Streaker, No. Racer, Yes.

Last time I checked in, I was determined to run “everyday in May” as some type of personal, self-induced torture. Well, I made it two weeks, but I didn’t quit because of laziness (stop rolling your eyes!).

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I stopped my streak to rest up for a race I ran on Sunday!

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The last time I ran a race was in 2013 at the Lilac Festival. Flash forward two years and another baby and there I was running the 10k again.

 

I foolishly decided to register on Friday, two days before the race. Some would say that it was a stupid choice to register for a 6.2-mile race when I hadn’t run more than 4 miles in about a month, but those people also probably want Sarah Palin to be president so NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR OPINION.

I got up on Sunday to eat a bagel, have some coffee and hydrate without over hydrating. Because I often guilt Ryan with “running is the only thing I like to do, support me!” he agreed to come be a spectator with Caroline and Oliver. God bless him because he didn’t even complain when I was done. He had to park two miles away, tow around a toddler and baby and then stand around in the sun for an hour until I finished. He’s a better person than I am because if he did that to me, I would have tripped him as he approached the finish line and then put a hex on his day for making my Sunday so damn stressful. But you know, “happy wife, happy life” and shit.

While walking around before the race, I ran into my speedy sister-in-law who runs races like I drink beers—often. I skipped over the cordial discussion and frantically asked where the porta-potties were. Now folks, I haven’t used a porta-potty since I was probably eight years old at the county fair. I’m here to break the news that they haven’t changed. How has technology advanced so much that we have drones that can deliver our Amazon packages, but the only option to relieve ourselves at an outdoor festival is to hover your lady bits over a four feet bucket? C’mon, guys. I probably caught a host of viruses just from touching the doorknob. Some days I think life can be pretty tough, but then I think about the individual responsible for handling those buckets and um, life doesn’t seem so bad.

After that humbling experience, I joined the crowd at the starting line and before I knew it, the race had started. Blues Travelers “Run Around” came on my Pandora station which was wonderful because they had played the festival a few days prior and the song title has the word “run” in it and I was running a race. (I’m glad I felt the need to explain that last part to you all.)

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Honestly, the first four miles were pretty effortless and I just tried to maintain a steady pace. There isn’t a ton of spectators on this course so I tried to distract myself by people watching. I observed one father pushing a double stroller with his toddler twin boys in it and he was barely sweating (WHAT A SHOWOFF ASSHOLE). There was an astonishingly cute pregnant woman who looked like she was shooting the cover of Fit Pregnancy magazine and not running a race (what a bitch). There were quite a few old people standing in their driveways looking wildly perplexed as to why their street was closed and their houses flooded with runners (someone should check on them and make sure they’re getting their meds).

Around mile 4, we were back in the hot sun and my legs were definitely catching up to the fact that I had tricked them into running a race. I walked through one of the water stations just to make sure I actually drank the water as opposed to spilling it all over my face like I’m in a face wash ad. At this point, I saw some of the faster runners that were already done with the race SPRINTING in the opposite direction. Like why do they need to showcase that they’re already finished and STILL have enough stamina to speed back to their cars? Like go take a breather or something like a real person. Go do a stretch, high-five a kid. Don’t run through the finish line and then complete a five-mile cool down run. I’d hate them all if I weren’t so jealous.

As much as I love the 10k distance, I can’t stand the .2 that comes after the sixth mile. Why do we have to pretend that’s something we need? The metric system is foolish and is designed to punish us slow runners that just want to finish and eat something high in calories and low in nutrition.

As I was approaching the finish line, I looked to my left where Ryan had texted and said he and the kids were going to be. I was so excited to see Caroline and apparently the feelings were mutual because she bolted into the streets, grabbed my hand and we ran the remaining distance together to cross the finish line. Caroline loves running with me and even has her own running attire that she wore to the race.

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I didn’t get my sub-60 (I finished in 1:01:08), but the extra time it took to make a memory with Caroline was well worth it. My first race in two years and I managed to not only survive, but hold my own. I’ll take it.

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The post race snacks were wonderful. My sister-in-law who is a much more talented and serious runner than I am snacked on orange slices and drank water.

Me? I grabbed a Rice Krispy Treat and bag of Cheez-Its and told Ryan to take me to Starbucks.

I know how to properly refuel like a professional.

Why do I do these things to myself?

Hi folks! I thought I’d take a moment to check-in since both kids are napping* at the same time.

(* “napping” is a term I use to describe the state in which Oliver sleeps and doesn’t breathe and the time period in which Caroline sneaks out of her bed to read books, hide in her teepee, take care of her dolls and do anything BUT take a mother-freaking nap.)

So I thought I had a great idea a few weeks back. What if I did something everyday for the month of May?! I mainly thought it was a great idea because it’s catchy and rhymes. Then I got to thinking of what I could do everyday for 30 days (or is it 31 this month? Who cares) that wouldn’t kill me. At first, I thought I’d pay it forward by complimenting a stranger once a day, but have you seen the rest of humanity out there in public? What’s there to commend? So, no. Then I thought I could try to cook everyday for the month, but then I realized that this isn’t the 1950s and I’d rather be face-to-face with a hungry shark than actually cook that many consecutive days.

I finally settled on running.

Everyday.

For an entire month.

It sounded like a cute little idea to clock at least one mile per day, but now that I’m 12 days in, I really think this was an awful idea. More awful than acid washed jeans or people having tigers as pets.

I mean, I’m a 30 year old stay at home mother of two. Some days just finding the appropriate socks to run in makes me tired. So far, I’ve completed this one-mile run as early as 7am and as late as 10pm when the mosquitos and kidnappers are out. Today is the only day so far that I’ve only run one mile because every other day I go “eh, just a little more. Keep going.” I figured this run streak would make me faster and healthier, but in fact all it’s doing is making me realize that fitting exercise is into an already chaotic day is a PAIN IN THE ASS. Kudos to all of you mothers that train for actual races and expect actual results. I’m just expecting to survive at this point, run a quick mile and get back to my pretzel m&m’s and “Dancing with the Stars.”

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This is a complete bullshit lie.

 

Naturally, I’ll keep you all updated on my progress (or my failures because seriously, IT’S ONLY DAY 12?!). Maybe by the end of the month, I’ll be able to run a 7 minute mile. Probably not, but at least when I’m sipping my Sam Adams every night, I can say “hey, I worked out today.”

Quantity over quality, people.

And So We Meet Again…

Well, I’m at my lowest point in life right now so I thought I’d reach out to my blog readers (ARE ANY OF YOU STILL OUT THERE?) for help. Something so dark has taken over my mind and I’m not sure whom else I can turn to.

I am watching “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” by choice.

Clearly I need some type of guidance or maybe just a distraction? Or maybe my TiVo shouldn’t have messed up my recording of “The Real Housewives of New York City” so I’d have something truly intellectual to watch right now.

But maybe I’m writing because it’s been approximately 85 months since I last posted and since Ryan is still paying for this domain name then I should honor my commitment as a world famous blogger and actually write a damn post.

Clearly I need to update you all on the happenings of my life since I’ve been absent because you’re all foaming at the mouth for details of a stay-at-home mom/amateur runner/baked good addict.

  • I haven’t gone back to work since I had Oliver.
  • I haven’t gone back to work since I had Oliver because around Thanksgiving he was hospitalized for a week due to him not breathing.
  • He was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea (he stops breathing like all the time when he sleeps) and hypoxia (he loses oxygen when asleep).
  • He was on a home oxygen monitor and had his own oxygen machine like a real heartthrob.
  • Ryan and I didn’t sleep for months.
  • Oliver had to get surgery right after Christmas to open up his airways.
  • I decided to not go back to work this year because who the hell wants to babysit a non-breathing baby?
  • He’s doing better and thankfully is the CUTEST baby otherwise I may have dropped him off at the nearest firehouse in a cardboard box.

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  • Caroline is sassy. Well, I guess that hasn’t changed, but she is about one tantrum away from giving me the middle finger and telling me to go to hell. But at the same time, she’s very loveable…when she’s not screaming in your face and plotting your demise because you casually mentioned that maybe she should do something other than watch “Curious George” (‘dem some fighting words, right there).

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  • Do they have mood stabilizers for toddlers?
  • I’ve been running, finally. Between Oliver getting sick and then sick and then sick again, finding my groove has been difficult. But I’m here to report that I can run for a prolonged period of time without dying and/or puking on a stranger’s lawn. Basically, I’m on my way to the Olympic trials.
  • I’ve been really into iced coffee. I don’t know how that qualifies to be on this list of important life updates, but you should know this in case you plan visiting me at some point.

So back to why I need guidance other than my questionable life decisions in watching the Kardashian “ladies” pick out leggings.

I am thinking about, pondering, wondering about, looking at, envisioning a possible MARATHON in the fall.

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Yes, this girl. The one who writes this blog. That one. The one that nearly died in a half marathon (miles through a hilly cemetery is not an accurate depiction of my talent, okay? How am I supposed to run fast through there? I had to pay my respects. Some of those people died in the 1600s—that shit is historical).

Anyway, I really want a marathon. Like even more than I want an Audi SUV and an in-ground pool.

Well, actually I want those things more…

There are a lot of reasons why I want to run a marathon, but the negative side of my head is telling me I shouldn’t/can’t. What if I legitimately die? Have you read those articles about people who have secret heart conditions and then BAM, die right on the finish line?! What if I lose a toe nail? Ryan would literally divorce me and take up a 20 year old secretary with all of her toe nails. What if I get injured and need to my one or both of my legs amputated? How would I be able to walk downstairs in the middle of the night to get ice cream without being detected?

THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS TO WORRY ABOUT!

But there are also so many things to be excited for. I don’t think I’ve ever looked at a challenge as big as a marathon with as many self-doubts as I have. How do you know you’re ready to run a marathon? What if I can’t even make it through the damn training?

You’re probably thinking “what does this have to do with me?” Well it has everything to do with you. If I sign up, I’ll be blogging on the regular because documenting this monstrous mess of training will be comical and something I’d want to surely remember forever and all the restraining orders I’ve filed against you all tell me that you love reading this blog.  

Decisions, decisions.

I HAVE decided that I WILL utilize a training program and local coach because I can’t be trusted to do this alone. I’d scratch my 20 mile run to drink a Corona and paint my nails so I need accountability and knowledge.

Alright, I have to go and pretend that I’m a plastic fork with Caroline.

I don’t know what the hell that means either.

I Have a Problem…More than One

It seems like whenever I post in here, I have to apologize for disappearing for days, weeks and months. This time, I have a legitimate excuse. No, I didn’t have another baby nor did I go back to work. This time, something has come into my life that I’m so passionately in love with that it makes doing anything else nearly impossible. With that being said, my newfound love has challenged and impacted my marriage. Ryan and I are barely holding on, but I imagine we will reconvene our romance once I’m all caught up with…

“SCANDAL”

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Snaps, bitches! This show is great. I’m completely hooked and I wish I could go into some type of underground bunker to watch episode after episode.

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So far, Ryan is enjoying this new addiction because he can play video games while I go upstairs and get my fix. However, this show’s also corrupting my mind to make me think that I actually like drunk, philandering, murderous presidents. I might have to get me an internship at the White House.

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Aside from wasting brain cells on fictional Washington DC drama, I’ve been “running.” Okay, that’s a lie. I’ve been walking briskly in Under Armor tights and calling it “running.” Folks, I am so out of shape. I think I was more prepared to run a 5k when I was sedated under anesthesia. I can run for maybe three minutes straight and then have to take a five minute sit-down break and eat a damn Oreo. Like, what gives? Sure, I spent the last year growing a human and neglected any type of physical activity other than checking the mail, but you think my body would work with me just a little. Furthermore, I’m stuck in the predicament of hating running because I’m so out of shape, but I can’t get in shape without running. See how that’s tricky? See how I’d rather eat my daughter’s Halloween candy than put on wind resistant hoodies to go out and run?

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I want to run a 10k race on Thanksgiving, but I might as well sign-up to go into space or to be George Clooney’s mistress because I have an equal shot at all three of those successfully happening. Unless they serve McDonald’s hash browns at the starting line and give me Bailey’s to hydrate myself with then maybe I should skip it. That’s another decision for another day, I suppose.

In the meantime, I need to go to bed. Well, actually I’m already in bed (watching “Scandal”—OMG A WOMAN HAS A BOMB STRAPPED TO HER CHEST IN THE CAPITOL BUILDING), but I’m also a little tipsy because sparkling wine is pretty and tasty and makes “baby talk” to an 8 week old all the more enjoyable.

Setting Fly Traps

I really wish the title of this post was some type of deep, meaningful metaphor that you all had to ponder and interpret for days. However, I’m not that profound. No folks. I am literally setting fly traps.

Our backyard backs up to the woods and river. As beautiful as a setting as it is, it also brings unwelcomed guests. So far, we’ve had an overabundance of lady bugs, ants, box elders, spiders and now…fruit flies. I’ve chalked it up to there being tradeoffs in life that you have to live with. For example, when I married Ryan I got a husband that takes care of me and makes me laugh, but in exchange for all of that I have to live with him farting in his sleep. Tradeoffs, people.

I generally handle bugs okay. I mean, I’m a girl so I’d much rather paint my nails and shoe shop than stare an insect in the eyes, but I can muster up enough courage to kill the occasional bug. However, when there’s more than one of them? That’s a problem.

One bug is okay.

Two is alarming.

Three is an infestation.

More than four? Set the damn house on fire.

Sadly, Ryan hides all flammable items from me so I had to resort to a less dramatic extermination process. The internet told me to set traps which sounded very appealing. These little assholes needed to learn a lesson and what’s more satisfying than watching a bug the size of a grain of rice and its whole family suffer? Ryan thinks I find an unnatural and disturbing happiness in the mass killing of bugs, but what am I supposed to do? Allow these obnoxious creatures to incubate in my house and live among me and my children? No. Furthermore, they’re probably working for the Russians and spying on me. I’m no fool! SO without being said, I set traps in various rooms with a combination of apple cider vinegar (to attract them) and dish soap (to KILL THEM!). So far I’ve killed approximately 39092 fruit flies and it’s very satisfying. Their lifespan is only like eight days so it’s not like I’m robbing them of bright futures. They basically are born to annoy the shit out of us and then die; I’m just expediting the process for all of mankind. You are all very welcome.

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Also, this is what my maternity leave is compromised of. I have a masters degree and I’m using it to construct fly traps. I also helped Caroline make a spider at the library yesterday. You might be thinking “what has your life come to?” But before you judge…notice how the spider has 3D eyes and legs. I don’t see any of you making a construction paper spider of this high caliber.

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I Had Good Intentions, Really

This is a rare moment for me. Both of my children are sleeping. That only happens about two hours a day and usually I’m sleeping along with them. The fact that they are both sleeping during the day allows me to pee uninterrupted and possibly post in my wildly neglected blog.

 

I’d like to jump right into this and announce that I started working out and running last week. I was on a roll! I ran twice and did embarrassing, yet effective, workout DVDs while Caroline napped and Oliver stared at me with a “are you serious with that three pound weight, Mom?” expression. I can also sadly report that I haven’t lost a single pound. Like, yes I know it takes nine months to put the weight on…blah, blah…so I need to have patience in losing it…blah, blah…but c’mon! I ran 2.5 miles and did a 30 second plank. Why the hell do I still have love handles? That shit isn’t right. Science, you suck.

 

Now naturally, just as I was starting to get into a groove/routine of incorporating exercise back into my life, what happens? I get sick AND break one of my toes. Yup, yup. My recent travels to Liberia seem to have caught up with me: I’ve come down with a low grade fever. It’s probably no big deal, but I don’t think exercise is part of my recovery.**

 

** is it too soon to make a joke about Ebola? I mean, we’re all going to catch it eventually, right? That’s what CNN tells me.

 

No, but seriously I have a damn cold and just when I thought my day couldn’t get worse yesterday, I literally walked into the bathroom door and broke my toe. That’s not even a story worth telling. I walked into a door like a blind drunk. How am I allowed to raise children when I can’t even walk around my own house without breaking body parts? How do I know I broke my toe? Because I’m a medical doctor, THAT’S why.

 

Now I have to wait until all of my body parts feel better to get back to working out. In the mean time, yoga pants are still my friend and if you see me complaining about the baby weight and eating a fun-size Snickers then remind yourself that there is no calories in Halloween candy so don’t be so quick to judge.

 

 

Oliver’s Birth Story: Part III

In an attempt to document the experience for myself, I’ve begun the process of writing my birth story for my second child, Oliver. I can’t promise it will be short, funny, enlightening or engaging, but it is something that I want to remember with as much detail as I possibly can.
Okay, here we go!
Check out Part I and Part II 
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Around 6:30 or so, I was still in full-blown hysterics. Like, imagine the worst temper tantrum you’ve ever seen by a toddler in the mall and then add in the most hormonal, estrogen-charged woman and then multiply it by someone with a mental illness that’s entirely unmedicated and then…you have my reaction to having to get a c-section.

Normal.

Everything was out of my control now. I just felt like my body had started and nearly completed this amazing process all by itself and now it would have to end with a major surgery that I could have elected to have a week before.

Surgery is always scary and c-sections, despite society’s immunity to them, is still a major surgery. Like, they take out all of your inner parts, put them on metal slab, take out your baby and throw that shit back in and stitch you up. I took high school biology so I’m 98% that’s how they teach c-sections in medical school. At any rate, they suck. They just do.

Because my body had stopped being my friend, I figured the last check by the doctor was going to be entirely fruitless. I was probably still stuck at 7.

The gruff doctor came back in to check me and gave me the news no one at that point expected.

I was 9.5 centimeters.

Michelle gave me a look like “we are doing this no matter what” and enthusiastically told the doctor that she was going to set up the baby’s delivery station. She didn’t wait for him to confirm that I was going to push or that we weren’t doing a c-section, she was getting the room ready for a VBAC!

Everything from there moved so quickly. One minute I was crying over having to get a c-section and the next minute, the doctors and nurses were explaining to me how to push.

A team of doctors came in and within minutes, I was at 10 centimeters and it was going to happen (hopefully!) the way I envisioned! They explained to Ryan how to hold my numb legs (thanks epidural! You were delicious) and it was then that I got pretty scared. All I wanted was a VBAC, but you know what I never read or asked about? Pushing.

They kept telling me to push like I was taking a bowel movement. That was all the advice they had, but like who has bowel movements the size of a small human? How is that comparable?

Anyway…

I didn’t have much time to properly freak out because before I knew it, I was getting a contraction and it was time to push. Pushing is surprisingly hard and intense. It’s nothing like pooping so those doctors need to go back to school.

I squeezed my eyes shut while pushing to try and focus on getting this done as fast possible. Furthermore, I didn’t want to see everything they were doing down there. Visions of my lady bits imploding wasn’t something I wanted to remember.

After about 12 or so minutes and 3 or so contractions, they enthusiastically told me that the head was out. Suddenly, with one more small push, he was out.

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They asked me if I wanted him on my chest and I wanted to smack them. That was all I wanted this entire time.

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They put him on chest and I immediately fell in love. He was seconds old and I was already holding him. I didn’t have to wait to be stitched up or put in the recovery room. We were already bonding and looking at one another and no time had gone by. I just kept looking at him wondering how he had literally just been in my stomach and here he was, out in the world. Childbirth is kind of amazing like that. It’s something that I’ll never forget.

The build-up to the actual delivery was intense, crazy, fast, but truly amazing at the same time. I know that sounds hokey and sentimental, but I still can’t believe that my body was able to do that. Like, I grew a human being and then pushed it into the world. That’s some shit right there.

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I still get asked by people why I’d choose a VBAC over the much more convenient, pre-planned c-section and the answer is for that moment when my little guy laid on my chest, new to the world and I was the first person he saw. That’s why.

So that’s how we became a family of four. A process, day and moment I’ll never forget.

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Now for some LOL’s…here is my “favorite” nurse of the experience. Well, technically she was a “student” nurse and no offense, but one of the flightiest people I’ve ever met. I’m happy that she was still learning and only allowed to take my blood pressure and rinse soap off of my baby and not responsible for actual medical decisions because do you know what the FIRST question she asked me was?

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Not how I’m feeling, what the baby’s name was, how the delivery went, not if I needed more medicine…

Nope, none of those questions…

Her first question to me was: “Soooo, do you live around here?”

I’m going to let you ponder that one for a second.

Nah girl, I was just touring the beautiful city of Rochester as every nine month pregnant woman does and was all like ‘I should check out their local hospital by delivering this baby!’ Who actually delivers their baby at a hospital in the town they live in?! No one. That’s why she asked, I assume.

Homegirl is headed for greatness, I think.

Oliver’s Birth Story: Part II

In an attempt to document the experience for myself, I’ve begun the process of writing my birth story for my second child, Oliver. I can’t promise it will be short, funny, enlightening or engaging, but it is something that I want to remember with as much detail as I possibly can.
Okay, here we go!
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(Check out Part I of Oliver’s Birth Story here )
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PART II

Ryan came to bed fairly early with the correct assumption that he would need rest. He asked if I thought tonight would be “the” night and for once in this whole process, I was pretty confident that we were close. I stayed up trying to distract myself with episodes of “House Hunters” and whatever other HGTV shows were on while tracking my contractions on my phone. They were getting to be pretty intense and there were several that took my breath away. Naturally, Ryan happily snoozed through most of them despite me tearing into his hand for support. By midnight, I knew that we had to take some type of action. I woke up Ryan and told him that I was going to take a shower because…well…I didn’t want to be all dirty and grimy in pictures if this was “the” time. Plus, I needed to shave my legs. Priorities.

The shower was incredibly soothing- I can see why people choose to have a water birth. By the time I got out of the shower, the contractions seemed a little more tolerable, but their closeness and length still told me a visit to the hospital was necessary. Ryan got up to get dressed while I called my mom and told her to get a ride over to watch Caroline.

Even though I knew these contractions were the real deal, something told me that the picky medical staff in triage was going to turn me away. By the time my mom arrived, the contractions had seemed to lessen in intensity, but I thought I should still go and get checked anyway.

We arrived at the hospital around 2am and checked into triage to be examined. They hooked me up to a monitor and checked whether my water had broken (it hadn’t). My contractions were far less intense and irregular in the hospital than they were at home so they advised me to walk around the hospital for a hour and they would recheck me.

Ryan and I walked the halls of the hospital and the activity definitely picked up the contractions again. However, when they rechecked me there hadn’t been any progress and I was asked if I wanted to stay there and wait or be sent home with a painkiller to labor at home. I figured that this was going to be a long process and I wasn’t certain that I’d progress as soon as I wanted so I decided to go home.

This was probably a big mistake.

The walk to the car was horrible. One contraction literally brought me to my knees in the hallway and I cried to Ryan that I didn’t think I could do this. I think it took us about 100 years to walk to the car because I kept stopping to contract. However, I figured this was my body just messing with me and I’d be fine once I got home.

Wrong. So wrong.

By the time we got home, the pain was bad. My mom was sleeping in our bed, unaware that we had been sent home so Ryan and I camped out in the living room. I don’t know how to describe the pain other than freaking mind-blowing bad. It felt like my entire body was going to explode or pop open. I had to remind myself to breath because they were making me lightheaded and nauseous. Around 5am, I went to the bathroom and had a nasty round of puke filled fun. Ryan came to the bathroom to find me cleaning the toilet in between contractions. I mean, I can’t vomit in filth so I figured I’d use the 3 minutes between the pain to clean. Don’t ever say that I can’t multitask.

Ryan and I cuddled together on the chair and I gripped his hand every few minutes. The problem with Ryan is that he can sleep through anything which apparently includes his laboring wife. I kept crying that he “needed to be present” which in retrospect makes me laugh because it’s such a weird thing to say in that moment. Ryan turned it up and comforted me through the pain.

I was counting down the hours until the pharmacy opened to get my prescription filled. They didn’t open until 8:30am which seemed forever away.

My mom came down around 8am, surprised to see that I was home. I was in full-blown crying hysteria at that time so I’m sure I wasn’t the ideal image you want to see first thing in the morning. Ryan snuck off to get my medicine and my mom sat with me. The pain was unbearable. Like, no words unbearable. I may have broken every bone in my mom’s hand when I squeezed it, but I was so happy she was there.

Caroline woke up just before 9am and came downstairs in her usual bubbly demeanor. Sadly, the minute she saw me on the chair, her attitude changed. She hopped down from my mom’s arms and came to sit by my side. She kept asking me in her soft, empathetic little voice, “why your body ache, mama?” In between contractions, it was exactly what I needed to hear. She was so sweet and so concerned that I felt bad that she had to witness me like that. She seemed scared, but she never left my side until Ryan got back with my medicine. She just kept patting and rubbing my arm and saying “it’s okay”…I will never forget how big and precious her heart was in that moment.

When Ryan got back, I immediately took one of the pills and started to wait for some type of euphoric relief. Sadly, the medicine didn’t remotely touch the pain. By now, the contractions were a steady six minutes apart and I didn’t know how much more I could realistically take at home. I didn’t want to head back to the hospital only for them to send me home again so I called my doctor’s office looking for some advice. They told me to come in to be checked and the thought of even driving there made me want to cry. I can see why people just pop out their babies at home, who wants to be in a bumpy, uncomfortable car seat when their lady parts are exploding? I mean, really.

I said goodbye to my mom and Caroline fairly confident that the next time I’d be home was with a baby. Saying goodbye to Liney was extremely hard, but she already seemed so thrown off and concerned about me being in pain that I didn’t want to further confuse/upset her so I just told her that mommy was going to the doctor’s.

Sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s was both painful and embarrassing. All around me were pregnant women with their cute little maternity outfits and bubbly personalities, all ready to have their check-up. And then there was me. In some mismatched sweat pants, literally crying through contractions and gripping my husband’s arm with one hand and the chair with another. I probably put fear into every woman in that waiting room. Sorry about that.

They called me back after a few minutes and my doctor popped in to check me. I remember crossing my fingers in hopes that she’d say something promising. Within ten seconds of the exam, she said what I never, ever thought I’d hear…

“Whoa. You’re 4.5 centimeters dilated, 90% effaced and the head is right there. Head on over to the hospital, I’ll meet you there!”

HIGH-freaking-FIVE. So these contractions weren’t all in my head and the pain was actually producing results. I was floored and a little scared. We headed on over to the hospital for the second time in just a few hours and this time we weren’t going home without a baby.

We bypassed triage this time and went straight into a delivery room. Right away, my nurse came in (her name was Michelle and I will love her forever) and hooked me up to the monitors, gave me the flattering gown to change into took down all of my information. I told her that I was hoping to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) and she was extremely supportive. I wouldn’t know how supportive until later that day, but Michelle became one of my biggest advocates to deliver the way I had hoped.

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About a half hour later, my doctor came in to approve my epidural and within ten minutes, the anesthesiologists came in to set me up for the magical spinal cocktail of contraction-reducing medicine. Unlike with Caroline, Ryan was able to sit through them putting in the epidural and it was one of the most seamless things ever. I joked with the doctors, we talked about me being a teacher and before I knew it, the epidural was in and the pain was subsiding. Now it was just a waiting game. A painless waiting game which is kind of the best kind…

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The next few hours were literally spent doing nothing. Ryan went and got some coffee and a stale ass scone, I surfed on my phone, we fielded texts/calls from friends and family and watched whatever was on TV. My doctor broke my water and shortly after, I was dilated to six centimeters. Things were progressing beautifully and I was on track to have the delivery I had planned for.

But then the baby had a different plan.

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You know it’s a bad sign when your team of doctors and nurses come in all at once. Around 2pm or so, they informed me that they were watching the baby’s heart rate and it was dipping dramatically whenever I had a contraction. The normal beats per minute is around 110-160 and during a contraction, the baby’s was falling to around 60 bpm. It would immediately recover when the contraction was over, but the doctor’s were obviously nervous about fetal distress nonetheless.

They came up with a few things to try and help out the baby: Michelle had me moving and changing positions every 15-30 minutes, they attached a monitor to the baby’s head for more accurate results (yes, the baby was that freaking close to coming out) and they actually started pumping water back in after breaking my water. Once again, it was a waiting game.

The doctors and nurses kept coming in and I knew it wasn’t good. Michelle (bless her) kept coming up with new positions for me to lay in with the hope that the baby would come down a bit. But every time, they flooded into my room I knew that my chances of having a c-section were increasing. My doctor wasn’t giving up hope, but she also told me to be realistic and that these dips were not great for the baby. Furthermore, I had stopped progressing. I was at seven centimeters for what felt like forever. They had wanted to start Pitocin that helps bring on stronger contractions in an effort to get me to 10 centimeters, but I couldn’t start that medicine until the baby’s heart rate was fixed. I was stuck.

I knew that I had to do what was best for the baby, but that didn’t mean I was ready to admit defeat and neither were my doctors. We all wanted a healthy baby and a c-section seemed like the only way to get him out safely.

Around 5pm, the teams of doctors that I had spent all day with were leaving and in came the night team of doctors. My doctor introduced me to the attending doctor who was an older man with a heavy accent and minimal bedside manner. Regardless of whether I had a VBAC or c-section, he was going to be delivering my baby. He hadn’t had the experience of being my doctor the past nine months so he didn’t know how important a VBAC was to me or how bad the day team was advocating for me. Thankfully, Michelle was still my nurse until 7pm.

Around 5:45, he checked me and I had barely budged from seven centimeters. He told me in no uncertain terms and with zero empathy that I would need a c-section. He said he’d check me again in a half hour or so and if I wasn’t fully dilated, it was “game over.”

I lost it. Not because I felt like I failed, but because I was going to again lose out on the moment of holding my baby right after. All I wanted was to hold him on my chest in the moments right after delivering, not have him whisked away while they sewed and stitched me up in the OR. Furthermore, I kept thinking of Caroline. How I wouldn’t be able to chase her or actively play with her for weeks because I’d be recovering from surgery. It was déjà vu from when I delivered Caroline. I was so upset that I had to wear an oxygen mask. I was doing so well, was so close and bam…it wasn’t going to happen. I kept thinking of having my baby in my arms, healthy and safe, no matter by what means…but I was too upset. Emotions just got the best of me.

The next check he did would determine whether or not my hopes for a VBAC were done and it was only a few minutes away…

Oliver’s Birth Story: Part I

 I should start this birth story with my goals. Well, my goal other than to get a baby at the end. With Caroline, I had a horrendous induction gone wrong that resulted in a healthy baby girl and a miserable c-section. I hated everything about the c-section: the recovery time, the inability to hold the baby right afterwards, the unnaturalness of it all and the pain (and consequent pain killers) for weeks. It all sucked. Since my induction was one fumbling mess after another, I felt confident that this time would be different. I changed doctors, made my desires for a vaginal delivery known and literally focused these past few weeks on patience and encouraging my body to do what it was supposed to do.

Now, it wouldn’t be much of a “story” if I gave up the ending right here, right now, but those were my goals: a healthy baby delivered the “old-fashioned” way (with the “new-fashion” way of epidurals—I’m not that freaking crazy).

So here goes my birth story of bringing little Oliver into this world…

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OB, the little man

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PART I

As I approached the finish line in my pregnancy with Caroline, every visit was met with the doctor uttering “no change” meaning that my body was giving the idea of labor the middle finger. As much as I wanted things to occur naturally this time, there was a big part of me that wondered if my body would ever get the “memo” to start the labor process. In the back of mind (as much as I didn’t want to believe it), I figured that I would have to be induced and it would go terribly wrong again and I’d end up in the OR. Always the optimist, I am.

However, once I made it to 37 weeks and started going to the doctor’s weekly, I was met with positive news! My body was slowly dilating by itself, the baby’s head was down and even if it was small progress…it was still progress.

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One of my last pregnancy selfies!

The last few weeks, I made a valiant attempt at preparing my body for childbirth. I took Evening Primrose Oil to do some type of magical trickery to my cervix, drank four cups of raspberry leaf tea that is supposed to make contractions more efficient and began taking our dog on lengthy walks after I put Caroline to bed. Even though none of these are proven methods of inducing or helping with labor, I wanted to know that I was doing everything I could to avoid being induced.

I was due on Monday, September 15th and had a check-up on the Friday before. My doctor decided to “sweep my membranes” (what that means, I really have no idea…it’s science though) which apparently does something to activate the party “in there.” Sometimes it works she said and sometimes it doesn’t, but I had the whole weekend to find out before coming in again on my due date to be re-checked. The exam was “intense” as she called it, but manageable. I went home and waited…and waited…

I had some cramping, but nothing that indicated that labor was on its way. I figured this was another noble effort, but an unsuccessful one. By Sunday night, I was pretty discouraged that I wasn’t in the hospital ready to have this baby. I’m one of those “instant gratification” people so if something doesn’t work immediately, it’s an automatic failure in my eyes.

After dinner on Sunday, I had some cramps, but nothing alarming. Ryan told me that I needed to start listening to my body because I have a very high tolerance to pain and I tend to “ignore” aches and pains that others take notice of. With that advice, I laid in bed and didn’t watch TV, look at my phone, text people…I just kind of tried to be in-tune with my body. After a few minutes, I realized that what I thought were meaningless cramps were actually contractions. Nothing painful, they weren’t regular, but they were contractions. I got three in a row before I allowed myself to be excited at the notion that labor was on the horizon. For the first time, I was excited to go to the doctor’s the next morning. Progress was fully anticipated!

My doctor set me up to have the “due date appointment cocktail” of an non-stress test, ultrasound and cervical exam on Monday. Once you hit 40 weeks, they want to check the baby’s position and behavior in there to ensure that everything is okay. The NST was flawless and the ultrasound showed that the baby was around seven pounds and it’s head was down and engaged. Check and check!

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Non-Stress Tests are entirely relaxing

I marched into the cervical exam expecting tons of positive news, but she did a quick check and said that my cervix was still far back and I was maybe, maybe a few centimeters dilated. Essentially, no true change since Friday. I was disappointed, but made an appointment for the end of the week and headed home.

On my way home, I got another wave of contractions. As I was pulling into our neighborhood, I had one that was so strong I had to grip my hands around the steering wheel and talk myself through it. Ryan was home with Caroline and I begrudgingly sent him off to work. The contractions were coming, but at an un-alarming rate and they were irregularly spaced out. My mom called to see how my appointment went and I just started balling on the phone with her. I looked at Caroline and just got overwhelmed. Things were happening and if this was “it”, there was no turning back. She was concerned that I couldn’t hang out with C if I was having contractions so she insisted that she and my aunt come over just to “hang out.” I insisted that I was fine, but in retrospect, their presence was needed more than I knew then.

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Liney, the goof ball

They came over and we had coffee, played with Caroline and chatted about God only knows what. The contractions were coming here and there, but they were manageable. They spent all day with me and by the time Ryan was headed home from work, the contractions were getting closer together and lasting longer. I walked around the house trying not to get myself too excited, but I knew this was the potential start to something. When Ryan got home, my mom and an aunt felt comfortable leaving me. Ryan and C snuck off to pick up a quick dinner and when they returned, I pushed for a family walk around the block. Even though it was sprinkling, I figured any extra “push” to make these contractions more formidable was necessary. We walked around the block holding umbrellas with Caroline in her wagon and on a few separate occasions, I had to stop and breathe through a contraction.

We did our nightly routine with Caroline and I came downstairs to monitor the contractions and distract myself. Around 9pm, things started to intensify significantly. They were about 12 minutes apart and it wasn’t a question of “ooh was that a contraction?” anymore, it was a question of how much longer I had before they were five minutes apart and I needed to head to the hospital.

The answer was: not long at all.

Minor Life Update

Well, it’s been an awkwardly long absence around here, hasn’t it? Ordinarily I’d say that I’ve just been too lazy or unmotivated to post BUT for once in my life, I have a formidable excuse!

Not only have I been insanely busy taking care of (er, more like “chasing”) a toddler, but I decided to add to the level of craziness in my house by having a new one of these:

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Yup, folks…Baby M. #2 is a dashing (do people still use that word?) little man with his dad’s blue eyes, dark hair and the most kissable newborn face I’ve ever encountered.

Oliver Benjamin was born on September 16th at 7:03pm weighing 6 lbs. 13 oz. and was 20 inches long. He’s freaking cute, that’s the most elegant way I can describe him so far.

Now, just like I did with Caroline , I plan to follow up this post with my birth story and just like hers, this one will be long, sappy and detailed. If you don’t want to read how your future president came into the world, that’s fine. Skip it! But I want to put it down on paper (or screen?) for myself and Oliver.

But don’t worry little readers, I am home for a while with Caroline and Oliver and in between toddler temper tantrums, newborn spit-up, playdates, sleepless nights and imaginary tea parties, I really want to return to blogging on some type of regular basis. I know I keep saying that, but for real! I do. I have so many things to complain about that I’d hate to neglect you all. Furthermore, I am anxiously counting down the days until I can run again (it’s been almost a year since I’ve laced up my sneakers…WHAT!) and I’d really like to record my journey to lose some of this baby weight (Oliver weighed 3 more ounces than Caroline did so in my head, that justifies the extra TWENTY or so pounds I put on with him…yikes…but more on that another day).

SO there ya go…I had a baby, he’s really cute, Liney is great, I still haven’t run and my fingers weren’t all amputated so there’s no excuse why I can’t blog.

I’ll be back shortly with Part I (yes, it comes in parts…giving birth is a long process) of my birth story. Peace out, homies!