Saturday, August 25, 2012

Coming up for Air

I've been spiraling, I know. I am not going anywhere, not circling the drain. I am clawing my way up to a point where I can breathe again. (Although, there are times I get a few precious breaths and then immediately get sucked back down again...I really am trying.) I wanted to share some lightheartedness tonight.

A few days before Baby Sister was born, this video went viral. While I was in labor, we watched it several times, filling my delivery room with laughter and keeping my thoughts away from contractions. Our nurse stayed to watch the video with us and later came back to find out what it was called so that she could tell the other nurses about it. I laughed EVERY. TIME. I saw it.

My labor was induced. I didn't want it to be...I had a somewhat traumatizing induction with Little Sister, and was terrified of a repeat performance. But I'm a big girl now, and older, smarter, and wiser, I was able to control the situation and still get the birth that I wanted.

My doctor was doing rounds when we arrived at the hospital, the Hubster, my mother, my doula, and I. I was asked a million and three questions and finally admitted and allowed to roam the halls to wait for my doctor to make an appearance. Once he did, he broke my water and we wandered some more, hoping to avoid the dreaded Pitocin.
No such luck. With only three contractions on my own, I was hooked up to an IV. My wonderful nurses allowed me to continue to move and to labor how I wanted to as the contractions grew more intense. My birth team took turns rubbing my swollen feet, my back, and holding my hand while we looked at pictures of Little Sister and Little Brother when they were babies. We watched this video and arm wrestled and talked.
An exam revealed I was halfway there. Disappointed, because I thought I was surely much further along, I retreated to the bathroom to cry by myself for a little while.
And that's when things got crazy.
My mom was the one who finally dragged me back to bed so the nurse could monitor us again. Another exam showed I was progressing even further, and she went to tell the doctor I was close.
VERY close! The next contraction brought pressure and pushing. There was some chaos because there was no medical staff in my room, and when they returned--responding to my doula yelling in the hallway, there were two doctors because it was shift change. The Hubster caught her as she was born--wearing my robe backwards because there was no time to put on the gown they had brought him--and, just an hour after being told I was halfway there, I was holding my baby girl.

Oh, and she is beautiful. A head full of shocking dark hair when her older siblings were all bald as cue balls. Big, blue eyes. Pretty, red lips. It was love at first sight. For all of us.

And now, whenever I hear this song, no matter the artist, I smile, and I think of those hours in the hospital, waiting on our second miracle baby, and the joy I felt when first I saw her.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


I’m struggling to write these words. My emotions are too raw and my heart is too hurt to form sentences correctly.

I am a child again.

I didn’t have a happy childhood. I had a nice house to live in and food to eat and…I guess you would say “things,” but I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t beaten physically, but I was abused. Verbally. Emotionally.

My parents divorced when I was very young. An infant. I grew up in what they call a blended family. Only ours was a mixture of oil and water and I was the oil. Shake it all you want, you can break down the oil into tiny beads, but it will never be accepted as part of the water.

“This is our son,” my stepfather would say. “And this is Julie’s daughter.”  The words still echo in my head all these years later. Of course he wouldn’t want to lay claim to me. I’m nothing.

I was fat. Am fat. I would play outside and he would tell me the neighbors called and reporting sightings of a beached whale. And I retreated. My mother served up boneless, skinless chicken breast next to their burgers and slapped my hand with her eyes, her voice, if I dared ask for more. “Do you really need that?”

Thirty years later, I’m still causing problems. She tells me it’s not my fault, but it is. How could it not be? My words. My actions. The knowledge that so many lives would be easier if I had never been born blindsides me. This fight, this incident comes at a bad time. The onslaught of postpartum depression, surprising only because it hit me so early this time—this last time, isn’t helping.

I am a child again. Eating to fill a void that keeps expanding. Trying to ease the physical pain that feels unreal. Why does sadness hurt so much?