Writing My Birth Preferences

This is one of those posts that I’ve actually been pretty excited to write about.  Birth preferences!

Writing out my birth preferences this time around is so different from writing my Birth Plan from when Gabi was born. 

The hospital where I had Gabi provided a template, so I based my plan off of that so that I could give them information in a format with which they were already familiar and comfortable. 

With the hospital birth, there was so much more to worry about.  The Birth Plan, while certainly not adversarial, was much more of a defense against unnecessary interventions.  I had to specify things like no episiotomies, no continuous internal monitoring, give the baby to me immediately instead of delaying with newborn procedures, don’t give the baby formula or pacifiers, etc.  Even using the format provided by the hospital, the Birth Plan was very much a defense for Gabi and I against the standard protocol of the hospital.

I don’t have to do that this time and it’s blowing my mind!  All of those things I have to prepare for and defend against?  Those are things that my midwives don’t do anyway.  This notion of having my midwives working with me as a team that I already know and am totally comfortable with as opposed to a nurse I’ve never met who may or may not respect my right to informed consent is just incredible.

I’m not The Patient in Room 326.  I’m me.  They know me, and they respect me as an individual.

Because of all of this, my birth preferences are much shorter than they were the last time around.  I’ll list them here, and include my reasoning for each one.  The preference itself will be bold, and I’ll follow with the reason behind it to make it easier for you to skim.  If there’s something that’s not on this list that you’re curious about, let me know and I can talk more about that item and why I didn’t include it.  I promise I’ll be better about responding to my comments this week.

So, without further ado…

My Birth Preferences

I don’t want to know baby size until after she’s born.  No estimates please.  I know I can birth her “big” or not.  Baby size estimates can be off by more than a pound, and since I’ve already had a baby vaginally, I know that I don’t have a pelvic issue that would prevent my pelvis from opening to allow the baby to pass.  At 8 lbs 6 oz, Gabi came out at a pretty respectable size.  Women have “big” babies all the time.  It’s just not something I want to have to worry about.

I don’t want to have internal checks until I am ready to push.  Last time, knowing that I was walking around for a month at 3 cm weighed on my mind, and when I got to the hospital I found I was “only” at 5 cm.  Knowing this just shattered my belief in myself, so I’d just rather not know.  Realistically, it’s perfectly possible to go from 5 cm to 10 cm in an hour or less.  I know this rationally, but emotionally, those kinds of cold, hard numbers can be disheartening.  If I’m in active labor, I have faith that my body is doing its job in its own time. 

For those of you who may be considering this as a preference, you may encounter a health care provider who just really wants to start doing internal checks once you reach a certain number of weeks.  They may do this just out of habit or they may tell you they need to “establish a baseline.”  This is completely bogus.  The baseline for dilation is… not being dilated at all!  This isn’t a subjective thing.  You’re either dilated or not.  This is a measurement on a ruler.  There is also absolutely nothing you gain from knowing this number as it will give you no indication of when you’ll go into labor.  You could go from 0 cm to 10 cm in the space of 8 hours.  Or you could walk around dilated to 3 or 4 cm for weeks.  There’s no value in knowing this number, and every time someone reaches up in there you deal with risks: introduction of bacteria, accidental rupture of membranes, the temptation to strip your membranes without your consent, etc.

So no thanks on the internal checks for me!

Please feel free to suggest position changes!  I tend to freeze up when I’m in an unfamiliar situation and don’t know precisely how things are going to go.  I know that everyone says your body will tell you what to do when you’re birthing, but I really do tend to freeze up.  I’m so glad to have a great doula and team of midwives who will be willing to make recommendations if they notice me getting stuck.  Last time I felt like I just sat on the bed and didn’t know what to do.  I asked for the epidural so quickly that I didn’t really get the chance to see what my body would tell me.  I’m just not sure what to expect, so I’m very open to suggestions!

Please avoid using the word pain?  Instead, I prefer to talk about things like “intensity” and “pressure.”  This is a Hypnobabies thing.  In so many of the Hypnobabies birth stories, it seems like the mom is doing great until a nurse comes in and asks about pain level.  Then, suddenly, she loses her focus and starts feeling out of control.  Since “pain relief” in the form of medication really isn’t an option, I just prefer not to visit this area at all.  We can use words like “intensity” and “pressure” instead.

Please no AROM.  AROM stands for Artificial Rupture of Membranes.  That’s when they go in and manually break your water.  There are about a gillion reasons why this is not a very good idea, but rather than list it all here, I’ll simply refer you to this article from Midwife Thinking in Australia: In Defense of the Amniotic Sac.

I would like to birth my baby in the water.  That’s right!  We’re planning to have a water birth!  There are many reasons why water birth can be a great option:

  • The warmth from the water serves as a natural way to ease the discomforts of labor.
  • The weightlessness that the water provides allows women to move and change positions easier.
  • The water helps to soften the tissues allowing the perineum to stretch more easily to accommodate the baby.
  • The warmth of the water provides a much more gentle transition for the baby from the womb into the outside world.

I’m just really pleased to have the opportunity to use the birth pool at the birth center to have this baby.  I know this will help me so much during my birthing time to stay comfortable and composed.

GBS+:  I’d like to get the IV line placed and the antibiotics run as fast as possible.  Then I would like to have the line pulled completely.  I just don’t want an IV hanging off me.  They’re distracting and upsetting to me right now.  I don’t know for sure if I am GBS+ (group B strep positive), but I’m operating under the assumption that I am.  This way, if I am, I won’t feel disappointed, and if I’m not I can feel pleased about having one less thing to deal with.  I am also exploring the options of hibicleanse during my birthing time to help with this.  It’s a bit up in the air at this point, but since I don’t know if I have group B strep or not, I think that’s okay.

Please no directed pushing.  I would like to follow the signals of my body and allow it to do its work gently and naturally.  Also please don’t count while I push or have a contraction.  What I’m really trying to avoid here is “purple pushing.”  That’s where you hold your breath and pushpushpushpushpush until they tell you to stop.  This can reduce oxygen flow to the baby, and it’s really exhausting.  On top of that, this kind of hard pushing can cause tearing as the baby moves too fast down the birth canal.  So I just don’t want to do it.  My body will tell me when to push.  We’ll just listen to that and go with the flow.  In Hypnobabies, we learn about “Aaaahing” the baby out.  That’s just what I intend to do.

Please delay cord clamping. Since we donated Gabi’s cord blood, delayed clamping was not an option for us.  This time, however, we won’t donate the blood.  Instead, we’ll be allowing all of our baby’s blood supply time to move from the placenta into her body.  According to this article, around 21% of her blood is in the placenta.  She needs all of that iron- and oxygen-rich blood.  It’s hers.  I often wonder if some of Gabi’s early sleepiness and weakness during nursing would have been helped by delaying the cord clamping.  For this baby, we’ll wait until the cord stops pulsing, and then we’ll clamp and cut the cord.

For the baby, no Vitamin K shots and (if I am not GBS+) no eye drops.  Vitamin K shots are really only needed if your family has a history of blood clotting disorders.  That’s not an issue for us.  Unless the baby comes out with significant bruising, there’s no reason to give this shot.  The eye-drops are only needed if the mom has chlamydia.  They’re also recommended if the mom is GBS+.  I definitely don’t have any sexually transmitted diseases, so as long as I’m not GBS+, there’s no need for the eye goop.

I would like an unmanaged 3rd stage and deliver the placenta on my own.  Would also like to avoid the shot of pitocin unless it’s really and truly necessary.  The 3rd stage of labor is the part where you deliver the placenta.  During a managed 3rd stage, the healthcare providers may tug on the cord or “massage” the mom’s belly to help the placenta come out more quickly.  The “massage” is pretty forceful and brutal, so banish the thought of a comfortable, relaxing belly massage.  Picture instead people shoving against the mom’s belly with all their strength to manually push out the placenta.  Really unpleasant.  The cord pulling and the “massage” can also cause increased bleeding, hemorrhage, and the risk of the placenta breaking up and leaving pieces behind.  Hello infection!  I’ll pass.  The pitocin shot is something to help curtail bleeding.  If I’m not bleeding heavily, I’ll just skip that as well.  As they say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

 

Those are my birth preferences.  It’s a fairly short list.  I’ll be talking about these with my midwife at my 36 week appointment later today.  It’s so refreshing not to have to worry about defending myself against unnecessary hospital policies.  I love that I am included as a member of my own birth team this time around.

Antenatal Depression? PTSD? Thanks HG.

I’m having a bit of a difficult time right now, and that’s hard for me to admit. 

This may be a short post.  I don’t really want to write it.  But Kat over at Love Makes a Family and I had a conversation recently about how important honesty is, so I need to be honest about this.  It would be easier to tell you all that things are fine, I’m doing well, thanks so much.  But that would be a lie.  And lies hurt people.  I’m not lying to myself anymore and it would not be fair to lie to you.

I’ve been reading some of the post partum depression posts and tweets from James & Jax which have really helped me get to a place where I can ask for help.

In case it’s not completely obvious from my obsessively detailed protocol, I’m just a teensy bit of a control freak.  I’m sure you haven’t figured that out by now.  Being a control freak means that I “handle” things way past the point of it being wise to do so.  It makes it really hard for me to ask for help. 

It’s not a pride thing.  It’s more like, I don’t feel like I should be a bother.  I don’t want to make a big deal.  It’s why I suffered for so long during the HG of my first pregnancy.  It’s why it took me years of writing and rewriting to be willing to show the protocol to my doctor and it’s why the long, gentle, and affirming conversation that I had with Dr. Awesome during my preconception visit probably saved this baby’s life.

So last week, I got up the courage to ask my midwife for the names of a few counselors.

But I didn’t call them.  You know, I just wanted to have them around in case I needed them.

Then, this past Tuesday, I ended up basically walking out of the office in tears for absolutely no reason.

Okay.  So that’s not good.  I called my midwife again and asked her to diagnose me with something because I just didn’t feel like I could handle work, home, pregnancy, everything anymore, and she very gently gave me the push I needed to pick up the phone and give those counselors a call.

So, I’ve made the calls.  I’m trying to figure out what’s going to happen with my insurance.  She’s out of network, but there don’t seem to be any in our area that are good for PTSD and pregnancy related mental health issues.  Dr. Awesome has also been kind enough to look into it for me as well.

I’ll be 35 weeks tomorrow.  I can’t wait to be Not Pregnant.

Third Trimester Grace

I don’t have it.

I’m not talking about physical grace.  Obviously I don’t have that.  It’s hard to waddle gracefully and moving around requires plenty of grunting and groaning.

I’m talking about social grace.  Emotional grace.  That almost transcendant zen-like glow that some pregnant women seem to have.

I want to stab those transcendent glowy ladies with a plastic fork.

(Gee, Molly.  Tell us how you really feel!)

Look, I’ve got heartburn, alright?  And not just heartburn.  Reflux, too.  Reflux is really special because it doesn’t hurt.  Isn’t that nice?  t just means my food comes out of my stomach and into my mouth when I lay down, bend over, burp, lean the wrong way, or forget to take my Nexium.

Also, my back hurts.  And my hips.  And my legs.  Especially at night when I just want to get some damn sleep already.  I lay on my left side and the left leg starts to ache.  I hoist my giant self over onto my right side, and my right leg starts to ache.  If I accidentally roll onto my back, I wake up dizzy and nauseated.

And you know what else?  The HG is STILL HERE!  Okay, it’s less like 1st trimester HG and more like a perpetual hangover, but it’s there and I am tired of it.

Apparently I’m also huge.  And my baby is going to be huge.  And aren’t I scared?  This is according to my coworkers.  Thanks guys.  Rule #1 of talking to a pregnant woman.  Tell her she looks gorgeous and leave it at that.  I’m honestly not worried about having a big baby.  Fat squishes.  I’ll birth this baby just fine.  My midwives are not concerned, and neither am I.  But nothing makes me feel like the love child of Humpty-Dumpty and a hippopotamus than being told how enormous I am.

All of this means that I am exceptionally cranky at the moment.  No, I don’t want to hear about your cold.  I’ve been living with a perpetual hangover (at best!) for the last 8 months.  I don’t care how sick you are, get out of my cubicle and take your germs with you.  I don’t want to hear about how tired you are because you stayed up late last night watching this really good movie.  I went to bed at 9 PM.  I couldn’t sleep.  I’m tired, too.

“Molly’s not here right now.  These are her hormone’s speaking, how can we help you today?”

Mostly, I’m just done.  I am so over being pregnant.  I’m at 34 weeks and 4 days.  At 36 weeks I’ll be full term and the baby is welcome to choose her birthday any day at that point.

I’m counting down.

A Breastfeeding Kit

I’ve been nesting lately, which is kind of fun.  This weekend, I’ve been putting together my breastfeeding kit, so I thought I’d share with you what all I’m putting in it.

Nursing Bras

Yep.  Gotta have some nursing bras.  I went to my local breastfeeding store (seriously, skip the mall), and got measured.  I came home with:

  • Bravado Original Nursing Bra - Here’s something to take note of: If you are large-chested, Bravado is the way to go from what I hear.  They specifically design nursing bras to fully support women with larger breasts.  Nice, eh?
  • Majamas Easy Bra - This bra is unbelievably comfortable and still very supportive.  It’s going to be a fantastic sleep bra.

Now the rule of thumb on nursing bras is this: Before you have your baby get a “transition” bra.  You don’t know what your size is really going to be until later.  After your milk comes in and your supply settles down a bit, go out and get a few regular nursing bras.   The Bravado bra I got will do double duty as a transition bra and a real nursing bra.  Later on, though, I want to get fitted for a Hotmilk bra!  Now, I’ve never worn one of these, so I can’t write with any sort of authority on whether or not they do a good job, but aren’t they gorgeous?  Wow!

Nursing Pillow

Thankfully, I’ve already got one of these.  All I have to do is wash the cover.  If you’re making your own breastfeeding kit, though, I can unreservedly recommend the My Brest Friend nursing pillow.  Okay, I know the name is really corny, but this pillow is hands down the best pillow out there.  I am not kidding when I say that if I hadn’t found this pillow, I probably would’ve given up nursing with Gabi.  The Boppy and the bed pillows were a squishy, sliding nightmare.  If you get one thing, get this pillow.  It’s awesome.

Breast Pads

Last time, I just used disposable pads.  This time, I want to be a little more environmentally (and financially!) savvy.  I got a free set of Bamboobies nursing pads as part of a World Breastfeeding Week promotion.  Supposedly, the bamboo is super absorbent and the heart-shape means less bulk under a bra.  The promotional pair came with a 20% off coupon, so I went ahead and got a few more.  They have multi-packs, so I got a pack with 3 regular + 1 overnight pairs and a pack with 3 regular + 3 overnight pairs.  I’ve never used reusable pads before.  I’m not sure if this will be enough or too many.  I’m not sure if I will love this particular brand.  This is all experimental, so please don’t take my mention of this brand as an endorsement because I just don’t know yet!  Hopefully, after I get the chance to use them for a while I’ll be able to tell you more about them.

Nipple Cream

Last time, I used lanolin nipple cream.  Unfortunately, I’ve recently come to understand that Lansinoh, the company that produces and sells most of the lanolin we find easily on the shelves here, is owned by a WHO Code violator.  I’ve mentioned in the past that this is a deal-breaker for me, so I’m seeking an alternative.  Aside from the WHO Code violations, I found the lanolin to be sticky and greasy.  It was difficult to put on and made peeling breast pads off my sore nipples to be quite painful.  Lanolin can also contain toxins, and that’s something I’d very much like to avoid.  With this in mind, I’ve opted for a nipple cream by Motherlove.  I’ve used their herbal supplements in the past and was pleased with the quality, so I opted to give their nipple cream a try.  Hopefully it works out!

Breast Pump

I’ve already got a Medela Pump in Style Advance from when I had Gabi.  Unfortunately, Medela has recently opted to violate the WHO Code in favor of marketing bottles to breastfeeding women (for an in depth look at the issue click here).  Because of this, I am not able to recommend Medela products to my friends and I am not comfortable spending money on Medela products.  To make things more difficult for socially conscious mamas, Evenflo, the owner of Ameda (another major breastpump manufacturer) has also chosen to violate the WHO Code.  At this point, to my knowledge, the only breastpump company that is not a code violator is Hygeia.  From what I hear, Hygeia makes fantastic pumps.  I haven’t ever used one, so I don’t know personally, but here’s a review that I found if you’re curious.  I had my old Medela pump suction tested yesterday, and we found that the suction is still just fine.  Because of this, there’s no reason for me to purchase another pump, so I’m stuck spending money on Medela parts.  It’s nice to save the money, but I wish Medela would comply with the WHO Code.  It wouldn’t be that difficult.

Milk Saver

Okay, this is a new one.  A few months ago, I visited a local breastfeeding store called The Pump Station, and my friend and I saw the My Milkies Milk Saver.  Initially, I thought it sounded weird.  Collecting milk while you’re breastfeeding?  Really?  Then Hobo Mama reviewed them on her blog (there’s a giveaway!), and I became intrigued.  So yesterday, I went to my local breastfeeding supply store (The Pump Station) and purchased one.  We’ll see how it works!

At this point, that’s what I’ve got in my breastfeeding kit.  Did you put together a breastfeeding kit for yourself or a friend?  If so, what did you include in it?

Mommy Mantras

I’ve thought a lot lately about my own mental health and taking care of myself. I’ve also noticed other moms that I know face-to-face and through the internet stressing about everything from babies waking during the night to finding enough time to get kids to and from school.

I’ve gotten some good advice from you guys in the comments here and of Facebook, and I just wanted to share a few little mantras that I’ve been using lately as reminders to be kind to myself.  Mantras, affirmations, whatever you want to call it, I’ve tried really hard to use some positive self-talk these days to help change my patterns of thought for the positive.

Here are some of the things I tell myself when I start to feel overwhelmed.

Time does pass.

Perfection is a myth.

Gabi is going to remember this pizza eating and cartoon watching as fun, not me being neglectful.

You’re doing a great job with what you have right now. – Thanks Diana!

You’re not Superwoman and no one expects you to be.

Just say NO! – Thanks Kerri!

Be gentle to yourself.

and my personal favorite…

This, too, shall pass. 

On a related note, there’s a fantastic blog out there called Self Care Tips for Women.  They posted recently about the myths vs. the realities of motherhood, and the article really hit home for me.

Let’s Get REAL About Motherhood and Life

Do you have any sayings or mantras that you use to help yourself get through challenging times?  I’d love to expand my list!

Some additions to the Mantra List thanks to my readers:

I can choose peace instead of this. – JamesandJax

And a whole list from Diana at The Whining Puker:

“First it gets better, then it goes away.”
- Becky Taylor

“Progress, not perfection.”
- Flylady

“Give yourself lots of grace.”
- My wonderful midwife Wendi

Letting go of the Stress with Cozi

As you all know, I’ve been stressed lately.  I’ve felt like things are spinning completely out of control and that I just can’t get my arms around everything I need to do.  Too many things to do, too many things to get, not enough time.  AAAAAAGH!

 Enter one of my local radio DJs.  One of our local radio stations runs a segment on Must Have apps for your smartphones, and on Friday, they talked about this thing called Cozi.  Some kind of family calendar software or something with shared calendars and whatnot.  Hmmmm….

So I downloaded it, and asked my Facebook friends for tips and hints, which landed me an awesome link to a blog post about it!  This is the kind of info I’m looking for!  A basic overview to give me an idea of how a family has made it work for them.  Fantastic!

So I started playing with it a little more seriously, and here’s what I discovered:

I really like this because it works across multiple platforms.  Juan has an iPod touch and I’ve got an Android phone.  We both use Outlook at the office.  There’s not a lot of “talking” that goes on between these systems.  But after I downloaded Cozi onto  my phone and his iPod, I was able to connect both effortlessly.  We don’t have to worry about it being Apple/Android-specific.  It works cross-functionally.  Apparently you can also sync Outlook with Cozi, but I haven’t tried it.  I don’t want all of our daytime meetings showing up on the family calendar.

Because the thing lives on a 3rd party website (unlike our outlook calendars), we can access it anywhere we’ve got an internet connection.  If I make a doctor’s appointment for Gabi at the office, I don’t have to wait till I’m home to put it on the home calendar. I can pop open the website from my browser and enter it right then and there.  It’s then ready to view on Juan’s iPod, internet browser, or whichever device he happens to use.

We can also keep personal stuff off of our office calendars. Our Outlook calendars are viewable company-wide.  The last thing people need to know is that I’ve got an Midwife appointment at 2 pm on Thursday.  Blocked time?  Fine.  Details?  Not fine.  Plus, it’s difficult for Juan because, while he may need to know that something is going on at a certain time for carpool planning purposes (like a 6 pm La Leche League Meeting or a 3 pm Dentist appointment for me), he doesn’t need to have that time showing as blocked/busy on his work calendar.  This way, we can coordinate the carpool without blocking time or inviting embarrassing questions.

Sounds pretty good in theory, right?  How about in execution?  How does it work?

So far, it seems to be working well.

Our Calendar

We’re able to enter all of our family activities here so we can plan our carpool and schedule appointments without having to guess at what is going on with the other person.  We tag the family members involved to make it clear which appointment belongs to which person.  We’re also able to schedule reminders for events if we wish.  Since my phone receives text messages, I set a reminder for Cozi to text reminders straight to my phone.  Juan doesn’t have texting on his phone, so it will email him.  Convenient!

The things I’m really liking about Cozi, though, are the lists.

There are To Do lists and Shopping lists, and within those lists, you can separate out individual lists.

Our Shopping Lists

For example, I’m able to maintain both a grocery shopping list for Juan to have when he goes to the store, and a separate list for things that we get at other places, like Target.  We’re even able to create custom lists so I can keep track of the little odds and ends that we still need to get before the baby is born.

Our To Do Lists

 Just like the shopping lists, you can create your own custom lists.  In this case, I created a Baby-Related To Do list (of course).  You can tag the To Do lists for a specific family member or make it a shared list for all family members to see.  In this case, I tagged the Baby list as shared.  As you complete items, you just check them off.  Simple.  If you want to get fancy, you can group items by headers like I did here in the Baby-Related To Do list:

All of these screen shots are from the Cozi website that I’m accessing from my PC.  Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a way to take screenshots from my phone so I can’t show you what the Android app looks like.  I will tell you, though, that it’s pretty spiffy.

Accessing Everything

My phone lets me install widgets to my screens.  This is more than just a little icon.  Instead, I can see an updated version of my calendar right there on my screen!  I’ve got widgets showing the calendar, the baby shopping list, and the baby to do list.  All right there in front of me.  I can simply touch to start adding or making changes.  No need to let the app load. It’s running right there on top and updating live.

I also took the… ahem… liberty of installing the app onto Juan’s iPod.  So he’s got it, too, although, I don’t think Apple lets you do widgets quite like Android does.

Has it Helped?

Juan was a little concerned that this list-making was stressing me out.  Really, though, I’m finding the opposite to be the case.  I’m able to write things down as they pop into my head and then set them aside.  Part of my stress came from intense worry that I would forget something vital.  Trying to keep track of all of this coordination in my head was making me feel a little unhinged.  I feel like I’ve been given a dose of sanity.

There are more features than what I list here.  I can’t really see myself using the journal feature very much.  That’s what my blog is for.  I’m also not too sure about the photo collage thing.  I’ve got Picassa for that and it works just fine.  There does seem to be a whole lot more to this program than meets the eye, so I’m sure there is a lot more for me to explore.

How Can You Get It?

For those of you curious about Cozi, you can access the computer version from www.cozi.com.  We got our mobile device apps from the Android app marketplace and the Ipod app store just by going through our mobile devices.

Want to know the best part?

It’s Free!

Yeah, you read that right!  It’s free!  I’m all about free stuff!  There does appear to be an upgrade option that offers more advanced scheduling options, but for us, I think the free version is perfectly sufficient.

So talk to me!  Who out there uses this?  How do you use it?  What do you find the most useful about it?  Do you have any tips or tricks for new users like me?

Look what came in the mail this week!

I went ahead and ordered the rest of my JustFussy cloth pads.  Remember, these were the awesome bamboo velour cloth pads I was trying out to see if I wanted to use for postpartum.  And remember how I fell in love with them?

Well, I ordered enough for postpartum, and they arrived on Thursday!

Aren’t they gorgeous?  And that bamboo velour is so, so soft.

And feel free to admire the quilt below as well.  My mom made that!  Nice, eh?  Love those batiks!

So here is my cloth pad count right now:

All in the most gorgeous colors!  I love, love, love those deep, saturated colors.

She was also sweet enough to send me an extra wool-backed panty-liner as well.  I love the wool backing.  For some reason, it stays much cooler and feels more breathable than a cotton-backed liner.

Depending on how often I find myself doing laundry, I’m hoping that this will be enough to cover my postpartum needs.  I don’t remember how much lochia I had to deal with last time, but Christy’s got a fantastic turn-around time.  If I need more, I can always order more!

One more thing I can check off my to-do list.

Cue the Mommy Guilt

Now I know that I wrote about guilt last week, but this is less of a spinoff from that post and more of a spinoff from Tuesday’s post: All Things to All People.

Guilt that comes from the outside is easy for me to deal with.  Guilt trips are simply a way some people try to manipulate others.  When confronted by someone attempting to manipulate my emotions, it’s easy for me to mentally raise my middle finger in their direction and leave the guilt aside.

When the guilt comes from within as a result of me not living up to my own personal goals and ideals, it’s much more difficult to deal with.

Some things I currently feel mommy guilt about:

  • Feeding Gabi crappy food: Monday-cold leftover pizza and a bowl of honey nut cheerios; Tuesday-A ham, cheese, and mayo sandwich and ice cream; Wednesday-cold leftover pizza
  • Letting Gabi watch way too much TV – TV as babysitter?  Yup.
  • Not getting down and playing interactively with Gabi
  • Parking my butt on the couch and encouraging her to entertain herself
  • Taking her to daycare with her hair uncombed and her teeth unbrushed

Okay, most of these are seriously temporary.  Juan’s travelling for work for a few days this week (comes back today thank god!), and we’re in survival mode.  For the record, he usually cooks nutritious and tasty meals, plays vigorously with her at every opportunity, and makes sure her teeth and hair get brushed in the morning.  Also, for the record, she does have a toothbrush at daycare, so when she arrives, she can run back and brushes her teeth then.

Overall, I know that this is stuff that I can’t really control right now.  At the end of the day, we’re doing well if I can stick food on plates and get the dishes loaded in the dishwasher.  I’m proud of myself each time I have managed to get her bathed this week.  Reaching into the tub is hard.  I’m trying really hard to give myself credit for the little stuff like that.

But we do watch way too much TV.  I try to assuage that guilt by making sure we’re watching the kids channels that don’t show any commercials.  I just wish I could play with her more.  I wish this week could have been fun girlie time with walks/trike rides through the neighborhood with the dog, fun bubble baths, painted toenails, and special activities.

That’s just not in the cards right now.

Right now, we’re doing well to get out the door in the morning and eat food at night.

I can’t wait to not be sick anymore.  I hate the way HG is keeping me from being the mom I want to be.

All Things to All People

My midwife, bless her, gave me a bit of a gentle scolding last week.  I needed it. 

Lately, I’ve been feeling completely drained.  Not just tired.  More than that.  Sucked dry.  Wrung out.  Physically tired?  Absolutely.  Mentally exhausted?  Oh, yeah.  Emotionally worn out?  You bet.

When she asked me how I was feeling, that’s what I told her.  She pointed out that it sounded like I was simply trying to be too many people. 

I’ve written before about trying to do too much and how that causes the HG to flare up.  I’ve always thought of it as a physical thing.  When my midwife framed it in terms of being too many people, something clicked in my mind.

That’s exactly what’s been going on, particularly with trying to crank out an article every single day for World Breastfeeding Week.  It’s been completely exhausting.

My midwife suggested I think about my priorities.  Which Molly is the most important Molly?

Who do I try to be on a daily basis?  What facets make me… me?

  • Mommy to Gabi
  • Wife to my husband
  • Cook
  • Partial housekeeper
  • Good employee at the office
  • Keeper of the house schedule
  • Writer/blogger
  • Lactivist
  • Socially responsible consumer (now that takes some hard work!)
  • Pregnant lady
  • HG survivor/sufferer
  • Gardener
  • Fish-keeper
  • Dog mommy

This list goes on and on and on.

Which of those is most important right now?  Weeellll….  They’re all important.

Some things I’m already letting slide.  Juan already does all the cooking.  We’ve hired a housekeeper, and whatever she doesn’t do, Juan does.  The poor dog doesn’t really get walked right now except to go with Juan to get the mail.  Juan’s taken over taking Gabi to swim class, grocery shopping, laundry, watering the potted plants, and any other chores that come up as a part of home ownership.

He’s carrying so much of the weight of the household right now, and he’s holding up amazingly well under the strain.

My midwife is right, though.  I need to start shedding more roles.  I’m not sure what this means, though. 

I think part of it is that I need to let go of the notion of spending every day striving to be The Best Employee Ever.  I’m up to my neck in projects that I’m frantically trying to complete before I go out on leave.

My last day of work will be September 16th.  That’s a little over five weeks away.  That’s not enough time!

I think what I need to do is this:  I need to stop thinking of September 16th as a deadline and start thinking of it as a new beginning.  If I don’t finish every single thing that I wanted to finish at the office, it won’t be the end of the world.  Time passes.  They will find a way to manage without me.

I need to focus on what’s important.  My family, myself, and my baby.

I’m already reaching that stage of just wanting to hide in a cave.  I just want to be left alone to get ready for the baby to arrive.  I want to get the clothes washed and into drawers, the room set up, the car seats installed, etc.  I just can’t right now because of having to work.

So I need to start looking forward to September 16th, not as the drop-dead date for my projects but as the day that I can stop having to be everything but a mommy getting ready to have a baby.  It’s so hard to change that perspective.  I’m a natural project manager, so my instinct is to manage each task and account for all possible outcomes and potential stumbling blocks.  I try in every possible way to foresee every potential risk and develop a plan to minimize or deal with it.  I mean, look at the protocol I put together for the HG.  Sheesh.  Effective?  Useful?  Valuable?  Hell yes.  A little over the top? Weeellll….  I’ll leave that for you to decide.

I have got to learn to just let it go.