25 February 2009

Oh bother...

Here's a not-comprehensive list of the well-meaning (maybe) advice and comments I received when I was pregnant with the Kiddo:

1. "Your life is never.going.to be.the same."
This one doesn't get me as much as the tone with which it was often delivered.  It was almost malicious... almost in I'll get you, my pretty... and your little dog, too! fashion.  So, did these people want to make me dread parenthood in general? Are they really so miserable in their parenting roles that they actually relish in the idea that another couple is going to be pulled down into their tar pit? And besides that, doesn't it seem kind of asinine? I mean, we were adding another human to our household... it kind of goes without saying that the family dynamic is gonna change.

2. "Are you sure there's only one in there?"
I'm huge.  I get it.  From what I've read, that's supposed to happen.  Let's move on.

3. "Just you wait until you get into your third trimester, you won't feel so great then."
Again, the malevolence! The unpleasant woman who said this to me might as well have gotten up in my face and shook her finger at me.  I'm truly sorry that some women don't feel the greatest when their pregnant and, at this point, I can sympathize, but that doesn't make me want to rain on another woman's parade.  Because, really, who does it help?

4. "You better enjoy sleeping now because once that baby gets here, you'll NEVER SLEEP AGAIN!"
Once again, doesn't it seem kind of obvious that my sleep patterns are probably going to be affected by a person whose pineal gland has never been fully affected by daylight and dark? And NEVER? Really? It's beginning to feel like people really want me to be scared of my child.

5. "Once you're in labor, you're gonna want the drugs."
We all know where I stand on this and what ended up happening with the Kiddo's birth, so I won't re-hash it.  I have to add, though, that of all the times I heard this particular comment, my favorite was when I heard it from a young, unmarried woman with no children.  And, yes, she did actually say it like she knew something I didn't.

6. (and similarly) "Once you're in labor, you're gonna be screaming and cussing at David and you won't want him anywhere near you."
Ugh.  No comment.

7. And here's my favorite ever... it was actually a conversation which took place between two older ladies as if I were nowhere in the vicinity:
"She looks swollen, doesn't she?"
"She sure does, and not just her ankles either... her face is swollen, too."
"I think she should probably see her doctor to make sure she doesn't have... oh... ummm... whatever that is that messes with your kidneys."
"Preeclampsia?" I interjected.
"Yes, preeclampsia," they both replied.
"Yes, I think she should definitely ask her doctor about that."
*This conversation took place at an outdoor baptism in mid-August.  It was about 347 degrees and had been for the past 2 months.  And I had already had tests for preeclampsia more than once at that point.


Now, to switch gears just a smidge, here's a list of things I've heard during this pregnancy so far:

1. "Boy, are you gonna have your hands full."
*See the previous #1.

2. (directed at the Kiddo) "Getting a little brother or sister sure is gonna clip your wings." or "I can't wait to see how this one handles competition."
I'm not even going to get started on how much I hate hearing these sorts of things.  I have never even seen sibling rivalry in my family (at least not among actual children).  I'm not saying it doesn't happen or that it won't happen in our home; what I am saying is that it's never been put up with and it most certainly won't be put up with here.  And furthermore, why do people seem to want to see sibling being jealous of one another? It really seems like they enjoy it.  So, I got started.  But I'm going to stop now.

3. (and similar to last time) "You sure are gettin' a belly on you!"
This is my grandmother's very favorite thing to say to me.  I'm glad she told me because I was really beginning to wonder where my toes had gone.

4. I guess this is my favorite from this time around.  I fully expected to get a lot of "So, was it an accident?" or "Did you mean them to be so close together?" but we haven't really heard much of this.  However, pretty early on, this is what we got from one of my hubby's uncles:
"So, I guess you figured you might as well just go ahead and get it over with..."
Hahaha... yeah, somethin' like that.


My point in making these lists is to point out what I've never heard with either pregnancy:

1. "Your life is going to get sweeter the moment your child is born.  And it's going to get exponentially sweeter with every moment from that point on."

2. "You're about to find out that you're capable of loving someone more than you ever thought possible."

3. "And you're even going to love how your heart aches because you do love them so much."

4. "Oh, and there will be some hard times, by the way..."

5. "But it's oh so worth it."


18 February 2009

a story worth telling

I'd have to categorize today as an unusual Wednesday.  And it seems it wasn't just unusual for me alone, but also for my parents and my dog.

The reason the day was unusual for me is because there was a mouse in my house.  We were just wrapping up breakfast - me on my couch, Kiddo on his.  I was doing my Bible reading and I saw that mouse-shaped blur out of the corner of my eye.  You know what I'm talking about... the kind where you're pretty sure you saw it, but you're not 100% sure you saw it until it darts out again making you want to climb to the highest point of the nearest piece of furniture and cringe a lot.

OK... maybe that's just a me thing.

Anyway, so I was actually pretty sure of what it was considering it ran from the corner of the living room to underneath the entertainment center and knocked Kiddo's partially deflated V-day balloons askew on its way.  That and the fact that Kiddo obviously saw it and looked around at me like, "Whoa, Mom... is that supposed to happen?"

So, I was just sitting there trying to remain calm and repeating my mouse mantra of: "This is not happening, this is not happening..." when it ran out from underneath the entertainment center and around behind the bookcase.

This is something I've never understood... why mice feel it necessary to exit a room in stages.  They obviously aren't incredibly brave creatures or they would just make a mad dash all at once.  But then again, I can't say a lot about bravery considering I was the one thinking about scaling the recliner.

The second appearance is when a bad case of the eebie-jeebies really started to set in.  So, I grabbed the phone to call Hubby and file a complaint.  I think when he said hello, I responded with something like, "UGGGGGHHhhhhhhh...... there's a mouse in the house..." I also stood up as if I was maybe going to do something about it, although I'm not sure what it would have been at that point because there was no way I was gonna leave the room and give it the chance to follow me.  Maybe standing was just a nervous thing.  Anyway, about that time, it came out from behind the bookcase - and here's the best part - STOPPED IN THE DOORWAY, looked at me, and scurried off around the corner and into the kitchen.

We all know that mice move in unidentifiable blurs of gray ickiness which leave you wondering if mice travel head or tail first, but no, this one got all saucy and looked back at me as if to let me know that he knew he was running the show and he was just gonna go take charge of the kitchen and find some crumbs behind the fridge.

I think my husband was in the process of telling me where the mousetraps were when I said, "No way I'm staying here all day with that."

So, we got dressed and went to my parents' house.

P.S. I've never set a mousetrap and don't really have any desire to learn.  Duh.  That's why I got married.

OK, so reason numero dos my day was a little unusual.  It's the middle of February, right? And on the way to my parents it starts raining a la monsoon AND lightning AND thundering... and by the time we get to their house it's a full-on rain/hail storm.  So, I got pinged on the head with hailstones.  Not so much of a normal happening for me.

Once we got inside and mostly dried off, I got to find out why it wasn't a normal day for my parents either (this is really what I sat down to write about and then I got all carried away with the mouse story).  Apparently last night some random abandoned dog showed up at my parents' house.  Mom said she was some kind of hound dog and had apparently had puppies very recently.  She also said that the dog was very sweet, but that Curtis (my dog from when I still lived at home) wasn't fond of her being there.  He was once a random abandoned dog and I think the whole situation made him nervous and maybe a little too reminiscent of his former life.  And Curtis has never liked situations that make him think of his mother, which is, I'm fairly certain, why he used to howl when I sang "Precious Memories" to him.


So this dog decided to just hang out and stand looking in my parents back door (and by stand I do mean like on her back feet) and howl all night.  She was still around by this morning and Curtis was getting a little peeved about it, so he bit her.  And they got into it.  He should know better than to mess with a hormonal woman.  Daddy didn't know what else to do but call animal control, although I think that if Curtis had been more amiable, they would have seriously considered keeping her.

The animal control people say they'll come pick her up but that my folks need to put Curtis up so they don't have to deal with canine attitude x2.  So, here's the first part of the story that gets kinda comical.  Mom and Dad bring Curtis inside the house.  This might seem pretty trivial except that he only passes through the house from time to time to pick up a milk bone and, oh yeah, he's the size of a small pony.  Plus, he stinks.  A lot.

So, mom is inside the house with Curtis when the animal control people pull up to get the mama hound dog.  About the time they've pulled up in the driveway, a guy we go to church with drove by in his big white pick-up.  Daddy didn't realize who it was, but he waves and slows down to come back and talk to Daddy.  So he socks it in reverse to pull back to Mom and Daddy's driveway... and absolutely runs all over their mailbox.

At this point, Daddy still has no idea who it is and is maybe a little miffed because, well... somebody just knocked over his mailbox, and he starts out toward the road saying, "WHO IS THAT?" Let's just say, he's a big-ish guy and can sound a lot more angry than he probably really is, so the animal control guys were looking a little uncomfortable and probably wondering if they might have to handle a domestic dispute or something.

So, Daddy's walking out to the pick-up truck and the animal control guys start easing out of their truck when Daddy realizes who it actually is who's hit the mailbox.  And this is what he says back over his shoulder to the cops:

"Oh... don't worry, guys.  It's somebody I know.  He just stopped by to knock over my mailbox."

Because that's just the sort of thing my dad pretty much always has to say.


Maybe you had to be there.

I should wrap this up by saying that Hubby brought home mousetraps and we loaded one up with peanut butter and stuck it under the trash can in the kitchen.  Now, I figured the thing had probably found its way out of the house even before I left for my parents, but sure enough... about an hour later I was back in my bathroom getting ready for church when I heard that signature "SNAP! flop, flop, flop..."

And then I did a little happy dance because the sucker was dead.  Quadrupeds belong outdoors, this one found his way indoors, and, well... he just had to die.

Come after me, PETA.

P.S. Hubby cleaned up the carcass.  That's another reason I got married.


14 February 2009

some things I loved about v-day 2009

1. Sleeping late with a cuddly little boy.

2. Chocolate doughnuts for breakfast.

3. Lunch and lazy stuff-doing around town with my two favorite men in the world.

3 1/2. Lots and lots of little bump-bump-bumps from the inside.

4. Not rear-ending that person because GEEZ, I 'bout had a heart attack.

5. Feeling completely justified in spending way too much on balloons for the Kiddo because he loved them so much and spent a good portion of the evening playing with them.

6. Washing red paint off of his sippy cup after helping him make a V-day card for Mam-Ma and Poppy.

7. Being home all night with my sweet little family.


8. Oh, and a box of Russell Stovers and When Harry Met Sally didn't hurt anything either.



never believe the laxative box

I read somewhere that the term "honeymoon" originated way back when a bunch of tribal dudes made up a big ole batch of fermented honey (thus honey) in preparation for their buddy's wedding.  Starting at the reception and for the entire month (thus moon) following they all stayed just stank nasty drunk and sloshing all over camp.  Whatever article I plucked this interesting little tidbit from didn't go into much detail on what the bride did for the month, but if I had to guess I'd say it had something to do with scrubbing her mighty hunter's skivvies on a rock by the river.  Either that or cooking up a whole heck of a lot of chicken wings.

Whatever the case, honeymoon just sends out all kinds of lovey romantic vibes in every direction and how we came to use that term was clearly not romantic in the least.  For either bride or groom, I'd say.  Since she got thrown headlong into the real world and he probably did
 a lot of puking.

And I can sympathize with that.

Hubby and I entered into marital bliss on May 21, 2005 at 6 PM.  I don't really remember, but the announcement is hanging on my wall and that's what it says, so I guess it's gotta be true.  My only real memory of the whole ceremony/reception procedure is eating several dozen sausage balls.  We spent our first night together at home, but we got up the next morning and headed to the Smoky Mountains.

We stopped on the way at Cracker Barrel in Lebanon, TN and I clearly remember sitting on the porch in a rocking chair enjoying the fresh morning air and being almost giddy.  I kept thinking to myself over and over, "I'm married... he's my husband... I'm his wife..." I also distinctly
 remember thinking about how amazing the week was going to be just feeling out that newness and just being able to focus on, ya know, honeymoon stuff and remain blissfully ignorant, for that short time, of real-world married-people stuff.  I actually remember thinking that.

I woke up very early the next morning feeling not-so-normal and as I stumbled into the bathroom, my husband of not even 36 hours said, "Don't you wimp out on me."

So I puked.  Twice.

And so during the time when I was supposed to be hiking and sight-seeing and spending many a romantic evening with my sweet baboo, I suffered from a few of the more exciting gastrointestinal maladies and barraged my system with a bevy of over-the-counter drugs. Including one "Women's Laxative," which was billed as being "gentle" and "non-cramping." Which just let me say I must beg to differ because me and one of the johns at the Sevierville Wal-Mart got a little too well-acquainted and I was pretty much convinced that I was gonna die in that stall.  

The gentle laxative? Had all the gentleness of a gail-force wind.

I think that was the farthest I ever got away from the hotel room on our entire honeymoon.  Other than that it was quick trips to soak my feet in the hot tub and a whole lot of Andy Griffith re-runs.

After several days (yes, days) of this torture, I really just wanted my mom and fortunately the people running the hotel we were staying in were kind enough to refund our money for the nights we ended up not staying.  I should add, just to further the "aw, man..." factor of this story, that I am never sick... EVER.  I don't know when in the world I had had any kind of stomach bug before that week and I think I've thrown up once since then (which was due to morning sickness with the Kiddo... another interesting story that I should write out sometime).

Hubby collects anything to do with elephants, so as a pre-wedding gift I got him this cute little elephant with a fruit basket on its head from Old Navy.  We were going to take him along on our trip and take pictures of him in various places we wanted to remember (a la The Roaming Gnome).  We named him Funky.  Here's one of very few pictures we got of him...

And so began our fairytale.  With a great big ole WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD.

And also some puke.


12 February 2009

here's hoping

As I close in on trimester #3, I seem to be becoming unfortunately more emotional and maybe even a little (perish the thought)... weepy? Ugh...

If there's something I've never enjoyed it's the thought of being wimpy.  It just doesn't jive with my raisin' (meaning my upbringing... nothing to do with dehydrated grapes).  My mom is like hardcore not wimpy and it just about kills me to find myself crying for no reason.  I have no problem with crying... it's just that if my face is gonna get all red and blotchy and I'm gonna get all hot and my nose is gonna get all stopped up and I'm gonna have a headache from crying when I wake up tomorrow... I better dang well have a good reason for it all.

So, all the weird up-and-down emotionalism crap has got me thinking about all the fun emotional changes of new motherhood that I experienced after the kiddo was born.  Looking back, all the initial feelings I had seem pretty normal considering the hormonal Pearl Harbor of being pregnant and then not being pregnant + breastfeeding.  And then on top of that just learning how to love my child as an actual little human person and not just the warm-fuzzy dream of a baby... and how to deal with the alarmingly immediate and strong maternal feelings I had toward him.  And all of it would have been normal if they hadn't developed into a vast expanse of varying psychoses from then until he was nearly a year old.  Thus, all these normal new-mama things morphed into the black darkness that is postpartum depression.

I was convinced that I was dying and that I had every type of cancer that had ever been discovered and probably a few types that nobody had ever had before... including my favorite: Back cancer.  I would weep as I folded and put away the kiddo's laundry, thinking about how when I died ye olde hubby would remarry and that there was no way any other woman on earth was capable of putting away my baby's clothing.  During the time that I had to lay down with the kiddo for him to stay asleep, I would lie awake thinking about every horrible malady and tragedy in the universe (expanding my repertoire beyond personal disease and moving on to things like burglary, house fires, and, yes, even being buried alive).  Later, when the kiddo could lay down by himself, I would sit up until wee hours of the morning just avoiding going to bed because of the stillness that waited there.  In the mornings, I would lay in bed staring at the ceiling and wondering how in the world I was going to get up and feed myself and my baby.

My lowest point was probably when I talked myself into going to the doctor for a physical just to try to get some peace of mind (at least about the dying-of-cancer part).  Something weird showed up about my white blood count and they wanted to wait 2 weeks and retest.  I had hoped to leave the doctor's office feeling at least on my way back to normal and instead I went directly to my car and bawled my face off.  Thank God the retest came back normal, but those 2 weeks were excruciating.

Finally, in July (a couple months before the kiddo's 1st b-day) I took an enormous personal step and told my church family I was in desperate need of their prayers.  It was just a couple of nights later that in a crumpled heap on the floor of my church, God helped me completely turn it over to Him.  Since that night, thanks to God's amazing power, I've been fine.  Without His help my faith would surely have crumbled many times over since that night.

Naturally, the possibility of this happening again has crossed my mind.  If I'm not already susceptible enough I can't help but think that all the biological changes of new motherhood all over again would make me even more susceptible.  I want to ask anyone out there who might be reading this to just say a little prayer for me that I'll be strong and more willing to reach out to God and those who care about me sooner than nearly a year later if these issues do arise.

Here's hoping that the monsters of depression won't rear their ugly heads at all.  More importantly, here's hoping that I'll be strong and reach out to God and my brothers and sisters in Christ regardless of rain or clear skies.

If you're dealing with postpartum depression, please don't go it alone.  Pray and ask others to pray for you, speak with your pastor/pastor's wife/other mentor, bare your soul to your husband and ask him to help carry some of the load, surround yourself with the good things in your life, talk to you ob/gyn or your favorite nurse about it.

If it were just about you it would be unhealthy enough to just let it go, but the first months of your child's life is no time to waste withering away in the shadows of your mind.


05 February 2009

Drawing the line in Ricki Lake's bathtub

So I had heard recently from someone who hadn't actually watched the documentary about The Business of Being Born.  You can go to the website to check out what it's all about, but just to give a quick synopsis... it's subject matter covers American birth statistics as they relate to midwifery and the "introduction" of actually seeing a doctor and/or going to the hospital to have a baby in the early 20th century.  Apparently ex-talk-show host Ricki Lake wasn't happy with her hospital birthing experience, wanted to do a home birth the second time around, and decided to make a documentary all about the stuff she learned in what research she did on the whole she-bang.

AKA, several granola-munching hippies bashing everything to do with medical convention.

Now, I have to be honest... I didn't watch the whole thing.  I was already mildly irritated at the flippant attitude toward the idea that the pain of childbirth is a beautiful, transforming, and other-worldly phenomenon which should be embraced as a part of a woman's femininity and which has absolutely nothing to do with sin, particularly Adam and Eve's transgression in the Garden (because, hello, it's all right there in Genesis, not that granola-munching hippies are gonna put a lot of stock in Genesis).  I became a little more than mildly irritated when Ricki Lake described her initial reaction to early labor au natural as: "Get me the f*** outta here!" And then when the next clip showcased of a full-frontal of Miss Lake writhing in a bathtub, I decided to turn it off for the betterment of my corneas.

Let me just get this out there right now lest anyone reading this think that I am anti-natural-stuff or anything along those lines because I'm not.  I think that giving birth naturally is an awesome idea and I think that every single woman is strong enough to do it.  I personally think that Americans in general are over-drugged and I think that the number of women who have induced labors ON THEIR DUE DATE is ludicrous.  Furthermore, I love the idea of homebirthing with a midwife or hospital birthing with a doula.  

Personally, I was too big of a chicken to pursue these things on the off chance of "What if something happens that a midwife can't handle? What if my baby dies because of my choice to homebirth? What if my baby dies and it could have been avoided if I'd just gone to the hospital?" because I worry a little (a lot) from time to time and I lurve me a good guiltfest.  Besides all that, I ended up opting for a c-section when my doctor discovered my fluid level was depleted.  Although, I'm sure this groovy-looking midwife from the documentary would say that my doctor just told me that's what was going on so she could get me in and out and she could get home for supper and she would be under less legal risk than otherwise.

Here's my thing with it all... This whole documentary is focused on how doctors, hospitals, and the whole medical convention is telling women what to do with their bodies and then taking away the beautiful experience of childbirth by sticking a woman flat on her back, over-drugging her, and ultimately taking control away from the mothers and furthermore doctors don't care about you or your baby, just their wallets and covering their butts in the event of a lawsuit.  So they're saying, "Don't listen to doctors, don't go to the hospital, don't take the drugs, listen to what WE'RE saying, do it the way WE say you should do it!!!!" So... take charge and do with your own body what you think is best, but, just so you know, what's best is thus and so... oh, and if you choose to do it any other way, you're just following the masses because you want to be like Britney Spears and Posh Spice and are missing out on an integral part of what makes you a mother!

(I felt my ears get red at this implication, by the way)

Here's a phrase that I like: "To each her own."

If you want to have a natural home birth, fine.  If you want to give birth in a bathtub, fine.  If you want to give birth while balancing on an exercise ball, doing yoga, and eating organic carrots and hummus, FINE! But if you want to go to the hospital, get an epidural, and get some pitocin to get those contractions going... if you want to plan an elective c-section and tummy tuck for the same day, that's fine, too.

If I were going to encourage women to do anything, I would encourage each and every woman to get involved.  Make your own educated decisions and do what you feel is best for you, your child, and your family.  Don't follow your doctor or a midwife around blindly; ask questions, do research, PRAY PRAY PRAY, and then make your decision.

I feel very strongly that my son is alive and healthy today because of the advice my doctor gave me AND God's assistance in our decision to deliver via c-section.

And furthermore, I have never once looked at my child and thought, "Gee, I'd probably love you more if you'd come out of my birth canal..." Motherhood is about sacrificing your body for much longer than the time frame of labor and delivery.  Motherhood is about being peed and puked on.  Motherhood is about loving, protecting, nurturing, teaching, praying for, worrying about, and having your heart living outside of yourself.

And all of that has ZERO to do with how your baby gets here.