Friday, December 17, 2010

#Reverb10 prompts #7 and #8

Dec. 7: Community: Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Author: Cali Harris)
I started watching Community does that count? I kid, I kid...only not really. I suppose I discovered several communities this year, most to do with being a new mother. I also got into Twitter (or was that last year?) and WoW. But, I haven't really connected on any deep level with a community in awhile. I've felt somewhat isolated this year and I do have a deep desire to connect with people. I think that finding a community next year will go hand in hand with finding more about myself. I want to connect with people who actually like me. I know, it's kind of a novel concept. I don't want them to talk to me because my baby is cute or because I play video games. Yes, I have a cute baby (no really, he totally is) and yes I play video games but I want to find someplace to belong on all levels.

Dec. 8: Beautifully Different: Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)
Hmmm. This is kind of a tough one for me. I don't necessarily feel that I'm all that different from other people. I mean, I guess I am pretty awesome and in general, others like being around me. What makes me the most different, that's hard. What makes me different from one person makes me the same as another. For example, I'm totally geeky. I like playing video games and I'm not ashamed of that. I'm also a chick. A chick who has a baby. And a job. And a husband. Now, I have friends who have jobs, babies and husbands but lack being geeky. So when I'm with them then I have unique and fun differences. But I have other friends who are just as geeky but don't have a baby, or a husband, or boobs.

I'm not sure that this is that great of a prompt actually. I get that we're supposed to recognize what makes us different an unique and embrace it. I know that we should recognize those bits and pieces inside of us that maybe some might scorn or mock and love them. This prompt wants us to think about those things and not be ashamed of them, to stand up in front of a crowd and say "Hey everyone, I'm different and that's okay". Because it IS okay to be different. I just don't think I am, not that much anyway, and that's okay too.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Reverb10 Posts 4, 5 and 6

Dec. 4: Wonder: How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)
My son's hands. I realize that this might not seem like cultivation exactly, but he DID come from my body and while my baby looks strikingly like his father, those hands are mine. I look at his hands and I'm enthralled, enraptured and even enchanted. When he was born, his hands were curled into a ball and he seemed loath to uncurl them. He immediately grasped fingers but his weak and insecure grip would loosen after a few short minutes. Now, of course, he's much stronger and is constantly grabbing, banging and gripping things with his still tiny hands. They're also frequently found in his mouth. They're beautiful.

Dec. 5: Let Go: What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)
This year I've had to let go of many things. I've had to let go of the fact that my life will never be the same. I've had to let go of the fact that my marriage will never be the same. Change is good, it's also very hard. Both of those things I mentioned are really for the better. It's good that my life and my marriage will never be the same, but it's also a difficult thing to manage a change that's so very drastic.

Dec. 6: Make: What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)
Ah, technically it was cookies. I made (frozen dough) cookies last night, they were delicious. :) But lets talk about something else I've been making recently. Baby food. I get praised for making my own baby food. I also alternate between feeling super proud of myself and feeling like it's really no big deal. I mean, it is easy at this stage. For example, I steam fresh green beans for 20 minutes, stick them in my little food processor, and push a button. It doesn't really seem like something I should be praised for doing. But I still like that I am. I also recognize that part of my desire to make my own baby food (because lets be honest here, there's plenty of good, organic options out there to buy) is to compensate for the fact that my milk supply started to dry up as soon as I went back to work. Maybe it isn't a big deal, but I think I'll stick with feeling proud. Also, I made a baby but technically the whole "making" part happened last year.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reverb 10: Day 3 prompt

Dec. 3: Moment: Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

This one's easy. The birth of my son. The birth of a child quite literally takes a second, I'm not talking about the hours of labor beforehand. One second a baby is still in the womb and the next not. It's kind of crazy when you think about it. But, for the purposes of this post I think I should start at the beginning of my birthing experience.

I was admitted into the hospital on May 23rd at about 8:00, it took probably another half hour to an hour to get settled and whatnot. An old friend of mine from high school was actually my nurse on Sunday Night, although she wasn't the one to actually check me. Although I was starting to dilate on my own already, my doctor thought it best that I go in the night before for "cervical ripening" to make my induction go a little smoother. So, starting at about 9:00 I had a small pill inserted into my cervix every 3 hours. It really really sucked. I was not allowed to get up for two hours after the pill was inserted, which, if you've ever been pregnant you know is absolute torture to not be allowed to pee for 2 whole hours! Of course, I also wasn't allowed to drink anything so that part got better as the night went on. Also, due to my condition my blood pressure was taken every hour, on the hour ALL NIGHT and they took blood twice. This is all while Daren slept peacefully on the futon in our hospital room. :p

By 6:30 in the morning, I'd dilated to about a 2 which wasn't quite as much progress as they would have liked apparently but enough. I was tired, but excited. My old high school friend's shift was over at 7 and my new nurse introduced herself to me as Carla. She was awesome. She was sitting on my bed shortly after 7 explaining to me that when my doctor did her rounds that morning she was going to come in and break my water and then I would get put on pitocin to induce labor. I was physically uncomfortable (as all 39 weeks pregnant women are) and adjusted how I was sitting then BAM a gush of warm wetness. I think I must have had a look of confusion or surprise on my face, or both because Carla immediately said "What just happened?" My water had broken on its own, which was pretty awesome, having someone stick a crochet hook into me didn't sound pleasant at all.

It didn't feel like I was peeing, like everyone seems to say. At least, I've never peed like that, I'm pretty sure I'd be wholly concerned if I ever did. After the initial gushiness, every time I moved, laughed or coughed more gush would come out. I'm not gonna lie, it was super gross. Not so much the liquid because that was clear and had the viscosity of water but all kinds of goo comes with it. They don't really tell you that part. The movies just show a puddle of water on the floor and sure that's what happened initially but never once have I seen a mucus plug on the floor next to the puddle in any movie. I made Carla laugh every time I said "ick" or "ew, gross" when she would quickly whisk away any goo. I always knew labor would hurt but I really had no idea how icky it can be as well. And this was normal! I wasn't having any hemorrhaging or whatever, it was all totally normal. And gross, totally gross.

After that, the pain came quickly and intensely. They checked me almost immediately after my water broke and I had gone from a two to a five within 30 minutes due to my water breaking. I'd been having mild, ignorable contractions all night but as soon as my water broke it was like waves of pain crashing over me. They started me on a pitocin drip but because my contractions were already at less than one minute apart they took me off of it after about 10 minutes. They said I was having what they called rolling contractions, I would have a constant stream of them where I'd have 6 or 7 or 8 contractions in a row that never went down to baseline, then I'd have about a minute break and do it again. I had two sensors on my belly, one to measure the baby's heart beat and the other to measure the contractions. They also started taking my blood pressure every 10 minutes, which consequently was setting off alarms every time.

I always kind of thought I'd be a screamer, that I'd yell at my husband and curse the world during labor but I really wasn't. The next couple of hours were kind of a blur. I was supposed to get an epidural quickly but the anesthesiologist had to do an emergency c-section on another patient so I had to endure natural labor for 2-3 hours. Which, was 2-3 hours too many. I know many women choose to do natural, drug free child birth but I was not one of them. Carla kept telling me to focus on the breathing that I learned in class and in a panic I told her that I had to cancel my class because I was put on bed rest and I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO BREATHE! So she showed me what to do and I latched onto it. I also latched onto, with a white knuckle grip, the rails on the hospital bed. I'm pretty sure Daren was there looking worried, but that wasn't really on my mind.

Finally, I got my epidural and was able to relax. My mother in law arrived at the hospital while I was getting it actually, which was super embarrassing. The hospital staff sent her down to our room, which really, they shouldn't have. Nurse Carla came to the rescue and shooed her out before she saw anything. My own mother came sometime while I as getting my cervix checked, which was almost as bad. I watched the output on the computer screen of my contractions. It seemed like never ending peaks and few valleys, and I couldn't feel a thing. I took comfort in listening to my son's steady heartbeat and managed to sleep for an hour or so.

My OB visited me several times, during one, I have no idea what time, she felt that my contractions were appearing too intense and was worried that Zach wasn't tolerating it. So they took the sensors off my belly and stuck two internally. She also gave me an O2 mask and made me wear it the whole time, I'm pretty sure it's because she knew I was on the verge of a panic attack.

So, lets recap. I had a blood pressure cuff, an IV, an Epidural (which they stick in your back and you have a tube with a constant stream of medicine running into), A Catheter, two internal sensors (you can guess where THOSE were put) and an O2 mask. I felt like a science experiment, no really, I did.

Somewhere around noon, the panic started to rise. My epidural was wearing off and the pain was worse than ever. All of the amniotic fluid was gone and Zach was compressing his umbilical cord. I quickly progressed to a "stretchy nine" and Zach was not tolerating the contractions well at all. I had at least three nurses in my room at all times at this point, my dr had checked me twice because they were worried I would need to push at any second. I was put into all kinds of different positions, even on my knees to try to take pressure off of Zach's cord. Remember this whole time I was having intense contractions that were less than 1 minute apart. I also started to feel this deep pressure on my pelvis. Zach's heart beat was crashing down to almost nothing (to me it seemed like it WAS nothing) and setting off alarms, my blood pressure was setting off other alarms, I had more tubes coming out of my body than should be possible and I, quite literally, had spotlights pointed at my girly parts.

I was finally able to get a boost to my epidural which calmed me down considerable. Although, because we'd finally found a way for me to lay (tilted slightly to the right) that wouldn't send Zach into distress the epidural only spread to one side of my body. My right leg went COMPLETELY numb, so much so that I couldn't move it, feel it or anything it was a dead weight. My left side was still feeling pretty much everything, a very very odd sensation that. Still, it was enough to dull the pain as a whole and help me calm down a bit.

When they checked me again about 2 I was finally at a complete 10 with no sign of a cervix and I started pushing. Apparently for new mom's, this is supposed to take awhile. Zach really wanted to get out. After a short 20 minutes, Carla, sounding almost in a panic herself told me to stop pushing because Zach was crowning. Daren was holding one of my legs up and another nurse was holding my other. I remember I said "WHAT?" like them asking me to stop pushing was the stupidest thing ever because how can you do that? WTF? STOP? My contractions were pushing him out without my help and there wasn't anything I could do about that. So Nurse Carla donned her gloves and was ready to catch the baby while we prayed that my OB would get there asap. Ten minutes of complete AGONY she was there and told me to push again. I made noises of pure effort and determination, almost like what I imagine an Amazon would sound like as she goes to battle. After a couple contractions my OB says to me "Stop screaming and focus!" So, I shut up and had Zach with the next push.

One second he was still inside and then he was a squirming, screaming, wet mass of pink flesh on my chest. It wasn't something I was able to process right away. I was crying then, and I hadn't at all up to that point, I could barely see him through my tears but he was beautiful. He was yelling like he was mad at the world, and he probably was. He was slick with blood and fluids but I didn't notice or care at that point. They took him away to check his vitals and who knows what else for a few minutes. I was shaking like a leaf, completely uncontrolled shaking. All of the adrenaline suddenly left my system. I also suddenly was starving and remembered that I hadn't had anything to eat since 7:00 the night before (Zach was born at 2:59 pm).

They wiped him down and gave him back to me and we cuddled for over an hour. My OB delivered the afterbirth and stitched me up and I never noticed. I DID notice when they turned off the spotlights because really, those were like having one of those bright dentist lights shining down on your unmentionables.

He was born a perfectly healthy and beautiful baby (still is!) and I won't get into the wonder i felt because I'll save that for the WONDER prompt. Suffice to say, giving birth was the single most terrifying experience of my life. It was also the most wonderful.

Reverb 10: Prompt 2

#Reverb10 is a movement to encourage folks to tackle a daily prompt with the intent of reflecting on their year. If you’d like to get involved, it’s not too late! You can backtrack to previous prompts or simply jump in where you are.

Dec. 2: Writing: What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

Writing. It's something that I really hadn't done any of in about a year until this November. Leave it to nanowrimo to get me jump started. Unlike Elizabeth Ditty, I find that most things in my life detract from my writing. I get up super early, go to work by 7 or 7:30 and I don't get home until 6 or 6:30. I feed my son, feed myself and I (or my husband) put him to bed by 8. After that I'm usually too exhausted to do much of anything so my writing has really suffered. BUT, I've gotten back into it and although my progress is slow, it's still progress!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


So Elizabeth Ditty convinced me to participate in Reverb10. So, here I am, coming to my largely abandoned blog and participating. I'm behind so it'll probably take me a few days to catch up. But, all forward progress counts right? ;)


Dec. 1: One Word: Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?


Okay, if I'm being honest with myself the word Struggle, out of all the words in the English language best encapsulates the year of 2010. I tried to think of another, more positive word to use. Words like Adventure, Wonder, Excitement all came to mind but those words felt altogether fake and lacking in sincerity. So yes, this year has been nothing short of a struggle.

It didn't start out as a struggle, but by the end of January I was showing the early signs of complications within my pregnancy. I began to get severe pelvic pain and my blood pressure started to do this weird song and dance of being highish and the back to normal within the course of a few minutes. By the end of March I was on weekly OB appointments getting a sonogram at each visit to make sure my baby was still alive. Two weeks after that I was on full and complete bed rest because my blood pressure skyrocketed and both my life and my son's were in danger.

I spent the next six weeks laying on my left side and trying to pretend that I wasn't terrified. For most women, the worst part about pregnancy is the labor and delivery, for me, it was one of the best. It was an end to the near torture I'd been in, it was an end to being so physically ill that I wasn't allowed to get up except to go to the bathroom and to shower and it was an end to living in constant fear of what the next sonogram would show.

After Zach was born in May, I thought it would get better, easier and while I almost miraculously bounced back to health physically it was still a struggle. I was a new mom, unsure of what to do. Daren and I fought a lot those first few months. I struggled with finding myself again. I felt, and still do to a lesser degree, splintered. After 12 weeks at home with my son I had to go back to work. Suddenly I be many different MEs and I didn't know how to reconcile them all. I was New Mom, I was Career Woman, I was Loving Wife. And in there was the problem, I lost the ME in all of that. It's a very fine balance, one that I have not mastered. And while my son completely lights up my life in ways I never thought possible, it has still been a struggle.

A year from now, I guess I would like my word to be Aspire. I have great aspirations for 2011. Everyone better watch out! ;)

Monday, August 31, 2009

She's My Cherry Bomb

My cousin, one of the best people I know, needs some cheering up.

I've thought about the best way to do this for awhile and Elizabeth Dittygave me the idea of writing down my wondrous thoughts and memories of Nikki so that she can read, remember and hopefully smile. Nikki's going through some major hardships right now and I'll admit that it's hard to know how to react or what to say. But, I've always loved Nikki from the bottom of my heart and although it is sometimes it's easier to turn away or pretend that the insidious 'C' word doesn't exist in my bright and shining cousin the best thing I can do for her right now is to use the few gifts I have to lift her spirits.

Nikki and I were the founding members of the 4-cherry bombs. I was 10, she 11 and I believe Evie and Allyson were also 10. Yes, there were four of us. We were so clever. We were also at Space Camp. Yes, it was awesome.

The first cousins (on my mom's side of the family) went to Space Camp together. In order of age we had Tricia, Kellee, Nikki, Sean and me. Tricia and Kellee were far too old at the wise ages of 14 and 12 (thereabouts) to hang out with lowly 10 and 11 year olds and so were in a different program than Nikki, Sean and I.

During our week long adventure at Space Camp, Nikki and I practically ran the place. Or so we like to believe. We recruited the other two girls in our group to make a club, still fondly known as the 4-cherry bombs. We would later write each other countless letters on Lisa Frank stationary drawing bunches of cherries all over the paper. We were that cool. The four of us fell in, and out, of love with our pre-adolescent male counterparts. I'm pretty sure none of them ever got over us and our awesomeness.

I still remember very clearly the scavenger hunt that we, the four cherry bombs won. Although, I'm sure Sean would dispute who won. I remember our mission to Mars and the flag hanging debacle (there were no hooks thank you very much!) I also remember bonding with Sean after I threw up on the centrifuge thing. Yeah, I was that girl. I remember our bunk and how I grabbed the last top bunk available and almost immediately regretted it. Spiders. Ick.

When not lording our awesomeness as the best four girls to ever walk the halls of fake mission control, Nikki and I spent our time with her brother Sean tormenting our older sisters. Every time we saw them in the cafeteria or in any other public place we would run up to them and give them the biggest hugs we could. It annoyed them greatly, but then again, that was kind of the point. Sean and I also became pretty obsessed with air-heads there. I think I made myself sick eating air-heads and freeze-dried ice cream.

We've always been close, especially the three of us. The thing is, I love my family and I have a special fondness for Nikki because she's my cherry bomb. She's my Kiki. So many times I would lay on the floor of her bedroom giggling with her at the JTT posters that plastered her walls telling her about my latest crush. I've never known someone to weather storms with the grace and dignity that she does. She's lost two fathers, grandparents and now she's fighting for her own life.

So yeah, it's hard to know what to say and how to react. I wish I could just go to her house, play bumper pool with her and Sean (and inevitably lose) and then lay on her floor and whisper and giggle until morning. In my heart, I know that everything will be fine. Better than fine even, everything will be great, no matter what happens. I believe that there's still plenty of hope and life and love for my dearest cousin and her fight is far from over. She just needs a little boost. If I could find some freeze dried ice cream and Lisa Frank stationary, I'd totally send it to her, but for now this will have to do.

I love you Kiki, no matter what happens, you'll always be my favorite cherry bomb.

Friday, July 10, 2009

20 Steps to Writing and Presenting MoH Wedding Toast


Step 1: Think about writing awesome speech for months

Step 2: Write awesome speech in moleskine for safe keeping a few days before wedding

Step 3: Make it to the reception with your speech

Step 4: Avoid stepping on the Bride's broken foot while pacing out your nerves

Step 5: Down a flute full of champagne

Step 6: Stop pacing and pretend to pay attention to Best Man's speech (which goes on too long)

Step 7: Down another flute of champagne

Step 8: Take microphone from Best Man

Step 9: Fumble with microphone and moleskine, then remember to set down champagne flute.

Step 10: Introduce yourself even though the DJ just did that for you.

Step 11: Completely forget to look at nicely written speech in moleskine and vomit out some words that make little sense.

Step 12: Blush

Step 13: Look at Speech.

Step 14: Recite Speech while injecting random word vomits here and there.

Step 15: Make Bride AND Groom cry with awesomeness of Speech-even though you word vomited a few times.

Step 16: Hug Bride, once again, avoiding broken foot.

Step 17: Hug Groom, try not to break HIS foot.

Step 18: Pick up Champagne flute and daintily sip for Toast

Step 19: Down rest of Champagne

Step 20: Ask waitress for another glass of Champagne