April 14, 2014

Moms: I'm sorry.

To any of the moms that I know personally:

I'm sorry I didn't offer to take you to appointments when you were large and pregnant.
I'm sorry I didn't rub your feet.
I'm sorry that I judged you for complaining about the discomfort.
I'm sorry I didn't bring you meals when you first came home with your baby.
I'm sorry I didn't offer to babysit so that you could shower.
I'm sorry I didn't cry with you when you were sleep deprived.
I'm sorry I didn't do your dishes even once.
I'm sorry I didn't show much sympathy when you stressed about finding childcare providers.
I'm sorry I didn't reassure you that you were strong when your birthing experience didn't go as planned.
I'm sorry I didn't inquire about your health often.
I'm sorry I didn't understand what it meant when your baby was sick.
I'm sorry I didn't hug you and tell you that you were a good parent.
I'm sorry I wondered why you were always late.
I'm sorry for my high expectations.
I'm so so sorry.

Family members and friends did all of these things for me in the weeks and months before and after the birth of little Veya. If they hadn't, I don't know how I would have survived. I didn't have a clue what having a newborn was like. And now that I do, I feel endless amounts of guilt for the lack of support I showed to my friends and family when they had their children. I also feel tremendous respect for parents. Parenting, it turns out, is kind of hard.

I'm coming out of the newborn haze (she regularly sleeps through the night!) and just really want to offer a big old thank you to those who supported us. From the kind Facebook comments to help offerings, it is so, so appreciated.

March 13, 2014

Something stupid.

I hate when I'm at work, pumping in a stupid closet, while my baby is at home eating from a stupid bottle. I wish I could feed her directly all the time. Breastfeeding is easily the most amazing thing I've ever felt. Amazing and weird and satisfying all at once.

Being a mom is, well, sort of awesome. We are lucky she picked us as parents.

February 11, 2014

My birth story.

Veya's birth didn't go exactly as planned.  But it was its own version of wonderful.

The night after Christmas, I was awakened by some knarly surges (that's hypno speak for contractions). I had been having them all week, but these were much more intense. Still 20 minutes apart though.  I woke Chris and let him know I thought something was happening,  and he should be alert just in case.

He'd been hearing that for weeks though, so I don't think he took me very seriously. Until he heard me moan through a surge. Normally I'm composed and breathing and focusing. Not with these ones.  I found it nearly impossible to relax.  Still, I did my best to snooze between surges and held off doing anything big. Chris decided to start timing them.

They went from 20 minutes apart to 2-3 minutes apart very suddenly. Like in one surge. The midwives said to come in once they were 2 minutes apart, and we live 45 minutes from the hospital, so you can imagine there was a little urgency in the room at that point.

Chris reminded me to stay calm and focused and to keep listening to my hypnobirthing recordings. We gathered our last minute stuff and headed downstairs. As I was slipping on my shoes in the kitchen, suddenly a gush of fluid puddled up at my feet. My water broke and I was baffled.

Normally the water doesn't break till the baby is coming and you've labored for hours. Or sometimes not at all. I was puzzled, but excited because that meant I was going to have the quick easy birth I'd hoped for. I felt serious pressure between my legs like baby was moving down to the birth canal FAST. I wondered if she'd come in the car, which I really wouldn't have minded.

The drive was intense. I lost focus because the surges were coming so frequently and so strong. I thought to myself this is it. I don't need to go into hypnosis because baby is coming now.

Once we arrived, the hospital staff seemed unphased by my dramatics...that is until Chris let them know my water had already broken 45 minutes earlier. They rushed me into a birthing room and hooked up the baby monitors to check veya's heart rate. She looked good. The midwife came in to check my dilation.

I let her know that I was sure baby was coming very soon so I was fine hearing my progress. I was shocked when she told me I was at a 4. I was positive she'd lift the sheet, see the baby crowning, then deliver her right then. Not the case.  Although a 4 is pretty far for just arriving and not laboring for long. I was still confident things would move quickly.  At this point it was 2 a.m. Friday morning. 

I was flailing and screaming and throwing up.  It was terrible. Not the calm hypnobirthing atmosphere I'd spent so many months practicing. I couldn't find myself. Couldn't center and focus. The pain was too much.  At that point I decided to get into the water to see if that'd help. 

Big mistake.  It seemed to make it worse. I pinched Chris hard.  It was crazy and just awful. I got outta the tub and moved to my birth ball. Still uncomfortable.  I got into the bed and Chris started applying pressure to my knees during each surge. That seemed to provide a teensy bit of relief, so we did that for a while. 

Soon I could tell he was exhausted. It takes an insane amount of pushing pressure on his part to counteract a surge. He was wearing slippers and his feet were sliding too, making it harder for him to be effective.

I decided to let him take a quick break, telling myself I was strong enough to deal with the next surge by myself. There was no point in both of us being tired and miserable.

I could feel it coming. Instead of bracing myself and tensing up, this time I welcomed the surge and remembered that each one was bringing me closer to my baby. I did it.

Not only did I get through it alone, I owned it. It didn't hurt. I'd found my focus and quietly slipped into hypnosis. Chris slept. The lights were low. Nature sounds were playing. It was wonderful.

Chris said he looked up at one point and I was smiling during a surge. I was honestly over-the-moon thrilled at how it was going. Now that I was no longer fighting my body, but working with it, I was feeling empowered.  I wasn't depending on help from Chris, or the nurse or anyone. I'd found a way to do it alone and that felt great. I was getting very excited to meet our daughter.

The next time the midwife came in to check me (it must have been hours later, but im not sure because I wasn't watching a clock), I made sure she knew I didn't want to know my progress. She agreed and just said with a huge smile "keep up the good work." Her reaction told me I was moving right along like I thought.

So I kept going. For a long time. I came out of hypnosis only to eat and drink.  Chris and I didn't speak. He knew to leave me alone and let me focus. When Deedee came in again, she checked me, and her demeanor changed a little. At my request she didn't tell me how many centimeters dilated I was. She left the room and came back a little bit later, then things took a turn.

She checked me then said "This is what I was afraid of. We have to talk." I immediately tensed up and got scared. Deedee said that I was getting a fever, there was meconium in the amniotic fluid, and my water had been broken too long. Also, I'd been dilated to a seven for three hours. Stuck. This combination of circumstances put the birth into a higher risk category. She mentioned the words "c-section" if things didn't progress quickly. She wanted me to get patocin to move things along.
I started crying and told her I needed to talk with Chris in private. 

There is a chapter in my Hypnobirthing book about resting labor with suggestions on how to move things along should you get stuck. When Deedee came back in a short time later, we let her know we did not want the patin, or any drugs. We chose to try these natural methods to get things moving (nipple stimulation, changing positions, etc.) She said she'd give us one hour.

During that hour, the surges became much more intense and closer together. I could feel things progressing. I just knew we'd be ok and wouldn't need the drugs. I re-focused and worked hard. We were back on the right track, moving right along. 

Deedee actually gave us two hours. She said she could hear my moans and hoped that meant things were progressing on our own. She really wanted us to have the birth that we hoped and practiced for. When she came in, the news was detrimental. After all of that laboring, still stuck at a 7. I was 7 centimeters dilated for five hours. The midwife let us know that nothing was happening and now they had no choice but to intervene. 

I wanted to do everything possible to avoid a c-section, so I told her to go ahead and move forward with the patocin. She warned me that the surges would get closer together and intensely stronger, very quickly. By this point, I was terrified, exhausted, tense, hungry and worried about my baby. I had been there laboring for 19 hours. "I can't handle stronger contractions. Please don't make me," I told her.

She explained the benefits of the epidural and that the drugs used wouldn't get to my baby, or affect my thinking. It would simply numb my body from the waist down, making the surges easier to deal with. I said ok.

Forty minutes later, Veya was born. (I got to watch her be born via giant mirror!) 

Because of the meconium, we couldn't have immediate skin to skin or delayed cord clamping. The NICU people had to come in our room and suction her (get the goopy mess out of her lungs through her mouth and nose) immediately. That really sucked. I was terrified.

As I was being stitched and Veya was being suctioned, Chris went over and held her hand. What a traumatic entry into the world. Poor little one. About 15 minutes later I finally got to hold her. Her breathing then settled. She was awake and alert and looking deep into my eyes. Best moment ever. She weighed 6 pounds, 15 ounces and was 20 inches long. Just perfect, thank god.

January 18, 2014

Look at this baby I birthed.

Veya Rae was born Dec.  27. She's perfect.

December 12, 2013


It's funny how the smallest, most seemingly insignificant comment from a mom (stranger, coworker or friend) can so strongly impact my mindset on childbirth.

Not with other topics. I could give a shit what other people think I should or shouldn't be doing with my spare time or money, what my political opinions are, why I love the gays, etc.

But with something as personal and life changing as bringing a child into the world, the viewpoints from a mother who has been there really matter to me. When she empowers me by telling me everything will go just the way I want (we are having an unmedicated hypnobirth), I feel like I can walk on water.

When she showers me with her own horror stories of birth, "helpful advice," or snarky good lucks, it just makes me feel like garbage. It instills fear, which is the opposite of what should be happening in my mind right now.

In all of our interactions with other women (not just the controversial topic of having children) we should really just try to be nicer to one another. Send out more positive vibes. Judge less. Uplift more.

That is all. For now.

November 29, 2013

Stop it.

Things I would like people to stop saying to Chris after finding out we're having a girl:

-are you disappointed it's not a boy?
-things just got a whole lot more expensive for you, eh?

I'm speaking on his behalf here (because he's a lot more easygoing and isn't half as perturbed at these comments as I am). WHY WOULD HE BE SAD IT'S A GIRL? Girls are awesome. We rock. Rest assured, we are both thrilled to be having a girl. If you're disappointed at the anatomy of a child you conceived, then you are an ass. 

"But don't you want someone you can take fishing and teach to work on cars with you?"

Uh, females can do both of those things. And our little girl WILL do both of those things with Chris (assuming she wants to). Why is that so hard to believe?

And the myth that because one is born with a vagina that makes one a lot more expensive than someone with a penis has got to go. This is the 21st century. Get real. We're not setting aside extra money for diamond-encrusted tiaras and designer duds because the little one growing in me is a female. She will receive the exact same treatment, toys, privileges, books, experiences and opportunities that she would if she were born a boy. 

To me, kids are kids and deserve to be treated equally no matter what their sex. We don't fall into those gender stereotypes, because, uh, they suck.  

Warning: this is likely not the last gender role-related rant you'll see from me. It's something I feel strongly about. Little girls need to know that their worth is not defined by how they look, or how desirable they are, or how high/low maintenance they are.

November 14, 2013


Strange things have been happening lately.

I lost my heartburn medication the other night, and we were just about to eat a tomatoey meal, so I got a little frantic. "WHERE COULD IT BE. I keep it right here in the medicine cabinet." Chris started helping me look. We looked in drawers, the fridge, anywhere that the tiny bottle could have possibly planted itself.

Twenty minutes later, I found it. In Chris's lunch box inside the pantry.


Then, about two days after that, I was happily nesting at home on a sunny Saturday, windows open, music loud, gettin' shit done, prepping for baby, when I realized that my phone was missing. It wasn't in any of the regular places you set your phone (dresser, dryer, by the toilet, on the charger).

Again, a feeling of hysteria swept over me, like HOW WILL I LIVE ANOTHER MINUTE WITHOUT MY CELL PHONE (even though I hadn't noticed it was gone for the last two hours). What if the baby comes early and I can't call Chris? What if I die and I can't call Chris. OMG OMG FREAK OUT. I was breathing heavily as I turned the house upside down searching for that stewpid phone.

Maybe one of my dogs hid it from me.

Then I thought about the heartburn medicine incident. If I put that somewhere strange without remembering, is it possible I put my phone some place even weirder?

Yep. Yep, it is possible. Because I found it two hours later in the recycling bin outside.