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Materniversary

12 Mar

This week marked the one year anniversary of my Maternity Leave.

Or, as I should more appropriately call it, “The day I went to work, had to leave, and never came back.”

You see, like everything else in the Land of Mom, my maternity leave did not go as planned.

I had intended to teach right up until D-Day.

I had grand visions of my water breaking in the middle of circle time,

and my adopted-Jewish-mother of a partner hightailing me to the hospital.

I believed that I’d be spry until the end and go when I was ready.

I was wrong. Oh how wrong I was.

And so, on a normal Wednesday morning when I was 34 and a half weeks pregnant, I got dressed, went to school, sat in my high-backed classroom chair and was drawing crayon pictures with my students who had arrived early when I was hit with a dizzy spell to end all dizzy spells. I literally couldn’t move. I was scared. I was the only adult in the room, so faced with the choice between seeking help in whatever way possible or passing out in front of my four year olds, I chose to ask one of my little girls to go grab the teacher from the room next door. I remained calm on the outside, as my brained raced towards fear.

When I was finally able to stand up, my mom picked me up and we went to the hospital, where I was checked into Labor and Delivery.

Visiting L&D before DDay is a very strange thing.

On one hand, you’re in the place where you know you will be when it is time to meet your baby.

You see the incubator in the corner of the room.

You feel the rough hospital gown with the crazy, confusing buttons against your belly.

It all feels real.

Except, it isn’t. It’s a dress rehearsal.

Which is disconcerting.

I was treated as if I was in labor; hooked up to the fetal heart monitor, an IV and an anaconda of a BP cuff, and was introduced to a woman who would later become instrumental in the birth of my daughter: The infamous MJ. MJ is the nurse to end all nurses. She is tough as nails. She is strong as an ox. And, if I had delivered my daughter the good old fashioned way, there is no one who would have made a better cheerleader and hand holder than my MJ. But, as you know, I did not have a normal birth, nor was MJ in the room with me during my C-Section as she was not on duty during those wee mornings hours, but you better believe that she came to visit me the very next day in my post partum room. That’s just the kind of woman she is. But, she’s just one of the many warrior women I had as nurses when I was at the luxury hotel that some may refer to as the hospital.

Seriously.

I know I’ve said this before, but when I look back on my hospital stay, it is like reminiscing about my honeymoon. Maybe even better. It was one of the best times of my life; blood, guts, gore and all. And those nurses, those devoted, amazing nurses, whom I will never forget: MJ, my captain and champion; Gina, who taught me to breastfeed; Tana, who scratched my back for me, at 5am, when I was able to stand for the very first time since my surgery; Joy, who smacked some sense into me when I refused to let her take out my IV and stop my pain medicine drip; Lisa, my Labor nurse, who, when I told the doctor I needed a C-Section in the 11th hour, told me how smart I was for a first time mom, and that she would hold my hand the entire time. And she did. I will never forget looking into her big brown eyes as the doctors worked on my body in the OR; Ginny who made me smile and pretended to not see my sister as she snuggled up next to me in my hospital bed, long after visiting hours had ended. I’m telling you, I had the dream team.

 

But. I’ve digressed. Let’s rewind 6 weeks, back to 34, when I was being treated at the hospital for extreme dizziness. Dizziness is not something good for a hugely pregnant woman. Or so they told me. Not only can it be an indicator of some serious health issues, but it is also quite precarious for a small person carrying an unwieldy bowling ball on her midsection.

During my examination, the doctors saw that I was contracting regularly every 5 minutes. However, these contractions were not causing me to dilate, a fact that ultimately came into play, as you may recall, quite seriously during my birth story. So, after hours and tests out the wazoo (pun intended) I was sent home…

on bedrest.

No warning.

No goodbyes.

Just me,

my fetus

and the couch

for six weeks.

And, would you like to know a fact that I now find completely amazing?

I was bored.

Bored.

BORED, I say!

I no longer speak that language.

I actually found it difficult to sit on my be-hind,

watching movies with Zach Effron and eating Drumstick ice cream cones.

What a big, fat difference a year makes.

(Pun far less intended.)

So, yes, last year, this week, I was sitting around all day, in my jammies, watching Daytime TV, eating my body weight in Mommom-delivered-goodies, and anxiously awaiting my little girl. So, yeah. Almost exactly what my life is like today.

Except not.

Not even close.

Hmmmmm….

now that I think about it, I am feeling a tad dizzy. Maybe I need some more of that bedrest…

Maybe I’ll give my old friend MJ a ring.

Because, there’s totally a Chocolate Drumstick calling my name.

Oh well. A girl can dream.

So, Happy Materniversary, all!

Drumsticks for everyone!

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A second.

1 Feb

The time has arrived. The questions have commenced.

I’ve seen the looks.

I’ve caught the half-second-too-long-glances lingering over my mid-section (nope, sorry, it’s just the chicken burritos, thank you very much.)

People want to know when we’re going to have a second child.

They wonder. They whisper. They ask.

And the answer is…

Not yet.

Fooled ya, didn’t I?!

But, it’s a valid questions. My baby is almost 2, which, apparently, is when people start to grow siblings. In fact, most of the women who were pregnant with me are now pregnant again. Some of them have even given birth again. For a second time! Two kids!

I can’t fathom it.

Which is why, my answer remains

Not yet. Not just yet, I say.

I’m just not ready.

I love babies and I especially love my baby

(really? you say. I’d never have guessed.)

And being pregnant with and giving birth to my daughter was the single most magical, defining moment of my life.

And I’m not ready to do it again.

And, if we’re really being honest

 as I have been known to be,

it’s because I am scared.

I’m scared of all of the things that terrified me the first time around; I’m scared for all I’ve learned. And I’m simply not ready for the first trimester worries, the nausea, the green complexion, the exhaustion and the aversions. Nor am I prepared for the last trimester back pain, bed rest, bladder dysfunction. How do you cope when you have another child to care for? When I was pregnant, I could not enter my kitchen, let alone cook a meal, for 2 months. How will I feed my daughter?

And those are just the practical fears.

What about the emotions?

In my mind, every moment of my first pregnancy, the birth, my hospital stay…they were pure magic.

Pure. And magic.

So what would I be ready for ? I’d totally be ready to go through all that all over again. Literally. I’d love to be pregnant with my daughter again. To go through it all again. To relive those moments, those best moments; sitting in the hospital birthing course, sucking on the crumbly, delicious ice chips; driving to Labor and Delivery, contracting, for the very first time, with my heart in my throat;  seeing my daughter, swaddled in her tiny hospital bassinet, her almond eyes looking at me, opening her lips like a little bird; holding her for the first time, the only ones awake in the dark room at dawn, as I held her, our skin touching, knowing that she was showing me who I was meant to be, and that she was making me hers, just as much as I was making her mine. Those things? I would do those things again.

I’d do them again a second.

 I don’t know how anything else will ever compare.

A second child?

How will another baby change us? We are so in love with the little tripod we’ve created. We’re in a groove. It tooks us so long to get here.

I just don’t know.

I just don’t feel ready.

I don’t know how to perform the juggling act. I don’t know how to continue to give my daughter my all, while also taking care of a newborn baby. How does one do it? I just can’t imagine.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some things I am excited for.

I am ready to start brainstorming baby names with my sister again….even though she rejects approximately 98 percent the names I propose (including, might I add, the name I ultimately chose for my daughter. It’s grown on her, thank goodness.)

I am ready to be second-trimester-pregnant. You know, filled with energy and insatiable hunger, sporting long nails, thick hair and a little, round baby bump (one that does not resemble a burrito-filled pooch). Second trimester pregnancy is fun. I think I could warm to that idea.

I am ready to design and craft another nursery. That I could do. That I could love.

And I am most definitely ready for another Anatomy Scan. The very best.

But everything else? Not so much.

So, in case I have been unclear, this is not a post announcing an impending pregnancy.

Nor am I denouncing siblings, or denying that I will ever wish to have one for my daughter.

However, at the moment, I am saying that no, I am not ready.

So go ahead. Ask me. Stare at my belly. Watch me drink my wine.

I am not pregnant now and I don’t plan to be soon,

because as of now, I am counting my blessings and loving every moment I have with my daughter

and I don’t know when I will be ready to turn our party of 3 into a party of more.

But, there is one thing I can promise.

When I figure this all out,

when I decide I’m ready,

I promise to let you know

the very

second

I do.