I Had A Car Baby and It Was Awesome

I’ve put off writing this post because, well, having two children whose collective ages are less than four does something magical to the number of hours in a day. Having said that though, it’s still so. much. easier. adjusting to life with a second little one than it was the first time around. People told me it would be easier because I’d just be more chill the second time around as I adamantly asserted my chillness. As it turns out, it’s much easier to stop worrying when you’ve somewhat successfully raised a sometimes pleasant human being into toddlerhood. I don’t worry about sleep schedules or forming bad habits, I don’t worry too much about her not wanting to take a bottle, I know she’ll be mostly okay after sucking on a toy that’s been on the floor in the corner where we rarely vacuum. I try my best, and it’s worked with the older one so she will probably be fine.

On the morning of my daughter’s birth I awoke to the familiar bizarre feeling of my water breaking. A weird popping sensation brought me out of a deep sleep at 3am with a gasp, and I sat up and waited for some feeling of wetness. It never came, so I got out of bed to try and further assess the situation. Try as I might, no fluid came leaking out of me and no contractions had started yet, so I thought maybe I had dreamed of the popping sensation. I got back into bed as my husband woke up and asked me if he should get the bags ready. I figured we should probably wait until I experienced an actual contraction before packing up the one single outfit that still fit my hugely rotund and swollen body.

Then at exactly 3:30am, I experienced my first contraction. Matt got up and started getting things ready as I tried to rest as much as possible before the real work started. Unfortunately for me, being in any position besides standing was always extremely uncomfortable during labor. I had studied laboring positions so hard, thinking I could try so many things to help me get through it while possibly retaining some energy for the pushing stage. But alas, laying down, leaning over something, hands and knees, all brought on the contractions in a way that made me want to tear my eyeballs out. So I stood up and swayed through the contractions, making low sounds and breathing deeply, focusing on letting my body do its thing. I watched a ton of videos about what the uterus actually does during a contraction so that I could visualize what was actually going on this time, instead of freaking out thinking my body was being ripped in half or that the pain was giving me brain damage (again, observe my chillness).

About 45 minutes after the first contraction, I thought maybe we should call someone to come watch our almost 3 year old. We had told my brother to be on standby just in case, but I didn’t want to make him come so early and then be late for work. I put it off thinking we probably still had lots of time. I called my midwives to let them know that I thought my water broke, but that there’d still been no fluid and I could speak through my contractions. They insisted I come in right away, and I brushed it off, again thinking I had another 6+ hours to go. Shortly after that, I called my brother to come down. Just in case. I just wanted him here with our son to make me feel better. I told him to take his time, take a shower, etc. and thankfully he rushed over anyway.

At 5:30am, a mere two hours after labor really started, Matt called our doula to let her know that I was still managing really well, but that she should maybe get ready to come to our house in the next couple of hours. Shortly after they hung up the phone, I had one single contraction that I could not stay on top of. My mom had texted me to remember to “stay on top of the waves” as a coping visualization, which I had ignored initially thinking that hadn’t helped me with my first labor so why try it now. But as the contractions jumped around, getting easier, then more intense, two minutes apart and then seven minutes apart, I did use it a lot. Neither of my labors ever followed any kind of pattern so following the 5-1-1 rule or whatever the birth class instructor had told us was entirely useless. Some were spaced out a lot and some were close together, and they all lasted from twenty seconds to two minutes. No pattern whatsoever.

So after that ONE contraction wherein I shrieked like a banshee, unable to cope with the intensity, I said “we need to go NOW”. My brother had already arrived and was comfy on the couch. Very shortly after THE contraction (I later realized this single contraction was my transition, where my cervix suddenly was fully dilated and my baby dropped into my pelvis) I had another contraction where my body was pushing HARD, without any conscious effort on my part. It felt like when you have to throw up, and your diaphragm just sort of contracts without permission, no matter how inconveniently located you are. Matt called the doula again letting her know that we thought I might be getting “pushy”.

She calmly and sternly told Matt, “go turn on the car and turn the heat up as much as possible. Grab some clean towels. I’ll meet you at the hospital”. At this point I should have realized that we probably wouldn’t make it to the birth center at our designated hospital, but in my mind I still had some control over things, as the first pushing contraction wasn’t all that intense. I was sweating bullets at this point (also similar to when you’re throwing up and feel like total shit as your body does a bunch of work for you) and told Matt, “don’t you DARE turn the heat on in that car”. We stepped outside into the chilly 38 degree morning and I had one more “normal” contraction in our front yard while holding on to Matt. We approached the car and I waved wearily to my brother, since I didn’t have the energy to smile or speak anymore.

As I got to the curb where my car was parked, I had another contraction and grabbed onto the roof of my car as my body pushed a thousand times harder than before. I felt my baby RIGHT THERE and somewhat panicked, asked my doula (still on speakerphone) if we needed to call an ambulance. It was then that I realized finally that we would either have this baby on the sidewalk in front of our house, or in the car. Ali was amazingly calm and told me that it was up to me. “You can call an ambulance if you want to, but you can do this” she told me. She asked if I could feel how far in my baby was, and though I didn’t have the energy to tell her, I could feel her head less than an inch away from being born. I had listened to a couple of birth stories where women accidentally gave birth at home and then called an ambulance to transport them to the hospital, and all of them expressed sadness and frustration over how “emergent” the situation became once the EMTs showed up. They’re trained for emergencies, and that’s great, but my last labor was treated as such, and things quickly spiraled out of control unnecessarily. I didn’t want them to put an oxygen mask on me, or take my baby from me for any reason. Also, I thought, “I really don’t want to pay for an ambulance”.

On the other hand, I really didn’t want to give birth on our sidewalk, where homeless people sometimes hang out, and people occasionally let their dogs poop. And I didn’t want to go back in the house and risk waking up our son, because we really didn’t talk about birth in detail and he definitely was not prepared to see his mom making animal noises with the addition of blood and body fluid that accompanies babies as they are born.

It took ALL of my willpower to bend over (recall that anything other than standing was like stabbing me in the abdomen) and put one knee up on the front passenger seat of the CR-V, with my other leg stretched out behind me towards the front of the car. Matt drove 115 miles per hour with his head out the window, since we didn’t have time to melt the ICE FROM OUR WINDSHIELD (the ONE day out of the entire year it was cold enough to form ice). Once I came to terms with the fact that our baby was going to be born in the car, I was calm. As my body pushed without my permission and I made sounds like a wild animal (also without my permission), I remembered all of the YouTube videos I had somewhat obsessively watched, of women giving birth in the car. The baby would come out, and they would just hold them on their chest in shock, and keep baby warm until they got to the hospital. They were all fine, and I truly knew we were fine. I kept repeating between contractions “I can’t believe this is happening right now”. Alas, we were not destined to become a YouTube sensation since no one was in the frame of mind to start filming anything at all.

As the car stopped in front of the hospital doors, our doula told Matt to run inside to the front desk and tell them his wife was giving birth in the car. He later told me he got some dirty looks as he jumped in front of a few people waiting to speak with the receptionist. They of course were understanding once he got the words out, and the receptionist called a “code pink”.

Meanwhile back in the car, I was telling Ali how much burning I was feeling, which I also knew was normal since I’d listened to hours and hours of birth stories. For my first labor I was totally numb, so I never felt what the fetal ejection reflex was like, nor any of the intensity of my baby actually coming out.

When Matt got back to the car and opened the door, I told him, “her head is out”. I think he thought I didn’t know what I was talking about, but when he pulled down my sweatpants and saw her head completely facing him, he said “oh my gosh” as he grabbed the towels our doula had so smartly told him to bring. I had one more contraction and she slipped out into the towels in Matt’s hands. Right then, a huge team of medical people and our midwife came running out. Matt confusedly handed our daughter to the midwife, as I tried to look over my shoulder at my baby, who started to cry with her teeny little voice. I said “can I hold her?” and the midwife asked me if they could cut the cord.

Now, last time, I had zero control over anything to do with my son’s birth. People told me when to push, they gave me medication I expressly told them I did not want, and the whole ordeal was infuriating as I was treated like I had no idea what was good for me or my child. So, since the midwife was asking, I said “no, can we just wait?” and she obliged me, as she helped me turn around and untangle the baby’s cord, still attached to me in the freezing cold morning. Some guy came into the driver’s seat and suddenly insisted on putting an oxygen tube on me, and taped something to my finger. I told him I was fine but he pushed it anyway. Seconds later, my doula came into the car, rolling her eyes and pulled everything back off. Whatever, he did what he was trained to do. Thanks and good job, oxygen guy.

My shoes and pants were pulled off, and the midwife held my baby in warm blankets as I hobbled half-naked to the gurney waiting for us a few paces away. They piled more warm blankets on both of us as I held her close and looked at her sweet tiny little face. A doctor came and asked (asked!) if he could check her breathing and heartbeat before we went further. He quickly pronounced that she was perfect, and we were rolled inside, as the crowd of medical staff applauded for us.

I totally love attention (just being honest), so walking around half naked in front of thirty people to get a round of applause was fine with me. Plus my endorphins were surging, so the whole day of my daughter’s birth was one of the best days of my life. Not only was my entire labor completed in just under three hours, but I got the unmedicated labor I wanted, and the unassisted birthing experience I craved but was too nervous to attempt. My baby was amazingly healthy, and we were all suddenly here, only minimally worse for the wear.

So there you have it. Plenty of people have told me that having a car baby is their worst fear. I definitely understand how having an unmedicated birth when you expected a calm epidural experience could be scary and perhaps traumatizing, but if you find yourself in that situation, just know it will most likely be completely okay. I had a car baby and it was awesome.

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Fall: Yes, I am Basic.

I keep thinking about what a bummer it is that loving Fall and yoga pants equates to being a basic bitch. Because I love yoga pants. And I Really. Love. Fall.

To me, that first day of slightly cooler weather that follows the final heatwave of the summer is like a holiday on its own. I saw this comic the other day that pretty much sums up the way I feel the second the temperature drops below 80. I feel a tingle of excitement and all the energy I’ve saved up through the summer laying g around bemoaning the heat starts to spark up inside me again.

Pumpkins! Cinnamon! Leaves! Sweaters! No more shaving! HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE FALL?!?

The change in season always kind of brings me to reflect on the past eight months or so. Another year almost done? How did I do? Am I heading in the right direction? Am I being the person I want to be or taking steps to get there? It’s a time to slow down a bit and focus on cozying up our home, reading more, burning candles, celebrating family and eating carbs.

Since Charlie’s a little older I am SO looking forward to picking pumpkins, Halloween costumes, learning about menorahs and Santa and all the yummy foods that were choking hazards last year.

Now, to convince Matt to watch Hocus Pocus with me…

Charlie: 15 months and Things I want to Remember

Popsicle face boy

One of the best parts about being a parent is getting to watch this little person you’ve created, as they turn into the perfect weirdos they are. I want to make sure I keep a record of all the silly things Charlie does, now at 15 months.

He puts his shoulder up against his cheek and extends his arm out, palm up, while wrinkling his forehead and looking at something with his little doe-like eyes. This means he wants something. Also for want, the sign for “milk” applies to everything.

He isn’t walking yet but is tired of crawling on hands and knees, so getting around the house/yard sometimes involves “walking” around on his knees/legs, or crawling around like Mowgli, butt in air

It’s getting warmer out, so he enjoys being totally naked best of all

He freaks out a little when he goes potty in the yard without a diaper on. Then it’s cuddle time for a few minutes

He says “DOH?!?!?” at everything, seemingly wanting to strike up a conversation about it

He has started making a gutteral “guhg” sound lately. I think he likes the feeling it makes in his throat

Says pa-pa, da da, ma ma (rarely), and I swear he clearly said “daddy” and garbled “i love you” when I kissed him goodnight the other day

Gives kisses when you ask him for one

Is SO cuddly since recovering from icky Hand, Foot, and Mouth. He’ll just come up and lay his head down on mine or Matt’s shoulders. He actually stays put for a good 30 seconds, which is new

Puts the phone and TV remote on his shoulder, leans his head over and says “ah?”

Knows where his belly button is. We are working on nose, ear and eye too

When he throws a tantrum about something (he can’t put his finger in the cat’s bottom, he can’t put the rocks in his mouth, etc.) he kicks and cries for a minute before calmly laying down on the floor and curling up into a ball with his hands underneath him.

It’s so fun watching his little personality unfold, my sweetest, funny kid!

 

Tips From a Tired Mom

Before Charlie graced all of us with his wonderful presence I thought to myself, “this blog is not a mom blog. I’m not going to only write about being a mom.” To be honest, though, I don’t even care anymore. Welcome to my mom blog, everyone. I enjoy reading parenting blogs, and I feel like now I have something to contribute to the parenting blogosphere. We are all just grasping at straws trying to figure it all out anyway, and if by writing down whatever I have to say, someone else gets one helpful bit of information or a laugh on a bad day, then I have done my duty.
There’s a lot of discord among the many parenting styles these days. Just read through the comments on one poor momma’s post in any parenthood forum, and see the absolute chaos that ensues. Don’t bother asking anyone else about vaccinations, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, or sleep training unless you want to feel like a terrible mother in general. Seriously, do some research outside of the forums and Facebook groups, and pick whatever makes sense for you and your child.
In this space, my intent is never to provide unsolicited and unquestionable advice – I just want to share the ways I’ve somewhat successfully muddled through five months of my son’s life.
So without further ado, here are my tips for general momming/dadding:

  1. Leave your spare key fob next to the bed so that when you awaken in the middle of the night wondering if you locked the car, you can hit the lock button and hear the satisfying honk of your vehicle. This only works if you live in such cramped quarters that your car is parked right outside your window.
  2. Buy gum in bulk from Costco. I have lost count of how many times I’ve discovered it’s 4pm suddenly, and I still haven’t brushed my teeth.
  3. Load up that Starbucks card. I am blessed to live in a world where I can literally walk about 200 feet and be at heaven’s door. This is whether I’m at home or at work.
  4. Moms, if you are breastfeeding, LEARN TO SIDE NURSE. At first I was all “I will never fall asleep with the baby in bed with me” and to be honest, when he was super teeny, and I was super out-of-it exhausted, I still wouldn’t; but it’s wonderful to go back to sleep at 4am when he wakes up and wants a boob. Plus, those mornings when he wakes up next to me and smiles like, “Oh MOMMY! I sure love looking at your face/grabbing your eyes/lips/nose/nipple while you sleep!”
  5. Subscribe to Amazon Prime. Again, I was hesitant at first. Who wants to pay $100 in membership fees? But I no longer run out of diapers or toilet paper, so everyone is poop-free and happy.
  6. Try eyelash extensions. I actually just took mine off because I don’t have time to get them filled every month, but WOW I looked fabulous when I first went back to work after maternity leave. They gave me some time to get a morning routine down while looking like a put some effort into my appearance.
  7. Make lunches/breakfasts for the work week ahead of time. Whether it’s the weekend before or the night before….don’t try doing that nonsense  in the am when your baby is teething and waking up all night long, and you can’t see straight because you’re exhausted and can’t turn the kitchen light on because you just got your precious baby back to sleep, and you don’t want to risk waking them up. Just…plan ahead with the meals. Dinner, however, is kind of a free for all. We are still working on not getting tacos every night.
  8. Know that we’re ALL still figuring it out. You’re not the only one who feels like you’re struggling, there’s a whole world of tired, confused-ass parents out there, and we’re all ready to talk about it when you’re ready to admit you’re not perfect out loud.

Have some tips for me? Let me know how you survive!

Saturday Morning Coffee Rant

coffee cup
I’ve just finished my third week back at work after my son’s birth, and I have to say that if anything, it’s nice to be able to savor the weekends again. On maternity leave, every day was Saturday (except on Sundays when Matt was home from work). Nowadays, it’s REALLY nice to have a Saturday morning to sip my coffee slowly, wait for Charlie to finish napping, and just write.

Speaking of writing – my writing machine (my beloved Mac!) has been at the doctor for the past week, and I’m happy to report that we can pick her up today! She’s been given a newly clean bill of health, although I lost everything that was on her. Time to start a regular backup, I guess…luckily I had been backing up all of Charlie’s pictures on a semi-regular basis. I would have died if all those precious pictures were gone forever! I refuse to pay more for more iCloud storage, so I have to back everything up to an external for now, which is somewhat labor intensive. Apple gets enough of my money on a regular basis (amiright??).

Fall is in the air here in sunny San Diego, and I am planning some fun fall surprises, which I’ll write about in detail later!

What fun fall plans do you have?

Blue Collar Girl Living In a White Collar World

Lately I’ve been feeling like I’ve always been sort of mercurial in all aspects of my life. Growing up was, of course, difficult —who doesn’t have a hard time going through adolescence? —due to the fact that I experienced such extreme moodiness from about age eight until twenty-two, and had a pretty sassy personality to boot.

As a Capricorn on the cusp of Aquarius, I am just whimsical enough to put stock in my horoscope, while also being scientific enough to feel skeptical of its merits. I believe in black and white facts, but also totally understand the in-between, miraculous things. I am organized to a fault, while piles of laundry get thrown on top of my dresser and my car is a disgusting mess. I’m extremely strict about some things, and totally chill about others. It may seem like there’s no rhyme or reason for the things I do, but I promise you nothing is arbitrary.

I studied religion in college, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone less religious than I am.

Now in the working world, it seems I’ve continued this pattern of apparent duality, as I work in a pretty old-fashioned industry, but my clients are all very modern and tech-y. I love the rules and data-driven part of my job, but need this creative outlet in writing to keep me going. My friends are both white collar executives and blue collar construction workers, with a whole lot of creatives thrown in. My peeps are 50/50 on the blue versus white collar spectrum, and I feel at ease in both worlds.

Life is about balance, you know? I still struggle with finding it sometimes; I think it’s human nature to want to pick a label for ourselves, to simplify who we are. Some days I want to be strict, proper and organized, and others, I want to just be an artsy hippie who doesn’t care about rules or money. Ultimately, I have to settle for something in between the two, and I guess that’s okay.

 

Anxiety, you asshole

 

The past couple of days have pretty been much a 180 from my happy place that I’ve been in lately. One thing I’ve been struggling with more since gaining a billion times the hormones, is anxiety. Like I said, I feel open and exposed to the cruelty of the world, and hearing about bad things on the news puts me in a bad place.

We lost more people to a mass shooting the other day in the town where I went to college. Friends who still live there were in the same apartment complex as the shooters, where that had pipe bombs and more ammo stored. Along with their six-month old child.

It feels like the world is in such a bad place right now, and it terrifies me having decided to bring a child into it. However, as my bestie reminded me yesterday, things happen when they do for a reason, and my child will cope with the bad things the same way we did growing up. All we can do is live our lives the best we can and focus on our own little corner of the world. There’s no point in being scared to leave the house. And right now especially, I can’t be stressed about everything because as I learned yesterday it leads to sciatic pain and false contractions. Going into panic mode for two days definitely doesn’t do anyone any good, especially poor Bdub, who has no say in the matter. I felt a lot of little kicks yesterday as if to tell me to knock it the heck off and just take a nap.

Well, sleep I did and my back and brain feel a hundred times better today! I am going to the baby shower for my best friend since 1st grade, and am so excited to see her and her family. Our children will be born only two months apart!

Anyway, focus on gratitude my friends, and if it all gets to be too much and your chest hurts so bad you feel like you will die, remember to just chill out and focus on your breath (focusing on the good does nothing for me in the midst of a panic attack, it is a time to think smaller). Today we begin anew.