Nov 042013
 

About three and a half weeks ago, my family, my life, and truly my whole self was completed.  On October 10th at 4:26 PM, I gave birth to my son, Myles.  The labor and delivery, of course, did not go according to my “plans”. I was induced early and fairly suddenly, rushing to the hospital the previous night in more than a little of a panic.  Upon checking in, I was treated to the most beautiful sound a mother can hear… the sound of a strong and healthy heartbeat.  My son was fine, but I had to be induced 11 days early due to low fluid.  Needless to say, sitting in a hospital room all night, hooked up to every monitor they could think to torture me with, and watching Breaking Bad on my iPad was not the beautiful and natural labor I had imagined. (Sidenote: Breaking Bad: Holy shitballs, right?!) But, the next day I was blessed with the most beautiful baby boy I have ever seen. He was small, but perfectly healthy, and all mine.

Since then, life has been a whirlwind, as you can imagine. Waking up every two hours (which really means a single hour of sleep in between the feeding, diapering, burping and rocking) throughout the night, and dealing with a slightly jealous and totally “two” two-year-old during the day. And so, I haven’t been blogging, as you may have noticed. Or maybe I flatter myself too much and you actually have not noticed, nor do you really care…which is probably closer to the truth, but I will choose to ignore that simple truth the same way that I choose to ignore the fact that Toms shoes are actually butt ugly, and keep wearing them anyway.

It is not that I haven’t had time to blog, because I could find the time. I always did before, although admittedly, it is a bit harder now. It is not that I don’t have anything to say. I actually have so much to say… too much. Every day I write a few blog posts in my head. The truth is that I haven’t been writing because I am terrified of what I might say. Everything is too real right now. Too raw. Too close to the surface. Every emotion. Every fear. Every joy. Every beauty. Is all… right. there. I feel like a wound that has just barely closed over and might suddenly break open at any minute. I am deliriously happy, deliriously tired, and deliriously frustrated. All of it. And I am scared that in this state I might write something that I don’t mean, or that I mean right at that moment, but don’t mean the next day, or the next 5 minutes.

But I guess that is why I started this blog, right? To be real and honest and true. And maybe even to say things that I regret later. Because that is motherhood.  And as hard as it is to say some of these real and honest and true things, I need to say them for me, and for anyone else who feels them too and, like me, is scared to say them. So stay tuned, because I have a lot to say, and I promise to say it. At least, most of it.

For now, I will say this about my new status as “Mother of Two”-  I remember a few years ago, asking my friend who had just had her second daughter, if it felt different to be a mom of two. And she said, “It feels like my family is complete.” At the time, it was hard for me to understand this. I only had my daughter then, and even though I knew we wanted one more, I felt complete with just her. But I have to say, when I gave birth to my son, and I gazed down at him for the first time, something in me shifted.  Everything clicked into place. I looked into his eyes and thought, “Oh. There you are. I’ve been waiting for you my whole life and I didn’t even know it.”

And that, my friends, is the real and honest truth.

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May 232013
 

In case you hadn’t noticed by my last slightly bitter post, I have been feeling just a wee bit self-conscious about my body lately.  I think that some people assume that as soon as you become pregnant, it is a free-for-all food fest and all body worries go out the window.  They assume that every pregnant woman eats ice cream all day, without worrying about the effect that it has on her body, both in the present and in the future. Oh, how I wish that were true. While pregnancy does change your eating habits, and let’s face it, some of us do spend the day eating ice cream, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have the same body guilt, and even shame, that we felt pre-pregnancy. You eat more and crave more of certain kinds of foods while you are pregnant, not just because you are entitled to “gain all the weight you want”, but because your body is not-so-subtly demanding a double-meat, double-cheeseburger with a side of M&Ms in a way that most people are unaccustomed to. A pregnant woman’s hunger is similar to a twenty-two year old man’s sex drive:  it will not be ignored, despite all logic and good sense.

So your body is telling you one thing (ie. eat that tub of Crisco. Now!) and your mind is telling you another (ie. Control yourself and eat a salad instead, fatty!).  Sometimes you listen to your mind and sometimes you listen to your body, but even when you listen to your body, it’s tough to totally shut out the negativity of the mind.

But, as the weeks go by and my baby bump grows, so does my self-confidence.  I am finally starting to find my pregnancy groove.  The irrational hungry monster inside my head is slowly settling to a dull roar, and I am becoming able to control it. I finally have enough energy to exercise on a more consistant basis. My belly is beginning to look more like a baby bump rather than a jelly roll, so I am finally starting to pull out the tighter shirts that highlight my belly, instead of shamefully hiding it under baggy clothes like an unwed Mormon. My hips and thighs might be wider than usual, but a nice, round belly makes everything else look skinnier. My ass might be twice its usual size, but hey, so are my boobs.  Finally, I am starting to accept, if not totally appreciate, my lovely (pregnant) lady lumps.

That’s not say that I have shed my all body hang-ups just yet.  I have my good days and my bad days, just like I did pre-pregnancy. Buying a couple of new, flattering maternity outfits has helped. And on a good day, with just the right lighting and a bit of make-up and some high heels, I feel almost like myself again. Like myself with just a little something extra. So yes, maybe I am chubbier, bumpier, lumpier and cellulitier (yes, I just made that word up) than I was, but there are two of in here now… and that means two of us to answer to if you even think of asking me how much weight I have gained so far.

 

 

May 172013
 

For some odd reason, some people think that because you are pregnant they can say things to you that they would never say to a non-pregnant person.  Like growing a life inside your belly somehow makes you suddenly immune to comments on your looks, weight, parenting style or dietary choices. I mean, would you ever ask a non-pregnant person how much weight she has gained lately?  Would you ever tsk at her drinking a diet coke or eating a hamburger?  Would you ever stroke her belly??  The answer to these questions should be no. If it is not, you need to see a therapist. So if you wouldn’t say these things to a non-pregnant person, why is it suddenly ok to say them to a pregnant woman?

I have had enough invasions of privacy lately without hearing your thoughts on my body parts, thank you very much. I have peed in more cups, spread my legs more often, and had more conversations about my bodily functions than Lindsay Lohan, and quite frankly, I am tired of sharing myself.  Do I sound bitter and cranky? Because I am. I already feel enough like a human Tupperware container without people treating me like I am no longer human. So thanks, but keep your thoughts on how I look to yourself.  Unless, of course, you want to tell me how amazing my boobs look. Because right now, they are pretty amazing!

Basically, what I am saying is that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all. If you are not sure if it is nice, just don’t say it. If you still need further clarification, read below for my list of things you should never, ever say to a pregnant woman. Ever. Unless, of course, you were wondering what a swollen, pregnant fist tastes like.

1)  It’s only 9 months.

Ok, first off, 40 weeks is more than 9 months. Second, YOU try feeling nauseous, ugly, angry, sad, hungry, uncomfortable, gaseous and swollen for even 9 days and tell me that it doesn’t feel like 9 years!

2)  Wow!  You are only x months pregnant??  You are huge!

Even if it is said with a smile, or followed by a compliment or a comment that I am “all belly”, the only thing I hear is “Holy shit, you are fat!” And it makes me to slap the smile off your skinny, non-pregnant face.  Sorry, there goes the bitterness again.

3)  You can’t eat that/drink that/do that!

Thank you pregnancy police.  I am well aware (waayyy too aware) of what my dietary limitations are.  This is between me and my doctor.  I assure you that I am doing everything I can to create a healthy environment for my growing child, and that may or may not include an occasional caffeine fix, piece of fish or sip of wine. I did all three during my first pregnancy, and also lifted things that weighed more than a piece of paper, highlighted my hair, and painted my nails.  My child is just fine. Why don’t you focus on your own kid, who is eating a can rubber cement right now?

4) Are you sure that you are gaining enough weight?  You need to eat more. You are exercising too much.

This is just as annoying and unhelpful as the fat comments.  Every body is different.  This is true even during pregnancy. If a woman is truly gaining too much weight or not gaining enough, rest assured that her doctor will let her know.  Just like in non-pregnant women, there’s no reason to make anyone feel guilty or uncomfortable about her body.  Ever.

5 )  You must be having a girl.  Carrying a boy makes you glow, but a girl steals your beauty while you are pregnant.

Great. So not only am I fat, but now I am ugly too? Thanks so much. (Yes, someone actually said this to me during my first pregnancy. Seriously?? Seriously.)

6)  I only gained 20 pounds when I had a baby and I lost it right away.

Good for you. Now shut the hell up and let me eat my double cheeseburger in peace.

7)  Are you sure you are not having twins?

Translation: “You are a complete whale.” Ask yourself this – Are you really worried that in this day and age a second baby could have snuck into my uterus, undetected by doctors and modern technology? I’m not buying it. Or are you just trying to think of a “nice” way to ask me why I am so huge?  There is no nice way, so keep your thoughts about my weight to yourself or you will have your heart ripped out (and likely eaten) by a hungry, hormonal pregnant woman.

8)  Can I touch your belly?

No you cannot, creeper.  I wouldn’t want you to touch my stomach while I was not pregnant, let alone when there is only a thin layer of skin between your grubby hands and my perfect baby.  Shudder.  But now you have put me in the awkward position where I either have to say no and feel like a total a-hole or let you touch me. Thanks for that.

** This question, however, is preferable to the people who actually lunge for your belly, unannounced. I would never, ever touch a stranger’s body, so while is it acceptable for strangers to touch you while you are pregnant??

9)  You don’t like being pregnant?! Wow. I loved every second of my pregnancy.

Perhaps there are a few select women who truly love being pregnant, but I can personally guarantee that no one loves every second of it. There are many incredible things about being pregnant – like the moment that you first feel the baby move inside of you. Or simply the fact that your body is capable of creating another living, breathing human. However, I think that any woman who says that they loved every second of 9 + months of discomfort, mood-swings, cravings, nausea, pain, sleeplessness, bloating, and weight-gain is either forgetting, lying or Mother Teresa.

I am sure that there are many more insane things that people say to pregnant women.  Have you ever said anything you regretted to someone or did someone say something hilariously terrible to you while pregnant?  Please share and we can mock this dumbass together…even if the dumbass is you.

 

May 092013
 

Ok, I have a confession to make.  A few actually.

In case you didn’t read my last post, I am pregnant with baby number 2.  I am excited about it, of course.  It is what we wanted, and I feel blessed that we were able to get pregnant so easily.  I know it is not always easy.  It is a cruel trick of nature that when your body is most ready to have a baby – at, oh, the tender age of 13 – nothing else in your life is ready for this baby, including you. Although you  probably would share a mutual love of Demi Lovato and pizza-flavored Cheetos with your five-year-old, that alone doesn’t qualify you to raise a child.  However, by the time everything else in your life is finally ready, and your finances, mental state, and career are more secure, your ovaries are often shriveled up like Raisinettes, and your body scoffs at your attempts to conceive. Maybe my body is not quite there yet, but I am not getting any younger either, so I feel very happy to have gotten pregnant. But as happy as I am, the truth – and my confession – is that I am not as excited as I think I should be. To be honest (Ok, cover your tiny ears, Fetus) I don’t really think about the baby all that much.

Sure, I think about it all the time in practical terms. I think about all the things that must be done before the new baby comes. I think about the construction we must do, the endless amounts of crap that we must buy, and all the old gear that we need to haul out of hibernation. I make lists and then check them off.  I go to my doctor appointments and look at the ultrasounds and am relieved to discover that everything is ok. I take my vitamins, eat my fruits and veggies, exercise when I can, and avoid alcohol and caffeine and sushi and  lunch meat and soft cheeses and the long list of everything that I love that I cannot have.  I do my job as this baby’s diligent mother.  Or do I?

I do worry about the well-being of the baby, of course. That is a powerful instinct that I cannot deny. I think about all the things that can go wrong. I both fear and look forward to the tests that will reassure me that the baby is ok (I hope.) But when I think about the future with this baby, instead of daydreaming of his or her face, I find myself thinking more about how it is going to affect the baby that I already have. What does all of this mean for her? Is this really the right thing? Is this new addition really going to add to her life, or is going to take something away from her?  Like me.

Gone are the wonder and magic of the first pregnancy. I no longer read the weekly updates and marvel at the fact that the baby growing inside me is now urinating or that he or she is the size of a Meyer lemon or a navel orange (although this does make me hungry.) We haven’t even thought about names or what the new nursery will look like.  The journal I bought to start writing to the new baby, as I did with my first child, lies untouched.  Every time I sit down to write, I realize that I haven’t nothing yet to say. I really wish I did.

I know it is still early in the pregnancy.  I don’t know the sex yet, nor have I felt much movement other than the slight flutters that may or may not be gas. I am sure that I will connect with this baby at some point, but right now I am finding it hard to connect with this unknown creature when I already have a flesh and bone child that connects back. I distinctly remember feeling a lot more excited at this stage in my first pregnancy.  Writing in her journal, reading every book on the market, marveling at my body’s changes and taking pictures each week of my growing belly.  Now, it feels a bit “Been-there, Done-that.” And I hate it. I hate to think of my child as a been there, done-that. It is not fair. And I know it.

Ok, tiny fetus, you can uncover your ears now.  I do love you and I am excited to meet you.  I guess, like so many relationships, ours just needs a little bit of time to develop.  Good thing we have till October. And then the rest of my life.

 

Sep 272012
 

As soon as I hit the ripe old age of 22, there seemed to be only one thing that anyone could talk about.  “So, do you have a boyfriend?” “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” “When are you going to settle down and get a boyfriend?”  “Your dad thinks you’re a lesbian.”

By the time I turned 25, I was so annoyed with all the questions that I finally did get a boyfriend.  Then, after about a year or so, the annoying questions started again.  “Have you thought about marriage?”  “Are you guys going to get married?” “When are you going to get married?”  “You are a sinner, living in sin, you unholy slut!!” (ok, that one’s not actually real, but I felt like people were thinking it so it totally counts.)

So, after 4 years, my boyfriend and I were annoyed enough that we did, in fact, get married.  But then – surprise, surprise – after 5 whole seconds of being married, the questions started again.  “Have you started thinking about a family?” “When are you going to get knocked up?” “Have you started trying?” “You aren’t young anymore, I wouldn’t wait too long.” At 30 years old, me and my dried up old ovaries were doing just fine, thank you.

But finally, to shut up everyone (including my ticking biological clock and my shriveled raisin ovaries) we had a baby.  Phew… safe from annoying questions, right?  Wrong.  After finally slogging through the first amazing, exhausting, awesome, terrible first year, the questions started again.  “Have you started thinking about the second one?” “Ready for baby #2?!”  “You do want to have more than one, right?” “Put down the wine, coffee and sushi because it’s time to get knocked up again.”

Ok, so here’s the thing.  I DO want to have another baby if we can.  I have a brother who is 2 and a half years younger than me, and he is amazing.  He is my best friend, and even though we spent a LOT of time fighting when we were younger, he has always been my best friend.  All of my greatest childhood memories are somehow tied to him.  He was my constant playmate, plaything, teammate, opponent, doll, and confidant.  Yes, there were times that it was me against him, but most of the time it was me and him against the world.  Or at least our parents.  I can’t imagine not having him in my life.  And so I can’t imagine my daughter not having a sibling in her life.

But… I am scared.  I know that I was scared before having my first baby, and that all worked out ok.   And I know that there are fears that I had then that I probably won’t have again, like:  What if I am not a good mother?  What if I don’t like being a mom?   What if she doesn’t love me?  What if I drop her? What if her swaddle blanket comes unwrapped and chokes her to death?  What if I never sleep again?  What if she has red hair?! (ps. that fear was actually realized and her red hair is absolutely beautiful!)

But there are some fears that I don’t think will ever go away:  What if I never lose all the baby weight?  What if I get postpartum depression?  How are we going to afford this?  What if my baby gets SIDS?  What if my baby dies?!

And then there are a brand new set of fears that come with adding a new baby into the mix. First off, there’s the whole pregnancy thing.  Been there.  Done that.  Didn’t like it.  Call me an asshole, but the thought of voluntarily being nauseous,  uncomfortable, fat, tired, swollen, acne-prone, and emotionally unstable just doesn’t appeal to me.  And don’t get me started on the whole no-alcohol, no-caffene thing.  As I mom, those two things (plus a bit ton of chocolate) are sometimes the only things that get me through the day.

And then, after surviving the joys of pregnancy, I actually have the new baby to contend with.  Or course, I worry about how tired I am going to be. The never-ending carousel of newborn baby exhaustion is tough enough, but how can I possibly manage doing that while waking up at 6 am every morning to take care of an energetic toddler.  An energetic toddler who doesn’t understand that mommy was up all night with the new baby and doesn’t have a single brain cell left in her head to remember all the words to “Itsy-Bitsy-Spider”. (Why oh why do they make these children’s songs so hard!?)

Ok, I know that being tired or being afraid of not losing the baby weight is no reason not to have a baby.  If it was, no one would ever have a baby.  EVER.  I can get over being tired.  I can get over stretch marks and saggy boobs and cellulite.  What I am most afraid of has more to do with the inconcrete questions about bringing a second child into my household.  I am worried about what this will do to my daughter. Will she understand? Will she feel resentful or even angry?  Will she feel that we don’t love her as much? How will we have enough time for both of them?

I know that many, many people – including my own parents –  have faced these questions and fears, and many, many people have two-plus happy healthy children in their happy healthy families. I know that having more than one child is normal, if not the norm. BUT I haven’t yet revealed my biggest fear.  It is not only my biggest fear but my deepest, darkest secret.  A secret that I haven’t confessed to anyone yet… not even to myself really.  The true reason that I am afraid to have another baby.  Deep breath, here goes…

I love my daughter, Lyla, so much.  So much that it physically hurts.  I love her in a way that I cannot possibly describe (although if you have children you likely know.)  I love her, not simply because she is my daughter, but because she is Lyla.  I love her in a way that I cannot imagine loving anyone else.  Not even another baby.  I feel pretty positive that there is no way I could ever love anyone as much as I love her.  You see, I was never really a kid person.  But then I had Lyla, and she is so wonderful that she can turn even an angry, drunk, homeless man into a kid person (true story.) I worry that if she wasn’t so sweet, funny, charming and relatively easy, that I wouldn’t love her as much.  And I am terrified that if the second baby is a crier or doesn’t sleep or doesn’t eat or is sick or even if he or she just isn’t Lyla, that I won’t love him or her as much.  And it makes me feel like a horrible person.  And it makes me feel really scared.

I suspect that it is the same as the way that no one can tell you how truly amazing it is to have a child until you have one of your own.  I assume that no one can tell me how I much I will unconditionally love another child, until I find out for myself.  Odds are good that I will love a second baby as much as the first.  But it seems a pretty big gamble, and I have never been a gambling woman.  Hell, I only play the penny slots in Vegas… and there’s a lot more than 100 pennies at stake here.

To spawn or not to spawn… that is the question.

That is question that keeps me awake at night sometimes.

But I guess, it might be time to roll the dice.

 

 

photo credit: Nick Harris1 via photopin cc

May 242012
 

Last week I gave you my list of things to BUY  to prepare for your baby:  Mommy Must Haves. This week’s topic is even more important… things you should DO to prepare for your baby. These are the things that no one ever tells you to do.  These are the things that I wish someone had told me to do. These are the things that I am now telling you to do. These are the things that… well, just read ’em.

– Buy an alarm clock. Set it on the loudest, most obnoxious, earth-shattering, sleep-destroying alarm you can find. Now set it to wake you up every hour. When it shocks you out of sleep, wake up and rub your nipples with a rough washcloth for ten minutes on each side. Reset alarm to wake you up in an hour, then go back to sleep. Spend a couple of days/nights doing that. Now throw the alarm clock away and get some sleep while you still can, you idiot!

– Buy a 12 lb. bag of frozen peas (can substitute a 12 lb. water balloon, 12 lb. dead fish or any limp, heavy, hard to carry object). Carry it around with you for an entire day while cooking, cleaning, putting on make-up, napping, checking Facebook and talking on the phone. The next day, do it all while singing and/or humming the entire time.

– Get out your blender. Add the contents of your refrigerator. Start blender on highest setting without the lid, making sure that the mess inside reaches the countertops, cabinets, windows, floors and ceiling. Now dump whatever remains in the blender on the floor. Debate cleaning but instead leave for your husband to clean up.  Wait two weeks.  Still not clean?  Huh?

– Set your oven timer (you know the really loud, annoying one that always scares the shit out of you) for 26 minutes. Then start watching a movie, totally forgetting that the oven timer is on until it goes off and scares the shit out of you. Stop the movie, hop up and pick up your 12 lb. bag of peas. Now do laps around the house for 30 minutes. Gently put the peas down and restart the movie.  Lower the volume so as not to wake the peas. Reset alarm for 26 minutes. Repeat process until you eventually give up hope of ever watching a full movie again.

– Now repeat the above while cooking, showering, talking on the phone and having sex.

– Put on your favorite shirt. Add 1/2 cup whole milk to each shoulder. Go to work. Pray/pretend that no one notices the stains or the smell.

– Take your junk drawer (Oh, stop it. You know you have one.) and bring it into your living room. Now turn it upside down and empty its contents onto the floor. Retrieve one jumbo size box of Cheerios from the kitchen and empty the contents onto the floor as well. Now take off your shoes and pick up our 12 lb bag of peas. Turn out the lights and walk around in the dark for two hours while humming every children’s song you swore you’d never sing. If you step on something and cry out in pain or stumble even slightly (either could wake your almost sleeping peas) start over from the beginning. Do not pass Go.  Do not collect $200.

– Think back to your college days during finals week, when you pulled three all-nighters in a row (1 actually studying, 2 partying.) Remember how tired you were? Now, multiply that by 10,000 because now you actually have shit to do, and let’s face it, you’re not young anymore.

– Think about how much you love your parents. Now multiply that by how much you love your siblings and extended family members… subtract Drunk Uncle Steve. Now, add the laughter you have shared with your best friends over the years plus the sum of the pride you have felt at your own achievements, times 100. Subtract your heartbreaks. Now, multiply by the love you feel for your husband, wife, boyfriend, and/or partner. And add the cuteness of a basket of baby kitties… squared. Got it? That is 1/1000000 of what you will feel during the first year of your baby’s life.

Good luck.

Apr 172012
 

Exactly one year ago… and precisely one week late… my life changed forever.  Ok, well it actually changed forever exactly 41 weeks + 52 weeks ago…what is that… 93? I’m tired.  And why do people with babies insist on counting time in weeks?  But  then again, exactly 93 weeks ago, I didn’t know that it had changed yet, so does it count?  So maybe it was 93 – 4.5 weeks (that’s math I can’t do right now) ago, when I found out I was pregnant that my life changed forever.  Hmmmm…  Is it the moment of conception, of realization or of admission into the world that changes your life?

Anyway, I digress…

I had a fairly easy labor and delivery… considering that it was labor and delivery (for those of you who have not had the opportunity to squeeze a human being through your body, past your internal organs and out a hole that somehow is just never big enough… I’ll spare you the grisly details.  I’ll tell you when you are older, or perhaps when I am drunk.) Then the magic moment came when my daughter sprung forth… actually she sort of oozed forth… from my loins.  The nurse immediately placed this sweet, tiny (albeit screaming) baby on my chest and I finally stared into her beautiful blue eyes and felt… really fucking tired.  I was expecting to feel fireworks, or a sparkly magical connection, or at least somewhat like a mother.  I didn’t.  What I felt was definitely joy, but it was tempered with disbelief and pure exhaustion.

I felt as though I were outside of my body, looking down at myself.  Looking down at a mom who had an ecstatic husband and the most beautiful baby in the world, but who didn’t know what to do with it all.  I felt numb.  And because I felt numb, I felt fear.  What if I didn’t love my baby as much as I should?  What if I wasn’t cut out to be a mom? What if I had postpartum depression? What if this whole thing was a mistake? And because I felt fear, I also felt guilt.  I guess that was when I should have known that I was truly a mom.

For those of you who are judging me right now, try to give me a break.  God knows I didn’t give myself one. But let’s take an honest look at the situation.  When you give birth to a baby, you top off the most tiring and uncomfortable ten months of your life  (TEN MONTHS, NOT NINE. 40 weeks. Do the math) with the final month of total discomfort and pure exhaustion (it’s really hard to sleep when you have to pee all the time, every appendage is swollen to 3 times its normal size, and you have a baby doing zumba in your belly all night, every night).  The good news is that all of this leads up to the most physically demanding thing you have ever done, which, besides being a marathon of huffing, puffing, pushing and tearing (sorry),  almost always involves not sleeping for at least 24 hours.  Then, right away you get to start the toughest job you’ll ever have, working for the most demanding boss in the world.  I mean, if any other job required working around the clock, sleeping for only single hour stretches, and taking care of every single solitary need for a thankless boss prone to total meltdowns… the unions would be all over that shit.  I mean, I was up all night without sleeping, going through a very painful as well as physically and mentally demanding journey,  when suddenly this creature who has been in my belly for 10 months is laying on my chest, greedily searching for my boob as I lay there helpless as a rag doll.  So yes, I was tired.  And no, I didn’t have the immediate and earth-shattering connection I expected.

For those of you still judging me… go ahead.  I truly hope that you had or will have an immediate connection with your son or daughter.  Some people do.  But not everyone.  And not me.

What I can say is that as the day wore on, I started to come down from the high induced by extreme exhaustion, physical pain, drugs for that pain, the euphoria of finally seeing my baby, and the intense fear that comes from knowing that you are now 100% responsible for someone’s life… and that someone happens to be the most important person in the world.  And as I started to emerge from my fog, I started to submerge into my daughter.  The less I thought about the birth itself, the more I started to appreciate the miracle of it. I spent a lot of time examining the tiny little girl who was now semi-attached to my breast.  I studied her tiny hands… so much like mine but so very, very small.  The detail that went into making those hands in miniature was insane.  The tiny white crescent on her fingernails, no bigger than a swipe of a pencil.  The wrinkly little fingers, with a fingerprint 100% her own.  Her perfect little mouth.  Her teeny little nose.  Her big eyes, staring up at me as if they could see directly into my soul. And most amazing of all was her personality… even at birth, already more individual than her fingerprint.

From those moments in the hospital, when I should have been resting but couldn’t for the fear and excitement I felt, and from every moment afterward, my love has grown.  So my daughter and I might not have had fireworks right away, but as I have come to find out, we had something better.  We had a spark, just enough to catch fire.  Every single day it burns brighter than the last.  And this fiery love and my daughter herself have illuminated my life in ways I never thought possible.

Thank you my darling Lyla for not giving up on me that day.  And thank you for filling my life with more joy, more laughter and more poop… than I ever imagined.

Apr 052012
 

I was going through some of my old writing the other day and I found this short list of “Ironies of Pregnancy” that I constantly added to throughout my pregnancy.  Re-reading it made me laugh… then I remembered that at some point in time we will try to have another baby and I will have to deal with most of this again, and I STOPPED LAUGHING.

But hopefully it makes you laugh, whether it reminds you of your own pregnancy, or you are currently pregnant and going through some of this now.  If you are not pregnant, have never been pregnant, or happen to have a penis – which, lucky for you, makes you exempt from these symptoms… then read on anyway and gloat about the fact that you don’t have to deal with this… for now.

THE IRONIES OF PREGNANCY

1) I can’t drink, yet I constantly feel hung-over.

2) My boobs are suddenly stripper-big, yet they hurt so bad that no one – including my husband – is allowed to come within 7 1/2 feet of them.

3) I am completely exhausted but not allowed to drink coffee.

4) I have a constant headache but cannot take ibuprofen.

5) I am consistently nauseous but also ravenously hungry.  

6) Suddenly I have acne, but I am not allowed to use any kind of acne medication.  The only thing worse than having acne is having acne AND wrinkles.  And a giant belly.  And swollen hands and feet.  And a fat ass.

7) Pregnancy misconception:  That pregnant “glow” is actually a sheen of sweat on my face after vomiting violently.

8) When I got my bellybutton pierced at 18, my mom said I would regret it.  For nearly 15 years, I laughed at that.  Now, every time I look in the mirror, the stretched-out gaping hole of my piercing appears to be laughing at me.  Well… either laughing, yawning or screaming.

9) I was prepared to change diapers. I wasn’t prepared to have to wear them.

10) There are so many things that I need to do to prepare for the baby, yet I just can’t seem to remember what they are right now… wait… what was I saying?  Where are my keys?

11) At nine months preggers, the hardest thing to do is get out of bed, yet I have to pee every hour.  I spend 5 minutes hoisting myself out of bed (crane anyone?); 3.5 minues waddling to the bathroom; 2 minutes lowering myself down onto the toilet seat; 3 seconds actually peeing; 2 minutes cursing my bladder for constantly tricking me into thinking I have to pee, then only squeezing out a few drops; 3 minutes hoisting myself back up from toilet seat; 3.5 min waddling back to bed; 5 more min to lower myself back down into bed (seriously, Crane.  anyone?); 1 min realizing that this entire sequence will repeat itself in 35 minutes.

12) I spent my entire pregnancy eating all the right things so that my baby would grow, grow, grow.  Now, I realize that this baby has to somehow come out of my vagina … um… any recipes to get my baby to shrink, shrink, shrink?

13) A baby the size of a watermelon is about to come out of a hole the size of a grape (well now a lemon – can’t. think. about. that.) yet my biggest fear is that I am going to poop on the table.  (editor’s note:  I did NOT)

14) I haven’t even met my daughter yet – in fact, most of her interactions with me thus far have been in the form of painful kicks and jabs and an irritating push on the bladder or two – but somehow I love her more than I have loved anything.  More than I even thought possible.

Rereading this list reminds me of all of the things I hated about being pregnant… the physical discomforts, the embarrassing side effects, the frustrating lists of dos and don’ts. The truth is that I really didn’t like being pregnant at all.  But I think the most interesting part of the list is that last one. It is strange to love someone so much when you haven’t even met them yet.  That kind of love never happens except when you are waiting to meet your child (and also with Ryan Gosling.  I don’t need to meet him to love him. My husband is just lucky he met me first!)  What I couldn’t have known then was that the love I felt was just the tip of the iceberg – my love would continue to grow exponentially every single day.   That kind of love is worth every inconvenience, heartburn and heartache.  It is worth not drinking for 10 months (If you know me, you know that means a lot.)  It is even worth pooping on the delivery table in front of a room full of strangers (which, I repeat, I did NOT).  That kind of love is worth anything.