I am slowly but surely catching up on my photoblogs. This one is incredibly special to me, because it is my dear friend's son, who was less than 12 hours old when I got to meet him. I am so blessed to have had the chance to document this family's journey through breastfeeding, gender reveal, maternity, and now newborn photos. I never feel like I'm any good at writing blogs to go with the photos; I feel like my writing is forced and clutters the images. So, enjoy.
I had planned on today being a good day. I had planned to be crafty and enjoy my family and listen to music and watch Parenthood and eat some good food and generally be happy.
Instead, I'm crying in bed while I write this post. Bear is taking care of Bean, and I'd stay in bed all day if I could.
This week has been extra long and hard on me, emotionally and physically. I went to bed last night beyond exhausted and touched out. I woke up in tears and have been crying most of the morning. Part of it is that Bear has had to work extra this week. Another part, I feel like the doctors I've been seeing aren't taking my valid complaints seriously. Another? I was officially diagnosed with Hashimoto's.
I've been working out for 3 weeks and even though I see inches falling away, the scale hasn't budged.
Bean's been teething and nursing every 2 hours. (I love it most of the time, but sometimes I wish I could have 5 minutes to be a human being instead of a giant pillow/milk cow).
Something triggered me over my birth trauma on FB and it blew up in my face and I got hurt because someone I didn't even know said some things that ended up not even being directed at me.
I feel raw and vulnerable and in a deep despair. Hopefully a day doing my best to stick with my original plan will help get me out of this funk.
This is my late monthly house prettifying post, to catch up from March.
I wanted to keep these all decorating-type posts, but this was sooooo needed. So, the winter I was pregnant with Bean, I crocheted him a blanket. Bear told me it was SO pretty, and that I needed to make more to sell. I laughed and said no one would pay me enough to make more.
I was wrong.
A few months after Bean was born, a friend visited me and saw the blanket and couldn't stop raving! Then I had another friend ask if I could make the hooded bear cowls that have taken over Pinterest, and my crochet business took off! I have since started making nursing necklaces, stuffed toy and dolls, and baby accessories on top of the other things. With all these projects comes buying lots of yarn. LOTS of it. I mean, this stuff was ALL. OVER. THE. PLACE.
I had boxes behind the couch, boxes and bags ON the couch, in a tote that I took everywhere with me, and usually a skein or two laying somewhere else. Poor Bear constantly had to clear a place on the couch when he would get home from work just to be able to sit down! All this yarn everywhere also made it hard for me to keep inventory. On more than one occasion I have purchased yarn I already had... oops!
Last week, I decided to do something about it.
First, I organized all of my yarn by type. Bean helped. It looked like the needle art section of Hobby Lobby puked in my living room.
Believe it or not, even with all this yarn, there was STILL a mess behind the couch!
Then Bean and I walked over to the Family Dollar and grabbed 10 shoebox-sized totes. I was able to get most of my yarn in the totes! The only ones that wouldn't fit were my acrylic yarns, and I was able to put those in a smaller box. Now I keep my current project(s) in my tote, and that is the only thing that is on the couch (because that's the only place I can put it out of Bean's reach), and everything else is behind the couch, organized in a way that I know exactly where everything is! No more digging for yarn or having to clear space to sit down!
I'm looking forward to the projects that I have to empty these totes. Of course, that will mean that I'll need to fill them again ;) If anyone asks, my birthday is in August and I love Hobby Lobby! :D
I posted this article on my personal Facebook yesterday, with this statement, "Such a healing article. I have a difficult time in allowing myself any credit, but this was so validating to read. The mere minutes I had to make the decision, I was the bravest I have ever been. Since then, I have had to become the strongest I have ever been. And I can also say that I am now the most blessed I have ever been. Happy 10 months, Bean!"
A distant friend, who is/was a nurse (and who I don't think knows my story), responded with this, "It doesn't matter how a baby is born. My rule is always healthy mom healthy baby. I love birth plan mamas. They just have to remember I'm not the enemy!"
At first, it hurt and I jumped on the defensive. Of course it matters! I was absolutely not healthy! I was in excruciating pain and drugged so hard I barely remember the first week of my son's life! I have PTSD and post-partum anxiety!
But then, I thought... She has a point. I can see her side. Her job is to make sure that both mom and baby stay alive. Her, and the other nurses and doctors, have that responsibility to the mothers and babies. The issue that I am trying to work against is when their convenience becomes a hindrance to birthing mothers, such has restricted movement, birthing on the back, unnecessarily scheduled inductions/cesareans etc. But OBs and nurses are not automatically evil. In fact, I’ve met the OB that I plan to have a hospital birth with once I’m pregnant with #2. She is incredibly supportive of VBaCs (vaginal birth after cesarean), and even gave me statistics supporting VBACs at our initial meeting! Several of my mama friends have or are planning to birth with her, and have given her the highest praise. I feel comfortable with the thought of her providing my prenatal care and assisting me in the birth of my next child.
To me, it did matter how Bean was born. Imagine telling a girl who has planned her dream wedding all her life, has all the vendors paid for, and is getting ready to walk down the aisle, that she has to go to the courthouse and give up everything she has dreamed of, planned on, and paid for. In the end, she is still marrying the love of her life, but what was planned to be a pivotal day in her life has been reduced to almost nothing, comparatively, with none of the memories that she hoped for. For anyone who has not had a similar experience, this is the closest analogy I was able to come up with. In the end, though, we did both come out alive, and for that I am eternally grateful for.
Her statement, “I love birth plan mamas,” got me thinking a lot, though. I was a birth plan mama. Most of my friends are birth plan mamas. In fact, I sat on a pretty high horse with my birth plan. I was literally so set in my birth plan that I scoffed and rolled my eyes while filling out the paperwork required in case of a transfer. I whined to Bear about having to fill it out, and put it off as long as possible. I had a healthy pregnancy, why shouldn’t I have a healthy, normal, natural birth, like women have been having for eons? Isn’t that what the natural birth community preaches, that we were made for this? My mantra, like so many others, was, “I grew this baby, I can birth this baby.” Until I couldn’t.
Coming off of my high horse, the fall was hard. It left me breathless, bruised, and sore. I am grateful, in a way, though, because it opened my eyes. Namely, if I had not been so set on having a home birth, if my mind and heart had been more open to the possibility of something ending up differently, maybe I wouldn’t have suffered so much when plans did change. Perhaps my PTSD/anxiety would have been less, or even non-existent. If the Natural Birthing Community was more open to necessary medical interventions (as my midwife was), perhaps my friends who have had to have them in order to birth vaginally would not be so ashamed to admit so. Is there a chance that the natural birth community and modern medicine could live in harmony, rather than pitted against each other? Working together, maybe an outcome of “healthy mama, healthy baby” would become more often a reality, rather than a distant dream, as it is for so many. To the doctors and nurses and midwives and doulas who really do care about that, thank you. I appreciate you beyond what words can express.
On Facebook, my response was that I was not healthy, I had PTSD and anxiety due to my birth experience, which was met kindly by my nurse friend, but spurred another response which nearly broke my heart and has left me crying all morning.
A distant family member, who I doubt knows the story of Bean’s birth, made the joke that knowing birth could bring on “the same PTSD that soldiers come home from war with” was good birth control.
Oh. My. Heart.
I have PTSD, not because of birth, and, I think, even very little has to do with it ending in a c-section over a vaginal birth. It is from the situation surrounding Bean’s birth. To quote a previous blog post,
"In a matter of minutes, we went from our midwife telling Bear to get ready to catch his baby to our baby being born in a room full of strangers, with the only person in the room who loved him out cold on the table. If that is not traumatic, I don't know what is.”
My experience is rare, and shared in the hopes of 1) finding and offering solidarity with and to other women who have been through similar experiences and 2) to educate people who have not been. The last thing I want is for my experience to be used as something to scare women away from having children. Even though it was said in jest, I have been in tears over that statement since I logged into Facebook this morning. I will be honest and say that statements like these are what make me not want to share anything about my experience, but also spur me to do it. I would not change what I have been through for the world, and I am grateful every day that such a great blessing as Bean came out of what occurred. Despite this “joke”, I will continue to share and be vulnerable, even if I only reach one other person for the good with my experience.
Quick update on all of the goings-on in the Den.
Since my last Bean update, he has had his 9-month check up, and the physician’s assistant asked if he was waving or clapping yet. We told her no. What does he do two days later within 20 minutes? Claps and waves. Aha. And he does both all of the time now, but only for Bear and me.
He is crawling like a speed demon now. Remember the last update? About how he was Lieutenant Dan-ing it? Well, that stopped like maybe a week after I posted the update. Kinda like how he started clapping and waving. Goose. He now crawls like a pro on all fours, generally with a sock in his mouth. Don’t ask me why, he just loves socks. They’re all over the house.
He is a super cruiser now, too, pulling himself up on everything he can. Couch, table, chairs, his toy chest, me, Bear. We bought him a wooden walker toy, and at first he wasn’t sure of it. Within a week he was pulling himself up on it, and now he regularly walks with it. He is also standing himself up and standing unassisted for 5+ seconds at a time. His reach is getting longer, which means I can no longer work on my laptop on the couch, because he wants to play with it, too!
Bean's newest game is pulling everything down if it's up, and out if it's in. That includes, but is not limited to, the coffee table, the couch, the bed, his toy box, and laundry baskets (clean or dirty). Our house is the constant state of Tornado Bean Disaster now!
No words yet, but his vocabulary has expanded to saying, "Mmmmmmm" any time he wants something. And he's the Master of Raspberries now.
We all came down with a stomach bug, nasty thing. First, Bean got it, and since it was 24 hours after his shots, I thought it was a reaction to them. Until Bear, who rarely gets sick, got it a few days later. I was about 12 hours behind Bear. Ugh. It was pitiful, the two of us curled up on the couch watching Bean (who felt fine at that point) playing on the floor, trying to figure out who was able to move enough to change the next diaper. Haha! We all made it through, though, and no worse for wear.
I have been expanding my shop to include baby summer shoes and drool/suck pads for baby carriers! I’ve also been catching up on orders for these and other items, leaving me little time to stay up with the blog. I missed last month’s home decorating project, but I have several swirling around my crazy brain, and plan to do two this month to catch up.
I managed to finally finish “The Giver” quartet. I’ve been a huge fan of dystopian books since I read “Fahrenheit 451” in high school. I think the series is one of my favorites, now.
Bear has been working, working, working. We love having him home, though, and I love watching him play with Bean and marvel alongside me how quickly he is growing. Bear has also become obsessed with finding us a new family vehicle. Right now, he’s driving his well-loved truck to work, and we have a little neon for the 3 of us. He spends hours researching all of the different SUV’s and crossovers (he wants something that can haul a motorcycle trailer), and stops at a car lot at least every 2-3 days to check out what they have. If you have any suggestions on a good family vehicle that can last a growing family, please tell me in the comments! I’d love to know what has (or hasn’t) worked for you.
Boy, these past several months have gone by in a whirlwind! I have had a few photography sessions, and I need to catch up on sharing them!
I'm so excited to have had the chance to capture a few more precious moments of Sam still in-tummy before winter hit us hard. It was still super cold, though, and Kimberly was a total trooper during our outside portion of this shoot. Thank you for trusting me with these images, Kimberly <3
Maternity Sash by Bre's Baubles Bowtique
Mama Bear of one Baby Bear, Bean, who both love Papa Bear, and live in a crafty, gluten-free cozy den.