Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Husband and I had the opportunity to go away last weekend. A dear friend of ours was getting married in VA Beach. A dozen mutual friends from Richmond VA were also in attendance. I could write about the ocean view from our room, or the perfect weather, or 2 whole kid-free nights, or the super cute sundress I bought just for lounging around on Sat before the wedding, or a bunch of other awesome vacation-y type things.

But those things aren't what I've been thinking about since we've been home. It's my Tribe. My friends. The handful of couples husband and I grew close to; the support given and received that made life so rich. These are good people. They love us and we love them. All the husbands got along, and all the wives worked together, and we all loved hanging out. It was special, and rare. The relationships were deep, but light hearted. They were genuine, and easy. We've all been to each others' weddings, and inevitabley when the pastor talks about the congregation holding up the new couple and helping them be successful in their marriage, we quietly nod our heads in agreement, taking that commitment very seriously. They have each, in their own way, helped my marriage. In many ways, these people have been more supportive of husband and me than my own family. We can't seem to find our groove in MA; we are struggling to find our Tribe.

This weekend made me feel lonely.

I cried saying goodbye to them. I cried myself to sleep, and I cried while packing up Sunday morning. I cried in the cab on the way to the airport. I've been in a funk ever since.

I just want what's best for my marriage, and my family. I hope we made the right decision to move "home". It sure doesn't feel like home right now.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

Oh, I just love that face.

Omg, I have a kid old enough to ride a bike...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Labor Day

My Labor Day comes in May, not September.

Tomorrow my first born turns 12.

12 years ago tonight, at 0100, my water broke. I spent the entire day in labor, and gave birth in the wee hours on the 14th.

May 14 rolls around in my head almost constantly. At least 3 times per week, I look at the clock at 5:14. It's really weird, but it happens all.the.time. 514. fiveonefour. fivefourteen. oh five one four. may fourteen. May 14th. 5.14.98. May 14. May Fourteenth. It was my password for everything, for years.

BUT. May 13? That's my day. My Labor Day. That's the day I look at the clock and can tell you, at any given moment what was going on. In fact, I can tell you about the entire week. In my mind, it runs like an old film; really fast snap shots with no sound, or rather, like it's being narrated.

On the afternoon of May 11, at 39 weeks, I was running (trotting?) out to the car and tripped and fell FLAT on my belly. Everything was fine, but I always wonder if that's what lead to my water breaking less than 48 hours later.

On the afternoon of May 12 (it was a Tuesday), my boyfriend (not the birthdad) dropped me off after school and said "Call me when you go into labor tonight!" HAHAHA! We laughed!

At 0100, now Wednesday May 13, I woke up to go to the bathroom (again), stood up, and could not for the life of me figure out why I was peeing all over myself. OH! Maybe this is it! I sat on the toilet and dripped. And dripped. And hollered to my mom. She called the midwife who told me to get some rest. Oh, right, because it is so easy to sleep when you are 18 and about to give birth to a baby you will then not take home.

So, I did calculus homework. (I later asked my calc teacher for extra credit for doing homework in labor. He said no.)
I tossed and turned.
I was pretty unemotional; I was naive.
I called Colin's parents and they got ready for the drive.
I called my boyfriend in the morning; he had to go to school.
The principle said a prayer for me over the intercom.

Once the sun came up, I went to the midwife's office where ruptured membranes were confirmed, and mom and I were sent to the hospital. We got there late morning, and did the whole triage thing. I thought it was outrageous that I had to walk around dripping. I was settled into my L&D room around noon. Contractions were bearable. I was on complete auto pilot. The biggest emotion I can remember is being so excited for Colin's parents. I wanted them to get to me asap and enjoy this stuff.

I got an epidural around 3. I honest to God thought the anesthesiologist was joking when he told me I'd have to stay still during a contraction. It seemed impossible, but I shut my mouth and did it. I tried not to make any waves through any of it. There was already so much fuss and comotion over my pregnancy, I didn't want to be any more of a burden.

The afternoon dragged on. Boyfriend came to see me. We watched the Last Ever Episode of Seinfeld. Colin's parents were stuck in major traffic. Like, bumper to bumper for hours. A 3 hour drive took >7 hours that night. I felt so badly for them; I couldn't imagine the torture of sitting still on a highway while you are trying to get to your baby's birth.

I was declared ready-to-push at 10pm. Boyfriend held a leg, and mom held the other. I pushed, and nothing happened. At 11pm boyfriend had to leave, it was a school night after all. He passed Colin's parents in the hallway and they held each other and cried. Colin's mom, D, wiped my brow as I pushed. and pushed and pushed. Dad, G, waited in another room. I pushed for 4 hours. They put forceps on, and Colin was finally, mercifully born at 0159. "It's a boy! You have a son!", the Ob said to me; I appreciate that more now than I did then.

We all cried. He was so bruised. I had the hormone shakes, and remember thinking it was very metaphorical. I was being shaken into my new life. G&D held their son and looked at him like new parents do. You know that look. You can feel it on your own face when you look at your kids, esp when they are brandy-new.

Everyone went home, and we all got some sleep. Colin didn't room in with me, I didn't even think of it. Later that morning, I rang for the nurse and asked for my baby. I fully expected her to tell me "no", and I would have accepted that. I was surprised when she said "yes".

G&D came back and we began this whole Open Adoption Thing. They bought newspapers with the date, fivefourteen. We all held, changed, and loved this new baby. We each rubbed our cheeks on his, and tried to honor each others' feelings.

Friday May 15, everything came crashing down. Birthdad said he would not sign. G&D brought me their car seat so I could bring my son home. I considered changing his name to Jake, but just couldn't do it. I felt so badly for my mom, she was going to have to help me a lot. I was crushed for G&D. They were crushed, too. A social worker came to my room and talked to me like I was a 5 year old; "now you know the baby needs to eat often, right?" in a very high, sing-songy voice. Yeah, lady, I was making an adoption plan, I'm not a dunce.

Saturday May 16, I took my son home. I was numb, and scared, and relieved, and sad, and scared scared scared. He didn't sleep a wink that night; we both cried much of the night.

Monday May 18 was my due date. It was my first full day alone with the baby. I read to him from The Bastard. Boyfriend thought it was inappropriate reading material for a newborn, but I reminded him: it's good for the baby to be talked to a lot, and I ran out of things to say. I started reading What to Expect the First Year, and tried to be the best mom I could.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Birthmother's Day!

I first heard of Birthmother's Day when Colin was 1. I believe it was his mom that told me about it and recognized me on that day for the first time. I was ecstatic. I felt so honored, and appreciated to have my own day. Mother's Day was so hard, I loved having a day that was mine, that honored the sacrifice and bittersweet feelings of being a birthmom. I saw it as an example of how far we've come wrt birthparenthood, and not asking us to just "get on with our lives". It was one way to integrate this experience and carry it with us as we continued our lives.

I've heard from some birthmother's that they find Birthmother's Day kind of offensive. That it separates us from "real" mothers, or excludes us from the "real" holiday. It never occurred to me to think of it like that, but I can see why some do. Although, I'm sure whomever started Birthmother's Day did it with intention of making us feel loved, and not excluded. I've chosen to just take it as a really nice gesture.

To me, we are different. The hardest part of Mother's Day (before Jeb) was that I felt kind of like a mother. I felt like I was in the club, but didn't have an invitation. At Mother's Day lunches, I felt like I was crashing the party. No one really knew what to say to me. I could see in their eyes that they remembered, and I felt bad for making their celebration uncomfortable.

My family has always been terrific about including me as a mother on Mother's Day, and of course I always appreciate it, but I like that Birthmother's Day feels more honest.

That's just me, though. I think that women should celebrate/recognize/honor whatever feels most comfortable for them. There are so many emotional stages of birthmotherhood; I've needed very different things in different years.

So, I hope everyone has a great weekend, whatever you are celebrating!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

OT 2010 - update

Operation Treadmill 2010 is going well, though much different than what I originally set out to do. I had/have a goal of losing 30 pounds. I am amazed at how slowly it is coming off given how much I am exercising. I've lost 13-14 pounds so far. I've been at this for lamost 19 weeks, that's less than a pound per week for crying out loud! My clothes feel much better, but I'm not in my really skinny stuff yet; I'm not even half way to my original goal even after >4 months.

My goal is changing, though. Not just the number of pounds I hope to lose, but what I am looking for all together. If I wind up losing 30 pounds, you won't hear me complaining. But neither will you if I only lose 20 or 25.

My new goal has much more to do with overall health. I've been taking vitamins every single day for almost 5 months; I've never been this consistent, ever. I'm eating better, and thinking about food differently. (I've never struggled with food, but it's taken some effort to get the portions back to a healthy size) I've been doing a lot of thinking about what it means to be healthy in all areas of my life, and how to manage stress better. I've opted for green tea instead of wine to unwind some (not all ;)) evenings. I've been praying more.

I feel a shift happening. Not any major overhaul; I'm not trying to revamp my whole life. I'm just being more careful about where I put my energy, and move more toward behaviors that bring me feelings of strength and peace. It's almost felt like a surrender. I've been working so hard to deal with all the changes life has brought us over the last few years (well, we've brought them on ourselves) and I've felt close to defeated at times lately. I feel like this shift is a result of me loosening my grip. It wasn't even a decision to loosen my grip, I just got to a point where I feel stripped. It feels better to bring my focus to the small things I can do for myself, and take the rest one day at a time. I feel more vulnerable and stronger all at the same time. It's weird, and I don't really understand much of it yet. I am having a hard time explaining it, but it feels good. It feels quiet, but really really good.

So, I hope the weight continues to come off, but it's not my primary focus.

I am still loving my workouts. I ran a 5K race a few weeks ago and will run an 8K race along the beach this Saturday. It's my Mother's Day gift to myself, and I so can't wait!