TUber Cherry Popped

Tried “TUber” for the first time despite being completely skeptical of the service. I’ve heard stories of fake background checks, overcharging and crimes taking place. Not a ton, mind you, but enough to scare me away until today. I was with a good friend so I figured “If I’m going to be kidnapped, I’m happy it’s with her.” We needed several rides throughout the night so I said “What the hell” and threw caution to the wind. 

I will say it’s a cool service. You know upfront how much you’ll pay, who is picking you up (complete with photo if you’re searching for a hottie), the car they’re driving and how long it will be until they arrive with real-time updates. So far I was impressed. I struggled a bit looking for a big “Yes, I want to use this car and now” button in the app, realizing I already selected a price and that was all I had to do. Tricky tricky, TUber. 

I was entirely too excited with the live updates counting down the minutes until our chariot would arrive. And then there he was. At least we were pretty sure. Without the big “taxi” light on top and decals covering the white/yellow car it was hard to tell for sure that this guy was ours. 

So we hop in, I verify with a quick glance that this is in fact our driver as pictured. He already knows our destination.  He is ready to go. The car is clean, smells good, nothing odd (as I scan for duct tape, plastic sheets, axes).  I watch too many horror movies. So far so good. 

But then I start to freak out a little and my mind, never disappointing, starts spouting off one concern after another. Thanks mind; it’s too late now. You could’ve spoken up BEFORE I inadvertently ordered the car. 

– What if he’s a terrible driver?

– What if he has been drinking?

-What if he’s high?

– What if he’s a stalker and now he knows where I live? (At which point my friend said, let’s use an address near you. I didn’t know any. She suggested looking one up on Google Earth. I decided I could live with a stalker.)

– There aren’t child locks on these doors right?

For real though, I’ve seen like 200 horror films. 

I take a deep breath and hope for the best. We survive. He did careen down that one full parking lot aisle and I was just waiting to be called as a witness to a reckless driving charge after he hit someone walking to their car. But again, we made it and I don’t think any turtles trying to cross the road were harmed. 

But wait, have I paid the driver? How do I add a tip? Do I just walk out of the car now? The answers are: yes, still don’t know, and yes. This feels so odd. Just leaving without paying even though we did pay. 

I did at least know that you review each other. I was hoping I was a good passenger but who knows what good passenger standards are. “Did I stumble into some bad lighting?” (If you get that reference btw, you are a rockstar.)

Would I use TUber again? Yes. Would I use it alone? Nope. Unless I was downtown, it was pouring and I was desperate. Maybe I’m old school but that’s fine by me. 

Company name changed so I don’t get sued for libel. 

My Little Man: What I’ve Learned in 6 Months

It’s truly incredible the overwhelming feelings you have once you become a parent. Everyone talks about the love, how you would do anything for them. You think you get it but until you are looking into your child’s eyes, where you feel like you are seeing into their little souls, you have no idea. It’s an all-encompassing, all-consuming, deeply felt, overwhelming love. A love I had never felt before. Beyond what I feel for anyone and I didn’t think that was even possible. You would truly do anything to protect your child. Anything.

I’ve discovered I’m stronger than I ever realized, conquering so much stress, bad life events, depression. It has not been an easy road but I’m still here.

The littlest things about motherhood crack me up. Hearing moms jokingly call their kids little terrorists, assholes, PITA, monsters. I love it. Because you know what? Sometimes they are. Doesn’t mean you love them any less. It was refreshing to hear quite honestly.

Being a female, figuring out my son’s boy parts has been a funny and interesting journey. From circumcision care (that damn foreskin just doesn’t want to stay detached) to the ridiculous peepee teepees. Cute idea, really. But like all moms know, they just fly off the second the pee starts. It’s a fun game to see how far they can go across the room.

There is always stringlike material from the wipes that gets attached that you have to carefully remove. And all the crevices! Good lord. I find myself with my face directly over that one-eyed monster trying to clean everything, forgetting he could shoot pee directly into my eye at any second. So far so good.
The cooing and babbling has begun. The smiles are turning into laughs. It’s cuteness overload. Something about it just pulls at your heart and you get warm and fuzzy each time. My cheeks often hurt from smiling at him so much.

You’ll do just about anything to get them to sleep when you are on the brink of collapse from exhaustion. Sound machines, shushing, running the vacuum, the dishwasher, the faucet, the dryer, trying the swing, the floor, the crib, the bouncer, the rock and play, the playpen, your bed, you sing, you sway, you bounce, you feed them yet again, you hold them while they sleep and you sleep, taking them around the block for a walk, driving, calling your aunt to come for an hour so you can nap, and on and on it goes. You pray for an hour, will settle for 30 mins and usually only get 15.

Shower? Ha! Shave? Haha! Makeup? Hahaha! Hair? Hahahaha! Your baby scoffs at these mere suggestions. I swear now that I’ve been through it I can spot a new mom a mile away. The hair is greasy, uncombed and in a ponytail. No makeup, tshirt, leggings, flip flops with toes in need of a major pedi, looking drugged and zombielike, slight belly leftovers. It’s hilarious. I think I’m going to give these people random hugs when I spot them from now on.

“He’s wearing what size?!” is heard constantly. You just cannot keep up with their drastically growing bodies. Just when you have all the next size clothes washed for the first time, folded and put away, they’re in the next size. And the sizes are sorta accurate but kinda not. Notice how confusing that sentence was? Yeah, that’s how the sizing is. It’s all a big guessing game.

Speaking of clothes, every shirt should contain neck snaps and stretchier arms. It’s like they think our babes are Gumby. No they are not that flexible, and do not bend that way.

How many chins can one baby have? I think there were 4 at last count. How do they get so much gunk between their fingers, toes and under their nails? What’s with the obsession with lights?

Seeing a baby react to a strong gust of wind is pretty funny. They don’t know what to do when it hits their face. They gasp, blink and flail a bit. Soon they will learn fresh air is a good thing.

Once they begin to babble, there are few things cuter in this world. They have stories galore to share. Their completely incoherent babble makes complete sense to them. Their eyebrows furrow, they look stern, then relieved, then happy, then confused. They squint, stick out their tongue, kick , wave their arms and drool, all to help embellish their tale. They are telling us about the drama over their parrot sister who wasn’t listening to dad, how they wanted to poop so badly but it just wouldn’t come out. How their morning bottle was too cold and how their mobile animals danced and swayed. How they wanted Mr. Bear to cuddle with at naptime, how much they love their outfit and how uncomfortable their shoes are.

At 6 months my little man is absorbing the entire world around him. It is amazing and enchanting to watch him take it all in. What must he be thinking with each new discovery? Especially since he spent so much of his early months in an incubator then indoors, sheltered from the outside world. He’s going to grocery stores, meeting other babies, playing with toys, flirting with the ladies. In the coming months he will have his first dip in a pool, cheering at his first soccer game, celebrating his first Halloween, tasting his first food.

I just love watching him learn. It is as if you can see the wheels turning and see the eyes widening.  He learns how to grasp a plastic ring in his hand, how to roll over, how kicking off his blanket makes mommy laugh. He has discovered his tongue and his thumb.

These first 6 months have been a roller coaster for so many reasons but I wouldnt trade it for the world. I look forward to seeing all the new milestones in the next six months!

One-offs: Getting Through the Newborn Stage

One of the very best things I heard when we were going through the tough newborn stage, getting no sleep, irritable, anxious, etc. was about give and take. During the early stages, all babies do is take, take, take so you may find yourself not just exhausted but drained. Once your baby begins to look into your eyes, smile at you, coo at you, they start to give back in such a meaningful way that makes it so much easier to handle the tough stuff. The advice really was to hang in there. They’re going to give so much back to you very soon and it will make it all worthwhile. 

This Is NOT What We Planned

Before I get into our NICU experience, which I promise is coming, I wanted to explain a few things to people about what we have been through and why we have made the decisions we have.  I apologize for this rant being so angry, but honestly I am beyond angry, hurt and confused.

We spent 4 years on and off trying for a baby.  We were literally just coming to terms with the fact that it may not happen, may not be in the cards for us, when voila, we found out we were pregnant.  Like I was already planning our honeymoon (it has been 5 years) in my head, how life would look without kids, how different things would be.  So it really came as a shock to both my husband and I when we got the news.  The head shift went from making all kinds of plans without children to “yikes, we are going to be parents now”!

The pregnancy wasn’t bad at all.  I expected and had heard much much worse.  Dare I say, I even enjoyed it?  Sorry ladies who have had it bad.  I really do feel for you.  Things were going as expected…a little pressure on my nether regions kinda early, but everything checked out ok.  Then one morning, 11 weeks early, at 29 weeks, January 25th, my water broke and our little man emerged into this world really damn early!

Did I mention I am a control freak?  That I had about 100 things I still had planned to get done before his due date, April 8th?  That our house was an absolute mess?  That none of the baby things were ready to go yet?

So Nathan was sent to the NICU where he stayed for a month and a half.  As amazing as everyone was at the hospital, it was a pretty hellish experience for me personally.  I was pumping every 3 hours around the clock with lots of pressure from the doctors to get that breast milk flowing for my baby who desperately needed it.  Nurses checking in with me every shift to see how my milk was coming in.  My breasts were raw and hurt like hell.  I was recovering from having a baby, absolutely exhausted, and dealing with the beginnings of post partum depression.  Well, just like with Nathan coming early, my body still was not cooperating.  I only pumped 15-20 ML at most per pump session.  It took 8 pumping sessions to equal just ONE feeding.  I told myself I had to do it.  I had to do anything to help my fragile little guy.  Luckily, the hospital had donor breast milk to give Nathan at some point since I clearly wasn’t producing enough.  I was never so frustrated with my body.

From day 1, the doctors told us no children under 12 were allowed to visit and no one sick was allowed to visit.  Hospital policy.  They will even kick parents out if they are sick enough.  I wore a mask for 2.5 weeks because I felt like I was getting sick.  It ended up being stress related.  Turns out my body was shutting down on me.  So our plans of bringing the baby home, showing him off to all our family and friends over the coming weeks and enjoying our time as new parents came to a screeching halt.  Now we had to be vigilant, so careful of everything.  Being told to wash our hands constantly and the nurses washing theirs like crazy too.  We trusted the doctors and their instructions because, why wouldn’t we?  We don’t know better than doctors.  Certainly not neonatologists.  We also wanted to be there when anyone would visit.  I don’t expect anyone to understand this but we had to take every precaution possible.  Little things, like washing your hands after you touch your phone, or touch your face, turning off your camera flash, being careful of the wires, being cognizant of overstimulation, things people would forget or not think of because they don’t know about things like overstimulation of a preemie.  The list goes on and on.  Unfortunately we could not be there 24/7.  We wish we could have, but we had other responsibilities and, as I said, a ton of things had to get done for when the baby was actually released from the hospital.  So I typically spent 3-6 hours a day there, and my husband would come after 11 pm, sometimes midnight to stay with our little boy as long as he could.

As a result of the hospital rules and doctor’s instructions, we had to make a lot of tough decisions on who could and could not visit.  That meant a lot of the children in our lives could not visit and it broke our hearts.  We even had to limit what friends and family could visit.  Believe me, only close family was allowed.  Due to all this, there was a lot of resentment, hurt feelings and anger directed our way.  That only made things for us 1000 times worse.  We were already worried sick about our son constantly because you feel so out of control.  You can only sit on the sidelines and watch and wait.  The ONLY thing we had control over was who would visit and when and keeping him safe and healthy during the process.  Overkill?  I’m sure.  But until you are in our shoes, and you watch this little baby who you tried so hard for, struggling with every feeding, breathing heavily and so on, you should try to understand how hard these decisions were for us, and that right or wrong, we felt we needed to make them at that time.

Making things worse was the fact that everyone assumed, rightfully so, that once we brought Nathan home, anyone and everyone could visit.  Again, I point blank asked the doctors and multiple nurses, more than once: “When can we have children over?  When can we do family gatherings?  Can we use a mask or anything so they can just meet him?  Is there anything we can do?”  Over and over again, they told us no exposure to children until summer.  Yes, summer!  I was like, seriously?  It’s only March.  I know RSV was one of the most dangerous things to catch, and I guess was prevalent at the time.  They also said we had to basically stay indoors.  No grocery store, Target runs, no malls, no parks, no parties, nada.  Only a couple people over to our house at a time and only if they are not showing any signs of illness.  I could take him on walks in the stroller which was my saving grace. I was told not to worry so much (basically saying to ignore the doctors) and I bit my tongue but wanted to say “Oh, can you find that switch on me?  Can you turn it off for me?  Great, thanks.”  It was a big blow to us, and a huge disappointment.  I cried many tears over the situation and the fact that all I wanted to do was show off our little bundle to the world and I still was not allowed to.  But again, who the hell are we to not follow doctors orders?  So once again, many people got upset with us.  And once again, our feelings were even more hurt and for us it was like “we KNOW this sucks, we KNOW this is hurting you.  We are not enjoying this believe it or not.  In fact, we hate it.”

Once he came home, it was a rough adjustment.  I mean really rough for both of us.  Still pumping like crazy and getting no sleep (at least I got a little sleep before), still worried about Nathan’s feedings and breathing and of course germs, with a ton of doctor appointment follow-ups in the first 2 weeks, it was a recipe for disaster.  After about a week or so being home, and I just broke.  A switch literally flipped and my depression spiraled.  I was crying non-stop, for hours.  I could not breathe I was crying so hard.  I blamed myself for everything that happened.  I hated what was happening.  I hated that people were so angry with us-like we were purposely punishing them.  There were so many unknowns racing through my head.  “What if this never gets better?  I’m not equipped to handle this.  I’m not cut out to be a mother.  I knew I couldn’t handle a baby.  How are we going to pay for all this?  What if he has problems down the road?  What if we are seeing doctors on a regular basis for the next year?  His whole life?  Will he ever be able to play like other kids?  Will we ever get out of the damn house again?”  I mean, it was all repeating over and over in my head.

I think I broke down when I did because I was holding it together (at least on the outside) while he was still in the hospital.  After coming home I could let that wall down, be vulnerable, feel everything over the past month and a half, come to terms with our new normal.  Also when he was in the hospital, the first thing listed on his chart was that I had a history of depression.  The very FIRST thing.  Above his medical issues, his medications, his history, everything.  So every nurse, doctor, consultant saw that first and foremost.  I was honestly worried that if I showed too many signs of depression they would hospitalize me, or even worse, the state may get involved and I may be an unfit mother.  I mean, I didn’t know what could happen.  So I held it together.

I got involved with an intensive therapy program because my regular therapist, although wonderful, was not enough at the time.  It ended up being a great decision for so many reasons.  I realized there were so many other women, “normal” women, who were going through the same thing.  Some much worse, some less so.  But they were all kind, honest, amazing women just going through mental hell.  But at least we were going through it together.  Bravo to anyone who can just “get over it” but for many, this does not work.  It’s not how depression works.  True depression.  True anxiety.  It sometimes takes a village of help.

I’m much better than I was and came away with hopefully new gal pals.  Unfortunately it is still too soon for playdates.  Ugh.  Again.  Ugh.  I will always have to work at my depression and anxiety, and staying positive as a new mom, and reminding myself I’m doing the best I can.  But I’m getting there.

I know in time, things will calm down and get better.  I swear I don’t know where the days go.  It’s making bottles, washing bottles, feeding bottles, diapers, laundry, food, little sleep.  Repeat.  Repeat.  My husband and I are lucky if we get any time to chat, or god forbid cuddle for a few minutes.  I would like to thank all those around us who were understanding of our situation, supportive, offered to help and have been so patient with meeting our little man.  You have no idea just how much it meant to us.  He is lucky to have you in his life, as are we.

 

 

 

 

 

Special Delivery Comes Early; part 1

     This is the story of my little man coming into this world, 11 weeks early.  As always, I’m not holding back.  You have been warned.
     My due date was April 8th.  I woke up around 12:40 am on Monday, January 25th to feeling wetness between my legs.  By sheer coincidence, I had just spoken to a co-worker on Friday about what it felt like when your water breaks.  I was 95% sure my water just broke.  I grabbed a towel and woke up my husband, Luis.  I said, “honey, I think my water just broke”.  He was shocked.  I think his reply, was “WHAT?!”  I explained what was happening.  I started to panic for so many reasons.  What do I do first?  Call the doctor, finish packing my hospital bag, call my parents, get directions to the hospital, call the hospital?  I kept saying over and over, “This isn’t happening.  It’s too early.”  I called the emergency number at my doctor’s office which paged the doctor on call.  No answer.  I got a voicemail saying if I don’t hear back from the doctor in 15 mins to call again.  Then if I still don’t hear back to go to the nearest hospital.  This is not what I expected when I called the emergency line at the practice.  I could not believe that no one was answering.  What is the point of the emergency line if I can’t get a hold of someone?  Luckily 10 minutes later the doctor (whose name I could not decipher) called, sounding very sleepy, and told me to go to the hospital where they would evaluate if my water broke and go from there.
     I knew there was a good chance I would be having this baby in the next 24-48 hours since I did know once your water breaks you are prone to infections so they usually deliver you, or put you on hospital bedrest.  I also knew there was a chance that they could delay or stop the labor, if in fact I was going into labor.
     My husband and I scrambled to get all of our necessities that had not yet been packed.  I told Luis to look up directions and feed Gorilla, our parrot, while I finished packing.  So off we went to the hospital.  I called the hospital in the car to ask where I was supposed to go because I had no idea.  (We were supposed to have our shower that next weekend and our first childbirth class in 2 weeks!)  The class was supposed to get us ready for everything of course, including labor.  I began getting contractions on the way to the hospital.  It did feel like menstrual cramps after all, at least initially.  Reading up on this, there was much debate as to what contractions actually felt like.
     We went to the ER at Northwest Community Healthcare Hospital.  I told them I thought my water broke and they had me wait a few minutes until someone came and wheeled me in.  I started getting very nervous at this point.  Luis called the insurance company for pre-certification in case I was admitted.
     They had me change into a hospital gown and I met my nurse, Dee.  There was also a lady named Tessa who helped get things that the nurse and doctor needed.  They took all my vitals, and a random OB that was at the hospital at the time came and checked me.  I was already dilated 2 cm.  She said my water did break and they were going to try to stop the labor if they could.  I never heard anything else about stopping the labor.  The next thing I knew they said I was going to have the baby today.  We called my parents just in the knick of time because they arrived just before I was starting to deliver. And here we thought we had a ton of time.
     They gave me a shot in the butt, either steroids or magnesium that hurt like hell as the fluids went in.  The magnesium left me having the worst hot flashes of my life.  I felt like my entire body was on fire which they did warn me about but it was BAD.  Of course, the neonatal doctor took that opportunity to come talk to me and Luis about what we can expect, with the baby being so early.  He also prepared us for worst case scenario, literally saying there is a chance our baby will not make it, but said a whole team would be taking him right after delivery and checking him/helping him.
     I should mention that I was shocked I could do a vaginal birth.  I thought with him being so early they had to do a c-section.  I remember telling Dee that I hadn’t had the childbirth classes yet so she needed to walk me through everything and help me with breathing and such.  She could not have been kinder or more reassuring.  Luis saw at some point as she was doing her thing that she had a tattoo on her arm, and asked her if it was a Harry Potter tattoo.  She smiled and said yes and I was thrilled.  I told her “it was meant to be” and explained what a huge fan I was.  She brought over another nurse who had a golden snitch pinned to her name tag.  I believe in all kinds of signs that the universe shows us and I was genuinely so happy that these were the people taking care of me.  This little sign put my mind at ease and I knew I was in good hands.
     At some point I told the female OB that I wanted an epidural.  She asked if I wanted it right then, and I said, “whenever you think is best, but I don’t want to wait too long and miss the opportunity”.  She said that now was good, which surprised me because I thought it would be hours before I needed one.  I assumed I’d be in labor for hours.  Just as they called the anesthesiologist I got the worst contraction.  It hurt like hell and I was like “I think now is perfect.  I just got a bad one.”  So he entered, had me sit on the side of the bed and lean over a pillow.  Dee stood in front of me and they got a chair for my husband saying “some husbands pass out”.  He looked at me and cringed.  The doctor cleaned the area, explaining what he was doing as he was doing it.  Dee told me “try not to jump” and held onto me.  I braced myself for what I thought would be the worst pain of my life, or so I had heard.  It was a large pinch as the needle went in, and in 3 seconds the pain was over.  I still jumped a bit but I remember thinking ‘that was it?!’ I think I even said that to the nurse.  It wasn’t bad at all.  Once the epidural kicked in, I didn’t feel a thing which was pure bliss.  They kept asking me if I felt the contractions and were surprised when I said “I do not feel a thing.”  I guess there were some pretty strong ones coming at that point.
     The OB from my OB office finally arrived and checked me.  I went from 4 cm to 6 cm in 30 minutes.  For some reason they decided to give me Pitocin to speed up labor even though it was moving along pretty quickly.  I’m still confused about that one.  I had never heard of the doctor that showed up and at some point asked if he was part of the group just to make sure they contacted the correct practice.  They assured me he was, just part of another group of doctors.  This bummed me out immensely because here was a virtual stranger delivering my baby when I had met all 5 of the doctors I thought I would be getting.  And he had zero bedside manner.  He honestly seemed frustrated and completely impatient the entire time.  I don’t know what his deal was but I didn’t like him.  None of us liked him.  Thank the heavens for my nurse.
     At some point the nurse checked my dilation again and I was at 10 cm.  She said “Ok, this is it.” and instructed someone to tell the doctor I was ready.  A whole swarm of people came rushing in:  nurses for me, the doctor, trays of equipment, the neonatal team of 4 or 5 people.  It all happened SO fast.  My mom and I looked at each other with a look that said “oh my god, this is happening now.”  I started to panic a bit, but honestly had no time to process what was happening.  They threw my legs up, turned on the spotlights (you really do lose all modesty) and said “Ok, we’re gonna start.  When I tell you, you are going to take a deep breath in, hold it and push with your contraction.”  She had told me earlier that if you feel like you are pushing to poop, you are pushing correctly.  And off I went.  Luis and my mom were to my right.  I had kicked out dad…too weird having him there.
     It took a few tries to get the hang of how to push properly, especially when I could not feel the contractions, but I got the hang of it.  I had to push 3 times in a row which made it really hard to breathe.  I told the nurse I couldn’t breathe and she checked my oxygen, told me I was a-ok, and on we went.  In my head I was thinking, “you better hope I don’t pass out soon.”  By the 3rd set of pushes I was getting further and I think by the 4th or 5th set, he emerged.  And boy did it hurt like a motherf*cker as he came out.  It is difficult to explain, but that epidural did nothing for the pain I felt with that last push.  It was a huge relief however, once he was out.  It was the 2nd push in that set and they said ‘he’s almost there’ and then he slid out.  All in all, it was 15 minutes of pushing.  The doctor asked Luis if he wanted to cut the cord, and he did.  He let out a tiny little cry as they rushed him over to the heating area and checked him out.  I only saw him for a split second as they lifted him up.  When he was on the table I could only see his little chest area between all the doctors and nurses attending to him.  I was dying to see his face which I never got to do until later.  They called out his measurements.  3 pounds, 2 ounces, 15.5 inches.  I remember thinking that was good.  They were saying other things that I don’t really remember.  Luis kissed me and said “good job baby, you were amazing.”  He said that Nathan was so cute.   My mom was in awe and watching them work on Nathan.
     After maybe 5-10 minutes they whisked him off to the NICU.  I still hadn’t seen his face. All I wanted was to see his face.  The doctor was flopping the umbilical cord around as he was trying to get the placenta out.  I remember that really grossing me out.  He was pressing awfully hard on my stomach and “massaging” it to try to get it to detach.  He explained that when it’s so early with delivery, the placenta isn’t supposed to come out/detach so often times it doesn’t want to come out.  He had both hands in there digging away and tugging.  It was super painful and honestly the worst part for me.  I just wanted it to end and it seemed to last forever.  The doctor was also getting irritated which didn’t help at all.  He explained that he needed to get it out quickly so I didn’t lose any more blood, and if he couldn’t I would have to be put under to get a D&C to remove it.  He finally got foreceps of some kind and was scraping it out of me.  It finally came out in large pieces which they put in a large plastic tub.  I would rather have not seen that.  I was never so happy to have something end.
     They let me relax for a bit while they cleaned up.  Tessa came over and cleaned me up (there was a lot of blood).  She was very kind, and reassured me that Nathan looked really good and that many babies are born that small and early and turn out just fine.  It was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment.
     Two excruciating hours went by with no word on Nathan.  Dee tried calling a couple times but didn’t have any updates.  It was absolutely brutal waiting to hear if our son was okay.  Finally they were taking me to my recovery room in a wheelchair and I was going to get to see Nathan along the way.  As they wheeled me down the hallway everyone said congrats and they played the little hospital music signifying a new baby born.  I waved to my nurse and thanked her.  I wish I could have hugged her goodbye and told her what a difference she made, but I was so out of it and exhausted and wanting to see my son.  The new baby music made me cry.
     I was prepared for bad news:  his lungs would be under developed, heart problems, brain issues, my mind was racing.  I remember they put me next to his incubator and I was taking it all in.  I was shocked by my little man having a tube down his throat.  That broke my heart.  I still could barely see his face with all the stuff on it (wires, tubes, etc.)  The doctor was telling us how he was doing which was honestly a blur.  I never heard the words that he would be okay in all that was said.  It killed me inside to ask this, but I had to know.  I said “how long until we know he’s out of the woods?”  And the doctor replied “oh, he’ll be just fine”.  And I just let out a sob like no other.  My mom saw me and was crying too, and came over and hugged me from behind.  It was such a massive relief knowing my baby would survive and be relatively okay.  Why the hell didn’t he begin with that?!
*Names have been changed of nurses.

Welcome to Pregnancyland

I’ve been a little busy with my first trimester of pregnancy, but it is time for me to return to my love of writing!  And hopefully I can keep writing even post baby.  Needless to say, once you find out you are pregnant, your entire world immediately shifts.  Ours was a bit of a surprise only because we weren’t really trying anymore.  It was kind of like if it happens in the next year, then it was meant to be.  If not, we’re done.  Alas, it was meant to be.

Baby in womb

I was one of the very lucky ones.  I had no morning sickness.  My primary symptom was exhaustion.  And a bit of nausea.  But the vomiting is what I was most concerned with going into it, working in an office environment.  There isn’t an easy way to quietly vomit in your cubicle if you won’t make it to the bathroom.  I had some interesting other things happening because of some polyps I had pre-pregnancy.  There was regular spotting, and mild period-like cramping for just about my entire second month.  The few times I had moments of freaking out, I’d have an ultrasound and the baby would be just fine.  I even had some stabbing pains all night once and insisted on coming in.  Sure enough, everything looked okay.  I also had some odd tissue come out of me (noticed it after going to the bathroom).  That was crazy.  The first time it was small, like the size of a quarter.  The second time it was much larger, like the size of an Oreo.  That freaked me out too.  I was like-is this my baby?  What on earth came out of me?  My doctor thinks it may have been one of my polyps.  But again, the baby was just fine.

My advice (because I’m an expert now, duh) to newly pregnant women is try not to freak out right away.  All the books and blogs and even legit websites will scare you into thinking cramping=bad news, or bloody tissue=bad news.  I can tell you I’ve had my fair share of it and I made it to week 16 so far.

Other than not being able to do more than walk from the couch to the bathroom to the bed, the first trimester went well.  I genuinely cant complain because I thought it would be 1000x worse.  Now I’m into my second.  My energy has returned, thank goodness and I can once again be productive.  My boobs hurt all the time.  And I pee every 30 minutes.

The ultrasounds have to be the single coolest invention of all time.  I had a co-worker joke with me that in her day, “you didn’t get to see the baby until it was done cooking in the oven.”  Technology has come such a long way and we are so lucky to be able to take advantage of it.  Hearing the heartbeat is the first thrill.  Seeing the baby wiggle is awesome.  On another visit the baby kicked off the side of my uterus and flung itself back like it was having a party for one in there.  We sat there with our mouths hanging open like WOW.

I had gone off all my medications the second I found out I was pregnant, including my anti-depressant and anxiety pills.  It’s been okay until recently.  I’ve been having bouts of depression that come and go, and it’s becoming more frequent.  It’s incredibly frustrating that I cannot control it.  That I’ve only been off my medication for 2 months and my mind is already regressing.  I always worried about passing this on to my child.  It’s the last thing I want her or him to have to deal with, knowing what a struggle it has been most of my life.  I’m seeing my therapist (who is a godsend) this week so I’m hoping that helps a bit.  I’m also looking into light therapy:  buying a lamp that gives off the right kind and amount of light to help depression.  I’ve never been diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder but I know I hate the winter because of how dark it always is, and I always get worse.  So I want to give it a shot.  Going back on a medication is a last resort for me and I’m hoping like hell I can avoid that route.  But if I get to a breaking point, I have to take care of myself in order to take care of the baby, and be able to function.  Of course that gets me thinking to postpartum depression and breastfeeding.  I know because of my history of depression, I’m more susceptible to postpartum issues.  My gut tells me the second the baby is born, I will be going on my meds which means no breastfeeding.  But there’s time still to sort all that out and I have to stop my mind from worrying about it prematurely.

On the topic of breastfeeding…I knew very little.  Almost an embarrassing lack of knowledge.  I started to read up on how often you breastfeed, how you know when the baby is done, what supplies are needed, where the bottles come in, when to pump and so on.  All I can say is, that is a fuckton of work.  And that is the only word to adequately describe how much work it is to breastfeed.  I honestly can’t imagine trying to recover physically-whether it’s a healing vagina/rear or stomach recovery from surgery and dealing with all the crazy hormones, and lack of sleep and then tacking on a baby to your breast who you have to keep alive via said breast 10-12 times a day.  Just wow.  I’d love to say I’m up for the task, but I’m sweating just thinking about it.  I think I’d like to try it and see how I do and see how it goes but have some formula as a back up just in case.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that most people love the pregnancy news.  Even complete strangers light up and shower you with congratulations.  That part has been fun.

Many things we’ve read say to start looking into daycares.  I know millions of kids get taken care of by someone other than their parents, and they get along just fine.  But man is it scary to think of handing your child over to someone every day and hoping for the best.  And the baby isn’t even here yet.  Can you sense my intense worry wart propensity?!

I told myself I would not read about anything having to do with labor until the 3rd trimester.  I’ve always been petrified of giving birth.  I’ve also never had surgery.  So either prospect is enough to give me a panic attack.  Again, I have to remind myself that millions of women all of the world give birth every single day.  I’ll get through it.  Or so I will tell myself until I’m blue in the face, and remain blissfully ignorant until I absolutely have to know how things go down at birth.

An idea I got a while back talked of a dad who created an email address for his soon-to-be baby and wrote to him/her on a regular basis.  Kind of like a diary or journal of what dad was thinking, feeling, going through along his journey as a new dad.  I just adored this idea and thought how special of a gift would that be to give to your kid.  So we stole it.  I created an email and both my husband and I occasionally write to our bean sharing everyone’s reactions to the news, what our plans and hopes are for him/her and more.

We are about a month away from doing the 3-D ultrasound and finding out the sex of the baby.  I cannot wait.  I’m so excited to see the baby up close and personal and start calling the baby he or she.  Until then!