Monday, July 13, 2015
I like other babies. Don't take this the wrong way, I never disliked other babies, I was just not interested. I didn't want to hold your baby, I didn't want to talk to your baby, and I wasn't interested in what your baby was up to. The other day I stopped a complete stranger in the Grocery Store to not only see there baby, but ask her how old she was, what her name was, what milestones she has reached, and what foods she was eating. I am officially all about babies. I think it's mostly to compare to my own baby, but still, it's new and it's weird. This does not, however, apply to children over the age of 2. I am still not interested in your toddler or 6-year-old. Also, children of friends and family do not apply, I am always interested in what they do :)
You will listen to my labor story, and you will like it. Every single chance I get, I will tell you my story of labor and delivery. I will wait for an opening and I will start from my mild cramping and go all the way to my 2 hours of pushing. That's right 2 hours. I pushed a human out of me and I want the world to know how painful, awful, gross, amazing, and beautiful it was. I am not only proud, but I am thankful that I was able to experience such a wonderful part of life. I don't care if your not interested, I'm going to tell you anyway.
Emotions. So many emotions. I cry A LOT now. I cry for every commercial that features any sort of mother/child bond or father/child bond. This includes animals as well. A mother Polar Bear helping her baby swim for the first time, I mean come on. I cry during sad songs. I cry over some things I see on Facebook. Sometimes I just get emotional thinking about her growing up and I hug her and cry. I cry when I'm exhausted. I cry when I'm overwhelmed. Every thing involving a child I apply to my own life and I cry. Rest assured I am not depressed, I am very happy and thankful for what I have, so thankful I'm tearing up right now. It has gotten better since birth, but I'm still much more emotional than I ever was before baby.
I am always aware of my breasts. This only applies because I am breastfeeding, I assume, and was much worse in the first few months after giving birth. Are they hard? Are they soft? Are they leaking? Are they out? It's a constant awareness of what I barely paid attention to before.
Google. I have never Googled so many things in my life until I had a baby. I've never counted but I'm sure in the first few months of her life I Googled at least 10 times a day. I just checked my last few searches and they are as follows:
Chicco baby carrier
Baby fell and hit head
When to start regular food for baby
How to tell if baby is teething
Baby hair bows
I swear I probably looked up every thing she did after she was born to see if it was 'normal'. What did parents do before Google??
TV? What's that? I watched a lot of TV before baby. Now, it takes me 3 days to watch one episode of The Bachelorette. This is kind of a blessing. I've swapped cable for Hulu, watch only a select few of the shows I watched before, and spend most of my time with the cutest baby in the world. Not mad about it.
My job. I never really expected this one to be that different after the baby. I've been doing it for almost 5 years now, and I'm pretty good at it. I was wrong. Ever since I went back to work I've been dropping the ball left and right. It's like my brain can only handle so much information, and is now overloaded with baby stuff that work stuff is getting forgotten too easily. I have since come to the conclusion that I need a "work brain" and a "home brain". When I am at work, all baby and home stuff needs to be put aside so that I can solely concentrate on what I need to do while I am at work. Then once I get home, work stuff needs to be forgotten now that I need to focus on family. It's a tough system to work out but I'm starting to get the hang of it. I also didn't expect to get treated differently once I returned to work. Or maybe the problem is that I did expect to get treated differently now. Management has had no pity for the "new mom brain", which I guess is no surprise but for some reason I was under the assumption they would cut me some slack. No slack has been cut. In fact, I was even given a hard time for taking my first Mother's Day off, by another Mother if you could believe it. I guess every one has a job to do, and their job is making sure mine gets done. Like I said, I'm getting back into the swing of things but it takes time. Just a warning that not every job is going to be OK with that.
Friend time. Yes, this one is kind of an obvious one. I was expecting to get less friend time, but I guess I wasn't expecting how drastic it was going to be. This is in no way any one's fault, it's just hard to find time, especially if your friends also have children. Between nap times, feeding times, sick times, errand times, and my own exhaustion it's next to impossible to find time to hang out with other adults. Everything needs to be planned in advance, or if it's just dinner it needs to happen by 5pm so we can get the baby home and in bed by 7pm or 8pm. Not to mention drinking is pretty much not an option for me as I am still breastfeeding and she usually has a ton before bed. So yes, I miss my friends. I miss just hanging out without getting distracted a million times by my little bundle of cuteness. I miss having a glass of wine or a beer whenever I please. I miss going to lunch on a whim. I miss my bestie time.
Shopping. Shopping for me, that is. I can't remember the last time I bought myself clothes. Actually I can, it was right after Juniper was born and I bought a bunch of nursing tops because it's impossible to wear anything else. My closet is full of clothes and I only wear about 5 different outfits. If I can't nurse her in it, I don't leave the house in it. Forget about jewelry as well. This doesn't mean I don't shop anymore, though. I am pretty much addicted to buying cute baby girl clothes. Lately I've been scouring the Internet for baby hair bows. You'd be surprised the varieties that are available. You'd think this change in shopping would bother me a little, but it really doesn't. I don't miss trying on clothes, or searching discount racks for yet another top i will only wear once. I am actually planning on getting rid of most is what is in my closet and keeping a few staple pieces that I can interchange with each other. I can still be fashionable without buying new stuff all the time, and sticking to classic pieces. Plus, I totally get my shopping fix buying baby clothes. What is even more fun is that my boyfriend enjoys it too. It's actually pretty cute watching him pick out little girl clothes for his daughter.
Things are definitely different for me now that I have a baby. All the things I expected to change have, along with this list that sort of took me by surprise. It is still surreal to me that I have a daughter and that I am a mother. I wonder if it will always be like that. I am still very much myself in many ways, and I love all the ways that I am different now as well. I am overwhelmed by how much I love that little girl. I have changed, but I have changed for the better and now that she is here I don't know how I managed with out her.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
As a pregnant woman, about to give birth any day, I found myself obsessed with reading the labor and delivery stories of other women. I would scour the Internet when I was up late and couldn't sleep (which was often) in search of every story I could find. I'm pretty sure I read every labor story the Internet had to offer. Not only was I interested in how it would all go for myself, as I had never done this before, but they were actually pretty interesting. There were some similarities, but overall the stories were so different that it was amazing. Every single one starting a different way and every single woman's experience different. I couldn't wait to experience my story and I couldn't wait to share Juniper's story, so here it is.
Juniper's Birth Story
I had my 39th week doctor appointment on June 6th. Still no baby. I was hoping the Doctor would be able to speed things along but I would have had to have been dilated some in order for that to happen, and I was not. I was 80% effaced, which meant she was low and ready, but no labor yet. Since it was close to my due date of November 9th, and there was not much progress since my last visit (I'd had zero cramping) the Doctor scheduled a C-section for two weeks later just in case she hadn't come by then. All I could think was 'Oh man I hope she comes before then!'. I did read in some other labor stories that the Doctor visit can sometimes get things moving, so I was hoping when I got home that I would feel something.
Sure enough, late that evening I started to have mild cramping. This was the first cramping I'd had since I'd been pregnant so I was very excited. They got progressively more intense, and I tried timing them but they were so all over the place it was really hard to do. I woke Ryan up around 1am and asked him what I should do. We decided to wait a little longer, so I lay in bed with him as he rubbed my back through contractions. They were starting to hurt pretty bad and I was sure this was it so off to the hospital we went. We checked in at about 2am, and the Doctor said I was .5 cm. dilated. That's POINT FIVE. I couldn't believe all of this pain and for POINT FIVE CENTIMETERS. I can't even see that on a ruler! They gave me some medication for the pain and sent me home. Looking back now, even though I made sure the pain medication was safe for the baby, I would have refused this. I was not thinking clearly and wish that I wouldn't have taken it. It didn't bother the baby, but I don't think it was necessary.
I slept most of that Friday, and by early evening the contractions were back (probably the pain medication wearing off). At 10pm November 7th, I was in so much pain I could barely stand or talk through the contractions. They felt like they kept coming one right after the other. I was barely able to relax before another began. They were like menstrual cramps X 100. I don't know what I was feeling the night before, because THIS, THIS was labor. I didn't want to rush to the hospital and be sent home again so I lay with Ryan in bed again, box of tissues next to me and my head buried in his chest. I cried through every contraction they hurt so bad. Finally, by 11pm I could not stand it any longer and we drove to the hospital. I didn't want to call any family yet because of what happened the night before so we checked in to triage and waited for the Doctor to check my progress. ONE CENTIMETER. ONE! My head was buried in Ryan's chest, hands clenched around his, breathing rapidly through another contraction all for ONE! I was NOT going home. There was no way I was going to be sent home when I was in this much pain. Luckily the Doctor said she would check again in an hour and if I was at 2 by then they would admit me. My sister-in-law, Jessica, popped in for a visit since she was working just upstairs in the NICU, but I barely remember this because I was trying not to cry. An hour later I was just barely a 2 so I was admitted at 6am on November 8th. Yes, 6 hours in triage.
Once I was admitted I begged for the epidural but they made me wait a little longer. Ryan called my family to let them know that I was admitted but that they still had a while. Around 7am I was given the epidural and OH MAN what a difference. I was in the best mood ever after that! My parents arrived around 8am, which was right around the time my contractions STOPPED. Yep, they just stopped. Like, I wasn't in the middle of labor or anything. Apparently the epidural can do that sometimes. Since I was already given the epidural and admitted we decided to move forth, and induce to get my contractions going again. They came back slowly and the nurse was sure that this was going to take a while. The epidural was wearing off (they stopped it so that my contractions would come back) and the pain was starting again. I was not so sure it would take long, but the nurse said my family should go home and come back around 4pm. FOUR!?
Once the epidural wore off, my contractions were back with a vengeance and I was in unbearable pain again. They gave me another epidural (or opened the flow of meds again, not really sure how all that works). This was at about 10am. The nurse checked me again and I was dilated 7cm. SEVEN! in one hour I went from 2 to 7! The nurse was pretty shocked, but I knew it was going to happen soon. I told Ryan to call my parents and tell them to come back. I was clenching Ryan's hand through every contraction, as he coached me through it and reminded me to breathe slowly (I really did need to be reminded as I would have sort of frantic, and panicky breathing every time a contraction would come). The Nurse wanted me to practice 'pushing through the pain' during contractions, which meant I was to push like I was delivering. At one point while I was doing this I was so sure that the baby was about to come out that I made Ryan call the nurse back in. The baby was not about to come out, but man it felt like she was RIGHT THERE. So weird. At 11am I was dilated to 10cm, which is go time, but I had to wait to push because my mom was not there yet and she was supposed to be in the room with me while I delivered. Ryan has a weak stomach and we weren't sure if he was going to be able to stay with me so it was very important that my mom was there too so that I wouldn't be alone. They starting bringing in all the tools and tables and getting me ready which was really scary. It was finally time and I felt like it was too soon. All the waiting and then it was all happening so fast.
Finally, at 11:30am my parents arrived and my mom and Ryan were both by my side. They made me lay flat with my legs in the air which I thought was weird (that's not how its done in the movies, after all) and I immediately felt like I was going to hurl. Luckily I did not. I was given the go ahead to start pushing and through every contraction I gave three long, strong, mighty pushes. The epidural had kicked back in at this point and my legs were Jell-O. I had absolutely NO control over them. Ryan had to hold one, and my mom had to hold the other. After every session of pushing (I would push every few minutes or so), i was sure that when the Doctor came in she would tell me that I was so close and that this was it, but she didn't. I just kept pushing. And pushing. And pushing. I also had to be given oxygen in between pushes because the baby was in distress, so i had this mask strapped to my face which was driving me CRAZY! I just wanted to take deep breaths and that thing was all up in my face. They wouldn't let me have any water either, even though I was thirstier than I had ever been in my life. I kept having to remind myself this was all for Juniper, and power through. My mom had this little sponge on a stick that she would dip in water and swab my dry mouth with in between pushing and it felt like heaven. It was seriously the best thing ever. Sometimes she would say if I didn't push real hard for the next contractions she wouldn't give it to me and I swear I almost punched her in the neck. Don't mess with a woman giving birth! Finally at 1:30pm the Doctor said that she was almost there and that I had to give it everything I had. Meanwhile, I think every employee in the freaking hospital came in to watch me give birth to my child. Strangers huddled around me yelling my name and cheering me on. If I hadn't been in the middle of pushing a human out of my body I would have told them to get the F out. The Doctor said they were concerned that the umbilical cord might be around her neck so I had to get her head out so that they could better assess. With the thought of my baby in danger I gave it everything I had. A few pushes later and her head was out. Let me just stop right here and say, that moment when the baby is part way out and you still have more pushing to do is probably THE WORST pain I have ever felt in my entire life. That next push I pushed so hard I screamed (I was pretty quiet up until now), I just wanted that pain to STOP. That did it, and I heard Juniper's cry for the first time. They cleaned her up and I started crying. Not just because I heard my baby but because IT WAS FINALLY OVER. I was just so overcome with relief that I cried and cried. They plopped her down on my chest, and that moment that I saw her face, her eyes, her hair! so much hair! That moment was the best moment of my life. She was perfect and I was a mother. I kept looking up at Ryan in disbelief.
I thought it was over, but it wasn't. The Doctor had to manually remove my placenta because it wouldn't detach. WTF. I thought it was over! Also VERY painful, but I had an adorable daughter to stare at during that so that helped. After I was stitched and cleaned up, Ryan and I enjoyed our new family. I have to say he was amazing through the entire thing. Not only did he not have to leave, but he stood by my side and cheered me on the whole time. I can honestly say I would not have been able to do it without him. Juniper latched right on to my breast and began breast feeding with ease which was a huge relief. Little did I know the second night there she would be latched the ENTIRE night with brief breaks. Man alive! My nipples were not prepared! We went home two days later and began our life as a family of three. Juniper is 6-months-old now and words can't express how in love with her we are. She makes me smile everyday, even when she keeps me up all night and cries for what seems like no reason. I am a mother, and she is my daughter and my life will forever be about her story.