I Am Done Being Sorry

I am so sick of being sorry. I used to think it was a me thing. But now I am sure it is a woman thing. I am sorry for so much that it basically equates to being sorry for my own existence. I am so sorry I am here, contributing, quite frankly, rather awesomely, to this planet and raising two human beings and working and thinking and loving. What a waste of resources. Do I really feel that way? Do women really feel that way? We must.

I’m sorry flows out of my mouth without thinking. I’m sorry has become my verbal equivalent to breathing.

I apologize when I think I’m in someone’s way. When I think I’m stepping on someone’s toes. When someone is actually in my way, or bumps me, or talks over me. When I feel inadequate as a wife, mother, or human. For having faults.  For messing up. For getting angry. For feeling anything other than happy and put together. For having feelings, period. I even apologize when I do things right.

A common refrain in our house is, “Why are you apologizing for that?”

Ohmygosh. Why AM I apologizing for that? I have no fucking clue.

Maybe it is the unending worry of disappointing someone, of not being good enough, of putting everyone and everything first, of needing to control but not having the wherewithal or mechanisms to let go. Being sorry is exhausting.

Life is a compounding shit show at the moment. And I feel relief, but supreme guilt (I’M SORRY!) in saying it. No no, don’t let the world know that sometimes life feels like one giant clusterfuck and that you may not be handling it with all the grace and poise that you expect from yourself. Or that you think the world expects from you. The shit show has resulted in more apologies than usual. But now is really a time when it is okay to say HEY. LIFE. You suck! You won’t always suck, but right now… you suck a whole lot. Acknowledge. Cope.

Being sorry does not let me cope. Being sorry does not let me move forward. Being sorry does not make me a better wife or mother. Being sorry does not let me… be.

Fuck it. I am done being sorry.

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Separation Anxiety

I have been meaning to write this post for a few weeks, and definitely felt like I had to do it after yesterday’s admittedly baby braggy post. In case you think we are abundant in sleep, patience, laughs, and love (well, we’re abundant in some of those things)… read on.

About a month before Teddy arrived Henry began to show some signs of separation anxiety. He loves school, but he started to cry and did not want Allen and I to leave at drop off. His teachers always said that once we were gone he quickly calmed and went about his day like the happy little guy he usually is. Once Teddy arrived, this behavior stopped. It didn’t seem like Teddy’s joining the family had much of an impact on Henry at all. He cooed over Teddy, wanted to tickle him, wanted to hold his hand, wanted to hold him, and wanted to be near him. It was adorable.

Then about two weeks in Henry became a bit more defiant. He was always inclined to tell us no, whine to get his way, etc. Typical two year old stuff. But it increased. And we didn’t know if it was Teddy related or two-year old related. About three weeks ago our little system seemed to break down completely. So many changes in Henry’s life (molars – the worst, new baby, it is light later and earlier, time with mom is different, Henry has to wait for some things, etc.) has lead to separation anxiety and a related sleep regression.

The first night it happened it was just me and the two boys. Normally, we have a strict bedtime routine of getting wiggles out, brushing teeth, pajamas, books, one song, bed. This night when I told Henry to pick out the last book he looked at me with those big blue eyes, all sad, and softly whimpered, “Mommy.” Odd. But we carried on. Then as soon as I started singing our usual bedtime song he climbed up my neck, holding in for dear life, while repeatedly whimpering “Mommy.” My heart was shattering. I spent extra time talking to him, but he lost it as soon as we got up from the rocking chair and started heading for the crib.

I have never heard that child cry the way he did that night. It was a desperate wailing. A pleading. It was awful. Pure soul torture. I could not bear it. Allen and I subscribe to cry it out, so I let him be for 15 minutes. 15 long terrible awful minutes. Normally Henry’s regular cries and whines have zero impact on my cold mama heart. I could listen to those sounds forever and go about my business unaffected. This cry pierced my soul. I needed it to stop. I needed him to not feel the way that he felt that was causing that cry. I went in. As soon as I picked him up the crying ended. As soon as I motioned to put him back it began. We did that dance for 90 minutes. And 90 minutes the next night. 3 out of 5 nights were like that. The two nights he didn’t cry? Daddy put him to bed. Drop offs at daycare became bad again at this time. Desperate pleas not to leave him. Worse if I took him to daycare. I took him to see his pediatrician, hoping that he had an ear infection. No such luck – healthy boy. She agreed that it sounded like separation anxiety that could be triggered by any number or combination of things. Especially since he was no longer sleeping through the night, getting up 2-3 times sometimes to call for us.

So, here we are… almost three weeks in to this change in our previously amazing sleeper. You may have found yourself wondering what I do with all my well-rested time. Ha! See! We are not well rested at all. But the reason is not the newborn. It is the two-year-old. Things are getting better. We went from 90 minutes of shrieking to 30 minutes of shrieking to 30 minutes of regular cry/whining to 15 minutes to 10 minutes and the past two nights it has been just a couple of minutes. I think we’re on the right path, but nothing has made me question all of my parenting skills the way this kid has in the past few weeks.

His general two-year-oldness combined with not sleeping well means that on any given day we might get our amazing, hilarious, smart boy or the little asshole that sometimes occupies our two-year-olds body. On those days, I find myself standing in the living room listening to him whine because mommy brought him goldfish crackers and he wanted daddy to do it thinking, “When did I lose the joy? When did this go from being fun to being a chore?” And I get so mad at myself for feeling this way, for feeling like being a parent is anything less than amazing. But, it isn’t. Sometimes it is totally awful. For long stretches. And I’d like to put him in a closet and leave him there until he is willing to be a rational little person. Those times I try to remember that his brain is more caveman than modern day human. The best thing I can do is help to guide him to sanity. And it isn’t all fun. And that’s okay. Toddlers are hard. So hard that I’ve asked Teddy to never become one. We’ll see if he listens.

But then Henry says and does amazing things and it makes it worth it (I think). Like… he’s started to call Allen “seetsee” because I call Allen sweetsie. And nothing gets us laughing like when Henry yells “Seetsee! I need help!” or “Seetsee! Come here please!” Or songs he’s starting to make up. Or his dance moves. Or the general ridiculousness that comes out of his mouth as he’s trying to understand a world that is new to him every day.

I’m trying to keep it together. But hooooly, babies are WAY easier than toddlers. They don’t talk or move. That is a gift from God.

Now excuse me while I prop my eyes open with toothpicks. Maybe tonight the toddler will go to bed easy and sleep through the night. I have to believe that will happen again for us one day. Let it be soon.

 

The Difference Is…

Teddy is only two months old and already the differences between the two boys are innumerable. I did not think it could be possible for two people from the same two people to be so different, but more than that, for the differences to be so noticeable already. I suppose I even knew when Teddy was in utero. Henry was incredibly active. It seemed like I was always aware of his presence because of his incessant movements. I first felt him at 19 weeks. He hasn’t stopped moving from the day I could feel him inside. It took until 24 weeks  before I was certain I was feeling Teddy and not some rogue gas bubble. 5 weeks later! And they say you feel second babies more quickly because you know what to expect. Then Teddy just kept to himself most of the time, with an occasional jarring kick to remind me he was in there.

Once external to my body, Henry was exceptionally gifted at making sure we knew he was there. He demanded specific schedules at a very early stage. “BUT MOM! I NEED IT LIKE THIS!” the tiny baby would wail until we figured out – sometimes days or weeks later – what he was so fussy about. By the time Henry was three months he had a specific bedtime, but he really needed it several weeks earlier – we just missed the queues. Henry was not afraid to use his lungs. There was a lot of crying, as babies do. Crying over taking a bottle, crying after eating (still the most traumatizing part about baby Henry), crying just because, crying because he’s tired. Fairly typical baby stuff. And when he was awake, oh boy, did that kid wiggle. So much kicking and wiggling. His pediatrician remarked on how very wiggly he was at his two month well visit. Henry was a very expressive little dude. He had a million faces and he laughed and giggled often, definitely regularly by two months. That part was so delightful. He was hilarious right from the get go. Demanding to be watched, a ham, even then.

Now Teddy is a completely different story. As I’ve mentioned, he is the world’s most chill baby. But that also comes with Resting Bitch Face on an infant mug. Teddy is more stoic, not so expressive. I joke that he has three faces: sleeping, serious, and pooping (which is just a more severe serious face). He smiles, but it is seldom. He hoards those smiles. He spends all his energy focusing on being zen. This kid does not cry. My mom just spent three days with us and did not hear him cry once. When he gets really irritated, irritated enough to feel like he must say something, it comes out in a single goat bleat. And then he looks around as if to say, “I’m so sorry. I know I’m bothering you, but I could use you for a moment when you have some time. No rush. Again, sorry for bothering you.” When I put him on the ground he does wiggle, but it isn’t a frantic wiggling like Henry. More like relaxed kicks, like he is enjoying a tube ride on a lazy river. And the last few days I have been putting him down in his crib sleepy, but awake – you know, just to see what would happen. He looks around for awhile and then falls asleep as if he might as well because he does not have anything better to do. Come on, two month old babies do not put themselves to sleep! Henry was a good sleeper from about 6 weeks on, consistently sleeping in 6-8 hour stretches, then sleeping through the night (12 hours) around four months. Teddy has been sleeping in 6-7 hour stretches since… oh, I don’t know. Day 5? BUT! Not all is peachy on the Teddy front. The little man really does enjoy staying up late and then being up and creepily staring at me for two hours in the wee hours of the morning. He’s recently (like, in the last few days) started to get better when I gave up and started putting him in his crib awake, but it isn’t perfect or predictable.

I don’t think anyone would dispute that Henry is a carbon copy of Allen. Teddy, however, looks like me (poor boy). There’s a lot of time for him to change. When I look back at baby pictures of Henry, it takes until 5-6 months before I can really see present day Henry in those eyes and cheeks. But I think it would be prettttty cool if Allen got a carbon copy and I got one, too. Fingers crossed!

I can’t wait for the shenanigans these two brothers pull together. But I’m predicting now Henry is going to be the ring leader with poor innocent Teddy being dragged along against his will. “But Teddy, we’ll only get in trouble if we get caught…”

Or, more likely, Teddy already has me fooled which means that kid is going to be able to get away with anything.

 

Experience is Everything

As the days and weeks go by and I get to know Teddy more and more, I realize that the single most significant factor in why this maternity leave is SO MUCH MORE AMAZING than the last one is that experience is everything. Being a second time parent is fantastic. I am not worried about Teddy’s eating schedule, how many times he pooped in a given day, how long he slept, feeling guilty about him sleeping on me, feeling guilty about him not sleeping on me, leaving the house by myself, managing a baby in public, breastfeeding with people around, etc. I feel free. Well, as free as one can feel while still certainly being tied to a little creature that relies on me for food every few hours.

I cried so much with Henry. I cried quite a bit the first week we brought Teddy home because the first week is always going to be hard with hormones rushing out and adjusting to little sleep. But since then, I have been really quite well.

I remember with Henry that the silliest things would send me on a google frenzy to try and discern if what was happening was normal or not. There are still things with Teddy that are mysterious to me, but I have a much more laissez faire attitude about it. “Eh, he is more likely fine than not fine. I’ll worry in a day or two if this keeps up.” I still try to micro-manage other people when they are taking care of Teddy, but I think it is better than last time.

Teddy is also the world’s most easy baby (so far, anyway). What I have trouble figuring out is if he really is that easy or if we’re second time parents and are bothered by less. I think a lot of the former and certainly a dash of the latter. Teddy does not cry. He sometimes makes meepy, whiny sounds to indicate he’s not currently as pleased as he could be, but he’s easily comforted and quiets. Even when he’s hungry it is more of a “Hey, so, I am hungry, but… you know, I see you’ve got a couple of things to do before you get to me and I get that so I’ll hang here because I noticed that you noticed I need something. No worries, mama, I’ll chill.” I’ve told a couple of people that if Teddy were a cartoon character he would be Crush from Finding Nemo. He’s a little chill surfer dude sea turtle. We’ve gotten several 5 hour stretches of sleep, a couple 6 hour stretches, and one 7.5 hour stretch last night. I think somehow this is Allen’s doing to get me to see that a 3rd child is emotionally feasible. I say we’re destined for a dud on the next try so we should stop while we’re ahead.

As I enjoy maternity leave (like, honestly… I’m enjoying it!), it makes me realize that more than anything else, the thing I wish I could give all the first-time moms in my life who are struggling, second-guessing, feeling guilty, judging, and feeling imprisoned is the feeling of being a second-time mom. The calm, the security, the confidence. I want that for you. I want to bottle it up so you can spray it on like perfume when things get rough.

Until I figure out how to do that, the next best thing is to say: this hard, sometimes awful, sometimes tearful, sometimes angry experience is everything. Should you choose to do this again, I can promise you it will be so much easier. Not because the child will be easier or harder, but because YOU will have the experience to help you through. The struggle is real, but the experience is worth it.

IMG_20160418_140104IMG_20160426_135504IMG_20160501_151647IMG_20160503_120316IMG_20160420_184515

Theodore Lee

I think I fell asleep somewhere around 4am on the couch Sunday morning. Allen aroused me from my overnight nap at 6:20am. I was already exhausted. But it was Easter Sunday and I was excited. I love Easter, love what it signifies, love the memories, love that it reminds me of my mom. But mostly, on that Sunday, I loved that it was the day I was going to become a singular human being. Forget about being a momma to a second little boy. I WAS GOING TO NOT BE PREGNANT! If there was ever a reason to shout HALLELUJAH, this was definitely it.

Allen and I snuck out of the house before Henry woke up, knowing it would be hard for him to see us and then say goodbye, and headed out for breakfast before calling the hospital at 7:00am to make sure they had room. It was a little more challenging than we expected to find an open restaurant at 6:45am, but we found a staple local place to have very traditional eggs, meat, and potato breakfasts. I excitedly called the hopsital at 7:02. I was legit proud of myself for waiting 2 whole extra minutes to call because I didn’t want to seem too eager.

“Hi, this is Heather Eastlund. Dr. Olson told me to call to make sure there was enough room before coming in at 8:00 for an induction.”

“Uh. Yes. One second….actually, can you call back in an hour?”

WHAT THE HOLY HELL WAS THAT?

“Oh… yes. Of course.”

ARE YOU F#(%$ING KIDDING ME?!

I seethed. I was mad. I was so mad. I teared up. I was deeply disappointed. And wounded. I reported the news to Allen who immediately went into comfort mode after I went into worst case scenario mode. I tried to calm down. An hour? I could do an hour. No big deal. I meditated on the wise-words of Elmo and Common, “When your monster wants to throw things and your monster wants to shout, there’s a way to calm your monster and chill your inner monster out.” Belly breathe. And so I did.

We casually ate breakfast and went to hang at the hospital. Hey, it was only going to be a 15-minute wait until we could call again and might as well go. We didn’t know where else to hang out. 8:12am. Again, congratulated myself on giving them MORE time. Hanging in the hospital lobby.

“Hi, yes. May I speak to Dr. Olson’s charge nurse?”

“Is this Heather?”

“It is!”

“We’re really busy. Can you call in two hours?”

Tears. Uncontrollable tears. This was going to happen all day. No baby for me today. Let’s just go home. I begged Allen to take me home. I just wanted to see Henry. I longed to play with him, hear his laugh, and see his smile. Allen would not take me. He said it would do more harm than good. I was mad. More belly breathing.

We called some good friends we knew would be up at 8:15am because they, too, had a toddler. We chilled out, chatted, laughed, drank some very calming tea, and I soon realized that things were going to be okay. That Allen absolutely made the right call by not taking me home and that there was still a lot of time left in the day in which to have a baby. We were okay. I called at 10:00am and was given the all clear to come in at 11:00am. Relief. Sweet sweet relief.

We arrived at the hospital and started getting friendly with the nurses. We were excited and ready. Before being induced I had to have two hours of IV antibiotics. As with all things hospital-related, it just takes a lot of time to get settled and set up. Though we arrived at 11:00, the IV wasn’t placed with antibiotics flowing until nearly 12:30. Those antibiotics BURNED. The funny part is that Mary, my nurse, who ended up switching a shift with someone to stay with me through delivery – I love her, she was amazing, the afternoon would not have been the same without Mary, mentioned to me that some people report burning at the IV site because of the concentration. A few minutes later I said, “I don’t even know if you have started them yet, but I can already feel the burning.” Yeah. No. She hadn’t started them. Brains are silly things.

And once she started them I certainly knew it because the burning was intense. It seemed worse if I moved my arm, wrist, or fingers in any way. I did my best to keep that arm dead.

Mary asked me some questions including, “Why are you being induced today?” To which I replied, “I apparently have a very active cervix.” She asked me what I was at and after I told her she said, “OH MY. Yes. I guess so.” I never did ask if it was uncommon to get so far along without being in labor.

Dr. Olson came in around 2:45 and broke my water. No plans for pitocin, which was great by me. I could hear her break my water but there was no accompanying feeling of any kind. There was a good gush, I was informed, and no problems with the cord. She checked me then and I was dilated to 5cm. My body made it to 5cm without being in labor. I was at 5cm when I arrived at the hospital with Henry after TWELVE hours of labor at home. Go body.

So after a rousing conversation about why Allen and I should like basketball, we were left to wait for labor to start. Mary recommended I get up and walk around – let gravity help out. So, I walked the halls for a half hour wondering if I’d remember a real contraction when it hit after weeks and weeks of braxton hicks. Unequivocally, YES.

Real contractions began around 4:00pm. They were 4 minutes apart. I knew that they would be more intense after my water was broke, but I don’t think I was actually prepared for how that might feel. I very quickly knew that I would want an epidural and asked Mary to prep whatever needed to be done to make that happen. I needed a full bag of fluids, which would take 45 minutes on high speed, before I could be given an epidural. The fluids increases blood volume to help with blood pressure issues. (Side note: turns out epidurals COMMONLY mes with blood pressure, like, they are known to do so. Why is it that Kansas could not seem to figure out what was going on with me? …Kansas. SMH.) It took about 15 minutes for Mary to get the fluids read and set up. And then 45 minutes more for the fluids to be done. Then about 15 minutes after that before the anesthesiologist came in and asked me a billion questions and could place the epidural.

Within about 20 minutes of my first contraction, the contractions were coming every minute to minute and a half. I was in agony. I have never felt such searing, body-wrenching, nearly made me pass out pain before in my life. Maybe it would have been okay if they were spaced out a little, but the contractions were right on top of one another. I was getting maybe at 15-20 second break before I was gripped by another contraction. I had to start vocalizing the pain. Yelling helped. I think. Or focused my brain. I’m not entirely sure which. I squeezed Allen and Mary’s hands and swayed and yelled and my head lolled from side to side as it felt like my body might implode. Allen became worried that they were not going to be able to give me an epidural. He didn’t say that until later.

Then the anesthesiologist came in and asked me a litany of questions that I could not answer because my body was being tortured by itself. It was all I could do to barely shake my head enough for her to gain my consent. As my body convulsed she warned, “You’re going to get a contraction while I am placing the needle. You CANNOT move.” Yeah, sure, no problem. I won’t. That’s the easiest thing anyone has ever requested of me. We had to pause through two contractions as she was placing the needle, but I had to keep hunched over like a cat and keep as still as possible. I just kept thinking that it was going to be over soon. Relief was coming soon. She finished and started packing up. To my horror. I felt another full-fledged contraction. I nearly burst into tears as I exclaimed, “I CAN STILL FEEL THEM.” Mary took my hand, “Honey, it can take up to 30 minutes for the full effect to kick in.”

Noooooooooo….

But with every passing minute they got better. And better. Until I could feel the pressure but no pain. And I smiled. And laughed. My body relaxed. It was a little after 6 at this point. Then plan was to let me labor down and get that little boy as low in my pelvis as possible before I pushed. So Allen and Mary positioned me and we waited. After 40 minutes Mary came in and wanted to shift me. She said it was good for the baby. After looking at my belly she said “Oh my goodness! LOOK AT THAT?!” I was slightly shocked – what in the hell is she talking about? Teddy had balled himself really far up and over on my right side. It was absolutely bizarre looking. You could see his entire body outlined in my skin wedged up on that side. She made Allen come and see. They remarked that it looked like an alien. Mary grabbed another nurse to help reposition me because… body was dead from epidural… and made her look at Teddy, too. It’s fun to be a sideshow sometimes.

So Mary and the other nurse helped to get me on left side to push Teddy’s body to a more central location. He was already engaged in my pelvis, but needed some straightening out. I quickly started yelling that it was uncomfortable, that I could not close my legs. They brought in a birthing peanut which was extraordinary. It kept my legs far apart while laying on my side. Mary and the nurse tried to reposition the fetal heart monitor and spent 5 minutes fussing and could not get Teddy’s heartbeat. I started to panic. They didn’t. They knew he had been fine and weren’t worried, but still needed to find him. They fussed and fussed until Mary put the monitor very low, maybe a few inches above my vagina. There was his heartbeat. Mary was surprised. He was RIGHT THERE. He was in such an awkward position that they couldn’t really keep the fetal heart monitor on him. So instead Mary came in every 5 minutes or so to check on him.

I could FEEL Teddy moving, turning. I could feel that he had hair. I knew he would have hair before I saw him. The sensation was so weird. No pain, just pressure, and furry feelings from a turning head. A couple of times I told Mary that it felt like he was coming out. She said he wasn’t and that Dr. Olson was on standby for whenever I was ready to push. But I never got an URGE to push. There was pressure, but I didn’t feel like I needed to relieve it. And then I worried I was overthinking it and that maybe I did feel like I had to push and was denying myself the sensation. I just wasn’t sure. Mary came in to reposition me so Dr. Olson could check me out. As she turned me over she said, “Can you hit your cal button up there?” I did. “Yes. This is Mary, can you send Dr. Olson in? His head is here.”

WHAT? I told you he was coming out!

Dr. Olson came in and chuckled (I adore her, she was the perfect doctor for me). She put her hands on her hips and said, “Well then, sooo… wanna push?” And then she made Allen come and look and got another nurse to come and look because it is apparently unusual to have a baby’s head half hanging out of a vagina without a mom pushing. So, Dr. Olson stood next to me, no stirrups, no change of the bed, and said, “Give a push. I don’t think it even needs to be a big push.” I did. Like a really light half-assed push. His head was out. She told me one more. So I gave a bigger push, but I’ve definitely struggled far more with countless bowel movements than the push that expelled Teddy from my body.

1.5 pushes. And he was out. It was easy. There was no struggle. It was beautiful.

Teddy was immediately placed on my tummy and Allen and I welcomed him into our family while the staff cleaned me up and made sure that Teddy was going to cry. I clutched him and told him I loved him, remarked at ALL THAT HAIR (told ya!), and marveled at his little face. 4 hours of labor and we had our second little boy. I would take those 4 hours again over the 25 hours of agonizing boring labor from Henry. Everything about the experience was better. From the hospital staff to how I felt. Despite the torture of feeling real contractions, this was the way to go. I was lucky. And happy.

We all guessed at how big he would be. I guessed 8.8 because I knew he and Henry were on track to be about the same size and Teddy was 10 days later than Henry. Everyone else was guessing low 8s or high 7s. So when he weighed in at 8.10 and 21 inches there was a lot of surprise. Dr. Olson visited us the next day and was shocked to hear his stats. “He hides his weight well!” He’s just such a long guy. He still looks lanky, not chubby. He’s perfect. 8 days in and we are in love with him and figuring out this family of 4 business.

More on that in the next day or two…

For now, know we are all happy and mostly healthy (I developed a uterine infection, but am already on the mend).

Here, enjoy some baby pictures. Teddy5Teddy4Teddy3Teddy2Teddy1

The Lead Up

This got to be too long, so I am splitting the post into two sections. If you just want the birth story – sit tight. It is coming. This is the whiny pre-birth story story.

The two weeks between my last post and when Teddy was born was pretty awful. That’s really the reason I wasn’t writing – I was too miserable to be clever, or hell, just ambitious enough to even tell the truth. I wasn’t sleeping, my back hurt, my pelvis hurt, I couldn’t stand up, bend over, turn over or do much of anything that didn’t make my body scream. I felt like someone was taking a bone saw straight down my pelvis. Every time I saw my doctor I got the impression she was more incredulous than the last that I was still pregnant. And then there’s that point – Teddy arrived 10 days after when I expected him to arrive. So even though I wasn’t late, I FELT late. That contributed to a malaise in my brain I could not shake. I cried a lot. I mourned what my life had become. Living from minute to minute praying for something to start hurting in a more significant and persistent way.

I ended up with a ton of braxton hicks, they were happening hourly for many days. Some nights I would be up for several hours trying to get them to stop. Or praying they would turn into real contractions. I diligently examined the contents leaving my body, like someone telling the future reading tea leaves, oh, this happened which DEFINITELY means this is going to happen. And then this did not happen. I grew more and more anxious and sad and ready. I texted with my pregnant and new mom friends lamenting what was happening. I felt… cheated. Henry presented a beautiful little by-the-book checklist of what it was like to lead up to and go into labor. Teddy was driving me nuts.

Then, at 38 weeks and 4 days I saw my doctor. I told her that I wrote out this lengthy note to her outlining all my pregnancy maladies and ultimately deleted it because there was no medical merit to anything, just general complaining. I’m sure she could see the “get this child out right now” desperation oozing from my eyes. I told her the best news she could give me was to tell me to go straight to the hospital. She checked my cervix. 4cm. A little over. 75% effaced. Then she said, “Well, I’m not going to tell you to go straight to the hospital but… keep clean towels in the car.” It made me laugh. She chuckled, too, then followed it with, “But, really.” With my body so far along without being in active labor we became worried that things would progress very quickly once labor began. I think that combined with my desperation to get that boy out lead her to offer inducing me by breaking my water at 39 weeks. 3 more days. 2 and a half, really. This was my light at the end of the tunnel. It was everything I hoped she would say. And I responded with, “I’ll think about it.”

It felt wrong to be induced. I wasn’t even over due. Just mentally over due. And whiny. And it seemed unfair that I could just say, hey, okay, I’m done now. Okay? Thanks! And I went to the interwebs (bad idea, of course) and the interwebs informed me of all the reasons I should not be induced. Increased c-section risk, increased complication, rougher labor, and on and on. As soon as I told Allen about the option, without question, he asked when we could schedule it. He, too, was very ready for me to be done with pregnancy. It kept him up at night. I talked to a few friends asked my doctor a few questions (especially about the c-section risk) and then agreed that it was something I wanted to do.

As soon as the decision was made I felt at ease. There was a peace in me because it was almost over. I was able to plan and make sure everything was in order for Henry while we were at the hospital and that Teddy had everything he needed when we came home. For the first time in a long time, I was happy. I wrapped everything up at work on Friday, said goodbye to everyone, enjoyed a really lovely last Saturday alone with Henry and Allen. I reveled in that last day with my boys. I think I cried a bunch because of the hormones and all the feels and knowing what was going to happen and how it would change our family dynamic. I was unbelievably sentimental as I read Henry stories before bedtime and sang him a song. Well, I choked out some lyrics while he patiently waited for me to muddle through. As I tucked Henry in my heart was so full of love that everything inside me was bursting to get out.

Allen and I watched a little TV, I snuggled a little harder than usual. Allen picked on me for it. We went to bed, packed and ready for our 6:45am wake up call to head to the hospital. It was strange to pack and plan. But it felt right.

I did not sleep hardly a wink that night.

Henry&Mama
The Night Before Teddy Arrived

 

Contractions

Allen and I were unbelievably tired yesterday. He from a raucous Saturday night at the amazing Rare Beer Festival (which I silently shed tears over not attending) and me because… pregnant and toddler. Oh, toddler is an excuse for Allen, too. I did try to let Allen sleep in yesterday morning because I knew he’d be in rougher shape than I, but Henry had other plans. I knew it was going to be a problem after I got him out of his sleep sack and he said, “Daddy? I see him? Daddy?! DADDY?!” I tried to distract him with his favorite things like making coffee and feeding the animals, but, alas, it did not work. So he stood outside our pocket door wailing about seeing daddy and trying to open the door for a solid 5-7 minutes before I could coax him away. But at that point, sleepy and slightly hungover Allen had already been rudely awakened.

After we put Henry to bed at 7 we crashed on the couch to watch the first two episodes of House of Cards (the first episode – so good; the second episode – I have little idea, I kept wishing it were over so I could go to bed). I looked over at Allen and told him that though I am desperate to be a singular human being, I was not interested in labor last night. I was too tired to be in labor and push a human out. He agreed. We officially put in our hold request to baby.

I should have clarified what I meant in that request.

I was sound asleep by 10:00pm, because even when I am exhausted I have a hard time going to bed “early.” I was awoken at 12:30pm by an intense need to use the restroom and searing back pain. I did not think much of it, took care of my needs and crawled back in bed. 20 minutes later I was timing contractions. Real contractions. Not the ninny braxton hicks – back hurty, low belly clenching, regulate-your-breathing contractions.

Goodness, they were 3-4 minutes apart and lingering for 45-55 seconds.

BABY. COMING. And then I thought – baby coming on Pi Day? Could there be anything better?! THIS IS MEANT TO BE! And yes, oh yes, he would be forced to endure things like this (even if the day is really about math nerdery):

I got excited. I got anxious. I got up and went to the couch and timed contractions for the next 90 minutes and waited for the pain to intensify. Contractions were consistent for about an hour. Then they moved to a 6-7 minute pattern, then back to 2-3 minutes apart, but less hurty and more braxtony. No no no no nonooooononono! I called the hospital and explained that I was confused and unsure. They said I could come in if I wanted. I said I would wait and walk around and see how things played out.

Around 3:00am everything stopped. I grew angry. So. Very. Angry. Then I tried to climb back into bed but I could not settle down. I moved back to the living room around 3:30 and finally shut my brain down enough to have some very strange dreams about being pregnant around 4:30. 7:15 came far too fast.

Listen, if I was going to be up for hours in the middle of the night because of contractions, I would have preferred the baby come with them. I guess… baby listened to our request. He didn’t come. It was just not what I had in mind at all when the request was submitted hours earlier.

I will publicly state my new request: the next time I have real contractions (and I am okay with them coming whenever is convenient for this little guy (but it would be really nice if they started at a reasonable 8am. Heck. 6am.), please please please let them end in a tiny little bundle of squishy face, squinty eyes, and tiny fingers laying in my arms.