On Love and the Islands

islands

I sat there contentedly, stirring my cappuccino, and waiting patiently for Hubby and Big Girl to return.  It was his turn to get the crepes.  I had overeaten yet again, and this time Little Baby decided to stay in her stroller and sleep so I could sit back and enjoy dessert.

I sipped and smiled to myself, happily recounting the last few sunny days in my head, when I saw The Lady.  She sat facing me, the next table over. The Lady was also sipping a coffee, but she and I were very different this evening. The Lady had very big, sad eyes. And The Lady sat alone.

I immediately wondered how she ended up on a beautiful island, sitting all by her lonesome. I mean, I couldn’t imagine the scenario for myself. God has blessed me with a carefree and loving marriage, quite smooth sailing for the past three years and counting. In between now and 13 years ago, I had been out of a relationship for only three months. I don’t even remember what it’s like to be on my own (though, metaphorically, I could certainly recall some rough times).

I pondered how it must feel to retire for the evening to an empty bed. To wake up without the chatter of an overexcited four-year-old or the hungry cries of a grumpy little baby. Or to an exhausted husband snoring deeply.

I wondered if she was meeting anybody at the bars. Whether she chatted up the bartenders as they shook up her cocktails. Would she be boogeying on the dance floor tonight, in her highest of heels and shortest of skirts?  Did she lay on the beach until the sun set, staring into that awestriking horizon, wishing she had someone to snuggle with as the ocean breeze kissed her blonde hair?

I continued to drown in my thoughts and barely noticed The Man who set his coffee cup and plate of dessert on the table and sat facing The Lady. She acknowledged him, or lacked to acknowledge him, if you would, in the “loving” way an irritated wife would greet her tardy husband.

Guess she wasn’t lonely after all.

Whoops.

Just me and my mini

When I thought all was hopeless, I finally had a breakthrough. I was sure I’d be walking on eggshells around her once John went back to work. So I tentatively encouraged her to play with her toys and watch her favourite shows (we took away most of her playthings earlier in the week during one of her naughty episodes, so her choices were limited). By 5:30 pm she was sprawled out on the couch, eyelids drooping, so I very gently asked her to go to her bed and take a nap.  Some resistance at first, but she allowed me to carry her to her room and ended up sleeping for an hour and some. When she awoke, I braced myself for a whiny argument about nothing at all but, amazingly, there was nothing of the sort. Stella hasn’t been 100% lately so she went to bed a half hour earlier than usual, leaving just Dani and I.

These past few days I’d been on the brink of exhaustion, with Dani waking up 4-5 times every night crying and needing to be consoled back to bed, interspersed with Stella awakening every other hour, needing to be nursed and changed (as luck would have it, she started pooping late at night, as well).  It’s not easy to be in deep sleep, then wake up every hour to tend to one child or the other alternately, as if on cue.  I can’t remember when I’ve slept for two or three uninterrupted hours.

Dani asked, Mommy, will you play with me?  And I said, of course!  She gave me a Shopkin to play with and we built a little Shopkins world together. When I went to my phone to take a photo of it, she sadly asked, Mommy, are you not playing with me anymore? I answered of course I am, took the picture, and put it away. She said she didn’t want to watch TV anymore, and I turned it off. I let her stay up a little later than usual, partly because of her late nap, and partly because I enjoyed watching and listening to her play, amazed by her imagination and creativity.

Of course my eyelids were heavy, and part of me was having trouble playing when I wanted to flip on some R-rated, gory television show, or flop on my stomach and snooze for a lucky few hours until Stella woke up.

But play on, I did. When I told her it was bedtime, she softly shook her head and said she wanted to play still. I gave her five more minutes and, when they were up, told her it was late and she needed to rest up for school tomorrow. Again, I braced myself for some yelling, head-shaking, or tantrum-throwing, but to my amazement, she quietly put her toys away while I got her toothbrush ready.

I came out of the bathroom, and so unexpectedly she broke my heart. She said, Mommy, I don’t want to go to school. I want to stay home with you. I miss you. I fought the tears back, gave her big hugs, and told her everyone has a job, and hers was to go to school. Every day since the first, I’d joke to her about staying home with me instead of going to school. She’d always say, no, Mommy, I want my friends. So you can imagine what this did to me inside.

I promised her that we’d play Shopkins together every night, or do whatever she wanted, no television, telephone, or chores in the way. This made her happy, and we seamlessly brushed our teeth, said our prayers, and said good night with hugs and kisses.

I know we are all busy with our household duties. Tired from a long day of work. Ready to dig our fannies into the couch groove and do some unwinding. But there is so much beauty in a little child who wants to spend all of his or her time with you. Though they were loud and irritating sounds, I know now they were just cries for attention.  Before long, these sweet little beings will want nothing to do with us, and we’ll crave these little moments that are already gone.

I’m learning my lesson. The dishes and the laundry and the television can wait. I’ll find a way to stay awake a little longer to do my homework. I’ll try not resorting to tough love to keep her in line (although that’s definitely not going away, let’s be straight). I’ll put my phone away and ignore it (okay fine, I’ll reallyyyy try my best).  It’s about devoting more time to my girl who thinks the world of me, when I’m crowded with so much noise and can easily forget what’s right there.  I don’t ever want to forget again.

mommy et les bleus

Parenting: the hardest job to get right (if that’s even possible).

I’m about ready to devour the majority of a pumpkin pie by myself, totally ignoring the repercussions to follow, because I’m in a funk. I’m having a bit of the mommy blues.

For the past week or so, my once extremely obedient and well-behaved four-year-old daughter has become a tiny terror. It started with waking up, tossing, turning, and screaming angrily in the middle of the night (nightmares? possibly), and has since lead to copious use of the word “no,” yelling irately during a time-out, and emanating a blank stare when given simple orders.

What was once a seamless routine getting ready for school (and being picked up from school) is now becoming a battle of the wits or a mini-meltdown and almost being late every morning.

No amount of disciplining, pleading, or even asking nicely seems to be working.  Nothing is. I’ve been spending countless nights just moping about, trying to figure out what’s been going wrong and being unable to focus on much else.

Could it have something to do with growing pains? Are things happening to her at school? Is she influenced by her friends or other schoolmates? Is she jealous of her baby sister and seeks retaliation?  I feel like there is no definitive answer and she’s not telling me much, either.

In the meantime, I just gotta continue to pray and hope it’s just a phase, and that the defiance, stubbornness, and strong-headedness (she’s inherited from her mother) will ease up, though I know from experience doesn’t go away completely.  I’m doing the very best I can, and so now I turn to dessert.

To my giant handful of a daughter: Mommy loves you always.  Now, please give me a break. 🙂

Gains in Losses

dressBAbellyBA

About a month after I gave birth, I ordered ALL my summer clothes online in a size medium, and gave myself three months maximum to fit into them all. I’m happy to report that it’s mission accomplished 🙂

Let me reverse and tell you a little bit more about my recovery (if you haven’t read the horror story which was my second delivery, please see below post entitled “4 Months Old.”)

After being released from the hospital on day four, my journey to recovery began, and it was unfortunately not seamless. Due to the amount of blood I had lost, I was prescribed iron tablets three times daily, along with the two Advil and four Tylenol I was taking for the pain – the constant soreness in which I couldn’t even sit properly. What was most uncomfortable about my recovery was the constipation – the iron pills would make me constipated, I was warned, and the only thing I had to counteract that was one stool softener I could take daily. It was six days before I had a bowel movement, and it was not a complete or “natural” one. TMI alert – it was more like a bunch of little black pebbles than something I would call a relief. Every time I would push, it would ache, and sometimes I would irritate the wound and rip the stitching a little, causing it to bleed more. One time I took a mirror and glanced at myself “down there” and was appalled at how I looked – a gaping, mutilated hole bound by stitching. I know you wonder why I would bother looking, but I just had to know.

One thing that helped with the pain was sitting in an epsom salt sitz bath three times daily, 20 minutes each time. A sitz bath is a round, plastic tub you place over the toilet that is filled with water and connected to an IV bag-like contraption with a tube and a clamp. Basically you fill the bag with hot water and move the clamp blocking the water passage to allow hot water into the bath as needed, and the excess water pours out a hole in the tub and into the toilet. Now that we are well versed in sitz bathery, I’ll get back to my recovery story.

Eventually, as the weeks passed, I was able to decrease the amount of pain killers to only 2-3 per day. And although I was told to take three iron tablets daily, I only took one and tried to eat as much iron-rich foods as possible instead, such as red meat and beans. That really helped with the constipation, and I was more “regular” about 2.5 weeks after I delivered.

At my six week post-partum appointment, I told the doc I still couldn’t sit upright properly in a chair. This concerned her, so she examined me and discovered I had some granulation on my vagina. Granulation tissue looks like polyps, and formed as a result of my stitching healing “too well” or “over-healing.” I had only a small one, and she gave me two options: either she burn it off immediately with silver nitrate, or I could take Vagifem daily suppositories (a tablet on a stick inserted into the vagina) to lubricate the area and help it to shrink on its own. I opted for the Vagifem, because I was too terrified of any more pain going on (she had warned me the silver nitrate would burn and be very uncomfortable.) She did tell me, however, that I was able to resume any form of exercise, including sexual activity.

For the next six weeks, I worked out at Goodlife four times a week, first thing in the morning. I took any and every class from Aqua Fit, Body Pump, Body Flow, Pilates Mat, Yoga, Body Step, Body Attack, and Body Combat. I prefer classes because I respond better to being told what to do, instead of leaving myself to my own devices (and laziness). At first I cut out white rice and only ate whole wheat bread with every meal. I didn’t eat sugary desserts or anything deep-fried. As you can probably guess, this didn’t last long. As the weight melted off, I started to become lackadaisical in my food choices and concentrated more on portion size: eating smaller portions of the things I actually enjoyed. This included sugary desserts because of my notorious sweet tooth, but very limited deep-fried items. To this day, I haven’t had fried chicken, and I very rarely order french fries (one exception is Swiss Chalet, because it’s just not the same without them).

A month after my previous appointment, doc told me the granulation was very small now, and I could continue with the Vagifem or she could burn it off with the silver nitrate. She told me again that it would hurt but only for a brief while, so I said, what the hell, just burn that mothaf*cka off. She applied the nitrate, and when she was finished, I exclaimed, that’s it?! I didn’t feel a thing!

At four months post-delivery, I am now 133 pounds at my lowest vs. 178 when I gave birth, and three pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. As I mentioned earlier, my summer clothes all now fit, including two dresses I bought for weddings (one already passed, and the other is in three weeks). Though I am happy with the weight loss, my skin still hasn’t returned to normal, and of course I still have pockets of fat here and there that I could do without. I started off extremely motivated, but I haven’t been back to the gym in a month. I think it’s all starting to catch up to me now. I’m constantly tired for some reason. As soon as the kids are tucked into bed/crib at night, all I want to do is go to sleep, when I have tons of steno practice I could/should be doing, as well as some home workouts I found on Hulu (which I do about three times a week if I’m lucky).

I guess I’m trying not to be too hard on myself given the energy expended keeping up with two youngin’s all day, along with my other motherly/wifely duties. Once Dani is back to school in September, I think I’ll be able to return to the gym, and my studies, on a full-time basis again. One can only be optimistic.

🙂

To my one and only

anniv

You’re the kind and loyal counterpart to my impatient, sarcastic, and cynical being

You’re the voice laughing identically with and at me, because you share my silly sense of humour

You always forgive me when I’m being mean and angry and pick on you when I’m bored

You’re the voice of reason and stay collected, whereas I fly off the handle and spew obscenities out of my face

You tolerate my constant indecisiveness which would, should the tables be turned, annoy the heck out of me

You spoil me every day with little notions that are more valuable than materialistic possessions

You sacrifice your sleep for mine, not only when I’m tired from the endless day to day, but because I just love it so

You’re my best friend
You’re our children’s best friend
Everybody likes you

I could go on and on, but I don’t need to

I have you forever!

Happy anniversary!

Your #1 fan.

4 months old :)

stellaIt started at around 2:30 am the night before, three days past my due date, when I started feeling moderate lower back pain every 40 minutes. I didn’t feel like it was time for the baby to come, so I decided to sleep it off and see what happened by the time I saw my OB at 9:30 am that day. She examined me, aka shoved multiple fingers up my vujay-jay, and discovered that I was one centimetre dilated. We had a conversation about what to do next, since further dilation could take hours, a few days, or even a week at that point. We decided that if the baby didn’t come by Friday (it was a Monday), I would have a C-section, or I could wait until over the weekend and they would try other methods (not exactly induction, which wasn’t possible since I’d had a C-section with my first daughter).

A little background information – as previously mentioned, I had an emergency C-section with my first daughter, Danica. I wanted another Caesarean with my second pregnancy, but Doc convinced me that I was a good candidate to have a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) and that the recovery time would be much faster, so that’s what I went with.  However, I couldn’t wait too long for the baby to arrive on its own because of this, so that is why we were on a timeline.

At 1:20 pm while having lunch at Montana’s, I was more frequently feeling sharp back pains and it was becoming too uncomfortable to sit upright. At that point I started to record every contraction (which I had determined they were, since I remembered this feeling from my first pregnancy), and they were 17 minutes apart. I had read multiple times that if they were five minutes apart or closer, I should go to the hospital. I decided to take a nap and see how I felt when I woke up. When I arose, the contractions ranged from four to seven minutes apart, and it was around 3:30 pm when we agreed to pack up and head to the hospital before possibly getting stuck in traffic. At about 5:00 pm we arrived. I was taken into triage for the doctor to again roughly invade my insides and find that I was now three centimetres dilated.  I was admitted. Blood tests were done and my IV was inserted at that point. They couldn’t find the vein in both my arms so they put it into my hand, which was a little more painful, and I was advised to not bend it in case it broke or pinched a nerve or something. Great.

I was advised to ask for the epidural right away, because there was a chance the anaesthesiologist wouldn’t be able to come on time. At roughly 8:40 pm, three hours later, he arrived and gave me the epidural. Luckily my nurse was great and was able to snag him in between two lengthy operations. For a good 40 minutes I felt bliss from the painful and now frequent contractions. They inserted my catheter (“pee tube”) while I was already numb down there, a process I’m sure would be quite uncomfortable under normal circumstances. And then the nurse broke my water and started my pitocin drip, which would help speed along the process. At first this made me nervous because I wasn’t allowed to be induced, but they said it wasn’t the same process and wanted to have the baby out as quickly as possible in case any complications arose (the general risk of having a VBAC is that the former Caesarean scar could rupture, and the baby would lose oxygen and potentially die – SCARY!)

However, when the pitocin started to kick in, I started feeling the painful contractions again. One, two, three, four times I pressed that button for an extra hit of “epidural juice” as I like to call it, but I was still feeling the pain! Such constant, heavy, clawing back pain that I could barely lay still. I’d shake my legs after every contraction just to distract myself. At 11:35 pm, I was eight centimetres dilated. Two more hits of juice after that, and at 12:10 am they increased the dosage (which still wasn’t helping me at all). Two more hits after that, and in more excruciating pain than ever, and I was finally fully dilated at 12:45 am.

The doctor came in and told me to push after the next contraction. I asked her how, and she said to push as if I was taking the largest crap ever. After the first one, I yelled out, and they told me not to yell because it took away from the power of the push. It was then discovered that my baby was “sunny side up,” or her back was to my back instead of the opposite way, which is optimal for delivery. This was why my contractions were painful – she was positioned in a way that put more pressure on my spine. Doc said she would put her hand in and turn the baby downwards while I pushed. The next contraction came, and all I saw was a hand go in and disappear up to her elbow, and a lightning flash of pain as I screamed the loudest I ever have in my entire life. I quickly shut my mouth and gritted my teeth, and concentrated on pushing while the doctor’s arm was still inside of me. My mind got fuzzy and I felt light-headed. At one point, a flood of nurses started rushing into the room. Apparently they were having trouble finding the baby’s heart rate, which had suddenly just dropped. I heard the doctor tell the nurses to prepare the operating room for a C-section and I thought, frightfully, no, not again! Then I heard mention of forceps as, my husband told me later, they sliced me open to the anus and used the forceps to pull the baby out. It lasted 20 minutes. They put my darling baby on my chest, all bloody and slimy, and had to cut the cord instead of my husband in case there were other complications.

I was so relieved and hugged my cute little baby, and then they took her away to clean her up. They told me I had done a very good job pushing and, had it lasted any longer than that, I would’ve had another Caesarean. I thank God to this day that I didn’t have Caesarean AND vaginal trauma to recover from.  They started to stitch me up. Half an hour, an hour later, I asked, what is taking so long? Doc then told me there was bleeding from my uterus, which had ripped somehow before I started pushing. I was in agony again. When I dared to look, I would see various hands and metal instruments going in and out of me. Needles slashing back and forth, sewing like mad. They couldn’t stop the bleeding. They told me that if I lost more blood and couldn’t fix it, I would need a blood transfusion and possibly an operation to sew up my uterus. At that point I broke down. I just want it to be over, I cried. I just wanted to rest and hold my baby and be at peace. They ended up inserting a latex balloon up to my uterus, inflated with 300 mg of water. Then they stuffed three cloths into my vagina up next to it. It was a little over an hour and a half when they finished sewing. They put me back on the pitocin drip (to this day I don’t remember why- something to do with stopping the uterine bleeding) and again I started to feel the painful contractions. I asked how long would I need the stuffing in there and for how long would I feel the pain, and they told me at least 12 more hours! I broke down again. I kept trying to shake my leg. I wouldn’t let go of John’s hand. I couldn’t even drink anything in case I still needed surgery, so I would sneak little sips of water to cool my super dry throat. They gave me morphine which still did nothing for me. 45 minutes later they told me to breastfeed Stella, and I tried but I couldn’t. I couldn’t even sit still, the pain was so intense, so I tearfully told them I couldn’t do it and to please take her away. It broke my heart. I probably had two more breakdowns in between then and 12 hours later. I couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t allowed to eat. I was just writhing in pain the entire time.

After 2:00 pm the next afternoon, they finally deflated the balloon and removed the stuffing. The contractions ceased, and I was in heaven. The bleeding had stopped, and I didn’t need an operation.  There were just the post-delivery complications to deal with, and I’ll leave those for next time.

I am blessed and thankful that my Stella Joan, 7 pounds and 9 ounces, came out happy and healthy, and I’m well enough mentally and physically to put it all behind me now.  Happy 4 months my sweet baby girl!

5 monf slumf

kids

In the 5 months since I’ve blogged, I’ve gone and had me a baby. I’ve recovered from a(nother) painful and somewhat traumatizing childbirth experience. I’ve lost 89% of my baby weight in 2.5 months. Yet I’ve also metamorphosed from fiercely determined to exhausted and unsure.

I put a lot of pressure on myself. I worry a lot about how I’m going to succeed and how quickly I can get there, yet feel like I’m constantly running out of time. I lose focus and motivation and just want to lie on my couch like a sack of potatoes. I can’t help but admit that the power of procrastination has gripped me and left me powerless. It always has. I have 8 months left before I return to the office (?) and so much to accomplish in that inflexible time frame, yet I sit at my steno machine, write, yawn, and shut it down shortly after to have a nap.

I can fill up this page with excuses: I have two kids. I’m tired from nursing every few hours, which makes me hungry and want to eat more. The gym schedules its classes early in the morning and I can’t get up. Yada, yada, yada.

Why am I blogging again? Why am I using social media again (oh gosh)? I guess I miss getting on the computer and using a normal keyboard to write, and I need IG for shameless self-promotion (follow me: preferredfate) LOL. More so, I miss having an outlet to vent my elation and/or frustrations, and getting valuable feedback (not to mention off-the-cuff comments/conversations). And posting photos of my beautiful children, of course.

The fact that I finally opened up my WordPress App and saw that people are visiting my blog to this day is surely the real reason. Thank you, readers, for supporting and inspiring me.

Now that I’m already at my computer, I’m going to do some steno practice. And maybe even an at-home workout (thanks Hulu).

Sincerely,

D.G.C.