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tales of something simple - August 2013

i believe

Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.

all types of chaos

highway from hell: a birth story

I convinced myself that I was going to be pregnant forever.  Eternity. Till death.  I was 4 days past my due date, which by the way I was really fucking certain of so the bullshit of “due dates are estimates” did not apply because this baby was without my doubt, fully cooked to perfection.  When people started asking when I was due and I could say “yesterday” and they laughed, thinking I was kidding, they learned quickly from my death glare that I was not joking.  This was not a funny joke.

I love being a mom.  I don’t love being pregnant.  I am OK in admitting this publicly.  Mostly because pregnancy isn’t the kindest experience for me.  Both pregnancies have brought such severe vomiting, dehydration, dizziness and exhaustion the first 21 weeks out of 40 that I take medication to be able to eat 4 saltines a day and drink water. With my first pregnancy I got what some lovingly call “pregnancy rash” or PUPP’s (don’t Google image it, you’ll regret it) at 37 weeks and nearly itched myself into insanity by the time I delivered and then for an additional 6 weeks  postpartum.  Additionally, my stomach usually turns into a gigantic pumpkin on steroids before 30 weeks and only exponentially grows leaving me with an inability to sleep, walk without a waddle, roll over without it turning into an Olympic event or kill someone every time I am accused of actually being pregnant with multiples, having the wrong due date or worse, threatening I will “deliver early because the baby will run out of room to grow.”  You get the idea: I was over being pregnant before I even got pregnant.

Braxton hick contractions began at 28 weeks and put me in the hospital for pre-term labor once and false labor once (which was a really cruel joke, because it was on my due date.  Leaving the maternity ward on your due date without a baby sucks).  I contracted quite regularly, sometimes painfully, but mostly a large annoyance and nothing more.  I would contract but nothing would come of it, which was good because there was lots more pregnancy left to finish, but as the end drew near and there was zero sign of a baby coming, I got pissed off.

That’s right.  I got angry about still being pregnant.  I wanted this baby I had waited 9+ months for O-U-T.  I feared induction as my due date passed, worrying zero, zip, zilch progress on my own terms would not fair well with a synthetic birth experience and I would end up on an operating table–a huge fear of mine.  As much as I was D-O-N-E, I wasn’t ready to whip out the final eviction notice just yet.

The day I went into labor I waited until the last minute to actually decide I was in fact in labor.  I had a non-stress test at the doctor’s office that morning where I pressed a button every time the baby moved for an hour and got lots of wide eyes from nurses staring at my contraction monitor going…”wow, you really are contracting and really…not doing anything all at the same time!”  I was contracting so frequently that it was my normal life and had been for many days, but as the nurse said when I was in “false labor,” “don’t come back until you are in excruciating pain.”  Obviously, I was not in labor.  Yet.

My induction would have been scheduled for the 8 days from that day had I not gone home and gotten to work on getting that baby out–without even trying.  I attempted to take a nap which was unsuccessful, so around 3pm I announced to my husband I was going to get food and stop at the grocery store.  I didn’t feel great but I was sick of trying to sleep.  I drove to the grocery store and found myself getting hung up staring at produce I didn’t need while passing the time through mild contractions.  I ignored them.  I went across the street and got a burger and ate fries between contractions as I neared home.  I casually glanced at the clock now and then and it struck me that while they were 5 minutes apart, it would take me less than 5 minutes to run into my daughter’s daycare to pick her up.  Then, we could get in the car, have another contraction, and drive the 1 mile home before I had another.

Yes, I picked my daughter up from school and drove her home while in labor.

When we arrived home, around 4:30, I decided to take a bath to see if they subsided.  I figured they would.  I was going to be pregnant forever, after all.  It didn’t work.  I got out and began to put on makeup.  I called my Mom to tell her I couldn’t make it for dinner,  She asked me why.  I told her I might be in labor. She started yammering on about something when a massive daggar ripped across my uterus and I finally mustered up enough voice and air to tell her to SHUT UP.  This should have been my sign.  Instead, I decided I was in labor once I tried to blow dry my hair and had to turn it off every time I had a contraction.

I waited 45 minutes for my mom and sister to get to my house so we could leave for the hospital.  By the time they got there, driving only 10 miles but in prime rush hour, I was on all fours in my kitchen breathing through the ABC’s with my 22-month old who kept pulling at my dress, screaming my name and asking me to hold her.  Every time a contraction came I would hobble to the bathroom quickly, locking the door as she pounded the outside of it.

“MommmmmmmYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!”

“Mommy needs a minute!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

When we left the driveway, at 6:04pm, I still was not convinced I was having a baby that day.  I was still convincing my husband not to get excited because that morning I was only 1 centimeter, and the OBGYN said she was being generous.

We live an hour and twenty minutes from the hospital I choose to deliver at.

We made it in 45 minutes.

By the time we hit the turnpike I texted my girlfriend something about needing drugs, an epidural, and dying.  Dying from pain in that moment, not because of the desired drugs.  The rest of the ride was spent yelling at my husband for trying to record me screaming during contractions, getting quite intimate with the ceiling handle of our minivan which was the only thing keeping me from jumping out of the moving car every time a contraction came.  I threatened my husband. I told him we were never having another child.  I may have told him I hated him and that I would never sleep with him again.  I’m not really sure.  I did a lot of screaming. A lot of drug demanding.

I think women who intend to have a natural child birth do so with a specific mind set and game plan.  They probably handle the situation of labor and child birth with a more zen, can-do attitude when the rip-roaring, out of body kind of pain takes your breath away.

I am not that woman.  I am crass and loud and sarcastic and have no need to have a drug-free birthing experience.  I wanted an epidural and I wanted one now.

By the time we arrived at the hospital I began to become hysterical.  I started crying uncontrollably and could barely speak.  I remember my husband running me in a wheel chair to the wrong elevator and a nurse asking if we were for maternity (bitch, please).  When we simultaneously yelled “yes!” she then asked if we were the idiots coming from over an hour away.

Yep, us again.

“Oh they’re waiting for you honey!”

And waiting they were.  A 7pm arrival meant I was interrupting shift change and a woman in transition was a sight to see.  Nurses crowded my large delivery room.  No joke, there were at least 5.  They moved me from my wheel chair to a bed and immediately began stripping me.  Like seriously one grabbed my panties, another my bra and someone took my dress.  I didn’t even care.  Stark, free willy, ass pregnant naked getting into a hospital gown and I was all “whatev’s.”  When they went to put on my hospital gown I said “No. No.  I have a dress.”  The nurse looked at me like I was fucking bananas and went “great.  You can wear it after.”  I didn’t have the energy, or time to argue with her that no, this was a special ordered delivery gown that was super cute and comfy and had snaps down the back and up the belly for easy monitoring and buttons at the straps for nursing and damnit, I was going to fucking wear this dress.  Because my next contraction told me that I so fucking didn’t care where that dress was or if I ever wore it (I did by the way.  About a half hour after my son was born I put it on).

Someone checked me and said “she’s 5!”

I yelled above all the commotion.  “Does that mean I can stay?”

Someone else said “uh yeah.  You’re gonna have a baby.”

I still hadn’t seen my husband appear yet.  No one could find a vein to take blood and I was repeatedly begging for an epidural while the same nurse kept telling me no, I had to wait until they sent my blood off to be tested for counts and that I would have to wait at least 20 minutes.

20 minutes?  What?  I will be dead in 20 minutes.  I would surely die.

I threatened lives.  I told the nurses they were lying to me.  I kept asking for drugs.  I writhed around in my bed, thrashing against the bed rails so hard the right side of my jaw was sore for two weeks.I told you, this wasn’t going well for me.  I was a zoo animal.  Within 20 minutes of being in that room I went from 5 centimeters to 7.  By the time I signed the paperwork authorizing my epidural, at 7:33pm, I was unable to talk to anyone or even say any more “fucks” during contractions.

I was also completely incapable of sitting completely calm and still to get an epidural, which at the time of insertion of the catheter I was 9 centimeters and uncontrollably pushing. My poor nurse, Janet, was totally sexually harassed by me in that experience.  I think I grabbed her in places that no one ever has while getting that procedure and nearly strangled her trying to get through that minute of stillness as the nurses and the anesthesiologist bickered over whether even giving me an epidural this late in the game was worth it.

I remember the doctor taping the catheter to my back, rolling me over, me yelling for my husband to come back (thrown out due to a fainting risk…puss), and someone shoving my legs in stirrups.  My son was born two minutes later.  So much for an epidural.

When he was born he was handed right into my outstretched arms.  Slightly slimy, mostly clean and so warm to the touch.  So little.  So purple in the face from his rushed entrance into the world.  He was born 46 minutes after I wheeled into that room.  I had endured the longest and most painful car ride of my life, during which I am pretty sure my husband would have been straight out arrested for the kind of speeding he did had we been pulled over.  I do not think the Honda Odyssey is made for speeds over 90 mph.

In the span of 46 minutes I successfully, and naturally, took us from a family of 3 to a family of 4.  I, a mother of 1 to a mother of 2.  46 minutes of crazy to have this perfectly calm, quiet moment holding my son. The moment I held him I was relieved.  When my daughter was born I cried.  When my son was born I immediately asked him “where have you been?! I have been waiting for you!”

It was so fast and so surreal.  As much as I hated the pain I felt victorious.  I am woman.  Hear me roar (or scream).

My husband and I stayed in that room for almost 2 hours before moving to our second home upstairs later that night.  I held my son and sang to him and nursed him.  I asked why the hell boxing was on the TV when I was pushing and lights kept going on an off (I was told by the staff it’s because I kept hitting the buttons that control the TV and lighting on the side of the bed as I thrashed around during contractions.  I missed a good light show at one point).  I thanked my husband for giving me the second of my two most greatest gifts in life and my most unexpected to date.

People who have one child wonder if when you have a second child you have enough love for them.  They wonder if their heart is big enough for more.  They wonder if there will be enough to go around to everyone.  I wondered these things.  I worried it wouldn’t be the same.  How could it be?  How could you love another person as much as you love the existing child you are already raising, adore and worship?

It can be.  It is so.  My heart was instantly so big it could burst.  If you see the pictures below, taken within minutes of having each of my babies–my face is the same.  Pure happiness.  The best kind of happiness.  The most giving, endless kind of love.

Presentation1

My son is 3 1/2 weeks old and I can hardly remember what life was like before him.  Of course I do, but now life is so much fuller.  More full than I ever even imagined or knew I wanted.  A few days after we came home from the hospital the four of us went for a walk around our property.  My husband and my daughter walked on ahead on the trail as I slowly followed behind carrying our son.  Brian was snapping photos and Marley was chit chatting about something, the dogs were chasing who knows what into the woods and I looked down at my newborn son and began to cry.  When my husband saw me he immediately panicked thinking PPD had set in way early.

In fact, it was the opposite. In that moment I looked around at my family and I felt so blessed and euphoric.  My life felt truly full which was a feeling I had never known was possible to recognize until that very second.

My son is my surprise. The day I found out I was pregnant we had a a snow storm.  If I think about it now, my son is like my snow globe.  Everything from finding out he would exist, to my pregnancy, to his birth, shook me up and brought a whirlwind of change and chaos and a blurry future I hadn’t anticipated.  And then he was born.  The snow settled.  My life has become quiet and calm inside despite the craziness of having ’2 under 2.’  He has taught me that while you’re cuddled up indoors with a house in total dish destruction, toy disarray, laundry overload and an uncontrolled volume of two kids needing something at the same time…nothing else matters on the outside. He has shown me that you can’t plan for the unplanned but you can enjoy every single second of peace and joy an unexpected snow storm can bring.


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