The other night I woke from a dead sleep. Bolted awake by the strangest and most heart wrenching dream. I have nightmares quite a bit, always have… sometimes hubby wakes me yelling and crying in my sleep, but this one my eyes just snapped open and I laid there frozen, trying to catch my breath.
In this dream… it had all been a dream.
Let me explain.
It was a very strange web of make believe. It started with a very pregnant me, being in a fatal car accident. When the impact struck, instead of waking up like I normally would during a car accident dream, it only lead me into another dream. Still peering in as it all played out, I watched myself wake up horrified to discover that thought of me being killed in a car accident wasn’t even the worst part. In the first layer I was pregnant, and the second I was not. Watching myself realize that and that gut punch feeling … it had all just been a dream…..
I woke unable to breathe and grabbed my big pregnant belly and immediately felt her, kicking and squirming as if to say “it’s ok Mom, I’m still here”… thank god. Thank god for her!
I laid in bed clutching on to my belly, feeling relieved and grateful and also sad for the old me. The me that had to wake up to dreams like that. Wondering what the heck my life would even look like if it wasn’t for her!?? She’s not even here yet and my whole universe already revolves around her. Waiting, and anticipating whatever the world will look like once she’s here!!!
Today, I am 28 weeks pregnant and entering my 3rd trimester!! The anxiety I felt in the early stages of pregnancy is shifting. Still there a bit but it’s muffled by excitement, and also by the list of things I need to accomplish in the next three months. Moments like this jolt me back into it and I’m forced to spend a lot of quiet time with my meditation app. Time for quiet. Time for deep breaths and gratefulness.
Countdown to HER continues. It’s more than a dream, it’s my dream and this time it’s real. She’s real.
Sometimes I have a very complicated relationship with the universe.
I’m not terribly religious. I grew up Christian, but I have issues balancing the math when I see how some Christians behave. I just scratch my head and I can’t quite get all the way on board. I subscribe to a more universal spirituality always trying to shift my own energy to a positive place, be nice to people and let the universe sort out the judgement part. I believe, that the universe understands what I need and is making a way to provide it to me…. most days.
But days like today, it’s hard. Day 13 of 14 in the very first two week wait as we start trying to get pregnant again…. I’ve felt very certain that everything had finally aligned (not unlike every other time we do this mind you) and there were symptoms and signs pointing toward finally attaining this miracle only to wake today and have all signs pointing the other way.
I don’t know.
There’s a lot to be thankful for.
There’s so much good here, and luckily we have the opportunity to keep at it. It was certainly the most “fun” I’ve had while TTC in a really long time! Felt less like a “job” or a chore than it had during all the months of treatments we’ve done in the past….
But damnit. Again with the hard math. Sometimes I just really wanna FIGHT with the universe and shake it!!! Screaming and crying and asking WHYYYYYY!??? But the it doesn’t work like that. That’s not the energy I want flowing, I don’t want to feel robbed or mislead… or like the universe keeps breaking their promise to me! How does one keep the negative thoughts at bay??? My daily struggle.
For now… I just ask for peace and calm in light of more waiting which I am lousy at. Bring patience and faith because I seem to be running low all of a sudden. Help me let go…..
I’ve been pushing against it for at least a week now. Amidst a variety of other factors and issues I just haven’t been able to keep my head in straight, for about a week now. Scaling back my workouts, trying to meditate and make time for self care… but nothing seemed to help.
Pressure. Thick…. suffocating pressure beating down on me. If there’s one thing I have learned in the last year, it’s that any weight loss journey comes with it’s own maze of anxiety and pressure. Sometimes that pressure provides motivation, and fire and I am usually able to USE THAT!! Typically I can convert it into helpful fuel to propel myself further on this dusty road! After all, as they say — no pressure, no diamonds!
BUT this?? This pressure??? Building up, climbing the walls and cracking the seams of my soul….. this is anxiety dressed up in costume parading around as a pressure I can’t possibly tame.
On Tuesday, I woke with a migraine… most likely as a result of lazy hydration. So, I excused myself from work and closed my eyes tight against my pillow. I could still feel my brains throbbing inside my scull…. but somehow I drifted off to a dreamless sleep.
When I woke the headache felt better, but the anxiety and panic I felt was at a rolling boil. I knew I would need to get up, get up and go downstairs… near the kitchen where the food is. And I’d have to make choices.
I do everything I can to make those choices easy. I prepare my food, currently I’m only eating once a day to try to combat a stall on the scale and ongoing will power obstacles. But today… today I need it to stop.
I sat on the couch ignoring the kitchen at my back…. but after a while it felt like even the walls were vibrating.
When anxiety strikes me like this, it’s rare but usually there’s typically always something to be done. A choice of some kind that makes it stop. I knew what it was, and I’ve been fighting against it. I AM SO CLOSE! So close to ending this stage of the game!! BUT I can’t get there if I’m fighting myself every step of the way. It’s time for a break.
I called my Diet Doc and got approved for a break, and all at once the vibrating anxiety quake settled.
It’s not a perfect science. But sometimes, you just need to break and allow yourself the room to breathe and JUST BE! A few days of flexibility should do me good!!!!
Final thought: I sound like a broken record, but listen to your insides…. sometimes they tell you things you don’t care for, things you don’t like to hear– but it’s far easier to embrace the info and find a way to accept it than spending your time and energy fighting it!! You’re doing better than you think you are so give yourself a break!!
Sometimes I learn things so obvious and simple that I don’t know how I’ve managed to survive this long as a human without knowing them!!!! This thing I’ve learned, seems common knowledge-yet I feel like there are many that don’t know it so I’m spreading the word!
Here’s the thing about weight loss and fitness and all the conflicting information that exists in the world!! There are so many ways to exercise all will get you to a different goal, and without realizing it you could jump in a lane headed to a goal that is not aligned with your own!! I’ve spent most of my life trying to figure it out! How to lose weight, how to exercise and the whole time… I’ve been doing it wrong!!
Now, I’m not a personal trainer. I’m not an expert- but I AM someone who has lost over 100lbs in less than a year and quite recently I feel like I’ve cracked the code on the thing and I’m obligated to share my findings for anyone else out there struggling like I have been!!
Up til now the program I am on has been strictly dietary. It’s medically monitored and I’m not permitted to give it out because it’s copy-written and dangerous to be on without being monitored. But I can tell you that my whole life… I have been exercising WRONG [for fat loss]!
You see it, in movies, tv shows, trainers, friends maybe “PUSH HARDER! You can do it! Push push push!!!!!” It’s always about more, more more!! You work out, and tell yourself to push harder, do more than last time, faster, farther than last time! I look back on workouts I’ve posted about in the past, and it seems like I was always so disappointed in them. Saying something like “points for showing up” or some other negative comment about it not being enough. So negative!!! Never satisfied with myself and what I was able to accomplish. Meanwhile, those same “not good enough” workouts would destroy my body! I was constantly sore, injuring myself, and for all the trouble… the weight loss never felt like it matched my efforts.
Here’s the thing that I’ve discovered that no one talks about!! It’s a simple concept but very effective!! Instead of gauging your workout by effort – measure it by heart rate! Target/Fat Burning Heart Rate to be exact!!
Now, in order to find YOUR specific actual max, resting and fat burning heart rate you’d need to visit a cardiologist but there are charts and tools available online to get you in the ballpark. From what I’ve read your own personal target rate can differ 10-20 beats but it seems to me at least if you can pinpoint a target and try for it you’ll see way better bang for your buck when it comes to your workouts!!
Here is a chart I found, your fat burning heart rate is in the 70% of max column.
Interval training still works, but you have to make sure your rest interval brings you all the way back down to at or below your target! Before, I would do 1 min intervals of work/rest and my heart rate wouldn’t have time to recover so my avg heart rate in my Feb work outs was 160-170 when it should have been more like 130!!!
This also makes so much sense when it comes to weight lifting- that particular exercise is not a high pumping heart rate activity! No wonder why it’s so effective!!
It’s so nice that NOW, I find that my fat burn zone is a comfortable jog/walk! I no longer have to completely exhaust myself to feel like I’ve done enough!! I’m not constantly sore, and I am completing more and better workouts, sometimes even more than one workout a day!!! I am still sweaty, I still improve my distance and time but not only do I feel more satisfied with my efforts–they’re actually making a difference on the scale!!!
Who would have guessed – if your workouts aren’t yielding the number you want to see on the scale the natural reaction isn’t to DO LESS… but for fat burning efficiency that’s exactly what I am doing!
Just by making these adjustments and being diligent about diet I’ve more than doubled my scale loss in the last month!!
February: total loss for the month was 5lbs – I worked out every day, and honestly was pretty miserable for most of that!
March: it’s the 10th and I’m already down 9lbs for the month!!! And I feel fantastic!
I dunno…. here’s the thing, I’m not telling you to do what I do, but based on my own experience and research it’s worth a try if you’re up for a challenge of your own!!!
I’m still 20-30lbs from finishing my program so we can start trying for baby, but man I tell you my head, heart and body finally all feel in sync and I’m no longer swimming against the tide!! All of this hard work is so much easier when it’s WORKING!!!!
That’s all I got for ya for now! Had to share what I’ve learned!!! All I can do is hope this information helps someone else that may be struggling because it’s just the worst to think you’re doing all the right things, to only be fighting yourself in the end!!!
Feeling like my very own superhero lately! Down 119lbs!
Sometimes I’m ok, sometimes I’m not– and I maintain that it’s ok to feel that way! We aren’t always in control of the emotions that we feel, and I think it’s better to get those emotions out however you can in order to move forward. Though, we won’t forget and it may never stop hurting, we do what we can to self preserve.
The 2nd thing I think is important to tell you is, I swear. Sometimes a lot. I am not terribly religious, though I do pray and look to a higher power, but I wouldn’t say that I subscribe to any specific organized religion. I don’t seek to deliberately offend, so if things like cursing bother you it’s best to just scoot along, this may not be for you!
My husband and I have been TTC off and on for over 8 years. Sometimes with assistance and sometimes on our own. Some of these posts may be very detailed and graphic– if you’re TTC you will probably get it. Your sensitivity to these things gets worn down pretty quick!!
Thats about it, hopefully if you’re still reading this you will find this information helpful!!
So you decide to start a family. It takes a long time to come to this unified decision with your spouse. But finally, you are both buckled in and on board! Then…. things don’t go as planned …..
One of the hardest parts is, the internal battle you fight each month to not give in to the feelings of doubt and sadness. This feeling can be summed up in one image from my 80s childhood.
I struggle to only think good, happy wonderful nice things. I really try to only encourage myself and really pep talk my way into thinking that THIS IS IT!!! I will be pregnant this time!!!!!
And always… like it does the swamp starts to suck me in. I start to talk myself down. It’s a defense mechanism really. I’ve already told the universe precisely what I’m after, I’ve done the work, I’ve prayed, meditated, visualized… and yet the little voice in my head goes “you do realize this could all blow up in your face and you will be back to square one right” “you should prepare yourself if this doesn’t work” ….. and just like Artax…. there is no saving me from these thoughts.
In an effort to drown them instead of me. I am locking them here. In my virtual drawer so that they are muffled and not rolling around my head causing irreparable damage.
I had never really given it a single thought. In fact the term didn’t really register immediately… but it ate away at me.
I have a lot of areas in my life where I feel like maybe I AM holding back? And maybe I outta unpack that for myself. In relationships I tend to hold back my feelings – like it comes time for me to say what I’m feeling and I can’t seem to spit out ANY words let alone the ones that have been racing around my brain. Maybe I fear I’ll hurt someone. That they’ll be mad at me, or worse. I don’t like the feeling when someone’s mad at me. I’ll go miles and miles around the problem to just avoid that uncomfortable feeling meanwhile internally agonizing.
I’ve also incurred a loss in my life like I’ve never had before. Someone close to me took their own life and without realizing it I think that reality scrambled my brain. It was the very first time I realized that ANY of my friends or family could potentially choose this fate and I would likely have NO CLUE. I think my brain took that loss to heart and the narrative I was left with was: “If it could happen to this person it surely could happen to literally ANYONE you know or love and you better watch what you say and do”. It’s not untrue, you should always be mindful of how you treat people, but it’s not like I’m responsible for anyone else’s fate especially at the expense of my own honesty and peace of mind.
Something clicked. I didn’t even realize I had imprisoned myself in those feelings until the question was asked.
Got me thinking of other areas where there might be a holdback lurking and I immediately turned to my struggle to lose the weight I’ve gained through pregnancy and motherhood. What could possibly be holding me back……
Today I got to drop the babe at the grandparents and was on a mission to self care for myself in a way that didn’t involve frenzy cleaning the whole house. I found myself on the treadmill (a place I haven’t visited in many moons). I forgot how nice it is there. How you can like have a fully formed thought without being jerked away to fill a sippy cup or open a bag of snacks…. A complete thought came to me and it knocked the wind out of me.
So… I loved being pregnant. It was arguably the best year of my life. COVID hadn’t started yet, I was thin just coming off the diet (quickly adding the pounds back on but) I was happy and so excited to meet my little miracle! My body made and supported the miracle that I’ve ALWAYS WANTED. I did it…. And now on the other side of that it’s a lot harder. There’s a pandemic, things don’t look like they did in the fantasy, and the reality of not having a 2nd child has kind of settled. I kind of always thought we’d have two but it’s pretty clear one is the magic number and I’ll never again be pregnant. That reality stings a bit and I think I’ve known for a lot longer than I’d like to admit…. And maybe DEEEEEEP in the recesses of my brain this weight and this body remind me of how beautiful and wonderful that time was.
Even though I YEARN for the body that I started pregnancy with – the skinny one I had never seen before! I’ve had such a hard time committing to any plan, food or exercise or whatever and … if I reaaaalllllly think about it … maybe that’s part of the why.
I had to stop the treadmill..
Could it be that simple?
Have I been sabotaging my own life because I’m stuck in the a specific time that I’m scared to let go of??? ………. Probably.
It felt like realizing that may just be my turning point. I hope it is.
So…. Cheers to finding any other hidden blind spots and healing from whatever needs to be healed.
So here’s the thing they forget to mention when ALL YOUR WILDEST DREAMS come true….. you should probably prepare yourself for a bit of an identity crisis.
Here I am a year and a half into motherhood… presumably crushing it, but there’s something odd kind of twitching at my gut. I spent 10 years living a life where I wasn’t even capable of losing sight of the primary goal! I had something to dream and something to focus on. And now…. Now I find myself kind of shrugging and trying to figure out…. Now what!!? There’s no “struggle” I mean other than trying to convince my 1 year old that shoes aren’t optional (THAT struggle IS real) but there’s no like major antagonist or villain in my world. No big baddie to beat down and no real hurdle to overcome.
Don’t get me wrong being Luna’s mom is amazing – and at times SUPER challenging – she’s a toddler – the whole thing is just a dumped out Sensory bucket covered in Playdoh, rainbow rice, dirt, and something sticky. I mean seriously, holy hell the reality of parenthood is A LOT. Certainly more than my fantasy of it was ready for. And now, without a constant ear splitting, soul crushing drive to keep PUSHING I find myself sort of …. At a loss.
Obviously, the goal, the real one is to:
Cherish the every moment
Keep my human alive
And provide the love, support and childhood I always wished I had
That all goes without saying, but here I said it anyway. But as I suspect most parents do (and why the hell aren’t they speaking up) I feel sort of like I’m disappearing into being Luna’s Mom and I’m not quite sure WHO I AM outside of that – especially after identifying in the struggle of infertility for so long???
I can’t really find “my narrative” and it’s just a super weird, out of body experience. I guess it’s all part of the journey, and my goal is to figure out what the new goal IS and start crushing THAT. I certainly have no shortage of talents to draw from (*toot toot beep beep* oh sorry that’s my own horn)… but finding the TIME and energy after a full toddler day… well that’s the rub! Better take it one step at a time.
One thing is for sure, I should make time for writing as it’s one of the things that really does help ME in the long run. To feel like my voice, and my life matters. You really never know what someone is struggling with and it always helps to find you’re not alone. I can only imagine how many mothers, stay at home, working and whatever else in between feel the way I do in losing a piece of their own identity in becoming a parent – no matter how much they may have fought to get there!
And you know what… that’s ok.
It’s ok to struggle. It’s ok to admit you’re struggling. It’s ok to admit that the reality is different than the dream. It’s all ok.
Thanks to whoever might be reading this. It really is nice to get the feelings out of the bottom drawer of my brain!
I wrote this excerpt about 6 months ago. Not sure why I didn’t feel comfortable sharing then – maybe I thought I did then something motherhood pulled me away, but it’s perfect. It’s a lovely reminder, a glaring one just how perfect life just is some times!! Some days, it’s like I don’t even realize that life ever existed! The one entrenched in constant pain, longing and rejection- but it did! NOW life’s more of a struggle to make it all count, do all the things, and do them as EXTRA as I possibly can! ❤️ Now, enjoy some insight from “Past Me”.
In the throngs of motherhood life is exhausting. It IS awesome—filled with baby giggles, bubble bath splashes, all the adorable outfits and basically no sleep ever Hahahaha!!! *nervous laughter*
After a particularly grueling day of all the usual 2020 pandemic life BS, I settled my head on a pillow for a quick meditation before relieving my husband from baby duty for bedtime. I picked a seemingly innocuous “motherhood” meditation and hit the play button.
Feeling relaxed and at ease the meditation took a very surprising turn… leading me to look into a snow globe that appeared in my mind. Inside the snow globe I’m told I can “see the exact family I picture in my future. The perfect family.” And that family is the family I am currently a part of. The meditation goes on to remind me that my struggles with infertility are over and that all I feel is pure joy.
It’s never lost on me that I have overcome tremendous struggle to obtain the life I now enjoy. But it is hard and I’m not gonna lie that grateful attitude gets tamped down at times as I struggle to check all the boxes, and meet all the marks I set for myself as a mom and as a human- I’m always too hard on myself and I should practice that daily gratefulness more diligently!
It’s easy for me to be thankful right now even in the midst of 2020 where damn near nothing is easy – or enjoyable for that matter. 2020 is a thief of joy, but it’s got nothing on me or the joy I feel this year!!
She’s napping in my arms, the sound of white noise whirring in the background….. and I feel — actually FEEEL my heart swell!!!
I’ve spent more Christmases than I care to count in the throngs of infertility! Needles, hormones, doctor appointments, ultrasounds, painful treatments, counting days, timing baby makin’, and just plain holding my breath in hopes that a future without all that bullshit would finally arrive -never really knowing if it would actually come… and that time is HERE!!!!
It’s so surreal to me that I finally after a decade of hurt … I finally get to live in a new chapter after it seemed like that last one would never end!!
In the end there’s a part of me that wishes people could feel this. I mean, don’t get me wrong I would never wish infertility or loss on anyone…. but it’s a real rare and special thing to experience parenthood now after so much pain. It makes each giggle and even the smallest insignificant milestone feel like the greatest moment of your life played on a loop!
I think back to those times… and for those out there still struggling…. I believe in miracles, I’m raising one. And that, that’s my wish, my Christmas Wish for anyone struggling to get their happily ever after like I finally have!!!
Oh my gosh you guys…. I know I know I’ve been a naughty little blogger and haven’t posted – just put it on my tab of things I feel slight guilt over. I write a lot for me, but it’s so hard to share the inner workings of my mom brain because half the time I re-read my half baked thoughts and realize somewhere down the line I’ve gone completely off topic (or fallen asleep mid thought) and just needed to vent – not publish!
Miss Luna is about to turn 6 months old and I am just so proud. Proud of how amazing, smart, funny, and beautiful she is. She makes me smile every single day and I seriously thank my lucky stars every day that I get to be her mom!!! The photo memories I take of this time rarely reflect the state of things…. you’d never know the moroseness of every day pandemic life just by her cute little face…. and that’s what I hope she remembers of her childhood.
2020 though, has not been kind or gentle to any of us. Like every other soul out there I am constantly having to make choices, and muddle through a reality that looks NOTHING like the world I fantasized about for YEARS while waiting to become a mom…. and I’m constantly drowning in the guilt that comes with pining for that fantasy!
Given the choice I’d chose her every day no matter what world we live in, but I can’t deny that I so hurt for missing out on so many FIRST things in this first year – or how different they look like when they do! I keep telling myself that those firsts will come, just later after the world resumes some semblance of normalcy again…. but as the days and weeks go by I wonder when exactly that will be.
We all hope that the measures and precautions we take will be enough…. and I struggle daily with making choices that may look a certain way and hope that any choice I make won’t cause the Caronavirus to cross the gates of Castle Loudon.
Filled with anxiety, and fatigue I made a choice tonight. A choice to put on a mask, to sanitize before and after …. to get a pedicure. A choice I’ve delayed for six months. A thing I routinely enjoyed as part of my own self care and wellbeing and tonight I could wait no more. Never did I ever think getting a pedi would be something I had to mentally negotiate with myself but here we are. Congratulations 2020 you’re the worst. Sidenote: I may have cried in the car in the parking lot feeling a variety of feelings but determined to enjoy an hour FOR ME!
Years from now…. I hope we can look back on this time and pinpoint some wins, I obviously won the baby lottery and will celebrate that victory – no matter the conditions I get to be HER mom and there is no greater honor.
As 2020 barrels on crushing us all beneath it I really hope that all the parents out there can find a way to care for themselves too. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and even in 2020 there’s gotta be a way to fill yours back up and keep on pushing!!
I know I owe so many blog posts about a variety of topics – I have so many passages started and not completed. Not only for sheer lack of time and energy which is real but also my feelings tend to mutate on these fragile topics with the wind!!
For now, one thing I know for absolute certain is I’ve figured out my favorite part. Of the whole entire thing, and it’s not what you think. Motherhood, is amazing. Incredibly challenging and even taxing at times. My daughter is an angel, she has her moments, but honestly she’s a great baby.
Motherhood, and all that comes with it had been quite a rollercoaster. Today, my daughter is 2 months old, officially and it’s just been a blurry amazing WHIZ of a moment in my life. The speed at which time travels now is insane. Not at all fair, but I’m soaking up every coo, cuddle, snuggle, and everything in between.
Oh yes – the point let’s get back to it shall we?? I figured out the best part. My favorite part about my daughter. While I’m obsessed with her gorgeous eyes, jelly rolls, the adorable mohawk she’s has since she was born, her “taquito” toes, and every single other detail about her…. I have to say the single best part is her left cheek.
I find myself paying special attention to that little left cheek. It’s always the one I kiss every time I pick her up, it’s the one that snuggles right into my own left cheek when we cuddle and when she feels extra clingy and just needs her mama…. that little left cheek, who knew. Sometimes I worry I’m gonna wear that one side down cause i can’t help myself it’s just THE BEST PART!
*pause to kiss left cheek as I rock and type this passage as she sleeps on my chest*
While I’m sure it does, I just can’t help but think it does not ever get better than moments like this… and this is all there is right now!! Thanks to a global pandemic, this is basically the entirety of my existence right now… I mean… there’s a lot of moving cogs to motherhood starting around 3:30 am this morning with our first feed of the day leading back into bed for her and an hour long pumping session for me, my day basically starts at 3:30 now but honesty…. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. A single brush against that left cheek fixes everything…. everything.
For now, that’s it. I gotta get back to that cheek. I haven’t kissed or rubbed my face on it for at least a minute so we’re due here, but I wanted to update you on this beautiful life…..❤️
I figured I better write it all down in case one day I can’t remember every detail…. as if one could forget.
My due date was approaching and though every day of that last month felt like it’s own tiny eternity I was not really any closer to going into labor on my own. Thanks to my “advanced maternal age” (36 apparently makes me OLD AF) the doctor told me she would encourage induction on or around my due date. A thought that early on, made me kind of anxious. I had wished (back then) to spontaneously go into labor on my own — however thanks to a global pandemic in conjunction with feeling like I’d been pregnant for 84 years —— I got over that pretty quick and was more than ready to get things moving!!
I mean… this is the face of someone who was SUPER ready to be done being pregnant!!
We “scheduled” induction for my due date of April 9th, and due to the additional restrictions from COVID19 that meant that as soon as the hospital had a bed for us they would call and we’d have to rush on in. This call was supposed to come some time between 6am on the 9th or by 6am in the 10th. We were so excited the night before. We ordered takeout, had the house to ourselves, and spend the majority of the time giggling and telling each other fun stories from our own childhoods and just being in awe that we’d soon be parents!!!!
The following day…. we waited. I had an ultrasound in the morning – one where we laughed as Luna refused to participate in any kind of photo opp… for our last ultrasound the one and only souvenir would be this very detailed photo of an ear….
We spent the remainder of the day equally divided by napping and staring at my phone willing the hospital to call us…. which they never did! Finally when my eyes popped open on the 10th at 6:01am I had enough and decided to call them myself. We were apparently next in line, and were asked to be there in an hour! Fire drill!!!! Go time!!
We hustled ourselves ready- half awake – and the anxiety began to set in, for both of us! Months… YEARS had been building to this!!!!!!
We arrived at the hospital and checked in, settling into our birthing suite around 8am. I LOVED our day shift nurse Alex! She was just awesome, very encouraging, entertaining and supportive of my goals to deliver naturally if at all possible! We came up with our action plan to get things started and began the waiting game!
Now, I’ve heard horror stories about Pitocin, and needing additional interventions so I asked if we could try some other things first before we jump to that one and happily was obliged. We settled on 25mcg of Cytotec which was a tiny pill they insert next to the cervix to help encourage dilation and effacement. I was already about 80% effaced and 2cm dilated at checked in.
After that we hung out, chilled, it was pretty boring actually…. but at about noon…. Dawson was cracking a joke about something and all the sudden I felt it…. SLOOOOOOSH…. “Uummmm …. either I just peed the bed…. or my water broke!!! Can we get Alex in here to verify!!!!” Lol that little nudge was all it took to get my perfect natural childbirth rolling!!
I had been in bed/monitored for about 6 hours when I finally had hit a wall. I needed UP! I negotiated with Alex for some non-bed laboring —- and a snack which I desperately needed!! She brought me a birthing ball, and saltines and peanut butter, as far as I’m concerned she’s a literal angel!! Both items were WONDERFUL!!
Contractions were steady at that point and I was handling them so much better on the ball than in the bed! I used 4/6 breathing technique for this stage breathing in for 4 seconds exhaling for 6 seconds and doing very little talking. Music was playing and I was just very focused. Dawson would come sit on a stool behind the ball and hold me or rub my shoulders …. we kind of ROCKED at labor!!!!
The next phase I was checked and had dilated to about a 7 and the contractions were starting to feel way more intense! Upon their suggestion I took some IV pain meds to take the edge off and hopefully curb any need for an epidural. 🤞🏼
It was about that time that the nurses changed out and I had to say goodbye to Alex and welcome in the new nurse that would help us welcome our baby, Alicia. Alex was so sweet, she told us as she was leaving that if it wasn’t her only day off she would have stayed and dula’d for me — she really was so sweet. I’m sure it was partly due to her encouragement that I was able to make it through labor without that epidural!!
Now once those super intense contractions hit I switched to vibration breathing. Sticking to the 4 second inhale but vibrating my lips making a soft sound on the exhale. Very effective for pushing through those sharp contractions.
Now…… once I hit 9cm dilated. I forgot how to human. I forgot how to breathe…. and I was just plain ready to grab my pants and head out the door!! I have no idea how I made it through after that point but I did! The kicker was, Luna had turned herself a bit and they wanted to get her in a different position for birth so… they asked me to get up on the bed, on all fours and labor for a while to encourage her to turn….. oh sure yah no problem!! 😳😵 Not that I was super concerned at the time, but there really is no graceful or lady like way to execute this maneuver and I can only imagine what it must have looked like from the “goal face”…. I was basically crowning at that point!!!
No clue how long I was actually stuck there in doggy style labor … but looking back now the remainder of it all went pretty quickly! At some point they had me flip back over and the stirrups came out and it was time for “practice pushing”. Again, still not knowing how to breathe or human at this point I just remember crying and whimpering through every contraction.
I do remember overhearing some conversation between Dawson and the nurse about pushing, and his reply was something like “yah I know she totally has a few more of those in her”…. to which I said “the fuck I do!!!!” One of the only verbal things I actually said during labor! lol
A few of those “practice” pushes and I remember screaming that I felt burning and it was right at that moment the doctor came in with the oven mitts to catch! I think I did a total of 4 big pushes …. and she was out. Purple…. chubby… adorable and amazing!!!
It’s true what they say, as soon as the baby is out the pain stops! Thank GAWD!!! Delivery of the placenta was super easy because I was staring at my daughter and they could have done ANYTHING to me at that point and I wouldn’t have noticed or cared!!
The one part of labor I really hadn’t counted on was tearing. I believe my contractions were pretty long at the end so they had me push super fast causing a 3rd degree tear and a gaggle of stitches – she literally ripped me a new one!!! lol I’m thankful though the healing has not been horrendous. Painful for the first 2 weeks really but not bad after that and I had full range of motion and was able to walk directly after birth. I even walked myself out of the hospital at discharge because the wheel chair was taking forever!
The whole thing was pretty amazing.
I got to have the birth that I wanted. The one I worked for, and prepared for. I spent the last several months of pregnancy focusing on meditation, mindfulness and preparing myself to be flexible for whatever birth Luna needed, and it was perfect.
Honestly it feels like a lifetime ago – real time it’s been 3 weeks and change. Time is now the weirdest thing. I get lost staring at her…. trying to remember what life was like before her…. motherhood is the scariest, most wonderful journey of my life!!
One thing is certain…. at any moment… of any day ever, everything you know CAN change. One day you might wake up and find that everything you’ve ever dreamed has suddenly come true! That day…. is this day for me.
It blows my mind to think back just one year and how very different things were for me. One year ago I wrote a very difficult passage, about Mother’s Day. My heart was broken, I wanted to believe that good things were coming, but after a decade of things never being different and enduring so much heartache, it was really hard for me to just keep believing! Looking back now, it’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever written. I was proud of myself for being able to share the grit of it all yet still somehow find the hope I needed to keep pushing on.
Today… I look back in amazement one year later. As I frequently do, I wish I could go back and talk to my past self. I wish I could look her in the eyes, and give her a hug and let her know it’s all going to work out- or to keep pushing because you’re almost there!!!! Today, as I peel my eyes open for a 3am feeding … I am a mother!!! My daughter is a mere 3 weeks old, but here I am. On the other side of the rainbow…. and the view is spectacular. I wish I could let my past self know…..
It’s impossible to quantify the emotions and reality that is motherhood. I no longer have any concept of time… all the time before her is now compressed behind me. Just like I had always wished, I can finally close that chapter and that book. The one where we just have to wait, and blindly hope that things will work out because in our case they did! We did a ton of work to make our dreams come true – and at the end we decided to do the work knowing that life, and the universe would deliver the outcome it knew we needed and they may look different than the life we had imagined.
I’m so thankful that I wrote during the hardships we faced. My brain might have archived what it was like to go through that and I’m glad I will always remember the struggle and pain we endured to get here. Life is forever changed, and though it was filled with so much pain – I would do it all again to know the absolute euphoria of watching my daughter drift to sleep on my chest – the only place she cares to sleep.
To anyone struggling to make your dreams come true… I’m living proof that sometimes dreams do come true. Keep believing, keep fighting to make a life you can fall in love with. Tell the Universe to what you want… put it out there and let it figure out the details for you… and love yourself hard while you wait because you’re worth it!
Author’s note: I wrote most of this about 3 weeks post partum…. I filled in and updated but it’s worth sharing!!
I can’t even believe this gets to be my life. My daughter is absolute perfection. I find myself just staring at her… in shock, disbelief, adoration and pure love.
That being said, the last few weeks have been so much harder than I could have ever imagined. The world, and whatever peanut gallery that follows you delights in (low-key judging as well as) reminding you that whatever woes or feelings you have are just part of motherhood now and that you basically will never sleep again – which in my experience is not untrue… but becoming a mom and riding out this very jerky rollercoaster is a whole thing unto itself.
Our journey here was a long, and painful one and I’m lucky enough that my pregnancy as well as labor and delivery went rather text book! I was able to rock the natural/vaginal delivery I wanted even with induction – only needing a small nudge to get things started and was able to deliver my 8lb 9oz baby girl without an epidural (now, me laboring at 9+cm was definitely rethinking that one, but I do feel like a badass being able to say that I did it now that it’s over!!)
Considering ALLLLLL of that, this next phase the 4th trimester as it’s call it, is just one of those things you can’t prepare for. All the great advice in the world – as well as all of the less great and mostly unsolicited advice can’t account for what your specific baby will need and want during this stage.
That…. and the constant doubt pressing down on my shoulders makes it really tough for this mama to clear the fog and feel like I’m doing a good enough job at this. Being someone who strives for a standard I can’t possibly attain I have a hard time with this phase. The one where I just grab on tight and hope I don’t fuck any of this up!!!!
A few things for anyone looking for some insight to the 4th trimester…
Sleep… yah that whole sleep when the baby sleeps thing is bullshit. My baby only wants to be held—- so sleeping while she does is somewhat of an issue. I’ve managed to prop myself up on the couch and catch a few winks that felt safe but in reality I’m having major stress over trying to get her to accept laying down anywhere so that we are compliant with safe sleeping practice. It’s a work in progress and that has to be ok….
(Note from future me: we are making great progress with the sleeping! I made it back to my own bed at about 4 weeks and we’ve worked up to about 6 hours in the bassinet followed by a quick no-nonsense feed then back for a few hours!! Huzzah!! Truly you just have to be patient and keep trying at whatever the thing is!!!!)
When the things you hope will come naturally … don’t. For me, that thing is breastfeeding. The hospital suggested we supplement with formula early on because she was showing signs of jaundice… and I kind of feel like that one speed bump derailed us on the breastfeeding. Over time I’ve given up ground little by little, and I’ve chosen to exclusively pump to produce milk for her and fill in with formula where my supply falls short. It’s certainly not the journey I thought we’d be on, but it’s reality. In the end my baby is fed, happy and I can’t feel guilty about any of it because it’s HARD and I’m doing my very best for her- and for me. At some point my mental heath is a factor too and whatever choice I make has to take that part to account as well!
And that’s just it…. forever now, my best is what I can do and will always be ok. Motherhood is amazing, exhausting, terrifying and wonderful… I live for every memory I get to make with this girl.
Well, it’s been a minute since I published here or wrote anything I felt like I needed to share. Mostly because things have been remarkably great, and usual … and then … well as they did for everyone on planet Earth things got confusing and complicated very quickly.
It all started out like a bad joke…. with news media showing people hoarding TP and people panicking and seeming irrational. My usual move is to be calm, and take my cues from sensible government and whatever seems logical …. neither of which seem to be available to me anymore.
It’s really hard given the current state of things to figure out where exactly it all went tits-up or at what point it could have been avoided. Personally, I get not wanting to cause panic in the streets because HELLO that already happened leaving some of us, that maybe trusted our government too much back pedaling now. Those who decided to NOT panic buy and pull back a bit, scrambling to provide enough supplies to last the 2-4 weeks this thing is expected to last. I can’t even think about what happens if it goes beyond that (which it likely will) if supplies remain as scarce as they are right now. Like everyone, I felt my heart sink running quickly into Walmart on Friday to completely empty shelves…. and at this point it just feels like there’s not enough to go around it’s not even single individuals buying out the shelves, we all just want to be prepared and there’s not enough there! It’s terrifying. I feel like none of the apocalypse movies prepared us for that bit!
There IS good coming through all of this though. I’m one of the fortunate that is able to work from home through this thing!! Thankfully, my company sprang into action providing us laptops quite suddenly without warning so that we could adapt to a remote work environment— something we’ve been wanting for a long time!!! It’s exciting to see how well it’s going given the lack of training and prep! Plus, timing wise couldn’t have come at a better time for me personally as I was struggling daily with an hour+ commute on either side it was getting to be more than my pregnant body could take!! I’m grateful for that- and being grateful for things always helps.
Which brings me to my next point…. for me there’s another layer to this thing. My baby is due in less than 3 weeks and I’m just left here with my mouth hanging open wondering how in the world I’m supposed to do this. I know I WILL …. but to say this wasn’t quite how I pictured it, would be an understatement.
I now have to be even MORE cautious, and protective over my most precious gift and try to save her from invisible germs that can linger dormant for weeks meanwhile everyone I love is clamoring to see her! I’m grateful we live in a time where technology will be there to help me show her to the world with the safety of a screen between… but again not quite how I pictured it. Hopefully, when it all dies down and goes back to whatever the new normal will be I’ll have a chance to unveil her safely to the world…. I imagine it will look something like this ⤵️⤵️⤵️
Not to mention … you know the whole birth thing that I was already struggling to contain my fear of. I saw some “fake news” the other day that had me contemplating a run to the store for a plastic pool in case I was forced to have this baby at home!! Which I know, people do it all the time and it’s great for those people, but honestly it’s the most terrifying thing I can think of – for ME. Yet here I am having to come toe to toe with scenarios I always thought I would be able to control with my own choices.
In the end…. this baby is coming. And just like before the Pandemic I have zero control of how and when that’s going to happen. She’s coming, and it’s my job to be calm and flexible- just like before at least that part hasn’t changed.
In the meantime, I find myself zoning out sometimes just wondering how I’m going to do this, which I suspect is a thing that happens to all new moms, but at this moment in time it feels particularly confusing to navigate. All I DO know … is she’s coming and she’s going to be amazing.
Stay safe… stay healthy, stay home if you can, and if you can’t please be careful and kind to everyone you see.