Motherhood and friends

One of the most difficult things I’ve found since becoming a mom is having/maintaining friendships. When I first became a mom the majority of my friends without kids drifted away. I got closer with one of my friends who already had kids and had a new appreciation for the veteran mom friends and relatives I had (mom, mother in law, moms of my friends and relatives etc; also my mom’s mom-friends).  For a good while I didn’t really miss my friends. I was finding my way in my new mom world and spend a lot of time with family. 

When my son was about a year and half I went full time at my job and put him in a home based daycare. I was very hesitant at making mom friends, I didn’t have a lot of close girl friends to start with and finding good friends is difficult enough especially when you’re forced into friends because your kids are friends. Luckily the moms of the friends my son made turned out to be some of the most entertaining and warm women I’ve met. 

In addition to this change, my department at work grew in the next year from 3 to 7. In this process I gained 3 more fellow mom friends. They have proved invaluable during this second pregnancy. I’ve noticed more so in this pregnancy that I’ve become very nostalgic for my youth. I’m not very old by any means but I miss the times when I was free to go and do as I please and my monthly bills only totaled $300. It wasn’t that I had more friends or even really got together with people more often, but I could. It was much easier to do anything. I find myself missing the people I’d hung out with during that time. 

This is exacerbated my watching one of my oldest friends go have adventures and travel narrating his life on Snapchat. Granted, I know that he would love to be married and have kids. So would my cousin. What these two have in common is the pursuit of their dreams/careers. I’m not really doing that, but I also didn’t clear vision for a career. I wanted to be a get married and have kids. Which is exactly what I’m doing. They always say the grass is always greener on the other side.

It isn’t that the grass is greener, it’s that is seems lonelier. I want to be in on the adventures, the trips to the juice bar, the concerts, I want to be VIP. We haven’t been friends for 15 years for people to not know I’m important. I want to be in, I want to still be considered cool even though I spend a large majority of my time wiping tiny butts, doing the dishes and looking in general like a slob.

There was a time I would plan for a week how I would get ready for an event which would end up be an all out 4 hour process. But damn if I didn’t look fierce as hell. Now I’m lucky if I get an uninterrupted shower to shave my legs or 30 minutes without my son trying to play with all my makeup. I traded my heels for flip flops or vans, I also traded having on point makeup for an extra 30-40 minutes of sleep. 

I realized tonight as I played ball with my son that I traded being cool and going out to spend time playing barefoot in the backyard. Instead of dancing at concerts or a club I dance to the Charmers song when my son watches his show. I know he’s never going to be this age again and one day he won’t talk to me as much as he does now. While I absolutely chose my dreams and get a little nostalgic for the lives my friends live and the things that never were, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Even if it means I really won’t be considered cool anymore.

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Raising “The Founders” generation

All I knew for sure when I was younger was that I wanted to be a mom. I wanted to get married and have kids. By 24 I had done just that. Now that my son is a little older and I have another one on the way I’ve become more aware of the popular culture and environment surrounding raising kids these days.

My son isn’t quite school age yet which leaves me in the beautiful span of innocence and happiness. Unfortunately I know that school does loom ahead and will rapidly approach once I have two children in my care instead of just the one.

I often think about how I will react to things that my son will want to do or wear. The outdated example of a boy wanting to wear a dress or skirt or the color pink to school doesn’t warrant much thought given the absence of this trend. What I’ve stumbled upon recently is men and makeup or painting their nails.

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A dear friend of mine wears makeup when he performs at concerts. He also has long hair and takes a gender fluid approach to his clothing at times. He has a very loyal following on social media and a wide fan base. He’s more of a local celebrity and someone I might consider underground still. However to me, he’s a healthy example of being who you are, no matter what that looks like. This is what I want for my boys.

My husband, I don’t think, personally has an issue with this. I think his issue stems from having family that falls into the “Good ‘Ol Boys” school of thought. However my husband and his brother didn’t necessarily follow traditional life paths being that they got into computers and video games heavily while they had very academic or sports driven cousins. They both do well for themselves in their respective fields. My husband has built 3 computers since we’ve been together and he’s helped me and several of my friends select new laptops. My brother in law works for a reputable financial firm in IT. Neither have a college degree.

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With they way that people are making a living these days there’s nothing to say that my sons have to conform to traditional gendered interests. Just today I saw a video of a little boy who did his own makeup better than I can even do myself. My son has watched makeup tutorials with me and I later caught him putting flour on his face. I had to laugh and also take a video.

While women are fighting for equality I’m also seeing the other side of things where men are getting more into the things that women have traditionally done. Such as sewing clothing for themselves, getting into doing their makeup, wearing colors or articles of clothing marketed for women. I love seeing this. I don’t see why we can’t all be into these things. Men is makeup is well, very beautiful, gay or straight it doesn’t matter. I appreciate the gender fluidity that’s going around. Not everything needs to have a connotation attached to it. Just because a guy wears makeup doesn’t mean he’s gay, and even if he is, so what?

I don’t want my sons to feel emasculated for their interests. It’s my hope that whatever they take an interest in, they’ll feel supported no matter what. It may be a little soon to really be concerned with what their interests will be given that their ages are 3 and -3 months but I like to have  an open mind for later on.

Bleeding at 13 weeks pregnant

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My second pregnancy was planned unlike my first pregnancy. Everything was smooth sailing for 4 weeks until my oldest son caught a stomach bug which my husband and I both got. At that point I didn’t know if it was morning sickness or the flu. Once I got to the point where I could eat and figured out that I needed to eat regularly I felt much better. I even went so far as to say that I had much more energy than my last pregnancy. I was thinking maybe this will be a better pregnancy. I had resolved that I would workout and stay active. Life had other plans though.

Just about 13 weeks in I had a doctors appointment. It wasn’t a typical visit, my doctor got called into an emergency C -section and I was going to be seen by the nurse practitioner. No big deal, it’s happened before. Being that my appointment was closer to the end of the day it was something I expected for whatever reason. They had me in the ultrasound room so they had me lay down and did a quick scan to find the heartbeat lines. At this point I still hadn’t heard the heartbeat, which was really disappointing, I remember hearing it sooner with my first but that was roughly 3 years prior. Upon sitting up from the ultrasound I had some cramps and my back hurt. I thought I would possibly mention that to the NP when she came in. However, once she came in, I completely forgot about it. She asked if I had any questions and how things were going. I did have a bit of a cold coming on and checked about medications. Then my visit was over and I went to check out. By this time I could tell everyone was getting ready to go home.

I stood waiting to check out and schedule my next appointment. Reminded of my back pain and cramps I just chalked it up to my heavy purse that contained a huge jar of peanut butter. As I was walking to my car it felt like I was going to crap out a watermelon. I figured I just needed to go home and lay down. I texted my husband and told him I didn’t feel good and needed to rest so it wasn’t expected of me to do anything else once I got home.

On the way home my back still hurt and my abdominal cramps kept going. I was fearing the worst but hoping that it was just my uterus expanding since there was a baby in there. “I didn’t get this far to lose you at this point, hang in there little baby,” I said to my stomach. By the time I pulled into my garage the pain was gone. I felt perfectly fine.

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My son greeted me at the door into the house, I bent over as he requested me to help him unzip his jacket. I started to space out. “Is that… am I peeing? Do I have to pee?”  I was thinking. Then my leggings became noticeably wet. “Somethings happening, I have to go” I said shoving past my son and my husband. It felt like an extended amount of time had just passed in what was probably 2 minutes. I went up the 7 stairs to my bathroom and stood in front of the mirror. I felt my leggings and then saw the red stain on my fingers. “No, no no.”

I sat on the toilet and saw what seemed like a watermelon sized bright red stain on my brand new LuLaRoe leggings. I started sobbing. I had texted my mom telling her I had bled all over and asked her to pray. My husband knocked on the bathroom door and asked if I was ok. I answered him through my sobs. He opened the door I gave him my leggings and told him to put dawn soap on them and soak them in warm water to prevent staining. I tried calling my OB office hoping they had a nurse on call that could tell me what to do. Nope office closed, no nurse. Shit. I looked on Facebook hoping my friend who used to be an OB nurse was online. Nope. I then began to google. I literally had no other options.

Bleeding at 13 weeks pregnant.

Fortunately it was one of the very few times google answers gave me hope. The majority of the time it was not a threat of miscarriage. That was good news but I was still terrified. I figured out I needed to go the hospital, which I, in part, had figured since I’m Rh negative and would likely need a Rhogam shot in case mine and the baby’s blood had mixed. I called my dad, no answer. Called my mom. “I need you to come watch Louie I have to go to the Hospital.” “Ok, I’m on my way.”

Since it was 5:15pm and the height of rush hour on a Thursday, I knew that as much as I wanted to just race to the hospital I needed to wait for my mom to get there. Luckily since my son was 2 1/2 at the time, he had had no idea what any of this meant or even really what blood was. I waited as patiently as I could and did my best to let him distract me until my mom showed up about 30-45 minutes later.

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It was an adventure figuring out which side of the hospital maternity was on since entrances were color coded and not labeled. Emergency was clearly red but what color was the Maternity??? We got an answer from a valet who told us it was yellow. Once we parked we made the walk inside. As we approached the Maternity area the lady who was acting as reception shouted as we were about halfway down the hall asking what we needed. Since there were some people sitting in the area waiting I didn’t want to shout what was wrong. She waited, bug eyed, until I got close enough to tell her discreetly what my problem was. She said that typically they don’t have you go to Labor and Delivery until you’re 26 weeks so I needed to go the ER. She did offer a wheelchair which I politely declined.

Once we got into the ER I got signed in, they took me back into triage. At that point I couldn’t explain to another person what was wrong and made my husband explain. The nurse was very understanding and sensitive about the whole thing. I had some blood drawn and left a urine sample. They moved me from triage into the waiting room and said that they should have a room ready soon. Around this time my dad had called and I texted him back since I had almost no cell service and told him what was going on.

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I got back into my room, they had me change into a gown. The nurse came in and introduced herself. She was roughly in her mid to late 40s and it was clear that English was not her first language due to her European accent but she spoke clearly. She was sensitive to what I was going through and good at explaining to me what was going on and what to expect.

My dad texted me back and said he was on his way. I took the remote and flipped through the channels looking for hockey or sports center. Soon after my dad arrived and sat down next to my husband. It was nice having him there.  The nurse told me that they would be taking me for an ultrasound. I figured at that point I would find out if I still had a baby or not.

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The unfortunate part of being so early on in my pregnancy was that I couldn’t feel the baby move to gauge it for myself. I had figured my husband would go with me and I would just be sobbing when I got the news. I prepared for the worst. When the ultrasound technician got there she just wheeled me out of the room, no invitations for anyone to join us. I was a little concerned because I didn’t want to be alone when I found out what was going on. Once we got into the room she informed me that because it’s the ER she couldn’t tell me anything or show me the monitors. I was so relieved. I didn’t want to get any news without my husband. The girl was very pretty probably about my age maybe a little younger. She had a nice light perfume. I tried not to just stare at her the whole time. I didn’t have the patience to count ceiling tiles. I tried to be positive, I looked at her a few times to gauge her face but she knew better than to give anything away. After about 30-40 minutes we were done and she took me back to my room.

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When I got back to my husband and dad looked at me expectantly, I told them she couldn’t tell me anything. I had apparently missed the doctor, I was sort of glad, I wasn’t relishing the idea of a possible pelvic exam by a man. I’ve just always preferred women.  My nurse appeared and said that she had my Rhogam shot. She wasn’t very familiar with them it seemed. I’d had two of these shots before so it was nothing new to me. Full disclosure, I have 9 tattoos and needles don’t freak me out. I wanted this shot and I knew I needed it. She was very cautious letting me know it was large and probably needed to go in my butt. I told her she could put it where ever she needed to as long as I could keep laying on my side.

Shortly thereafter the physicians assistant came in and gave me the good news that the baby was fine. I had what they referred to as a subchorionic hemorrhage. They explained that the placenta rooting into my uterus caused the bleed or something to that affect. She said not to lift anything, including my 2 year old and no intercourse.

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I went to see my doctor the following week. In addition to the ultrasound I had at the ER I had another ultrasound at my doctors office, fortunately this time I got to watch and see. The ultrasound guy at my office showed me the blood band on the ultrasound. He also did the transvaginal ultrasound which revealed that I also had a marginal previa. I immediately was concerned. My boss had placenta previa with her daughter and was put on bed rest for 6 months. Given that I have a 2 year old I was praying that I wouldn’t be put on bedrest. That was my biggest fear. It would have been a major inconvenience. I wasn’t going to see my doctor until the next day so he consulted with her before I left. Luckily they only put me on pelvic rest. Which included the aforementioned not lifting anything, no intercourse and added not standing longer than an hour. I was also warned that as the baby grows it would be likely that it will squeeze out any un-absorbed blood.

For the next six weeks I was going to see my doctor every 2 weeks just to check in and then at the end of those 6 weeks I had my usual 20 week ultrasound to check the previa and see where we were. In the next couple of weeks I had a 3D ultrasound an ultrasound office to find out the sex. Another boy! I asked the ultrasound tech if there was any blood since I’d had a bleed. She said that she didn’t see any, so it looked like it was all gone. Unfortunately for my favorite pair of underwear about a week later I had a large gush of old brown blood. It seemed to come out every two weeks until my 18th week and then stopped. My doctor checked my at my appointments and I kept my office informed. It was inconvenient since I never knew when it would happen but it did stop and I had at least been prepared that it was a possibility.

At my 20 week ultrasound they confirmed for me that I was indeed having another boy (I had some concerns from friend of a friend stories). However I was hit with the reality that I still had a marginal previa. I should have figured that this was the case since a 30 minute trip to the store left me feeling like my insides were going to fall out and my bones were going to break apart. The immense amount of pressure was unreal. I was still on pelvic rest.

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I had continually thought that once I hit 20 weeks I’d be off pelvic rest, I could workout and not get fat this time. I had to accept that I wasn’t going to be able to work out. I couldn’t weight train, I couldn’t lift my kid. I tried once just having him handed to me while I was standing for a hug, it hurt my stomach a lot. It still hurt to walk around the grocery store. One night I completely melted down. I had really held onto that hope that I’d would have been ok by now. In order to gain some sense of control I started logging my food on myfitnesspal. It helped me pay more attention to what I was eating and make healthier decisions. It was even more difficult watching pregnant friends of mine gain minimal amounts of weight and nest in their nurseries while I struggled to spend more than 10 minutes cleaning.

I was trying to be the bigger person and say that I was glad it was me having these issues and not my first time pregnant mom friends. In truth, yes it’s good that it’s not them, but I didn’t want it to be me either. I wanted the chance to be active and fit this time. I was already starting at a deficit on weight gain. I weighed about 13 more pounds when I got pregnant with baby #2 than I did with my first son. Even with the stomach flu and losing  pounds, I was still back up to my beginning weight at my doctors appointment. I had wanted to only gain 35lbs, even though I started out weighing more to begin with. Even though I had the best of intentions by week 25 I had already gained 27 lbs. No one believed me that I weighed that much, but it didn’t matter, I did. My doctor never once brought up my weight gain in a negative manner. I think her gauge was more than the “recommended” 35lbs. One of the most helpful articles I found online said that the amount of water weight gained during pregnancy can vary by up to 11 pounds.

One of the things that I appreciated, above all else was that my son understood that I couldn’t pick him up and didn’t fight me about it. He just accepted that I couldn’t pick him up and would ask if daddy could.

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Something wonderful happened around 23 weeks. I made it through the grocery store without feeling like my insides were going to fall out. It was such a huge victory. The next time I got to clean my house as much as I wanted to without being in pain and needing to sit down. I’d like to think that despite these orders to mostly sit and not lift anything, that keeping tabs on my macros helped me feel better. I knew from previous experience that watching my macros and having meals that had balanced carbs and proteins gave me more energy. I didn’t feel sluggish. I also didn’t feel as guilty since I knew I wasn’t putting as much processed nutrient deprived food into my body. What I hoped is that since I felt better, my previa had pulled up and was no longer an issue.

At 26 weeks I had another ultrasound and they cleared my pelvic rest. Granted I was still somewhat limited in how much I could really do. If I walked around too much I would certainly feel it but at least I could lift a load of laundry or a stack of plates and not feel bad about it. As for the weight gain, well it’s my last kid. I’m only about 7 pounds away from how much I weighed when they admitted me with my first son. Like I said though, it’s my last kid. It’s a temporary situation of weight gain. I’m truly grateful that he’s healthy, even if it means my vanity and my own plans went to the wayside. So it is much of the time even parenting.