Saturday, March 21, 2015

Nobody Told Me.

I am insanely sick and tired of these posts I regularly see about pregnancy, breast-feeding, birth, and child-rearing with the title and or implication, "nobody told me". Somebody told you. Even Baby Center is pretty darn accurate with their warnings of pregnancy discomforts, breast-feeding difficulties and behavioral issues. It's everywhere. Mother's are talking about them every, single day. We are surrounded with people telling you. I have told you.

The instant that egg implants, you will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever feel the same again. Ever. Never ever. Done. Life as you know it. Your body as you know it. All of it, gone. You are now different. From henceforth. You will feel varying degrees of nausea. You may or may not vomit. Daily. Or multiple times a day. There is no "morning sickness", it's all day sickness, or afternoon sickness, or maybe no sickness at all. You may have once loved coffee, or licorice, or celery, or pizza, but now, maybe you don't. Or maybe now you love it so much you could eat it everyday, all day. Maybe you need to eat every 10 minutes to not feel sick, or maybe just a drop of water makes you so queasy you hate to even be in the same room as a sink. Everything smells. And by everything smells, I mean both, pungently and bad. You might lose 10 lbs in 5 weeks or gain 10 lbs in 2. Your breasts will get large and tender. Your clothes will not fit.

At some point, or multiple points, or all throughout, you will be constipated. Then, at some point your sphincter won't work as well as it used to. And by sphincter, I mean all of them. Your anal sphincter, your lower esophageal sphincter, and your urinary sphincter. Poop will come out when you don't want it to, acid will come up when you don't want it to, and you will wet your pants. Some of these problems go away soon after birth. Some of them don't. You will get bloated. With gas. With water. With baby. Laying down may become difficult, or even impossible. Sitting will become uncomfortable. Standing will become uncomfortable. YOU will be uncomfortable. Your back will hurt. Your legs will hurt. Your lady parts will hurt, and swell, and produce different kinds of discharge and who knows what else...I don't look, it scares me. You might develop hemorrhoids, and if you don't, there's a good chance you will during labor and birth.

Your skin, hair and nails will change. In the first trimester, you may become an oily teenager again, and breakout everywhere. Some women get an itchy rash. Some have dark spots develop on their face (sometimes these never go away). Some will get stretch marks, and not just on your stomach. Mine appeared on my behind, thighs and calves. Your hair will eventually fill out, your nails grow strong and beautifully, and just when they are at their best, the baby is born. Breastfeeding may help you hold on to some of these perks for a short time, but inevitably, by 4 months, hair is falling out by the clump.

The hormones will make you emotional. Not just weepy. But tired. And angry. Bitter. Happy. Sad. Confused. Insane. Like literally, mental breakdown, wondering if you should be institutionalized nuts. You will have headaches. Your lips might be dry, your mouth dry. You will be so sick of peeing, and so unsatisfied each time, that you will wish for a permanent catheter. There will be moments of very odd pelvic, uterine and belly pain that you will be certain is very bad...but it's usually gas, or your ligaments stretching from the growing baby, or your bladder rebeling and cramping from the pressure, or just that constipation again, or a Braxton Hicks contraction. Damn, these things are uncomfortable! Or am I in labor. You will always wonder. Am I in labor. Whether you are 20 weeks or 40 weeks, labor is always a concern.

You will feel the baby move, and it will be the most reassuring feeling in the entire world. It will make you smile even amidst one of those horrid cry-fests of self-pity, discomfort, and "I don't know why the f*%# I am crying, but I am and I needed to". It will hurt sometimes, especially if they settle on the ribs or the bladder, but that pain is the best of all. You will wonder what the baby looks like, and hope it gets only your good features, and only your spouses good features. You will contemplate a name. By 35 weeks on, you will obsess. All you can do is think about baby, and wish they were born. Partly because you are dying to meet them, and partly because the pregnancy discomfort is approaching its all time high. Everyday drags. The last 5 weeks of pregnancy are THE LONGEST. You will cry nightly, or daily, at the end. You will become bitter at any comments, but most especially, the "you're still pregnant?" one. You could rip that person's eyes out, and shove them....well, you get it.

You might waddle. You might not be able to bend over. Or squat. Or jump. Or walk. Or fit into your shoes. You will get sick of pulling up your pants and pulling down your shirt. You will develop symptoms I haven't listed, because, well, there are too many symptoms to mention! Restless legs. Vision changes. Taste changes. Sleep changes. How did I forget to directly mention sleep. Your dreams are bizarre. Your sleep restless. In the end, sleep is nearly impossible due to discomfort, indigestion, urination, you name it. Until that baby is born, you will have forgotten what it is like to truly sleep. And even if it is for only an hour and fifteen minutes, sleep after birth is wonderful.

Nobody told you about your labor, because it can go only about one billion different ways. There is no way to truly prepare for labor. You don't know what position your baby will decide to land in, there at the end. You don't know how your cervix will behave. How much pain you can tolerate. How long labor will be. How hard you have to push. Some people hardly make it to the hospital, others push for 4 hours only to end up with a cesarean. You might scream in labor. Poop. Vomit. Shake violently. Give up. Push harder. Get an epidural. Have the baby in a tub. Some babies tolerate labor no problem, and others poop, then choke on it and get whisked to the NICU. But somebody mentioned all of these things at some point. Just like pregnancy, you heard all the symptoms, you just never experienced them yourself, in your exact combination.

Somebody told you that breastfeeding is hard. That your nipples will crack. That the baby might not latch well. That your supply might suck or be so copious it nearly drowns the child at each feeding. Someone told you that you will leak in public, on your bed, in your clothes. That you will feel like nothing but a cow for the first few weeks. Or months. That you will cry. A lot. Like every night. And maybe even more. You were warned that if you strictly breastfed for months, the baby might not take a bottle. I never advertise that I "like" breastfeeding. I don't feel clean, ever. It is so convenient, and healthy, and cheap though. If you bottle feed, you may need to switch multiple formulas, until one settles with baby. Even if you breastfeed you need to eat the right foods. If you're too stressed you won't let down. If you don't drink enough you won't produce enough. If you're gone from baby too long, your breasts will hurt and you will become more and more anxious.

Somebody told you all of these things and more. Don't even get me started on what you have already been told about newborns and their sleep habits, and temperaments, and crying. They make you watch a video in the hospital about babies crying and how to deal with it (not by shaking them). It's what they do. Maybe what nobody told you is, that it doesn't matter what ANYONE tells you. Motherhood is an experience. A unique to each and every individual experience. Motherhood is the same for no one. Your combination of physical and emotional symptoms are 100% your own. If anyone thinks they can tell you what to expect, they have never been a mother them self. I don't think I have EVER spoken to a first time mother who said, "That was amazing and everything went just as planned!" But I have spoken to all sorts of mothers who say, "Whoa. That was amazing." No matter how things go, there is a moment, where you are nothing but proud at what you created. Where you feel on top of the world. Like superwoman. And that is what it's all about.

So quit whining that no one told you about it. Embrace the experience, move on, grow and love that baby with all your heart. Because, there simply is, nothing else like it.

Johnson County

*Pre-edited***** Final post to come.

Johnson county is the __ richest county in the US. Matt has lived there all his life, besides college, and just recently when we crossed the border to the Missouri side. I have only lived there for the past 8 years, but I married a Johnson county man, and have befriended many in the area...therefore, I have guilt by association. There is a stereotype in this region. Basically, that Johnson County people are snob-ish. Prefer name brands, specifically luxury items. I think we all know the type, and I believe as very much qualify as one, in many ways, but I am a Jackson County girl at heart. My family owns a farm. Like a dingy, 100+ year old farm that has never been renovated, and has a well with snakes in it...not like, a brand new, functioning horse farm, or anything of that sort. I am snob-ish for myself, but feel people can do as they please, and I won't judge them for it (most of the time). I preface with this, because what I am about to describe is probably the most Johnson County-type post I have ever made, and I know it. But it has to be said.

It is Spring Break for the boys. Niether Matt nor I took off of work, in fact, Matt traveled out of town for half of it. My sister and Mother-in-law managed to grab a couple of the boys for a couple adventures {thank goodness for them} but I was still feeling as though the boys had been slighted. I suggested at some point that we stay in a hotel or take the boys somewhere special, but had no energy for the follow-thru. Then, in the final days of break, Matt had a surprise for the family! A night at the Holiday Inn and passes to CocoKeys Water Resort. Though happy he had done this, and made this effort, a little part of me sank __. An indoor water park? Are you kidding me!? Crowds. Lines. Filth. Children everywhere. Claustrophobia. I more had in mind some obscure (so that it wasn't crowded), but clean and well kept up hotel with a pool and a breakfast buffet. I kept my opinions to myself, happily prepared for the night, and mentally envisioned the worst situation possible, so that perhaps, the place might exceed my expectations...

When we pulled up and had to circle the parking lot several times for a spot, already, my heart began to sink. So, so, so, so, so, so crowded. Then, as we approached the lobby to find it littered with smokers outside, one being morbidly obese, in her tattered swim suit with wet hair, and choked our way in through the front doors, the inside proved to be just as chaotic. Crowded. And full of, what I felt to be, inappropriately clothed people. I know this hotel is adjacent to a water park, but, still, we are in a lobby. The condition of the hotel seemed a bit worn, but I thought maybe it was just due to the water and crowds. I was still remaining positive. Reserving judgement. Determined to make this a fun adventure for the kids. I made not one remark. Which is remarkable.

We got to our rooms, 350 and 346. We felt those odd numbers to be joining rooms, but what do we know...oh, wait. A lot. We know a lot. And not surprisingly, they were not adjoining rooms. As specifically requested multiple times throughout the reservation process. With four children, 6 and under, non-adjoining rooms is simply not an option. So Matt got on the phone to deal with this, as we sat in the hotel room. Upon walking in, I had immediately noticed that the desk/dresser combo appeared dusty and covered in crumbs, but assumed I was seeing things. Then Curtis, after exploring the closet, came out with a beaded bracelet and Mitch with a torn piece of napkin. Brock picked up what he thought to be a sock someone had left on the floor, and it turned out to be a shoe sole insert! Gross! Seeing as I have to pee every hour, I finally gave in and headed into the restroom. There were hairs as long as mine strewn about the toilet lid. Seat. Floor. Sink. Hmmm....did I black out? I had I already been in here as well as washed, brushed and blow dried my hair? Wait. Even if I had. I'm pregnant. My hair isn't falling out, currently. More and more, my ability to be fine with this whole thing was sputtering out.

Finally, after speaking with 3-4 different people, it was final. There were not adjoining rooms available, and we would be checking out. I can't say I was dissapointed. I can say that at least 3 little boys were. One 18 month old remained clueless. We shuffled back through the disgusting, decrepid, filth and chaos of the hotel, and drove back to our little Brookside neighborhood to enjoy an ice cream cone. And head to bed. Goodnight, CocoKeys. Perhaps, some other time. A little day trip. No hotel.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A February Review.

Did I mention that Matt and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary last month? I don't think I did. Which is sad. I find that every February I become increasingly sentimental. Afterall, the month is based around love, seeing as Valentine's Day finds it's home in there. We don't celebrate that holiday, but our anniversary is the 10th, so it kind of feels like we do, sometimes.

This year, it dawned on me, February is OUR month. The number of HUGE milestones our family has been through, good and bad, during the month of February is simply astonishing. I will work backwards:

February 2015: Closed the sale on our very first home. The first home we ever purchased together, and lived in for over 8.5 years (see February 2006). Matt received a well-deserved, and much desired promotion.

February 2014: I wasn't pregnant.

February 2013: I was pregnant.

February 2012: George was born on the 17th.

February 2011: Matt lost his very first job. I didn't match for residency. All around, kind of a crap deal. On the plus side, Matt and I celebrated 10 years of dating!

February 2010: {TMI} Curtis was conceived.

February 2009: We baptized our first child.

February 2008: We celebrated our First wedding Anniversary. And, ahem, we conceived our first child. Sorry, TMI.

February 2007: We got married on the 10th.

February 2006: Matt purchased our first home.

February 2002-2005: Nothing big that I can really think of...4 of these years were my Big Ten Conference Meets, so huge for me, not so much for our relationship.

February 2001: February 8th, we began, officially, dating.

The month just seems to be a big one for us. It has the fewest number of days, but seems to set the tone for our year. Based off of 2015's February, things are going to be AMAZING.