4/29/09

Aaaaalllllll the girls were dancing

Today is International Dance Day.

It is also Zoe's third birthday (but since we celebrated it over a week ago, we mostly celebrated International Dance Day instead).



video
Always start with a saggy butt shot, I say.


(shhhh don't tell anyone but I think I may make it past this day, the last day that I really, really didn't want to give birth.)

4/27/09

Before Leaving California #5: Get a decent pic with the Hollywood sign


DONE.


Griffith Park Observatory, April 26th, 2009
(What's that strange horizontal ridgeline around my belly, you ask? Maternity pants pulled up halfway to my eyeballs.)

4/24/09

Late in the game

Good god, is this huge orb really my belly? All the way out to THERE? Do I have any shirts left that cover it? Is it bigger than last time? Do I have any stretch marks? Hmmmm, I can't see, even with a mirror.

Is Lima Bean moving enough these days? I know I'm supposed to monitor her movement and I can't remember the last time she moved.

She's not moving.

Quick, down some OJ.

There, she's moving.

Is that enough movement? Should I write down how much she's moving??

Can't I just assume everything is okay? I can't handle keeping notes on how much she's moving, I'm too neurotic for that.

Wait, was that a contraction? Everything felt tight, well, TIGHTER, there for a moment. Maybe things are happening. Maybe I should go repack my bag. Or maybe it's not going to happen for another week. Or TWO.

Maybe I need a nap.

-------------

Oh Zoe. I love you so much and looking at these old pictures and movies of you just shakes me to my core. How were you ever that tiny? How were you ever inside my belly, just like this spazzy alien who's trying to carve it's way out through blunt force baby?

How will I ever love another baby like I love you?

How will you ever forgive me for ending your reign as an only child?

How will I juggle TWO little beings who need me so completely?

----------------------

I'm making sure to stay on top of the laundry and my hair removal.

I've washed and folded all the baby clothes.

My backseat is full of nothing but carseats.


My father in law has hung the room darkening shades in the guest room where LB and I will be staying for the first few months until we move to VA.

I'm reviewing the infant sleep books (and made small altars that LB is a good sleeper) and read a bunch about how to help Zoe through this rough time.



My in-laws are here to help UNTIL. Our doula is back from Africa. Our pediatrician is back from Easter vacation. We got through CG's birthday and Zoe's birthday party.

I guess you could say I'm.... what's that word... "ready"?

--------------------

I am selfish. Totally.

I like to read. I like to be alone. I like to exercise and watch cheesy TV and get lost in my own, silent thoughts. As it is now, I am able to do those things sometimes, maybe not as much as I'd like, but still, I manage.

Not working these last few weeks and having Zoe is school has been lovely. Time to craft. Time to read. Time to sleep. Time to nest.

Time to get used to lots of alone time for me before THERE IS NONE.

How will there be any time left for ME once Lima Bean is here?

How will I not lose my mind?

----------------------

Oh Zoe. You are being so difficult these days it breaks my heart a little. Your Nana and Papa are here to help and I know that you associate them with the baby coming and therefore want NOTHING to do with them but they love you and are here for you and GOOD GOD just let them help or at least answer their reasonable, helpful questions when they ask them.

You are fragile and easily upset and your dial seems permanently set to "WHINE", volume "HIGH". We are trying to be patient, to not take it personally, to stay calm and keep our boundaries but your testing of us, and your clinginess to me, is exhausting. We are all crammed into this little house, waiting for the other shoe to drop, all while sharing one bathroom.

This is not made more pleasant by your tantrums.

I wish I knew how to make this easier for you. I wish I knew how to help you feel more secure. I am trying to give you lots of play time with my FULL attention, to cuddle you when you are upset, to talk to you simply and clearly about all the things that are happening. But it seems to make no difference.

Could it be making it worse? Is my guilt seeping in already, spoiling you?

For now, your Daddy and I are just trying to hold the line: you may not whine and get what you want, you still have to follow the rules of the house, and, NO, you may not sleep in our bed.

But- come here. Let me hold you while you calm down. Let's take some deep breaths together.

-------------------

I have presents for you, Zoe. They will be in a basket, one that we pull out when I'm nursing Lima Bean. Hopefully these will help us get through some of the early weeks of long nursing sessions when I won't be as available to you as you're used to.

I will try to include you in as much of her care as I can since you keep talking about how you're going to help change her, burp her, feed her. I promise to let you hold her, even though I will be nervous about it.

I will make sure that I put her down when I can and attend to only you.

I will do my best with this.

I don't know what I'm doing, but I know we'll all get through this together.

4/22/09

What did I do to deserve this?

I spend hours playing, patient, generous, giving all my attention to Zoe with no phone or computer or chore or book close by. I am a calm and willing participant in Little People parades. I lovingly structure how to clean up each toy before moving on to the next one. I give cuddles and sympathetic nods when frustration reigns and enthusiastic responses to the triumphant building of block houses and Lego masterpieces.

At the end, Zoe throws a fit over having to wash her hands before lunch and as she lies on the ground, kicking and crying, I think: what did I do to deserve this?

-------------------

She wakes up from her nap and runs to me, hair curly and moist with sweat, nose running, eyes still half closed. She curls up next to me, head on my big belly and lies still. I stroke her head with one hand as she reaches up to hold my other hand. My big, rough, puffy fingers intertwine with her impossibly smooth, small ones and we stay this way for a long, precious time.

And I think: what did I do to deserve this?

4/20/09

Family portraits

Some of you may remember a few months ago when I was trying to find ways to commemorate this, my last pregnancy. As a start, the craftiness of the last few weeks has felt SO good and so right and so celebratory. And a sweet friend gave me a belly casting kit that I hope to get to in the next week or so.

Also, I am so pleased that we managed to squeeze in a portrait session with an awesome local photographer, Amber Katrina. The day we scheduled it turned out to be a rough day and I was concerned about how the photos would turn out. Zoe hadn't napped at school and was crazy with toddler non-napping spazzitude. CG had had a rough day at work and wasn't feeling super smiley. I had a hard time finding anything to wear (besides my bathrobe) that actually covered my belly and wasn't stained. We all were out of sorts.

But we managed to set that aside for an hour or so and let Amber capture us at this crazy, precious, fleeting moment in time.
Shot from above= NO double chins and belly is smaller in background! BRILLIANT!


We're going to print this one (above) for Lima Bean's room.

Do me a favor and ignore the vein popping out of my forehead, mkay?


These photos are just what I was hoping for. We are not wrapped in gauze or looking perfectly coiffed and posed. We are ourselves, as we truly are, right now. I am so grateful to Amber for her patience and for not running away from, uh, this:



If anyone needs an awesome portrait photographer (for pregnancy or anything else) in the Pasadena area, you know who to call.

4/19/09

Happy (sort of) birthday

Dear Zoe,

Today was not your birthday. Your actual birthday is not for another 2 weeks. But we decided to celebrate today because we wanted to make sure it happened before Lima Bean arrives. Luckily that worked out. I did not squat and drop Lima Bean in the bouncy castle and, though it was 95 degrees of HELL outside, we had a really fun day filled with all your favorite things. Everyone wore orange and yellow, your favorite colors, and enjoyed the lemon cake with orange icing, as per your request. There was a bouncy castle, musician/face painter, helium balloons, bubbles, homemade lemonade (from our lemons), and lots of presents.

I felt a little silly doing all this for a three year old's birthday party. But I don't regret doing any of it for you. That may be due to some guilt over the way your life is about to change, but I thoroughly enjoyed spoiling you today and wouldn't do anything differently.

You waited by the window for your friends to arrive. You wore the dress I made for you and didn't even notice the bumpy seams. Thank you for that.


You helped Daddy blow up the balloons (thank goodness for "head phones".)


You got your arm painted ("NOT ON MY FACE!").

You opened presents after all your guests had gone and your sugar-coma-induced nap was over. (Thank you for not commenting on how I looked a whole lot like a pumpkin in my orange dress. Unlike other people. AHEM.)

I made you wear your birthday crown, even if it was just for a picture.

And for the piece de resistance, you rode around in your present from us: a bike trailer to accompany Daddy on rides. In orange, of course.

In the coming weeks, months, YEARS, you will have to share a lot of things, including my time and attention but HOPEFULLY not an exact birthday (trust me when I tell you that I wish I had control over that.). I think having a sister to share with will be a good thing in the long run. But today was all about you and I think that's as it should be. You may never remember this day but I will always remember it as the last birthday for you, my only child. Soon you will be a big sister and I look forward to getting to know that new incarnation of you as well.

Happy (almost, not really, but let's pretend) birthday. I love you so very much.

love,

your Clueless But Hopeful Mama

4/17/09

Nesting

In my very pregnant state, I am supposed to be nesting. The caricature of a very pregnant woman bustling about her house, doing practical things like washing and folding baby clothes and baking cookies?

Um.

Yeah.

Baby clothes, baby clothes and MORE baby clothes.


If you claim that there are two and a half of CG's birthday cookies missing, I will deny, deny, DENY.


But I also find myself drawn repeatedly to crafty projects. I have started a scrapbook for Lima Bean similar to the one I made for Zoe. Once we really, truly decide on a name for this second baby girl, I want to decoupage some letters to spell it out for her, just like I did for Zoe (I posted pictures of Zoe's up here somewhere but can't find them....) Plus, I have two very important birthdays to celebrate (hopefully before Lima Bean's entrance. Uh, exit?) and I really want to celebrate them fully.

As my super wise friend K pointed out, these craft projects that call to me are rituals. The preparations I feel drawn to do for Lima Bean aren't just practical. I am getting excited about greeting her and I want to express my excitement in ways that feel beautiful, special and celebratory. I am feeling full of love for my family and want to celebrate all these milestones with every spare ounce of energy I have.

So out comes the sewing machine!

For birthday crowns (a la Amanda Soule and her gorgeous book The Creative Family):

Is it terrible that I like CG's (that's the "W" one obv) crown better than Zoe's?

And a birthday dress for Zoe in her favorite colors (with patch pockets made with the help of a bloggy online tutorial!). Hopefully I will finish this by Sunday when we will celebrate (a few weeks early to make sure it happens before Lima Bean arrives!).


I love this time of year and feel so grateful that I'm not giving birth in the heat of summer or the short, dark days of winter. How can you not feel good when springtime has sprung up all around us?

Nesting, indeed. Including right outside our back door.

Hard to see in this picture but if you look closely, you will see that on top of our outdoor speaker is ....a NEST.


4/15/09

enLIGHTened

My friends, you must go out and purchase a certain book that I am about to tell you about. And not just because my dear friend wrote it. Or mentions me in it. Or because it includes a recipe for my mom's amazing whole wheat honey bread.

(Okay FINE. A small part of me thinks you should read it for those reasons alone.)

But if I can get away from being self centered for a MOMENT, may I just say that my friend is a kick ass mom/writer/person AND she also has a compelling story to tell.

and

AND

Catherine Newman wrote the back cover blurb. It just doesn't get any cooler than that.

4/13/09

Labor pains

Since I'm now 37 weeks pregnant (36? 38? Egads, I don't know!) and getting larger by the second, its getting a little hard to ignore the fact that despite my best ostrich impressions, I'm going to go through that whole labor and delivery thing pretty soon.

When I was preparing for Zoe's birth, CG and I took a Lamaze class that met for 6 weeks and included homework. I read every book I could get my hands on and google-searched my fingers off reading all the birth stories/advice/"information" out there. I agonized over the possible side effects of epidurals, practiced breathing in so many different rhythms I should have taken up the trumpet, and spent over a month crafting our "birth plan".

This time around, I've managed to read two or three chapters of a hypnobirthing book and either fell asleep 2 pages into it or threw it down in disgust and picked up US Weekly.

Birth plan this time around? GET BABY OUT SAFELY.

I'm not sure what birth will entail this time around and, of course, this makes control-freak-me just a little crazy. And, unlike last time around, I now know ALLLLL the things that can go wrong happen and this freaks me out. "Birth plan"? Don't we all know it's more like "birth wish"? "Birth fantasy"? Because seriously, how can you possibly plan for something when you have no idea how or when it will start, proceed or end? You really have to be prepared for any circumstance.

I am of at least two minds about birth. There is a large, strong, idealistic part of me (the part that used to live in San Francisco and wear Birkenstocks) that wants to squat in a field or a tub or my backyard and birth my baby with nothing but my self-control, my husband and perhaps the support of a soft spoken midwife. I've read all those articles and books and agree that birth is a natural process that has been co-opted by the medical establishment. Before Zoe's birth, I even fantasized about going to The Farm.

I remember reading Ina May Gaskin's book last time and feeling excited. My body could do this! I didn't need a doctor! Medical science has indeed stolen birthing away from women and their natural powers! Even though we decided to go with a hospital birth (have I mentioned that our house is small? And I'm a bit of a germaphobe?), I was convinced that my body could do this on it's own and just needed some guidance.

On the other hand, there is also a loud voice in my head reminding me that the day after Zoe was born, I made CG promise on his life that I would get an epidural as soon as I got in the hospital this time around.

Turns out Pitocin is one OVERLY STRONG form of guidance.

Reading the hypnobirthing book this time has only left me pissed. My frustration began with the repeated assertion that birth doesn't need to be painful AT ALL. According to the author, it's really only our fear that makes it so. As an example, the author tells us if we were to lie down, totally relax and then get suddenly pricked by a needle, IT WOULDN'T HURT AT ALL because we're relaxed and not fearful. Only if we tense and expect pain, will it be painful.

Um. I don't know about you but if I'm lying down, totally relaxed and someone pokes me with a needle, IT'S GOING TO HURT (and piss me off!).

I DO believe in the power of a fear-tension-pain cycle. I don't, however, believe that this very real cycle that we all should work on controlling in labor (and other times) is the only reason labor is painful. I CALL BULLSH!T.

So I listen to my hypnobirthing cd every once in a while when I can't get back to sleep after a middle of the night bathroom stop and I wrote a sketch of a birth plan. But I refuse to rule out an epidural if the circumstances call for it and I'm choosing to spend my labor preparation time working on my ipod labor playlist.

First song: "Push It" by Salt-n-Pepa.

Thank you Easter Bunny.... BOK BOK

4/9/09

Meant to be

Thanks for all the congratulations on our simultaneous house selling/purchasing! It looks like we are proceeding along in both buying our house in VA and selling our house here in CA. What a roller coaster! What amazing LUCK! Am I really this lucky?!?! I couldn't have planned it better if I tried!

Have I used up my daily allotment of exclamation points?!?!

!!!!!!!!!

The way it all went down is enough to make me say it was "meant to be" and I'm not a "meant to be" type of person. I'm not religious or particularly superstitious and I tend to chalk up strangely perfect events to the random chance of a kooky universe.

But, seriously. This was all MEANT TO BE.

We've been watching the house listings in VA since we went out to visit over the holidays. We had sized up the neighborhoods, schools, kiddie attractions and knew the general areas we wanted to be in. CG had spent a day with our realtor out there every time he's flown out for meetings and saw tons of houses that were okay but just not quite right for one reason or another: too expensive, too big, too small, or too much work to make it "ours". CG asked me if I would consider making an offer on a house that we hadn't seen. I said "No way." MAYBE if he had seen it. But I was convinced we were going to have to just move there and rent for awhile while we found our house.

I should also mention that we were a little nervous to be working with our realtor since she lives and works a little far from the town we decided we wanted to move to. We worried she wouldn't have the local connections you sometimes need to make house purchases happen. But we liked her personally and we knew from buying our CA house with a GREAT realtor, that liking, respecting and trusting your agent are extremely important.

It was late Thursday when we were emailed the listing for this house. It was lovely, the right size, in the right neighborhood AND it seemed underpriced compared to other things we'd seen. It looked too good to be true. So we emailed our agent to see what was wrong with it. She told us that the seller's agent's office was right down the street from her office and she would try to get in to see it before anyone else. Which she did. And she confirmed that this was the perfect house for us, in great shape, on an awesome cul de sac. "One in a million and definitely underpriced", she said, and she's not prone to hyperbole. When touring it, she told the sellers (who have a three year old girl and a 4 week old baby!) about us and they said we'd fit right in with the other young families on the block.

We slept on it. And dreamed about it. And asked her to go back and check on it again.

Luckily for us, our agent knew everyone in the seller's agent's office and is highly regarded there (apparently, they've tried to hire her away from her company for years), so she had inside information about everything that was going down with this house. She told us that there was another serious contender, a couple that had seen it twice already and was writing an offer. She asked us to get someone, anyone, to come and see it for us so we could say someone other than our agent had seen it.

So we called my sister-in-law who has some friends who grew up in VA. Many phone calls later (OMG are you bored with this story yet??!?!) we got the husband of the friend of a friend of my sister-in-law to take time out of his Sunday to spend an hour going through the house with our agent taking pictures and trying to find things wrong with it. (My favorite picture shows a dead bug he found on the floor in a corner!) The man has never met us or even my sister in law and he did this for us! How crazy is that?

We decided we had to make an offer and got our agent to draw up the paperwork which we hurriedly filled out Monday morning. We wrote a glowing letter about why we thought this was the perfect house for us, included it with our offer and sent it off with fingers and toes crossed.

We got the call on Tuesday that they accepted our offer.

Meanwhile.....

We had started to get very discouraged about ever selling our house here in CA. Our neighborhood is a hodgepodge of people who've been here forever and haven't touched their houses in 60 years, people who've been here for awhile and don't care about their house/yard because they're too busy working their asses off or selling crystal meth and those of us who bought in the last 5 years because it was the only neighborhood we could afford and have totally maxed out the potential of our little houses. Unfortunately, it has been especially hard hit by foreclosures. So other houses in our neighborhood have been on the market for substantially less than our original asking price. And we had had lots of compliments but NO serious inquiries in the first two weeks of listing it. We decided to lower our asking price substantially to see if we could drum up some interest and get this thing sold before Lima Bean arrives.

Since open houses traditionally take place during Zoe's EXACT naptime (2-4), we decided to take some day trips to get away from the house in the morning (to keep the house clean!) and have her nap in the car on the way home. Hence Disneyland on Saturday. And we were thinking about the beach on Sunday but were so exhausted from Disneyland that we decided to take up our neighbors on their sweet offer to nap Zoe over at their house during Sunday's open house.

This turned out to be fateful!

We spent Sunday morning at home, cleaned up the house and headed over to our neighbors with the pack n play for Zoe's nap. Fifteen minutes before the open house was about to start, we got a call that our agent was throwing up and would have to cancel the open house because she couldn't find anyone to take it for her at this late notice. Since we just happened to be next door and NOT at the beach, CG was able to turn around and head back to host the open house.

The first person who came to the open house works at the same institution as CG and the two of them hit it off as CG took him around and showed him all the hidden (GEEKY) details of the work he's done to it over the last three years (you know, all that sunk time and cost and energy that you don't necessarily see but do appreciate once you actually live in a house. And are a GEEK science-type.).

The guy left the open house, sat in his car, called his agent and drew up the contract over the phone. For our asking price. (Our new, substantially lower, asking price but STILL! Our asking price! With our requested time-line!).

So many little things lined up in unexpected ways (our far-away realtor having ALL the right connections after all, the friend of a friend of a sister-in-law being a good Samaritan for people he's never met, the randomness of us actually being around and able to do the open house, the workplace connection that made CG the PERFECT person to hawk our house to our eventual buyer. EVERYTHING.)

It was truly MEANT TO BE.

(See, I did run out of exclamation points after all.)

4/7/09

Last night

We accepted an offer on our house.

Our offer on a house in Virginia was accepted.

I barely slept.

(OMG YAY OMG OMG OMG OMG)

4/6/09

Before Leaving California #4: Disneyland (or: what I will do for my darling daughter)

I am, by nature, not a theme park person. Most rides give me a headache, or make me queasy, or both. I don't understand waiting in line for an hour to have some pre-programmed manufactured "fun". I don't like waiting in line, PERIOD. I don't like noise. I don't like crowds, especially the kind of crowds where people meander aimlessly in front of you, somehow magically going JUST too slow before suddenly turning at just the right moment to bump into your very pregnant belly or step on your feet, OR BOTH.

All in all, I'd much rather be hiking, reading or doing pretty much ANYTHING else.

And, though I'm sure this makes me somehow un-American (and definitely makes me a GRUMP), I'm not a fan of Disney. Mickey? EH. Princesses? BLECH. Buzz Lightyear (who GROWN ADULTS WITHOUT CHILDREN IN TOW were following around, squealing over and taking pictures of when we were there)? WHO CARES.

But.

BUT.

Disneyland with an almost three year old (well, OUR almost three year old, maybe yours would hate it)? A TOTAL BLAST.

Waiting in line in front of Its a Small World.

Zoe, totally digging Small World. Though we were a bit confused at first because she kept whining about wanting to "get out of the boat" which we thought meant she was scared and wanted the ride to be over. We finally figured out that she wanted to get out and STAY and PLAY with all the animatronic, culturally- uh- specific bobbleheads.

On board the Casey Jr. Circus Train which Zoe LOVED. She chose to ride in one of the "animal cages" where we were joined by two middle-aged adults SANS KIDS. WTF? What adult in their right mind would wait for over half an hour to ride for FIVE MINUTES in a tiny kiddie train that goes pretty much NOWHERE unless you had a toddler with you who was bouncing up and down and squealing "YAY!", "ALL ABOARD!" and "I'm a tiger! GRRRRR!!!"???

CG and Zoe on the teacups, which Zoe loved. I'm sure glad he was up for going on pretty much every ride with her because I was happy to sit down, put up my feet and slurp down my "100% frozen apple" (frozen apple juice! At Disneyland! I was impressed by some of their healthy food options, including a frozen chocolate covered banana after lunch. Real FRUIT!)


All in all it was a total success. Zoe had such a great time and was so sad to leave.

I did not give birth on Its a Small World.

And the princessses? NEVER SAW ONE OR HEARD A PEEP ABOUT ONE.

SUCCESS!

4/2/09

How it went, the first time, just in case I forget when there's a next time

(WARNING: This post contains details of labor and delivery. [NO, NOT LIMA BEAN'S DELIVERY. The last one. LB's will come in a month or so, thankyouverymuch.] Read at your own caution.)

Dear Zoe,

Two weeks before you were born, I had my one and only birth dream. I was hiking over tall red rock formations, like the ones in Sedona that your Daddy and I hiked over when I was about 5 months pregnant with you.

(looks like a great place to give birth, doesn't it?)

My mom was a few steps ahead of me, jumping from rock to rock. The afternoon sun warmed us from above as the rocks radiated heat up from below. I squatted on a rock and glanced down. There you were, emerging, looking up at me, with a full head of hair and a perfect little face. I sat down next to you, picked you up and held you to my chest. I closed my eyes, overcome by my instantaneous and overwhelming love for you, and felt the warm sun on my face.

As birthing dreams go, it was extremely comforting. Though I should have known that having you come out face up was not exactly IDEAL. Since it was prophetic and all....

---------------

It was Friday April 28th 2006, 9 days past your due date, when I woke up around 3 am to a wet feeling. I knew I hadn't wet the bed because even with your whole weight on my bladder, I had never wet the bed. (Well, okay, there was that one time when I was reading David Sedaris late at night but that doesn't count. His books should come with complimentary Poise pantiliners). I snuck out to the living room and popped in the lighthearted movie I chose to relax with in early labor: "Anchorman". Glancing at my watch every time my belly tightened, it became clear that this was, in fact, some form of labor.

Around 5 am, my mom, your Gramma, woke up and wandered out of the guest room, eyes wide and fingernails in her teeth: Is this it?

Yes, Mom. I think this is it.

I told her about the wetness and we agreed to get CG up and call the doctor and our doula. It was time to let them know we thought the water might have leaked.

They all agreed I had to be checked out so we got into the car and drove to the hospital. Around 6 am, they checked me in, at which point my contractions promptly stopped AND the doctors confirmed that my water had leaked. Not the best combination for someone hoping for a natural labor.

I was there to stay, hooked up to IVs and monitors, until you came. This was not AT ALL like my dream.

They moved us to the labor and delivery room and started my IV antibiotics (for group B strep) and reluctantly agreed to let me walk around for a while to see if I could get labor going again on my own. As the hours ticked by, I crab-walked up the stairwell, bounced on the birthing ball and ate some lunch sucked on purified ice chips, all to no avail. They finally told me that they HAD to start the Pitocin as they were worried about infection and wanted to get you out. And so the party really began.

The Pitocin contractions took a while to build but when they did HOLY HELL they REALLY DID. They were one on top of the other and I was getting overwhelmed by the pain in my back. Poor CG, who'd been so sweet and supportive, coaching me through it all, didn't recognize his wife. I think I remember some exorcist-like head spinning and furious words about ripping monitors off with my bare teeth. I definitely remember being on hands and knees and grabbing the high end of the hospital mattress to pound it rhythmically into the bed frame all while I made dying llama noises. Finally at 7 cm, I lost all control and BEGGED for an epidural. Which everyone must have agreed was necessary because I got it quickly (and immediately understood why some laboring moms want to french kiss their anesthesiologist. Not only was mine cute but he SAVED MY LIFE. [Or so it felt.])

I'm told that at this point my blood pressure went through the floor and they ushered my crew (CG, my mom, the doula) out of the room to medicate it back up. I was snoring at this point so I'll have to take their word for it. Next thing I knew, it was 9:30 pm and nurses woke me up as they cleaned up the rest of my "water" which had broken on its own.

I was dilated and effaced and you were ready to be pushed out. Or so they said. I felt nothing except a strong urge to go back to sleep.

So I started pushing. I couldn't feel anything and being the mind/body professional that I am, I overintellectualized it: "Should I push with my abs or my diaphragm? My rectus abdominus or my obliques? Should I try to activate my multifidus at the same time??" The nurses all looked at me with weary faces and told me to just push DOWN.

Thanks for that. Because I was going to try to birth my child UP, through my MOUTH. (Actually that's not a bad idea since it may be a bit bigger than the other option!)

My doctor came in and told me you were going to be born "today". I looked at the clock and agreed. I mean, how long could this take anyway?

At around 10:30 pm, I started pushing . And pushing. And pushing. And pushing (as the clock ticked past midnight and 1 am.). It felt like you were still stuck under my ribs and you kept moving around as if trying to get a better position to BE STUCK in. Your Gramma and Daddy were champs, each holding one of my numb, useless legs and cheering you on: "C'mon Zoe! C'mon out Zoe!".

Somewhere around 1:30 am, one of the nurses glanced down and exclaimed "I see some hair!". Which, you know, really ticked me off. Because it had been MONTHS since I'd been able to actually shave my bikini line so OF COURSE there was "some hair". Sheesh.

(It was only several days later that I reported my annoyance to CG who gently informed me they were talking about you and your full head of hair emerging NOT me and my bikini line. Oops. I gave that nurse some seriously dirty looks for nothing.)

Finally they called the doctor back in, my poor doctor who had serious bedhead from trying to get some sleep. She told me they would have to cut you out or suck you out. That it was time.

I SO AGREED.

So they used suction on your poor little soft head. And I pushed. And still you were stuck.

So they sucked again and I think I remember my doctor leaning way back and grunting as she pulled you out.

Turns out you were sunny side up, just like my dream. And you had a full head of hair and a perfect face. Just like my dream.

And I loved you intensely from the instant you came out. Just like my dream.



Love,

your Clueless But Hopeful Mama

4/1/09

Realities

I just read this post over at a blog that inspires me, brightens my day and, well, makes me feel inferior ALL THE TIME. Her crafty talent, positive outlook and flat out beautiful (appearing) life all have made me wonder from time to time if she's real. A real person, with real kids? FOUR OF THEM? Clearly she never has a bad day or a messy house or a pissy toddler. Or a moment when she wants to lock herself in the bathroom.

The reality, of course, is that she does and she has. As she says in that post, she just chooses not to write about it.

The last few days in our Clueless But Hopeful home have been extremely trying. Suffice it to say that Zoe may not be handling the impending birth of baby sister and the upheaval in our house as well as we thought. Plus, she's got an ear infection. And pinkeye (for the BILLIONTH time).

It's all added up, I guess. She's been lashing out at me in many ways. It hurts my feelings. And makes me furious. And her actions coupled with my reactions make me feel like a failure.

And.....I just don't want to write any more about it.

Because maybe I shouldn't write about the negatives so much. Maybe I should take more pretty pictures (of the walls since the floors are not exactly lovely right now. What I said about how nice it was keeping the house clean for showings? Well, let's just say we should be thankful no one wants a showing of our house right now because having to clean up this mess - made in only three days!-in a jiffy would just about put me over the edge.). Maybe I should write more of the snapshots of beauty here and there.

Like today! When Zoe actually followed directions and was allowed to play on the crazy sculpture/bench next to the parking lot and pretended to feed me ice cream and then followed directions again and "earned" a lollipop at Trader Joe's and said "When baby sister comes, can I give her a lollipop and pretend to feed her ice cream? Just pretend. Babies can't eat ice cream." My heart was warmed. I gazed at her adoringly and gave her soft sweet cheek a kiss. I felt buoyed by pride and noticed how glorious the color of her hair is.

I should focus on that, right? Why does the parking lot four-alarm meltdown, which involved her LICKING THE PAVEMENT, not two minutes later stand out more to me? Is there a trick to being able to move on and get past the negative moments?

I need to learn that trick. I don't want to only write the good stuff. Sometimes it feels like writing about the hard parts of motherhood helps me work through them and let them go. But other times I wonder if figuring out the right way to write about them makes me stew in them too much.

I am a stewer. I have to keep tabs on my stewing. And working on focusing on the positives wouldn't hurt either.

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