So This is Where I am Today

It’s been a hard few days. Today is my due date. The last couple of weeks, I have woken up every morning thinking that today is the day. And then I went to bed every night disappointed that I wasn’t in labor yet, but hopeful that maybe something would happen while I was sleeping. I would wake up disappointed, but then think that surely, today must be the day. But it hasn’t been the day. It hasn’t been the night. And nothing is changing, at least that I can tell, to make me think that the day is on its way.

I really thought I was comfortable with the idea of a c-section, since if I have one this time, it will definitely be different. I’m going to have my doula with me no matter what, and I’m delivering at a hospital that is starting to allow some aspects of a gentle cesarean. I’ve spent the last nine months telling myself that if I have to have a c-section, the possibility of skin-to-skin in the OR and not being separated from my baby and not being put to sleep is going to make all the difference, and that it will be just as good as a vaginal birth if I can end up with a cesarean that keeps me present and involved. But the last few days of thinking more and more that a repeat cesarean is a real possibility has made me very aware that I’m not okay with it. For me, they are not the same. And it’s hard to get my brain to accept that having another cesarean could be a good experience, because my only experience with one has been traumatic. My brain doesn’t know what else to do besides panic. Logically, I know what’s up, but my brain has flipped the NOPE switch.

Tuesday, I spent most of the day in tears and terrified. I couldn’t stop thinking how scared I was to not go into labor on my own. My doula suggested that I go in to talk to one of my midwives to try to calm down, since the amount of fear I was experiencing could be keeping me from going into labor. Adam needed to come home to take me because I was in no state to drive at that point. Talking to the midwife helped, and I was able to reason enough to understand that scheduling a c-section at this point might be a good thing. Because an emergency c-section is the real and true thing I want to avoid at all costs. An emergency c-section doesn’t have much of a prayer at any aspect of a gentle c-section.  And scheduling a cesarean now will hopefully give me time to get used to the idea and accept it. So I’m operating in this place now where a spontaneous vaginal birth is better than an induction with a favorable Bishop score and an induction with a favorable Bishop score is better than a scheduled c-section and a scheduled c-section is better than an emergency c-section after a failed induction.

Some of my fears were calmed by my midwife. I was afraid of this being my last shot at a vaginal birth, but this hospital attempts VBA2C. I was afraid that the number of children I want to have would be limited from having c-sections. I’m not looking to go toe to toe with the Duggars, but we want to have three or four kids. I didn’t want to be cut-off at three if I still wanted four. I want to be the one who decides it’s time to stop. My midwife informed me that they don’t necessarily cut you off at three. They might say I should probably stop at four, but I’m fine with that because I don’t have much faith in my ability to handle many more children than Hugh Hefner has girlfriends. And my fears about not being able to bond with the baby and going through postpartum depression again were calmed slightly. Preemptively treating me for PPD is going to be part of the plan, and it’s not like I’m going to be separated from the baby and knocked out and then wake up drugged out of my mind to have some nurse lay what feels like some random baby on me because I can’t even move my arms properly.

Yesterday morning, I had a meeting with one of the OBs, and it was really, really great. Since August’s birth, I’ve been weary of OBs in general. After being under the care of someone that repeatedly lied to me and was far more concerned with her bottom line and schedule than the well being of her patient, I don’t trust them. But this meeting was a completely different experience. He was open and honest with me about what the possible outcomes were. Concessions that I thought I would have to fight for, he gave without hesitation. The most important thing to me was trying to get a few extra days after 41 weeks to go into labor on my own. My original due date was May 17, and it was moved to May 14 based on an early ultrasound. I feel like if I can get those days, then I can maybe feel like I waited as long as I could. He gave them to me and even called in some favors because it’s not a day he would be working normally. And barring complications or some unforeseeable ridiculousness, I will be able to get the parts of a gentle cesarean that are most important to me. I’m going to get to remember my baby when they’re born. I’m going to get to touch and smell and hold my baby like I would with a vaginal delivery. I’m going to be part of my baby’s first moments.

After this appointment, I felt over the moon. I have over a week to still go into labor. But if I don’t, and this is as good as it gets, it’s still pretty damn good. But the more time I’ve had to sit on this, I feel myself slipping backwards. Because yes, this type of c-section is ideal in terms of c-sections. But it doesn’t change the fact that I still don’t want a c-section. Yes, I understand that there are situations where c-sections are necessary and save lives and that some women even prefer them and that a healthy baby is the main important thing here. But I don’t have to be skipping rope through a field of daisies over major abdominal surgery. I do not have to be happy that to me, it still feels like my body is broken. I can acknowledge that for me, this would be a win but also a very big loss. Many people have told me since August was born that this experience is going to be different and that giving birth is what my body was made to do. But what if that’s not totally true? What if giving birth (in the way that I’ve come to expect it) isn’t something I’m going to get to experience? What if my body is made to do this, and just… doesn’t?

Accepting and preparing for the possibility of a cesarean is probably very important and good for me. And it’s only been a day. Maybe by 41 weeks, I will be totally on board and so excited. But right now I’m doubtful, and I’m not very hopeful. Part of planning for a cesarean involves planning to not have a VBAC, and I’m starting to mourn that loss now because I am less and less confident that it’s going to happen for me.

There isn’t a real purpose to me posting this here, other than to explain why I may not be writing here for a little while. I’ll come back after the baby is born, but I don’t think I’ll have much more to say between now and then. I’m not looking for a bunch of You can do it! comments or to hear about everyone’s successful births. I just wanted a space to write about this in this moment, and to organize how this is all feeling to me.

Currently

One of my favorite Instagrammers/bloggers, is Danielle from Sometimes Sweet. I’m jumping on her Currently post train because I need a way to procrastinate some responsibilities right now. Check out her blog if you get a chance. She’s a mother of two insanely adorable boys, she has great style, and she provides an overall positive read. Love her stuff.

Doing: There is still so much stuff all over the house. We’ve been bad about putting stuff away the last few days, and it takes no time at all for junk to pile up around here. So I’m trying to go room by room and get everything put away so the house is ready for a good pre-baby cleaning. Hopefully the last time any cleaning needs to be done before The Usurper arrives. Just shy of a week from my due date!

Watching: Rewatching Game of Thrones in the background while I get things done lately. I’m a few episodes into Season Three, which I think is my favorite of the series. It’s been strange to go back and watch from the beginning and see so many characters that I love and that are also dead. But this is also the first time I have started a full rewatch from the beginning since I read the books a couple years ago, so I’m picking up on a lot more than I did the first time around.

Planning: Preparing for a second baby feels like way less of a big deal than the first baby did. I had changed diapers and bathed babies before, but when I had August, it still felt like I had no idea what I was doing and I would Google how to bathe an infant. It was a weird time. I feel ready to roll with this one, and I’m most excited that I can still plan to go to events and get out of the house. Feeling confined to the house for so long last time was the pits. So lets plan some brunch dates, friends. I’ll just strap a baby to my chest and be on with it.

Thinking about: Leftover shrimp lo mein in my fridge. And pizza. And beer. And s’mores. And oranges. And Poptarts. And macaroni and cheese. And beer.

Looking forward to: Our last child-free evening out. My mom is taking August on Saturday after we go see Thomas at the B&O Museum. The responsible thing to do would be staying home and tying up any loose ends before the baby comes. Eff that. One of my favorite memories is from the weekend before August was born. Instead of getting stuff done and being productive, Adam and I drove out to Pennsylvania so he could show me a house that had our dream yard near a race he recently ran. Then we went to a hot dog place he used to stop at on his way to visit his grandparents. Best hotdogs of my life, and  french fries and milkshakes. Then we drove back home and went to the movies to see The Dark Knight. I told him that I want to repeat it, go get hot dogs, drive around together, and then go to the movies. Can’t. Wait.

Loving: Spending time together as a family of three. I keep stopping myself during little moments, like the three of us sitting in bed together this morning while August ate his breakfast. I was having contractions and thought it was go-time. It wasn’t, but it was nice to have a morning with just us three for one of the last times. I’m so excited to meet this baby and expand our family, but I am also enjoying how perfect it feels, just the three of us right now. Lots of mental snapshots.

Scraped Knees and Hurt Feelings and Not Assaulting Random (But Rude) Children

Trying to find some sense of balance when it comes to protecting your child is one of the most conflicting aspects of parenting I’ve experienced. We didn’t really do much to baby-proof our house, but I have a heart attack if August stands on the couch. He used to love to sprint across the sectional in our basement and collapse laughing while I tried to find new pants to replace the ones I’d just peed in. Luckily, he’s not a super adventurous kid and for the most part, isn’t really prone to injuries. He only in recent weeks got his first bloody knees that needed bandaids. Nothing crazy, and part of being an active kid. And while it breaks my heart when he’s hurt, I’ve mostly resisted the urge to clothe him in bubble wrap.

Emotionally, I know I’ve got a hell of a bruiser. August is a sensitive kid who is often brought to tears by “sad songs.” You would think Elmo was spinning nothing but break-up jams, the way this kid can bawl if the tempo is slow enough. If he is sad or upset, he wants to sit in my lap and “have a talk about his feelings.” When he gets startled or scared, he tells me he wants me to take care of him or keep him safe. It breaks my heart and makes me burst into laughter at the same time. But his sensitivity is one of my favorite parts of August’s personality, and while I wish he wasn’t so easily upset sometimes, I don’t want him to lose this.

When he is playing with other kids, I know some upset is bound to happen. Kids fight. Someone isn’t going to want to share. Someone isn’t going to want to play this way or that way. Someone is eventually going to get their feelings hurt because all these kids are learning to interact with each other and haven’t quite figured out how to play ball without also trying to kill each other. So for the most part, I try to hang back when August is playing with other kids. I want him to learn how to work crap out with other kids, and he can’t do that if I’m bubble-wrapping him every step of the way.

There are times where August will go up to another kid and say hi and the kid will ignore him, and I get slightly annoyed and have very tiny Mama Bear feels. But I remind myself that they’re kids and not all kids say hi, and the world continues to move. Sometimes, August will get pushed or hit by another kid for whatever reason, and I feel a little more protective. But no one gets seriously injured and usually the other parent will swoop in to have their kid apologize and then everyone goes back to playing. The world keeps moving. Then there are the times where August will be caught up in running around like an idiot and push another kid out of nowhere, and I suddenly feel that rush of WHAT DID YOU JUST DO and I become the swoop-in-and-apologize parent, shocked and embarrassed that my kid just made another kid cry.

None of us are immune to it. At one moment or another, someone is going to be a jerk to our kids. And at other moments, our own kids are the jerks. And it is totally normal for usually sweet kids to have moments of jerk behavior because deep down, we are all jerks, to some degree. So I’m just trying to let August figure out how to deal on his own when someone is being a jerk, and teaching him to not be a jerk. Golden Rule: Be kind; not a dick.

But then I had my first experience with simmering rage towards another child for being a total dick to my kid. Restraining myself from dropkicking this turd out of our atmosphere felt like the ultimate achievement in being zen as hell. Adam and I took August out for ice cream at this awesome farm/food place when the weather was gorgeous. One of the many perks of this place is a huge field that kids can run off all their sugar in. So August crushed his graham cracker cake batter ice cream (drooooooool) and then ran off to play while we adults finished our much larger ice creams. He ran up to two older boys who were playing with a ball, and asked them if they wanted to play. The boys clearly did not, which is totally fine. Not everyone wants to play with a two-year old. I don’t always want to play with a two-year old. But instead of just playing together, the two boys started taunting my kid.

Nothing horrible, Just faking him out and tossing the ball past him. Sometimes August laughed, sometimes he got a little upset. But these boys weren’t trying to make my kid laugh; they were trying to make him cry. They were being mean. To my baby. They were being mean to my baby. To. My. Baby. And when he didn’t get upset, they would just get worse, waving the ball in his face, getting way too close, saying mean things and I was getting more and more bothered by these big kids picking on my much younger kid.

When I realized these kids were only going to keep escalating their crap until August actually cried, I decided I was done waiting for him to get hit or pushed. I jumped up (which is a sight to see when I’m this pregnant, believe me,) and marched over, ready to show these turds what’s up. I was about to take out my earrings when the bigger of the two boys taunting my kid saw an enormous pregnant lady with a Level 20 Bitchface coming towards him, and stopped right in his tracks. And that’s when I remembered this is a kid, and most kids haven’t figured out how to not be dicks. I’m an adult, and here I was stomping over with every intention of being a dick and telling him Santa doesn’t exist and that evil clowns live under his bed. It took me down a notch. But just a notch. I took August by the hand, told both these kids that they needed to work on being nicer to little kids, and walked us back to our picnic table.

I know I can’t always protect August, and that as he gets older, he’s going to meet more kids that haven’t learned to not be dicks yet. Very likely, he is going to be a dick at some point and make another kid cry. It’s what kids do, and I can’t hover over him with a ream of emotional bubble wrap every moment. He starts school in the fall and I know there are going to be preschool spats on the playground. But it still breaks my heart to see my kid sad because someone isn’t being kind. The same way it breaks my heart when he bites it on the pavement and skins his knees. All these bumps and bruises, physical and emotional, are how we learn to navigate the world around us. And I need to let August continue to navigate and to skin his knees and to get his feelings hurt. Instead of swooping in to prevent the falls, I need to keep hanging back, let them happen, but still be armed with bandaids and maybe a cookie. Never too young to eat your feelings, Little Guy.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

My due date is just a few days after Mother’s Day. Part of me wants baby out right this minute, but another part wants to wait so I can get a facial while there is still time. But I’m looking forward to spending the day with my family, regardless if we are three or four by that point.

My ideal Mother’s Day would start with bagels, because bagels sound amazing to Preg Me right now. Enjoying a slow morning and some spa time would be really, really nice. Then, since the weather has been gorgeous lately, I’d love to pack up a late lunch/early dinner and take it to the park so August and Bea can run around and we can all enjoy some sunshine. Winter is over, but it was so long and cold and miserable this year that every morning that I wake up and it’s nice out, I get so excited to open up the house and breathe the spring air. And then maybe ending my day in the bathtub. Or I could be up to my elbows in diapers and severely sleep deprived and spending the day snuggling my boys and a new baby and eating take out. Both options sound like good days; especially because one of those days involves me no longer being pregnant.

I thought I would round up some favorite things I’ve had my eye on lately and do a gift post before Mother’s Day comes. Not everyone who reads this is a mom, but we’ve all got mothers or grandmothers or other special ladies to celebrate. Or poke around the list for something for yourself because why the hell not?

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Rose Gold Nameplate Bracelet (Etsy)

You can customize this bracelet a lot of different ways. A birthdate, a name, initials, coordinates for where your child was born, etc. I love simple, delicate jewelry, and this piece would be great for everyday wear.

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Miyuki Kimono Robe (Anthropologie)

A cute robe is always nice to have around, because you can throw it on over whatever and instantly feel a bit more put together. Getting ready, making breakfast, hanging out, it all feels a smidge nicer if you’re draped in something a little glamorous.

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Open Oval Terrarium (Terrain)

A few weeks ago, I went to a terrarium workshop and had so much fun. I’ve never really had a green thumb or worked much with plants, but I enjoyed the crap out of arranging my tiny landscape. One of my plants already died, but oh well. Even if everything you put in this terrarium dies, it’s still going to look cute as shit.

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Feelin’ Dandy Lip & Cheek Kit (Sephora)

I’m a big fan of Benefit’s products, and this kit is packed with some of my favorites. This is an easy, compact kit to give yourself some subtle color for spring, especially if you’re more inclined to go the no-makeup-makeup route.

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We the Free Shadow Hacci (Free People)

This top looks comfy and sexy and it has been calling my name in my dreams. I love the twist detail on the back so much.

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Potato Chip Bar (Chuao)

If I have to explain this to you then we can’t be friends. Sorry.

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Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask (Sephora)

I got this as a sample recently, and even though my skin isn’t dry or irritated, this was really nice. It was very hydrating and refreshing, and it perked up my skin when I was looking pretty dull. This would probably be great during the spring and summer when you’re getting more sun exposure. Also, wear some SPF and a hat, dummies.

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Ranunculus

Flowers! These fluffy blooms are one of my favorites. Ranunculus are so feminine and springy (I am really into spring, if you couldn’t tell,) and they don’t need any crazy arranging. Just popping a few in a glass of water is perfect.

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Hammered Birthstone Stackable Rings (Etsy)

Something about hammered rings always reel me in. The texture and the not-so-perfectness of them makes them more appealing to me than a smooth finish. And one of the great things about a set of stackable rings like this is you can add to it later on if you have more kids. Or get rid of one if your kid decides to break your heart and become a philosophy major down the line.

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OPI Infinite Shine in Staying Neutral (Ulta)

I have been trying out the Infinite Shine polishes, and so far I’m loving them. They give a little more durability and wear than regular polish, but there is no crazy soak-off needed like with gel. You have to use them along with the Infinite Shine base and top coats, though. This color is my favorite right now. Every time I paint my nails I think I am going to change it up, but I go right back to Staying Neutral.

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GapFit gFast Printed Capri (Gap)

Gap’s activewear has been on point lately. One thing I am most looking forward to after baby comes is getting back in shape, and these are some really cute capris to do it in. Plus, they’re high rise; a huge plus post-pregnancy.

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Rose Bombshell Bath Bomb (LUSH)

LUSH bath bombs are one of my favorite little indulgences. I try to keep one or two on hand so I always have something to make a rare soak in the rub feel even more luxurious. This is a new bomb I can’t wait to try. It’s made with soy milk powder and filled with rose petals and salts, scented with rose oil, rosewood and orange flower. Seriously dying to try this one out.

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Hexagon Glass Picture Frame (Urban Outfitters)

This is a pretty small frame, but would make an interesting accent on a gallery wall. You could put flowers, leaves, feathers, whatever in it. Maybe even a lock of hair from a first haircut? Is that creepy? Do people still do stuff with first hair trimmings?

How are you celebrating Mother’s Day this year? Anything in particular you’re hoping to do? Any surprises planned for the lady you’re celebrating?

Feel Great About Yourself By Clicking On This Link and Dumping Your Wallet Into It!

Thirty eight weeks! It’s chugging along. I wish I was chugging along. Beer is going to be so glorious in a few weeks. We had some expecting friends and their little guy over for pizza recently, and my pregfriend brought me an O’douls to “get the party started.” It gave me a momentary memory-buzz. I love that woman.

Things are pretty same ol’ same ol’ round these parts (my parts.) Not much news to report besides I am still pregnant and I want a lot of pizza.

I wanted to take a quick moment to ask you to give all your money to my sister, Lindsay. She is a first-year, first grade teacher, and she is amazing. Since she was an annoying little ankle-biter, she has wanted to be a teacher. For years, she asked Santa for an overhead projector. Teaching has been a lifelong dream and passion and she is attacking her first year in the field with so much gusto. If we had more teachers like her, I might know how to read good.

In her efforts to do everything she can to give her students the best education possible, Lindsay has been facing a technology gap in her classroom. So, she started a fundraising campaign to get eight iPad Minis, protective cases, and a charging station for her students. These iPads will give these kids the opportunity to have an engaging, personalized learning experience that is tailored to their specific needs. Also, iPads are cool.

If you have a few bucks lying around (or a lotta bucks because more dollars help more,) you can go to her fundraiser on Donors Choose and help my sister reach her goal. For a few more days, your donation will be matched if you enter the promo code SPARK when you checkout. So it’s like you’re giving double! You are so generous!

(There’s a hyperlink in that paragraph where it says “her fundraiser on Donors Choose”. You probably realized that, and I don’t think you’re a dumb. But, you know. Just in case.)

Thanks in advance for being the best! Please share this with your rich friends.

Today, I Love You

Pretty much out of happy thoughts at this point. I sat in my kitchen and cried this morning because I didn’t have enough energy to do dishes. Super pleasant time to be around me. I’ll be officially “to term” when I hit 37 weeks in a few days, and I am green-lighting this fetus with everything I’ve got. 40 weeks seems forever away. 42 is something I am not even going to entertain the idea of right now. All I’m looking towards is the light at the end of the tunnel where I can put on a pair of underwear without being in pain.

So this is as good a time as any for a Today, I Love You post. Here’s some things that are bringing me joy this week.

Endless Alphabet

This app is so perfect. I break it out when I bring August to my appointments with the midwives, because he will sit quietly forever if it takes that long. But aside from the electronic babysitting aspect, it’s been gold as far as the educational bar goes. He’s been expanding his vocabulary, and is understanding how letters come together to make words. And these aren’t tiny words, either. August has been spelling cooperate and umbrella on his own and telling me he needs to decorate. He will bust out random new words and use them correctly in a sentence. I can’t recommend it enough.

e.l.f. Essential Lip Balm Tint

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I’ve been using Grapefruit, and this has been a great tint/balm for spring. It makes me look like I’ve been eating popsicles. I’ve also seen a nude-ish color and a red, but this has been my favorite for everyday wear. Especially good if you don’t feel like wearing much makeup, which is frequently my case lately. It gives your lips a little bit of sheer color and adds a little life to your face.

Outshine Fruit Bars

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Lemon forever. This is my pregnancy craving du jour. No HFCS and super delicious.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

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Everyone has been flipping their balls over this book, and I can see why. I wish I read it a few months ago when I was still a functioning semi-human, because I want to get rid of so much stuff. It’s going to be several months until I can really get cracking on this project. Over the last few years, Adam and I have done some pretty big junk purges, and I’m always amazed when it’s a year later and we could do it all over again. Much of what we end up purging the following year are things we held onto for no good reason the previous year. The KonMarie Method is way more purposeful, eliminating the following year Why the Hell Do I Still Have This Shit‘s. If you want to really fall down a rabbit hole, just do a YouTube search for KonMarie.

Scentsy Urban Luster Warmer

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I’m normally not a big MLM fan, but I’ve liked Scentsy stuff for a while now, if for no other reason than it eliminates my candle-anxiety with August running around. The wax doesn’t get hot enough to hurt anyone, so I can turn it on without fear. Plus I really like the smells for a lot of their bars. Some favorites right now are Beach, Forever Yours, and Welcome Home. When I first started using Scentsy, I just bought whatever warmers were on sale because frankly, they were all pretty Walmart-looking to me. But they came out with a bunch of cute ones recently so I’m upgrading a couple of ours. This one is my favorite. Looks cute as crap and I’m going to put it in our living room while my whole house smells like spring instead of cats.

Eggs and Candy and Family and (Cold) Beaches

I opened the windows and aired out our stinkhouse. August has been able to return to his favorite pastime of sidewalk chalk. I am considering shaving my legs above mid-calf. Spring is finally here! It’s not my favorite season, overall (I’m more of a fall lady,) but it’s the most welcome thing on the planet after this crapshoot winter.

We spent the Easter weekend in Bethany with Adam’s family. I love these weekends with all of us in one house together. It gets me excited that August is going to have so many memories in this house with his family through the years, especially his cousins. Plus, it’s nice to just unwind with everyone and hangout. I was able to spend some time over the weekend reading and working on some craft projects, which I hardly ever find time for at home these days. It felt great to make some progress on things I enjoy.

The weather got pretty nice, but by the water was still pretty cold. We went down to the boardwalk to poke around for a bit, and spent about three minutes walking on the beach. August was so into it, even though he was clearly freezing. He was taking tiny, careful steps down a hill in the sand and kept shouting, “I doing it! I doing it!” We warmed up at the candy store to pick up a treat, and then hung out in a toy store with a train table and dollhouse that kept August very happy until I ruined everything by noticing he was doing a pee-dance.

There was plenty to do the rest of the weekend while we celebrated Adam’s aunt’s 80th birthday and Easter. August and his cousins hid plastic eggs the entire time we were there. I found one in my shoe on the drive home. The kids played outside and dyed eggs, and seeing August playing so much with his cousin, Cordelia was particularly special. They had so much fun together and it’s been so neat to see him coming out of the stage where he is playing next to kids his age and playing with them instead. Lots of tag and hide-and-seek and forts and puzzles and more egg hunts. Just an overall fun, relaxing, special start to the season.

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