Monday, September 29, 2008

The Winner is...........

Me of course -- because I got to bring baby home! LOL. Really some of you wanted me to have a big baby - 9 or 10 pounds, 23 inches? Wow!

Contest Winners
For the date - Lawyerchik
For Time - Cassandra
For Weight - tie between Perfect and Lynn
For Length - tie between Anonymous (Beauty maybe?) and Cassandra

So the overall winner is Cassandra! Yeah!

Tomorrow is husband's first day back at work and my first day home alone. MIL comes tomorrow evening. Wish me luck.

And now I hear the unmistakeable sound of a baby filling a diaper!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our Baby Boy is Here - birth story

Our Baby Boy is here!! I'll have to look at all the guesses to see who was closest. But for now I'll just cut and paste the email I sent out.

Tuesday I had a midwife appt and was pronounced 3 cm dilated at 3 days post-due date. The midwife said things were "favorable" and it could be any moment. I had some cramping that afternoon and did a lot of housecleaning. At 8 pm the contractions started but were sporadic. By 10pm they were 8 minuets apart and pretty regular. By midnight they were still regular. DH went to sleep but I was too excited. At 3 am, they were 5 minutes apart so we called the midwife. She told me to take a warm bath and tylenol and see if they remained steady. They progressed to 3 1/2 minutes apart in the bathtub and were pretty intense. At 6 we called the midwife and she said to come in.

We got DD up and drove to daycare to drop her off. The contractions were painful. At the hospital the midwife checked and I was just 4 cm. The contractions became less patterened too. My blood pressure was extremely high so they took blood. After awhile the midwife said I could (1) go home with pain meds and monitoring my blood pressure or (2) have my water broken and an induction (of sorts). I was NOT leaving at that point. At that point it had been 12 hours of labor and I was not progressing so I was very upset and tired.They broke my water and the contractions got more intense. My blood pressure stayed high.

About noon they wanted to do pitocin since contractions were still not regular. So I "gave in" (okay I begged ) for an epidural and got that and the pitocin. At that point, baby's heartrate dropped really low with each contraction and my blood pressure plummeted. So I got ephinephrin (sp?) and they had me turning every which way to get the heart rate steady. It was just with contractions so midwife thought it was a cord issue.I started pushing at 3:30. After about 2 pushes the midwife got a funny look on her face.

I was her 350th (ish) birth but the first face presentation she'd seen. Most babies come with the upper part of their head presenting - their head is tucked to their chest and the narrow top of their head slides through. Baby was facing the ceiling with his nose and lips coming out first. So his forehead was riding my pubic bone. Plus his heart rate was still dropping. The midwife talked C-section for a minute and called the doctor - who was a doctor I saw a lot with DD and loved. So Dr. came in and said she thought we could do it and it would be better to go vaginally - quicker. So they had me again push in LOTS of different positions. It hurt and I tore a bit (second degree) but he was born at 4:38 after 1 hour of pushing.

He is 19 3/4 inches; 6 lbs 11 oz. He was really bruised and swollen. I got to hold him briefly. Then they were having problems getting his breathing to slow down. His nose was bruised and swollen and since babies only breathe through noses, he was gasping. So they whisked him off to the NICU. DH went with him. I stayed to be stitched. My nurse was awesome. She sat down with me and held my hand and talked me through everything. Then she pushed for some favors so I could get in a wheelchair and go to NICU and nurse - even though NICU was closed to visitors for staff switch-over. As soon as I got there, they announced his x-ray was clear, test results were great. The bruising was staring to fade too.

Baby stayed in NICU that night. I had them buzz me every feeding. I nursed and we bottle supplemented with the little bit I could pump and formula. His respiration slowed and we got his blood sugars back up. He came out of NICU Thurs morning.We are home now. His swelling is almost all gone and he is beautiful. My milk is in and Daughter is being "overly" helpful but good. The in-laws were awesome - took great care of Daughter.

My sister and niece arrived last night. Today she took Daughter and niece out grocery shopping. Then she came and cleaned my house while I naped. Now Husband has the girls out at a festival and I'm sleeping!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Contest of Sorts

Okay - here's the deal. I'm still pregnant and not showing any signs of progressing any time soon. Tomorrow (Tuesday) is my next midwife appt. Then if no progress by Friday, I'll have an ultrasound/non-stress test and talk induction dates.

So let's try to have some fun. In the comment section, post your guesses for the following -

Date of Arrival
Time of Arrival (pick a one hour block)

Just so you have some basic info - my daughter came 11 days late. She came after an induction. She was 8 lbs, 22 inches. She came around 6 am in the morning on a Wednesday.

I'll award 5 points to the winner of each category. If there is a tie, then the person posting their guess first wins.

Be sure to post your email (if it doesn't link to your comment automatically. I'll come up with a prize for the winner to post on their blog.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Strangers and Bad Guys"

(no pregnancy news - he's still content in my belly)

On Friday evening we headed out to the mall and a bookstore. Daughter is a friendly type - always saying hi and waving to people. She talks to every store clerk and anyone that says Hi to her. Before five minutes are up, they know her full name (first, middle and last), that I have a baby in my stomach (just in case they missed the huge belly) and that he is a boy.

I love her infectious, happy attitude. When we went to the baby store Friday, one clerk remembered her from our last trip. She remarked to me just how happy Daughter is and how it made her evening to see a happy child. She told us "see you later" and Daughter said, "Yep see you next trip."

I don't want to curtail my daughter's enthusiasm. However, I am cognizant that she is giving away quite a bit of information. In the amount of time it takes me to pay, she has given someone her name, address, phone number, my name, Husband's name and our dog's name. They know we are having a baby boy and what his name will be.

Friday night at the mall we passed a bookstore. Husband wanted to browse the magazines. So I took Daughter to the childrens' section and we read the Berenstain Bears book about strangers. We talked about the book and about our Rules --- Do not talk to Strangers, Do not take things from Strangers, Do not go anywhere with Strangers. Then we talked about who were Strangers. For instance, check out clerks are fine to talk with if a grown-up is with you. The book also had a section in the back about other rules - rules about private areas and bad touch/good touch. So we touched on that issue too. I kept that conversation pretty brief - we've had that talk before and I didn't want to overwhelm her. (for a good blog post on this subject and a book recommendation see Perfect's post here - I just ordered it).

We had an opportunity yesterday to practice our Rules. I took Daughter grocery shopping. She was sitting in the cart. As I turned to the side to pick up some fruit, I heard an elderly gentleman talk to my daughter. She chatted back. He handed her a quarter and told her to save it for a rainy day. I told Daughter to say Thank You. Then we talked about why it was okay for her to take it (because I was there and said she could). That if it had been food, how we would not have eaten it. We talked about what she would have done if he had asked her to walk down the next aisle to get a treat (yell "NO" and "You are not my Mommy" and run to find me).

I'm saddened that I have to restrict Daughter's gregarious outgoing personality even a little. But I do feel better having had this conversation. I'm also glad to see that her daycare is teaching her fire prevention, how to call 911, address and phone numbers, and other valuable information. By making these conversations fairly routine and not overwhelming she is learning a lot.

This morning, Daughter came into our bedroom and crawled in for morning snuggles (my favorite time of the day). Out of the blue she asked, "When is Grandma's husband coming to visit?" I'm not at all sure where this came from. I took a deep breath and told her that we didn't let him visit. She asked "why" and I reminded her of the Stranger book we had read. I explained that he was a "bad guy" and that he had "done bad things." I told her that it was Mommy and Daddy's job to keep her safe from bad people and that we were not going to let him around her. So he would not be visiting. But Grandma could visit and would come after the baby got here.

She didn't have any more questions. At some point she'll ask more, I'm sure. My sister's children (2 - 5 years older) are at the "inappropriate with children" stage. Her oldest has equated that phrase with "like Michael Jackson" - not exactly sure where he got that from, but I suspect it is from school friends.

My mother will be visiting soon - after the baby gets here. I'm curious whether or not Daughter will bring up the "bad guy" Mom is married too. It will sure be interesting.

I can tell I've grown. The conversations with my Daughter made me a bit uneasy - but I suspect that is "normal." They did not, however, send me into a state of panic. I'm not overly anxious about anything my Daughter raises with my mother. I refuse to get embarrassed or ashamed of anything I told Daughter. I refuse to let my mother discount things either. Let her turn red and fumble for words - I will not.

Another piece of evidence about progress - my mother called about an hour after this conversation with my Daughter. I knew she was calling for a "baby update." I didn't want to talk to her. I don't need her lectures about how "you just need to be patient" and "the baby will come when he is ready" and "be sure to call me" and "I am sure the doctor's know what they are doing.....but...." So when the phone rang and I just knew it was her, I told Husband that I was unavailable. He told her I was in the shower and gave her the "status quo" update. Best evidence of progress - I didn't even feel guilty!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Due Date ------ but I'm due with a procrastinator

My son is going to be just like his Daddy.

Me - I'm always "on time" which to me, means being at least 5 minutes early. Preferably 10. The clock in my car is set 10 minutes fast. Every Sunday I am sitting in the car, threatening to leave my Husband behind because we are going to be "late" for church. We get there way before anyone else and he says, "see, we're not late." I always say "nope, just on time."

Husband - believes that 10 minutes late is "on time." He could get out the door more quickly if he didn't have to double and triple check every plug, appliance and door. He's quite compulsive about shutting things off and locking doors. I have finally convinced him that not everything has to be unplugged. For example, I am now "allowed" to leave my coffeepot plugged in (it has the clock built-in) and the computer. Except when we are gone overnight - then it gets unplugged. He used to unplug the TVs when we were gone overnight, but after I refused to re-program his favorite cable channels last time, he stopped doing that.

Daughter - a good mix. If it is something she wants to do, she is at the door, or out in the car blowing the horn, saying "Giddy-yup, let's go already." If it is something she doesn't want to do, she's screaming in her room, head under covers, "I no want to go." All while we count outside, "1, 2, 3."

Baby - today is his due date. So he's not technically late yet. My husband says to give him time. But in my mind, he's approaching late. Because after all, if I don't go into labor REAL soon, he'll not arrive today.

In the meantime - we're going to the library to let Daughter run around the children's section and play games on their computer. Then to the Science Center (Husband's company has a corporate membership so it's free to us - yeah). They have a new exhibit and the aquarium touch tank has some new sharks. After that it is lunch and a nap. Not sure what we'll do this afternoon. Maybe some laundry. Tonight is a couples' event at our Church - $12 for two steak dinners AND babysitting. Yippee! Daughter is convinced it's a "party" just for her - since she'll get to hang out with all her church friends. Husband and I get some grown-up time, a good meal that we don't have to cook or clean-up, and a good speaker and comedian. Can't beat that. I've already paid for it. If I'm in labor, it will be the best $12 I ever lost. If not, then I'll be ready for some distractions.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Full of Energy today

We all went for a walk last night. Tallie is ready to go again. Here she is looking across the room and out the window. I opened the windows today to enjoy the breeze and sunshine. She is going crazy watching the cats and squirrels on the line.

The walk was nice - about 1 1/2 miles. We were hoping to spur on labor but it didn't happen. But I did sleep well and have energy today. So tonight would be a good day to go into labor.

Lest I waste any energy, I'm off to chase the dust bunnies, which thanks to the open windows, are dancing across my floor.

Still here........

I'm still here. TMI alert - proceed at own risk.

I lost my mucous plug yesterday. Lots of contractions but didn't get into a regular pattern. And I am having some back pain too - although that could be because I slept partly with my restless Daughter and partly on the couch. So we'll see...... In the meantime I decided to skip going into the office and just stay home.

Marj is back and looking for help and submissions for the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse. See here for details and to participate.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Self-Injury - No more Cutting

WAS - I love that verb tense.

Today marks my one year anniversary of being SI free. I last cut on September 16, 2007. It wasn't easy stopping. There were bumps along the road. It took 47 days to throw away all my "tools." That was the real turning point. That is when I realized that ~I~ was in control and not my self-injury.

I've had temptations. On one occasion I know I would have cut if I'd have had a razor blade in the house (other than a disposable one which I tried unsuccessfully to take apart). Another day I tried - but the paint scraper razor blade was too dull.

I do have safety pins in my house now. That came about 1 month ago when I purchased some used baby clothes at a consignment sale and the sales price was safety pinned to the garment. I thought about whether it was safe to keep those in the house and decided it was okay.

I think the turning point came when I realized that the only thing I was doing was inflicting more harm and hurt on myself, rather than helping myself heal. SI worked in the moment, but long-term it just made the pain worse. Instead of moving forward I was pulling myself backward.
I will probably always struggle with urges but I hope that they will fade with time. For today though, I'm celebrating.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The End is in Sight

Still here. Had a midwife appt today. I am 3 cm dilated and the MW offered to "stir things up." I accepted her offer and she stripped my membranes. OUCH! She said it could cause cramping/contractions. Sure is. We'll know in 72 hours if it works. With my Daughter it worked pretty quick. Right now I'm just horribly sore. It was a bit triggering having it done - but my husband was there so I focused on him.

I tried to go back to work to get one thing done. But after trying to sit for 5 minutes, I came on home to get off my feet. Princess Tallie is ecstatic because it is raining again and she is warm and snug inside. Shhhh don't tell my Daughter, but Tallie enjoys sleeping on Daughter's princess bed and pillows.

So the end is in sight. If no baby by Tuesday, I have another appt. Then if still no baby by next Friday (26th) I go in for a non-stress test and ultrasound. We'll then decide an induction date. Ideally I'd like to go into labor naturally and NOW. But at least the end is in sight.

I've got a counseling appt today. I contemplated cancelling because I'm not feeling much like walking or sitting today. But I decided to keep it (1) because it is really late in the day to cancel and (2) I really want to get some reassurance/helpful advice on coping with triggers during labor and delivery. I'm also feeling a bit "needy" and T is great about giving me reassurance and support.

When I came home, I noticed my mother was on IM. I've not IM-ed with her in months and months. I've not talked to her in 2 weeks (I think), although I've emailed her a few updates. I was feeling needy and wanting a mother-figure. Should have stopped there. But I IM-ed her just to check in and it went as I should have expected. Mom doesn't do well with pain or medical issues. It doesn't help, I'm sure, that she is up to her eyeballs in Toilet's recent surgery (pacemaker/defibrillator installed recently) and the fact that he is an "invalid" (totally nursing things). She asked what stripping membranes entailed (see here if you want to know). Said "well I've never heard of it before, but I guess they know what they are doing." I explained the process and remarked "OUCH" - but I said that it had worked to get things going with Daughter so I was optimistic. She made the comment that "baby will come when he's ready" and "you just need to be patient" and "I'm surprised you let them do that if you knew it would hurt." Thanks Mom - what I really want is positive encouragement. Then we had the conversation where she is anxious for us to call and had to give me repeated, detailed instructions about reaching her. Because I can't just leave a message. She wants to call back, and if she doesn't reach me, I'm to keep calling - blah blah. Sure mom. My REAL plan is to try her once. If I get her fine - if not, then my sister will update her. I'll be quite too busy to keep playing phone tag.
So that's all the news from this front. I did (finally) sleep well last night. So I'm well-rested and anxious to meet this baby soon. But in any event, I have an end date in sight!

Monday, September 15, 2008

At least Someone is Enjoying this

This is Tallie. Doesn't she look thrilled to have her picture taken? Don't let her fool you. She's in doggy heaven.

Normally Tallie spends her day in the fenced in back yard. She hangs out, sleeps in the dirt, unless it rains and then she might wander into her dog house. She is put outside when we leave in the AM and let back in when we return home. Now I consider a dog with a huge, fenced-in yard and nice dog house, pretty lucky. Tallie begs to differ though. She thinks she deserves more.

A few weeks ago I started coming home for longer lunches. Tallie was excited to come in for a break from the heat. She'd often try to hide in the other room so that somedays I would "forget" to put her back outside and she'd spend the afternoon inside.

Now, however, she is truly in heaven. First, I'm not sleeping at all. I've plopped on the couch for the past several nights, so that my Husband at least get some sleep. Tallie gets her choice of sleeping in the bed with my Husband or on the couch with me. Most days I can fall asleep about 4 am. So I tend to ignore the alarm clock in the mornings and just go into the office whenever I get up. Tallie enjoys the extra time to sleep in most mornings.

Today I put Tallie outside for about 2 hours while I ran into the office. Then I was home again for lunch and to work from home. Tallie came in immediately. She 'helped' clean up the rice I spilled on the floor. Then she gladly ate the mushrooms from my Japanese food (I don't like those) and finished the portion I couldn't eat. So helpful, she is.

Now she is asleep on the chair in the living room. Oops - my taking her picture woke her up. After some stretching she has relocated to the bedroom.

It must be nice to be able to eat without heartburn, sleep sprawled out on one's belly, and roll over with ease. At least Tallie is enjoying this waiting game. Doesn't she look happy? I think I'm going to follow her example and take a nap.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cuteness Abounds

I have to share some cute stories. We're sticking pretty close to home these days so there has been much more time to lay around, bond and do family things.

- My preschooler is convinced that she can blow a kiss into her hand, slap it up against my mouth and that I can "eat" it. Thus, she gets to kiss the baby.

- She wanted to go pick the tomatos out of the garden - all by herself. I perched on the carport where I could watch from what was determined to be an "acceptable" distance away. I saw as she picked one that was not quite ripe. She looked at it, pronounced it "not done enough" and perched it back in the "V" of a vine so it could grow some more!

- The other night my husband took Daughter and the dog to the park. We live on a dead end street. At the end is a path that is part paved and part dirt. It goes down hill and then leads to a set of railway ties that operate as a staircase down to a park which holds 4 playgrounds, a boardwalk and a duck pond. Heaven on earth for little kids. On their way back, Husband says Daughter and dog ran ahead. He noticed that she just FROZE. He ran up and found a baby copperhead striking at her feet. He scooped her out of the way and looked for a stick. Daughter handed him one and WHACK - he killed it with one blow. We checked her all over and no bite marks. Later Husband mentioned it to a park ranger and the ranger said that baby snakes have just as much venom and it would have been extremely bad if she had gotten bit. Good thing I wasn't there. I would have freaked.....then again, it might have spurred on labor.

- Yesterday I took Daughter to a birthday party. It was outside. Our weather here in September can be uncertain. Some years it is fall - other years still summer. Right now it's summer. Highs in the 90s and HOT and HUMID. All the kids got in the pool. I sat in the shade (still hot) for 4 hours. Came home at 7:30 and I was done. So was my daughter - she was just exhausted. I helped her get a bath and ready for bed and told her I might just go to bed too. She announced that I looked like I needed snuggles. So she climbed into my bed and said she would sleep there and keep me company until Daddy came to bed. I fell asleep with her curled up against my back whispering, "I love you Mommy." Ahh the perfect end to a day.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ouch - Pain and Triggers - Be Gone with You

Ouch! I went to work this morning for a meeting which finished around lunch. I had been a bit crampy and just not feeling great. As I drove to pick up a salad, the pain got pretty intense. Instead of going back to the office, I decided to come on home. I ate and laid down and things intensified. I wasn't sure if it was a UTI or labor pains.

Back story - My daughter was born in an ice storm. My husband and I finally got out and to the doctor. They sent me on to the hospital for fear of us getting iced in when the roads re-froze - I was overdue by 10 days then. I was having contractions when I arrived - I hadn't known. I was given cervadil (for dilation) and an IV so that I would sleep through the night. Had a bad reaction to that. They then broke my water, things progressed quickly. I had an epidural and things progressed really fast after that. I never had any pre-labor signs. Very few Braxton Hicks. Never anything intense. And given the IV drugs followed by the epidural, I gratefully don't remember much of the beginning stages of labor.

So all that to say that I have no idea what pre-labor feels like - or what to expect. After a lunch filled with 20 trips to the bathroom, continued looks to make sure there wasn't a baby on it's way out (the pressure was that intense) and intense cramps, I called the Midwife. I was convinced it was a UTI. And since it's Friday I knew that if I waited, I'd definitely end up with a UTI over the weekend when there are no office hours.

My thought was that I could just run over and have a urine culture run. But the midwife was in and free and so we chatted. Culture is clear of any signs of a UTI. She decided to check and I'm more dilated. Baby's heart rate is good. He is sitting lower - I've lost more weight and am measuring lower. He is sitting entirely on my left side - the right side of my stomach is virtually flat. So he's directly on my bladder. Midwife said this is a good sign, but cautioned that it could be hours, days or weeks.

I picked up my daughter and met Husband at home. We all went to eat and then to a few stores. I was miserable by the end, but hoped the walking would spur things along. I came home and crawled into the bathtub. That helped some with the pain.

I can handle the cramping. I can handle contractions. I can handle frequent bathroom trips. I can handle stomach tightening. I can handle back spasms. I can handle indigestion type pain. I can handle the nausea. I can NOT handle the knife-like, stabbing pains between my legs.

Ouch. Not only do they hurt, but they trigger. Cause flashbacks of prior causes of similar pain. I was beginning to panic sitting there in the bathtub. I was getting very panicky and alternating between upset and mad.

NO - NO WAY. You will not take this from me. You will not enter into this picture at all. I do not want you associated with my birth process or my wonderful son at all. OUT - be GONE.

I remembered the moments after my daughter was born. The excitement and joy. The first prayer my Husband and I had with her. All the joy. I brought those images to mind - concentrated on them. With the next stabbing pain, I concentrated on those images. Associated those images with the pain - replacing the images from the past. This pain is not going to have a bad ending. It will result in good. It will have a purpose - a purpose in bringing joy to my life.

I am determined that my past will NOT enter into this labor process. I WILL NOT LET IT! I am stubborn - hear me you memories, mind, flashbacks, anxiety, panic - you will NOT WIN.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Makeover, of sorts

With ten days until my due date and no sign of impending labor yet, I've had a lot of time for reflection. My blood pressure is a bit high so I'm supposed to take it easy. I've cancelled all my court appearances and am seeing limited clients. I come in late, take long lunches, and leave early. Today I strolled in about 8:30 am, after a run to Starbucks. Those holiday pumpkin lattes are YUMMY! I left for lunch at noon, went home and ate, then napped on the couch. It was a good nap too - until the thunder shook the house and woke me up with a start. Now I'm back at the office for about 2 hours before going to pick up my daughter and head to Church.

With all my free time to think, I've reflected a lot about the road I've travelled over the past four years. My first pregnancy was a dream come true. I had no complications. I felt really good, even up until the end. I had no trouble keeping up with my work even when I was overdue. I continued to go to the gym and take an aerobics class, up through the week past my due date. I gained well over 60 pounds but didn't stress about it. I had no fears of having a panic attack during labor. I didn't worry about having a male doctor. I was on top of things and good to go.

This time has been different. A more complicated pregnancy. No working out at all. I'm in the worst shape of my life. I'm stressing over the 35 pounds I've gained (although with the extra weight I started with, I'm the heaviest I've ever been in my life). I worry about anxiety attacks during labor. I'm exhausted too.

However, despite things being tough, I'm handling them pretty good. I am allowing myself to cut back at work, and even doing so without feeling guilty. I asked for a continuance from a court appearance without feeling the need to invent some excuse. I just told them I was not up to coming. And not one person said anything negative. My numbers at work are actually really good. My house is a mess and I don't care. There are several things on my "to do" list that will not get done, and I'm okay with that. I have no idea of the plan for after baby gets here as far as my in-laws and people helping, but I'm okay with that too.

I don't know where my former-uptight-can't relax-self went, but she can stay gone. I'm kind of liking this new creation.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Monday Monday

Yep still here. Yep still pregnant. Yep still pretty miserable.

I did, however have a GREAT baby shower. And got the best present ever - a gift certificate for 4 free hours of housecleaning by a maid service. Ahh......

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I'm Still Here - but revised

I've been told that if I don't post every few days, readers will assume I have given birth. So let me put that rumor aside - I'm still here and still pregnant. In fact here's a picture from this past Sunday.

(don't I have a beautiful smile ? - ha ha)

So what is the revision (see title)? My braces are G..O..N..E !!!! Yeah. After TMJ appliances, then jaw surgery (screws, wires and plastic appliances) and then braces, I am free. It feels so weird. I do have a clear plastic, snap on my upper teeth, retainer to wear. I will get a clear bottom retainer on Monday. I wear them all the time for 4 months. Then just at night. Woo - hee!

I think this baby has dropped some. I can't tell much by looking, but I can breathe again and he is kicking lower. I'm also waddling terribly and find it very difficult to get in and out of my car and up and down out of chairs. Rolling over in bed is virtually impossible too. So maybe soon.....

We had our sibling tour of the hospital and my daughter LOVED it. She is so ready to be a big sister. Every day she wants to know when her baby brother is coming.

Husband had a nasty eye stye - he almost died. Well..not really, but being a man (sorry to my male readers) he thought he was going to die. Three days of listening to him moan about his poor eye was more than comparable to all my whining throughout 9 months of pregnancy! After his work buddies told him to go to the doctor, he went (forget that I told him earlier to go) and got some antibiotics. Now he's freaking out because if the meds don't work he has to go to the eye doctor and have it cut off. Please, please let these meds work - I can't possibly survive him having to undergo "surgery."

I talked with my Mom on Saturday. I actually called her. Not sure why - just felt like it. First time I've called her in months. She said, "I'm going to have a big ordeal here this week.....maybe Sister has told you." I remarked that I knew about "his" surgery (pacemaker and defibrillator). So she told me the basic schedule and that she hoped I wouldn't go into labor this week. She said if she didn't answer her cell phone, that was why. Then today I got an email - "Everything went well. Love and hugs, Mom" Gee thanks Mom - I really didn't care. I didn't go so far as to wish death on him, but I wasn't sitting her on pins and needles waiting either. Nice of her to email me that note, since she's not responded to any of my other email updates (insert eye roll). But, my reaction was quite healthy, I think. I rolled my eyes and just chalked it up to typical mom and went on with my day.

I'm in a state of calmness. Quite odd. Haven't figured out if I'm disconnected, disassociated or just really calm. (or maybe my Husband got sick of my pregnancy hormones and has been slipping xanax into my coffee). I remember feeling very serene prior to my Daughter's birth. We had a huge snow/ice storm and I was just as calm as a cucumber. Things that normally would have bothered me the past few days have really not -- disgruntled clients; Husband doing same behavior he's promised not to do; daughter throwing a fit in public; getting braces off.

I actually got to practice some of my lamaze and relaxation breathing while they took my braces off. And lo and behold my mind was on the physical pain of what they were doing - and not freaking out because I was bent backwards with my head practically in the orthodontist's lap. Now there's a switch for me!

Tomorrow is a baby shower for me at work. Then Husband is taking Daughter to an outdoor festival on Saturday while I grocery shop and cook. I'm going to bake a bunch of pasta type dishes and freeze some. We are having friends over for dinner Saturday. They are the ones that are "on call" to take Daughter until the in-laws can get up here. DH and I made a "trade" - I'll cook for the dinner and he'll clean the house. Lucky for me I like cooking. Lucky for him, we super-cleaned the house last week!

Off for my nightly tossing and turning until at 3 am I can no longer take it and waddle out to the couch to sleep sitting up, ritual.

Monday, September 1, 2008

My Emotions - Mine, All Mine

Beauty, Austin and Mrs. DM all wrote recent posts on emotions. This is a subject I struggle with still, and have for many years.

Mrs. DM (Heart to Heart blog) summed it up in stating the 3 rules in an alcoholic family - "Don't Talk; Don't Feel; Don't Trust." She said, "These are emotional reactions that eventually become baggage in adulthood." My father was an alcoholic. Toilet and my mom drank too much too. I learned the same rules. Especially the Don't Talk and Don't Feel rules. And they have become baggage - heavy baggage - in adulthood.

Beauty (Beautiful Dreamer blog) said, "I clearly remember vowing to not give him the satisfaction of seeing me cry. It was a point of honor. In a sense he'd already won the sick little game he was playing, but for me to cry or show the slightest emotion would have been an even bigger win for him. I knew intuitively that he'd taken from me everything that he could, ransacked me body and soul. But this one thing, this eliciting of emotion, was something I would hang onto for dear life. He wasn't getting that, no way no how. By giving him the satisfaction of seeing an expression of fear or shame or disgust, well that would be the same as just handing my self over to him. I still had a self, sort of. Something stubborn rose up within me every time he shut me in that room, every time he smirked at me to be sure I knew (as if I didn't!) what I was in store for.
I wouldn't let him see me cry. That was it. That was what I clung to every time. My only form of dignity in a situation too overwhelming for any kid.......
Thus a habit was formed. I go through my days barely responding (on the outside) to things which have others in a total uproar. Like Austin, I don't want to do emotion on command, I don't want to be owned again.....I won't be owned again, and if lack of emotional expression is the price I pay for my freedom, it's well worth it."

Austin (People Behind my Eyes blog) said, "And I refuse to give emotion on command for fear of ever being owned again.” Austin writes about worrying about how people react if she doesn't cry -- does she appear cold? Her response is to "talk around it." Beauty says, "As far back as I can remember I've felt shamed for not having the kind of emotional responses to situations which I see in others. My lack of spontaneous expression has caused me great anguish, begging the question, Am I emotionally frozen, maybe even dead inside?"

Mrs. DM said that through counseling, she is learning to "replace the unwritten rules and to come out of emotional numbness. I am learning to identify and experience my feelings."

I'm living on the fence. Some days I retreat into safety, the frozen numbness. Other times, I try to identify and experience my emotions. Pregnancy has helped - not only am I off my medications, but the hormones make me less able to keep my emotions in check. I find myself exhausted from trying to keep my emotions inside, so I burst out crying and release the tension - still in private, though. Me -let someone else see my emotions? Nope, not me.

Like Austin said, emotions = control. Letting someone see that they have made you mad, upset, sad - it gives them power over you. And I refuse to let anyone have power over me. In my childhood, emotions were used to manipulate. Emotions were questioned. I was told, "You shouldn't feel that way." Toilet would watch for emotional reactions closely and then use them against us. He delighted in making us lose our temper and/or cry. Then we were teased.

My mom used emotions to manipulate. Gave us a sob story, convinced us to pity her, said she was "sorry."

Right now, the subject of emotions is strongly tied up in my thoughts of confrontation. For many years I've felt the need to write a letter to Toilet (not one I'd actually send). I wrote one to Mom a few years ago and actually read it to her. I was very open and honest. I told her about the effect the abuse had on me - what it made me FEEL. That was so difficult. I felt like I handed over all my power. The thought of her sharing my feelings with her husband made me nauseous.

People talk about "forgiveness" - I don't like that word. I do like the concept of "letting go" and prefer to think of it that way. I know that I need to release the emotions in order to "let go" and move on. But I still get stuck - the inability to see releasing emotions as different than handing over control. Even though I know I'd not send the letter, the thought of writing to him and telling him how I FEEL - blech.

Maybe someday I'll figure out how to release emotions without releasing control. For right now, I'm just trying to be careful about who I express emotions too and in what situations.