Sunday, July 29, 2012

Relaxing Sunday

Aaron is busy working this beautiful Sunday afternoon, so I am relaxing on the couch, making my baby girl some onesies! :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Life Is Good

A year ago I decided to stop judging my happiness by other's lives, and now I am the happiest I have ever been in my entire life.

It is such a good feeling.

Do what you want. Be who you want. And surround yourself with people who 'get that'.

What a wonderful world.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Headbands of Hope

Everyday I spent a little time catching up on my favorite blogs in Google Reader and today I came across an amazing story shared by Caitlin Boyle of Healthy Tipping Point (my favorite blog).


Headbands of Hope is an AMAZING organization started by college student Jessica Ekstrom. After participating in a summer internship at the Make A Wish Foundation she was inspired to start Headbands of Hope, a business that sells adorable and moderately priced headbands in which each purchase sends another headband to a little girl battling cancer, as well as donates money to further the progress in cancer research. You can read the full story on her website.

Polka DazzleBlack Rose
Sunny DaysOcean Blue

So pop on over to Headbands of Hope and order a headband!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Staying Home With The Bean

In my prior life I was one of those women proudly preaching that I would NEVER want to be a stay-at-home-mom and that I couldn't see myself not working and not furthering my career. My previous career goals included finishing my degree, making a high salary, and finding myself among the elite of successful business women leading the changes in our society. Then I got pregnant, and everything changed. Pregnancy has a way of changing all your priorities.  My goals now couldn't be further from those I had before. While finishing my degree is still a top priority, I now strive for finding a more mom-friendly career that allows me time off with my family, and that dream of a high income has changed to finding a balance between how much we want compared to how much we really need to be comfortable and happy. Suddenly I have an urge to be home as much as possible, to make a job out of being a mom, and spend as much time with my little girl as possible. Right now, that just isn't in the cards for us and for now working is financially necessary.

Because I won't be staying at home I will be cherishing every second of maternity leave I am taking. I am very lucky to have a job and boss that are so supportive of family life and spending time with a newborn. Laura Lynn is due November 8th, and I plan on working until she graces her with our presence and returning to work on January 2nd, almost a full 8 weeks together. I am looking forward to having Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years at home with my new little family and enjoying my time off during all the holiday festivities. While 8 weeks seems like such a short period of time, I know many women cannot afford more than a week or two before they have to return to work.

It makes me wonder how much our children really need with us. I am sure every extra moment spent with mom or dad is beneficial. We nurture more, we are more invested, and we are more likely to give individual attention to our own child than a daycare employee would who is struggling to care for multiple children. Aaron and I are fortunate enough that we will not be putting LL in any kind of daycare setting. It is important to us to give her as much of our attention as possible, so for awhile we will be splitting shifts with her. While it means less time together, we are willing to sacrifice to ensure our daughter is getting as much love and care as she can possibly receive.

Maternity care around the world is completely different than the standards of leave the US has set. Women are still consistently paid less than men in most jobs, but ironically the US is one of the least mom-friendly countries in the world. Breast-feeding is still very controversial, there are no exceptions made for working moms, and determining the amount of leave you will take with your newborn is completely at the financial responsibility of the parents. Many women go on maternity leave without the security that they will even have jobs when they return. Luckily the US has implemented the Family Medical Leave Act which entitles women to at least 12 weeks of maternity leave while securing their jobs, but this time is completely unpaid, and companies with a smaller numbers of employees are exempt from FMLA altogether. It's obvious the US doesn't see motherhood as a priority, and our country is one of the few who think this way.

This graphic shows the amount of weeks each county around the world has mandated for maternity leave. These are paid weeks off, and in many of the countries these weeks can be split between both the mother and father so that it is not ultimately up to mom to stay at home if she wishes to return to work. It's ironic that the US is one of the top industrialized countries, but ranks one of the lowest for maternal care. Check out Canada, a whole 50 weeks! I could kill for 50 weeks at home watching my little one grow. I had a difficult time leaving our dog Lucy at home for the first time as a puppy. so I cannot even imagine how difficult my first day back at work will be away from my child.

And this article doesn't even touch on how difficult it is for most women to work while pregnant. Many spend weeks dodging back and forth to the bathroom from morning sickness, and having to arrange time to go to doctor's appointments all while feeling they are under an eye of discrimination for inconveincing everyone in the office. It's understandable why women are scared to tell their employer they are pregnant and be made to feel as if they are creating a hardship for the company. It doesn't get any easier when women return to work where they are now faced with managing time to pump at work if they breastfeed or face discrimination for having to go to their child's doctor appointments. I can't even imagine the added stress of doing all this as a single mom.

Long story short, when it comes time for another baby, I think we will be moving to Canada.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Come out swinging.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I scoured the internet for pregnancy blogs and couldn't wait to cast myself amongst the ranks of happy preggos with beautiful bump updates. Movies and tv shows joked about hormonal mamas crying over spilled milk, but no one ever seems to really talk about how seriously difficult it can be to deal with the chemical changes going on inside your body. At that moment I decided that while I still wanted to participate in preggo blog land, that I would be doing it from a different approach, and throw as much honesty in as possible. I promised myself I would talk about the ups, downs, and crazy twists and turns involved in this process. We all know about the joys of ultrasounds, cute baby bumps, and tiny flutters that turn into strong karate kicks, but not many people talk about the hard stuff, the emotional battle pregnancy drags you through.

Media has glamorozied pregnancy, and with infertility gaining more and more exposure it makes many mama's-to-be feel like we can't talk about how hard it really is to grow a life. All hormones and joking aside, I strive to be as honest as possible on this blog. Writing has always been cathartic for me, and even if another eye never fell upon these pages, it would still be worth every single keystroke that I type to get the healing from it. Sometimes I would rather have the thoughts on the page than the thoughts in my mind, and that is why I do this.

Today was a rough day for me. Call it a culmination of hormones, or the fact that I am mentally and physically exhausted, but today seemed like a breaking point for me emotionaly. I am tired. Tired of defending myself, tired of explaining my reasoning to deaf ears, tired of feeling like a doll in a box for others to peer and ponder over. Putting myself out there on this blog, on Facebook, and on any other social media site is like walking a tightrope. I love reading pregnancy and personal life blogs, and felt like sharing my story could help someone else like so many others have helped me, but with opening up to everyone, I open myself up for criticism and judgement, most of which is unsolicited. I have thin skin, like eggshell thin, but knowing this little life inside me needs me has made me stronger than ever. There is something about pregnancy that makes many people feel like they are entitled to tell you everything they think about your choices and while I am sure most of it comes from a place of love, I can't help but feel attacked, bullied, and defensive. Parenting itself opens you up for a world of judgement and there will always be someone who questions your decisions.

Planning a natural birth at a birth center has been a time bomb for me. While I felt like I was making the best possible decision for the health of my daughter, many people, have voiced concerns that accused me of being selfish and putting the safety of my daughter in jeapordy. I chalked most of it up to a difference of generation, or a lack of information, and hoped that through the explanation of my reasoning I would get some understanding, and maybe even support, but that didn't come. My decisions were made with well calculated thoughtfulness, extensive research and reading, and above all were done with the best interest of the health, happiness, and safety of my baby girl.

My biggest reasonings were as follows....

  • Women have been doing this for thousands of years.
  • Our bodies are designed for this.
  • I do not need pain medication to deliver my daughter.
  • The birth center is safe and fully equipped in an emergency.
  • In the event of a bigger emergency, transfer to a hospital is ready and close by.
  • I am healthy, low-risk, and mentally and physically prepared for this.

I can't tell you how many times I have recited those reasons when defending my choice, and most times these reasons are falling on deaf ears. I can't explain myself anymore. I have nothing left.

So now I am down to one reason...

  • This is my life and this is my child.

End of story.

I think the biggest problem I face is that many take my choice to have a natural birth as somehow telling them that I dissaprove of their choice to have had a medicated birth. I DO NOT CARE HOW YOU BIRTHED OR WILL BIRTH YOUR CHILD. So you shouldn't care how I birth mine.

I am no longer going to defend myself to people who will not listen. Stop telling me babies die at birthing centers, they die at hospitals too. Stop telling me that I can't handle the pain, I am strong and have been preparing for this for months. Stop telling me that I will never be able to do this. Just stop.

I can't handle anymore negativity during what it is supposed to be one of the happiest times of my life. It's not just my life anymore, and I have no reservations about cutting people out of my life that do not have the best of intentions for my daughter. I will stand by my family.

This whole process is making me stronger, and that is what LL needs, a strong, confident mama who does whatever is necessary for her. So from this point on, I am closing the window. Facebook is gone. The blog will remain because this space was created for Laura Lynn, so that one day, when she is a teenager and we are at each other's throats, she can see how much we have loved and cherished her from the first heartbeat.

Laura girl, mama has been in your corner from day one, and I won't ever stop fighting to do what is best for you.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Holy hormones.

Pregnancy has made me a crazy person, simple as that.

Let me just give you a recap....

Being that 50% of the time I feel like sleeping my life away, I spend less and less time making anyting decent out of my appearance. Occassionally when we go out I want to look nice. Achieveing this is when the mood strikes is crucial. Sunday Aaron wanted to go see a movie, and this just happened to be a 'get cute' kind of day. The movie started at 1:10pm and at 1:00pm I was still getting ready. Aaron starts hollering at me that I better hurry up or we are going to be late (20 minutes of previews dude, calm down). I decided to relinquish my hair and get dressed since being in my nightgown was an obvious reason of worry for him. Thanks to the baby, none of my jeans fit anymore without my belly band, and my belly band was missing in action. This was like a lightswitch that ultimately resulted in my crying on the bathroom floor and screaming "JUST GO WITHOUT ME" like the damn world was ending.

Drama queen, I am.

We ended up going, on time nonetheless, and I wore jeans in 95 degree Florida heat, sans belly band, with a LONG shirt covering my obviously unbuttoned and folded down jeans. Hot stuff I tell ya.

Let me also add that from the looks of it, I am never doing laundry again. Never. Just going to buy new clothes everyweek.

Oh but the crazy doesn't end there.

Yesterday driving home I tried calling Aaron, just to chat, like I usually do on my drive home, except he didn't answer. Where he works, he randomly goes into roaming in the afternoons, so sometimes the calls do not even come through on his end. So I called, and called, and called, and called, like a crazy ex-girlfriend who drives by your house at 3AM to see if you are home (not that I have any experience doing that). And each time it went to voicemail I could feel the fury building inside me. And my mind exploded with all the things that COULD be going on with me right now that would be very bad not being able to get ahold of him. I could be in labor (not likely), I could be sick, my car could have died, I could have wanted a cheeseburger (very likely)...any of the above are obviously emergencies and him not answering was a major issue.

It crossed my mind to stage some kind of emergency that would make him feel really bad about not getting my calls, but I then realized not only would that make me a crazy person, but it was one more thing preventing me from getting home and on my couch. When I finally spoke with him I was too irritated to even re-count all these scenarious so our conversation basically consisted of "Hey, what do you want to do for dinner?" Food is obviously top of my priorities these days.

But let's just throw in one more hormonal story for good measure, in case you aren't yet convinced that this baby has made me a raving lunatic...

Last night, hours after my one-sided melodramatic cellular drama, we decided to go to bed early. I was in one of those ' Hey let's talk about everything running through my head right now even though I know you are trying to sleep' kind of moods. I am the most irritating girlfriend in the world. Aaron was mid-snore when I decided to start conversation, once again about my uterus, and I guess he had had enough. In his 'I love you but I am losing my patience' voice he rolled over and said "Babe, I really wish you would just calm down and go to sleep". Usually I would just roll over and go to sleep, but with all the extra hormones, the appropriate response seemed to be to spring out of bed, grab my pillow, and trampse off into the living room like a four year old. He called out to me to come back in the bedroom, but that was so not happening.

I curled up on the couch and soon realized I was cold, so I walked over to the linen closet and all I could find was a soft bath robe (probably due to my inability to do laundry). The linen closet is next to our bedroom, so again he called out to me, and I persisted in my brattyness and got comfy again on the couch. Five minutes went by and I realized I hadn't taken my pre-natal vitamins, which were on the nightstand, so I walked back into the bedroom, took my pills, and walked back to the living room, all while ignoring his pleas to come back to bed. Another 10 minutes went by, and I realized my phone needed to be plugged in to charge, which is also next to the bed. I plugged in my phone, ignored pouty apologetic boyfriend, and returned to the couch. After a few more minutes I was running out of reasons to return to the bedroom without giving in. I decided to go back to my phone and 'double check' that my alarm was set. Genuis I tell you, genuis. Alarm set, boyfriend whining, and me back on the couch.

By this time he has pretty much given up on begging me to come back to bed and I have pretty much given up on getting him to get me to come back to bed. And the couch is uncomfortable. And the fan isn't on high enough. And my back hurts. And I am irritated and really just want to be cuddled. So.........I slink back into the bedroom, attempt to crawl back into bed silenty, and Aaron says "I hope you don't think after all that that you are sleeping in this bed". We both started laughing, and ended up curling up and falling asleep. I don't think I won that battle.

He is an incredible man for loving me and my brat self. I hope Laura Lynn is just as bad as her crazy mama.

I really feel like I should be wearing some kind of disclaimer.