If you like birth stories

“The second one is so much easier!” they said.

“The second one is so eeeasy, dahling – why, it’ll just be so eeeeeeasy!” they said.

Lies. All lies.

First, I barfed more. A lot more. At one point I thought I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It was the day I couldn’t even keep water down and I was puking yellow stomach acid mixed with a little blood from all prior puking. I didn’t have HG, thankfully. I was prescribed the highest dosage of a certain drug and henceforth only puked one or two times a day instead of all day until finally, around week 20, it went away. Disaster avoided.

Second, I hurt more. My body felt broken and rusted and old. Everything hurt. Perhaps that’s because I was “Advanced Maternal Age.”

Third, I was miserable and had an awful attitude the entire 41 weeks. Actually, that first week or so when I wasn’t sick was pretty cool because I was pregnant and actually wanted to be.

So as my due date approached, armed with the knowledge that second babies just appear out of nowhere, I sat waiting to go into labor while Googling “what to do if you’re pulled over for speeding while on the way to the hospital” because I was infinitely sure that the baby would drop right out of me before we ever arrived this time.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. I had to be induced. Again.

6 p.m. Wednesday

I came in to be induced with Cervidil. I originally thought I was being admitted at 5 p.m. so I ate my last meal, which was very light, at 4 p.m. (Save this vital information for later.)

8 p.m. Wednesday

The nurse inserts the Cervidil. Think of it as a tampon for uncooperative cervixes (cervices?) inserted by a complete stranger. It’s not pleasant. Or maybe my nurse had really long fingernails covered in sandpaper decoupage. Who knows? It was uncomfortable to say the least.

7 a.m. Thursday

After a super fun night of tossing, turning, racing thoughts punctuated by pee breaks, and relatively no sleep, I turned on the lights and made lots of noise so Hubs would wake up and be miserable and exhausted too. Except he slept like a damn baby all night, so he was perky as ever.

8 a.m. Thursday

I was given Pitocin to get my contractions going. I’ll remind you that I had no problems whatsoever being induced with my son four years earlier. They gave me Pitocin, and I was like, “Yeee-haw, let’s have a bay-bayyy!”

12:00 p.m. Thursday

Nothing is happening.

3 p.m. Thursday

I’m starving. I’m fucking starving. I’ve had no food for 24 hours, remember? Unless you count generic jello and broth from a packet served in cheap styrofoam cups.

Meanwhile, Hubs was like:

8ouh2ljvhejrs

Have you ever wanted to punch someone in their stupid face?

5 p.m. Thursday

I’m getting worried. The Pitocin is not working. My contractions are mild and inconsistent. Baby’s head will not engage – her head won’t drop down into my pelvis. Every time they come and check my cervix, her stubborn head just floats away. She doesn’t give two poops about coming out, clearly. I’m starting to feel some anxiety.

Please, please, please not a C-section. Please…

Things weren’t looking good.

8 p.m. Thursday

I’d been on Pitocin for 12 hours. My contractions were still small and scattered. Baby’s head was still floating out in la-la womb. Every time they increased the Pitocin, her heart rate showed signs of stress, so they had to dial it back.

Fuck. I’m going to have a C-section. I just know it. 

I’d stopped bouncing on the birth ball, stopped dancing, stopped doing squats, stopped all of the things I’d hoped would engage my stubborn baby’s head. Hopelessness crept in. I was exhausted, hungry, depressed, and all-around super fun to be around for Hubs, who had just finished eating meatloaf and mashed potatoes with cheesecake.

9 p.m. Thursday

Doc comes in to check my cervix.

Side note: Having your cervix checked isn’t fun, but I can handle it during routine check-ups – you know, when you only have to have it done maybe once a week. When you’re trying to induce labor, and you’ve been laying there for fucking ever over 24 hours, your cervix gets checked. A lot. When I had my son, the Pitocin worked like a dream, and I’d had my epidural by the time they started checking my cervix, so I didn’t feel it. This time, not so much. Having my cervix checked a thousand or so times in one day by multiple people was a real treat. And by “treat” I mean I withered into a pitiful state of misery and despair when they put on “the glove.” Even Hubs looked at me with discernible pity in his eyes when they peeled open the sterilized glove packet. In other news, one of my nurses was a fellow alum from my high school. We chatted pleasantly and gave family updates as she shoved her whole hand up in my business. It wasn’t awkward.

Anyways, Doc checked. And nothing.

This is it. He’s going to prep for a C-section. Why me?

He sighed and put his hand to his chin thinking.

“You know what? Let’s just stop. Let’s take a break. We’ll take you off the Pitocin, give you a rest, give Baby a rest, you can eat a little something. We’ll give it about 5 or 6 hours and start the Pitocin again and give you your best shot at this, OK?”

I decide that I love him, right then and there, for not wheeling me into a C-section when I know many doctors would have.

10 p.m. Thursday

I’m inhaling mashed potatoes, green beans, and grilled chicken from KFC.

I still felt a bit hopeless, but I prayed and prayed and prayed all day for this to happen vaginally. It’s not every day you use the term “vaginal” when praying to God Almighty. I’m sure he’s heard worse. I had one more chance.

Tummy full, I finally fell asleep.

2:30 a.m. Friday

They start the Pitocin again sometime in the wee hours. I barely notice. I’m exhausted and go back to sleep.

6 a.m. Friday

I wake up with cramps. I’m feeling some contractions. I look over and the Pitocin is still on a very low dose.

Holy crap. This might be working. 

7:30 a.m. Friday.

Oh yeah. It’s working all right. 

8 a.m. Friday

Holy shiitake mushrooms, Batman. This is kind of starting to hurt a little. 

8:30 a.m.

Holy fuck balls, Batman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m going to die! WHERE is my MOMMY???

Ok so here’s the deal. First, all kidding aside (even though he did eat like a raging hog for a majority of our stay), Hubs was amazing. He was so calm and supportive. He held my barf bag(s), held my essential oils under my nose, encouraged me, and tried to help me through the pain and loved me the whole time. (Love ya, babe. You earned that meatloaf. But just so we’re clear, I earned 20 meatloafs. Cuz, I had our baby, sooo…yeah.)

Second, I made a birth plan this time. I had a great experience last time without one, but I’ve learned a few things since then and wanted to advocate for myself a little and make my specific wishes known. I was pretty proud of my little birth plan. It was tidy, brief, and to the point. You see, when I was in labor with my son, after the first two or three contractions I was like, “Ouchy boo-boo! Can I have my epidural now?” But this time I wanted to experience labor and really work through it, so I included the following bullet point in my birth plan [ehem]:

“I would like to wait as long as possible before having an epidural administered, or when the pain is unmanageable to me, whichever is first.”

Ha.

Haha!

Bwah hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!

Do you want to know what it’s like to “experience” labor while on Pitocin? It’s like having the worst cramps of your life, then all of a sudden the walls explode into dust as the Incredible Hulk erupts into your hospital room in the midst of smoke and debris and screams “HULK SMASH!!!” as he takes his massive green hands and shoves them up into your lady biz, grabs your uterus and just squeezes the shit out if it while you sob, and all manner of “breathing through it” while visualizing a beach with palm trees goes flying out the window he just busted.

giphy

Meanwhile, during one particularly lively contraction, I felt a pop followed by a gush of what I can only describe as hot vomit exploding from between my legs while half standing, half sitting on the bed trying to endure another sadistic contraction.

That’s right, friends. My water broke au natural. It went everywhere, including all over the nurse’s shoes, mingling with the flow of my tears as I howled, “Oh my God, this is the worst day of my li-hi-hife! This is so gro-ho-ho-sssss! Ewwww!” There may have been some F-bombs sprinkled into my despair and other choice words becoming of a lady. For that, I’m sorry. My poor nurse. My poor poor nurse. I’m a million percent sure I scared her  a little.

Oh! But you guys, I only puked once this time. Well, twice, but the first time was the night before so I’m only counting one.

8:45 a.m. Friday

The anesthesiologist flies in from Abu Dhabi or the Antarctic or wherever the hell he must have been that took for-effing-ever for him to arrive. I wanted to punch his stupid face.

Then he administered this fun shot that made me feel woozy and relaxed.

Then he gave me my epidural.

Then I wanted to marry his stupid face.

9:15 a.m. Friday

My mom arrives. I’m laying in bed, in and out of sleep, reveling in my newfound numbness below the waist.

10:00 a.m. Friday

I feel nothing. I’m sleeping half the time. My mom makes some comment like, “You don’t feel that?” while looking at the monitor that shows my contractions. “You’re having some big contractions,” she said.

“Huh.” I went back to sleep.

10:30 a.m. Friday

Doc comes in. They’ve readied the room for delivery while I was in my stupor the zone. Doc mentions something about practice pushes while he gowns up. I tell my friend who’s come to watch that it’ll probably be a couple hours and mention that someone should tell my dad he can go home for a while if he wants to. It took nearly two hours to push out my son, after all. Just as my mom is about to tell my dad he can leave, Hubs double-checks with the doc.

“How long do you think it’ll be?”

“Oh, you’ll have a baby in fifteen minutes.”

Huh?

10:31 a.m. Friday

Suddenly, I’m wide awake.

10: 35 a.m. Friday

We decide to try a few “practice” pushes.

“Can you tell me when to push? I can’t feel anything, not even the contractions.”

“Yep!” Nurse says. I like this nurse. She has good energy.

They tell me to push.

I push.

They tell me to push.

I push.

We wait for a third contraction. Seems to be taking a while. Finally…

They tell me to push.

I push.

This is so eeeasy! I had no idea it would be this eeeasy!

I push again.

10:45 a.m. Friday, July 15th

For the second time, the most beautiful love of my life emerges into the world.

They place her naked, beet-red body upon my chest. It’s hot and sticky and lovely. I hold her close and cry and all of my anxiety splits into a million butterflies.

We’ve been together ever since.

 

Meeting her for the first time. Last memory for the day, promise. #skintoskin #childbirth #bestthingever

A photo posted by Chris Treber (@incredulousmom) on


 

 

Sundays.

Have you ever thought you might just hate your baby for making you so miserable during pregnancy, only to have her placed upon your chest in a rush of adrenaline and slimy goo in just such a way that your eyes meet her squished up, pissed off little face and the hate just drains out of you in an instant, and your head and heart and body fill up with so much love that you’re certain you’ll combust?

Yeah. Me neither.

Ok. All kidding aside, that was me. Several folks have inquired about my “birth story” and I promise I will write a post detailing the grueling 48 hours we spent in the hospital (with me starving as my husband had three square hospital meals a day) awaiting her arrival, followed by two more days of the mandatory postpartum stay. I want to get it down before I forget, after all. But not today.

Today is an ode to Sundays. Because I love them. Small moments twinkle on Sundays.


On lactation cookies:

Boy: Can I have a bite?

Me: Oh, buddy, these are special cookies for Mommy to make milk.

Boy: Can I just try one bite?

Me: [gives bite]

Boy: Mmmm, your booby cookies are GOOD!


On birds and bees:

[Out of the blue, in the car]

Boy: Mommy, how did Daddy put the baby in your tummy?

Me: Uhhhhh…well, when mommies and daddies love each other very much sometimes they have a baby.

Boy: Yeah, but how did Daddy put the baby in your tummy?

Us:


On losing belly buttons:

Little Squirt’s umbilical cord stump fell off on Sunday. When W’s fell off, I gushed and promptly got a baggie to put it in. I probably cried. I don’t remember. When Squirt’s belly button stump fell off, I grabbed it and tossed it onto the coffee table and went back to changing her diaper. I made a mental note that it looked similar to a dried piece of food and hoped that no one would pick it up and try to eat it.


On flying planes:

Months ago, W went to a nearby market with Hubs. He saw a toy airplane – the dime store kind you shoot with a rubber band. Hubs told him no. When they got home, I told W he’d have to buy it himself (at a whopping $1.50 or so). We figured he’d forget. A few weeks later, Hubs was leaving for the same market.

“Is it the place with the airplane toy?” W asked.

We were shocked he remembered.

A few minutes later we were counting out quarters and dimes from W’s piggy bank. He was  so proud. But his pride quickly became frustration when he came home and couldn’t shoot it properly with the rubber band. The plane has been collecting dust on the buffet cabinet in the dining room ever since.

But on Sunday… on Sunday, it flew. He flew it. All by himself.

“Look Mommy! Look! I did it all by myself!”

PicMonkey Image


Other noteworthy quotes:

Boy: Mommy, is that your tummy where the baby ripped through?

[His words. Not mine.]


Sundays.

We listen to Wilco. We start the day slowly and enjoy what life offers when there’s no cable television. ♥

 

5 HIIT Workouts for Pregnancy

At 37 weeks, I can post this amazing list of 5 HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts that will not fail to bring your heart rate right on up to super speed. Hubs has been getting into these faddy HIIT workouts lately, and I often pout when he leaves to go outside for 10 minutes to do them. Why?  Because that means he’s not inside with me, in the air conditioning, feeding me and rubbing my giant marshmankles. Because I’m a little jealous. He can run without feeling like his uterus is going to fall out from under him. He can jump without fearing a double hip replacement. He can do a pushup without a monstrous growth and two inflated boobs hitting the ground first. He can bend over without feeling every organ inside his body be crushed by a miniature version of himself that’s sucking his life force from within. You get the picture. My day will come. Soon. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. In the meantime, I have my own HIIT exercises to keep me at peak performance. Cheers.

HIIT

Keeping house: a working mom’s secret

It’s August. And that means the kid is a 3 year old.

This summer has been a routine in balance. Balance between getting dishes done and hoeing weeds. Balance between walking the dog and trimming the bushes. Balance between finding out what that smell is once and for all and fixing the leaky pipe in the basement. Balance between repairing the leg on the washing machine and folding that one load of laundry that’s been in the dryer for three days.

There is no time for it all, and so some days the weeds peek over the brick edging, making sure I’m nowhere nearby with my trusty hoe. My absence confirmed, they call on all the strength of Mother Earth to sustain their roots and they propel themselves high into the air overnight, until suddenly we are “those people.” You know. The ones who let mutant weeds tower over the flower beds – who let their yard go just a smidge past acceptable before finally thwacking it off right when the neighbors surely begin to wonder about us.

The pipe has leaked all summer. We have the means to fix it. It’s a simple fix, so I’m told. But it gets lost, plunking droplets of water into the large bucket beneath, waiting for us. We dumped the bucket the other day, and I can’t imagine how many drops were in there, marking the minutes, hours, and days of deferred maintenance. But it’s all good. The bucket is big, and it’s been emptied, so we’ve bought ourselves some time.

Time. You know, the thing we don’t have.

Well, we do. And we don’t. It will get done. Just like everything eventually gets done. But the stretch in between getting things done and keeping them that way is often wide, so that all of the weeds I toiled over on Monday and Tuesday evening have returned (along with their babies) by the following Monday. Because on Wednesday and Thursday, we had to do dishes and laundry. Friday, there’s that other thing we had to do. Is that chicken spoiling in the fridge? Better order a pizza.

I could get it all done. I could. If I arrived home, and we had a daily plan, we could get it all done and I could have one of those houses that looks like…well…one of those houses. Sidewalks festooned with vibrant blossoms doused in Miracle Grow. Window boxes spilling with lush vines. Bushes trimmed and groomed respectably. Don’t get me wrong. We don’t have a pile of spare tires in the front yard or aluminum foil in the windows or anything. We keep it tidy…ish. But the folks who live in those houses likely don’t have to smell the food in the fridge to determine its toxicity. We sniff. We sniff often. And sometimes we end up with an inadvertent science experiment like that one time with the pork that grew that weird white fur and– nevermind.

The point is that we just have no time. Actually we have plenty of time. But for some reason it slips away every night after we’ve filled it with dinner, followed by our evening walk together. A few minutes more trickle away in the time I watch kiddo ride his bike in the driveway. Who knew it took a whole half an hour to get that pesky little pretend spider out of a toddler’s armpit? Then we obviously have to smell his stinky toes at the end of each day and pretend to pass out – ten minutes there. Getting jammies on and brushing teeth? Let’s just mark 45 minutes and not think about how long it really takes to garner compliance from a 3-foot tall whirlwind who laughs hysterically at the frustration of others. Bedtime stories take at least half an hour.

And then it’s 9:30 p.m. And he’s still not asleep. And where did the time go? The dishes sat in the sink again. By 10 p.m. the whirlwind is still, and laundry is finally being folded downstairs.

I’ve learned a few things this summer. For one, weeds are obnoxious assholes. Secondly, toddlers like to ask questions. A lot of questions. The same damn questions over and over and over and over again…

One of these things will last forever. The other will not.

The weeds will come. They find a way to emerge and vine, through cracks and up buildings, and from beneath obstructions. And they will always be. Toddlers grow too. They grow into kids who’s toes no longer need smelling – who no longer ask “Mommy, where’s the guy? Mommy where’s that guy? Where’s his truck? Where is he? Where’s his doggy? Where’d he go?” As if the answer to his quandary is simply the key to understanding the purpose of life in the universe.

So it makes sense to tend the toddler with the toes and the questions. And leave the weeds to grow. At least for now. And that’s my secret to not keeping house.