Nips, Lips, Hips, ‘N Fingertips

{September 22, 2006}   When Art Imitates Your Sad Life

I just watched last night’s season premiere of ER (thank you, Tivo!)- appropriately titled ‘Bloodline’- and bawled my eyes out during all of the sad scenes with Abby, who had to undergo a “Cesarean Section” (read: major abdominal surgery) for placental abruption.

I thought the conversation between Abby, Abby’s doc, and Kovac were well-written, but I do want to point out that most moms in that situation aren’t MDs, their husbands aren’t MDs, and their OBs do not speak to them as if they are intelligent women capable of making their own decisions. When Abby refused the medication to mature her baby’s lungs, I cheered like some sports fan watching his home team score during the big game. Then, I just about had an anxiety attack when Abby refused general anesthesia and said she wanted to be awake (haven’t all of us so-called “emergency” C/S moms been there? HERE’S A HINT: If they have time to give you an epidural or spinal, it probably wasn’t a true emergency)- and I was relieved when they gave her a spinal instead of putting he under. But when the OB said, “Opening the uterus”…I couldn’t breathe.

The surgery was very realistic. While they didn’t exactly show the exact moment of extraction, they came close. The most real moment for me was after the baby was stabilized and Abby was hemorrhaging, and Kovac wanted to stay with her but she yelled “SHUT UP SHUT SHUT SHUT UP!!!! Go with the baby…I don’t want him to be alone.”

We lay down, perhaps to die, for our babies. Our partners, whose first loyalty to us, do not understand why we always put the baby first. But the simple reason is that we are mothers. If pressed, if we had to choose, most of us would choose our children over our partners. Feel free to comment if you are an exception to this genetic rule- but for me, it is simply a primal thing that I cannot control. Baby/kid first, then me. Husband third (or now, fourth). I am the mom who would die for her kids, and would want DH to remarry.

 But with surgery…I firmly affirm the woman’s right to choose. Period. Pregnancy or not. Mag or not. Cesarean or not. Hysterectomy or not. Life or not. These matters of life or death are far more complicated than TV drama can do justice but I respect the writer of ER for making a valiant attempt. The masses need to see that the Cesarean issue isn’t an easy yes/no button, and that it’s wired into a lot more than “just what’s best for baby”.

Now, why do I keep getting back on this roller coaster of birth trauma whenever I know it is gonna make me sick? It happens every. single. time. that I hear or read about or see a birth- Cesarean or vaginal, complications or not, baby lives or not.

I really need to get a life. 


{September 15, 2006}   Can I have a do-over?

A fly kept me up almost all night and it is still pestering me now. I started to use the word “terrorizing”– that is how oversued that word, and that whole ism of terrorism, is. I know, I know, I need to learn to write more better without the dangling participles but for now, just dip the extra bread in the runny yolk that is my writing style and slurp it up.

Morning comes whether or not mothers have slept, and boys who have slept have no sympathy for mothers who have not. My boys are high-spirited to boot; right now, one is taking pictures and the other is sailing on a pirate ship he built. This is before breakfast.

What kept me up last night is the issue of Homeshooling/Unschooling. It has been eating at me since the real estate agent told us, over a month ago now, that I would be doing our boys a disservice by homeschooling them here as the schools are so good. It was a hard pill to swallow, because I really liked the man up until then, and I should have just spit it out at his feet and told him how bitter it was and how I would never swallow something so nasty but I was trying to be The Good Mommy, The DotingWife, and The Easygoing Buyer Who Just Wanted To Find A House WIth A Biggish Yard.

What made the whole deal worse is that I had this sort of crush on the man, although it was a platonic crush. He was an older, successful family man with a family business and I think it was just a huge craving-a-father-figure thing. So I didn’t say what I wanted to say to him, I just sucked it up and let it eat away at my spirit (and I ate away at it, too, with bread and candy) until now. I am regurgitating everyting today. I want a do-over.

Here is what I wish I had said to Jim Pollock, and what I am saying to him now: 

“No, Jim, we don’t want to put in an offer on the tiny little cookie-cutter house that is right across the street from the elementary school because then it would be too easy to send our bright child into the sheeple factory which could completely crush his spirit.”

(We actually did put in an offer on said house and they rejected it so we walked away, taking it as a sign that it wasn’t the house or neighborhood for us. I have since had severe “Buyers Remorse” for the neighborhood we didn’t buy into, because after all it was called Park View and was right across the street from an extensive, paved walking trail.)

“A disservice?! Did I hear that right? I beg your pardon! You mean to tell me that you think that those ‘cottages’that they have had to put up over there in what used to be a field due to overcrowded classrooms would be a better learning environment for my gifted and talented son than a loving, (mostly, unless I am PMS’ing) nurturing home where he gets 1:1 attention most of the day (although he will tell you his brother gets more because his little brother is still nursing) and that a ‘certified educator’ who doesn’t know my son and his interests (photography, nature, science, anatomy and physiology) or his preferred modes of learning (he can count to 100 while jumping on a trampoline) would do a better job of seeing to it that he learns what he wants and needs to know in life? I think you’re off-track there, Jim, but I will forgive your illogical comment.”

I thought I wanted a big-time do-over last night at about 2:23 a.m. when I still hadn’t slept and had tried to do so in three different places. I thought, maybe “They” are right and maybe I ought to send Liam to public preschool now that he is 4 and they will come and get him on a bus and we are down to one vehicle (“Minivan Lite”) to save money because gas is so high and it is so expensive to live here andI am not working outside the home and besides I really need to focus on myself and getting my “Arthritis” and my weight under control so that I can be more active and grow our business and write more.

No. Stop it! (Coffee makes the brain work better). This is not an all or nothing deal. I can do all the above things much more easily *while* homeschooling, especially when my boys are young and we are homeprescooling and unschooling most days. Yesterday, they helped me pack up an order, a six-pack of lotions, for one of our best customers. They “read” the pictures on the lotion bottles and COUNTED them to help me assemble 2 Key Limes, 1 Grapefruit, 1 Jasmine, 1 Lavender, and 1 Rosemary. How many 4 and 2 y.o.’s can recognize herbs? How many 2 y.o.’s are learning how to run an at-home business? They helped me inventory all of the lotions I have on hand for a BOGO Free Sale while we were at it. And that was just one of about fifty things we did together yesterday. We are  truly living The Continuum Concept and living proof that children are little info sponges.

I will not drive nor will I allow my little lamb to be bussed into the woods. He is just way too smart for public school; and I don’t care if it is the best school district in the country, it is the public school system and its learning process in general that we have a problem with. When we can afford a private Montessori or Waldorf school, we’ll look into it.

So there.  Do-over done.

{September 3, 2006}   Transplanted again!

Well, we’ve driven our wagon train east again, from Utah to Colorado, and settled south of the Denver metro area. Centennial seems just a stones throw from Ogden, and yet worlds apart. I didn’t realize how unhappy I had been in Utah until I got out of that dreaded state. It’s such a huge relief to be back in a state where people have bumperstickers on their cars! Where people express opinions that are not the mainstream! Where people question authority and truly believe in and practice religious freedom! Where the term “ward” refers to a geographical voting region! WOO followed by HOO!!

Alas, Colorado being the leanest state in the nation, my DH and I are probably some of the fatter people in this glorious state (but, but we’re average size in Missouri!). Apparently, Coloradans actually take advantage of the many opportunities for biking and hiking and other outdoor recreation offered in this breathtaking state. There are also indoor Recreation Centers everywhere, I mean everywhere, and there is a really nice one right down the road which we plan to take advantage of this  for a few months Winter when it is too cold to go for bike rides and walks with the kiddoes.

Speaking of the kiddoes, my firstborn son who came into this world via an incision in my abdomen, will be FOUR in nine days. I have no idea-o how in the heck this has happened. His much-anticipated Pirate Party is in less than a week and he has invited four people, only one of whom is a child! So, I’m feeling like it is time for the annual purge-a-thon where I rant and vent all of my issues about how he was plucked too soon from my womb by an ignorant Obstetrician, and I know all too well that it is best to get this stuff out before the festivities! Better to get it out here than when I’m cutting the cake.

Issue 1: I am only just now coming to terms with the fact that I was depressed during my pregnancy, and definitely following the “emergency” (emergent) Cesarean (although I was not encouraged to express my feelings until about 5.5 to 6 months postpartum when I met a fiesty woman who was going by the name of “Ahleemah” on the YAHOO! EC list).

Issue 2: I am REALLY MAD now that I was not allowed to be even a little bit mad then.

Issue 3: I am really, really dissappointed that no one seemed to care how *I* was feeling.

Issue 4: I am so so so so sad for my sweet son who had a sad mother for about a year.

Issue 5: I am upset that no one saw my pain or bothered to ask how *I* was doing.

Issue 6: I shouldn’t have had to start my own support group for my HBAC/VBAC (but I am also glad that I did as the St. Louis ICAN chapter has grown into a really great group that even does Blessingways for all the expectant mommas!).

Issue 7: I am wistful that I didn’t have time to heal more from my Cesarean before getting pregnant again just 13 months later. I still long for more time with only my firstborn.

Issue 8: I feel guilty and horribly regretful for allowing our son to be circumcised, adding injury to injury, merely so that he would have a penis that looked like his father’s penis.

Issue 9: I feel awful, horrible and terrible for allowing my own husband to give our son formula in the hospital. And I feel especially sick and twisted for taking a picture of it.

Issue 10: I feel like a complete idiot for allowing the OB who cut me for no good reason to also give me Depo-Provera for no good reason at my six week follow-up appointment. It wreaked havoc on me emotionally and physically and I discontinued it, but I agreed to it without first researching it myself. I attribute it to the Survivor syndrome, whatever it is called, where a victim begins to identify with the abductor/attacker as a way of coping with the overwhelming abuse.

That’s all I have the time for now, my sweet child is awake and I want to give him all of my attention.

Thanks for listening…

et cetera