Word Vomit

how I talked myself into doing whole30 (a.k.a. the day I may have gone crazy)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I thought I’d celebrate by talking about my heart.  Er….my health.  Whatever.  All I’m really trying to do is segue into this post and it’s not working….

So….

Remember the other day when I mentioned that scary, scary term:  elimination diet?   I want to talk about it.  So here’s the deal.

<<warning:  lots of words.  Probably too many words.>>

I haven’t been feeling like myself for awhile.   I’m not even sure when it happened….but it’s been quite some time.  I think normally people would describe me as a calm and patient person…but those aren’t words I’d use to describe myself as-of-late.  I am quick to get angry.  Quick to lose my temper.  I don’t have the patience I want to have with Abby (granted, I’m not sure any mother comes equipped with enough of that).  I’m snappy.

“And I packed your angry eyes…just in case!”  via 

And I’m T.I.R.E.D.    All.  The.  Time.  And even though I’m tired, I can’t sleep.  I toss and turn and toss and turn and sit there thinking about how tired I am.

As if that weren’t enough….the headaches I thought pregnancy had cured me of are back.  Ugh.

And often my stomach hurts after meals.

AND….no just kidding.  That’s it.  That’s enough isn’t it?

So really, I get the sense that things aren’t going very well for me health-wise.  Even though I DO exercise several times a week and weight-wise I am at one of my lowest points….these other issues seem to overshadow any progress I’m making there.  And I know that if I were to stop exercising things would get even worse so really I think exercising has been my saving grace these past few months.  I feel awesome after an Oula class.   The opposite of angry.

But I know I don’t have to live like this.   Angry and on-edge all the time.  Tired.  Grumpy.  Achy.    And the worst:  trying to hide it.

So I decided it was time to do something about it.  Time to OWN that anger and show it to the door.  Politely of course.

I’ve mentioned a few times that I struggled with depression prior to getting pregnant.  I finally got a prescription that seemed to help but I stopped taking it immediately when I got pregnant, not wanting to take anything questionable while growing my little critter (yes, that’s what we called her).    I contemplated going back to my Primary Care physician again this time but knew I would walk away with a new prescription that would essentially cover up the symptoms.   And I decided that I don’t want to cover them up.  I want them to go away.   I want someone to take the time to treat ME.  Personally.  Not just another “mom who needs Xanax and Ambien.”   (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!  I just personally wanted to try and treat this without medication first).

So that’s how I ended up nearly passed out in a Naturopath’s office.

True story.

Turns out finger pricking is worse than needles for me now.  Awesome.

Annnnyways.  That first embarrassing visit was nearly 2 hours.  Two hours!  Isn’t that amazing?  It felt like she was really listening to me, and asking lots of questions and actually wanting to hear my answers.  I had never really experienced anything like that in a medical setting.  It felt good.  She asked that I get some blood work done and we also decided to  do a food allergy test (hence the finger pricking….”ing” meaning plural.  I got pricked twice because one finger started drying up.  Ugh).   My friends….you know I’m serious about something if I’m willing to get pricked and poked, right?  I mean I may have given birth naturally but I’m still not a fan of needles of any sort.

Fast-forward two weeks.  Results are in.

My blood work looks good all around except for Vitamin D.  Which should really be NO surprise to anyone living in Missoula.  We have no sun this time of year.  In fact, she said my D levels were some of the lowest she’s seen.  So you can bet I left with a big ‘ol bottle of liquid sunshine (to be clear, I left with a bottle of Vitamin D drops…don’t want anyone getting any ideas).

My food allergy test was a different story.  An interesting story to say the least.   Possible sensitivity to:  eggs, almonds, dairy, barley, corn, gluten, rye, spelt, sunflower seeds and whole wheat.  Must I go on?  Because really….what’s left?

And that’s when she said it:  “I’d like you to try an elimination diet where you eliminate all of those foods for 30 days.”

At that moment I thought, “Yes, of course.  That is the most reasonable next step.  I’LL DO IT (aftermyvacationthankyou)”

Then I went home and I started googling.  Reading (articles, blogs, research).  Pinning recipes.  And I started to freak out a little bit.   Truth be told it was a little overwhelming.  I could try and eat Paleo…but paleo allows eggs and nuts.  I can’t have eggs and nuts.  I could go vegan….but I also need to eliminate gluten and wheat.   And if I don’t allow myself to eat meat then I really have no food choices.   I really will need to eat meat.

So I did what any other rational person would do and walked away from it all for a day or so.  I just needed to give myself some space and rethink the whole thing.

I think the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around was that this whole elimination thing was in my own hands.  There was no structure.  The freedom of “making this my own journey” was too overwhelming.  And that’s when I started seriously considering trying to do Whole30 – a program I had read about before that is even more restrictive than what my Doctor was asking me to do.  In addition to all of my “no’s” I would be saying “no” to alcohol (gasp).  Any type of sugar including honey and maple syrup (say what?).  Legumes & white potatoes (whatever).   But at least there was structure.  There was a clear PLAN for what you CAN eat and what you CAN’T eat.  And I don’t think anyone could argue that going without sugar or alcohol for a month is the worst idea ever.  I mean, no one WANTS to do that.  But is it possible?  Sure.

In some ways this extreme version of elimination is more comforting to me than trying to piece things together on my own.

I just imagined me staring at my pantry each morning thinking:  “my god I’m starving but I don’t know what to eat.”   That, to me, is just asking for failure.

So after thinking about this for several days, and reading a LOT about it….and being about 90% sure that this was the direction I wanted to go, I came back to my research with a different approach.  I contacted people I know who have done similar things (either an elimination diet, paleo, or dealt with food sensitivities).  I got their advice.  I asked for their favorite recipes and resources.   And you know what?  After hearing from them I felt much more confident in what I was doing and how I could make this work for 30 days (or more).

But I’m still scared shitless to be honest.  And most definitely over-thinking it.  Hey –it’s what I do best.

But it’s only 30 days.  I mean I can do anything for 30 days really.  After that I can start to reintroduce foods and see if they’re truly something I need to steer clear of, or if I can stuff my face with cheese all day again.   If I can be super strict about this for 30 days I may get some much-needed answers about stomach aches, headaches, tiredness and general irritability.  (Ok scratch that, I better damn well get some answers).

If after 30 days I can pack my angry eyes away for good….it will all be worth it.   Until they’re really  needed of course.

And since my Dr. has asked me to keep notes on how I’m doing…I plan to check in here on the blog once a week (now won’t that be a treat).  I’ll tell you what I ate that was good…how I’m feeling and if you really CAN survive without beer or wine.

Hate to leave you with a cliffhanger like that…but this is long enough.

And if you have any advice or words of encouragement for me….I’d love to hear it!   I’m seriously not starting until after my vacation (because my health can wait, right?)….so if you need me I’ll be taking a sugar bath.

abigail’s birth story

I can’t believe how long overdue this is. 

Funny, that’s pretty much exactly the same thing I was thinking at 41 weeks pregnant.  Ha!

I started writing this post in March.   Yeah, like 9 months ago.   I finally decided I needed to finish it because I really am forgetting the details (even though when I first wrote this I was begging someone to tell me WHEN I would forget the pains of labor!).

Brace yourself; it’s long.  (that’s what he said….booya!)

Like, really long.  But I figure it’s more for me than anyone so if you’re not into this sort of thing, come back in a few days (let’s be honest…weeks) and we’ll chat about something else! 

So here goes.  Here’s the story of my “easy birth” Erin Cherry!   (This is my girlfriend who just last week says to me, “well dude, you had an easy birth, right?”   I just looked at her and said:  “Erin.  Do not ever tell any woman that her labor was easy.”)  Sheesh.

Anyhoo…

My due date was Friday, January 27th.   A date that came and went without incident.  Not so much as a Braxton Hicks.  My OB was only comfortable with letting me go one week pas my due date, so at my last appointment she scheduled an induction for Monday, February 6.    This irritated me (like everything does when you’re 40 weeks pregnant).  Why you ask?  Because technically a week overdue would be Friday the 3rd.   And if my Dr. was soooooo worried about me going longer than 41 weeks, she should have scheduled my induction for Friday.   But my precious little OB “doesn’t work on Fridays and had a massage scheduled.” 

Priorities, right?

At least I know where she stands.   

So after I secretly rolled my eyes, I reminded myself that this was a good thing.     It gave me a few more days to let things happen on their own without having to be induced. 

Speaking of drugs…I didn’t really have a birth plan per se.   I didn’t feel strongly about how the birth should happen, mostly because I had no idea what to expect.  I just wanted a healthy mom and baby.  However, over the course of my pregnancy I did start to have some preferences.   These preferences were:

  • I’d prefer not to be induced.
  • I’d like to go without an IV.  I typically faint at the sight of needles.
  • I’d like to avoid an epidural.  This is a GIANT needle.
  • I’d like to not have a cesarean.  Knives are worse than needles.

I guess that means I was hoping for an a’la natural birth. 

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5 days past due.  Still rockin’ the heels!  My feet killed me that night. 

Ironically, exactly a week past my due date on Friday, February 3rd,  I woke up at 4 a.m. and said, “uh oh.”

I woke up with what felt like a combination of  menstrual cramps and Braxton Hicks (false labor contractions that I’d had since about week 26).   The Hubs was asleep, so I just figured I’d wait it out and see if this was the real deal.   As I sat in bed, I noticed the contractions were coming regularly and were increasingly more uncomfortable.

Over an hour later, I got out of bed to use the bathroom and nearly buckled over because of a contraction.  This time The Hubs woke up and said “what’s happening?!”  To which I replied…”um…I think I’m in labor!” 

Of course he was annoyed that I had sat there for over an hour and not woken him up.   Whoopsie.  

So immediately The Hubs grabs his phone and says “sweet!  I just downloaded an app yesterday to time your contractions.  Just tell me when one starts and one stops.”   Sounds great, right?  Except that the last (and I mean the last) thing a woman in labor wants to do is announce the coming and going of her contractions.  You’re just trying to make it through alive.  So I wasn’t really very helpful in that regard. 

He could usually tell when one was starting because I’d pause…..bend over…grab my knees and start breathing heavily.   But then dude….there was the Hubs, right beside me like a broken record:   “ok, is it over?   is it over?  are you done?” 

I was not enthused. 

At this point the contractions were uncomfortable, but bearable.  Kind of a “grit your teeth” sort of thing.   Oddly enough, the fancy little app he downloaded was saying my contractions were 3 minutes apart.   Which I thought HAD to be wrong because everything I read said “labor at home for as long as you can.  Put on a movie (really??) or do something to distract yourself.  Only go to the Hospital when your contractions are down to five minutes apart”  I’d only been laboring for an hour and a half at this point so I thought it was impossible that they were coming that fast.  Besides, according to the books I should be at the hospital by now.

So we got up and The Hubs gave me a glass of water and a granola bar and told me to walk up and down the stairs.  (what?)  But what do I know?  So I did it. 

Five minutes later I was in the bathroom puking, and the Hubs was grabbing my hospital bag.  Apparently vomiting was our cue to leave.

Side note:  something no one ever talks about is the ride to the Hospital and how absolutely awful it is!  There is NO comfortable position to sit and each and every bump makes you feel like your baby is about to come out.   This is not cool.  On top of it, February is not an ideal time to be speeding down the road….you know, snow and ice have a tendency to inhibit driving. 

We get to the Hospital and they confirm that I’m actually in labor (duh).   

I’m admitted at 6:00 a.m. 

Once admitted, they give you the standard-issue hospital gown to change into.  I wasn’t thrilled about this…but decided that I’d rather mess up their garments than mine.  

The next thing they do is start asking you a bunch of questions for their records.  Really important things like, “how old are you?” and  “Do you live in a house or an apartment?” 

Seriously. 

I kinda wanted to punch this nurse in the face.    I think the Hubs could sense this because he answered all of the questions while I continued to have contractions.    It’s nearly impossible to talk or think when you’re leading up to, experiencing, or recovering from a contraction.   I just had to “get in my zone” and stay there regardless of what was going on around me. 

It’s kind of weird to be in labor.  You always see TV shows and movies of people just laboring in bed. 

Let me tell you.  It is not like that.

You’re up, walking around.  Buckling over in pain.  Puking in the garbage can.  Running to the bathroom because sitting on the toilet seems like a good idea.   You’re groaning and moaning and making noises you think must be coming from someone else and when you realize they’re coming from you….you don’t give a sh*$.

At least that’s how it was for me. 

The nurse confirmed that my contractions were coming very quickly – now down to only 1 minute of rest in between.   And when she checked my progress I was dilated to 5 cm.   Wow – halfway there already and I had just gotten to the hospital!

I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that an IV wasn’t standard procedure either.  So long as I didn’t request drugs I could remain needle-free. 

Now, speaking of drugs – it got to a point about five hours into it that I wasn’t sure I could do it anymore.  I started to doubt myself, because each contraction seemed worse than the one before.  And they hurt.    I don’t even know how to explain the pain, except that it’s unlike anything else I’ve experienced.     The worst part is that you don’t know how long you’ll have to endure it…it could be 2 more hours or 10.    So at one point I looked at the Hubs and said “I don’t know if I can do this.  I think I want an epidural.” 

And do you know what my kind, loving, supportive Husband said? 

“No.”

No.  As if he’s the one going through this or has any inkling of the intensity of the pain. 

I was quite surprised by this reaction, and if another contraction wasn’t coming I probably would have given him a piece of my mind.   Just cuz that’s how pregnant Janna rolls.

So I labored for another 30 minutes or so, and brought it up again….thisreallyreallyhurtsandithinkineedanepidural!     This time he says,  “No, no.  You aren’t going to do that.  You didn’t want one and you’ll be so much happier afterwards if you don’t do it.   It’s just going to be a motherf#%&@er of a day.” 

Yep. 

He just said that.

To the woman buckled over in pain, delivering his child. 

I was completely speechless.  And if looks could kill I may have just done so that day.

I think I was dilated to 7 cm at this point, and asked to sit in the birthing tub but just my luck, it’s out of order.    So I opted for a shower instead, which felt good on my back for awhile (I was having a lot of back pain).  But really I was probably only in there for 5 minutes when I decided that “nope, this isn’t working.  I need out.  NOW.”  

Once I got back to my room (now soaking wet), the nurse started encouraging me to “push a little bit” to try and get my water to break.  

I was skeeeeered. 

I remembered hearing that contractions are like 10 times worse once your water breaks.     But I wanted to move things along, so I did what she said.   And holy shit.  My water broke in the middle of a contraction as I was standing and leaning on the bed.   I’m pretty sure I was screaming blood murder.  I’m not sure why….it just seemed like a lot of water!

The nurse said my water was slightly green, which means that the baby had pooped into the amniotic fluid.  It’s pretty common among overdue babies, but it can be dangerous if they’ve swallowed any of the water.   So all of a sudden there’s a bunch of commotion in the room as other nurses prepare for that scenario.   I tried not to think about that or any bad outcomes.  I just tried to focus on what I could do – and that was getting this baby out. 

Luckily, by the time my water broke, I was dilated far enough to start pushing.  (And thank you baby Jesus because it’s true.  Contractions are quite different after that soft cushion is gone). 

Pushing is also weird. 

It’s like everyone thinks you should know how to do it.   When really you have no clue what you’re doing.  You just follow your natural instincts I guess, and the nurses are usually pretty good and guiding you along. 

So I’m on the bed.   I’m pushing with each contraction and it dawns on me that the Dr. has yet to show up.  Eric must be thinking the same thing because he says “Will the Dr. be joining us anytime soon??”

Apparently they show up just in time to catch your baby as it comes flying out, which I thought a bit strange.  I assumed she’d be there for more of it. 

(Oh wait, that’s right.  She doesn’t work on Friday’s and had a massage scheduled). 

Anyways….so back to pushing.  Again, weird.  It just feels like you’re taking a giant poo.  Sorry.  But it does.   And it’s exhausting.  And HURTS. 

I remember feeling sorry for any other pregnant women getting admitted to the Labor Wing while I was pushing.  Because I.  was.  screaming.  Like big time.  And I could’ve cared less who heard.   All I wanted was to get the baby out. 

I pushed for about 40 minutes, and at the end I distinctly remember the feeling of her coming down the birth canal, pausing there for a few pushes, and then crazy burning sensation of a head and shoulders coming out followed by the slippery torso and legs.  I tell you, it was amazing. 

And immediately afterwards? 

Peace.

The pain completely gone. 

Just pure joy and excitement to finally see this little one.  And at 10:30 a.m., exactly one week past my due date and 6.5 hours after my first contraction….we got to meet her. 

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I hope you have “one motherf%#)er of a day too someday sweetie! 

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Oh man.  Those cheeks.  I could kiss them all day.

Our hospital is really into coupling practices….so they basically plop your baby on your tummy right after she is born.  They don’t clean them or anything…just let you do skin-to-skin contact for as long as you like.   It really was amazing to hold her like that so soon.  I was very thankful!

I was also thankful for the nurse who was “cleaning me up” and said ….”oh, let me just get this poo off your leg.  I think the baby pooped on you.”  I’m no idiot, nurse.  But thank you for letting me think that it was the baby for .5 seconds. 

And that my friends is the reality of childbirth.  Glorious childbirth.

Anyhoo, we spent a couple of hours in the laboring room just enjoying Abby and spending some snuggle time together.  Around 1:00 we were moved to the post-partum wing (which was brand new and super nice!) where each of our parents were waiting for us.  My sisters were there with their families and several of our friends as well.  It was so nice to introduce little Abby to everyone!  

In the end….yes I am glad that I was able to make it through without drugs.  I give the Hubs a hard time for saying no (I HAVE to after what he said), but  I know he was just doing what he thought was best and what he thought I would want.  He really was very helpful during the labor….rubbing my back….reminding me to stay low and connected to the earth (that’s my interpretation, not what he was saying!  haha). 

Every birth is different.  Every story is different.  There are no easy labors (Erin Cherry).  They are all special and unique in their own way.  And amazingly enough you do start to forget and think hmmm.  Maybe someday I can do that again.

Maybe. 

Maybe someday I’ll be up for another motherf(*#%er of a day again. 

Until then, I’m going to kiss these awesome cheeks some more.

Can you believe she is getting so big?  At 42 weeks, she is officially outside of me longer than she was inside of me.  Kind of crazy. 

42weeks_final

And for those of you wondering….yes.  My Dr. made it to her massage that day.

february it is…

I know I’ve been MIA lately.    And I’ve probably fooled several of you into thinking I’ve gone and had that baby already. 

Because I’m supposed to be done by now. 

But here I sit. 

Still.

If you’re wondering what I’m up to, all you need to do is re-read my last post from seven days ago.   It’s all still true. 

Funny how that title just keeps haunting me, isn’t it?!

It’s also funny how you always think of pregnancy as being such a physical thing:  giant boobs, a giant belly, incessant itching, excess hair, awesome bloating, multiple chins…you know, all that glamorous stuff.  But in reality, the real challenge (at least for me) has been the mental side of things.   The hormones that make me feel like a crazy person; never knowing what feelings are “real” and what have been influenced by estrogen.   Making decisions (about cribs, monitors, car seats, diapers, nursing, pumping, working, daycares) without really knowing what our baby will like (and not like), or how I’m going to feel “afterwards.”  Trying to imagine all of the ways our lives are going to change and how to deal with it.  Wondering and worrying that everything is ok with the baby I’m growing inside of me.  Wondering how this baby will change our marriage and how to work through it.   

And now, this last mental hurdle:  the waiting. 

Honestly, this wasn’t even something on my radar.  I have been completely blindsided by how freaking hard the waiting and anticipation would be at the end.   I’m kind of a rollercoaster of emotions these days:  strong and confident one minute, knowing I can handle whatever comes….then like a scared little puppy the next wondering if everything is ok in there and just praying that she comes soon.   And dude, how much is this going to hurt?  haha.   I mean, I know I’m ready…but it’s still “the unknown” and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t worry about the whole process from time-to-time.   

And yes, I know there is an end in sight.    I know I will meet this little one within the next few days.  But for some reason that doesn’t make it any easier. 

I can handle the uncomfortableness.  I can handle the chins.  I can handle all of the physical aspects of pregnancy that have been thrown my way.   I just can’t handle the wondering and the worrying.  

And I really can’t handle my water breaking at work…so if you could help your momma out and do that at home, that’d be great Baby T.

So yeah.   I guess since I don’t know much of anything at this point (turns out having babies is not condusive to being a planner), all I can do is focus on what I do know. 

This is what I know:

– January 13 (the O’Connell sister curse date of having your first baby two weeks early, at 4 a.m. via cessarean) has come and gone.

– January 22 (my due date based on my menstrual cycle) has come and gone.

– January 27 (my “official” due date based on Baby T’s measurements) has come and gone.

– Sayonara January.  You are no longer Baby T’s birth month.   We’re into February.  So without a doubt, Baby T will an Aquarius.  Which kind of makes me laugh because I always burst into song when I hear that word.  Don’t even pretend, you know what I’m talking about:  “this is the dawning of the age of Aquarious….age of Aquariouuuuuuuss…..Aquar…i….ous…..”    You know this to be true, sisters.

– I had my last Dr.’s appointment this week.   She scheduled an induction for Monday, February 6th. 

– I am expecting all of you to pray to the baby Gods that Baby T decides to come on her own before then.   Not that there’s anything terribly wrong with induction, but it was one of the things I had hoped to avoid.   However, after conversations with my Dr. and the Hubs, we have all agreed that at 41 weeks, 3 days (on Monday), a little help might be in order. 

– None of the theories for naturally inducing labor have worked for me yet (although I refuse to drink castor oil!).  I ate food so spicy last night that I was sweating.   Obviously it didn’t work, but perhaps the leftovers I brought for lunch will.   Cross your fingers!

So there you have it. 

That’s all I know. 

January has come and gone, and we are looking forward to meeting our little Aquarius.  

February it is, folks.  Who woulda thunk it?

And I’ll leave you with this:  a picture at 40 weeks, 4 days (taken yesterday).   I was pretty proud of myself for wearing heels.   Those of you who are my friend on face.book have already had the pleasure of viewing it….but I see no reason to deprive my blogging friends of it as well.   

Sorry about the grainy photo…it was taken with my phone obviously. 

Notice the strategically-placed phone so my chins can’t be counted. 

And yes, my feet hurt at the end of the day.  But it was worth it.

wait a minute..you want me to do what?

To be honest, I haven’t given the whole “laboring” part of pregnancy much thought.   You know.  The part where I actually get this baby out of me??

In the beginning it was easy to push (har har) the thought aside.  I mean, it felt so far away.  NINE whole months away.   Besides, I was worrying about plenty of other things like buying bigger bras, planning a nursery and cursing my ever-tightening pants. 

Perhaps I thought that ignoring it would delay the inevitable.   Or that maybe I’d be lucky and just wake up one day to a beautiful baby girl in my arms and get to skip that part of pregnancy all together.

It could happen, right?

But now?

Now the end is in sight.  I can’t help but focus on what’s about to happen.  

And to be honest I’m feeling quite ill-prepared for it all.   Like somehow I have no tools in my toolbox for this particular job.  

I didn’t research any birthing techniques like the Bradley method, hypno birthing or hypno babies.  I didn’t read any books.   I didn’t have strong feelings one way or the other about drugs during labor.  I didn’t develop a birthing plan.   I guess I just figured that giving birth is a natural thing and my body would know what to do when the time came.  

But now I’m starting to feel the need to be a bit more informed.  I mean, what are my options?  How will I really feel if I need to have a cesarean?   What if I don’t want an IV?   What are the risks of medical interventions for me and the baby?  And dear lord, do I really have to wear a hospital gown?

And why, praytell, does every person feel the need to tell me their birthing horror story?    Do you realize that I’m pregnant and this is inevitable for me?  Why would you put these thoughts into my head when I’m 7 weeks away from my own birth experience??!   Please, please, please Janna:  remember to NOT to this to other people!  It is not nice and certainly not productive.   I’m currently accepting positive stories only.

Because you know what?  The reality of it is that yes, there is going to be some pain involved.   You can’t squeeze a watermelon out of a lemon without some of that (I would imagine). 

Gah!  The pain!   I don’t want to be scared of it and I don’t think we should be.   (I know!  This thought process coming ME.  The person who is faints at the sight of blood and is terrified of weird things happening to my body.)

BUT…we must also remember that women have been doing this for thousands of years.  Our bodies were meant to give birth for pete’s sake!  Hell yes it’s going to hurt, but why not try to embrace the process?  It really is a beautiful thing.   And no amount of reading, planning or hypothesizing about it will change what actually happens when the time comes.   I have no idea what my birth story will be, so I’m certainly not going to make a bunch of plans around it.  In fact, I feel pretty strongly that I don’t want a birth plan because any deviation from it could feel like a failure.  

The reality is that you aren’t in control of this whole process.   You may be adamantly against medical intervention and need to have a cesarean.   Or you could be committed to a natural birth and for whatever reason choose to have an epidural. 

You just never know what’s going to happen, and you can’t plan for it. 

However.

That being said, I’m starting to feel pretty strongly about some preferences I might have during this whole process.   Which is kind of weird because I am usually not a person that has strong opinions about things.   But the more I learn about labor and birth, the more I would love for it to just happen naturally.  On its own.  Without induction or  “speeding things up”, without medicine, without tubes connected to my arms. 

Which is weird because before I thought:  “Well, I’ll do what I can.  I mean, I’ll try doing things naturally but if I need an epidural, I need an epidural.”

Now I’m not so sure. 

I know that I don’t want to be induced.  I want the baby to come when she is good and ready.   Who am I to pick her birthday anyways?

I’d like to go without an IV.  Unless of course there are other medical interventions required.

I’d like to avoid an epidural.  I’d like to learn more about some of the “tools” that I can use to get me through contractions.   Plus, I’m not sure how I feel about being numb below the waist.  I mean, talk about “weird things happening to my body.”  I just like to be in control of it.   And have you SEEN the size of that needle?  Oy vey.  For a person that nearly passed out during my blood draw a few weeks ago, I have even more reason to try to avoid this one.

I’d like to not have a cesarean.  Mostly because that scares the hell out of me.

But mostly, I guess I just want things to happen naturally…the way nature intended.

If they can.

I realize that I may need to be induced.  I may need an IV.  I may need to have a c-section.   And I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for those scenarios.  Afterall, isn’t the ultimate goal to do what’s best for me and my baby?  I would never decline medical treatment if that’s what we all determine is best.

Or I might just get into it and realize there ain’t no way in hell I’m doing it au la naturale.   

BUT.

It was ignorant of me to ignore it for so long.  Because like it or not, in a few weeks I’ll be going down that road.  And wouldn’t you rather be informed about what the possibilities are and have a general preference going into it?  To prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for each of the options?  Because sometimes I think people do get pushed a certain way (induction,etc.) for the wrong reasons.    As long as I understand what the benefits and risks of each option are, I can make better decisions.  

Am I still scared? 

Hell.  Yes.   You tell me who wouldn’t be a bit scared of this?   Remember….watermelon?  LEM…..ON?!?

At the same time though I’m just trying to remind myself that it’s just a means to an end.  I’m not the first woman to do this and I certainly won’t be the last.  My body was made for this.  And by teaching myself about the process and learning some techniques to cope…I can be an informed patient.  

And maybe with a little bit of luck, I just might have the type of birth experience that I’m envisioning.

Oh!  And no, I do NOT have to wear a hospital gown thankyouverymuch.   (unless there are epidurals or c-sections involved obvi).   So good news:  my bum exposure may be kept to a minimum, which I like to think is a good thing.  

Waaaaaaaait a minute.  On second thought, no…no it will definitely not be kept to a minimum.   No matter what I’m wearing.  Ha ha!   

Aye carumba.

Toying with emotions is so not cool.

I almost published a post yesterday about the results of my PiMPing exam.   

Almost.

I got an email from PMI on Friday saying something to the effect of , “Thanks for your interest in the oh-so-prestigious PMP exam, but you suck failed.” 

By the way, who sends out emails like that on a Friday?  Thanks for ruining my TGIF, PMI.  Note to self: send bad news out on Monday.  Everyone’s already in a bad mood.

Anyways, it was a post where I ranted (as only a pregnant-Janna can) about how bad it sucks to fail at things.  How I felt like I was probably in the wrong profession if I can’t pass a stupid test.  How scoring “below proficient” in planning was like getting a slap across the face with the PMBOK itself.   I was also coming to terms with the idea of putting all-things-nursery on hold while I  buckled down for the next two weeks to study; something I was not very excited about.  I was going to give myself my upcoming weekend in Glacier off from studying, but come Monday morning I was hitting the books.  I warned you that I probably wouldn’t be blogging for the rest of the month so I could focus on the second round of testing that had to be completed within two weeks. 

And then this morning, mere minutes before my post was scheduled to publish, I spotted a beacon of hope in my Inbox.  An email from PMI themselves, with the subject “Important Update about PMP exam reports.”

Intrigued, I read on…

“As you may have heard, PMI recently identified errors in the scoring and reporting of the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential examinations given between 31 August and 3 October 2011. An error in exam processing occurred because exams were originally scored by an erroneous scoring process so that some candidates’ pass/fail results were calculated incorrectly.” 

My first reaction was something along the lines of…”you’ve got to be frigging kidding me.”

My second reaction was, “dear God please let me have passed!”

Of course that particular email didn’t tell me squat about my actual results…just that they may have been wrong.  And just to turn that knife a little bit further into my gut, they wrote:

“We apologize for any inconvenience or anxiety this error has caused any of our PMP candidates. PMI is committed to operational excellence and as such, we are working to improve our processes to prevent this type of situation from occurring again.”

Inconvenience?  Only if you consider the fact that I had already started completely re-arranging my schedule to pay for, study and re-take the exam within the next two weeks.  An effort that requires driving 2 hours from Missoula to the nearest testing center in Helena.  I had also started the process of “challenging” my results with PMI to try to get my test re-scored.  So was I inconvenienced?  Perhaps.

And ANXIETY?  You’re lucky I didn’t go into some psycho hormone-induced rage.  Sure, to everyone else I probably looked like I was taking it all in stride.  “Oh well, it was a hard test” is what I’d say when people asked.  But inside I. was. freaking. out.  “What if I never pass this thing?  What will my employer think?  What if I have to payback the thousands of dollars it cost to send me to the boot camp and take this test?  Will I lose my job because I’m not qualified anymore?  Will I have to start selling chocolate chip cookies and homemade flower boxes on the side of the road so I can afford to buy my baby onesies?   Thank goodness I want to cloth diaper because I won’t be able to afford disposables…”  

So you might say I had a little anxiety about your erroneous results.  Maybe just a little.   Welcome to the brain of a pregnant woman.

Then a second email arrived,  “Important update on your PMP exam report.” 

This was it.  Whatever lie inside of that email would determine my fate for the next few weeks and whether or not I needed to start stocking up on flour and sugar. 

Cautiously I opened the email and scanned it for the what would be the most important words I’d read all day: 

Recently, you took your Project Management Professional (PMP) exam and received an exam report that indicated that you failed the exam.  We have good news!  We can now confirm that you passed the PMP exam.  

I don’t think words can express how relieved I felt at this exact moment in time.  I read that sentence over and over until it sunk in that I DID pass the exam, and that I’m not a failure and my baby will have onesies and diapers!

I exaggerate of course. 

But this was big news.   Huge. 

And you know what bothers me the most about this little mix-up?  The fact that in a normal testing situation I would have known immediately what my score was upon clicking “complete.”  Typically they score your test immediately after submitting it.  But no.  Because I took a brand new version of the test, PMI chose to “hold all results to ensure proper analysis of the new test responses.” 

It seems to me that if you hold the results to ensure they’re right….you damn well better ensure they are right before broadcasting erroneous emails out. 

Do they realize they are toying with people’s emotions?  Careers?  Lives!? 

Perhaps I’m exaggerating again because I’m sure no one died due to this mistake. 

But I’m still mad.    And completely frustrated with the whole process.   The funny thing is, the last time PMI released a new version of the test the exact same thing happened.  Thousands of potential PMP-ers swarmed the streets crying “off with their heads!”  Or something like that I’m sure. 

You’d think they would have learned from past mistakes.  

Who is below proficient in planning now, right?? 

Boo-ya.

Have I gone too far?  I should probably wrap this up.  If you’ve hung in there with me this long, I suppose I should end on a positive note or two.  So 1:  in all fairness to PMI they addressed the problem quickly; within 4 days after the erroneous test results were published they had identified the problem, re-scored the test, and sent out updates to those affected.  I can appreciate that. 

And number 2:  I passed!  I can now tell people I have my PiMP certification. 

Just sayin’.

What I probably shouldn’t say

Scratch that.  This should be titled “What I most definitely should not say. 

To anyone. 

Ever.”

I feel wrong even writing this.  As if transferring my thoughts into words make it somehow more real or more wrong.   But everything I’ve been reading about the feelings I’ve been experiencing  says that I need to deal with it.  I need to talk to people and reassure myself that it’s normal (please someone tell me it’s normal).  That every mom-to-be goes through some sort of anxiety.  And since talking things through isn’t necessarily my strong suit, I’ve turned to writing.  Somehow the words flow from my brain to my fingers easier than they flow from my brain to my mouth.   They always have.   I can sit down and write a 4 page email to someone detailing every thought and feeling I’m having, but when faced with a one-on-one conversation I clam up.  I can’t think of the right way to express my thoughts or even organize them in any sort of logical way.   So writing has always been cathartic for me.  And while not everyone may think a public forum is the correct way to deal with this, I’m putting myself out there.  Not to upset anyone or let anyone down (although I do fear that this admission will change the way people think of me); but because I’m hoping that I can get some reassurance that I’m not the monster I feel like.  That someone out there can connect and relate and say “hey, I recognize that.  And it’s ok.”  So I’m going out on a limb here.  And to all of you who are going to judge me….please spare yourself the time.  I’m already judging myself enough for the both of us.  

But I digress.  Like I said writing is a way for me to deal with issues or disappointments or feelings that I just don’t know how to handle.   This is one of those times.   So here goes. 

I cried.

I cried after our 20 week ultrasound.  Yes, the ultrasound where you can find out the sex of your baby. 

Which we did. 

And I wish with all of my heart that they were tears of joy like “oh I’m so excited we’re having a girl, it’s what I’ve always wanted!”  

It is what I’ve always wanted.  But they were not tears of joy. 

I don’t know what they were tears of.   Tears of fear?  Tears of holy-shit-I-thought-for-sure-it-was-a-boy?   Tears of dread that my hunting/fishing/outdoorsy Husband will not be excited anymore?

Can I stop right there for just a minute?  And just let you know how hard it is to write that.  How hard it is to confess that my first reaction was anything but ecstatic?  I don’t know if anyone can even imagine the guilt that I’ve gone through about having this reaction.  How selfish I’ve felt.  

And I know how awful it sounds to be disappointed for even one second.  That there are people out there who would give everything short of their lives just to have a baby growing inside of them.   That not everyone has an easy pregnancy.  Not everyone is able to carry a baby longer than a few weeks before their bodies reject them.  I know people who have lost babies.  I read several blogs written by women who are infertile or who have struggled with infertility and have cried through more posts than I care to admit.  The pain and struggles that these women go through is unimaginable.  

I wonder what those women would think of me if they read this.  How cruel I must seem.  How heartless I must be.   To be honest, I’m having a hard time getting past those thoughts too.

Because I didn’t just cry one little tear and get over it.  It started as we were walking away from the Dr.’s office.  In complete silence.  The Hubs and I weren’t saying anything.  Just walking down the hall in silence.  And I think it was at that point that I was hoping for a bigger reaction from him.  And from myself to be honest.  I wanted us so badly to be laughing and giddy with excitement and talking about names and everything.  But we weren’t.  We weren’t saying anything. 

I couldn’t stop the tears from coming.  We got outside and The Hubs noticed something wasn’t right, and I couldn’t really explain at that point because I didn’t understand it myself.  So we talked for a few minutes…I promised him I was ok…and I walked to my car to return to work.  Although I didn’t go to work.  I sat in my car for a good ten minutes not knowing what to do.  Just crying.  Trying to make sense of what I was feeling and why I was crying.  I couldn’t go back to work this way.  Everyone was awaiting my return and the joyous exclamation of …”IT’S A……”    They certainly weren’t expecting this reaction from me.  Neither was I. 

So I went home.  I went home and sat with my dog for a while.  She always relaxes me; I can’t explain it.   Awhile later I cleaned myself up and headed into work only to face more tears as I tried my best to proclaim “it’s a girl!”

Great.  Now I’m publicly outed as being the worst mom in the world. 

And while the best co-workers a girl could ask for comforted me during all of this and said all of the right things…I can’t help but think they went back to their desks and thought “Wow.  That was weird.  What a horrible person she is for being upset about the sex of her baby!”   Forever tarnishing their image of me while at the same time securing me a place in their mind as “Janna, that ‘ol heartless chick.”  Probably the same thing some of you are thinking about me right now. 

So I’ve been thinking about this a lot.  And by a lot, I mean A LOT.  It’s pretty much consuming me these days.  I’m trying to make sense of why I had that reaction…because with each passing day the reality is starting to sink in more-and-more (it’s been a week now) and I’m starting to get downright giddy about a future with barbies and ponies and pink everything.  But as hard as I try, I can’t escape the “why?”  Why was my first reaction so negative?  Because it’s really causing me an enormous amount of guilt.  As if somehow that precious little baby knows.  

How do I forgive myself for reacting that way?

But getting back to the “why.”  When I try to analyze it, all I can come up are two possible reasons.  #1, I had myself convinced I was having a boy.   It just had to be a boy.  Everyone around me has boys, so naturally that’s what my fate was.   I chalked it up to a “mother’s intuition.”   And ya’ll know what they say about that. 

Well in this case, it was wrong. 

The second reason, is that I thought it The Hubs needed a boy.  I mean, look at this guy I’m married to.  He’s a man’s man.  He fixes things.  He kills things with guns or bows and arrows (legally).  He is outdoorsy.  I mean, he skis (and when I say ski, I mean he hikes up his own mountains to ski down.  None of this chairlift crap for him), he rafts (and not just your average rivers, rivers of epic size and whitewater, for which he’ll plan 7 day trips down), he fishes, he mountain bikes, he plays hockey (on two leagues), he backpacks through the wilderness, he trail runs, he snowmobiles (rarely on a trail)….I mean honestly!  Is there anything this guy doesn’t do?!  (Besides vacuuming, cleaning or dishes).  He needs a boy.  He needs a little man to be his sidekick through all of these adventures.   And he’d be so good with one.  He could teach him everything and do so well with it. 

In my heart I thought that he needed a boy to be excited about the baby. 

So looking back, I think that’s the true reason I was scared when I found out we were having a girl.   

I’m not blaming The Hubs for this at all.  I’m blaming myself for boxing him in and thinking that he couldn’t do all of those same things with a girl.   And for convincing myself that he wouldn’t be happy with anything other than a boy.  As if he is some sort of heartless person.   

But then I sat back and thought about it more.  And the bottom line is that he does all of those things with me.  He taught me all about rafting and backcountry skiing and fishing and biking.  And I like to think they’ve made me a more adventurous person.  More confident.  More outgoing.  Happier.  Healthier.

In the end, isn’t that really all we would want for any child?

Exactly.  All any parent can hope for is a healthy, happy child.   Boy or girl. 

I can’t change the past.  I can’t change the way I reacted after the appointment, and I’m still not proud of it.  In fact writing about it and admitting it to everyone has been harder than I thought it would be.   But it’s also been healing…because I think I’m starting to understand it. 

It’s not because I’m selfish or because I’m heartless.  It’s because I want the best for her.  I want her to experience the best that both The Hubs and I can offer as parents…because I think we’re pretty cool people.  We do neat things.  We have a lot to offer.    I think it’s more that I was just ignorant and thought we had to have a boy to do all of those things.  When in reality, all I had to do was look in the mirror to realize that girls can do it too.  And be happy.  And still be girls.  And still like pink.   And love their daddies more than anything in the world.

Shame on me for thinking otherwise, because I’m my own perfect example.

In the end, I’m not sure I can forgive myself for the reaction I had.  Maybe I don’t need to.  Maybe it’s ok to be scared and nervous.  To be honest I think it would be kinda weird if I wasn’t…no matter what we were having!   The bottom line is that I already love this little girl more than I can express or really comprehend.  And I know she’s going to turn out great and that The Hubs will be an amazing dad.    It just took me awhile to adjust my perspective and realize how naive I was being.   I wasn’t giving The Hubs (or myself) enough credit.   Because we do have a lot to offer any child. 

Plus, I hear they make pink archery bows.

…and your angry eyes too!

Anyone else remember that line from Toy Story!?  It’s in your best interest to just smile and nod.  Read on…

Guys, something is happening to me and I can’t seem to stop it.  I am angry.  And annoyed.  Like, 90% of the time.  And it’s not even legitimate anger!  It’s random and irrational.  Things that I used to just brush off are now HUGE deals.   

I have never experienced this before in my life!  Typically I roll with the punches pretty easily and not too much ruffles my feathers.  But man.  These days you just look at me wrong and I’m on the fight!     For example, as you know I have a few things on Craigslist right now.  Yesterday I got an email from someone who said she was interested in the rug  (coincidently she had emailed me last week asking what my lowest price was.  Um, my lowest price is what I have listed you moron.  $75.  If I was willing to go any lower I would have listed that price).  Ugh, anyways, fast forward one week.  Now all of a sudden she’s interested again.  She asked if I would take $40 (presumably because it’s been posted for over a week), and I said, no, but now I’m willing to consider $60.  She’s still interested.  She asks if she can come over and look at it, but she’s only in town for a few hours.  I text her right back and say, “sure, I’m actually headed home for lunch right now and could meet you anytime between 1:00 and 2:00.”   I hear nothing back.  I call her.  She doesn’t answer so I leave a voice mail.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip. 

I have yet to hear back from her and I’m livid about it!  She’s totally jacking me around and it’s pissing me off.  I’ve always been quick to reply and even offered to work around her  busy schedule, as if I want to spend my lunch hour waiting for someone to come look at a rug.  If she changed her mind or wasn’t interested anymore, just tell me.     Have the common courtesy (that I extended to YOU) and let me know.  Seriously!  I mean, I know, I know.  I’m expecting to much out of a Craigslister…but I don’t think she realizes she’s messing with a hormonal pregnant woman. 

See how irrational this is? 

Oh, and at the Dr. last week they couldn’t get me out of there fast enough which completely irritated me.  I’m sorry, but this is my first pregnancy and maybe, just maybe I might have some questions.  But if you’re obviously rushing me through the door I may not feel comfortable asking them.  Obviously you have somewhere better to be than with your 12th appointment for the day.  I may be just a number to you lady, but you don’t have to make me feel that way.   Oh, and the nurse who typically gives me the 10 minute instruction on how to pee in a cup without contaminating the sample?  Says to me:  “bathroom’s right there, there are Dixie cups on the back of the toilet.  Pee in there and leave it on the bench for me.”   Um….I’m sorry….but is that the same set of Dixie cups you offered me water out of last month?  I thought so.  How in the hell is that sanitary?!   And where the hell are the special sanitizing wipes and the screw-on plastic cup?  Honestly…if some emergency was happening in the office you could (a) let me know that things are a little hectic that day or (2) reschedule.   Don’t just waste my time…and if my urine sample comes back funky I’m not making an extra trip in to re-sample. 

See what I’m talking about?  I’m like a crazy person.  I’m a woman on the verge.  Luckily I still have enough sanity intact to apply a filter most of the time, but my worst fear is that I’ll start acting out on some of these over-reactions.  Like the time The Hubs and I went out to dinner and wanted a seat outside.  The host said that they didn’t have any seats available and I instantly snapped back, “There are plenty of tables available outside, I just saw them!”    To which he replied, “yes, but those are reserved.”    Doh.   The Hubs gave me the side-eye for once that day.

It’s more than that too….it’s the dishes in the sink.  The mugs that didn’t get put back in the cupboard right.  The dirty bathroom.  My dead flowers out back that withered up and died because we are never home.  The fender on my cruiser that is loose and making my cruiser rides noisy.   My tight jeans.  Work, period.  They are all irritating the crap out of me. 

I’ve been trying to hide it though because I know it’s all ridiculous.  There’s no reason to lash out at The Hubs because he didn’t put my collection of Starbucks mugs away with the handles facing out.  At least he unloaded the dishwasher, right?   

I’m trying to remind myself to not sweat the small stuff.  And as my friend Kirsten always says….we have nothing to be upset about!   Really, nothing.    I’m healthy and pregnant, I have a good job, The Hubs has a good job.  We don’t worry about where our next meal will come from.  We have a roof over our heads.  I have a cute little fluffball that brightens my day just by being happy to see me.   I  have wonderful family and friends.  So truly, there is no good reason I should let simple things like this ruin my day….or worse, ruin someone else’s day.    So what do you do when forces of nature try to sabotage your perfectly wonderful life?    For one, I’m cursing at praying to the hormone-Gods that this phase passes quickly, and two, shopping for some maternity clothes so my pants don’t feel tight anymore. 

I think that’s a good start.