Pregnancy

(Don’t) Give Me All The Drugs: Part 2.0

For those of you who have been following me for a while (hi, mom), you may know that I wrote about the birth of my first kid. If you didn’t read that post, let me sum it up for you: I went into labor and 41 hours, a bunch of drugs, and a few pushes later, our daughter arrived.

In 41 hours, someone could fly from LA to Nairobi, a whopping 9,653 miles. It’s a stupidly long time to be miserable.

But it wasn’t all bad, because drugs. Never having been a doer of drugs, my experiences with them were next to zero, so little did I know what magical effects they can have until 30 hours into my ordeal, when I got my first dose of morphine, and then an epidural. I ate the most delicious pudding I’ve ever had, took a nap, and woke up and had a baby. It was nothing short of amazing.

This positive drug experience gave me a sense of confidence about the birth of Baby 2.0, because I knew what the drugs were like, and I wasn’t afraid to use them.

Fast-forward to a Saturday morning in February.

The night before I had felt a little funny, but woke up on Saturday still pregnant. It was mid-way through my pre-natal yoga class -somewhere between Warrior pose and the push-ups- that I started to notice I was having regular contractions. I finished my class, drove home, and called the grandparents to let them know they needed to come pick up our daughter.

In the hour between establishing I was in labor, to when they arrived to pick her up, my contractions went from once every 15 minutes, to once every 6 minutes. Things were going fast, and as soon as they got to the house, we raced out the door to the hospital.

Driving through the hilly city, when we finally got close enough to see the valley where our hospital was located, we were greeted by an arching rainbow that appeared to end on the roof of our destination. It seemed like an omen that things would be okay, and for the most part, they were.

I labored for a while without anything, but then out of nowhere was blindsided by an anxiety attack. I went from breathing through my contractions, to screaming for someone to cut my sports bra off because suddenly I couldn’t breathe. My mind raced, my body shook, and I felt the room closing in on me. I felt completely out of control, and totally lost my confidence. Tears streamed down my face as I begged for something to make it all stop.

After receiving a dose of Fentanyl, I was able to labor a little longer until another round of anxiety hit, and we decided to proceed with the epidural. With my first epidural, I received it, and pretty much immediately fell asleep. With my second, I laid in bed and panicked.

Anxiety absolutely overcame me, and I found myself unable to do anything but worry. The epidural had taken to one side more than the other, making me feel off-balance. More bothersome, I continued to feel as though I couldn’t breathe, but found wearing the oxygen mask to be unbearable because of an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia.

For hours I laid in bed, trying to gather my thoughts as my mind raced. With each visit from the midwife, I became more and more depressed because the baby had turned, and my labor had stalled. I felt incredibly hopeless and helpless, and stupid for being so naive about the downsides to the drugs that had served me so well my first time around.

Things took a turn for the better when my nurse, after listening to me complain about not being able to breathe for hours, finally discovered that my epidural was creeping up, and at that point, was just below (or at) my diaphragm. After it was turned down, things progressed quickly, and the little man made his first appearance shortly after.

I’m sharing this story for two reasons.

First, to reiterate an important point: Every birth is different. From the duration, to the way your body reacts to the drugs, and everything in between, labors can vary wildly. I knew this, in theory, but didn’t grasp the idea fully until laying in bed feeling betrayed by my friend, Drugs. I’m not trying to scare people away from doing them. Given the opportunity, I would probably opt for them again. But this time, I would be mentally prepared to know that my experience with them could be very different.

Second, anxiety during and immediately following labor is pretty common. Since bringing Baby 2.0 home, it’s reared its ugly head a handful of times but thankfully as time goes on (and sleep improves), I’m finding the intensity of the attacks to be lesser and lesser. I mention this only because prior to my own experience, I didn’t know how common something like this is, and as always, just want other people out there to know they aren’t alone, and urge them to tell their doctor if they feel something isn’t right.

ruben

World, meet Baby 2.0

 

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The Musings of a Madwoman at 3am

3am: Pssst. Psssst. PSSSSSST!

Me: Yeah? What? Why did you wake me up?

3am: Because I’m lonely. Turns out 1 isn’t the loneliest number.

Me: Boo hoo. I’m going back to bed.

3am: That’s hilarious. No you’re not.

Me: Yes I am. I’m the captain of this ship. I do yoga. I will yoga myself back to sleep.

3am: Well that’s just stupid. You’re terrible at yoga. And you’d be a terrible captain. Your crew would mutiny. You’d walk the plank. You can’t swim. You’d probably get eaten by a sea turtle.

Me: A sea turtle. Right. Goodnight.

3am: Your financial future is unstable.

Me: Well that’s just rude.

3am: And you have a bag of rotting mushroom liquefying in your vegetable drawer.

Me: Yes. Yes I do.

3am: Don’t you want to take care of that before the baby gets here?

Me: The mushrooms? Yes. It is a little embarrassing.

3am: No. Your future. You should figure out a way to solve all of your financial shortcomings before the baby gets here.

Me: But that’s in like, 10 days?

3am: Exactly. So let’s think. And just to be clear, by think I mean worry. Let’s just lay here and worry until my shift is over.

Me: I hate you with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.

3am: You should channel that fire into worry. There are so many things we can worry about! Like the rusty undercarriage of your car! And bills! And Donald Trump! And breastfeeding! And how fat your armpits are!

Me: My armpits are rather sizable. And The Donald is pretty concerning…

3am: Flint. Syria. Declining manatee populations. The number of fruit flies in your kitchen. Your inability to remember passwords. Your mother’s Christmas present that’s still sitting on the desk waiting to be mailed. Also your cat is so fat she looks like a baby panda who is about 12 hours away from a juvenile diabetes diagnosis.

Me: SHE’S ON A DIET.

3am: When was the last time you did the Macarena?

Me: The what?

3am: You know, that crazy song from the nineties… HEEEEY Macarena! Aaay!

Me: The Macarena. Of course.

3am: I just ask because whenever I’m feeling down I sing it and it perks me right up. HEEEEY Macarena! Aaay!

Me: I’m not down. I’m tired. And I hate that song.

3am: HEEEEY Macarena! Aaay!

Me: Aren’t there other lyrics?

3am: HEEEEY Macarena! Aaah! HEEEEY Macarena! Aaah! HEEEEY Macarena! Aaay!

Me: Oh look at the time, it’s almost 4! So much for worrying the night away.

3am: I was just playing. Everything will probably work out fine. Maybe. HEEEEY Macarena! Aaay!

Me: Jesus. Stop that.

3am: Macarena Macarena Macarena…

Me: Go away.

3am: One last thing.

Me: If you say Macarena…

3am: Having a baby is going to suck. I mean have you thought about the logistics of this? The baby is so big! You are so small. Hahahaha, oh man, this is great. There’s no way this is going to work. Do you remember how miserable you were last time? 41 hours of labor. The time we spent together then sure was entertaining, you know, for me. You looked like you were drowning on dry land. Or like you were having an allergic reaction to shellfish, while simultaneously being possessed by the spirit of an angry breakdancer. I can’t wait to do it all again. And so soon! Oooh, I gotta jet. 4 is here. HEEEEY Macarena! Aaay!

Me: Wow.

4am: Oooh I love the Macarena! Also it smells like rotting mushrooms in here.

 

 

 

 

Absolute Truths About Your Last Week Of Pregnancy

Congratulations. You’ve made it to 39 weeks. Let’s, for the sake of being the hopeful, positive creatures we are at this point, because we are desperate, call this the last week of pregnancy even though we know there is a chance it continues for up to two additional weeks, in which case you are off the hook for murder,* paying taxes,**smiling at the elderly and peeing on the couch.

(*,** It should be noted you are legally not off the hook for murder, or paying taxes, but you don’t have to smile and you will pee on the couch.) (more…)

10 Questions I Have For My Belly Button In My Third Trimester

  1. Where is my belly button? It no longer sits mid-abdomen, cheerfully monitoring my daily doings from the center of my body, but rather appears to be aimed more at the ground.
  2. Is my belly button looking at the ground because it is depressed?
  3. My belly button looks like it exploded. Is this why it is depressed? (more…)

In The Search For Your Village, Sometimes You Are Your Own Worst Enemy

I’ve written about the village before. You know, that mystical place where woman accept each other at face value, and chat about their differing parenting techniques over a wine cooler, while the kids eat dirt and fight play?

Since writing that post a few months ago, not a lot has necessarily changed, with the exception of discovering that when it comes to gaining entry into the village, I am my own worst enemy. (more…)

Pregnancy And The Subsequent Ruining Of A Body: 5 things that just aren’t the same

“Pregnancy will ruin your body.” These five words were something I’d never thought much about until well after I’d had Baby 1.0, but after witnessing someone saying them to a pregnant woman, it got me thinking: Does pregnancy ruin your body? My first instinct was to shoot fire out of my eyes at the person who had said it. But then I remembered that my eyes are really dry, and have been since birthing Baby 1.0, so maybe I should hold up on the fire-eye-shooting. The more I thought about it, the more I started to think maybe he was right, but not at all in the sense he was suggesting. Of course things change when one spawns a human life from their body, and depending on your outlook, you could even call some things ruined. But for me, the things that changed aren’t necessarily worthy of throwing in the towel and declaring this body a total loss. So what changed? Let me tell you.

1. My hair– About 3 months after having Baby 1.0, I started losing hair. A lot of hair. Hair fell out in clumps, literally, and I would often end my shower by having a tiny panic attack after noticing how much of myself I was leaving behind. The doctorate I received from Google University provided me with confidence this was normal, and the hair loss would eventually end. Sure enough it did, and for a few months I didn’t think much about it. Until my hair started growing back in. Curly. At this point in time, about a year since those first few strands made their appearance, I look like a blonde version of Kate Winslet in “Titanic,” if she had received a haircut from Edward Scissor Hands. So did pregnancy “ruin” my once stick-straight locks? Kind of. Or at least temporarily. It’s ruined-ish.

kate-winslet-20050603-44243

My version is less polished and more “I just went through a car wash, but not in a car” looking.

2. My moles– I’ve already discussed how Baby 1.0 likes to pick at moles when she nurses, and this drives me absolutely bananas. Ba-freakin-nanas. Worse than nails on a chalk board, worse than someone snapping their gum, I can’t handle it. The problem is pregnancy basically turned many of my previously flat, and dare I say cute, little moles into dangly pseudo-nipples.  It’s so gross. So again, “ruined?” I would say yes.

3. My butt, and/or every single pair of pants and underpants I own– Okay, this one is a little weird because I actually don’t know what the cause of the problem is, but I’m guessing it’s my butt. Basically I can’t keep my pants on, and with my new slouchy pants, my underwear have decided they too, need not stick around. All day, every day, I find myself hiking up all of my pants, both outer and under, and wondering what in the jibbty jab is going on. Are my pants suddenly too big? Are my underwear too small? Did the part of my body that separates ones butt from their legs completely disappear, thereby allowing my butt to melt into my thighs? This is all yet to be determined, but in the mean time, I think I need to get a belt. Or maybe consider mom jeans. So again, ruined? No. But mysterious? Very yes.

mom-jeans

Somebody hit me up the next time mom jeans go on sale at Target.

4. My stomach (the inside)– The outside of my stomach has changed, without a doubt. When squeezed — just right — by Baby 1.0, it takes on the appearance of a handful of raw pizza dough, which I love because who doesn’t love pizza? But the inside is where I have an issue. Pretty much since becoming pregnant, I have had an insatiable appetite. Food. All kinds of delicious food. It’s all I think about. This weekend, I told my husband I wanted sushi, Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches, Carbonara, burritos, birthday cake, and fish and chips. In one day. And I was serious. I don’t know if it’s because I’m still nursing Baby 1.0, or if my missing butt is making plans to refurbish itself, but I just really love food, and I can’t stop thinking about it, and it’s kind of driving me crazy. So did pregnancy ruin my stomach, or just give me eating super powers? I’m going with super powers.

5. My hormones– This one isn’t funny at all, and if anything is something I feel should be discussed with anyone who is pregnant, or has recently had a baby. After having Baby 1.0, my body decided it was all set on producing normal amounts of progesterone. With everything being so difficult with Baby 1.0 in the beginning (read about her colic here), I wasn’t sure if my new crappy feelings were because I was exhausted and stressed, or if there was something else feeding it. For over a year I struggled, blaming my headaches, nausea, exhaustion, depression, dizziness, severe mood swings and general malaise on being sleep deprived. Then, after moving, I sat down with my new doctor and for the first time answered the question “how are you?” honestly. A little blood work showed I had extremely low levels of progesterone, and after day 1 of treatment, I started to feel like myself again. If I were queen of the world, I would recommend basic blood work to every postpartum mom, since for the time being, pregnancy did ruin my hormones (or at least one of them).

So what about you, fellow moms, and even moms to be? Anything you’d like to add to the list?


Image credits: Cover photo, Kate Winslet, Mom Jeans


The Third Trimester: The Three Months I Spent Trying Not to Commit Murder, All While Being Very, Very Hot

I’ve never really liked people who make things seem effortless. Not much is effortless for me, and I often feel as though I expend more energy than the average bear trying to accomplish something made to look very simple by somebody else. Like College Algebra 101, for example. True story, I failed that class 4 times. It took a hideous amount of energy, multiple tutors, and a good stroke of luck for me to finally pass it on my 5th try. Even now, I would have more success levitating, than ever figuring out what the crap “X” equals in a basic math problem. If it’s so important, maybe give it a value? Take the mystery out of the whole thing? It’s just an idea.

Similarly, women who appeared to breeze through pregnancy effortlessly really burnt my muffins. Oh, you still fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes? That’s really fantastic, but I’d rather spend a week’s wages on unflattering teal stretch pants that, fingers crossed, make people think maybe I’m a court jester. Oh, your pregnancy hormones actually make you look like a glowing, golden angel, sent down from heaven? I can see how that is alluring, but the skin around my nose is pealing off in sheets, and I think I heard leprosy is in this year. Oh, you are actually craving kale and broccoli veggie wraps, on organic whole wheat tortillas? You know, I’d eat that, but… actually no, no I would never eat that compost heap of crap you are calling food, because pizza.

These feelings of mild to moderate annoyance towards the pregnancy goddesses around me were particularly heightened in my third trimester. While I was very fortunate to have an easy pregnancy in the sense that both my baby and I were healthy, come the third trimester, one of us (that would be me), wasn’t exactly happy. After returning from our idyllic Ireland vacation, I slowly transformed into a mopey, pouty, eye-rolly, sneery version of myself. But in my scrunched up, hate-filled, eyes, it wasn’t entirely my fault. The deeper I got into my third trimester, the more people thought it appropriate to say things like: “Emily! You got so fat!” (It should be noted this is an actual, honest-to-God quote, delivered in all seriousness, by a dear client who if I didn’t love like my own grandma, I would have slapped.) They also felt it a good time to share stories of their own 192 hour labor, where they didn’t take pain medication and successfully delivered a 35 pound baby vaginally in a jungle hut, and then fully recovered at home in 2 days by listening to Enya and taking placenta pills. High-five, sister!

Emily is angryHere I am, days before the birth of Baby 1.0, looking particularly sneery, standing in front of my best friend, our window unit. 

As mentioned above, the other factor pushing me towards man-slaughter was being, to put it simply, hotter than the asshole of a volcano, at all times. The only time I wasn’t sweating profusely, was when I was in a cold shower. I found it cruel and confusing that Giselle never looked sweaty when she was strolling around Boston in her non-maternity wear, vintage Rolling Stones shirt, her baby bump poking out just saying “Hey, Girl!” The Duchess, who I nearly shared a delivery date with, always looked like you could use her as a human air freshener. Even the every day women in my birthing class would show up with their hair in a cute pony-tail, their little bellies zipped into cute little hoodies. Hoodies, I say! I looked like Dennis in Jurassic Park as he is frantically trying to cut the power before stealing the dinosaur embryos, sweat beading off his oily forehead and rolling down his double-chin. Now I know, things could have been infinitely worse, and I mean that whole-heartedly. But I can only say that now, as in the moment, I felt like I was dying.

jurassic-park-dennis-nedry

For those of you not familiar with Jurassic Park, meet Dennis, my third trimester doppelganger. This will not be the last time I compare my life to Jurassic Park, the greatest movie of all-time. 

Being this hot lead me to make poor decisions. Like, for example, breaking down and stuffing my giant, fleshy lady lumps into my extra small honeymoon bikini, and joining my drunk, 100 pound undergrad neighbors in the dodgy kiddie pool they had put in our shared backyard. It wasn’t the age difference, or the weight difference that made me uncomfortable, but rather the plethora of mosquito larvae wriggling about the tepid water, and the fear of exposing my unborn child to any number of STDs potentially seeping from my pool-mate’s nether regions. Days later I discovered they’d been “treating” the pool with pure bleach, a fun fact that lead me to wonder if I’d soon be giving birth to the female version of “Powder”.

Powder

For those of you not familiar with “Powder,” meet Jeremy, an albino who derived mental super-powers after his pregnant mother was struck by lightning, which admittedly is different from taking a bleach bath, but concerning none the less. This will be the only time I quote this movie, because it was awful.

There was, however, an unexpected fountain of joy I feel must be mentioned, something that caught me by surprise and still makes me smile. While moms would often use my bulbous belly as an invite for some quip about how hard life was after having kids (which I now have a painful understanding of), dads would use it as a time to talk about the birth of their children. Almost daily, I would get the pleasure of listening to men open up and melt while they reminisced about the day their baby was born. They would beam with pride as they described the enviable strength of their wives, their faces lighting up as they recalled the first time they laid eyes on their wee one. They were so sincerely grateful and joyful, something that isn’t well portrayed in today’s media and society. It was truly touching, and hands down one of my favorite pregnancy memories. I hope that as my kid gets older and starts making me want to rip my hair out in public, I remember NOT to try to scare the exceptionally pregnant woman into thinking this was a giant mistake. Unless of course it’s hot outside, in which case all bets are off. I’m going to be an asshole.

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Did someone try to scare you with a story of their own 192 hour delivery of a 35 baby in a jungle hut? I want to hear it!