When Facebook Gets Revenge

Yesterday I had a free second to upload some new videos to Facebook.  There were 3 videos to be exact:  Salem Smiles, Eden Meets Salem at the Hospital, and Salem’s birth which was a private video for just a few friends and family.

I decided to upload the birth video first since it was 5 minutes and would take the longest.  I let it load and then left the laptop.  I came back about 30 minutes later and saw that it was uploaded and needed to be edited.  Then I saw 5 ominous red letters by the comment section alerting me to comments that I needed to see.  THEN I saw that they were video comments.  Dear Lord, Please say this video didn’t post public to Facebook.  Amen.

And then the voice of God said, “Yes, Rebecca, it did.” – Psalms 12:4

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh me.

I felt lucky for 3 reasons:

1-It was a G rated video of just faces. Nothing awkward here except for using the V word in the first 5 seconds which is totally appropriate while in labor.

2-This happened to me aka a person who is very open and not easily embarrassed although, this pushed it, sisters.

3- A lot of random people watched it so even if you thought it was weird and even if you initially thought I meant to post it, well, what can you say because you watched it.

I laughed and I enjoyed a good bizarre moment.  Nay, many moments convulessing into 5 mintues of moments which equalled my birth video.

I’m not sure what I enjoyed more: an experience to cringe and laugh at or the fact that all the suckers who watched it when it was public had to see my umbilical cord and see me touch it.  I don’t believe in Karma but boy if I did….  This was a big ole’ cord of it.

=0)

Within 2 minutes of finding out about my Facebook error, I immediately set the video to private and posted a status saying that I did NOT mean for that to be public.  However, I do appreciate all of the thumbs up people liked on the post.  I also enjoyed a bounty of comments.  All in all, it turned out to be a rather enjoyable experience.  I highly recommend it.  Or not.

As for Facebook though, come on guys!  You can’t automatically post a video without asking for privacy settings first. My pushing privacy never even had a chance. I don’t think Tom exists on friends list anymore but if he did, I would so delete him…right after I tagged him in the video for his Karma.  The video description would say:

“This is a video of me giving birth that Tom made all of you watch.  Enjoy the cord.  Love, Rebecca”

It’s not bad for someone to watch the G rated image of your face while you push but there is something weird about having unsolicited viewers of yourself in labor.  NO one should see all my double chins pushing.  No one.  So to Tom I say thank you.  To my 800 Facebook viewers I say, “You’re welcome.” And I think it’s Santa Claus that said it best, “Merry Christmas to all and to all, a good night.”

 

 

 

Mother Filled Heart

I waddled into The Children’s Place clothing store with my sister with all of our kids in tow.  I waddled because I’m 36 weeks pregnant and also because I wore little wedge shoes with jeans that were killing my feet. That’s right.  I said it.  Jeans. AND wedge shoes.

Every time I wear “real” clothes and shoes I think, “What the heck am I doing?”  It’s never worth it.  If they say that nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels, then nothing looks as good as mushy, yummy sweatpants feel.  Caress me with your big, spacious pants dear Fruit of the Loom…

Waddling further into the store, I ran across someone that I know a little bit more than an acquaintance and she immediately looked at my belly and asked me how much longer I had.  As I was telling her, instantly I think of how she is experiencing infertility and how they have been trying for 3 years.  She was so nice to smile and ask about my pregnancy.  I remember how hard it was to do that.  She went on to tell me that her and husband lost their 3rd IVF baby last week.  3 babies in three years, they have lost.

Still, there she was shopping for children’s clothes for a friend’s child’s first birthday.  Until you’ve been childless with a mother filled heart, you can’t know how hard that is.  I wrote a post called Baby Gap during that time for me where in a kid’s store I had moment over a tiny piece of clothing that just about broke my heart.  When you can’t have a child, there is always something there to remind you.

Sometimes I forget what it’s like to stand in that place of hurt and longing, but there with her in the 2T aisle, I remembered.  It’s one of the truest forms of empathy I ever feel when I’m talking to a woman who is trying to have a baby.

Later that afternoon I was on my way home.  I had several bags full of new clothes for Eden’s in the new toddler size she is wearing now. I use to dream about buying little things for a child.

I had kept Eden out way too long so as we approached our drive, I saw Eden nod off in the backseat.

I got out and went in and prepared her big girl bed to be smothered with one sleeping toddler in t minus 2 seconds.  I pulled the van door back and put my sleeping daughter on my chest.  Just through the doorway with her slightly snoring with her head tucked into my neck, I had a wave of appreciation and deep gratitude come over me.  A lot of women never think this way, but when I couldn’t have a child, I would watch mothers get their sleeping child out of their car and carry them sleeping on their chest.  From a distance I would watch those moms in parking lots and driveways and feel an ache to have what they had to the point of tears in my eyes.

And then there I was…me, with my child, holding her sleeping on my chest with another baby waiting in my stomach.  With my friend from earlier on my mind, all I could do was stand in the foyer with my head on her windblown hair, close my eyes and rock her back and forth.  Tears in my eyes I swayed back and forth and lived in the moment of the privilege of becoming a mother.  Those are the moments.  That’s what you miss when your kids are too big to be held and too proud to be rocked.  If you don’t stop every now and then, you miss those times in a rush back to the car to get the groceries.

I’m not sure how long I stood there.  Long enough to feel the thankfulness to God all over for giving me that child.  I never knew if I would get to do that.  As I rocked her there, Salem kicked and pushed at Eden’s leg pressing on my belly.  There I was carrying two in two different ways.  Unbelievable.

I gave thanks for the abundance of having her inside of me as well.

The weeks are ticking by quickly where Eden is my only child, and as my next blessing nudged me from below, I stood in the stillness of the house with my first gift in my arms and I thought in that sweet moment, just one more day.  Rocking her back and forth….

Just one more day.

 

Big Sister Hospital Bag

I want Eden to feel special on the day that Salem is born so I came up with the idea to make her a “Big Sister Bag or “Big Sister Hospital Bag”.  Originally, I had pictured this bag to be full of things to “get her through” the hour or so she may have to wait in the hospital waiting room while I’m in labor, but I realized that really, this bag is perfect if she will be waiting at the hospital or it’s just as good to keep her busy and feeling special at her grandparents during our hospital stay.  Whether I go in to labor in the middle of the night or during the day when Eden can be there, this bag will be her best friend until I deliver her a real human one ;0)  Or at least I’m hoping she will like her….

To start, I got her a cheap reusable bag with Minnie on it and I let her pick the bag herself.  She doesn’t realize what it will be used for yet.  Then I bought a few things and filled the bag with the contents below:

Contents:

1:  Big Sis Pj’s to go to bed in at her grandparents.

2:  Yo Gabba Gabba bath toys she can play with at the hospital and for bath time while away.  She has never seen Yo Gabba Gabba toys so she will flip her lid.

3:  Yo Gabba Gabba coloring book for using and sharing in the waiting room with her cousins.

4:  Snacks to help her survive the wait.  She will be ecstatic when she sees snack size Nutella.  Nutella is her favorite!  I’m going to add juice boxes to this bag as well.

5:  “No David” Book…a book she loves but we didn’t own until now.  On the inside it says, “To Eden Love Mom and Dad, Given to you on the day Salem was born in your Big Sister Bag.”  I’ll add the date later.

6:  Hand Sanitizer to keep her germ free-ish for meeting her sister and of course, for counter acting against the disgusting hospital floors she’ll be playing on.  Cringe.

7:  Gum because she loves it and can share it with other kids in the waiting room.  I got a dessert flavor.  It will change her life.

Sooooo, it’s a simple bag filled with things that will excite her, make her feel special, and pass the time wherever that time may be spent.  You can make this bag as expensive or as cheap as you want and customize it one billion ways.  She is going to love it so much that I’m a little sad that I won’t get to see her reaction.  ;0)

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Belly Itch

I ran across some info on the web on a blog that I think will be interestingly to anyone who is pregnant, wanting to get pregnant, expecting a grandchild, dreaming of the day they will be a mom, and blah blah blah.

What I found is a short little list of what your odds are of having a boy or girl if:  you’ve already one girl, had two girls in a row, etc.

Very interesting!  There is a link off that blog that will send you a much more exhaustive list of gender likelihood.

Here’s a link if you are interested in seeing statistically what your odds are of packing a little lady or a little mister now or in the future OR statistically how many kids you will have based on the sex of your children.

Click me!

The Other Side of Motherhood: An Ex-PostPartum Mom’s Journey from Xanax to Overjoyed

I was digging through the big tub of clothes that Eden wore her first few months, trying to see if there were any pieces I could give to someone from our church. Somewhere at the bottom, I thumbed through the onesies that Eden wore over and over her first few weeks here. When I first stumbled on them, my face got hot and I felt a sensation similar to suddenly running into someone who you haven’t seen in a while…someone that it’s really awkward to see. Does that make sense? That feeling of being flushed, nervous, and uncomfortable, feeling the emotions that lead the situation to be uncomfortable in the first place….

I remember when I first bought some of those clothes. I was ecstatic for the little white one with red and hot pink strawberries. I had her wear that a lot when people came to see her. I thought when I bought that outfit that my memories of those days with her in it would be incredibly different. Seeing those clothes now triggered almost a flashback response of panic. An overwhelming sense of, in fact, how overwhelmed I was. When I told my sister about the incident, she asked me if I gave those outfits away, almost certain that I would have. I didn’t though. They are literally hard for me to look at but they were some of her first outfits and she was precious in them. Even if I was falling apart and they remind me of that, they remind me of her too and she was and still is a blessing.

I think what is so disorienting about that time is that I don’t know what feelings came from what. I can’t separate what was just normal new mom feelings and what was the postpartum. I guess in talking with other moms who didn’t go down the road I did, I know many things that are standard: anxiety, crying, sleep deprivation, and the sense of living in a fog. I just wonder sometimes when I look back, if I didn’t have PPD would I have felt many of the same things?

I’ll be totally honest with you. With a lot of guilt for a lot of months, I didn’t feel like ‘it was all worth it’. You hear moms all of the time say, “It was hard but I’d do it all over again.” Or some other passionate expression of their over powering love for their children. I loved Eden. I did. But with a lot of shame inside, I felt the truth of it all, at least initially, was that I didn’t feel like those moms. I didn’t feel like ‘I’d do it all over again’ or that ‘it was all worth it’. In those months, it probably made me feel even more depressed to know that I felt that way “but shouldn’t have”. At least according to the book of what a mom is supposed to be like from the get-go.

It was bizarre. I wanted Eden. I wanted to be her mom. I just wanted someone else to care for her and let me have her back when it was time to cuddle. I guess what I was saying is that I wanted to be Eden’s grandmother. I chuckle saying that because I think this is the first time I’m realizing what I was really desiring. I felt that way because I didn’t have the strength to cope with the shock of becoming an instant 24/7 caregiver overnight. I wanted her. I loved her because she was mine but I didn’t feel like I was tough enough to take care of her. Thankfully, that changed. And actually changed fairly quickly but when you feel like I did, time crawled. Sometimes it all but stood still.

In the beginning, it’s weird because you’ve always dreamed of the moment when the doctor hands you you’re baby and says, “Here she is, mom!”. And trust me, that moment was every ounce of what I had imagined and then some. BUT, I always watched A Baby Story on TLC and I remembered how every mom was like, “It’s instant love. Love like I’ve never felt.” Etc.

I had instant love for her, no doubt, but it was a different instant love. The kind of love that you have for someone because you have responsibility for them. Love because you labored for them and sacrificed for them. Love because they are beautiful. Love because it’s your family and you made them with your husband. There was a lot of that kind of love. What I didn’t feel though is love like I had known love. I know people always say that ‘it’s a love like they’ve never experienced’ but put that fluff to the side because that’s not what I’m talking about. Love before my child was always because of a relationship. Because I knew someone and built a relationship with them full of knowing them intimately and full of memories that made me love them. I was expecting that kind of love with Eden right away. But wait….I didn’t know her! She is a little face that’s reminiscent of family but she was a stranger. I didn’t know why she cried. She didn’t smile at me. She screamed and cried at me mostly. I couldn’t really interact with her at least in a reciprocated sense because, hey, she was only 5 minutes old.

So while I loved Eden, I didn’t know her. While I loved her, there wasn’t a bond…yet. There was a maternal bond but not bonding like I previously knew it. I think I felt troubled by that but the more I talk to other moms both PPD and non-PPD moms, I hear many singing the same tune. I don’t feel like anyone ever talks about it though. I know it really is that great for some women but it can’t be for all. We moms are supposed to be these all loving and perfectly maternal beings that pop a baby out with tears in their eyes with their baby in one hand and a tray of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in the other hand. We are the superheros of life. Literal life. Not much room left for looking at your baby with an ownership love and connection one minute and then looking across the living room the next minute thinking, “Who is that strange baby laying on the couch? Call the police! Someone left their baby at my house!!!” No one ever says that on a Baby Story. TLC should’ve had me on there. It would’ve been their most memorable episode. You could’ve been a star, TLC.

I’m telling you, both a Baby Story and Bringing Home Baby are as toxic to your expectations as Cinderella and Prince Charming to little girls learning about what to expect with a man.  No one even cries on that show except for the babies.  Give me a break.

In a non-TLC reality, I remember getting a letter from a mom who said, “It’s okay if you aren’t crazy about Mrs. E right now.” Funny, I hadn’t said I wasn’t. Again, I was but in that grandmother sort of way. I was crazy but a little crazy in the wrong the direction. I felt a bond and constant maternal desire to care for her and hold her to me but that drive mixed with anxiety and sleep deprivation was a lethal cocktail exploding in a mess of tears, panic attacks, and not knowing if it all felt worth it. It was nice to hear a normal mother of two on the other side of motherhood telling me that I was allowed to not be dancing around the crib singing praises of infants and my new parenting lifestyle.

Fast forward to a few months after that letter.

I remember when she laughed at me for the first time when she was 15 weeks old. I was holding her over my head while Lance took a picture and she giggled and my heart swelled ten times. There was healing to me in that laughter. I had been out of the fog for a while and enjoying motherhood but even after the weeks of her smiling at me, there was something extra about that laugh that really humanized her to me. I didn’t realize how much I craved that from her until she looked at me and laughed. I was desperate to hear it again because it was thrilling and THAT is what made the bond start to take off. Yes, smiling was such a reward but to have this little girl with a sense of humor that responded to things that really are only funny to a baby….it was amazing.

I can now say it was really all worth it.  The crying.  The laughing.  The screaming baths.  The pills.  The breastpumping sessions for 1/2 an ounce.  The doctors visits.  The pajamas I wore for 2 days with baby poop on them.   

I feel fearful to say I’d do it all over because just the thought of living through that experience again makes my heart beat rapidly as I type it. Still, I guess I would because I really look forward to another baby down the road and this time, I’ll have a toddler, too. Now I’m really getting cocky!

Ultimately,  what I would relive doesn’t matter because God doesn’t measure our love for our children or our devotion to them by what awful things we are willing to endure for them at our expense. Although I would endure a great many and awful things, I  no longer feel guilty that I’m not the first one to raise my hand and say, “I’ll do PPD again because I love my kid thhhhhhaaaaatttt much!”  Beat that mother’s of the world!!!!  (insert eye roll)

I love Eden. I truly, truly love her. I love her now in both ways: Because she’s mine and made of me and Lance AND because I know her. I know what makes her laugh and I’m one of the few people who can. I know which blanket she wants and what to do with her Zebra to make her smile. I know when I hear a certain sigh that she’s asleep in her car seat. I don’t even have to look.

When I see her trying to sleep in the car and the sun is shining on her squinted shut-eyes, I know I love her when I switch lanes to move the shade across her face.

I know I love her when I look for a tooth every day for weeks and then I find one and my cheeks hurt with a big smile and then my heart sort of breaks because she’s getting bigger. I know I love her because every day that passes, is one I wish I could have back. And those aren’t things that happen right when they hand you your precious wrinkly newborn and lay her on your chest. Some love is instant and some, takes time.

I may never know what it’s like to bring home a baby and experience as the “normal” version of me. I might always ask which of the things I experienced would I still have felt if I hadn’t had postpartum. But I suppose I’m no less the mother and a mother I wanted to be no matter how I got there. Maybe next time I’ll call TLC and see if they want to do an 8-episode series on me called “Crazy In Love”. Pun Intended. Now THAT’S a reality show!

One of my favorite quotes is, “There are two roads in life. One is hard, and one is easy and the only reward of the easy road was that it was simple.”

I may have unwillingly taken the country back roads on a rickety old moped wearing ripped sweats pants and a cracked helmet following an incorrect map from goggle maps but, hey, I got there!  And the reward at the end was multiplied. I worked for the love that now is the clichéd love of my life………..all daddies aside.

Traumatic strawberry onesies and all, I’m so glad I made it. There is nothing…nothing as sweet as motherhood.  And in true TLC fashion, I’ve never lived or loved like this.

The laugh.

Hi, My Name is Rebecca. I Like Long Walks on the Beach and I Have Postpartum Depression.

 

It’s nothing like I expected it to be.  How could this:

  not be a dream come true.  Maybe she is.  But, not everyone can see that through the whirlwind shocking transition of becoming a mother for the first time.  For me, it started with frustration and crying.  A lot.  A whole lot.  Then feelings of “I can’t do this!” All of that is pretty standard.  I don’t care who you are or what kind of super mom you are.  You will have crying spells.  Then somewhere in a fog of time that I still can’t distinguish or separate, it started to become worse.  I started to cry over things that were very irrational like not being able to hold my cats as much. I know if you are a regular reader that you might not find that surprising  but the thing is, I felt really sad about it.  I started crying over things that did matter:  my marriage never being the same again, my time not being my own, days flying by and one melting into the next until I didn’t know the month, the day, the time… Sometimes sadness would well up inside of me and I would audibly sob for no real reason at all.  I wanted help but felt like I couldn’t reach out.  I wanted to return all of your sweet calls but I felt anxious to do that.  I’ve cried till my eyes are swollen almost shut.  I’ve been so sleep deprived that I’ve staggered.  I’ve had thoughts that would alarm you.  I’ve worried my family sick and broke my husband’s heart as he’s been watching me struggle through this distress.

Sadness and being overwhelmed turned into a consuming anxiety.  Not anxiety like I’m worried about something.  It’s more like a feeling of a panic attack.  I would be so sick I’d dry heave when I put food in my mouth.  I have actually vomited.  Constant diarrhea.  Is that too much for you to hear?  You know me and my no boundaries. 

I wake-up and having shaky and hard breathing trying to get ahold of myself.  I’d have crazy, compulsive thoughts.  Moments of emotional deadness and just being a shell of a person.  Two weeks in, I finally called my doc.  I’m a person who doesn’t turn to drugs as a first option so the fact that I did so this quickly lets you know that I was a desperate woman.  And you know what, I needed the drugs. The drugs are fine and I shouldn’t and you shouldn’t feel ashamed to take them if you end up in my shoes.

Taking the drugs now a week leads us up to real-time.  I still continued to not eat, sleep, and have emotional breakdowns.  My nurse called to check on me and wanted me to come see the doctor face to face.

I did.  And she told me I had postpartum. Even after all I just told you, I was surprised to hear her say those words.  I had always pictured postpartum as a woman who drowns all her children in the tub telling everyone that God said to do it.  That is postpartum but I guess it’s a spectrum like most things.  Not at all that I’m taking what I’m going through lightly.  I have literally thought in my “rational” mind that I was going to die from this.  I have hoped to be hospitalized so that I could rest and recover and someone could take care of my baby for me.  If it continued at it’s peak, I would’ve ended up hospitalized for exhaustion.  These past 3 weeks have been some of the hardest of my life. I never felt so defeated by something.

I’ve sat on a couch crying out loud with my dad holding me crying and whispering encouragement in my ear.  I’ve had my sister pray over me on the couch, crying and putting her hand on my cheek saying she wishes she could take this from me.  She had postpartum 3 times.  My mom has rescued me more than one night and kept her all night for Lance and I so that I could recover from some sleep deprivation to give me some light for the next day.  Lance has held our baby in one arm and me in the other in the kitchen while I sobbed on his shoulder.  This has been and continues to be a whole body, whole emotion, whole mental, and whole family and friend experience. 

My doctor told me to quit breastfeeding which was devastating to me, albeit, necessary.  She said that breastfeeding is too physically demanding on me right now since I’m not eating or sleeping and that I can’t get help from others or my mind together without stopping the 2-3 hour demand on myself.  Also, she says that your hormones have to stay at crazy levels to sustain breastfeeding which sustains the imbalances I’m having.  AND she put me on something for anxiety that I can’t take while nursing.  Whoever you are reading this who understands all the feelings I’ve been explaining, I have heard from doctors and tons of women who’ve been through this that stopping will make a major difference.  I stopped not quite 48 hours ago so I’m not quite to relief yet.  I will say letting your milk dry out cold turkey is crazy painful but nothing pain killers and big ole’ cabbage leaves in your bra can’t ease. I don’t know why the cabbage works but I know a rabbit would love to get ahold of these knockers. Even through my craziness, I haven’t totally lost my humor and I told my doctor, “I never thought I could finally have boobs so big and be so sad.”  Bye, bye big boobies.  Hopefully I’ll get a little sanity in place of a stellar rack.

Going through this I’ve learned one thing for sure, PEOPLE HAVE TO START TALKING ABOUT THIS.  I posted something about this on facebook and I got over 20 messages from all sorts of people I’ve always known but never known they went through this.  Why don’t people talk about this?!  Even if it’s not postpartum, this transition kicks everyone’s butts all over the place.  Bringing home your first baby is the hardest thing you will ever do and I’ve heard that POST baby from a million women.  You will survive.  I’m still trying to survive but, oddly, I find comfort in going out in public and looking at a crowd of people and thinking, “For every person I see here in this store, someone brought them home as a newborn.”  We are in a world where people have done it literally billions of times.  Some of them did it with flying colors and some of them did it with flying snot, Xanax, Zoloft, and an amazing family.  I find myself in the second category.  I look forward to the day where my heart doesn’t race and I feel like I can do this.  I can’t wait to look at my baby with all the encouragement and excitement that I hoped I would when she was in my belly.  Until then I’ll savor the moments I can and be honest and reach out to people all the times I can’t. Little by little I’m having hopeful moments, hours, and occasionally a day or two.  My highs and lows are beginning to level out. 

So to whoever reads this out there in cyberland, if this is you,  it’s okay.  Someone encouraged me through a breakdown last night that this isn’t the new Rebecca.  This is Rebecca with a messy mind and hormones.  She told me that, “God will redeem this into something beautiful.”  I believe that’s true even when I don’t feel it.  Until then I have a perfect, beautiful child who I still love through this magical disaster.  Just waiting on the beautiful redemption.

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