my doula and saying no to pain medication, and (heaven forbid) giving them a birth plan because I had certain goals and hopes for our birth.

Disclaimer: I planned for a completely natural birth in a hospital with a doula and ended up, after almost 24 hours of labor that had stopped progressing at 6cm for the whole day, getting pitocin and an intrathecal before vaginally delivering my son. I know interventions can be necessary and can save lives. I know nurses almost always want what is best for the baby and mother, and they are taught to treat pain and prevent complications and to carefully monitor everything. I am thankful that we are able to offer c-sections and pitocin and other drugs to mothers. I was glad to have that option when the time was right. I was glad that the pitocin I received in the end helped me progress and meant I didn’t end up having a c-section. I was glad that the intrathecal allowed me to rest and I had the energy after a long, painful labor (back labor, ow) to push my son out myself.

However… we need to stop treating every labor and delivery like it’s a giant medical procedure, and allow women that want a natural birth to at least have a fair shot at one. And it is terrible to mock them and act like they are crazy… that is inexcusable. I can’t help but wonder, if I had been allowed to relax and people weren’t constantly trying to monitor me the whole time, if maybe we could have progressed on our own. I’ll never know that, and I know there’s a very very good chance that I would have needed the pitocin either way. Most of my birth plan was respected, but when I look back I also see that I had to fight for some of it harder than I should have had to, and in other areas I didn’t fight enough. There were times I felt resigned to the “patient” role, even before we had complications. I don’t have big regrets about my birth and it was, overall, a very very positive experience. I had one nurse that was phenomenal and I love our doctor.

But damn it all makes me want to try for a home birth next time.

Worth her weight in gold

October 5, 2010

I am referring to a good doula.

One of the best decisions I made during my pregnancy was getting a doula. And not just any doula… it’s important to find one that you are comfortable with and trust.

I had a hospital birth. If you are hoping to have a natural labor and delivery in a hospital, I highly recommend you have a doula present. Mine made me feel confident in my decisions and was able to coach me and my husband through the most incredible pain I’ve ever experienced (and I say “incredible” in two ways: 1) holy shit that effing hurts really bad; and 2) wow it is amazing what our bodies can do!).

Working with a doula BEFORE you’re in labor is so so so helpful. I think that was the most important part of my doula experience. She gave me so much to think about and really helped me prepare for what I was about to experience.

I am a planner. A list maker. It was important to me to have a well-thought-out birth plan. She really helped me keep it focused and gave me new things to consider (like what I wanted to do if I changed my mind about certain things, like pain medication, as well as how to handle things that may not go as planned).

Another wonderful benefit of having a doula was for AFTER you’re in labor. The attention you receive from your doula will vary, but mine visited me in the hospital and came to our house (with homemade veggie lasagna!) after we were home to make sure we were coping okay. To make sure breastfeeding was going well. To make sure we weren’t feeling overwhelmed. To see how *I* was doing. And, let me tell you, a lot of people come over during those early weeks and most have one thing in mind: baby. Some people didn’t seem to care a whole lot how I was doing, but rather wanted to hold a clean, happy baby. Only a handful of people offer to really help (holding the baby doesn’t help a new mother, and neither does waking a sleeping baby so you can see him while he’s awake or expecting a beverage to be placed in your hand within minutes of your arrival; making sure the mom is eating and showering and the dishes are clean and she’s getting some sleep does help).

Okay, I’m getting off track now. But I will wrap this up by saying that a good doula really is worth her weight in gold, as cliched as that may sound. I will absolutely have my doula for my next baby, and would recommend one to anyone who wants to be completely in charge of her own labor and delivery.

Oopsie Daisy

September 17, 2010

My goodness, where does time go?

I certainly let my blog go by the wayside for awhile. But I’m back and ready to write write write.

“Little Guy” was born in July. He is amazing and beautiful and I love him more than words. Really… as a writer, I cannot put it into words. It’s incredible being a mother.

I don’t know where the last two months have gone. I am beyond tired, but it’s a very satisfying kind of tired. When Little Guy gives me that big gummy smile, I forget about being sleep deprived and covered in spit up.

It is time for a new journey to begin. I mean, obviously I’ve already begun quite a journey as a new mother. But it’s time to get back to that woman who also used to write. Who made some money by writing articles, who communicated who she was through written word, who showed her creative side by writing poetry and fiction.

And that is why I return to this blog. To combine my old and new lives. To get back to me, even if it’s a new me.