Coming to terms with being a GOOD MOM

You read that right. Coming to terms with being a good mom. That would mean I think I am a good mom. Well, duh. I know I am a good mom.

If nothing else, the last 6 months have been just insane. Or I have been insane. I’m not entirely sure which, at the moment. Mommy hormones are still raging so it could be the latter. Anyways-I didn’t even feel like a mom till my daughter was probably 5 1/2 months old. It just clicked one day. I just felt it, FINALLY.

So here is where the good mom part comes in. Now that I feel like a mom, I know indistinctly that I am a good mom. I had spent the last year (from pregnancy till now) reading and searching and re-reading all sorts of mommy things on the inter-webs. If you want to feel like a good mom, this can sometimes be a bad idea. There are all sorts of opinions out there on parenting your kids. Breast is best! Bottle feeders for life! Wear your baby! Don’t let them eat GMOs! Wipe their butts with only the finest organic hand-spun fair-traded cotton butt wipes available! Pinterest EVERYTHING. Umm… ok?

I actually got far too busy to even search for these things online or read the mommy-boards or facebook pages. I do follow “Scary Mommy” on FB (which I highly recommend-it has made me feel sane in my darkest hours), but besides that, I haven’t been keeping track.

BEST THING EVER.

Here are my qualifications for being a good mom:

1. Love them: Love your kid more than your heart even can dream capable. This has kind of come naturally. It’s pretty cool.

2. Keep them alive: Do everything in your power to keep them safe and warm.

3. Try your best: Do everything HUMANLY possible to be your best version of you. (Pinterest need not apply).

Everyone is different. Breastfeeding is cool, bottle feeding is, too. I don’t care how other people feed their kid as long as he or she is fed! I don’t care if you co-sleep, wear the baby, let them cry, hold them, kiss them… whatever. It is your child. If you didn’t think that you were doing your best, that is where the problem comes in. Just love your child, keep them safe, and try hard. Sure, you’re gonna fail but childhood is a loooonnggg time that goes by REALLY fast… They will survive and might even thank you for whatever you screwed up on. So take a breather- you got this.

Cause I do. And if I am a good mom, there are plenty more out there like me. So it’s been kind of weird realizing I am a good mom. It is hard to give yourself credit sometimes. I have tried being modest about it but what is the use, really? Be a good mom and rock that shit. You and your kiddo will be truly happy and that is all that matters, right?

Love love love, Mommy C.

I’m a Mom

I don’t feel like a mom, but I am one. I have a beautiful 4 month old daughter. I bore her. I am a mom. I was pregnant seemingly forever. I cried night after night for no reason, threw things due to incredible (pregnancy) rage, and I didn’t see my lady bits without a mirror for months. I am a mom.

I keep having to remind myself I am a MOTHER but it STILL isn’t sinking in. I am at the point, 4 months later, that I feel like “Oh hey, I am kinda a mom” even though of course, I AM a MOM. I think with reason. Cause and effect. No matter how I think of it or what I tell myself, I know I am a mother but I don’t feel like a mother. I am told this will come in due time, but I am still waiting.

Maybe it is because moms were always old. When I was a kid my mom and all my friends’ moms were old. Of course at the time they were probably barely 35, but that was ancient back then! I don’t feel ancient! I feel like I shouldn’t even be able to buy beer yet! For the record, I’ve been able to buy beer for 7 *gasp* years. Why is my sense of time so screwed up?

Maybe it is because I have zero maternal instinct. I would like to say I am great with all kids, but in truth, I am only great with anyone over the age of like 5. Babies scare the living crap out of me. They can’t tell you what is wrong, they watch you like you’re doing something wrong and they know it, and they cry (I swear) just for the fun of it. There is no rhyme or reason to it and that is what I just can’t handle.

I have mastered the art of diaper changes. I can now change a diaper with minimal mess and am averaging only 1 outfit change a day. I have also “mastered” the art of breastfeeding. And that is an art. I have kept my baby healthy and growing for 4 months now, all on my own. Even with this, I feel like a big sister or something, maybe a cousin? I can’t get over the fact that this baby belongs to ME. I don’t have to ask anyone else’s permission on what to do with her because she is all mine.

Maybe she is just so perfectly wonderful and my love for her is just so big, it is hard to believe I am actually a mom.

Whatever it is, I am hoping that some day I will feel like a mom and just not be a mom. All in all, nothing can change the fact that, well… I’m a mom.

I’m Sorry or I’m Back

It has been months. MONTHS. My last post was in July, you know-before things got crazy. At work, they were working me like a mad woman and I can honestly say I am proud of myself for working up until I had the baby. It was a stroke of luck or a gift from God that I had the day off when I went into labor. Ask the nurses at the doctor’s office. They probably STILL don’t use the exam room my water broke in! Then of course, I had the baby. No one wants to write when you have a newborn and a bazillion things to do. I was even too busy and tired to procrastinate enough with my other junk to write on here. I really wish I had, too, because I had a LOT to say.

I would sit on the toilet to pee and go over an imaginary blog post that I wanted to get out. Then I would have to hurry off to feed or change my little bundle of joy. More on her later.

So over all, I apologize to the exact 6 people that probably follow me and the exact 0 that care that I have been missing for the past 6 months. I do like to feel like I am being polite, even if no one is at the receiving end of my heartfelt apology.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year,

C.

I have a total new respect for my body.

Being pregnant, if I haven’t said so already 10,000,000 times, actually sucks. I am yet to find this whole “glowing” thing and “loving” being pregnant is like a unicorn… does it even exist? With this being said and all the crappy changes my body has gone through, I have a completely new respect for it.

Some will tout mind over matter, and they are sort of correct. The only way to get through pregnancy in a slightly sane manner is to set your mind to it and just keep swimming. However, your body does what is has to do regardless of what you think about it.

From crazy new acne breakouts to PSD (where your pelvis takes it upon itself to stretch open and in my case, hurt like a mother fucker), and from stretch marks to the worst bout of heartburn known to mankind, the body does what it has to do.

I bent down today to get a couple of cubes out of the freezer at work (after hobbling into the kitchen), I got my 5 cubes and tried to stand up. Holy Jesus, it was a workout. As a firefighter and a competitive lumberjack, this was especially disheartening. I couldn’t even get up from a crouching position without some serious effort. What the hell is wrong with me??

With this being said, it reminds me how awesome my body (former and current) really is. I could saw a log with ease, pull a 2 1/2 into a building, climb up a ladder, cut people out of cars, jump and skip and hop, dance… I could run up my stairs without having to stop and catch my breath after the third step… I could put my own shoes on for chissake! Now? I feel like a complete failure. I took all of those wonderful things (including the sheer fact I had energy-even just a bit of energy-to do them all) for granted. My body was awesome! Plus, looking at pictures where I thought I was fat (shout out to freshman year in college me), I looked damn good.

Now? I am cooking a human. A tiny little human is sucking the living life out of me and I love her with all my heart already. My body is sustaining another life besides my own. Sure, I have felt terrible that I can’t do much anymore, but with what my body is busy doing (seemingly whatever it feels like), I guess I shouldn’t complain. I know there are a ton of women who a. like being pregnant, b. are having an awesome pregnancy, and c. are completely different from me. However, there is no physical way I can get my lard-ass to the gym right now. I feel broken. But at 34 weeks (holy shit), I have been through a lot. I don’t have too much time left and even though I’ve absolutely hated my body throughout this process, I am pretty impressed by it. I am grateful that I can have a baby and that I’m not on bed rest, and that she is doing well so far. I have a lot of respect for myself and it even though it has taken me 34 weeks to realize it, I’m still pretty bad ass. This baby is going to be awesome, even though she will still own my body for another year-ish, we get to share it a little more fairly now. My former self was pretty cool, my current self (even with the excruciating daily pain) is pretty cool, and I can only hope that my respect for it will allow me to become stronger and healthy so that my future self is equally as cool as the last two stages.

To all the other expecting moms out there-you’re the shit. You were before, you are now, and you will be in the future. Don’t forget that.

Today’s Lesson: Don’t judge a book by it’s cover

Today I have my glucose test for my pregnancy. Not a big deal but it does require me to sit in the lab office for a couple hours while my body processes the 75g of glucose I had to drink earlier. Well, while sitting here I am able to bare witness to a lot of interactions and a plethora of different and unique people. Within the last hour, these three things have happened:

1. Age is a funny thing: Some people look their age. Others do not. Everyone has to announce their date of birth as soon as they come in and I have made it sort of an entertainment to see how close I was at estimating their age. Apparently there are a lot of ladies who need glucose tests today. Most women are alone (like myself) but there was one who came in with her significant other. They were both kind of awkward people but I had estimated they might be boyfriend and girlfriend… Maybe late teens early twenties. Well… She was older than me! My age estimation is way off nowadays but it’s funny how you judge someone on their appearance and literally know nothing about them!

2. Amy: So there are a lot of pregnant ladies here and a lot of elderly here. Sometimes older people have a hard time hearing. The nurse came out looking for Amy and both an older gentleman and a pregnant lady got up. The older gentleman walked confidently over to the nurse as the pregnant lady sat back down, confused. The nurse was also confused. The man says brightly “surprise!!” Which made the nurse even more confused. She asked to verify the name, as she also thought he had heard it incorrectly. “My name is Amy!” He said to her and verified his last name. HE was the correct Amy.

3. In the hood: I am currently in a city with a large immigrant and minority population. Of course there are a lot of people here speaking different languages and some looking a bit more culturally diverse. An African American male walked in, chains on, pants low, walking with a swagger. I had expected a “Yo, dawg, I’m here for some bloodwork”. Instead, he was the most eloquent and polite speaker I had witnessed all morning. His grammar and vocabulary probably topped my own and even held the door for the nurse citing “ladies first!”

 

I am am fairly ashamed to be making these initial judgements about people because I know better. I don’t know why we even judge people so quickly the way we do. Is it society? The way we were brought up? I hate catching myself doing it because consciously, I know better than to do it. But it just strikes you sometimes, I guess.

So my lesson of the day: Don’t judge a book by it’s cover and keep an open mind. People will surprise you, so maybe that is the “fun” thing about judgements.

June already!?

Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess! I am not sure I would count this as fun but it is a definite relief from what I was feeling before! I am now about 3 months out from my due date and doing pretty well. The baby is kicking away and doing the macarena and other plyometric activities. She is a happy little kid (this is all based on assumption from her sick dancing skills she has clearly acquired from her Mama). I feel good, too. I have a decent amount of energy, minus the fact that I only sleep in 1-2 hour stents because of having to constantly pee. Seriously, I half wish I could just use a catheter at night… it is ridiculous! However, I suppose it is slowly training me for when she gets here. Hubby has also started waking up. Probably because I am like a turtle on my back trying to get in and out of bed and make no effort to be quiet. Hey, he will need this “training” too.

Let’s see. Any updates? She is healthy and seems to be growing right on track so far! Excellent news for us. I have a glucose test next Friday and a Dr. appointment Monday (normal checking in on things and stuff). I just like to hear her heartbeat and have them tell me I’m doing just fine. Up for this month is a baby shower hosted by my mom and sister and booking a birthing education class for July.

NOW I am getting excited. As bad as it sounds, I was absolutely 100% not impressed with being pregnant. And as someone who went through test after test to just make sure I was even able to have a baby, this seems a little absurd. But it is the truth. I wasn’t feeling any sort of connection to her. Now, I definitely feel a connection, some sort of motherly love, but I still almost feel like I have a stranger sharing my body. I have also taken on a totally new look to pregnancy and my baby. Before I was absolutely scared shitless that something was going to happen, I was going to eat the wrong thing or drink too much tea or have medication that wasn’t perfectly tested for pregnant moms… I looked everything up. I belonged to different boards and clubs online for expecting moms. I never even check those things. For the important things like checking how much of a certain type of fish is safe to eat, I definitely check those things out online. Otherwise, I don’t want to hear horror stories, I don’t want to worry unnecessarily. I just live my life, try to make healthy choices, and stay away from known dangers. It makes it a lot easier on me to quit worrying about each tiny little thing. Even now, I have been super thirsty which could potentially be a symptom of gestational diabetes. I have my glucose test in a week… they will be able to tell me then-no use worrying about it now! Life has been good since I’ve started doing this.

Apparently, the baby should be about a pound and a half. I have gained roughly 18-20 pounds so far, with 3 months to go. It’s not horrible, but it isn’t perfect. I still can’t stand the thought of veggies but I still try to make a point to eat them. I try not to indulge in too much and walk. I am going to start prenatal yoga and I do Kegals when I remember… But other than that. I have 1.5 pounds that doesn’t belong to me so I’m ok with that.

I am happy. I am very happy to have an addition coming this September and I am very happy to share this experience with the man I love. I honestly think that our relationship is even happier and stronger. I am thrilled to death when he has to feel her kick and touch her and talks to her. I can’t get enough of his excitement, especially when he talks about the future with her. I know, though, that she is also just so lucky to have a dad like him. There is a captain on our fire department with a daughter a few years younger than me. They get along famously and have such a great relationship. I am so happy to think that Hubby will be just as fun and loving with our own child(ren).

So I guess pregnancy isn’t so bad. Does it suck to be restricted on things such as eating, drinking, and activities? Absolutely. But it is temporary. Did the entire first trimester completely suck? Absolutely. Is it worth it? Absolutely. I couldn’t be more blessed.

The Storm Has Passed!

 Finally, I get a nice big sigh of relief. After two completely agonizing weeks, the test results came back! I am so happy to say that they are normal and negative. Our chances of having a baby with Down Syndrome is less than 1 in 10,000. I could still choose to have the amnio (to make 100% sure) but guess what? <1:10,000 is absolutely fine by me! I also tested negative for the other trisomy and sex chromosome abnormalities so Sophianna is going to be a healthy (thus far) baby girl!

I can’t get over how terrifying and emotional that was for us. It took a little while for everything to sink in so that we could mull it over rationally. I have a background in the sciences and I understood a lot of what was happening but the emotions were running high and I wasn’t getting answers very fast. I do feel for all the other moms out there who have gone through this or have had risk ratios higher than my own. You ladies are strong ❤

We didn’t even want to tell anyone what we were having until we KNEW that it was going to be ok. I didn’t want to get everyone excited about something that may or may not have happened. In all honesty, before we got to see her on the ultrasound (you know-when I fell in LOVE), I was accepting that we could terminate the pregnancy. At 17 weeks, I still didn’t feel a thing of emotion towards the baby. I still felt like I had a parasite in my belly making me sick and absolutely zero attachment to it. Of course, I knew it was a potential life (my future son or daughter) and no one wants to end something so lovely, but if the baby were to be sick, termination was an option I was willing to consider. Children with DS also have a plethora of other health defects that could be life threatening. A lot of children die. If it came that my baby was going to be affected like that, I did not want to bring a child into this world simply to suffer.

Fast forward to the ultrasound… as soon as the tech put that probe to my tummy, I saw her kicking her legs and moving around. I saw her little spine and her ribs and little arms and legs. I got to see her little heart valves, organs, and brain. Then came the profile picture. Oh my gosh-she looks like a little Who! I fell head over heels in love and felt a bond forming quicker than you could imagine. I thought “Please God, let her be OK” and my thoughts on losing her were so much different. I wanted to fight tooth and nail to make sure she was happy and healthy. Talk about emotional!

I decided on the HARMONY blood test, as I mentioned in my last post. It took over a week and a half to get the results in, which wasn’t too bad for such a test however, it was KILLING us. We have been keeping busy with the house. When life gives you lemons (and a tax refund), renovate the entire first floor! The project is almost finished and adds just a bit more sweetness to this whole thing knowing we are getting the house ready for her now. I will post pictures when it is complete.

When the genetic counselor called me and told me she had good news, I almost cried. I was so overjoyed to know that my daughter wasn’t going to be born with such an unfortunate syndrome or disorder. I immediately called my parents, who knew about this, and Hubby and everyone was so happy. It did help a little for me that some of my good friends here at work are MDs and reassured me that it was going to be fine. It helped a lot my family was so supportive and loving towards us. But now! The waiting game has probably given me a good chunk of grey hairs and I am so, so glad that it is over.

Everything has changed in this pregnancy in the last few weeks. To start, I don’t feel like death/zombie/dying. I eat normal meals now and my appetite is increasing ten fold. I saw my baby and found out it was actually a she, exciting me beyond belief. I also got to see the little munchkin hanging out and being happy, making me fall in love. Now, I can feel her kick and move as she gets more and more active and grows bigger and bigger every day. I HATED being pregnant more than anything. I am still not a huge fan but knowing our little girl is on her way and feeling her move has been life changing. I FINALLY feel like I thought I should. I am happy, excited, content, and overjoyed. That storm has passed and we couldn’t be happier.

Waiting Game

So as an update from last week, we went and had an ultrasound done. The baby looks good except for the bowel area. The bowel gave off a little extra pizzazz to the machine so it means there could be a problem as this is an indicator of DS. So super scary. We opted for a non-invasive blood test called HARMONY which we will hopefully get NEGATIVE results by the end of this week or early next week. I am still a nervous wreck. However, the doctor asked me if I had any bleeding during the first three months and indeed, I had. I had some light spotting for at least like 3 weeks during the first 2-3 months. He said that the echogenecity that the ultrasound was picking up was probably from the baby swallowing blood. Well that is ok with me! However, on the actual transcript of my test results, it says that this increases my odds by 6.4. I suppose I should be grateful that this doesn’t increase my odds to 6.4? Either way, I am still fairly scared and uncertain.

However, everything changed when they told me we would be having a …… GIRL! I am overjoyed! I wanted a little girl so so badly! I am trying to stay positive and I can tell you right now I will be doing cartwheels (or at least trying to) when I hear that the test results came back negative. The only difference between an amnio and the HARMONY is that the amnio can say definitely YES or definitely NO about DS. HARMONY can only tell you definitely YES and PROBABLY NO. However, it will decrease my risk to <1:10,000 which is absolutely fine with me. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and counting the days till I hear the good news.

Even with this potential dark cloud hanging over us, Hubby and I are very excited. I finally feel like a mother-to-be and not just some parasite’s host. As weird and heartless as that sounds, that is exactly how I felt until they told me it was actually a she and I saw her kicking and moving around on the screen. I also got a really great US profile shot with a tiny little ski-jump nose and her little hand in the picture. I also got to see her heart, stomach, brain, and her little bones. She is about 6 oz (probably a little more this week) and very active. I’ve also started to feel her! It is a strange feeling and it is hard for me to decipher what is baby and what is gas or what have you. However, my sister and Hubby BOTH swear they felt her this week. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Dave so excited. As soon as he felt her, he texted like half his friends! It was actually kind of cute. 

So before I announce that I’m having a girl and I announce what we plan to call her (so far), I am going to wait until the results. We would like to have a very small gender reveal party for our immediate family and close friends as soon as we hear. I wanted to have a party this weekend if we found out the good news by the end of the week, but my sister is in Kentucky until Sunday night and I don’t want to do it without her. She already knows, of course, but I would love for her to be there.

I am also super excited to go shopping now that I know what I’m going to have. Registering will be fun too, but I am going to wait until my sister comes home to go with me for that! I finally feel “normal” and I think I will feel AMAZING once I know my little girl is going to be healthy.

If you could send positive vibes our way, I would be very grateful.

Love, as always,

C.

Pregnancy Is Scary

I’m going to be honest here. Pregnancy is some scary shit. People mostly only talk about all the good stuff: The excitement of having a child, the kicking they can feel, the happy glow of the mom, knowing you’re growing a little human inside of you… People don’t generally talk about all the scary shit that can go on, too. Like having a miscarriage. They are far more common than people care to think about. Spotting or any blood really can send an expecting mom right into a nightmare. Or what about the risks of having a child with a disability or a deformity. It happens.

There is a test that the doctors order that assess your risk of having a baby with Spina Bifida, Down Syndrome, and another one (I can’t remember right now… pregnancy brain??). If you are at a risk of 1:250 for DS, you are positive. Well, my test came back positive. I am at an elevated risk and I have a higher chance of having a baby with DS. I am totally scared, I won’t lie.

What is next? Today, we go in and meet with a genetic counselor and a doctor. The good news is that we get to see a 3D ultrasound today and while they will be checking for all sorts of normal things as well as abnormalities, we should be able to find out the sex. Hopefully they just say “Oh wow, what an awesome looking baby you guys have in there!” and it ends there. Otherwise, I know we can have an amniocentesis done, which will tell us for sure yes or no on DS. That is scary too as it carries a higher risk of miscarriage and it would be sort of silly to do that test if it isn’t completely necessary.

This is so frustrating to me. I have gone through so many tests to make sure I could conceive. We conceived on our own (high five!) after trying for a while and thinking for a while that there is a possibility that I couldn’t have children. Now, we are finally pregnant and there could be something wrong with my baby? I am frustrated because there are moms out there who do drugs, don’t take care of themselves, are still in high school, etc. that can get pregnant and have happy healthy babies and we work hard to take care of ourselves and be healthy and have our ducks in a row to bring a child into this world and we have to face so many challenges? Of course it could be worse. I AM pregnant after all, which is definitely a miracle and something to be extremely grateful for. But I’m just being honest when I admit to my frustration. I feel like I have a 5 year old inside of me saying “It’s not fair!” with a nice petite foot stomp to really drive the point home.

I know there are a lot of options for us and there are things we can do for ourselves and our baby if the tests come back positive and it does have DS. Maybe it is more scary to me because I spent two years working with individuals with DS and their families and I know first hand that it is a very bumpy uphill road, albeit rewarding and full of love. I don’t know if we are ready for that. I can’t even guarantee you we are ready for a baby yet!

We are going to take it one day at a time. Yesterday, we were very busy with work and things, which turned out to be a blessing. Today, I sill have about 2 hours before I leave for my appointment. I am just hoping and praying for good news and for the scan to be very good news and perhaps drop the risk to a better ratio.

My poor husband doesn’t know what to do. I hate leaning on him when I am upset and don’t know what to do because I don’t want to burden him. However, that is what marriage is all about. You lean on each other to make it through things and you have to be strong together. I know in the end, we will be just fine. I know that we are going to be blessed with a happy and healthy life and family. It is just getting over these little scares (or the entirety of this freaky thing called pregnancy!) that we have to take one day at a time and keep on trucking.

I know 1:250 is a high number and by reading lots of comments and things on the internet, many many women with much higher risk ended up having great healthy babies. It means I have a 249:250 chance of having a healthy baby. I just hate when the doctors come back saying something isn’t right (like when they found cysts on my kidneys randomly??) SCARY. Maybe its just a test? Who knows. We will figure this out.

Hopefully I will have good news to share later!

Much love.

-C