This is my first week as a “stay at home mom.” I left my job as an assistant manager at dressbarn; no more 40 hour weeks, paychecks, or health benefits. I nearly cringe just thinking about it. At my 6 week check-up with my doctor, she mentioned that “not every woman is made to be a stay at home mom.” And I totally get that. I enjoy working and making money. I like contributing to my household and staying busy with a full time job. I tend to go stir-crazy when I am at home too much. But how everything worked out, daycare just wouldn’t be feasible for Britt and I. They are not open long enough in the day and we work full weekends.. and daycares do not. Not to mention my paycheck would be gone to let someone else raise Olivia, when I could just lose my paycheck and raise her myself. So I have finally come to terms with my fate for the next few years. But in the last two days I’ve thought a lot (you get a lot of thinking time as a nursing mother) about how I’m going to make the very best of my chance to raise Olivia and be home.
1. Learn how to teach Olivia every month of her life things to help her advance. Have conversations with her, read to her, help her advance. It really can start from birth. I get to help shape her development. At six months, we get to start learning sign language to better communicate.
2. Get healthy, and love and care for my body.. as well as Olivias. I plan to breast feed for 12 months. If not breast feed, atleast bottle feed breast milk (when those teefers come in) until a year. Go to the farmers market every Saturday with her and show her all the veggies and fruits we buy, then go home and make her baby food for the week. Fast food and junky processed foods isn’t an option for the both of us once she starts to eat real food. She is impressionable so if I have to give it up then I will. I think it will be hard for Britt to do, but maybe we can make it work for him too. Olivia eats what WE give her. She doesn’t have a choice. I will not abuse that choice by feeding her what I know is not nutritional for her. Granted, mommy has a sweet tooth and there is nothing wrong with getting treats every once in a while.. its one of the joys in life. I want to cook as much as my energy will allow it.. try new things..and involve Olivia in all that I cook. Once she is old enough to help she will! Have a work out regimen.. work out with Olivia too when I can.
3. Get enrolled in school online. Work on getting pre-requisites taken care of.. get an associates in business so when Olivia is old enough for pre-school mommy can go back to culinary school. We will have our restaurant someday.. and Olivia will be as big a part of it as her mommy.
4. Keep my house clean. Granted, somedays its good to just lay around and be lazy for a day… but theres no reason for the house of a stay at home mom to get too messy. it teaches good habits for olivia too.. and she will help too!
5. Invest some time every week to learning and practicing Buddha’s teachings. I am not in a position in my life to practice religion as a whole.. but I can still learn how to be a better person and how to create positive energy and karma for my family and I through the only religion thats made sense to me and given me peace. Buddha would be okay with that.
6. Work on my relationship with Britt. We are getting married soon,and both of us coming from broken families…want a lifelong relationship. And that takes work and commitment. Our daughter, my step daughter, and any other children we have deserve it. And so do we.
7. I asked Britt what kept him occupied the three months he was out of work a year and a half ago. He said he learned every day. Yes, i will be going to school.. but documentaries and the internet sure can teach you a lot too. I’m being serious! It’s not all crap.
So there you have it. Plenty of things to keep me busy and better my life while at home with my daughter. It’s a new journey.. and I’m excited!
My day on January 6th, 2014 was supposed to be an average day; yes I was 4 days overdue and grumpy about it, but I was mainly looking forward to the fact that I had a doctors appointment at 12:45 and I was getting an ultrasound. I hadn’t seen my daughter since they told me she was a girl at the gender appointment nearly 5 months before that. So off we went, my fiance and I, where we found ourselves in a dark room watching a TV screen as my robust belly was fondled by the ultrasound lady. It all went quite normal.. we watched and acted like we knew we could see all the body parts the lady told us were on the screen, and finally she said she was going to perform a test where she just watched the baby’s movement for a while. She expressed concern a few minutes later that our little girl wasn’t moving. Her heart rate was fine, but her little legs and arms just weren’t dancing as they should. I started to get upset, and when my doctor came in to my red, puffy wet face she told me that she understood my wishes about induction (I only wanted to get induced if I was a week overdue, I still had three more days until that day was to come) but my body was tired and stressed out and it really was best to induce today. I trust my doctor, and I told her that if she believed that it was going to keep Olivia out of danger, I would do it.
She told me to head to labor and delivery and I would get checked in. As Britt (my fiance) called my mom to start her five hour trip from Kansas City to Oklahoma City, I washed the tears from my eyes and tried to keep myself from feeling overwhelmed. I realized I was going to have my baby today, and though I told myself the past two weeks I was mentally and physically ready, I was scared shitless.
At around 2:00 PM, I am in my hospital bed, gown and everything, getting stuck for the second time for my IV. Had to mentally check off “No IV, Saline lock instead” and “Able to move freely around my room and in halls to help through contractions” off my birthing plan. I felt a little defeated. Luckily, as my first nurse Sandy started my IV and a small dosage of Pitocin, she told me that I would be able to get up from my bed quite easily to go to the bathroom, use a birthing ball, and walk a short distance around my bed. That made me feel better. But I had to check off “Using a shower to help through contractions” and “Not be hooked up to a machine to check babys heartrate, check it manually with a doppler.” as well from my birthing plan. But I was getting nervous and didn’t really mind. It was soothing to hear her heartbeat. I had brought my Ipod dock and played Bon Iver while Britt watched television. I had to wait until 5:00 PM for my doctor to come and the plan was to break my water. I kept myself busy with knitting and watching television, and Sandy brought me chicken broth and a hot cup of tea to starve off my hunger since I wouldn’t be able to eat until after Olivia was born. Contractions hadn’t started for me yet, though I found out a little later that the tightening pain right below my ribs were actually contractions.
My doctor showed up around 5:30 PM and prepared me for breaking my water. Checked that off my list as well, I hoped it would break on its own. They laid down a lot of pads underneath me, and my doctor used what looked like a long crochet hook to break my water. Almost immediately my water broke. There was a little pressure, but it was mostly painless, and though I couldn’t see what was going on, I could hear and feel gushes of water escaping. I was afraid the pads underneath me wouldn’t be enough to keep the water from soaking my bed. Everytime my doctor pushed a little more with the hook, another gush came out. Finally she was satisfied, and told me that there was a little meconium (when the baby defecates inside the womb) in my water, but she wasn’t concerned because it was so light and it was quite common for an overdue baby. I immediatly felt like I needed to urinate so I got up from my bed about 15 minutes later, and more water flowed down my leg. Luckily my nurse was there, and helped clean it up and took me to the bathroom and helped me get out of the diaper (it was like mesh see through underwear, with a humongous pad the size of a hand towel that you just put inside the mesh underwear) and into a new one. I could also smell what I guessed was the meconium because it smelled like baby poo. Gross, I know. But you really just lose all sense of modesty when you are at a hospital giving a baby. This wasn’t the last of disgusting-ness during my labor.
My contractions started about thirty minutes after the doctor broke my water, and were all abdominal. This was at about 6:00. I decided to get on the birthing ball, and I sat on it facing my bed and went from side to side, front to back for about thirty minutes and was able to talk to Britt and my mother who had just gotten to the hospital. At about 7:30, they got to wear I had to pause talking and lay my head down on the bed, and focus on breathing. I would breathe in through my nose quickly, then let out a long small breath through my mouth while rocking from side to side or in circular motions on the birthing ball. When that wasn’t working as well and my legs were a little sore, I got up from the birthing ball, and I realized it felt amazing just to stand up.. except for when my contraction started again. Sandy taught me to raise my bed up to about my boobs, and bend over onto the bed and up and down. Britt was playing Jack Johnson for me and I would time my squats to the music, swaying back and forth while my legs were bent, basically dancing as I was bent over. Inbetween contractions I would stand up and sway my hips back and forth to the music. As my contractions got worse, and my breathing started to be more audible and there were occasional moans, Britt played songs that were kind of “our songs”. He played John Mayer, “Gravity” which reminded me of the first day I moved down to Oklahoma City, we slow danced to it while I made breakfast for him before he went to work. It made it so much easier to get through my contraction because I felt so good thinking about positive memories. He also played “I Don’t Mind” by Defeater and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. It really did help.
My contractions now were about two to four minutes apart, and very painful. They lasted about 30 seconds each. It was about 8:00. I had tried being on all fours on top of my bed and trying cat and cow position during a contraction but it didn’t personally help me. I also tried just laying on my side in the bed and that was the most PAINFUL way to get through a contraction. I immediately got on the birthing ball again. My new nurse, Jessica checked me for dialation, and I was now a 5. We were all very happy to hear it. I wasn’t discouraged, because I kept my mindset on not expecting to get anywhere fast.. and that helped. I didn’t have high expectations even though I was in A LOT of pain. So it was actually the best feeling to know I went from a one to a five in three hours. At about 8:30 I was mostly moaning through my contractions. I started to get very discouraged.. and started expressing that I didn’t think i was going to make it without an epidural. I was in so much pain. Britt told me I could make it, that I went this far.. I could do it. So I tried a little longer. He went to the visitors room, and my mom came in. I told her that I didn’t think I was going to make it. I was crying. Jessica was in the room and told me that maybe I could try a pain killer called “Nubain”. She said it is put in my IV, and only lasts about 30 minutes. Best of all, it didn’t drug the baby. It would just make me feel what she described as “Wine drunk” and would give me a chance to rest inbetween my contractions (which had been consistintly 2 minutes apart almost my whole labor so far because of the pitocin, usually if you get to have a natural early labor with no drugs they are 5 minutes apart). I agreed. I laid on my side while she started the Nubain, and my mom sat behind me and lightly ran her fingernails around my back like she did when I was a child and had the flu. I immediately felt the drunk-like feeling creep onto me. I felt dizzy for a second, but then that went away. Time went by slow. I could still feel my contractions, but they weren’t as strong. Though my contractions were still 2 minutes apart, it felt like 5 minutes.. and miraculously I took these power 2 minute naps inbetween for 30 minutes. Each time I felt a contraction coming, I would put pressure on my hips with my hand, and my mom would take that as a cue to put pressure on each side of my spine on the lower back. I found that it helped a little, but for the most part back massage did not help me.
As the Nubain wore off, Britt came into the room. I was back in reality, and I didn’t like it at all. I immediatly told Jessica and Britt that I wanted the epidural. Britt softly told me okay, and Jessica went to call the anestheologist. I was in too much pain to care about anything, so I didnt feel bad about it. My nurse came back at around 9:00 and said that the anestheologist was in a C-section and would be about an hour. I said okay, and asked to be checked for dialiation. I was a 7 now! Britt, my mom and I all looked at each other and decided I would be able to to get through it without drugs. I told Jessica to let teh anestheologist come in when he was done and we would decide then.
At ten o’clock, I felt like I wanted to push. Britt told Jessica, and she called my doctor, then checked my dialation again. I was a 9!!!! It felt so good mentally to be at that point, though the pain was horrid. Britt was the only one allowed in the room now, and he stood by my side on my right and held my hand as I resisted the urge to push. That was worse than contractions. I fought my body to keep not only my baby in, but I knew already I was going to poop. So I was trying to keep both holes firmly closed though my body kept telling me to let it all go. It was just a waiting game for my doctor to get there. While we waited, the anestheologist came in to wide open legs and a “hee-hee ha-ha”ing lady on a hospital bed. He walked casually up to me and said who he was, and I told him I didn’t need it. He smiled at me and left, and now that I think about it it makes me laugh how casual he was to the sight of me. I went back to fousing on the blue light on the ceiling and the middle of Britts eyes. Everything felt fuzzy, like I was in a different world. Watching from another point of view. I remember I kept telling Britt how much I wanted to push. And that I was going to poop. There was about 5 people in the room preparing for the birth. Later my nurse told me that they all were glad they got to experience a natural child birth because they don’t see it a lot. Finally, my doctor came in. I remember Britt telling me “Guess who is here!!!!” and through my pain I was able to chirp out “HI DR. WAYMAN!” cheerfully, as everyone laughed. Britt switched to the other side of me, and had latex gloves on. I asked him why he had them on and he said because my hands are so sweaty.
My doctor prepared for me to push, and though she wasn’t ready yet, I let myself relax a little and push somewhat. The stirrups came up, my doctor told me to put my feet up, and that when i pushed, to grab under my knees, pull them to my stomach, and bend my neck forward and push. I felt a contraction coming, and I quickly told my doctor that I’m sorry but I was most definetly going to poop. She said it was fine and to just push and she would take care of it. The first time I tried to push, I didn’t completely let my body go into the contraction. The next time I pushed, I completely relaxed my muscles and actually pushed myself, and it was SO. PAINFUL. I screamed out. I felt myself poop, and then I felt myself stretch to let the baby start her descent. Though it was very painful, I was grateful to be able to feel a contraction coming, tell my doctor it was coming, and help her and I prepare. She would tell me to start positioning myself, and then breathe in, and then PUUUSH! The pushing , though burned, were more bearable now. I felt like it was the last stretch of running laps during training for volleyball. The last lap, I always strived to run as fast as I could, no matter how painful it was. As I pushed, I put everything in it, embracing the burning sensation, and letting the fact that I could feel her head coming out to encourage me. Every once in a while, she would immediatly tell me to breathe in right after I pushed do it again, and those were my favorite. I liked them because I knew she was having me do it because I was very close. My last push, as I felt her whole body slip out, I experienced the “Ring of Fire.” It was the most powerful burning sensation I have ever felt, I felt like my insides were on fire and that a monster was ripping its way through my skin down there. I screamed out like I was getting my intestines ripped out of me while I was still alive, and i was suprised no one heard me in the waiting room. I probably definetely scared some mothers in other rooms. At 10:40 PM, ten minutes after I started pushing, I laid my head back, and Britt told me to put my head up because our daughter was here. I looked up and my heart went up in my chest. My doctor was wiping her off, and Olivia almost imediately started wailing. It was the most beautiful sound in the world. The pain was gone, and it was replaced with a high feeling. Britt cut her umbilical cord, and while he did that I stripped down to nothing, and prepared to do skin-on-skin. She was put on my chest, and I cooed to her telling her how beautiful she was and embracing her warm little writhing body. After about five minutes, they took her to the warming bed to weigh her. I delivered my placenta, and my doctor showed me it. She showed me the white stress spots from going past my due date. She then put a numbing agent in my vagina that stung a lot. She gave me two stitches for a natural tear I had gotten, and then I was done. Britt held Olivia a while, then gave her to me to go get our family. Everyone said Britt had tears in his eyes when he went to get them.
So although my plan went to hell, and I almost gave in to my pain, I believe her birth was perfect. I am so happy I got to experience it naturally. I got to feel everything during pushing down to where she was at as I pushed. I got to tell my doctor when my contraction was coming so we could best prepare. My body naturally gave me a special “high” feeling after her birth that felt like I was floating. An hour after I gave birth, I was helping my mom pack up the room so we could move to the postpartum room. I also felt like staying on my feet and not laying in bed kept my contractions from being less painful. And the Nubain painkiller gave me a nice break and I liked that it didn’t effect Olivia. It is not for everyone but it is SO possible. I didn’t attend any classes, and learned everything from watching youtube videos, and from reading a wonderful book called “Natural Hospital Birth: The best of Both Worlds” by Cynthia Gabriel. My knowledge I used to accomplish it cost me next to nothing! Just believe in yourself, your body, but don’t be discouraged when your plans don’t go through. They probably won’t. But it’s best to think that they won’t because when something does go your way it helps you get to the next step easier. Good luck to the ladies who plan to try it out!
Alright everyone, here she is for the most part healed! My beautiful queen. Thank you Steven Turner @turnermade and Hell Bomb @hellbombtattoo. #marieantoinette
Power Girl — Amanda Conner
Batman and Powergirl,(don’t know the artists name,but its a wonderful picture)
Not an Amanda Conner cover.. yes im bitter.. but still a good issue.
Joker Happy Face by Ken Hunt
Detail of The Death of Socrates by Jacques-Louis David, 1787
its going to be okay…its going to be okay…its going to be okay….