Category Archives: Flashbacks

because what kind of ‘mommy-blog’ would I have without a birth story

Since we’ve just celebrated the Pea’s first birthday her actual birth has been dominating my thoughts lately.  (And, it still feels surreal to me.)

Why save all the goods for the end:

Eloise Sweetpea: 8lbs 8oz
My first pregnancy was like a dream. And I jinxed myself by saying -for 3 straight years- that I loved being pregnant. But, I totally did. The first time around. However, the Pea insisted on giving me a hard time: morning sickness, unexplained aches, horrible round ligament stretching (whatever that means), random painful contractions (no, they were not braxton hicks) and gestational diabetes. Basically, every symptom that I didn’t get to experience the first time. 
 
We made it to the final week of my pregnancy and it looked like she wanted to hang out a bit longer (just as the Danger-man did).  So, I convinced my mid-wife to induce me. (Yes, I know- babies should get to hang out until they are good and ready. But, I had a 10-pounder the first time around. As a random truck driver so eloquently put it, when inquiring about my huge baby’s stats: “that’s a sack of taters.” With gd it was likely she’d be even bigger and I kind of wanted to avoid a c-section.  But I’m off track.)
 
Our induction date set for my due-date. Coincidently my favorite midwife would be on duty and it would be our Saturday (so Tuesday). I had my final appointment and went home to wait her out.  But, our pretty Pea- as always- insisted on doing things her own way.

I didn’t bother writing a birth plan because nothing stayed on plan with my first delivery. I thought it would be easier, for my sanity, to just roll with the punches. Well, besides the epidural. I totally banked on having an epidural. I’d already experienced labor pains, and failed at my attempt for a ‘natural’ child-birth. There was no point in pretending I’m tougher than I am.

It’s a bit fuzzy- I’m not sure if I ever feel asleep Sunday night. I went to bed having random painful contractions and timed them for a while. They were super far apart and I thought resting would make them stop. But, at 5:30 the contractions were still rolling in: still random and still painful. And I was sick of staring at the clock. 

Eric woke up to me rustling about in the dark, packing bags for the next morning, and starting timing my contractions.  When he announced they were 5 mins apart, I initially thought he was either: a. full of shit or b. timing them wrong. They had been no closer than 14 minutes the entire night.  But, I put a call into the midwife anyway.

Eric decided I needed a decent breakfast and got busy in the kitchen making eggs and veggie sausage. I went to pee and discovered my bloody show.  Then I got kind of nervous and uncomfortable in the bathroom because I’ve watched way too many episodes of I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant. So, I finished up in there pronto. 

I called my mom to wake her up so she could watch the Danger-man. She came downstairs to find me mid-contraction and climbing on the coffee table. (Like that would help me escape the pain?) Eric plopped my beautiful breakfast in front of me while I waited for the midwife to call me back.  I didn’t take a single bite.  Not for lack of trying, I just couldn’t sit still. Not even long enough to pick up the fork.

We decided to head for the hospital and hope the midwife called me back before we got there. I didn’t grab my coat and nearly bit Eric’s head on for even suggesting I should. At the time, it seemed like an obviously ludicrous idea.  (I’m sorry, my love!) I sat on my knees, hugging the seat, the 20 or so blocks to our hospital. Judge me if you will, but it was the only way I could stay in my seat, or even in the car. Fight or flight. Eric asked what he could do to help and I responded: don’t fucking touch me. (Again, I’m sorry.) Luckily, he took me at my word. Even though I feel bad about it now, I truly meant it then.

We arrived at the hospital and started navigating the labyrinth to labor and delivery. I stopped short of marking our way with arrows written in red lipstick. I was sure if I did someone or something would poke their head through the floor and turn the arrows around anyway. We stopped every two minutes so I could clutch the wall and power through a contraction.

Luckily, we ran across a security guard who helped to point us in the right direction.  Unluckily, for him, he asked if I needed a wheelchair.  More ludicrous suggestions. This was not a movie; there’s no need to be so dramatic. (My brain might be broken: I will beg for an epidural but I will not be pushed in a wheelchair.)

We made it to labor and delivery and they had a room ready for me. (My midwife DID get my message, even if she never returned the call.) The first thing I asked was how long it would take to get the epidural. The nurse laughed, grabbed a hospital gown and helped me to the bathroom. She closed the door to ‘give me privacy’ and  I nearly screamed though the crack in the door: I don’t want privacy, I want a effing epidural. I have never changed so fast in my life. I couldn’t focus enough to tie the stings in the back. I couldn’t care less. I lost all modesty already, nearly 4 years before.

The clock read 6:30. And, things get fuzzy again. I asked over and over for an epidural. They convinced me to lay down long enough to check my dilation (5 cm) and hook me up to shit: I’m not sure what. But it wasn’t an epidural. At some point I shouted fuck. It shocked my poor nurses, but it felt good so, I said it a few more times. Then I paired it with holy and that became my go to phrase. Eric seemed so far away (he really took me at my word, poor guy.)  My body was shaking uncontrollably. The nurses, tried to hook me up to an IV 4 times and failed each time. (I learned this is vital if you are indeed going to get an epidural.)

My midwife stormed into the room, grabbed a chair and sat down backwards. You know, with her legs spread wide, leaning forward with her arms draped over the back; like she thought she was one of the cool boys in highschool.  And she just watched me. I wanted to punch her in the face. Next, the anesthesiologist arrived and to this day I would swear he was surrounded by the glow of holy light. Until he opened his mouth.

It took me what seems like an eternity to work out I would not actually be getting an epidural. It was too late. Things were happening too fast.  And I refused to get in the bed. Getting in bed would mean giving up. It would mean that I agreed to suffer through this to the end, sans pain relief. And that thought scared the hell out of me. (Like I’ve said, judge me if you will.)

Finally, my midwife spoke: “get in bed right now.” I obeyed but not without begging for a few minutes longer.  The midwife tried to reassure me that this was going to happen a lot faster than I thought. I’m not even gonna lie: I used the line from Knocked Up: I won’t push. The anesthesiologist took his leave with a parting shot: you can do this: you’re already doing this. And I wanted to punch him in the face. The midwife checked me and I was at an 8. It was just before 7:10. My midwife then explained, once she broke my water I’d be fully dilated and ready to push.

I scanned faces for Eric. He looked as terrified as I felt so, I didn’t look at him again.  The t.v. was on (seriously, WTF?) and it kept drawing my eye. It was programmed to the Home Shopping Network. (It’s crazy what I remember clearly and what I don’t, right?) I know this was this was the only clear thought I had in hour: “what kind of masochist watches HSN in the delivery room.” Thankfully, someone turned it off.

My nurse called me back down to reality by saying: “just look into my eyes.”  At first I thought she was nuts. But, I did as she said and I calmed down instantly. She was this tiny, frail, woman with soft looking skin, curly black hair and square framed glasses. And (brace yourself for corniness 3.2.1) the kindest blue eyes. I looked into her eyes and  seriously thought: this is what my Grandma’s eyes would look like if I had a Grandma. Every time I looked away I would start to panic again. So, I just kept looking into her eyes.

My midwife broke my water. I pushed. And, it was such a relief to push so, I kept pushing. I pushed through 3 contractions. This time, I didn’t need any reassurance, knew I was doing it right. I felt the ring of fire and pushed harder. And then my Sweetpea was here. 

Her first item of business in the outside world was to  poop on the nurse. Then she was snuggling on my belly. I couldn’t believe how beautiful she was. I finally chanced a look at Eric again and he was laughing and crying. And I fell in love with him all over again. I held her and kissed her and nursed her.  But, I couldn’t actually comprehend that I was holding my baby. It was so surreal. It was just before 7:25.  Then I said that first thing that came to mind: “Can I have drugs now?”  I was only half-joking.

And, I couldn’t stop shaking for hours. Something about endorphins. (I didn’t really listen.)

snuggling my perfect lil' Pea

Eric held his daughter for the first time and I witnessed the exact second she wrapped him right around her little finger, irrevocably.

The Pea sleeping with Papa. Yep, he was smiling in his sleep.

The Danger-man skipped pre-school and came to meet his little sister for the first time. She was nursing when he walked in so I unlatched her so he could peek at her face. Of course she started crying. When I explained she was crying because she was hungry he said in his (almost) 4-year-old wisdom: “Well, let’s take her home and feed her then!” 

The Danger-man meeting his baby sister

Sidenote: We were lucky that she decided to make a quick exit. My midwife showed me that there was a loose knot in her cord. If we had a long labor/delivery it would have cinched  and cut off her oxygen.   

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splish-splash I was taking a bath

This week, the Pea started standing up in the tub. Now, it’s no secret, I’m not a huge fan of bath-time, on a good day. But, this new development makes it worse. It’s not that I don’t like clean kids. It’s just that I find bath-time nerve-wracking and I’d prefer not to have daily panic attacks.

(In a related story: I’m pretty sure I now have heart palpitations and perhaps post traumatic stress disorder. Also: I’m a bit of a hypochondriac and a full-blown worrier.)

When the Danger-man was a baby bath-time was my favorite part of the day. Until the day he learned to stand up in the tub.

And slipped.

And bit his tongue.

I have never seen so much blood, then or since. Considering the fact it was coming out of my baby’s face: I freaked the hell out. I scooped him up in his towel and ran. We lived 5 blocks away from the hospital so, my plan was to run to the hospital.

I got out the door, downstairs, and a block and a half before I calmed down enough to re-think my plan. (Perhaps, I should have shoes on and some kind of identification on me before I come tearing into the ER with a blood-covered baby.) So, I stopped to assess the situation and realized he had stopped bleeding. He had even stopped crying and was now laughing. (No doubt at my crazy ass.) I took a peek inside his mouth. It was a bit messy but his tongue was still intact.

By then my brain was able to process that these where good things. So, I reformulated my plan. This one included going home, putting shoes on, dressing him in something other than a bloody towel and calling my mom.

My mom convinced me to calm down for another half of second and call his doctor. The doctor convinced me that nothing was seriously wrong and that he’d be fine. 

Then I came up with a new plan: sit down and cry. And the Danger-man toddled over and hugged his crazy-ass mama. Which just made me cry even harder.  

So, now that the Pea is standing up in the tub, I think it’s time to delegate bath-time to Eric. For my own sanity.

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I think I angered the cosmos

Maybe this comes from the rosy view that colors all my precious memories but, I have to say, the Danger-man was a perfectly behaved baby. (Hold up a second there killer, wait until you see where I am going with this.) 

You know, all those quintessential baby hijinks? Not for this little guy. 

I never found him playing in the toilet, eating garbage, or covered in a pound of flour. He never tried to play with outlets or break-in to the locked cupboard full of cleaning products.  He listened to ‘no’ from an early age and rarely threw fits.  He was 2 before he ever unrolled the entire roll of toilet paper on the floor, and even then it was cute because he only did it once. He was able to entertain himself like you wouldn’t believe. The kid even fell asleep during his first hair cut. (I have the video to prove it.) 

By all accounts, Eric and I were well-behaved babies as well. So, I convinced myself that this demeanor was somehow hereditary.  (At least I didn’t credit my mad parenting skills.) But, now, I know that is not true. (Not true at all.) Plus, I think having a well-behaved baby must have angered the universe somehow and the universe decided to  punish me, the second time around, with our rotten little Pea.

it's a good thing she's cute

Not even a year and the girl can pull socket covers out of the outlets. We can’t keep the toilet paper on the holder anymore because, if we do, it’ll just end up on the floor. She can bust her way into the cleaning cupboard in a matter of seconds. And I swear every time I turn around she’s playing in the toilet. (Okay, it’s only happened 3 times but, 3 times is more than enough. And. sure, I could get a lock for the toilet, but I have the Danger-man to think about. He just looking for an excuse to pee in the tub, or outside, as it is.) Oh, and her attitude. It can be absolutely beastly. She knows what she wants and finds no qualms in making it happen my any means (the loudest scream) necessary. But, you know, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I dig my little girl for all the ways that make her different from the Danger-man. Even if that means, that I’m sweeping up sugar, or flour, or lentils for the 11th time this week. Despite the fact, she dumped my coffee on the floor this morning and it was the last drop in the house. (At least she’s feeling better, right?) 

On another note: Cosmos, if you’re listening: call off your dogs. Alright? I get it. I’m sorry that I never gave my mom privacy in the bathroom when I was little. That it didn’t matter to me if she was pooing or showering, if I needed her, I’d barge right in. I even laughed at her when she complained about her lack of privacy. And now, I understand. I was wrong and I’m sorry.  (Can I please just have one shower this month that isn’t inturrupted by the Danger-man or Eric. Please?)

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ready or not…kindergarten here we come.

There isn’t anything on the planet that bums me out as quickly and completely as the thought of kindergarten. (I mean, how did we get here already? Wasn’t he just born?)

When he was a baby I used to daydream about this time in his life. I’d play with his tiny feet and wonder what he’d be like at this age. I’d  stroke his hair and wonder what backpack he’d choose for the first day of school. (Ninja Turtles, Transformers, something  I have not heard of  yet but will undoubtedly drive me crazy in the years to come? Please, not Barney.) I’d watch him sleep and worry that he wouldn’t make friends easily. But now… now  kindergarten isn’t theoretical its eminent and I’m not ready. The thought of actually dropping him off on his first day reduces me to tears.

(I’m not nuts. I am aware that  this school year isn’t over yet and afterwards I’ll still have an entire summer.) Kindergarten round-up start next month. Which means,  I have two full months of meetings at different schools to decide which school(s) we should apply for. Followed by months of  anxious waiting  and sleepless nights until we find out IF he is actually chosen for the lottery. So with all that–kindergarten is really right around the corner.

I feel like Kindergarten is mocking me. Enjoy you’re last few months with your Danger-man because then he’ll be mine and I’ll only let you have him on the weekends. Before you know it he’ll stop wearing undies adorned with superheros and then I’ll come for his sister. (insert evil villan laugh here.) 

But, I won’t really get to enjoy these last few months because I’ll be losing sleep at night second guessing myself. Wondering if we choose the right school. Wondering if we should move to a school district where our neighborhood school would be sufficient so we wouldn’t even have to worry about magnets- or charters- and the lottery system. Worrying that we made the choice (whatever choice we make) for the wrong reasons.

(I’m REALLY not ready for this. I’m off to snuggle my Danger-man who’s wearing nothing but his Jedi undies and to savor the moment for as long as it lasts.)

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night weaning: try it, you might like it

Breastfeeding is hard. Like really hard. And frustrating.

I don’t like to complain about it because I know there are tons of women out there who really want to breastfeed but can’t. I’ve had my own difficulties as well and I know I’ve been lucky to be able to breastfeed both my children for any time at all. But, that doesn’t make it any less hard or frustrating.

 Nobody ever prepared me for the fact that my son would ween himself at 5 months. Especially since we got off to such a great start: he latched perfectly right away. I never had a sore nipple much less a cracked one. I always had enough. (If you know what I mean.) Then he weened himself at 5 months.  I was devastated and tried pumping for a while. But, it was frustrating and it hurt. Plus, I was bummed and hurt that he didn’t want ‘me’ anymore. So, I gave up. (Which I still feel guilty about.) 

This time around, with the Pea, I’ve been super committed to make this work. I even willingly gave up our weekly date night because I was so not willing to let her have a bottle.  The good news: we’ve made it nearly 4 months longer this time around, so far and we’re still going strong.  But, I think my efforts may have backfired on me a bit.

 The Pea will not use a bottle. She won’t even take a sippy. (Although, she is learning to drink from a straw and likes to drink water from my cup.) And (here comes the frustrating part) she started nursing all night.  It might sound like an exaggeration but, I’m not kidding. The kid has been attached to me all night long (by that I mean ALL FREAKING NIGHT!) As you can probably image , I’ve been getting no sleep, at all.  It’s weird because she has already been sleeping through the night, for months now. It’s been so difficult at times that I’ve thought I might need to ween her.

Thankfully, Eric is amazing. He lets me sleep in every morning and tries to help me out in the middle of the night. But, the Pea is a maniac. If he tries to move her away from me she freaks out! Screaming, crying, struggling to get back to me and general tantrum like behavior. (Basically, the works.) And if that fails, she’ll just stare at me. It is quite the sight to see. And the kicker: she not actually eating and she doesn’t want to. She’s just wants to latch on and stay latched on.

So,we decided to give night weaning a shot. We moved her into her own room. Eric spent a week sleeping on the couch so he could be close by when she woke. (I mentioned he’s amazing, right? I’m a lucky lady.) But, would you believe she did not wake up once? Not once. She’s been in her own room for over a week now and she has slept through the night, every night. (Again! Finally!)

And Mama and Papa have gotten to sleep through the night too. (Again! Finally!) Well, at least for the most part.  The Danger-man still likes to wake us up super early.

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first words…

"mama" "mama"

The Pea-face has been babbling for a while now. Of course Da-da came out first, much to Eric’s delight and my dismay. (Seriously! How can he be 2 for 2?? I’m the one that pushed them both out and breastfed them.) But, today! Oh today, the Pea started saying Mama!

She started wrapping her tongue around the M sound right after she spit Da-da out for the first time. But, today she said it and meant it!  (I mean, I’m pretty sure she meant it.) She was all “mama” -slap me in the face- “mama” -slap, slap, slap- ‘ma-ma.” Then lunch time rolled around. I plopped her in the high chair and headed over to the cupboard. AND she’s all “mmmm… mmmm… MAMA MAMA!!” I turned around and she was waving at me! Yep–I’d say she know’s what it means! (take that da-da!) Cheesy-face.

I can’t help but think of the Danger-man at a time like this. His first word was Daddy. (Like, for reals, not just babble).  But he would not say Mommy or Mama- (at least not to my face— according to  Eric, he’d ask for ‘Mommy’ when I wasn’t around.) He did, however, call me Daddy and then by my ACTUAL NAME for like 6 months after he started talking.  It always made him collapse into giggles.  Apparently, he thought it was hilarious. (I’m glad somebody did, let’s just say I didn’t. I won’t recount all the tears here. But, don’t worry, what happens next is soo cute I forgave him.)

 

 

 

 

 

one of my favorite photos of the Danger-man from back then...

 

Fast-forward to the Danger-man and I flipping through a toy magazine. The Danger-man points to Batman and says “atman” (yes…he said batman [sort of] among other things, like turtle and kitty, before he would call me ‘mommy.’ Don’t rub it in.) But, then he sees Wonder Woman. He looks at her, looks at me, looks back at her and points to her and says “Mommy!” (eeefff yeah!)

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