Monthly Archives: August 2010

Adjusting is slow

Hoo boy. All the people who said that going from 0-1 is way harder than 1-2 must not be talking about the first week. The first week with just Shanna was pretty damn blissful. We all hung out on the bed together and didn’t do much. We alternated who was napping and it was awesome. Uhm… it’s not like that this time. Shanna has So Much Energy. And keeping her from jumping on the bed (HELLO! Healing from internal wounds here!!!) is difficult. Other than that she’s just pushing boundaries slightly more than usual but really she’s not being out of line at all. So yeah. We aren’t as patient as we should be, but we are both working on it. She is quite in love with Calli. 🙂

Thank all the stars in the heaven for tandem nursing. Given how much the rest of me hurts I was about ready to flip my lid when my boobs started hurting last night because my milk came in. So I called my trusty, always hungry, toddler over. Insta-relief. (Yes, there is still plenty of milk for Calli.) Every minute of discomfort while nursing through pregnancy has already paid off. 🙂

We are trying to figure out a sleep schedule that will allow me to heal as quickly as possible. It’s a challenge. I have so much going on in my brain that it takes me forever to fall asleep, nearly an hour after each wake up when I can normally fall asleep in under five minutes, so that’s extra challenging.

I sorta went against orders and took a shower today. My stench was seriously bothering me. For those of you who are childfree, when you have a baby you then have basically hot flashes for a while as you sweat out a lot of the extra fluids you have been carrying around. This is not pretty. But a shower (ok, I sat in the tub with the shower nozzle on because I can’t stand and being submerged isn’t a great plan yet) felt decadent. Huzzah for hygiene.

We have a rather remarkable number of people bringing us food. I cannot express properly my gratitude. I think that I will karmically owe food to every newly delivered mother I ever hear about for the rest of my life. It feels really awesome.

Noah is the most amazing, supportive husband I can imagine having. He has earned so many brownie points that it will be decades before I return them all. I guess I’m going to have to stop whining about his night off. He’s earned several years worth of them recently.

I’m tired and my physical recovery is predictably slow. Walking to the bathroom is easier. Returning a plate to the kitchen is still a stretch and if you’ve seen how small my house is that’s pretty sad. I could not stand long enough to dry off after the shower. After not standing during the shower. Ugh. I’m not feeling patient with this. But it’s only been three days. I need to give myself a lot more time. I feel perkier while I am sitting in bed. Once I am vertical my bravado is revealed.

Calli is… mostly asleep really. 🙂 But she’s sweet and we are already fond of her. Yay hormones.

…. why am I awake?

Apparently catnapping in a super uncomfortable position is what I get to do tonight. Calli already has views about how she wants to sleep which delights me because she fits right in. So I babble at you, dear lj, my safe home on the internet.

This was quite the intense experience for me in a number of ways. As you are all well aware, I have ‘mother’ issues and those have been especially hard just lately. She hasn’t ever actually called, for which I am grateful, but I have been longing for her fiercely all week as I went through this painful experience. Like many abused/neglected children I’m very very loyal. The thing that finally kept me from calling her is the knowledge that she would welcome me back with open, sincere love… and I would abandon her again and hurt her very badly because she is a toxic person. I don’t actually think she deserves that roller coaster ride. It’s just not fair. So I spent a lot of time crying and wanting her. I think that was a big part of the constant contractions being so stressful. I really couldn’t relax.

I woke up at about 6:30 unable to find a comfortable position at all through the contractions and feeling kind of frantic about it. I had Noah check me and I was a hair shy of 4cm so I decided that it really and truly was active labor and I called my midwife. It takes her a while to get up here and she’s been very afraid of me having a super fast labor once things got really going. So much for that. 🙂 I was very happy to have her here. In an amusing twist of events my doula was at a different birth so I got to see one of her partner doula’s instead. After that mess. oy. She was helpful and gentle and fun so things were great until my original did show up hours later. It worked out fine.

During the early hours I spent as much time laughing between contractions as not. It was very intense and took a lot of processing, but if I kept up a steady patter of talking during the contractions I stayed very calm and centered. Most of what I was saying was variations along the lines of, “We can do this. Come down baby. We can handle this together” and other things in the same vein. It was very calming and centering. I would go so far as to say most of that chunk was even fairly pleasant because I was so excited to be finally making progress and I felt like things were going really well.

Side note: most of my in between contraction conversation was talking about bdsm stuff and porn. I was getting the biggest kick ever out of educating my birth team. 🙂

Transition was flat out terrifying. I more or less went into shock and I felt like I was dying. At that point the contractions couldn’t be managed anymore and my leg muscles were twitching and cramping on their own regardless of what I did. Noah and Sunshine sat with me and very very gently and delicately talked me through it. I have no idea how long it went on, but I think probably only 10 or 15 minutes. They were really wonderfully supportive in exactly the right ways.

Then of course I hit pushing. Woof. Having to force myself to stay in very uncomfortable positions because those helped me make the most progress really sucked. I could mostly do it though. I went back in the tub and oh boy was that the right call for me during pushing. It took noticeably less than two hours to push her out but I’m not sure how much more than one hour. By the end I was crying and begging the baby to just hurry up already. It was amazing how pushing was psychotically intensely painful in one minute and then just uncomfortable in the next breath. (This was while the head was uhm not fully through and I was stretched around her head. She doesn’t have a small head.) Once she was out we did immediate skin to skin and no one bothered to look at her gender for quite a while.

As it turns out we were too busy getting me out of the tub fast because I was losing a lot of blood and it was hard to tell how much. So from what I can tell I had a minor hemorrhage. By minor I mean I didn’t die. But we were all pretty scared for a few hours because I needed a lot of oxygen and Pitocin injected and I really really wanted to go to sleep in a way I probably wouldn’t have woken up from. Obviously my midwife stayed and was incredibly attentive for many hours. I have zero complaints about her professionalism and care. She absolutely earned her money and then some. I was weak enough during this time period that Noah was cuddling Calli because I really and truly couldn’t. Yeah, I think that is maybe the closest I have ever come to dying.

I am 150% glad I had a homebirth even with the scary part at the end. Sunshine did everything right to keep me alive and she allowed me to have the empowered decisions about everything every step of the way. I have a very minor tear that didn’t need suturing. I feel pretty ecstatic about the fact that I was allowed to go with what my body needed and when. It wasn’t a short labor by second timer standards and I suspect it would have not gone well in a hospital strapped to a bed. I moved from the tub to walking to rocking on the floor to the toilet to the bed as I needed to for pain management. It was really awesome to just do what my body needed.

At this point I am even weaker than average after birth. The blood loss is really a big deal. I can’t stand and walk to the bathroom. No really, I can’t. I would probably pass out. So I’m crawling if it is important but mostly I’m lying down because even sitting is not great. This is going to be a longer than standard recovery. Thus I throw aside all hints of pride and say we will accept any and all help people want to offer. Noah is pretty worn out from the harrowing pregnancy and labor and he is going to have basically all Shanna care and a lot of Calli care for a while. And I… can’t even sit up well. It’s worth it though. Looking at my daughters is enough to make me weep with joy. I will recover. This will be a blip. I get to have these wonderful people forever.

Four hours! So ridiculous!!!

So this morning I had four solid hours of contractions every 2-6 minutes (I never seem to get perfectly regular). There was cervical progress (Noah was checking–he’s so awesome). It seemed like time to really get excited! If you are planning a hospital birth they tell you contractions every five minutes that last a minute and go on for an hour. I PASSED THAT MILESTONE BY A LOT!!

Then it stopped.

I’m really frustrated.

Good morning day 8

I have been having steady contractions for 8 days. They are never more than 30 minutes apart and sometimes are as little as 2 minutes apart for hours on end. All of this is not part of the labor tally because I am not yet 4cm. As the kids would say: FML. I don’t really have a lot of choice about the matter so I persevere. Last night was one of my worst nights of sleep in a while and my lower back is super achey this morning. Hopefully that’s a good sign but at this point I don’t know that I believe anything.

I called my doula yesterday. I’m… far less than pleased with her reaction. I don’t feel like she takes it very seriously that she screwed up. Her ‘apology’ sounds very flippant and teenager like. And I had to call her and bitch her out to get it. Uhm. Yeah. On one hand I sort of feel like I should just fire her and not deal with the drama. But I hired her because I like her and other than one stupid comment she has done her job extremely well. I spent a while angsting last night at people and realized that if she was my friend I would absolutely let this go. She was tired, hungry, and cranky–I have some sympathy for that. But she’s not my friend. She’s someone I’m hiring to do a service and I’m not sure I should be accommodating her mood swings. I have a few more hours to decide. Maybe. Depends on how this back ache goes.

I am more pregnant than I have ever been before. So much for second kids coming earlier.

Follow up

My midwife called me a little bit ago. She thought we should process. This was a good thing because she opened the conversation somewhat neutrally and then she accepted complete responsibility and apologized. She explained that she has been feeling really bad and trying to figure out why she didn’t suggest the test to start with. She said that she thinks that it was an emotional reaction because she didn’t want me to feel like she didn’t believe me. I told her that I would have jumped on the chance to know for sure because I don’t want to be put on a timer. She acknowledged that in retrospect she knows that and she is really sorry she made the call she did.

We also talked about child care logistical issues at great length. We figured out a compromise that I hope is going to work out well–she also doesn’t have a whole lot of good options for childcare (which in my opinion is a bad thing for her professionally but that’s a different matter). That was very useful.

We talked about her ambiguous feelings about driving this far and how it is obvious she is irritated with driving up here. She feels like every single time I have called her it was 100% appropriate and she wants me to continue calling her for the things I am calling her for… but man she hates the drive to Fremont. I get that. But it means she is sending mixed signals that feel bad for me. This overall part of the conversation was left at the place of–she is glad she is doing this for me because she cares about me but she needs to never get herself in a position like this again. This is just too far for her to really handle for work. So it’s not the best situation but we need to work with it for now and make the best of it and she is going to try and check her irritation.

We talked about the 180 degree behavioral change she has between her office and showing up here to check stuff for potential birth. I told her that my logical brain feels that she is more casual in the office because there is less pressure on her to ‘perform’ and when it comes to showing up for births she has to be more clinical and distant so that she can potentially make decisions that have serious weight so she doesn’t read as ‘friendly’ any more. I pointed out that I feel like I can read her body language pretty well in the office to know when she is having different moods/reactions but in my house it feels like trying to read a brick wall and that’s hard. She said she will reflect on this and see how true it feels for her and decide what to do about it. That’s perfectly valid and fair.

I brought up the parting crack from my doula and she agreed that she was pretty shocked and unhappy with that comment. She agrees that I need to have a serious conversation with V because that just wasn’t ok. I didn’t do anything wrong at any point and I didn’t deserve that.

So yeah. I’m feeling significantly less pissed off. I feel that my midwife calling today was a really good thing and absolutely the best thing for figuring out stuff between us. I feel that I was really brave in laying out my issues the way I did (God it was hard) and I feel like she totally validated me and listened and was supportive. I feel that she did a really good job of listening to constructive feedback that was probably more than occasionally uncomfortable without being defensive. I don’t think I can ask for more than that. She continually stressed that she really wants to work with me. She really wants me to keep calling her early. She really thinks that I have done everything right. I needed that.

I’m really happy with how she has chosen to deal with this conflict. I’m not completely ‘over it’ at this point but I’m most of the way there. It’s good because I don’t really have a lot more time to be fusstastic before I’m probably going to really need her help.

So.fucking.pissed.

ETA: If you give me any fucking advice or ‘next time you should’ in any way shape or fucking form I will delete the fucking comment and ban you from ever commenting again. I’m not sure I can express how fucking foul my mood is.

Today has been a fucking horrible day. So I spent most of the day trying like mad to induce labor. It’s a hard thing to do. It’s often painful and never fun. My doula was here for most of the day with us because she brought over a pretty powerful abortifacient that often, but not always works. I was taking it every fifteen minutes for hours an hours and it was certainly causing gnarly strong contractions. No cervical progress. At some point in the afternoon my midwife showed up and when she got here with her kid and the whole circus… the contractions stopped. The noise, the distraction, just EVERYTHING was too much. I asked for her kid (and my doula’s) to leave. So they arranged childcare and it was a couple of hours before both kids could be picked up. At some point in here I finally got my midwife to sit down and talk about what was going on with my labor–or lack there of. She told me that in her opinion I had ~24 more hours before she would call it and I had to go to a hospital anyway. Given the clusterfuck that would be having to deal with transferring childcare around I asked her if we should just go today and she said that was probably a good decision.

The circus moved to the hospital. We got there, checked in, did some exam stuff… then comes this startling revelation! They can tell if my water has broken by doing a super quick swab then wiping it on this little piece of litmus tape. Literally a fucking 30 second procedure and there is no god damn reason in the world that my fucking midwife should not be able to perform this procedure. The doctor said it is very possible that I did have a high leak because they often reseal themselves but at this time I don’t have a problem and I should just go home. (Then there was fuss with him being called out to deliver a baby RIGHT NOW and I wasn’t allowed to leave until he officially came back and signed me out. This was annoying because the nurse required me to stay on the table with the monitors.)

Then my doula says that she wants to go and she leaves me with the parting crack of, “And remember the next time I see you it should be real labor–five minutes in between contractions, for at least a minute for an hour.” Wow. Awesome way of giving me a smack for wasting your time. My midwife bailed at that point too. Fine. Then Noah and I wait around for a while and get a lovely little lecture from the doctor and nurse about how when my labor actually starts I should just come straight back to the hospital because what I am planning is a bad idea.

This whole fucking day is fired. Most of what I did today was unpleasant or flat out hurt. And it all could have been fucking prevented if my midwife had done a god damn 30 second long low-tech test.

So I’ve been contracting for days. For some stretches of that time I’m contracting as often as every two minutes and they are lasting for a minute or more. When I say days, I mean I started on Friday morning. I’m tired. This labor is going to be longer than Shanna’s and that’s really hard to wrap my head around. I’m barely progressing. I thought/believed/was told that given that the scar tissue broke up during Shanna’s labor that this time would be easier. So much for that. I kind of hate every woman in the world who has had a less than 24 hour labor. It is feeling pretty disgustingly unfair as I start on day three of not being able to focus or do anything for longer than a few minutes before I have another contraction.

The biggest difference this time is I am using supplementation to sleep at night (completely at my midwife’s recommendation) so I am really well rested for my physically exhausting days. For the first two days we asked for help with Shanna and friends came through. Thank God for friends. I felt, most particularly on the first day, like having Shanna around was slowing down contractions and it’s kind of true. At this point, however, I feel like I don’t know what day this is really going to get serious and I can’t send Shanna away every day for a week or more. So even if it is a bit slower today I am still working towards giving birth at about the rate my body can do it. I haven’t bothered to have my cervix checked in over a day because it just depresses me that I am going through this much effort and strain and things are… I can’t even say inching along. Moving millimeter by millimeter instead of centimeter by centimeter.

With how intense things were on Friday I was praying that I *didn’t* make it to Virgo because I couldn’t imagine being in labor all weekend. Well, I’ve been in labor almost all weekend. I just want to be done. I just want my baby out. I’m really getting tired of being in pain like this. I’m feeling progressively more scared of my ability to be stoic. I’m pretty convinced that if I lived in the ‘good old days’ I would die in childbirth. How many days can I handle of this?

In the evenings things slow down to like every 20 minutes. All day long the contractions vary between being every 5 minutes ish to being every 15 minutes ish. This is really really hard.

Whoo hoo!

So a few years ago I did an interview as part of a documentary about Insex–one of the most explicit bdsm porn websites in existence. I got an email from a friend this morning saying that I was the first voice in it. Now I have to actually watch it. 😀 The documentary is called Graphic Sexual Horror and I’m super excited to see it. I find it kind of hilarious that the last bit of my baby-waiting period will be spent squeeing about being in a porn documentary. (Uhm, I’m just a voice. I was still teaching at the time and I wasn’t comfortable having my face filmed.)

So sweet

Last night I got to babble like mad at two wonderful people I don’t see often enough. That was really awesome. I really enjoy listening to smart, educated people going off at great lengths about their passions. It gives me this strange feeling of pride when I realize that people that smart want to be friends with me. 😀

And today I was given a surprise by the mom-group I’ve been hanging out with. It’s a banner made out of construction paper with inspirational sayings for birth. Things like:
Blessed be this birth
Strong and gentle all the way to pushing!
Each wave brings me closer to having my baby in my arms
I can & I am!
I can do anything for one minute
Settling; Surrendering; Letting Go
Courage; Faith; Patience
Pain is a wave… I let it wash over me and then it is gone
My baby is big but my vagina is HUGE!

I feel quite blessed that these women have joined my life. 🙂 I hung it up over the birth tub and I keep looking at it and feeling a sort of vague hug. As an adult, and especially as a mother, I feel a very different need for the camaraderie of women. As a child and teenager I strongly preferred men/boys. I like this evolution process.

“false labor” can fuck off

So I started having contractions a few days ago. The kind that hurt and take a lot of processing. It really didn’t help that kiddo’s position was suboptimal and I was getting to find out what is meant by ‘back labor’. Not.My.Favorite. So I had a few days of inconsistent, painful, breathe through them contractions. Uhm, they seem to have stopped again. WTF. I’m not thrilled about on again off again labor. Although I am thrilled that the baby rotated. Whoo yay acupressure.

But I guess I am back to waiting. The silver lining is that it’s only 7 days till Virgo. Maybe I will make it after all.

Privilege

Privilege is one of my favorite words. I like looking at the ways in which people take for granted the good things in their life that just happen. Rarely I drop into the nighttime parenting/sleep issues area at MDC. I don’t go there much because I just can’t wrap my head around the problems. I think that a lot of my inability to grok what they are going through is because of my privilege in being a stay at home mom. My kid ‘slept through the night’ early because I learned how to stay asleep while she nursed all night long. My kid went to sleep when and where she wanted to and I didn’t particularly care if it was in bed at 7pm. I don’t particularly see the value in ensuring that my kid is in bed from 7pm-6am with no more than one night waking. I mean, I can see the help in that if you have older children who need to be functional during the day… but for a three month old? Enh, they sleep when they sleep.

Privilege is an interesting thing. If I had a whole bunch of older kids and/or I *had* to sleep during particular hours because I had a demanding job it would be a whole different matter when it comes to sleep. So yeah, I don’t volunteer my opinions on sleep much because boy-howdy do I have a lot of privilege in this area. 🙂

Differences

I could totally be wrong about these impressions. My memory is never the sharpest and it is especially cloudy lately.

It is interesting to me how my mindset is different this pregnancy. I feel a lot more confident about the early parenting stuff so I just don’t need to do much research at this point. I keep doing my gradual stuff for Shanna’s development, but overall I don’t feel like there is much that is super pressing RIGHT NOW. So my mind is wandering a lot. I’m spending a lot more time thinking about sex (my lack of interest and how much that pisses me off); non-monogamy (both how that will work out in my life over time and how I feel about it as an abstract concept;, feminism (My Fault, I’m Female has been a big part of this); adoption/fostering issues (this is an ongoing thing in the back of my mind. I don’t know that I will ever go back to teaching, but it is still important to me that I do some kind of work with children at some point); how to balance this crunchy shit (I’m feeling more and more like the fanaticism approach just isn’t one that works for me); lots of time thinking about abuse stuff–a lot of this is because I have been hanging out in the Surviving Abuse forum on MDC a lot. Other people have very different experiences than me and that’s interesting. (Uhm, not interesting in a bad way, more like

I feel like there is a lot more ‘me’ in this pregnancy. I am not just in this haze of hormonal love for the fetus and obsessed with all things baby. I have everything I need for the homebirth (I uhhh didn’t actually get that far last time–oops). I feel like I have done sufficient preparation of the house for incoming child, but I’m not actually all that focused on it. I’m sick to death of being held back by pregnancy. I want to hurry up and get birth over with so I can move on with my life. I know the first few months will be challenging, but I can’t help but think that I will actually have way more energy than I do right now. I feel like Shanna will get out of the house more. That’ll be good.

I didn’t start looking at me as a separate entity until Shanna was over a year old. Then I started getting really antsy. I wonder if I will get the hormone rush with birth again and be completely immersed in “Mommy” being my whole world. I might not. If I don’t get that rush, am I going to feel more resentful of the extreme dependence early on? Hm. Interesting.

I’m going to sit over here and judge

(See–I never said I would stop judging. I said I would work on not shaming. DIFFERENT)

My niece just posted on facebook about the $6,000 car she just bought. Well, I guess that means she won’t be moving out at the end of the summer. *sigh* If she doesn’t get the #$@# out of my sister’s house soon I sincerely doubt she will ever do anything with her life. If you spend all your time with drug addicts who STEAL MONEY AND FOOD FROM YOU then you really aren’t likely to ever have much. She has admitted just how difficult it is to study in that house because there are always people over partying till all hours of the night. I offered to give her the down payment on an apartment if she saved up enough money to have two months of living expenses in the bank so that she could get-the-fuck out. I have also offered to pay for her college education. I see the chances of that actually happening going down the drain rapidly. I feel very sad. 🙁

I don’t think you have to ‘turn out like me’ to have a good life. Far from it. I think that you need to not spend all your time around loser drug addicts who steal from you and destroy your belongings and future in order to have a good life.

Consumerism

Shanna is starting to get to the point where she is asking me to buy her stuff other than food. (She has been asking for food stuff for a long time, but I really don’t have any issue with her constant requests for fruit. That’s a-ok in my book.)

This morning she was looking through the Hanna Andersson catalog. She asked for a couple of things in the catalog. I told her we could put it on her Christmas list. She thought that was a pretty awesome idea even after I clarified that stuff being on her Christmas list does not guarantee that she will be getting it. It’s a possibility not a promise.

This is slightly weird for me. My Christmas lists were treated as wholly irrelevant. My mom bought what was on sale. I didn’t get the stuff I wanted the most (beyond books–I did get the books I wanted most of the time) and I think I have that poor kid issue of, “Well my kids won’t have to suffer through the constant disappointment I did!” But uhm… I’m finding myself struggling with a balance. I also don’t want to do what so many poor kids turned middle class parents do–namely spoiling the shit out of my kids so they have a horrible entitlement complex. No thanks. I sincerely feel like one of the best things teaching did for me was show me the end result of a lot of parenting strategies and help me learn which ones to avoid. (Teaching 16/17 year olds was perfect.)

It’s hard for me because we totally could afford to just go buy her the like 5 things she currently wants. It wouldn’t be a blip in our budget. But… no. I need to find the happy medium there. She has plenty of stuff. Much of it hand-me-downs. She has really nice stuff by and large. And that’s good enough. She doesn’t need tons more stuff. I think it is going to be a long-term struggle for me to deal with my own baggage around stuff in a way that is healthy for her. There is nothing wrong with her saying, “Oh that’s neat; I would like to have that.” It is not a guilt trip on me that I should provide it. It’s not a demand. It’s a statement of fact–she thinks she would like to have it. It’s ok for her to think that. It’s also ok for me as the parent to say, “I can understand why you would like to have that, but I don’t think we will buy it right now.” That’s ok too. I am not being mean. I am not denying her in some terrible way. It’s ok for me to set these kinds of boundaries because she is not yet capable of doing it herself. It’s ok. Really.

Well, fuck.

Thanks to facebook I now know that my mother is moving back to San Jose this week with help from my niece.

shit.shit.shit.shit.shit.

Anyone want to make a bet on how long before she starts contacting me to pressure me into letting her see the kids because they ‘deserve’ a relationship with her?