No Purple Walls.

A Whole Lot of Words to Say a Couple Short Things December 19, 2014

This has been quite an absence. A lot has happened, and I didn’t know quite how to get started talking about it on here. And as time passed, more happened that was also difficult to talk about. Not difficult in the sense that I can’t talk about it. Just difficult in that I didn’t really know where to start or how to approach it.

 

I can write here in a way that is similar to how I normally talk, but the level of candor is usually higher than in the real world. It feels more appropriate here to divulge certain things I don’t talk about in every day life, partly because it feels like an Internet hole and I’m just sending it all out into the abyss. The candor thing is tricky, because a chunk of people that read this know me. So I don’t usually put anything out into the blog that I wouldn’t want friends and family and acquaintances knowing. But it also gives me a space to talk about things that I don’t mind everyone knowing, but for which a window in conversation never really opens.

 

The other thing that makes candor tricky is that I’m a mom. I’ve built this blog around being a mom. And just like all my cringeworthy livejournal entries from high school and my early twenties, these blog posts are going to be internet things forever. I wouldn’t want to write anything that would upset my kids during a Google search down the road. So this is all just.. touchy. For me. But necessary since I clearly can’t write without addressing all the junk in my brain.

 

First thing is first. I’m 19 weeks pregnant. It has taken me such a long time to write about this because of what I just said about being a mom. So I want to say, right off the bat, clear as day, that I could not be happier that there is going to be a new baby in our home. Adam and I are so excited to add to our family. August isn’t that excited because he’s too young to really get it, but he will probably be just the right amount of pissed when he realizes this baby is going to play with all of his toys. Can’t please everyone.

 

Now, all that being said. It was hard to sit down and write this out, and I quit blogging for a few months, because I did not want to be pregnant. Yes, I 100% want this baby that Adam and I 100% planned on having, and I can’t wait to meet him or her and give them a shit ton of love. But after my first birth experience, doing it again is terrifying to me. Baby? Hell yes. Birth? Nope thanks.

 

A refresher. I underwent a very traumatic c-section. I was not even able to process it or really think about it until I was six-months postpartum. At that point, when I thought about giving birth again one day, it triggered over a month of very deep postpartum depression. I saw two counsellors to try to work through my birth trauma, with no improvements. My PPD went away as I pushed myself to work through it, but all I ended up doing was shoving it aside without dealing with the underlying issues.

 

Before I get ahead of myself, I want to point out that I’m careful to refer to the experience as my birth. My birth was horrible. It was terrifying and dehumanizing and for completely unnecessary reasons. However, August being born was one of the best things to ever happen to me. His birth gave me the brightest spot in the entire universe, and I get to spend every day experiencing an absurd amount of love because his birth made me a mom. For the rest of my life, I am a mom. I could not be more grateful for that role, or for the amazing little boy that I have the privilege of calling my son. My birth experience? The worst. August’s birth? The best.

 

This post has been so difficult to write, and I’ve thought about how I could do it so many times, because there are buckets of conflict in being so thrilled that you are having a baby, and completely terrified of actually bringing a baby into the world. The night that my postpartum depression was triggered, I had been thinking about how my next birth would go, and I stayed up the entire night, frantically researching VBACs and birth trauma and trying to see into my future.

 

So when it came time to start planning the next phase of our family, I put off getting pregnant for months. I made excuses because as much as I wanted another baby, I did not want to go through another trauma. And that felt like the only possible outcome, because trauma was all I knew. Over two years after giving birth, I still cannot talk about it without crying, my heart rate going bananas, and losing control of my breath.

 

The nuts thing is, it is not even a repeat c-section, per se, that I am afraid of. I spent my entire first pregnancy telling my doctor that I wasn’t big on birth plans, I just didn’t want a c-section. That was my only plan in birth; pushing that sucker out. I made it clear over and over, and was reassured over and over by my doctor that she would never perform an unnecessary c-section and that she wanted me to have a vaginal birth.

 

And then she made decision after decision, giving me little consent or information as she went, that ended in her telling me that I was having a c-section in 30 minutes, at the end of the day of my induction. None of the consent I gave that day was informed. And there were mistakes made by the hospital that she glossed over and lied about, that she then used as ammunition to perform major abdominal surgery. Which in the end was a very obvious decision by my doctor to get her home on time, in a hospital I later learned has the highest c-section rate in my state.

 

And while the c-section itself was scary and upsetting and abrupt, it was not what caused my trauma. If you read my birth story, you may remember that I was very upset during surgery, even asking to be put under because I was so afraid about being awake for it, and my anesthesiologist told me I would not want to be asleep for the birth of my son. He gave me drugs to chill me out, and then he and Adam were able to distract me while August was being born. I saw August for a moment. I remember Adam saying he had so much black hair, but I don’t remember seeing him.

 

I became upset again once I was being stitched up, because I could feel it happening (not pain, but a lot of pressure and movement) and that was hugely unsettling. I begged to be knocked out. This time, the anesthesiologist listened, and I was unconscious for the first hour of my baby’s life.

 

Now, you may be saying that I asked for it. I did. I literally asked for it. Over and over. But I asked for a lot of things in labor. I asked to be allowed to walk to the bathroom so I wouldn’t have to sit in my amniotic fluid in the hospital bed. I asked to not have a c-section. I asked for a Cinnabon. I asked to be knocked out while my doctor cut me open on the other side of a small curtain. But now they decided to listen to me? Being unconscious for a critical bonding period was more acceptable than being unconscious during surgery? They were tired of listening to me cry and wail, and decided to finally give a distraught woman what she asked for. I may have asked for it, but the anesthesiologist and my doctor were trained medical professionals, and they made a choice in their interests, not mine.

 

When I woke up in the recovery room, I wasn’t allowed to hold August because I wasn’t stable from the drugs yet. The nurse finally laid him on my chest because skin to skin contact is incredibly important for a newborn. I couldn’t try to breastfeed my baby for hours after he was born. And I had no memory of him being born besides the fear I felt on my side of the curtain. I couldn’t remember what he looked like in his first moments. Today, my first memories of him, in general, are fuzz at best.

 

And this beautiful baby in my arms? I felt like I woke up, and someone just handed me a baby. I didn’t feel like I had just given birth. I didn’t feel like I was holding my baby that I carried for nine months. I felt unattached, withdrawn, and incredibly guilty. What kind of mother was I, already?

 

While in the hospital, I sent August to the nursery whenever I could. I told myself it was because I was exhausted, and that I needed sleep. I was and I did. But I also didn’t know what to do with this baby. I liked him. He was cute and sweet and I mean… he was a baby. I love babies. But it took about two weeks for me to feel like his; for him to feel like mine.

 

It was fierce when it happened, and it’s only gotten stronger. But those first weeks? I was detached and afraid and so, so guilty. This little boy was perfect. He didn’t do anything wrong. He deserved a real mother, and I felt like the furthest thing from it. That detachment, and the complete lack of control that preceded it, are the roots of my trauma.

 

Which brings us to what happened after I got pregnant. We hired a wonderful doula early on, because I want to have a VBAC and I know I need an advocate and extra support in a hospital setting. After sharing my birth story with her, she made it obvious that all of my fear was going to hurt me when it comes time to labor. She pointed me in the direction of an art therapist that deals with birth trauma. I felt like talk therapy hadn’t worked, and decided to try art therapy because what could it hurt?

 

It did not take long for my new therapist to diagnose me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That’s a difficult thing to share, and I haven’t shared it with many people I know. It feels dramatic as hell to wave a big PTSD flag around, and it absolutely feels like I’m appropriating this thing I have no business claiming as my own. PTSD is something I associate with combat veterans who have seen death and unspeakable danger. Me? I had a shitty birth.

 

So it’s a weird thing to think about, and an uncomfortable thing to write about. But I want other women to know this happened to me. And if they’re looking for somewhere to relate, I want to be someone other women in this position can relate to. And if they can’t relate, I want them to be able to better advocate for themselves and for other women they care about, so that fewer women come out of birth being able to relate to me. But mostly, I want to be able to write again in this space, and I haven’t felt capable of that for months because I haven’t been able to be honest. So there is all my honesty. Barfed out of my brain at 1am on a Tuesday.

 

Hopefully, I will be back soon, because I love this place and I love writing and I have missed them both.

 

I Tried a Green Smoothie. July 31, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sara @ 7:41 pm
Tags: , , ,

My energy levels and overall feelings of anything one might describe as “wellness” have been pretty low lately. I was zooming for a while there. Exercising almost every day, sometimes twice a day. Eating well and upping my veggie and water game. Getting good sleep. On point. I have gotten a little lax the last few weeks. I’ve been exercising, but less. Eating wellish, sometimes wellishish. Staying up too late and not taking adequate time to rest, plus running my ass around like a whack. And it’s making me feel like shit on a shitstick. I felt bad enough today that I drank spinach.

 

 

I have tried the green smoothie thing. This is a thing. I decided to make one today because I was feeling exceptionally awful. That could be because I had Pizza Hut pizza today and it wasn’t even from Pizza Hut, it was from Target. But that is neither here nor there. The recipe was pretty versatile, which I liked, and said it was good for beginners. I am a beginner! Sign me up for your beverage with training wheels! Basically, it was two cups of leafy greens, two cups of a liquid base, and three cups of fruit. I chose spinach, coconut water, and then mango, pineapple and banana were my fruits. Then I threw some chia seeds in that jammy for extra points. Blended it up in a blender and voila.

 

This is not my green smoothie. But they all kind of look like this. And everyone puts a fancy party straw in theirs so they can pretend they are excited to drink salad.

 

I was immediately scared to drink it because

1.It looked like a diaper blowout and

2. It filled the entire blender, but only served two.

It took two taste tests from Adam and him reassuring me, under threat of pinch, that it wasn’t gross. I have always hated smoothies. Mostly because smoothies tend to have yogurt and yogurt is balls. You could be so many things, Milk. You could have been Cheese. You could have been Ice Cream. You could have stayed fucking Milk. Why the hell would you choose to be Yogurt? Barf. Anyways, I made a yogurtless smoothie. But I traded yogurt/barf for coconut water/jizz. So I was unsure and skeptical.

 

I was also doing dishes and out of glasses.

I was also doing dishes and out of glasses.

 

Color me surprised, but it was good! Not as good as the fifty junk foods I was craving at that moment. But for what it was, it was good. It was a LOT of smoothie, though, and I didn’t get through the whole half-a-blender. But I came close. I stuck the other half in the fridge for tomorrow, and maybe I will be able to function without feeling like something is literally sucking the life out of me. If I do not report back, assume my green smoothie killed me or that I am holding the nearest Wawa hostage while I indulge in Hoagiefest. Good night. And good luck.

 

Greetings From My Bed July 18, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sara @ 12:21 pm
Tags: ,

It has been a fun week. I am flat on my ass, for no apparent reason. I’ve had some fantastic back pain behind my shoulder for a while now, and have been asking Adam for frequent back rubs. At times, I ask him to make a fist and just push. It sucks. Yesterday, I don’t know if my muscle seized up or a nerve was pinched or what, but I spent the day like Quasimodo.

 

We are the same.

 

Then last night, I woke up with a lot of pain in my lower back, causing me to attempt to sleep in Child’s Pose. So today, we are watching a lot of Netflix. I am enjoying a constant loop of morality and lesson songs from Daniel Tiger while I lay on a heating pad. The good life.

 

 

This seems to be one of those weeks. I’ve got some zucchini from the farmers market, chilling in my fridge. I went to make some zucchini fries, and we were out of milk. Then I went to make zucchini bread, and we didn’t have enough flour. So I made brown butter coconut cookies instead, which ended up being the best baked good I have ever made in my life. There can be a silver lining in one of those weeks. My silver lining is going to make my ass jiggle for a week. Don’t care.

 

 

So at some point, I will have a post on what the hell I end up doing with that damn zucchini. And at another point, I will have a post on something else I find at the farmers market this weekend. But before I do any of that, I am going to get August down for a nap and then sit in my bathtub with a jar of cookies.

 

I Thought About Babies July 15, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sara @ 3:09 pm
Tags: , ,

I feel like I just sat down to write the last post. The problem with actually trying to pack some summer into your summer is shit starts to runaway from you. It feels like elementary school again, when every moment flew by and I was just trying to maximize my time running through sprinklers. Felt like all of five minutes before it was time to hang up my awkward one-piece and no-purpose goggles and head back to school. Not that you guys are school. You guys are way better than school. But trying to get on a more frequent blogging schedule is a little trickier than I thought.

 

I tried really hard to find one with goggles. Apparently my mother loved me too much to take any.

I tried really hard to find one with goggles. Apparently my mother loved me too much to take any.

 

We had a pretty busy weekend, full of friends and activities and there was even a high-quality nap somewhere in there. One of my dearest friends just had her first baby, and we went up to Philly to visit her family with another wonderful friend of ours. I’m not going to lie. I was pretty in awe of this new mama. She had makeup on. She had real clothes on, and a bra. She didn’t seem like she was taking a small break from eating her own hair. And she had a baby just a couple weeks ago. I think I was hissing at sunlight that soon after August was born, and I was most certainly not showered. Or at least less showered than I am on the regular. There was a period of time where I didn’t wear a shirt, and just walked around with a My Breast Friend fastened around me like a damn inner tube. Those weren’t exactly pleasant days, and there’s been a lot of apprehension on my part about returning to all that. But visiting my friend, and seeing that sometimes it can be easier, gave me some of my first “Maybe I can possibly sort of do this again one day, perhaps?” thoughts.

 

Totally ready.

 

So there’s that. I’m pretty terrified of having another child. Partly because, aside from the occasional sleep boycott or short-lived tantrum, August is an easy kid. And technically, he was an easy baby. But I did not have an easy time being his mother. Nowadays, I know this kid. I know how to be his mom. But it took a while to get there. I barely left my house for the first three months. I barely left the chair that I nursed him in most days. My pregnancy, my birth experience, those first few months while trying to breastfeed, and my body every step of the way, were absolutely nothing like I expected. Everything felt out of my control. And a lot was, and a lack of control is normal and should be expected. But I didn’t handle it well at all, and I don’t have a lot of confidence at this exact moment that I can handle it much better the next time around. But that is something that I’m learning I need to let go of. It doesn’t matter if I am the kind of person that needs to be in control. When a baby comes, I am going to lose a lot of it, whether I like it or not. Babies don’t give a shit about your comfort or preferences or if you’re a Type A first born Capricorn who gets into fights with doors that look like pushers but are actually pullers.

 

Selfieeeee.

 

Part of it is the unknown. Part of it is the fear of returning to what I know, because what I already know sucks. Part of it is the ever-present mom guilt. How could I ever love anyone as much as I love August? Right now, he’s the world. We are always together, I am always available to him. And I feel bad that he won’t have that level of attention when I have another baby. But I’m starting to get there. What I am trying to say is that my friend’s unbelievably sweet little girl turned my uterus up a notch, and it has been a minute since that thing wasn’t protected by lasers and attack cats.

 

NO ZYGOTES.

 

Sometimes, when I sit down to write without a plan for what I am posting about, I am surprised by what ends up coming out. I’m also excited that the audience I am writing for- my friends, family, and people I’ve never met- has always been a supportive audience that makes me comfortable enough to not just hold down the DELETE button instead of hitting PUBLISH after flying off on a tangent like this. I appreciate that I can come here and be honest, and probably sound like a wackjob, without fear or weirdness. So thanks for being cool.

 

I Went to the Farmers Market and Founds Something Weird Wednesday July 9, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sara @ 9:00 am
Tags: , , ,

Successful attempt at making something from the farmers market! Mostly. We were on a tight schedule on Saturday. We had to run by my cousin’s house and let out her dog and feed him, then get August to a music class before we could swing by the tail end of the market. And before you decide I am some crazy weirdo that is putting her toddler in piano lessons, I will correct you and say that I am some crazy weirdo that is trying to socialize her child. August gets a good bit of socialization during the week from my Stroller Strides group, which I still owe you a post on. But he gets to play with kids there, and they also hold play dates that we attend. But whenever those play dates are structured, and especially if there is singing or clapping or loud excitement, he gets super upset. Can’t handle it. So I took him to a free session of a music class for kids eight months to five years old, to get a feel for how he would handle it.

 

This was the emotion I was bracing myself for.

 

He handled the shit out of it. Absolutely loved it. It was structured, but I didn’t have to hold him down in my lap. August could walk around and do his thing, which seemed to help a ton. The songs weren’t super loud or crazy. Each one had it’s own little instrument the kids would learn a bit about and get to play with. A drum pad, rhythm eggs, jingle bells, resonator bells, and more. The teacher would hand them out to each kid, do the song and let them play with it, then collect the instruments before she handed out a new one. I thought having to give something back would lead to a meltdown, but he was cool and happy when he understood that he would get something new after he turned in the old one. I’ve never seen him follow directions in a group setting like this, or even be all that happy. He was beaming! So I’m going to sign him up for the fall session. We were so happy with how the class went, and I think it’s going to be great for this stage where he is transitioning out of parallel play and interacting more with other kids.

 

Anyways, so we got to the farmers market towards the end, and I’m so glad I committed to this post because otherwise I would have said screw it and went home. And if that had happened, I would have missed out on these beauties!

 

NOT big ass green beans. Fava beans!

NOT big ass green beans. Fava beans!

 

Now, I have only ever even heard of fava beans in the context of Silence of the Lambs. So that made me need to buy them. I bought one basket and brought them home, ready to make a heaping side dish with possibly some leftovers. When looking online, I came across a few methods of preparing them with pecorino or parmesan and olive oil. Easy peasy.

 

I soon found that fava beans are a laborious bean to prepare. You gotta shell these suckers twice. First you take the beans out of the pod. Or bean. I would like to take this moment to address the fact that fava beans are also a misleading bean. They false advertise the shit out of themselves. Those big huge pods? Most look like they’ve got three big, tasty beans inside, ready for shelling.

 

Nope.

Nope.

 

So that was frustrating. After shelling all these suckers, expecting Adam and I would be able to each enjoy a hefty helping, this was what my labors produced.

 

I’m trying hard not to make size doesn’t matter jokes.

 

After all that, I still needed to de-shell these guys a second time. They had a thick skin on them that needed to be removed. So I boiled some salted water and tossed in my disappointing yield, and let them cook for six minutes. Then I blanched those bitches.

 

By which I mean I threw them in a bowl of ice water to shock them and stop the cooking process.

 

After blanching, you can just pinch the end of the skin off and pop the bean right through. They’re bright and green and delicious, and worth all the effort, but I wish I would have known to buy more. But I tossed them in a bowl with a little EVOO, some crumbled pecorino, a bit of lemon juice and salt and pepper, and we were good to go. This was an easy side, once the initial prep was done, with really nice results.

 

That is a very small nesting bowl, by the way. This really made a tiny amount.

That is a very small nesting bowl, by the way. This really made a tiny amount.

 

I decided to make us a tapas-ish dinner, so I threw the fava beans together with more pecorino, some hard salami, and the most garlicy bread on this earth. It was all really delicious, and a great meal for out on the deck. Plus, having a green vegetable in there made me feel a little better about a dinner made almost entirely of meat, cheese and carbs. There was enough for Adam and I to both have a small side of the fava beans, but it ended up being just enough because the entire meal was pretty filling.

 

All in all, I would totally make fava beans again. I will just make way more of them next time. This weekend, I will hit the market again in search of something that I’ve never made, and I’ll report back with my findings. If anyone has a suggestion for something I should be on the lookout for, please share in the comments!

 

Minions and Candy and Eagles That Look Like Hippogriffs Are What Make America Great July 7, 2014

‘Merica!

 

U. S. A. U. S. A.

U. S. A. U. S. A.

 

We celebrated the 4th of July, along with all our fellow Americans, this past weekend. We are starting to enter an era of holidays that August can participate in an enjoy, which is making everything a buttload more fun. Of course, he doesn’t really get the whole thing where our forefathers declared us independent from England and all their tea-drinking and bland food nonsense. But he totally gets the part where we watch a parade and wave at fire trucks and get candy thrown at us. Just like John Adams and Ben Franklin.

 

And puddle-stomping.

And puddle-stomping.

 

We drove up to my aunt and uncle’s home in Riverton, NJ. My favorite 4th’s were always spent at their house, because their town was super into America and stuff. The parade went right by their house, so my sisters and I always had great seats for candy-catching. It was exciting to share that with August this year, and see him interacting with people near us and running out to add to his sugar stash. Another great part about him being so young is that he didn’t notice when I would periodically toss a handful of candy into the bag a little boy next to us was holding. We let August eat a few pieces, but there was no way I was voluntarily signing up for the meltdowns to come post-shitload of lollipops.

 

Although he tried his damnedest by  unwrapping every lollipop that came his way and tasting it for five seconds.

Although he tried his damnedest by unwrapping every lollipop that came his way and tasting it for five seconds.

 

August is still too young for fireworks. Both the staying up late part and the super loud noises part, so we went home early and just chilled for the day, worked on the backyard a bit, and then Adam and I went to bed before 10 I think because we are olds now. Summer makes me tired. I don’t think I’ve gotten through a full episode of The Wire after August was in bed in over a week.

 

There was another exciting first last week. My sisters and I took August to his first movie. There is a theater by us that has $1 kids movies from the last year or so a couple mornings a week. We got there early and got primo seats at the bottom of the stadium seating, so that there was a small wall right in front of us and we could let August get up during the movie without him bothering anyone sitting in front of us. We saw Despicable Me 2, and he did really well. I had to cover his ears a couple times when it got too loud, and he yelled at the screen if something was too scary, but overall he had a blast. Popcorn and M&Ms are August’s new favorite food groups.

 

His arms were too short to reach in the bucket, so we grabbed a plastic cup to hold his own personal "POPtorn".

His arms were too short to reach in the bucket, so we grabbed a plastic cup to hold his own personal “POPtorn”.

 

The best part about seeing a movie in this kind of setting, where it’s all parents bringing small kids, trying to get out of the heat and occupy everyone for a couple hours, is that I didn’t have to worry about August making noise and disturbing anyone. Everyone is making noise. The only time I felt compelled to take him out of the theater was towards the end when it was a little intense for him and he was getting restless. We ran around in the lobby for a few minutes, came back in for the final scene, and high-fived for a successful first movie experience. Most of the movies on their schedule this summer suck, so we probably won’t go again this year, but it’s a great thing to have available to us.

 

And I will take any excuse for eating movie theater popcorn.

And I will take any excuse for eating movie theater popcorn.

 

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend and isn’t too sunburnt or hungover starting this week off. I’ll be back on Wednesday with the first farmers market post. I posted a picture on my Instagram of what I decided to cook this week, so feel free to check that out or follow along for sneak peaks at future posts. You can view the feed on the right side of this screen.

 

Farmers Markets Sell Things Besides Kettle Corn and Pastries and I Intend to Find Out What. July 4, 2014

Filed under: food,Uncategorized — Sara @ 9:21 pm
Tags: , ,

Every Saturday morning in the summer, I wake up with the intention of going to the farmers market to hunt down some fresh produce to throw into the coming week’s meal plan. The moments after I wake up tend to go one of two ways.

 

Option A

I go to the farmers market, but with zero plan and no idea of what I am looking for. Then I see baked goods and that is what I’m always looking for. And I leave the market with less money, more scones, and zero swiss chard.

 

Option B

Oops.

 

So I’m trying a new thing, but also trying to be realistic about what I am capable of in the early hours of the weekend. All the Saturdays in July are going to go one of two ways.

 

Option A

I go to the farmers market with zero plan and zero idea of what I am looking for. Then I look for something weird I have never cooked with that also grows out of the ground and I buy it. Then I see baked goods and buy them because YOLO.

 

Option B

I still sleep in but I also still manage to get my tired ass to the farmers market. Shit is open until 11am.

 

I got this.

 

What I am trying to say is, I will see you guys this week for What Thing Did I Find At The Farmers Market And Attempt To Cook With Little Knowledge Wednesday Or Something. That is a working title. I will wake up tomorrow and buy a thing, figure out how I want to prepare it and with what, then I will post recipes if it worked out nicely and hilarious anecdotes if it did not. If you have a generous spirit and know something about a vegetable and are also indoors on this fine Independence Day because your child would be a raging bull if you kept them up late enough for fireworks, I would very much appreciate a nudge or suggestion for something to look for tomorrow morning so I don’t actually come home with swiss chard. Unless swiss chard is good? I don’t know things.

 

This post was brought to you by the jackass at Wegman’s who never stocks my damn broccoli florets steamer bags and is forcing me to broaden my horizons because broccoli cuts are disgusting YOU JERK.

 

 
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