Thursday, April 28, 2011

Just call me Carrie Bradshaw

I have exciting news!

A few months ago, my dear friend Gem sent me an email about a post she'd seen on Facebook.  It was an all-call looking for first-time moms of color who intended to breastfeed with babies due in the Spring.  I was like "Hey that's me!"  They wanted moms to blog about their experiences with breastfeeding and they would pay them!  In real money!

I emailed the lady and sent her the link to my blog, figuring I had nothing to lose.  I was about to go on maternity leave and any extra money would be much appreciated.  Amazingly enough, they chose me!!
I'm legit!

Check it - my first post is up today!  It's a lot harder than I thought it would be for two reasons:  One, I can't curse!  It's all family-friendly over there so I must keep it buttoned up for the kiddies.  Waaay harder than it looks.  Two, I have to keep it short and y'all know how I like to ramble.  But what a fantastic opportunity!  I'm so excited to have been chosen and my posts will go up once a week over there.  If you're interested, go check it out!  Of course, I'll still be here - you'll have to pry this blog from my cold dead fingers.

And this part should be fun:  they want me to promote my posts and things on.....wait for it......

Facebook.  And Twitter.

You KNOW how I feel about that nonsense.  But, I'm getting paid so you best believe I'm going to update the hell out of my status and Tweet the shit out of my posts.  Mmmm, eating my words tastes so good! 

Watch this:  Follow me on Twitter!  @yogagirl247

Oooh, I feel so dirty!  Pimpin myself out like that - I feel like I'm walking on the wild side!

Okay but for real though - I'm a writer now.  This is serious business.  Stiff upper lip, profound musings, deep contemplation on the state of the universe, all that.

Plus I get to talk about my boobs.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I should have had a V-8

Am I dating myself with that?  Do you remember those commercials where people walked lopsided because they hadn't had their V-8?  I just went looking for the commercials on YouTube, but apparently I'm old, so that joke makes no sense.  It sounded better in my mind - probably because I'm lopsided.
This is a cry for help.

It's been two weeks since Sofia came into our lives.  Two fabulous wonderful weeks.  She's an amazing baby and I can barely take my eyes off of her.
I love watching her sleep.
Her return tag has even fallen off so she's ours for good.
I have no idea how it got on my shirt though - am I gross for wanting to keep it?
Technically, her cloth diapers fit but they are comically bulky.
Looking so cute for Easter

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah!  My boobs!

Y'all - I need help.  I don't know how I did it but I got lopsided and it HURTS.  The left one got the turbo switch and the right one is being all lazy, like 'Oh you got this?  Cool, I'm going on break.'  I don't know what to do!  I read that you're supposed to favor the smaller one in an effort to get it up to the same speed as the turbo one, but I'm deathly afraid of plugged ducts and mastitis so I don't want to completely stop feeding on the turbo side.  But holy my goodness, I'm so freakin full!  

Not to mention I look ridiculous.  I have one normal boob and one porn boob - I'm looking all kinds of hot with my unshowered, lopsided self!  I was emailing with Rixa Freeze and she bets that our culture's preoccupation with porn boobs actually stems from that primeval appreciation for giant lactating breasts as our link to survival.  I never thought of it that way and it makes perfect sense!  Rixa Freeze is so smart.

I realize this post will probably only appeal to about four people, but that's where I am these days.  Staring at my baby and wrestling with Turbo and Lazy.  Riveting stuff y'all.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The push present that completes the transformation

When I got pregnant, Drew and I talked about our needs in a car.  Last May I got my big girl car that I loved more than anything.  However, once Sofia came along it became clear that my beloved Accord wouldn't fit the bill anymore.  There was no longer room to transport the baby and the dog at the same time, so Drew took it upon himself to upgrade us.

One afternoon, Drew and his dad went back to John Eagle Honda - unbeknownst to me.  You know that saying that it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission?  Yeah, that was Drew.  He came home with an SUV and called it my push present in an effort to appeal to my good side.

Long story short, I am now a full-out mom.  The transformation is complete - I've been upgraded.
God, that thing is a monster.  It makes my Accord look teeny!
It will go well with my Assault Stroller.

Now I have a giant SUV, a giant dog and a baby.  I'm such a cliche.  

If anyone calls me a soccer mom, they're getting a kick in the shins.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Birth Story: After Birth

Yes, I do have pictures of the placenta.  No, I won't show them to you - because I like you and because I understand that I'm probably the only one who is fascinated by my innards.  So how about a baby picture instead?
The day after she was born - could you just melt?

As soon as she came out, I felt immediate relief.  The placenta came out about five minutes after and I felt so much lighter!  All the pressure was gone and it felt so good!
I was very interested in the placenta.
Drew?  Not so much.

Overall, it looked good but my doctor showed me where there were calcifications - signs of aging and deterioration, even though I was only 39 weeks.  I wondered if the clotting disorders had anything to do with that - if even then they were trying to shut things down.  It made me feel that much better that Sofia was in my arms, safe and sound and wide awake.

We got skin to skin contact for over an hour immediately after birth - I was hoping for a few minutes at most and I was prepared to fight anyone who would try to take her away from me, but no one did.  They even waited a good five minutes before putting the hat on her so I got to fill up with her baby-head-smell.  They even left her on my chest while the doctor stitched me up - I had a small vaginal tear but my perineum was intact!  Tearing was my second biggest fear and to come out intact?  I was ecstatic!

Because she was so alert, she started rooting right away.  She found my breast with minimal help and chomped down like nobody's business!  It hurt so bad but I was just glad that she appeared to know what she was doing.  I'm so proud to say that she is a breastfeeding champion and she's back to her birth weight at only 11 days!  Gah, I'm already the bragging mom - sorry about that.

We stayed in the delivery room for over an hour until they finally moved us to the post-partum room.  The nurses there had already heard about us - "We heard you were a trooper!  No epidural?!"  I was shocked - gossip travels fast I guess.

So - a word about that.  I wasn't trying to be a hero or a natural birth vigilante.  Even though I was ready to fight stand up for myself, it was purely for psychological reasons, not because I had something to prove.  I knew I wouldn't be able to mentally get past a needle in my spine and have any body part of mine being numb, Hypnobabies or not.  I have a thing about being able to feel my feet and I knew that if I couldn't I would fixate on that, my labor probably would have stalled and it probably would have gone south because I wouldn't have been able to get in the right headspace.  I know myself - I had to feel it all, that was the only way I was going to get through it. 

They took her for the tests and things while we got settled.  I was surprised at how sore I was. I genuinely thought that a vaginal delivery with no major tears would enable me to dance and sing right after birth.  Not so!  I was ridiculously swollen and unbelievably sore.  And guess what else?  I got a hemorrhoid from pushing!  You haven't lived until you're bent over in the mirror, ass up, trying to apply hemorrhoid cream.  Thankfully, it went away on its own but that definitely caught me by surprise.

We stayed in the hospital until Wednesday and I'm so glad we did.  I bombarded the nursery nurses with questions and I had two visits with the hospital lactation consultants.  I'd watched a ton of breastfeeding videos but every baby is different so you can't know how it will turn out until the baby is actually there.  Sofia has an amazingly strong suck reflex and vice-like jaws so those first couple of days were agony.  I also had a couple of home visits and I think we've worked out most of the kinks.  Nearly everyone remarked at how well she was doing and how alert she was - like they weren't used to seeing an epidural-free baby, which maybe they hadn't in a while, who knows?  I'm just glad she was healthy and here.

The day after she was born, the hospital photographer came in to take pictures.
Sofia, one day old
She came out with nails and got herself a couple of times, poor baby.
The proud uncle

I am forever indebted to my brother.  He caught everything on film and video - everything.  He was the only family member in the delivery room from start to finish.  We definitely didn't plan on it - after all, he is my baby brother and it was super intense, but once he was there, he just didn't leave.  He took all of these pictures and videos and I am so incredibly grateful to him.

He told me later that taking those pictures and witnessing his niece's birth was the most important thing he's ever done.  I'm so grateful to him and I'm so thankful he hung in there.  For not being prepared to witness his first birth, he did amazing.  He did have to leave the room a few times, but he always came back.  I'm so very very thankful to him.
Aaaaand, back to the baby
Sofia, two days old

Soon enough, it was time to go home.  I was thankful to have had the two days in the hospital but I was ready to leave.  Laying in bed for two days straight was almost as painful as trying to get up and around and if I was going to be in pain, I'd just as soon be in my own house.
First carseat ride - she wanted no part of it.

Thankfully, once the car started moving she calmed down pretty quickly.  Then I started crying.  

I'd just had a baby. 

And I was getting to take her home.  

She was mine - I did it and now I get to take her home.  I didn't stop crying the whole way home and walking up the steps with her was the most happily emotional moment of my life.
Coming home from Desiree on Vimeo.

Welcome home, Sofia.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Birth Story: The Mirror

Sofia has contracted don'tputmedown disease.  The only cure is aboobinthemouth and walkingaroundnonstop so it's been a very eventful day.  Thankfully, Drew is on walkingaroundnonstop duty so I can finish my story.  

Part 1            Part 2

The following happened between 3 and 4:54pm.

That first no-water contraction felt like I'd been body-slammed by one of those giant barbells from American Gladiator.  My whole upper body slammed back on the bed, that had been moved to an upright position by this point.  Gone were the vocalizations, the happy place swaying, the changing positions - it was time to do work.  I was glued to the bed and there would be no more moving.
Angie brought out the birthing bar but I very quickly 
determined I didn't like it, preferring the handlebars 
at my sides.

What surprised me was that I nearly immediately felt the urge to push.  I'd always wondered what it felt like, if I would even feel it because I'd read that some women never felt the urge to push.

Well, I felt it and it is the Truth.
Push from Desiree on Vimeo.

There won't be as many videos this time because there were some money shots and while I don't mind keeping it real, I'm not down for that real.  Also, I was making some weird noises that made even me blush.

However, I did not curse!  Not once!  And y'all know me - I'll drop an F bomb like it's nothing.  Even I was surprised at myself when I was watching the videos!  I think that part may have impressed me the most (kidding - it was the no drugs part.)

That's not to say it didn't hurt, because oh my baby Jesus the pain.  The burning, the stretching, the PAIN.  You know how some women say they don't remember?  Boo-shit.  I remember everything and I'm not keen to do any of that again any time soon.
Feeble attempt at keeping the orifices open
Tiny bit of relief
And then more pain
You get the idea.

Now, even though I was in incredible pain I was still okay - wanna know why?  Because there was no cheerleading, no counting, no chin-to-chest, hold your breath, obnoxious purple pushing.  I just sat there until the urge took me over and I pushed until I didn't have the urge anymore.  Sometimes it was longer than 10 seconds, other times it was just for three or four.  It was perfect.  Oh, and pushing feels exactly like Rixa Freeze says it does.  That also surprised me - 'throwing down' describes it perfectly.  Think about your upchuck reflex in reverse and that's what the urge to push feels like.  

The only problem is that I didn't feel like I was doing anything.  I didn't feel connected to the pushing and I asked Angie a few times if I was even doing anything.  She reassured me that I was, but offered to bring out a mirror so I could see for myself.

Y'all.  The Mirror is what birthed my child.  Seeing her head, seeing myself stretch, combining that with what I felt and I think she came out in three pushes.  It was amazing.
Unfocused and unsure
First glimpse of The Mirror
More pain, but with laser focus now
Oh my god it's working, I see her head!
Oh good god, that's her gigantic enormous HEAD!!
One mighty push and the rest of her came right out

She came out all at once.  There was no pause between delivering the head and the rest of the body - she shot straight the hell out.  And it felt like a baby - not a bowling ball, not a football, not a watermelon.  I felt head, shoulders, arms and legs and it is by far the most amazing sensation in the world.  I felt it all and I'm so thankful for that.  She came out screaming at the top of her lungs, kind of like she is right now.  I need to wrap this up - her crying hurts my skin.
Sofia, about a minute old
Newborn baby head - nothing on Earth like it
We did it!
I'm a mother!
He's a father!
We're a family!

And that's how my daughter, Sofia Ines, was welcomed to this world.  There's more to the story but I have to go now - she's crying and I'm starting to cry.  I have to go to her.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Birth Story: Labor Faces

Part 1

My doctor told me that the Cervidil might knock me into labor and I wouldn't even have to have Pitocin.  While that would have been great, I wasn't counting on it, even though the Cervidil did make the contractions stronger.  They went ahead and placed the line for the IV but they didn't hook it up to the Pitocin until about 8am.  These are Cervidil contractions - also known as 'you ain't shit - wait till the Piocin comes' contractions.
Cervidil contraction from Desiree on Vimeo.

I still had those dumb belts on which meant I couldn't get far from the monitoring machines.  So even though I didn't have my IV placed, I was still on a leash.  I made the best of it by setting up my yoga mat nearby and did a few stretches.
yoga from Desiree on Vimeo.

I included this one to show how close I had to be to the monitors.
Also because I have absolutely no memory of having my computer out.
They said I was making a labor playlist.
I'd already gotten the Pitocin by this point - that might have something to do with it.
I chose not to look at the monitors because you know,
I don't need a COMPUTER to tell me when I'm having contractions.
It's kind of hard to miss.
Really hard to miss.
I told them they had one chance to get the IV in right and it better not fall out.
Hence the shit-ton of tape.
What contractions feel like.
Fixing my hair between contractions - that's how you know I could
handle the pain.
Then it got serious again.
Trying to keep all my orifices open 
like Ina May says.

Now, let me take a moment and give the hugest, most amazing-est, loudest, most proudest shout out to 
He was there from start to finish.

Drew was an absolute CHAMPION.  He was there for me the entire time, never leaving my side, doing everything right.  EVERYTHING.  He was better than any doula on the planet.  He held me when I needed him, he backed off when I needed that and he was a total and complete prince.  I could not have asked him to be any better - he was perfect.  PERFECT.  A prince.  My hero.  My champion.  I COULD NOT have done it without him.

We even had some laughs in between contractions.
I laughed too, I swear - my brother just didn't catch it.

Once the Pitocin started flowing, things got much more serious, as evidenced by my complete and total disregard for the state of my hair.
Contraction from Desiree on Vimeo.

This went on from 8am till about 2:30.  I felt the classic 'double-peak' Pitocin contractions and they were not fun.  Regular contractions have a rise, peak and fall - Pitocin ones have a rise, peak, tiny fall that you barely notice, PEAK, then the real fall.  I'd read about them, but to live it?  Man.  It was no joke.

I don't know how much they gave me because I didn't know how to read the machine but there was a 3?  I don't think it was a lot but it was puh-lenty as far as I was concerned.  My awesome nurse Angie stayed with me the whole time as well and at one point, she called my doctor to see about turning it off for a bit.  She got the okay, so I got a breather around 2:30 but my contractions went irregular again, so we had to turn it back on a little before 3.  However, that half hour was the best half-hour of my life.

At this point, I'd had two cervical checks - a baseline when I was admitted and one the next day that determined I'd gone from 2 to 3 with the Cervidil.  They weren't fun but I made it clear to my nurses that I didn't like them and they were as gentle as possible which made things a tiny bit more tolerable.  I'd been able to vocalize, change positions and not once did anyone mention the E word.  I wasn't able to eat, but that was the furthest thing from my mind so I could have cared less.  I had all the ice chips I wanted and you know, they hit the spot! Especiallly when they melted a little and Angie put a little apple juice in there for me.  Again, Drew was right on time every time with a spoonful for me when I needed it.  Heaven!

There was never really a time that I thought I couldn't do it, that I should go ahead and get the drugs.  I was doing it - I was laboring and I was managing.  If I could have thought clearly, I would have been proud of myself, but my whole being was focused on making it through one contraction at a time.

Now, I did think that I didn't want to be doing this for 26 hours.  I'd been at it since 7am and that was plenty for me, so when my doctor came in at 3 and offered to break my water, I listened.  She talked to me in between contractions so I was able to focus on her and really listen and consider my options, but I really liked it when she said breaking my water would shave off at least three hours - that was music to my ears.  She did say my contractions would get stronger, but I was managing so far.  It couldn't be that bad right?  So I consented.

She did another check, between contractions so it wasn't unbearable and declared I was 5 centimeters!  That felt so good - I was terrified of having labored all day and having no change, so I felt much better about her breaking my water.

Again, she was so totally gentle I didn't even feel it, but I sure felt the water coming out!  It was such a crazy sensation that I couldn't help but laugh.  I laughed and laughed at this babbling brook that was running out of me!  It was nice and clear and she said the baby's head was right there.  I felt so good about everything and I knew I was in the home stretch.

Until that first no-water contraction.  Also known as 'I stomp on the throat of Pitocin contractions.'
Then it got so ridiculously real.
Keep your orifices open, my ass.

Special thanks to my baby for letting Mommy blog!
For that, you get some boobie juice!


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