The Bag In The Back Of The Closet

I was a little heartbroken today as I went through the kid’s clothes and carefully laundered and folded a few items and stuffed them neatly in a bag in the back of the closet. I don’t know what to do with them, these first items of clothes that he has grown out of. I have a girlfriend who just found out she is knocked up with a little boy. I could send them to her. My older sister, who already has a brace faced, be speckled teenaged bundle of joy, just got married and even though she and her new hus have decided they enjoy the thought of  being D.I.N.K.s in three short years, I suspect they may change their minds after they hold my little monster and smell his precious little head. I was Skyping with her on the phone a few weeks ago, right after the kid was born and she was married. He was sitting on my lap, munching on his fingers, when he let out a coo that stopped big sister right in the middle of a sentence. Her voice softened and I could hear her uterus squeal as she said “was that him?” Maybe I should save the stuff for her.

Most of the items were worn very gently. Just the other day I was telling her she should only bother getting rompers with snaps for the first weeks of her little boy’s life because once she sees how his umbilical cord strains under the elastic band of little baby pants, she will take the offending items off, tuck them into the back of the closet and look for a romper for him, at least till the last remnant of their months long connection has finally fallen off.  It smells a little like rotten maple syrup, by the way. The cord stump does. It is sweet and sickly smelling. Just like how sticky scabs smelled when you’re a kid. I’m sure sticky scabs smell the same all the time, but true be told, I haven’t had a sticky scab since I was under five feet tall (fourth grade for me) so I can’t tell you for sure they smell like that for life.

I guess I’m wistful about the newborn clothes because I can’t believe my newborn has only one more week left of being a newborn, technically, whether he can fit into the clothes of one or not.  After that, he will be considered to be just an infant. In fact, some sources insist a week ago, the newborn designation went away. At five weeks, he still fits into most of his newborn clothes but his porky little butt is almost ready to move into the 0-3 size. His rompers, the items I was so happy to have, are the first things to be tucked away. His little legs have grown three inches and while the torso and arms may still fit if only just, his little feet are now squeezed in the fuzzy bears and his legs pull the whole getup tight when he stretches them out all the way.

I’m pretty sure he weighs around ten or eleven pounds now.  The size some babies are born at. He weighed 6 lbs 7 oz and was 20 inches long at birth and had a had a normal birth, I would have been very grateful he was on the small size because looking at this little chunk and imaging it being born is just scary.  By his two week check up, he was 8 lbs 9 oz and an inch longer.  We haven’t been to the pediatrician since week three when we quickly made a clinic appointment so the doc could look at his funky toe nails that looked like they were ingrown. They were, sort of but sort of not too. They are still working their way out but are nearly normal and only occasionally bother him. The doc said this is all normal. Soak ’em in warm salt water and push the skin under the nail and watch it for infection. Simple. I don’t remember how much he weighed at that appointment, but it was about a half pound more. I’m sure it was something like that.

I on the other hand, have not gained weight but  I haven’t lost a single ounce in weeks  either.  While I understand I just had a kid five weeks ago and I’m breastfeeding and I need to be patient and blah, blah, blah, it’s still hard to take. Also annoying, not having pants with pockets and zippers that fit. I may have had something in my closet that would fit, but I sent most of my stuff packing (I’m moving, again) and that stuff is 3000 miles away. I don’t even know what size I am anymore. I do know that my body is not even close to the same shape. The proportions are all off.  I’ve never had a chubby tummy, even when I was 200 lbs.  I was only 200 lbs +/- 15 lbs or so for two years during my twenties when I was in a horrible starter marriage and nightly found solace in a couple bottle of shiraz. By the time I decided to leave that marriage, I was also almost done with college and about to embark on a career where looks matter and ready to say hello to a size two pant. Even then, even at 50 lbs give or take a few more than I weigh in now, I at least looked well proportioned and toned.

My stomach is still soft and squishy. Santa like, it shakes when I laugh like a bowl full of jelly. My ass is dimpled. My legs are still swollen above the knees. My breast are two different sizes. Not just a difference of one size but one side has a cup size of F and the other has a D cup size. They are also a totally different shape now one looking fairly normal and the other mostly nipple and veins and hanginess. Of course, the F size behemoth is the vein covered nipple boob. Luckily, black covers many sins and I’m still in the Pacific Northwest so not only am I not expected to dress fashionably but the weather calls for long cardigans over my leggings (fuck I’m so tired of leggings) most of the time anyways. Win!

I have found myself planning the kid’s outfits around how much longer he will fit into something rather than how much I want him to wear a particular item for a particular occasion with the items he will be most likely to grow out of the next the most frequent in the rotation. Luckily, babies are messy and he has enough diaper blow-outs (mostly pee leaking out the top of the front) that I get to pull a couple different onsies over his screaming face a day. At least there is that and then there is also the cute 0-3 size clothes he is yet to pee on. You see, the bag in the back of the closet doesn’t just hold the items he has outgrown, but also the items he has not grown into yet. For sure a win.


The Birth

I did end up finding a doula to work with. Kate, who manages the Portland Volunteer Doula Program here, became my doula. I cannot imagine going through my birth without her there. My partner would have been panicked and scared and I would have been defensive and felt isolated. It felt good to have someone in our corner. Some one who has seen hundreds of births and gone through two of her own. She really did go above and beyond for us. She cashed in a favor and asked one of her friends to process my placenta for me so I would run less of a risk of having postpartum depression. The friend was Maria at Agape Doula Services.  I’m so grateful for Kate and I’m so grateful for Maria who encapsulated my placenta and had it ready less than three days after I gave birth.

I feel like we found a friend, a kindred spirit and not just someone to advocate for us during a birth.  I’m genuinely sad to be moving far away from here. [Oh, yeah, I’m moving, again. This time we are going back east. Back to my childhood home. I’ll tell all about that in another post.] I can imagine her at my Holiday parties and I really hope one day, if I ever have another kid, I can have her at my birth again, but this time, I’ll be able to pay her.

The link here is Kate’s take on my birth. I cry when I read it still. So does J. I’m not sure why we cry but we do. I’m pretty sure it just breaks my heart a little. And then I go hug Felix and I’m not broken hearted anymore.


Here We Are Again

He sleeps. I smile.

There are not many aspects of birthing a kid that haven’t been covered pretty well on just about every other new motherhood blog, motherhood advice page and good old fashioned child rearing book ever printed. It’s pretty much the same for everyone. True, there are a few different things that can happen and not all things happen to all women, but for the most part, we’ve really got it covered. Pick from about 20 items and as long as you include having a new baby at the end, it could be one other thing and it could be the other nineteen.  Water breaks in public, okay and then a trip to the hospital. Sure. Then a labor stall. Right. Then some drugs. Mhhmmh. Then baby. Or it could be labor starts at home. Okay then. Make some labor tea. Yup. Call midwife. Check. Eat a sandwich. Right on. Then have baby. It doesn’t matter how ya’ want to do it, it’s been covered.

Because of the thorough nature of the labor coverage, I was surprised to learn there was one topic that hadn’t really been covered. I don’t blame women for not talking about it. Having two weeks of prodromal labor, while irritating (mostly to friends and relatives because they are “always on alert” for labor to start and kid to be had,) is not embarrassing. Having endless medical procedures to start labor mechanically because your Doc has told you your kid isn’t growing does suck and it is worrisome, but really, it’s not embarrassing. Been covered. And all manner of painful labor where you think something is wrong and needing and epidural and then a C-section because the kid actually is dying, while disappointing and scary, has been covered and covered and covered and is not embarrassing. Well, I guess some people would find it embarrassing, thankfully, I don’t read any self-destructive blogs like that or books for that matter.

The funny thing is that I have read plenty about tons of gross things. Girls go on and on about pooping in labor or the shits as soon as labor starts. We hear all about hemorrhoids  and stretch marks and varicose veins. I had even heard a little tiny bit about this from women who have pooped their kid out the normal way instead of having it surgically removed from their body, but shockingly, never for my situation.

I was going to toy with this topic a little more, but really, it’s just getting silly.  I have literally been trying to write this post for two days now. Let me just get on with this then. What was the shocking problem? Hugely swollen labia. Yup. Swollen like a coupla’ plums. Painful, swollen plums. So swollen, I could not sit without pain. I was even afraid I was going to stay like that forever or at best I was afraid they might burst. I didn’t know I had edges to my labia, but I do. Those edges were hard and stiff and bumpy. It was horrifying. I’m so fucking glad I didn’t have a hand mirror. I may have taken a photo with my little point and shoot, but to tell you the truth, I’m not terribly excited to see them. I’m not even thrilled to be writing about this except that I feel other women should know. No one told me and I thought there was something terribly wrong. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see stretch marks. I haven’t looked. I should probably do that though.  Keep in mind, I did not push my kid out. I had an unplanned c-section after zero minutes of pushing but 27 hours of labor. I was only dilated to 7 cm.

I shouldn’t really be shocked having swollen labia considering I had totally swollen body.  My feet were twice their normal size, my knees were the size my thighs were just one day before.  My hips were twice as wide as before as well. Once I had the catheter removed and I could waddle to the bathroom, I took a good look at myself in the mirror and was stunned to see my hips taking up twice the space they had before. I was easily as wide as two of mes. It was hard to take. I’m not so wide at this point, but it still is difficult for me to look at my body and see it so huge and floppy I’m still 24 lbs heavier than before I got knocked up. Today I weight 154. I weighed 176 the day I went into labor. I wanted to jump on the scale after my water broke, but the contractions were coming hard and fast and I was in no mood to do anything entertaining or fun at that point. The day I came home from the hospital, five days after the mutant was born, I was weighing in at 182.  I had managed to avoid stretch marks during my entire pregnancy, but acquired a few after labor or perhaps from the skin clamps used to pull my skin and muscles apart during the c-section.  Super.

** I’m not sure why I haven’t been writing since the kid popped out. Things just got too fucked up for me to want to share while I was still knocked up. I would write and then read what I had written and everything was depressing and gloom and doom and honestly, it wasn’t the least bit entertaining. No one wants to read about someone else’s problems unless they can at least describe them cleverly! I was lacking even there. I was totally at a loss to see the humor in what was going on in my life and I really didn’t want to spread that kind of shit around. I will post the rest of my knocked up photos and I still need to make a post that has photos from a few weeks before I got all knocked up to now, one month after the mutant was born. I’ll tell about what was going on, what was so fucking depressing and what kept my humor at bay. I’ll also tell ya’ what it’s like to have a catheter bulb placed in your cervix to open it and what it’s like to have someone run their finger between your cervix and your water bag. I’ll give you a hint right now, both are totally awesome.


Reject

So, I sit here in bed, with tears streaming down my face and feeling super suck ass.  Yesterday, I had my second attempt at a version to move the kid to a head down position. He has been breech for about a month.  He was totally fine before but I went in for a midwife appointment and there his little head was, wedged up by my right ribs and making it nearly impossible to tie my shoes of put pantyhose on. Even underpants are hard to do, but luckily mine are all black, cotton thongs and I can just hold them out in one hand and whip ’em around one foot and then kinda jiggle myself into them. I’m sure it looks pretty sexy.

My first version attempt was Saturday.  It was at 10 am and I was told to not eat after 2 or 3 am. I woke up starving, but that’s okay too. It was for a good cause. I later learned it was pure torture for absolutely nothing.  They did manage to turn my little man, after 5 excruciating attempts, from breech to transverse but several hours of strong contractions later had him right back to butt-side down. I know many people have seen video of an external versions before. If you haven’t, you should look it up, it actually looks pretty easy and painless.  The girls who are having it done may grimace for a second or two but overall, they are fine.  Please, if you are wanting to have this done, understand those chicks, the ones who do not look like they are in agony, have been given pain meds and or an epidural.  I wasn’t offered either at my first version.

To get through it, I imagined I was being tortured in a dungeon. No, that doesn’t really get me off or anything, but it did kinda take my mind off of it a little.  I’ve watched “The Tudors” a lot over the past few months so I have a very vivid picture in my head of what the interrogation room looks like, so I just went there in my head and pretended I was a proud criminal and wouldn’t let my torturers know they were hurting me. Silly, but effective. I left very bruised and a little disappointed because my stinking kid didn’t do much but at least I didn’t divulge any secrets during my torture session.

After that awesome torture session, I decided I needed to hire a doula. The nurse assigned to me was really, really great but had she not been, I would have been up shit creek. My partner was supporting me but what I really needed was my mom or a mom or someone who had female organs at least supporting me. My partner, as pregnant as he is becoming (seriously, he has cravings, he is tired all the time and he is newly gassy too) he just can’t understand the types of pain and discomfort lady parts can cause. He tries to understand. I’ll give him credit for that, he deserves it. Luckily, I found a volunteer doula service in my area that had doualas who wanted to do it, but not enough mothers who needed them.  I was pretty stoked when I stumbled upon that and sent an e-mail introducing myself and telling my story and sending them over to my blog so they could kinda see what they would be dealing with. After one day, I got a response! She’s new to the area and still working on certification, but she wants to be my doula! Awesome.

That was Tuesday, so we set up to meet on Thursday and yesterday I went in to another hospital to start my screening process for a vaginal breech delivery. Sounds gross. Well, while I’m there, I’m told I will need an MRI to see if my pelvis is big enough (fine) and an Ultra Ultrasound (fine) and an interview with one of the department heads (fine.) The hospital didn’t have the stats on how many of these vaginal breech attempts are successful but considering they are the only hospital in the Pacific Northwest who will do it and I don’t have a homebirth midwife who will do it and I’m not sure I want to do breech at home unassisted, actually, I’m sure I don’t want to do it, it is my only option unless I want to have a c-section.

I know that c-sections are routine now. I know they are done every day and they are quick and relatively safe. I also know that I don’t get a prize for a vaginal delivery (I was told that yesterday by an OB/GYN) but I also know that it is Major Abdominal Surgery. It is a surgery where multiple layers of muscle are cut into and then an organ is cut into and something is removed. That is major. It takes weeks to recover from it and it also can poison my milk supply and compromise mother/infant bonding. I look at a Caesarean Section as a brilliant tool to save lives in an emergency. But, I will only allow one in an absolute emergency. Like I have told all the OB/GYNs that I have had to deal with: “If I have a section, it will be a crash section and you will get to save a life or two, for real, this time.”

After I finish up with the initial appointment, I wander up to labor and delivery for my second version.  I’m told this time, it won’t be just the external, because if that didn’t work after five tries that it’s not going to work with him being a few days bigger  so they are going to have to do internal as well. Upon hearing this, I imagine a gloved hand, covered in lube, shoved into my who-who pushing up on my bowl-of-oatmeal like cervix to push the little mutant up and out of my pelvis while someone else tries to spin the kid from the outside.   Horrified, I ask the Lady Dr what she means by internal and she quickly describes to me just what I had been imagining plus adding that the other person will also be doing the ultrasound to check position and heartbeat. Super. She also suggests I get an epidural because it hurts.

This is a totally unknown fact about me for most people. I love pain pills and pain meds in general (okay everyone knows that if they know me) but I don’t take them very often and I usually only take them when I can be asleep for a long time because sometimes they make me itchy and sometimes they make me crazy. Like totally, bat-shit crazy. Screaming one minute, crying the next and for sure telling people they just don’t understand me. It’s like I become a 14 year old and it’s not pleasant for anyone. So, yeah, if I take pain pills for fun, I take them alone and watch “Sponge Bob Square Pants” and think about how the pizza I just ate is going to be in my colon for a week because I’ll be constipated for days after taking the pills.  It really is a lot more fun than it sounds like. Really. However, I don’t take pills if I have to be awake or make decisions or have to deal with people. So, no pain meds for me. I did agree to some Ativan though. Unfortunately, it didn’t do much but make me sleepy.

While all of this is going on, my partner is texting with the doula who had contacted me. She had never been to a version and even though we had not met in person I thought she might like to join the party. She didn’t. No reason given at the time so we just went through it ourselves, just like last time.  We did fine.

In retrospect, I see that they may have gotten the kid to turn if I had taken the epidural. They would not have been fighting against my steel-like abdominal muscles to turn him.  I tried as hard as I could to keep my abs loose but it just wasn’t possible for me. I still had a little bruising on my tummy from the time before and as soon as they began, I was in agony. Again. Add to that a hand up my girl and it was easily one of the most painful experiences of my life. Well, physical pain.

I had wanted to do a little work on my hands and knees before we started, just to get the kid moving but my parter vetoed that for some reason.  I say some reason, because I really don’t know why he would have a problem with it. He got flustered when I asked him why he thought I shouldn’t and mumbled something about me being impatient and annoying the kid. I really didn’t understand what that had to do with it but I was tired and hungry and didn’t feel like fighting so I gave in. Clearly, a doula would have helped here. I don’t see how I’m going to birth the way I want to without someone validating my ideas.

I know how crazy this sounds. I have been making my own decisions for such a long time and now, when I’m not just making decisions for myself but for my kid, I’m questioning myself. I’m full of doubt. Part of it is that my body is failing right now. I feel like I’ve done something wrong because I’m breech. I feel like my body doesn’t work right. I feel like there is something wrong with my kid or he is stupid or something. Doesn’t he know he is suppose to be head down? It’s the only fucking thing he is suppose to do and he can’t do it. But then again, maybe it’s me. Maybe there is something physically wrong with me that is preventing him from doing what he is trying to do. Maybe I’ve been laying down too much or maybe I’ve been laying on the wrong side or not walking enough or maybe my uterus is fucked up. Maybe it’s my diet. Maybe I’m not drinking enough water. That is what goes through my head. That is why I feel like throwing in the towel and  having a baby with a perfectly shaped head and just having him removed from me. Because I’m a reject. I don’t work right. I can’t do this.

Oh, I digress.  So we leave the hospital. My partner is bugging me to call the doula. I don’t want to. I don’t feel like having another person I need to “keep in the loop.” She didn’t want to be there or couldn’t be there or whatever and that’s fine. I knew I was going to see her the very next day anyways so I could tell her what had happened. No big deal. He keeps at it though and then texts her or calls her himself all the while getting annoyed with me because I don’t feel like dealing with anyone. I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to explain, I don’t want to rehash. I just want to eat again (they did let me order off the room service menu and then let me eat it an hour after the glove came out of my girl) and go to sleep. I’m told when we get home that I missed a call from her so he dials the number and puts the phone in my hand. It rings and rings and rings. I hang up. He gets on me for not leaving a message. We go to the market and get food because our fridge was empty and still he’s on my ass about needing to talk to her. I tell him I still have to e-mail her our address for the meeting and I’ll tell her what is going on then. He’s not satisfied with that, but I’m focused on making our dinner and going to bed so I just ignore him.

I awake this morning to find my e-mail returned. The doula will not be able to come over after all. She thought about it and because she isn’t certified yet, she doesn’t want to waste her time working with me because an unassisted birth, if I am lucky to have a body that works right by the time the kid comes and am able to do that, won’t count for her certification. She had told me before that that wouldn’t be a problem. She told me that she was interested and would love to help me do this. She may have been interested and may have believed she wanted to do that at the time.  I’m trying not to to be a baby about this. I understand. But I still can’t help feeling like a reject. Even a professional support person doesn’t want to support me. How fucked up am I?


Ack!

http://www.drmomma.org/2011/01/neonatal-circumcision-video-for.html This link shows in photos and video, what I will not do to my child. There is nothing that could change my mind, nothing in this world could persuade me to mutilate my kid. Nothing. I have Jewish and Muslim friends who gleefully eat bacon and then have argued with me about why they are going to circumcise their sons. Seems if you are going to break one covenant with god, then maybe it should be the one where god demands you mutilate you baby boy.


Belly! 35 weeks!


Belly! 34 weeks!


%d bloggers like this: