Bad Dream

Everyone talks about pregnancy dreams but no one puts any emphasis on postpartum dreams. If you ask me, the hormones raging through your body are ten times more intense after you’ve had the baby. Some of the dreams I’ve had since having Beau felt like hallucinations, while others were so realistic that I would wake up in tears because I was experiencing the dream so vividly.

I’m not normally one to share my dreams with people, mostly because I don’t want to bore them. I rarely look into my dreams for a deeper meaning because those kinds of thoughts feed my anxiety. But at this point in time I feel compelled to share a reoccurring dream I’ve been having since Beau was born.

We’re in a Walmart, not a specific one. I’m pushing Beau in the cart right at the threshold of the store. I’m not sure if we are leaving or entering. All of a sudden I see people scurrying and taking cover between the racks of clothes and behind the containers filled with DVDs and candy. I run towards the lawn and garden department and I can see a man with a gun standing in the center of the store shooting aimlessly at hidden targets. At one point in my dream it feels like we’re playing a game of manhunt, using all of the resources Walmart has to offer in order to survive. I’m not sure how I make it out or if I even do, but I’ve had this dream several times.

A couple of days ago, two terrible tragedies struck our nation yet again. One of them was a shooting at a Walmart. I had one of those moments where I was relieved that I told someone about my dream because if I hadn’t, no one would believe that I had dreamt almost this exact scenario. It sent a permanent chill down my spine. They say a mother’s intuition is somewhat of a superpower and part of me is letting my anxiety trick me into thinking that I somehow predicted this. Or when I really think about it, how far fetched is this tragedy really? Shootings have become so prominent throughout our nation, that we gave up on trying to stop them and have resorted to teaching people how to prepare for them. It’s not if it will happen, it’s when.

Now that I’m a mother, I dread the day I have to put my son on a school bus. Not because it marks a milestone of growing up, but because our world has become a cruel place. The evil that resides among us, does not discriminate. At one point and time it was unethical to harm women and children. The people committing these monstrosities have no moral code. None of us are safe. It’s an unsettling feeling to have as an American, but it’s stings a little deeper when you have a child to raise.

I pray for the victims of these barbaric acts of violence and I pray for a safe home that doesn’t feel like a bad dream.

The Perfectly Imperfect

You scroll through your Facebook feed and it’s all smiles, good times, and bright perfectly edited moments. Social media has provided people with a platform to showcase their lives and tell their story in any way they’d like. Some people thrive off exploiting the doom and gloom of their life, while most are eager to convince you that their lives are all white clouds and lullabies. I, myself am guilty of only sharing the most perfect parts of my life and since becoming a new mom I made it a mission of mine share the beautifully raw reality of motherhood.

It all started with my son’s birth announcement. I had this image in my head about what the first picture I shared to Facebook of my son and I was going to look like.

In my head, I somehow looked stunning in a hospital johnny, like much better than all of those other women. I was sitting in my hospital bed radiating with the beauty of a new mom and somehow my hair still had curls in it from the night before. My make up was done enough to give me that ethereal look and make people wonder how in the world I looked so good after delivering a baby. I was looking down at my son delicately with this maternal glow. I was torn between doing a black and white picture or using the Valencia filter.

Well, that moment in time that was so perfectly cultivated in my head, rendered a completely different image when the time came.

I had not showered in three days. Before I was put on pitocin, the nurse told me that I could take a shower, but I declined because I just finished touching up my hair with the curling iron and my eye lashes were perfect. I figured the labor was only going to last a few hours anyway and after I got my glamor shot with my son, I would take a shower and wash all the makeup off.

24 hours later, I’m laying on all fours in my hospital bed. I definitely pooped at least once and there aren’t many other ways to describe how I was feeling, other than that I wanted to crawl out of my skin. If taking off the hospital gown was an option, I would have torn that thing off like the hulk. By this time, I had surrendered the notion that my hair was going to be down and I had tried about two different braids before finally just throwing it up in a bun. My makeup had slowly been running all over my face due to tears and the cold washcloth that Brandon kept putting on my forehead. Luckily, I brought make up wipes in my hospital bag which is definitely something all moms should bring with them.

So after 36 hours of labor, I ended up with a c-section. It felt like I had ran to the final mile of a marathon and then just gave up and turned around. I felt defeated, but what choice did I have.

Before entering the operating room they put a cap over my head which was such a relief to me seeing as though there was no hope for my hair. After Beau was finally born, they pumped so many fluids into my body, that I swore I looked bigger after giving birth than I did at 9 months pregnant.

I had to lie flat in my hospital bed for at least 2 hours after delivery, I believe. And the initial picture that I had gotten with Beau in the operating room wasn’t one that I was going to use as a birth announcement because truthfully I was still feeling defeated that I had a c section. I wasn’t ready to answer everyone’s questions or provide them with all the details just yet.

So while I laid in recovery, I had Brandon bring me my compact mirror so I could evaluate my situation. It literally looked like I had freckles all over my face. I pushed so hard that I had broken a bunch of blood vessels in my cheeks and forehead. I even had a broken blood vessel in my eye. In that moment, I became angry with myself for being so upset about the c-section. I clearly did everything I could to get that baby out the natural way before resorting to surgery. Brandon said that I kind of looked cute with “freckles” all over my face.

Still lying flat and clenching on to my vanity for dear life, I had Brandon pass me my brush and dry shampoo…the dry shampoo being the only thing available to me that would have mercy on my hair…besides a hat maybe! After fussing with my hair and most likely making it more tangly and dirty, I finally surrendered and just threw it up in a bun.

I came to terms with the fact that a perfectly poised picture was not going to accurately convey the trials and triumph of the last 36 hours. Not to mention what could possibly mean more than getting to hold my baby in my arms for the first time.

Beau wasn’t exactly camera ready either. During my labor I had spiked a fever and being precautious, they treated me for an infection. I had to be on antibiotics for 48 hours as did Beau when he was born. That being said, he had an IV in his arm which was wrapped in a small cast. I couldn’t put any of my cute new outfits on him because nothing would fit over his arm properly. This was just one more thing that you don’t see in a new mom’s hospital pictures with her newborn. Nothing could’ve prepared me for any of this because I had never seen it. And just because I had never seen it doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening.

This is when I made a promise to myself that I was going to be open and honest about my motherhood journey. I proudly posted my birth announcement photo, in all of its imperfect glory. I don’t even think I used a filter.

Yes I know sometimes I try way too hard to get the perfect picture, but please know that in each of my meticulously staged pictures, I probably just changed a shitty diaper or had to bribe the dog with the rest of my sandwich to get him to stay still. There’s nothing wrong with sharing your best moments with the world just don’t forget how perfect the imperfect moments truly are.

Mama Bear

I’m one of those people that actually enjoys grocery shopping, even more so now that I have a little companion to bring with me. He’s more of a therapy baby really. Sometimes I get social anxiety and knowing that I have Beau to keep me company puts my mind at ease. Like if I see somebody from high school that I haven’t seen in six years I can easily avoid them by playing pick a boo with my baby or pretending to tend to his needs. I just re-read these first few sentences and I realize that I might not feel this way in a couple years… like at one point I might long to go to the grocery store by myself but right now I am super thankful to have Beau. Before I had him I used to borrow my sister’s kids to go grocery shopping… it’s that bad sometimes. Having someone to go grocery shopping with is the equivalent of putting headphones on and shutting out the world.

Beau has recently been promoted to the big boy seat in the cart. This means a few things; I actually have room to put my groceries now that his infant seat isn’t taking up the entire cart, I have to take the baby out of the car seat which is a major pain in the ass and way less convenient than just taking the entire seat but also less heavy, and now Beau is even more susceptible to his surroundings. Before I could just tuck him away in his infant seat and protect him from the wandering hands of passerbyers. People almost perceive an infant seat as a yield sign. They assume that whatever is in that seat is delicate and small and shouldn’t be crowded…most people assume this. But once you put your still delicate and small baby in the big boy seat it seems that people immediately assume that it’s fair game to touch your baby and breathe all over them.

There’s one person in particular that I expect to take advantage of Beau’s vulnerable position in the shopping cart. She works at the place I grocery shop at and she’s one of the reasons I’m happy to have my therapy baby with me, so I can be more effective at ignoring her. Unfortunately, as much as I would like to be invisible at times, Beau does just the opposite, he attracts people. I guess it’s inevitable when you’re so damn cute, but there are some unwritten rules as to how you are supposed to approach a baby.

This woman in particular always seems to over step her boundaries when I see her. The worst part is, is she comes into my family’s place of business and is never satisfied, but when I see her at her place of employment she wants to be my best friend and practically hump my leg. She always talks about how big the baby is getting and goes on and on pretending to care. She’ll sometimes put her hand on his car seat and touch Beau’s feet, which I’m not super pleased about, but I let it go because I really don’t want to cause a scene in the place that I regularly grocery shop.

I knew that if she saw Beau in is big boy seat, that was going to make him more accessible and inviting to her. I wanted to avoid that at all costs. I swiftly did my grocery shopping and cashed out. So far so good. I decided to test my luck and I went to the bank that was located in the store. I needed to fill out a deposit slip and I could only wedge the shopping cart so close to me so I put my foot on the cart to provide a bit of security. This is something that I do regularly. Even if my back is turned just for a moment to grab a box of cheez-it’s, I always keep a limb attached to the cart. I have precious cargo in there. Anyways, I can hear and feel her approaching us as I’m signing my name on the deposit slip. I hold onto the cart a little tighter and dig my face a little deeper into the privacy wall at the bank in hopes of remaining unseen. No such luck. At this point Beau is bait. I pretend to remain busy as she’s talking to him. It wasn’t until she said, “oh maybe if I take the cart away, your mom will pay attention…oh I guess she is paying attention , she has her foot on the cart.”

I could feel my blood boiling. I never knew what mama bear instincts truly were until that moment. Who in the third circle of hell does this grotesque woman think she is pretending to take my shopping cart away with my baby in it? I’m at the bank, I’m trying to conduct personal business. I’m not standing in line for ice cream. I’m not your waitress. I’m not getting paid to be nice to you. You need to kindly fuck off before I lose my cool and I need to ask the bank to lend me bail money. I was seeing red and clearly that was not being conveyed in my facial expressions or body language because this troll proceeded to stroke my son’s chin and joked that she could probably get him to sleep if she kept doing that. I nearly said under my breath, “no, but I am definitely going to punch you in the face if you keep doing that.”

It’s odd because I always thought I was going to be the type of mother that wouldn’t hesitate to tell somebody to fuck off in a situation like this, but I was rendered speechless. The audacity of this woman nearly crippled me. I was burning up inside, but my thoughts never transpired into actions.

I left the store vowing to find a new grocery store and a different bank. I let it linger for awhile before calling management the next day and filing a complaint.

I’m kind of mad that I didn’t stick up for myself or vocalize how I was feeling at the time. In a way I feel like I didn’t advocate for my son like I should have. At least I know my mama bear instinct has been engaged. Perhaps, next time I won’t be so calm and collected.

Dog Mom

Beau was napping in his swing when I got home from work which afforded me the luxury of some free time. Max looked at me with a heavy sigh as he changed positions on the couch, just about guilting me to take him outside and run around. It’s much too often that our one on one time with Max gets deferred by the baby.

I grabbed Max’s brush as he followed me outside. The brush prompted a game of chase and I finally had him cornered. Maybe it was the way the sun was shining on him, but I noticed a few gray hairs on his back. We noticed that shortly after Beau was born, Max’s face got white around his eyes and snout. I joked that the baby was stressing him out. I tried convincing myself that golden retrievers gray at a young age and that it was just coincidence that we noticed these changes around the time Beau joined our family.

Finding gray hairs on my dog probably hit me as hard as it does for a young woman to find her first gray. It forces me to accept a reality that I’m not willing to bare. Max will only be 4 years old next month, but I tell myself that these are the best years we have with him, while he is young and healthy. I would say he is slowly approaching the peak of his life. He’s young enough to run around and play fetch, but old enough to nap for 4 hours and not destroy our house.

Max was our first kid and a symbol of our life together. He represents Brandon and I’s love story and all of the exciting events that have taken place these past four years.

Brandon and I had just moved in together when we decided to get Max. The thought of having someone else to blame my farts on and take some of the heat for all of the blonde hair on the furniture and in the shower drain was comforting.

Max also shared in the excitement of our engagement.When Brandon got down one one knee to propose to me, Max perched himself beside his dad and looked up at me with the brightest eyes and smile as if he was sealing the deal, how could I say no to that face?

On our wedding day, Max sat at the alter beaming with pride as he watched his parents do something very important dressed up in fancy clothes. He looked at me with the biggest puppy dog eyes that day; making me feel like the most beautiful woman on his earth.

As I sat on the toilet and watched two faint lines appear on a pregnancy test, max sat there at my feet eagerly waiting for whatever I was waiting for. When I drove to Walmart at 4:30 that same morning to get more pregnancy tests, Max rode shot gun. Brandon is still secretly upset that Max found out before him.

During the first few weeks after having Beau, I slept in the living room with the bassinet. The nights were long, lonely and hopeless at times. Max never left my side. He laid at my feet and provided me a familiar comfort and warmth that I would have crumbled without. Even today, he still lays at my feet while I feed Beau. Max grounds me and reminds me of who I was before I became a mom. He reminds me that that woman matters too.

The days go by so fast and sometimes I feel like I’ve cheated Max. Sometimes I just don’t have the energy to get down on the floor and roll around. Sometimes the ball just gets thrown once and the cookies are scarce. We don’t even speak of going to Grandma’s if we don’t plan on bringing Max. I can’t remember the last time we went to P-e-t-c-o and Max is way overdue for a nail trimming. No matter how disregarded Max may feel or how old he gets, his love and loyalty will remain unwavering.

Today I’m thankful to be a mom to the best dog there is.

Love Language

People have told me that allllll babies say “dada” first because its easier for them to pronounce. I don’t know why, but this annoys me. It’s not that I don’t love my husband or think that he is an amazing dad but I truly believe that I, mama, deserve to be the first word vocalized by the little human that my body nourished and created for over 9 months. It’s like when the baby comes out looking like their dad, and you’re not sure if that makes you happy or not. Yes, you’re grateful that the baby resembles their father to spare you the milkman comments, but you were a precious vessel to that baby for almost an entire year and the kid comes out looking like a stray to you. Genetically, there is not much you can do to alter who the baby’s appearance is going to favor, but you can manipulate their first word. And in a perfect world, all babies should say mama first.

Beau and I have been practicing “mama” since he could see far enough to read my lips. I even use the sign for mama because which ever one he learns first is a win in my book. Let’s be honest though, if he learned the sign language first that would be grounds for real bragging rights. Beau didn’t catch on to the m and ah sounds until about a month ago. He would use them, but not fluently and definitely not with purpose or association. A few weeks ago, he started mimicking me as I said “mama” and although I was delighted to hear the sound of my name come from my son’s mouth, I knew it wasn’t with intention. As eager as I was to pull out the baby book and write in big capital letters that his first word was mama, I knew that he officially had not said it. And if you were to ask my husband he would completely agree.

So, the last few months have slowly stripped me of my sanity. Beau has been sleeping like a newborn, waking up every two to three hours. I can’t remember the last time he slept through the night. I am throughly sleep deprived and at times I feel hollow and lifeless. Every night I pray that Beau will sleep even for just a longer stretch of time so I can recharge.

Last night, Beau was up for the third time. My eyes were heavy and my patience wearing thin. I was completely prepared to let him cry it out. I’m not against CIO, I’ve just never done it. Anytime I hear my baby cry, I instinctively come to his rescue. But after months of not sleeping, I was at my breaking point. I pulled the pillow over my head as I was trying to block out the sound. Amongst Beau’s cries of discontent he very clearly sobbed, “mama” and just in case I thought the lack of sleep was making me delirious, he said it again. I couldn’t have jumped out of the bed fast enough. Even my husband’s head came off the pillow. He couldn’t deny it this time, Beau officially said his first word. In the middle of the night, during my darkest hours, literally, Beau shed a glimmer of light. He didn’t sleep the through the night, but hearing my name called and knowing that I’m needed and wanted by my son makes me feel rejuvenated. Our babies are in tune with us just as we are with them and they know what we need when we need it most. I’m going to wear “Beau’s first word” like a badge of honor.

In the Stars

A few weeks before Beau was born I was in a nesting frenzy. I went to Bath and Body Works to stock up on hand soap and sanitizer in hopes that the alluring scents would encourage my guests to wash their hands before touching my delicate little baby. I had a coupon that granted me a “free gift” if I spent over a certain amount. By the time I reached that magical increment, I couldn’t possibly find another scent that appealed to me. I impulsively grabbed a hand lotion and quickly gave it a sniff of approval. It was one of their new lines, “In the Stars” it was called. I figured if I didn’t end up liking it, I would gift it to someone.

My hospital bag had been packed for weeks. Everyday, I would add to it until it had finally reached capacity. Before we went to the hospital for my induction, I thought to myself that I might want some lotion so the nurses don’t notice how dry the skin on my legs is (boy was that the least of my worries!). My new lotion was sitting on the kitchen counter still unsure of its fate. Given its convenience I stuffed it into my hospital bag as we were walking out the door.

Three days and a 36 hour labor later, I am finally granted passage to take a shower. Alllll the things I packed and I forgot body soap! The hospital is one of the most expensive hotels you will stay at that doesn’t have body wash! Who knows, maybe they do, I didn’t ask. They did give me some complimentary mesh underwear though. They even wrapped a ribbon around it, no joke!

Anyways, I ended up using shampoo as body wash, you know making use of my resources. I get out of the shower and still don’t quite feel like the maternal goddess that I should, so I used some of that lotion I packed. I’m not sure if it was the shower drought that I had been experiencing or maybe my senses were augmented because I just birthed a baby, either way that lotion smelled devine! The scent was so light and whimsical. I was transformed. One of the nurses came into my room and the look on her face conveyed that her first observation was that I no longer looked like I had been hit by a bus followed by how amazing the whole room smelt. She said, “this is just one of the happiest smells, I could hang out in here all day.”

Yes, the lotion was a life saver but we left the hospital and resumed our lives without me giving it much more of a thought. That is until I started using it again months later. I casually put some of the lotion on my hands and as the scent greeted my nose I was immediately taken back to those precious days in the hospital with my son. It evokes some of the most vivid moments of those couple of days. It almost feels like I was reliving it again. I know it’s only been about six months since those memories were made, but I love being reminded of the day I met my son. Who knew that an impulsive choice of lotion would end up meaning so much to me.

You can wait

A resolution that I’ve made for myself as a mom, is to stop saying, “I can’t wait until…” I would see a kid holding their own bottle at a restaurant or a mom bragging on Facebook about her kid’s nap time and I would think to myself, I can’t wait for my kid to do that. The truth is, is that I can wait and the things that I’m so eagerly anticipating will be here before I know it.

Babies grow and develop at an accelerated rate. And while my life may seem mundane and unwavering, big changes are occurring every single day right beneath my eyes. It’s not until a onesie all of a sudden fits a little snug or those tiny toes seem to be poking further out of the car seat that I am forced to realize that my baby is growing. I’m having whiplash at how rapidly it’s all happening.

During the first month of Beau’s life, I would fantasize about him sleeping through the night. The newborn stage felt like a long trip I couldn’t wait to come down from. Now he is finally sleeping longer stretches, but I still wake up every three hours and put my hand gently on his chest to feel the rise and fall of his breathing. I toss and turn trying to get back to sleep, feeling a little lonely and longing for those exhausting, but intimate times with my son that I never knew I would miss.

I feel guilty for not enjoying the sleepless uncertainty of what was the beginning of Beau’s life. I was just trying to survive. Sometimes I felt like I was hallucinating and I could not discern between what I dreamed and what was real life. The first few weeks of Beau’s life flashed before my eyes. We adjusted and adapted and life got better. That’s also when I wished that time would slow down. I feel as if I wished away some of the most precious moments of our lives.

After I emerged from the depths of the newborn stage, I realized that I was going to look less into the future and focus more on the present. Whatever the situation may be, good or bad, I want to be throughly dedicated.

I’ve learned that part of being a mom is enjoying all that it has to offer. It’s not always going to be easy, but it will be worth it. It is the struggles of motherhood that condition us with the strength it takes to be a mom. Also the only thing more precious than your little baby, is time and neither of those things do you ever get back.

Mom Bod

One of my biggest fears of motherhood, was that I would not have time to go to the gym. Well, guess what? I don’t. I have had a few opportunities to go to the gym, but right now my desire to play peek-a-boo supersedes bicep curls. I thought I would be itching to get back into the gym. Maybe my lack of drive stems from the fact that I actually feel pretty good for just having a baby.

I’m kind of loving my mom bod. If I’m in the right lighting and sucking it in, I can sort of see some evidence of abs? I was lucky enough to not have one stretch mark or even loose skin..not that the gym would solve those problems anyway. It’s hard to defy genetics. I do still have that line running vertically down my tummy, which serves as a mild reminder of the gift my body carried for 9 months. It’s like a souvenir of my pregnancy.

My boobs have never been fuller. Like I can’t even wear my husband’s T-shirt without feeling like a porn star. And there’s not a sports bra in God’s creation that could offer me the support I need to feel comfortable enough to run on a treadmill right now.

My body has definitely taken on a curvier appearance since having a baby. I find this body type much more flattering than my former 12 year old boy hips, although I had to officially retire all of my hollister jeans and I find myself shopping less in the juniors section. I had to double check myself the other day because I thought I put my underwear on backwards, turns out, my ass has just gotten wider! Apparently getting pregnant and having a baby is more effective than the countless variations and reps of squats that I used to do.

I am in no way saying that I don’t need the gym, as there is always room for improvement. I also love to push my limits and physically challenge myself. Luckily, motherhood has allowed me to do that without even going to the gym. Do you realize how heavy those car seats are? And every day they just get heavier. Between the car seat and the diaper bag, I lug around over 20 pounds of baby baggage. Mom arm is a real thing. So be sure to switch sides every once in a while so one of your arms doesn’t get bulkier than the other.

Ever try doing household chores with 15 pounds of baby strapped to you? Bending down to take clothes out of the washer becomes an Olympic sport when you’re wearing your baby. Try chasing the dog around the house with your clean socks in his mouth while carrying the baby. That’s my cardio these days.

Despite what I may have thought, I am absolutely not being deprived of my work outs since becoming a mom. And even better, I love my body just the way it is and don’t feel guilty for not making it to the gym. Motherhood yields sacrifices, but you get so much more in return.

Postpartum Depression’s Ugly Step-Sister; Postpartum Anxiety

Yesterday, I went to the doctor for sinus related symptoms. She looked me over and was about to send me on my way with a prescription when I asked her, “so I don’t have throat cancer?” I realized how bewildering this question may have come off, so I proceeded to explain myself. And when I say explain myself, I mean I unlocked the chamber of my deepest thoughts and fears.

I told her that I have anxiety and always have. I become fixated on a thought and, at times, I let it consume me. Since having Beau, I became so fearful that something bad was going to happen to me and he would be left without a mother. I imagined that after he was born, I would be worried about something happening to him, but it’s just quite the opposite. My life became so much more valuable since becoming a mom. I’ve never felt more important or needed in my life and that thought drives me to insanity at times.

I explained to her how badly I wanted kids. Despite, having no fertility issues, I held onto this fear that I would never be able to reproduce. It became so real, that I convinced myself that it would never happen. Now that I do have a child and I am a mom, I can’t help but to question what I did to deserve this? I feel so happy and fortunate, it scares me. It’s like, I’m not allowed to be this happy. So, I fabricate some tragedy in my mind and immerse myself in it. I told her that that’s why I think I have throat cancer, because I just can’t have it all. My anxiety tells me that.

I told her that at times, I feel robbed of these special moments with my son. I tell myself to stop being irrational because years from now, I will be so mad for wasting these precious years of Beau’s life and my life being worried.

I was reluctant to open up about this to anyone. I’ve called the doctor’s office with the intention of addressing this issue, and then hung up after two rings. I have a blog that I wrote a couple months ago saved in my drafts that I was just too afraid to publish. I was afraid that I would be judged or viewed as a failure or, even worse, an inadequate mother. There is such an emphasis on postpartum depression, but not nearly enough on postpartum anxiety. When I went to my six week follow up and was screened for PPD, I assumed everything was okay with me because I didn’t fall under that category. I thought that maybe this was how you were supposed to feel after having a baby. Maybe it was just hormones. But then I got realistic with myself. The thoughts I was having were obsessive and irrational, and frankly just not that healthy.

Becoming a mom, has made me a better person in so many ways. I value myself more and realize how important my well being is. So, in my quest to bettering myself, I decided it was time to finally talk about my mental health. I didn’t really plan on opening up to my doctor like I did, but I think maybe I just approached my breaking point. She was so open minded and understanding of my fears. She validated my thoughts and didn’t make me feel crazy. She assured me that motherhood is full of worries, but you have to find that middle ground. She told me to take more time for myself and to focus on the things that make me happy, like my son.

Before I left, I told my doctor that the 20 minutes she spent talking and listening to me, definitely helped more than the amoxicillin she prescribed for my sinus infection will.

I hope my story resonates with someone and possibly gives them the courage to seek the help they need. Don’t be ashamed of your demons, be better than them.

C-Section Story

April is C-Section awareness month. About a third of babies are delivered via C-Section. During my labor, I resisted taking part in that statistic. The thought of major surgery on top of being responsible for a newborn, was a crippling thought to me. Not to mention, we had already spent over 24 hours in the hospital due to being induced and I did not want to have to be there any longer than I needed to be. A C-Section would require a couple more days of recovery. Also, I was committed to experiencing birth the “right way.” I wanted to deliver my son naturally with my mom, sister and husband by my side.

Labor is more exhausting than anyone could have ever prepared me for. Every push taxed my body beyond measure. I pushed for three hours and I could tell by the look in my nurse’s eyes that we were not making the progress we should be. Beau’s head just wouldn’t clear my pelvic bone. It was like trying to fit a ten foot truck under an 8 foot bridge. I was starting to see stars and my vision become blurry. I spiked a fever and Beau’s heart rate dropped. The baby was in distress and infection threatened. I wanted to crawl out of my skin. How was I not making this happen? Why was I failing at something I was trying so hard to accomplish? I asked my nurse, “can I just go home?” I knew that this was not an option, but delirium came over me and I just wanted to give up. I was completely defeated but I knew that I needed to make a decision that was best for my baby and I. I said, “let’s just do the c-section.” I could feel a sigh of relief come over the room. I wasn’t happy about this outcome, but I knew that it was what I needed to do.

From that point, everything happened so quickly. My doctor, who was just about out the door,canceled her next commitment and changed back into her scrubs so she could deliver my baby. I literally had 30 minutes to prepare myself for major surgery. They wheeled me away into a cold, sterile operating room. Brandon had to wait behind until they were ready for him to come in. It was at that moment that my fight or flight kicked in and I summoned a shade of strength and bravery that I’ve never experienced before.

Brandon finally made it to my side as I was stretched across the table like a specimen. I grabbed Brandon’s hand and pleed, “we’re going to have to stay in the hospital a few more days because of this, who’s going to watch Max?” Brandon shot me this look that conveyed exactly what he was thinking. You are about to undergo major surgery and give birth to our first born son and you’re worried about the fucking dog? Maybe that was my defense mechanism, to worry about the small stuff rather than sharp objects slicing layers deep into my body. My doctor, god I love her, must have overheard our conversation because she chimed in, most likely in an attempt to make small talk, and asked me why all of the kids in my family have “B” names but the dog has a name that starts with an M.

The surgery took longer than I thought and I squeezed Brandon’s hand harder in those 30 minutes than I did throughout the entire 36 hours of contractions and active labor. Before I know it, Beau is outside of me. My doctor exclaimed that he looked just like me and a few of the nurses said, “oh what a beautiful boy,” in which my doctor said, that’s what his name means, Beau means beautiful boy in French.” If you ever read this, Dr. Hendsch, I adore you! You are my life line.

It felt like eternity before we finally heard Beau cry. That beautiful sound of life assured me that it didn’t matter how Beau got here, he was born. I would not change a thing about my labor and delivery. It did not go as I imagined or planned, but I will never not love everything about the day I met my son.