Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Well, technically speaking, WE did it – we being myself, my husband, our beautiful baby, my midwife, my doula and some wonderful nurses.  Oh yes – and nature, too.  On May 10, 2010, our beautiful little angel entered this world a healthy little girl.  After 24 hours of back labor, after 1 hour and 45 minutes of pushing, I birthed this little sweet pea a la natural. 

I’ve decided to share with you some of the things about labor and delivery and being a new mama that I did not receive in the memo.

1) Contractions HURT.  A LOT.  Forget those natural pregnancy/birthing books that talk about contractions being surges and how you can hypnotize yourself to the point where you hardly feel them and, in fact, look serene.  THIS IS A LIE.  YOU WILL FEEL PAIN and NO amount of happy self-talk will turn you into a woman who looks like she has just received a nice massage.  Or had great sex.

2) Back labor is different than front labor.  While I have nothing to compare this to, with back labor, nothing helps to ease the pain.  There is no position you can use to feel more comfortable.  I know.  I TRIED THEM ALL.  Not even the jacuzzi tub helped.

3) You will experience a 3+ hour surge of elation and amazing energy once you birth your little beauty.  I was told this during the time I was pushing and I thought my midwife and doula were full of it.  I was wrong.  They were right.  The second my little Miss A was born, I had a surge of energy that lasted for several hours.  I did not immediately crash and sleep as I anticipated.

4) You will experience THE MOST voracious appetite after delivery.  You will suddenly demand and DESPERATELY NEED to eat about 3,000 calories.  Hospital food suddenly never tasted so good.  I was so frigging hungry, I would have eaten a handful of ants.

5) Along those lines, you will continue this voracious appetite if you choose to breastfeed.  Eating will take priority in your life.  In fact, you will have a new set of priorities as a new mama:  Taking care of baby, eating, sleeping, eating, peeing, bathing, eating.  Repeat.  Things like the laundry and sex kinda get buried for quite some time.

6) Your vagina is likely going to hurt for many months.  Or at least take many months to heal, especially if you breastfeed, regardless of whether you tear or not (which I did not).  Which, as mentioned above, means sex gets buried for awhile.

7) Your bowels, in particular your little sphincter and your bowels are going to feel loose and large for awhile.  I’m 3 months out and I still have this experience.  What this means is gas is gonna come leaking out of you like never before and the size and consistency of your poo is gonna change.

8) In fact, your entire innards are going to feel loose for many months.  It’s as though your organs, once cramped together during pregnancy, are suddenly loose, free-floating and are wondering “uh ok what do i do now?”  One woman recently told me at 6 months post partum, she was running and could literally feel her uterus bouncing up and down, trying to find a place to settle in permanently. 

9) Breastfeeding means you will lose that weight fast.  At 6 weeks I had lost 21 of the 32 lbs I put on.  Today I can wear my pre-pregnancy clothes again.  It also means you will be spending time trying to catch up on needed calories, which is as doable as is catching up on sleep.  One mama told me despite the amount of food she ate, she noticed a divet in the muscle in her leg.  It went away after she stopped nursing. 

10) It takes awhile to get to know your little one.  We romanticize birth and new mamahood when in reality, it isn’t always love at first sight.  Sure you will (likely) feel a profound sense of needing to care for and protect this little person, but falling in love with this little one takes time.  She will be every bit a stranger to you as you are to her.

11) You may panic when you leave the hospital and think “oh my god they’re letting me go home!”  Then once you arrive home, you and your spouse will look at each other and say “what do we do now?”  Do as we did:  Take it one second at a time.  Little Miss A was sleeping, so we let her stay in her carseat for awhile and videotaped her sleeping. 

12) Getting baby to sleep on a schedule.  Hmmm.  I have books that say this isn’t possible or this isn’t necessary then I have books, like the one I’m reading now, that claim ALL babies sleep patterns can be fit into this perfect mold.  Right now I’m too tired to learn anything new much less comment on this subject (given that I am sleep-deprived) but I will say this:  EVERY BABY IS DIFFERENT just like EVERY ADULT IS DIFFERENT.  And I tend to think sleep is instinctive and is something we learn naturally on our own and cannot be taught.  But I could be wrong. 

13) Along the lines of sleep, you are going to be sleep deprived for a long time.  Get used to it. 

14) All those muscles you use for pushing little one out are going to bother you, off and on, for many months to come.  My inner leg muscles still cramp up at times.  I have yet to return to my normal yoga routine as a result.  In fact, I read where it takes, on average, about 2 years for a woman’s body to totally return to it’s natural state after pregnancy and I can believe that.  I once had a very misinformed doula tell me after 2 weeks I would be back to normal.  Don’t listen to ANY ONE who tries to tell you such nonsense. 

15) Post partum baby blues are very real and, for most women, such as myself, they do go away.  I believe these emotions are simply due to the hormonal changes, lack of sleep and the HUGE change to your life that comes with having a new baby.  And in our crazy, chaotic and dysfunctional/backward western society, where being a mom is totally undervalued, where we are so damn nomadic and reclusive and tuned out (and wired in) and as such don’t really form real communities, mama’s often end up feeling isolated and alone.  All so unnecessary.

Ok little one is crying so I will close for now.  Until next time…

Mama V.

If there is one thing I will not miss when I birth this little angel it is all of the unsolicited/unasked for advice non-pregnant people think they can toss my way simply because my belly is bulging with baby.  Why today alone:

*I’ve been told not to use those soft head-support thingies for newborns.

*I was told to keep walking (despite P A I N).

*I was told to keep eating extra calories (despite HAVING NO ROOM in that region anymore).

*I was told that since I haven’t dropped, I won’t be going into labor anytime soon, because afterall, ALL babies drop before going into labor – which, btw, is utterly false.

*I was told my face looks like it has gained a bit of weight (then was told that no, it doesn’t).  Which made me want to say to the first idiot: “You’re lookin’ a bit chubby there yourself around your middle”.  Then reach for that middle and give it a pinch or two.  Moron. 

That’s just in one day.  Different people.  All on their own.  Without me saying a thing or initiating any sort of conversation.  It’s as though the world sees a pregnant woman and that triggers the idiot button in their brain which makes them babble all sorts of stupid shit.  Take for instance, earlier in the week when meeting with the Pediatrician (who herself is a mother and should KNOW better but then again I believe birthing a baby initiates an amnesia trigger, whereby women forget their entire birthing experience – which makes them do it again – as well as forgetting their pregnancy experience) who told me the majority of women, upon giving birth, turn into weeping, overly emotional creatures who cry at silly things and that it is the very small minority who experience joy and elation.  No sooner had she said that ridiculous comment but did she then add that “THOSE are the women none of us like!” (the ones who are joyous).

I mean, WTF???  Are people that damn stupid and insensitive?  Oooh, I spy a pregnant woman.  Let’s go dump some stupid ass comments on her already overflowing plate.  Why should we stop and ask how she’s doing?  Why should we even think to ask if she NEEDS anything?  Why be sensitive and attentive when we can be ARROGANT, PRESUMPTUOUS AND INSENSITIVE?

I’ve decided if I go through pregnancy again, I am going to have the experience on a small island in another country where people are more thoughtful and sensitive.  Where the birthing process is truly supported, acknowledged.  Where the question “How are you what do you need?” is the FIRST THING that is presented to the woman.  Where old wives tales are left for the non-pregnant crowd and where people are selfless enough to be MORE interested in the pregnant woman in front of them than they are in spouting their (all too often) false, stupid dribble.

I swear….this experience is just confirming my belief that Westerners are too often downright self-centered and aloof. 

*the preceding was presented in high def and full color by a pregnant woman who is at 37 weeks along, who is sleep-deprived and thus feeling punchy and is liable to smack anyone or anything that speaks, mutters or even thinks a thought that pisses her off…

Well, while according to the calendar I bypassed 34 weeks, according to my last visit, I am showing to be at 36 weeks.  This is not surprising given how my little one seemed to undertake a rapid growth in a matter of days.  One day I felt fine.  The next, my hips, butt and the insides of my thighs were screaming in agony.  And I could no longer walk normal no matter how hard I tried.

Well, perhaps the word “agony” is a slight exaggeration – but only slight.  Today is the first day in 3 weeks where, while I’m still waddling, I haven’t felt sharp, very bothersome pains in my butt and hips. 

As of today, cooking is becoming very difficult.  I have to stand a good distance away from the sink.  Bending down to put dishes in the dishwasher is uncomfortable.  My sense of balance as well as my sense of picking up and holding onto things is temporarily out the window.  I am forever dropping things.  At this stage, I either call for the dog (if it’s a food item) or my spouse (if it’s anything else) and have them pick it up.  Sometimes I cry over this.  I mean, how difficult is it to hold onto a carrot or a sock?

I’ve also lost sight of my brain.  Tonight my husband asked me if there was anything he could get me.  “Yes,” I responded, “please go locate my mind and reinsert it.”

I wasn’t joking.

Today, while talking with my friend/neighbor, I forgot the word I was looking for.  That wouldn’t be such a tragedy if it were just a random event.  However, in the course of our 10 minute conversation, I blanked out numerous times.  At one point, I realized I was simply staring at a tree, about ready to give birth to beautiful white blossoms, sort of like what I’m gearing up to do and suddenly, I realized I was someplace else and ok now it’s time to return to the present moment and looking at my friend/neighbor, WHAT is your name again (I’ve only known her for FOUR YEARS) and what were we talking about? 

Oh yes, and do you happen to have any chocolate on hand?

Sigh…

One little interesting side effect of this pregnancy thing that seems to be quite noticable are my fingernails.  I can practically see them grow.  I cut them all off one week ago (I normally keep them very short and I mean short as in no whites showing).  Today they are long.  And strong.  And none are broken.  The hair on my head, which until recently, seemed to actually be growing unusually slow, seems to be growing overnight.  But as far as the hair growth on my legs, that has remained almost non-existant.  I can still go a week without shaving.

I ain’t complaining about that!

I’m noticing some slight swelling in my ankles and feet.  I thought I was going to go the entire pregnancy without that symptom.

I was wrong.

I’m also burping throughout the hour.  That increases when I lie down.  Farting has also increased.  And sadly, for my husband, who has to sleep in the same bed as I, that also increases when I lie down.

Adding to the idea of dropping socks and carrots, I’m also forever spilling food on myself when I eat.  Again, how hard is it really to bring a spoonful of applesauce to your mouth or a bite of toast?

I guess you could say in a nutshell I’ve become a waddling, bloated, spacey, clutzy, forgetful, food-dropping, burping creature who can out-fart any young male.

But now and then, a gentle little movement from my little one reminds me there’s a reason behind all of these experiences. 

A very wonderful, beautiful reason.

Something’s happening to me as a result of being pregnant.  No one told me about this occurrence and I’m a bit peeved about that.  I never thought I would experience it myself. 

But I am.

Don’t tell anyone, but, ssshhh… I believe I am losing my mind

I used to be able to hold highly intelligent conversations about a variety of topics – my favorites including politics, social issues, conspiracy theories, ufo’s, the paranormal.  In fact, anything of the metaphysical nature used to completely fascinate me. 

So what’s the problem, you’re probably thinking.

The problem, you see, is that I cannot seem to understand much less WANT to discuss such topics at the moment.  In fact, my interest in such things has greatly waned.  As a friend of mine told me tonight: “Being pregnant and becoming a mama totally changes you!”

Yeah, no kidding!

I find myself lighting up like a firefly on a warm summer night when I’m asked about my little baby.  I love it when people want to rub my belly.  I eat it up when folks look at me with that sweet, gentle smile reserved for pregnant women and babies.  The discussion turns to baby or mama anything, for that matter, and I am all ears.  Feelings of warmth and softness race through me as visions of adorable, precious dancing babies surround my aura.  Sometimes, usually in my mind, I will break out in a childhood song.

The wheels on the bus go round and round….all around the town.

Getting me to hold down a conversation outside of this realm has simply become difficult.  I experience an overwhelming desire to place my finger between my lips and move it quickly up and down to make that crazy babbling sound.  I also find my brain glossing over the information of topics outside of the baby/mama realm, where I am only on the lookout for words such as “baby” and “baby” and, oh yeah, “baby”.  Toss in extra’s such as “breastfeeding” and “birthing” and “doula’s and midwives” and “snuggles” and “baby sleeping patterns” and I’m also all ears. 

Maybe this is nature’s way of preparing me to be a mama.

And yet, I also seem to be dropping things left and right.  Anything from food to a comb to shoes and watch out – that object may just find itself on the floor.

If this is also a side-effect of being pregnancy, I don’t understand how “nature’s way” fits into this trait.

And yet, how am I to understand?  Remember…

I am losing my mind.

Walk in to any store that has a baby section and you will find yourself overwhelmed with, well, STUFF.  There are 20 types of pacifiers, 15 types of brushes, a variety of nail clippers, a billion types of diapers and wipes, booties and socks and slippers and shoes.  There are brushes for cleaning out bottles, little clips for keeping pacifier attached to babies clothing.  You have  blankets and slings and carriers and swaddling things (that, to my discerning eye, look like straight jackets).  You have your booster chair, your high chair.  Then there are the mini jails, as I call them.  The playpens (or playards as they are called today).   You have your portable cribs, bassinets, cradles and humongous contraptions with all the bells and whistles that, let’s face it, are reserved for the elite (or the parent who thinks their little one MUST HAVE all of the bells and whistles).  Then there are the toys.  Oh my lord, the toys.  There are rattles and shakers and balls and plastic keys.  You have your toys that squeak, that roll, that bounce – all guaranted to entertain your little one when you can’t.   It’s a plastic manufacturer’s/oil cartel’s wet dream, not to mention guaranteed to overstimulate your precious little baby now and then.

And need I mention the TON of stuff for decorating the babies room?  There’s paint, wallpaper, borders, decals and stickers.  There are paintings and murals and drawings and photos.  There are mobiles and frilly curtain sets (or non-frilly for the boys).  You have theme-related rooms (making Disney and other elite corporations millions of dollars every year).  There are dressers just for baby (I didn’t know dressers were age-specific). 

I mean really, who is this about?  The baby?

Not really.  It’s about crafty marketing folks who appeal to parents guilt, insecurity and fear as well as that malicious advertising move of “YOU MUST HAVE THIS TO BE COOL/POPULAR/A GOOD PARENT/PERSON” blah blah blah.  Notice the word “good”.  That is key in all of this marketing business aimed at parents.

Let’s be honest here.  What does a baby REALLY need?  Well, for starters the two most important things are free.  1) Love.  2) A boob.

Some clothes, some hats and blankets and socks, a safe, quiet, secure place to sleep and just be and some diapers are really all a baby needs.  All the rest is just stuff.

And hey, much if not most, of this stuff can be found used for well under half the cost you’d pay for it new.  I will admit though that my spouse and I opted to buy her crib and carseat brand new (both of which are convertible meaning they will grow with her – as well as top-rated and amongst the least expensive because they lack all of the bell and whistles).  Why?  I wanted to make sure the carseat had never been in an accident.  And I wanted to make sure the crib was solid and secure and hadn’t been exposed to any sort of abuse or damage.  The rest?  Hand-me-downs, gifts or bought/found used.  In terms of cash spent, aside from the crib and carseat, we’ve kept it under $30. 

Of course, I gotta admit, knowing we’re going to have a girl stirs that girlie girl desire to dress my little one in adorable little clothes.  There are those little frilly outfits (t-shirts, onsies, bibs, hats, socks, etc.) that tell the world “I love daddy” and “I love mommy”.  There are the little tights with ruffles and the patent leather shoes.  There are the adorable denim floppy hats that look oh so precious with a pair of denim jean shorts and  little floral tankie top.  Then there are the princess and elfin fairies theme items.  And barbie dream house and OH MY GOD EASY BAKE OVEN!!!!

Sigh.

I guess the marketing gods have found their way into my head despite my belief otherwise, eh?

I may not be able to walk more than 2 or 3 blocks without needing to pee, but hey, at least I can still see my feet…

I can’t stand up against the kitchen sink and wash dishes without a stool or on tippy-toe, but I can still see my feet…

I can’t see the pee cup at the Midwife’s Office when I leave a sample, but I can still see my feet…

I can’t fully turn around when I need to back up while driving, but I can still see my feet…

I can’t sleep without a gazillion pillows, but hey, you know, at least I can still see my feet…

I can’t eat or drink anything without a good loud belch, but at least I can still see my feet…

I can’t pass by my husband in the bathroom without my belly bumping into him, but, yep, you know, I can still see my feet…

I can’t pick myself up off the floor without help or, at the very least, without a very loud “uunnhhh!!” but whatta know, I can still see my feet…

For now that is…

Looking back to when I first found out I was pregnant and comparing that experience to today, in terms of my thoughts on the whole deal, I have done a near 360.  I went from being completely terrified and against the idea of being pregnant (it wasn’t planned–at least not in THIS plane of existance/universe) to thinking the following:

I should have done this 20 years ago!

Why did I wait so long?

I cannot WAIT to be a mama!

I love being pregnant!

I love having this precious, miraculous, beautiful reminder of life growing inside of me!

And the most shocking of all:

I may just want to do this again.

!!!

I’m 44.  I want to do this AGAIN?

6 months ago I was telling – commanding – Mr. Mama2be that once I delivered, he was going to get himself snipped.  No questions asked.

Today I’m saying “let’s just wait awhile”.

It’s a concept he’s totally open to for he himself has been thinking, “You know, we may just want to have another…”

The other night while lying in bed, I thought about how in just 3 months, the whole pregnancy experience will be all over.

Again, I was surprised at my initial thought process and emotions experienced: 

Oh, no!  Which was followed by this deep sense of sadness and grief.

Well yeah, but just think of what you will be able to do again, I tried reasoning with myself.  I’ll be able to sleep on my back and tummy again.  I’ll be able to lie down on my tummy in bed and read and journal.  I’ll be able to roll out of bed without pushing myself up and grunting.  I won’t have to put antacids on the grocery list.  I won’t have to wake up frequently through the night to pee or to walk off a leg cramp.  Pillows will just be pillows and not some sort of necessity for comfort.  I’ll be able to bend down and get back up without having to ask for help or putting my hand on a nearby shelf or whatever to push myself back up.  I’ll be able to see, well, certain parts of my body again when I look down.  I’ll be able to shave my legs without pushing my belly aside. 

Yeah, I know, but still, we’ll no longer be pregnant.  We won’t be able to feel life inside of us anymore.  We won’t have people showering us with smiles and questions (I happen to be one of those pregnant women who, as long as I’m not being questioned for my choice, LOOOOOOVES this extra attention!!).  And, well, we won’t be pregnant anymore! …my emotional heart answered back.

As a friend said, suddenly you will be ending one experience and starting a new one just as suddenly.

Yeah, I said.  I hadn’t thought of it that way.  I guess it will be a mourning period I will go through for a little while.  Although I am sure my new role as mama along with my ability to walk and sleep more normally again will pull me through the adjustment quite quickly, where I will likely be totally content with just having one child.

If not, there’s always pregnancy numero dos…