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Possible Induction

January 12, 2012

Induction…that’s the newest word my friends.  The news today was bad.  My midwife appointment left me in shock.  What I thought was a fluke set of symptoms last week, actually turned out to be something after-all.  Something that my midwives aren’t messing around with. While I completely understand the concern and appreciate their care, I’m so so so sad about what it means for my pregnancy and birth.

Earlier this week I wrote about my desire to have a “healing birth” to recover from the lack of confidence my last birth gave me.  I already feel like a failure for being unable to go to term with Alexa, and now it’s happening again.  My test results are bad enough that I’ll be put on modified bed-rest and most likely be induced at [no later than] 38 weeks and possibly [as soon as] 36.  That means, that unless my body decides to start up early, I’ll be “forced” to do it the unnatural way with synthetic hormones and a likely long hospital stay if things don’t progress quickly.

Until then, I’ll have more and more tests ran, more and more monitoring, more and more appointments.  More time thinking about how my body just rejects pregnancy.  More and more thinking that maybe I was right when I insisted as a teenager that I wasn’t made for babies.  More and more depressing thoughts of being a failure as a mother before the child is even born.

I KNOW, I KNOW, I’m crazy and irrational and an other-thinker!  I’m sure everything will be fine in the end, that like Alexa…this baby will end up healthy and happy and well cared for.  That said, I’m not sure the same can be said of me.  I’m losing my ability to think positively and that terrifies me when it comes to PPD issues.  Hell, the depression that will most likely set in after having to be on bed-rest for the next 4-6 weeks will be enough to deal with on its own.

I’m not going to lie here.  I’m seriously torn up about all this. Can I just refuse to cooperate?  Can I say NO, I will not let you pump me full of drugs just because you’re too worried that I might suffer (or possibly that your malpractice insurance might)?  I think I need a good long talk with my Doulas before I go off the deep end, but I’m scared guys!

Planning a Healing Birth

January 8, 2012

I think everyone that reads this blog knows how badly my first birth experience went.  Just about anything that could go wrong did.  Gone was the hope of that beautiful natural process when Alexa decided she was ready to enter the world at 30 weeks.  That’s 10 weeks premature to those not down with the pregnancy count.  That birth stripped me of the confidence in my body to work correctly.  I’m hoping this time I get it back.  I realize that all the planning in the world can’t save me from what this baby or my body has in mind.  That said, I’m doing all that I can to ensure a safe and healthy labor this time.

I’m considered high risk because of the last preterm delivery.  That means I have fairly constant monitoring.  Pretty much opposite of my natural desire, but we’re doing whatever it takes to make sure nothing gets missed should something go awry this time.  I’m trying to surround myself with all the positive energy that I can.  Alexa’s pregnancy was easy but her birth was hard and scarring.  Her sister’s pregnancy has been very hard, chock full of negative side effects, so I’m hoping that the birth will at least be normal and natural.

Since we’re delivering in a hospital this time around (I have no choice since I’m a high risk VBAC) we’ve opted to go with the midwife team that has rights there.  We’ve also hired a Doula, Your Best Birth to act as my labor coach and signed up for their birthing classes. I’m so thankful to have found ladies to work with that already feel like family.  There’s something so warm and welcoming about everyone we’ve brought into our prenatal care.

We’re trying with all our might to make this birth experience a positive and empowering one.  The steps we’ve taken won’t guarantee that everything will go smoothly, but working with naturalistic practitioners was the one thing we had control over.  Being cautious with my health and cognizant of the risks is all we can do and I truly hope it’s enough.

New Years Resolutions and 2012 Goals

December 30, 2011

I usually don’t “do” resolutions.  Most years I really don’t care enough about changing my life up in one fell swoop to try to wipe the slate clean.  There are small things I’d love to try, good habits I’d like to incorporate into my life, and bad ones I’d like to leave behind.  These are all just goals, most small…but all meaningful to me.

Photo Credit - http://www.health.com

I started to think about what new ideas and challenges would make 2012 a good year.  I’ve also considered what things I could undertake with a newborn/infant in tow….and what would help keep me sane and feeling like myself even though another baby will be all-consuming no doubt.

After writing my NYE Miss A article I knew I had to come up with some way to celebrate the holiday that felt meaningful.  I think a goal a month is a great way to honor the coming year and help keep me sane, focused, and involved in something….because we all know I love a good project.  Hell, I might even turn these into a blogging series to keep everyone updated on the progress.

The biggest thing with each of these goals/resolutions/whatever, is to have a plan in place to make sure I’m successful.  Just throwing ideas out there won’t be good enough.  Steps need to be taken to make sure the tasks are feasible.

Here’s what I have so far:

  1. Take a writing class – I’ve already looked up the local community college’s continuing/adult education program.  They have online writing programs that run for 6 weeks and I’m going to sign up for the one that starts in Jan.  It will be over before my due date and will give me something to fall back on when blogging feels like a chore (or I succumb to only posting smushy baby pictures).
  2. Do a “Mud Run” – Once I’m allowed to start exercising again after the baby comes…I will need a goal to keep me in check.  I’ve wanted to do a mud run ever since Peter’s sister and her bf told us about theirs.  There are a few this summer, and all are planned for about 3 months (or more) after my due date.  I think that’s a safe time-frame for training for a 5K.
  3. Do a Juice Cleanse – I’m thinking this will be my April 1st goal.  It should be enough time for me and the new babe to learn to breastfeed….so I’ll have a little more brain power to think about myself again.  April 1st was the start of a different healthy endeavor last year, so it makes sense to start another one to celebrate the anniversary of being smoke free for a year!  We got a juicer for Christmas and already plan to incorporate whole fruit and veggie juices into our diets going forward, but a real cleanse is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
  4. Sew SOMETHING on my machine – Peter bought me a sewing machine for my 30th birthday.  I’ve yet to even test it out.  That’s SHAMEFUL!!!!!!  I took sewing classes in High School so I’m not a complete nOOb, but I’m not at all comfortable with it.  I have crafty dreams, and I want to take the first step!  Who has something easy and gratifying they think I should try??
  5. Take a photo class – I took classes in college on a regular SLR, but I’ve never taken a digital class.  I have a lovely dSLR that I’m mildly comfortable with, but I’d like to relearn how to really really use it.  I’d also love to take some photo editing classes.  I’m thinking this will be a summertime project.  There are many amazing online resources, and my local community college also offers classes.  I’ll decide which route to take once the time comes.
  6. Get BlogHer2012 sponsorship – This one is lofty.  I attended the conference in 2010 under my old blog persona.  This time around I want to be more open and I’m using this blog.  Because I’ve never taken this one seriously until a few months ago, I have a lot of work to do.  You’ll see a lot of changes around here in the coming weeks/months (which I’ll go into more detail with later)….but there’s much work to be done to be taken seriously by corporate sponsors for such an awesome conference!
  7. Clean ALL of my stuff from my father’s house – My childhood home happens to be next door to my own.  There’s no excuse for me to have anything left over there after all these years.  I need to spend some time in his attic making sure that all my old junk is gone so he never has to deal with it ever again.
  8. Hang pictures on walls once painted – SAD SAD SAD there is NOTHING hanging on our walls.  We’ve lived here for years and we never hang pictures.  We’re planning on having the house repainted, from top to bottom, and once that’s done family photos must adore these walls.
  9. Have a weekly Family game/movie night – This one will be so important once the new baby arrives.  We’ll all need a way to bond and reconnect as a family, and having a weekly game or movie night is a VERY easy and inexpensive way to make sure that happens.  Just put your computers and phones away and really hang out with each other.
  10. Plan a monthly date night – That’s only 12 a year!  Peter and I are BAD at asking for help with this.  We need to get better at it for our own sanity and relationship.  We need time alone…even if for just a few hours. Or even just an hour to go eat without kids!
  11. Eat dinner at the table 3 nights a week – I’ll admit it.  I don’t love cooking.  I’m ok at it, but it’s not my favorite pastime.  That said, I kinda hate take out.  I also don’t want to fall back on junk food 24/7 after the baby comes.  If I can cook and eat at the table 3 nights a week I’ll be thrilled and maybe motivated to do it more often.
  12. Attend Sunday UU Services – This one is important to me.  I wrote about it at length last week.  I’m not saying we need to go every Sunday, because life will get in the way, but we need to make an effort to really start going because it makes us all feel better about the world around us when we do attend.
  13. BONUS Goals – Learn to make soap.  Try CrossFit.

As you can see not all of these will fit neatly into a 1-month 1-off setting, but I think that they are good and useful goals and resolutions to add to my and my family’s life.  Do you have any plans for the coming year?  Please don’t say get skinny and rich HA!

 

Sorry I’m Such A Bitch

December 29, 2011

Seriously, sorry.  I’ve been in more pain in the last 7 months than I’ve ever been in my life.  Almost every negative pregnancy symptom that you can imagine has been inflicted upon me this time around.  I know I’ve complained before, and I feel like that’s ALL I ever do….but I can’t help it.  When *you* ask me how I’m feeling, and I respond with a laundry list of “why I feel like crap” I know you were expected the canned response “tired but good” or something to that effect.

Photo Credit - marketplace.secondlife.com

The thing is, I can’t even fake it this time.  I can’t smile and nod and hold it in.  If you ask me how I’m feeling, you’re going to get the truth.  The truth is I hurt all the time, I sleep terribly, I’m tired and sore and depressed.  I cannot imagine how people deal with lifetimes full of chronic pain.  I can barely fathom the idea of feeling this way for another 9 weeks….if this were a life sentence I’d want the chair.

So again, I’m sorry.  If you’ve had the misfortune of seeing me lately (especially over the holidays), then you know I’m miserable to be around.  I didn’t want to stay home and keep Alexa from the joy her family members wanted to shower her with.  I offered (aka threatened) to stay, but then Peter insisted that he keep me company and take care of me.  I didn’t want it to be my “fault” for anyone missing Christmas, so I grinned (hahah totally didn’t grin) and beared (is that a word?) it.

Anyway, in a few weeks this will all be over.  Then I’ll be tired, but I’ll be JUST ONE PERSON again, so maybe I’ll feel human again.  Just put up with me until then.  I promise I’ll try to be less of a beast when it no longer hurts to sit down.

Unitarian Universalism

December 21, 2011

Photo Credit: http://www.uucmc.org

With the holidays coming up, and my previous post about the secular way in which I look at them, I thought it was about time to come clean.  So here it is, we go to church.  Well…not traditional church, the one we attend doesn’t even call itself that, it calls itself a “meeting house”.  It’s just easier to say church in my book, but whatever floats your boat.

The “religion” we practice is called Unitarian Universalism and it TAKES ALL KINDS!  It’s guided by seven principles:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Anywho…a little over a year ago I was searching for something.  It’s really difficult to find a group of like-minded INSPIRING people to interact with on a regular basis.  It’s especially hard to find that for your whole family.  Sure, both Peter and I have our own likes and hobbies, ones that have group meetups should we be so inclined, but it’s not the same. While I’m not a believer in organized religion, hell…I don’t even call myself “spiritual”,  I do understand the comfort it brings some. I also cherish the community it builds and often felt like that was missing from my life.

You see, Peter was raised Catholic and I’m an atheist/humanist. He sees the synergy between physics and a “higher power” while I have a more academic curiosity about the idea of faith and cultural beliefs. He studies hard sciences and I study the soft ones. Together we both have interest in the idea of religion, but don’t care to belong to a traditional one.  Aside for our own desire to learn, we also want to expose our daughter to various belief systems. I don’t care that she decides to join one faith or another…I just want her to understand the differences and similarities between different cultures and people. I want her to be tolerate of others, and compassion for their beliefs is a good place to start.

That brings me to today, this month, this holiday season.  You’ve all heard me talk about rejecting religion from my own life, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not tolerant of other peoples’ beliefs (not to say that I’m at all OK with them being thrust upon me).  During this time of the year you HAVE to be tolerant and accepting or you’ll drive yourself nuts.  In a UU congregation they teach ALL faiths and celebrate all of the holidays.  Some may find fault with picking and choosing, but really they’re paying respect to everyone’s belief system.  It’s refreshing to go somewhere where my secular view on life is just as well regarded as someone’s religious take on things.

Earth Window - Photo Credit: http://www.uucmc.org

The UU Congregation of Monmouth County has welcomed us with open arms. We haven’t been to many Sunday services, though we have spent a few holidays with the congregation. I think the Christmas Day service will be a good reentry point after a few months away.  The meeting-house is such a warm and beautiful place. We’re considering a “path to membership” at some point in the future, but are moving slow. For now we are considered “guests”, though we try to donate and support their outreach programs.  One reason may be because we have yet to come out to our families (though I guess that’s what I’m doing here).   We don’t even know where we’ll live in a year or two from now,  I just know that going to these Sunday Services makes me feel good.

A Secular Holiday Season

December 20, 2011

I’ve been having some weird feelings about celebrating Christmas ever since Alexa was born.  First there’s the religious side that I do not relate to, then there’s all the SANTA mania….and I’m not sure how to deal with that and my kid(s). Why am I celebrating a holiday that I’m somewhat uncomfortable with? To be honest, I searched for some other suitable replacement that didn’t have religious connotations.  Festivus and its “pole” wasn’t so appealing.

There are so many people up in arms over “keeping Christ in Christmas”, there’s even those that seriously get offended when you call it Xmas.  Then there are those that have hissy fits if you wish them the wrong holiday (btw, wish me which ever one you like, it’s all about spreading good feelings, not about excluding some subsect of the population).  If your holiday card speaks to your belief system, that’s A-ok….just know that mine will most likely poke fun at all of them ;D

As for Santa, I don’t remember his magic being a part of my childhood.  I was given the bad news about his non-existence very early on.  I don’t remember truly believing before that, and my parents weren’t ones to pump the jolly guy up.  I think “he” was just a symbol of the holiday, no more real than Rudolf.  I’m not sure how to play the game for my own daughters, and I’m not sure how I feel about either side of the coin.  The “lying” about this mythical figure or the “truth” that may rob them of some part of childhood I missed out on?  OH SO MANY THOUGHTS!

I’m not a Grinch I swear, I’m just torn.  I ADORE holiday decorations and festivities.  I like to play along with the fun cartoonishness version of Christmas.  I really do enjoy buying and making gifts for my loved ones.  I love the togetherness of the season and the warmth the holidays bring to, an otherwise bleak, winter.  I’d keep my tree up until Spring if it were socially acceptable.  Seeing twinkling lights strung on neighbors houses makes me happy.  Still, I’m torn.

HO HO HO - Santacon 2006

Traditional we are not (you’ve all seen our amazing Monster Stockings from years past).  Peter and I were never ones to do the “normal” version of anything since meeting.  I mean…HELLO…look at the name of this blog!!  When we started celebrating holidays together we opted to do some pretty random, but awesomely fun, stuff.  Our first Christmas season living together we participated in Santacon in NYC, and our second we did Running of the Santas in Philly.

I think what it comes down to is….it’s just easier to celebrate the holiday of the majority.  I mean, I was raised in that community and still belong to it.  There’s always the Winter Solstice or the Human Light celebrations to attend…but our dearest friends and family celebrate Christmas.  That’s when we gather together to give and receive love and cheer.

My guess is that as we mature we’ll find our groove when it comes to explaining these questions to our kids…and we’ll figure out what works best for our family.  Our version of the holiday season doesn’t HAVE to be centered around one specific holiday.  Hell we could celebrate them all just so the girls learn about everyone living and rejoicing around them.

Other blog posts touching on the topic:

Heated House

December 17, 2011

We have heat!  We also now posses the ability to retain said heat.  That’s right boys and girls….our furnace woes are finally over.  Seems that the weather held out just long enough too.  The unseasonably warm Autumn was the only thing that saved us through all of this.  Well, that and space heaters.

Last week the furnace was installed.  That was a 2 day project.  Today the last of a 4 day insulation project was completed and signed off on.  It seriously feels like a different house.  It’s amazing what some modern comforts can do for a home.  Our furnace is quieter and stronger…and comes with more options.  The new thermostat seems to be far more accurate than the old one.  With walls packed full of super wonderful fantastical insulation I can no longer hear every person who happens to walk in front of our house.  We also don’t hear the heat kicking on time and time again trying to keep up with all the cold air wafting in.

The house feels solid now.  The heat feels effective.  We really wish we were in a place to have done this when we first bought, maybe I wouldn’t hate it so much….maybe I’ll grow to like it a bit more now.  Time will tell…and we’ll have at least 2 more winters here, so at least they’ll be comfortable ones. Time will also tell how much more efficient the house is.  With full shell and mechanical upgrades, our energy costs should go WAY down.  Especially considering we moved from oil heat to gas.

All in all I’m happy we waited and did the upgrades this way (using the NJ energy audit program).  It took three months from the time we noticed that the old furnace had been destroyed in the hurricane….till now.  I’m grateful we were in a place to spend the extra money to get both projects done at once.  Now we just have to wait for all the paperwork to be completed so the rebates and 0% interest loans can come through to pay ourselves back!

So now it’s on to the next home project….gotta get the place ready for the new baby!  Ah it never ends ;D