Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm *that* Mom, Whatever.

Today is Picture Day at daycare. I mean, I remember a time when daycares didn't have picture days, because that was a special right and priveledge held for our school age children (plus, what parent doesn't take a bagillion pics of their little one from birth until 5 years anyway, right?) Apparently, the school photo people were not raking in the dough and decided to start doing the preschools about ten years ago.

Currently, we are more preoccupied with Jacob's diet and why he seems to have no interest in breastmilk, formula, purees, or table food beyond a little at the time (that's another post entirely) so I forgot about that sticker on our progress sheet a week ago that shouted in flourescent highliter yellow "WEDNESDAY THE @*TH IS PICTURE DAY!"

Half asleep still and in a funk over J's refusal to eat breakfast this morning, I arrive at daycare wondering why all these kids are suddenly dressed to the nines. Then I go to put his carseat in the storage closet and see, hanging on one of the little girl's cubbie, no less than a pristine white communion-looking gown. I look back down at Jacob in his cute little cotton striped Osh Kosh onesie and brown flannel pants that we think are clean and think, "yes, I'm that mom".

You know, the one that doesn't remember to dress her son up on picture day so that his yearbook picture shows him sulking with unkempt hair while all the other kids are shiny-clean in their polos and khakis. Okay, maybe I'm being a bit melodramatic about it, but seriously, there were 3 year olds in khakis and polos.

Maybe I'm a picture day hater in general? I mean, I hate to think that the teachers spend all day terrified to take their kids outside in fear that one will get dirty and the parent will be pissed about it. Or god forbid they serve grape juice that day, right? But still, don't you think it's a little overkill to dress your kid up in their Sunday best for school pictures? I honestly got better shots with my digital camera when we were all dressed up for Easter. Hell, Picture People takes much better pictures than the school photographer in my opinion, and I still don't even consider those "professional" pictures. Am I a picture snob? Or a mom who sucks?

(I know I don't suck. I just mean, do I have a kind of sucky attitude about this whole deal?)

Saturday, April 24, 2010


In honor of Elijah and posts from me until further notice.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Major Mom Fail

I'ma pretty laid back mom about most things, and choose to try not to beat myself up over things that I don't get perfect every time. In fact, one of the first times I held my son and rocked him to sleep in the nursery, I whispered in his ear all about how I knew I could never be perfect, but that God had decided that I was good enough for him so I would always try my best.

Fast forward to yesterday morning, 7:40AM. Mommy has a job interview across town at 8:45, couldn't find Sophie for little guy to chew on, on the 8 minute ride to daycare, so she spots the Nuby sippy cup on the drying rack, puts a couple of ounces of water in it, and hands it over. He never really drinks from it anyway (my super advanced almost-8-month-old would rather use a straw or drink from a straight cup) and I figured he would just chew on the soft spout.

Well, I get to the stoplight a few miles down the road with success, stop, and then all of a sudden hear a gagging, coughing, spewing, sputtering, very wet sound. And immediately smell sour milk. In my car, I turn to look and kind of peek over the edge of the seat (my guy is a peanut so we're still in the infant seat) and see watery milk EVERYWHERE in the backseat. And he's still coughing and sputtering. I make sure he's not choking before driving the rest of the way to daycare. I walk around the side of the car and see Jacob literally wearing a milk-eating-grin, holding the sippy, water dripping down his chin. I laugh aloud in the parking lot before carrying him inside. Where of course I go to change his clothes and realize that all I've left in his cubby is a pair of size 3 month fleece pants. Double fail! At home, I'd feel free to let him go naked, he's happier like that anyway, but I didn't want those little girls crawling all over my naked boy! So I have to borrow the daycare's extra clothes after I give my kid a "whore's bath" in the sink next to the changing table.

What a morning. And it's my own fault. Honestly, I thought I could give an 8-month old a sippy cup unsupervised?! .::head, meet palm::.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Joyous Occasion, Part Deux.

I've shared what led up to his birth...let's see if I can squeeze out the rest of his first week before thinking of all of the other subjects I want to write about. This is the best part, so it shouldn't be too hard.

So, Jacob was born relatively healthy, although there was some aprehension caused by his small size to be a past-term baby. He was breathing when born, but did have some trouble clearing his lungs on his own, so the doctors had to do extensive suctioning and as a result, his APGAR scores weren't as high as I would have liked. Of course, I really didn't find any of this out until well afterwards, so I didn't have to be in worried-mom mode while I was stitched back together. Most of what I remember was hearing him cry in the next room and at first being happy to hear that sound, and then instantly having the maternal instinct to feel sad that he was crying for his mommy and that this was the first time he was ever separated from me.

What an amazing week in the hospital we was like a little hotel vacation for us to bond as a family, with occasional help from his many grandparent's stopping by. There were moments when I couldn't wait to get him home and away from the intrusions by doctors, nurses, and bill collecters (seriously, they try to get you to pay while you're still laid up in the hospital...FYI, you can decline and ask them to send an invoice after they file your insurance). There were other moments where I couldn't imagine how we could do it without a full medical staff there when we needed them.

The hospital photographer was a disastrous experience, yet one that taught me about my own maternal instinct. Baby was gone the second morning for his circumcision and Hep B vaccine, and I was alone for the first time and blissfully taking a nap. We would be going home the next day and based on what everyone with kids had told me the previous 8 months, I would never sleep again. When Jacob came back, he was sleeping, so I was excited for the quiet, cool, dark room and just the two of us snoring away. Within 30 minutes, the photographer showed up. I told her that I really didn't think it was a good time and that I hadn't really prepared, and she brushed me off breezily, explaining that she wouldn't bother him too much.

Um, yeah, then she spent the next ten minutes trying to get him to wake up for the picture as I stood behind her explaining that I really didn't care if his eyes were closed, and that he needed his rest after his "surgery". I think she was disappointed, but I really didn't care how good her stupid picture was at that point. She was disturbing MY BABY. When she came back a while later, I just pretty much gave her the stank eye when she tried to coerce me into buying photos. I have to say, she was such a b*tch about it anyway...she came to show me the proofs and snottily said, "sorry he looks so unhappy." Um, yeah, he looks unhappy because you poked and prodded him for half an hour, lady. (I have to admit, he is the most beautiful unhappy newborn I've ever seen in those photo proofs. I'm glad I have them so I can tell this story for years to come.)

Wow. Big diversion. That's what happens when you have to work on a post a little at the time for three days. Anyway, my point is, despite my birth story lacking the surprise element, the excitement of "I think it's time", and was not what I planned, what is important and what matters is that I healed in miraculous time, and three days later went home with a beautiful, sweet, wonderful baby with a cute little cry and humongous hands and feet.

And I have never felt more blessed.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...

...often go awry. This phrase describes my birth story, which I will share with you now. Now, I was not one of those people with a "plan" and a checklist filled out. Nor was I determined to have a natural birth at all costs. I had a preference, but I also did research on all the possibilities so that no matter what happened I would be cool, calm, and collected.

And I was. Maybe a little too much.

My preference was a natural and unmedicated hospital birth, hopefully not an induction, with the ability to be in control and move freely as much as possible. What happened was as far from that as you could get.

I was dues on August 16. My last day of work was August 14. I had secretly hoped all along that he would be just a little late because I needed to rest and clean my kitchen. I spent the entire next week home alone during the day, hanging out online, watching Intervention and A Baby Story, lazily cleaning the kitchen at the pace of one cabinet wipe-down a day. I did freeze a lot of Farmer's Market peaches and veggies. I think I went to the market twice that week. I was so relaxed about it that it was actually annoying for people to give me a million and a half suggestions as to how to get that baby to "hurry up and come out". I posted this as my FaceBook status:

I did not do much in the way of inducing myself naturally. I think I bought a pineapple but then was too lazy to cut it up. I walked most evenings, but it was a snail's pace stroll around the barely half-mile loop of my neighborhood. Hubby made me ice cold foot baths while we watched TV at night and put peppermint in them. The closest I got to inducing myself was when my good friend came over the next weekend (40W and 6D) and did labor-inducing reflexology. (I did actually walk a little over a mile that day.) I fell asleep and had no cramping later as expected.

I never had any contractions, even Braxton-Hicks, no back labor, nothing, and the doctor's over my last 3 weekly appointments had pretty much put me back and forth between a fingertip and a half centimeter dilated each time. At my 41 week appointment, I was disappointed to hear that I was still only barely dilated, but my doctor knew my birth preference and was prepared to send me home for another few days. Until the ultrasound. You always know something is not right when the tech doesn't say much. I kept looking at her measurements and thinking that something was definitely not as it should be. Most of his "parts" were measuring at the size of a 36 to 38 week old baby. Having a healthy and complication-free pregnancy meant that this was the first ultrasound we had had since 18 weeks, so we had no indication of any problems.

When the doc called us into his office he said, "well, it looks like a good day to have a baby." And I think I burst into tears. All along I had been trying to prepare myself for the possibility of induction, but I had researched it thoroughly and my Bishop's Score was giving me a 45% chance of a c-section. We made the decision to go home, mow the lawn (yes, I really asked my doctor if we could have a few hours because my husband needed to mow the lawn...if it hadn't been done then we would have arrived home from the hospital to a forest), and gather ourselves. I cried the whole way. There and back. I tried to tell myself that there was still a greater chance I could deliver vaginally, but I think that deep down, I knew.

Knowing this, I should have pushed myself and the hospital staff harder during my induction, but I was just way too "go with the flow". There is such a thing as being too relaxed. And I was.

They started the evening of August 24th with a dose of Cervadil sometime around 8PM. It was slightly uncomfortable, but mostly it was just cumbersome to get up and go to the bathroom with what felt like 15 different tubes (IV, fetal monitor, uterus monitor, etc.) hanging from me. Luckily, I'm a woman with little shame and even less modesty, so asking for help is not a problem. If it hadn't been for the draft, I would have just gone naked because it would have been much easier to move around.

When the Pitocin started around 8AM on the 25th, I was relieved to not be living out all of the Pit horror stories I had been told. My contractions started slowly and became more intense gradually. I think this lulled me into believing that lying in bed wasn't so bad, and that there really wasn't any need to get up and move because I was doing so well. Around 11, they came in and I was dilated just at about 1 1/2 cm, enough that my doc could break my water. This was honestly the most painful part of my entire labor. At 2PM, my contractions had gotten still stronger and I was hoping that I would be around 4cm, but my uncooperative cervix had not budged. They decided to attach an internal monitor to see if the contractions were as strong as we all thought. Also, she suggested at this point that I take some Stadol (a narcotic pain med) because it looked as though we were going to be laboring for quite a while. I accepted, only because I had done my research and knew that I needed a nap more than anything because I was fully expecting this labor to go on for a day or more if needed.

My contractions got very strong during and after the Stadol...the internal monitor confirmed that they were strong enough that they should be moving mountains, and I was definitely feeling it...having to close my eyes and breathe through contractions. They were about 30 seconds apart and lasting 60-90 seconds, sometimes not fully coming down before peaking a second time. Just after 5, the doctor came again. My husband and I had already discussed it and had a "plan" mapped out: if I was dilated past 4 or 5cm, no more drugs, because I knew I could handle it; between 2-4 and I would have asked for an epidural because the worst was yet to come, and less than 2cm and we would probably be heading for the operating room.

The doctor gave me the option to continue in active labor since little boy was in no trouble whatsoever, and if I regret anything, it's not saying very clearly at this point, "I want to continue, and I want to be off the monitors at least 15 minutes of every hour so that I can labor in different positions." As much as I had prepared for standing up for my rights during labor and delivery, being there in the moment and believing that I was not able to dilate and that I should opt for the c-section just swept all of my plans under the rug. I wasn't in extreme pain, I wasn't "done" and ready for him to be out, I just allowed myself to be led to believe that nothing would change if I continued laboring.

What happened next was unlike anything I've ever seen: as soon as I said c-section, it was like 15 people showed up to prep me at once, and within 12 minutes I was being wheeled away. The operating room was even crazier! I will spare the details of the surgery, just know that I felt nothing but a little pressure, and that when Jacob was born and I heard him cry it was the most beautiful sound I'd ever heard.

Whew. If you've read this far, wow...I really appreciate it! I will continue tomorrow with some mushy after-the-birth stories. But for now, this perfect 7 1/2 month old is crying for his mommy and I'll only have another hour with him before bed, so I must bid adieu!

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Divine Experience

Yesterday was Easter. Now, a brief history for those that do not know me in real life or have followed my blog since the beginning: I am a Christian, but my Christianity is something that has taken a long, slow wagon wheel journey to arrive at. Religion is something that I hold very personally dear to my heart, and I do believe it should be a personal experience for everyone. Most of the time I try to do right by my Lord, but it is a struggle.

Yesterday was one of the days it was easy. I went to a sunrise service with my mom and little sister. At a black church. (I use the term loosely...the service was held at a worship center with a congregation that is mostly African American.) I have never been to such a place before, but I've always kind of wanted to...what I've heard about traditionally black churches has definitely had my curiosity piqued for a while. Us Southern Baptists (which I'm still not sure is where my own religious alliances lie, but the church I attend is of this denomination) tend to like our worship on the serious side. Nothing wrong with that, reverence has it's place. But part of me has always felt like church lacks some of this "joyous noise" I've always heard about.

We drug ourselves into the sanctuary around 6:30AM, after a bone-tiring day of hot sunshine and Easter egg hunts and grilling and basketball the day before, grumbling about why weren't we having sunrise service outside where we could see the sunrise, not knowing what a surprise this church had for us. At promptly 6:48, four women stood up at the front and sang a song that was loud, exciting, and accompanied by a band. Immediately we all sprang to our feet, clapping and swaying to the music. One of my first thoughts was, " can you not feel good about God when you start your day this way?" We sang three songs total, with free reign to dance, clap, shout, sing, whatever we felt like letting out. It was such a release for me to be able to be joyous about every miracle God has placed in my life this past year.

The rest of the service was just as enlightening. I finally realize why people murmur during the sermon or a prayer. It just shows your agreement, your appreciation for what the speaker and God have done for you. It just made me feel so present and alive. And after the service was over, the congregation served breakfast and were the most welcoming people I have ever met. Genuinely welcoming and wanting to get to know us. It set the tone for the rest of my Easter Sunday, and what a day it was. Happiness abounds!

And as promised, the yearly Easter family portrait:
Hot mama dress and all.