You Don’t Get a Medal

When you are pregnant (the first time)  you read A LOT.  You read TOO MUCH.  You read about ultra-sounds, birth defects, what food you should eat, what food your baby’s size is equal to, what exercise is best, how to sleep, how to keep from vomiting on someone in church who is wearing perfume, what nursery colors are best for eye development, what car seat is the safest, what car seat is the lightest, why you should or shouldn’t put your baby on a schedule, why you should breastfeed, and of course about labor.  There are so many people telling you what is wrong with every modern aspect of giving birth from the position used, to the doctors that are ‘interested in speed’, and even being at a hospital itself.  The one and only thing that stuck with me was the reliance on drugs.  The incredibly unlikely, yet very real, risks involved with epidurals didn’t sit well with me.  Therefore we decided that we would try for a drug free labor with Emma Grace.

Once we knew natural labor was the goal, I of course read everything I could find on natural labor.  I was sure that preparation was the key.  I walked 2-3 miles a day, took a weekly prenatal yoga class and did a prenatal pilates dvd at home.  I was armed with a list of breathing, focus and position techniques to help manage pain.  I had a husband ready to help in every way he could.  This was going to be painful but beautiful and it was going to start off my journey in motherhood feeling attached and accomplished.

Honestly all of that preparation paid off for the first 8 centimeters.  Shane and I blasted NSYNC pandora and literally danced it out through contractions.  When I couldn’t handle being up I used the birthing ball and Shane massaged my lower back. When that lost it’s effectiveness we moved to using a massaging shower head with hot water on my lower back through contractions.  Each one of these things worked wonders.  Did it hurt? Yes.  Was it unbearable?  No.  In fact Shane and I would both admit that it was a pretty cool bonding experience for us.  The problem came sometime between 8 & 9 centimeters when I no longer had the strength to hold myself up in the shower and I left the hot water.  My first contraction out of the water was a pain I will never be able to explain.  I collapsed while screaming and Shane had a doctor in to check me immediately.  In a matter of 45 minutes I had gone from 6 cm to 9 cm, and though the water had been amazing once I was out the pain was beyond my anything I had feared.  I went from thinking, “This is painful, but what a wonderful choice” to thinking, “I AM GOING TO DIE RIGHT NOW AND NEVER SEE MY CHILD. CURSE YOU HIPPIES.”  In the last 30 minutes it is possible I said those things out loud.  I know I told Shane I quit and he would just have to deal with never having his daughter.  I did not yell that I hated him, so that was a win.

I read that epidurals make you more likely to tear because your muscles don’t get the message to relax and push the baby out.  I tore in 3 places.  THREE sets of stitches.  THREE.

I read that epidurals block the hormones responsible for you bonding with the baby.  We don’t need to rehash this, I pretty much did the opposite of bonding.

I read that natural labor makes for easier recovery.  Maybe I just had the wrong expectations, but I could barely walk for two weeks.  It took me 4 or 5 days to have my first bowel movement, which was so painful I sobbed for 20 minutes while having labor flashbacks.

I am not trying to say that natural labor is evil.  As I said, it started well and eliminates some very rare but real risk.  I just want to share a story that isn’t all rainbows and butterflies because I never read one beforehand.  Every natural labor account I read talked about all of the good and none of the bad.  It was even once equated to orgasm.  ARE YOU FREAKING JOKING ME?  Even if you are happy with your choice, let’s be honest that the pain in the end has to be equal to enemy torture.  I am pretty sure only Jack Bauer could do worse to me.

I was sure that I was going to be eliminating so many problems that I ended up having, and you know who didn’t have any of those problems?  A number of my friends who used epidurals.  I just want to remind any woman making a birth plan that it could go exactly as you planned, and it may not  solve a single problem.  Having a child is incredibly difficult and there is not one right way to do it.  If you want to try anyway, please do.   Just know that you may still have depression, you may still have a terrible recovery, you may still have breast feeding problems, you will experience pain unlike anything you could imagine  and you will not be given a medal.



Get This On Camera

We had fettuccine alfredo for dinner tonight, and Emma Grace asked Shane to help her with it. Somehow this resulted in him holding the fork up with a long noodle and Emma Grace opening her mouth underneath it. While feeding her this way Shane said, “This should be filmed.” My immediate reaction was, yes it should. We need to move to the table.

That’s correct we were eating dinner in the family room. Not only that, we were watching the TV. The Pacers vs. Hawks game 7 is what put us in front of the TV for dinner tonight. We are not all home every night, so we usually stress eating at the table together when we are here. We also love sports.

The point is that my first thought was, “we should capture this cute moment, but we can’t admit how not perfect we are in the process.” Instead of wanting to share the cuteness, I was concerned that people would judge the fact that Emma Grace and Shane were on the couch with a basketball game on during dinner. By the time I realized how ridiculous I was the moment was over, luckily she did the same thing for me later and we snapped this picture.


I actually let Shane snap it thinking I would share this story on the blog. Once I saw the picture I reconsidered because you can see the messy shelf, not yet decorated open space and my deodorant sitting out. If people aren’t appalled enough by us watching basketball with our 2 year old during dinner then they will surely have a problem with what the house looks like.

I am posting this story and picture because that kind of thinking has to stop. It is good for us to have family dinner at the table and it is good for me to keep the house clean. It is not ok for me to not share life because of fear of judgment. There are many times that I think about asking someone over for a play date and then don’t because of what my house or yard looks like. There are times I don’t film Emma Grace because of the mess in the background. THIS IS RIDICULOUS THINKING.

Social media has helped us create a fake world. One where everyone we know love their life all of the time, is always perfectly dressed and only does Pinterest worthy projects with their children. Some days all of those things are true, but more days none of them are. If I only ever share the part that someone would repin then I am lying. If I only show pictures of Southern Living quality meals at my dining room table then I am adding to the lie that grilled cheese means I failed as a mom that day. I love to be inspired by other people’s awesome creation and I love to celebrate their accomplishments. I also want to know that every day doesn’t look like Pinterest. I am worthy of friendship, love and happiness even when my house hasn’t been vacuumed yet this week and I didn’t shower today. I don’t need to pretend that those days aren’t part of life.

So there you have it. Today we watched playoff basketball while we ate dinner and right now I am writing this blog post instead of putting my deodorant and mail away. My daughter had a blast, my husband thought I was the best wife ever and I didn’t even notice the mess till I saw it in a picture. Tomorrow I will make us all eat at the table and do some cleaning. I won’t be a better mother, wife or person then, but I will try to get a better picture.