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A Loss

Long story short, I’m miscarrying.

Monday night I had bleeding and cramping, and when I woke up the next morning I was fine.  Out of confusion, I went to Dr. DuTreil, a very charming and knowledgeable doctor.  The examinations told me that the development of the pregnancy was at least a week behind our calculated dates- dates that there was really no way around.  After this news and scheduling an appointment for next week for a follow-up, the bleeding started heavier.

Even as most signs confirm the miscarriage, pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue and light nausea are still hanging around.  Even getting a little more defined.  I’m told this is normal as well, as the body hasn’t completely registered the loss.  Insult to injury, to have the symptoms but no baby.

The process has yet to reach the level of physical discomfort I know it will have, and sometimes these things take way more time than they should be allowed.  I guess that’s why doctors do D&Cs.  Dr. DuTreil talked about options with me, and his tone was most hopeful when he mentioned “just do nothing.”  As I was beginning to plan a homebirth, I can certainly appreciate the idea of letting my body do its own thing.

My first miscarriage happened before I knew there were other options.  It was very early, and even then, the physical aspect of the experience was unforgiving.  This also happened at a time when my entire life was in a state of turmoil- sick family, a breakup, a move.  I think the hormones that were present allowed me to feel the emotions of grief that would have otherwise been too overwhelming in that situation.

Since then, I’ve become much better at avoiding feelings.  So much so that when I am given condolences, I have to adjust to the level of emotion apparent in the giver’s message.  Strange to think that even the doctor is hurting more than I am.  But that’s just the surface of things- it’s not the reality.  This realization prompted me to consider…

Just a few days ago, I was speaking to my daughter’s nanny, explaining that both of my daughters were very specific people who “happened” at a very specific time, and we’d be at such a loss if they hadn’t happened just then, and been just who they are.  Of course this is true for all children.  Who would this baby have been?  The little one would have been very close to Clover in age.  So close that they wouldn’t be able to help their bond.  Irish twins.  This baby was going to surprise us at the birth with whether it was a boy or a girl.  A girl, I think.  As Clover was different from Gwenna in so many ways, even from the very beginning, I imagine this girl as the sleeper we haven’t yet had- the one who sleeps from the night practically from day one.  Maybe she’s slower in reaching her milestones because her sisters spent so much time awake, working on these things, that she is not as intensely interested in.  She is a wind whisper in a hurricane house, and balances our family.  As the baby, she looks up to her sisters and when they cry, maybe because I said we couldn’t go to the zoo immediately, she brings them pretend tea.  Hugs and kisses.

This baby will not ever be that person, or any other.  What the baby is, though, is a reminder that we have two lovely miracles.  A chance for me to cry, and reconsider all the things I do to “get ahead” instead of getting dirty playing.  A chance to look at how distant I’ve been with everyone I love, and compare that person with the one with all these emotions right now… and strive to be this person when my two year old is too tired to do anything but whine in a pitch so high it’s unregistered to all but dog ears, when my husband is distracted by the TV and I need to repeat myself 3 times, when Clover is teething and needs to be held all day.

It seems impossible… but you will be missed.

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You Mad?

The 33 shares on Facebook for my last post means it was controversial.  And that’s the point.  Sometimes we say things other people don’t want to hear.  I was really cranky yesterday after twisting my knee and seeing a mommy blogger apologize for her voice which has helped so many people, so I’m sure the message was rough around the edges. The point was that natural parents who present their beliefs to the world- that breast is best, that corporal punishment is harmful, and other things- should continue to present this helpful information without being concerned with avoiding hurting feelings.  If I do something wrong, I feel bad for it.  I understand the mechanism of hurt feelings.  I also understand compassion and empathy and not wanting other moms to hurt.  Yes, we are all connected.

But they’ll get over it and maybe be better for it  Hey, they were reading your blog in the first place- which means they were probably looking for that information that may have hurt their feelings.  You can help remind them that we are all human.  We all make mistakes.  Then we learn from them.

Bottom line: psychologists wouldn’t be so plentiful and successful if we were not a society trained in avoiding emotion.  Avoiding emotion does not get my vote for best idea ever.  So speak, sisters.

P.S.  I’ll take the opportunity here to point out that I am on my THIRD child, have certainly not lived up to my original AP intentions, and still believe strongly in the principles that have guided the formation of those ideals.  Still- superior, bully, whatever you want to call it- I am not that.

Aside
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Disclaimer: Since many people have a hard time identifying sarcasm, irony, and the likes through text, please be advised that I do practice AP, I do not identify with the AP Crowd, and I am being quite sarcastic below.  But I am better than you.  Just kidding… the whole point of this post is actually the opposite of that.  I am not better than you, but I did benefit greatly from those who wanted to help me be better than a previous version of me.  

So this happened today.

This isn’t the first time one of my favorite mommy bloggers backed off her stance of whatever it was because she realized the internet is actually a large network of real people she didn’t actually want to offend.  I understand that.  In this world, there are people who just naturally get along.  Other people like them.  They don’t like conflict.

Natural parenting attracts a lot of conflict.  I’ll tell you why: in the same manner the Church is known for not representing literal Christian values, the AP crowd is known for their own sort of hypocrisy and hyperbole.  There happen to be seven Baby B’s of Attachment Parenting.  You probably know of breastfeeding, birthing naturally, babywearing, and maybe a few more.  I bet you didn’t know “Balance” is in fact one of the backbone principles of these popular parenting guidelines.  Yeah, if I read one more blog about not “forcing” a child to say “thank you” to strangers who compliment or help them, I might forget it myself.  Here is where I simply mention that I believe “Balance” includes a healthy understanding of basic social interactions, even though they might make a child uncomfortable, among other things.  And back to the topic at hand.

So the Church of AP is a bunch of in-group bullies, and that’s obviously an exaggeration, but bear with me.  You, you disposable-diapering, formula-feeding, non-co-sleeping, epidural-getting, time-out-using old hags, you are the outgroup.  Ahem, we are the outgroup.  (I’m not owning up to all of those, but I’ll admit to falling short of my Sears ideals.)  And I understand that there has been a lot of bullying because honestly, the folks who are reading up on Attachment Parenting are the folks who probably hate their own parents for screwing them up and needed to find a road map to anywhere that wasn’t where their own parents ended up.  Maybe they need to feel better about themselves because mom was kind of mean, and that might mean bullying (which is not okay- it’s just kind of obvious to put together).

That’s almost what happened to me.  I ate the stuff up.  At 20 years old, I’d already come up with a birth plan and a few weekly meal plans for toddlers and picked out a great preschool… maybe it wasn’t that intense, but maybe it was.  AP was my Bible.  The families I nannied for were my preachers.  I’d found my calling in life, and I was great at this caring-for-kids-in-the-superior-way stuff.  I could have been a total jerk, but then I had the ultimate humbling experience: children.

But I didn’t care that AP was supposed to be superior to other people’s ways.  I cared that it was often the best for the children.  I cared that breastfeeding, and my support of breastfeeding mothers, could mean fewer illnesses for those children.  I cared that getting on their level and listening to them helped them learn to value their voices and emotions.  I cared that wearing an infant would help her feel emotionally secure when she was off playing by herself.  I was, and am, so grateful for the information that doctors, psychologists, and mommy bloggers put out there for me to devour. Truly, I was never into searching out formula feeding moms and “educating” them- just really stuck to hanging out with people who saw things kind of the way I did.  That’s what people do in general, anyway.

I can’t imagine being apologetic for believing in what I believe or apologizing for the facts that helped form my beliefs.

“It made me realize that telling people to not let facts hurt them, was like expecting the rainfall to never touch a single body.” – Two Degrees of Suburbia

But you’re not giving the facts to just people.  You’re giving the facts to parents.  We shouldn’t be so concerned about hurting people’s feelings when we can educate large numbers of people.  We can change a person’s journey on a destructive path by simply linking a few articles on Facebook.  That’s worth a few defensive reactions, in my opinion.

And you know what?  When you believe something, don’t be chicken and say it isn’t worth believing in because a few of your friends don’t like it.

For instance: I have a couple of really wonderful hard core Christian friends.  But I’ll tell them to their faces that gay rights are important, I don’t see any logical way to continue to deny them, and I’ll back that up with facts.  Christians love their Jesus!  I have loved Jesus.  They might get their feelings hurt in that conversation, but it’s right.  I love those ladies, but the issue of civil rights is bigger than avoiding an uncomfortable conversation with a couple of really great friends.  In any case, they’ll still be my friends at the end of the day, because I think we all realize that differing opinions don’t mean you should cut someone out of your life.

Loving and advocating for children and families should be bigger than avoiding uncomfortable conversations with a couple of really great friends.

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Happy New Year!

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Oh my.  I haven’t blogged in quite some time, huh?  WELL, I have some positive things to share:

Every now and then I get 3-4 hour stretches of sleep, so I resemble a zombie much less now.  Clover is growing well- 15 pounds at 10 weeks old!

I am well on my way to getting back in shape (Paleo diet, back to teaching, resistance training, and soon, WEIGHTS!)

The fall semester plopped me right down onto the Dean’s List (things that also happened last semester: a hurricane, birth, kidney stones, running a business, mothering a toddler, running a home, teaching Zumba three times a week. I can’t be stopped, y’all.)

The agency is taking off.  I’m a little shocked at how well we’re doing.  We went from modest start-up to- dare I say it?- successful overnight.

I’m back in school this semester, and classes start Monday.  Gwenna is also off to Montessori pre-school on Monday, so I may very well have more time to flood this blog with pictures of Paleo food and recipes!  Get ready!

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Project Sunshine

The newborn phase sucks.

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Don’t get me wrong, I love Clover.  I love my whole little family.  But there is no denying this is hard.  As a matter of fact, there’s no denying that there is little happiness or rest these days.  There’s a lot of frustration and tantrums from a toddler and a baby yelling in my ear and vomiting in my hair.  There’s a lot of crying.  I feel like Gwenna doesn’t like me very much, like I’m losing her.  I’m convinced that Clover is dead every time I wake up and she’s not screaming to be fed, and even if she is, I’m terrified to look at her because she could be crying because of some lethal injury or strange newborn illness.  I feel like I’m failing at everything- mothering, being a wife, being a homemaker, being a woman, being a business owner, being a student.

Last night was the first time I slept 4 hours in a row in over 3 weeks.  My days alone with the kids consist of never changing out of a single half-outfit, nursing, getting vomited upon, and pleading with my two year old to do various things, like wear underwear.  I’ve been sicker than I have ever been in my adult life within the past few weeks, I have mystery symptoms that are getting worse, and yeah, let’s just sum it up with “health not so great.”

I feel like I’m in a debt of depression and happiness is thousands of dollars or days away.

Yes, I know some of this is extreme.  You don’t have to tell me to ask for help or to sleep when the baby sleeps (um, that is when? Exactly? Also, just let the toddler run amok?).  I know things are supposed to get better with time. But here is the thing: I have not given up on my dream of happily teaching Gwenna to decorate sugar cookies or doing holiday crafts while nursing Clover in the Moby wrap.

GAME PLAN!

I’m not stranger to the crazies.  Seriously, just ask anyone I’ve ever dated.  So!  I know that there are specific habits one can adopt to help themselves out of a hard place, if they’re not too far gone.  (Notice I’m not saying that if someone is depressed that it is all their fault and they should just DO something about it.  Um, no.)  I’m going to write out a few things I plan on doing, and to keep myself accountable, I’m going to track my progress here.

Want to join me?  Let’s map out a plan for our hearts, minds, and bodies.

Start by setting a small relationship goal.  It can be something to do with your husband, your children, your best friend- something that gets you connected with other people.  That’s for your heart.  Then set a small goal to do with positive thinking- prayers, affirmations, meditation, or whatever suits you.  That’s for your mind.  Then plan an activity you can do every single day to be active for a little bit.  That’s for your body.

Here’s what my game plan looks like:

Heart:  Half an hour of cuddles every day with husband, daughter dates every weekend (one parent with one daughter, the other takes the other daughter, alternate children every other week), call a family member once a week.

Mind:  Affirmations- I am strong, my heart is open, I can feel happiness, my life is beautiful, things are getting better every day.

Body:  Walk every morning with Clover in the Moby wrap.

I will see you tomorrow for check-in!

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Clover

Clover was born on October 29th, at 8:28 PM.  7 pounds, 14 ounces, 20 inches long.  Happy and healthy.

I will eventually write all of the details- but for now I want to get down my favorite parts.  The ones that are pure emotion and are sure to fade if I don’t document them.

My husband was my safe place.  He was the grounding force with all his love and support while my body was roaring with power/pain.  The tub was not nearly warm enough to provide relief, but that might have just felt that way because my water broke (which makes contractions feel more intense) as soon as I got in, and I began transition.  A huge obstacle to my peace during labor was being hooked up to monitors and an IV.  The nurse had to find fetal tones during contractions and her hands digging into my uterus while it was doing birthing work was a little hellish and felt like a violation of my humanity… but in reality, she was doing her best to help me achieve a natural birth without having to lay in bed, which would be more agonizing than anything.  I did not achieve that.  The midwife mentioned me being in “active labor” and I was looking for the word “transition”.  I felt that I must be in the hardest part, because we were all under the impression at that point that the water hadn’t broken and for me to think that the water had to break and make the contractions bite even harder on top of this pain meant it must, must be the end.  After this “news” I cried- it hurt.  I missed my daughter.  I’d been through weeks of pain of anxiety and couldn’t do this anymore.  I knew the baby was badly positioned and felt it through every contraction, when I focused, “Down, down,” and felt her move down.  Every time.  We ordered the epidural.  I roared through each contraction.  The epidural did not work for about 45 minutes.  They kept pushing more drugs.  The midwife checked me and my waters had broken, I was at 8 cm.  I had been in transition.  I had an oxygen mask because I couldn’t regulate my breathing.  But one hour later, the baby had been pushed nearly all the way out by my body.  I laughed, and the midwife said to laugh again.  One little grunt after that, and I caught Clover myself.  She had her cord wrapped around her neck, twice.  Nearly 24 hours after the induction started, 12 hours after the Pitocin started.  She had turned from posterior to anterior at the very last minute.  There were no “birth injuries”.  The placenta came out in one perfect piece soon after Clover.  I was able to hold her,  skin to skin, and nurse her as soon as she wanted.  I was brilliantly happy to meet her, and I was grateful to have had the epidural at that moment- I was still high from the relief and enjoying the baby, rather than licking wounds, like I had been with Gwenna.  I would have forgone the epidural, had I known that my water had already broken, but the experience of so much power ripping through my body to bring a life into the world, that was enough for me to appreciate.

Every bit of pain was beautiful, a ripple in a wave that would change the world.

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A Brighter Day

Yesterday, I was pretty pathetic.  I was in pain and in the mind set of, “My body is broken,” and I let myself have that day to be upset and selfish.  But today, I am Almighty Mommy yet again!

I know that my body is working on things.  I know that Clover will eventually move into the right position to be born, even if that happens to be right before she is born.  I know that I only have about 2 weeks, max, to suffer additional weight gain and the discomforts of being huge.  I also know that when I meet sweet little Clover, I will forget all about this time, and I will be the happiest fat girl in the world.

So excited to meet you sweet baby!