Eva-isms

Eva: Mom, the TV isn’t going to Netflix!
Me: Well, where is it going?
Eva: It just says ‘no signal’.
Me: Did you turn on the right thing?
Eva: Yeah! Had a my 1!
Me: What?
Eva: You know, had a my 1 and had a my 2.
Me: Honey, that’s not a word. You just say HDMI 1 and HDMI 2. And you need HDMI 2.
Eva: Oh.
Me: Life was easier when you just had to change it to channel 3.
Eva: Huh?

 

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Birth Plans: Part 2 of 3

As I explained in part 1 of my birth plan post, my husband and I are preparing 3 separate birth plans. The first birth plan that I shared is the plan (preferences, really) for labor and delivery if labor begins spontaneously, without intervention.

The next birth plan we have completed is for labor and delivery that is induced. Induction is a very real possibility, as is cesarean. Neither option is desirable to us, but we will obviously do what needs done to have a healthy baby.

For those that read the last birth plan, there are some repeats. But, the overall focus of this birth plan is different. I don’t have as much confidence in my body with an induction as I do with spontaneous labor. This is my own issue, I know, but I will need some help overcoming these issues to be successful in an induction.

Induced Birth Preferences

Let’s face it, Nurse, you’re busy. So, let me quickly say we appreciate you. I (Mindy) probably won’t be saying that in L&D because I’m a crabby, witchy person when I’m in pain. So, when I (Mindy) snap at you in about five seconds, please know I really, really appreciate you and I’m sorry I’m a terrible person.

We know that poop happens and plans go awry. None of this has been written in stone. We need to know the why before something is done, though. We are all about informed consent, and I’m good at making decisions under pressure. If a decision needs to be made and I’m asleep, please wake me.

I have had a bad experience with a previous induction. It will take a lot of concentration and effort on my part to relax and focus on trying to help my cervix to dilate. My biggest fear is a failure to progress because my cervix won’t cooperate. Here is what is most important to us to have a successful labor resulting in a vaginal delivery:

  • Freedom of movement–telemetric monitoring. I know, the IV is my new friend.
  • I will definitely be getting my snack on!
  • I will be checking my blood glucose levels during labor. If you would like these readings, please let me know. I will gladly share!
  • As few vaginal checks as humanly possible! The fewer hands in my vagina the better!
  • I don’t want to know my progress (or lack thereof). If my husband needs to know (he is a are-we-there-yet kind of person), please tell him in the hall.
  • No epidural or pain medication is the goal. I realize Pitocin makes labor harder to endure, but I have some coping techniques prepared. If you have suggestions for natural coping methods based on your experience, I am open to suggestions.
  • I’m a pacer! I will probably want to roam the halls; pants will be important for a bit.
  • If you ask me how I’m doing, chances are I will tearfully tell you how awful I feel. I’m a sucker for sympathy. Quiet, calm, matter-of-fact–those are usually good approaches to take with me when I feel awful. If it is too much to bear, I will let you know.
  • The fewer distractions when things start getting serious, the better!
  • Any help preventing a tear during second stage labor is much appreciated. Where do you keep the PAM spray? Vegetable oil? Anything. Really. This is a big baby.
  • We would like some uninterrupted time with our son immediately following birth so long as we’re both good to go. Maybe an hour or two, please!

After:

  • Breastfeeding (but could definitely use a lactation specialist consult).
  • No bottles.
  • No pacifier.
  • Yes to vaccinations.
  • Yes to circumcision.
  • Maybe to rooming-in (if I’m not too exhausted).
  • What’s for dinner?

Birth Plans: Part 1 of 3

While I may be living in a fantasy world, I am still hoping for labor to spontaneously begin with no intervention or prompting. I am still hoping for an intervention-free labor and delivery. Whether that actually happens is all about wait and see.

My husband and I have created a one-page birth plan that we plan to take to the hospital once labor begins. I wasn’t going to create a birth plan because I am very willing and able to self-advocate and open to change as the situation dictates. My husband, however, wants our preferences in writing because he is afraid he will be more focused on not vomiting and/or fainting during the labor and delivery process than on what the nurses and doctors are saying/doing.

Knowing that right now the chances seem slim that I will be able to have labor begin spontaneously, I have also prepared two other birth plans that reflect our preferences for an induced labor and delivery, and a cesarean section.

As I have browsed the web looking for birth plans that closely mirror my preferences, I have realized there are many different approaches to outlining the ideal birth to medical professionals. We have chosen to take a slightly humorous approach in ours.

Please note that there are many other things that could be outlined as preferences (such as specifying intermittent monitoring if a wireless baby monitor is not available at our chosen hospital) in a birth plan. We tried to keep our preferences to things applicable only in our hospital or specific to our obstetrician. We also felt that a one-page-only birth plan was extremely important to ensuring it actually gets read in its entirety.

Our birth plan for spontaneous labor:

Birth Preferences

Let’s face it, Nurse, you’re busy. So, let me quickly say we appreciate you. I (Mindy) probably won’t be saying that in L&D because I’m a crabby, witchy person when I’m in pain. So, when I (Mindy) snap at you in about five seconds, please know I really, really appreciate you and I’m sorry I’m a terrible person.

Here’s what I want, knowing that poop happens, and plans go awry (notice I didn’t even call this a birth plan? I’m a realist, most of the time), I know this is all subject to circumstances:

L&D

  • No visitors, please! We will let you know if someone is supposed to be let in. I know you are busy and you can’t stand guard outside our door, but I’m hoping something can be clicked in our electronic record keeping visitors away.
  • I am all about informed consent. As long as I’m conscious, please obtain informed consent from us both, not just my husband. If I’m asleep, please wake me.
  • I will be monitoring my blood glucose levels during labor. If you would like these readings, please let me know.
  • Point me in the direction of the nearest bathtub please!
  • Going for unmedicated; please don’t offer me drugs.
  • Feel free to drug my husband, though, as I will greatly appreciate it.
  • I need to be left alone as much as medically possible.
  • I would like to be up and active during labor. Telemetric monitoring please!
  • If you ask me how I’m doing, chances are I will tearfully tell you how horrible I feel. I am a sucker for sympathy. So, don’t ask. I will tell you if it is beyond my ability to bear.
  • Yes to as few vaginal checks as medically possible. The fewer hands in my vagina, the better.
  • I would like to deliver in whatever position seems to be working for me.
  • No pitocin at any point please (unless I’m hemorrhaging, obviously, I like to live).
  • Heplock me up, Scotty!
  • I will be eating and drinking. I do understand possible aspiration risks if I go under general anesthesia. I assume all risk.
  • No extraction assistance please unless we have given clear consent.
  • Any help preventing a tear during second stage labor is much appreciated. Where do you keep the PAM spray? Vegetable oil? Anything. Really.
  • Give it a couple of minutes before cutting the cord, like while wiping the goo off of our son.
  • Please let the placenta detach naturally.
  • We would like some uninterrupted time with baby after birth. Maybe an hour or two?

After:

  • We are opting for a circumcision.
  • Yes to vaccinations.
  • Breastfeeding (a lactation specialist consult would be great).
  • No pacifier.
  • No bottles.
  • Maybe to rooming-in. Depends on how tired I am.
  • Still all about informed consent.

Beware The Last Trimester

I am about a day away from the 32 week mark in this pregnancy. I thought I knew what to expect at this point. I have been expecting the back pain, fatigue, general uncomfortableness, fake contractions and screwed up sleep schedule. I have been expecting to feel like I just don’t have any more room anywhere in my body while knowing it will stretch and adapt anyway. I have even been expecting leaky boobs at any moment.

The part that surprised me, that has me laying in bed miserable and awake…

Nausea.

It’s back.

With a bang.

I’m aware this isn’t an uncommon occurrence at this stage in pregnancy. I’m aware that many women, especially those with nausea at the beginning of pregnancy, do experience nausea right around now.

But I didn’t think it would happen to me.

Famous last words, I’m sure.

My Legacy

What’s my legacy?

I realize I’m only 30. I shouldn’t be contemplating my legacy yet. But, if I don’t contemplate it now, what can I possibly do to change it when my life is already in its twilight?

What is my vision for my life?

I never even thought that someone could have a vision for their life when I was fresh out of high school. I thought that people had dreams, many unrealistic, that either just happened or didn’t. A vision implies actively working toward something. Or, even better, actively crafting and shaping until the result is a replica of your vision.

What are my goals?

Goals sound like a finish line. Goals make me think of hitting a point and calling it a day. I suppose I do have goals, like giving birth naturally.  That most definitely has a finish line, thankfully. But I don’t feel like I should have a life goal. I don’t want to stop, to cross the finish line in life.

What is my philosophy?

Oh my. Have you ever tried to explain evolution to a 6-year-old girl full of curiosity and questions? If that doesn’t solidify your philosophy, then I’m not sure what will.

What am I babbling on about?

Well, other than the fact that I just tend to babble anyway, I do have a point. The first 4 questions above are typical, universal questions we ask ourselves and others throughout life. Many job interviews will contain questions such as these. Do you have the answers?

Today, I have my answers. I have my legacy, my vision, my goals and my philosophy all outlined, road mapped and solidified.

All of those things all revolve around my children (born and unborn). I want to live intentionally, with the purpose of creating a legacy that will long outlive me. My goals will never involve a finish line, but instead will grow and evolve and change from one moment to the next. I want to be the road map my children will need to navigate life.

Life isn’t always easy, but it isn’t always hard, either. Life is only as hard as I make it. I cannot control the uncontrollable, but I can control my outlook and my response. I want to live as an intentional participant, not a reactionary respondent.

Today, I am determined to take the long view on life. How about you?

Grief and Pain: Why My Grief Is Worse Than Your Grief

*Trigger warning–this post discusses pregnancy, child loss and infertility. 

 

Pregnancy–the wondrous means needed to perpetuate the human race. The reproductive process holds mysteries and miracles alike. Our living situations during a pregnancy or leading up to a birth can make pregnancy a wonderful, joyous journey to parenthood or a fear-filled burden resulting in a different life than the one envisioned. It’s one of those things that can’t be fully described to someone else. No one’s experience with pregnancy and childbirth is exactly like someone else’s experience. It is a unique process that changes each time someone reproduces. You have to experience it to understand the power that reproduction contains. Given that I had difficulty conceiving this child I’m carrying right this moment, I am sensitive to how insensitive that last sentence is for those that cannot conceive and carry a live baby to term. For some, there is nothing in the world that would be more meaningful than experiencing pregnancy and subsequently, parenthood.

The road to reproduction can also be the source of so much pain, heartache, anxiety and depression, just to name a few emotions, for those that struggle with infertility. We are genetically hard-wired to seek and desire parenthood. When a man or a woman cannot reproduce for some reason it can cause so much heartache. Many of us in this world who have managed to have a child but struggled to have another find secondary infertility just as heart breaking. Luckily, many stories of infertility end happily. Just as many, however, do not.

The road of the infertile is rife with so much disappointment. Not only is there disappointment every time a pregnancy test or ovulation predictor strip indicates a negative result, which for some is a daily occurrence, but there is the disappointment attached to missed life achievements and goals. There is disappointment at every holiday, anniversary and event as the infertile remain childless. There is plenty of financial disappointment as well, as most of those struggling with infertility realize the mandatory health insurance (in the U.S.) they are paying exorbitant fees to have won’t cover much or anything related to the treatment of infertility. For many, the lack of coverage and a lack of unlimited funds signals the death of a life-long dream to parent a child. For many, adoption isn’t an option either because of the financial burden adoption presents as well.

Fertile person, holding your child right now, imagine that your child never came into existence because you couldn’t afford the fees required to conceive, birth or adopt that child.

I’m not writing this to make you feel guilty that you have something someone else wants terribly. I’m not writing to try to explain to you how it feels to face infertility because, let’s face it, just as carrying and having a child is something that has to be experienced to be understood, infertility, too, must be experienced to be understood. Infertility is something that cannot be fully described. For each infertile person in the world, there is a separate story and experience.

So, why am I writing this? I’m not even sure myself. I suppose I just want to remind people that parenthood is a privilege that not everyone who wants to gets to experience. Everyone is different, and everyone has a story, if we just let them tell it. But, no, that isn’t really what I want to say either.

My grief is worse than your grief.

Before my comment section gets blown up with heated comments, please listen a bit longer.

I think many of us have parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles that have probably lost a child to miscarriage or stillbirth or disease way back when. In the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s, even to some degree in the 80’s, everything was governed by appearances. It was unseemly to speak of infertility, and it was even more unseemly to speak of something such as losing a child. Loss in general was something to be spoken of only in the most proper of ways at the most appropriate of times. This was the era in which the U.S. was thoroughly dedicated to one-upping the U.S.S.R. Everything needed to be better, brighter, happier, healthier and wealthier. Our lives as American citizens needed to be shining examples to the world as a demonstration of the superiority of democracy and free enterprise. The original version of keeping up with the Joneses involved being the Joneses.

We haven’t exactly held on to this view that everything had to appear perfect in the subsequent decades. For example, we now view divorce as a normal, common occurrence and accept all of its messy details without raising an eyebrow these days. We live unwed with a chosen partner without stigma or fear of ostracization even. But, for some reason, we still don’t openly talk about infertility or child loss. It is an uncomfortable subject that has been and continues to be avoided except as whispers among gossipers and curious folks alike. Is this a carry-over from earlier generations?

Now, in our open-minded modern society, we still live in a world of one-uppers. That is definitely something we have carried over from previous decades. Instead of a national movement to one-up another nation, now we try to one-up each other. To be able to one-up someone implies that there is a certain value attached to everything.

We define everything by degrees. Someone’s degree of loss is less or more than someone else’s. Someone’s hardship is lessened because he or she is more fortunate than someone else, for example. Or, someone who experiences a miscarriage should not be expected to grieve to the same degree as someone whose child is stillborn. Or, the degree of loss for someone who lost an infant to sudden infant death syndrome or an older child to cancer or an accident or some other tragedy, is more severe than that of the parents of the stillborn child.

My grief is worse than your grief.

Grief is grief. Why do we have to assign value to a person’s grief or pain or hardship?

I would like to think I’m not one of those insensitive people, thinking that my grief over my baby lost to miscarriage several years ago isn’t any more or less than anyone else’s grief over anything or anyone else. I would like to think that I don’t listen to a story of a woman struggling with infertility who was triumphant at conceiving after only a short period of time and then immediately think that my story can one-up her’s because it took me longer. But I’m just as bad as everyone else.

I do put the degree of pain and grief experienced as an infertile in terms of length of time trying before conception and birth. My infertility story is worse than some and better than others; I suffered more than some and less than others. That is what my brain says, anyway. I, too, rarely speak of my miscarriage, and when I do, I speak of it very casually. I don’t assign much value to my miscarriage because it was so incredibly early in pregnancy some could argue that there wasn’t ever a baby to lose. I don’t assign much value to the emotions that I still feel when I think of my baby that never got the chance to breathe or smile or laugh.

Why do we do this? Why do I do this?

Because it validates our feelings in some way I suppose. Maybe, just maybe, instead of comparing my grief to someone else’s grief, I could just accept it as it is within me. My pain is real. My pain is mine. Someone else’s pain does not lessen or increase my pain.

I am trying to be much more intentional with my thoughts and emotions. I am trying to realign my emotions and my brain. My story as an infertile, which barring any tragedy, will end happily. My happy ending does not negate the experiences I had to get to the happy ending, though. I now rarely talk about my struggle with infertility for the most part since my pregnancy was confirmed via ultrasound. This blog has been the only place in which I speak of my previous struggles, and that has been infrequent and not recent. It feels like, according to this law of degrees, I no longer have the right to publicly acknowledge the pain I felt as a person struggling to conceive a child.

Pain is pain and grief is grief. It can’t be quantified, graded or nullified. If I can’t make anything else I have said stick, I hope this one statement sticks–your pain is as big or as little, as much or as less, as you feel it.

My grief is my grief, and your grief is your grief.

How Lower Gas Prices Are Ruining My Life

Okay, that title might be a bit melodramatic. But, right now, at this moment in time, it doesn’t feel melodramatic.

The nation-wide phenomenon known as cheap gas is something we haven’t seen since well before my little Eva (she’s six and a half now) was even conceived. I wrote in her baby book that gas prices at the time of her birth were hovering around the $4.00/gallon mark. Now, as I pass the local gas station, the sign out front declares that gas is now $1.67/gallon. I can fill up my car for less than $20.00. I should be doing a little dance and rejoicing, right? So, what’s my problem then?

These lower prices are dramatically impacting my husband’s sales. Most of his income (which is most of our income) is commission based. He sells steel of all kinds, but some of his biggest customers are those in the gas and oil industry. The companies in the gas and oil industry are scared, though. The companies that have completely halted all projects are operating at a loss right now because of the price of a barrel of oil is so low. These companies are struggling to keep their current employees paid; they don’t have the cash flow to expand and work on new projects. So, what’s making gas and oil so cheap, you say?

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (or as most of us know them, OPEC) is selling crude oil for next to nothing. Typically, if the prices for crude oil drop, OPEC decreases output which raises demand because of a drop in availability which raises the price. This time, though, OPEC is playing for keeps.

In an effort to become less reliant on foreign oil (silly Americans that we are like our independence), American oil production is up. The U.S. has been drilling for shale oil for several years now, significantly increasing production in the last couple of years. Russia has been doing its own drilling for years now, but Russia’s oil production alone wasn’t enough previously to impact OPEC. Now, with both the U.S. and Russia drilling and the overall global demand for oil on the decline (thank you hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicle drivers everywhere, and I genuinely mean that), the price of oil is dropping. As I said before, the typical answer to sliding oil prices is a decrease in output or sales by OPEC.

This time, OPEC doesn’t plan on decreasing anything. The members of OPEC met in November and declared to the world that production levels will not be changing anytime soon. This was reiterated again just a few days ago in a statement released by an OPEC representative. The next planned meeting between OPEC members isn’t until June.

The way things are looking right now, my husband may not sell enough steel for us to survive March. Did I mention my baby is due in March? Cue panic.

Even if I went back to work at a regular, reliable day job, it won’t do us much good when we need the income the most–March. Cue more panic.

I realize that we still have plenty of time to (hopefully) supplement our income with my writing and my husband’s constant efforts to find new customers. I realize that a lot can change between now and then. I realize that I should be praying about it instead of blogging about it (which I will be doing this evening, for sure). I know all of these things intellectually. But, emotionally–well, my emotions just don’t want to talk about it right now. Emotions have decided to turn a blind eye to reason for a few moments.

I thought at first when gas prices started dropping that it was a result of shale drilling in the U.S. and maybe a hidden-agenda by our government. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I thought it was possible we (the U.S.) were flooding the market with oil in an effort to dry up some of the money that may or may not be funneled on a regular basis to terrorist organizations. I know, conspiracy theory is alive in my house. Now, however, I have a new theory. Yes, another conspiracy theory is about to develop before your very eyes.

I wonder that OPEC isn’t purposely allowing the price drop as a way to knock the competition out of business. Many of these companies in the U.S. drilling shale oil are mostly new businesses, and these companies are probably still paying back start-up loans. What better way is there to ensure a monopoly of the market than to get rid of all the competition? If OPEC forces these companies in the U.S. into bankruptcy, then we are right back to getting most of our oil from OPEC.

OPEC can withstand a long period of low prices because they have been operating at such a profit for so many years. Any loss sustained this year is just a drop in the bucket for them.

I cringe knowing that the failure of these companies won’t only affect my bank account, but it might affect my bank. It will affect the family of each employee as well. What we don’t need right now is the loss of more jobs.

I’m not entirely sure I’m being fair to OPEC, but I don’t really care, either. Whatever geopolitical nonsense is happening here, everyone needs to knock it off and play nice so I am not worried about bills in the middle of labor. I don’t want to be cataloging each bill that needs paid as I try to breathe through a contraction. Yes, I know, that is my personal problem, not the problem of the world at large. But, enough is enough. Come on now!

If you would like to read about it from a point of view not quite so slanted, try Googling low gas prices, or take a look at this article from CNBC.

Aladdin Makes It Better

I’m warning you now, this is an erratically written post. I can’ t help it. Just go with it.

I have had an odd week. My blood sugar has been low all week, my blood pressure has been low, my IQ has been really low, and my mood has shifted about twelve trillion times. I have 9 weeks and a few days (67 days total according to my app) to go before I hit my due date. I cannot even formulate proper paragraphs to share with you all at this moment. I can’t imagine what state my brain will be in by week 40.

I have had a couple of freelance writing jobs to complete this week, and I most definitely used the last bit of brain power I possess to get the jobs finished. I was online, bidding for more gigs when my extreme annoyance with humanity at large prompted me to take a break.

Ham sandwich in one hand, and Aladdin playing on the tube. That is what is happening in my house right now. Aladdin brings back happy childhood memories, and I still find it so entertaining. I teared up though, opening scene, when Robin Williams is playing the part of the vendor, because Robin Williams is no longer on this earth. Sad. Another mood swing. Oh joy.

My poor family. Someone should pray for them.

Tuesday, I had to get a little procedure done on my toe. Let me make this short and sweet, though. Remember that post about a sore toe and getting the pregnant woman in your life a pedicure? Well, that sore toe ended up infected. Hence the procedure. So, let me reiterate–get the pregnant woman in your life a pedicure. My refusal to get a $27.00 pedicure resulted in a $50.00 copay.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got for this screwed up Thursday afternoon.

Breast Milk vs. Formula

I know I have heard it so many times–the breast is best mantra. With my daughter, I didn’t breast feed. It just wasn’t for me. During this pregnancy, I have psyched myself up for breastfeeding. I’m determined to give it the best go I can and to produce all of his milk for the first year via a pump. That may be an unrealistic goal, but I’m going to do my best. My main reason for wanting to do it is expense and antibodies.

I don’t have warm and fuzzy feelings about feeding my child from my breast. To be very blunt, it makes me gag a little to think about it. I know that’s not a normal reaction, but it is my reaction nonetheless (hence the pump). I have been up front about my feelings on the subject to those who want to know, and my honesty has been received with mixed emotions. Some were understanding while others seemed almost offended that I could think of breastfeeding as something other than beautiful and natural.

While reading my daily dose of the Washington Post, I stumbled across an article from one of the Washington Post’s own Emily Wax-Thibodeaux. She talks about her inability to breast feed because of a double mastectomy and the lack of understanding by medical professionals and friends alike. This article made me think of a couple of women in the pregnancy and infertility community that have fought cancer and then struggled to have a child. Emily’s story is so similar, I couldn’t help the comparison.

This article has also reminded me that if I really can’t stand breastfeeding, it’s okay. It isn’t the end of the world if I formula feed. It was words I needed to hear last night in particular.

If you would like to read the article yourself, just follow the shortlink below.

Why I don’t breastfeed, if you must know
http://wapo.st/1sxqBnn