Introducing…..

Well, actually, I’ll wait on introductions and tell you the story about a birth that is so crazy even I don’t believe it happened.

Last Wednesday (1/29/2014) my water broke. As every other blog will tell you, it didn’t feel like what it does in the movies. It just felt like a constant stream of water. Pouring down my legs. I would say that my water breaking is even more gross than birth. So, at 3pm my water broke in the middle of a meeting. I stood up, alerted the office, everyone was concerned that I needed someone to drive me home, and I assured them–I had a towel in my car, I was fine.

I called Phil. I called my new Doula, I called Labor and Delivery. And I was cool as a cucumber. I wasn’t having contractions, so Labor and Delivery told me it wasn’t urgent to come in, but if they hadn’t started to come in between 6 and 12 hours later. So, we sat around the house and waited. And waited. And waited. And contractions never started. At about 11 pm we went in, because we didn’t want to go in at 3 am.

Luckily we had that dress rehearsal, so we were more prepared, and more comfortable this time around.

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They wanted to hook me up to pitocin right away, but I asked if we could wait until we were officially at 12 hours. And we did. Long and short of it, no matter what we did we couldn’t kick start these contractions. So starting at 5 am we started the pitocin drip. And we increased it every few hours by 2 measurements, until 2 pm. And nothing happened.

I’m serious.

Nothing happened. I would have contractions for like five minutes and then they would stop. But because I was pitocin I had to be monitored constantly. Luckily MCV offers wireless monitoring, so I could walk around, but because I was so round they wouldn’t stay. Basically every time I moved or switched positions the monitors fell off. And the nurses and doctors would freak out. It was a long boring 22 hours.

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At 2 pm I asked if they would check me (oh, I forgot to mention when I checked in I was the same stats as I was a week and a half ago, 4 cmts, 100% effaced and -2). The Dr’s (who were the same doctors as before, bonus!) checked me.

One thing no one tells you is how painful it is when you get checked. Is it more painful than birth? Probably. So they check me and I’m the exact same stats as I was 18 hours ago. WTF.

I turn to Phil and start crying that they are going to make me have  a c-section because I wasn’t progressing. He reassures me that I won’t just relax and let’s get through this.

Within 30 minutes, I go into serious contractions. It turns out I had two bags of water (which is totally normal, but I am too sleep deprived to find an article to explain it better!). Basically when the dr checked me she broke my other bag of water and I was on level 18 pitocin. So I went from nothing to, it’s go time.

And holy hell. I now know why they tied women up when they had babies. Mind you I haven’t had an epidural because I still wasn’t dilated enough and at this point I didn’t want anything that would slow this process down, I was over it. I cried, I moaned, I thrashed, I tried to bite Phil’s hand. I stressed out, I screamed. I went animalistic.

So they gave me a painkiller, that put me to sleep and I only woke up every now and then to moan.

And then I screamed “I feel like something’s coming out of my butt!”. Phil ran and got the doctor, I screamed “Give me that epidural now!”. They check me. Doctor says, “Honey, no time for an epidural, it’s time to push.”

So push I did. Six rounds, of five pushes. Everytime I would get to the fifth push they would say, the baby’s right there. RIGHT there. One more push. And then I would quit. I turned to look at Phil and he had pleading eyes and said “please, just one more push..” and I pushed.

They said reach down and pull your baby out (once the head and shoulders were out, I was told to reach down and pull it up). So I reached down, they said what is it, and I looked and couldn’t focus and finally came too…

And It’s a girl!!!

Anne Rae Taylor was born at 5:15 pm on January 30, 2014. She was 6.14 lbs and 20 inches long. And she’s beautiful. And we love her. And I’ll tell you all about the what to expect when you’re in labor another day. But for now. Look at my beautiful daughter.

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PS. In case you were wondering. D finally pooped/threw up all the underwear. She ate three full bowls of food today. She will be the death of me. 🙂

I witnessed a miracle today.

“You can do this. You will do this. You’ve done it before. It will only be 55 minutes. You are stronger than you think you are.”

I wrote that statement on Thursday. I did not think today would happen. But it did.

I ran an 8k. I know that some of y’all might be like “groan, another mention of running”. But–you have to understand, I never ran a mile in my life (a full non stop mile) until 2008. And then I ran a 10k. And then for  4 years I would off and on run, not really pushing myself. Last summer I started running for fun, and then I got engaged and I started running for a wedding, and then I started running because I was pregnant. Except, with pregnancy I wasn’t really running. I was running a mile and complaining and all of that stuff.

So I signed up for the 8k. Because I was determined to do this. And I mostly (always) feel like a quitter. I always feel like I have these great ideas, and I never follow through on them. And I know I’m stubborn, but I want to be stubborn on something that’s worth while, not just an argument or something like  “I’m not finding out the sex of my baby”.

So let me set the stage. We leave the house at 6:35 am, it’s misting outside. It’s a cold 50 degrees. I’ve been training for six weeks. I’m nervous. I’m already negotiating with myself when it will be okay to start walking, because how in the world am I going to run 5 miles. That’s ludacris. I lace up my shoes and tell Phil I’m scared. I don’t think I can do this. He tells me I’ve been running every other day for six weeks, there’s no reason I can’t do this. I roll my eyes. He doesn’t know how easy it is for me to quit.

We pick up Arielle. It’s pouring. Not just pouring, but monsooning. The air is so cold that the exposed skin is prickly. You can see your breathe. And you have to JUMP every five feet because of a puddle, except opps you slip once and now your sock is completely soaked. I wanted to call Phil, I wanted to turn around and just call it day, but I knew I couldn’t. Arielle is not so subtly hitting that we can run the 8k ourselves later that day, we don’t need to be there. It would be so much nicer later when it wasn’t wet. I keep ignoring her. I tell her I want to go out on a bang. I paid $40 to run this race. I’m not just turning around because of a little rain, besides I was already out there, the weather report said it was going to stop soon, so it would have to, right? And just as we turn the corner, we saw the runners start. We were the last people to cross the start line…but we started.

And just like that you get into the motion of running. The smooth weaving in between walkers and slower runners, finding your pace, getting into the groove and just going. Waiting to see that first mile mark because it’s such a treat (except WHERE IS IT?). At one point Arielle left me, which was fine. I am running a 12 min mile. I didn’t expect her to run with me. I’m five songs into my playlist, I’m amazed at what a great playlist I put together. Britney, Ke$ha, Temper Trap, all the necessities to a smooth ride, but seriously, where the EFF is that one mile marker? I can’t be running this slow.

Then out on the horizon, I see the yellow sign. I’ve ran 2 miles! (and there are port-a-potties, so I can make a pit stop, thank god). I’ve lost Arielle. But I just ran 2 miles. I’m so close to the half way point. And then I just kept going. A smile spreads across my face and my breathing is steady. On the other hand, my ankles hurt, I’m contracting, there is an annoying girl who is walking and every time I pass her starts running for five seconds only to walk again until I pass her. She becomes my pace runner, even though we aren’t on the same pace, she’s just the person I keep my eyes on. I will beat you. I start bargaining with myself.

“You can walk when you get to three miles.”

I hit three miles. It’s downhill.

“You can walk once you get to the big hill.”

I see the big hill.

“You only need to run .5 miles then you’re at the hill.”

Then I hit the hill. It’s not that hard, and out of nowhere, Ruff Ryders Anthem comes on. You CANNOT walk when DMX is telling you to “put em down, set em up, open up shop”–it’s a law or something (I’m sure of it). It’s just not possible. So, at the top of the hill, I’ve hit 4 miles. 4 MILES. I am almost done. I can’t believe I did this. I only have a little under a mile to go. That stupid walk/run girl is still dragging me down, but I’m not the last person in the race, and I haven’t stopped to walk once. And then I have this thought:

“I want to be someone’s inspiration.”

I want someone to think of me and be inspired. Inspired because I just spent the past 45 minutes telling myself I couldn’t do something and I’ve continued to perservere. I had so many people question me running in this race because “of my condition”. And, I just started running five years ago and holy crap, I’m 6.5 months pregnant and look at me go.

So then another rap song comes on, and I can’t stop running. You can’t just walk to rap music. Plus that whole inspiration thing is happening. And then, then , I’m turning the corner, and it’s a downhill slope and I know the finish line is there. My ankles feel like they are going to snap any second. These Braxton Hicks are pulsating. It’s taking everything to not just stop and walk. There is pain, and ache, and I just want to stop…

And then Pat Benatar “We Belong” is roaring in my years. For those of you who were at our wedding, this is the song that Phil and I were introduced to. I also see the mile 26 sign for the marathoners, and I know just past that it’s only .2 miles to the finish. I can’t be more than .5 miles away. And without even realizing it, I’m crying, not sobbing, but crying and trying not to cry, but then trying to just let myself cry. So I’m crying and running and crying and not crying and ohmygod I did this. I can see the finish line. I can see Phil waiting for me. I can see it all ending and ending on a success.

I crossed the finish line. I got my medal. But the medal I got from the HCA 8k is not even close to the true medal I earned.

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My ankles may be near their breaking point, my nipples are more chapped than I can ever imagine because my clothes are soaking wet, at some points I think my butt is hanging out because my pants are so wet and sticky I can’t even feel them. Each step is like sloshing into another puddle. I need to pee. My lips are chapped. But I’ve never been happier. Because I did something I never thought I would do.

I became my own inspiration.

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I’m a feminist (and odds are so are you).

Last summer (again with the throwbacks) I listened to an interview by Caitlin Moran on NPR’s Fresh Air. It was about her new book “How to be a Woman.” It changed my life. I had just tuned in as she was saying this:

“What part of liberation for women is not for you? Is it the freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man that you marry? The campaign for equal pay? Vogue by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that stuff just get on your nerves?”

I remember a few days later my friend saying “I’m not all feminist, girl power, rah”,  and I was caught of guard because–what’s wrong with wanting equal rights for a woman? Growing up, I had friends say “Guys have it so easy”, “I hate girls”, “It’s just harder to get along with women”, etc. And I probably said the same thing too, when I was younger, but then I grew up, and realized that being a woman is f’ing awesome. I love my girl friends and find them more necessary than any guy friends. What guy friend is going to relate to pregnancy induced raging a stroke? (i.e. flipping out).

So all week long, I’ve been thinking about writing a post on this topic. Truly, every morning, I’ve thought about it and today, Huffington post posted this:

So why am I taking a pregnancy blog and talking about feminism? Simple. What if this baby is a girl? You may recall from earlier entries I decided not to find out the sex of the baby because of people’s comments like “I hope it’s a boy“, and “It better be a boy.” And I brushed it off. Granted, I was still annoyed, but these are comments people make and it is what it is. And then Phil wanting a boy and me coming to the conclusion that I didn’t want to know because I didn’t want him for one second to have an ounce of disappointment if it was a girl and I didn’t want him to have to “come to grips with it”. So those had been my solid points for, 3-4 months. And then I started thinking about those comments, and I thought “Why is it so wrong to have a girl? Why is it looked at like a disappointment if it’s a girl? Why when you are told “it’s a girl!” in the ultrasound room is there a quick second of “bummer” before excitement?” I talked to a co-worker and she said “You know, I never thought about it it, but before I had my son, I did say-if it’s a boy, I’m okay with having one.” My mouth dropped. Then a few weeks later, my friend tells me that she is having a boy, and is so relieved. Not that there is anything wrong with having a girl, but it would be easier. And again, what? (introduce Melissa flipping out internally). Also, all these comments came from women! I get that men want a boy, I GET THAT. But women? Embrace your sisters (read: daughters!).

Do you know that the most successful people I know are women? The most inspirational people I look up to are women. My mother was a single mom for a few years with me. She worked her ass of to make sure I was surrounded by family, friends, and never once felt out of place because my parents are divorced. My grandmother and two aunts are the most bad ass women in St. Louis. They run that town and have inspired so much change in the community and all manage to look phenomenal while doing it. My in-laws–don’t even get me started on how successful they are as women! All while being part of a family and enjoying life. My Aunt-in-law–was so successful, that now she enjoys life by going to Antarctica and Paris and just–LIVING. Tell me how many people you know right now that worked hard enough to just enjoy life? My grandmother worked in real estate until her 80’s because she was that good at her job. Women rule the world. Women make the difference. The people who I feel inspire the most change in the world aren’t men, they are women. Women multitask and they raise families and they have fun. Sure we have hormones, and sometimes we are irrational, but have you ever looked back at fight you had with a man? They are just as irrational.

I know that if I have a daughter she will hate me at 13-18. I know this. I get this. But maybe she won’t. Maybe she’ll be the next president. Maybe she will truly save the whales.

I still don’t know what we are having, and I still truly don’t care. But what I do know is that if I have a girl, she will be the most kick ass, feminist, proud to be a woman girl I know. She will know how to cook, and how to build a headboard. She will be kind and compassionate, but also be able to stand her own ground when she feels like something isn’t fair. She will have friends that are both female and male, and she will cherish her relationship with both. She will play sports and play with dolls. And if she EVER tells me that girls suck, I will slap the shit out of her and remind her that she comes from a strong line of successful, hard working, happy, women.

I’ll leave you with a tweet from Sarah Silverman: “You can’t spell Hero, without Her.”

If you are intrigued about the interview that inspired me you can read the highlights here.

Disclaimer: I also look up to the men in my life too, so don’t feel like you are chopped liver. But this is my “I am woman, hear me roar rant” and I am over people making comments about how women are a good second option.

Things not to say to Pregnant Women

First, let’s clarify,  I’ve 100% said these things to other women. But I sure wish someone had written a blog, or a magazine article, or heck just said it out loud–because whether these questions are coming from complete strangers, or friends, it’s annoying. There is more to pregnant women than what’s growing in their uterus. Most of us have jobs, most of us have other stresses, most of us did watch the latest episode of The Vampire Diaries. Some of us are interested in knowing who is playing Christian Grey now that the other dude is out. And some of us, are actually concerned with the government shutdown. Sure, I have moments through out the day that I talk about the baby..but when we talked before I was pregnant,  you didn’t always talk about the baby.

So here is my list **these are also statements other pregnant woman have mentioned as bothersome, so they are not all directly things that have been said to me. mostly 1 and 2 pertain to me .***

1) How are you feeling?–This could just pertain to me because I don’t have anything to say. I don’t belong to the women who hate pregnancy club, because pregnancy has been really easy. So all I can say is “Great! Thanks for asking.” Which, I feel like leaves people wanting more “Any morning sickness? indigestion? something?..anything? come on, every woman complains”..and then there’s me. No. I’m good. I just complain because my clothes don’t fit and we don’t have any money. But those aren’t things I actually want to discuss with you. Unless I bring it up.

2) Are you excited?–Listen. The only acceptable answer here is yes. And if I say yes, then what’s the rest of the conversation. If you asked me if I was excited that college basketball was only a few weeks away, then I’d say yes. The questions is really the worst coming from strangers. I don’t know you, and I’m not going to beam you a smile and say “Oh yes, what a blessing!’

Basically, this question is really a way to hide what you are trying to ask which is:

3) Did you plan it?–Regardless if someone planned it or not, DON’T ASK. They may have been planning it for a long time and it took 3 years (those people are probably very interested in answering questions 1 and 2), but they don’t want to talk to you about their possible fertility problems. Or, complete opposite,  what if it was a mistake? That just makes everyone uncomfortable. And lastly, maybe it was like us..basically planned, basically happened as it should, so we don’t have anything to really talk about. Yes. We decided to try. Yes it worked.

4) Are you sure you’re not expecting twins?-Just, no. Don’t. Stop. Do I need to explain this one?

5) Not a question, but a statement: You don’t look that big!–What is THAT BIG? In who’s mind? I know I’m still skinny as a rail with a belly, but you know who feels like she looks THAT BIG–me. The fact that none of my pants fit me, I feel that big. And I don’t want to talk about it.

Questions that are acceptable to ask:

6) When are you due?–It’s a basic question and leaves room for other conversational pieces. (Just in time for March Madness!)

7) Do you know what you’re having?–I’ve seen this varied. Some people really hate it, other people don’t mind. I don’t really care. I just say we will find out in February!

Questions that I’m on the fence about:

8) Do you plan to breastfeed?–Actually, no. Move this up to questions you don’t ask. People are allowed to do whatever they want. If they want to know the benefits they can find them. This is my worst, 6 years ago, not being a mom, if you told me you weren’t going to breastfeed–I soapboxed the shit out of you. But now, upon reading..and maturing..basically, everyone’s entitled to their own thing. People in France don’t breastfeed. Yes it’s good. Yes I’m going to do it. But don’t judge someone else.

9) Have you started decorating?-I haven’t. So I don’t have anything to talk about. I would judge this by the person. I have some pregnant friends who LOVE decorating. I’m sure they are looking at samples as we speak. I wish I could get into decorating. I can get into painting. and Vacuuming. But not decorating.

10) Have you found childcare?-Again on the fence. I haven’t. Because it’s so expensive. Because I don’t know where to look. Actually, I think this is fine. It could add fuel to get me started.

Also–let’s face it. I’m so particular, I think the reason I don’t like people asking these questions is because I don’t actually feel like they are listening to me after they ask the question. They are either waiting for me to finish because they have already formulated their next thought, or they heard one part of what I’ve said and want to focus on that and only that (looking at you husband). Or all the questions they ask have expected outcomes. Personally, I think it’s okay not to be bursting at the seams every five minutes over the baby. It will get here when it gets here. And everything will fall into place.

For now, let me watch Vampire Diaries.

Updated: See, I’m not alone!! My friend Heather, who’s husband is in residency felt the same pains as I did. Read here and here.