Archive for March, 2009

What Not to Wear

Sometimes I buy clothes in the little Girls department and cut the tags out so no one will know.

Am I secretly afraid that I’m going to show up somewhere wearing the same thing as someone’s eight year old daughter? Yes. Of course I am.

But before you go judging me, let me just say that I’m short, I have a short torso, narrow shoulders, and most women’s clothes just don’t fit. I usually shop in the Juniors department since it‘s less embarrassing. But, Girls clothes are cheaper than Women‘s or Juniors, and thanks to the childhood obesity epidemic, I’ve found that a size large in Girls is usually bigger than a size small in Juniors. So, sometimes I buy my clothes from Limited Too or Toys R Us. Suck it. You would do it too if you were me. (or maybe you already do…)

I’ve been looking for a new dress for Easter with no luck. So, the other day, I left Sam home with daddy and went to yet another store to see if I could find anything. The baby came along with me.

I’m beginning to think that little girls are the only demographic that the stores cater to at Easter. The women’s/juniors department only had 3 dresses. One was a polyester floral grandma uniform. And the other two were a tragic, identical pair of man-made-fiber wrap dresses– one in black and the other in red. They were hideous and not very Easter-y.

So, I checked out the girls dept. and there were dresses galore. Some too juvenile and frilly, and some too short and geared for prosti-tots. Not much there that I could see myself in. Then I found a dress that I didn’t particularly love, but I also didn’t hate it and it looked like something an adult would wear. It had a fitted halter bodice, a full, A-symmetric skirt, and was a dark dusty pink in a nice, heavy cotton. (Maybe you’ve seen it. Perhaps your daughter is wearing it right now.)

I decided to try it on. I wheeled my sleeping baby into the fitting room with me, and squeezed the fitted bodice over my slightly enlarged nursing-mama breasts.

BLECH! I held my arm against my forehead to shield the glare coming from my pasty white legs. My breasts became one in the tight bodice…a smothered uni-boob compressed in a pretty pink wrapper. The hem hit just below my knee in the front and back, and tapered mid-calf on the sides, making my colorless calves look swollen and ugly. As if that weren’t bad enough, I learned that a full skirt does not hide widened hips and a little extra junk in the trunk like I thought it would …it accentuates it.

Why didn’t I just order something online? I love online shopping. It’s quick and easy, and you don’t have to wear pants if you don‘t want to. I’ve taken hours and hours to look in several stores, just to find there’s nothing out there. I could’ve done that at home on my computer in 45 minutes.

I untied the halter straps behind my neck and began to pull the top down. Hmm, too tight…won’t come down. I tugged and pulled. Trying to lift it up or pull it down. It wouldn’t budge.

Crap, it’s stuck.

I try again and again to peel the top half of the dress from my womanly figure.

CRAP. Crap, crap crap. It’s really stuck. Apparently, little girls’ dresses weren’t made for nursing mothers, who knew? I never tried on Girls sizes with my current breast volume.

Maybe I should have thought this out a little more.

  • The baby starts to cry *

Ohhh, crrraappp. Please don’t let his crying cause my milk to come down and my breasts to swell even more.

That’s it. They’ll have to cut me out of this thing. I’m going to have to call the store clerk in here to cut it off of me. There’s no other way it’s coming off.

I divided my attention between consoling the baby and trying to get myself out of this pink nightmare of a dress. And after some circus-worthy contortion on my part, I finally got it off.

So, I went home defeated and looked online. I found a dress that I LOVE and that is unmistakably adult. I’ll leave the tag attached and I won’t have to worry that anyone’s daughter will be hunting Easter eggs in this little number.

…I just hope it fits.

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March 31, 2009 at 8:00 pm 8 comments

Could Be Worse

As the day started out, I made the grocery list, got the boys dressed, and slapped on a bit of makeup (lest I be asked at the grocery store checkout again if it’s a WIC order.)

Could be worse.

I had my 8 feet of overpriced stretchy cotton…aka my Moby wrap…bandaged around me, ready to wear my living accessory while shopping. I packed snacks and cell phone, coupons and diapers and we were close to making our way out when baby had the audacity to touch Sam’s fire truck. Long story short, Sam ended up in a time out…that he seemed to enjoy… for his unwillingness to share. I spot baby on the floor eating my grocery list.

Could be worse.

Max had an unexpected poop, Sam needed to use the potty before we left, and I was getting hungry. Wow, almost lunchtime already? Baby was tired, hungry and fussy. So, off with the Moby, up with my shirt, and introduce hope that a quick snack would suffice…and perhaps lull baby into a milk coma that would last until we got home. No such luck.

But, could be worse.

Get coats and shoes on ….Sam rambles, “Can doggie come with us? No. okay. Just baby then.”… Sam hops in his seat …I click baby’s carrier in the base ….Crap, I forgot to rewrite the list (or bring the chewed pieces of the old one) ….Turn the key in the ignition, and just before driving off I hear, “Mommy, can you buckle me in?”

Could I be a worse mom?

We got to the store and I asked Sam if he would rather ride in a car-shaped cart or go to the Eagle’s Nest (childcare room). I hoped he’d choose Eagle’s Nest, so he chose car cart. After testing three carts, he decides on one and we’re ready for some shopping. Max was drowsy, so I left him in his carrier and hoped he would nap while I shopped. No such luck.

But could be worse, I know.

Max was fine as long as I kept moving, but would cry at every stop. Sam was whiney. I was hot, hungry, and annoyed. My bag kept falling off my shoulder and their was no room in the stupid undersized car cart for the bag, baby and groceries.

Could be worse though.

Sam’s whining prompted me to offer him his snack.
“Here Sam, do you want some Goldfish?” …I handed him the bag ‘o fish and reached in the bag for hand-sanitizing wipes. “Here. Wipe your hands firsss….Nevermind.”

Could be….you know.

So, we finally get to the check out line and Sam spots the “Cars” movie playing in the Eagle’s Nest.

Not much could be worse.

He eventually agreed to go home after a popsicle bribe, and Max finally fell asleep (now that it’s time to go).

Things could always be worse.

We pull up in front of the house and Sam has a breakdown because we’re home. “I want to go back to the grocery store and watch Cars. I don’t want to be home!”

Oh, well.

I leave both kids strapped in while I bring the groceries in. After he’s released, Sam gets out of the car to greet the dog who is sniffing out another good place to pee. Before I had a chance to carry the baby up the steps, Sam took off down the neighbor’s driveway and into their yard. I set the baby down on the sidewalk and chased after him ..when merely shouting for him to come back didn’t yield desired results.

Could be worse…

After I chased him far enough into the neighboring yard that the baby was out of my sight, I went back to pick up the carrier. I got half way toward baby in front of the house when I saw Sam run toward the road in the back of the house. He turned the corner and ran to the end of the block. I had to abandon the baby in his carrier in front of the house…on the sidewalk. I ran as fast as I could, screaming Sam’s name at the full capacity of my lungs. My bellowing caught the attention of the driver of an oncoming car, who stopped in case the boy stepped off the curb. Sam froze at the sight of the car and I was able to get him.

Could definately be worse.

I grabbed his hand and we ran together back to the baby who was thankfully safe and sound on the sidewalk in front of the house.

It could definitely be worse.

“I’m sorry I runned away mommy. I’m sorry I runned away.”

ME: **silent**

“Mommy, I’m sorry I runned away. I’m sorry I runned away momma.”

ME: **silent**

I took his coat off without saying a word, carried him upstairs without a sound. I knew a time out wouldn’t phase him today. I had to spank him. He has to learn that running away is beyond unacceptable. I tried to explain to him as he wailed why he had to get that swat. Then I told him he had to stay in his room for a while. (i.e. until I calmed down). For the next hour I periodically stood at the bottom of the steps to listen to him. He cried for a while, then recovered. Eventually he started to play, then was silent. I went up to the top of the steps to see if he fell asleep. He was sitting on the floor beside his bed. When he saw me, he ran up to the doorway with an immediate, sincere apology. “I’m sorry I runned away,” his humble voice poured out in remorse.

We sat on the steps and had a talk about why it is such a huge no-no to run away like that. I told him that a car could give him a boo-boo that a band-aid couldn’t fix and it would be very scary. He looked at me with a wide-eyed fear and understanding. I told him that I forgave him and he dove into me with a huge loving hug and a heartfelt “I wuv you, momma!”

Yeah, life could be worse….

March 28, 2009 at 1:44 pm 6 comments

Dreaming of Hairbows

Every Sunday morning I gaze across at a sea of patent leather mary-janes, hair bows, pigtails, and cute little dresses. Several little polo shirts paired with the same khaki pants are freckled in along with them…a few try to mix it up a bit with a sweater vest, but it’s still the same outfit.

I can’t help but feel a little pang of jealousy and longing.

It’s Easter time and I walk through various children’s clothing aisles. Every store has the same set-up. Row after row of sweet little girl things that taunt me with their cuteness…dresses, shoes, purses, hair bows, tights, jewelry. Then off to the side, there’s one sad little boy rack who stands in the corner. He’s whispering “injustice” with all of his identical little mini-vest outfits that come in a choice of 3 predictable color combinations.

I can’t help but feel a little pang of jealousy and longing.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my boys. I love having boys period. If I had two girls, I’d feel a jealous longing for a boy.

When my husband and I first got engaged, we decided on our future children’s names…yeah, we like to be prepared like that I guess. We were sure we would have two children -a girl and a boy- called Corinne and Samson. We both had a dream about Corinne shortly after we were married. She was about 2, had dark curly hair…and was the firstborn in both of our dreams. We were sure those dreams would someday come into fruition.

I imagined myself with Corinne many times before I got pregnant. Funny thing happened though…once I found out I was pregnant, I got an internal sense immediately that it was a boy. My husband started talking about “her” and about the dreams, and it hit me. Of course it’s a girl! How was that not my first instinct?

My mom called the baby “she” in the beginning too, and when I reminded her that it might be a boy, she said “oh it has to be a girl!”

My sister had 3 bags of pink dresses before the pee dried on the pregnancy test.

I tried to warn everyone before the ultrasound that I really thought it was a boy. Although no one seemed disappointed, I apologized at the words “it’s a boy” as if I were comforting a friend who just got some bad news.

But everyone was excited to imagine meeting this baby boy, and we loved calling him Sam. My focus turned toward designing the “Sam I Am” nursery (that I had been planning for the past 5 years), and my sister’s focus went toward organizing the baby shower with the same Suess-y theme.

I assumed the little girl from our mutual dream would come in the form of baby #2. In fact, I was going to make sure of it.

I met someone when I was pregnant with Sam who told me about the Chinese Birth Chart. He told me that it was an amazingly accurate gender predictor that works by corresponding the age of the mother at the time of conception with the month of conception. He said that his brother and sister in law’s ultrasound tech was wrong about the gender of both their children, but that the Chinese Birth Chart correctly predicted the sex both times. I ran home and googled it and checked what it predicted for myself and a few of my pregnant and recently post-partum friends. It was right for all of us. Over the next couple years, I became obsessed with its accuracy. I checked it for every pregnant woman I encountered. It was only wrong once out of the twelve or more pregnancies I tested it on before I got pregnant the second time.

I was so convinced of it’s accurate gender predicting capabilities, that I used it to plan the timing of our next child’s conception. It said that at age 31, a conception that occurred in Oct, Nov, or Dec would result in a baby girl. So, naturally I made it a plan to start trying for our second in October. That way, if it didn’t work, we would have two more “girl months” to try.

I got pregnant immediately. But a funny thing happened. I got the exact same internal feeling that I was carrying a boy that I had gotten when I found out I was pregnant with Sam. But I just shook it off and assumed it was just an inclination reminiscent of my last pregnancy. The Chinese Birth Chart wasn’t wrong.

Again, my husband prayed for “her” health and my sister bought another 3 bags of girl clothes. Even my mother-in-law was sure it was a girl, and my sister-in-law, and most everyone who had an opinion on the matter. Only one friend guessed it would be a boy (but that’s another blog for another time).

I continued to test the CBC on every pregnant woman I could find. Ironically, as soon as I got pregnant, it started reversing its accuracy every time. If it read “boy,” the woman would have a girl and vice versa. Every. Time. It got to the point that I could accurately predict the gender of a woman’s baby by telling her she would have the opposite of what the CBC predicted.

Sure enough, the Chinese Birth Chart was wrong for me too. And I am so glad it was. I have learned so much about God’s mercy and wisdom through this experience, and I feel so guilty and ashamed for trying to control what a beautiful, fun loving gift He had for me.

My little Max is so awesome. I worried that I wouldn’t have a close relationship with a boy like I would with a girl. My mom was always my best friend, and I’ve always wanted a close relationship like that with my children. It just seemed like it would be more likely…and more familiar…to have a deep bond with a daughter. But, as Anne Shirley might say, Max is a “kindred spirit.” He lights up with the biggest, happiest little grin every time he sees me, and I, him. He’s my little buddy, and has so much of my personality already (which might work against us someday, I know). Not to demean my love for, or my relationship with, my older son. It’s just that I love how I tried to make sure Max would be a girl, and it turned out that I couldn’t have planned a more awesome baby if I could have designed him myself. God, You Rock!

Even if Max would have been a girl, I know that we would still try for a third. Some people just know when they’re pregnant that they want it to their last child. I never got that sense. I felt through my pregnancy and Max’s infancy that “this just can’t be the last time I do this.” So, if it is in God’s will, we will hopefully have another. And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping for a girl next time.

But even if I never get to buy a little dress or twist a little pigtail of dark curls, at least I can take advantage of the stores that sell a couple little extra boy accessories during holidays. And who could not delight just as much in the adorableness of this…

dscn14772

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March 25, 2009 at 3:35 pm 9 comments

I Never Thought I Would Say…

There comes a time in a mother’s life when she hears herself say things she never thought she would say. Not because she made a conscious decision not to say them, but because she could not have possibly imagined a scenario that there would be a need.   For me, I really started to hear myself when my first was 18 months old.

Back then, what I caught myself saying was mostly a result of things going into his mouth…

What I heard myself saying (that I never thought I would) when Sam was 18 months:

Me to my hubby (as we look at the little teeth marks on the wrapper): “What if I get pregnant with our second because our first chewed a hole in the condom?”

“Ewww, don’t lick the bottom of your shoe! Eeeeeewwwwww!!”

***

Yesterday, I realized that there has been a shift. He’s older now, more mature. He no longer has a need explore with his mouth. I had a little conversation with him yesterday that let me know that the things I hear myself say now is a result of the things that come out of his mouth…

Sam spotted me in the kitchen spreading butter on bread and unwrapping Kraft singles cheese slices. Since he’s a kid unlikely to be left out of the process of grilled cheese preparation, he pushed a chair up to the counter and climbed on for a better look. He didn’t ask for a piece of cheese or for his turn to spread butter. Instead he leaned over the tub of Country Crock like it was a sink and he was brushing his teeth…

What I heard myself saying (that I never thought I would) now that Sam is age 3:

“Ew, did you just spit in the butter?”

(very matter-of-factly) “Yes”

“Whyyyy?”

“Because I don’t wike butter.”

=======================
….oh, the joys of motherhood
=======================

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March 23, 2009 at 1:45 am 6 comments

Convenience

I recently had the opportunity to sit in on a panel discussion on schooling options…Public vs. Private Christian vs. Home schooling. Each mother had incredibly convicting reasons why she chose the option she represented. Of the three, the most striking was the Public School representative.

Her narrative was so touching I almost shed a tear.

She passionately spoke about how their family believed that the public school system was a mission field and that they wanted to be involved in the school system as Christians as well as parents. She told stories about how they met with teachers and prayed with them. How the teachers would call them with prayer requests and tell them about students who could use a “positive influence.” Then she told the stories about the kids whose lives were affected through their decision to get involved. She spoke about the many letters they received over the years penned by these students as they approached their graduation day, outlining the family’s impact on their lives.

I wish I could say that’s why I’m leaning toward the public school option. But it’s not. I’m leaning toward public school because the schools are within walking distance from my house, there’s no tuition (unlike private), and it will give me a little kid-free time through the week (unlike home schooling).

Similarly, I wish I could say that my 8 month old still sleeps in our bed because co-sleeping is our family philosophy and we do it primarily to promote bonding and intimacy. Not that I disagree with that philosophy in any way, but it just wasn’t our “plan” before having children.

I had lots of “plans” about the type of parent I would be:

…I would never allow more than an hour of TV per day (if that)….studies showed that excessive TV viewing under age 3 increased the likelihood of ADD in adolescents.

… I would never give him candy to keep him quiet….well, that’s just bad parenting, and of course, all the popular literature disproved of it.

… I would never let my baby sleep in bed with me…too dangerous, almost everything I read warned against it.

All the popular literature had me freaking out over the potential risks of co-sleeping so much, I was a nervous wreck anytime my first son was in bed with us. I couldn’t get the hang of nursing lying down and he started sleeping through the night at 6 months, so it never was an issue. We were lucky to have such an easy baby.

By the time baby number two came along, I knew the TV and the candy had a stronghold on my parenting techniques, but co-sleeping still scared the crap out of me.

Things change.

When I was pregnant with my first, I saw his face in a dream and it was like I “knew” him. I don’t know how else to explain it, I just knew there was something special about that dream. I had a similar dream with my second. I could see his eyes sparkling with vivacity. I just knew he would be a happy baby.

And he is. Now. He’s the happiest baby ever…strangers nickname him “smiles.”

But he didn’t start out that way. I was so distressed when I thought I really didn’t “know” him from my dream the way I thought I would. He never seemed happy. He cried A LOT. It turned out that he had some reflux issues that resolved after a couple of months.

But he loved to cuddle, and always wanted to be held, just to be touching someone (mainly me). He would also wake up every two hours all night long. For MONTHS. So, as a sanity saver, I learned to nurse lying down.

At first, I attempted to put him back in his bassinet every time he finished nursing. But he was…(and still is)…a very light sleeper and almost always woke up the minute his head hit the bassinet mattress. Ironically, he would fall fast asleep the very second his head hit our mattress.

So, I eventually grew comfortable enough to fall asleep while feeding him in a side-lying position. And I didn’t move him when I woke up and realized he was still there. He slept so much better (and much longer) in our bed, so we did what worked.

Now I love having him sleep next to us. I love that he is such a cuddler and I love that my presence comforts him to a peaceful sleep.

Like I said, I wish I could say that he’s still there because it‘s our family philosophy to co-sleep. I wish we held to any parenting philosophy. I’m not totally sold on the Baby Wise thing nor am I completely sold on Dr Sears attachment style of parenting. Instead, it turns out that the Spilled milk family philosophy is CONVENIENCE.

The problem is, the selfish brand of “Convenience” parenting doesn’t come with any books.

But selfish and unselfish alike, my wavering thoughts these days are:

On one hand, I think he needs to learn independence and learn how to soothe himself to sleep. On the other hand, I know he’s not going to want to sleep with us forever and we want to cherish this time while it lasts.

On one hand, it’s dangerous for him to be in bed alone, so it ties me to the bed even when I don’t want to be there
On the other hand, I caught him a couple times lying on his stomach with his face down. I tried to wait as long as I could to see if it would startle him awake. I waited to (a slow) count of 10, and he didn’t move. So now I would worry as much about him sleeping in a crib outside my view as I did when he was born about the dangers of him sleeping in our bed.

My husband is as conflicted as I am. The sweetheart that he is, he enjoys snuggling with the baby as much as I do, and doesn’t mind him being there. On the other hand, he wouldn’t object to the baby moving out either since he misses the former “marital use” of the bed.

So, what to do? Either decision goes against the “Convenience” family philosophy. Allowing him to remain in our bed keeps our delightful codependent relationship blissfully in tact and allows me to monitor his sleeping positions, but hinders my husband’s sex life and my personal freedom to physically detach myself from my little snuggle junkie. But moving him means I’ll have to endure lots of crying and getting out of bed in the middle of the night, and I’ve grown quite fond of staying in bed through the night.

So, I’ll most likely wait another month, and if I don’t catch him kissing the mattress anymore, we’ll let the sleep training begin. It will be physically and emotionally stressful on all of us, but in the long run, it will promote the “Convenience” style of parenting it seems we have adopted. I hope.

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March 20, 2009 at 3:56 pm 5 comments

I’m No Superwoman

I usually don’t do math in public. But since numbers have so cleverly weaseled their way into our pregnancy and birth experiences, they have recently inspired me to write a post called Family Equation. In the post I mentioned giving birth without the sweet relief of an epidural. After receiving a few comments calling me “Superwoman”…“made of steel”…and so on, I attempted to respond. I usually don’t post responses simply because I assume no one will come back to read my crappy little newbie blog twice, so what’s the point? But anyway, the response I attempted got too lengthy and I didn’t have anything else to write about today, so here we are…..an elaboration on my personal birth experience and the real reason I pushed those puppies out without any pain meds….`

THE QUICK EXPLANATION:
When I was 13, I had to have surgery for scoliosis (curvature of the spine). I had a rib and 5 discs removed, they straightened my spine as much as possible, and used two metal rods to support my spine’s new location. Those rods had to be connected to each other by even more metal reaching across the spine all the way down to my tailbone, thus rendering me unable to ever receive an epidural.
                                                            ***

THE LONG EXPLANATION:
I can honestly say that while there are some career related endeavors I would love to explore, all I’ve ever really wanted out of life was to be a mother. I would be perfectly content if this is my only lot in life from here on out. I’ve always known that I would feel that way. I subscribed to Parenting magazine for 3 years before I even attempted to get pregnant and had very definite opinions about how my future children would be raised.

I kept hoping that my desire to become a mother would outweigh my fear of giving birth. But, knowing that an epidural was not an option for me, I was paralyzed with fear of childbirth. And just because it‘s my style, I obsessed relentlessly over it. I couldn’t count the number of Baby Story documentaries I watched on TLC over the years in an attempt to familiarize myself with the childbirth process and somehow stifle my fears.

When I first saw the positive result on our pregnancy test, I was of course full of excitement. Then, naturally, I had an anxiety attack three minutes later. Exclamation points exploded in my mind. “I’m pregnant and there’s nothing I can do about it! One way or another this baby is going to have to come out of me, and either way it’s going to HURT!” Visions of myself writhing in pain clouded all the enthusiasm and joy that I had just been so full of 3 minutes earlier. Thankfully, my husband was there, still bursting with excitement, and was able to talk me off the proverbial ledge as he has had to do many times before and since. We began dreaming and planning….OK, Time to focus. Time to make lists (my favorite way to cope). Time to share the wonderful news with the family…

Seven months later, after a particularly stressful day, I went to bed and attempted to adjust my giant belly into a comfortable sleeping position. Shifting from my right side to the recommended left-side pregnancy sleeping position, I felt a kind of *pop* “down there.” I announced alarmingly to my groggy husband, “My water broke!”

His reply? …”What, are you sure you didn’t just pee?”

I showed him the undeniable evidence and we both panicked. It was too soon, I wasn’t due for another month. There go those exclamation points again….

We pulled ourselves together, prayed, then looked at my most recent list. It had three columns: One titled “Things to take to the hospital,” followed by “Things we have” and “Things we need to buy.” Wow. That “Things we need to buy” column is a lot longer…

We scrambled through the house throwing things into bags and showed up at the hospital with two large totes and a messenger bag packed full of stuff I really didn’t need. The nurse at the registration desk giggled, “You look prepared!” I smirked back “Not really.”

After we got settled in and had been there a few hours, my exhausted hubby fell asleep in the chair next to my bed and began to snore. He snored in perfect rhythm with my lamaze breathing: “SNORREE…hee….SNORE…hee…”

I was progressing slowly but surely, still waiting for the “real” pain to kick in. At this point, the pain still wasn’t any worse than my worst menstrual cramps. That’s actually defining the intensity of my menstrual cramps more than down-playing the intensity of my labor pains. Part of the reason I was so afraid of labor was my excruciating monthly cramps. “If I can’t handle this, then how will I ever handle labor?” I often asked myself.

Anyway, I don’t know if it was because my baby was only 4 ½ lbs or if God just had unbelievable mercy on me, but I was fortunate enough to go through 15 hours of labor and not experience any “real” labor pains. If I could have gotten an epidural I would not have needed it.

                                                            ***

So, How do I know what “real” labor feels like?…..

When I was pregnant with my second son, I made sure I was prepared. I had re-taken lamaze, I knew what I needed and had everything packed efficiently into one sensible bag by the time I reached week 33.

When I went to my 36 week appointment, the doc told me I was 2 cm dilated and 100% effaced. At my 37 week appointment, a different doctor used his skilled fingers to discover I was 3 ½ cm dilated and the baby’s head was low. At my 38 week appointment, yet another doctor in the practice examined me and his eyes literally bulged out of his head in shock as he projected “Oh, my GOODNESS!”

Just what a girl needs when she is on the verge of giving birth and has a man’s hand you-know-where.

“WHAT?!”

“I can’t BELIEVE you haven’t had this baby yet! His head is REALLY low.”

He instructed me to get to the hospital ASAP if I get “a roll of contractions.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but whatever, I just hoped my water would break again so I would KNOW when to go to the hospital.

He told me I could go ahead and make an appointment for the next week, though it would be unlikely that I would make it. He was right.

A few days later, I had random Braxton-Hicks type contractions all day. They weren’t timable and they weren’t painful. By late evening, I asked my sister if she would take Sam overnight, just in case. I thought it wouldn’t hurt to let them check me out just to be sure. We took our time packing last minute essentials, showering, etc and got to the hospital at about 11pm. As we walked across the parking lot, I started spouting off random smug gibberish…

“….just watch, I’m probably 8 cm, and haven’t even had any pain….

….if this is labor, I don’t know what women complain about all the time….

…I should do this professionally!…”

I get changed into my fancy backless gown, and the nurse examines me. “eight, say eight” I will her to inform.

“mmm, a good five”……………What? FIVE? That’s it?

Oh, well, I’m sure it will pick up from here.

The nurse said they will admit me once I start progressing. So I ask if I can walk around to try to get things movin’a bit. A few minutes later, I start having contractions that make me want to drop to my knees. ….Whoa! Where did that come from? I don’t remember that kind of pain. Ever. OK, breathe.

I get back in bed so I can be hooked up to the monitor. Contractions are coming regularly, and more intense. It’s getting harder, but still the lamaze breathing helps. After another hour passes, it’s time to check my cervix again.

I’m sure all that pain must mean something. Maybe I’m at least at seven.

“Five and a half.” sweet nurse sighs in sympathy. “Still not enough to admit you, but I know you’re in labor.”

…A half of a centimeter!! I dialate to five with no pain, and I only get half of a centimeter with pain?! What crap! What will I do if they send me home? I’m in real pain here, I don’t even think I could make it to the car…

So, another hour later I finally reach 6 cm and they admit me. In walks a doctor with a long skinny device in a plastic wrapper. I had watched enough Baby Story documentaries to know what that was. He’s going to try to break my water.

Yeah, right! I’ve also seen enough Baby Story documentaries to know that the pain gets wayyyyyy worse once they break your water. I vowed to never, ever let that happen to me.

After a stressful argument with the doctor…a doctor who I never met, who was on call from another practice nonetheless…..I reluctantly agree to it.

About five minutes later, I regretted it. Between contractions….contractions that breathing no longer helped….I informed my husband that I would under no circumstances let them break my water with the next baby.

He looked petrified watching me in such agony. He only relaxed for a moment, when somewhere out of the deep recesses of my Office mega-fan brain I groan out “It hurts so bad, I just want it out…..That’s what she said!”

The nurse looked so uneasy….apparently not many women attempt natural childbirth these days, go figure. She tried to convince me to at least take some Demoral. I rejected it since I’ve heard too many stories from friends who told me that it really only makes you feel “out of it,” but doesn’t do much for the pain. She left and my poor husband watched sympathetically as I writhed in pain exactly the way I had imagined when I got pregnant with Sam.

The nurse came back in to start setting up all the medical birthing tools across the room when I got that urge. You know the one…the I-gotta-take-a-crap-NOW urge. It had only been 20 minutes or so since the doc broke my water. She checked me, and without a word she ran to the door, poked her head out and yelled “She’s complete!!!!”

My husband and I looked at each other with surprise and excitement.

The nurse rushed back in and began prepping the bed, transforming it to “birthing mode.” Another nurse ran in and stood over me telling me to breath “he, he, he, he,” and not to PUSH. Well, I didn’t push and I tried the breathing, but the baby was making his way out on his own, without any help from me.

His head came out, and the awesome nurse had to hold his head in one hand while she tried to prep the metal table beside her at the same time with the other. She was fantastic. Meanwhile, I plop my head down on the pillow and shout “Oh, that feels SOOO much better!”

A few minutes later the rest of the baby was born and I never felt so relieved about anything in my life.

                                                          ***

Now that the same sweet baby is 8 months old, we are contemplating when we might start trying for another. I can’t tell you how much I wish I could have my dream strategy for the next: to get an epidural and then have my water broken after it kicked in. So, you see. I’m a wimp forced into an epidural-free birthing situation. And while I still enjoy the bragging rights, I am most certainly not a Superwoman.

March 18, 2009 at 6:50 pm 5 comments

Brother Love

Since we brought the baby home from the hospital, Sam seemed to think of the baby as “his.” A step up from a toy, but a step down from the dog. Now that the baby is crawling, he seems to have promoted baby to house pet.

He loves to feed him those little easily dissolving baby snack puffs like he feeds the dog doggie treats. He spends his days lately encouraging the baby to chase him around the house, …“here little baby brotherrr,“ I hear him prompt. Sam loves to pick baby up and carry him from room so Max can watch him play. Yesterday he grabbed the baby by the arm and dragged him into the bathroom like a little rag doll so baby could watch him go potty. (Yes, he’s learned not to pull his brother by his arm. No, I don‘t think his desire to have his brother watch him take a dump is grounds for counseling. Not yet.).

Baby spends his days with excited shrieks and giggles. He LOVES all the attention from big brother Sam. Big bro has trumped mommy in the family hierarchy since the beginning. It warms my heart to see his face light up when he sees his big brother. There’s nothing better than watching the baby eagerly make his way toward Sam with his cute little diapered bottom in the air, his pudgy little legs dragging wobbly across the carpet, and a huge toothless grin beaming across his face.

This having two kids thing is getting more fun. I know that all too soon the jealousy and fighting will set in and little bro will cramp big bro’s style. But for now, I savor watching the two of them enjoy each other. I don’t want to forget this …these days when Sam wants his little brother around. When he calls “here little baby brotherrr.”

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March 17, 2009 at 11:26 am 4 comments

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