I Would Like to Go Everywhere, Please.

Wanderlust. I has it. Bad. I’ve been looking at pictures from our time in Spain last year, and all it’s making me want to do is pack a bag (or nine) and get us out into the world. That trip was a lot, and traveling on my own with a 20-month old was a lot a lot. But getting through it and seeing that I could do it made me want to go everywhere. The joy and excitement and fun of living  for a few weeks in a totally different place, so far outside of my comfort zone, easily outweighed the stress and toll of traveling solo with a toddler. A few months ago, I may have begged Adam to quit his job so we could all move to another country. Stability, thy name is Sara.

Realizing that it’s not exactly smart for my husband to up and quit his job just so I can get my recommended daily intake of churros, I’ve dialed it down a smidge. But the desire to see and experience different countries and cultures and to share those experiences with our kids is still very much there. I’m really hopeful that our future includes a lot of trips overseas. Though, even if we don’t get out of the country very often, I at least know our future holds a lot of trips on this continent.

After we outgrow this townhouse and buy a single family home with a little land and a driveway, Adam and I are planning on buying a trailer. I have been dreaming of this for years, and I can’t wait to actually get the ball rolling one day. Something old that I can gut and then rebuild into something that suits our specific needs. Then, hitching that sucker up to our car and going all over the place. Most of my closest friends have spread out all over the country, and it’s going to be amazing to actually go and visit one day. Plus, getting to plan long trips away where we aren’t packing and unpacking for hotels or spending a fortune on places to stay. We can camp, we can take our home with us, and we can go wherever the hell we want.

I’m so excited to get this ball rolling one day. I will be the most excited lady on the planet when we start searching for a junky tin can to turn into our home on wheels. Do you have any vacation or travel dreams you’re looking forward to experiencing? Do you plan on road-tripping with your family or are you sticking to planes and trains for long distances?

Today, I Love You.

Let me start off by stating that I am in a mood. It’s only a few weeks into my third trimester, but eight more weeks of this feels like a never ending crapshoot. My second trimester was smooth sailing, and Stupid Me thought I could just sail through my third the same way. NOPE, DUMMY. I don’t feel prepared for the baby to arrive (because who the hell is ever prepared? I want to meet you and then slap you,) but I will gladly take unprepped newborn chaos as opposed to feeling like my pelvis is going to shatter whenever I stand up.

The hormones have shown themselves, and they are terrifying. I made it through most of this pregnancy fairly level-headed, or about on par with whatever Not-Pregnant Me can pass off as level-headed. Those days are gone. I made pizza for dinner last night and almost threw the dough across the damn room because I couldn’t stretch it out without getting huge holes. Adam had to swoop in and simultaneously make pizza with my bullshit dough and rub my back while I sobbed in a chair. My makeup is collecting dust because I don’t even bother; I am going to cry it off. Every mild setback or inconvenience sets off the waterworks. Can’t remember the HBO GO password and it’s somehow no longer saved on my laptop? Crying. Get home from the store and realize I forgot to buy two minor, not-urgent things? Crying. Want a cupcake but I already had four? Crying.

*ETA: I was trying to save a draft of this post and the internet is being a slow idiot and won’t do it. Crying. Right now. Someone tap me out of this dickness because I am finished.

So in honor of this mood, I am going to make things worse and dedicate this Today, I Love You to things I miss while pregnant. Nothing like marinating in that pain so I can feel like I really earned the Ben & Jerry’s pint I am going to destroy before I use the empty container to catch my tears.

Today, I Miss/Love You

Wearing my wedding ring

I have crossed the fat/swollen threshold into the period of time where my rings no longer fit, or are not comfortable. One of the most frustrating parts of my postpartum body last time was how long it took me to be able to wear them again. Granted, I have gained much less this pregnancy, and this point came much later than it did my first pregnancy, but still. The bigger annoyance is going to come when old people start being weird to me. When I was pregnant with August and couldn’t wear my rings, I went to Home Depot to buy some plywood so I could fix our wire shelving in the pantry. I was wearing Adam’s shirt and gym shorts. The old man helping me insisted I buy a piece of messed up wood because he could give me a discount on it, and then told me to “save that money for the baby’s college.” Yup. Thank you, sir. I will take that $2.14 and buy the lil’ bastard a highlighter.

Brie

I didn’t realize how crucial brie was to my happiness until I couldn’t have it. If you have never had a brie, green apple and pesto sandwich, I highly suggest you get yourself some good bread and indulge in that shit posthaste because it is a life changer. Have some baked brie for me, too. Ugh.

Booze

What goes great with cheese? Everything because cheese is perfect. But also some cheap, shitty, delicious champagne. Every time I have a hormone-fueled meltdown, all I want is a beer. Cannot wait to have my good buddy back in my life so I can self medicate efficiently.

Moving when I wanted to move and sitting when I wanted to sit

This pelvis business is a blinking neon middle finger from my body, all day and everyday. If I sit for a few minutes, I know I am in for some serious pain when I try to get up again, followed by a lot of hobbling until I can ease myself into being fully upright. If I stand too long, I feel dizzy and weak, plus the pressure of fluid building up in my legs is no picnic. So all day is spent shifting from sitting to standing with a few other positions thrown in because my body is weird as hell right now. It’s like all day Catholic mass and I am not pleased.

My clothes

Maternity clothes are mostly ugly as balls. I have a few basics that aren’t the worst, but I am pretty limited in what I can wear day to day. They all take up this tiny section of my closet. Whenever I go in there to pick something out, I have to look at all my clothes that don’t fit (and aren’t going to fit for a while) and these little visits bum me out. I miss my tshirts and my sweaters and my favorite leggings. Going in my closet reminds me of all the fun we used to have together. Then I reach past them all to grab a maternity tank top and a hoodie for the zillionth day in a row and it hits me right in the feels. I miss you, clothes. I miss you all. I will return, one day. And I’ll buy you lots of new friends.

You all know as well as I do that this whining about being pregnant is going to be immediately replaced by whining about not sleeping and not being able to make the baby stop crying and being covered in spit up. Since we all know it, none of us should feel surprised and none of us should talk about it when it happens and all of us should stock my fridge with beer and my freezer with ice cream. Specifically, The Tonight Dough because every time I try to buy it, it is sold out and it’s only a matter of time before that makes me cry, too.

Something Something Glass Houses Something Something Stones Or Some Crap Like That

There are a lot of things I am guilty of as a parent. There’s a lot of things I’m guilty of as a human but the NSA is watching and I’m not giving you guys shit to work with. But as a parent, I do frowned upon crap on the regular that I am willing to own up to.

I let my kid watch too much TV and definitely use it as a babysitter when I need to make dinner or do some chores or flat-out ignore my responsibilities. I never really baby-proofed our house, aside from a baby gate and a few randomly-placed socket covers. I let my son lick a hotel mirror once. The list goes on. But I sleep well at night, because I have never purchased Michael Kors infant shoes.

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Judgey posts of this nature aren’t normally my thing, because my universal parenting philosophy, in relationship to other parenting philosophies, is normally “You do you.” I think that as long as your kid is breathing at the end of the day and there aren’t too many emotional scars, you’re doing a bang-up job as a parent and I salute you. We are all in this parenting thing together. And by that I mean we are all screwing up our kids one way or the other and I will gladly have a beer with you while those ungrateful turds drain our retirement savings to pay for therapy.

This really isn’t judgement on anyone’s parenting as much as it is on personal style choices, which is maybe next-level dumb but whatever. Feel free to judge the hell out of me in turn, because I never brush my child’s hair and he is normally dressed like I expect him to commit crimes. I will take your judgement about as seriously as you should take mine.

Now that that’s out of the way,

Seriously? Michael Kors makes infant shoes? The phrase infant shoes is unnecessary as eff, but you’re gonna go and one-up that by not only making these tiny shoes as expensive as the shoes of a full-grown person that actually uses their feet, but also by buying the most suburban housewife nonsense on the market? I salute you, madam, for your gold medal in the Basic Olympics. Cheers to you.

Love,

Some idiot who you bet your ass is running out to Nordstrom at the first sign of spring and dropping a stupid amount of money on a pair of Toms that are going to fit my toddler for about eight minutes.

See? We are all in this parenting struggle together. We are all idiots.

My VBAC Meeting and Hospital Tour Would Have Been Better If I Was Allowed to Have a Beer.

A couple of months ago, I dropped a birth trauma and PTSD bomb and then went about my blogging as if nothing ever happened. Then I accidentally scheduled myself a double-dose of anxiety today. Now I’m laying in my bed with my brain turned up to 11 and trying to come down enough to fall asleep.

This birth, I am planning on a VBAC. Even though a vaginal birth is safer and preferable to a repeat cesarean, hospitals still treat a VBAC like crazy ticking time bombs that a hormone-crazed preg is getting ready to launch at their doorstep. So my hospital, while VBAC-friendly, requires me to meet with an OB to discuss the risks of a VBAC. The risk is uterine rupture, and it occurs in less than 1% of VBACs. Half of that less than 1% can end up being fatal. That’s the risk.

I went into this meeting knowing pretty much exactly what I was in for. And I smiled and nodded to pretty much everything, because being combative isn’t going to do me any favors. I taught a master class in tongue-holding when the OB expressed concern that August was born 8lbs 12oz. Did I feel like this baby was getting that big? Do I feel like this baby is approximately two months from weighing 8lbs and 12oz? The hell do I know? You’re a doctor. Please know things.

Specifically, know that I was on an IV for 13 hours, which means August was on an IV for 13 hours, and that he came out of me puffy and inflated. He lost one pound very quickly in the hospital. So there was no way he was actually an 8lb 12 oz baby. Plus, he wasn’t chubby, or what you commonly think of as a “big baby.” He was long as hell, that’s it.

Along with all that, you wouldn’t exactly call me “dainty.” I possess enormous, Irish-Italian Catholic hips. My body was built for babies. A “big baby,” is the least of my worries, and shouldn’t even be showing up on a doctor’s radar. It got me flustered that this kind of nonsense is part of a meeting like this.

The OB determined that I am a candidate for a VBAC (doy,) but I still left frustrated that some dumb things had been brought up. It worried me that when it comes to labor, my doctors already have a list of reasons to expect me to fail. Rationally, I know this isn’t really true because this is  a VBAC-friendly hospital and I am seeing encouraging midwives at a practice where OBs are also supportive of VBACs. But I was not in a rational place.

I had some time to cool down, and I wasn’t even that riled up to begin with, before my next appointment. Adam and I were scheduled to go on a tour of the birthplace at our hospital. In my first pregnancy, I thought I had done my homework on finding the best hospital I could. I was not correct, and although I gave birth at a good hospital, it was not at all a good place for a vaginal birth and had the highest c-section rate in my state. This time, I have chosen a hospital with a low c-section rate and a high VBAC rate, which also has instances of gentle cesareans. I’m very happy with our choice and I know this hospital is my best shot at a healing birth experience.

But I was unprepared, pretty naively, for the feelings that being in a maternity ward were going to bring to the surface. With PTSD, certain triggers can bring you right back to the events of your trauma, putting your mind and body back into a very agitated state because survival instincts start kicking in.

I felt fine for the beginning of the tour. We saw the triage rooms, we walked by the nursery, all was fine. Then we got to a birthing suite. I immediately felt myself getting upset and uncomfortable because there was a labor tub in the room, which you can sit in for pain management. Because I have had a cesarean, I need to be hooked up to monitors a lot of the time, and that means I cannot use the tub. Not being able to use the tub is not an actual huge deal. I don’t know for a fact that it would be helpful t me. And if I arrive in the hospital when someone else is already using it, it wouldn’t be an option anyways. But seeing it reminded me that I have less options. It reminded me that because I had a cesarean, no matter how unnecessary, I am assessed as a higher risk and higher liability than other women. It reminded me that this thing that happened to me is continuing to impact my life when I just want it to be gone.

Our next stop on the tour was the OR; I was completely zoned out. I don’t remember a word the nurse said. I don’t remember any questions other people on the tour asked. I don’t remember what anything looked like or any details, except I know that I was physically present for that part of the tour.

So I’ve spent the evening in a weird place in my brain, being upset and being frustrated and being angry and being fearful. I got some comforting words from my doula, and continue to get all the support in the world from Adam. But it’s hard to come down from this feeling when my brain gets to this place. I start arranging and rearranging details, trying to find a scenario where I can gain the most control.

I’m bending my No Hippie Shit stance on most things in life and buying some birth hypnosis recordings that are focused on VBAC. And I’m writing this all down as a way to process and sort through some feelings, because they need it. I know that if I go into this birth in survival mode, my chances of success are going to shrink. It took me forever just to pee into a bedpan during my first birth because I was stressed. I doubt my cervix is going to be much more cooperative if I’m carrying every ounce of this on top of the regular stress that comes with pushing a human through your body.

If you’ve had a positive experience with birth hypnosis, let me know! I would love to hear about it. Really, anything positive. I’d like to write down as many encouraging things as I can and stick them up in the birthing room to help keep me focused. Blatantly fishing for birth compliments over here. Give em up.

I Tried to Beat Target, and Target Crushed Me Like a Bug

A trip to Target is not usually something I plan for, per se. Sure, I make a list, scan my Cartwheel app. But I walk in knowing that I am calling death closer, as time moves much faster beyond these hallowed doors. An hour can fly by in moments, along with the contents of my wallet. And while every trip may end in a surprise, the overall end result is almost never surprising. I don’t think I have ever gone into a Target with a list and come out with just what is on that list; or sometimes, anything on that list. A Target list is really a suggestion. At most, it is an illusion of power.

There is a routine I have, a ritual, for my Target trips. I always enter on the left, by the pharmaceuticals. It is now clear to me that this serves as a metaphor for what Target is in relation to my life as a whole. I browse the makeup aisles, usually picking up a shade of lipstick I will never wear because I chew on my lips and lipstick tastes gross. Then I go through the cleaning aisles. Sometimes we are running low on toilet bowl cleaner and I have a legitimate purpose there. But usually, I am just checking to see if I can find a product that will finally get my entire home clean from its permanent space behind my pantry door. Hope is eternal.

I usually don’t bother much with the food aisles, but I rollover those allotted minutes into extra time spent looking at and comparing throw pillows. The table runners may get a glance if Threshold has some new cute ones out before I remember that a table runner will spend exactly one beautiful moment on my table before it is bunched up onto one side where I keep all the mail and other paper crap that lives on the end of our kitchen table. We have a table that seats six. If I ever have four children I will need a bigger table because there will be no seat for all the Pottery Barn catalogues I never looked at or recycled.

Then I wander over to shoes. I do not need shoes. But who doesn’t need $6 ballet flats on clearance? Disposable shoes! I do need those. And three pairs of boots that look exactly the same, aside from buckle placement. Then I cruise past the men’s clothing because I have a list and I need to get cracking on it. Seasonal items were not on my list but that was blatant oversight because there they are and I need them all. It doesn’t matter that there is a ton of snow outside and all that’s back here is Easter crap and patio furniture; they can sit in their bags in my living room for a month until I am ready to use them. That is called being proactive, my friends. I am fully prepared for a springtime emergency with all of these Reese’s Eggs and ceramic planters.

Now to the baby stuff. I haven’t had an actual baby in well over a year, but that doesn’t mean I can’t gawk at onesies. Baby product hunting also works the same as cleaning product hunting; maybe they now sell the thing that fixes all the problems? Must walk slowly so I don’t miss it. Then I bypass the electronics and DVDs and books because I am a pillar of strength and immune to impulse purchases. OOOOOO THE DOLLAR BINS! They are so well-stocked today! Until I walk away with all of it in my cart.

My last stop is usually women’s clothing because I am still pregnant so I have earned a new shirt. This cardigan would be cute if they would come out with some that aren’t already hanging in my closet. Then I pay and walk outside and it is now dark, even though I began my journey at lunchtime.

Today, I went to Target with a list of home things we need. Two curtain rods. Some pillows for the basement couch. DVD storage boxes. Wipes. A basket for toys. The thing that made today’s trip notable was I had a time limit. I left my house at 1:30, and had to be back in time for Adam to leave at 2:40 for the eye doctor. At first, I said I would just wait. “You can’t go to Target and be home in an hour?” Skeptical husband was skeptical, and I thought fine, I just won’t browse. I will stick to my list. In and out.

I came home an hour later with two things. Wipes and high blood pressure. Most of the items on my list were home decor items, and therefore needed to be scrutinized, compared, maybe given approval via a texted picture to someone I trust. The time limit was literally ticking in my ears. I had forgotten about the accelerated time laws within the walls of Target. It’s just a curtain rod. Those are ugly; those are cute. This one says cafe rod? What is that? Do I need that? What’s all this hardware? Do they not come with hardware? This one is cute. Is it as cute as this one? Will this purchase bring me joy? I’m going to go look at pillows and then I will decide. Repeat all that shit I just said, only with words relating to pillows. At 2:20 I went to the baby section, grabbed a box of wipes, paid and left. When I got home, Adam was putting on his shoes. “I bought wipes. I’m going to eat some cookies. This was the worst day of my life.”

Target sees your time and budget constraints. It sees your rent that is due and your reminder to pick up your kids in twenty minutes. It sees your DVDs still in their shrink wrap and the cafe rod you already own but don’t know the name of. And Target laughs. For Target sees, but gives no shits.

Dish Plate Nips Are Not Forever.

Dirty thirty weeks over here. Dirtier than most because my urge to shower is getting smaller and smaller as my belly gets bigger and bigger.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I talk about pregnancy and birth and stuff on here, and I’m beginning to think it is probably making some pregs or pre-pregs even more antsy about all the crap that comes with the miracle of life (barf.) So I would like to let you all know, in case it has not been easy to catch, that I am a dramatic S.O.B. and that most things are not as bad as I make them out to be. During my first pregnancy, I was so thoroughly bummed about every change going on with my body, because I was never a particularly body-positive person to begin with. This pregnancy, I’m not giving much of a crap.

As time went by with my post-pregnancy body, a lot of things I expected to be weird forever went back to fairly close-ish to their formal selves. My nipples did not remain the size of small satellites, and my boobs did not take the form of tube socks with bars of soap in them, as I feared they would. My stretch marks faded from bright red to white, and although the texture of my skin is definitely different, it’s not awful and I did not need to spend all that time crying about them when they first appeared. The saggy belly I was left with once a fetus was no longer filling it up did not stay saggy. My feet returned to their normal size as my arch came back.

With the motivation to lose the weight I put on in pregnancy, I ate healthy and worked out for the first time in my life on a consistent basis, which put me into the best shape I have ever been in. Not the crazy six-pack abs and MObama arms shape that some really pleasant and sweet women try to shame you with on Facebook because I was not about to live off kale and spend all my waking hours on a treadmill. I was not my smallest weight, or even my goal weight, before I got pregnant again. But I can honestly say I was happier with my body at that point than I had ever been before I had August.

The first three-ish months after your baby is born suck, for a lot of reasons. Mostly because you are tired and trying to figure out what the hell business you had making yourself responsible for another living thing. But also because we are sort of conditioned to think that you can just bounce right back into your pre-baby self. Some girls can. I’m not friends with them. But for most of us, we need to keep in mind that it took nine months to create a person and that’s a lot for one earth-human’s body to go through. You basically have a fourth trimester after your baby is born, where your brain is trying to wrap itself around all the craziness coming at it and your body is recovering from the first three trimesters.

I had one very kind relative tell me I still looked six-months pregnant the week after August was born. What a peach. But even though she was an idiot, she was correct, at least in my eyes. You don’t wake up no longer pregnant and suddenly all signs that your body took a sperm and an egg and created an entire freaking person out of that are erased. Things take some time to settle. Gravity takes its good old time at redistributing all the nonsense. But after three months, you’re probably going to cross a threshold, mentally and physically, that feels like the start of a return to normalish things. Give yourself a break for a while, and don’t freak out and definitely don’t beat yourself up.

So if you’re in your first pregnancy and losing it about all the weird shit going on in every nook and cranny of yourself, just remember- it eventually goes sort of back, and you can end up being happier with your body than you were before all the shit got weird. That sounds like a huge lie but just shut up and trust me. The ability to hold your farts in is pretty much gone forever, though. That doesn’t really come back. Sorry, friend.

Someone Loves My Glasses

We all need a break. Whether you have kids or not, you find yourself needing some time away from whatever your normal routine is, just to clear your head and regroup and binge watch. The days before we became parents, Adam and I could just drop what we were doing and go out to dinner, go see a movie, go on a drive, go on a trip. We could just go. Once we became parents, a lot more planning and hoping went into getting a break. And they feel so much more necessary now than before, because the scale of responsibility is so much higher. I recently told a friend who is having her first baby to not stress about getting stuff “ready” for that baby, because you’re never actually ready. What I did tell her was to blow off some crap she had to do and go have some fun with her husband, because it will be a while before she likely even gets out to see a movie again.

Adam and I are incredibly fortunate in that we have lots of family close by, and a child that is not a complete turd so people actually want to babysit him. It really isn’t hard for us to find a sitter when we need one. Once a week, my in-laws watch August for half the day to give me a break, and I am endlessly grateful for it. The break itself gives me time to run errands or catch up on chores or even (gasp) do something not mom-related. It’s like hitting a reset button for myself. I can regroup and decompress, but it also gives me an unexpected benefit.

I get to miss my child.

It’s so important for my own mental health that I get this time every week to come down from Peak Mommy. And I can tell how important it is by how happy I am to see August when Adam brings him home. It’s only been a few hours since I dropped him off, but I have this overwhelming urge to snuggle him and kiss him. I truly miss him, and I’m refreshed enough to begin the week again and not feel like the next spoon that gets thrown overboard is going to send me into a rage spiral.

This past weekend, Adam and I went away for what will probably be out last weekend, just the two of us, for a long time. Every winter, we rent a house at Deep Creek Lake with a bunch of our friends for a long weekend. Some people go skiing or snowboarding, some people go hiking. We all eat a bunch of delicious meals together. We play games and goof off and we drink (or eat a million peanut m&ms, as I did this year). This was our fifth year in a row, and as always, it was an absolute blast.

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One of the couples brought their adorable 16-month old little boy, and it made me miss August even more than usual. At night, when things would start to get rowdy (and by rowdy I mean a bunch of drunk friends competing in yoga poses) I was glad August was with his grandparents because I didn’t need to shush anyone and I could go to our room when I got tired and watch House of Cards. But during the day, I wished that August was with us to come along for a hike or to play in the snow or to cuddle up with in the house. The night before we headed home, I wasn’t at all sad to be ending our fun vacation; I was ready to get home to my little duck.

Getting to miss my son is one of the best gifts, because it reminds me, even when I don’t realize I need reminding, how happy my life is with him in it. It’s so easy to get bogged down day to day, because nothing stays clean and Chuggington is the worst and no, I really REALLY do not want to play cars right this minute. And a lot of nights, I am embarrassingly giddy as bedtime approaches. But being away reminds me that all the little things that drive me bananas are just that- little things. I still have the absolute privilege of spending my days with this little guy that lights up my whole heart like a Griswold house.

Today, as we pulled up to the grocery store (I BOUGHT SNACKS FOR THIS SNOW STORM) August told me he needed to give me a hug. I went to the backseat to unbuckle him, and he pulled me in, then told me, “I love your glasses, Mommy. And I love my eyes. They’re for seein’!” Who wouldn’t want to come home to that?