When You Comin Home Mom?

I went traveling for work over the last few days. There were a lot of things…all the feels.

I had to go for an audit. It was expected, but borne from an unfriendly circumstance. So, I mean, this was an announced audit so I had the time to prepare, but announced because of a crappy situation which is not something you want to have to prepare for. How many other ways can I explain this??? Stressful. Flights, and hotels, and rental cars, and auditors, and boss meetings and and and…I left Hannah. In good hands duh. And not for a long time. But I left her.

I was excited to have some me time. This was the first time since her conception that I have spent a night away from her and I was looking forward to the sleep, the “adulting” and the time to just do what I wanted in the evening not on a schedule…meal time bath time bed time…Not having to be quiet at 9:00. Being able to pull out the cross-stitch without protecting the pattern and securing the scissors. Having a martini, in a martini glass (which totally makes it different than just a glass of vodka with an olive) without having to hold it above my head spilling it everywhere because martini glasses are dumb or hide it on a shelf which Hannah can totally climb up to anyway. And have a full drink of anything without having to pull out a bead or paper clip or barrette before swallowing it. Just to be a person and not a mom.

But shockingly, I’m still a mom.

I know right? Idiot.

I worried about her. Is she sleeping? Is she eating? Is she pooping on schedule? Diaper rash and changing out of pajamas and not getting too much water on her face at bathtime and climbing but not too high and exploring but not too far away and experiencing things but not too overwhelmingly…

I tried to do me things, but I couldn’t even remember what me things are. The audit went really super well, and actually ended early, so I was able to get back to the hotel before 5p. My boss told me to go out and enjoy the city! But hadn’t planned any team outing which I was equal parts relieved about and disappointed by. The old me might have gotten dolled up, scouted out a fancy restaurant (it was on the company after all) or a mall or bar or SOMETHING and spent the time amongst people. Instead, I went to the fitness center with my headphones and said a small whispered “Thank You” to the empty room when I walked in and realized that it was empty and I wouldn’t have to negotiate machines with polite smiles and shamed glances at the total weight amount (or lack thereof). I “worked out” for about an hour and then went back to my room. I turned on the TV and tried to find a room service menu. I couldn’t find anything other than the late night menu so I plugged McDonalds into my GPS but realized when I got down to the car that I had MY car keys rather than the rental car keys. (Insert gigantic eye roll.) So I went into the lobby, found the full gallery menu and ordered a flatbread pizza thing. While I waited for it to cook, I did order a martini in a real martini glass. And then I took my martini and my depressing flatbread pizza back up to my room, turned up the volume on the TV, and sat in my underwear eating pizza and drinking a martini and cross-stitching and fell asleep on the couch at 9:30.

I woke up at midnight…toddled over to the queen bed about 15 feet away, checked my phone and played solitaire for 30 minutes before falling back into a troubled sleep.

Is this what I am now?

I tossed and turned the whole night. I woke up so many times. Too hot. Too cold. Is Hannah asleep? Did Shelby get enough rest? Is there water somewhere (cuz holy smokes that pizza was salty)? Is it time to get up yet? Is it time to get up yet? Is it time to get up yet?

The success I had at the audit was overthrown by the guilt I felt for leaving my family. A feeling punctuated by the purchase of stupid salt water taffy in a bag with the name of the city scrawled across it from one of those stupid airport stores. A tradition being born, a little something from Mommy’s trip.

I left you alone. No help with bathtime. Not there for storybooks and skinned knees. Not there to help with dishes and laundry. But here’s some candy in a tiny bag which should make it all better right? Even though it was no big deal at all. And you got along just fine without me. So maybe I’ll eat this whole bag of gummie bears and drink some wine and smile through the tears while I watch you snuggle each other completely content.

I started seeing someone. A psychoanalyst. A therapist. Or my preferred term, a counselor. After only one session, she communicated that she believes I am still in the miasma of Postpartum Depression. Whether she would clinically diagnose it at this point or not is still undetermined, but the symptoms are undeniable. Everything is not bad. Everything is not horrible. Everything can get better. Hannah was ok because her father and I have raised her to be that way. But her face lit up when she saw me. And she ran to the door to hug me. And she checked in several times that evening to make sure we were both still there. She will be fine without me which I can’t seem to forget; but she is not better off without me, which I also need to remember.

 

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The Weight

Let’s talk about this. Because I have been ignoring it, and it has not been working. Clearly. I will use real numbers so feel free to pass your judgement as you see fit.

My weight fluctuates. A lot. My ideal weight is 145 lbs. At that weight, I feel normal. I am not so comfortable and thin as to give up on my daily crunches and cat-cow bows, but I am not concentrating so hard on my weight that it infects every aspect of my thinking. I am happy when I hover around 145. I tend to hover around 155. The thinnest I can recall being in my adult life is 135. I guess maybe technically 133, but I ate food after weighing in so I’m assuming 133 lasted all of 2 hours. I was too skinny, bony even.

In 2010, I was overweight according to the Wii. Not quite obese but definitely far from healthy. The family started our own version of the Biggest Loser where we kept track of and reported our % body fat loss to each other each week. This initiated some serious lifestyle corrections for me. And then my baby sister got engaged. And then I got engaged. Events motivating me to continue my weight loss progress. And then I got stressed out with all the planning and continued to lose weight whether I wanted to or not. In total, I lost roughly 45 pounds. I walked down the aisle November 2011 at 135 pounds.

For those of you who are bad at math, that means I started at 180 pounds. 180 is the heaviest I have ever gotten on my own. 180 pounds of comfort food and laziness. It happened so gradually that I had no idea. I just suddenly was. I saw pictures of me in what was clearly inappropriate summer attire and wanted to shrivel up and die. How could no one have told me (besides my little brother, always with the brutal honesty, thanks bud) that I looked soooooooo bad? That maybe a bikini was not the right choice. I was devastated and vowed to never let it get that bad again.

Enter pregnancy. I was 153 when I discovered I was pregnant. I gained fast in the first trimester, mostly due to poor eating habits beforehand. I didn’t balance my intake well and filled up on crappy empty calories one day and then would severely limit my caloric intake the next day. I realized this was not going to be beneficial for a developing fetus and started doing my best to eat a healthy breakfast (morning sickness) each morning and stick to healthier foods in smaller proportions throughout the day, reintroducing meat to my formerly vegetarian diet. Sometimes though, a tube of Ritz and cheese cubes were the only thing that kept me from barfing. Ham just about saved my life on more than one occasion. I read all the stories and heard all the anecdotes about the appropriate weight gain. The “normal” is 25 – 30 pounds over the life of the pregnancy. That said, I gained about 20 pounds in the first trimester. But my midwives were showing no concerns, all my tests were coming back just fine, and the baby was healthy with a strong heartbeat.

I continued to gain each week. I gained at the “normal” rate of 1-2 pounds a week. Some weeks I gained a little extra. The week Bella got sick, I lost a few pounds. I walked a minimum of 30 minutes everyday. All the while I was weighing in at the doctor and being congratulated for my perfect fetus. Everything was fine.

200 pounds all told. The week before I delivered in November of 2015, I weighed 200 pounds.

And then Hannah was born. I didn’t pay attention to the scale if I was even weighed at the hospital. I can’t remember. I concentrated on Hannah’s weight, getting her where she needed to be. At my six week postpartum check-up, I had lost 15 pounds weighing in at 185, the heaviest ever without a child in me.

Her birth was close to Halloween so I ate a little more candy than I should have. I let my healthy snacks slip in favor of snickers and crackers. I was excited to indulge in a glass of wine here or there every now and then which became a little more than every now and then. And then it was Christmas with the breads and cake balls and cookies and chocolate covered pretzels and brownies. I thought I was limiting myself well, but I guess not.

I have a pair of regular jeans, my engagement pants. These were the first “skinny” pants I was able to wear when I was losing weight back in 2010/2011. I was wearing them comfortably when Shelby proposed in February 2011. I tried them on one day shortly after leaving the hospital, just out of curiosity. I could get them on and zipped but they were supremely uncomfortable. I tried them again a few weeks ago and couldn’t pull them up. I cried a lot that day.

Rather than acknowledge a number, I tried concentrating on milestones. When I could fit into my yoga pants. When I could get to 100 crunches without wanting to cry. When I could wear my engagement pants to work. When I could wear my extra large husband’s extra large shirts and have them not be quite so tight. When my tights stopped rolling down my saggy belly. But none of these things made me feel good. Nothing motivated me to do anything. I just kept getting sadder and sadder, crying almost every morning staring at my closet. I’d try something on, hate myself, try something else, hate myself more, and then grab a maternity skirt and a big top. And then I stopped trying on normal stuff and just went straight for maternity clothes which never seemed to fit any looser.

Shelby finally convinced me to set a goal. He pulled out the Wii fit and weighed himself in front of me. He set his goal. He had a number to work with, to play against, to gauge his progress. It took me more than a week to get up the courage to weigh myself in private. I kept thinking about the engagement pants, how I got there before, how I used the Wii. I crossed my fingers and hoped for something in the 175 range. I had been losing, I could tell by the fit of my leggings. Please just let me have lost 10 pounds since mid-December. 10 pounds in 2 months wasn’t an unreasonable goal I thought, for a breastfeeding mom.

186.5.

I have no idea how much I gained to feel like I had been making progress at 1.5 pounds heavier than my 6 week appointment. Crushed. Disgusted. Depressed. These words don’t begin to describe how I felt this past Sunday after that number popped up on the screen. I’m heavier. How could I be heavier??

But now I have a number. And a goal. And a time frame to meet that goal (thank you Cak). It took almost a year to lose it before, and I don’t expect it to be easy, but I expect it to happen. My first goal is to feel comfortable in my engagement pants before my sister’s wedding. To be able to concentrate on her and not trying to avoid photos. Not being so self conscious about my saggy belly and back boobs and muffin top and love handles and thighs that touch. Because of the shape of my Bridesmaid dress, I will continue to concentrate on toning my arms. I continue to walk, I continue to do a nightly “exercise” routine, but I am not doing enough. I hurt. My bones hurt. I need to get some weight off so I can walk normally, so I can get out of the car without grunting. So I can carry my child up the stairs to her crib without worrying about my knee or hip giving out.

My ultimate goal is to get to my ideal of 145. 40 pounds. To get back into my normal clothes. We’ll start with mimicking what I did before, cutting alcohol during the week, stepping up my random exercises throughout the day, getting back into yoga, eating the right foods and stopping when I’m full or when my plate is empty, whichever comes first. I can do this again.

186.5 February 2016. The heaviest I have ever been on my own. See me in 2017.

 

Genius?

I have a head for numbers and my sponge brain soaks up random bits of information all the time. I can usually recall things very quickly if they made ANY sort of impact at all. Like, birthdays and the shoes I wore that made me an inch taller than someone else I hated/crushed on/went on one date with. I may not have been able to make it out of the house consistently with my phone, wallet, and keys, but I could make it with any other special documents or clothes or items I may need throughout the day. I am a theatre stage manager by choice, but it came naturally because I kinda stage manage my life. I used to have a great memory.

Now though…

I’m hoping that once the fog of new baby no sleep and new house with lots of new hiding places starts to settle, my memory will come back because all this living like normal people is HARD. I forget words mid-sentence sometimes. And then trying to remember the specific word I forget what the heck I was even talking about in the first place. I have misplaced a book of checks (yes I still use checks) and at least 2 bills. The bills I’ve since found, the checks not so much. I’ve not only NOT responded to emails, but have completely forgotten the original email happened at all. I’m losing control and I. Hate. It.

On top of that, I feel like the rest of my body has completely given up on me. Yes I still struggle physically and emotionally with the weight I gained (I know I know, give it more time [and I think I’m seeing positive trending but it’s still hard]), but the weakness is what is killing me these days. I can’t hold simple yoga poses, I can’t lift things, I can’t run uphill, in fact, I seem to have forgotten the mechanics of running at all, I can’t pull my feet onto my lap without the aid of my arms. How am I supposed to get a healthier/fitter body if I don’t have the energy to hold plank pose for more than 15 seconds? My joints ache. Particularly my left wrist. I would say carpal tunnel, but my thumb/fingers feel fine; I just have limited to no mobility depending on the time of day and how cold it is outside. Did you read that? My bones hurt in correlation with the WEATHER. I had one baby and suddenly I’m ooooooooold.

But the baby is a genius. She is on the early end of the milestones thus far. She learns SOOOOOOO quickly which is both amazing and difficult since we can’t pull the wool over her eyes at all. We sit and read books together and she pays attention the whole time. Shelby found a YouTube video of high contrast sensory play that she just loves to watch. She seems to understand light times are for naps and play and dark times are for sleeping. She knows where she can usually find food (IE if we sit in her rocker she looks for food whether or not it’s “time” to eat). She definitely knows how to get our attention.

It’s also frustrating to her because you can tell she wants more, but her motor skills (while advanced) are still pretty poor. She can roll one way but not the other. She scoots but can’t steer (we’re talking inches here, not rooms). She can reach and grasp separately, but still has trouble reaching and grasping the thing she wants. Her arms are too weak to hold the thing she wants either in her eye-line or in her mouth. She can stand up holding onto our fingers and can sit up in her support chair, but you can tell by how much she wiggles that she wants to be mobile. It won’t be long. I just hope my strength returns before I have to chase her all over the planet.

Anything Else?

Tic Toc.

Tic Toc.

A watched pot never boils.

Here are the things I have done over the last few days in an effort to “forget” that I haven’t had even a sniff of labor yet.

  1. Finished building the crib
  2. Started and then finished building the changing table
  3. Screwed down the support boards for the guest bed
  4. Made the guest bed, decided the sheets were hideous against the wall color in the new house and let my husband loose on the internet to find a suitable sheet set
  5. Dug out our Dr. Scholl’s foot bath and peppermint scented Epsom salts and soaked my super itchy feet
  6. Attempted to make a decision on hooking up the “entertainment studio”, got discouraged and stayed on the couch watching back to back episodes of The Simpsons and Cops
  7. Read some of a book
  8. Made a marinade for Shelby’s flank steak
  9. Upped my regimen from one long walk per day to one long walk per day and at least two short ones
  10. Googled and read approximately 80 trillion birth stories, natural labor inducing techniques, and pregnancy/labor & delivery blogs
  11. Drank all of the water
  12. Very little work, very little
  13. Sorta kinda got an estimate for fixing the walkway out front – no one can really understand what this guy is saying
  14. Much internet window shopping for everything from odds and ends (shower caddies etc) to new appliances and light fixtures

Here are the things that haven’t yet been done that could still use our attention prior to the baby’s arrival.

  1. Install the carseat (holy crap just put the thing in the car already!)
  2. Visit the surplus warehouse and get us some free seating arrangements before the company comes
  3. Sort the baby clothes and accouterments and wash & store them
  4. Make a dang decision about the X-box set-up and then just do it
  5. Get everything out of the townhouse, get the shelves off the walls, get moved out
  6. Get the rest of our stuff from Beth (including the guest towels, pillows, and fall/winter clothes/coats)

I mean, I guess technically we should clean and straighten up the new house and such, but the kid is just gonna explode all over that anyway, and we’re still moving in. I’m having a hard enough time finding where Shoobs has “hidden” things without inviting him to hide more. We took a pretty expensive trip to Costco to stock up on stuff for our inevitable guests that we are now in a frenzy to eat before it goes bad (fruit etc).

Speaking of the husband, Shelby has been dutifully grocery shopping, cooking, and freezing food for us. Not surprisingly, the kitchen is pretty well established at this point. The drawers and cabinets have been filled, the fridge organized and reorganized, the pantry and spice unit all sorted. He still chips away at boxes every day and has done a remarkable job keeping up with laundry and dishes. He even put some of our plants around to make the house feel more homey. It’s so fun to walk into the house after work and see what has changed or been updated. Especially because I am so over everything that all I want to do is find a comfortable place (way easier said than done) and just melt away there until this very stubborn child relents to be born.

Hashtag Still Pregnant

Today is my due date. Thank you baby for not messing up the loan approval or the closing. Thanks for letting us get the movers situated and the crib delivered. Now, if you would kindly remove yourself from my body, we have this whole weird world out here for you to explore. Or, you know, sleep on. Point is, it’s so much roomier out here and your momma will be so much happier.

In other “has not happened yet” news…the carpet install date has not yet been set. Getting a little frustrated about that, but too pregnant to invest the energy in tracking down the company to get it on the calendar. As such, the cleaning has not been scheduled yet. We figured we’d let the guys get in and make a mess with carpet fibers, footprints, and whatever else they manage to do before we had the cleaning “crew” come in and wipe down the walls etc. We also have not totally moved out of the townhouse. We have all the boxes and all the essentials, but have left things like empty flower pots and soil, beach and camping equipment, cleaning supplies, and the tools in the toolbox (not to be confused with the basket of tools we have already moved). Essentially all the stuff from the outdoor closet.

We did knock out a pretty significant portion of the unpacking this weekend. But now we just have stuff on surfaces with no rhyme or reason. We are slowly chinking away at living in our new place and finding out what that means in terms of where we want things to be, like Q-tips and bread and the coffee maker. It’s all still a little hap-hazard. And I am happy to report that we are mostly in agreement on how the house flows, but there is totally room for adjustment. I’m just ready for it all to be off the counters and floors and put somewhere, anywhere.

OK – I guess I’m gonna try to focus on work. Or pretending to work. Send thoughts of hashtag NOT pregnant my way! BABY!

“A wizard is never late, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.” – J.R.R. Tolkein

Deep Breaths (No Baby Yet)

It’s Friday. 11 days to close. 18 days til I’m due.

Officially cleared to close. *Huge Sigh*

That’s it. There is no stopping us now. We are 100% moving. It feels good. It still feels stressful, I mean there is so much to do for both houses and in such a tight time frame, but it feels really great to have the weight of approval fully and completely lifted.

We have a closing time set for 19 OCT. Now we just need to finalize the logistics of physically moving. We are pursuing a local company that should be able to bring one of their trucks complete with muscled personnel, load our crap, drive it to the new place, and then unload it. We’re hoping to book that for 20 OCT. Then we can talk to Lowe’s about scheduling a carpet install for the townhouse, find a professional cleaner, and schedule an assessment walk-through before we firmly decide what the plan is for listing. (Basically, we have to make a certain amount of rent in order to not lose money every month. If the assessment reveals that we will not make that amount, well then, we have our answer.)

The big worry about baby coming at the most screwy uppy time ever is mostly gone. I really really didn’t want medical bills to be piling up while we were still under financial review. Now, I just really really don’t want to be in the hospital when I am supposed to be signing closing paperwork. Ideally, I’d like for this child to come at or after her expected due date, but honestly, anything is doable with a cell phone and a snoring, suckling, portable, person. And while carting a brand new infant to the legal offices of snooty pants and prince charming isn’t my idea of the best plan ever, it would make it easier for me to be off work. 🙂

Speaking of the grand entrance of the tiny life changer…the predictions have started. I try to giggle and roll my eyes appropriately, but really I just kinda wish the random people would shut up. I have had no other issues with people during this pregnancy, surprisingly. I have been really OK with belly rubs and “intrusive” questions about my diet and nausea. I have taken all snippets of advice about how to manage pregnancy symptoms and have lapped up anecdotes about breastfeeding and sleep deprivation. I’ve been genuinely interested in the current pregnancy of another co-worker and the long ago pregnancies and postpartum stories of women with teens and tweens. But for some reason, I just do NOT want to hear about why my hip pain means I’m going to have back labor. Or the way I walk means I may not make it through this weekend. Or that my baby has dropped or that my baby has not dropped or that I really look pregnant today or I look really spry for someone who will be in labor imminently.

Yes I am large. Yes I am quickly approaching my due date. Yes there is not a whole lot else to talk about with a virtual stranger. But your predictions of my pain and suffering are not exactly what I was hoping to think about ALL DAY.

Several folks are predicting I’ll hold out til the 28th, but I mostly think that’s wishful thinking on their part since that also happens to be their birthday. Someone predicted the 9th, which is today. Thanks but no thanks. I haven’t even had the faintest breath of labor pains, not even Braxton Hicks, so I am sorry to disappoint you but I do not believe today is the day. Most have dumped me right in the 16th – 20th bucket which re: closing is the worst possible time ever. A few have joked about a Halloween baby.

But here’s the thing. It’s not even the fear of the labor and delivery blood bath ahead of me that bothers me so much. I have been doing a lot of reading, absorbing, researching and feel like I have a pretty good handle on what to expect. Not, like, on a pain scale, that I still have no idea. But I feel like many of the “stages” and possible twists and turns have been sussed out. And I have a really good husband and midwife team that I am confident will get me through. And if some of the idiots I know have been able to birth babies, well then so can I. What really bothers me is the delicate timeline everyone is futzing with. I know I’m being silly, she will come when she comes and there is nothing really I can do about that. Just saying a date out loud is not going to make it so. This is not a cross your legs and hold it or a now is the perfect time let’s eat lotsa spicy food and run a marathon type situation. And whenever she comes, we will manage and jump through that hurdle and have a way funny story to share one day when she is thinking about having a family and smiles and laughs all around. But my mom is on vacation. And I need to sign closing documents. And my personal leave calendar and disability status and stuff. And the baby’s sleeping thing is still in Tennessee. She can sleep anywhere, on me, car seat, whatever, that’s not the point. I have my hospital bag packed. I have a sorta kinda plan in place. But I’m not ready. I’m not ready in that 5-year-old-doesn’t-want-to-go-to-bed-tantrum kind of way. You can’t make me have this baby when you want. Because things and timelines AND BECAUSE I SAID SO AND I’M THE MOM – THAT’S WHY!

I have 18 days. Or none more days. Or 24 more days. And my hip pain may mean I will have back labor, but it also may just mean that I shouldn’t have walked that far that fast the day before. And rationally, I know that nobody knows and they are just trying to connect with me or reconnect with their pregnant selves from a million years ago. But irrationally, I want to hide and hang out in a stasis chamber or just sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeep for the rest of time and not show anyone my flattening or non-flattening nose.