Well it’s been a bit since I’ve had a chance to sit down to write. Being a mother of three is a whole lot busier than I could have ever imagined – in a crazy way and a good way. I have lots to write about, but tonight, I am feeling reflective…
Five months ago today, I went to bed a mother of two, anxiously and excitedly awaiting the arrival of baby M number 3. He arrived right on time – E likes to joke that I am never late to anything,so why should my babies arrive late. Each of my pregnancies and my boys’ birth stories are unique and in a bizarre way, a little reflective of the boys’ personalities.
Post surgery and pregnant with J, I was fortunate to be out of work (aside from some tutoring here and there) and able to relax and soak up the last moments of my “freedom,” while daydreaming about life with a baby. I did my best to enjoy the freedom to eat what the baby wanted, although, I was still a bit anxious about increasing pounds on the scale. While I couldn’t quite reconcile the “go for it and just indulge without guilt,” attitude, I still ate my fair share of goodies.
[Side note: We lived in walking distance from a Carvel and a Haagen Daz — I subsided on “carvelanches” – a delicious mixture of ice cream, hot fudge, and toppings…But the story that still lives in infamy is the night I ordered a waffle cone from Haagen Daz – E looked at it and said, “there’s no way one person could possibly eat that much ice cream.” Ten minutes walking and several blocks later, the ice cream was finished and E looked a cross between surprised, delighted, and disgusted. To this day, he still marvels at how disgusting and wonderful it was to see me eat all that ice cream… Sigh, those were the days #milkfreemama]
Anyway, as I was saying, I was lucky to have time to relax while I was pregnant with J, however, I was also under a lot of emotional stress. At the time, my aunt was very ill and myself, along with my family, were extremely stressed over her diagnosis and her deteriorating condition. I spent countless hours sitting in a hospital room visiting with her. It certainly took a bit of the joy and peace out of my pregnancy – remember, I was only several months out of my own cancer scare. I wanted to be celebrating new life with my family and unfortunately we were facing sickness (I say “we” because my family is incredibly close and we all rallied for my aunt – and thank goodness we did – because with her strength and the strength of our family, she kicked her cancer to the curb!).
In between it all, E and I found time to enjoy each other’s company and to prepare for J’s arrival. We took a babymoon and we dreamed about what was to come as a family of three. My water broke the morning after my due-date and I labored at home for more than twelve hours. I rested, showered, ate a little, freaked out, rested, showered again two more times, blow dried my hair, and we were off to the hospital at 9pm with strong contractions. I was insistent that I did not want any medical interventions. Unfortunately, since my water broke and my labor wasn’t progressing fast enough for the doctors, they convinced E to convince me to take the drugs and before I knew it, I was being hooked up to pitocin and an epidural. The delivery room was filled and it was awkward and invasive. The environment felt chaotic and not nearly as peaceful and quiet as I had envisioned. We had several nurses, a doctor from my practice, a resident, pediatric staff… The baby’s heartbeat was dropping, the nurses were shouting at E to hold my legs and yelling at me to push, and the doctor yanked J out with forceps. Despite the chaos, he was fine. He was born healthy, strong (he had incredible head control – looking steadily from side to side moments after birth), and handsome. I on the other hand, was not fine. I hemhorraged and needed more medical intervention and blood transfusions… But I went home healthy with a healthy baby and I felt blessed.
B’s pregnancy was relatively uneventful and easy (despite a very annoying and painful case of shingles). I tried to enjoy my pregnancy as best as I could. E and I tried to soak up every moment with just J. We made a lot of memories and enjoyed lots of good food and good times while I was pregnant with B. B arrived right on time and my labor experience was light-hearted, almost-fun, and relatively easy. E and I maximized our time together by having lunch before we went to the hospital. I smiled through my contractions and ate another bite of delicious thin-crust pizza. We walked around an educational toy store and picked out a present for J. I wanted to have B without drugs and this time I was determined. I walked around town literally hugging lamp-posts during contractions until three hours before B was born. To give me the extra push to stay drug-free, E promised me Loubitouns if I could go epidural free. I wound up with an epidural about a half hour before B was born (I freaked out when the doctor said he would need to break my water – I was afraid that would hurt – I laugh now because I literally labored until my body transitioned and I was shaking uncontrollably and the epidural kicked in just in time to push – stupid – I labored through the real pain and missed out on the new shoes!). This time around, the delivery room was quiet – one calming nurse and my doctor. We were all smiling and joking while I delivered B.
M’s pregnancy was unique too. I was MUCH sicker than I was with my previous two boys (which had me 100% convinced I was having a girl – except for the fact that I always thought I would have all boys, and I’m kind of a witch like that – ask E about my magical powers – Haha!). While I was sicker, I was also way more lenient and kind to myself. I stressed less about what I was eating and I took time to enjoy food. E and I were having fun. I was certainly more stressed caring for two children while pregnant, and I found myself yelling a lot because my patience were wearing thin, but overall, it was a good time… And M was born like B, without complication. I went into labor in the middle of the night, arrived at the hospital with pretty decent contractions and a big smile. The nurses joked that I looked way too calm and too happy to be in the depths of labor. This time around, E really wanted me to get the epidural so we could both relax before the real chaos of having three children ensued. I told him I would get the epidural if the deal with B reversed. I wanted Loubitouns. He agreed. I opted for the epidural. And let me tell you, the anesthesiologist hooked me up real good. I could hardly feel my hair let alone a contraction. The nurses kept coming in to ask me if I was alright because the contractions were wild on the monitor and I smiled because I felt nothing. My doctor came in and took one look at me and said, “Don’t laugh, cough, or sneeze – the baby’s head is sticking out.” I smiled because I still felt nothing. I pretended to push and pop – M arrived. Easy easy! [Side note to E – where are my Loubitouns?]
So like I said, each of my kids’ personalities is somewhat reflective of my pregnancies and their birth stories. Like my pregnancy and delivery with J, he is definitely my more intense and serious little boy – a real thinker (I mean he still has fun and all, but you get my point). Like his delivery, B is easy-going and funny, a real jokester. Reflective of my pregnancy and birth story with M, M can get wickedly mad fast (most likely thanks to my lack of patience and raised voice while I was pregnant), but he is also a big smiler and overall very happy. It’s all very interesting to me (if not to you).
So in honor of the five months since M was born, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on five things I’ve learned about myself over the past five months:
- I am stronger than I ever knew (literally, E says I remind him of The Jetsons’ maid, Rosie, because I can carry a baby and a toddler, while lifting a box to vacuum underneath).
- I have a lot less patience, but a whole lot more love in my heart.
- I can function pretty well on way less sleep than I ever imagined (although a little more sleep might help with my lack of patience).
- I can multitask and multi-manage with the best of them.
- I am dedicated (I’ve stuck with nursing while caring for two other children and while being placed on a very VERY restricted diet).
And with that, I’m off to shower while I have the chance!
xoxo – more soon!