A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Monthly Archives: April 2016

A Belly and a Road Map

On the other end of Gestational Diabetes, I am reaping the benefits of a mere twenty-six pound weight gain.  Under two weeks postpartum and still in the process of ridding myself of those fast initial pounds, I found myself in the position of needing to wear my second from the largest of my postpartum non maternity jeans.  Maternity jeans simply stopped feeling comfortable, and really the larger size of jeans I chose might be a bit too big.  It was easily three months after my son was born, and likely longer, before I was able to fit into the size I’m wearing now, but, first time around, between the forty-five pound increase, and having that recent post baby body, I was still wearing my full panel pants for quite some time.

Now, just under two weeks postpartum, I still look pregnant, as I should.  The jeans are likely not all that flattering in the belly area, but growing and giving birth to a human does something interesting to my general notions of body beauty.

I absolutely love that I still look pregnant; I even loved it when I was so much heavier after my son’s birth, and the high persisted for at least a couple months postpartum.  The literal transition between the two states is so sudden that I enjoy having a reminder of what my body can do without the discomfort of actual pregnancy.  I love that I can move and have energy.  I love that I can wear the better of my maternity shirts with that slight…or not quite so slight…round belly peeking through.  And, I love that I can hold my fierce girl with her incredible facial expressions of determination and assertions, yet still look at myself with the reminder of where she was so recently.

Of course, at some point probably sooner rather than later, I will want to stop looking pregnant and return to my pre pregnancy size and shape.  Eventually, the pang of longing for my old clothes will manifest, as well as the intense urgency to wear my old bras.  But, for now my amazing body made my remarkable Warrior Queen, and I want everyone to know that.

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A Stranger is Home

Even as a two-year-old, My son is exceptional when it comes to sharing.  He takes turns with ease, and is generally considerate of other people.  He certainly has his moments, but mostly he acknowledges the needs of other people.

Little Man did not visit me in the hospital, and I missed him profoundly.  Hearing him uttering his “Yeah” to my questions on the phone the night before returning home had me virtually weeping with a surging and longing heart…but that may have been the hormones.

I finally walk into our home, my husband carrying our tiny fierce one.  My son looked at her a bit and walked off…quite anticlimactic.  But, I know Mr. Man.  He needs time to be left alone and consider things, so my husband and I allowed him his space regarding our new family member even if my parents did not.

The first evening was rough for my little man.  It didn’t appear that he was particularly unhappy having a sister or unwilling to share me.  While I held my fierce girl, I interacted with my first born, and he was content.  There were no tantrums when I asserted that I needed to stop a book or game to feed the Warrior Queen.

But, during dinner I saw a flood of emotions emanate suddenly from his sweet, beautiful, tortured face.  The entire day I focused on my son, giving him all the attention I was craving over the few days in the hospital.  The sudden acute distress puzzled me.  My son barrels off of his chair and runs weeping into our family room.  I follow him and sit on the floor unsure of what he needs.  He finally manages to sign “music,” and I ask if he would like me to sing a certain song.  Calming he asserts, “Yeah,” and sits between my legs.  My poor uncertain boy wanted me to sing the same tune I uttered to his sister during her last bottle two hours prior.  Once I finished, he trotted off to rejoin my husband and parents at the kitchen table, smiles abound.

After that instance and through the next day or so, it became increasingly clearer that my son is willing to share me, but required the reassurance that there continues to be a unique place for him in my thoughts and heart.  Little by little I’m providing him security that he, in turn, expresses with interest toward his sister.

It started with my daughter sleeping in her swing.  My son plucks a baby blanket off our sofa, and places it over her, walking away to play.

The next day my son was the first to rise.  He finished his breakfast but remained at the table when I heard the Warrior Queen stirring upstairs.  I excused myself, telling Little Man that I would be back with his sister.  While I was upstairs, he ventured over to the gate, waiting for us to make our entrance.  He pointed and smiled, following us as I grabbed a bottle out of the refrigerator.  Mr. Man clutched his milk cup, and joined his sister for her breakfast, handing me a cloth to wipe her mouth when I requested it.

Each day there is another effort of care he expresses toward his little sister.  He continues to keep her company drinking his milk while she enjoys her bottled meal.  He still lightly lays a blanket over her when he worries she is cold.  He continually checks on her in her swing, ensuring her well being.  If she isn’t wearing a hat, he will stand in front of her holding it waiting for me to walk over.  Little Man is afraid to hurt her, so even the lightest touch is something he avoids.  My son wants her to be happy, and enjoying pushes in a swing, is quick to do the same for his sister.  Redirected the first time for too strong a force, he is content with light, gentle nudges.

Transitions have never been particularly easy for him; probably a trait inherited from me, but he is a wonderful big brother.  In time he will see it too.

The Power of Song?

I sing to Mr. Man all the time.  I have a fairly terrible voice, but he doesn’t care, and sometimes it prevents him from launching feet into my chest and face while I’m attempting to change his diaper.  Little Man requests all sorts of songs throughout the day, and I love looking at his beaming smile during the multiple renditions of every childhood song I’ve had to learn throughout these two years.  Naturally, the Warrior Queen was along for the ride, unable to escape the tunes my son urged.

I’m also perpetually reading stories to my son.  All varieties from well written to garbage that I can’t remember receiving.  It doesn’t matter what it is; he just loves a tale.  When my daughter had the room to move in my belly, I often felt her flipping a certain way whenever I read a book to my son.  Once she ran out of room, such movements stopped, but I felt confident she continued to enjoy the entertainment.

Now that my fierce girl is born, it is too early to know if she will enjoy books on the level as her brother; I hope so.  But, undeniably my singing provides comfort I never expected.

My first indication was seconds after her birth, wailing as all newborns do when thrust into the outer world.  My singing calmed her so quickly it didn’t completely register at the time.  If my husband hadn’t recorded it, I might not believe it almost a week later.

As I did with my son, I held my daughter throughout those first days in the hospital singing even when she was asleep.  When she was unhappy and uttering her discontented squeaks, a chorus of some random tune would be hushed in melodic breaths, and she would settle.

One occasion occurred just after I fed her a bottle.  Within minutes of my placing her in her hospital Tupperware container, she began to fuss, clearly not ready to be on her own quite yet.  I returned her to the crooks of my arms, wide awake she focused on my eyes as I sang.  With every ounce of effort she kept her eyes open, but they became heavier as the moments passed.  My girl fought sleep as long as she could, peering through barely visible slits before losing the fight.  The slumber kept that time, but I continued to hold this sweet girl who already knows what she wants.  And, times such as these I’m only too happy to oblige.

Adventures in Labor, Part II

I started feeling promising contractions at around eleven-thirty at night Thursday.  I was out to the world.  My husband was sleeping in another room because he had a cold…again.  I had so many false starts with my contractions that I wasn’t taking them all that seriously; didn’t bother to time them for quite a long time.  For a bit I was dreaming of contractions, so wasn’t entirely sure which were happening and which were in my head.  Twelve-thirty in the morning it occurred to me that not only were they strong, but seemed fairly close together.  I tried tracking them on my alarm clock, and failed…miserably.  I levered myself out of bed the way all small and very pregnant women do in a bed that is too high.  I drop my legs with enough force to use gravity and momentum to actually get up without managing to hurt myself in this most seemingly mundane of tasks.  With that, I groggily and uncomfortably trek downstairs to retrieve my phone…I’ll blame mid slumber for my need to utilize my never before accessed cell stopwatch.  It took a good hour-and-a-half for the awareness to hit me that my contractions were five to seven minutes apart.  In no traffic it can take forty minutes to get to the hospital, but it isn’t quite so dramatic as all that.

With my son my water broke at three in the morning.  My contractions never progressed beyond vague discomfort at random intervals.  With the Warrior Queen I had intermittent and frustratingly hopeful contractions for four days.  I prayed my water would break in these early hours; in no way did I trust this latest contraction progression.

After excessive internal debate and a lukewarm urge from the on-call physician, I wake my husband.  I call my parents who arrive a bit after three in the morning.  Fortunately, my mother was prepared and only brought the necessities from her home…like her coffee maker…My husband and I aren’t coffee drinkers, which is why my mother had bought us such an appliance years ago that she’s utilized often.  It was a good laugh, and we were off to the hospital.  Some time during our twenty-five minute drive my water broke.

The triage continued far too long.  Once it was determined I had my prized ruptured membrane, the time was calculated when I would be induced at the latest.  The doctor I spoke to said it was pointless to wait the full twelve hours; this was happening shortly once a delivery room was available…that ended up twelve hours later.  No one communicated anything to me, so my husband and I sat in the claustrophobic triage room for thirteen hours waiting.  By then I had virtually no contractions; always glad to be consistent…

The delivery finally underway.  The Pitocin drip began; I was so sensitive to it with my son that active labor was under two hours.  I received my epidural with both pregnancies soon after starting the inducing process, and was unwilling to fully calm until the anesthesiologist finished the procedure in both instances.  This time active labor was four hours.  Not all that long in the grand scheme of this type of thing, but not according to my mother who had been texting with my husband.  Apparently she inquired when they were scheduling a C-section, but she had made such inquiries since my Gestational Diabetes diagnosis.  Had my contractions not started to become uncomfortable, I might have rolled my eyes at the time.

My son’s final push was forty-five minutes; the Warrior Queen was maybe five, and she was in my arms.  Thirty-seven-and-a-half weeks she weighted seven pounds and one ounce.  She was absolutely beautiful…or so I was told.  Twenty-hours of wakefulness and the contented bliss of holding my little girl; I didn’t take the time to really look at her.  On my bare chest she cried as all newborns do, but it ceased almost instantaneously as I sang some of my son’s latest favorite tunes that she spent months overhearing.

I finally saw my daughter’s face at one in the morning.  I had only slept for an hour, but the anesthesia finally left my limbs enough to walk to the nursery.  She is, in fact, as beautiful as everyone said.  I let her sleep, and managed to rest another four hours before waking for the day where a new beginning awaited.

Adventures in Labor, Part I

My intention was to wait until the Warrior Queen arrived and describe the ordeal in a one time and succinct post, preserving the experience without droning on about how frustrated and annoyed I am at this moment, but, alas, the need to vent and whine to an audience won at this early hour.

Technically, I’ve been in the throws of early labor since Monday, and I can’t believe this time hole is only just beginning its fourth day.  Sounds dramatic, right?  Like, whoa, she will be here any time…  Yeah, at this point I think this will turn into that documentary I saw years ago with that African woman who was “pregnant” for forty years.

I haven’t experienced this process until now.  With my son I joined the ranks of the rare eight percent whose water breaks before contractions begin.  After twelve hours, I was induced because they never got on the stick.  This is miserable, but not because I’m in much pain.  It’s this halting of progress that is getting to me, and I’m forced to send angry texts all day to friends and read into body signals desperately hoping for some sign that this will happen before God retires.

I had two appointments anyway Monday when I awoke at 3.15 in the morning to contractions.  I knew they were irregular, so I wouldn’t have made the trip otherwise, but part of the plethora of appointments I experience includes a test that notes contractions…I had three in twenty minutes, so you know they will be checking on my lady part progress now that I’m thirty-seven weeks.  There was progress, but they sent me home because not enough…lovely…  The contractions stopped, and I entered day two of early labor waiting room hell.

Contractions came back for three hours in the morning, stronger and more consistent; too far apart, and they were done.  We’ll keep this clean, but it prompted another litany of angry texts to friends and a general poor demeanor toward my husband.

Next day:  contractions only last two hours, but my husband stopped ignoring my cranky attitude.  Mostly, he just noted that I was in a bad mood because when you are in early labor it seems those living with you who aren’t children give you a pass for behaving unpleasantly.  But, in case any of my readers are in the position of sharing this thrilling experience with another, a good rule of thumb is refrain from saying that this will end soon.  If I didn’t know that I would need his help once this eventually concludes, he might not live to tell another tale of “My wife is pregnant” woe.

But, unlike the previous day, my daughter appeared somewhat desperate to leave her current living arrangements…clearly not desperate enough…  While I’ve grown quite accustomed to a large and strong mass pushing against my belly, elbows and knees attempting to force their way through the barrier of my body is a new and fairly painful experience.  I figure this will either be a vaginal delivery or she will be appearing through my stomach Alien style.

Since noon yesterday I had intermittent vague crampy feelings that never materialized into anything, but alluded to the possibility that maybe I would have more than two hours of contractions that didn’t yield much.  No dice.

I can’t believe I’m just entering the fourth day of this, but it hasn’t been that much time…chronologically…  Last night I slept better than I have since I’ve been pregnant.  Starting at 2.30 in the morning when I journeyed to the restroom once again I felt the onset of contractions that changed their mind, noting that I preferred to sleep at that moment.  The same thing happened at four.  Feeling unusually rested, I was up and about at five.  We’ll see what the day brings, but I envision many more angry, bitter texts to friends…

Stairway to Heaven and Other Ruses

My son is a savant at trickery…It’s probably why he is so cute; otherwise, I’d be much more angry on a regular basis.  I retrieve him from his nap and we walk together toward the stairs.  On hands and knees, my son demonstrates every intention of heading down without incident.  Nothing sketchy or untoward about his behavior…that should have been my first clue.  He’s always up to something when I’m not paying sufficient attention.  Usually, I wait for him to begin the process of descending down the stairs before heading down myself, but on this occasion I take the lead only to look up at him hovering at the top of our staircase for a suspicious amount of time.

I look up at Little Man from the middle of our case, when he grins at me exposing every tooth in his perfect mouth.  Within seconds my son darts up faster than I’ve ever seen him, and he sprints to our guest bedroom normally cornered off from his free and uninhibited excavation.  My son slams the door amidst a chorus of boisterous laughter, leaving me to only imagine what kind of mayhem is occurring behind the door in the brief span he is alone.  After a moment of shock, I begin my slow and labored climb back to the top.  Once I’m able to regain leveled breathing from even this slight exertion, I retrieve him, ensuring this time he actually descends.

Presence

I have not been in nesting mode per se, but my husband has, and I love him all the more for it.  The last two days have me feeling pretty great, except for the inability to breathe easily and some fatigue.  One would think these two conditions would leave me miserable, but I feel energized, happy, and peaceful; even if not entirely motivated to prepare for the Warrior Queen’s arrival.  I suppose the end is in sight regardless of the uncertain specifics.

I remember vividly my elation as we set each new article in our home, bringing us movements closer to my son’s debut.  Daily, sometimes hourly, I found myself entering his room and sitting quietly in the rocking chair I’ve kept since college.  I never remained in the room for long, only enough to absorb the excitement that I might be holding him soon.  I usually entered his closet before concluding my latest visit, unhooking the hanger of my favorite one piece with the crab on the bottom; placing it on my belly hoping I could conceive some notion of his size.

For an assortment of reasons I have not had this experience with the Warrior Queen.  While I am indescribably excited to have her here, picturing her accompaniment to our daily life; her presence is more like a spirit than a emerging reality.

Last weekend my husband installed the crib and retrieved the same rocker from the basement, but since we are undecided about furniture and bedroom assignments, these bits of preparation progress don’t hold the same weight as they probably should.  At this point a week passed, and I’ve barely set foot in the room.  But, today my husband retrieved other odds and ends like the car bucket that is resting in our office, as well as the playpen finding its prior home close distance to our elliptical.  Exercising I felt it; the very same feeling I had just before my son was born.  I remember keeping him in this meshed enclosure during  my stationary peddling.  Watching him progress from laying, to sitting, to standing, finally to cruising along its four walls.  I thought back to his smiles that were barely perceived over the edge; now he is so tall comparatively.  It was that moment I felt the Warrior Queen with us, soon resting in the safety of the same structure, safe from a curious toddler.  There are a couple more articles to haul to the living quarters of our house, but it’s beginning to feel like she is part of our outer world.

Soon my strong girl will be among us, and I can barely contain myself wondering when it will be.  I look for signs.  I have my intuition of roughly how much longer I must wait, but the feel of any moment is a collision of excitement and impatience, maybe a touch of intellectual curiosity too.

Twenty/Twenty Vision

I’ve been confidently predicting for months, possibly longer, that my daughter will arrive early.  This final trimester has been grandly terrible on many levels, diabetes aside, so maybe my proclamations are more wishful thinking.

My son was about a week-and-a-half early, and the Warrior Queen’s belly benchmarks have been about three to four weeks ahead of his, particularly her movements.  This began my ponderings of her arrival as early as fourteen weeks.

I’m thirty-seven weeks in a day, and I’ve been increasingly confident that this will end very soon, but, again, wishful thinking perhaps turning more urgent?  The last two days, however, give me pause to think about her near future; I’d been telling myself her likely arrival would be in the thirty-eight week realm.  Now I wonder if it’s sooner.  The interesting thing about labor is that it is really something only confirmed once it occurs.  That said, with my son I had suspicions when I experienced a day of odd movements that he would be arriving soon…My water broke at three in the morning, less than twenty-four hours later.  What is happening right now is not so distinct, but maybe it is.  We’ll see.

The Warrior Queen has been in position for a long time now, and been attempting with great fervency to push through my belly.  Two days ago the same pushing was occurring at the very floor of my pelvis…quite comfortable naturally…  That first day of oddity was the longest and most consistent duration of this intense heavy pushing downward; it continues to occur, but yesterday wasn’t as persistent or enduring throughout the day.  Then there is the cramping.  A good amount of it two days ago and yesterday morning.  The rest of the day it was absent.  Cramping for the second day colors the picture of the sensation as a three in the morning experience, how lovely…I didn’t need sleep anyway…

Most interestingly has been the change in Little Man’s behavior the last two days.  He’s always been impressively perceptive even at two-years-old, so I wonder if he senses something.  My son is a toddler, so tantrums are par for the course, but his morning meltdowns before we leave the house have had a different feel.  The rest of the day tantrums are odd as well.  Historically they predictably occur when he is tired; silly, impulsive behavior that prompts me to sigh with annoyance, especially when all I can think about is a snack or lunch.  There are others when he is frustrated, but there isn’t anything that befuddles me.  My bewilderment with his tantrums are more due to the intense nature of his abhorrence for small, random things that pass as suddenly as their onset.  The last two days my son has been destructive whenever we are alone, and he is angry unlike anything I’ve seen from him.  He’s started hitting and even scratching me at times when I lift him during a moment of stubborn refusal.  Even when upset he has never been aggressive out of anger; it’s always been an overkill of silliness.  From anger my son will suddenly move to random acts of cuddling and sweetness that surpass his typical gestures.  While consistently loving, the last two days carry with it an increase of spontaneous hugs and snuggling on the sofa that previously only occurred when he was becoming sleepy in the evenings, but even then the behavior was fairly rare.

The moments of sweetness have a certain desperation to them that I have trouble describing.  I retrieved him from a nap, as a sweet example I want to remember; he was inconsolably upset, but adorable in his mismatched jammies and affray hair that is starting to curl because it is getting too long.  We sit on my desk chair and watch recordings of his life’s moments; a favorite of his when he was six-months-old, gregarious laughter because of wind in the autumn trees.  Little Man sat on my lap, laying his head on a bare section of my chest, limbs burrowed in, hands clutching my shirt collar, watching himself on repeated cycles; periodically looking up at me with a wide smile before resuming his position.  He remained in that state for ten minutes, but as uncomfortable as my back felt, I wanted to remain that way forever holding him into me.

My odd, off feeling a couple of days ago transformed into feeling pretty great yesterday, and seems to be continuing today…struggling to breathe aside.  Even with now two days of little sleep, I feel surprisingly energized and awake.

From my appointment yesterday I learned that I am dilated two centimeters, but my walls are still thick; fairly meaningless data.  Labor could come at any time.  My insulin was increased the other day, but my fasting level remained almost too high.  Yesterday I saw the Atlantis of a mid seventies level.  I was told that might be an indication of approaching labor…or a problem with my placenta requiring eventual induction.  Yesterday’s fasting level, however, seems to be a fluke.  This morning the level was in the mid eighties, which is still a good amount lower, but nothing impressive or interesting.

In the end all of these things are the tea leaves I’ve been drinking.  The beautiful thing about it is I’ll know the outcome soon enough…well, maybe not soon enough, but soon.

 

 

Unacknowledged Murphy’s Law No. 91

It’s only when I’m obscenely pregnant and incapable of movements Jabba the Hutt couldn’t manage that I drop everything without fail…not even an exaggeration.  The same response occurs each time something falls to the floor from my hand.  I stare accusingly at the object laying in front of me for an obnoxiously inappropriate length of time as I consider how necessary it is that I have it.  If I didn’t have a toddler running around, I’d give up and just start wearing shoes around the house or take strolls visiting the dump sites with my husband once he returned home from work.  But, alas, I do have a toddler running around, so with muttered profanity I’m sure my son hears regardless of how quiet I think I am or his distance from me, I sumo squat in such a fashion that has to be hilarious to view and retrieve the object.  Five minutes later something else falls…

Best in Show

I completely accept I’m that mother.  I can’t help it, and I blame Gap as the gateway store.  While I am fairly indifferent about what my son wears, baby girl clothing is adorable.  Not all of it, but I find myself browsing certain selections often in rapturous sighs over some of the girl infant fashions out there.  If some of it weren’t obscenely expensive, I would horde it in a closet so I could paw each item on a regular basis until my tenant is handed her eviction notice.

I resisted the impulse to buy things for the duration of this pregnancy, which is a bit heartbreaking since there have been so few purchases explicitly for the Warrior Queen.  My husband and I hadn’t really thought about her clothing, thinking she would mostly wear my son’s jammies for a while.  After all, does it matter if she has an outfit of blue whales or elephants?

I’ve been feeling like garbage with maybe a week or two left of this horribly tedious pregnancy, but the lack of nesting impulse on my end has been embraced by my husband.  He took out Little Man’s newborn jammies and clothing and washed them.  I abstractly knew a significant chunk the clothing Mr. Man wore during those beginning days would be inappropriate for the Warrior Queen, but his statement that we have no clothing for our little girl prompted me to go online and spend a generous gift card I’ve been holding untouched for entirely too long.

I’m too embarrassed to openly admit the degree of my delight buying things for my daughter, but I will say that I managed, at least, to make purchases that aren’t completely ridiculous from a practical standpoint…except the pink tutu dress that I’d been coveting since I first saw it.  She won’t be able to wear it until she is at least three-months-old.  I don’t even like pink, but, oh my, when I saw its reduced price, it was a sign.  The Warrior Queen must have its soft ruffled gauzey awesomeness, and I will love every moment  taking pictures of her indifferent face when the moment arrives for her debut sporting it.

Even once the fog of the first sleepless months is lifted, I will continue to struggle dressing myself in well coordinated ensembles, but for what my appearance lacks will be compensated by my impulse purchases on her behalf.

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