Thursday, July 30, 2009

Carrying Charlie Linden

My 4th baby, Charlie weighed TWELVE pounds when he was born. Twelve. I have so many outrageous memories of his pregnancy, and I have often wondered if my experience wasn't more like a twin pregnancy than a singleton, at that size. Here are a few memories:

Being really big at Greta and Mickey's June birthday party. I had a little fancy non-stretchy cotton blouse top from Motherhood Maternity and it was to the full max. Charlie was born November 1st.

Having to lie on my side constantly, while somehow caring for my own three kids and the 2 I was babysitting. Ages 8 7 5 4 and 1.5...

To make this possible, we rearranged our living room so that we had a futon in full open position right next to the fron t window. We had a big old fashioned porch and we put a sandbox on it and a big babygate in front of the opening to the steps with bungee cords. I would lie on the futon and watch Casey and talk to thim through the window. When we saw the mailman I would shout "just a minute! just a minute!" and one of the kids would run out and have the mailman hand our mail over the babygate to them.

The side-lying was about the Pubis Synphasis Disorder that came from carrying such a big child after vaginally delivering an eleven pound child less than 2 years before. My pregnancy with Charlie was the worst case of this I had, despite the fact that it usually gets worse with each pregnancy. I could not sit up on my bones. It would be like jumping on a broken ankle. You just can't do it. When you're pregnant you can't lie on your front, and you can't lie on your back, and I couldn't sit, so....I could stand and lie on my side!

The first twinges of wondering if this was a very big baby came when we went out to eat for my birthday April 3rd and we had to leave the restaurant because I couldn't get comfortable enough in the basic restaurant wooden chair to even eat my meal. April third. Born in November. *sigh*

I had only experienced getting pregnant in the fall and having a baby in the summer. So getting pregnant at the beginning of the year was really significantly different. It was dark and bleak and cold out. I would gag everytime cold air got in my mouth and our winter plans were immediately cancelled due to Mommy is barfing or asleep. We never went back to a homeschool co-op we went to one time, and we never sledded or skated or did anything. I remember February as Girl Scout Cookie Time for Greta's troop and driving around as a family one Saturday delivering all the cookies, and pulling over to throw up in the blackened road side snow, exhaust going into my face, the descriptions on the cookie boxes in the backseat mocking me with their descriptions, each word more gross and woozy than the next--minty! buttery! rich! peanuty! ohhhhhh so so gross.

I remember an inordinate amount of energy going into us not telling anyone I was expecting, and how negative that experience was.

This was my first experience with (I'm so sorry baby Charlie! We of course couldn't imagine life with out you now!) not being overjoyed at finding out I was pregnant. This was also my first time not "peeing on the stick" with Steve right there outside the bathroom door. I did it in private on a Sunday evening when spaghetti dinner smelled yucky (again) and my boobs were sting-y and my newly upstarting period hadn't been around for a while. It went positive and I got covered in chills and I smiled and I had tears in my eyes and I came and politely ate a little spaghetti. For the baby. The Baby??? Oh good Lordie. We already have a baby, and a little one at that--Casey was 17 months old and nursing 'round the clock.

I didn't tell Steve until Thursday. It was a very strange and new experience keeping this secret from him. I am not good at keeping silent, as I am not the stew and brew and contemplate type. I did it for many reasons, some of which are still unknown to me. But I could feel that this not telling him was somehow a big deal. I tried to experience holding the secret as an intimate exercise in personal growth and empowerment. I tried to think of holding a little egg-ball thing somewhere deep in my belly and visualizing my secret as something peach and fuzzy and watery and minuscule and enormous and full of potential and nothingness as well. Exhaustion and nausea and winter's darkness made that a truly psychedelic week of primordial ooze and otherworldly wonder and worry.

It got to the point where I was so all encompassed with my secret that I couldn't really believe people, my husband at least, couldn't tell. Empowerment and quiet knowing took only a handful of days to turn into resentment (at nighttime nursing, at stinky foods, at changing not only my own toddler but the babysat toddler's diapers, at any and all suggestions that I do anything that took any effort whatsoever...) By the evening of the fifth day I had to come out with it. I had been teary-eyed and completely weird all week. I was very weird in how I told Steve. It was basically a really shameful female head trippy sideways passive aggressive bit that involved me smiling all freaky and asking him how could he just act like he doesnt know was really uncool. I wasn't able to see at that point whatsoever that a lot of this was about me fearing he would not think this was good news. Or to be very hind-sight is 20/20, me putting all of my own trepidation and guilt onto him somehow. Because I was not "excited". I was already to the throws of morning sickness (all day) by then and there just isn't anything to do but hang on for the horrible boat ride. I was *this* close to thinking tiny, tiny, teeny little thoughts about miscarriage. Not abortion. Just....a kind of quick terrible little thought when I went to the bathroom and peeked for blood on the undies (like I assume every single woman does every single time she pees, there they are, right between your knees, you look, right?) and I just had this fleeting thought about how I have been almost too lucky in never having had a miscarriage and how maybe I might, and how if I did, we would not even consider pregnancy for like 2 years and...just little stuff like that. Normal terrible secret little stuff. But no blood, not one speck. A baby is surely coming. As sure as tomorrow being as nauseating as today. As sure as knowing you will "have the flu until summer" is in February. Heavy stuff.

Being pregnant while mothering an EXTREMELY INDESCRIBABLY hyper 18 month old was just horrid. I could see that there would be no cuddly loaf-y afternoons of Blue's Clues and hummus, no cozy coloring books while Mama semi-dozed, no mother and baby swim class with Panera afterwards. I was the proud owner of a full time daycare and the mother of a real live monkey--and this was scary.

The pregnancy mosie-d along, and it was a long year. We eventually told everyone, and --eh--the reactions were about par for the course. A lot of the relatives who literally pretended I did not just have a homebirth a year and a half ago were now stumbling over themselves with the "Whos yer doctor--or--whatever--" kinds of stuff. No one saw my homebirth with Casey as a success story, as a triumphant VBAC, or as anything fit for discussion, really. So there I was with my big belly and truly feeling ignored, left out of even the most basic polite conversations. No what do you think your having, nothing. I think they were so scared I was going to talk about Homebirth that they just couldn't deal with me as human.

(I didn't start blogging until Charlie was 12 weeks old. I was very closeted as a birth-junkie, and nobody besides a few few people knew how passionate I was about homebirth, midwifery, or what my homebirth of Casey meant to me. My fault, nobody's fault, just how I did stuff back then.)

I remember taking oodles of baths later in the pregnancy. Sometimes 3 a day. We got a pool in the summer and I liked it but it wasn't super deep and so I would sit in it and Casey would jump on my belly and it kind of was awkward. But after my tepid baths or my times in the pool, there would be a nice hour or so when my feet weren't swollen and my legs weren't swollen and my Braxton-Hicks stopped.

Oh man speaking of Braxton-Hicks...I was EIGHT WEEKS pregnant and I decided I had to take my own kids and the babysitting kids to Home Depot to buy a big rug for the front porch. it was the first springish weather and I wanted to get these kids out on the porch for some freshness. So there I was, pushing the cart through Home Depot and I had that bladder-cramping, pulling hard feeling because I was briskly walking. Are you kidding me? Braxton Hicks? I stopped walking, drank some water, and it stopped. As soon as I started walking again it started up. Eight weeks pregnant. I feared twins.

By July, I was a huge, huge, when are you having that baby, lady? huge. We went to music in the park with my sister and her son, and I stayed at the blanket when the kids all went down to the dancing part. I couldn't walk that far and be expected to make it back to the car later! July. For all I know Charlie did weigh 6 or 7 pounds by then, I really looked and felt 9 months pregnant. July.

Charlie's due date came and went, and his October 20th due date blurred into a Halloween labor and an All Saint's Day birth of the second biggest baby that particular doctor ever delivered.

So that was a bit of what it was like to have a twelve pound baby so soon after an eleven pound baby. I promised you all I'd write about his birth and I will. Someday.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This is just so, so good.

Not hilarious, not amusing, simply brilliant post. A consent form for the doctor. If I had the wherewithall, I would distribute these like hotcakes.

Kudos, Kudos, Kudos.

Friday, July 24, 2009

How did you ever shop before you knew me? ;)

Here are some fab new products I have tried lately:

Clearasil Blackhead Eraser. This is a little creepy vibrator that you velcro little soap-laden pads onto and scrub your face with. It takes like ONE treatment to have a whole new face. Its insane. I look better than when I was 25. Ok maybe 28. I guess I just needed to scrape and fry off the top layer of my face. Who knew? Under 20 bucks, any drugstore.

Axe Body Detailer. A buff-puff of sorts marketed to men. My husband got it and I quickly became obsessed with moving beyond the face to scouring off my whole body. Whats with the new cultural obsession with exfoliation and why didnt we all do this sooner? I fricking LOVE it. My wierd dry arms feel like some fake-ly soft stripper or something. See, why do I have to say stripper? Why cant I just say SOFT? Because I am not depressed anymore--you should be happy about it! Anyhow, buy this, it was like 4 bucks.

***While youre already in that aisle, get your man the Red Axe body wash. All the rest smell like some nightclub perv from 1991 but the red one smells like oh my god black pepper and sunshine and cinnamon or something...dude its yummy. Or use it on yourself, I definitely am ok with smelling like a yummy cinnamon guy now and again.

Krusteaz instant pancake mix. At Costco and Sams Club. this is not only a just-add-water pancake mix that actually tastes good, but it is cheap! You get this enormous bag that you can barely lift for like 7 bucks. The pancakes are puffy and golden and you can jazz them up with apples and cinnamon, etc. Do not be afraid to buy this, you WILL go through it all. Just add water! Do you realize that that means no matter how poor you get, you can have yummy pancakes and be this cool fun mom who does pancakes for dinner? Im just sayin'...

Also, just an all-out plug for an intensely righteous website with all things amazing and gorgeous and perfect: Who is this person and why has she tapped into my every dream of cuteness? Hooray! I am already begging for the acorn necklace---it is very difficult for me to look at this website without screaming and squealing. Just warning ya. Dont wake your baby when you see this stuff. Clasp your hand over your mouth as you run for the debit card. (Is it just me?)

Well thats all for the reviews 2-nite. Please share your own experiences with any of these or any other products, good bad or otherwise!

Housefairy is alive

Where did that breathless fun blogger go? You know, the one who blabbered on incessantly about Birth and Makeup and Fashion and Family and Rock and Roll and Hair and Sex and Body Image and DIY everything and Budgets and Houses and Beauty Supplies and Indie Films and Breasts and Bellies????

She went down that slippery scary waterslide of hormones and sleep deprivation and poverty and insecurity and depression and self doubt and fear and death and pain and loss and change and growth and lack of basic everything and there just was no place for Blue Hair or Cherry Skirts or Guitar Amps or Slurpees or Homeschool Tips or Nursing Bras for Tall Moms or Painting Little Chairs With Bluebirds and Smiley Clouds or Clever Quips or, most sadly of all, any insight whatsoever into Birth-Related-Anything. Nada. Zip. And when she got into her car alone, she did not BLAST The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, she usually just cried.

A little hand reached up out of the water that she splashed down hard into at the bottom, the bleak-as-hell-rock-bottom of the waterslide and she got a hold of some Zoloft. That helped tremendously. Then people sent her and gave her a few things that literally, LITERALLY, saved her and her family from actual homelessness. Food. Books. Gift Cards. Loving emails that she never write back to, but held in her heavy heart as she tried to sleep at night. Unheard of patience and generosity and support. A little lifeboat made out of tiny antidepressant pills and donated food and good reading material, and kind emails and phone calls, she floated on while her own Mother died in her arms.

July kind of has floated around, and past, and yet its still there. And Zoloft got to be a little too cocoon-y and fuzzy and although it cut the sharp pain of the depression, it also left her pretty vapid. Nice for a while, but not truly a lifestyle, but more of a warm and neutered quilt. Now she is on Wellbutrin. Now she has to watch her temper again, and she has to get sleep and eat right and now she can cry hard and now she can laugh hard and now she can remember stuff and now she can read and now she can write and now she can enjoy sex (*uncool uncool side effect of zoloft...youre finally not depressed but you have the sexuality of a piece of clay*) and all that stuff is really important for Living, not just making it through.

So, faithful, faithful blog people: She is me and I am her and I am back and although I am without a mother now, I am happily moving right on through this incredibly hard period quite swimmingly! I cannot thank you all enough, anonymouses and acknowledged friends, for all you have done for me. I PROMISE to pay it forward.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

High on it

Ah, my Jill. Go read her cool post! Then send this link and other stories like it to the nearest ignoramus who tries to compare your natural childbirth ecstacy to dental work or other idiotic misinformed yucky medical events.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Well a alot has gone on but I havent felt like blogging...thank you for reading this and not forgetting me!

I bypassed the system and took Casey to the pediatrician and got him on Concerta. It is a stimulant medication for ADHD. It seemed to be helping tremendously for a couple of days but now I dont know. He is on a microscopic dose and can go up 2 more levels if needed. If you are freaked out or shaking your head at me thinking I am doping my kid, all I can say is that I understand and I felt like that too before ?I was a parent of a child with this disorder.

The ahndouts they gave me about what can happen to your kid of they do NOT get treatment were what really hit home for us to decide to try it. Besides the ominous and me...not the number one of poor school "performance", there was alot about car crashes and drugs and prison and I tell you what it was all the stuff I thought in my bed as I tried to picture someone so impulsive and hyper growing up--what kind of life will he have, etc.

The two days we had that were super, he was a five year old boy. Not sluggish not doped not boring or "sitting still", just a nice boy who chatted my head off all day and did NOT hit me with branches, break dishes, run across the street and not tell anyone, not kick the cat, not pour juice on the floor in the bathroom on purpose, not squeeze glue into the heater vents. He talked and talked and talked to me and was really fun and rational and thoughtful. He asked permission to do stuff, he apologized when he spilled or knocked something over, we read books, we started a little sticker chart, it was amazing. But the past three days he has been mean and hyper and impulsive again. This will be an ongoing thing with the doctor ?I am sure but that glimpse of how it could be was really heartwarming.

Eska had a mysterious fever for 6 days that had her at the doctor 3 times. They ended up giving her 3 shots of a broad-spectrum antibiotic which immediatrly ended the fever. But we still dont know what her deal was.

Mickey and Greta are fighting alot, the first time in their lives. Greta is playing the role of exasperated older person and he is playing the role of non communicative pouty spaz. Sigh.

I dont know what we are doing in the fall but we are NOT all five kids gonna be home with Mama. i am looking at a Waldorf day school for ages 3 to 6 on Friday. For Casey and Charlie to go a couple days a week. The lady was SO cool on the phone but avoided my questions about pricing so I am already worried it will be unaffordable.

There is also public kindergarten for Casey, or Mickey, and Gretas best friend goes to a charter junior high about 15 miles from here that sounds really open minded (you can have purple hair and listen to ipods! woo woo).

I also am considering just having lots of activities, and being some car mom who is always driving the kids somewhere. but something has to give. This blows right now-- all of them floundering and bickering and loafing and complaining.

I wish with all my heart that there was 2 or three days a week school. Ive said it a million times. maybe 9 to 3, no homework.

Love to all,

Thursday, July 2, 2009

My beautiful mom passed away Tuesday night after nearly a 9 year battle with ovarian cancer. She was 59. I was there with her when she died. She suffered for so long with tumors and surgeries and chemos and I know for sure now that she is no longer suffering. I do not have anything eloquent to say yet, but thank you to everyone who has offered us help, it means so much.
Rest in peace, truly, Mom.