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Unexpected perk

10 Feb

of having children whose names begin with the same first initial?

photo (57)

The ability to have a sweet single-initial quadruple pierce.

 

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A Birth Story-My Sequel: Part 3

1 Feb

photo (30)When we left off, I was being wheeled into the OR in the afternoon for a surprise C-Section, 4 days early, at 38.5 weeks and scared as hell.

I am a very superstitious person and look for signs all around me. During the scary, unknown part of my first unexpected C-Section with my daughter, I was feeling helpless and hopeless and the doctor said “The baby is about to come out” and my Nanny’s favorite song, Desperado, began to play in the OR radio. That was a good sign and even though my daughter had been in distress, her chord around her neck twice, she was OK. Because my angel had told me so.

So for my second go-round, I had my husband in my lucky socks, and was looking for similar signs. First, I liked the date. I am a numbers person and like that 2 is my mom’s lucky number, 4 is my sister’s and added together, 6 is my dad’s. That seemed to me like a good sign.

The second sign was my med student, Anna, who stood by my side the entire time, was named Anna. Anna is a very symbolic name for me, as it represents the name of my other angel, my Superman, for whom my daughter was named. Then I met my new anesthesiologist. His name was William. That was the name of my husband’s late grandfather. I felt like this was another sign, that our angels had gathered together to watch over my surgery and this birth.

The final sign was that William’s last name was Shepherd. Dr. Shepherd. McDreamy from Grey’s Anatomy. That had to mean something.

But despite these comforts, I was still scared to the point of shaking uncontrollably. And dear, sweet Anna, Doctor Anna, hugged me and held me, and told me I was in good hands, and she even hugged me, as I had to curl my spine over in order to receive my epidural. After having explained my aversion to my previous spinal, Dr. Shepherd decided to give me an epidural instead of the one shot spinal, and it was a much slower onset, which I preferred greatly. They also gave me pain medicine and some anxiety meds through my IV, something that he equated to a glass of wine (as I did not want to feel too out of it, but definitely needed to take the edge off).

At this point my OBGYN came in to “Get the party started” and because an epidural works differently than a spinal, I could feel so much for. So much so that I heard them say, “Time to insert the catheter” and I shouted, over the blue screen that they had put up between my face and surgical site, “I can still feel my vagina!”

The next part is somewhat of a blur; they opened me up, my husband was allowed back in with me, my blood pressure kept dropping, I kept feeling scared, I literally felt myself lift off the table as they yanked the baby out,

I kept hearing them talking about things like seeing a hand and adhesions and blood and I loved it and hated it all at once

and then,

all of a sudden,

a cry.

I had a son.

And I looked at the clock. My daughter was born at 2:22 am, a hard time to beat in my book (for my lucky number is 11, so 22 is double 11. I know that I’m weird, by the way.)

My son was born at 4:11pm. 4/11 is my birthday. Could not have gotten better.

And speaking of numbers, he came out weighing 7 lbs 12 oz. The exact same weight as my daughter.

What is more interesting is that he was 7lbs 12 oz at 38.5 weeks, while she was full term at 40; so apparently my uterus hands out an eviction notice at just that size. They were only a half inch a part, him being 21.5 inches to her 21. I make solid babies, it seems.

And, because I had asked for it beforehand, they brought him to me, and I saw that he had fair hair and a cleft in his chin (like many of the men in my family) and I swear when our faces touched he smiled.

And then the world disappeared. I know this sounds like one of those hokey, cliche things, but everything else melted away as my husband, son and I cuddled up, as the doctors were still working to sew me up, and we sang to him. We held him and sang a song that my PopPop made up for us years ago.

Mommy loves the baby, 

Daddy loves the baby, 

Everybody loves the little boy. 

I remember wanting to be out of the OR, and holding him in my arms, and eventually we got there and he latched on immediately as I held him and nursed him and sent a text to my friend saying “I have a son.”

My pregnancy with my son was not nearly as magical or enchanting as that with my daughter, but I must say, the birth and the time right thereafter was extraordinarily special.

But there was one milestone left to happen; we needed my daughter to meet her brother. She had been having a great time at her best friend’s house, so much so that she peed her pants in all the excitement. So I am proud to say that my daughter met her baby brother for the first time wearing her boyfriend’s Cars underpants and cargos.

And at around 6 o’clock that evening, my little girl, who suddenly seemed so big, walked into the recovery room and over to her brother and said, “Hi baby. I love you. Don’t cry. Maybe I can carry him?”

And then there were four.

I will never, in all my life, forget the feeling of wholeness that that moment provided for me. All of my fears about not being able to love a second child, or a boy, washed away. I was, instead, swathed in rich, deep feelings of love and gratitude.

So that’s how it all went down. It was not easy, but it was beautiful.

And I am never doing it ever, ever again.

So instead of saying The End to this story, I will say something far more appropriate:

The beginning…

A Birth Story-My Sequel: Part 2

31 Jan

Perhaps I should back up a bit. As I mentioned, the doctor told me that because of the nature of my contractions,

the difference I was feeling (despite having already been through FOUR false alarms),

I should come in to Labor and Delivery to be checked out. You should know this about me: I am a positive person, I am constantly accusing my husband of being a big ol’ naysayer. But in this case, I was miss “this is ridiculous, why am I going in again, I am going to be pissed to be sent home again, blah da de bla bla”. And remember. I had “Hot Cocoa” on my nails and they were 2/3 chipped off. And, while typically I don’t care about dirty hair, I did a hasty wash, threw on some eyeliner and blush, and called my mom, while in a towel.

“The doctor wants me to come in.” I said sheepishly.

And for the first time, her voice was different. “I think this is it.” She said.

We didn’t tell my husband.

We called my mama bestie to have her “On call” in case we needed her to pick up my daughter from school, and off we went.

Just in case, I wore my lucky underwear and purple socks, but I was still skeptic city.

Upon our arrival at the hospital I was greeted as an old friend; everyone there knew me. The residents and I were on a first name basis. It was embarrassing. But I had to admit, the pain I was feeling was different. And the monitor showed the same. I was having strong contractions every three minutes, regularly.

But, alas, as it has always happened when it comes to me and my labors, my cervix was not opening. Not at all. Not even one centimeter.

So I waited in the bed, for hours, contracting to the point of agony, when I started to cry.

I cried from the pain.

I cried from the uncertainty.

And, most of all, I cried because I hadn’t said a proper goodbye to my daughter.

I had had fantasies of how we’d spend our last night together as a tripod; A special dinner, and then maybe I’d sleep with her that night, since it would be our last time being just us. 

As a side note, late in my pregnancy my kid discovered a PBS kids show called Peg and Cat. The theme goes like this:

It is a show that encourages counting and early math. But the lyrics go

“We are two, na na na na na, Me Plus You, na na na na na…”

and every time I would hear this I would think,

“It’s me plus you, girl. It’s us. What the hell are we going to do with a fourth? And a BOY!?” I still get a lump in my throat when I hear that song.

Anyway, back to the hospital.

I was contracting and thinking and perseverating and all of a sudden, I started to cry.

I cried to my mom, really from the pain. “I can’t go another weekend like this.” I said. And I consider myself to be strong. Emotionally, I may be a basketcase, but pain-wise, I am pretty darn tough. But I just knew, much like the first time around, that it was time for this baby to come out.

At about this time my OBGYN showed up. He confirmed what the residents had said, that my cervix was still closed, but added that it had softened a lot, and said that my contractions were really strong and regular on the monitor, inevitably putting stress on my uterus.

“We’re having a birthday party today.” he said.

And then I cried some more.

Out of relief, out of fear, and out of, pardon my french again, the “What the fuck?!” feeling of having planned everything, every last detail, and having it all turned upside down by a sideways (literally) baby.

And I still hadn’t called my husband!

At that point the doctor offered me an epidural for the pain, but I declined. If i couldn’t experience a natural birth, my dream, I’d at least experience natural labor. And that I did. I am no masochist, but it made me feel like I could, at least, have some control over my body.

And so we called my mama friend. She would watch my daughter, and host a playdate with her son, whom my girl refers to as her “prince charming”. And then we called my husband. He was in a big meeting. He was told to rush out. He asked for permission to go home and change out of his suit. He was told no, there was no time.

I was forced to take off my all of my clothes, including my lucky socks. And so when my husband arrived, handsome and dapper in his suit, I had him put on my lucky socks, in their neon purple glory, under his gray slacks and ultimately under his full scrub attire.

The next bit was a blur; I met with anesthesiologists, got an IV, met my labor nurse…it was really happening. And my nurse, Katherine, held my hand and told me I’d be OK, as I told her how scared I was to go into surgery. How unprepared I felt. How my three and a half year old needed me.  I am very superstitious and her name starting with a K, the same as my Nanny, comforted me. It was a sign, like the signs I had experienced during my first birth. My angels were there. And there were more of them to come.

But then Katherine told me it was time. So my hair was placed in a net and I was placed in a wheelchair and I hugged my mom and husband tightly. It was time. I couldn’t stop shaking. It was time.

Time to meet my son…

(Stay tuned for more…and it involves some more signs from angels and maybe even a little spontaneous singing in the OR)

A Birth Story–My Sequel: Part 1

31 Jan

Hello, there. Or, to many, I should say Hello, Again. Welcome. Or Welcome Back. 

Right now, you can find me mostly over at 511 Ever After, but I’ve decided to return for a post that could only be written here; here where my mommy roots are anchored in deep, 

in stories of joy, enchantment, confusion, pain….my stories from the trenches. So much is different now. First off, I now have two kids. It’s funny; I wrote this post literally a day shy of two years ago. I was grappling with the idea of a second child. And now, spoiler alert!, he’s here. And he’s just as magical as my first baby was, but the experience has been totally different, starting with the birth. If you want to start from the beginning with many of my past stories, including my birth stories, in all 5 parts, you may. 

Or you can just start here, at the sequel. 

So, like any good story, let’s start at the beginning. It was a cold morning in March and my husband was out to brunch with my dad and some of their friends. And I was a week late. So I took an old HPT that I had in my linen closet, peed on it, and two lines appeared in 20 seconds. And my daughter was in the bathroom with me. And I said, “Holy shit, I’m pregnant.” And she said “I’m Cinderella.”

I was stunned. When trying for our first, we tried. This pregnancy happened immediately. I hadn’t expected it to happen so fast, as we had barely unpacked the boxes in our new house. But I was excited. Thrilled. And I was even more enthused when I had my daughter hand my husband the positive pee stick upon his return home from brunch. Our little family was growing and my heart was bursting. 

And a lot happened in the 9 months following, and perhaps I’ll go into them some day on here, and perhaps I will not, but for now, I shall cut to the chase. The birth story. In parts. 

For the last two months of my pregnancy, I was experiencing painful Braxton Hicks contractions; so strong that these moments of uncomfortable tightness would show up strongly on the monitor. I went into labor and delivery 4 times for “false alarms”, as the contractions were present, but not doing anything to induce real labor. 

I should mention that because of my previous C-Section with my daughter, I was scheduled for a repeat surgery on October 28, 2013. Not only was this a routine repeat, but my little boy, in all his enormous glory, was lying in the transverse position, which means instead of being head down (or, in breach cases, head up) he was lying smack across my stomach. I looked like I was smuggling a watermelon under my shirt. It was ridiculous looking. I was all belly and my belly had a belly. 

I had mixed feelings leading up to my c-section. I was relieved, in some ways, to have the luxury of planning my second child’s birth; to schedule a day, to make sure that I gave the proper preparations and goodbye to my daughter, to make sure that my nails and toes were perfect….but I was also scared. And pardon my French, but I was scared shitless. 

I remembered the scary parts of my first C-Section: The Spinal and the feeling of not being able to breathe; the kind anesthesiologist who put a wet sponge to my parched lips; and then the whole BABY thing. The idea of another baby terrified me. And I teach babies. I love babies. I am kind of a baby expert. But I was so scared about how to expand our little tribe. We had things down over here, and I worried, every minute, about going through surgery, surviving surgery, and then surviving parenthood. I grew increasingly nervous as the date approached, talking to my husband, parents, friends and OB. He would refer to the scheduled C date as a “birthday party” and I looked at it as a day of dread. It is hard for me to admit this (especially in hindsight) but I was just terrified. 

And all of my trips to labor and delivery did nothing to assuage my fears. Four times I said “Bye Bye” to my little girl, saying “We may be going to meet your brother!” and then having to waddle on out hours later with a closed cervix and tons of embarrassment. And pain. And contractions. And, in one case, sleepy baby. 

And then, at 4 am on the morning of October 24, I awoke out of a dead sleep in pain. Real, can’t really breathe, stomach-tightening pressure and pain. It was so painful that I woke up my husband. I was 38.5 weeks pregnant. My C-Section was scheduled for the following Monday. And so, I said to myself, “Self. You are NOT going in again for a false alarm. You are not. If this means that you are having this giant transverse baby at home in your bathtub so be it.” 

I even went as far as to pack my daughter’s lunch note reading “Four days until you meet your baby brother!” I gave her a regular kiss goodbye. “See you after school!” I said. 

But by 10 am when the contractions were becoming more painful and regular, I called my OB. And he asked me if these contractions felt different. And they did. And he told me I had to come in. 

“It may be party time!” He said. 

My nails were chipped, my hair was dirty and I had not said goodbye to my daughter. It could not be time. But the contractions were hurting so badly that I was almost in tears. 

So off to the hospital I went…

To be continued…(and trust me, it gets a lot better…)

Some folks.

8 Dec

This is the story of some folks.

You see, during times of great change or excitement, some folks handle their feelings (of being anxious, overwhelmed, excited, ill-prepared) by doing things like making lists, crafting spreadsheets,

seeking therapy

or running Marathons.

Some folks, when faced with an upcoming vacation and big move

that just so happen to be happening back to back

(like back2back. There isn’t even enough room between the vacation and move to justify hitting the space bar.)

do things like making checklists,

delegating,

planning and packing.

And some folks,

some other folks…

do this.

nail polish paint strips photo doc

Agonizing over colors. Colors of things like future vacation nails and future house walls.

So the moral of this story is this:

Some folks are sensible, organized, calm and cool.

Some folks have perspective.

Some folks are decisive and deliberate and maybe even (appropriately) drugged.

And others,

well, others,

are yours truly.

(or as I am now known on the street, “White Diamond or Iced Cube Gray?!?!”)

The end.

Five Minutes Later…

I think I’m going with White Diamond. But check back with me tomorrow.

 

Love Notes/My Reply

30 Nov

You may remember my recent discovery,

in which I was able to give new life to (/soak in the beauty of) my husband’s old love notes.

Well, it happened again. Except, this time, the love notes were from yours truly.

I know. Right? You didn’t think I had it in me. Ahhhh, way back in old ’06 when I was just a babe in the woods.

(Or, you know, had two free hands at once, on the reg.)

So here’s how it went down: Once again, I was cleaning out and packing up my basement.

And feeling all sentimental, for a couple of big reasons.

First, the move is imminent. Imminent as in come 2 hours from now, the couch that I am sitting on as I type this story will no longer be in my house, but en route to an old Middle School friend of mine in Ohio. But, again, a story for another day.

Second, I am supa sentimental about things love and marriage for one pretty spectacular reason. You ready? TWIN is getting married. My Twin. I know. I can’t even type right now without crying. Dear Go Go will be making an honest woman out of my girl. My sister. My better half. But this is most certainly another may-jor post for another day. Because, as I said, I have tears to dry, and because, as I said, I have a UHaul to load. But let me just give you this teaser: My Twin Sister is getting married to the most spectacular man + a week ago today she made me ugly cry (with joy!) with some wedding related news + we are planning the most epic pre-wedding-night-sleepover-EVER for late this summer….and, I must be saved from myself. You see? Once I get on the subject of Twin getting married, I can’t stop. And I have a story to tell. A different love story. So the Twin story is coming…but for that you must, as my Twin herself says, “Wait with breath that is bated.”

Sob.

So back to today. I was cleaning out a bunch of boxes when I came across my guy’s old wallet. I saw it and immediately got a case of the sentimentals, as this was the first ever real gift I bought for him.

(In case you’re wondering what the first ever fake gift was, it would be this package, delivered to his doorstep on week 2 of dating: King Kong DVD, a paperback copy of In Our Time and a package of homemade brownies. I know. Now you can sleep tonight. Phew!)

I peaked inside (secretly hoping to find a hidden 20 stashed in that sucker!) and came across a little bundle of papers. Small, crumpled little papers.

These:

notes

My guy is sensitive. And sometimes, when he had been faced with a challenge– the first day of a new job or a seemingly insurmountable task–I liked to give him a little reminder that my love would be with him. And so I gave him little notes; affirmations; poems; I gave him my heart,

in the form of a heart shaped post-it.

And as I sit here and reflect upon that sentiment, I realize that I can do the same thing for myself now;

I am moving to a new house, and about that I am unbelievably excited. But also a bit nostalgic. This house is the place where we brought our daughter home from the hospital. This house has held our memories and kept our secrets. This house means something to me. But all of that, all of the memories, all of the love, can come with me as I move on.

They may not be able to fit into a wallet

or an album of hand-drawn declarations of love,

but I know they will continue to live in me. In us. In the new home we create.

So, while I wish I could write more,

it’s time to get off the couch. Because this couch has some new memories to make.

And so do we.

So,

here we grow.

Just a few (sday?) Tuesday things:

20 Nov

1. My husband is out Happy-Hour-ing with his co-workers.

2. I’m at home nursing a cold.*

3. I’ve heard people say that honey is healing. I’m using that logic to justify my hoovering of peanut butter and honey by the spoonful.

4. Today, my daughter said, “Mommy, you look just like you. I look just like me.”

5. I’m using her logic to justify my hoovering of peanut butter and honey by the spoonful.

6. Because my husband is out (see above), the little girl and I are free to do whatever we please. This may or may not include: pouring over strips and strips of different (all-white) paint chips for an hour, dressing up like Chiquita Banana (I’ll let you guess to which one of us this applies), belting out tunes from Wicked (her: Defying Gravity, One Short Day and Popular; me: As Long as Youre Mine), and certain activities referenced in items 3 & 5.

7. My kid straight up refused a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in favor of slices of frozen peaches and strawberries.

8. I’m calling this temporary insanity, on account of being over-exposed to endless chips of white paint.

9. Speaking of, if she ever has a brother or sister, he or she will be named Benjamin Moore.

10. *At least I’m not nursing a baby.