Thursday, 20 January 2011

The end, and a beginning.

I haven't posted here in a while, and I fear it may be the last time, at least for this incarnation of my blogging life. I've lost a little bit of interest in the birth world, don't get me wrong, I still get fired up about it and believe firmly in women's/babies rights and bodily autonomy, evidence based medicine, blah blah. I am just burned out. Most articles and blogs I read on the subject are just rehashing the same old info, and I'm just a bit too frazzled to sort out newer findings/studies when they've not yet been pieced apart into layman's terms for me. I'm feeling a little...drawn away from that calling. I am shying away from the desire to have another child, and I feel like right now surrounding myself by pregnant women and newborns and the like will not help me to stay NOT pregnant. (I love it, I love having babies, but BABIES, oy they are work, and there are 101 reasons I am pretty damned sure I don't need another one. Close friends, I am still MORE than happy to be birth support and I am itching to witness a birth, if you'll have me.)

So right now, I am moving away from that. But where to? I feel like a bit of a hermit lately. I'm not depressed, in fact I am happier with my life than I have been in a while. But I feel a bit defeated by the outside world right now. I feel like I have so much potential to go and do things and like family life is tying me down a bit. I KNOW there are ways to be accomplished and get out there and go DO things while being a mother to young children, but I am at a loss as to how to go about it. And to what I even want to do! There is so much that needs fixing in this world. There are so many things I am interested in. I feel like all paths are open to me, and it's crazy overwhelming. It feels like almost nothing outside these walls is going right, and even inside, there are issues.

There's the usual, war and hunger and slavery around the world. There are women dying in childbirth to simple things all over (even here at home), abuse and government sanctioned torture. The government is a bloated mass of greed that will happily mow down innocents for the almighty dollar and their idea of democracy and the people having a say is a fucking joke. We “vote” for the lesser of two evils, and we only see the candidates with enough dollars for a big fancy campaign. (I wanted to puke on every single over sized, cardboard, photo quality political flier I got in the mail this past election.) Lobbyists do all the talking for “us” on behalf of whichever corporation has the most money to pay them. (Paid expert witnesses are frowned upon in court, why are we letting them write our laws, people??) Our people are divided more as every day passes, going further and further to extremes of hate, and everyone seems convinced of the lies the media (ALL popular media) tell. Everyone gripes about how awful this or that is with the government, with society, but when pressed, well it's just The Man and there's nothing we can do about it so we're just going to follow along like cattle. (Seen very recently with the fuss over TSA invading privacy and getting grabby.)

Excuse me. Fuck that. Fuck poverty and homelessness and middle/upper class people bitching about the damned lazy poor. Fuck war and the devaluing of human life for the sake of an agenda or a regime. Imperialism and capitalism can both screw off. Fuck treating people who don't love the same way you do as second rate citizens, less than human. Or people that look different. Or believe in a different god or many gods or no gods at all. Or people with different genitals. Different genders (yes, there are more than two).

Can we not just be people? Can we not love all the amazing ways we are different and unique and beautiful? Can we not accept that there just might not be a universal truth outside of love and the many forms it takes? Outside of respect?

I walked through an amazing house tonight, filled with people that I'm sure were equally amazing. I could have spent hours in there just wandering around, feeling the positive energy, seeing the interesting things around the house, the love painted and worn into the walls and floors, the additions added by hand, the creaks and groans and bright colors. People that are part of this world and also working beyond it, that see the possibility of greater things in our culture. That see the beautiful, incredible potential in people. I long for that. I long, I think, for youth lost. It sounds silly, I AM young, but having children is such a massive responsibility. I don't regret them, but I wish I had known. I really do. I long for something greater than the nuclear family (which is bullshit), a positive community of loving individuals that work and help and child rear together as a big extended family.

I don't know the name of a single neighbor on my cul-de-sac. Since we moved in, only a small handful of houses on our short street have not been vacated and refilled. It is a blur of moving trucks and new faces. Few people bother to get to know each other. I don't know people from Anthony's work, there is no community there because his workplace is so toxic they all run from it the moment they are free, and have little desire to be around half the people (those in charge) that they work with even if it involves free food. I have no outside the home work. I have a few lasting friendships now that are also local, and I love them. But still, no community. (There is a community, but it is not child-friendly or financially feasible to be heavily involved in) I long for that. I need to get my ass to the UU church here soon, because I think that may be a taste of what I am looking for.

Everything is in a big state of flux right now. I have changed so much in the last year. Well, outwardly, not so much inwardly. I have finally grabbed a hold of what's underneath a good chunk of cultural conditioning and it's glorious feeling so comfortable in my skin. Being genderqueer. Being not-straight. Understanding so many of the confusing things of my past, knowing the answers now. No, those are not normal thoughts for a straight girl. For a queer genderqueer person, that's another story. What is pansexual? Am I that? If I'm other gendered, even if I wasn't still very much with my male spouse, I'm not a lez. I'm not quite pansexual because I'm not really attracted to cis-gender, straight, male dude-bro's. What about other gender-ambiguous people (who I happen to find crazy sexy)? There isn't even a NAME for that kind of relationship!

I hate that being not straight is this big deal. Like it's a fucking phenomenon and we must announce it to every person we know and meet right off the bat and then wait for them to not accept us or treat us weird. Like, really? Straight people, how often do you have to come out to your friends or family as straight? Why are we even asking these things of people? Question 1. Are you looking to sleep with me? If the answer to question 1 is no, see A. Then you should not give a flying shit, because it in no way effects our dealings with each other, in my world. Can we stop getting hung up on this shit and just accept that people don't come in two flavors for everything, and one is generally better than the other? White is better than black, straight over gay, male over female, rich better than poor, really? Are we STILL doing this?

You know what pisses me the fuck off? That my great grandfather didn't give his surname to his son, born in America, because it was CHAVEZ. Because he wanted him to be able to find work and not get treated like shit. You know what pisses me off more? That we are STILL DOING THIS. Oh yes, we've grown so fucking much. Look, we graduated from Anti-Racism Academy because of our colored Prez, holy shit was that a Mexican? DEPORT THAT LAZY WELFARE SUCKING LOSER!

Seriously guys. I'm over it. I'm pretty sure I've pissed off everyone I know by this point. But this has obviously been building for months. If anyone wants to talk further with me on any subject, feel free. If you want to talk WITH me. Not at me. I already know what Christians feel about me liking tits. I know what conservatives feel about Mexicans and that whole shebang. Please do not come to me with rants that I could easily hear or see anywhere at any time on any major news outlet or political summit. I've heard it. If you want further understanding of things I've revealed here, that's fine. This came out WAY more pissed off than I intended. But, well, I guess I'm pissed. Frustrated. Impotent. Restless. Creative. Rich and bountiful and depleted and exhausted. I am looking to live the life more transparent. I will not rub any ones nose in things I know they don't agree with. But if the issue is brought up with me, I will stand my ground. Some things here may hurt some people, but my intent is never to harm. Reality hurts a bit, I hope it does not cause lasting damage, but a path to a deeper understanding and love of each other. Please come to me if you want to talk. I know I sound crazy confrontational here. It's months, years, a lifetime of pent-up frustration, confusion, understanding. So many things.

I am still in Limbo. Probably always will be. And when I make my new blog, expect it to be more raw, and more a reflection of all of me. Feminism and queerness and politics and babies and families and friends and rocky horror and sci-fi and fantasy and sewing and everything. Give me a few weeks of life-craziness, and I will update with the new and improved blog. :) Love to all, truly.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Parenting, update!

Well ok, there's nothing NEW new on this front, but I was just reading back through my last post and wanted to update a bit on how things are going.

Ray is doing pretty well with the new, gentler me. Shocking, right? It's been a paradigm shift, from the mainstream view that children need to Obey, and Behave. Children are not meant to do any such thing. Some children are naturally agreeable and will listen more often than others, but I'd guess that the majority are not that way. Certainly, not Ray. And I'm becoming ok with that. I'm letting go of the fear of what other people must think of me because he runs around like a wild person. This is the only time in his life when society will let him be this free, and he will get to enjoy it.

Of course, there are boundaries. Hitting (especially his brother) or pushing is not ok. But even then, I simply sternly ask him not to, and remind him that he can still just move away from Dori if he is being bothered. Also, reminders that Dori is not trying to hurt him with the grabbing pinching and pulling. I also request that he apologize, but we're not real firm on this one yet. Sometimes he will, sometimes he won't. I will still put him "on the wall" (timeout, basically) for certain things, but not for tantrums, and I stay with him. It's never long, and then I let him up. Often without doing what I asked him because I just don't want to make a huge fight/power struggle out of something minor. Tantrums are met with conversation and comfort.

Dori of course is not yet on this scale anywhere. I know there's really no teaching behaviorally at this age, aside from giving him love and cuddles and kisses whenever possible.

So yeah, things are improving. Of course I forgot to bring my book that I was reading. Not that I'm getting much time to read anyhow. This visit has been enjoyable, but stressful. The stress-issues that it solved have been exchanged for other issues, like more sleep problems (teeth teeth and more teeth. 6 have come in since we got his tongue clipped back in mid-May) and lack of baby-proofing in a house full of adults. (Well it's partially baby-proofed, but we're hitting that age with Dori where he's learning to get into new things every day so it's impossible to stay ahead of him without emptying all rooms of everything!) I'm having fun but I'm starting to long for home.

Will post more later, I really want to get back into blogging! About more than just babies, too. :) Hopefully in the coming months there will be a revelation of sorts, and then I can share alot more on here. I know, MYSTERYYYYYYY. O_O!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Tattoo ideas

I've been wanting a tattoo, well, for as long as I can remember. But naturally, I'm picky! I want it to be something I LOVE and will hopefully never regret. I want to remember the ideas I have, so I figured I'd just post about it. Also, if anyone reading this is particularly artistic and wants to try their hand at drawing up an idea, please feel free to share. :D I am utterly incapable of drawing lol.

The big one I want when I get back to SD (already pretty sure of my artist) is a small dragon, in the styl eof fire lizards from the Pern series. (Anne McCaffrey) I want him tealy blue, climbing/hanging onto my shoulder, wings slightly spread for balance. Reference pic, smooth out some of the muscley-ness on the arms.

A zodiac tattoo. Found some ambigrams today of just the word cancer that looked pretty sweet. Combine with two simple crabs on the beach with a sunset, perhaps. One blue, one dark red (for Shanna pance). Placement? Forearm/leg maybe.

The Litany Against Fear, Dune series. Maybe paraphrased/shortened slightly. Placement?

Something commemorating the boys. Waiting till we're done having more. Was going to do something with their zodiac symbols but how to incorporate a lion and a set of scales? Lol. Go me, having a kid that's the only non-animal sign. So maybe just the symbol, symbols. Or something else entirely. Give it a few more years. (Hoping Anthony will help design this one!)

More dragons. Little simple ones, maybe of dragons from different cultures. Also like the medieval english lion thingy. Heh. Also, I love lionesses. That would be fun.

Something birthy. A phrase? A picture? I dunno.

Will probably add to this as I think of stuff.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Patient being pushy!

Today I advocated for my boy. I took him in for his ENT consult. After poking around a moment in his mouth the doctor said his tongue tie was pretty mild, and he didn't think it should be causing much issue. I explained some of our issues (with a little prod from Shanna to get me going), and he didn't seem convinced. He was a bit dismissive, "well, some babies are just difficult" and I'm thinking well, mine is not. He's an easy, sweet, happy baby, that just wants to find comfort in the breast again. And right now, it's not comforting at all. It's frustrating and likely uncomfortable. He has difficulty eating solid foods, although he shows every indication of interest and really enjoys them.

After a bit of back and forth of "well but there's this problem I'm worried about" countered repeatedly with "well but it doesn't seem that severe I don't know if it would help..." I finally just told him flat out that I wanted it clipped. I feel that I've ruled out all other possibilities, and I'm not just being a whiny mom and complaining about two feedings a night. My older son is over two and I've known he's had a tongue tie for the majority of his life, and never clipped it because it has never caused problems. At night I pray and beg and plead with the universe after every waking for just ONE hour. Please, please, just one hour. And as we progressively worsen, I don't even get that. Day or night. That's not healthy for him either. Babies NEED sleep. Good, solid sleep. Not fitful, restless, anxious sleep. Now even when I sleep I dream that he's waking, or that Ray is waking. I honestly don't know how I'm still sane, or still motivated to do anything around here aside from lay around moaning for sleep. I LOVE sleep. It is high on my list of enjoyable leisure activities. LOVE it.

In other Dori news, as of today he is successfully getting his knees up under him. Honest to goodness crawling is in sight. Also, I've not tried sitting him up much in the last few days, and today he was just fantastic at it. His balance took a sudden leap for the better and he was really enjoying being up.

About it for now. I need sleep!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Oh, you.

A Baby Story (on TLC) has been doing a week of new episodes featuring home births. I am loving it! The births have been beautiful, and a nice little walk down memory lane for me.

Poor Baby Story though, cracked me up a bit. I think they really were thinking they'd end up getting some awesome dramatic footage with lots of craziness when they started in on this idea. They still tried to inject a little drama where there was none, (ominous voiceovers on previews, "...but will they get MORE than they bargained for?!"), but for the most part it seemed fairly innocuous. The births have been lovely, slow, and uncomplicated. The parents have been normal, relaxed, and down to earth. Every single episode I've seen (three of the four, I still have todays left to watch which I believe is the only one featuring a first time mother) highlighted how the couple had a first birth in the hospital that did not go as hoped, and after much research decided on home birth for their second child. The midwives were lovely and knowledgable, not pushy, and treated the women with respect.

We got to hear lots of birth noise, although the last episode I watched (waterbirth in Chicago) they did music over some of her pushing noises. But it's a start. And pushing noises can sound pretty intense to the uninitiated (as my husband and son can tell you!) so I can forgive that. It's a nice little step in normalizing birth, and I'm happy that TLC has treated it so respectfully without fear-mongering of any sort.

Darnit now I want to give birth again. But I really don't want a baby again. LOL. Man I really need to get my doula groove on here soon. I've still never been to a birth other than my own two! Well, whenever I am able to find the childcare and such, I know there will still be women having babies. :)

Small bit of news on the homefront, after a total meltdown day I got my butt in gear and found an ENT with more availability and switched Dori's referral (Shanna totally gets all the credit for this, I was content to moan about in self-pity all day) so we should be seen by the end of next week. THANK GOD. There IS light at the end of this tunnel, and I really want to have this all sorted before we head to SC so I can just enjoy my visit. I am so darned happy, you have no idea. Dori has been trying to cheer me up all day, wanting cuddles so he can get all in my face and be indescribably adorable. My little sweety patoots.
I mean, how can you whinge about with this three inches from your face coating you with drool?

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Parenting? I'm working on it.

I found out some good news today, and it reassured me in many ways. It seems a known problem caused by tongue tie is sleep depravation for the baby and their primary caregiver. Those of you that follow me on Facebook know that Dori has struggled with sleep since birth, and especially in the last month and a half, where he has been waking, almost without fail, hourly, night after night. For a while I thought it was comfort nursing. Anthony deployed a month ago, followed by the three of us getting the flu pretty severely, and no sooner was that over then Dori learned to crawl. I exhaustedly put off sleep training, hoping that once things settled things would get better.

And they didn't. Nightly he changed things up, between falling asleep easily at the breast, to wanting to be bounced/held to sleep, to allowing me to pat his back to sleep. I tentatively tried letting him cry, but thankfully gave up on that one quickly. He's a chronic face-scratcher and if left to his own devices would give himself bloody cuts no matter how I manicured his nails. Swaddling averted that, but then he would get hot and super sweaty...overall, there was just no safe way to do it. I strongly suspected he might be nursing for comfort, in which case letting him cry would be completely counter-intuitive. He just wants a snuggle and reassurance.

I am so glad I stuck with my gut on this one, in light of what I've learned. I've concluded that he's probably just hungry. He's eating enough to grow a little and stay healthy, but I think it's still alot of tough work for him, and he doesn't have the mouth muscle to nurse long enough to get a good dose of hind milk. I think he's essentially drinking enough to satisfy himself, and only gaining weight because he gets that one hour cat nap, then has the strength to nurse a little more and continues thus. This is the problem my little brother had as a tongue tied baby, although in his case it was far more severe, he was so tiny after four months and really struggling.

I've been re-evaluating my parenting skills with Ray as well. My patience with him was wearing oh so thin, and he was really exacerbating the problem by being very obstinate, constantly running away from me (usually out into the street/parking lot) when in stores, and in general just being ornery. My techniques with this were not only unsuccessful, they really disturbed me. I noticed when we first got married and got a puppy that I have a bit of a violent streak, and I'm still not sure where it came from, but coupled with my temper...I am so ashamed of the ways I yelled at and spanked that dog (one quick swat, but a smart one), and that I ended up treating my sweet, sweet boy the same way. Every time I would just hate myself and feel so guilty, and swear it would never happen again, and then he would do something and I'd find myself doing it all over again.

So I've really been digging in and examining why I do what I do, and how I can be better. I discovered that what was so enraging to me, was his lack of acknowledgment of my emotions (anger, generally) and that he wasn't equally distressed by the situation. I wanted to yell and scream until he reacted. When he would just go against my wishes without a hint of emotion, without even giving me any visible attitude, it drove me insane. I've begun reading a book called For Your Own Good, and it's a tough read. Tough in that good way, that makes you think, makes you feel. I am not even far enough in to have received any advice on what I should be doing, rather than what I should not (indeed, I'm not even sure the book offers any), but already I am seeing vast changes in myself and my interactions with Ray (and thusly, his interactions with me), and I hope those continue.

For example today, as we got in the car. (This being after I had to cajole and coax and wrestle him a bit to get him dressed.) I put Dori in, and Ray wandered about our yard and near the neighbors yard. He didn't go into the street, which is a plus, though he did pointedly walk along the very edge of the gutter. I called to him that it was time to go, and naturally, he giggled and took off. Before, I would have run after him, yelling, demanding he come back. I would catch him, and roughly sweep him into my arms, scolding him all the way to the car. Depending on if he struggled, I might sit him roughly in his seat and continue talking to him about how he MUST listen to me, as I strapped him in. (God I am so ashamed.)

Today, I just stood by the car. I reminded him that we needed to go, and calmly asked him to come get in the car. He continued running around, and I informed him that I wasn't going to chase him, because it wasn't a game. After a minute or so of him playing by himself while I waited, he shouted "coming!" and ran right to me. Once in the seat he started to struggle, diving to one side to make it impossible for me to buckle him. I found a toy car, and showed it to him. He wanted it immediately, and I held it out of his reach, saying that once he was buckled he could have it. He made a few more futile lunges for it, then settled into his seat and allowed me to buckle him. I gave him the car.

Just in reading bits of this book, and taking the time to understand a little better how my treatment really does affect him, and makes him feel, has done wonders for my patience. Things that before would have me hollering and beyond frustrated, don't phase me. I calmly assess the situation, and act as gently as possible while still getting the same point across, without bullying him and scaring him. I am working on accepting him as he is, strong will and all. I hit a point in Dori's pregnancy when I realized I had not fully allowed myself to love this new baby. That I was afraid I might not like him. And I realized it was silly to worry about, that in a family, you don't LIKE each other all the time. You don't get along hunkey dorey every moment of the day, but you still love each other. I resolved then to love Dori no matter what, and our bond blossomed in that moment. For the first time I really felt connected to that little man.

I am re-finding that connection with Ray. I am going back to the basics, and loving him as is, and spending less time trying to mold him into something he's not. So if you see a little boy with wild blonde hair, running through a store happily shrieking, do not think less of his mama for not howling after him, scolding him up one side and down the other for not listening. I'm just working on working WITH him, on his terms, in ways that are gentle to his vulnerable little self.

(Again, I highly highly recommend this book to everyone with a pulse, current parent of small children, adult children, or having ever been a child themselves.)

(Edit: This is not a judgement on anyones parenting techniques, what works for one will not work for another. It just became clear to me that what I was doing was not working at all, and could be hurting as well, and needed a change.)

Friday, 16 April 2010

For the sake of some clarity

I guess there has been concern over my addition to . I've received some worry and honestly, it annoys me. (Anthony, Shanna, you're off the hook as we already talked a bit and I get where you're coming from and I think you understand what's going on.) I am not in some deep dark place of woe over Ray's birth. And if I was? It's not anyones place to dig me out. Unless of course it's really affecting my quality of life or ability to cope with life. Which it isn't.

It made me feel guilty for posting on the site. It made me feel like I shouldn't feel what I do. And honestly? It was a writing assignment. It's like, four paragraphs. There is no way I can sum up the width and breadth of my feelings on this matter in those many words! I don't think there are enough words in the universe. I took a picture of my scar, sat down and looked at it while considering the questions posed by the site, and the words poured out. It was energizing and a bit cathartic, I had not even realized some of these things were still hiding in there until they came pouring out through my fingertips and my tears.

I think I've felt unconsciously pressured, since my VBAC, to be All Better. But a VBAC is not a bandaid or a magical cure all. Were some things healed? Sure. Some questions were answered. I will admit with a bit of a red face that part of my rush for another child was to get it "right". (There were many other reasons of course, Dori has always been desired on his own merits, and we have always wanted kids somewhat close in age.) But along the way I conquered alot of my demons, learned more about Ray's birth, and in some ways, put it behind me. By the time Dori's birth was imminent, it was about HIS birth, and there was not a thought of somehow fixing Ray's birth, only not repeating the same mistakes, and overall achieving a happier, healthier birth for us all. The VBAC was a great birth, but it was really the pregnancy itself that pushed me to process, to grow, to confront my fears and examine my feelings in real depth.

Since I've been reading, I've been doing alot of thinking. Alot of the other stories have elements of truth for me. It's a many-faceted experience in my minds eye. There you can find women who are triumphant, who have wrung positivity out of negativity, still feel the anguish and relish in the joy of their children. I read them and go "No wait, I feel that too!". And what I wrote, is not true all the time. But it is Truth, if that makes sense. I realized after writing it that it's not entirely factual at this time (I lift my flab and poke at my scar almost every time I go to the bathroom now, but only a year ago I NEVER touched it willingly. My midwives urged me to massage it with oil or lotion and I fearfully heeded their advice) but it once was. These were the words that wanted to be written. They do not speak of the rage, the disappointment, the guilt, the sorrow, the shame, the passion and the purpose in their entirety.

I am not just masochistically digging up difficult feelings. They find me and give me opportunities to heal, mend, and mourn. I try to keep my finger close to the throbbing pulse of the birth-blogging world, and when something jumps out at me that I can lend my voice to, I do so.

I am healed, I am healing, I am changing, I am re-discovering, I am mourning, I am rejoicing, I am determined, I am helpless. There is so much to be done to mend birth in our country, and I will not stop shouting about the good, the bad, and the scarred as long as I live. :)

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Contrast and Compare

Rixa posted about contrasting labor/birth pictures, and I thought I would add my own in as they are very very different! Most notably, she linked to a few posts contrasting the difference in the mothers, after a traumatic birth, versus a victorious birth. Here we go!

Laboring with Ray. I want to say this is on pitocin, but before they broke my water. Things are unpleasant, but not killer at this point. Still? Not pleased being induced, and this is already the second day in. Note the distance between us. (Later on I got closer and clutched onto him, but for most of it it was more like this.)

In the pool with Dori, only a few short hours into active labor, and they have all my attention. But in between, I laughed and chatted and had fun.
This is the first time I held Ray, nearly an hour after his birth. He had been bathed, his eyes filled with goop, and wrapped head to toe. Even though we were both healthy with no complications, we were kept apart for that first hour while I shivered and tried to wiggle my toes and chatted with the less than interested corpsman who was hanging around to make sure I didn't die.
The first time I held Dori, before anyone else. Covered in our birth goo, he didn't get a bath for at least a week! He smelled so amazing. My eyes are closed thanks to me blinking from the flash, but I'm pretty sure that's a bit of a smile. :)

I look tired and stunned. Ray is miles from my face.

Honestly, there is no pic in the immediate postpartum with me looking away from him. I know that I glanced away to see Anthony, and Ray, when they met him, but that was it.

Sleeping, a few hours later. Maybe even the next day. The nurses had found him sleeping on me (supported by the boppy) and me dozing as well and apparently that just would not do.

The only place Dori would settle down to sleep.

Obviously I don't love one boy more than the other. But there is no mistaking how the difference in birth affected our first days together and my feelings about myself. When Ray first came out and gave his first cry, it was ear piercing. Heart wrenching. He just kept shrieking and shrieking, the OB and OR techs could barely speak and be heard over him. In the months that followed, with shots, hunger, gas, colds, circumcision (sadly), he NEVER again cried that way. NEVER.

Dori gave a few quiet little squawks and just started looking around. People say I was brave to do it at home, but I can't fathom being in the hospital and enduring that again. If there was no other way, because of health issues for me or the baby, then I would. But when we're both healthy? HELL. NO. I have experienced birth when it is just that, birth. Without a big fuss and to do, without urgency and drama and poking and prodding and fiddling and adjusting and MANAGING. Birth is not perfect, and inherently there is a level of danger. But there is danger everywhere in life, and babies and mommies can die in the hospital too. It is NEVER a sure thing. There are more studies out all the time reiterating what we have found to be true, that in a low-risk, normal birth, being home is at least as safe as the hospital, and in some cases, safer.

It can still be challenging, difficult and overwhelming, without being traumatic. In the hospital, I was actually treated pretty well. There were only one or two nurses I had any issue with, and they were more annoying than anything else. No one mistreated me. It was a normal, average, common hospital birth. And that, to me, is terrifying, because it was long, excruciating, discouraging, harrowing, and yes, traumatic. (No, I thankfully do not have ptsd, but there are many moms that do) While I loved my baby, and bonded well with him, there was a disconnect. My mind and my body had trouble registering that 1. I was no longer pregnant and 2. This was the same baby that had been inside me nearly 10 months. I gotta say, I never felt that way with Dori. To this day, I have trouble connecting Ray Outside with Ray Inside. With Dori, it was not even a first meeting, it was oh, nice to see you today! This was DEFINITELY the same baby I had been lugging around all summer!

So anyway, I ramble. It's been a while since I posted about this stuff. It's still simmering and cooking in the back of my mind. It's not all consuming, not even really distressing, just something I'm still processing and understanding, drawing strength and self-knowledge from.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


Ok, I don't even know where to start. There has just been soooooo much going on. Oy.

First off, ICAN night. It was fantastic. Finally met an online friend and I think we hit it off pretty well. Really looking forward to hanging with her again once Anthony has departed.

Which leads me to, we're on our two weeks and counting. Or a little less. AHHHH. I don't want him to go. We're doing a lot lot LOOOOOOTTTTT better than we were just a few months ago. Things were really strained and not fun and so much resentment and just YUCK. So happy that we're on a better page. I won't say we're at our best, but we're working towards it. And not a moment too soon, as he's about to leave for half a year.

Boo on that, by the way. Breaks my heart that Dori will be just about to his first birthday when he comes home. (Pray he's at least here for that, this year is 3/3 of Ray's that he's missed)

I will save Ray and Dori post for tomorrow or something.

It's just been a flurry around here as we are late in getting our tax refund (long story) and the heap of things that need doing that come with that, and Anthony preparing to leave and just so much stuff. Big news in the VBAC world this week (and a big month in the birth world in general) with the NIH conference. My head is still swimming. I really need to download the conference and listen for myself. I've been fairly quiet on that front of late, on my VBAC support boards on babycenter. Kind of burned out and overwhelmed, wanting to do more but not really able to at the moment. I know that the one by one advice/support/encouragement does help, I really do. It's just so daunting seeing almost identical posts just file in one after the next after the next. Hopefully in a few months when things have settled I'll have a little more energy to give to these lovely ladies, for now my home life is in need of the majority of it.

I was so going to write more but it's been a busy wonderful energizing but tiring evening, and sleep last night was utter and complete shit. Need sleep. BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIINNNNSSS. (Also, I have to drag my husband to bed --to sleep--, kicking and screaming if I must, after he stayed up till SIX AM playing final fantasy last night. NOT OK! At least, not when he's promised to get up early and finally, fucking finally, finish this paperwork fiasco and get Dori all into the navy system where he should be.)

More soon, I promise! I miss blogging so very much. <3

Sunday, 31 January 2010

We are here we are here we are here!

I've not forgotten this blog just yet! I'd say I've been too busy to write, but with the exception of today that's really not true. Again, I've fallen into the rut of "I should write about this..." and I just haven't.

Still waiting on Dori to be a full person on paper. We have his birth cert, and are currently waiting on his SSC so that we can enter him in DEERS, and thusly TRICARE! My god, what a wonderful day that will be. Hopefully having to go through all this (and having to do all the "cleanup" himself) will help motivate Anthony to be a little more proactive on the paperwork. Hey, girl can dream!

In spite of it all, Dori is still growing. Probably a little less chunky than he would be without the tie, but he's by no means in any danger. :) Things are becoming a tad on the painful side for me, but I think part of that is him moving more fully into teething. He likes to take the random chomp on my nipple. Owwwooooooooo. Not nice!

He is, overall, a really sweet and happy guy. He loooooves attention, but he rewards it so nicely, with happy coos and gurgles, grins and raspberries. Drool is everywhere. I go through 2-3 shirts a day that are just ring-em-out SOAKED, and he goes through more. How babies at this age are not perma-dehydrated is beyond me. I love it though. He is quite the mover and shaker. In quite the rush to be following brother around, this kiddo is not content to just lie around doing nothing. He still wiggles all over on his back, but he's recently added back to tummy rolling (and occasionally tummy to back) to his reportoire. Even more recently, he's enjoying tummy time more. He's reaching for toys, and when he gets them (or, even better, a burp rag) he clutches them to his mouth with both hands, like a little chipmunk, and just starts slathering them in drool and chomping away.

Ray is still only half interested. He's helped with a couple diapers now, and will sometimes show Dori a toy to entertain him, but mostly he just pays enough attention to him not to step on him and that's it. (Honestly, that's enough for me right now lol) He will talk to him though, and lord knows Dori LOVES watching big brother. Grins big whenever he comes near. Ray is going to have a shadow before he knows it!

He (Ray) is still growing his vocabulary by leaps and bounds. Sentences become more intelligible by the day and come each evening he's always tried out 4-5 new words.

I'm discovering the joys of domesticity. Well, more specifically, doing things with my hands that yield lasting results. (Dishes = not fulfilling, sewing something I can use daily = highly fulfilling and FUN) Really enjoying what little sewing I'm able to do. Bought a few things today I've been in need of, and soon I'll be setting to work turning the remainder of an old sweater into 1-2 more diaper covers. (I already made wool longies with the sleeves and they are fantastic) I've also discovered a site with some nifty free diaper patterns to use with scrap cloth around the house (which we have tons of, between worn out bed sheets and Anthony's ridiculous number of black t-shirts). SO excited to get started on that but trying to hold off until I get my rotary cutter in the mail next week. I also turned a receiving blanket into 20 wipes, took about 2 hrs and again, very easy. Latest project (and quickest) was a pair of knee socks into arm warmers, the kind that come to the palm and have a hole for the thumb. I actually did those by hand, though they admittedly required almost no sewing at all.

I'm not sure what the inspiration has been, but I've just been so enjoying the thrifty stuff. I'm yearning for a garden. I should really plant some things in pots when spring gets closer (well I could probably do it now, not like we'll get a freeze here). I'm wanting chickens to have fresh eggs, of all things. And you all know how much I LOVE 1. birds and 2. pets in general. Of course the latter is merely a pipe dream for now, I wouldn't even want chickens in a yard this small. Ideally one day we'd have a little spot of land (say, an acre or two would be more than sufficient) so that we wouldn't have them quite so near the house. Plus by that time the boys will be older and we can make a big homeschooling to do over it all. :)

I think that's it. I'm craving nature. And basics. And things that I did growing up. This neighborhood, this whole area, is just stifling with civilization. I want space. I want trees that weren't planted by human hands to "green up" the place. I want bushes and plants that aren't landscaped. Places I can take the boys where they will actually have a chance at seeing wildlife. Space to run! We're in a cul-de-sac but the whole street is so packed with cars and people come flying in here...I'm free-range but it scares even me. I hate that the only place to take Ray and let him run (nearby) are carefully manicured parks and playgrounds.

Reminds me, I really need to take a trip over to our nearest real park. (Like, with hiking/biking trails) Soon. My soul needs nature. I think maybe that's why I've been craving "weather" too. It's just so pasteurized here, and then on top of it even the weather is insufferably predictable.

In short, California, or at least this part of it, is not for me. Not long term.

Still going to ICAN, and loving it. It feeds my soul, directly, talking with like-minded women about my passion. It's honestly stunning how satisfying it is. I recommend a meeting or two to EVERY woman that gets anywhere near birth, whether it's through her profession or because she's expecting. Whether she's had a c-section or not. Go with your ears and heart open, even if you don't say anything. You won't regret it. (Of course, it's entirely possible that the San Diego ICAN is just the best thing ever. Hehehe)

Work continues for Anthony. Same bullshit different year, week, day, hour. Trying to keep our heads up, that thankfully it won't last forever. Before we know it this ship will be in the past and we'll be on to something new, hopefully better. For now, it's tough. We see him so little, just a few hours a few nights a week, and if we're lucky, one day on the weekend. If we're REALLY lucky, both days. Made all the more difficult because we get so little time, and too soon he'll be in Bahrain again. Until October. 3rd Ray birthday that he'll miss, hoping it'll be the last. He may be home for Dori's first, we shall see. It blows my mind that he'll come back to a one year old. And breaks my heart. But I try not to bring it up, because I know it must be so, so hard for him. I start missing my babies if they take an extra long nap. I can't imagine having to leave for even a week, much less 7 months. :( I know they'll survive, and they'll still have a great relationship with him. My mom was gone so much when I was Ray's age, and look at us now? Still jabbering on the phone for hours every few days. Close as could be. But still, it hurts to see it in the short term and I'm sure she still gets a pang for that time lost with me. (At least if all those claims of drunken, weepy "I miss you!" phone calls are to be believed. Lol)

Alright well that's it for now. We keep on keeping on. Squeezing the joy we can get out of it and surviving the rest. There's alot of joy, truly. I just wish Anthony had the time to get more of it. Four years, almost exactly, to being FREE! (Of course we'll be off this atrocious ship before then, thank GOD. I hope it sinks. With no one aboard, naturally.)

Thursday, 31 December 2009

Still kickin!

I need to write more. Truly. There is so much going on, and I'm constantly thinking "I should write about this, or I'll forget it" and then it just never happens. So there's one thing I want to do different this year, blog again! I really sputtered into silence the last half of this year. It has been overwhelming, but these days I'm getting a little more time on my hands. And I don't want Dori to go entirely undocumented. :)

But for now I won't bug you too much with baby woes, suffice it to say that things go as well as can be expected with a 2.5 month old and a 2.5 year old. He's really pretty darn good with sleeping now, nursing is going swimmingly in spite of an ever-tightening tongue tie in need of clipping. (And there's a whole huge hassle in between the lines of that that I don't feel like rehashing)

Marriage has been rockier than ever, but we're working on it. Bullheadedness and "I have it HARDER!" has abounded and rebounded and just been fucking everywhere. We've been butting heads on the same issue for weeks, but I think tonight we finally made some progress, or at least found our next course of action. If you can't get in through the door, try the window, and if that's locked too try another window, kind of thing.

So what, you ask, may have helped still this marital squabble? Hopefully, some time to myself. Anthony has WoW, and I just don't jive that way these days. I can't take 3+ solid hours 3 days a week, and certainly not when he's doing the same thing at the same time! Which is fine with me. I'd really prefer something more productive and less Nand. Holy mother of god, less woman-hating mother effing NAND. He fears me, and for good reason. If I could kill him with MIND BULLETS he would be a bloody splatter.

Anyhow, I want to run. (Just had another epiphany, I want to HIKE. This is even better, although will not occur as frequently. I have been dying to camp and get outdoors, but at least, this I could do. YES.) But yes, I want to get back in shape. I meant to after Ray, and it didn't happen. Now I'm chasing two and I feel it, and holy crap guys, I'm 23. I should not be grunting and heaving and clutching furniture to pull my ass off the floor, especially when I just dropped 30 lbs in the last two months. (The first 20 disappeared in the first two weeks. Holy metabolism, batman) I'd like to do the occasional 5k or join some of my family at a half marathon. Maybe next year (2011) on that last.

I also am really enjoying my sewing machine, but finding time with both boys asleep is REALLY difficult. Like many babies this age, Dori is often awake until 10 or 11pm or later, and once he's finally down that means I need to sleep also. So we're going to move the sewing desk up to his (as yet unused) room. A few days a week, when Anthony gets home from work, I will either go for a run or spend an hour sewing, uninterrupted and away from small children. He gets his WoW time, which helps him relax and unwind and is something fun for him. And I get some fun stuff too. (Our previous arrangement was that on raid nights he would make dinner and do some other helpful things like dishes or straightening the living room. This started chafing though, I'm not keeping a damn chore chart here people. There are no WoW stars to earn. I refuse to ever tell him that he cannot play, because that is not my place. We are equals, I am not his fucking mother. I don't want to have authority over him, and I know he doesn't want to come home to more marching orders. Further, if he helps I want him to help because he actually wants to help ME or is just plain taking initiative to get shit done. Either is cool with me.)

It was a long tense night before we discussed this, and the solution (at least the start of it) didn't hit me till I was nursing Dori to sleep. While I still would like him to occasionally decide to skip a raid night because we have other craziness going on, I think alot of my issue was jealousy. "What entitles him to this activity irrevocably when I get diddly?" So there. Now I get something too.

We also talked about other stuff, but I prefer not to spread that around the internet so much. Time will tell how it may or may not improve.

Leaving tomorrow for Sacramento to see brother in law and his wife and kiddles. Bio-Dad-in-law will be there too, which is AWESOME. :) It'll be the first time he's with both his boys since they were kids, and the first time he'll have all his grandkids there too! Plus he's just plain fun to be around. I like spending enjoyable time with good family. Will be a much needed escape for us I think.

Well I think that's it for tonight. I'm done with survival mode. It's fine for a short period of time, but I need to LIVE. I've been harping on Anthony for choosing WoW while life passes us by, but I've been doing no better.

I really didn't mean to be all resolutiony tonight lol but I guess it just happens sometimes.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Dorian's birth

Well it will probably take a few days to get this finished, but I'm finally starting on Dori's birth story. :)

I don't even know where to begin? Things so smoothly moved along that it's hard to call any point a starting point. A week before I started labor I lost my mucus plug. I'd been downing red raspberry leaf tea and doing evening primrose oil nightly for a few weeks. I was gently getting to know my cervix during that time, and was so pleased when I started to feel changes down there. The mucus plug and then the bloody show the following night really excited me, not because it meant labor was terribly close but because I had never had signs like these with Ray.

I battled a few days between anxiety over when things would start, and how much I was doing (and not doing) to help things along. My body gave me gentle reminders, on days when I was not very active I would have the most show and practice labor, the following day if all was quiet and I tried taking walks and upping my activity things stayed quiet. After a few days fighting my brain and reminding myself that labor would come with NO HELP from me, I settled down and relaxed. If my body didn't seem to be getting "busy", I would take it as a day of rest and relax.

As the week progressed I continued having show, and noting my cervix feeling more and more open. He was still spinning, changing positions and figuring out where he wanted to be for the big show. I did pretty well not getting impatient, being thankful that every cm gained quietly was less time to spend on the hard stuff.

Oct 13th I had my 40 week midwife appointment. Everything was normal, I was still measuring quite small at 35cm. I refused a cervix check, being satisfied with my own findings for the time being. (Of course La Shel was not pushy at all, simply offered as a matter of course) After that my mom, Ray and I headed up to a baby supply store up in Vista that I knew had cloth diapers. I wanted to paw over some in real life so I had a better idea of what I was looking at online. On the drive home I had a couple contractions but nothing terribly noteworthy. Had some lunch at home and then I headed out for a nice long walk. Came home and had a good nap. The contractions continued that evening, and my mom and I went for another walk and enjoyed the halloween decorations going up all over the neighborhood.

Shanna called and asked that if anything was progressing at all she be notified, as she was planning on driving to Long Beach in the morning and had a strong feeling if she went she'd only have to turn right around and drive down to us. I slept fitfully that night, waking up to 2-3 painful contractions an hour. I got up for a bit at 3am as I was pretty uncomfortable in bed, and after a bit of milling about called Shanna wondering when she might prefer to leave to avoid traffic, and promising to keep her updated. I went back to bed, but again sleep was pretty crappy past the first hour. In the morning Anthony headed to work, and I went ahead and asked Shanna to come down and join us. I knew it wasn't moving fast, but I felt like it was moving.

We enjoyed a fairly quiet day, the contractions staying roughly 10 minutes apart for most of the day and nothing I could not easily breathe through. Could still talk and walk with them, although it was not preferred! I took a walk with Shanna in the afternoon, and then retreated upstairs for a shower and a nap as I was feeling a bit like a watched pot with all the family here and not too much action to report. Again I got about an hour of sleep before contractions returned. After dinner I went for another walk with my mom, and then we settled in for some TV and mostly girl talk. I continued having slightly more intense contractions and we went to bed well after midnight. Again, I got an hour or two of decent sleep before being in bed was just unbearable.

I came down and wandered in the dark a bit, as Shanna was asleep on the couch. After a while I woke her, wanting to clear out some of the bigger toys in preparation for the birth pool/air mattress being set up in the living room. Unsure of what to do with myself (I definitely wasn't ready to drag people out of bed and set the pool up) I headed up to shower again. I decided I may as well make a last attempt at sleep. I saw Anthony off to work after showering, and then laid down. This time I only lasted about an hour and a half laying down (switching sides after each contraction because it seemed to put an extra 10-15 mins in between them if I didn't stay in one position too long) before they just got too uncomfortable in bed. I would rub furiously at my lower back trying to give myself some counterpressure and moan a bit, not fun at all. So up I got.

Anthony had scheduled his leave to begin at the end of the workday on the 15th, and figuring he'd be out of work the next two weeks any way and there would be no other false alarms (if this ended up one), so I went ahead and called him home around 9am. He had joked about how he was so excited about this drive home, because he planned on speeding recklessly and using the "my wife is having a baby!" excuse on any cops if he got stopped. I pointed out that around here that may not go over so well, as we have alot of military and mexicans and what do we do but have babies? *laugh* And you know, I wanted my children to still have a father post-birth. He kept it to a meandering 100mph. (Or so he claims...)

I called La Shel after that and let her know things were progressing. I had a good contraction for her on the phone, in case there was any doubt left in me if this was "it" or not. We were planning on setting up the pool in the next hour or two and she asked that I call her back then, unless I felt I wanted them there sooner.

As we ticked down to about 5 minutes between contractions I hopped in the pool. (This being around 11am the morning of the 15th) I was still handling things rather well, they definitely got my attention but I was still alright on my own for the next hour, ooooooo'ing and ohhhhhh'ing and ahhhhh'ing my way through, swaying my hips or thrusting them. Each one seemed to have 5-6 short peaks rather than one big one, a bit of a pulsing sensation. I thought of laboring with Ray, just barely into active labor and having minute long pit contractions with about 15-20 seconds of lesser pain, but not NO pain in between, and being told that I just "have a fast contraction pattern". My ass! Here I was well into labor and still having a few minutes of peace between each one, able to relax, talk, laugh, and just feel pretty darn normal.

I checked myself at some point in the pool and felt Dori's head just beneath a gooshy layer of amniotic sac. It was very cool, and so encouraging. Around 12:30-1pm I had my mom call the midwives, as the time between contractions was shortening to 2-3 minutes and I was needing to clutch onto someone in the midst of them. Shanna, Anthony, my mom all took turns. I think this is around the time I asked that Ray be put to bed for his nap.

La Shel and Jamin arrived at 1:30pm, and things went pretty quick from there. I was pretty vocal with each contraction at this point. La Shel checked me in the pool and found I was a stretchy 7cm. Not sure of the station but lord knows the child was DOWN there. I was also getting a liiiittle bit pushy at this point. The midwives wanted me out of the pool for a bit to get fresh water put in and because they prefer moms not stay in the water too long (and had told me this before the birth although I can't remember when, but I'm sure they did) as things progressed a bit faster being mobile. So out I went and I was not too thrilled by it, but I had also thought I was a little further into transition and so moving things along a little sounded good too. I said I wanted to try sitting on the toilet so we slooowly made our way to the bathroom, me clutching onto Shanna's back and having 2-3 contractions just to get the ten steps there.

Anthony came into the bathroom briefly to see what was up, and Shanna tried to step away and let him have some time with me but I knew he was starting to get a little distressed by my noise and all the commotion. Just as she stepped out a contraction started I all but pushed him away and managed to say, "No, Shanna!" and made a grab for her. So she came back and Anthony took off to grab Ray, who was wakened by all the yelling I'm sure. (If he'd even slept at all, I don't know how long he was up there.) My "ohhhh"s and "ahhhh"s had become "AHHHHHH"s and "OHHHHHH"s, although I did manage to keep the tone lower (sometimes with suggestion from my support people) to avoid any screaming. I wanted off the toilet so we decided on the birth ball in the hall near the kitchen. It felt pretty good but it became pretty clear I was pushing with contractions here so La Shel asked that I move to the bed quick to get checked before I started pushing in earnest.

Again, this took a couple of contractions, but we made it and found I was complete! Only 20 minutes after the midwives arrived at 7cm. (Which I'd like to think would account for all the bellowing, thank you very much.) At some point in here Anthony had taken Ray for a walk up to the park. He'd tried bringing him downstairs and Ray wanted to come see me, but every time I started yelling he would get scared and hide his face in dads shoulder.

So I digress, they checked me and immediately grabbed an amnio hook and started talking about breaking my water. I closed my legs up quick, able only to say "nooooooo!". Jamin got down in front of me and explained quickly that the bag of water was really bulging and might be making the urge to push stronger at this point. She said also that I could push against the bag quite a while but it may slow down the baby coming. So I agreed and they broke it right away. (I love it, communication, respect of my wishes, it's wonderful stuff and really how hard was that? To explain it to me quickly? For all that I was in labor land I was still able to process her words, make a decision, and even remember it all.)

So the pushing begins! The pool had been emptied but was by no means full again. For a few minutes (entirely to appease my desire to get back in the pool and not in preparation for it actually becoming a reality) my mom continued filling the pool so I could get back in for the birth. I tried hands and knees but kept squatting back with every push, sitting on the babies head is not the best way to get him out! I was not terribly comfortable anyways. So I tried side-lying, and that's what we stuck with. They tried to keep me pushing slowly to avoid tearing too badly, but it was SO hard. I'm a pretty strong pusher anyhow and my body was taking no prisoners, I was pushing whether I wanted to or not and there was no half-assing it. I could either not push (very hard, lots of "blowing out the candle") or push like the dickens. So we went back and forth, go ahead and push, then wait hold it right there wait wait stretch stretch and then relax. Up until the last push or two that birthed him he turtled right back in there between contractions. I thought before hand that having that happen would really really discourage me but in the moment it was kind of a relief.

I was able to look down with a mirror and see his fuzzy head, and feel the squished up patch of skin that was emerging. Just a moment later (and wow, did pushing ever hurt. HOOOOLLLYYYYYY CRAP guys, that burning/stinging SUCKS) and his head was out, it was so cool feeling his shoulders pop down into the heads previous location, and I must say alot more comfortable. Another small push (same contraction) and his shoulders came easy, and La Shel told me to reach down and grab my baby. Some of the sweetest words I have ever heard in my life. So I reached down and grabbed him, although they had to slow me down because his legs were still in there! One last little "umph" and he slid out, and my mom leant a hand as I brought him to my chest. There really are no words for how amazing it was in that moment. I could live there in my head quite happily. :)

He gave a couple little squawks but really didn't cry much at all. The cord was once around his chest, which I know scared my poor Shanna a bit but it wasn't compressed or tight at all. There was ALOT of cord, and the placenta came flying out hot on Dorian's heels. A smaller chunk had seperated from it, and that took a little bit of pushing/coughing to come out, but out it came. The next 20-30 mins I just lay there holding onto my boy. Just a few minutes after the birth Anthony returned from the park with Ray, their timing could not have been more perfect.

(For those wondering Anthony and I both knew and accepted that while he was comfortable with our birth plans, he was not keen on being present as he gets pretty distressed. He ended up being around for almost the whole labor, and he was so supportive and loving and relaxed it was just fantastic. The whole environment was 100% better for him, not just me.)

So at 2:25pm, weighing in at 8lbs 8oz and 21 3/4" long. After 2 days of gentle labor at home, roughly 6-8 hours of that being active labor, and one hour of crazy omg transition/pushing, I gave birth to my baby boy right here in my living room, on an air mattress. As some of you may recall I ended up with two tentatived due dates, one Oct 5th, by a 16 week dating ultrasound and fundal measurement that seemed supportive of that date, and Oct 12th, by last menstrual period. Towards the end of the pregnancy I decided for my sanity to go by the later date of the 12th. Well Dorian was born without a speck of vernix, loooooong fingernails, and very pruny hands and feet. La Shel marked him down as gestating 41 weeks 3 days, which I agree with. I do bake them long, but it was nice not feeling like the days were just dragging on and on, counting and worrying as I got later and later. He came right at the perfect time, when he was ready, with no coaxing at all. :)

Monday, 12 October 2009

My Apology to the Universe

I had one of those awesome awkward moments tonight, when I completely and utterly embarassed myself. Thank you mama, for inadvertently pointing out how hard I fell on my face not so very long ago. (And I mean that honestly, it was something I'd not thought of in a long while or how much I've changed since then.) Barb was witness to my uncomfortable side-stepping and back-tracking as I awkwardly tried to make myself look like a little less of a dumbass, it probably didn't work so well. Lol.

Anyways, enough with being cryptic. At dinner tonight when I mentioned an old friend of mine (and I've mentioned her on here numerous times I'm sad to say, my neighbor in Spain that had her baby a week after we had Ray) that, looking back, I'm surprised stayed friends with us. We were all reasonably close, as couples go, had quite a bit in common as we all liked to play World of Warcraft, weren't really big on the local social scene (lots of bar-hopping), ended up having our first children around the same time. But man, in secret we were so harsh on them. We talked alot of shit, that I'm really not proud of. Compared ourselves to them frequently over all kinds of things, and getting pregnant just made it worse.

I see now that we were starting at such opposite ends of the spectrum just to begin with. On top of being, DUH, totally different people in different circumstances, everything was different from the start. We got pregnant on purpose. They went off birth control, but were surprised. I was super thrilled, she was unsure how to feel at the start, in spite of being my elder by a few years. I had a breezy, chipper first trimester that involved an obscene amount of food consumption and sleep, she could barely keep food down and didn't want to leave the house. And it just went downhill from there. Once I got over my initial fears of learning about birth I started devouring all the information I could get my hands on. She reluctantly borrowed Dr Sears The Birth Book from me much later in the pregnancy, but did end up reading it and feeling a bit better about what was to come.

I never really thought before tonight about how much she's taught me about myself, and oh it has not been pretty. I never really embraced our differences, I stuck my nose up privately and consulted my Bad Mother measuring stick. It really strikes hard when I consider how I held her up to my Bad Birth measuring stick. Her birth was my first chance to use it, and I did. I see now even before I realized I was at all unhappy with my own birth, I was sneering at hers. Back then, by george she'd had it EASY. She'd been induced (gah, "just like me!" again!) and had quickly progressed. By quickly I mean it didn't take two days. She'd gone in for a normal appointment on an empty stomach, was found to have low fluid and rushed off to be induced. After laboring (and starving) all day, she got the same half-assed epidural I did the week before, and before they even had time to fix it (as they had for me) she was pushing. Or rather, the nurse was pushing with her, on the top of her belly. Her little girl was born vaginally but still had a bit of fluid in her lungs. Something happened postpartum with bleeding or the placenta, I'm not sure, but the poor woman was so weak she could scarcely hold her baby until they got home. Little girl spent days hacking up fluid with an IV splinted in her arm.

Before tonight I'd not thought about her birth in, well, a very long time. I wonder now that I ever saw that as easy or better for ANYone. I wonder what awful, callous things I said to her when I was lost in my own confusion and hurt in the following months. I know some of the awful things I thought of her, as I shared them on here and with other friends/family. (Not so much about her birth, I think, but her parenting in general got sized up frequently as we really had no other new parents in our circle of friends to splash our judgement upon)

Please don't take it wrong here, I cannot blame the shitty friendship I offered her on my birth experience, as I know we were doing it long before Ray came into our lives. I'm starting to think it's no wonder they preferred to hang around on base (rather than go explore Spain) with people like us offering our companionship.

To take this in a slightly different direction now, I'm getting a handle on my pride. I don't think I fully understood how darned full of myself I was. (And AM, as long as I'm attempting honesty here) I thought, before my first ICAN meeting a few months ago, that I was doing pretty darn good on my path to recovering emotionally from the birth. At the beginning of this year I had a wake up call on my attitude that lead to me being able to be happy for another woman for her birth. To empathize with her over things not going as she'd planned, even though for ME it would seem like an ideal birth, I could understand that for her it wasn't. That HER experience of it was what mattered, and not my very biased judgement of it.

Then I went to ICAN. And look at me! Look at how well I'm recovering! Look at how at peace I am! I could barely get through a cliffs notes version of Rays story without breaking down. Insert screeching tire sounds here! What was all this emotion still hanging around about? My pride plodded on though, oh it was just being able to talk about it openly. Yes that was it. I'm not still harboring bitterness and negativity, right? His birth brought me to where I am today! I LIKE it here!

Last month I went to the BOLD Red Tent Event (which is fantastic, mind you). I didn't share. I heard stories similar to mine, and not. I laughed, I cried, I fought with myself about whether or not I would share. I knew it would probably be a good idea. I didn't do it. After it was over, I talked to a few ladies I knew, and jokingly said that maybe I'd share at the October event, when I had a story worth sharing.

Worth sharing.

I'm crying even typing it out. Because my god, even with all the negativity, it IS worth sharing, right? But quietly, at that event, my measuring stick came back out, and it was held against myself. I even got into a bit of a spat on facebook recently over this very thing, and didn't even realize it was the very same thing, because I was applying it to myself. We hear so often in birth culture about women educating themselves as though it will cure all birth ills in our society, and that has come around to bite me. Because I felt (and still feel, I suppose) that I really did. Sure, I didn't know everything, but I thought I'd read a whole damn lot. Enough to know that what I agreed to was a Bad Idea. How could I possibly share when I'm still so ashamed of the choices I made?

I talked about it again with Shanna recently, and she told me that maybe I need to forgive myself already. This honestly surprised me, and I see now that it shouldn't have. Another of my ICAN friends mentioned how she believes she needed her first birth to go the way it did so that she could let go the choke hold on control and running the show that she had. I just realized...that's me too. I don't really blame the hospital staff/doctors, for the most part they were very nice, and did the best they could within the scope of what they know to do. It's ME that I hold a flame over. Because I knew SO much, right? But then I wonder if I'd really, truly known better, maybe I wouldn't have made all the same decisions I did.

Can I ever let it go? How do I walk the line between acknowledging the part I played in his birth, and chalking up alot of mistakes to naivete? Where does self-awareness end and overblown pride begin? *laughs* Can those two co-exist at all? Does it make me feel better somehow to grasp at that little dangling string of control, to say that I really had a say in all that went on? To pretend that I was truly given a choice at every turn? Is this some kind of fucked up coping mechanism?

How do I forgive myself? I really, really don't know where to begin. But I'd like to.

Edit: Aha! Entitlement. I think that's alot of what it came down to. I felt that somehow, because I knew more, I was entitled to better. Not to be confused with just being deserving of better to begin with, because we ALL are. Analogy time. One woman spends months and months researching a product she wants to buy. She finally settles on a store online, buys it, and everything goes to hell. The company ships the wrong item, loses her order invoice and won't take a return or refund her money. Another woman buys the same item, minus the research, and has the same issues in receiving it. Because she didn't do all that self-educating, is she more deserving of being screwed over, lied to, or otherwise taken advantage of?


And yes, there are many reasons, GOOD reasons, I agreed to do things the way I did. And I know this, I'm just working on accepting it. Off to bed with me. :)

Saturday, 22 August 2009

On the Road Again

Well, not really the road. More like a figurative road or path. I need to get back to blogging.

I'm a mess. I really am. I don't even know where to start, because there are like ten different places I could start at. I'm lonely. I'm exhausted. I'm frustrated. I want help, but I feel like it has to be an emergency to ask for it. I need a day off. I need to not be the one responsible for a few hours. I need some freaking help. I need attention. Companionship. To feel like I can just be with someone else, an adult, for a few hours, without hassling them.

I need time to pass so I can stop waiting for all these things. All these things I have no control over. Anthony is due home in a few weeks, so they say. We keep looking forward to it, all but counting the days (he's too busy, I can't count anymore) until this mythical day. And's scarcely three weeks off. And he still has no itinerary for the flight home. How much can I believe in this date? (Not much, being the military. I won't believe he's going to be here until I can see him) In the meantime everything gets post-poned. Things I want to do and see, because I just can't.

More things put off for the baby. Not that I begrudge him that. But there are so many things I WANT to do, I NEED to do, and I can't do them until something ELSE happens. And I have no control over that something else either.

I guess that's where I'm floundering. I don't want to be in control of everything. But I'd like to have some say in SOMEthing. I know alot of this is unfixable. I don't know if this is even a cry for help because there's only so much people around here can do for me. Is it me? Am I too afraid to ask? Are they too afraid to offer? When I hear myself asking for their time, I hear desperation. Because I AM desperate. For just a few minutes of time. After being the friend that no one put the effort into for so many years, it's very hard for me to go back on my commitment to NOT be the only one calling and suggesting we hang out and whatnot. What's wrong with me that I always have to be the one to make the effort? (A little less true these days, as I've mentioned I just don't feed into those relationships anymore. If you're not going to make the effort to strike up a conversation or call me sometimes with hopes of spending time together, then I'm not entirely interested.)

Now please don't take me wrong. I'm not trying to place blame anywhere but on me. I have had alot of trouble asking, because I feel like I should be able to give in return, and I don't know if I can right now. Whether it's money or what have you. I can't even see myself doing a kidswap because, well, I don't know anyone local with kids and it scares the hell out of me. I don't know why. It shouldn't, because I'm about to have two to look out for anyway. But then maybe that scares the hell out of me too.

Because even when Anthony does come home, will the fabled help arrive? How many fights will we have because he's expecting a break and family time and I'm expecting...what? HELP. Time to get away. To go see a movie, or get my hair done, or just walk around a store without chasing a toddler (who does NOT want to stand still and look) or listening to said toddler scream and whine because he hates being trapped in a stroller? Time with friends? Will they suddenly make time for me once I don't have to take the tag-along with me everywhere?

One of my biggest that he won't BE home. That it will be Texas all over again. He was working so many hours that it felt like he lived on the ship and came home a few nights a week, for a few hours, to visit. I don't know if I can handle six months of that, and then right when Dori is going mobile, he's gone again. Another summer alone. Another summer of things I can't go and do because chasing two around a water park alone sounds like the total opposite of a good time.

How many times will the cycle repeat? I'm scared to death of what will happen to us and our family, what little intimacy remains, what little friendship, over the next year and a half. I'm weeping even writing that but it's true. The navy is taking us for all we're worth, and I'm not just talking money. My god I would give back the bonus in a heartbeat if we could undo the re-enlistment. I would shoulder back under all that debt we paid off with it. I would give back the two cars and spend more time on the old one, yes the old ratty sentra with no AC, if I could have the next four years of our lives (starting 2011) back. If one more idiot rants at me about how we should stick it out ELEVEN more years (after the next five) for a shitty retirement that we can't even live on I will punch them. In the throat. (This includes you, Mr "We're very well off thanks to retiring, bought a house, I ONLY WORK HERE BAGGING GROCERIES AT AGE 70 FOR MY HEALTH". You can stuff it.)

This is the military divorce rate. It's not cheating spouses and work stress. Those things play part, but they are not at the root of it. It's dragging families halfway across the world every year or three, dumping them in a new place with no friends, family, or outside support, and then sundering that family even further by removing the service member frequently, for long periods of time. And then we're SHOCKED that there are so many broken families in the military? We were not meant to raise children this way. The amount of stress it puts on a family is absolutely staggering. And it's all a slow buildup over time. A pecking, a nudge, a piling on of straws. And you know what happens when you carry too much straw.

(Quick aside: Our marriage is as well as can be expected. We don't have any major issues between us, just an understandable lack of intimacy given our circumstances the past year +. We're nowhere near divorce or any such thing. Truly. We just need some well-earned time together as a family to knit ourselves back together again. Thank god he has a ton of leave saved up.)

Ok, I've had a good cry, calmed down a bit. Feeling pretty drained from writing this out. There's more, but I don't have the strength to type it just now.

Saturday, 8 August 2009


A couple links to some excellent posts made recently on the subject (more or less) of the crabs in a bucket trend seen on many "mommy boards". Jill (of Keyboard Revolutionary) is frustrated by the complaint of many moms that they feel inadequate when faced with the opinions/decisions of others. Joy (of House Fairy) fleshes out another angle that will get you thinking, that perhaps it's because girls don't brag.

Great reads, I hope you enjoy. :)