Wednesday, June 26, 2013

remy baby two months.

a lot of thoughts about hyperemesis, what God expects, and feeling down.

the days are seeming to run together. weeks go by in a flash. the past month is a blur of exhausted mornings, pool days and stroller walks with fellow moms, changing diapers, and cooing over my beautiful boy. it's been two months. time is the strangest thing.

my body is growing accustomed to being tired all the time, which is helpful for getting things done during the day. physically i almost feel totally back to normal. i still have five pounds to lose, but i've seen a big difference since starting to exercise.

i had an IUD put in, this time the mirena instead of the paraguard. having an IUD put in after childbirth is not a big deal. having the paraguard pre-baby was extremely painful. this time, dr. barton slipped it in and i had to ask, "wait, we're done? that's it?" no big deal. having a pap smear was also pain free, a first. having a baby was the best thing i ever did for my vagina.

and post birth sex? yeah, it was pretty painful. nothing like the painful honeymoon sex, but still pretty intense. i can't stress enough the importance of talking to your partner about sex. regardless of whether or not you're having relations for the first time since giving birth. you should always be able to sit down and talk to your partner about your sex life and not in a dirty, sexy way, which you should also do if you're into that, but in a safe way that allows you both to talk about expectations, comfort levels, etc. if you can't talk to your partner about sex, you shouldn't be having sex with that person. end of story.

also, use tons of lube, go slow, go even slower, and know that it won't be painful forever. seriously, having a vagina is kind of awful sometimes.

we took our first road trip with remington. he did really well in the car, but cried for a long time after driving there and then home. we think his ears may have been hurting from elevation changes. seriously remy, use your words; things will be so much easier to figure out. i'm sure i'll post pictures of all this excitement sometime.

i've had a hard time writing anything down lately.
for the most part, i'm really, really happy. taking care of a baby is exhausting and hard and figuring out who does what can be stressful on marriage. but we're figuring things out slowly and surely.
i feel like i have a lot to say, but i've had some weird writer's block that i'm not used to.

one thing that really eats at me is the idea of having another baby.
i spend a good part of every day feeling anxious about getting pregnant.
i don't even know how to express this, and i feel that no one really understands this fear, which makes the fear even worse, and i feel that every time i try to talk to someone about it, they don't get it and i don't know how to say it.

i thought i could say it here, because this is usually my safe space.

my pregnancy is still so fresh in my mind, how terrifying it was to be that sick for that long.
today i looked back through my instagram pictures i took while pregnant and read the captions i put for them. each picture had been taken before or after throwing up, but i hadn't mentioned it. i tried to put a humorous spin on everything and at the time humor was one of the only things i used to cope. looking back through those pictures, i could remember vividly what happened that day. how i'd been stuck inside all morning puking, all alone because travis was working so much last fall, and i felt trapped inside the house. how i'd taken a walk, a very slow, hobbling kind of walk, down to the lake and sat by the man-made beach and cried. praying over and over that i would feel better when i woke up the next morning. every morning waking up and realizing i was still sick. once in a while, i'd wake up and not puke that morning, and i would think, i've turned the corner, i'm getting better. i still felt nauseous and terrible, but at least i hadn't puked. i still couldn't eat anything, but at least i hadn't puked. and then later in the day i would start throwing up again and realize i wasn't getting better. i don't know how that hope hung on for so long, if that's something that's just inside each of us.

i don't want to keep remembering all this. i can't help it. there's that PTSD i know so well.

last night i had a panic attack. a really big long scary one. i was making travis a grilled ham, egg, and cheese, and all the sudden my heart started to pound. i thought, oh no, i know what's about to happen. i started walking around, drawing the blinds shut, cleaning up crumbs on the countertops, doing anything to distract myself, but i knew i couldn't stop what was about to happen. after cutting his sandwich in half, i excused myself and headed upstairs to my bathroom. travis was tired after a twelve hour shift at one of his part time jobs and i didn't feel comfortable falling apart in front of anyone. same old story, feeling completely alone and afraid and that no one could ever understand. travis came upstairs and found me on the floor, same old story.

in those moments, it's like i'm back there again, feeling completely alone, stuck in my body, unable to eat anything, unable to stop puking, unable to shower, to clean my house, having no clean underwear left but being to sick to do laundry and not knowing how to ask for help, trying ginger, vitamin b6, saltines, eating small meals, getting fresh air, chewing gum, anything to help, nurses telling me over and over that it's normal to be sick, no one understanding, my sense of smell being on overdrive, the migraines, everything, even sunlight, making the nausea worse, being unable to sleep, having hunger pains unlike anything else and not knowing what i could eat, being terrified of the smell of bacon, wetting myself because the vomiting is so violent, everyone saying it will be worth it, nurses at infusion never wanting to be my nurse because i'm a hard stick because of how dehydrated i am, driving to the hospital over and over knowing i'm going to be poked several times and dreading the pain, being terrified any time travis left me to go to work, trying to drive myself somewhere and holding a puke bucket in my lap and telling myself stories to distract myself from nausea, carrying those blue plastic barf bags in my purse, watching pregnant women having wonderful, easy pregnancies and feeling so jealous, spending nights alone on the couch, watching the clock, realizing i need to eat something, my throat feeling raw and burning, throwing up baked potatoes, throwing up everything.

i called my mom, who was the first person to understand how sick i was and who is one of the only people i feel really gets it. she dropped everything and drove right over, held me in her arms and listened to my worries. travis put remy in my arms and reminded me that it's over, that we have our beautiful son, that i did it. i felt better after they talked to me.

i don't post about religion very often. my relationship with God is sacred to me and i don't usually put that out here because i don't need to hear what others think about it. but since having remington, i'm having a hard time. this is all getting so jumbled and unorganized.

when i was thinking about getting my tubes tied, i really thought about it. could i really make a decision that final. could i really close the door on having another baby. the thing that terrifies me the most, more than being sick, more than being unable to care for myself, is the realization that i would miss out on remington's life. i would miss out on almost an entire year of his life. someone else would have to take care of him. that was the thing that really hit me.

but then i felt this terrible guilt. i don't know how to tell the difference between what God wants for me and what my culture has conditioned me to feel.

"but what about all those other spirits who are waiting  for bodies."
"but what about brothers and sisters for remington."
"but we are supposed to have a minivan full of kids."

and the one that really chaps my behind, that i heard a family member say last weekend,

"there's a scripture in the old testament that talks about how in the last days, women will refuse to have children. that is so terrible."

no man should ever get to say that. no person who hasn't experienced pregnancy and childbirth should ever judge anyone for what they choose regarding children.

i know all of this. so why am i having such a hard time trusting that God loves me and that it's my body and i should get to choose.

over and over i think, i can't do that again. i can't. 

so why do i feel guilty? why do i feel that this God who i have trusted my whole life would expect me to suffer like that again? i just keep hearing, well it was worth it right? wouldn't it be worth it again? didn't you learn and grow so much?

shouldn't i get to decide what happens to my own body? where is all this shame and guilt coming from? what does all this even mean.

this post is getting out of control.

i love remington. and it was worth it. if i'm being honest, i didn't think those words at first. it took a few weeks until one night, remington and i were dancing, listening to music, he was looking up at me with those wise, all knowing newborn eyes, and i said to him without really thinking, "you were worth every minute. every single minute." and then i cried and cried.

then i started talking to remy every time we were somewhere i had thrown up.
at my parents' house. "oh look, we used to stand out here on the porch and throw up outside so no one would have to clean it up and so we wouldn't have to smell dinner cooking."
in every bathroom. "oh look, we spent a lot of time on the floor in here."
at my grandparents' house.
on every couch. on the floor. "oh look, we passed out here, and here too."
in parking lots.
etc. etc. etc.

telling remington about my experience of his pregnancy was strangely healing for me. i can't describe how much i love him and am thankful for his existence.
i'm tired of people saying this to me. "he better be a good baby, after what he put you through."
he didn't put me through anything. it wasn't his fault.

after having my IUD put in, i kept calling the nurse to reassure me that it would work and that i could have sex without getting pregnant. even so, we are using condoms.

when i asked the nurse about getting my tubes tied, she, the medical assistant, and the doctor laughed at me and said i am too young. they may as well have slapped me.

the other day at the grocery store, travis and i walked past a woman who was very pregnant. travis looked at her and was quiet for a minute. then he said, "every time i see a pregnant woman, i just feel terrible for her. i want to apologize to her. i feel so anxious about it." last night after my big panic attack, he told me he doesn't think he could go through another pregnancy. these are the things that help me, that validate me.

i don't know.
that was a jumbled up mess of words.

if you having any insight here, i would appreciate it. i'm thinking it's time to go back to counseling and deal with this.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

remy baby one month.

so i stole this cute idea from my dear friend and former roommate, melissa.  what would i do without all you already-moms to steal ideas from?

and if it seems like my blog is becoming a mommy blog, it kind of is. if you're not into that, oops, sorry.
i did have a baby or something.

also, here's one of my favorite succession of pictures from last month.
little frogman kickin' around.


things that must go and things that must stay.

hello, and welcome to this week's edition of things that must

it's simple really, things that must stay and things that must go. 

we do hope you will enjoy the show. 

things that must go

1. medical bills. so many medical bills. yeah this picture, each page isn't just for one bill. there are days and days of infusion on each bill. yes. at this point, adoption would have been the cheaper route. (don't worry, remy, you were worth every penny!) 

2. old food. so much old food. we cleaned out the pantry and fridge finally, all that food we bought trying to find me something i could eat while i was pregnant. yeah, two garbage sacks full of things like crackers, cereal, granola bars, etc, that all went bad. then, travis the champion, cleaned out the fridge and found things like this gem: 

happy to report a clean and orderly kitchen now. 

3. travis's mom's neighbor giving me the old judge-a-roo for not breastfeeding. she was over while we were at trav's parents' and she asked me if i was breastfeeding. i told her no. she looked down at remington, couldn't even look at my face, and said, "oh, that's too bad." 


luckily, a friend was there who rolled her eyes and made me feel better. 

4. so travis says i'm not allowed to say what was going on in this picture, for lawful reasons, but yeah. the things happening in this picture need to go. before all the birds in my in-laws' backyard do. 

i love you travis.

seriously, how wonderful is my life if i can't seem to think of any more things that must go. on to...

things that must stay! 

1. so the obvious: this face. 

2. or how about this kid's curly hair.

3. how about our neighbors storing their alcohol in their front flower beds. i think yes.

4. stroller parades. and how at the park there were 23,000 minivans parked in a row. i'm enjoying mommyland, but seriously i can't handle the minivans. 

5. summer sunsets.

6. eating. a lot. of mexican food apparently. (don't worry, i cook sometimes too.) but if you haven't ever been to the lonestar taquaria, please go there and eat their fish tacos. 

7. travis being a sexy beastmother. beastfather? i know i've said it before, but there is nothing sexier than your man taking care of your baby. good thing my IUD is in. too bad i'm too afraid of getting pregnant to test it out. someday, maybe. 

i may have been sneaking pictures of his backside at the hardware store. 

also, (unfortunately not pictured) something that really needs to stay was the other night when i was doing yoga. travis disappeared upstairs and then reappeared wearing these tiny black boxer briefs. he then proceeded to "do yoga" with me, aka exaggerate the poses by sticking out his rear and package and making me die of laughter. 
yes, i said package. hope any family members reading this enjoy that visual.

8. taking remington to the pool. check out his huge hat!!!!! and the open fly on my shorts. 

but really, having so much fun with these ladies and their bebes.

  yes indeed, sporting the bikini, imperfections, belly rolls, and all. 

9. remington loves to look at patterns, contrasting light and shadow, etc. when i say loves, i mean, really really loves.

this picture kills me. my exhausted morning face, and then remington staring uncontrollably at the ceiling. 

so there you have it. hope you enjoyed this week's edition of things that must. 
we do hope you will tune in next time.


Sunday, June 9, 2013


after you have a baby, they tell you to wait six weeks before resuming exercise, heavy lifting, and sexual activity. they tell you to expect to cry a lot, to feel sad for no reason, and feel totally overwhelmed. they tell you to expect to bleed, have soreness and tenderness in your nether regions, and to give your body time to get back to pre-baby.

super fun, right?

so back when i started thinking about getting pregnant, i researched the "h" out of what could happen to my body. (funny, i never knew to look up 'hyperemesis gravidarum.') the part about pregnancy that terrified me the most, besides the possibility that my acne could flare up, and well, okay the obvious part about giving birth with my vagina, was the six week postpartum period. we've all heard horror stories about baby blues. we've all heard the stories of sleepless nights. my child development class told me that a good chunk of marriages suffer after having a baby. all this is pretty hefty stuff.

whelp. i'm seven weeks postpartum. i survived.  thought i'd share a few details about that.

i think i had it a lot easier than most women. first of all, because compared to the hell my pregnancy was, anything was easier to handle. being trapped in a body that feels like death for that many weeks is just plain torture. being released from hyperemesis prison was a wonderful gift. yeah, i was/am exhausted, my crotch was reamed with a second degree tear, i cried a lot, but still, so much easier to handle than pregnancy.

also, i was blessed to have travis home from the fire department for a whole month. yeah, he still had to work his other jobs, but he was home every night and the majority of the days. i know most women don't get that luxury and i know that made all the difference in keeping my sanity.

also, as i'm not breastfeeding, i avoided a lot of the pain and misery that comes from that.

anyway, here we go.

physical recovery

once the epidural started wearing off, i think i was even more thankful to have gotten it, because i started feeling the after effects of pushing a baby through a tiny birth canal. nurse ashley came and found us upstairs after we moved to recovery, and it was great seeing her and telling her about the delivery. she told me she was glad i only tore to a two, because, and she hadn't wanted to say this before i delivered, i apparently had a tiny vagina and co. yes, vagina and co. it's a company i'm thinking about starting. so yeah, it hurt a lot. i was sore everywhere. my lower back, my triceps, from gripping my thighs while pushing. my shoulders, abs, crotch.

oh and that first poop after birth? terrifying. absolutely terrifying. thank goodness for stool softeners. and tuck's hemorrhoid pads.

it took several weeks before i could sit flat on my bottom.

you bleed. a lot. for weeks. you wear a giant pad, i'm talking giant like over a foot long. going potty is a huge ordeal. you pee, trying not to bleed on the floor as you sit on the toilet, then you spray yourself down with a squirt bottle, then you dab, because wiping could dislodge stitches, then you put an ice pack in these strange mesh disposable panties they give you, then you put the tuck's pads, this strange aneseptic spray, and a gel on top of that. then you pull everything up and tuck it around your giant, flabby, deflated belly. twenty minutes later, you can leave the bathroom and resume your business.

so what happens to your breasts if you aren't breastfeeding?
for me, milk came in around five or six days after b-day, aka birth giving day. i noticed that my boobs were rock hard in some areas and very tender. i just wore a tight fitting sports bra night and day and basically tried to ignore them. when i showered, i didn't let the water touch my nips. don't encourage the milk! was my motto. yes, it's freaky to see milk leak out of your boob. yes, being a mammal is kind of sucky sometimes.
two weeks of this and they "dried up" and went back to being my old boobs. they have even started to shrink! hallelujah.

that was the worst of it for me physically.
no i haven't had sex yet.
especially with travis's susperswimmers and my grandma's fertility being passed to me.

eh hem.

the no-sex-thing was pretty easy for us, mostly because, let's be honest, we have had sex a total of four times since last august. and by sex i mean, let's try but end up crying because i'm too sick to really do it.

yes, sex is important in a relationship, but turns out you can survive without it and actually grow very strong.
but still, let's get that IUD in there, stat.

oh yeah, another physical recovery thing, starting to exercise again. i was nervous that it would be tough, but i waited the full six weeks and then worked out three times this week. not only was it fine, it was amazing! going to kickboxing again for the first time was pretty emotional. my teacher hugged me, i cried, etc. etc., healing process, etc.
and i haven't been as sore as i imagined nine months without exercising would make me.


emotional recovery

someday when i'm sitting down talking with God, i'm going to ask Him why it had to be estrogen and progesterone. don't we women have enough to deal with, without having these hormones?

emotionally this has been a roller coaster, as i'm sure any new mom would agree.

you're so excited and happy and on cloud nine. and yet, you cry all the time and feel so alone.

our first week home, i was on a high. running on three hours of sleep a night. i felt completely manic and wild. travis kept telling me to slow down. then, exhaustion hit. the exhaustion fueled the depression, the depression fueled the isolation, the isolation further fueled the depression. cycle repeats. it's more overwhelming than you can imagine, being in charge of this little person, who you love more than anything, this little person who is 100  percent helpless. such anxiety i've never felt! walking down the stairs at night with him to make a bottle, my mind's eye would see me stumble and drop him, and hear his anguished cries of pain. i would see travis's face, blaming me for harming our son. it was like i had no control over my thoughts. if remy was laying on a blanket on the floor, i would imagine if i accidentally stepped on him. whenever i placed him in his bouncer, i would get on my hands and knees and examine the thing for safety. what if something was unhooked? what if there was a malfunction and he fell out? sleeping was and sometimes still is terrifying. i lay there, listening to him breathe, a sound that now seems magnified, like someone gave him a megaphone, and i lay there trying to sleep but all i can do is listen to make sure he is breathing.
 "dear God, please let me keep my son here. please don't take him away from me." i would pray every night.

then there's the fear that you'll do something wrong.

like when i was changing his diaper and his umbilical chord fell off. i was convinced it was because i had snagged it on the diaper. i cried and cried.

then two days later, his circumcision ring fell off and i cried some more.

last week, his right eye swelled up. we took him to instacare, as it was ten pm. the nurse practitioner explained that his tear duct was clogged, that it is very common in newborns. he was going to be fine.
and i cried the whole drive home. because i can't keep everything bad from happening to him. i can't protect him from life. travis asked, "babe, what's wrong? he's fine!" and i sobbed, "i can't protect him from everything! someday someone is going to break his heart or let him down and i won't be able to stop it from happening."

slightly irrational maybe?

that love, it makes you feel crazy things.

i cry a lot.
i cry for my pregnant self who had no control over anything.
i feel like my body let me down and i cry for that.
i cry when remington smiles at me.
i cry when i sing to him because of love's overwhelming power.
i feel lonely sometimes and i cry for that reason.

it's getting better though. we're all adjusting to the responsibility of parenting and the lack of sleep. my hormones are getting back to normal, my body is getting back to normal. whatever "normal" is now, because it sure isn't what it was before pregnancy.

some tips for surviving postpartum

  • take a shower and get ready for the day, even if you don't have plans. do something to make yourself feel pretty, because even though that shouldn't matter, it does.
  • give yourself time. when you try on a pair of skinny jeans and they don't button, yes, like me, you might cry about it. but when you're done crying, remind yourself of what your body just accomplished and then pull on a pair of pants with a stretchy waistband. 
  • wait the full six weeks to lift heavy things and exercise. i tried doing some push ups and sit ups at three weeks, and ended up making myself bleed more. just wait and give your body time. 
  • get out of the house. repeat, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. if you're like me, and depression makes you reluctant to reach out for help, then at least answer the phone when friends call. (thank you lilian.) get out of the house and go do something fun, maybe even with other moms who can reassure you and makes jokes about new mommyhood. 
  • don't beat yourself up if you get frustrated with your baby. travis's first day back at the fire station was rough. i was exhausted and feeling terrified at 48 straight hours alone with remington. i was frustrated with him because he was fussing and not going to sleep. then i felt terrible for being frustrated. luckily, mom came to the rescue. when i admitted how upset i'd gotten with my sweet, innocent infant, my mom laughed. "do you remember me looking you in the eyes saying, 'what! what do you want!'" of course i don't. and remington won't remember me feeling upset either. obviously, if you feel like you want to put your baby in the oven, that's an issue and let someone help you. but being frustrated from exhaustion and stress is normal. 
  • have a person you can call for comfort. in my case, that's my mom. she has come to the rescue over and over, whether it was how to fix remy's diaper rash, (dab mylanta on his bum with every diaper change, seriously works like magic.) or the idea of taking the bottles upstairs every night and making them there instead of trekking down the stairs in the dark or taking care of your baby for you so you can nap. or even, as my mom did, letting you sleep an entire night while she watches him. moms are great. 
  • have one-on-one time with your partner. make out a little, or a lot. go for a walk. laugh. let yourself remember that person you were before you got pregnant and consumed with babyness. listen to loud, profane music, if that's your thing. (sometimes it's mine.) do something you love everyday, like exercise, or play music, or paint. just don't forget to be a human being. 

they said it would take six weeks to get back to "normal." whatever that means, because there is no going back once you've started this journey. i know i'll never be the same, and turns out i like the person i am now a little better.


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