Monday, January 30, 2012

You know what? I loved my epidural

I've often described BG's birth as really easy. And it was. Except for the part where we couldn't figure out how to get to the hospital because the tunnel was closed for construction. And the part where I had to wait in triage for an hour to be checked because all the doctors were in surgery, and turned out to be 8 cm already by the time anyone checked. And the part where DH almost passed out because the nurse-anesthetist couldn't get my epidural in. And the part where I had to push for 2 hours (2 HOURS PEOPLE). And the little meconium problem.

But really, I still consider it an easy birth.

The thing is, by the time they got me in a labor room (and boy, did they move fast once they realized I was already 8 cm), I was in a lot of pain. And I was scared. And I was stressed. I had been tensing up for 3 hours because I was sure that a baby was about ready to fall out of me.

The nurse asked me if I still wanted the epidural even though I was so close.

"I think so, yes," I said in my timid, polite voice.

"You think so? Or yes?"

"Yes, Yes, please."

The nurse anesthetist said she could put in a combo epidural - spinal block, and I thought she was the nicest person I had ever met. After the little incident with the nurses having to get my husband a chair and some smelling salts, I suddenly felt myself able to relax.

The nurse laughed. "Ah, good. Those are real smiles. Those other ones were fake, huh?"

The resident said, "Just let her relax and enjoy her epidural for an hour or so, and then come back." In retrospect, had I listened to that instruction, I might have had a much better time with what followed. But that's okay, you live and learn.

At the time, I remember thinking that I had no regrets about the decision. I know that the pushing would have gone faster without it. But that feeling of calm I got when suddenly I didn't hurt anymore? I wouldn't have given that away for anything.

Here, now, a year later, I second guess myself. I wonder if I could have done without it. If I should have been able to. If I was weak. I hear stories about heroic births and I wonder if I've come up on the wrong side of this issue.

But, no. Labor isn't a time to prove how tough you are. I was happy with my birth experience and thrilled with the outcome. I didn't do a thing wrong. And maybe the decision next time will be different. But if it isn't? That's okay too.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

And then the pancakes stuck (or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the pancakes)

So, I've been struggling again lately with a lot of anxiety. My thoughts race and I can't concentrate and I start to feel helpless.

It's frustrating because I feel like I can't focus and so can't do the kind of meaningful work I'd like to do. It's disappointing because I thought I was past this and don't want to feel like this again. It's scary because I can't control it and I worry that it's just going to be like this forever.

I spent the past 2 days trying to do everything right. I slept. I ate. I exercised. I went out. Yesterday, I met someone for coffee, did an exercise video, cleaned my bathroom, went for a walk with the baby, danced, played, ate salad for lunch, took my vitamins and fish oil, distracted myself with crossword puzzles and massive quantities of Sporcle. I read and did every anxiety tip I could find, and at the end of the day I just felt angry. And tired. And my butt hurt.

This morning, I decided to give myself grace. I stayed in my pajamas. And I made pancakes.

Except I forgot to grease the griddle and the pancakes stuck. Behold the string of irrational thoughts.

  • "This is so unfair. Why do these things always happen to me? Nothing ever goes right."
  • "I'm such an idiot. I can't believe I forgot to grease that. I always do stuff like that."
  • (Watch how the irrational thoughts come the target of the irrational thoughts. "Oh my gosh, I'm so whiny. And irrational. The pancakes are just stuck. Everything in my life is so good, I can't believe I'm complaining about this."
  • (For my next trick, I will beat myself up for beating myself up.)"Oh my gosh, it's no wonder I'm depressed and anxious. I keep trashing myself. I'm such an idiot."

Or. The pancakes stuck. I have to scrape them off. They aren't pretty. They still taste okay. It's frustrating that I have to clean this all off the pan now. Of course it is.

Let's eat pancakes.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Check out where I am today

If you know me, you know I'm not good at bragging or taking credit when something good happens.  So I'm going to just try to get this all out at once.



Go ahead on over and check out the snippet on BlogHer.   Love and glitter are always welcome.  Mostly love.

If it's your first time here?  Some of my favorite posts:

On Momnesia
On why my love is enough
My letter to PR companies
A translation guide for husbands.

Say hi and stay a  while.  I'll make the tea.  You are always, always welcome.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Those mean ol' library moms

The first activity BG and I ever went to was Baby Book Nook at our local library. She was about 8 months old, and I thought it was a Godsend.  Every Wednesday morning, a 20 minute story time targeted directly at 0-2 year olds?  She would be stimulated, entertained, and educated; I might even make friends.   Ahem.

The first time I went, I was kind of disappointed.  The librarian did a nice job, but most of the kids were older. BG didn't care about it much.  But the worst thing?  The moms were cliquey.  No one talked to me.

I was sure it was just because I had never been there before.  They just needed time to get used to me.  So I started going every week.  I got upset when I missed one because I thought that would set me back.  Even when we started swimming lessons on Wednesday mornings, I tried to go to both.  Over time, they started to nod at me when I came in.  I thought my heart would explode with joy.

Then I found my MOM's Club.  I liked them.  I went to playgroups, and sometimes that meant I missed story time.  Then we started traveling.  I missed more. Soon I hadn't gone to story time in months.

This morning, I looked at my calendar and decided to go to the library.  The way I remembered it, it was lovely.  It was another place I belonged.

Except when I walked in the door, those mommies looked at me like they'd never seen me before.   It hadn't been that long.  I remembered them.

BG sat on the floor like the good girl she is.  She stared blankly while we sang "If you're happy and you know it."  She only half smiled when I tickled her.

Then, during free play time at the end, she stood up and walked straight out the door of the meeting room.  She paused to see the fish, checked the bookshelves, then walked to the elevator. 

I hear you, sweetie.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sleep is for the weak, blah blah blah

My 16 month old was awake from 1:00-3:30 AM last night. As she was the three nights before that.

My brain is turning into mush.

Today I managed to get her to snuggle in bed with me and sleep from 7-10 AM, so I got a little sleep. I was rewarded for my efforts by a baby who didn't think she needed a nap (she did), a hangover-like headache that lasted all day, and a nightmarish bedtime.

It's getting to the point where I would chew my own arm off to get a good night's sleep.

I know that this will pass. I know that every baby sleeps eventually. I know that I will miss the snuggles, that I should enjoy the time when she's little, that it's a brief brief moment in our life together.

But if someone tells me that one more time I may rip her head off.

I'm grouchy. I'm weepy. I'm miserable to be around. I'm completely unproductive and useless as a member of society.

I want to stomp my foot and proclaim to the world that it's JUST NOT FAIR.

I know I'm being ridiculous.

I know I will get through this.

But that doesn't mean I have to do it gracefully.

Monday, January 16, 2012


I have a time problem. Two actually.

I don't have enough time to do everything.

And I don't have enough things to do with my time.

Wait, what?

When my husband gets home from work at night, he often asks me why I didn't take a nap. (Particularly when I was up all night the night before. Like I have been for a week now.) I tell him I didn't have time. He thinks that's ridiculous.

"Well, she only takes one nap now. That's only two hours."

"So, sleep for two hours."

"Well, then how am I supposed to clean? And make myself presentable? And eat?"

"Umm, put her in her high chair or playyard. (Didn't we cover this before?)"

And I get unbelievable irked. Does he have no idea what it's like being home with a toddler alone for 11 hours? Does he really believe that in those 11 hours I have time to take care of her, keep the house in decent shape AND take care of me?

Except, I think I probably do.

My days home with the toddler consist of a lot of chasing her around and stopping her from pulling things over on her head. While having my computer to twitter nearby to keep me from going absolutely stir crazy from the boredom and tedium of it. A task which twitter only minimally fulfills. 11 hours is a long time.

Is BG okay with just wandering around the house, opening drawers and flipping over trashcans all day? Probably. Although I'm sure she'd rather do something else once in a while. But for me? It's not enough. Not nearly enough.

I want to read and to write and to run. I want to take a nap during the day when I'm tired. I want to go for walks in my neighborhood, and go to playgroups and classes. I want to keep a nice house and cook and bake. I guess I probably can't do all of the above every day, but most days I don't do any of it. And it makes me feel like a failure.

When I think of what I can do in a day, somehow I only think of the two hours of naptime. I think that I need to fit all my working, playing, and sleeping into two hours of the day. So most days I make a choice, and as soon as she wakes up I regret it. "Oh, I should have slept. Now I don't have any energy to chase her." "Oh, I should have cleaned. I should have written." Some days? A nap will go by and I won't even have done a thing because I'm so tired or so overwhelmed as to be paralyzed.

Two hours a day isn't enough.

I need to reclaim the other 9.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

BHBC: Why Women Need Fat

I just finished reading William Lassek and Steven Gaulin’s book Why Women Need Fat (which my husband thought for a long time was called Why women need TO BE Fat, but that’s a different discussion). I have to say, I didn’t expect to be nearly as fascinated by it as I was.

It looked to me like it was going to be just another diet book, suggesting that we overhaul the way we eat in order to lose weight, but instead it was a carefully researched work of scientific and social commentary on the role of fat in our bodies and in our culture.

The basic premise of the book is that, due to a fear of cholesterol and heart disease that arose in the 1950’s, our diets have been overrun by vegetable oils. These oils contain Omega 6 fats, which were thought to be better for us than the saturated fats found in animal products. However, what has shown to be true instead is that these fats have replaced the MORE healthy Omega 3 fats, which are particularly important to women because of the additional requirements for these fats during pregnancy and lactation.

One of the most interesting ideas in the book for me was the idea that young women store these Omega 3 fats in their hips for years before they have their first baby, then run through these stores during late pregnancy and nursing. I’ve been taking a fish oil capsule sporadically, both for my nursling’s little brain and because I’ve read that it helps with depression, but knowing that my own stores are being rapidly depleted makes me want to be more diligent about it.

The book contains suggestions on how to use these findings to your advantage in terms of weight loss, but to me that wasn’t nearly as interesting as the findings themselves.

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of this book to facilitate my review and am being compensated for my participation in this campaign. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Yes, Virginia, there is a Momblogville

With special love to Lindsay, Rach, and my dearest "real life" bestie Elizabeth.

I've never been good at making friends. The few close friends I have who have stood the test of time are people who stumbled into my life in one way or another (be it through band or math club or the campus housing lottery), and for that I am so grateful. They may be spread around the country - world even - but they are still a part of me.

But going out and meeting people? Is hard.

When I was working, I had a group of girls I would go out for drinks with after school on Fridays. But then I realized that they all saw each other other times too, and went to each other's houses and weddings. They genuinely liked me, and I don't fault them for any of it, but they didn't know me. That wasn't their fault. I didn't say much.

After I had Baby Girl,I knew I needed to get out. For me, it was a turning point in my depression when I got out of my house and met people. I joined a MOMS Club, and I am so glad that I did. It's pleasant, and I feel comfortable there, and they really genuinely like me.

But sometimes I go there and wonder if I will ever belong.

I go to meetings and I listen, but I don't talk much. Thank God for my extroverted little girl who keeps me in the thick of things at playgroups (although, she is a notorious mommy stealer. Other babies beware). I have started to wonder whether as an adult woman, I am just not likely to ever again make the kinds of friends I have been blessed with since adolescence. You know, the kind you can just sit with and have a cup of tea and a piece of cake, but you can also lean on them and pour out your hearts and dreams. I have my few close friends, and maybe, I've thought many times, maybe I'm done. Maybe I should stop looking.

But then I met all of you.

Since I've been blogging, I have been overwhelmed by the community I have found. There are women out there like me, who understand me, who are willing to listen to me pour out my heart and soul and guts and who at the end of it all? Still like me.

On the twitter, we sometimes joke about how we wish there were a Momblogville, where we could all stop by each other's houses for tea and have the best playgroups in the world, and where Hobby Lobby would never close.

We say to each other, "I wish Momblogville were real."

Well, I'm going to tell you right now. It is. You, my dears, are some of the most real friends I have.

So stop on over for tea any time. Oh and if you can? Bring cake.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My not so surprising one word

I had no intention of writing a one word post. I mean, I already wrote about how I feel about the New Year, and I don't think I could be any more clear that what I am looking for is peace and purpose. So I was done, and I was ready to go about the business of living the new year without any more ado.

But my words had different ideas.

Every time I read a one word post from someone else, and tried to comment on it, I heard one thing in the back of my head.


And then finally one day, "Kindness, DUMMY."

Oh. (Although you're kind of missing the point there, self.)

I've been searching for purpose, searching everywhere except apparently my own brain and heart. There is little doubt in my mind now that kindness is my purpose.

And so 2012 will be the year of kindness. Kindness in all things, no matter how small they may be. Because in the end, that's all that truly matters.

And maybe, just maybe if I'm brave enough, kindness to myself.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

On gratitude

Every morning that I'm on twitter (errm, every morning) I try to remember to post a list of 3 things I am grateful for. I don't know whose idea this was originally. I know that I stole it.

Most mornings, I putz around and think of things to be grateful for: my coffee (okay, it's my coffee a lot), my slippers, my friends, the roof over my head, butter. I know I should be grateful for these things, and I AM grateful for them. I have a healthy baby, a loving husband, amazing friends, and in most ways in my life I have Enough. No matter how much I am struggling, it's hard to stay cranky when you are listing the good things in your life.

But this morning? I just wasn't feeling it. I mean sure I like my coffee. My slippers are comfy. I know I'm lucky to have a warm house and a comfy sweater and butter. So much butter. But did I feel grateful? Did it give me that warm, fuzzy, you-can't-be-mad kind of feeling?


I wrote a list several times and deleted it. It felt shallow. Contrived. I was fully ready to give up, to give myself permission to just not feel grateful this morning. And that would have been okay. But instead I wrote this:

And as soon as I wrote it, I got that sense of peace again. Because I truly am grateful for every moment of my life. And if I can be grateful even for the hardest of moments? Then what do I have to be cranky about?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

You're never ready

When we were home for Christmas, DH, BG and I went out to breakfast with some (childless) friends. They fussed over BG, and she hammed it up, of course.

Then my friend's wife turned to me and asked me, "How did you know you wanted a baby?"

I took a sip of my decaf coffee to give myself the pause I needed to think of an answer. This woman had been making kissies at my child 5 minutes earlier. Last summer, at another friend's wedding, she had offered to hold the baby and then *disappeared* with her for ten minutes to "give me a break." I was surprised by the question, to say the least.

"Do you mean at all or now?"

"Well, either."

"Oh. Well, I've always pretty much known I wanted to be a mom. I mean, I was actually kind of afraid of babies because I'd never spent much time with any, but something told me that being a mom was what I was meant to do."

My friends and my husband laughed. "Yeah. We knew that when she was 15."

She looked at me and nodded. "Okay. But how did you know you were ready?"

"Oh. You're never ready."

She startled. "No?"

"Well, how could you be, really? I mean, until you do it you have no idea. I guess at some point, you just have to take a leap of faith."

"...That's really terrifying, do you know that?"

"Oh. Well, no, I didn't mean it that way. I mean, well, you figure it out as you go. You know?"

"But...doesn't it completely change your life?"

How do you begin to describe motherhood, or parenthood in general? How do you tell someone how wonderful and magical and horrifying it is? How do you explain that it is the hardest thing you've ever done in your life in a way that makes it seem attractive and appealing? How do you make someone understand that yes, it changes your life, and yes, it changes you but at the same time it doesn't stop you from *being* you? How do you reassure someone that it is possible to find ways to do what matters to you, but that what matters to you will probably drastically change? How do you say, "Hey, it's okay to be scared, but don't be scared"?

So, instead, I just said, "Well, umm, yes. But that's not necessarily a bad thing."

Monday, January 2, 2012

What if?

What if instead of making resolutions we couldn't possibly keep, we just focused on making every day the best day it could be?

What if instead of trying to lose weight or declutter the house or take a million photographs we just tried to be happy and to make those around us happy?

What if instead of worrying about the end of the holiday season and the beginning of the New Year, we just decided today would be an ordinary day, but that every ordinary day would be extraordinary?

What if instead of setting goals based on numbers or outcomes, we just strove to make positive progress towards the good, and to do that with every step we take?

What if instead of starting the New Year by pointing out all of our own flaws, we started by celebrating ourselves for where we are right now?

What if we all decided to sleep more, to laugh more, to play more, to give more, but we also decided that on any given day it would be perfectly acceptable to do none of the above?

What kind of a world would that be?

I'm linking up with Just Be Enough for Be Enough Me. Wishing you all a happy New Year, one that is filled with love and winning and most of all with hope.