Raw.

 I borrowed this idea from WestPhillyMama, by way of Jana. I think I love it.

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I’m doing this on a Thursday because I haven’t blogged in ages and it’s not Sunday and I don’t have to live by anyone’s rules, goddammit.

This is not true. The Who has a zillion rules that I have to live by. You must watch shows with him. You mustn’t miss any second of it. You must pause if you have to go to the potty. You mustn’t begin eating your breakfast or drinking your coffee until the show has begun (which means AFTER the opening credits.) You mustn’t speak when he is trying to listen to a show. You mustn’t take down his “restructions” that he has built during the day. You mustn’t take the chocolate sauce out of the fridge, just in case he decides he wants to do it. You mustn’t let the water from the shower head reach his body before it has reached prime, optimum temperature. You must leave the driver side door open so he can climb from his carseat out that door. You must remember to bring a snack for school pick-up and you must leave it in his carseat for him to discover when he gets there. You must let him sign his name on the school sign-in, even if you are late for work. You must say goodbye to him in the morning when you leave for work, even if he is still asleep. You must play his music in the car. You must read two stories and sing two songs at night.

See? A lot of rules. And there are more, too. I pity the fool who comes in cold to take care of him, not that that ever happens around here. But sometimes even m* gets caught in a snag of not knowing the rules, especially if it’s a newly invented one or one that only occurs at times when he is with me, like the school-related ones.

So, yeah. When finally given the opportunity not to follow a rule, more often than not, I’mma take it.

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This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…
  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking.** This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post (in the sidebar). .
  • Link up your post below.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

** I totally spellchecked.

Four years ago: a birth story.

Around 2:30am on Thanksgiving morning, We were admitted. “You’re going to have a Thanksgiving baby,” promised nurse Jocelyn.

The pain started to get this mysterious “more intense” (aka: effin’ ow) and I started uncontrollably shaking. My nurse said, “These are the transition shakes” and I knew then that there was no going back. It was going to be bad and it was going to be long and they offered me the pain control options. They explained Nubain and the epidural. It was hard for me to make a decision. I didn’t want an epidural, really, but it also started to really be uncomfortable. so I consented. The anesthesiologist showed up and I sat for the excrutatingly long procedure, which was apparently made longer because of my “difficult anatomy”. I had a bunch of contractions in the middle of it all. Once the epidural was in, the doc went next door to do another one, and in the meantime, the epidural did not kick in. There was zero pain relief. My legs didn’t get heavy, didn’t get tingly. Nothing. The pain, truly, only got worse. He came back, took it out, redid it. And again–didn’t take.

I expected pain relief. They offered it. They said it would make me numb, that I wouldn’t feel contractions or if I did, they would be mild, and they offered it to me. So, when it didn’t kick in, it was a complete insult. I don’t do well with change and changing expectations on a good day. So, in the middle of insane pain and hormones raging…I kind of flipped out. That was among my worst moments. But then my awesome new nurse (there had been a shift change between epidural one and two) said, “We’re gonna have to do this one naturally, sweetie” and my mindset changed. I mean, what was I gonna do? That became my mantra in my head with every contraction. I knew that just riding them out and blowing or moaning through them was what was going to get him out of me the fastest and the safest and so I just did it.

From about 3am until about 10 when I started pushing, I just labored through really hard, intense contractions every two minutes. I was able, amazingly, to occasionally sleep between contractions, which made it feel like I had more time between them than I did, but also made me feel like I should have been much further along in time than I was. They had him on the external monitor, but he kept dropping off (that is, they just couldn’t hear him. his heartrate actually was fine and never wavered–not even one time) and I had to be laboring on my back, which was really very uncomfortable. I felt the best when I could be sitting up, leaning forward, which I had figured out when I was contracting during the epidurals. It was much easier to blow through them when I was sitting straight up, but I couldn’t sit that way and have the baby monitored unless they broke my water (which was “bulging” but not breaking on its own.) At this point, I was about 7cm. I was actually progressing really well on my own. I had come in at 3-4 cm and was progressing about 1cm per hour. They said if they broke the water, chances were that my contractions would get stronger (which felt insurmountable to me) but they’d be able to internally monitor the baby and I could sit up and labor, which I really wanted to do. (Had I known then that “internal monitoring” meant actually clipping something onto his teeny baby scalp, I don’t think I would have agreed. But I didn’t know.)

So they did it. I didn’t really feel the breaking nor did I feel the monitor being placed on my boy, but I did hear his heartbeat strong and steady in the background. It became the soundtrack to the hardest part of my labor and I actually found it really reassuring there, steady in the background like a metronome. Each contraction after that brought a warm gush of amniotic fluid, which also felt really good. It was at least another sensation to focus on.

I have to say at this point that m* was a complete and total superstar. I mean, for, like, 10 hours on no sleep with bad knees, she stood at my side, rubbing my back, rubbing my feet, encouraging me, being attentive, being intuitive, feeding me ice chips, advocating for me with the nurses and doctors, letting me squeeze her hand until it bled. I say this without even the slightest hint of cliche: there is absolutely no way I would have been able to do what I did without her by my side. I am sure of it.

Sometime around 9am, when I was about 9-9.5cm, I felt the strong urge to push. And while I staved it off for a little while by blowing and moaning through contractions, eventually, I just had the sense that I couldn’t. My nurse gave me the go-ahead. She said, “if your body wants to push, push. It knows what it needs to do.” And so I pushed, sitting up there on the bed. It felt like a relief to push, but in no way did it take away the pain and intensity. Eventually, I was sure the baby was coming. I was sure. M* went out and got the nurse. It was about 10:05 at this point. The bed was still put together; the stirrups were still hidden and the doctor was not there. The nurse had me push my feet against her hands and she counted to ten for me. I did three sets of ten per contraction and she said, “it’s not going to be long. This baby is on his way” and m* confirmed for me that with each push, she could see his head come out and slip back. I was an awesome pusher. For real. I had seen enough baby shows to know that doing anything aside from bearing down, curling around the baby, grabbing my knees, and pushing soundlessly was not going to make him come any sooner.

Three rounds of three pushes each and there it was: the ring of fire and they said, “stop pushing!” Despite reaaaaaallly wanting to push, I blew through one contraction. And I waited. The doctor was just getting her gloves on and I thought, this is NUTS and I pushed my baby out and out he came. In one big push, he slid right out onto the bed, purple and shiny and screaming and awesome. I mean it. Seriously awesome. And it was the greatest sense of relief I had ever felt. And I bent forward and looked down at him and I said, “did i deliver him?” And there he was and m* was crying and I was in shock and my baby was wailing and the nurse was congratulating me and he was picked up and suctioned out and wiped down and Ilooked over and saw him pink up and they told me he scored a 9 and I thought Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god.

Ho.

So, Santa came to town today, but we didn’t see him. Despite the fact that he rode into town on a fire truck, sirens screaming, tossing candy canes to eager, excited children a mere few blocks from our house, we did not see him. We, in fact, made a concerted effort not to see him. And my sense is that it will be a considerable hardship to avoid Santa for the next month, but that is what The Who definitely wants us to do.

He is scared. Santa scares him. And even though he knows, logically, that Santa is just a character from a story and just a man dressed in a costume, he wants absolutely nothing to do with him. It has mostly to do with his beard, I think.

The challenge is that The Who is pretty psyched about reindeer, Christmas trees, and Christmas lights. And he is downright delighted by wreaths. So, how do we draw close to these cool things, but steer clear of the Big Man himself?

I suppose he will have some chance encounters with him even though I will do my best to avoid sightings. I guess I’ll just have to keep going to bed really early, expecting to be woken up several times by Santa nightmares.

And we were just getting over the Wicked Witch dreams. Sigh.

Some. And Pictures.

I’ve been trying to post every day this month. Really, I have. I even put a daily reminder on my phone. Some nights, when the alarm sounds, I smugly click it off because I have already posted! Go, me. And then other nights, when it sounds, I click it off and swear I will get to it later. I am being forgiving of myself, which isn’t typical of my all-or-none (-which-ends-up-being-often-none) attitude toward things. But it’s a busy month and I’ve got a lot going on. Between the wound (which is healing quite nicely now) and the grading (all the grading! Woe! Four classes is a lot of classes to have plus a kid!) and the Thanksgiving and the t-shirt painting…

See? Getting better.

I could have it worse. I could be in NYC or Jersey. I could have a flooded whole house (instead of just a flooded kitchen as my 20-pound turkey brine bag exploded) or worse. I know. I’ve been mostly keeping up with my days of gratitude on Facebook and I am well aware of what I have. Gracious. Thankful. All of it. So, I am giving myself a small break on the commitment to post every day.

To that end, some pictures. Because, when all else fails — pictures!

Betsy Ross House.

First up-close Christmas tree of the season. We might not get away with not getting one this year.

Lunch in front of a crackling wood fire.

Earnest coloring. Lots of this lately.

He instructed me to draw our family. He colored it in.

Work.

I’ve got so much to do and today was supposed to be one of my most productive, but I am exhausted. And I can’t. I went to bed last night at 10:30, knowing that I’d need all my wits about me today and then I was woken up out of a dead sleep twice — at 12:30 and 1:50 — by a screaming Who, who was still half-asleep and unable to tell me what was wrong. Then, at 6:30, he was in my room, waking me up for the day. That was not enough sleep and I’m fucked. Seriously.

Yesterday was an awesome day, full of adventure, but we both crashed at the end of it. The Who hasn’t napped in months, but he totally sacked out in the car and I, after setting him up with a show and tucking him in next to me on the train, was surely snoring out loud.

I need to paint. I need to work. I need to do a lot more than watch 16 and Pregnant.

Sigh.

Wordless Thursday

I know it’s supposed to be Wordless Wednesday, but I gave y’all a wicked Wordy Wednesday. So now, this.

These are three things I stumbled upon randomly today. Things that The Who had taken it upon himself to do while I was otherwise occupied in another part of the house.

The first: Architecture. The second: A barricade. The last: His daily schedule (which he has never done without me or m*.)
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Love.

Confession: for a really long time, I didn’t feel that crazy love for my kid that people described. Like, people talk about falling in love with their kid the moment they laid eyes on him or they talk about how they have never loved anyone the way they love their kid and I am coming clean right now and admitting that I didn’t feel that for a really, really long time.

I loved my kid. Don’t misunderstand. I loved him a lot and I thought he was wicked cute and awesome. I felt protective of him and proud of him and bonded with him. But I didn’t feel this special love that people talk about. The day he was born was not the best day of my life. Nor were the several months that followed.

Listen, It’s no secret that I struggled both with postpartum depression and the idea that I was trapped–in my marriage, in my home, in this town. And then there was the sleeping –or, rather the lack thereof. Hourly waking for a year straight. The months (probably longer) following The Who’s birth were not only not a picnic, but they were downright unpleasant.

Over time, of course, the days got easier. I got treatment for my PPD and he grew out of the really hard newborn stage. We spent more happy time together and I loved him. I did.

But something has changed recently. The timing is too close to The Great Face Stitches Incident of 2012 to discount it’s role in this development, but over the past few weeks, I have fallen into that Crazytown love with my kid that other people have always been talking about.

It’s not truly bananas. It’s not like I can’t get enough of him or that we don’t still struggle like a mama and her 4-year-old should. It’s just that in the moments following his fall — when I saw the hole in his face and caught his blood in my hands, and knelt next to him on the cold brick — in those few moments, my heart fell out of my own grasp. It’s as if, for all these years, I’d been holding on to it, not giving it entirely. Protecting it. Keeping it, at least most of it, for myself. But then, not knowing if he was going to be ok for those terrifying few moments, something shifted.

I check on him tonight before bed. I remember those last moments before I kissed him goodnight, which were fraught with an overtired lack of patience on both of our parts, but all I can really think about is how much I love him. How incredible he is. How much joy and meaning and life he brings to my life. And I think about all those times I wondered if I had made the right choice to have a child and all the times I was wistful for my kid-free days, missing my sleep and my peace and my time. And I look at him there, [nearly] four years old. Long and strong and smart. Independent and curious. Funny and charming and innocent. And –oh my God. I get it.

It took a lot longer than I had expected or hoped. But, man. I am in love with this kid. Like, for real.