Monthly Archives: August 2012

(Wo)Man in the Mirror


For many months now I have been struggling with my views against legislating morality.  It has been difficult to find other Christians who don’t speak against hot button moral issues to stand up to the secular world and uphold the teachings of the bible in a political setting.  I used to believe that was an effective way to represent my faith and fight against the crumbling infrastructure of our Nation.  However, our nation (crumbling or not), was not founded as a Christian Theocracy.  I believe our country was founded on the right to free speech, religion, the pursuit of happiness, etc etc.  I am a(n imperfect) follower of Christ and believe I should have the right to exercise my freedoms a such, but I also know there are people who don’t hold to the same worldview I do.  They should have the freedom to live their lives however they choose, according to their worldview, as long as it doesn’t bring harm to anyone.  At first glance, I may look like a wishy-washy, liberal, lukewarm Christian who is afraid to fight against Satan in all his forms, thus contributing to the erosion of society.  But I assure you, I am giving this a lot of prayer and a lot of thought, and I am not certain my signature on another petition will do much more than widen the gulf between “us” and “them”.  But I’m not even sure about that.

A wise friend told me yesterday that to her it is more about where God calls people to as opposed to what’s best and whats wrong.  If God calls you to the steps of the Capital, who am I to say my way is better?  What’s more, I’ve spent so much of my time being frustrated with the division within the body of believers(politically speaking), I’m perpetuating the division with my anger.  I think its ok to feel passionately about loving people in an approach you feel is best, but as I rail against the brokenness of mortal men, I fail to look at the broken person in the mirror I can control.  I have not been setting a Christ-like example with my behavior toward other Christians.  And just like in every situation, you make the best impact in how you live your life and not how well you can argue.

After having this realization, I have decided to focus on what Jesus actually said to do, and what that means for me.  Just me.  I decided to start reading through the gospels, thanks to some encouragement from a good friend.  One of the first things John the Baptist said was, “Repent. Turn to God.  The kingdom of God is near!”–something like that.  Those are some loaded instructions–I could chew on that for weeks.  Have I repented of my pride?  My insistence that my way is better?  And I wasn’t arguing for Christ, it was just about me being “right”.  I’d like to ask myself each day if I am “turned to God”–that’s quite a challenge.  If I am submitted to Him, who cares what anyone (Christian or not) thinks of me (I’ve been a harsh judge of others myself lately!  Can anyone say hypocrite?)?  I’m not beating myself up or anything, I’m just relieved to know that the problem isn’t other people, it starts with me.  And then I get Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” stuck in my head.  Words of wisdom, but I digress…

Hey! There’s mirror on the wall! Turn around, quick!

That doesn’t mean I won’t believe passionately in an alternate approach to love everyone…even if it goes against the grain of current Christian views and culture.  I just need to spend more time practicing what I preach, and that doesn’t come naturally–ya know, stuff like gentleness and kindness and self-control.  But honestly, its a relief to know that I can’t do that without supernatural intervention.  I’ve been trying and it goes very badly.

Maybe I’ll write a bit about how the journey through the gospels is going–we’ll see.


My Baby’s Birth Day

My baby’s first birthday is tomorrow and its bringing back a flood of memories for me.  Plus, my mother is here and we were reminiscing about the labor.  Well, reminiscing isn’t quite the word I’m looking for.  She wanted to know what our “plan” was for a second child (if there ever is one)…mostly because she couldn’t bear to see me have the labor I had with Viola without any drugs–and she’s a hippie at heart–had me naturally as a VBAC–after 2 C-sections in fact. To which I replied…
“We’re having a home birth next.”
“Really? Wow.”
“Hard to believe, right?”
“Yeah.  Quinn, that labor was so intense, you wouldn’t talk about it.”
“For how long? “
“A few weeks at least.”
Its amazing how much you forget!  And I did forget!  I decided to dig up the document we created right after Vi was born.  Its a clean, emotion free bullet point play-by-play of the labor.  I’ve copied and pasted below and decided to insert my extra comments in italics…ya know.  For emotion.  Enjoy…
  • Low back pain Sunday evening August 14th.
  • Quinn called Bill and Anna (bro and sis in-law) around 11pm that night and went to bed around midnight.
  • Got up a couple times to use the bathroom. Was getting more intense and she thought it was the intestinal pain that she had a few days prior.
  • Around 2am August 15th went to the bathroom again and this time there was blood on the toilet paper.
  • Woke Eric up. He checked the Bradley Method materials and saw that bloody show was a sign of early first stage labor.
  • Started to time the “back pain” and they were around 10 mins apart.
  • Called Birthcare around 3.  Heard back from Alice who was on call. Told her about the bloody show and the contractions were inconsistent and anywhere from 4 to 11 mins apart.
  • She told us that it sounds like labor and check back in at 6am.
  • Quinn told eric to go get Jurassic Park to read to her. As soon as Eric got back Quinn’s water broke. Didn’t get to finish Jurassic Park until way after Vi was born
  • Called Alice back to let her know. She said to start heading towards birthcare in order to dodge morning rush hour. We were having the baby at a birth center, drug-free
  • Quinn wanted to wake up Julie. “Mom we are having a baby today!” Mom said, “what do I do?”  Quinn said, “Get dressed and get ready to leave.”
  • We got all our stuff together. Eric packed the car. Everybody got in. Contractions were 3 or 4 mins apart. Started to drive in. At this point the contractions were pretty painful and it was difficult to sit.  I thought, “I must be having a fast labor beccause the contractions are so painful and so close together!”
  • Started to send texts that we were starting to go into labor.
  • Made it to Birthcare  by 6:30am. Met Lisa there yay!
  • Lisa checked Quinn’s progress. “You are smiling between contractions so I don’t think you are in hard labor.” No dilation at all. Meconium in the water. Posterior position. Suggested we go get something to eat. Do squats lunges and walk. Regather at 11am and see if we got progression. This was the most depressing part of the whole day.  Not. Dilated.  At all.  The contractions were so painful, I couldn’t stand without having to hang on Eric.  I just breathed through them as best I could.  Posterior is a big deal because the baby is facing outward instead of facing my spine, so all the contractions are pressing her into my low back and she is not dropping to dilate my cervix.  We need to try and get the baby to turn, so we walk and lunge, and walk some more.
  • Walked to the café down the block. Had to stop at each contraction and hang on to Eric.
  • Sat outside with our sausage egg sandwich, oj, latte and cinnamon rolls. Julie stole a tomato from someones tomato plant next door to the café. What an excruciatingly painful breakfast.  I could barely sit.  It was terrible.  
  • Walked around the block. Stopped to do lunges and squats up the stairs to someones apartment.
  • Did lunges up the stairs at birthcare. Alice noticed the skills in the lunges. “you have really good body awareness.” I couldn’t walk anymore, so we made our way back to the birth center.
  • Got back around 9:30am. Laid on the bed to do some labor. Changed positions, went to the bathroom a lot.
  • Hands and knees hurt too much. I tried laboring on hands and knees, or on the ball, but it was all too painful.  I just alternated sitting on the toilet backwards and lying on my side on the bed.
  • Lisa mentions there are some other options to help with the pain and progression: acupuncture, chiropractor, water papules, nubain. I
  • Thought it would be too much to get back in the car to go to the chiropractor. Lisa called the accupunturist.
  • Chose the water papules. 4 injections of sterile water in the back surrounding pain spots. Hurts like a muthafucka (Eric’s observation.  Probably what I said during the injections). Quinn thanks the student for the injection. In between the pain induced filthy language, I was very polite with the pleases and thank yous to the lovely staff at birthcare, my husband, and my mom (thank you to her for teaching me manners?).  I don’t know why hollywood portrays laboring women as very aggressive and mean toward their husbands.
  • Lisa heard back from the acupuncture lady who was on her way.
  • Called Gwen who had just finished attending a birth the night before too.
  • Did some laboring in the Jacuzzi. Papules helped a ton with the pain.  The papule injections took the edge off the back labor for only an hour.
  • Went back to the room and she checked again once the back labor returned. Only to 3 or 4cm. Quinn started to cry. Despairing about the pain and lack of progression.
  • Accupuncture lady showed up but can’t use her needles because she is not licensed in Virginia. “Can we pretend we are in Maryland?” I actually asked her that, but I knew the answer.  She said she couldn’t legally put needles in me, but she could do some pressure point work to help turn the baby.
  • Showed us some pressure points to massage on her foot, back, shoulders. Intended to help turn the baby. Also lit “a magic cigar” and waved it in circles over the points in order to “change her chi”. Eric wasn’t buying the new age tomfoolery.
  • Tried to change positions and walk again. Quinn walked like a zombie and told Julie “I feel like I’m dying.” Really hard. Lisa mentions to Eric that Quinn “might benefit from an epidural.” Also suggests the other option of nubain to try. Eric and I had a deal: if the midwife mentions an epidural, he would decide whether to tell me about it.  He didn’t.
  • Quinn tells Eric she wants to go to the hospital. Eric says if you really want to we can. It s ok. I still didn’t know about the midwife’s leanings.  I decided to give the nubain a try–last ditch effort to dilate me.
  • Decide to give the nubain a try around 3pm. It was supposed to “knock” her out between contractions. Julie went to lie down in the other room. Gwen popped in to check on Quinn. Eric lied down next to her and napped a bit.
  • Didn’t stop the pain. Just forced her body to relax a bit between. Those three hours of the nubain were like re- awakening to a nightmare every few minutes.  The sedative would relax my body and make me groggy until another contraction roused me out of the stupor.  I would open my eyes and see someone standing by the bed–close them–then open them and the person would be gone.  I remember seeing Lisa the midwife and I whispered “Please help”, but she didn’t hear my voice.  It was pretty terrible.  I had no control over my grogginess and the pain was still the same, except my brain was drugged.  After a few hours of this, my body started to jolt involuntarily.  I guess the baby wanted out!
  • 5:30pm started to alternate regular contractions and involuntary pushing contractions. Lisa needed to check dilation. Was only at 8cm. Can’t push out the baby yet. Also the nubain was still in her system until 6:30pm. If the baby came out before that it would be in the baby’s system too.
  • Lisa told her to not to intentionally push. But it her body did it to let it happen.
  • Started really pushing around 6:30 or 7pm. Comparatively, the pushing was a piece of cake.
  • Did our Bradley breathing and pushing with her knees up while she was on her side. Started to be able to see the head. Gwen asked if she wanted to see it with a mirror but kept getting in the way while she was contracting. And between she couldn’t figure out how to angle it at all. “That Doula!” –Thats what my mom kept saying.  They weren’t a fan of Gwen.  I was so busy having the baby, I didn’t notice!  …until the mirror thing.
  • Doula in the way trying to get baby heart beat during contractions. Its coming! Out of the way.
  • Lisa showed Julie the head. She told quinn she could see it. “Really?” I couldnt believe they could see the baby.  I didn’t want to touch the head at first.
  • Lisa asked if she wanted to feel the head. Finally did.
  • Crowning wasn’t at the normal spot it was further back and to one side a bit.
  • Two steps forward one step back.
  • 3 or 4 contractions to get the head out. “Ring of fire!”  Our Bradley teacher told us that I should stop pushing when I feel the “Ring of Fire”.  That’s when you’re about to tear.  Man, it burned.  Reeeeeeally burned.
  • Lisa had to remind her to breathe and not push beyond.
  • Eric couldn’t catch the baby because of the meconium they had to clear once the head was free.
  • Most of the body came out with the next contraction. Legs stayed in. Lisa said one more the baby’s not out yet.”
  • Put the baby on quinn’s tummy. Crying. “Is it a boy or a girl?” Lisa said “I don’t know.” Eric checked. “I think you broke the chapman curse.” “It’s a girl? I wanted a girl.” 8:11pm.  I really did want a girl  🙂
  • Baby’s eyes open, Julie making calls. Eric calls mom. “Guess who broke the curse!” It’s a girl yay! Eric’s family has all boys. We broke the curse!
  • Lisa checks cord. Placenta comes out no problem. Completely in tact. Lisa gives the nerds  in the audience a tour of the placenta. So cool.
  • Clamped the cord. Eric gets to cut the cord.
  • That doula asks for coffee. “did you bring any coffee? Is this all we have to drink?” Looking back, she was super rude.
  • As soon as the baby was out Quinn was perky and said Mom would be glad to get you some. I feel bad I volunteered my mom.  I was just happy the labor was over, I had no idea Gwen was such a pain in the butt.
  • Streets were dark. Nothing was open. Had to go to the Hilton hotel 3 blocks down to get it.
  • Quinn gets in the shower to clean up and try to pee.
  • Couldn’t pee enough had to get a catheter. Giant bowl full of pee. (Thanks Eric for that description!)
  • Quinn gets sown up. Needed 4-5 stiches for very small tears. “Lisa you are very good.” After all that, I was so scared to get sown up “down there”.  But Lisa was so good at it, I had to pay her a compliment.
  • Did the baby check up. 9lbs. 22 in. Apgar score was a 9.
  • Packed up. Got Quinn and baby dressed. Got in the car at midnight. On the way home, I had to pee again.  I said, “Eric I have to pee.” “Do you want me to pull over, or can you wait””  …to which I replied, “Ok, I’m going! Its happening!  Sorry, I can’t stop it!”  I peed in the back seat of the car on the puddle pad.  I guess thats what happens when everything is all stretched out and I was catheterized previously.
  • Home by 1am. Everbody sleeps until the next morning.

Its amazing to think back on how new and scary everything was.  Truly I did not feel empowered by the birth experience until months later.  I told my mom that yesterday.

“You didn’t feel exhilarated that you did all of that without an epidural?”

“Not at all.  I’m proud now that I did it without, but I wasn’t proud at the time.  All I remember thinking as I left birthcare and Viola was three hours old was, ‘Hell, no.  Never again.’ I didn’t feel proud because in my mind, I wanted an epidural with all my heart. In my mind, I gave up. ”

“That’s the saddest thing you’ve ever said.”

Laboring with Vi was not a sweet memory, and that’s ok.  The sweet memories came after, and have built ever since. I don’t know what the future holds for Eric and I family-wise.  I don’t know if we will have more kids, but that’s ok.

I can’t believe she’s one!  Here’s to another year with our sweet squirtle!


It Takes a Village


I just wrote a post about how I’m frustrated that the baby sleeps at night, but can’t nap without screaming as if she’s being tortured.  Then the post got deleted, and she just fell asleep for a nap with only 40 minutes of blood curdling screams.  And that makes my day for some reason!  Its one for me, I guess.  But somehow I feel like I don’t really win anything…except 35 minutes of blog writing quiet.  I’ll take it.

I was chatting with a friend recently about how long the post-partum depression window is open.  If your baby is over 1 year, is it just plain old depression?  When Viola was first born, I was on the lookout for post-partum depression since I am susceptible to some low level depression in general.  Surprisingly, none came.  In fact, I was more grounded in my current purpose in life which was very surprising.  What I have encountered lately is that the last couple of weeks have been the closest thing to depression I have experienced since Viola was born, and I think it makes more sense.  I have been a food source for a whole year, the sole caretaker for Vi since she has been born, and since my husband and my families are far away, we have had little help from the outside world.  I began daydreaming about a part-time job on nights and weekends just to do something ELSE for awhile.

Another friend of mine was very wise in saying that the phrase “It takes a Village” goes deeper than just a friendly acknowledgement that parenting is hard.  She cleverly pointed out that before our “modern” society developed, we were all closer together in villages or towns, just a hut/house away from our family, if not in the same home altogether.  A nap wasn’t something I would need to covet all day long–I would have many hands to take the baby and tell me to “Go!  Just go! She’ll be fine!!”  Instead, we have obsessive and exhausted moms wondering “why oh why can’t I do this”?  Its because we weren’t meant to do it alone.  That’s comforting, and somewhat depressing since we have supposedly evolved to  a more sophisticated way of living.  Personally, I think the shattering of Community Living destroys so much of what we were made to do, and tests what we weren’t meant to endure.

I don’t offer a solution to this, just an encouraging word to moms/dads/caregivers everywhere who feel inadequate.  The truth is, YES its true.  We are inadequate, and that’s why it takes a village.  If you’re getting through each day with minimal bloodshed, pat yourself on the back!  You’ve done the work of an entire community.

This post is dedicated to my lovely mom friend, Andrea!