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The day he was born

Today Wesley turns one. Wow.

I wrote a rough version of his birth story almost immediately after he was born. I kept waiting to clean it or shorten it or something before publishing it. But it’s been a year. So I’m going to share it, long, unpolished and kind of graphic though it is. This is the day I became a mother. This is the day my son was born. It was an amazing day.

Saturday, March 30th, started with me just as frustrated with being pregnant as ever. Still no sign of labor in sight and I was uncomfortable, impatient and generally pissed off. The weather had improved finally so we decided to take a walk around Brookfield Zoo. The nice weather improved my mood immensely. About halfway through the hour and a half or so we were there I went to the restroom and noticed some light pink spotting. I’ve never been so happy to see blood on toilet paper in my life! I tried not to get my hopes up though because there had been other labor “signs” so many times and they never amounted to anything. Plus, I hadn’t felt one contraction all day.

We ended our little date day with dinner at a local Mexican place. It was tasty and there I felt my first “different” contraction. It kind of actually hurt a little and it was much lower. I still blew it off since I was really convinced this kid was never ever going to come out.

We went home, watched some Netflix and around 9pm the contractions started coming every 10-20 minutes. They were definitely uncomfortable. Instead of tightening around the top of my belly like all my other contractions had been before that day I felt it directly in my cervix. It kind of felt like each contraction was prying it open (which I guess it was). At this point I got a little excited but still felt pretty certain I would go to bed and wake up pregnant.

We tried to go to sleep at this point to see if they would stop but they just kept getting more regular and more painful. Lying down during a contraction was torture so I ended up jumping out of bed and pacing through each one. I did not get any sleep but I think Joel dozed between a few of them. At this point I was totally in don’t touch me mode. Joel’s job was timing them but I wouldn’t let him rub my back or anything else.

At this point they were about 5-7 minutes apart and about a minute long. I had started to think this was really it so we took a shower to be sure. Warm water always stopped my contractions before but this time they kept going right through the shower.

It was about 1am and had finally been an hour of Joel’s app was telling us they were averaging 5 1/2 minutes apart. Since my mom and sisters live two hours away we texted them to let them know.

My sisters and mom got to the house around 3am. My contractions were about 4-5 mins apart and I was shaking even though I wasn’t actually cold. Looking back I’m fairly sure it was just nerves and excitement. I could still kind of talk through the contractions but I was way more comfortable closing my eyes and just breathing through them. We called the midwife and let her know what was going on. She thought it was a good idea for us to go into the hospital.

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I wanted one last belly picture so I put a tiny bit of make up on so we could take one and then hit publish on the “going to the hospital” blog posts that had been sitting in our drafts folders for forever. I had a couple contractions during this time and by the time I was ready to take the picture Joel was kind of stressing out. He just wanted to go. Everyone else just kind of chuckled at me about it. I did have the thought that my Bradley instructor would probably say I wasn’t ready to go to the hospital since I was putting on make up and smiling for a picture. All I could think about was the jacuzzi tub that was waiting for me at the hospital though. Plus my mom was worried the shaking might mean I was going into transition already. (Spoiler alert, I wasn’t. Not even close.)

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We got to the hospital at around 4am. The car ride was very unpleasant but my mom rode in the back and petted my head during them so I managed okay.

The nurse checked me and I was nearly 4cm so they admitted me. Of course I had been 3cm since they checked me a week and a half ago so I wasn’t very encouraged by that. I had to lie in the bed for about 30 minutes so they could get a baseline on my contractions and his heart rate. Awful. Worst pain ever. And then my blood pressure was high so I had to lie down for even longer until they could get it down somehow. I’m sure the extra pain from lying down in bed did not help my contractions any. My sister gave me her sleep mask and I tried to just zone through the contractions. This became a theme throughout my whole labor, I just wanted my eyes closed the whole time. Partially so I could focus and partially because I was so. freaking. tired.

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The nurse could tell how miserable being in bed made me so she had me lie on my side to see if that would get my blood pressure down to an acceptable level. I also got up to use the restroom because dealing with a contraction while fighting the urge to pee is not even a little fun. They had someone come in and draw blood to check for preeclampsia (those labs came back fine). Thankfully the side lying “cheat” plus emptying my bladder worked and I got a couple decent readings on my blood pressure. The nurse made sure to let me know it was kind of a cheat doing it that way but she was really trying to get me out of the bed and in the tub so I could be more comfortable. Bless that woman.

The minute she told me I could get up I shot out of that devil bed. They filled the tub while I paced around the room and changed into the bikini top I bought specifically for the birth. Yes, I bought just a bikini top for the occasion. Doesn’t everybody do that? I got into that giant jacuzzi tub and was in heaven. It felt so freaking good. I was a little worried that it was too early to get in the tub since I was only 4cm and that my contractions would space out but they actually got closer together when I was in there. When a contraction would hit I would sway my hips in the water and it really helped me manage things.

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Joel tried to put some music on at this point but the jets were so loud that it really just sounded like noise and it started to bug me. I had him turn it off “for now” but we never ended up turning it back on again. I guess I’m just not a music person when I’m in pain.

After awhile in the tub I was really getting tired. I’m not sure how long I was in the tub but I know the sun rose and then some while my contractions got harder and closer together in there. I was just a little too short for the tub. I had to really hold myself up by pointing my toes against the far end of the tub and I could never fully relax between contractions. Eventually my legs started cramping up so I decided to get out of the tub.

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I paced around for awhile and did the labor dance with Joel for contractions. By this point I was so sleepy I was having a hard time. I just wanted to lie down and sleep but I couldn’t handle the pain of the contractions lying down. I ended up sitting on the exercise ball next to the bed with pillows propped up underneath my head so I could doze between contractions. I still had to stand up for each contraction but it wasn’t too bad to just stand up from the ball and lean over the bed for each one.

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In this time I really slept between contractions. I know at one point they were getting so intense I had a hard time distinguishing reality from the semi dream state I went into between contractions. For a little while I was so tired and in pain I almost felt like I was drugged or was hallucinating. I asked Joel if I said anything strange and he couldn’t remember specifically but he said I did say a few things that made everyone kind of look at each other and say huh? According to him it was nothing embarrassing though. So win?

One of the weirdest things about me in labor was that I was so freaking polite. I apologized for bleeding on things, said please and thank you for water sips all the time. I’d finish a contraction and ask other people if they were okay. I did not expect that about myself. Extreme pain and exhaustion makes me nice. Who’d a thought?

Things on the ball got really intense. I wanted to get back in the tub but I couldn’t stand the thought of lying down so I opted to try being in the shower for awhile. Joel held the shower head on my lower back and that felt so good. I did look down and notice he was still wearing his street shoes. In the shower. I came out of a contraction, realized he was fully clothed in the shower, kicked him out and let my mom take over since she was barefoot.

After awhile I was too tired to stand in the shower between contractions anymore so I went back to the ball. The contractions started coming almost every minute and a half to two minutes. A couple times while I was on the ball my midwife came in and asked if I wanted to be checked but I turned her down. I wasn’t feeling any urge to push so I knew I wasn’t at 10 and if she told me I hadn’t progressed much I would lose it. She was so amazing and was fine with it. She made sure to tell me there was no rush and I was doing a great job.

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My midwife wasn’t there the entire time but she did come in and out of the room a lot and stayed to talk me through contractions for long stretches of time. We got a really great routine going with my mom, Joel and my midwife. Joel would time the contractions which is something we learned in Bradley. Since my contractions were consistently about a minute long he would tell me when I was halfway done and then when there was only 10 seconds or so left. I honestly think that helped me mentally get through the contractions more than anything else. I just kept repeating to myself that I could do anything for one minute.

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My mom would run her fingers on my hips and stomach. She tried rubbing my back a few times but that never felt good. The lights running of her fingers on me though helped me to focus my energy on exactly where I needed to relax. Then my midwife would talk me through the relaxation out loud. She is super sweet and soft spoken which turned out to be exactly what I needed at the time. Between the three of them I was able to really allow myself to give into the contractions and relax the baby down.

I finally allowed the midwife to check me. I thought sitting on the bed would be torture but it was surprisingly less intense. This may be because I was actually standing up from the ball as a contraction would hit and that hurt. Plus, I was doing a semi squat position next to the bed and I think that really was moving him down. I about cried from happiness when she told me I was at 7-8cm, fully effaced and baby was at -2. Up to that point my water had sprung a leak but hadn’t fully broken so she broke my water bag all the way and saw there was slight meconium.

Mentally I was in a pretty bad place at this point. I could only focus on how ridiculously tired I was. I just wanted to take a nap. Plus I was suddenly terrified of actually pushing. As well as I was dealing with the contractions, the unknown of the pain of pushing was suddenly overwhelming to me. I told my mom how scared I was. I didn’t want to push. This baby had taken so long to get here. Between my loss a year earlier and him being overdue he just didn’t feel real to me. She encouraged me but I know I was still holding back the process mentally. Somehow my body knew I wasn’t in a good place mentally to start pushing and my contractions actually spaced out quite a bit. Apparently augmenting my labor was mentioned at this point because I had “stalled.” My support team was great though and I never heard a word of that until months later. I was able to sleep for the 15-20 minutes between several contractions. I’m amazed that my body seemed to know exactly what I needed. I was in a much better mental place after a got a few of those naps and my labor picked right back up on its own.

They eventually talked me into getting up on my hands and knees on the bed and the contractions picked back up frequency and intensity. I started feeling kind of pushy and would sometimes grunt/involuntarily push about halfway through a contraction. The nurse checked me but said I still had a cervical lip so I couldn’t push. It was really hard to relax through the contractions but also fight the urge to push. Often as not I would end up pushing a bit towards the end no matter how hard I tried to fight it.

At this point I was like oh my god what have I done? Why am I not numb from my eyeballs down? I asked if it was too late for an epidural knowing full well it was. At least I waited until it was too late to get it before I mentioned it, right?

My midwife came in and had me push a little to see if I could get him over the cervical lip. After a couple pushes she checked me again and the lip was still there so she had me change to sitting up with my knees up to see if the lip was positional.

It was positional and after not too long I got his head over the lip and started the pushing phase for real. I was still really nervous to push but my body started taking over at the end of each push and I was getting some effective movement. I asked if I’d have to be pushing for long and they kind of chuckled. Someone said if they could know things like that they could win the lottery.

I pushed for what felt like forever. In reality the whole phase was only about 40 minutes. Still, time kind of disappears in those moments. Between pushes I could actually feel his head moving around in the birth canal. Weirdest feeling ever. Finally they told me they could see his head. They told me I could touch it and at first I didn’t want to. Don’t ask me why I didn’t want to, I wasn’t exactly rational in the moment. They did convince me to though and I’m really glad, I think I would have been bummed if I hadn’t touched it. It felt like jello, it was so weird. Joel impressed me and kept watching things happen instead of staying up by my head like he thought he would want. He even touched the head. I guess the Bradley Method classes plus all those YouTube videos I forced him to watch paid off.

I was fighting the pushing a little because of the burn. It kind of felt like my girly bits were going to rip in half. Good times. Luckily my body is smarter than my brain and kept taking over at the end and I couldn’t help but push effectively.

His head was partially out for several pushes. My midwife actually had to have me reposition my legs because he kept crowning when I pushed and then going back in. I reached down for a second time to feel his head sitting partially out and it was really encouraging.

At the very end it burned so badly and I could actually feel myself tearing as he was coming out. Part of me wanted to hold back still but then, in the last three pushes that got his head out, I wanted him out more than I cared how much it burned. I just wanted to be done.

His head came out and she told me not to push and she suctioned him. That was rough because I just wanted it done. Plus my body really wanted to keep pushing. My mom talked me through it though. Finally the next contraction came and I pushed him out. I vividly remember my midwife saying, “One shoulder, the other shoulder” and then sweet relief because he was out.

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She immediately put him on my stomach and I stared at his beautiful face. The adrenaline rush was unbelievable. He was kind of purple and it felt like ages for him to finally cry. In reality it was only a few seconds but the minute he let out his first yell I realized I’d been holding my breath waiting for him to take his first one. I didn’t cry right then, I was too overwhelmed with happiness. I said, “Hi baby” a million times and then “I did it! I love you so much.” As soon as he was on my stomach I felt no pain. It was the most amazing thing in the world to see his face and know he came from me.

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I looked over at Joel and he was crying. I could see a tear running down his nose. I looked at him and said something about how we did it and we have a son. It was so magical. I’ve never been so happy in my life. That moment is forever etched into my mind. The exhaustion and the pain were instantly gone. All I felt was overwhelming love and a sense of accomplishment.

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His cord was kind of short so the midwife had to keep telling me not to tug on it. I’m sure it’s my fault that my baby has an outie belly button. I just wanted to kiss him a million times and soak in his smell.

Once it stopped pulsing Joel cut the cord and I got to hold him for awhile longer. Wesley kept coughing and sputtering though so they took him away to suction him out in case he inhaled meconium. They did weight and footprints and all that at that point too.

Joel followed him over there while I got stitched up. I had a second degree tear that needed a few stitches. I also delivered the placenta. The midwife asked if I was saving it and I said no but I did want to see it. I’m a weirdo but I wanted to see the thing that made me miserable for 9 months. She was very cool about it and showed it to me and explained what I was looking at.

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I finally got Wesley back and he nursed for 20 minutes on one side and 30 on the other. It was another magical moment. He was a complete natural. The moment he latched on was when I finally teared up.

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It was like a dream how wonderful that first breastfeeding experience was. I expected it to be painful but it wasn’t at all, it was practically pleasurable.

The hospital stay was marvelous. All the nurses were so kind and supportive. Someone came in and gave me a post-natal massage. A photographer came in and took gorgeous pictures of Wesley when he was less than 24 hours old. The food wasn’t even too bad. They made a fantastic apple pie which I may or may not have ordered with every lunch and dinner meal. Ahem. They took Wesley to the nursery a few times and Joel went with him every time. It honestly felt more like a stay at the spa than a hospital. It was the perfect wrap up to a wonderful birth.

I’m so pleased with every aspect of my birth. I had the perfect support team. Even my midwife mentioned how it was so beautiful to see my support team made up of the women in my life who had given birth before me leading me into motherhood. It was so special that my mom and two of my sisters could be there. They were great support and they took the most amazing pictures and video. Of the four care providers in the practice the midwife who attended my birth was the one we saw the least during the pregnancy. She ended being exactly what I needed though.

And then of course there was Joel. His support was absolutely essential. I never let him leave my side. Poor guy only got to pee once and didn’t get to eat anything the whole time because every time he tried to sneak away to take care of himself I called him back. I needed him and he was amazing. He never breathed a word of complaint. In fact, I didn’t even realize he didn’t get to eat or sit down or anything. He was nothing but positive, supportive and encouraging.

It was the birth of my dreams. Everything just went so well. Even better though was I got this wonderful tiny person out of it. He is better than I ever dreamed.

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—-

And now it’s a year later. Motherhood has been everything and nothing that I expected. I wouldn’t trade this kid for anything in the whole world… most days. I know it’s cliche but I really can’t believe how fast it went. I’m so glad I get to be home and watch this little human grow up.  He is the best. As long as he is in my future things look very bright indeed.

41 weeks 3 days

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Dear Son,

Today you have been out in the world as long as you were in me. When we were waiting for you to arrive 41 weeks 3 days felt like an eternity. Especially the last 10 days. Honestly I had hoped you’d show up on the 17th which was a few days before your due date. You had your own ideas though and showed up exactly when you felt like it. Looking back over the last nine and a half months though I’m not surprised. You do what you want. Sometimes that is incredibly frustrating and I wonder if I’ve already ruined you.

You’re so stubborn. I have know idea where you get it. Ahem.

My silly hopes that you would be early made you being late seem that much longer. Weeks, months, years even, passed every day you were “overdue.” And yet somehow, as we step into you being out longer than you were in, I can’t believe how fast the time has gone.

My pregnancy with you was not easy. I did love feeling you wiggle and squirm inside of me though. There are not many parts of pregnancy I miss, but I do miss that a lot.

Your birth on the other hand totally made up for it. I know I haven’t shared your birth story with the world yet. I have it written down in a rough form but so far I’ve kept it just ours. It was such a beautiful day that putting it into words almost cheapens it. I will share it when I feel the time is right. It needs to be shared. People need to hear the beautiful stories as well as the dramatic ones.

Being your mother is something I love way more than I thought I would. Watching you learn and grow every day amazes me. You are a force to be reckoned with. Your smile is still the best thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ve seen several wonders of the world and none of them compare to the wonder and beauty of your smile.

In a strange way I feel like I’m losing a small part of you with this milestone. Like we’re just slightly less connected than we were yesterday. Every day you take another step away from being snug and safe in my uterus and towards independence. I know that’s the goal and I mostly celebrate it. Still, there’s a part of me that’s sad and I hope that’s okay.

Thankfully you’re quite the snuggle bug. You still hate to be put down almost always so I don’t have to worry about you rushing off to college just yet. Don’t rush it, Mister Dude. You are still very much my baby and I’ll be happy to keep it that way for quite awhile longer.

“Bigger than average”

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We had a biophysical profile ultrasound today. Fluids are good, blood flow is good and he is head down and in an anterior position. Yay.

The tech started the ultrasound by saying, “Oh wow, you don’t have much fluid in there.” and of course my stomach dropped out of my body. Then she poked around and, ya know, actually measured the fluid while I tried not to cry or panic. She then said there was a lot more fluid in there than she thought.

So thanks for the heart attack. Jerk.

Wesley was super stubborn and despite making my stomach jump and bounce all over the place in the waiting room he decided to take a snooze during the actual ultrasound. One of the things they have to look at is movement so she was poking him and shaking him and he would. not. move. I finally asked Joel to talk to him and sure enough, he kicked a few times. Baby boy loves his daddy’s voice.

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One thing he would not do was move was his hand away from his face though. So we got a little glimpse of his nose and mouth but that’s it. Every single ultrasound his hands have been up by his head. It’s kind of adorable but I really hope he moves those little hands for the delivery because, no matter how tiny his hands are, I don’t want them to try to fit through me with his head. Ugh.

Also, they estimate he’s 8lbs 2oz. In the words of the doctor he’s “a little bigger than average.”

And yeah, I know the measurements are not generally all that accurate but I’m still kind of freaking my freak over here. Because the measurements can be wrong the other way too. As in, he might be bigger than 8lbs. And he is not coming out yet. And he’s just getting bigger every minute he stays in me.

Excuse me while I faint.

It’s probably a good thing for my sanity that I go to such a laid back OB/midwife practice. Seriously, one visit to a high risk office where they tell me “He’s going to come out all dried out and wrinkled” and, when I tell them I haven’t been contracting much and the ones I have aren’t really uncomfortable, they say “well that’s not going to do anything at all” and it spirals me into an emotional hole.

Yesterday I was all zen. Today I spent most of the day ugly crying and terrified of pushing out a giant baby with a nuchal hand. It was not pretty.

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I had a bit of an epiphany earlier this evening and realized why all the advice for starting labor was getting to me so much. I know that the people who give it are trying to be nice and helpful. I’m definitely not mad at anyone for trying to help. It’s just, when people say “try x or y” it makes me feel like I’m not doing enough to get this baby out. Like, if I would have drank more tea or taken more supplements or walked further or had more sex or… or… or… he’d be here already. If I could just find the thing to do or do the thing enough I’d be holding my baby. Every moment I spend lying on the couch feels like I’m failing, even if the reason I’m lying down is because I feel like my pelvis is going to rip in half if I take one more step.

You would think that hearing that my baby is healthy and there are no issues would put me in a great mood. And yet somehow I left that appointment feeling completely terrified, defeated and like a failure. I’m really thankful for my friends on Facebook because they helped talk me down from my hysterics. I’m also thankful for my husband because he really does his best to stay calm and take my roller coaster of emotions in stride.

I know it’s not my fault he’s not here yet. Now if only I could get what I know and what I feel to match.

39 Weeks

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This is my last weekly update before my due date.

Wait, what now?

Could be my last weekly update period if this kid decides to follow in his mom and dad’s footsteps and be born on a 17th. I’ve been discussing it with Wesley and telling him Sunday is his birthday so he better not miss it. St. Patrick’s Day would be a pretty freaking cool birthday. Plus, my favorite midwife is on call this weekend. Not that I mind who catches him that much, we’ve just seen her the most so it would be cool to have her at the birth.

It’s fine if he picks another birthday. I mean obviously.

I would prefer it be sooner rather than later. But also it would be nice if he waits until at least after this weekend because Joel has his dad-chelor party tomorrow. It’s also my nephew’s birthday Saturday and it would be really cool if my little guy could have his own day. Not to mention my nephew would probably be pretty bummed if everyone got pulled away from his party because I was in labor.

So basically I have a lot of opinions about when he comes. Which means he will likely come exactly when I don’t want him to.

Such is life.

We had another uneventful appointment yesterday where Joel captured this,

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which has to be one of my favorite shots of all time. I will never get sick of hearing Wesley’s beautiful healthy heartbeat.

She didn’t check me for dilation again and I’m totally fine with that. If I’m not dilated at all I’ll just be bummed and if I am it could give me a false sense of when things might start happening. There is a tiny bit of me that is curious but not enough to request a check. She didn’t mention if I would get checked at my next appointment (which is on my due date, eek!).

Other than the good appointment, yesterday was a tough day. I woke up, took a shower and promptly puked my guts out. It was a nice little flashback into the first trimester. I remained horrendously nauseated all day, to the point where I couldn’t pull it together enough to go to dance. That was really upsetting, especially since my studio is now on break for the next two weeks. So I guess my pregnant dancing days are over. Sigh.

So now it’s just a waiting game. Joel is incredibly jumpy, which I find completely adorable. I find myself feeling like I need to cling to every second. Every lazy moment, every cuddle with Joel, every moment of sleep. We went to the movies. They asked if we wanted to sign up for a rewards card and we just kind of laughed because who knows when we might be back.

Every wiggle and kick feels extra precious because I know I don’t get to feel them much longer. Of course I can’t wait to nibble on the delicious little toes and knees that have been making my belly dance but I’ll miss feeling him go crazy after I have a Coke or milkshake. I will not miss the nausea or the food aversions or feeling like my pelvis is trying to split in half every time I move, but the kicks? Those I will miss, even the hard ones to the ribs.

One year later

Last March was the worst month of my life.

The whole month of February was spent in blissful naiveté. Then March 1st it felt like my world fell apart.

I feel the sting in little reminders. Like yesterday, I went to get a prenatal massage and in filling out the form I had a tiny little punch to the gut.

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Then I had to talk about it to the massage therapist. She was chatty.

I also keep thinking about that first ultrasound. There was nothing to see except my empty uterus and yet I cannot stop thinking about the picture that automatically printed. My mind replays my doctor ripping it off the machine, crumpling it up and throwing it in the trash over and over. I didn’t ask for it. I wish I had although I don’t know why exactly. There are many moments that replay from that day but that one stands out the most. Such a stupid little thing.

After that ultrasound we spent 12 days in torturous limbo and then I took what little control I could of the whole horrible situation and opted to have a D&C.

That was one year ago today.

For me personally it was the best decision I could have made. As weird as it feels to say it, the actual procedure was a very positive experience. A large part of that was the wonderful hospital staff and the other part was just the fact that I was taking control of a situation that I was completely out of control of otherwise. When it feels like your world is completely spinning out of control any grasp of control can make that spinning feel slightly less overwhelming.

While that day started the healing process, it was a long, hard road to feeling like myself again. Although saying “myself” doesn’t feel quite accurate. I’m not the same person I was before all this happened.

I think that’s a good thing.

It has taken a year’s worth of time to gain perspective because in the moment and aftermath I could not fathom how anything good could come out of losing my first pregnancy.

I know Joel and I are so much closer than we ever were. Tragedies can make or break a relationship. Thankfully it made us. We had several marriage struggles in the years before our first pregnancy. I blame the fact that we were practically babies when we got married. I was only 20 and Joel was just 24. Babies. Somehow we made it through those and then, instead of letting the blinding pain of losing a pregnancy rip us apart, we relied on each other in a much deeper way than we ever did before. I wish I could give more insight into how we did that but I either do not have enough distance from that time or there is no answer. Either way, I have never felt happier with our relationship or more in love with the man I call my husband.

Another good thing that came out of this was my ability to share my experience. I hate that anyone else in the world has to lose a pregnancy. But at least now I can offer my empathy instead of just my sympathy. Everyone’s journey is different but when I was in the middle of my worst pain other people rallied around me and it help me so much. Now I can be one who rallies around others. If sharing my experience helps even one other person that is a positive thing.

I also get my Wesley out of this. Sure, part of me has struggled with the mixed feeling of missing my other almost baby and being happy about this current one. Now that I’m thisclose to holding our Wesley in my arms though I have a hard time imagining I’d change anything. I love the little boy inside of me. My rainbow baby. My little lucky charm. My Wesley. I wouldn’t have him if it weren’t for my other loss.

I’m glad this year is over because it was freaking hard. I will never forget my loss, it has forever changed me. Change is not always bad though and I anticipate beautiful things in my future both in spite and because of my loss. And the change I look forward to the most is my son. You’re welcome any time, little guy.

38 Weeks

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So, I feel like a house, officially.

Even the t-shirts I borrow from Joel are tight across my belly. I forget now whose blog I read it on but they mentioned feeling claustrophobic in their clothes. I get it now. Totally.

I also got a, “WOAH! I’ve seen your belly pictures online… but woah!” from someone I hadn’t seen in person in awhile. So apparently this bump photographs well. Or at least smaller in pictures than I look in person. Either that or I’m never wearing that shirt again. I’ll probably be burning that shirt just to be safe.

Despite feeling huge, I’m actually measuring behind by two weeks now. Midwife said it was probably his position though and isn’t worried about it. He’s lying head down (yay!) with his back across my right side and his feet directly in my left ribs. She also said he doesn’t really have far to move down so my hope for him dropping and getting out of my lungs and ribs were kind of crushed with that one. She told me she expects he’ll be small but long. So maybe the tall genes Joel and I missed will kick in with him?

Speaking of crushed, er mah gah my ribs you guys! I’m starting to be a bit worried he might actually break one. Or get his foot stuck in between the two bottom ones and not be able to get out. Can that happen? I’m really asking. Last night driving home in the car I had to seriously do relaxation most of the way home, not for contractions, but because it felt like he was trying to crowbar my bottom two ribs apart with his feet. He may be small but he is mighty.

As uncomfortable as he acts with all his pushing and wiggling he shows no signs of actually wanting to get more room by becoming an outside baby. I’ve had a few random contractions from being active but other than that, nothing, no signs that my body is even getting ready for labor. I’m not necessarily in a hurry at this point I guess. The exception being when he’s really hurting me with his movements then I’m all GET OUT! It will work out much better for everyone if he stays put another week or so at least though.

Other than the internal beatings this week has been pretty uneventful pregnancy-wise. My dad was taken to the hospital yesterday so that was stressful. They were afraid he was having another stroke but now they’re looking at other possible causes for his symptoms. I hate seeing my dad sick and not mentally all there. He is such a funny, brilliant man that it hurts me to see him be less than himself. I’m hoping these tests that they’re running give us some answers. My dad needs to be all there to meet my little guy. Keep him in your thoughts if you would.

On a side note, you get some fun looks from the people in the ER when you walk in as a giant pregnant lady. I wanted to immediately announce that I was just visiting. Instead I just walked to the elevator and found my dad’s room while sort of giggling to myself about what they were likely thinking.

So that’s it. It’s basically a waiting game from here. I put up a poll on SkyMommy’s Facebook page where you can guess what day he’ll be born. It only allows me to put in 10 options but I left the ability open for you to add your own if you want. If you guess the right date you get bragging rights and a mention on my blog. So, go cast your vote!

Loss

Had to drop by and update so there is no confusion. We lost the pregnancy at about 8 weeks. Not exactly the news I hoped to write on here but it is what it is. I’ve blogged about the whole thing on Skymommy and will continue doing so. If you want to follow my journey that is where it will be and I promise it won’t always be such sad news.

Yet keeps moving

One question I get asked a lot is “When are you going to start having kids?” Is it just me or is that basically asking about my sex life? Like, why don’t you just ask what positions are our favorites? Or what kind of birth control we use. Or how often we do it.

While I wish I had the nerve to come back with “I’m not sure. So how’s your sex life?” I generally say something along the lines of  “We want kids eventually. We’re just not ready. Yet.”

When Joel and I got married we knew we didn’t want kids right away. We wanted time to really get to know each other better. To laze around the house in all states of undress. To go on a weekend trip on a moments notice. Basically we wanted time to be a fun, young married couple. We said we wanted to wait three to five years.

We’ve been married almost four and a half years.

Ho. ly. crap.

I love, love, love kids.  However, if I’m being totally honest I love kids less now than I did in my late teens and early earlier 20’s. Don’t get me wrong. The little kids in my life? Adorable. Love them to death. Can’t imagine my life without them. But there’s always the option to send them to their mother when I don’t want to deal with them.

What will it be like when I’m the mother?

Freaky.

Then there’s the whole sleep issue. When I don’t get enough sleep? Frankly, I’m kind of a bitch. What if I can’t handle the lack of sleep?

What if I don’t like my kid?

I love my freedom. I love having days of doing absolutely nothing at all. Once I’m a mom that’s gone, mostly likely forever.

Am I ready to give that up?

Will I ever be?

Anyway, this is on my mind lately. I definitely want kids. In fact, I kind of want a lot of kids. Now that I’m grown up and close to my siblings I want to give my children the same kind of experience. I’m pretty sure I don’t want 8 like my dad but definitely more than 2.

Actually, I’ve joked that we’ll just keep having kids until we get a bad one. Then we’ll stop.

I’m mostly kidding.

But seriously, I’m scared of having a colicky or difficult baby. Or getting postpartum depression.

I’m really scared that I’ll be a bad mom.

I’m so selfish. Not just sometimes. Most of the time. Growing a baby doesn’t magically change your personality does it?

I mean, even now I get so hurt and frustrated when my mom doesn’t have time for me. I hate not being able to get a hold of her. I’m twenty-freaking-four. Once you’re a mom, you’re always and forever a mom.

I’m just not sure when I’ll ever be ready to go from Me to Mom.

Since we hit that magic we’ve-been-married-for-three-years milestone we keep setting future dates to start trying. When the date comes we get cold feet and push it off further. There’s just so much I want to do.

I want to:

  • run a marathon
  • pay off our credit cards
  • buy a house
  • have some money in savings
  • get sexy pictures taken of me so I remember my awesome pre baby body
  • get in shape enough to where I feel like I have an awesome pre baby body

And ya know, a million other things that always seem to come up. I just don’t know if there will ever be a time that feels like it’s right. I’m afraid if I just keep waiting around to be ready it’s never going to happen.

Someone please tell me how you knew that you were ready. Did you wish you would have waited longer? Not waited as long?

It’s worth it right?

I want to be a young, fun mom. I just keep saying I’m not ready yet. But yet? Just keeps moving.

Change Hearts, Not Laws

pregnantbellyAbortion is a huge issue. It shapes some people’s entire worldview. I personally know people who would not vote for Obama, even though they agreed with a lot of what he stands for, simply because of his pro-choice stance. I remember, growing up, how much I heard about this issue. I was constantly told life begins at conception and therefore it should be any decent human’s goal to overturn Roe v Wade. I happen to agree with the idea that life begins at conception. I think all life is precious and hate the idea of it being lost for any reason including abortion.

There is a problem with simply changing laws though. According to the BBC, a survey done by the Guttmacher Institute found that:

“…abortion occurs at roughly equal rates in regions where it is legal and regions where it is highly restricted.

It did note that improved access to contraception had cut the overall abortion rate over the last decade.

But unsafe abortions, primarily illegal, have remained almost static.”

Also, the New York Times reports:

“A comprehensive global study of abortion has concluded that abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and those where it is not, suggesting that outlawing the procedure does little to deter women seeking it.”

This was based on studies the World Health Organization did together with the Guttmacher Institute.

Is the best answer telling people that they may not have an abortion? It doesn’t seem to be.  If people are desperate enough, they will do just about anything to get an abortion and too often that leads to not only the death of the baby but the mother as well. How is that better?

I believe the focus should be on education and making contraceptives more available and affordable. When I was living in The Netherlands I decided I wanted to go on birth control. I was written a prescription for six months worth of birth control pills, which I had to pay for out of pocket. The cost? Fifteen euros. That’s about twenty US dollars. Anyone can afford that. I just talked to my sister who recently had her birth control prescription filled in California. The cost there? Thirty five US dollars for just one month! Luckily, she has insurance and the cost to her was far less, but there are something like 47 million uninsured Americans. What are they supposed to do? Hope the condom doesn’t break I guess… The Netherlands has the lowest abortion rate in the world. The US has one of the highest. You do the math.

I believe it’s ridiculous to put ideology over life and safety. I was raised in the church and took an abstinence pledge when I was young teenager. For me it worked. I wasn’t some people’s definition of perfect. I had a few boyfriends and let’s just say we definitely did more than hold hands. But I waited to have sex until I married my amazing husband. However, that is not the case with everyone who vows to save it for marriage.

Two of my sisters also took the abstinence pledge. They both got pregnant before they were 16. Abstinence only education doesn’t work. Look at Bristol Palin for God’s sake! The problem comes when parents stick their heads in the sand and refuse to acknowledge that their horny teenager might have sex. They refuse to teach them how to use condoms or take them to the doctor to get birth control because they see that as an ok to go out and do whomever they feel like. It doesn’t surprise me at all that  teen birth rates are highest in most religious states. Accepting the truth and trying to prevent an undesirable outcome isn’t an endorsement, it’s just being realistic.

My sisters were fairly lucky. We’re a very close family and I’m happy to say that no matter what any of us did, said or believed, my parents would still love us and be there for us. But not all pregnant teens are that lucky. Faced with being disowned and living on the streets or getting rid of a child you don’t even know, what would you choose? Even with the great support system my sisters had they still were looked down upon and lost friends. One sister was even asked not to attend her church’s youth group anymore once they found out she was pregnant. The father of her child however, was still welcome to come…

The answer is not changing the law. It’s preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place. It’s also loving those that do get pregnant and helping in practical ways like donating food, clothes and time. It’s making it easier to get babies adopted into loving homes. Laws hardly ever stop someone from doing what they have their mind set on. The only thing that will save babies’ lives is a change of heart.

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