Friday, December 30, 2011

When A Door Closes, A Window Opens

Well it only took six months before I had my first royal mommy screw-up. We flew to South Carolina and back just fine, I had enough milk, books, toys, ect. for both holiday trips. I've never forgotten anything for daycare. I've always had enough diapers, wipes, always made enough baby food, have only had to supplement his milk with formula once since the Puppp issue, due to supply issues while road tripping during Thanksgiving. No major crisis, no major flub-ups, until now.

Yesterday evening Tyler and I were waiting for his bottle to warm up. I let Thor outside and Tyler thinks Thor is HILARIOUS. That little boy loves that dog. So from the window of the back door we were watching Thor run around the yard. Then I had the fantastic idea of going outside with the dog while the bottle warmed up. All three of us are outside playing in the yard for about 20 minutes I picked Tyler up and headed toward the house and the door wouldn't open. It was locked. I thought, "What in the world?" Our backdoor has two locks, the doorknob and the deadbolt. The doorknob doesn't lock, the lock is stuck in the unlock position and no amount of WD-40 or Ryan's or my dad's strength can budge that thing. We use the deadbolt. Obviously a deadbolt can only be locked from the inside, you can't lock the deadbolt then close the door, the deadbolt will block the door from being closed. I must have tried opening that door 20 times in less than a minute. Surely my mind was playing tricks on me. There's no possible way it could have locked behind me. It was locked, locked tight. I didn't have my keys, or my cell. I had a dog and a baby and two chairs, that's it.

There was a brief moment of OMIGOD, WHAT THE FUCK DO I DO!!! We have a shed area joining the house, I tried that door-locked. Tried the back door again-locked. We have a 6ft. privacy fence enclosing our backyard; I tried both gates-both locked with padlocks. I thought, "Maybe I can jump the fence," but 1)the front door is locked, 2)it's too far of a drop so I'd need to leave Tyler in the backyard by himself and there aren't slats on the other side of the fence so I risk not being able to get back over the fence to get to him. Obviously that idea is a no go. I tried the back door again-locked. I cursed. A lot. If I had to I could wait until Ryan got home but he was in Mississippi and wouldn't be home until about 9pm. It was 5pm. I went for the windows-all locked. Tried the back door again-locked. I guess I figured since the back door magically locked itself, it would magically unlock itself? I have no idea.

Tyler thought this whole scenario was hilarious and was laughing uncontrollable the entire time as I ran from door to window to gate furiously trying to open one of them. The only option I had left was to either yell for my neighbors and HOPE they heard me or break into the house. My neighbors don't have keys to the doors or the gates. There are three people who have keys besides myself. One person is in NYC for the week, one is in Mississippi and the other is in Atlanta for the week. I'm sure the police or fire department could break into the house but they'll cause the most damage and it being New Year's it was highly unlikely the doors or locks would be replaced before Tuesday. So, either I break into the house and attempt to cause as little damage as possible or I scream bloody murder, hope someone hears me, helps me, and watch while someone busts my door down.

I tried the windows again and found one of the windows a fraction of an inch further from the siding than the other windows. I pulled the screen off and was able to jimmy my pinky into the gap making it bigger. I pushed and pulled on that window for about 20 minutes, finally it popped out of the casing just enough so I could strip the weather gard and pry it out of the jam. Our windows are really high on the house, they start at my chest and I'm short, so there was no way I could jump into the house with Tyler. I was not a fan of laying him on the ground with my hyper dog running around, but I had no option. I laid him as close to the house as I could, jumped through the window, ran through the house, flew open the door and scooped up my precious baby. He was fine.

I was able to pop the window back into place and gerryrig the lock, although we have a nice draft coming from where I stripped the weather strip. After the whole ordeal I wasn't sure if I should be thankful that whoever installed that window did a lousy job or upset that if I can break into my house anyone can. I called Ryan, turns out the job in MS took longer than he expected and wouldn't be home till about 11pm. If I wasn't able to get through that window I don't know what we would have done. I would have had to break the window glass I guess.

Our outside lights weren't even on! We would have been trapped back there, no food, nothing other than the clothes on our backs in the pitch black. I want to kick myself for not being more cautious. One things for sure, that won't happen again!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas!

We will be out of town for Christmas and I won't be bringing my laptop with me, so Merry Christmas early from Steph, Ryan and Tyler!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Flying Babies

We are flying to my parents for Christmas. The drive to TN for Thanksgiving was rough, not because Tyler was difficult, Tyler was an angel, but because Ryan and I both worked a full day and were exhausted. The drive back was even worse, we sat in traffic for three extra hours due to multiple accidents and didn't even get home until 2am. Do we want a repeat of that, no thank you, so we're flying.

I'm a nervous wreck about this. I've never flown with a kid before, let alone tried bringing a ton of crap through security including milk and food. I've done my research, talked to people who have flown with kids and even contacted TSA just to make sure I know what to expect and have all my ducks in a row. The LAST thing I want to do is have them tell me we can't fly, we miss our flight or end up having to leave something we need behind. I'm nervous about security, but I have my head around it. The actual flying however makes me want to twitch.

Have you ever been on a flight with a baby? More than likely the baby starts screaming when the air pressure changes in the cabin. The kid doesn't realize that his head isn't going to explode and starts screaming because he's uncomfortable. Babies can't talk, it's their only form of communication. Never, not in all my flying have I ever seen anyone be nice and understanding with the parents of the screaming kid. They get dirty looks, they're avoided, I've heard them be cussed out. Is the screaming kid annoying? Yes. Is it the parents fault? No. It's not the babies fault. The baby doesn't understand, he's too little. I remember being on one flight and some dude reamed a mom out. Her baby was crying, and she was doing everything she could to calm him down, nothing was working. Homeslice over there told her that if she was half a decent mother she would be able to control her kid. This dude obviously knew crap about babies, kids, or women. I felt terrible for her. The rest of the flight she tried consoling her baby with tears streaming down her face.

I don't want Tyler disturbing everyone on the plane. I don't want dirty looks from everyone. I don't want to be cussed out or told I'm a crappy mom. I don't care if these people know me, know my kid, know how I parent or not, I don't want any of that to happen. Who would? So for that I'm nervous.

This brings me to my main point. Why are people so intolerant of babies on planes? Their BABIES, they can't help it, they don't know any better. Adults however, do. We're not tolerant of the crying baby who doesn't understand what's going on, but we're tolerant of the lady crowding our paid for seat with her kitting bag. We're tolerant of the dude who's stomach and legs spill over on to our laps. We're tolerant of the lady who wants to talk our ear off the entire flight, and the dude who wants to whine about his divorce, and the guy who watches porn on his laptop the whole flight, and the girl who's Lady Gaga music is so loud you can hear it through her earphones. We're tolerant of the dude in the seat behind us who keeps kicking our seat, but we're not tolerant of the crying baby. Why are we not tolerant of the baby? Because the crying baby is annoying and it bothers us. Dude's stomach, knitting needle lady, porno man and tall seat kicker guy are also annoying, but we don't give them dirty looks or tell them their crappy for being large, knitting or too tall. We tolerate it. We think, "Oh great, dude's stomach is in my face, oh well, it's not like he has anywhere else to go." Or, "Of course, I would get the seat in front of Lurch, oh well, he can't help he's tall." Yet the minute a baby screams you hear, groans, sighs, see eye rolling and dirty looks in the kid's direction.

Well, I'm sorry you're inconvenienced, but it's a flight, not forever and you can deal with it. Chances are someones just as annoyed with you as you are with the crying baby and they're being polite and keeping their mouth shut and glares to themselves. Every flight I've ever been on that had a screaming baby I didn't give them dirty looks or said anything rude, the problem is, I didn't say anything at all and perhaps I should have. Perhaps I should have told the rude guy that told that mom she was crappy that I thought he was crappy that he obviously hadn't brushed his teeth in 10 years and I had to sit next to him the entire 2-hour flight. Perhaps I should have defended those parents who were given hell for trying to get to their family on the other side of the country, those parents who couldn't find a job near family and had to settle for a job many many hours away. Those parents who were just trying to get their baby home so that he could meet his grandparents.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sending Smiles

I'm sure you're all tired of the whole, "I'm super busy" comments, so I'll spare you and send some holiday smiles your way...





Thursday, December 1, 2011

What Do You Mean I Have To Pay To See Santa?

Remember when we were kids, we used to see Santa at the mall? You might wait in line a bit, but you would get up there, sit on Santa's lap, tell him you wanted the hottest new toy (for me it was the Star Stage), your mom or dad would take your picture, then off you went. I don't ever remember my mom forking over money. Ever. I do remember a professional photographer standing by waiting to take snapshots of the little ones for any parents who wanted professional photos. That, of course, was for "fancy" people. I don't think many people utilized that service. Our 35mm disposable Kodak sufficed just fine.

I was in the mall weeks ago getting my hair "did", and saw Santa's throne in the middle of the mall. I thought to myself, "Oh good, Santa's here, we can get Tyler's picture with him." As I walked past the winter wonderland I about-faced at the sign in front of Santa's area. $20 per kid just to see Santa, if you wanted a picture it was another $20, AND no personal picture taking allowed. Since when was a fee slapped on Santa? Seriously, visiting Santa has even become a Christmas money-making scheme? I guess no one wants to volunteer for this bit anymore, even the Santa's want to be paid. I thought surely it must just be this mall. Nope, it's most malls. Some may not charge a "sitting fee", but if you want a picture, you pay, none allowed you to take your own photo's.

Bass Pro Shop was the only place that I could find that did free Santa visits and pictures. That's their advertising too. "Free Santa visits!" How sad. Kids having to pay to see the big guy. What the hell. Needless to say, we went to Bass Pro. We were in Nashville visiting family for Thanksgiving, so we went to the Bass Pro up there. It was wonderful. The girls were dressed as elves, all were SUPER nice. Ahead of us in line, one of the little boys was scared and one of the elf girls was so great! Not only was she able to calm him down, while his mom tended to his infant sister, but as he walked away he was smiling and laughing! We had Tyler, Kael and Gabriel and they were so patient with us. Not only did they allow us to take as many of our own pictures as we wanted with each individual baby and as a group, but they took a professional one of their own of each kid and gave them to us for free. We waited about five minutes in line, and Santa looked crazy authentic. No fake beard or cheap costume. After seeing him, I wanted to tell him what I wanted for Christmas, surely this dude is the real deal! We had the best experience there. I totally recommend Bass Pro for seeing Santa, and if you're anywhere near Nashville, THAT Santa is totally worth going to see. He was awesome.

Tyler did great seeing Santa. He's not too patient with people he doesn't know holding him, but he was completely mezmerized by him. He kept feeling his beard, it was too cute!




Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Parenting Myths

I have been a parent for almost five months and in those short five months you learn a lot about what's real and what's crap. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and if you look, and not very far mind you, you will find a multitude of opinions on just about anything. Everybody knows, when you’re pregnant you get swarmed with “advice” aka people telling you what to do with your kid. These are people’s OPINIONS, most of time it’s based on what they went through or what someone they know went through and if it’s the latter it’s more than likely been exaggerated. Your kid isn’t their kid. You are not them. What worked for me may not work for my sisters, and what worked for my sisters may not work for their friends. You have to find what works for you. In my process of finding out what works for me I have discovered several myths. Just to remind everyone, I am in no way a health professional. I am a mom with my own experiences and my own opinions. None of this is intended as advice, you have to figure out what works for you.

Myth #1-If you don't nurse you won't have a strong bond with your baby. Yes, breastfeeding is best. We all know this, every doctor will tell you that, even the formula companies say that, right next to the sticker that says it’s pretty close to breast milk. It has antibodies that protect your little one and it’s easily digested which makes it more efficient for your baby. That doesn’t mean that mom’s and babies who don’t breastfeed don’t have a strong bond. My sisters and I were all formula fed and the bond we had and continue to have with our mom is unbreakable. She never nursed us at all. I have several friends who did both formula and nursing, I have some who just nursed, and some who just did formula. When you actually look at the relationships each of them have with their kids, without judgment or rose-colored glasses you can see they each have a strong bond with their kids. It didn’t come from their main food source, it came from that mom taking care of that baby. It came from that mom meeting that baby’s needs. I came from that mom taking time for that little one. And as Marina says, "It's not like you feed your kid from the end of a ten-foot pole in either case." Can nursing strengthen a bond, yes it can, but bottle feeding doesn't prevent a bond from forming or weaken a bond. Tyler gets breast milk but has not nursed since he was two months old. If you saw me with my son you couldn't possibly, logically think that we have a minimal bond or no bond at all.

Myth #2-Co-sleeping causes SIDS. Co-sleeping is quite the controversial topic right now. I will say that we never truly co-slept. Tyler was in a bassinet for about two weeks, then went to his crib and he’s been there ever since. The first two months of his life the kid wouldn’t take a nap unless someone was holding him, so there were many times we would fall asleep in the lounge chair. Tyler and Ryan take a nap mid-morning every Saturday in our bed and that gives me time to clean the house and do laundry. It’s difficult to roll over on someone in a lounge chair, not as difficult in bed so I keep an eye on Tyler when he’s sleeping with his dad. We’ve never had any issues. I have one friend who did co-sleep for the first few months. That baby is perfectly fine. Co-sleeping can be dangerous but if done properly and carefully your baby more than likely will be fine. Honestly, you know how you sleep. If you’re like a rock and sleep so hard that you don’t wake up easily, or fall asleep on one side of the bed and wake up upside down diagonally on the floor then maybe you should consider sleeping separate. Your kid, your life, your call. I can guarantee you that if something tragic does happen you’ll pay the price emotionally and mentally, and when you look at it like that you’ll think hard about the choices you make and if what you decide will truly work for you.

Myth #3-Baby sign language stunts verbal skills. Baby sign language has been pretty popular for a few years now. We were planning on signing with Tyler but he’s so verbal and tries so hard to communicate with us verbally (he’s already saying dada and hi!) we’ve been lazy with it. We talk to him and read to him, but haven’t really tried all that hard with the signing. Tyler responds better when you talk to him vs. signing to him. When you sign and talk he just looks at you all confused. I’ve heard two things-signing delays speech development, and I’ve heard that signing improves cognitive development. I know three people who consistently signed with their kids. Two of them are a little slow to talk, the other is already trying to read and she talks just fine. I have no idea if the speech “delay” (if you can even call it that) for the other two has anything to do with signing. The talker went to daycare, the other two stayed home. But I know kids who stayed at home and had no trouble with any milestones. My mom stayed home with my sister and she developed just fine. So, again we go back to the whole, if you want to sign with your kids go for it, if not, no biggie. Every kid is different and you should do what works for you.

Myth #4-Daycare kids have behavior problems, and developmentally slow. I’ll try not to stand on the soapbox too long. I have been on the receiving end of many horrendous comments about working mothers. I've probably heard it all. This is what I say, if a mom wants to stay home, that’s great. If a mom wants to go back to work, that’s great too. There is NOTHING wrong with either option. I know women who work out of necessity and I know women who work because they want to. A mom who chooses to work does not mean she is a selfish person. It doesn’t mean she is materialistic, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t love her kids, it doesn’t mean she wants to pawn her kids off on someone else to raise. She works for a reason and that reason is her own. You don’t live her life, so frankly you have no business making accusations about her. I know kids who stayed at home and have dealt with developmental hiccups, and I know kids who have gone to daycare and are ahead of the developmental game and vice versa. It’s not about whether your kid goes to daycare, it’s about the daycare your kid goes to. It’s OK to send your kid to daycare, just be choosy about where they go.

It can be very overwhelming for new mom's. There is so much advice it's very easy to get caught up in all of it and think you have to do something a certain way. That's simply not true. I made the mistake of taking every piece of advice to heart. I was so afraid of messing up. Reality is, you will mess up. You're human. Forgive yourself, learn, and move on. The best advice I have ever received and will ever receive came from my sister-in-law. Jenn told me that it's good to read and research but take it with a grain of salt, not all advice will work for you. Your kid is different and you have to find out what works, She's exactly right. A lot of parenting for me has been trial and error. I think that's how it is for a lot of people. In the end whether you breastfeed, bottle feed, co-sleep, sign, or utilize daycare what matters is that you love your kids, not just with words but with your actions. It's easy to say words, anyone can say the words, it's actions that matter.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

So I Know It's Been Awhile...

I'm pretty sure that time has shrunk since I've had Tyler. My day goes something like this:
Up @5am-pump, get ready for work
Tyler up @6am-feed him, get him ready for daycare
Work is 7-4
Pick Tyler up @4:15/4:30
We go for a walk and play until about 5:30, then it's time to pump and prep dinner
Tyler's dinner is at 6pm, he gets a bottle and solids now
Then he gets his bath, we read books and he hangs out in the swing while I cook dinner, and get stuff ready for the next day.
Ryan and I eat around 7, and Tyler goes to bed between 7-8pm.
After that, I clean up the kitchen, pack my lunch and bags, pack Tyler's bags and get his next days bottles ready.
I shower, and by then it's about 9pm, so I get on FB and usually fall asleep on my laptop.

I haven't worked out consistently since I've returned to work, I just don't have time during the week. I used to hear this from other working mom's and think, "Oh please, if you wanted it bad enough, you would find time." Shame on me, I had no idea what I was talking about. They REALLY don't have time. Unless I want to sacrifice time with Tyler or time sleeping there really is no time left in the day. Time with my son is precious and it will always come first, time with my pillow is also precious and the thought of only getting 5 hours of sleep so I can fit into my size two jeans again doesn't sound appealing at all. Sure I'll be skinny but I'll also be super cranky and unbearable to deal with.

I've been reading the same book for about eight months. It's ridiculous. It's one of the books in the Outlander series, and I LOVE that series, but every time I sit down to read (usually before bed or on the weekends while the little one is napping) I fall asleep.

The holidays are approaching and this is prime baking season. I really enjoy baking, I used to spend many weekends baking pies for work, cookies for Ryan while he was deployed, goodies for my friends. I tried to make muffins for breakfast last weekend and the batter sat on the counter for about three hours before I remembered I was supposed to be baking muffins. Tyler started fussing in the living room, I went to check on him, was consoling him and we started playing, then reading books, then we took a nap in the lounge chair.

I've always been a bit of a scatterbrain. This is why I'm super meticulous with having a place for everything and sticking to a routine. If I didn't, you'd find me in the closet walking in circles completely lost and confused. Before I got pregnant I was a multi-tasking machine. As long as I stuck to a routine and put things exactly where their "place" was I never lost anything and housework was always done. Since Tyler's been born I lose my cell phone at least twice a day, I think I might have dusted twice, and I forget things all the time. I've become a scatterbrained train wreck. I asked my doc what the hell was happening to my brain, that pregnant head wasn't a good excuse anymore now that I've had the baby. She said that breastfeeding causes your hormones to be all kinds of crazy, so it's like baby brain all over again. So I guess I have boob brain?

Four and a half months have gone by since Tyler was born. Everyday I thank God for the precious gift that is my son. Everyday I thank my lucky stars that I have him. I'm so humbled that Tyler was chosen for me. He's such a happy, smiley baby. I don't know how we got so lucky. I love being a mom, I have no idea what the heck I was doing with my life before Tyler came in the picture. Everyday he discovers something new, everyday is a new adventure, and I feel so blessed that I get to experience this new life with him. I used to hear these same words from other mom's, but I didn't get it until now. I didn't understand the love between a mom and her child. You hear about, and you think you comprehend but you don't until you have a child of your own. I get it now. It's the most amazing, all-consuming love I've ever experienced. I'm so thankful that I get to have this experience.







Thursday, October 13, 2011

Banks and Why They're Getting On My Nerves

I deal with two banks, one is with a credit union that Ryan and I have had since before the dinosaurs. We like that bank, never had any issues, everyone is super nice, their rates are reasonable, we're happy. I also have another account with a regular bank, non-credit union, that I've been with for about a year. Everyone is super nice and it's convenient. There are locations EVERYWHERE, and the return rate on my IRA is good; I was happy. WAS...happy. That bank is now charging fees out the whazoo for everything. If you use your debit card...fee. If your balance drops lower than $10,000...fee. If the wind blows east and you live out west...fee. Well, not really but I'm waiting for that one next. I so loved this bank because it wasn't like Wells Fargo and Bank of America with their fee mania happenings.

Hey, I get it, the banks are owned by stockholders and heaven forbid the stock holders not get their $3 dividends. But seriously WHY do American institutions insist on squashing the already dwindling middle class with their constant financial restraints. Not only did these banks get billions from the government to bail them out, but now they're charging more and more fees. I'm not a stockholder, I'm just a regular person with some money in the bank and a retirement account that more than likely won't be large enough for me to actually retire on before the age of 85. I don't want $3 dividends, especially when stocks fluctuate the way they do, I want money that I can count on NOW, not maybe sorta hopefully when I decide to turn my stock in.

Credit unions don't charge fees. Ya know why? Credit unions are owned by the bank members. They're for the people because they're run by the people, NOT the stockholders. There's some trade off there. Banks typically have branches everywhere, ATM's everywhere and they're beyond convenient. Credit unions are smaller, typically not nationwide, and have fewer ATM's. Credit unions don't have fees for their checking and savings accounts, their interest rates are lower on loans, and higher on your checking and savings accounts. So, do I want to pay $50 a year for a checking account, plus $4 a month every time I use my debit card, make the rich stockholders richer, and have easy access to my money in every state; or do I want to get to my money whenever I want in my state only, not be charged fees every time I turn around, actually make money off my bank account and know that I have some say in how the credit union runs?

To me the choice is obvious, I'm switching to a credit union. Why stay with something when there are better options elsewhere? Maybe I'm still bitter about the Wells Fargo fiasco a few years ago, but it just seems like we're being taken advantage of. The average American is struggling while the rich get richer. I'm tired of working hard and HOPING that I won't be a Walmart greeter at 85, or HOPING that I might be able to pay for a year or two of Tyler's college. The middle class is dwindling people and it's because we put up with it. Switching financial institutions isn't a big deal, but we gotta put our foot down somewhere.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dear Fashion Designers

Dear Fashion Designers,

How do you people come up with this stuff? I mean seriously, mustard is the new hot fall color. No one looks good in that color, it doesn't matter if you're red or yellow, black or white, mustard is no bueno.

Bulky sweaters, gauze skirts, maxi dresses, dear god, why? Why do you hate us? Or do you guys think up the most hideous crap from past era's just to see if we'll all follow what you say and wear this mess?

Do people really buy this stuff? Even the models don't look good in this stuff, and these women have stick figure bodies so that they can make anything look good! Why is it so hard to find practical fashion? Probably because practical and fashion don't go together. Kinda like practical heels, puh-lease.

Remember when the show, "What Not To Wear", used to show the crazy ladies who went out of their houses wearing camo gear, slippers, and curlers in their hair? The best accessory for that outfit is a shotgun. Now they're showing women who go out of their houses in jeans and a T-shirt. What the hell is wrong with jeans and a T-shirt? Since when did wearing jeans and T-shirt to Walmart become a fashion no-no? Who the hell are these women trying to impress at Walmart? I just saw a lady at Walmart wearing camo and bedroom slippers, my jeans and T-shirt look pretty damn good!

Seriously, what working woman, or mom or both has the time to dress up in a super cute outfit, heels, full make-up, their hair in long bouncy curls just to do errands? Even if they did start out that way, by the time they got to the grocery store they more than likely had spit up on them, a cell phone glued to their ear handling some work crisis, and are limping from carrying a kid, a diaper bag and a purse while wearing heels.

We don't need outfits that are dry clean only, or that take a lot of thought in putting it together. We don't want to spend the same amount of money on clothes that we could spend on a trip to Europe. We don't want to buy a whole new wardrobe each season. We just want something simple, cute, affordable, washable, and comfortable!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Hardest First Day of A Lot of Hard Days

Today is the first day I start the "Hard Days" list. I haven't had any HARD days. I've had crappy days, I've had lousy days, I've had long days, I've had annoying days, I've had frustrating days, none of which were hard. At least not this hard. Today was the first day back to work, and the first day of daycare. You don't understand how difficult this is until you do it. You're dropping off the most precious thing in your life with someone you don't even know, and trusting that they will take care of that precious being until you pick them up eight hours later.

I cried. My insides ached. Once I got back to work and was busy I was ok, but not 20 minutes went by without thinking of Tyler. I went to see him on my lunch break, he smiled when I picked him up. I was in heaven sitting in the rocking chair with him in my lap. The ladies in the infant room said that he was fussy. Both of them tried calming him down but they said he kept pushing them away and looking around the room. Looking for his mommy. They were finally able to calm him down with the bouncy/vibrating seat. Poor baby. When I picked him up after work he smiled real big when we were leaving.

When I got him home, I laid down on the couch next to him and asked him how his day was. The next 15-20 minutes was full of laughs, giggles, cooing, and patting mommy's cheek. I cried again. I had a grand total of 4.5 hours with him today. I know with time he and I will both be fine. It's an adjustment just like when we first brought him home. Doesn't make it any less hard though. So, this is the first day of one of the hardest days of my life.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Thankful

It's been awhile since I've done an "I'm Thankful For". I'd say I'm due for one.

I'm thankful for my son. My precious little angel has filled my heart with so much love and happiness I might explode into a cloud of rainbows and fairy dust. I know, totally makes you want to gag but that's the best way I could think of to describe it.



I'm thankful that I'm fertile and able to have children, regardless of how they are brought into this world, whether it be through the birth canal or they're surgically removed.

I'm thankful that I'm a super milk producing powerhouse and can pump out a full bottle of milk in 10 minutes. It's a bummer that Tyler fights with the latch issue, but I'm grateful that my milk supply is up. AND I'm thankful for breast pumps. Without those bad boys I'd be hurting, literally.

I'm thankful for my job. Yes, it makes me sad and I cry thinking that I'm going back to work on Wednesday and I'll be without my little buggaboo for 8 hours, but there are a lot of people out there without a job and I'm thankful I'm not in that position.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Two Months

Tyler turned two months old yesterday. It's incredible how much I love that little guy. His smile, his laugh, his coos, they light up my entire world. I can't wait to get him in the morning, and I miss him when he's sleeping. I think about him 24/7. The love I have for that tiny little person is consuming, overpowering and I'm in awe over it.

I feel so lucky that God gave us him. I wonder how I could possibly deserve such a precious baby boy. He has his fussy moments, but all in all he's a very happy, easy baby, and I'm so thankful and blessed. He truly enriches my life and makes me wonder what the heck I was doing with my life before Tyler came about.

He's becoming more aware of what's around him. No longer is he content hanging out with Mommy on the couch, he wants to sit up or be carried around so he can check everything out. He's working on rolling over. He almost gets on his belly but his arm gets in the way so he grunts while he tries to roll over the rest of the way. It's adorable. I love him so much and I can't wait to see what he'll discover tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Perfection and What I've Learned

I've always been a perfectionist. My entire life has been full of overachieving moments meant to impress my family, friends and strangers with the one hope that someday I would be accepted. It wasn't until about a year ago that I realized that I was accepted by everyone but myself. I looked in the mirror and all I saw was someone who could do more, do better and do it more efficiently if that person would just try harder. I looked down on myself, and berated myself with what I hadn't accomplished in my life as of yet. I brought the whole, you're your own worst enemy thing to a whole other level. For the longest time I blamed my father and his verbal attacks for my need to overachieve and perfectionism. You know, eventually you have to come to terms with the fact that YOU control you. Yes you may have had a few rough spots as a kid, but who hasn't and eventually you need to suck it up and stop blaming everyone, anyone for your issues that you continue to grow within yourself.

I have always been a firm believer that if you sacrifice enough and try hard enough you can have anything you want. You would think that with the house in Virginia being foreclosed on and all Ryan and I went through to avoid that mess I would have learned that lesson awhile ago. I didn't. I learned that lesson after Tyler was born. I did everything right. I followed everything the doctor said to a T. I only gained 26 pounds, I ate the diet of a saint, I used stretch mark cream everyday, I took birthing classes and read books, I prepared myself with so much knowledge I could be an OB/GYN (well not really, but you get what I'm saying). I sacrificed cookies and tried as hard as I could to prepare to have a natural birthing experience, be able to successfully breastfeed my son, and look like I was never pregnant to begin with. None of that crap happened. I ended up with an emergency C-section, I pump every 4 hours so my son can have breast milk and the front of my belly is covered in stretch marks.

It doesn't really matter how bad you want something, or how much you sacrifice, or how hard you try for something; some things are out of your hands. Some things are just left up to chance. It doesn't really matter how badly I want to leave Louisiana, it doesn't matter how many resumes I send out, or how many job contacts I have, how much experience I have or whether I graduated college with honors or not, some things just come down to chance. Doing certain things might help your odds at whatever it is you want, but in the end it really just comes down to chance.

Then I had an epiphany, so if some things come down to pure luck, why am I beating myself up if certain things don't happen? Maybe I need to just let go and enjoy life instead of trying to conquer it every second of the day...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer? What Summer?

I can't believe we're almost through August. Where the heck did the summer go? If it wasn't for Louisiana's blazing summer humidity I would wonder if we even had summer. Tyler will be two months this week. The last eight weeks have gone by surprisingly fast. I thought for sure those sleepless nights and sounds of a wailing baby would make the days feel like they were so slow I would swear they were going backwards. The first month all the days ran together, and some days seemed longer than others, but for the most part it has flown by.

I go back to work after Labor Day. It's bittersweet. I miss my career, I miss being busy and having things to do during the day other than wash bottles, change diapers, and call the insurance company AGAIN about screwing up the health claim for my C-section. I really like working, so I'm happy to be going back to work; on the other hand I really wish I could be with my son. Even though I have full confidence in the daycare we chose, I know I'm going to have a hard time leaving him during the day. I'm going to miss him a lot and wonder what I'm missing. Every day he discovers something new, what will he discover at daycare that I'll be missing out on?

I want the best of both worlds, my career and being with my son. Rarely is there a workplace that allows you to bring your kids or allows you to work from home so you can stay home with your kids. I've thought of starting up my own financial consulting business but that makes my head hurt just writing the business plan. Never have I dreamed of running my own business and even though that more than likely will be the only way I can still have my career and stay home, it's still not something I dream of. The stress involved with that kind of endeavor will turn me from happy mommy/career woman into raging-monster-who-once-resembled-a-human-being. It's better for everyone if I keep home and career separate, lest I be devoured by the black hole that would be running my own business.

The next four months are going to be so exciting, not only will Tyler be growing and discovering things by leaps and bounds but the next four months are the holidays! We'll see family, have his first visit to the pumpkin patch, first Halloween, first Thanksgiving (AND he'll be trying new foods by then) and his first Christmas! The last two months have zoomed by and we've had one holiday and I haven't been working. I can only imagine how fast the next four months will go.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Books, Advice and Why It's All a Bunch of Horse Crap

There's an entire section of baby/parenting books in any bookstore or library you visit. Books on how to raise boys, books on how to raise "difficult" children, or children with special needs, books on baby sign language, and breastfeeding. Books on bottle-feeding, books on how to prepare for a newborn, books on baby products. It's truly endless. Any problem you have there is a book on it. When I was pregnant I read a few books. I tried not to bombard myself with tons of theories, ideas, and tips. I asked around and only read the few books recommended by friends. I have to say that each book I read contradicted itself somewhere in between its covers and every book says something different.

One specific breastfeeding book said to avoid eating dairy because it can cause issues in infants, and later on in the book it said to eat yogurt everyday to avoid nipple infections. Another book said not to leave a crying baby, that they will feel abandoned and unloved; later on in the book it said that it was totally ok to walk away from a screaming baby if you need a break.

After feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and completely confused, my sister-in-law gave me the best advice. She said that every baby was different so it's best to pick and choose what works for YOU out of each book. What works for you may not work for me, and vice versa. Every baby is different, every mom is different. You have to discover what works for you and your lifestyle.

There will always be people there to judge. Just like when you're engaged or a newlywed, people love to stick their nose in your business and "comment" when you have kids. I was told that I shouldn't feed Tyler every three hours, that I should wait for him to tell me he's hungry. My response, "He does tell me...every three hours."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Breastfeeding

People say breastfeeding is natural. I know someone that even said that breastfeeding shouldn't take any longer than a week to master because the baby is born with the sucking reflex and the will to survive and all women have boobs that produce milk after delivery. Really? Of course it was a man that said this. Yes, women were designed to breastfeed and yes, babies were born knowing how to suck, but that doesn't by any means mean that it's easy or comes naturally. If it was easy everyone would do it, and I know just as many women who stopped breastfeeding before their kid was a year as women who made it the entire year. There are lactation consultants, breastfeeding support groups, classes, and about a billion websites and books; if it's so natural then why are there so many resources to help people who are having trouble?

I love how all the books offer such practical solutions to breastfeeding problems. One book said that if your baby bites, put the baby down and come back 20-30 minutes later. So after ignoring baby's screams for 1/2 an hour, I'm supposed to come back and try again when he's even more hungry, ravenous, frustrated, and now resembles a barracuda? That sounds like a fantastic idea. One website said that if your baby is distracted and won't eat regularly during the day, do frequent feedings at night. Ok, so what the hell is the working mom supposed to do? Work all day and stay up all night with the kid to breastfeed him because he's distracted easily? What about the mom who has other kids? She's supposed to take care of her other kids all day and stay up nursing the baby all night? That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

Lactation consultants are even hit or miss. Just about every woman I've talked to that saw a lactation consultant was told that her nipples were flat. Well, let's think about this. I've never breastfed before, so obviously I've never had a human being sucking so hard on my nipples it would cause them to protrude outward and stay that way. Obviously my nipples are going to be "flat". The lactation consultant I saw at the hospital told me to just give up breastfeeding Tyler until my milk comes in, and then try again. In the meantime I would need to supplement with formula and bottles cause nipple confusion and a poor latch later. Awesome advice. Another consultant I spoke to on the phone said that I should never use a bottle even if Tyler won't nurse. Soooo, after trying to nurse for 30+ minutes I'm supposed to look at him and say tough noogies no milk for you? Another lady told me to never use pacifiers in the first month, that it causes nipple confusion. Ok, so if sucking is a natural thing for babies to do and it's also how they soothe themselves, what am I supposed to do if he wants to suck? Let him use my boob as a paci? Not only do I already feel chained to my son every three hours but let's let him suck so that my nipples aren't just sore but now raw. So much for the whole self-soothing thing. Seriously, no wonder there's such a thing as baby blues.

I totally see why so many women give up on the breastfeeding. Not only are we dealing with some sort of birthing recovery-whether that be through C-section or vaginal, but we're up with a fussy baby, we feel like all we do is try to calm our kid down, change diapers and feed him, and now we have sore nipples, trying to make sure our baby is latched on correctly and getting enough milk and we do this every 2-4 hours. The demands on a new mom are high, add breastfeeding to that and it increases 10-fold.

All the books and advice seem to make sense until you have your newborn. I remember reading the books and thinking, "Ok, that makes sense. That's logical." Logical and babies doesn't always mix. No one tells you that it can take breastfeeding an hour or more, and by the time you finish breastfeeding for that hour, you have about 20-30 minutes before your newborn wants to nurse again. No one tells you that, they just say to nurse for 10 minutes on each side. Then there's the people that say don't time it, just go with the flow, but make sure you swap sides. Well, if my kid actually latches on well, isn't biting me and is swallowing I'm not moving him until he unlatches himself. It's not worth unlatching him to try to get him to latch onto the other side. After about 45 minutes of trying to get him to re-latch, both you and the kid will be covered in milk, very little of which will have gotten in the kids mouth, you're now low on milk and the kid is still hungry. That, my friends, is reality, not this illusion of your baby gazing into your eyes as she gently and happily suckles at your breast. She might do that later, but it's highly unlikely in the first month.

I'm shocked at the lack of support I've gotten on breastfeeding. I'm not talking about my family or friends, they have been the only support I've gotten. La Leche won't return my phone calls or emails, which isn't completely uncommon for the South, but I thought for sure after leaving two voicemails and emailing three people I would hear from someone. The lactation consultants at the hospital weren't exactly helpful, unless of course I was willing to come in and pay them $90/hr. to watch me nurse Tyler and attempt to diagnose his latch issues. He's having the same problems now that he was at the hospital, if you couldn't help me then why would I think you could help me now? Apparently for $90/hr. they MIGHT have other ideas they didn't tell me about when their services were free. An older lady I talked to had a few ideas but other than that she too told me that not all babies can latch and nurse, and it sounded like Tyler was one of those babies.

*Sigh* So right now I'm pumping. The pediatrician, the consultants and the research I've done have all said that exclusively pumping is possible, you just have to be disciplined. Marina even emailed me tips from a girl she knows who exclusively pumped for her twins for almost a year. It's all supply and demand. If your body thinks your baby needs it, it will continue to produce it. Whether the kid is taking it out or a machine is, your body doesn't know, it just knows it's being drained every three hours and needs to produce more.

Every time Tyler eats I have to pump to maintain my supply. It can be very easy to get distracted and forget, so I've set the alarm on my phone so that I remember to pump when Tyler eats. So far, so good. Being hooked up to a machine instead of my son every three hours isn't exactly how I envisioned this, but neither was my labor and birthing experience; and frankly at least the machine doesn't bite, pumping only takes 15 minutes, I'm not covered in milk afterwards, Tyler is a happier baby and momma isn't stressed out. I plan on doing this as long as I can. I was planning on pumping when I went back to work anyways, I'll just have to pump at night and on the weekends too, no big deal. My son is getting the breast milk and that's the most important part.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Part 2

The next day after the delivery/surgery I noticed the stretch marks on my belly were raised and fire red. I also noticed what looked like a small patch of hives on the inside of my arm. When I asked my doctor about the mess on my belly she grimly looked at me and said, "That, my dear, is PUPPP." What in God's name is PUPPP?? Well, it's a pregnancy induced rash that stems from a mass of stretch marks. I was stretchmark-less until week 38/39, at that time Tyler grew by leaps and bounds and caused my belly to stretch to astronomical proportions. Apparently, if your belly does this to the degree that mine did there's the potential for your body to go into "shock" cause a rash. PUPPP is not common, and typically it flares up right after you give birth and disappears a day or two later. My doc said that if it starts itching to use hydrocortisone cream on it.

Over the next few days I noticed that my belly stayed the same but the hive like things on my arms were spreading. About a week after I delivered Tyler the hives were covering my arms, legs, bottom, and back, and it was continuing to spread. I was using a bottle of cortisone cream a day beacuse the hives itched so bad. Imagine trying to take care of a newborn, trying to get this whole breastfeeding thing down and being so itchy that scraping steel wool across your skin seemed like a good idea. I originally thought that it was the pain meds they gave me when I left the hospital, so I cut those out after two days, and started taking Benadryl for the itching. The hives continued to spread. I kept track of what I ate, drank, I couldn't pinpoint what the heck was causing the hives to continue to spread.

July 3rd, I came into the living room crying, the hives had spread to yet another part of my body. I had no idea what this was, or if I was putting my husband or son in danger of catching whatever it was that I had. We went to the ER, they admitted me immediately. I saw a total of five doctors and one pediatrician. Not one of them knew what it was. I was told that they were going to have to take skin biopsy's, that what I could have was auto-immune and my body was on self-destruct mode, that Ryan could break out with it at any time and Tyler was also at risk and because he was a newborn it was severly dangerous. They told me they couldn't let me leave due to the safety of others, they couldn't have me spreading what I had. I understood, but I can't say that I wasn't happy about it.

I had just had a less than happy experience at one hospital, my baby's and husband's health was at risk because of me. The last doctor I saw was the only one that made any sense. He said that he had no idea what this was, but it was unlikely Ryan or Tyler would catch it because they would have already. He was calling in one of the dermatologists that work with the hospital but I did need to stay the night.

Ryan ran home to get a few things, while I was brought up to my room. The nursing staff at this hospital was like night and day from the other hospital. They were nice, kind, and truly cared about my comfort. I was so impressed. The next morning I was wakened by a doctor rushing in and opening all the miniblinds and turning on all the lights. He looked at me and said, "I'm the dermatologist." I sat up and said, "Oh thank GOD, I hope you can help me!" He looked at me and said, "You have PUPPP. An extremely severe case of PUPPP. Take these meds and come to my office on Thursday. Have a good 4th of July."

About an hour later I was discharged with a prescription for a topical steriod cream and steriod pills and specific instructions not to breastfeed while on the pills. One of the side effects of a C-section is that your milk comes in later than if you vaginally deliver. Mine came in almost an entire week later than it should have. Tyler was ready to start nursing, not just colostrum but actual milk and I had none to give him. So we had to supplement with formula. I was crushed. I so looked forward to being able to breastfeed my baby. We struggled a little at the hospital, but I was determined to make it work. We went about a week on the formula before my milk came in, and as soon as it came I started breastfeeding right away. We struggled some more but had finally got most of the kinks out when they told me I couldn't breastfeed on the meds. I asked the dermatologist what would happen if I went without the meds. He said that eventually the PUPPP would clear up but it would take several months (6 or more) and the itching would continue. I was so miserable and desperate for the itching to stop that I took the meds. For another week, while on the steriods we supplemented with formula. Concern about nipple confusion was a main concern, but we were able to overcome the formula issue before, we could do it again.

The forumla we used messed up Tyler's tummy so bad. He screamed for almost an hour straight everyday because he was in pain. The amount of gas he had was similar to what you would imagine would come out of a grown man. My poor baby. I saw the doc again that Thursday and my skin was cleared up quite a bit. The doc said I could breastfeed as soon as I finished the meds, which would be on Sunday. He did say that there was a slight chance that once I got off the steriods the rash might come back. If it does he said to call him and he'd set me up with more steriods and I'd have to stop breastfeeding again.

One day after I stopped the steriods the rash came back, ONE day. It wasn't nearly as bad as it was, just a few spots here and there, but I couldn't put Tyler back on forumla, so when I saw my OB, she set me up with some creams so that I could continue breastfeeding. My skin is almost cleared up, three weeks later. Because of all our issues and having to give him a bottle so much, breastfeeding has been a challenge. I'm sore A LOT. Tyler fights it sometimes, sometimes his latch is great, sometimes it's not. He bites. It's very frustrating and emotionally exhausting. I cry a lot and when feeding time comes around again, I dread it. It sucks. This is not at all how I envisioned anything from the time my water broke until now. I feel like everything has been a struggle, and I haven't enjoyed my son much at all.

Everyone tells me that it gets better around month three. My fingers are crossed.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Chapter 6-Mommyhood and Tyler's Birth Story Part 1

You think you know what to expect. You think since you've read tons of books, subscribed to all the magazines, researched the internet, and are the last one of your friends to have kids and listened and took note of all their troubles, hiccups, bumps in the road, and victories that you MIGHT have an inkling of what you're doing. Well, you don't. At least I didn't. I guess I thought that since I had such an easy pregnancy that my delivery would be easy and Tyler would be an easy baby. I shouldn't have assumed.

Tyler was born June 27th; it was the best worst day of my life. My parents and my sister Lauren had been down for several days waiting for Tyler to make his arrival. As most first time mom's are I was past my due date. I was uncomfortable, irritable and getting impatient. I loved being pregnant, but when you're almost 41 weeks pregnant, huge, uncomfortable, and can feel your skin tearing and stretching, it doesn't matter how much you loved being pregnant you're just ready to be done with the whole process. My dad had to fly back Sunday morning to be ready for work on Monday, Sunday night my water broke. My dad has yet to meet his grandson, it's a total bummer. This picture was taken about 15 minutes before my water broke.



That whole, "Only 1% of women's water breaks on their own before contractions, so don't worry about it because it won't happen to you" is a bunch of bullshit. AND that whole, "If you are one of the 1% it's highly unlikely it will break if you are sitting or standing" is also a bunch of bullshit. I was in the car on the way to Walmart, I bent down to get my purse and it felt like a water balloon inside me burst. I was told that the bag of waters is maybe as much as a half pitcher of water. That person either doesn't remember or had an epidural when her water broke because it was enough water to fill about 7 or 8 pitchers of water, at least. It was ridiculous.

I had read books on labor, talked to women about the labor, took birthing classes the whole shabang, so when I started feeling cramping I had no idea those were contractions. I was told that contractions were in the front, they start at the top of the uterus and work their way down and it would feel like my belly was tightening. I didn't feel that at all. I felt menstrual cramps in my lower back. I figured it was normal, but wasn't contractions, so I took a nap, hung out, played cards and waited for the contractions to start. I figured they would start in an hour or so. Five hours later I was still only feeling some minor back pain. I called my doctor's office and spoke to the nurse on call who told me to get my ass to the hospital. After we got to the hospital and got checked out I was told that I was 3cm dilated and the back cramping I was feeling was back labor. I looked at Ryan and said, "That's not good, we need to get this baby turned around." Back labor occurs when the baby's head is positioned backwards. The baby will eventually turn, but back labor is extremely painful and my plan was to do this whole birthing thing with no meds.

Another concern I had was that I was already five hours into labor and only 3cm dilated. I was also GBS positive which meant that I was at a higher risk of infection and had to have the baby within 24 hours of my water breaking. The race against the clock began. Once I got in my room, got the Penicillin to counteract being GBS positive I started walking. The contractions started to pick up, and walking was the only thing that I could do to handle the pain. Laying in bed wasn't an option, sitting wasn't an option, not even on the stability ball. I tried various positions recommended for back labor, nothing helped but walking.

Around 6am my doc came in to check me. At this point I was about 12 hours into labor and no matter what position I tried and how much walking I did I was still having back labor. Back labor is excruciating. I have never felt pain like that. Pain that can take your breath away and make you wish that you would die. The contractions were about two minutes or less apart at that point, which is barely enough time to catch your breath before the next one hits. To be checked for dilation you have to get back in bed, I almost cried; not because the doc was hurting me but because laying on my back during a contraction was that painful. I was almost 6cm, and Tyler's head wasn't fully engaged in my pelvis. Red light. Tyler's not ready, I'm only at 6, and I've been in labor for 12 hours. My mind raced, why was it taking so long for me to dilate. I haven't had any meds, my body should be dilating quicker than this, especially since my water is already broken.

My doc said that it could be that I was in so much pain my body wasn't able to relax enough to dilate faster, and since Tyler's head was slightly swollen that was a concern. I didn't want meds, but at that point I was struggling with the pain a bit and swelling on the baby's head could be a beginning sign of distress. I opted for a small dose of Staydol. Basically it made me sleep. I could still feel the contractions but it felt like I had a little too much liquor, woozie feeling, and it lasted about 45 minutes. I crossed my fingers that the drug helped. It did but not enough, it brought me close to 7cm, and when the drugs wore off I could still feel I was having back labor. I didn't have one contraction in the front, not one, I felt all of it in my back. I was not going to give up on having Tyler naturally. So out of the bed I was and back to walking.

My doc came back after a few hours to check me again. At that point I had been in labor for 16 hours, all of it back labor, and 15 hours of it was without meds. I had been up for more than 24 hours. I was exhausted. I remember looking at Ryan, gasping after a contraction and saying, "I don't know how much longer I can go without some sort of pain relief." My sister looked at me and told me how proud she was of me for handling all of this so well, and with no pregnancy turrets. At that point I had no idea how long we had been at the hospital. I had no idea what time it was, or that it was Monday afternoon, or that I hadn't eaten in over 20 hours, or slept in over 24 hours. When my mom told me how long it had been, I started getting worried. Natural labor shouldn't take this long, surely something was wrong.

My doctor suggested an epidural and Pitocin. I shook my head, not able to speak because I was in the middle of a contraction. She pointed out that the Staydol did help me dilate but it wasn't strong enough or lasted long enough to make me fully dilated. I wasn't dilating on my own, I was still at 7cm, and when you hit 4cm and going natural you should be dilating a cm an hour, I had stopped completely, it had been a few hours, Tyler's head swelling was worse, and he still wasn't where he should be on my pelvis, which would explain why I had stopped dilating, and why it was taking so long to dilate in the first place. My doctor was 100% right, I wasn't dilating on my own, and Tyler's safety needed to be my main concern. I reluctantly nodded for the epidural and Pitocin.

At that point I might as well have tossed my birth plan out the window. Goodbye to privacy, goodbye to natural delivery. I felt so defeated. I did everything I could to get Tyler turned around so I wasn't having back labor. Maybe if I could have gotten him turned around I could have handled the pain better and maybe my body would have been able to relax and dilate more. I had no idea if that was the reason I wasn't dilating or if it was because Tyler wasn't descending like he should have been, or a combination of both. They made my mom, sister and Ryan leave the room while I got the epidural. I hated it, not because it was painful but because for me it was like I was giving up, I had failed at having a natural delivery. Even though I was giving up for Tyler's safety, I was still giving up and I felt like I could still fight it.

For whatever reason after I had the epidural the nurses completely forgot my requests for privacy. They "forgot" that I had requested minimal pelvic exams, they "forgot" that I didn't want to be just laid out exposed, even if it was just them and my family in the room. It's like they "forgot" I was a person with feelings. A person who was already upset at how her labor was going, a person who had been in labor for many many hours, a person who was just in pain for 16 of those many hours. Being numb from the waist down I couldn't even close my own legs after the exam, there were times that my family would cover me up because the nurses would just leave me there exposed while they typed away on their computers. It was awful. I felt helpless. I will never deliver at that hospital again. I love my doctor, but I'll have to come up with something else if I get pregnant here again, because the nurses were awful. I guess doing this stuff everyday desensitises them. That's the only reason I can think of as to why they would treat people like they did.

I was only on the Pitocin for about 15 minutes when the nurse assigned to me came in and started rolling me around in the bed. Again, I was completely numb so I couldn't even get up and move myself. I cannot begin to describe how awful it is knowing that you are 100% dependent on this random person that you don't even know. She said Tyler's heart rate dropped slightly and it could be a number of things. She got me on my side and his heart rate went back up. About 10 minutes later the monitor started beeping, and six nurses came rushing into the room. No one said a word to me, two of them started turning me, one started putting a catheter in, none of which were my regular nurse assigned to me. I finally yelled out, "What the hell, would someone tell me what the fuck is going on?!?! I'm a fucking person!" The older nurse looked at me shocked, like how dare I question her, and said, the baby's heart rate is dangerously low, he could be having a reaction to the Pitocin. My nurse finally came running in and said that they were putting in an internal catheter to track my contractions internally, a regular catheter in case they have to do a C-section (WHAT!) and they were turning the Pitocin off and calling my doctor.

The older nurse said they were going to put a transmitter on Tyler. I looked at my nurse. A transmitter is a wire they actually screw into the babies head to track his heart rate. I specifically put on my birth plan that I did NOT want that. The staff already knew his heart rate was low, screwing a wire into my unborn child's head was not going to fix the problem it was only going to tell them what they already knew. The first time all day my nurse treated me like a person. She grabbed the older nurses hand and said, "No, she doesn't want that." The older nurse said, "Too bad, it's not about what she wants, it's about the baby's safety." My nurse told her that they both knew his heart rate was already dangerously low and putting the transmitter on him wouldn't resolve the problem. The older nurse scowled at me and went back to rolling me around the bed. They finally got Tyler's heart rate back to normal.

My doc walked in and I burst into tears. She checked me, I was still 7cm, Tyler's swelling was worse and he still wasn't descending into my pelvis. She explained that my options were to try the Pitocin again but there was a very good chance that Tyler would react badly to it and if he did I would be wheeled in for a C-section, or I can opt for a C-section now. So basically, I can knowingly put my child in danger, or get him out of there now. Did I even have a choice? Putting my son in danger wasn't an option. I looked at her and said, "Those are options?" She held my hand and said, "I know this isn't what you wanted, I did not want to have to come in here and tell you any of this, but that is where we stand." I nodded and signed the sheet for the C-section. Again more nurses, more exposure, more defeat, more tears.

I was asked if I wanted drugs, even though I had on my birth plan NOT to ask me if I wanted drugs. I was petrified and worried. The reality that I was not going to be able to birth my son not only naturally but not vaginally was hitting me. I was not going to be the first one to hold my son, or the second or the third, I was not going to be able to nurse him right away, I was not going to be able to see him being born. The entire birthing experience I had been dreaming of was being ripped away from me and I had no idea why. Was this my fault? My body was the one who wouldn't dilate. I couldn't blame it on the drugs, my body stopped dilating before the drugs were even administered. I nodded yes to the nurse and closed my eyes.

I remember being wheeled down the hall. I remember being put on the table and Ryan and my mom sitting next to me. I remember hearing my doctor's voice. I remember nurses asking me what seemed like every 10 minutes if I wanted more drugs. I was so scared, they said the drugs would calm me down, so I said yes. I should have said no. The entire surgery is a haze. I remember feeling tugging and pulling, I remember hearing the herd of nurses in the room all talking at once and wanting to scream out, "SHUT UP!", but not being able to form words. I remember shaking, and being told that that was normal and everything was fine. I remember looking at Ryan and him smiling at me and telling me he loved me. I remember crying, a lot. I remember looking at my mom, tears streaming down my face saying, "This isn't what I wanted." I remember my doctor saying, "I've almost got him, you're going to feel pressure." I remember seeing the look on my mom's face when my doctor pulled Tyler out. I remember thinking, "Someone PLEASE let me see my son, please", but not being able to form words. I remember seeing the nurse walk to the corner of the room with Tyler and Ryan looking back and forth from me to Tyler. I had to focus to tell him to stay with our son. I remember the nurse yelling out "9lbs. 4 oz.". I remember thinking "Jesus Christ, no wonder my belly is covered in stretch marks." I remember seeing Ryan hold our son for the first time and him beaming with pride.

I don't remember much after that. I don't remember being sewn up. I don't remember being wheeled back to the room. I remember nurses all over me and me telling one of them to get off me I've had enough. I remember looking over and seeing Tyler laying in the bassinet. I remember holding him for the first time and thinking he was perfect. I remember Ryan telling me he loved me. I remember my sister telling me she loved her nephew. I remember Ginger coming to see me, but I have no idea if we spoke. I don't know how I got to my room, but I remember Ryan and Tyler were already there. I don't remember the first night other than I said I wanted Tyler with us, not in the nursery.

Later on I found out that Tyler was crammed in my belly so tight that my 5'11" doctor asked for a stool so that she could have more leverage to get him out. I found out that both my doctor and the assisting doctor struggled to get him out because he was so crammed in there and my doc didn't want to cut across my entire belly. My doc was thoughtful enough to make the incision as small as possible, and as low as possible so that if I wanted I could try to have a vaginal delivery with my second child.

Recovery at the hospital was exactly like after I had the epidural. No privacy, I was treated like a thing not a person. My feelings, my privacy, and my comfort were not taken into consideration. I was told by lactation that I should just give up nursing until after my milk comes in and even then I would struggle, but she wishes me the best. Every hour there was someone in our room doing something, taking out the trash, changing the sheets, taking mine and Tyler's vitals. I finally went ape shit and was told that I could have put a sign on the door asking to be left alone for a bit. I wasn't told that until our last day at the hospital. How considerate of them to let me know hours before we were discharged. I was discharged after two days, but not before I was told by one of the nurses that discharge after two days with a C-section was unheard of and I would regret it. I looked at the nurse and said, "This is for YOUR safety sweetheart." Discharge took forever because they "forgot" to take Tyler's IV out. I waited for the questionnaire lady to make her rounds to my room, she never came, big surprise.

I always hated hospitals and my birthing experience reminded me of why. Not because I had to have major surgery, or because of anything my doctor did, she actually was wonderful during the entire process, but because the nursing staff was just plain terrible. Yes they did their job, but as a nurse I would think you would need to have compassion and be sensitive to people, there was one nurse that was like that. She was in her young 20's, and was part of the nursery. She was really great. She's young though, I'm sure in a few years she'll end up just like all the other nurses we saw.

My water broke at 5:45pm June 26th, Tyler was born June 27th at 4:35pm. I look at my C-section scar as a badge of honor. It's a reminder of what I went through to try to give me and my son the best birthing experience I could. I don't regret my decision to attempt non-medicated birth. I don't regret getting the meds, at the time it was the best option I had to try to get my body to dilate. I don't regret the C-section I had no other option. My doctor said that she had no idea Tyler was so big, she guessed around 8lbs., not 9. Other than his cheeks, he's not a chuncky baby, I have no idea where he puts it! I'm glad my doctor was considerate enough to make my incision low so that I could attempt VBAC with my second child. Looking back, there was no way I was going to be able to vaginally deliver a 9lb. baby. Tyler had swelling on his head from trying to push through my pelvis which is just too small for a 9lb. baby, because he wasn't able to descend he wasn't able to put pressure on my cervix which prevented me from dilating any further. My doc thinks that if my next kid is average size I'll probably have no trouble.

Recovery from a C-section hasn't been too bad. Some pain the first few days. You don't realize you use your abs as much as you do until someone has to cut through them. Sneezing, coughing, getting out of bed, walking, all of that had to be done very carefully otherwise the burning would set in. While at the hospital I noticed what looked like hives on my arm, and the stretch marks on my belly were raised and enflammed. On my arm was a small patch and when I asked the nurses they said it was more than likely a reaction to one of the billion drugs I had taken. When I asked my doctor she said she didn't know about the hives on my arm but the mass of what we thought were stretch marks on my belly was actually PUPPP, a pregnancy induced rash, and that it would go away in a few days. What ended up being something minor put me in the ER overnight. More to come...







Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Week 38-Can I Just Meet My Son Already???

Seriously, now I know why women ask to be induced early. Not that I have any intention of doing that, but I totally get it now.

I've really enjoyed pregnancy. Month eight started to get slightly cumbersome with my growing belly, lack of energy, and rib pain, but for the most part I still enjoyed sharing my body with my son. I'm two weeks shy of 10 months and I've hit my limit. I'm humongous, like a small planet humongous, like some of my maternity clothes don't even fit me anymore humongous. I'm exhausted, A LOT. I'm up about every two hours either having to change sleeping positions or using the bathroom. I can't go anywhere, not even to the gas station without having to use the restroom; and I'm sure we've all seen public restrooms. Most people hold it until they can get to an isolated area and pee on a tree; not an option when you have a baby pressing on your bladder.

I've gained a total of 23 pounds (recommended weight gain is between 25-35), drink 64-100oz. of water a day, and marinade in stretch mark cream and oil. Up until Sunday I was able to avoid those awful red lines. The bastards literally appeared overnight, and they're not even anywhere concealable, they're right there by my belly button, front and center. That just goes to prove that you can do everything exactly how you're supposed to, and you can still end up with stretch marks. Screw you Mother Nature! You and Father Time have always been my nemesis'! Now before you roll your eyes and tell me that stretch marks fade, I'd like to say that I know that; however the word "fade" and the phrase "go away" are very different and although they will fade those stretch marks are scars I'll have for the rest of my life. Call me vain, I know it's true, but I have to live in this body for the rest of my life I don't want it all scared up.

On a happier note, Tyler is dropping. My ribs no longer hurt, and I can feel somewhat consistent pressure on my hips. There's a few other signs that birth is looming near, but I'll spare you the gory details. My doc says he's about six pounds now and he'll be between seven and eight pounds when he's born. That, of course, is just her estimate based on how I'm measuring. She feels he'll come pretty close to his due date, so I've got about another two weeks to go. I have a feeling these next two weeks will be the longest EVER. Here I was thinking that it would be best for me to get everything done by week 36 just in case Tyler came early, and if he didn't I would have an entire month to relax. I should have saved some projects to keep myself preoccupied...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Week 34

I have been extremely MIA. Yes, I'm fine, just busy. My typically excuse for my lack of attendance.

School is done. I have achieved my BS in Business Finance, and I completed it with honors. I feel very relieved to have it done AND before I got in my third trimester. Now, I get to start paying off the student loans...oh goody.

Birth classes have been taken, wills have been written up, life insurance has been purchased, all documents are locked up in the safe, the nursery is pretty much done, baby showers have come and gone, I'm pre-registered with the hospital, Tyler's registered for daycare in September, we have a pediatrician, my doc has my official birth plan, the new house is set up, and my hospital bag is packed. I'd say we're ready.

Oh yeah. We moved. Ya know how people talk about "nesting" right around the third trimester? Usually this "nesting" consists of cleaning and organization. When Ryan's friends told him about "nesting" I think he thought I would do a thorough scrubbing of the baby's room, not wake up one morning and say "Screw this, we're moving." Which is exactly what happened.

For awhile the condo just hasn't worked out well for us. It's right next to LSU's campus, the parking was lousy, we had inconsiderate neighbors all around us, Thor didn't have a yard which was becoming a problem, the office lady was becoming a problem, Ryan wasn't getting his work packages on time. It was literally one thing after another with that place, and it just wasn't working for us anymore. So, I started searching for a house to rent. I figured if I found something, great, if not we were no worse off. Usually I analyze things to death, and want to think things over, especially big decisions like moving. This was not the case. I found the house, called the landlord, and in a week we were moved in. We've been here a month and I couldn't be happier. Not only are we in a better neighborhood, but it's quiet, no more late night parties. Thor has a HUGE fenced in yard, with a deck. No more parking issues, no more office lady issues, no more package delivery issues, it's perfect. Moving in month seven of pregnancy, and we were moved in within a week, how's that for "nesting"?

I'm 34 weeks pregnant. I have had the easiest pregnancy, and I am so thankful for that. I had nausea for about a month in the first trimester, no uncontrollable vomiting or anything like that, just nausea. My ribs started giving me problems around the seventh month. The doc says it's cuz the little one is getting bigger (duh) and stretching/tearing the muscles in between the ribs. It's painful but nothing unmanageable, I just try to get plenty of rest at night and sleep on a heating pad. Recently, like within the last week, I've been so hot, like burning up hot. I wake up every couple of hours sweltering, and I sleep with a fan and the AC is pretty cold. At work I freeze everyone to death, and doing anything outside in the Louisiana heat has become difficult, and we haven't even had the sweltering humidity yet. Thank goodness this heat issue just now started and I haven't had to contend with this the whole 40 weeks. Other than those few things, this pregnancy has been beyond easy.



I thought for sure I would be one of the women who wasn't a fan of pregnancy, and that I would need to see my child before I felt a bond with him. I thought I would whine and complain a lot and count down the days until my due date just because I couldn't wait to not be pregnant. That has not been the case at all. I mean yes, I have had my whiny and complaining moments, every pregnant woman has that, but I've really enjoyed being pregnant. It's been an experience that I feel so blessed and thankful to be able to go through.

I can't believe how much I love this tiny person growing inside me and I haven't even met him yet. I love Ryan, I love my sisters, I love my friends, but I LOVE my son. It's incredible. It's unlike any other feeling I've ever had. I would give up everything I own and take on the worlds worst diseases and criminals to protect him. I didn't think I would feel this way already. I thought it would take time and I would need to build up to it. Let's face it, I'm not exactly the nurturing, motherly type. It amazes me.

My ribs are killing me but I don't mind; I know they hurt because my son is growing strong and healthy. I have really enjoyed pregnancy. Do I want to be pregnant forever? Um, no, there are things about pregnancy that aren't as fun such as tearing of your ribs and having to pee every 20 minutes, but I would do this again in a heartbeat. I can feel him moving around inside my belly and it makes me so happy. I could be having the worst day in the history of days, but as soon as Tyler starts moving I can't help but smile and think about how much I love him. It's crazy the bond I have with him already.

I was so angry in the beginning that men didn't have to go through nausea, and having their body get all warped out of shape, or be exhausted all the time. They also don't get to experience this amazing bond that Tyler and I have. I get it now. This is totally worth it.



Sunday, February 6, 2011

Five Months and Sprout's Gender

Ryan and I have come up with a deal-we find out the gender for the first baby and the second babies gender will be a surprise. That being said, Sprout is a BOY!



We've decided on Tyler Ryan for his name. The 20 week ultrasound went very well, everything is perfect. We couldn't ask for anything better. Week 13 I started to feel movement, but wasn't sure what it was exactly. It happens more often now, like a fish swimming around inside my belly. It's really cool. This entire pregnancy I have been so bitter towards men, that all of this pregnancy/baby stuff is put on us women. I just felt it wasn't fair at all, and I've had an easy pregnancy. How do women with rough pregnancies not hate their men???? Now that I can feel Tyler move around, I feel so blessed to be a woman and be able to feel this life inside of me. It's the coolest thing I've ever experienced, and I feel so blessed that I get to experience it. I hope this continues!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Apparently Didn't Think This All The Way Through

I've been MIA lately. I have been busy and every time I go to write a new post my latest and greatest freak-out keeps coming up. I've been deleting the posts and logging out so as to not scare my few and wonderful followers away, but I can no longer ignore this and think maybe if I just explode I'll be done with this and move on.

A few weeks ago I woke up and suddenly it hit me that I would eventually need to give birth and I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I know, I know, I'm not even 1/2 way through, but if you knew me, you'd know that I think WAY ahead of time. NOTHING in my life is done last minute. I had never even seen a birth, not in school, not in real-life, nada. I had no idea what to expect and when I went to research what my options for birth were, I was swarmed with info overload and completely freaked the fuck out. Should I go medicated, non-medicated, partial-medicated, what the hell is partial-medicated, should I avoid certain drugs, should I attempt to do most of the labor at home, will I have my own room, will my doc push meds on me, will she tell me I can't have meds before or after a certain point, what about breastfeeding, what about privacy, if I do get drugs will my kid be ok? That was just the beginning of my head-throbbing woes regarding the birth. For Christ's sake, the birth can only last for so long, yet here I am completely freaking out over it. Parenting lasts for YEARS, yet I haven't freaked out at all over that. Nervous that I might give my poor kid issues that need professional help, yes; but I have yet to freak out over that. It's more of a pressing issue in the back of my brain.

At my last doc appointment I drilled my doc with question after question mostly about my birthing options and meds. I have no idea how I got so lucky with my doc, but she answered all of my questions truthfully and respectfully. I still have no idea what I want to do in regards to meds or not, but I decided to give my brain a rest and take it as it comes. Even if I have a whole plan laid out my body and baby are gonna do what they're gonna do regardless of the plan I come up with.

Now on to the next freak-out and so far the worst. I'm ashamed to say this has brought me to tears. I blame the hormones. I'm not concerned about the pain involved with birth. If it gets unbearable I can ask for meds. I've never given birth before but I can imagine it's pretty awful. I have sustained 3rd degree burns, shoving a nail through my hand, numerous gymnastics and clutzy injuries, black eyes, the list goes on; I imagine giving birth is all those things times 100,000. And I'm probably still way off. Even though I'm thinking all of that, the pain doesn't scare me. I think of pain as mind over matter, but I've never given birth, I might think differently after that experience.

I'm freaking out because A)I do not want to be completely exposed on the bed for the world to see, B)I'll have no privacy, C)birth is disgusting and I'm afraid my husband will be completely grossed out and won't want or love me anymore, D)I'm going to be completely humiliated and embarrassed through all of birth's...issues. I've talked to people who have given birth and they all tell me the same thing-you don't care at the time. Yeah well, that doesn't help me now. After talking to Marina, she told me that I had giving birth all wrong and the medical staff totally respects your privacy and the only one down there is the doc and your husband if he cuts the cord. She suggested I go to babycenter.com and check out the birthing video's. WELL. I apparently choose the wrong video's to watch because both women in those video's were butt naked, spread eagle on the table for the entire medical staff to see. Awesome.

I have even tried reasoning with myself; telling myself that I'm being completely ridiculous, and creating a bigger issue in my head than this really is. Women have been giving birth since the beginning of time. This can't possibly be that big of a deal. When I talk to those who have given birth they either laugh at me (whether this is out of pity, I'll never know), or shrug it off like it's not a big deal(which in reality is making me feel worse, because now I obviously have this horrendous fear of humiliation that apparently no other woman has, or they had it at one point in time but stopped caring, and I have yet to reach that point).

Being publicly embarrassed has always been an issue with me, and here I've trapped myself into THE most embarrassing predicament a woman could ever go through. Real smart Steph, didn't exactly think that one through did ya. I don't even use the bathroom in front of my husband. I just need to go ahead and book a ticket to Sweden, give birth there and come back later. This is insane. What the hell was I thinking?

I'm going to be the whiny pregnant lady and say I don't want to do this. I would rather go to an island alone, give birth, without meds, without any help, and come back than do this in a room packed full of nurses and doctors exposed for everyone to see, during one of the most private and embarrassing times of my life. I don't care if the staff has seen it all. I don't care if they do this everyday. I don't care if I'm being completely irrational. And if another person tells me that I won't care when it comes down to it, they're going to get an ear full of bitching. That being said, I will not mention this again. I'm hoping I just needed to get this off my chest so I can move on and not be completely mortified about this before it even happens.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I Feel So Blessed

I feel so blessed that I'm 16 weeks pregnant. That I didn't have to go through endless treatments and thousands of dollars for my growing little one. I'm blessed that I haven't had any complications. I'm blessed that the nausea only lasted one month and I only lost my lunch once. I'm blessed that I have Alison who let me borrow all her maternity clothes and I'll only have to buy pants. I'm blessed that my sister-in-law is so willing to let me borrow Kael's stuff.

I'm blessed that I found some great baby things off Craig's List for fractions of the total price. I'm blessed that every time I go to the doctor for a check-up the doc smiles, tells me I'm doing great and says the baby is good to go. I'm blessed that my friend Tiffany always answers her phone when I call her with my countless breastfeeding questions. I'm blessed that my husband finally stopped arguing with me and gave in to my weird antics; like when I asked him to go to the store at 11pm for spaghetti sauce, or when I came home today wanting to rearrange the guest room/nursery-to-be for no apparent reason.

I'm blessed that we were able to save money to be able to afford a child. I'm blessed that my sisters want to buy Sprout presents. I'm blessed that after each weekly email my dad emails me back and tells me he loves me and his grandchild. It can be really easy to get overwhelmed by life and it's circumstances. Sometimes we just need to sit back and look at what we do have.