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Monday, April 18, 2011


Right now, I'm sitting in my living room on an exercise ball with Little M in the Didymos wrap on my chest. When I look to my left, I see a cookbook, a folder with my tax info, a used cloth napkin, and Baby T's dirty fork and knife on the kitchen table; a stack of mail and some crayons on the buffet behind the couch; a semi-balled up newspaper page that Baby T was playing with on the couch, next to my camera; some info from my credit card on the floor next to me because it fell but I don't want to disturb Little M by picking it up; a water glass that I'm currently drinking out of next to a glass, empty except for the melting ice mixing with the iced coffee from earlier. When I look to my right, I see a toy dump truck on the floor, a cloth diaper cover on the side table that needs to be put away, and Little M's pants on the floor that I took off when I changed him. There are cloth diapers in the washing machine that I have to move to the dryer, but Little M always wakes up when I bend over to switch the laundry, so it's staying for now. I'm not even going to tell you what I see if I turn around, and I consider my house relatively clean.

I've gotten a few things done today. I took this cute picture, which is why the camera is still on the couch:

I spent the morning writing for a couple of crowdsourcing companies that I work for. I had two tabs open and would work on one task while the task for the other company, in another tab, was uploading or downloading. I managed to work a path through the home office to get to the computer to email my CPA. Then I tripped on the cord from the computer as I left the room, knocking the laptop onto the shredder and making a bit of a mess.

I am in a constant state of overwhelming chaos. I can't control the clutter and I always have 20 things on my to-do list. If I even bother to write it down. And if I don't lose it in the black hole that is my purse.

I have tried to corral this chaos. I signed up for FlyLady dot com about a month ago. I shined my sink. I put away my dishes. Every day, all day. It's a constant cycle. That's about as far as I could get, and I had to put aside some of my money-making work just to do that.

This is what is on my to-do list:
  • try to make $30-$50 a day on crowdsourcing websites
  • work on a freelance writing job I already have
  • work on a couple of book chapters for the Natural Parents Network's cloth diapering book contest
  • go to couponing websites to see if there are any good grocery deals this week or next
  • do some meal planning for the week
  • prepare a course outline for childbirth education classes
  • work on a watercolor portrait painting I was commissioned to do
  • create and launch a website for my portraits
  • sew some slings
  • sew some soakers
  • meet with a friend about teaching babywearing classes
  • organize and price items for yard sale this weekend
  • put together the boys' Easter baskets
  • start a breast milk stash for Little M; I keep planning to pump after he goes to bed, but have so much to do I forget
  • exercise 10-15 minutes every day (not much, but it's a realistic start)
  • take down our tornado shelter from Saturday:

And that is only the big stuff. It doesn't include switching the laundry, washing my OWN underwear, taking a shower, or figuring out what to do about Little M's Easter basket, because I completely forgot about him.

Oh yeah. And writing this blog post wasn't on my list, either.

This is my problem. I have a lot to do and don't know when to prioritize. It's all important, and sometimes it's hard to predict what should take precedence. Especially because when I work on those crowdsourcing websites doing writing and editing work, I just never know when there will be good work and when there won't. If there's a lot of high-paying work, I tend to focus on that and push everything else aside for a day when there is less work. That makes it hard to plan.

On top of it all, I have going back to work looming over my head. I have a month and a half left. At least during my loaded days, I have time to play with the kids, clean the house (at least a little) and get some necessary computer stuff done. And I feel busy now; if I go back to work, I won't even be able to do the little stuff. And I'll still want to do the big stuff.

I know moms do it all the time, but my question is: HOW [the F do you do it]? Big T has been sick and hasn't been sleeping, so I let him sleep in this morning while I got Baby T's lunch ready and took him to daycare. I did manage to have him clean up his toys before we left (i.e., he watched as I cleaned up his toys, meanwhile taking out 5 books from his bookshelf and throwing them on the floor). I also did clean the kitchen before I left so I wouldn't come home to a sticky mess.

But the last time I looked at the clock, it was 8:30, and I was thinking, "Cool. We'll totally get to day care before 9." And I got in the car at 8:56. It takes 20 minutes to get to day care. I was still in a white tank top with no bra on because Little M had been in the wrap all morning, and I hadn't combed my hair, brushed my teeth, or put on deoderant. At least I had the good sense to put my contacts in as soon as I woke up, before my day started.

So back to my question: If/when I go back to work, how am I going to do it without showing up completely disheveled, with a see-through shirt and no bra on? Am I honestly expected to also shower, put on makeup, and put together a business-casual outfit that's free of spitup, drool, or poo? The thought makes me want to vomit.

I can somewhat manage my days when I have the flexibility to build my own schedule. But there is no way I can get to work by 9. There is just no freaking way.

How do moms do it? Where do I start? Can I really put quality time into my two kids, work, and my extracurricular activities?

I guess this is just a big old whinefest. I don't really expect answers. Pleeeeeuuz don't tell me to go to FlyLady dot com, because that just takes way too much time. But if you feel like sending a vote of confidence, a million dollars, or a maid my way, I won't complain.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Tuesday morning I woke up feeling fine and called Pamela. She thought I should go into the office to test whether the fluid was amniotic fluid. And I can't even remember in what order I did things. At some point, I dropped Baby T off with my neighbor, who took him every Tuesday anyway, and explained to her that I thought my water had broken and maybe today was the day. At some point I also rushed into the office to see one of the other midwives who was meeting me between births at the hospital.

She checked me. It was amniotic fluid for sure. A slow leak. She called Pamela. They wanted me to come to the hospital at 4 PM for an induction if contractions didn't start on their own before that. But they would probably start on their own. I was 5 cm dilated. I was ready to go. I didn't feel a thing.

I cried. Induction was my worst nightmare. At least my body was halfway ready for this birth. I wasn't starting from scratch. But I really, really, really didn't want to be induced.

I stopped by work and told them my maternity leave was starting. They looked at me like I was crazy and kept asking me why I wasn't at home or at the hospital. "Because I'm not in labor," I would respond (over and over again). It got a little annoying. But now I was afraid I would start having contractions while I was driving, so I did go home.

It turns out I had nothing to worry about. No contractions yet. At home, I did everything I could to get things going. I pumped. I took homeopathics. I played Wii. Four o'clock came and still nothing. I called Pamela. I had hesitated to take the final, horrifying step--the castor oil. But finally it came to that. The last resort. I gulped it down in some root beer and chased it with a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup (midwife's orders--a foolproof recipe).

Still nothing.

Seriously? Big T and I talked all day about why things couldn't just go normally. Why wasn't this baby wanting to come out? How hilarious is it that in movies, when a woman's water breaks, all hell breaks loose and, panicked, they can't get to the hospital in time? The farce of it all.

Of course I have to do things a little abnormally. So when the castor oil brought on no contractions--not even intestinal cramping--I knew I had to go. I was a little sad and a little excited. I was glad that the car ride was comfortable and I wasn't on my hands and knees in the backseat, writhing in pain with every bump. But I still didn't want to be induced. It was about 8 PM on Tuesday night. I had gone to the hospital with Baby T at just about this time on a Tuesday night as well.

At the hospital, Big T asked if I wanted him to drop me off. "Uh, no... just park. I can walk. I feel fine." We got up to labor and delivery and I hesitantly told the nurse that I was there for an induction. We were shown to our room. We waited for Pamela to arrive. I was nervous, but still felt fine.

When Pamela arrived, the routine began. The IV drip, the monitor... I was hooked up. They pressed the button and the pitocin began. It was kind of nice, at first. Pamela and I chatted. We hadn't seen each other in a while and were able to catch up with each other. Every half hour or so, the pitocin was increased. I was given a telemetry unit so I could walk around. Big T and I walked. We did the loop around the labor and delivery floor about 10 times. It was boring. I was bored. I really didn't feel anything.

I did lunges. I squatted. I bounced on the exercise ball. I stood up a lot. I figured gravity would help. Still nothing. Around 11 PM, I was starting to get tired. Since I wasn't feeling any contractions yet, I told everyone that I wanted to take a nap and get ready. I fell asleep.

Around midnight, I woke up. BAM!! A contraction so strong I had to vocalize through it. Just like that. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I had forgotten what this felt like. This was so much more intense than with Baby T. With Baby T, I wanted silence. This time, I had to moan through every single contraction. It was the only way I could get through them.

I immediately got the shakes. This had happened with Baby T, too. I couldn't help but keep comparing the two births. I was shaking so hard I was afraid I would bite my tongue. It was uncontrollable and it freaked me out more than anything else. Then Big T put his hand on my head and the shaking stopped. It was like instant calm. It was all I wanted. I spent the next half hour standing next to the bed. Big T had to be touching me the whole time or I would shake. He kept me sane. Between contractions, I would bend over and put my head down on the bed. But during contractions, I had to be upright. It hurt too much for my torso to be bent.

During the next half hour, things were even more intense, and I was getting tired. I sat on the rocking chair to rest. By this time, the contractions were coming on top of one another. I would moan through until the peak, expecting it to subside, and it would just peak and peak and peak. I remember saying (moaning) something like, "Why is it not stopping?"

And my body started to heave. I never felt the urge to push with Baby T, so I really didn't know what it felt like. This time, it felt like I was about to vomit, but in the wrong direction. My stomach was heaving uncontrollably, like giant vomitous hiccups. It was insane.

It was about that time that I figured I should take my pants off. I had never changed out of the clothes I came in. And I figured if a baby was going to come out, I probably shouldn't have my pants on. It was hard to get out of them since the contractions weren't giving me a chance to rest, but I had help. I got up on the bed in a semi-sitting position. I was exhausted. I really hoped this feeling was a pushing feeling, because I couldn't stay up all night. I'm no party animal anymore.

Pamela encouraged me and told me I was doing great. Big T told me I was doing great, the whole time keeping his hand on my forehead. Things were getting more intense. I was definitely yelling profanities. (What's new?) During one strong push, I felt the baby drop, water gushed out, and I felt an intense burning in my cervix. This was happening. My body was doing it!

A blur of profanity as he crowned. There was a lot of motherf*cker going on. I held back for a moment. Then I pushed the baby out at about 1:30 AM.

I remember thinking that it was over so quickly, and I was relieved that I wouldn't have to be up all night. I remember asking if he was breathing, because he wasn't crying. I remember Big T saying, "He looks like a Mason." And I agreed. And I held Little M to my chest and kissed his head. I noticed that he didn't have as much hair as Baby T, and it was lighter. His umbilical cord was thick, and there was a loose knot in it.

Pamela and Little M

They had to take him to the warmer for a minute or two because his temperature dropped, but he came back to me and found my breast. He nursed for a long, long time. My baby was here, and I was in love again.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


It's been two and a half months since Baby M reluctantly entered the world, and the adrenaline and awe are fading, replaced by day to day life, routines, discoveries, and small miracles. It's time I put Little M's story in writing.

This pregnancy was different than the first. With Baby T, I didn't even feel pregnant until 36 weeks. With Little M, I felt my hips falling out of alignment at 8 weeks--before I even knew I was pregnant. It was still a great pregnancy. I was plenty tired and nauseated during the first trimester, don't get me wrong, but things really improved after that. I had a lot of energy. I didn't gain as much weight this time. I loved being pregnant.

I really do love carrying a baby in my belly. The big, tight belly is a nice change from the usual flabby lump. Feeling baby flutter and kick at my ribs, trying to grab the little pointy alien protrusions sticking out of my belly and guessing what part of him it is, anxiously awaiting the next movement... I love it. My hair gets thick, my skin feels great. Other than all the itchy stretch marks of course.

During the last month or so, I started to get a little nostalgic. I was so excited to meet Little M but I really liked having him inside of me. And I really didn't know what life would be like after he came out. I had NO IDEA. But that's a story for another time.

I also was so curious about how this birth would go down. I was going to work until the end, but with Baby T, I luckily got out of work early the day I went into labor. I was already home. This time, what if I went into labor at work? Would I know it was time? Or would I have pre-labor contractions for a few days first, making me go home for false alarms, only to come back the next day?

On Friday, January 14th, I was having some major braxton hicks. I was uncomfortable sitting in my chair at work. It felt better when I stood up, but sitting was majorly uncomfortable. I got annoyed that people say braxton hicks are painless. Mine weren't. People suggested that maybe they weren't just braxton hicks. But I blew them off. I had been having them a lot more during this pregnancy. I really didn't have them at all with my first. But I figured they were definitely not prodromal labor contractions. And I didn't feel any pressure or feel as though the baby had dropped. Which doesn't necessarily mean anything, but I was sure that nothing was going to happen until after my due date.

I didn't expect him to come until after my due date, so on January 17th, I wasn't even thinking about his birth. I was sitting on the couch, watching whatever I watch on Monday nights, and around 10 PM, I got up to get water and go to bed. And felt three short gushes. I couldn't hold them in. I ran to the bathroom without saying a word to Big T.

I knew I didn't wet my pants. It's pretty obvious when you piss yourself. I didn't piss myself. But I was pretty sure it wasn't me going into labor, either. I mean, my water didn't break on its own at all with Baby T. I just didn't expect it to break this time, either. I was never good at statistics and probability in math class. Apparently.

So I came out, told Big T, "I think my water might have just broken?" Yes, that's right. I asked him. As if he would know. I said, "I'm not sure what to do?" Which was a lie. I mean, I know about this stuff. I'm educated in birth. I knew exactly what to do. But I couldn't really belive it was amniotic fluid.

So I called Pamela, my midwife. I don't think she believed it either. She said what I knew: if it was amniotic fluid, I would probably start having contractions. She told me to go to bed, get some rest, don't get too overexcited or stay up all night, and call her in the morning. If not sooner. Whoa. I was kind of freaking out inside. But I pretended like it was all cool. Got in bed. I usually pass out as soon as my head hits the pillow. But I couldn't stop the adrenaline.

My baby was coming! Probably tonight. Ok, relax, relax. Was that a contraction? Nope, nothing at all. Not even a twinge.

And the fear. Could I really do this again? Baby T's birth was a breeze. Or was I completely forgetting the pain? What if this birth was a million times more painful? Could I handle it? Could I stay up all night again? That was the worst part of Baby T's birth--feeling so tired from staying awake all night, feeling too tired to move and stand and push. The pain wasn't the worst part. But what if the pain was the worst part of this birth?

Eventually I went to sleep. I don't even think I woke up to pee. I certainly didn't wake up to any contractions. There were none.

( be continued...)
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