Om Namah Shivaya


Saturday, August 25, 2012

The journey is coming to a close...but is far from over.

35w4d, one month exactly to go
Wednesday marked one month exactly until our little boy is anticipated to arrive, and today marks 36weeks of pregnancy, with four more to go till the magical 40.  Sure, sure, he could come early or late, but just go with me on this one since NONE OF US know for sure when he's going to decide to come into this world, but I'm sure he'll send me a text or Facebook me when he's ready to check out of his uterine hotel *laugh*.

It's so crazy to sit back and think that we've actually hit the final home stretch of this journey and are about to go from watching him bonk around inside of me, to holding him in our arms, feeding him, changing him, snuggling him, loving him, and staring at him with wide-eyed wonder as we think "We made *that?!*"  

Top two originals, bottom two "Just to make sure"
Sometimes it just seems like yesterday that Dana was squealing with joy and hugging me in the beer cooler as I stood in shock of what had just happened to driving home on that cold January evening from work, with two positive pregnancy tests in my coat pocket and my best friend on the phone screaming "Oh mah gawd! What the...?!?!?! What is TIM going to say?!" *shakes head*  Crazy.  But never-the-less, here we are.  Four weeks to go (give or take) until Mr. James Porter LeRoy Stout enters our lives for realizies and we take on the greatest challenge of our adult lives...becoming parents.

The first time we met, 8weeks
It really still strikes me and Tim as surreal.  I don't know if either of us have really, truly wrapped our brains around this whole business of bringing a child into the world.  People at work ask me all the time "Are you excited?!" and my answer is always the same "Well...yeah, of course, but..." and then I'm not sure what to say.  Of course I'm excited, it's a grand new adventure we are about to embark on and one that is going to shape the course of our lives forever, but there's also a lot of nervousness because I, we, have *nothing* to compare it too.  Sure, we can look at our friends who have gone through the newborn, infant, toddler stages and now have walking, talking, fairly self-sufficient children and know that they survived, they didn't do any permanent damage, they made it through...but...logically we know that everyone's situation is different, and we didn't see it ALL.  We didn't see the late nights, the "Oh my gawd, what do we do?!" moments, the scares, the private cries, the pure exhaustion and moments of "Did we really want to do this?"  Yet, on the other hand, we're excited to join this rite of passage and experience every high and low parenthood has to offer. 

I know there will be exhaustion on a level I have never experienced (THAT is something I can't wait to see Tim experience but that is a whole 'nother blog for a whole 'nother day *laugh*), but I also know that we will survive, all parents do and besides, I'm a public school teacher & marching band instructor too boot, some of you don't know the meaning of the term exhaustion until you've experience *that* gem of life ;).  I know there are going to be super scary moments, but I also know that the good moments will most definitely out weigh the bad.  I know that Tim and I will most definitely butt heads as we go about navigating the business of raising our son, but I look forward to those times because they are opportunities to grow and change.
I'm not scared of labor, although I am anxious of the first major signal that JP will give that he's getting ready to move out, mostly because I really truly don't want it to happen at school or the restaurant.  I'm not scared of the pain, I've been through a lot of that in my life, *we've* been through a lot of my pain, and if we survived that, we'll be able to survive this.  I'm not worried about the exhaustion, the fear, or the doubt, because I know we'll make it through.  Instead, I'm looking forward to seeing this little life that has been created inside of me out in the world and in our arms for the first time, and especially the look on Tim's face when he holds his son for the first time.  

Big Brother & Sister
I'm looking forward to the feedings, the diaper changes, the bathings and snuggles.  The readings, the crawling, the teething, and the swaddles.  The wide-eyed wonder of JP as he discovers his world, us, and the dogs for the first time.  Being able to *see* the world through his eyes and discover the delight of it all again in ours.  To see Tim's parents discover the joys of being grandparents for the first time, and my parents getting another grandson.  To watch Thomas discover the wonder of his cousin, and my big sister getting to be an aunt for the first time.  I also am looking forward to the changes this life event is going to bring about inside of me.  I've already felt my priorities change, along with my body (oof...don't remind me), and am ready to find out what lessons my son has to teach me as we journey through life together.  So, if I could say just one thing to our son as we anticipate his arrival, it would be this...

We're ready when you are JP.
 All our love, Mom and Dad. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I wonder if they know...

 I wonder if they know how hard it is for me right now to walk away and let go.  I wonder if they know how hard I struggle everyday to make the right decisions for them, *and* for me & the life I am carrying inside me.  I wonder if they can appreciate the inner dialogue I have with myself on a daily basis that pertains exactly to what our T-shirt says this year.  "Never Let Good Enough, BE Enough."  I wonder if they know I shed a tear every time they go out for parade block and I'm not right there with them calling out cadences and reminding them to step on their "Left! Left! Left!"  I wonder if they fully comprehend how incredibly frustrating it is for me to not be able to teach them the drill and do the counts like I always do.  To explain to them the *big* picture they are making on the field and how it fits in with the rest of the band.  I wonder if they know how truly irritating it is that we don't have a cool space to rehearse in, inside because it's making me wear out faster than I would like.  I wonder if they know how much I hate feeling weak.

I just hope they know that I am trying very hard to find the balance, to be in the present moment with them, to teach them the best I can, and to last as long as I can before my world shifts forever.  I hope they know how much I care...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dear Mayor Bloomberg, got formula?

So an old friend of mine facebooked me today asking if we have decided on what variety of formula we are going to use to feed JP because she has some "formula checks" that she'd like to mail me.  She is what, in the pregnant/mom world, is called an "EBF mom".  EBF stands for "Exclusively Breast Feeding".  I, on the other hand am an "EFF mom", which stands for "Exclusively Formula Feeding".  

For the sake of igniting any controversy for those of you who aren't aware, I can NOT breast feed.  Notice I did not say "I don't want too".  I mean it when I say I.Can.Not.  I battled Triple Negative Breast Cancer from May of 2010 through October of 2010 in which the end result was a double mastectomy where *ALL* of my breast tissue was removed and replaced with silicone implants.  And when I say all, I mean ALL, nipples included.  So, unless my child can puncture himself a hole in my boob & ingest silicone, which I find *highly* unlikely, breast feeding ain't gonna happen for this mommy-to-be.

But I digress...

 I'm on facebook responding to her post when the idea strikes me to toodle on over to the pregnancy discussion board I frequent and put it out there..."EBF moms; got formula checks?"  I have received numerous responses so far in the positive, and one gal mentioned the whole NYC/Mayor Bloomberg "Latch on NYC" debaucle, er, debate.  While I don't think me writing a letter directly to him, seeing as I live in the Midwest, would do a darn thing, I did think that putting my thoughts about *that* ridiculousness down here could be...interesting.

So here it thoughts on the "Banning of Formula in NYC hospitals"...

On behalf of all cancer survivors who also survived a double mastectomy, thus having their ability to breast feed taken away from them, and also on behalf of ALL the women out there who for one reason or another can not or choose not to breast feed, I write this for you, for me, and for us.  

Dear Mayor Bloomberg,

With what little information I have read about this "campaign", and from what I understand it is *completely* and *utterly* despicable that a MAN, sitting in an ivory tower should be dictating what WE, as women, should do with our breasts when it comes to the feeding of the child WE CARRIED FOR NINE MONTHS IN OUR BODIES.  

Our boy, 31weeks

I ask you, Mayor Bloomberg, did you create one of life's greatest miracles inside of you?  Did you carry this child for 9 months of "bliss" (let's get real ladies, it's not all peaches and cream is it), then push it out an opening that can't seem to *possibly* be big enough and is usually accompanied with great pain before, during, and after?  Did you gain 20-50lbs of extra weight growing this miracle, and watch your once familiar body turn into something out of an alien syfy movie?  I don't think so.

Our boy, 30weeks

Did you, Mayor Bloomberg, worry and obsess over every little thing you ate or drank, the air you breathed, the medicine you took, or the product you put on your body for 9 months?  Did you give up a beloved glass of wine in order to make sure this little miracle got the best start possible?  Did you research all the different types of bottles, pumps, diapers, wipes, pacifiers, toys, teethers, carseats, strollers, creams, ointments, boppy's, bumbo's, sound machines, bassinet's, and pack 'n plays till you were so cross-eyed you didn't know which way was up?  Somehow I doubt it.

Our boy, 21weeks
Did you then, Mayor Bloomberg, struggle with the decision of whether or not to breast feed?  Did you do the countless hours of research on the subject, then spend countless hours researching formula?  Did you spend sleepless nights worrying about whether or not you'd be able too, and if you couldn't produce enough milk for your child would everyone think you were a failure?  Would you think that of yourself?  Did you spend your days enduring the Spanish Inquisition from women in all areas of your life "Are you gonna breast feed?  Are you gonna breast feed?  Huh?Huh?Huh?!?!", then goodness forbid you say *No* because then the question turns into "Why not? WHY?WHY?WHY?!"

Send off party for the girls
*Or*, here's another one for you to ponder oh great and wonderful Mayor of NYC.  Did you battle breast cancer, endure chemo, lose your hair, lose your sense of self, and take a genetic test that came back to tell you that you were going to have to undergo a double mastectomy, which in case you aren't in the know means the *total* removal of both of your breasts.  And when I say *total removal* I mean it.  Everything.  Done.  Gone.  All milk ducts, all breast tissue, even your nipples.  So not only have you now undergone a massive life changing sickness, and a complete and total body-altering surgery, you have now had the choice of whether or not to breast feed completely and totally taken away from you.  You no longer HAVE a choice.  You HAVE to formula feed.

At chemo

Do you know, Mayor Bloomberg, what that does to a woman?  Do you know the thoughts that went through my brain the day I got the call from my Oncologists office and the words "The test came back positive" entered my brain?  Here were a few...

After the mastectomy, 10/15/10
"Will I still be a woman without breasts?"
"Will it hurt when they take them away and then give them back?"
"Will I be okay?"
"Will this ensure the cancer never comes back"
and the ever fabulous...
"Will my husband ever look at me in the same way"
"How am I going to bond with my baby when that time comes and ensure he or she gets the best start in life..."

and then I cried.  I cried out of fear, out of shame, and out of heartbreak for a child that wasn't even a twinkle in my eye yet.  I cried for my breasts who had already been through so much and who now were a "danger to my life" and had to be removed to save mine.  I cried over the fact that I wasn't going to be able to do the *one* basic thing that these "girls" were intended nourish my child with nature's most perfect formula...Breast Milk.

5th wedding anniversary spent at Chemo
You see, Mayor Bloomberg, in my opinion, you are essentially doing the same thing to the women of your great state, that the cancer did too me.  YOU, my dear sir, are taking THEIR CHOICE away from them.  Oh I know, if they can provide a "medical reason" then the nurses can whip out their magic key, unlock the closet, and produce the formula their baby will so desperately need.  I know, also, that you are not talking about women like me who literally can NOT breastfeed, no matter how much we may want too.  It is simply a physical inability.  Yet, do you realize the message you are sending?  You are basically saying that there is something WRONG with those of us who either can not or choose not to breastfeed.  

You.  A Man.  Mmm-hmm, yeah, excuse me while I have a good chuckle at that...

Our boy, 15weeks
I mean, really.  Who are you to tell women what they can and can not do in deciding *how*
to feed their newborn?  Of course breast feeding is best, but shouldn't that be something that is decided upon by her and her significant other?  And why "lecture" the new mother on the benefits of breastfeeding before unlocking the cabinet?  Don't you think that's going to be a little harsh on the emotional psyche of a woman who has just been through 9 months of pregnancy and goodness knows how many hours of labor to push something the size of a watermelon out of a hole that's not near as big??  She may already be feeling down about not breast feeding, but seeing as you most likely don't live her life, you don't know WHY she has chosen not too.  Don't beat her over the head about it, just give her the damn formula and wish her well with her new bundle of joy.

And I ask you, what's next?  The government is already trying to regulate our uterus's and our choices regarding birth control, so what's next?  Are you going to ban epidurals because having a "natural, unmedicated birth" is better for the baby? about *you* try pushing a watermelon out your pee hole, *then* we'll talk about the benefits of an "natural birth" versus a "medicated birth". 

Look.  It's your city, you do what you want, you've already banned smoking in parks, and large sizes of sugary drinks, and I refuse to read all the particulars of your "initiative" because it would be time wasted out of my busy life that I could never regain.  I'm also in the Midwest so this, at least right now, isn't going to affect me and honestly, I eagerly anticipate the "swag bag" from my hospital that will set me and our little boy on the right path towards healthful nutrition.  I just hope you take a second to think about what message you're TRULY sending to the women of your great city because *we're* not wrong, your message is wrong.

Think about it.


A Proud EFF Mom-to-be

Our little boy, 31weeks