Friday, May 31, 2013

A Bit of News

Some of you may have noticed this shiny new button which popped up on my sidebar a couple days ago. I'm excited to announce that I'm going to be a monthly contributor for Reno Moms Blog, the newest addition to the city moms blog network, which launches this next week! They officially introduced me on their facebook page today, go check it out and show them some love.

I'm thrilled to be working with such an awesome group of ladies in my area. Everyone on board is so passionate about this community and each has a unique perspective to offer. I have a feeling this is going to be a great project, and I couldn't be happier about being a part of it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dancing Like We're 22

Have you heard this new Taylor Swift song "22"? Also, did I really just begin a post with "have you heard this new Taylor Swift song?" Yes. Yes, I did.

Chaunie from Tiny Blue Lines shared the video on her Facebook page then followed it up with this blog where she shares a different view of 22, that of young motherhood. And along the way she calls Swift's portrayal of 22 ridiculous and ends the post with a "take that, Taylor." Then Hannah from Supermommy...Or Not took Taylor down another notch in her post, while simultaneously lumping together most people in their early-twenties as selfish party animals.

And honestly, I was a little disappointed with what I read. I'm not much into the Taylor-bashing, even if she is generalizing 22 in a way we don't all relate to. Because not everyone relates to being a mother at 22 either.

Don't get me wrong. I love hearing stories of young motherhood. I appreciate the support and camaraderie of the young mom community. But all too often I find that in the midst of sharing why being a young mom is so great, we're taking jabs at our childless peers. It's not always intentional, but an "us" versus "them" tone arises when we juxtapose the experience of being a young mom with being your "average" 22-year-old. We wax poetic about how nothing compares to bringing a new life into the world. We tell the world that motherhood has transformed us into better, kinder human beings. We tout our maturity, resilience, stability, sense of purpose, responsible nature and more.

Then we sometimes pile our childless peers into a generalized group of carefree, narcissistic, partying, by the book Generation Y-ers. We point a judgmental finger in their faces and start talking like old folks. "Back when I was 22, we didn't get to do keg stands and wear fabulous cat-eared headbands. There was no casual dating or fancy clothing or late night soirees. No, siree. My 22 was marriage and being covered in vomit and walking the halls at night with a colicky baby. That is real life, my friends." 

We're pushing our experience on our peers and telling them how much harder our lives are. But so much more worthwhile. We're saying our lives are better, more meaningful than theirs.

Maybe it's just our way of justifying our lifestyle. Because we feel judged or ostracized for choosing young motherhood (or having it unexpectedly choose us). Maybe we're overcompensating in the telling of our stories because we feel like we have something to prove. But where does it end? When do we stop pitting ourselves against our peers because they get to experience grad-school without a baby and start their careers before walking down the aisle? When they become parents themselves? Is that the only way we deem others worthy?

I hope not.

I hope we can come around and embrace the different lifestyles of our peers. That we can cheer on our childless friends as they pursue their dreams and goals, just as we would hope to be cheered on in our pursuits. I hope we can encourage the student who is moving to a new place without friends or family to get her MFA. The one who is working two jobs to afford an apartment in the city. The one living with her parents while tackling a double-major. The one busting her ass at an unpaid internship. Even the one living out that Taylor Swift music video. And maybe we can allow them all the occasional keg stand without judgement. This is what 22 looks like too.

And personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with dancing like we're 22, whether that means throwing your hands in the air to a boombox blaring poolside or swinging your hips to a lullaby with a new babe in arms. Or anything in between. It's your dance, after all.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Avery's Birth Story

You all know how this birth story begins, panicked at 5:00am in the hospital because Avery had stopped moving (you know, until the moment my lovely nurse went to put the monitor around my stomach, of course). I was happy to find that my contractions were finally getting stronger and more regular throughout the day and for once I was not hesitant to call Rob to come home from work and have my mom come pick up Lucas, because glory of all glories, this thing was finally happening. I couldn't focus much on anything that needed to be done around the house, and had zero urge for last minute nesting. I mostly sat on the couch with the dog, eating bowl after bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch until help arrived.
We landed back in the hospital around 5:00pm, incredibly excited to find that I was now 5cm dilated. But there was a major problem. My contractions had stopped. I mean stopped. There were little flutters that you could barely call contractions about 10-15 minutes apart. We walked laps around Labor and Delivery for an hour, spending lots of time gawking at the single newborn in the nursery, until the nurse ushered us back into the room and hooked me up to monitors again. Regular contractions! Then a few minutes passed and we were back where we started. Nothing. Zilch. Zip. Nada.

The nurse left us again, and I started crying, because I was sure they were going to send me home. Again. Then my nurse from the 5:00am freakout came in. That nurse, Jen, was an angel. Instead of shaking her head in disappointment at my lack of regular contractions, she checked my dilation again, proclaimed me at 6cm and told me we weren't going anywhere. She offered me the pitocin I so desperately wanted to get things moving and we were on our way to having a baby at last.
When the contractions started to get really painful, I hesitantly agreed to an epidural. After the terrifying experience of my last epidural, I swore I would never go through that again. But thankfully Jen assuaged my fears and finally (for the first time ever) someone explained what had gone wrong with my first epidural (too much medicine too fast plus my highly sensitive system was a recipe for disaster). Our anethesiologist was amazing. He was fast and friendly and totally in control when I started getting woozy after the epidural. He didn't leave until I felt safe. Until I felt in control again.We had a dream team for Avery's birth, and I couldn't be more thankful for them.
Soon I was managing to breathe through my contractions, and it wasn't long until I started feeling the need to push. But stubborn as my babies are want to be, I wasn't quite 100% effaced yet, despite all the pineapple eating earlier in the week. Jen left us to work through this time alone. Rob fell asleep holding my hand, and I focused on uujayi breathing to stop myself from tensing up and squeezing (a technique I had hoped to use during Lucas' birth, before the Demerol made me lose control of all my senses).
The contractions were long and painful and constant, but I felt strong and in control. It was such a sharp contrast to the blurry edged nightmare in the end stages of Lucas' birth. I was working in sync with my body, and the medication was helping rather than hurting. That quiet, painful time was a truly amazing experience - the only time in my life I have felt so attuned to my body. I knew the moment I was ready, and she was ready. Jen and another nurse came in to prepare the room for her arrival. It was time.
"We're having a baby," I said, smiling. Then the next contraction hit and there was no more smiling. Just focus, no more breathing, pushing, counting, everyone telling me I was doing good. Rob tells me he can see her head, that she's so close, "she's got hair." Tearing, screaming, the doctor barely making it into the room, more pushing, counting, bearing down through the pain. Twelve transcendent minutes, and there she was.
They wiped her down haphazardly and laid her on my chest. I said, "Hi, beautiful," and she opened her eyes and looked towards my voice. One look into those eyes, and I was in love. I could have held her there forever, just basking in the glory of the fact that she was alive and mine. She looked for Rob when she heard his voice too, opening those big bright eyes to get a look at her Daddy. She knew us immediately, and being near us calmed her. She ate well, slept soundly and came home with us the next day.
For all that fighting not to come out, she sure was at peace with the world in a hurry. xoxo

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

This Magic Moment

We weren't quite sure how Lucas was going to react to Avery when we came home from the hospital. We had been through months of his "no baby" stage, where anytime someone mentioned the new baby or baby sister he would adamantly yell "no baby," and only occasionally could we coax indifference from him.

When he saw her for the first time, he wasn't particularly thrilled. He was too excited to tell us about his trip to Nana's house to say hello to baby sister. Hugs and kisses? Forget about it. He went about his usual business and ignored her for the remainder of the day. At bedtime he decided to give her a kiss goodnight, so at least we knew there were no hard feelings. That was enough for me.

But the next day, something magical happened. My mom asked Lucas if he would like to hold baby and he lit up with excitement. He crawled up into the rocking chair, smeared on some hand sanitizer and opened his arms for Avery. When my mom placed her on his lap. . .there just aren't words for what took place.

It's like they were always meant to be together. And it melted my heart. xoxo

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hello, World

Avery Nicole Hartley
Born May 9th, 2013 at 1:59am
7 pounds 7 ounces, 19 3/4 inches

She's quite the Mother's Day present. When I get a chance to gather myself, I'll tell you all about her. But right now, it's time to enjoy her and love on her. Happy Mother's Day! xoxo

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Hallelujah...and ouch

I woke up at 4:00am this morning, as per usual, because I need to pee - like all the time. I was a little bleary-eyed and groggy at first, but then I found myself wide awake. Panicked. Because something wasn't quite right.

Because she wasn't moving. At all.

She is always moving around. I mean ALWAYS. Especially when I get up for middle of the night bathroom runs. If I'm lucky she'll just shift around a little. Usually she pokes a heel or elbow or some other miscellaneous part out the side of my stomach for a few minutes before I can fall back asleep. Sometimes she keeps me awake for hours rolling around in my belly. Particularly at the 4:00am pee time.

But this morning, she wasn't moving.

I shifted my belly around. I poked at her. I shined an obscenely bright flashlight on my stomach to get a response. I woke Rob up and made him talk to her. Nothing.

Around 5:00am I was at the hospital. Hysterical. I had driven myself while Rob stayed home with Lucas, and cried the whole way there. Please don't let her be dead. Please don't let her be dead. I couldn't hold it together when I picked up the phone outside labor and delivery. "My baby's not moving," I sobbed.

I cried and signed paperwork and tried to smile when the nurse made small talk with me about Lucas. She went to put the fetal heart monitor on my stomach, and before I could hear the first thump, baby girl rolled.

Of course.

I cried a little more, out of relief. The nurse told me she was doing just fine. She's not moving because she's getting ready. Because she's dealing with all these contractions. Because I'm finally and officially in active labor.

Since I was at 4cm, the nurse was kind enough to let me go home and labor for a little while. Which is where I am right now. Greedily eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch before they take away all my food. And crying on the dog while I work my way through contractions. He's a pretty fabulous birthing partner while Rob is at work waiting for me to call and tap out. I suspect she'll be here tomorrow, but who knows, maybe it'll be tonight.

More news, pictures and a birth story soon...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Desperate Times

Photo by Lemaire Photography (seriously, they're amazing)
It's time for this beautiful baby belly to go. It's past time actually. I've been ready for her arrival for far too long. Especially since last Tuesday's doctor's appointment, when I found out I was 3cm dilated and 70% effaced and my doctor pretty much told me I'd be having a baby by morning. I've been on pins and needles ever since, and let me tell you, times are getting pretty desperate around here.

And yes, equally desperate measures are being taken.

I'm trying everything in the book (with the exception of castor oil, because diarrhea and vomiting seems like the worst way to go into labor ever) and then some. Walking? Try running. I've been RUNNING at 39 weeks pregnant in attempt to bring this little one out. Okay, so it's more of a pathetic slow waddling jog. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the 80-year-old Filipino man who power-walks around the neighborhood with 3lb free-weights could pass me (which is why I run in the opposite direction of his loop). While this always ramps up my contractions and makes me super sweaty and uncomfortable, it's been pretty ineffective.

Also ineffective? Eating a whole, yes WHOLE, fresh pineapple until my gums bled profusely and all other food tasted like fire when it hit my tongue. The enzymes are supposed to "ripen" the cervix and help dilation along. According to my brief and wholly irresponsible internet research, this looked like a very promising option. Not to mention I had a friend who tried it and said it worked. At the end of the day, my cervix seems entirely unimpressed and my mouth still hurts. A lot.

Eating spicy Indian food for dinner seems to make contractions hurt a whole lot worse. Until you realize you're not really having contractions. Just really bad indigestion. Disappointment abounds for many reasons here.

And the horizontal hustle is a tried and true method that even my doctor recommended. I will spare you a TMI moment, but let's just say that after extensive research my body is proving this natural labor inducer ineffective as well. Side note, it's an acrobatic feat to be doing it this late in pregnancy. Seriously.

I still need to find myself some raspberry tea and primrose oil (even though I'll feel like a weird hippie buying them), but my hope for success is already pretty dashed from all my other failed attempts.Which by the way, I tried all in one day.

Over it.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


another lovely one from Lemaire Photography
I had a dream she would be born today, and this date has been stuck in my mind ever since. It seems unreal that it's actually here. I'm 38 weeks  today, the same as when Lucas was born. But as the minutes tick by on the clock, the more unlikely it seems that this dream will become a reality.

I'm not usually too superstitious when it comes to dreams, but pregnant dreams are a beast all their own. They're more vivid and bold, otherworldly in comparison to their non-pregnant counterpart. The details are memorable and precise. And in all my dreams of Lucas, they were damningly accurate. More premonition than dream. I knew he would be a boy with his dad's bright blue eyes and my brown hair. When I saw him for the first time, I recognized him. This was the boy from my dreams.

But perhaps this time, my dreams have it all wrong. The wrong day (today), the wrong weight (8lb. 6oz.) and I hope to God all these dreams that she is, in reality, a boy (surprise!) are wrong too. Only time will tell.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...