Monday, November 25, 2013

Two Kind of Crazy, Out of Character, Things I Did

I would not describe myself as a naturalist, holistic, granola type of person.  I do buy organic food when I can, but I still take my kids to McDonalds.  I recycle, but I don't really think about my carbon footprint. I'm into vitamins and homeopathic remedies, but I'm ready and willing to go to hard core meds when necessary.  I'm just kind of plain vanilla average in this regard.

But last week, I did some out of character things: 

1) I did a natural (as in, no epidural) birth.

I don't know why, but having a natural birth always appealed to me.  Perhaps because of a fear of sticking a needle in my spine, or a fear of escalating interventions that would lead to a c-section. But really, it just always felt, for lack of a better word, natural to me.  As in, we women are meant to birth babies.  It's how nature made us.  So why not do it the way nature intended?  

When I was pregnant with Braden, my first child, I took a Bradley natural birthing class.  My husband and I went once a week and learned about birthing positions, relaxation methods, etc. But halfway through the class I ended up on bed rest, having been diagnosed with placenta previa.  For this condition, I would have to have a c-section.  I was disappointed, but resigned myself to my fate, and stopped attending the Bradley classes.  Lo and behold, a week before my scheduled c-section date, my placenta moved, and I was cleared for a vaginal delivery.  By that point, I was so out of shape and in such shock that I didn't have the energy for a natural birth.  I did try, but after a pitocin drip and 5 hours of labor, I asked for an epidural.  

For the birth of Casey, my second child, I again wanted to attempt a natural birth.  I reviewed my Bradley class materials, and took a "Comfort Measures" class at the hospital.  When I went into labor and arrived at the hospital, I told the nurses that I was going to go epidural free.  I labored for a few hours, until it started to hurt - I mean, really hurt.  Just like in the movies, I recanted my prior request and begged for the epidural.  I was 8 centimeters dilated by the time I got it.  I was almost there, but the pain (and temptation) was too much.

Lets talk about pain for a second.  In my normal, non-laboring mind, my reasoning went like this: Sure, it's going to hurt.  Really bad.  But it's temporary.  It will only last a finite amount of time.  And if I can just take it, for a little bit, it will be over!  How bad can it really be?  

Lets repeat that:  How bad can it really be?  

Monday, November 18, 2013


On November 13, at 9:46am, Colin Samuel made his appearance:

It took 15 hours of labor with the world's greatest doula, three attempts at an IV (and a near fainting incident), a pitocin drip, the breaking of my water, and a NATURAL childbirth (holy crap, that was wild), and he came out in three pushes.

Colin cried.  I cried.  My husband cried.  No matter how prepared you are, or how much you know that a baby is coming, there's something so amazing and awe-inspiring about that moment when you see that baby for the first time.

And just like that, he's here.  As if he always was.  We spent one night in the hospital, and came home, and then it all began.  The feedings, the diaper changes, the sleepless nights...  I had honestly forgotten how hard this newborn phase is, and Colin's second night with us was a stark reminder.  It is HARD, simple as that. But it's worth it, a thousand times over.

Physically, I am doing great.  Which is a good thing, because with three kids, there isn't really an alternative. Mentally, I am doing okay.  After one rough day, I started my meds almost immediately, and they seem to be working (with the help of placental encapsulation - more on that some other time).  Now I just need to break out that UV Happy Lamp I bought a couple of years ago.  If anything is going to get me over the next couple of months, it's going to be the damn darkness.

But overall, I am happy.  Blissfully happy at times, in fact.  Because in the midst of the sleep deprivation and aching lower back and general shock at how my life has changed, it all just feels right. It's exactly how it's supposed to be.

I spent so much time in my young adult life planning and micromanaging everything.  I had distinct desires in terms of when I would get married, how many children I wanted, when I wanted to have them, whether they would be a boy or a girl, etc.  In truth, none of it has turned out as I planned. But what is so amazing is that my feeble mind could never have imagined it turning out like it has - turning out so good, so perfect, so much better than I could ever have known.

My family is exactly as it should be.  I just know it.  And these three boys....  they are my everything.  They are incredible, amazing, more than anything I could ever have asked for or expected.

I am so blessed, lucky, fortunate, call it whatever you want.  I am complete.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fever Tales

Before I had kids I never really thought about fevers.  In fact, I don't think I had really had a fever in about a decade.  There just comes a time in one's adult life where fevers are a rarity.  Isn't that nice?

But then come children.  And with that, fevers.  

Fever Tale #1
After I had Braden, my first child, I took him to his first doctor's appointment and returned home armed with "Guidelines for the Newborn Infant."  In it was a chart with medicine and dosing instructions, in the event that Braden ever got a fever.  I stocked my medicine cabinet with acetaminophen and ibuprofen, and never really thought much of it.  

At the age of 7 months, Braden got his first fever.  I could tell he was warm, but I was a novice.  I took his temperature (rectally - it takes a while to get used to that), and it was 101.  I FREAKED THE HELL OUT.  As in, called the on-call pediatrician at 2am freaked out.  I look back at this now and am humiliated, but hey, I was a first time mom.  This was a first time fever.  The doctor called me back asking what the emergency was, and I told her my son has some kind of infection or ailment or disease!  HE HAS A FEVER!  She instructed me to (drum roll please).... give him some medicine.  I did.  He got better.  Onto the next.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Pregnant Woman Walking (Barely)

The weird thing about being 39+ weeks pregnant is that you never when the ball will drop.  When plans will be abandoned.  When people will scramble.  When life will be forever changed.

I walk around each day as if it's a normal day.  I do the preschool pick ups and plan playdates and make dinner.  I put the kids to bed each night as I normally do, never saying out loud what I am thinking - Is this the last time I'll put you to bed as a mother of two?  Will I be here tomorrow night to tuck you in?  

It's is truly amazing to me how much things are about to change, and how it all will happen so quickly. Broken water, strong contractions, whatever else sends me in route to the hospital.  I will leave my regular life behind, and return to a new one.

The unpredictability is killing me a bit, to be honest.  Always wanting to be in control, I have multiple babysitters/friends/family on call, and several contingency plans.  I have a list of numbers by the fridge, and several versions of the kids' schedule, depending on what time I have to leave and who will be here.  I have my suitcase packed, complete with baby clothes and a post-partum outfit and prescription for zoloft, should I need it.  I have gifts already wrapped for the kids from the baby, a BPA free bottle with a straw for my labor, and the camera battery fully charged.

I am ready.

But when????  How?????

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I have a lot on my plate right now.  I'm 39 weeks pregnant, for one thing, and there is all the anticipation and discomfort and anxiety that comes with that.  I'm also in full scale school search mode for my oldest son, which is taking up a crazy amount of time and bringing all sorts of stress (I swore I wouldn't get wrapped up in it all.  I lied).  I also have a couple of work projects to wrap up, two kids to feed, laundry to do, contractions to get through, etc.  Oh, and I am obese.  Pregnant, but obese.  

I'm not trying to complain, and really, I'm doing fine.  But my point is, there just seems to be a lot going on.  

So why not add a FREAKING PEANUT ALLERGY into the mix?  

I could have sworn I had given Casey peanuts before.  After all, he's 3 years old!  But now that I look back, I suppose I didn't.  My husband has a mild allergy to nuts, and Braden doesn't like them, so we don't really ever have them in our house.  Casey's school, along with most schools and camps now, are nut-free zones.  So really, in the absence of me purposefully giving him nuts, he probably never did have them.  And I guess I never did.

The fact that he could have an allergy didn't even occur to me.  It certainly didn't before we opened up a packet of peanut M&M's last week.  

Friday, November 1, 2013

Your Turn - "Big Law Rebel's" Story

"Your Turn" is a series of posts where readers share their stories of parenthood, work, the struggle for a balance, or just life generally.  If you are interested in contributing a story, please email me at, or click here.

Lawyers are straight up legendary.  They wear awesome suits, make tons of money, intimidate witnesses in court, and fight exhilarating battles before judges and juries.  It's a glamorous existence rife with prestige and academic accolades.  Firms are bursting with supermodel associates and badass partners who drink bourbon and enjoy playboy lifestyles.  And do you know why all of this has to be true?  Because Hollywood says so.  Law and Order, Suits, Franklin and Bash, Ally McBeal...  If you place any credence in these gripping dramas, the world of law has to be the absolute pinnacle of the professional world.  That's IF you place any credence on these shows.  For some bizarre and idiotic reason, I did... subconsciously at least.  This is how I began my tumultuous tumble down the legal rabbit hole.

When law school kicked off, I hatched my master plan to take the legal world by storm.  I would work hard in school, do well, get the big firm job, toil day and night, make partner, buy a house, join a country club, eat filet mignon, drink scotch, hire a personal tailor, buy a private locker at the cigar bar, drive a high end sports car, purchase a collection of monogrammed shirts, wear custom made cuff links, buy a second house in the country, buy a sailboat, play golf, install a pool, build a patio, and achieve fame and fortune as a legal wizard.  It sounded like a fairy tale existence at the time.

But what cruel joke the world played on me.  Working in big law proved to be far from glamorous. For me, the only benefit was the money, and every other aspect suffocated my soul.  I spent hours slaving away in an isolated office doing mundane busy work late into the night, while listening to other associates brag about how much they worked (and how late into the night).  As an extrovert who craves attention and real communication, I felt completely out of place from day one. And yet I stayed in the field for four long years.

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