Did you think I un-friended you?

My lack of presence in your newsfeed is not because I “unfriended” you, as one of my friends asked me.  However, since I probably have exactly three minutes to write this post before baby toddler W wakes up from his nap (yes, he turned 1 a little over a month ago [sob]) I’ll get right to the point.  On the 1-year anniversary of my entry into the blogosphere, after a 3 month hiatus, I have a request of you…I need your help.  Holding me accountable, that is.

Joy.  But, seriously, there’s far less commitment than you might imagine.  Read on.

If you’re anything like me, you likely know it’s easy to fail at goals you don’t tell anyone else about.  That’s because I pretty much thrive on being held accountable by someone…or to someone.  Someone other than myself, that is.  My fear of failure, or my desire to make others happy, is actually my greatest motivator.  (I’d like to think I do most things for my own betterment, but when I’m honest with myself, that’s just not the case.  I’m working on it, but that’s for another post.)

That’s where you come in, inter-webs and follower friends.  A place to cement my intentions and goals.  A place where I can’t take back what you’ve written.  A place to hold me accountable.

Without further ado…my resolutions are:

  1. Be more present (the former educator in me cringes at the vagueness of this resolution, and how challenging it will be to measure this…but)
  2. Write one blog post a week
  3. Read one book a month
  4. Get selfishly active 3x a week (that doesn’t mean lifting W, or taking him on a walk…that means exercise just for mommy!)

They’re not uber complicated or crazy.  Simple.  Realistic, I think.  My first step to making any of these happen?  Just write a fucking post already!  However short or poorly written this is, it’s intended to help me break the ice.  Otherwise, I just keep thinking to myself, Ugh, well I can’t write about Z without writing about X and Y first!  So, there are going to be many posts to come, highlighting all the fun and crazy things that have happened since my last post in early December (W’s first Christmas, learning to walk, I started working part-time, more drama related to his lip-tie, his first birthday, learning sign-language, our first family vacation to Disney, my creation of a cleaning chart…).

But, today, I’ll have to be satisfied with at least stating my intentions.

So, at the risk of letting myself down looking like a failure in front of others (a Type A person’s WORST NIGHTMARE), I’m now compelled to follow through on these things.  Because you’re waiting for updates on them, right?  ;0

Yours accountably,

MomME

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Lions, duc(t)s and lip-ties, oh my! [Part II]

It’s like kryptonite to nursing moms.  And, unfortunately, it’s happened to me three times before.  But this one popped up October 17th and was, by far, the worst yet.

Plugged ducts.

Yup, plugged milk “ducks” as Siri likes to think I’m saying.  Unfortunately they aren’t as cute as those darling rubber duckies W likes to play with in the bath.  These plugged “ducks” are the kind that make your boob a painful, throbbing, rock solid mass of tissue.  A mass of tissue that needs to produce milk.  That wants to produce milk.  That is producing milk…but it just isn’t coming out.

Ugh.  The last thing a nursing mom wants to have happen.

The doubt that creeps into your head is the worst.  Is my baby getting enough milk?  Is he hungry?  Will my supply bounce back after this?  Truly the worst.  I had to check my negative thoughts and try to stay positive, because stress was only making the situation worse.  My first run in with clogged-ducts-turned-mastitis happened when W was 3 months old, and left me laid out on the couch and a major kink in my supply on my left side.  After that, my right boob was my milk maker…but with this clog ON my right side…all that was in jeopardy.

This clog was covering about 70% of my right boob.

I called upon my mommy circle to make sure I wasn’t missing any tricks that could clear this up. I pulled up KellyMom.com.  I started taking 4800mg of Lecithin daily.  I started gently massaging the boob, from the outside down toward the nipple.  I was soaking my boob in a bowl of hot salt water.  I was nursing W every chance I could.  I was even adding two additional pumping sessions during his naps.

But, after a day it was still there and had become painful.  Dramatic times called for dramatic measures.  I needed to pull out the big guns.  By that, I mean my hubby’s big guns 🙂  We put W down for the night and started our Friday night routine – homemade pizzas.  I cracked a Shipyard Pumpkinhead and headed for the shower while the pizzas were cooking.  I turned the temperature up as hot as I could stand it and called the hubby in to join me.

Get your head out of the gutter.  I’m still talking about how to clear a plugged duct.

I needed someone to really massage my boob, and I just couldn’t stomach the lumps and bumps and pain on my own.  It’s like trying to bite off your own tongue.  It’s just impossible.  So, the hubby put his muscles to work and I tried not to cry.  This. Shit. Hurt.  We started to see some milk coming out with each massage and we were optimistic the heat and massage were clearing some of the ducts!  After about 15 minutes we called it quits and  got out.  Then I started to pump and, what do you know, I got about 3oz and the mass was feeling significantly smaller.

Relief. 

Saturday came and went and though my boob was still feeling a bit sore and swollen, it wasn’t the solid mass it was on Friday.  Sunday arrived and it was time for the Wicked 5K and I was still feeling good.  But, when we got home I peeled my two sports bras off realized the mass was back.  And this time, it was accompanied by a little white milk bleb on the tip of my nipple.  I couldn’t take this much longer and my fear of losing my supply or getting mastitis were starting to consume me.

I needed to see the doctor.

So, the doctor squeezed us in at 11am.  I gave our LC, Linda, a call and told her we’d be over to see her for an opinion, too.  My hubby met me at the office for moral support and to hold W while they were checking me out.  Unfortunately, the look on the doctor’s face let me know it was as bad as I was thinking it was.  She ordered an ultrasound to make sure that the mass wasn’t anything more concerning, and sent us off to radiology.

I stopped in to see Linda and she gave me a quick feel, confirming that an ultrasound was a good call. She also pointed out my milk bleb and reminded me that I needed to pop it with a sterile safety pin.  Joy.  Nothing like taking a needle to your nipple. 

Walking into the radiology department was terrifying, to say the least.  Pink breast cancer ribbons adorned the walls.  (It was, after all, breast cancer awareness month.)  I couldn’t help but look around and wonder if the other women in the waiting room were there for a routine mamogram or something else.  I couldn’t help but feel terrified.  What if something is really wrong?  I thought.  When the ultrasound tech had a baffled look on his face because he wasn’t seeing clogged ducts, the terror set in.  We were sent back to our doctor’s office while the radiologist took a look at the scans.  I swear, waiting to hear what was going on was the most terrifying 20 minutes of my life.  For the most part, I’ve taken for granted the amazing and miraculous things my boobs do.  The thought of not being able to breastfeed W was more than I could handle, let alone thinking the doctor was about to deliver some terrible news…I was panicking.

Thankfully, our nurse (who happens to be one of my mommy friends) came out and delivered good news.  OMFG.  Exhale.  The ultrasound showed clogged ducts and, unfortunately, they could take a while to pass.  There wasn’t anything else they could do for me.  I should continue with gentle massage, wet heat, Tylenol, Ibupropen, nursing a ton and pumping a ton in order to clear it up.  I headed home, honestly just so thankful that the ultrasound didn’t show anything concerning and thankful for the milk I still had.  I was determined to get these clogs out!

The rest of the day, that night, all day on Tuesday and into Tuesday night I was diligent with my Lecithin.  I was nursing, soaking, popping my milk bleb, massaging, pumping and repeating like a champ.  This was consuming my entire day.  And, it was still huge.  I mean like fake boob huge.  And sore.

I woke up on Wednesday and reluctantly gave my boob a quick feel, only to confirm that the clogs were still there.  I got W from his crib and brought him back into bed for our daily nursing session.  I couldn’t help but think he was nursing on that side for quite a while, which hadn’t really happened because the clogs were preventing him from getting much milk.  When he finally popped off, I almost didn’t dare to feel it and confirm whether or not the mass had passed…

IT HAD PASSED!  W HAD NURSED IT OUT!  I can’t tell you how excited I was.  How releived I was.  I knew I wasn’t out of the woods yet and that the clogs could come back at any time, but for right now, I was elated.

The rest of the day we nursed as usual and I still kept the pumping sessions to make sure I was doing everythign I could to get my supply back up.  I could tell that breast had definitely taken a dip.  When I’d pump at night I used to get 3oz out of my right breast and that night I barely got 1oz.

It’s been almost two weeks since the clog passed and my supply is still a bit low on my right side. My milk bleb keeps popping up, threatening to clog things up again.  So, I keep popping it.  And taking Lecithin.  And nursing.  And massaging.  And pumping.  Literally, everything I can to get things back to full working order.

All of this got me thinking about what my husband and I had both, as of very recently, noticed in W’s mouth.  An upper-lip tie.  A labial frenulum, if you will.  You want to know what one of the symptoms of having a nursling with a labial frenulum is?????!!!!!!!!!

CLOGGED DUCTS & MASTITIS & SORE NIPPLES!

WTF.  I’m feeling rather angry that this is just something I’m realizing now, considering how rough a start with nursing we had.  And the mastitis.  And the clogged ducts.  And how he pulls off and nurses at the end of the nipple.  And how I have to flap his upper lip out to get a good flange.

We had his 9 month check up this morning and the FNP didn’t seem too knowledgable, but commented that it did look pretty thick and referred us to the ENT to get it checked out…

Though this is the longest story ever, it was just a small blip on our otherwise clear radar.  The great news is that W is an amazingly happy, healthy and advanced little guy, said the FNP 🙂  He just popped his 7th tooth and is climbing on everything, standing up, clapping and has just added the “N” sound to his vocabularly.

He is perfect.  Lip-tie or no lip-tie.

Proudly,

MomME

And with a wave it hit me…

On three separate occasions this week I’ve been reduced to tears and about to explode with love and pride over the magic that is growing, birthing, nurturing and witnessing the journey of this tiny human.  I’ve been overcome with the magic that is motherhood.  Either that, or I’m pregnant again…I have been craving Thai food and crafting…

Welp, let’s hope not quite yet…

But, I digress.  That’s not to say I don’t think W’s amazing all the time, obviously.  But, I think the crisp fall air has jerked me out of a humid summer haze and made me inhale deeply…made me aware and present in these moments.  It’s been reminding me to emotionally and mentally catalogue these far too fleeting firsts.

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One of these moments was when W waved for the first time.  The realization that your child understands what is happening in the world around them and then communicating with the world around them is…just…cray.  It’s crazy!  Theoretically I know that he already communicates in his own way when he’s tired, hungry or unhappy and theoretically I know he is very intuitive and gets what’s going on.  But, when he waved “goodbye” to Nana as she left after her usual afternoon visit, with a forlorn look and all, the magnitude of his sheer human-ness just hit me.  He’s growing up so quickly.  He’s so smart.  He gets what’s going on and he’s engaging with the world around him in a learned way.

IMG_1556Another was during our morning nursing session.  This is, quite possibly, my favorite time of the day.  It’s been a long (and amazing and hard-worked-for) 12 hours since I’ve seen my precious little W, and when I hear him chirping over the monitor (usually around 7am) I go in and find him sitting up, happily playing with his lovie in his crib.  The excitement in his eyes when he sees I’m there is (swoon) priceless.  But my favorite part is still yet to come…we head back to our bedroom and sleepily snuggle under the covers while he nurses.  Some mornings we fall asleep again and take our first nap all intertwined.  Other mornings he fills up and is ready to play…so he babbles on and on, stares at our ceiling fan and giggles while we play peekaboo.  This was when it hit me again.  I was peering down at him…babbling and smiling up at me, playing with my hand…and again I was overcome with awe at what a little human being he is – and that we created him.  That we were nurturing him to become this incredibly happy and joyous boy.  Ugh, I love our morning time together.  My second favorite moment of the day?  When we get out of bed and I make cup of coffee.  Ahhhh…perfection.

IMG_3193The third awe-inspiring moment was yesterday at the park.  It wasn’t awesome for any special reason – W didn’t have a “first” moment or anything.  It was amazing because it was just so simple and mundane.  It was a gorgeous fall day. The sky was blue, the grass was green and the wind was blowing in our faces.  Our Frenchie, Rex, was with us.  W was so content looking at the fountains, watching the birds flit around and chewing on his whisk.  Oh, the simple things.  I just felt downright lucky to be alive.  Lucky to be there with little W.  It was just an awesome day and I got to thinking I wouldn’t want to spend it any other way than with him.

Sigh.  And with that, our little love-bug is just shy of 8 months and he’s phenomenal.  Sleeping through the night, finally taking a bottle, eating some solid foods, sitting up on his own, crawling, pulling himself up on his knees, waving goodbye and mastering the b, d and m sounds…soon it will be talking and walking, oh my!

For now, though, I’m just enjoying the present.

Yours presently,

MomME

G is for gratitude

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Though the title is sarcastically crooned to the tune of the annoying alphabet CD that W loves (if you’ve been in my car you probably still have nightmares thinking about it), I really mean it – “G” is for gratitude.  That is, the immense gratitude I have for the phenomenal women in my life.  Ya, there are a lot of sacred bonds in life…but when I’m running low on sleep and and I can’t sing another round of the ABC’s, nothing is more important than the bond I have with the women on this journey with me.  From my own mum, to my boobie group mamas, my neighborhood ladies and my girls…you ladies are the shit.  Srsly.

Though we may not see each other every day – nap-time routines seem to trump coffee dates these days.  And we might not talk on the phone – who has time for that now that W is starting to crawl?  Frankly, we might only know each other through Facebook – but I think that counts these days, right? Despite all that, we might as well be life-long friends.  Because the bond forged through a shared experience so traumatic and funny and gross and awesomely beautiful makes us part of the oldest club around.  Motherhood.

So…

To the woman who gave birth to me and who still drives an hour a day, every day, to spend time with us.  To the women who walked through every inch of Babies ‘R Us with me and told me what I really neededwho hand-delivered homemade dinners for three weeks after W was born…who have heard every minute detail of my birth story and seen my boobs more than they can count…who laugh with me when I get pooped on and still sit next to me at lunch…who fiercely defend my right to parent in a way that’s best for me even if it’s different from theirs…who offer kind words of support…who acknowledge when things are plain old shitty…who have taught me about compassion, humor and acceptance…who just listen.  To the women who just are: thank you.

Knowing they’ve you’ve got my back – that you’re standing alongside me as we face the challenges that come with each and every next step – that’s enough to remind me of the strength, beauty and sheer awesomeness I posses as a mother.  You remind me I’m doing a good job at this whole “life-sustaining” business.  And while you’re here, let me take the opportunity to tell you that YOU’RE doing a great job, too.  

Gratefully yours,

momME

image from http://legendofanomad.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/gratitude.png

Pooparazzi

Why is it that when we become parents, it’s suddenly OK to start taking (and sending) pictures of poop?  Sure, it’s your child’s poop, but come on, it’s still poop!

Nonetheless, I’ve become oddly obsessed (and strangely proud) of W’s poops, especially since he’s started solids.  So much so, I feel the need to snap a pic and send to my hubby while he’s at work.  As if that’s really what he wants to see on his lunch break.  But, now that I’m a SAHM, validation of my productivity and stellar work are no longer in the form of praise from my boss…or recognition on a team call…or leading conversion rates in a data report.  Input and output have a WHOLE new meaning now…and I look for validation of my life-sustaining skills in a size 3 diaper.

Since no one’s here to see it, though, and it quickly makes its way into the trash, I guess I feel the need to document it and prove its existence.  As poor W is laying on his changing table, cute little butt exposed and vulnerable, I sometimes wonder, Is this what Kim Kardashian feels like?  People snapping any shot they can get, the worse the better?  Well, whatever, W doesn’t seem to mind.  In fact, he loves the iPhone.  So, onward with documenting the nasty.

Just call me the pooparazzi.  Validation of my new career now comes in so MANY different shapes…sizes…textures.  Yum.  Here’s a few I’m especially proud of:

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The “Play dough” poop – this was the second poop in a post-constipation trilogy.  It was pretty malleable… (The first was the “I haven’t pooped in 5 days pellet.”  It literally rattled around in his diaper.  Poor little guy).

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The “liquid lava” poop.  An explosion of poop.  Enough said.

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The “sweet potato soft serve” poop.  I was lucky enough to be changing him when he decided to squeeze this one out onto a wipe.

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The “Mommy, you didn’t pack an extra pair of pants for YOU?” poop.  Luckily this happened at my nursing group, though we were on our way to Whole Foods.  The lady behind me in line at the quesadilla counter thought it was REALLY funny.  Yeah.

NOTE:  Honorable mention goes to several others whose existence wasn’t captured –  the frothy “avocado” poop, the “I haven’t pooped in 5 days” pellet and the “fully intact green bean” poop.

Yours poo-ly,

MomMe

Chew on that, mom

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Lots of things are complicated when it comes to a new baby, but I didn’t think feeding W was one of them.  Until, like most things lately, I did a little research.

When the topic of starting solid food came up I didn’t think twice – we would spoon feed W yummy purees.  Being on the healthy side, I’d actually MAKE the purees here at home.  Take that, store-bought-purees, I thought.  I’m going to feed my baby the best.

Sigh.  Yet again, my new-mom-naivete slapped me in face. There is new research.  There are new schools of thought.  More decisions.  More explaining those decisions.  And that’s when I learned about BLW (another annoying mommy-blog-o-nym short for baby lead weaning…or baby lead solids).

The concept makes sense, I’ll admit that.  Baby learns to eat just like we eat.  Give them normal food in a sort of soft stage and let them feed themselves.  It puts the wheel (or the carrot stick) right in baby’s hand.  They decide if they’re hungry.  They decide if they’re not.  Research shows that babies who eat in this way are less picky because they’re introduced to more foods and textures.  Research shows that babies who eat this way have less allergies because they’re introduced to more foods.  Research shows that babies who eat this way choke less because they learn how much they can or can’t put in their mouths…and they actually learn to chew before they learn to swallow (with purees, they learn to swallow first…so when they begin to need to chew they’re tempted to swallow first).

Choking.  That’s where I’m stuck, folks.  I can NOT get passed the fact that gagging is a normal part of this learning phase with BLW!  I have an active imagination as it is.  I go into worst-case-scenario-mode in a matter of seconds.  To make things worse, this isn’t something totally imagined (like when I’m driving over a bridge and I start to think how I’d get W and the dog out of a sinking car if the bridge collapsed…).  This is actually happening, and the line between gagging (there is noise associated with this) and choking (silent) is so very fine.  I.Can’t.Deal.

Bottom line, I have to wait for the hubby to get home because I can’t do the BLW by myself.  If anything ever went wrong I couldn’t live with myself.  As I’m typing this, I’m thinking, Wow, this sounds so serious…like you’re talking about letting your kid play with knives while you’re home alone.  Nope, just talking about eating some avocado.

When did eating go from my FAVORITE pastime to something that now scares the living daylights out of me?  Where’s the fun in that?  I certainly don’t want my anxiety to scare W into thinking that eating is scary.

We’re going to keep trying.  Little by little.  Wedge of food after wedge of food.  Some nights I might have to call it quits after a serious gag/choke.  Some nights I might survive a few.  But, if it means he’s less likely to choke when he’s older…I guess I’ll *try* to stick with it.

Updates to follow.

Anxiously yours,

MomMe

Breastfeeding in Public – yay or nay?

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I whipped them out in front of the Apple store.  Yup.  That’s right.  I bared my breasts in the middle of the mall.  And I liked it.  And so did the elderly woman sitting next to me.  She actually applauded me.

This was the second time I’d whipped them out in public and BIP’d (insert obnoxious use of mommy blog-o-nym…means breastfeeding in public).  My little love bug got hungry while we were at Whole Foods having a delicious lunch with some visiting friends and my husband.  But does BIP really count at Whole Foods?  I’m not sure it does.  Just like it doesn’t really count when I’m at my mommy group or my breastfeeding group.  Granted, I was in the MOST high traffic area – the tables at the end of the check-out line, closest to the exit, where EVERYONE leaving the store had to walk by.  But, I just think the clientel at Whole Foods is far more accepting of things like breastfeeding – I mean, they’re spending about five times more for everything just to make sure it’s organic!  What is more organic than breastfeeding?  So, anyways, that experience definitely gave me the gusto to whip them out at the Mall…

I share this, though, not to recount my weekend activities.  But, I’ve come to find out that breastfeeding in public is a really controversial topic.  Before having a child I would have never thought twice about this!  Being the feminist I am, I’m really fascinated (ok, pissed off) with people’s thoughts as to why women should cover up or go home to breastfeed their babies.  But let’s be honest, I’m really just hell-bent on doing it to prove that I can.  Yup.  If you tell me I shouldn’t do something just because I’m a woman, I’m going to make darn sure I do it just to show you I can.  But really, folks, weren’t you hanging off your mother’s boob at some point, too?  A little hypocritical, no?  I mean, a kid’s gotta eat when a kid’s gotta eat.

It’s not my problem that you can’t walk by and realize there’s nothing more natural than a baby breastfeeding…that breasts aren’t a sexual organ…that there’s nothing unsanitary about FEEDING my child at the mall (umm, there’s a whole food court full of kids eating – do you walk by and give them the evil eye?).  It’s not my problem that you’ve been programmed to think of women, and women’s breasts, in a hyper-sexualized way.  Or maybe it is my problem.  Maybe that’s why I’m determined to BIP.  So that we can begin to normalize breastfeeding.  I mean, if I didn’t BIP, I’d be at home ALL day – that’s how much my little milk-monster eats!

But before I start sounding all self-righteous, I’ll be honest – I’VE been socialized to feel uncomfortable with breastfeeding…and as much as, ideologically, I believe in our right to BIP, it’s been a bit nerve-wracking and it probably will be for a while.  But that doesn’t mean that I won’t do it…I’m determined to BIP whenever my little love bug wants to eat!

So, what do you mamas think?  Bare it anywhere or barely acceptable?

Yours truly,

MomME

Image from http://www.raisingthefawn.com

Top 10 mommy “blog-o-nyms”…and how to decode them!

Who knew I would have needed a third degree just to decipher the acronyms that pepper the world of mommy blogs? I wasn’t prepared for this…a trend I’m starting to notice…

I’m no stranger to acronyms. I can pick them up and throw them down with the best of them. I mean, I’m on maternity leave from one of the top non-profits in the country where we practically speak in acronyms. When people join staff we give them a million-pager as part of their on-boarding process. But, where was that one-pager for new moms? Where was the chapter in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” that told me I’d first need to master a new language before I could extract any shred of information from any one of the thousands of blogs? I’m your typical Type-A, over-achiever and I HATE feeling out of the loop – especially when it’s something I could have prepared for. I mean, if I’d known about these crazy acronyms, I might have made some flash cards. I probably would have color coded them. I definitely would have quizzed myself in the weeks leading up to my due date. Yeah, that’s just the kind of student I am. And yeah, there are that many acronyms that this kind of measure would have been an appropriate action step.

So, ladies, let me share a few of my favorite mommy blog-o-nyms so that YOU don’t have to experience the same outsider-ness that I did when I turned to the web to answer some of my most burning, post-baby questions. Selfishly, too, I’ll probably be obnoxious and use some of these in my future posts and that would be unfair to not provide you the code beforehand! Be sure to read these, and more at the link below, before venturing into the world of mommy blogs:

1. LO = little one
2. DH/DF/DP = dear husband, dear fiance, dear partner
3. BIP/NIP = breast feeding/nursing in public
4. EBF = exclusively breast feeding
5. FF = formula feeding
6. FTM = first time mom
7. SAHM = stay at home mom
8. WOH = work out of home
9. BM = breast milk (but be CAREFUL!! can also mean bowel movement…)
10. EBM = expressed breast milk

Yours truly,
MomME

You can find even more here: http://www.babycenter.com/community-help-abbreviations

Red lipstick in labor

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My birth plan included red lipstick and fake eyelashes.  I’d even Googled “red lipstick in labor” to see if anyone else was feeling as bold as I was.  Not much luck.  I got a post telling me to wear waterproof mascara – not what I was looking for.    Call me shallow.  Call me narcissistic.  But I called it living out my inner feminist and I was hoping to find another momma who’d shared my gusto.  I mean, at what point in a woman’s life is she more in touch with her inner warrior-goddess than when she’s giving birth?   I wanted to look as radiant, glowing and ferocious on the outside as I felt on the inside.  I was even resolved to do it without meds, something many of my mommy friends raised their eyebrows at.  I mean, my mom did it without meds so I should, surely, be able to do the same right?

When I mentioned my vision of labor – red lips, glam lashes and no meds – I opened up the door to a flurry of strange looks, raised eyebrows and I’m sure many an internal dialogue that friends didn’t verbalize.  These two tenants in my plan seemed to be polar opposites to other folks, but honestly, it wasn’t their labor.  They hadn’t carried this little bundle of joy for nine months.  They weren’t going to try to squeeze something the size of an orange out of something the size of their nostril (proportionately speaking).  So, thanks for the thoughts, y’all, but this is my baby, my vagina, my birth plan and my way 🙂  I was sticking to my guns.  I was going to rock some red lipstick in labor and do it the old-fashioned way…

As much as I champion women who want to rock red lipstick in labor, I’m also a staunch believe that women have the right to change their minds.  And change them again.  Thus, scrawled across the top of my birth plan, in big bold letters, was “This is the plan until I say it isn’t.”  As all of you reading this who have been in labor before know, this is especially true during childbirth.  Labor isn’t really something you can plan.  Let’s be honest, the term “birth plan” is really an oxymoron.  Now, it should be known that I wasn’t THAT naive to think labor would happen exactly according to my plan.  I mean, I’d been to classes, read my Ina May Gaskin book and was totally at peace with the fact that our little love-bug would make his entrance into the world however he saw fit and there wasn’t anything I could do to change that.

I had a flexible mindset regarding labor.  The kicker here, though, was that in my mind “labor” (the intense, screaming, otherworldly experience) occurred at the hospital.  In my mind, we’d lounge about at home in between contractions until they got to 3-4 minutes apart for an hour.  In my mind, and written in my birth plan, I’d have time to take a shower, blow-dry my cute bob, put on my mascara, fake eye lashes and throw on a coat of my favorite MAC Lipglass.

Well, my water broke at 7am on Sunday, February 3rd – a day after my due date.  But, contractions didn’t start right away.  I was thinking, this is what I’d planned – let the lounging and prepping commence.  When I felt my first contraction, I decided it was time to head upstairs and take a shower so I’d be ready when it was time to go in a few hours.  By the time I reached the bathroom, I realized that things were happening a bit faster than anticipated.  Go figure.  I could barely get dressed – the contractions were so intense and left me with no time to recover before the next one hit.  As I stood over my vanity, barely able to put on my Bare Minerals, I was beginning to think that applying my fake lashes might result in me gluing my eyes shut it I attempted them in my current state.  So, I grit my teeth and put on my Bare Minerals until the next contraction hit.  Then I’d walk to the closet, bend over the window seat in pain, and when it was over head back to the vanity to apply the next step in my make-up routine.  If there wasn’t time or physical ability to wear my fake lashes and red lipstick, I was at least going to put on some blush and mascara 🙂  Though it was a bit of a hack-job application, I left the house feeling like the warrior-goddess I was.  I was also feeling pain like I’d never known, but I was a warrior-goddess nonetheless.  To make a short story shorter, we arrived at the hospital in active labor.  I changed my mind – because I had the right to – and requested an epidural.  However, by the time they got it all ready I was 10cm dilated and ready to push.  Back to the original plan it was.  I closed my eyes and imagined my inner warrior-goddess rocking red lips, and pushed.  Several pushes later our little guy was in my arms.

While, in the end, I didn’t rock my red lips and lashes…I don’t look back and think it was silly of me to want that.  For the most part, my “plan” to rock my inner and external warrior-goddess happened in some way, shape or form.  In fact, next baby I might just wake up every day in the days leading up to my due date, and put on my lashes and lips just to make sure I don’t miss the chance again.  I share this not to start a trend of women laboring with red lipstick (though that would be amazing), but because it’s symbolic of my greater beliefs.  Symbolic of our strength as women.  Our beauty – whatever that means to you.  Our agency.  Symbolic of a woman’s right to make choices that are right for HER, and HER alone, at that moment.  Knowing that she might make a different choice in the same situation in the future that doesn’t mean that one choice was right and the other wrong.  So, don’t let anyone talk you out of wearing your proverbial red lipstick.  Whatever your “red lipstick” is, rock it proudly, ladies, and reserve the right to change your mind.

Happy International Women’s Day.

Yours truly,

MomME

photo courtesy of Pinterest here http://pinterest.com/pin/259519997247135810/

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