Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Just One Year"

The Fourth Trimester. Grammatically incorrect, for one thing--but much more than just a cutesy phrase, much more than The Thompson Twins or the Fifth Beatle--this thing is as real as it gets, and mine is over--THANK GOD! Because as I have probably made quite clear, that fourth trimester, that last 13-week cycle that started with a lil' seed and ended with a robust baby and Mama (yes! robust! I am feeling grrrreat lately!) has come and gone. That fourth trimester can blow away any morning sickness, any stressful caregiver searches, any blood test result anxiety, any acid reflux, achy boobies, migraines, swollen tootsies, varicose veins, shifting bones, displaced pelvises, sciatica, rude relatives or even jacked up birth-plans. The fourth Trimester can be a BEEYOTCH. Say it! BEEEEYOTCH! Say it like Snoop Dogg! that was a DOOZY ((((((grandest of understatements)))))

Yep, just about a year ago, there was a teeny weeny cataclysmic thang goin' on and it was a microscopic Eskarina Poppy-seedling and buckle up Miss Joy, cuz here we go again. Pee on the stick. Get so excited. Get so worried. Dont Tell Hubby(two minutes later../gottaTell Hubby. Dont tell Grandma. Damed if you do and Damned if you dont.Calculate Due Date. Worry about Money/Midwife/Body/Family/Friends/Money/Health/New job/Lack of vehicle/Money/Lack of bedrooms/MoneyMoneyMoney.......tell Grandma, tell kids, tell friends, vomit night and day, lose weight, get pale, get zits, get fat, get ostracized, get political, get sick,get connected, get scared, get yr shit together, watch it fall apart, get bigger, get rounder, get new stretch marks (is that possible?), get mislead, get supported, get bad news, get great news, get tested, tested, tested, get hungry, get sick, get tired, get vitamins, get new clothes, get new bras, get new shoes, worry worry worry, get baby names lined up, get setbacks, get loved, get despised, get swollen, get exhausted, get bigger, get rounder, fall apart, lose control, drown in despair, keep it together, get breakfast, lunch, dinner, laundry, floors, bills, snacks, menus taken care of, move away, try to breathe, get realistic, get surgery, hold on for 13 more weeks of hell you thought you had carefully averted this time, and then all of a sudden, just like that, the storm is over. The clouds part, the skies open, the sea is calm. And you have this cool, fat, awesome baby and you are not only in your old jeans but you need belts and stuff.

It was one year ago this weekend I found out there was a bun in my oven. The longest year probably of my life, gone in the blink of an eye. October to October. Whole Mama..............................Whole Mama again. Rake some leaves. Start thinking about Halloween stuff. Turn on the furnace for the first time.
Its unbelievably amazing, the whole fricking thing. The Childbearing Year. Good Lordie.

Now, I know I still owe you-all a birth story, but I had to write this right now, and tell you all that I am NOT depressed anymore, not even one smidge. Lots of action over on the Homeschooling Blog and lots to come on the Rock N Roll/Art/life in general front to come, too. Breast and Belly has literally saved my life, and of course I will be on here, more, too. Managing my time with 5 kids now is my new personal challenge, but blogging will never cease.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

if i cant brainstorm and i have to do all these drafts i might as wll shut down the blog it just aint me

I just re-realized that every single one of the people who tell me to get over it--in reference to shitty traumatic births have never had a homebirth, never seen a homebirth, and have major unresolved stuff about their own births-- or even more ridiculous--no baby at all.

This little thought helps me to understand where people are coming from when it seems they are coming at me. I am stepping off of the merry go round that goes like this:

I was cut in half!
No body helped me!
I was denied then entire process of birthing! The hormonal rush---just kapoot--did not occur!
I have undergone major surgery--isnt that enough to garner some loving care?
I am not pregnant anymore--where is the baby? How can there be a baby without labor or pushing or birthing?
Why do they need me to be so happy? Is it truly weird to be sad when something shitty is going on?

My homebirth renewed and renewed and renewed me, each day a little more. The vast majority of people will never understand this--but for them to take it so far as to deny the existence of this phenomenon is absurd.

We get so freaking loopy about the Olympic athletes---we accept their triumph and their rush and their victories---and all they get is a stupid medal-probably isnt even real gold. But a mother, one who has truly undergone labor and birth, has experienced something so victorious and so triumphant--but that makes people feel weird. Squirmy. Images of naked ladies victorious is just waaaay off the acceptable scale for most people. Because there is a vulnerability in the victorious new mother. and victory as dictated to us by the modern media, entails Independence, vigor, and--yes--clothing and being a male help alot, too.

Being strong, super strong, outrageously strong, move-mountains strong is what birthing Mamas are. Either you have been there or you havnt. Either youve seen it or youve done it or you havent. There is no father at a homebirth who has to be coaxed off of his cell phone because the baby is crowning. There are no dry eyes in a room when a superwoman has bellowed and roared and conquered the oceans of hurricane force waves fpr her fetus/baby/savior. Either youve seen this, youve been there, youve done this, or you have not. I am not sure if there is any more human and normal and natural thing that is so secreted away in all of our civilization. Where do we come from, how did we get here--all a secret. Shhh shhh nice blue gowns...Mommy will be back in about 6 days....the baby came out of her tummy.


Strong and vulnerable protect her space, yes she is naked yes she is turning inside out, bloody, open as you could ever be, baby so vulnerable, also bloody also naked, but strong as hell, the both of them.

The male model of "Strength" we all are so familiar with is what got us Mamas into our blue gowns and our stranded beetle positions in the first place. The men wanted to see what was going on in there. They were jealous and intimidated by the strength, the mystery, the miraculous miracle. Apparently it wasnt enough to go watch the goats or the lambs or the cats give birth---they wanted to see the women, and like an antiquated precursor to Television Viewing, a front row seat with a great view sounded just peachy. Lay her on her back! Demanded the menfolk---no no said the midwives and the Mamas and the friends--they never do it that way--Lay her on her back so we can SEE! ---and then the boys took over. Men, medicine, and the strength of the women, in such a vulnerable time, such an ebbing and flowing and precious and SACRED time--the time of birthing--was severely severely interrupted. Lay her down, stare at her privacy, glare at her, measure her, judge her, monitor her, QUANTIFY THIS EVENT BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY GODDAMNIT!...well that was the beginning of the end.

But there are still so few people at least in my sphere that even could begin to get this, and I cant blame them anymore. For the bloggers that do, I love you. For the people that dont, I am sorry for you. You dont know about something that is EXTREMELY important to know about. True Birth.

and I ramble and I hit "post" and I move forward : )

Monday, September 15, 2008

some Charlie musings...

So, I have promised a big birth story and it is in "drafts". But it isnt done and it has made me not think it was ok to just blog about more casual stuff. so....birth story is still coming and my goodness thank you for all of the support. I have been a complete loser about commenting back on my own comment section--I apologize! I get every comment sent to my email and I savor each one. These words are what keeps me going, period, many days. I do not know how you all even find my blog (someone help me install one of those tracker things, huh?) but just thank you thank you thank you. Man.

Well I am here to do some realistic reporting on the man himself, a.k.a. Mister Baby Charlie. Sigh. Baby Charlie....he is one pissed off dude. I dont even know what to say about him right now! I have ALWAYS maintained that 2 year olds are babies and that 2 1/2 year olds are kids, and this huge change comes about sort of subtly....your fat little baby you remember so well from their 2nd birthday party ("say thank you, honey! say thank you!"....blank stare) is now this kid, this totally verbal, opinionated, talented, strong willed CHILD....that (for our family) is in this bizarro space of "is it a tiny boy or a giant baby?". He nurses and nurses and nurses. Nursing for milk. Nursing for comfort. Nursing out of habit. Nursing out of blatant angry possessive jealousy of the new baby. Nursing everytime she does and then some. Screaming I WANT NURSIE in a very un-loving tone. Turning it into this thing, that frankly, isn't always ok anymore. Dealing with that. (The isolation that can come from doing something so far out of ANYONE's "comfort zone"....I have nursed him "in public" at this age only a few times---pathetic traitor to the cause, right? Im trying....)He is in diapers, he sleeps in a crib, rides in a stroller, has a high chair and a car seat and a baby-soft toothbrush, wears clothes that have the Gerber-baby head on the tag...but is feeling more and more KID and less and less BABY by the day. and its good and its sad and its scary and its wild and its bittersweet and its normal and i have been here now quite a few times and it never gets easier, and it always creeps up on me out of nowhere, and it has less to do with the the latest "new baby" than i used to think, but boy o boy let us Mamas never, EVER underestimate the shake-up that a new baby always, always causes/brings.
Let us Mamas not fantasize that if only the birth had gone the way of toddler watching the whole darn thing right in the middle of the living room floor would there be no sibling rivalry...cuz that just aint true.
let us Mamas and hopefully, oh I do hope for all you preggos out there, that your support network,( may you all have a real one and not a vapor-one) can deal with even a fraction of the shake-up that is the Homebirth Transfer....or the unplanned cesarean....or the planned cesarean that still ended up massively f'ed up and devastating.....please please someone alert the caregivers (may you have some!) to the gargantuan vibrations that will come home along with the little squalling blanket in mommy's arms.....the anger and the sadness and the pain and the shame and the disappointment and the processing and the frustration and the Mommy-is-home-but-she-really-isn't-here weirdness....oh god the toddlers, the husbands, how does anyone plan for that? Did baby Charlie even have a chance at smooth sailing? Did he really fare any better than poor, poor baby Casey, who, at 26 months old, was the casualty of a planned homebirth-transfer-cesarean-zero assistance whatsoever decimated Mom scene November of '05? A full time nursing tot whose Mama was just GONE? GONE for a week and then returned in complete tatters? Shudder shudder sigh.

What am i even talking about? Oh yeah. Baby Charlie. Last fall he was a white-blonde curly haired one year old and now he is an almost three year old dude...sorry to obsess about the hair, daddy took him for a trim and he got way too much of a big boy haircut for my gentle heart...it will grow..... Yes, I am using a bit of poetic license in the way i say that but its all still true. I miss him. I missed him. Somehow. Again. Another pregnancy, another 2-ish year old, just POOF!-ing into a 3 year old.
I am enjoying him and we are relearning about each other. He is very wonderful and very very grown up all of a sudden. Now that the older kids are in school, I am home with this baby-kid, this angel-devil, and I am amazed and exasperated and touched and proud and saddened and frustrated and in love with him. I am trying to capture something I never really had with him, which is just a really warm and familiar, cozy relationship. Dont get me wrong, I feel that him and I "bonded" quite well for a c-section (compared to my experience with Mickey, which is all I knew when Charlie came, it was great. With Mickey, I just sort of stared at him for 3 months and wondered when the doctors would come and take him away, and tell me there was a big mistake and this squelching colicky gassy bald strange little critter was not mine).....Me and Charlie were always "bonded", but being so busy with 4 kids he was just Good Old Baby Charlie, chewin' on a cookie, and then i was pregnant, homeschooling, bartending, and then, well, I dunno. We moved to the new house and he is a big brother. And almost three (November 1st). And big and smart and funny and angry and loving and ridiculous and I feel like I just dont know him sometimes. I want to be closer to him and it is getting easier everyday I am further away from the cesarean, further into healing, further into routine, further into rest and recovery, there will be more of Mama in this old woman.

I love you, Charlie, and I hope that one of the good things that comes out of this putting the kids in school thing is that you and me can really snuggle in and become awesome together. You have the sweetest spirit, and now you deserve to flourish and grow in peace and gentleness, home with Mama and Baby Sister. I have great great dreams of an extremely cozy winter, with the wooden floors and the sunny windows and the little toys that I have spent so many hours going through for you, the little finger puppets and spinning tops, the wood doll house and the blocks that me and Steve hand-sanded so long ago...the nursery rhyme books, the fat crayons, the pull toys, the wooden trains, the vintage fisher price stuff, and the music. The music the music the music, how I have missed the music. Woody Guthrie. The Babysitters. The Roches. Lunch Money. The Classical station on the TV. My "Healing Harp" CD.....big kids dont want to hear this stuff as much anymore, but I have missed it all acutely.

I think I might be my best with kids under age 7 or so. I really have quite a passion for early childhood and all of its trappings.
Who knows.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Preview to truth and hopeful recovery

I have post partum depression. I want to put a new picture out there if you will, of this affliction, because for me, I never could really identify with the ladies in the (well-intentioned, dont get me wrong) little pamphlets or magazines. You know, the ones who sit there in their bathrobes, looking down at their baby and sort of snuffling and saying how they thought it was gonna be so different.....or the ones who want to straight-up kill their baby....or the ones who feel no connection to the baby and then feel guilt surrounding that....or the ones who say they have it all, a loving mate, a wonderful support system, a healthy baby, but they just feel blah....

None of that really ever felt like what I was experiencing, so, like so many other things in the media and the popular notions of how we may or might or should be or feel, nothing clicked or connected for me and so I just blew it off, faked it until I made it, etc.

but I cant this time. My depression is one of circumstances, and the fact that there are very real and tangible sucky, hard, mean, nasty, shitty, downright rotten things that I have been through since I had the baby, makes this thing tricky, this labeling, "Is it depression, or just life sucking right now?"

Who cares. Because it is both, it has been both, and I am waaaay outside of my mental health range. So, sure, I have hormones, very real and potent chemical substances at play here. And I have adjustment to a new family member, and I am exhausted, even though the baby sleeps quite well, but it is the events that have occurred, the stuff I havent written about,that flipped the switch for me.

When I posted about my plans to have an elective cesarean, one of the little promises I made to myself was that I was NOT going to be back online in a month or so, complaining about the c section. No, that would be wrong, that would freak out the readers, that would just negate all of the stuff I said about my unexpected, hard fought unplanned cesareans.....no sir, I was gonna do this, I was gonna get the darn surgery, I was gonna set up this big network of people to help me and Steve out, and it was gonna be the nicest darn c section that ya ever did see. Truly. and it was.

I have never written my birth story yet, because it sucks, and there are bad guys and there are wrong doings and there are disappointments and there is strange stuff and because I was not ready to go there at all, I was too tired, too hurt to do anything BUT post some cool little baby pictures and let whatever happened to be on the digital camera's memory card be the "truth" for a little while, maybe forever. So I painted a little picture for you all, I lied to all of you, and for what? You have been the best friends I have ever had, these cyber people who write me these incredibly kind and introspective and thoughtful comments...the names who come up again and again, the anonymouses, and the random new names...I lied to all of you. My story is not wonderful, it sucks. It sucks alot. In many ways this time round in the hospital was shittier and more demented than the first two--but you know what? Because it was SUCH poetic irony, because there was SUCH pressure from immediate family who were just alittle too (?) overjoyed that I was doing this (kinda like the putting our kids in public school thing..there is supportive and then there is jubilance..but I digress) and because I was way, way too hurt and raw to even open myself up for one single teensy comment when and if I tried to even hint at the truth of my own reality, ("NOW, NOW, I HEARD IT WAS A WONDERFUL HOSPITAL!") I just said wow it was freakin awesome, heres some baby pics, ok bye bye.

I was totally abused in the hospital, several of our family and friends completely bailed on us with commitments to help us out, then my husband got all depressed himself and our lives have spiralled into a real bad scene. We have been crawling back out of this for about 2 weeks now, but it has been really, hell. Even with a wonderful baby. When I was pregnant, I just didnt see how that could be possible. The baby, the baby, when the baby comes everything will be awesome...how many weeks left? how many days left until everything will be awesome and perfect?....yes, even five timer moms can fall prey to the immensely powerful pregnancy hormones, thoughts, and dreams. Even mamas who know they are facing major abdominal surgery and have about 5 days of help lined up and then most of that crumbles, even mamas who are not AT ALL healed from the last c section just a little over 2 years prior, yes those mamas too can fool themselves....54 days until everything is perfect and awesome and i have my dear sweet baby in my arms.....53 days.....52 days.....

No. Because you have your dear sweet baby in your arms, for about 10 minutes, and then IT starts up. ALL of IT. The fucking nurses, and the fucking lack of care, and the fucking demeaning ignorance, and the fucking phone calls from the latest person cancelling on their babysitting commitment, (phone calls??? really??? In your hospital bed?? In the bed you are in before you are even in your real bed?? does a newly dissected mother or anyone immediatly post op really need fucking ridiculous phone calls??? about anything??? about how horrible your newborn's name is, or about that news guy who had the sudden heart attack, or about where are the waffles/water shoes/band aids???) Was the part where i was under anesthesia really the only time a Mother gets to rest?? And, last but not least, the fucking pain.
the pain the pain good Lord almighty, the fucking PAIN.

So I am leaving this now, this little prelude to my TRUE birth story, which I hope to compose, tomorrow, while Charlie and Eska nap and the three others are at their school (no luck on me getting used to that one anytime soon). Sorry for anyone I misled if it led to any bad consequences to any Mamas out there, forgive me. Maybe the real story will ring true for others, and my own fake one can blow away like so many frosty pamphlets.