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#61 of 75 Old 04-13-2010, 07:18 PM
 
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The hardest day hasn't come yet. We are waiting for results from genetic testing for DS1. On June 2nd we find out whether he has Fragile X and whether or not our entire lives will be changed forever. I'm really scared. I keep telling myself not to worry, it will be fine, his tests will come back normal. But there is a corner of my brain that keeps dwelling on it. Analyzing everything he does. Scrutinizing every physical characteristic he has and comparing it to checklists of symptoms of Fragile X. It's crazy. There's nothing that worrying will accomplish other than to make my life miserable. Worrying won't change the result. It won't change his genetics. I worry for the future too. What will his life be like? Will he grow up, get a job, meet someone nice, get married and have children? All I really want is for him to have a happy life which doesn't necessarily involve the above things but I can't help wishing for a "normal" life for him. Life has been so challenging for him up to now. I just want to know he'll be ok.

I'm also worried because if he has Fragile X then that means I have it as well. The guilt is overwhelming. Then there is the sadness that we definitely won't have any more children if I have it. It makes me so angry to have that decision taken away from me.

Mostly it just makes me sad for DS1 but also for his brother, DS2. His life will be profoundly affected by having a brother who won't be able to care for himself as an adult.
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#62 of 75 Old 04-13-2010, 09:29 PM
 
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The day my baby was born began with a search. It was early, and I wasn't in labor yet. I was strangely calm as my husband frantically ran around the house looking for the camera. We couldn't leave for the hospital to be induced without the camera we had specifically purchased because we were having a baby. My mother, who couldn't stand to be late for even the most routine of events, was silently freaking out. You could see it in her eyes if you looked closely. TTo her credit, she didn't say a word.

I just watched it all happen. Not in a daze really. More like meditative. The moment was not good or bad. It simply was. I didn't know about mindfulness back then. Just over two years ago... It sometimes feels like a lifetime has passed since then.

There was so much that I didn't know. That morning I didn't know that the camera was packed in my hospital bag. I'd forgotten I'd put it there weeks ago. I didn't know that in four months I was going to be laid off from the job that I loved, that enabled my husband to stay home with out daughter. I didn't know that in nine months, my husband would tell me he no longer believed in God. I didn't know the pain of a spiritually split partnership as I clung to my God and my beliefs. I didn't know that I would eventually join him in disbelief. Leaving the religion of my family, my friends, my life. I didn't know what it meant to leave. I'd seen many do so over the years, but I had no idea what it was like for them. What it was like to be shunned by everyone you had ever loved before you'd done anything wrong. Simply for not believing.

I didn't know anything that morning. The only thing I knew was that moment. It was neither good nor bad. It simply was. I didn't yet know about mindfulness, but it was what got me through the day.

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#63 of 75 Old 04-13-2010, 09:37 PM
 
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My mother loves me. My mother supports me. My mother is the first one I want to tell (besides my husband.)

My childhood, if hard at times, was never because of her. I was shy, painfully so, which made things harder than they had to be in school. I never remember being pushed too hard to do something I wasn't comfortable with.

My mother, I'm told I look just like her, even though we both don't see it. Really my features, coloring are all my dad's. I have her movements, gestures, expressions. We are almost carbon copies in that way.

She has stood by all my "different" decisions, my always going against convention.

We planned my wedding together, loved it. She was there when I finally found "the dress" after months of looking tirelessly.

She watched my baby being born, helped her be born along with my husband. She made chicken and rice soup for me and brought it to me when the surges were stronger, strong enough I got into her bathtub to ease them.

My mother did not let me have the childhood she did, saved me from that even though that is what she knew. I had no idea growing up that I had it so good in comparison.

I was my mother's first and her only daughter. I know she wishes she had had more children. My mother was 20 years old when she had me, yet I didn't have my first child until I was 29, almost 30.

My mother, I know, will always trust my instincts, put up with my impatience, be aggravated by my slowness and eventually take over my task, something we laugh about.

My mother loved her own mother in spite of her childhood's imperfections.

My mother is organized, detailed like me, smart and resourceful. She is my research helper on whatever new subject I "need" to know about.

She has washed my hair, my cloth diapers and my husband's dirty laundry.

She picks my dad's socks off the floor even though they seem to perpetually be there.

She rocked my colicky, screaming daughter countless times in those first 3 months. I don't recall her ever getting frustrated with her either like I did in 5 seconds.

My mother loves me. This I will always know.
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#64 of 75 Old 04-13-2010, 10:50 PM
 
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. . .thought he'd never have children., presumably because he didn't like the idea that society expected him to. I never thought of it that way. I'm not sure I made a conscious decision one way or the other about having children, until we got together. And it was so evident, so obvious, that it was the right time. I was only off birth control one month and I got pregnant. Looking back, I can see what made it the right time; we were (and still are) surrounded by what we call 'our village'. Incredible friends, amazing family. We bought our first house, actually had money in savings (now gone!) But we also had our relationship.
The father of my children is fascinating, brilliant, complicated, genuine. He thinks of others, he is the most interesting and talented artist. He supports me whole-heartedly in every single thing I do, even if he questions it! And the father of my children is the best daddy in the whole world (a phrase that is repeated at our house on a regular basis.)
He supports unfailingly. He only wants what is right. He plays. And plays. And plays. He teaches. He reads. He sings. He gardens and bakes and bathes and tucks in and worries and loves. The father of my children is on my team, and makes our family a team. The father of my children makes me a better mother. Grateful doesn't even begin to express the huge palce in my heart set aside for the father of my children.
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#65 of 75 Old 04-13-2010, 11:03 PM
 
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not being a mother. With a 4- and a 5- year old, I have only been a mother for about 1/8 of my life. But I can't remember me before my girls were born. My husband and I frequently joke, "What did we used to do?!" We must have had so much time on our hands! But even more than that, I don't remember not thinking of my girls, centering my world around what's best for them. I can't remember making decisions that didn't include them or weren't about them. I can't remember how I used to be before they were born. Now I feel more stressed and worried more often. I think so much more about the future - how to make it better, what my impact is, what my purpose is. Did I used to think about those things? I can't remember! Now I think about high fructose corn syrup and BPA and allergy shots and bad dreams. I am pretty sure I didn't used to think about those things.
Life Coach Martha Beck, whose wisdom I think is fasinating, talks about one's social self and one's essential self. I feel like I really do get this concept, except when she include being a mother as part of your social self. I can't get past that part - as my children have been born, I feel like being mother has become part of my essential self. I suppose that could be seen as a negative thing. Have I lost my [U]self[U] (me "essential self") in my motherhood? Is it healthy that I can't remember myself before my girls? I've thought about this a lot. I do believe that you have to have your self separate from your children -hobbies, friendships, time, conversations. But I feel okay that being a mother now defines me. It's not a replacement of my pre-mommy self. It is an evolution of who I used to be into who I have always been meant to be.
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#66 of 75 Old 04-14-2010, 12:13 AM
 
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2.I remember before I got pregnant, and when I was pregnant, I thought that I would be such a crunchy granola earth-mother type. Ha! Yeah, I care about the environment and I love to knit and crochet and love to cook even more, but maaaaaan…. I do NOT at ALL like to do all of those things with a little snot-nosed baby or child hanging on me and clawing at the knitting needles’ sharp ends. Not to mention at the stove burners. And not to mention that once I’ve done all the walking and entertaining and rescuing that a single morning with the kid entails, I barely have the energy to collapse on the couch watching Nick Jr. while he dances around in front of the TV, still in motion but at least it’s contained to one room.

This is a well-behaved child but he has a LOT of energy, let’s just say THAT.

Now, that’s not to mention the fact that cooking and all that require extra clean-up. As opposed to something heating up in the microwave while the aforementioned Nick Jr. runs on TV. I actually like the shows on Sprout/ PBS better but he’s been on a Nick Jr. kick lately, and so be it. Well anyway, so I asked on Mothering when people do their cooking and cleaning and knitting and crocheting. “During naps, or with the child on my back.” Me: “NAPS? Your children take naps? My child needs the same amount of sleep I need, and did I mention that he actually is starting to need even less?” Them: “Well, what about putting him on your back?” Me: “So he can kick me black and blue and scream in my ear and demand to get down for a full hour?” Them: “Oh, mine enjoys it.” Me: “???????” It just blows my mind. It especially blows my mind that there are people whose toddler and preschool children sleep for a full 13 or 14 hours out of the day—including a nap!—no wonder they don’t seem to “need a break.” I wouldn’t need a break either, or not much of one. I didn’t need much of a break—other than for pumping—back when the kid was newborn, either, and that’s just about how much he slept. I wish I had stopped pumping and trying to nurse earlier, to be honest, because those first two and a half months were really my last chance to get the house nicely in order and I blew them pumping. I can’t imagine that if he’d only had two weeks of breastmilk instead of two and a half months, that he would have been less-healthy enough that the extra time justifies how horribly messy our house was when he started to crawl at six months. I’m sure he picked up some bug or other that way once. It’s fine and clean now, but I still wish I’d had that time earlier. Plus I was so sick from Crohn's disease and that sapped my energy, that didn’t help, now did it?

Anyway, a truly unhygienic house is an immediate and urgent health hazard, but not TV or microwaved food or for store-bought clothes, and that’s how THAT goes. I have to pick my battles with a non-sleeping three-year-old, you know? And I would love to have more kids but it’s obviously not in the cards! My husband works mega-long hours too, that doesn’t help, and oh yeah did I mention that he can’t or won’t help around the house much—I didn’t even get into the fact that I kind of love my job too, yeah I do. It de-stresses me.
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#67 of 75 Old 04-14-2010, 02:02 AM
 
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My baby's dad will one day regret walking out on his family. As far as he's concerned, he did not walk out. He sends me periodic emails reminding me that he had to leave because I didn't change to meet the expectations he set out for me. He's been gone from my home since September 1st. I spent last August traveling with our one and three year olds, visiting both of our families. He emailed me daily talking about how we'd celebrate my birthday when we returned, how much he missed us, how we'd go on a family trip when we got back to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary.

The moment I stepped off the train, I knew something was wrong. The next day, he sat me down and told me he was done with our marriage. He was looking for an apartment and had done his research on separation and divorce. He kindly "informed" me of his plan for our future--we would still spend holidays together, we'd still have some dinners together, we'd have "family day" together once a week, and we'd still vacation together. Except we wouldn't be married anymore and he'd have his own place. Sounds pretty convenient for him, right? The best of both worlds. He planned to live as a bachelor and do what he wanted but would still reap the benefits of having a former wife on the side to provide a sense of family.

The best part of all is that he had decided that he would have what he lovingly refers to as 50/50 custody--the girls would live at my house on week and his house the next, alternating weekly from now until they turn 18. He is out of his fucking mind. The day he walked out, our older daughter was just over three years old, and our baby was thirteen months. And before he moved out, he wasn't doing a god-damned thing to take care of them. I did everything, and he didn't even participate in family life at all.

All the years I devoted to him and to the project of our family were for nothing. The two years I spent pregnant and working full time while he worked on his Ph.D. The sleepless nights I spent with our first daughter who didn't sleep more than 45 minutes at a time until she was almost a year old, after which I would "wake up," pump, teach, pump, come home and take care of the baby, put her to bed, pump, grade papers, write lesson plans, and go to sleep for a half hour before she'd wake up again. The fact that I moved 3,000 miles away from where we were living when our second baby was twelve DAYS old. The fact that while I was pregnant, working full time, and taking care of our toddler, I was also editing his entire 350 page dissertation. None of these things were enough.

Now he has the gall to say to me "I hated you when you became a mother. I hated the person you had become."
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#68 of 75 Old 04-14-2010, 09:46 AM
 
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My mother is the person on whom I blame most of my life's problems. This is not fair, as I now know, since I'm certain she thought she was doing what was right, and even when she felt horrible and plagued with mommy guilt, as we all do, she was doing the best she could at the time.

My mother had no role model. Her own mother married very young and had four children in eight years. At some point, she must have decided this mothering thing was not really for her. When my mother was very young, her own mother did all the great things--sewed them clothes and puppets, made them homemade waffles, participated in their daily lives. At some point this shifted.

She started being "sick" all the time. Sometimes she really was sick and would be in the hospital for extended stays, though I've never been given the knowledge of just what it was she was sick with. Other times, her sickness resulted in her simply laying on the couch while the kids took care of themselves (or, rather, my mother, as the oldest girl, stepped in for the mommy role.) Given the limited knowledge I do have about my grandmother and the rest of my mother's family, I suspect that those couch "sicknesses" were a result of depression and/or hangovers.

At some point my grandmother shifted from being the nurturing, fun mama, to being the mama who has an affair with the neighbor down the street and goes off and gets drunk with him, leaving my grandfather and the children alone until the next morning. What provoked this in my grandmother? What was her own childhood like? What, exactly, did these demons of mental and emotional illness look like? How did my grandfather treat her?

Sadly, while I'd like to know the answers to these questions to get a better picture of the legacy left for me and my daughters, I'm sure I will never know. My mother is a bit of a locked vault when it comes to these things. More importantly, I know myself--I will not ask. I don't know how. I want to. I want to ask so much, so much about my grandmother, my mother's childhood, and more, but I don't have that kind of relationship with my mother. And sadly, I don't think my mother has that kind of relationship with anyone. She keeps it all in, and the long-term result of that behavior has been very isolating for her.

I feel responsible for my mother, somehow. Like if I could only figure out the right way to connect with her, I could really help her open up her life to feeling real emotion and seeing the possibilities life holds even at, what to her, seems like a very aged 59 years old. This is a little girl's fantasy, not the realistic goal of a grown woman.
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#69 of 75 Old 04-15-2010, 03:24 PM
 
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The older I get the more I realize that I'm a lot like my mother. I don't think I ever realized how much until I started to have children of my own. Having three children has only intensified this discovery. I tend to think lately this is why we clashed so much when I was growing up. In all actuality I have these two perspectives on her - the one in my memory from my childhood and teenage perspective and the other from my adult perspective.

When growing up I saw here as frustrating. I didn't think I could live up to her expectations (or maybe it was my view of the expectations, or perhaps I projected my own expectations of myself on her?). We had very differing views on exactly what constituted clean - the counters in the kitchen or the TV cabinet in the living room. I remember being annoyed by the prospect of cleaning. The thought of moving all of her knick-knacks/decor seemed like a waste of time. The prospect of being responsible for cleaning my parent's bathroom or dusting their bedroom seemed ridiculous. When I think back I remember it being very stressful.

There were times when things would explode. The emotions that were all simmering below the surface no longer able to be constrained. The most memorable event being one night after dinner. I had to have been in high school at the time from the way the kitchen looks in my mind.

It was after dinner. My sisters and I were in charge of dishes. Jessica had disappeared to the bathroom as usual. She claims gastro-intestinal distress, but I found it convenient given how she usually reappeared after most of the dishes were done. I don't remember if my youngest sister was there, although I suspect she was.

I believe a mention was made of the counters not being clean. I insisted that I had already done them. I probably suggested in my teenage way that perhaps she should clean them herself or maybe I accused her of wanting things to perfect or expecting too much. From there it all falls apart. There's yelling and tears (does Dad watch from the side? I can't remember) and my Mom leaves the house. She probably said she couldn't take it any more. I'm sure my Dad went to get here - to smooth things over and broker a truce. More often than not we'd feel he took my Mom's side. As an adult I know that was right. I would want my husband to do the same. As a teenager or child it seems unfair. As an adult I figure that it must have been difficult for my Dad to be the only male. Four females...that's a lot of estrogen.

What's odd to me about the whole event is the fact that the memory is accompanied by a physical sensation. I remember the weather - it was rainy or at least cloudy. Summer, maybe Spring. The light on in the hood above the stove at the very least. A little bit warm, maybe slightly humid? I wish I would have written more down or kept a journal about my life. I tried to once, but I wrote things that were less than nice about my mother (typical child/teenager behavior). My parents found it, although I don't know why they would have went looking for it, and I was told that I wouldn't be allowed to keep a journal like that. I remember them being upset and thinking it was unfair. I suppose it was and yet I'm sure it was difficult to read. As an adult I can't say as I blame them and yet I don't really trust my memory to get all of the details right.

While I don't remember all of the specifics, I do think from what I can remember things began to improve. I don't know if it was a change on her part or on ours? Perhaps she learned to change her expectations or maybe we tried harder to meet them? Jessica still disappeared, though, leaving the dishes to us that much I do know for sure.

Looking back on things now I think I understand her perspective a bit better. She worked long hours, the only office worker for a small company. It was 60, 70, or maybe 80 hours a week. Add into the equation the inevitable household activities and I'm sure the sense of responsibility must have been overwhelming.

I catch glimpses i think into how things were for her in my own daily life. The other day she was over at my house talking with my son and made mention about me frantically cleaning. I remember because it made me pause, almost stop. I thought it was just me. I feel frantic because the clutter in the house seems more than I can bear (even though I'm sure others would think my house was very clean). The frustration I feel when my husband walks past something for the umpteenth time. I begin to feel like I'm the only one to take care of things. Why should I have to ask for his help - he has eyes! The counter isn't clean - can't you see the crumbs there? All of a sudden it feels like I know - this must have been how she felt. We chat that day about it and things get quite a bit clearer. She talks about how she feels, that things pile up until you just can't take it anymore. This is when I know I'm not all that different than her and I get the sense that I should apologize, but I don't. It's not the first time in the last few months that I've wanted to apologize for my behavior as a child. I think we must have been terrible.

The older I get the less concerned I am with blaming my mother for something in my life. More and more I see the woman in my memories for who she was. Someone not all that different from myself. Trying to find her way, to do right by her children who don't come with instruction manuals. Doing the best she can. I don't fault her for the turmoil because I'm not sure I would have done any better.

It colors my perspective of her today. When she gets what I perceive to be defensive because I make a different choice than she did in raising my children. I try to remember the discomfort I feel when I wonder if I'm doing the right thing. I try to reassure her that I understand she was trying to do her best. I try to tell her that I know she made the best decision she could with the support and information she had at the time. Some days when things are particularly hectic, difficult, or I feel that I'm at my worse I want to call her up on the phone and apologize to her. We must have been just like that.

It gives me a little bit of hope when I worry about messing my children up. I can only hope that they are forgiving of me when they look back on their childhood. Will they be able to see my intention like I've begun to see my mom's? I can only hope that they know that I've tried.

My relationship with my mother is far better now than it ever was when I was growing up. Next to my husband she's my best friend. I cherish the closeness that came with growing up. I'm thankful for the perspective that comes with living. Even though there's a number of things we disagree on today I'm glad to have someone that can understand those feelings that well up when everything seems out of control because it's a lot nicer to feel as if you're heard. Did she feel that way when she was in my stage of life?
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#70 of 75 Old 04-16-2010, 07:46 AM
 
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oops

I'm Olivia. I blog about physiological childbirth, homebirth, and unassisted homebirth!
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#71 of 75 Old 04-16-2010, 07:47 AM
 
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oops again

I'm Olivia. I blog about physiological childbirth, homebirth, and unassisted homebirth!
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#72 of 75 Old 04-17-2010, 06:28 PM
 
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I had a feeling when I married him that the father of my children would be a wonderful father. I suppose one could rightly argue that's part of the reason why I married him. What I didn't realize, though, was just exactly how well suited to the task he was. I knew he was a wonderful friend, lover, and confidant, but the father part continually surprises me.

My husband works a lot of hours without a single complaint. He does it to ensure that every member of our family is well taken care of. Back when we considered becoming parents we weighed the options out carefully. His earning potential always bested mine and when he works overtime it more than doubles what I could make. We considered childcare if we both worked and were shocked at the cost. We considered working opposite shifts so that childcare would not be a concern and worried about hidden costs unrelated to money.

That isn't to say that there aren't possibly hidden costs to our current arrangement. Working all of those hours is difficult on all of us. The children and I miss him terribly. He misses us and I worry about the impact on his health the lack of sleep may one day create. Still, for him to be able to go to work without worrying about who is caring for our children is most definitely worth something. I know because he's told me how grateful he is for that. The fact that he can take any overtime shift at any moment without worrying about finding someone to pick up the kids from the day care center is a relief. The fact that it makes him look really good to his employer is an added bonus.

The father of my children is incredibly patient. I'm slightly envious because I think he's far more patient than I am. He welcomes our children to join him as he completes tasks around the house. They eagerly arrive with their child sized enthusiasm perhaps more in the way than helpful. Their eyes shine as they watch what he's doing, clamoring around him as if he were a celebrity. He patiently answers their many questions in a way that makes them feel as if their wonderings are of the utmost importance.

Watching them cook together in the kitchen always amazes me. There's far less flour flying in the air when the three of them are in the kitchen than when they join me. He inspires their rapt attention and each child seems incredibly patient with each other as they learn to take turns.

My husband is a master spinner of tale tales. He is able to take a small idea and fashion it into a thing of beauty. There is much giggling along the way as our children's eyes widen with wonder. He inspires their imagination and works to nurture it with such care.

He's a wannabe farmer. The most at home and peaceful I've ever seen him is when he's in the "back 40" as we call it weeding the gardens he dreamed up back when the snow was falling on the ground. I can tell he relishes the fact that his careful planning has come to fruition. I often chuckle when watching him work, his tongue sticking out of his slightly parted lips when he's concentrating on the task at hand. I'm amused by the sight of his large hands attempting to take just two carrot seeds to plant in each spot.

It's even more amusing to watch from a distance as my two oldest children assist. The last time I had the honor of watching them we were at my parents house. My mom and I were in her second story office and my husband and children were in the "back 40." They were determined to get the peas, carrots, and potatoes planted in spite of the winds whipping across the yard. There was dirt flying every which way kicked up in part by the wind, but mostly by my children who looked so very pleased and honored to help Dad. I watched as he helped our two year old plant pea seeds in the ground. I couldn't tell for sure, but I'm certain she too had her tongue sticking out ever so slightly. There's never been a doubt in our minds who she takes after. We always joke that we wondered what he'd look like as a girl and now we know. Lilly looks just like her father...except she's a girl.

He's a devoted father and husband, honest to a fault, and a passionate dreamer with a love so wild and fierce you aren't the least bit surprise that it oozes out with everything he does. I count myself incredibly lucky to have found him. I know our children are absolutely honored he's their dad.
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#73 of 75 Old 04-17-2010, 07:17 PM
 
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The day Maya was born dawned with a heavy, thick blanket of snow covering the ground. You could hear the trees above us cracking with the weight of the snow. We had watched it snow the night before when contractions had petered out just like they had for the last couple of weeks. We had been startled a bit by the periodic rolling of thunder. I had never known there was such as thing as thunder snow.

The day had dawned early for me when I was awoken with contractions at 6:30am. I had quietly spent the first few hours of my day sitting on the loveseat in the living room huddled under a blanket and reading a book from the library to keep my mind off things. When the rest of the family joined me it was a relief to have another distraction. Would today be the day?

My husband was bound and determined to get the driveway shoveled convinced as he was that it wouldn't be long. It would take awhile to get the driveway cleared he reasoned so he headed out with his shovel into the white day. The kids were disappointed when he told them they could not join him. I think he needed the quiet to focus on what seemed to me to be an insurmountable task.

I set about making us breakfast convinced that by doing so baby would decide to come another day, but hoping that perhaps this might be it. The kids and I ate breakfast. We had invited my husband to join us, but he was determined to keep going. I suspect now that he probably already knew he wasn't feeling well and wanted to keep going while he still had the ability. It took him the vast majority of the morning to get the driveway, front steps, and sidewalk cleared. He said it was eerie to hear all the creaking and groaning. At one point he was startled by the sound of a large branch crashing down. He thought for sure it was from one of our trees, but after looking he was relieved to find our trees all intact.

After taking a break for my husband to have breakfast we headed out to Target. I have absolutely no idea why we went there. I know we picked up some antacids for my husband, but I don't think that's why we went. I remember the slightly odd feeling we got when we went in the store and found it mostly deserted with very few employees to be found. We did our customary walk through the Christmas section of the store so that the kids could see the lights and the trees. Walking intensified my contractions so we were cautiously optimistic.

We returned home for lunch and a nap for the kids. Shortly after arriving home the contractions stopped again. I was upset and frustrated even though I always felt like I knew that's exactly what was going to happen. Baby was inching ever closer to the 42 week mark with only a couple of more days to go at that point.

I remember talking with my mom then, "No, no baby now," I'd say. My parents were out of town on a trip for my mom's birthday. They had scheduled it months ago for that time frame convinced that the baby would have come well before then. I don't think it was too much longer after that when I knew that my husband was sick. Down with the same gastro-intestinal bug that had claimed both my mom (sick while away from home) and my children. He took care of everything quietly without ever asking for help from me. I always feel a bit badly about that, but I can barely handle vomiting when I'm not pregnant. I always have to call my husband home from work when the kids are sick. I used to feel badly about that until my husband mentioned that several of his coworker's wives are the same way.

I don't remember much of the rest of the day. I'm certain there was dinner after naps and playing before the kids headed into bed. I plowed ahead into laundry trying to keep my mind from focusing on the disappointment that there would be no baby that day. I had secretly hoped for that day since it was also my mom's birthday.

Sometime later in the evening my husband joined me in the family room as I folded laundry and watched Friends. I don't think he was down there with me for very long before the first contraction hit - maybe 20 minutes? They came hard and fast. After the third contraction he was on the phone with the midwife, "It's time," he said. I tried to discourage him from doing so convinced as I was that things would only fizzle out. I didn't want my midwife traveling out in the weather only to get here and discover the baby was not coming. My husband believed differently. He knew this was it just like he did last time.

What happened next amazes me to this day. Somehow my visibly ill husband (boy was he sick) summoned the energy to get things ready. Birth tub? Inflated and filling. Birth kit? Out and ready. I had everything I could do to get the sheets on the bed changed and ready. The midwife and her assistant arrived and then it seemed like everything went into slow motion. It wasn't long until I found myself in the birth tub. Last time it was a stock tank in the kitchen with the January sunlight streaming through the window on an unseasonably warm day. This time it was pitch black outside, cold and windy. The only lights on were the one's in the soffit above the kitchen cabinets. The midwife and her assistant sat in the living room. I could hear their soft conversation from my spot in the pool with my husband sitting in a kitchen chair next to it.

He informed our family that the baby was on the way and they all were surprised as it hadn't been more than an hour ago since we last talked with no sign of baby's impending birth. There were still a few hours left, would she be born on my mom's birthday? I struggled to find a comfortable place to be in the tub. It was too short for me to be comfortable sitting as I couldn't get my legs stretched out enough. The water? Not warm enough. Half of the water is pumped out and then more comes in. Some from pots boiling on the stove and the rest from the faucet when the water heater finally recovered. Fine time to find out that the water heater's probably on its last legs.

Not much for conversation, but I remember me being glad that this was the very last time. We were surprised by this pregnancy. When Lilly was born I relished in the experience. It was so very healing to be have my midwife believe in me. It was a triumph to give birth when the OB from my son's pregnancy told me I couldn't - that he was too big to birth before I ever went into labor. Vindicating when she was only a couple of ounces lighter than her brother.

This time? Intense. Not painful, intense. I guess all the on and off again contractions had taken care of the vast majority of it. All that was left was transition and pushing. Easy peasy, right? I remember when the midwife came in to check things and we joked about the vasectomy my husband had after finding out I was pregnant this time. A bit of relief washed over me with the realization that there would be no surprises. Maybe things won't be as bad as I fear they will be.

Out of the tub and to the bathroom to empty my bladder. I choose to do so in between contractions only to be hit with one in the middle of trying to get out of the tub. I make it back into the tub after the short walk there and back. From there it's all a blur, but it isn't long. The first urges of needing to push make themselves known. I'm on my knees and leaning against the edge of the tub hating that it's not solid like the stock tank last time. Hating that it doesn't feel like it comes up high enough. It feels like I'm on a runaway train. Everything seems like it's out of control. Our other children awaken with my cries. In less than 10 minutes she's out. With Lilly things were much slower. Out and in and out again as she eased into the world. With Maya it's just out. Head first and face covered in the amniotic sac. Born in the caul. The shoulders and then she's slipping out into the water of the tub covered in vernix just like her sister. "Yuck," I think.

I look at her and I begin to cry just a bit. She looks like a stranger to me, but I find myself filling with love for her scrunchy face. It's a girl and I'm a little bit disappointed as I was hoping for another boy. Text messages go out and our children join us in the kitchen. "You were yelling," my son tells me, " and you woke me up." They sit on the kitchen chair once occupied by my husband. He's somewhere near me taking pictures. There weren't enough pictures last time and my mom, who was supposed to take pictures this time, is out of town. It's after midnight so they don't share the same birthday. My mom's tickled pink regardless to have someone to share her birthday with. I don't think it was long before she was planning their shared birthday party.

I sit in the tub for what seems like far longer than last time. I'm anxious to get things over with. I want to get out of the tub and I want the placenta out. She's here and I want to be done with pregnancy once and for all. I'm looking forward to the end of that chapter in my life and my baby's not more than an hour old. We're sitting in the bathroom, chux pad between the toilet seat and the bowl to catch the placenta. It's taking forever I think and then I feel that familiar sensation as it slips out and into the pad.

"I think I'm going to faint," I call out. Their working on cutting the cord and all I can think is that they're not moving fast enough. When I say it I can tell they hurry a bit, but then I can feel the fuzziness overwhelming me. I try to hold back the darkness as I plead with them to take the baby. I don't want to drop her. She's out of my arms and into the arms of her father. Darkness then and everything seems like it's a long way off. The sharp smell of ammonia snaps me back. My midwife's hand is on my shoulder as she's holding me up as I lean forward on the toilet. It strikes me as odd this whole chain of events. They help me up and into the computer desk chair. I'm rolled into the bedroom where I scooch into bed, thankful that I no longer need to hold myself up. I sink into the mattress and feel slightly embarrassed as my midwife's assistant, someone I've never met as the person who was supposed to be there couldn't make it with the roads the way they were, beings to clean me up. She's tender and respectful and it catches me slightly off guard.

After she's done in there she disappears and cleans up after the birth. We're supposed to be responsible for all of that. I wonder in the back of my mind if she's doing so because my husband is sick. He doesn't really look it at this point, although I can tell he's beginning to fade just a bit. Perhaps the adrenaline's starting to wear off?

Newborn exam on the bed and we all watch as Maya get's her first once over. 8lbs 12oz, my smallest baby yet. She's fussy until she's in the sling to get her weight. Hanging there suspended in the soft fabric and her entire world seems right I suppose. "It's best not to get up for at least 8 hours given your significant blood loss," I'm told. It's suggested that perhaps when I do need to get up to use the restroom that we use the desk chair again. She inspects my tears. There are several, though they are first degree. I elect not to have them stitched (a decision I question now). The options are explored. I'd like to pee, but would rather not get up. How about the chux pad? No dice. Catheter? Sure. My bladder's empty. Some Methergen, reminders of what to look for, and it's all over. Our other children are in bed asleep while the three of us: me, my husband, and the tiny little stranger in bed next to us fall gratefully asleep. Peaceful in the midst of what has felt like so much turmoil and upheaval. It all seems so far away, though, as I gaze upon her sleeping face. I know that I love here and I say a silent prayer of thanks for oxytocin. Thankful for its chemical bonding agent. It all feels a bit right as we drift off to sleep. At the same time, thank goodness it's over!
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#74 of 75 Old 04-18-2010, 05:56 PM
 
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the last time i talked to my friend kate she told me i was freya incarnate. somewhere between the mix of a strong earth mother and fearless leader. scary and deadly yet tender and warm. kate and i worked together at one point. she got me in trouble because she said i was unapproachable and scared her. i was her boss and she felt like she could not talk to me. she told my boss and my boss told me that i needed to be less intimidating. me? intimidating? i didnt get it. i was just pissed that one of my best friends could not talk to me eventhough i saw her every day.

we had drinks together on a regular basis, i had cleaned up her puke after her last birtday party... but she couldnt talk to me at work? what was the deal? was there something wrong with me? was there something wrong with her? who was this stranger crying in my office?

kate was the firsrt time that i felt like a mother because she was so much younger than I. In years it was only like 6 years but in maturity it was a different story. she had been a cutter at a young age and she had dabbled in drugs. her boyfriends that were awful to her and was a chain smoker and drinker by the time she was 18. i nursed her under my wing for a while. she lived with me and i hired her. i helped her through school and she ate at ourhouse every day.

when she quit working for me she moved to nashville. with a guy. i was worried out of my mind and thought he was going to kill her or do something else horrible. she was going to just live with him and notwork, sort of like a housewife... except a very young, very stupid one. he turned out to be ok but i knew she did not love him, he loved her and she was breaking his heart. i was still sad she had left because she almost did it without telling me. she just upped one day and told me she was moving. after all we had been through together i thought i deserved at least some warning. but she knew i would dissapprove and she kept it hidden until it was all ready.

i felt like a mother for the first time because i felt like she could no longer be herself around me for fear of dissapproval. she was hiding things from me because i would get upset. i was no longer her friend at this point... i was just an authority figure to get away from. what had I done? she needed support and she got scoldings from me. was she right? was i just too unapproachable?

she said she felt embarrased because her life was such a mess and she did not want to be my burden any longer. she was afraid that i would stop living her for who she was because she did not think she was a good person. she told me that one time when i thought she had gone to see her mother she was really in the ER getting her stomach pumped because she had OD'ed. I cried when she told me this. i wish she would have let me help her.

she left and has been gone for years now. she is doing ok I think. i will see her in a month's time for the first time since she moved. i have talked to her a few times and keep in touch but not as before. i am afraid honestly. i am scared of what her life is and i dont know what we will say to each other.

earth.gif trottin', pole dancing, Norway and Sweden lovin' , hippie.gif,WOHM Kiddos born waterbirth.jpg 12/11/06 and 08/09/08 
belly.gif with #3 puke.gif EDD:01/2013 yikes2.gif So in love loveeyes.gif with my sweet Swede 2twins.gif and my bonus-son 10/25/98 carrot.gif

 
 

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#75 of 75 Old 04-18-2010, 06:07 PM
 
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at two in the morning was the time that mike proposed to me.

late night pie had been our first date, they closed at 3. we had gone to have a few drinks at a bar and then gone to have a pizza. the pizza was crummy. there were flies everywhere because it was an open garage of sorts. the light were these tea lights that smelled like cheap wax. he brought be a piece of cheesecake with a ring in it. i laughed and cried. it was so unromantic but romantic at the same time.

no proposal on top of the eiffel tower or anything but he remembered our first date and recreated it. we even had the same waiter and they were all in on it.

if we hadnt have already made the plan to go to vegas to get married it might have been a bit better though... i mean he proposed after we booked our trip to get married. i think because he felt like he had to. i had bought the dress after all and he had his suit... we always did things backwards. i think this has been the theme of our relationship. how can we do things as unexpectedly as possible? we dont do it on purpose but we keep people on their toes for sure.

it even keeps me on my toes. i am sure that at some point we will be ok with old fashioned and conservative but that time has not yet come. still 2 am is a special time for us. now it is filled with nurslings and diaper changes... but 2 am is still ours once in a while. i still sneak out at times with him and sit on the couch together. alone. its the simple things i guess.

earth.gif trottin', pole dancing, Norway and Sweden lovin' , hippie.gif,WOHM Kiddos born waterbirth.jpg 12/11/06 and 08/09/08 
belly.gif with #3 puke.gif EDD:01/2013 yikes2.gif So in love loveeyes.gif with my sweet Swede 2twins.gif and my bonus-son 10/25/98 carrot.gif

 
 

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