Nostalgia

•April 29, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I’ve always been a sucker for nostalgia, so when my son was born, I immediately found myself in a used book store buying up every single copy of my childhood favorite books: Curious George, Babar, Dr. Seuss, Madeline, Peter Rabbit, Winnie the Pooh, and many, many more. I’m sure that Ciaran will have favorites of his own, but I feel compelled to share my memories with him nonetheless. I want him to have everything I had and more. I suppose that’s part of being a parent. Sometimes it’s my favorite part.

It’s funny that we’re so drawn to those things that remind us of when we were young. Our generation is always the BEST generation. I’m sure Ciaran will grow up thinking the same about his world.

My husband and I took Ciaran on his first road trip last week and on the drive we got to talking about how it will be for our son as he grows up in this generation. We laughed about how he won’t know a world without computers, how he’ll wonder what a pay phone is, and he’ll laugh when we talk about the good ole days of Blockbuster Video trips and playing I-Spy on road trips rather than video games. It’s so strange to think that he’s going to have his own experience and won’t know any of mine except for funny stories I’ll tell him when he’s older.

We pass down nostalgia from one generation to the next, yet the things that matter most are the experiences we have today. I hope that as Ciaran grows, we’ll be able to make many new memories with him that he’ll want to share with his children when he gets older.

In the meantime, I plan on continuing to teach him about the Beatles, about Fraggle Rock and the Muppet Show, and about everything that made my childhood special. I’m sure sometimes he’ll roll his eyes at me and think how old I am, but that’s all part of the experience and I can’t wait to savor every second of it.

Joining a Mom’s Group

•April 29, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I’ll just come right out and say it. I never thought I needed to join a mom’s group. I was fairly sure that I had things completely under control and I was terrified that if I surrounded myself with other moms, I would find out everything I was doing wrong.

Eventually the stir-craziness of being home alone got to me and I looked up local groups. I found one in my town and after two weeks of making excuses to my husband on why I couldn’t attend, I finally forced myself to go.

The experience was awesome.

Everyone was as “green” as I was at parenting. I found that the more I listened to them chat about everything from sleeping habits, to breastfeeding, to poopy diapers and arguments with significant others, I felt more relaxed. I was a good mom. I had never really openly thought otherwise, but something about hearing them chat about their experiences made me feel part of a community that I never really understood.

I’ll admit I forgot my diaper bag in the car. I didn’t have a snuggly blanket or the “right” toys or even a clue as to what I supposed to do, but Ciaran had a great time sleeping in car seat and I learned that sometimes being independent-minded gets in the way of learning from a group setting.

I went to mom’s group every week I could for the entire time I was on maternity leave and I cannot speak highly enough of the experience and of the friendships that both Ciaran and I made when I was there. Now we moms meet up for play groups every second Saturday and Moms’ Night Outs when we’re able.

If you’re like me and don’t know if you really NEED anyone during those first few weeks, why not give a mom’s group a try? I bet you’ll find an amazing group of women ready to teach you, learn from you, grow with you, and sometimes even cry with you.

Hugs to my mom friends. You make me a better mom.

Hot Yoga

•March 28, 2012 • 2 Comments

In an effort to regain my pre-pregnancy body and generally get back into shape, I joined one of my co-workers for a Sunday morning Bikram Yoga class. For those of you who are not “yoga people,” Bikram Yoga is often called “Hot Yoga”; they call it this because it is Yoga in a 105-degree room. No joke.

One thing you should know about me is that I am ridiculously competitive. I don’t mean to be. I just am.

I figured Yoga would be a safe bet. I like to consider myself a fairly flexible person and while I fail epically at every kind of aerobics class (yes, even seniors’ aerobics), I thought Yoga would be slow-paced enough for me to catch on and keep up without making a total fool of myself.

As usual, I underestimated things.

This was the first time I used my Yoga pants for actual Yoga and, I have to admit, I’m kind of proud of that fact. I showed up at the studio with the appropriate attire, my husband’s Nalgene bottle, and a hand towel. I was able to borrow a Yoga mat.

Yoga starts off really awesome. There’s relaxing breathing, some “ohm” chanting, and general de-stressing techniques. I was sold. This was exactly the experience I was looking for. Then it got more complicated. A ton of Downward Dogs, Planks, and some Tree poses. Again, I could handle that and was proud of myself for keeping up with the experts. I stared at the clock and figured at about the halfway mark, they’d give us a water break and I could towel off.

There was no break.

In Hot Yoga’s defense, my friend Tiffany tells me that this was one of the worst Yoga teachers she had ever experienced. I’ve since done another Yoga class and have to agree with her.

Our teacher showed us a complicated pose and then proceeded to tell us to hold this pose for 5 counts. I took a look around the room and saw that everyone was easily getting into the pose. I followed suit. It hurt. A lot. The first three counts seemed like an eternity, but I held strong. The next three counts were painful… and frankly fairly confused because we were supposed to be done at five, but everyone just kept holding on.

This is where my competitive side takes its ugly turn. I didn’t want to break. I didn’t want to be the only person who had to resort to child pose (or crying), so I just kept holding and counting. I think I was at about 25 counts when I finally turned my head to the side (still holding the pose) to see that our teacher had left the studio and was fiddling with her iPod in the front area of the office.

She finally returned and we moved on to other poses. I did every single one and held it as long as they told me. My body cried in pain at the end of the session, but I was proud of myself for enduring. Tiffany told me that she impressed that I was able to keep up on my first time.

I survived. I survived the class and even though my muscles were sore for days, I was proud of myself.

Often, we moms put everything else ahead of us – our kids, our husbands, our jobs, housework, Facebook, friends, pets, other family… It gets a little ridiculous. What we need to remember is that in order to be the best moms out there, we also need to take care of ourselves.

Whether its Hot Yoga, regular Yoga, Zumba, gym time, or just walking… take some time and get back to you. Get away from all of the responsibilities out there and just do something selfish. After all, you deserve it.

Why Am I Losing My Hair?

•March 16, 2012 • 1 Comment

In an earlier post, I wrote about how everyone floods you with advice when you’re pregnant. They tell you what to eat, what to wear, what to buy, how to think, how to be, how to raise your child, name your child… you name it, you hear it.

What they don’t bother telling you is that you lose your hair around the time your baby turns three months. Yep. It’s the truth.

You’d think that would be something noteworthy. That they might think to include it in the endless checklist that is pregnancy/postpartum/motherhood. They don’t. Probably because if you knew you’d lose a pound of hair a day, you might have some second thoughts about the whole experience. (OK – one would hope this wouldn’t sway you out of having a child, but you’d definitely want some time up front to flip out about it.)

Like any new mom, I was stoked about getting my hair done before going back to work. I figured after labor and late nights and early mornings and even being repeatedly peed on (yep, that happens too), I deserved a new hairdo. I booked my appointment, told my hair stylist to do the works, and came home looking good and feeling even better.

And then my hair started falling out.

I don’t mean a bit of hair. I mean clumps of it. It was everywhere. On my clothing, the floor, in the bathroom, even on my husband and in Ciaran’s diapers. When I asked my doctor about it, his response was that it was “normal” and to “watch out it didn’t cut off the circulation” on Ciaran’s fingers, toes, and (here is where I started freaking out) penis. Yep, that happens too.

After weeks of panicking, vacuuming, panicking, and more vacuuming, I finally settled down and realized something. I can lose pound after pound of hair and I’m still not bald.

Babyparenting.about.com describes it this way:

Normally, your hair is in a cycle of growing, resting and shedding. At any given time, you could be losing as many as 200 hairs per day. This is not a problem when you consider that there could be 100,000 or more hairs actively growing.

 

When you are pregnant, however, estrogen prolongs growth and those 200 hairs you’d be losing are put into the growth phase and very little hair is resting or shedding. This is why so many women who are pregnant have that thick, gorgeous mane.

 

After giving birth, your estrogen levels start to return to normal and so you start losing hair again. All that “extra” hair that was growing goes into the resting phase for a few months and then suddenly you are shedding all those hairs.

Ciaran is now five months old. I’m still losing my hair, but it’s lessening and I have hopes that soon enough things will go back to normal. In the end, it wasn’t the end of the world. It was just another thing on my postpartum-ness checklist. Ciaran is doing just fine and still has all of his extremities. And although I don’t have my full “thick, gorgeous mane”, I’m still looking pretty darned hot.

If you’re at this stage in your postpartumness, all I can say is hang in there. This too shall pass.

New body, new me

•March 15, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I’ve always liked my body. I didn’t mind rocking a size 10 and always felt pretty comfortable in my skin. With the exception of some serious ice cream parties during my pregnancy, I think I did a pretty good job of eating healthy. It didn’t really matter. I gained weight all the same.

I don’t know exactly what I thought would happen. I suppose I figured that magical weight loss fairies would blow their fairy dust over me and I’d become a size 10 again. When that didn’t happen instantly, I told myself that by 6 weeks postpartum, my uterus would be back to its normal size and so would I. My extra weight was clearly the fault of my fat uterus.

Of course the truth of the matter was that I had gained weight. Ciaran was here and he was healthy. My uterus was back to its normal size. But I was still heavier than I had been before. Also, I had stretch marks zig-zagging their way across my stomach and legs. And I had used the stupid cream that claimed it would prevent such atrocities, but they came anyhow.

I tried to fit myself into my pre-pregnancy jeans. I got them on, but they make me look slutty. I went out and bought size 12 pants, but I kept having to hike them up when I walked. I was a size 11 in a world without size 11 clothing. Life sucked.

Oddly enough, I think the worst thing about it was that everyone kept telling me how great I looked. I know they were being nice, but I didn’t FEEL great. I felt chunky and rammed into my clothing. I felt awkward in my own skin.

And then I got over it.

I’m a Mom. I have a beautiful baby boy who smiles every time he sees me. My body might not be the Hollywood version of perfect, but it’s mine.

Delivery and Birth Plans

•March 14, 2012 • 1 Comment

http://www.nbc.com/assets/video/widget/widget.html?vid=1363292

My husband and I started watching NBC’sUp All Night” around the same time my son was born. It has quickly become one of my all-time favorite shows. I think this is probably because I am exactly like Reagan (played by Christina Applegate). Also I adore Will Arnett (I mean, who doesn’t?)

The above link will lead you to a video of one of my favorite moments on this show. Reagan finally gives in and gets an epidural, although it goes completely against her 20-page birth plan. In fact, everything that happens during her labor and delivery goes against her detailed plan. She ends up with a hot doctor who makes her feel awkward, she gets an epidural she never wanted, and she even ends up having a C-section.

This leads me to one question. Why do they make us type up a birth plan anyhow?

I never really gave my birth plan much stock. I was of the “if I ask for it, give it to me” mentality. It actually seemed to work out pretty well for me. I was going to try to do the entire thing the natural way (since everyone makes you feel like a terrible woman/mother if you want pain relief.) I think I did pretty well, actually. As I mentioned in a previous post, I made it to the hospital with my contractions roughly 4 minutes apart. I figured (again, like I saw in TV and the movies) that a nurse would meet me at the door and they’d throw me into a wheelchair and wheel me into a room to get to baby-ing. Of course, this is not what happens.

I was asked for my name and my information. Through labored breathing and moments of silent screaming, I gave the information they asked for. Then they told us to take a seat in the waiting room. We sat there for about 15 minutes before we were asked to meet with a nurse in an office. Again, I was asked for my name, address, social security card, husband’s information, etc. I remember thinking to myself “can’t they get this later?! I’m having a baby here!”

Finally, I was ushered into a room and a nurse checked my vitals and called my doctor in. My doctor did the measurement and told me that I wasn’t far along enough to be admitted. He recommended that I walk the hallways for two hours and then he’d check me again.

I made it an hour and a half.

At the end of that time, I was screaming for an epidural and I hadn’t even been admitted yet. The hilarious part is that walking around the hallway was actually the worst pain of the entire ordeal. By the time I was admitted and put into a delivery room, I had managed to remember my breathing and the pain didn’t seem as bad. Of course by then I had already screamed for an epidural, so the anesthesiologist was on his way. Who was I to turn him away once he was standing there?

The rest of the process was pretty quick. Within an hour of getting the epidural, I started pushing. Ciaran’s heartbeat became erratic and I ended up having to try different positions (thank goodness for a walking epidural), but I didn’t end up needing a C-section and I was happy with my experience.

The hospital never once even asked for my birth plan. And to be honest, I doubt I even remembered to pack it. Know what you want and what you don’t, but be flexible in your plans because chances are, you’re not as in control as you think you are.

Labor Pains

•March 13, 2012 • 1 Comment

Television and movies lead me to believe that when I was in labor, I would know. My water would break and my friends would all get excited and we’d rush off to the hospital with some fabulous music playing in the background and the baby would arrive. It was all scripted and perfect and seemed fairly obvious to me.

Of course, it was wrong.

All of the books I read, people I spoke with, and experts said the same thing. You will know when you’re in labor. They were wrong too. I had no idea I was in labor.

I woke up at 3AM on October 18th. I wasn’t due until October 21st and everyone had said that your first baby comes late. I hadn’t had any of the symptoms they warn you about in class. No nesting, no loss of mucous plug, no water breaking… nothing out of the ordinary. I was having sharp pains in my stomach, but they didn’t feel like the tightening and loosening contractions that the nurse had described during our Planned Childbirth class a few weeks prior.

I’ll admit now that I’m the kind of person who worries about everything. I was concerned that I would wake up the on-call doctor with a false alarm and they would write down in their little book (I imagined they had a book) that I was a whack-job mom. So I waited until 7AM to call because I figured that was a reasonable time. My husband thought this plan was insane, but he played along.

By 7AM the pain was still there, but I couldn’t really “time it” the way you’re supposed to be able to with contractions. That and I’m terrible at explaining what’s happening to me, so the doctor told me that it was probably just “nothing” and to go back to bed.

At 7:30 I sent my husband to work and proceeded to log into my work computer and begin my day of working from home.

By about noon, I was in a lot of pain and kept having to stand up, walk around, hunch over, stare at my watch and then sit back down and keep working. I sent my co-worker an email saying: “I’m in a lot of pain, but the doctor said it was probably nothing. I’m going to log off for lunch. I’ll be back online soon.” He tells me now that he thought I was being ridiculous. He knew I was in labor. I did not.

I didn’t end up logging back in.

Again, like a fool, I was worried that if I called my doctor again she would see if as a direct challenge to the advice she gave me earlier. So I waited. I turned on the television and changed the channel to TLC. As predicted, A Baby Story was playing. I studied the women as they went into labor and tried to see if I was going through the same thing. I had to stand up and hunch over when the pain came back.

Eventually, Baby Story had me fairly convinced that I was in labor. I sucked it up and called back the medical group. I told the receptionist that I needed to speak to the nurse. I didn’t want to speak to the same doctor again for fear that she would think I was being ridiculous.

Thankfully the nurse told me that if I was in pain I should go into the hospital. I took her up on her advice.

By the time my husband got back from work and we were en route to the hospital, my contractions were four minutes apart. My son was born that night.

It’s amazing how there are no rules to life. You can plan and plan and plan, but in the end, it just happens the way it was always meant to and all you can do is come along for the ride.