I’ve Got the Eye of the Tiger, the Fire

Hello again!  I’m stoked to say that I’m officially down 7.4 lbs as of yesterday’s weigh-in!  I’m also down a whole shirt size and half of a pant size (I didn’t record my starting inches but I wish I had so I’ll be recording those from now on)!

On this journey I’ve decided to try some meal replacement shakes for the days that I’m too busy to eat a good meal which, let’s be honest, happens more than I’d like doing daycare.  I have a friend who sells Shakeology so I decided to look into that; she was kind enough to give me a sample and I will say it was pretty tasty (I made a chocolate pouch with one cup of 1% milk and a few ice cubes) – it was filling and not chalky at all.  Actually, here’s my review:

My Shakeology Review (opens in a new tab)

Ultimately what it came down to is that it’s too expensive.  It works superbly for her and her husband but I just can’t afford it off of a daycare income.  Sooo I started looking at other options and was suggested FitMiss Delight that I could buy on Amazon.  I know a few personal friends who use it and swear by it so that’s what I bought.  With Prime it cost $31 for a 36-serving container, it got here about 18 hours after I ordered it, and I just made my first shake this morning.  Here’s that review:

FitMiss Delight Review (opens in a new tab)

Ultimately, this stuff was AMAZING.  I made it with a scoop of powder, 2/3 c. of 1% milk and 2/3 c. of black coffee (Wegmans brand 100% Arabica Ground Coffee, Traditional, Medium Roast) and hoooo my gosssshhhh it was SO YUMMY!!!

I wasn’t going to do a review but it was just so good that I had to lol.  I also thought that I’d share a current photo of me because you can really see it in my face and that makes me feel good.

13329215_988106894570515_253604361_n

Both pictures are taken without face makeup (I have mascara on a little eyebrow tint in the right picture) and you can see just how clearer my face looks, my jaw line is more pronounced, my cheeks are going down…this is all so exciting!!

I’m probably going to post again soon because I’m doing a very important walk in a week that has a fundraiser and everything so I’ll post either later today or tomorrow.  We’re puppy sitting this weekend so maybe I’ll post tomorrow because three boxers is a tad exhausting lol.

Till then…toodaloo! ❤

I’m a Gentle Parent…Not a Passive One

gentle parenting not passive parenting

I never planned on having kids so, like many non-parent adults, I had views on parenting that I was certain would work best.  Those views were very traditional, strict parenting: spanking, time-outs, yelling, like hell the kid would sleep in my bed, etc.

Then I became a mom.  A mom who suffered from postpartum anxiety and OCD (my post about PPA/PPOCD)) and man, did my views change.  In helping heal my PPA I found that taking a gentle approach to my life truly helped me; I started meditating, I stopped stressing about things I couldn’t control,  I would practice my breathing and control my emotions before I responded to a situation and I found that it worked!  While I still have general anxiety, I’ve learned to regulate it without medication and, for somebody who has been struggling with it for almost 20 years, that’s a big accomplishment.

My daughter was very attached in her infancy; I had to babywear if I didn’t want to listen to her scream because if she wasn’t near me then she was just miserable!  I found that I loved babywearing, though, so it turned out to be a win for both of us.  As she got older and more mobile it became harder to wear her while trying to do things around the apartment so she’d just follow me and scream, out of frustration I’d yell at her to leave me along for five minutes, if she touched things she wasn’t supposed to I’d smack her hand.  Every time I did something like this the look on her face would break my heart but it’s the only thing I ever knew in regards to “discipline” and teaching.  She was a very high-needs baby, but also very sensitive, and that has carried on with her now that she’s a preschooler.

One day we were getting in the car at the mall after a play group and after telling her to wait by the car while I loaded in the little boy I watched my daughter darted into the road and a car had to swerve to miss her!  She thought it was funny and giggled as she ran, but out of complete fear I raised my hand and I spanked her butt.  I hit my child.  I was angry and so scared, more scared than I had ever been in my life, but I hit her.  I buckled her into her seat and I sat outside my car and I cried.  Man did I cry so hard.

While most people will read that and think, “Good, she deserved a pop for that!” I am still feeling guilt because of it.  It broke me.  I was spanked as a child and I grew to fear those spanked me.  I never felt respect for them, I never felt that I learned anything, I grew to be cautious of them; if I stepped out of line or said the wrong thing I could get hit.  I never wanted that for my child but there I was, hitting her in a parking lot.

Something needed to change after that.  I started applying my “gentle life” techniques to my parenting and it was like an instant change in our daughter.  She started listening more, she was more curious about life and was much more excited to show me things that she found in her world, we were interacting on a different level and it was incredible, I don’t even really know how to describe it.

I’ve shared that I’m a SAHM/childcare provider, my husband works long hours and, as a result, isn’t around much so it took a long time for our daughter to get used to him.  For the first year and a half of her life he was active duty but then after he got out of the USMC he took another government job with equally as long hours, often getting OT on the weekends.  Charlotte wouldn’t go to him much, she was wary of him because he has a strong presence; a stone face, doesn’t show much emotion, strong voice, and loud when worked up about something.  He was raised in that traditional, strict home as well and then joined the Marine Corps. where emotion was pretty much banned, so, in a nutshell, the man is far from Mr. Rogers lol.

I’ll never forget the day that he and I reached our breaking point in parenting.  While I had started to filter gentleness into my style, he remained the strict one.  We were packing our apartment to move to our first house and our stress levels were much higher than usual; Charlotte happened to touch something that my husband didn’t want her to and instead of saying, “Lets not touch that, we could get hurt,” he shouted, “NO!!” and smacked her hand and snatched up the case she had touched.  Instantly she came screaming to me, red, puffy cheeks and eyes, shouting, “Daddy scare me!”  He heard it.  As I hugged her and calmly said, “Daddy didn’t want you to get hurt,” she just cried and wailed, “No, daddy scare me!”  He acted preoccupied but I could see that her words were hurting him.

yelling silences message

That moment caused a fight between my husband and I (and in our five years together I can count our fights on one hand).  I described his actions as listening to a TV when the volume is too high: you can hear the noise but the words aren’t clear.  That’s what was happening with our toddler, a tiny human who was still learning how things work – she was exploring and instead of learning why not to do something, she was basically told to fear it because she couldn’t understand the message.

Since that day I’ve noticed an incredible change in my husband.  He is so much more patient with our daughter, he takes the time to show her how things work and explain why we do things.  He even invites her into the garage (his personal sanctuary) so they can work on his project truck together.  We had snow a few months ago and he went outside and built a snowman with her.  He encouraged her walk along side him while he put some chemicals on the lawn last weekend.  She gets so excited when she wakes up and realizes that he’s still in bed and not at work, because it means she gets to hang out with him.

I know that it made him sad that our daughter was scared of him for so long, his family would comment on it, he even made a remark to a friend of ours at a Fourth of July BBQ that our daughter would never want him to play with her the way our friend’s son was playing with her husband.  I’m so glad to say that in under a year that has changed all because of his new gentle approach to parenting.

We are often criticized for our choice to not spank or yell, because we choose not to isolate our daughter in time-out, that we still hug her when she’s sad or hurt or scared, but to those people I say, “Oh well.”  We are raising a child who is confident in her choices, who knows that it’s okay to be wrong from time to time, a child who isn’t afraid of an accident.

be it to teach it

I found this quote recently and I quite like it:

“When a child hits a child, we call it aggression.
When a child hits an adult, we call it hostility.
When an adult hits an adult, we call it assault.
When an adult hits a child, we call it discipline.”
– Haim G. Ginott

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.  Were you spanked as a child?  How do you feel about it?  Do you spank as a parent?  Have you asked your child what they think about being hit?  I hope y’all have a great weekend!  ❤

He’s a Dick…Addicted…

I was four and it was winter it upstate NY. My mom was at work so my recently fired father was in charge of babysitting me, a chore that he hated. My uncle was in town visiting, the first of three times I’ve ever met him, so my dad decided it would be a good idea to take me to the playground at the end of our street, I could play and they could talk.

He forgot my jacket.

While he zig-zagged back to our house I told my uncle to play with me. “Well, what should we play?” my single, mid-20s, kid-fearing uncle asked me. “Let’s pretend mommy and daddy still love each other!” I told him as I flew down the slide.

My dad never came back with my jacket, he decided it was too cold and we’d be home eventually. That was my uncle’s first memory of me.

That summer I was invited to a birthday party. I was only invited because the whole class was, but nobody really played with me. They were playing house and told me I could be the neighbor since my mommy and daddy weren’t married I wouldn’t know how to play house the right way. I cried until my mom picked me up.  Kids were mean, even in the early 90s.

After my parents split up my mom got sole custody, my dad was given every other weekend and a pathetic amount for child support. I remember getting so excited on his weekends, I’d pack my weekend bag and sit on the front steps waiting for him. For hours.  If it was raining I sat outside under an umbrella.  Just waiting.

He’d call and tell me he was having car trouble or he was helping a friend. Sometimes he wouldn’t call at all and my mom would encourage me to go play with friends, promising to get me as soon as he got there. She never told me the truth: he was too drunk to show up. She never talked poorly about him either. I give her credit for that.

I’ve been struggling recently with my father. He is an addict. He is an alcoholic. His functioning level, his bare minimum, is twice the legal limit. If his BAC drops below that he starts experiencing withdrawals. He has liquor everywhere, secret compartments in his vehicles, stashed around his apartment, he even has bottles hidden in the woods around his home.

I’ve seen my father sober once in my life. It was October 2009, six years ago; he was at Strong Memorial Hospital after having a tumor removed.  I touched on that in another post (“Daddy Issues”) so I won’t elaborate fully here, but he is very much not the same person when he drinks.  When he was taken out of his coma, 100% sober, it was like he was hollow.  He was looking around the room but not really seeing things, he was watching me speak but I don’t know that he was absorbing the things that I was saying.  His body was so used to drinking and taking swigs from bottles that he would go through the movements of reaching behind his pillow, unscrewing the lid, putting a bottle to his mouth, throwing his head back to swallow, smacking his lips a certain way that I will always identify as my dad’s “drunk lips,” screwing the lid back on, and stashing the bottle back under his pillow.  There was never a bottle, though.  He did the same thing with cigarettes.  The doctors said that, physically, he was sober and that he could live the rest of his life like a sober man but he would need therapy; he would need treatment that would help him unlearn his motions, basically.

He never got help.

One of the most frustrating parts of his addiction is my support circle.  I know with every ounce of me they mean well and I love each one of them more for that, but I don’t think any of them fully realize just how far gone he is.  He has been an alcoholic for roughly 38 years.  That is longer than I have been alive.  He is so far gone that he has “wet brain,” which is medically known as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome.  Basically, WKS is brain damage that’s caused by a lack of the B1 vitamin and it’s common in chronic alcoholics.  I spoke with some specialists and I was told that, while he’s been suffering from WKS for a good 20 years or so, his hospital stay in 2009 exacerbated it because it got his brain functioning on a “normal” level, like a restart, and there’s glitches because all of the proper components for functioning aren’t there.

He doesn’t remember much; his short term memory is gone and to fill it in he just makes things up.  He likes to tell people things about his amazing life that he’s had but he uses bits and pieces from other people’s lives.  Many of his stories contain info and accomplishments from his dad’s life, his younger brother’s life (the uncle from the playground), and others.  It’s hard to know what is the truth and what isn’t.

I mentioned my support circle before and in that circle is the aforementioned uncle who I have developed a great relationship with.  I said before that I’ve only met him three times in my life and the last time I saw him was in 2004 when we went to Costa Rica.  After that trip my dad told me all of these horrible things about how much shit my uncle talked about me, how he thought I was scum and trashy, I was a failure to the family, so I never went out of my way to speak with him.  Due to my father’s most recent hospital stay I got in touch with him and we talked for almost six hours!  Now, I look forward to our phone calls and having that relationship with him that I never would’ve had otherwise.  He’s a really cool guy and it sucks that he lives in Arizona, but at least we keep in touch.  He’s a great pillar in my sanity when it comes to my father.

A faulty part of my support circle is my grandparents, my dad’s parents.  They are noble people, not your typical lovey-dovey grandparents, they don’t BS, and they don’t discuss their problems.  Therefore, they don’t believe my father’s addiction actually exists.  They give him an allowance still.  He’s almost 60!  I think their logic, though, is “out of sight, out of mind.”  Their allowance enables him to buy all this shit he doesn’t need, including alcohol.  I have told them, doctors have told them, their other sons have told them, my dad is an alcoholic.  They don’t believe anybody, though, because, “Barry said he stopped drinking!”

I don’t know that there was a specific point to this entry, more of just a way for me to vent and document this frustration.  Maybe one day my grandparents will be surfing the web (lol!) and they’ll stumble across it.  Why they would read a blog of all things, especially one titled “Yoga Cups and Coffee Pants,” is beyond me, but hey, stranger things have happened.

I guess if you’re going to get anything out of this, please be mindful of alcoholics.  Of all addicts, really.  There comes a point when the addiction takes over the body and the person loses all control.  Alcoholism is the only addiction where the withdrawal can kill you.  Sometimes I wonder how his disease hasn’t killed my father.  It killed his best friend of 45 years, it’s tried to kill him more than once, but somehow he always makes it out.

Anyway.  I’ll share a couple pictures, you can kind of see the deterioration in my father.

dad in hospital

This is my dad in February 2011.  He’s wearing reading glasses that he found on a bench and he wears them because he thinks they make him look smart.  He’s holding a crossword puzzle in his left hand and was using a cotton swab as a pencil in his right.

dad in wheelchair

The picture above is my father in February of 2011 (same trip as the first photo).  He is in a wheelchair because the room we had to go to was too far and his lungs couldn’t support that kind of exertion.

dad holding isaac

The picture above is my father in November of 2010 awkwardly holding my nephew.  That right side of his face is where they removed the tumor.

dad at wedding

This picture is at my wedding in April 2012.  If you look at my dad’s face you can see where half of it is missing.  The only reason he made it to my wedding (smelling like booze) is because of the woman on the far left.  She’s his ex-girlfriend.

dad at sticky lips

Okay final picture!  This one is in June of 2013 – you can see how much my father has withered away just over the few years shown in the pictures.  I haven’t seen him since this photo was taken.

Till next time ❤

Tic Tac Totem

Man it’s been a long time since I’ve written, for that I am sorry!  I’ve been completely preoccupied with appointments and family and pets and visitors…oy!  Well now you have my undivided attention (except for when my toddler summons me).  So I thought I’d talk about some “weird” stuff today.  Stuff I think is normal but others often stare blankly, blink slowly, and change the subject over.

I’ll start with the aforementioned “visitors” that we’ve had.  I think I mentioned in another post that my husband and I recently bought a house (yay!); well with buying a home comes a bit more out-of-town visitors (wahh!).  In our case, it’s almost everybody – we live a good 500+ miles away from almost all of our families.  Well, since we’ve moved to Virginia (in 2011) we’ve had a rule: no out-of-town guests can stay with us unless there’s an extenuating circumstance. When our daughter was born my mom stayed with us because she was there to help, but everybody else has been asked to get a hotel.  So many people gasp at that – how dare we ask people to stay in a hotel, especially family!  Well, in the apartment it was much easier for people to accept our rule because we only had two bedrooms with one bathroom – it was the perfect size for us but super cramped with any more.  Now we’ve bought a house and nearly doubled our square footage and people are assuming they can stay with us just because we’ve added a bedroom (that’s actually already in use) and a bathroom.  Well, here’s why (we think they’re very good reasons) we have that rule:

  1. We are a family who thrives on schedule and routine.  My husband wakes up for work at 3:15 every morning, has his AM routine, and is out the door by 4:30.  Often times he doesn’t return home until 7 or 8 (he gets overtime quite a bit and then twice a week he has night school through his job), eats a quick bite, and is in bed by 9:15 each night.  Our daughter wakes up around 6:30 or 7 each day (after waking 1-3x/night), eats breakfast watching her cartoons.  She’s incredibly shy and fearful of strangers, so having new people at our house as soon as she wakes up, throwing her from her routine, makes her grumpy, clingy, and just not happy.
  2. On top of that routine, I work out of my house; I do in-home childcare.  Can you imagine going to drop your kids off at the sitter’s house and there’s -x- new people passed out on the living room floor?  Not only that, people that you don’t know hanging out around your kid all day?  Not cool.  Personally, as a mom, I wouldn’t feel good about that.  Our third bedroom is the daycare room; I keep the extra car seats, diaper bags, cribs, craft supplies, etc. in there so it’s full, there’s no room for people to sleep there and we don’t own an air mattress (for a reason) so that leaves our couch.
  3. If those two reasons aren’t good enough for you, that leaves me with our final reason: anxiety and introversion.  I know I’ve written before about my anxiety, but both my husband and I are also introverts.  We absolutely love having family come and visit, we love seeing everybody, but at the end of the day we need our quiet, alone time to just…wind down.  If I don’t get that my anxiety flares up and I lash out and say things I don’t mean to people.  I truly don’t mean it, it just happens (think Cady Heron in “Mean Girls” with her word vomit).  I know my husband my gets all tense and quiet, but then he’ll lash out later (not physically or anything, but you know men are typically emotionally constipated creatures, so he’ll usually bottle it up and then yell about something silly later).  So many people think that anxiety and introversion are curable things, but they’re not.  They’re also a nuisance and hinder the fun that you could have with your guests.  Regardless, people staying here intrudes on our personal bubbles and then that, in turn, messes with our moods and whatnot.  We’d be much happier and more fun during a visit if people just didn’t stay with us.

So we recently had visitors (my SIL, BIL, FIL, niece, and nephew) and at last minute we found out that FIL would be staying with us, not in the hotel like we previously thought.  Boy was my husband not happy!  We talked about it about and ultimately decided it was okay since my husband was so excited to see his dad, but also they would be arriving on Friday and leaving on Sunday, leaving no overlap with my daycare kids.  We also found out the day that they arrived that my husband wouldn’t be working so FIL sleeping on the couch wouldn’t interfere with any morning routines.  I am so glad to say that the whole trip went so great!  I am lucky to have such a cool sister-in-law.  Our daughter got along great with our niece, they played together so wonderfully and our daughter was actually sad and confused to not find her around our house (that was a concern for us since daughter is so shy; last time we saw them our niece was very excitable so we were worried she’d be a tad overwhelming..I am so happy there was nothing to be worried about!).  I suck at apologies when it comes to having to say sorry for my anxiety because it feels like I’m apologizing for who I am, but if my SIL is reading this I want you to know that we are so glad you came, I hope you understand where we were coming from, and we truly did have a blast.

Now on to the “weirder” part.  I have this book that I swear by, it’s kind of like my bible.  It’s called Animal Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small by Ted Andrews.  Here’s the book:

animal speak

It is truly life-changing, at least for me.  I promise I get no benefit from promoting this book, I just love it and think everybody should buy a copy, or at least read it.  In the beginning of the book you create a totem based on seven questions; each question will give you a different animals and those animals make your totem.  However, in reading about the power of each animal you find that there are additional animals you should study that sync up, so to speak, with the first animal.  Ultimately, at the end, you have a slew of animals that represent your animal totems.  These can change, too, based on your life.  My totems, for example, are: dog, wolf, deer, spider, coyote, swan, horse, and raven.  You may have more or less because some of your animals may overlap and that’s okay, too.

As I was reading about the coyote today, actually, I realized how similar I am to them.  Animal Speak says, “Oftentimes…the coyote makes things more complicated than they need to be….Are you…being too serious?…Are you complicating what is really simple in some area of your life?”  The answer would be yes!  I know that we complicate things like family visits because we’re so set in our ways of life, we have a hard time loosening up about things.  That’s where the wolf comes in; “They live by carefully defined rules,” says Animal Speak.  The deer is the most common prey of wolves, and ravens have a connection to them because they often fly over wolves, moving with their hunt, so that they can prey on the animals the wolf hunts.  The deer is one of my totems because it’s one I most often see in nature and I love to see them, and the raven is another because of its connection to wolf and coyote.

Did you know that “The raven is a member of the corvids family, to which belongs crows and magpies and other such birds[?].  In truth, the only really significant difference between the crow and the raven is the size, the raven being much larger.  It would be beneficial to study the information on the crow for anyone who has a raven as a totem,” a direct quote from Animal Speak.  When reading about the crow, the book says, “The male and female build the nest together.  The nest is built high up for protection and it is kept very clean.  Even the young crows do not foul their own nest.”  I think this speaks volumes about me because clutter and mess trigger my anxiety like you wouldn’t believe.

I know to many it sounds silly, and when I tell people about it they often look at me strangely, but I do believe we have a connection to animals and I believe that they resonate within us.  When I have dreams about certain animals I look them up.  If I encounter an animal in an area that is abnormal to their life I immediately look it up.  There has never been a time that this book has steered me wrong and, more often than not, I’m amazed at what this book tells me about the animal.  At the very least it’s interesting to read about certain animals find out more than what TV tells us about them.

Well then.  This concludes another blog post.  I honestly was thinking about writing for so long but was trying to decide what to write and when to write it.  I want to write for me, but I also want to write things that are gripping to readers, too.

I also love to hear your feedback.  Do you have this book?  Have you read it?  Would you ever?  If so, what are your totems?  Do you feel they’re an accurate depiction of you?  Feel free to comment!

Until next time….

As Simple as Do Re Mi, A B C-Section

A very dear friend of mine is scheduled to have a c-section next month; both of her pregnancies have been high risk but her first resulted in such a disastrous labor that it’s unsafe to go natural again, so a c-section it is.  Naturally (no pun intended) she is having fears and anxieties and has come to me with many questions since I had a c-section with my daughter.  As we were discussing it yesterday she had mentioned that she took to the internet (dun Dun DUN!) to help learn more about what to expect.  Not surprisingly, she didn’t find many positive things; as a matter of fact, on a mom group that she and I are both a part of a whole slew of moms commented with how horrifying it is, to expect the worst, it was just awful, etc.  There wasn’t a drop of support on the whole thread!  Actually, there doesn’t seem to be much support on the whole internet either.

I’m here to change that!
::insert superhero emoticon::

I was not planning to be a mom so when we found out I was pregnant I told the OB that we could just go ahead and plan the c-section to get that done and over with (I’m a very detail-oriented person with a love for schedules so the idea of a spontaneous labor is just not terrifying to me).  After being turned down I went home and started looking up the process of a c-section, watching videos, etc.  Having had the same results my friend is having now, I was TERRIFIED of having a c-section and quickly changed my mind.  I opted for a completely natural, unmedicated labor.  Well then I was given the news at 38 weeks that my daughter was transverse, butt-down, and that a c-section was an option so I left that appointment with my labor-date (if baby was head-down and ready to go we’d go ahead with an induction but if not then I’d have a c-section).

The morning of I arrived at the hospital on time, having not eaten anything since 6 pm the night before as instructed, and found out that baby was head-down.  Talk about relief!  Well, fast forward 24 hours, an arrested 7 cm dilation, a broken water, and two epidurals that didn’t work and I was singing a different tune.  I was practically begging for surgery!  Because I hadn’t slept at all they tried a third epidural so that I could get some sleep and hopefully dilate some more.  Unfortunately that didn’t work, though, and my daughter’s heart rate was rapidly dropping and my blood pressure was rapidly increasing – they did a quick ultrasound to find out that my daughter was actually moving backwards in the birth canal and, while still head down, had positioned her body just so that her shoulder was preventing proper access into the birth canal.  It was decided that I needed a c-section immediately.

I was quickly prepped and rushed into the OR and was given my anesthesia that numbed me from about my ribcage down to my toes.  The staff was exceptional and I remember the doctor making jokes with me and warning my husband to not look over the curtain.  I had an oxygen mask placed over my face (nose and mouth) and I had my arms strapped down (like a T) – the doctors said that was to both help blood flow and to prevent me from reaching for the surgical site (which I guess happens out of reflex).  I felt some pushing and pulling but it was nothing major; the doctor said I’d feel something like my skin unzipping and, oddly, that’s exactly what it felt like.  Being 100% honest period cramps hurt more than anything I felt during my c-section.  If it weren’t so dang cold in the room I probably could’ve slept because, for the first time since labor started, I was in no pain, the meds were making me spacey and the oxygen was almost therapeutic.  As I laid there it was almost like the doctors were off in the distance and I could hear the steady whooooosshhh and tsssst of the oxygen, I couldn’t nap, though, because the anesthesiologist was there asking me questions (to check how coherent I was) and monitoring my vitals.

All of a sudden the doctor said, “Okay, you’re going to feel a big push!” and it was almost like this giant fart had finally released this pressure that I didn’t know was there, and I heard it: the cry of my daughter.  The doctor smiled and said, “Hey, you had a little girl living in there!” and she was brought to my face while they started cleaning stuff up and stitching me up.  That took about 15 minutes and then I was brought to recovery while my husband followed our daughter to the baby room (where they gave her a bath and all that good stuff).

In all honesty, the recovery room was probably the worst part.  It was me and two other women (but room for six of us) and two room attendants.  One girl was throwing up because of the anesthesia and the other was other was talking to her friend who was in the room with her.  I had terrible shakes, was starving (I was allowed to eat something small around 11 am the day before – it was now 1:45 pm a day later) and SO THIRSTY (I wasn’t allowed anything more than one small Dixie cup of ice chips during my entire labor) but the attendants wouldn’t give me anything until the shakes stopped because the anesthesia could make me throw up.  After about two hours I was cleared to go to my room, so they got my husband and wheeled me down to the room I’d call home for the next two days.

I feel badly now because the nurse was trying to tell me how things worked on that floor, what to expect, etc. and I wasn’t really listening, I was eyeing the GIANT ice and water machine right outside my room.  My husband filled up a cup for me and I chugged three cups so fast that frat boys would have been proud.  Then my daughter was wheeled in and I honestly told the nurse that I wasn’t listening, this is the first time I’d really seen my daughter, that I was going to pick her up, and I did.

To kind of summarize, here’s a rough timeline:
12:30 pm – brought to OR
1:17 – my daughter was born
1:40 – I was brought to the recovery room
3:30ish – I was brought to my room
4:00ish – I got up and started walking
4:30ish – my catheter was taken out
5:00ish – they gave me a stool softener/laxative (be prepared for that thing lol)

From there on out I walked as much as I could around the floor and tried to sleep.  It’s hard, though, because people are coming in every 30-45 minutes to check the incision and lactation consultants come in to help with breast feeding, it’s far from relaxing.  I was able to shower the next day.

When I was discharged I slept the entire 90 minute drive back home and we adjusted pretty quickly.  My husband didn’t do any night feedings so I was up every two or three hours to feed and change our daughter, I was able to shower fine, do laundry (yeah, I kept up with that, too), everything I did before – just not much heavy lifting.  I lifted our daughter, though, so that was the most I lifted.

Make sure to take care of your incision properly, change the gauze regularly, wash it gently with warm water, and things will go smoothly.  If you have to cough, sneeze, fart, hiccup, etc. make sure you hold a pillow to you tightly to help with that pressure.  When you fart and poop don’t push too hard, let it come on its own.

Oh!  The best part?  The doctor was able to suction out most of the blood that comes along with labor so I only had postpartum bleeding for probably three or four days.  That was awesome.

So there you have it.  The true life story of a c-section survivor who actually didn’t hate her surgery lol.  If you’re about to have one or you think it might be in your future, don’t be scared!  It’s unnecessary worry and there’s not much you can do about it.  If you have any questions, though, then please feel free to talk to me.  I’ve got nothing to hide and nothing bad to say 🙂

Have a great day, y’all!

Confessions of a Fat Mom with Social Anxiety

Hey all!  I’m so sorry it’s been almost three whole weeks since I last wrote!  I’ve had a busy three weeks, though.  I do in-home childcare and had to say farewell to the family I’ve been working for for the past two years because we bought a house an hour away, so I had that emotional goodbye, the hectic process of putting our lives into boxes, then moving and unpacking to start our new life!  Let me just say that I LOVE the pride banner at the top of the WordPress page…kudos to WP!

Anyway, since it’s summer I feel the need to vent about a major gripe/insecurity of mine – beaches.  I hate beaches!  There.  I said it.  I know, I’m probably a terrible person and have you scratching your head, but whatever.  It is what it is.

I hate the sand and I hate that sand finds a way into every crevice possible and sticks to you even after a shower..I hate it.  I hate laying in the sand because, well, it’s sand, and I sweat.  Laying there, doing nothing, I sweat.  I don’t like sweating when I’m doing nothing.  I like it even less when it results in sand sticking to me.

I don’t like swimming either.  Beaches are always over-crowded and people fight for the water and I inevitably get splashed in the face (which I hate)..it’s just not fun.  Plus, things live in the water.  In our area there’s tons of jellyfish, sharks, fish with teeth…no thanks.  I’ll stick to a bathtub or a pool.

Then there’s bathing suits.  I hate bathing suits.  Why?  Because I’m fat.  I know I know, I should love my body and really show off body positivity for my daughter, but the fact of the matter is I just hate my body.  And yes, I am aware of how I can lose weight (this is not an invitation for you to start trying to sell me on your ItWorks shit or anything of the like) and I’m working on it, but until that happens I am going to continue being self-conscious.  I see some women my size and larger wearing two-pieces and I give them so much credit because I don’t even like wearing my dress-style suit.

Next, I’m a mom (duh), so even if I did like the beach I think it’d still be unenjoyable for the simple fact of, well, I have a toddler.  My daughter hates sand as much as I do, actually more because she screams bloody murder when it’s on her.  So going in the water (which she loves) is awful because then we have to walk back through the sand and it sticks to her and she thinks it’s attacking her..oh gosh..it’s just a sight to see.  Then you have to bring adequate food and beverages to appease a toddler, plus toys, shade, her special blanket, her pillow (because it’s impossible to take a nap without her pillow) because she’d be in the sun and the sun makes her sleepy…by the time I’d have everything we need for the trip people would think we were moving to the dang beach!

And please, don’t talk to me about finding a sitter.  If you met my toddler you’d understand why that just won’t happen and then I’d just spend my hot, sticky, sandy time worrying about her.

At the end of the day I’d be so grumpy because I was in the sun (and while I don’t tan my skin just hurts like I have a burn without the redness), I’d be hot, sticky, and covered in sand, I’d have a crabby toddler, and then I’d worry that some dickhead with a camera phone spent their time taking unflattering pictures of me to post online so they could make fun of me.  It’s just not worth it.  Give me the AC and sunless tanner and I’m happy.

I have few friends and the one closest (in proximity) to me loves the beach.  She could spend all day, every day at the beach.  She’s also not a mom.  I can tell she gets frustrated that I won’t go with her but I just won’t budge.  Plus, we live in a beachy area (we’re about two hours from VA Beach) so there’d be so much traffic getting there…it’d really require a whole plan of attack to go there even for a day.  And she’d have to ride in my car because of the car seat and trunk space (her little sports car just would not suffice) and I just don’t think that she can handle a two hour drive (if there’s literally no traffic) singing “Wheels on the Bus” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and then -x- amount of hours of the aforementioned struggles.

Nope.  I’m just not the person to ask to tag along to the beach.

Okay well now that I’ve got that off my chest, I have a new piece of furniture that I want to sand down and paint so I’m off to do that.  I’ll write soon, though, I promise.

❤ ❤

Oh My Gosh, Becky, Look at That MOM!!!

Hey hey hey!  I was told not to do a post like this because it’s so controversial and it would immediately turn people away from wanting to read my blog at all and make them hate me.  Extreme much?  As much as I appreciate you reading my blog, I do it for me so if you don’t like this one I’m sorry, but feel free to skip it 🙂

I’m going to talk about “bad moms.”  In mommy world it seems like this giant battle where we’re all against each other instead of trying to help each other.  Silly me…I always thought it was the latter.  I quickly found out that I was doing things wrong from the start.  I mentioned in another post that I delivered in a military hospital, so all of my prenatal care was done in the same setting.  I didn’t do any prenatal classes (like Lamaze) or anything, I just read a lot of books, because the closest base I could do them at was 90 minutes away.  Strike one.  Then, I was induced instead of going into labor naturally.  Strike two.  That one, though, they kept insisting I had gestational diabetes even though I passed all of my blood tests (I even had a diabetic kit that I used to test at home and still passed!  Except that one time I binged on ice cream and pretzels…), but they kept telling me my baby was pushing nine pounds and if I went the full 40 weeks she’d absolutely be over ten.  So they induced me at 39 weeks and 1 day.  My baby was born at 7 lbs. 10 oz.  Anyway..that was strike two.  Then after 27 hours of labor – yes, 27 HOURS OF LABOR with two epidurals that DID NOT WORK, I had an emergency c-section.  It doesn’t matter that both my and my daughter’s BPs were dropping and I was starting to black out, the fact that I had a c-section at all is strike three.  So, by the time my daughter was born I already had three strikes against me!

Lets not forget that I used formula (in my defense I tried breast feeding, and after three months was still only producing an ounce each time – which my daughter did get, turns out my prolactin levels were all sorts of messed up), I co-slept, I did baby-wearing, attachment parenting, I used jarred food, I do not like (actually, I HATE) the cry-it-out method (oh, excuse me, that’s called “ferberizing”), I use disposable diapers.  So that’s more strikes against me.

I find it funny that I actually felt the need to defend myself for having used formula.  That’s what other moms do to you!!!!

I remember one time I was returning a ton of breastfeeding stuff to Babies R Us, all of it was unopened and I had the receipts for it, but the cashier looked at me then at my daughter and went on to tell me, “You know..breast is best.  It’s much healthier for babies.  It makes them live longer.”  I was so taken aback and upset about her comment that I made up a terrible lie to make her feel even guiltier about why I was returning this stuff.  I think my awful lie is excusable since she just butted into my business like it was hers.  Another time I was at Food Lion buying groceries and a lady commented on the shape of C’s head, “Oh surely she was a c-section baby..her head is just so round!”  What in the world makes people think they can talk to you about this stuff?!  I looked at her and responded with, “Well actually, after about 18 hours of labor she descended, ready to come out, but got stuck because she twisted her body.  The lightening crotch I experienced during pregnancy was nothing compared to feeling a human get stuck in the birth canal!  Since she was stuck for so long she had this horrible cone head, but the doctors were able to help mold it to the correct shape.”  She turned so white.  But really, if she wanted to get in my business I’d share the juicy details that even I don’t like thinking about just to make her uncomfortable.  I know…mature.

I’m a SAHM, too, so that’s another strike.  However, if I was a working mom that’d be a strike so there’s really no winning on that topic.  I tried to join a few mom groups in the area because I really didn’t have any friends here (I don’t know if I mentioned it before but we moved to Virginia for my husband’s duty station so I didn’t know many, hardly any, people here) and I wanted to be able to socialize C as well as myself.  Well I tried one that was a walking group through a historical part of town – I figured moms, exercise, scenery..it’d be great!  No.  It was not great.  I was glared at because I didn’t have a jogging stroller and then they left me in the dust because apparently “walking group” means “steady jogging group” and I wasn’t even fully healed yet and I just don’t run.  So after a few times doing that I just gave up.  The moms didn’t even bother greeting me anymore when I showed up so it was clear I wasn’t welcome in their clique.  Then I tried another group in the area and they walk around the mall on Fridays then let the kids play in the play area, so I figured that’d be a safe bet, right?  No.  The first one I went to they barely spoke to me gossiped amongst themselves.  Whatever, I was new.  The next week I came and they all were trash-talking another mom who wasn’t there and then looked at me and very dramatically said, “Oh, don’t think we’re always like this..but this woman!” and went on to talk more.  Real classy, huh?  The final straw was when I invited a fellow mom I had met a few weeks before so that I’d at least have somebody to talk to when I walked.  This was frowned upon so much by the other moms and I was told, “That’s not allowed at all, you have to get permission to invite her!” so I said fuck it and we walked on our own, I never returned to another group with them again.  I tried a third group and they required I join this site where I pay a membership fee (only $20 annually) and then I had to host two playgroups each month, including one weekend day, and they got together 2-3 times each week.  I lived in a two bedroom apartment, there was no way I was hosting that much, especially on a weekend when it was my only time for my family to get together.  So that didn’t work.

Now that my daughter is two I get criticized because she’s not baptized, I don’t think that we’re going to do a preschool (actually, I’m near certain that we just won’t), I still haven’t left her with anybody, I won’t pierce her ears until she asks me to and is old enough to clean them herself, I still don’t let her cry-it-out, we still co-sleep, I just do what works for her and for myself and, really, that’s all any mom should do.

Unless your child is in harm’s way, I don’t care how you parent.  If you want to breastfeed in my living room, do it.  If you want/need to work, go for it.  I’ll offer to watch your child.  If you need to vent about how long your child has been crying and you haven’t showered in three days and there’s dirty dishes in the sink and two-day-old laundry in the washer and you’re just so tired…go for it.  I get it.  I can relate.  I am here for you.

We’re parents.  We need to stick together.  We need to help each other out.  Who the hell cares how you’re parenting?  If they don’t care for your child 24/7 then fuck their opinion.  You do what works for you and for your family.

I will not judge you for how you parent.  Unless you use your car seat wrong.  In that case I’ll offer to help you fix it, give you ways on how to improve the situation, but if you don’t then you’re failing your child.  Car seat safety is so important.

Other than that..you do you, boo.  And have fun because being a parent is so amazing and so rewarding 🙂 ❤

Happy trails, parents.

OCD Isn’t Cute, Dammit!!

Hey hey!  It’s been about a week since I wrote last, sorry for the lapse!  I have a little list I’ve been compiling with ideas of topics to write about, things that are deeply personal to me or that I’m passionate about, you know.  Well, I’m surprised I forgot to write about this sooner because it’s such a big part of me – mood disorders!

When I was younger (high school age) I battled depression for a few years and that settled down to a pretty steady anxiety.  I posted before that I’m an introvert and that’s very much the case, but aside from loving my personal home-time I have such anxiety about being around people.  That intensified so much when I became a mom plus added in a nice amount of OCD.  Which, let me tell you, is NOT cute.  Just because you like your DVDs alphabetized doesn’t make you OCD, it makes you meticulous.  My OCD was (and sometimes still is) debilitating.  I couldn’t leave my home for fear that something awful was going to happen.

Let me start at the top.  I never really planned on being a mom so when it happened I was shocked to say the least.  Around 25ish weeks pregnant I had a routine appointment and I opened up about my fears.  I expressed to the healthcare(less) provider I was seeing that I had some anxiety about birth, what happened before, during, and after labor, all of that.  Her response?  “You know, so many women can’t even get pregnant so you should really just suck it up and consider yourself lucky.”  That was that.  I didn’t share my concerns with anybody because she made me feel so small and guilty about my fears that I felt like scum.

I had a frustrating pregnancy because of the medical staff I encountered, not because of the physical nature of being pregnant.  The staff was awful and at one point towards the end (I’m going to get personal here) there was a nurse who gave me an internal check to see how dilated I was and she didn’t take her rings off.  When I commented how badly it was hurting she told me, “Deal with it, honey, labor hurts worse.”  I’m convinced that because of what I said to her I was transferred to an entirely different hospital (this was all in military hospitals).  At 37 weeks I was sent to a hospital that was about 90 minutes from my home but they decided to induce me (at 39 weeks) because they were convinced I had gestational diabetes (I didn’t, I’m just fat).  So there I was on a Sunday morning in early January, being induced.  Labor lasted 27 hours and our daughter was born early Monday afternoon after an emergency c-section.

She was, and still is, perfect.  I remember the staff trying to explain to me what was happening on that floor and how things worked, but as soon as my daughter was wheeled into the room I stopped listening; it was really the first time I had seen her since she came out of me.  I never really felt true love until I saw her – this little being that I created.  She grew inside of me.  It’s so bizarre to think about and I look at her now and I am still amazed at all of it.  My husband and I had planned for me to go back to work, even if it was just part-time, but we couldn’t find any childcare in the area that was reasonably priced and I started having these really weird thoughts and episodes.

One night we were laying in bed and I was still awake because I was terrified that if my daughter stopped breathing I wouldn’t know and then I wouldn’t be able to save her.  I heard my neighbors next door arguing and I sat awake in fear thinking that people were in our apartment to kidnap her.  The amount of sleep I survived on is amazing to me.  Then when we’d get ready to go do things during the day I was scared to even go down the stairs because I was scared I’d drop her or I’d fall or the stairs would collapse and we’d both plummet to the concrete below and she wouldn’t survive.  How would I explain that to anybody?  When we finally did make it out of our protected bubble I was certain that there were kidnappers and deadly diseases lurking everywhere.  If anybody wanted to look at my daughter (which, honestly, was a lot of people because she’s gorgeous) I was certain that they were secretly trying to take her and I’d never see her again.  At home, I was scared to shower or go to the bathroom because what if she fell out of whatever she was in or something fell on top her – literally every terrifying scenario raced through my head and no matter what I just couldn’t control these thoughts (which I later found out to be called Intrusive Thoughts).

So I took to Google, of course.

I don’t know how it is in civilian hospitals because I’ve only ever labored in a military one, but the postpartum screening sucks terribly.  Before being discharged and again at my six-week follow-up I was asked:
1. Do you feel like killing yourself?
2. Do you feel like harming your child?

The answer to both of those questions was no, a BIG FAT NO.  However, I felt like I couldn’t protect us enough from the impending death and harm that skulked around every corner.  Everything I found mentioned postpartum depression (PPD) but I didn’t have those symptoms.  I was getting desperate and I felt like I was going crazy.

Then I found it.

The website that opened with the hallelujah choir and a massive sigh of relief.  I found an article called, “The Symptoms of Postpartum Depression & Anxiety (in Plain Mama English).”  I know it sounds corny but this is the truth.  I sat on the floor between my couch and my coffee table with my two-month-old daughter asleep on the couch behind me and I cried.  I cried so hard.  That website, Postpartum Progress, and its author, Katherine Stone, saved me on that March morning.

I wasn’t alone.  And if you’re reading this feeling the same way I did, I want you to know that you aren’t alone either.

There are others out there feeling the same way that I was.  Katherine Stone writes, “Postpartum depression and anxiety are not “one-size-fits-all” illnesses.  Your experience may be focused on just a few of the symptoms and you may not have others at all.”  This is so important because I knew something was wrong, but I was trying to lump it in with PPD because that’s what everybody’s heard of; I had never heard of PPA or PPOCD so my thoughts terrified me.  I found an article from Psychology Today that helps to encapsulate why I was so scared to open up: article

Now, two years later, I can say that I know how to manage things much better.  I try to talk openly about what I experienced because I think it could be life-saving, at the very least sanity-saving!  Many of my friends have become moms since then and, no matter how weird they think I am, I try to talk to them about it because it’s so important to know that you aren’t alone in this.  I felt crazy.  I felt like my husband would leave me.  When I opened up to my mom finally her first reaction was, “So..what?  Should we take you away and lock you in a straight jacket?” and that was exactly my fear!!  I was petrified that I’d be taken away and never allowed to see my amazing daughter again.

I don’t want any mother to feel that way.  Ever.

So this was really long and if you made it to the bottom then you’re awesome.  If you know a new mom, and even a mom who’s been a mom for a while, share this with her.  Let it get out there.  Let them know that perinatal mood disorders are far more common than we realize.

Thanks for reading.

Happy trails ❤