Monday, April 25, 2011

The Numbers Have It

My baby is 8 months old today.
The oldest "baby" will be 5 years old in 3 weeks 5 days.
The eldest girl child is 3 years, 3 months, 7 days.
Spent 1 hour picking children up from preschool today.
I will spend 6 hours teaching piano this week.
5 diaper changes so far.
2 tantrums, 3 time outs.
My last solo piano recital was 6.5 years ago.
I have been pregnant 4 times.
I spent 6 years of my life in music school.
2 loads of laundry so far today.
3 more to go.
1 trip to the grocery store.
I have been pregnant or nursing for 5.16 years of my life.
A 15 minute shower.
2 naps (sadly, not for me).
Performed in Bates Recital Hall 1 time, Jessen Hall 3 times.
4 trips to other countries.
5 ER visits with children.
There are only 24 hours in a day.
6 hours of consecutive sleep would be nice.
I am 34 years old.
I went to Disneyworld 12 and 29 years ago.
My mom is 31 years older than me.
I am 31 and 33 years older than my daughters.
Sean is 9 months younger than me.
10 years of marriage sounds like a long time. It really isn't.
4 more months until the start of kindergarten.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Birth of Julia Claire or How to Almost Give Birth in a Van

I'd like to say that I had one of those births where we lit candles, held hands, and sang Kumbaya..... but that just wouldn't be true. I'd also like to say that no animals were harmed in the making of this birth story.... but that wouldn't be true either.

At lunch on Tuesday the 24Th, I had half-joked to friends that I was definitely going to go into labor that night due to the full moon and a "cool" front that was supposed to come through that evening. Evidently my powers of intuition are stronger than I thought. That night, after going to my usual yoga class, and taking my usual "let's get things going" waddle- ahem, walk- around the neighborhood, I noticed something. "Hey, could it be an honest-to-god contraction? And, hey, was that another one?"

At home, we watched some sort of documentary and I continued to take notice of said contractions. They were pretty far apart, but were enough to make me sit up and take notice. I decided to make lunches for the kids, lay out school clothes and complete any last lists of instructions for those caring for the kids. I still fully expected everything to come to a grinding halt when I went to bed, though.

That was not the case. After we went to bed, I found myself just hoping that things could hold off til morning so I wouldn't have to wake anyone out of a dead sleep. I mean, I know my friends would give their left arm for us, but they'd probably rather do it on a full night's sleep. I had predicted all along that this baby would probably be born somewhere in the wee hours, given my track record for giving birth twice at 4AM. At least everyone was forewarned. After about an hour and a half of pondering what I should do, I asked Sean to call the midwife. We spoke, and I felt really lucid, which led her to believe that birth was a ways off. I reminded her about my last 4 hour labor and how far I live from the birthing center, but she didn't seem to think things were too urgent at the moment. Ha!

As soon as I stood up to walk around, everything changed. No more talking, no more conversation. The only thought I had was "I need to get out of here and go have this baby!!" Of course, when it is 1AM and you've got 2 sleeping children in your house, you can't just up and leave. Even if you want to. So, I staggered around the house while waiting for our incredibly wonderful friend who had agreed to camp out at our house. At some point in this waiting I went from zen master to a crazy laboring lady. This probably should have been a clue that time was of the essence. I think I grunted something at our friend as I stumbled out to the van and began calling for Sean to get his butt out there. Little did I know the fun that was about to begin.

As we got on the road, I thought we were home free. I knew I could rely on my dear husband to drive like a bat out of hell, ignoring all lights and speed limits. Mo-PAC is a safe road, right? Not too much traffic to worry about, right? And then.... "Hey what is that?!!!" and a few other choices words. THUD. And then a horrible screeching noise started coming from our front driver side wheel.

Oh. My. God. I'm in labor. In a minivan. And we just hit a coyote running across Mo-PAC. This can't be happening to me.

I think the first words out of my mouth were "Call 9-1-1" Which we didn't. Sean pulled over in the shoulder (which actually was not the shoulder, but the exit lane at Mo-PAC and Barton Skyway) to asses the damage. While he discovered that our front bumper had been sheared away, but that amazingly our tire was not flat, I had visions of cars running him down, and of myself giving birth in the backseat of our Kia.

With the wheel still intact, we started rolling again. No more wild animals got in our way, but there was a lovely bit of road work that had Mo-Pac shut down to one lane. And, with a wave of nausea, I also had the realization that I was indeed hitting transition. And still in my van.

We made it to the Birthing Center, screeching into the parking lot. I'm pretty sure I started opening the door and getting out before we had fully stopped. There was another expectant mom already there. God love her, she had combed hair, matching pjs, a stack of belongings neatly stacked in front of the door. As I staggered across the parking lot, I knew I could take her. I stumbled past her and the midwife, mumbling something about damn coyotes.

Once inside the center, I was confused as to why Joan was directing me to one of the exam rooms. Couldn't she see I was having a baby? I had no time for exams! I needed a birthing tub. Right then! I think she finally appreciated the gravity of the situation when I abruptly stripped naked in the hallway. She had me squat while being supported by Sean and announced that I was complete. Everyone else but me seemed surprised at this fact. My clothes were still somewhere in the hallway, and so Sean took off his shirt and put it over me and we began to shuffle, in between contractions, around the hall to the birthing rooms.

It was only a few feet away, but I thought I might actually give birth in the hall. A big contraction hit, and after I had worked through it, I told Joan that it sure felt good to push with that one. “You were pushing??” she asked. “Uh-huh.” The shuffling towards the birthing room got faster.

Finally I reached the promised land- the same room where my other children had been born. I hauled myself into the tub as she drew the water. And, without asking anyone, I got straight down to the buisness of pushing. I kneeled against the back of the tub and went into my own little world. By far, I consider the pushing phase my greatest triumph from this birth. Well, that and not giving birth in my minivan. I have never understood those women who say that they like pushing, or that it actually felt good. Until now. I just worked with my body. No one had to tell me what to do, I didn't ask anyone whether it was time or for any instruction. I just did it. It was work, but good work. I was able to work with the contractions, with my body, instead of pushing in spite of all the pain.

And the lovely warm water of the birthing tub? Well, the baby wasn't actually born in water, but it sure felt lovely on my lower calves!

And then the next surprise... I started asking if “he” was okay and looked good (the baby was actually behind me, since I was kneeling). Joan said yes, but that our “he” was actually a “she”! I had been so convinced from the get-go that I was carrying a little boy, I was actually in shock for a bit. But there she was, our beautiful little Julia Claire.

We had pulled into the parking lot at 2:50 AM. The time of Julia's birth was 3:07AM. A new personal best of 17 minutes. This is one record I'm not going to try and top any time soon.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The end of the journey

I'm breaking blog silence. I haven't written a single thing here in several months, and certainly haven't chronicled this pregnancy. I guess I've been doing other things besides writing.

Tomorrow is the kids' first day back at preschool. New teachers, classes, ect. And I just really really want to be there for that. But, I have to admit, I don't feel like I'm going to be pregnant by the end of this week. I just hope that I'm still pregnant by the end of the day tomorrow! I'd even settle for going into labor a few hours after I pick them up from preschool.

I'm not in any hurry to have the baby. Over the last week or so, I've had such a sense of peace and happiness. And also a lot of mixed emotions at this being the last time I'll get to experience this. Its hard to believe that my time in this phase of life, this phase of giving birth and being pregnant, is almost over. Even though in some ways it seems like such a long time ago when I got pregnant for the first time, it has also sped by. From now on, I'll be reminiscing to other women about my pregnancies. It will all be looking back on what I've experienced. I'll never actually be in the club, so to speak, again. I'll always be on the other side. I know that I don't want to go on having babies forever. But, this pregnancy has been such a precious experience. I will forever cherish sharing this with Sean, Daniel and Georgia. Especially all the amazing questions that have come from my kids, and the sweetness they've shown to their sibling even while this baby has been in the womb. Its been amazing. And I've felt such a spirit of support from friends, strangers, everyone. I've gotten to share my pregnancy in person with my close friend in the UK at her wedding. Gotten to hear the stories of pregnancy and birth from her friends, neighbors, family and even strangers there. I've felt such a confidence in this pregnancy. I've felt the whole way through that I know who I am, I trust in my body. And it has opened up amazing conversations with other moms, some who I know, but the majority of whom have been strangers I've just struck up conversations with. I've felt surrounded by wonderful energy and community the whole way through. I guess, I've felt a little like the belle of the ball. Or maybe I've just pampered myself in ways that I haven't since I was pregnant with Daniel. Maybe being pregnant with your last child causes you to focus on yourself in ways that you haven't since your first.

Of course I want to meet this little one. I can't wait to see if its a boy or a girl. And to see what we finally name the baby if its a boy! But, as I've said from the beginning.... I want to savor this. I want to cherish this. I will never be on this particular part of my path again, and I don't want to be in too much of a hurry. I know when this baby arrives, our beautiful family will be so complete, so full. I know its not all going to be easy. And there's going to be a lot of chaos and frustration on many days. So, for right now, I'm okay with allowing this baby its last few days of seclusion and mystery. I'm trying to be at peace and not speculate too much on the when/where/how of the start of labor. I just want to be in the moment, trust in my body, and know that here and now is exactly where I'm supposed to be.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Another trip around the sun

As of today, I'm beginning my thirty-third year on this planet (or am I completing my 33rd year... I'm always getting this concept confused). Thirty three seems like a good number to me. It feels comfy, welcoming, brimming with possibility. Maybe its that whole idea of three being a lucky number. Maybe I'm getting adjusted to the fact that I'm "thirty-something". Whatever it is, this felt like a happy and mellow birthday.

Simple things made me happy today. A nice cup of coffee this morning that someone else made for me, which I was able to drink without interruption. Taking a walk with my little family in the fall sunlight, watching my young 'uns run their little hearts out and then collapse into a giggling heap. Playing piano, enjoying that space in my life that's just for me and my creativity.

I hope that the next 12 months are filled with good things. I know there will be plenty of bad things too along the way, but here's hoping that the positive outweighs the negative. I have no idea what November 22, 2010 will be like, but I hope that day finds my family, my friends, myself, and even the world, happier and healthier. I hope during the next year I'm able to grow up in the important ways. Not in the "I have a great 401K and a brand new TV" kind of way, but in the gaining wisdom and peace with myself kind of way.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Love thy neighbor?

To the Person who decided to deface my anti-war bumpersticker with an expletive:

I don't really know what lead up to you grabbing a sharpie and writing foul language on my car. Perhaps you've served in one of the wars our country is now waging. Perhaps a family member is there now, or maybe you've even lost friends or family to the horror of war. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're not one of my neighbors. I just can't stand to think that someone who knows me would be so hateful. Whatever the reason, you're carrying around a lot of anger, and decided to take it out on an unsuspecting stranger. You know what, I'm not holding it against you. You have a first amendment right, just like I do. Maybe you were hoping to provoke anger in my heart towards those who support or fight in wars. Perhaps you made certain assumptions about me as an individual based on my political views. I just feel sorry for you. It makes me sad that you're so close-minded and angry that you can't have a conversation with another person who looks at the world differently than you do. You've been reduced to scrawling anonymous filthy language on other people's property.

Surely you saw the carseats and toys inside my car, signs that young children would see your handywork. I'm sure you didn't care about that. Maybe you even have your own kids. If they saw what you were doing, how would you answer their questions? "Well son, I had to deface their property because those people are unpatriotic cowards who don't care about our soldiers." Well, I had to answer some questions from my son too. And you know what I got to tell him about your actions and who you were? "Well son, someone wrote some mean words on our car and we don't know who it was because they were too scared to sign their name." You may think I'm guilty of treason and think I don't deserve to be an American, but at least when I put my opinion out there for the world to see, I don't do it anonymously. And you know what else? I'm going to put another sticker with the same sentiments right back in place of the old one.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I *heart* acting

I hope some of you were fortunate enough to be in attendance at the latest incarnation of "Slapdash Flimflammery". I haven't been saying much about theater these days, but I had such an awesome time during this project, I just have to blab about it.

See, I like to be on stage. I have been blessed with one of those personalities that is willing to risk failure just because it is so unbelievably cool when you hear all those happy hands clapping for you (insert a little squeal here). Its why I've gone through so many hours of brutal piano practice and more than my fair share of public embarrassment on the road to improving my performance skills. And, even though I've not done very much of it, its one reason why I love acting. I mean, I L.O.V.E. it.

Sure, I've done lots of behind the scenes type of stuff, and that was awesome and all. But not nearly as awesome as getting to dress up and strut around saying witty stuff (Thanks Erin!). I have to say I'm more than a little bummed out that I didn't discover, or have the oportunity to discover, this sooner. I mean, I kind of wonder how it didn't happen actually. I took a speech class in junior high. For all of our assignments, I partnered with a friend (who now happens to be acting in NYC). I wrote things, she got to act. And as for why high school theater passed me by.... I blame marching band. But you see, I was a kid who was doing Mae West impersonations at age 6. Just ask my parents. They have pictures. And putting on dance revue shows (complete with tap shoes and costume changes) on our side patio. Somehow I took a wrong left turn and ended up sitting at a concert grand. Not that my career as a pianist is somehow "wrong", but you know what I mean.

Anyway, here I am, 32 years old and just discovering something that I really feel I click with. Something that happens to be a skill that many people spend years perfecting, busting their butt over the way I did in music school. So, for me to say "Hey, I want to act" is kind of the equivalent of one of the other members of LGT coming to me and saying "Hey, I think I'd like to give a solo piano recital in a couple months!"

For those folks who trusted that I would memorize my lines, work hard, and not embarrass myself or LGT, I am eternally grateful. I wish I was at a place in life where I had oodles of time to devote to auditions, and really working on this. But I don't, and that's okay. Slapdash comes again next year, and I'll be ready!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

SPD is no fun

I'm about to launch into a bunch of negativity aimed at SPD. So, if you'd rather not hear me being a bit of a downer today, perhaps you should move on to happier blogs today.

Some days I wish I didn't know that Daniel has Sensory Processing Disorder. Some days I wish I could just ignore how differently he plays from other kids his age in some ways. Some days I just wish for "normal".

We had a rough time at the park today. It took me right back to how things were a year ago, when he wouldn't climb on stairs or go down slides, or anything like that, because he was scared. We were meeting a friend from his previous preschool, and kid who has parents that Sean and I really click with, and a kid who evidently talked about Daniel a lot at home last year.

Well, at the park it was like Daniel had trouble figuring out how to play with him. And he was confused because, for example, Daniel just wanted to sit on the swings but under no circumstances did he want to be pushed. And this little boy just could not understand how someone wouldn't want to swing as high as humanly possible. And then when they finally did start playing together, it centered on Daniel taking his hat, they played chase, which was all fun and games until the owner of the hat wanted it back. And even though Daniel is actually good about sharing, he wasn't giving that thing up, and despite me trying to use all my calming skills, it devolved into a shoving match between two little boys, rocks being thrown, kids rolling on the ground with lots of screaming and crying and us having to pack up and leave.

Okay, so they're kids. These things happen among kids. I know this, really I do. And this is part of why I despise the label of "sensory processing disorder". I feel like it makes me attribute any odd, socially out of place behavior not to "being 3" but to having this "thing". Today just comes after starting to notice that the other kids don't seem to interact w/Daniel a whole lot (that I can see) at his new school, and I keep wondering if its because he's acting "different". On one hand, Daniel has done amazing things in the last 5 months. He'll go down just about any slide, get on a merry go round, sit in a swing, walk on a balance beam, dress himself, put on shoes.... things I would not have believed he'd ever do 6 months ago. The problem is, it seems like other kids his age are now onto the next round of things. Hanging from monkey bars, getting in to swings all on their own, pumping their legs, doing really daredevil stuff. So, even though he's doing things that are amazing for him, its almost like it doesn't matter because he still can't jump in and do everything his peers are doing. And not that I want him to be like everybody else, but I have seen so many time when another little boy his age will want to play with him, and the other kid will get confused and quickly lose interest because he can't figure out why Daniel doesn't enjoy doing the things that he is doing.

There are different degrees of Sensory Processing Disorder. Daniel is sensory avoiding. Some kids are sensory seekers, meaning that they can swing for hours, run and run and run, climb all over any and everything, and sometimes have a hard time slowing down long enough to attend to a task. Its like movement is a compulsion, rather than something they're doing for fun. I know that has got to be hard for those kids and parents of those kids. But sometimes I wish Daniel has that version of this, since it seems so much more socially acceptable for a boy to be OVER-active, rather than UNDER-active. I feel like he could pass under the radar, or that his behavior could be written off as "boys will be boys".

Maybe what I'm wishing for is a wider range of "normal" for boy's behavior. And more empathetic kids. And for parents to explain that there are lots of different people in the world and we all like to do different things, that we all have different strengths and weaknesses.

I also wish I knew someone who had a kid with the same type of Sensory Processing Disorder that Daniel has. We could get them together, they could line up all their cars and trucks just so, spend a lot of time looking at books together and play counting games. And I could talk to a mom about the frustration of putting on socks, of convincing your child that rain or wind was not going to kill them, of watching other kids do all the things that children are supposed to love to do, except your kid.

Maybe I'm throwing a pity party. Okay, if that's what I'm doing, so be it. I just hate SPD. Hate that it is a label that is associated with my kid, hate that I have to think about who to tell and who not to tell, hate that it takes my attention away from Georgia sometimes, hate that it makes Daniel go to occupational therapy. I hate that its always in the room with me and my kids. I feel like its the monster in the closet that won't go away when you turn out the lights.