A pregnancy rant: It’s 2015, and we still know squat about pregnancy

We have learned nothing. And we have no excuses. In the last two years, we have learned absolutely nothing new about pregnancy and child-birth. 

How do I know this?

Because Kate Middleton just had a baby. And everybody has lost their collective minds. 

Yes, I follow news on the royal family, because shut up, so do you. Don’t act like just because you’re an American that, “it doesn’t or shouldn’t matter.” Are you kidding me

Why not? I like Kate. Her arse isn’t hanging out of every outfit she puts on, and she doesn’t have a cloying reality show that we all can’t escape from.

In every effort to avoid the news and the upcoming presidential election, I will happily look at pictures of a gorgeous newborn baby and yet another awe-inspiring bespoke Jenny Packham gown for Kate Middleton.

I also find it incredibly admirable that she works with charities that promote therapy through the arts, aids individuals who are riddled with addiction, and provide children’s hospice services.

I’ll take that over CNN almost any day.

SO, anyway, Kate had another baby. 

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To put it into perspective, even celebrities in the upper echelons of Hollywood do NOT have this kind of pressure when they are about to have a baby. The closest that I have seen in my lifetime was Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, and that is as much fervor as you are going to see over a celebrity baby, probably, ever again. 

Since this was her second baby, I naturally assumed (dumb) that there wouldn’t be such hysteria this go around (wrong.) The general public and media would surely wait for the news that the baby had come, and act like rational people do when babies are afoot.

As excited and ready as we were for her to deliver, I can almost guarantee 1000%that Kate was even more so. Try to tell a pregnant woman how much you simply can’t wait for her to Give birth, and see if you don’t get a box of Swiss Cake Rolls thrown straight at your head. 

Just kidding, a pregnant lady would never waste those.

Instead, we were treated to three weeks of baby “countdowns,” ridiculous speculation and the opinions of “experts” willing to sit down and have a chat with tabloids to inform us morons about how babies “work.” 

I can’t tell if it’s the media I should be angry with, or the general population. 

I mean, really…do we not know how labor and delivery work? Do we not know how long pregnancies are? Do we not know that babies are sometimes late???

I get lost trying to picture either the writers behind their keyboards typing this stuff up, and the people at home, reading the news and nodding in awe of such pertinent information.

“Babies come out of vaginas…interesting…”

Should there be a third royal baby, I would like the media and the masses to keep a few things in mind for the next go round:

1.) Babies come when they want to come

Pregnancies are 40 weeks. For some reason, though, we still consider it a nine-month process, which both confuses and irritates me. I feel like this factoid needs to be spelled out somewhere so that us women can have our dues.

While a woman is given a due date, it is highly unlikely she will deliver on or even by the actual due date. In fact, quite a few go early, as they are safely still considered full-term a few weeks prior to their due date. But quite a few also go later than their estimated due date.

Women are typically allowed to wait until up to 2 weeks past their due date (or roughly 42 weeks of pregnancy) before being induced for fear of complications. Women are full term around 38 or 39 weeks, though some deliver even before that and are just fine.

Here is a fun fact: due dates are estimations. Which means that the 40 week mark is just a guesstimate, not an exact science. Doctors make every effort to be as close as they can when calculating a due date, but that date can be wrong by several days, perhaps even a week in either direction. And as with everything related to pregnancy, weeks, and even days, can make a huge bit of difference. 

In other words: “here is about the date that your baby will come, but probably not, but probably. Your baby could maybe probably come early. Or your baby could possibly probably come late. But your baby will probably sort of come around this date. But probably not. Enjoy your indigestion and swelling.”

2.) Yes, women can deliver quickly,

especially so after their first child:

People were shocked, SHOCKED I SAY, that Kate delivered within three hours after being admitted to the hospital. Quick or not, consider these two things:

– If Kate truly went to the hospital right after going into labor, and did deliver naturally within several hours from the onset of labor, it was probably a.) still not fast enough for her and b.) no cake walk. It was still an 8 lb.+ object passing through a relatively small opening. Ouch.

-Kate may have very well labored at home for some time as opposed to going straight to the hospital, and dealing with the mass hysteria of people outside with cameras, who would gladly take a photo of her cervix if they had the chance.  

Many women choose to labor at home, where they feel more relaxed and comfortable. It is not unsafe and not uncommon. In fact, in the case of a “typical” pregnancy, women are urged to spend some time laboring at home prior to going to the hospital.

Yes, women can deliver quickly, especially if it is not their first child. In the case of a mom having a second go around with giving birth, it’s one of the few “perks” that nature gives you.

“At least your labor probably won’t be 28 hours this time. Hooray! Oh, but your new infant will keep you up at night while your toddler runs you ragged during the day. And your uterus is gonna hurt more this time as it contracts back down to normal size. But at least you won’t labor as long, so you can get home faster….

Whatever. Calm. Down. People.

51728581 The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge outside St Mary's hospital with their new born baby girl in London, UK on May 2, 2015. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge outside St Mary's hospital with their new born baby girl in London, UK on May 2, 2015. Pictured: Prince William, Kate Middleton FameFlynet, Inc - Beverly Hills, CA, USA - +1 (818) 307-4813 RESTRICTIONS APPLY: USA ONLY

3.) No, women don’t typically look like Kate Middleton did roughly ten hours after giving birth.

I’m not sure how much magic Kate Middleton actually has in that wavy brown hair of hers. It’s probably full of secrets, like Gretchen Weiner’s. Or, perhaps, she has a stylist, a hair dresser, a makeup artist and an assistant hiding up those bespoke sleeves of hers. That seems the more likely answer.

But she looked darn good right after delivery.

I won’t fault her for it.

If BILLIONS, that’s right, b-i-l-l-i-o-n-s of people, were going to be looking at me right after delivery, I’d ask for the best pain meds the doctor had on hand, pull up my mesh underwear, throw on some spanx, and call in my dream team to help me look like I wasn’t just run over by a truck.  Step aside, Avengers, this is a job for stylists. 

Women deal with quite a lot of pressure in general when it comes to their looks, let alone actually being allowed to look like they just gave birth, ya know, right after they give birth.

The media freaked when Kate’s grey hair grew out a touch during this pregnancy. So heaven forbid she leave the hospital in a wheelchair or looking gimpy or (gasp) swollen.

Even though we wonder why Kate made such a fuss over her looks, the collective media will soon be looking for immediate signs that Kate has since recovered from having a baby (read: flat stomach.)

The media constantly acts confused by the standards that they set. Shocking, I know.

I would want to look like she did on any normal day, let alone right after giving birth. You would, too.

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4.) She went home too quickly – depends on who you ask?

I didn’t leave the hospital for nearly 5 days after my last baby was born. I was too busy hobbling the 6 feet from the bed to the bathroom in all of my Eye of the Tiger glory. Granted, I had a c-section, my third actually. But I could not have imagined going home within 10 hours. 

But I can see the appeal. 

Being in MY bed, in the privacy of MY home, with MY family and friends nearby, and getting back to my children? Yes, that all sounds lovely. Who wants to stay in a hospital with an uncomfortable bed, where bed checks are going to wake you up every two hours so that they can poke on your uterus. Even if in my case that is something that would never have happened, and that is not something I would fault other parents for.

I give William and Kate enough credit to not be rash in their decision-making. They have access to the best of the best when it comes to medical professionals. And I’m sure that those professionals are willing to make house calls to the future king and queen of England. 

Plus, it isn’t as if Kate was going home to peacefully lounge. Big brother G will be sure that there is no time for lounging.  I’m sure that one week later the grace period will be over, and George will soon be dropping toys on his younger sister and poking her in the eye, like siblings do.

There you have it. How amazing would it be if for the third time, she just emerged in sweat pants bought at Target, with a messy bun and eating from a box of donuts? 

Just kidding, I never did that after having a baby….*cough*

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She’s Got This

This post has been in the pipeline for quite some time. Now it’s time to share it.

It started.

The doubt. 

Creeping in to ruin the party. It was only just hours earlier that I was happily buzzing about the house. Mind racing, mind planning. Trying to calculate. Walking on air.

That morning I stood in socked feet in our upstairs bathroom. Morning sun streamed in through the blinds. Bed-head and pajamas everywhere. Morning eyes squinting, looking away and then looking quickly again at the faint, but present pink line next to the OTHER pink line. A pair of them. Twins. You know those lines – they’re pretty important.

I had to keep looking back at it, waiting to see if it would disappear or if the fog would lift from my eyes and I would realize that I’m just seeing things. Maybe I needed coffee? Because no matter how much you prepare yourself for it, no matter how much you are aware that it could happen, when it appears, that second pink line changes things forever. It’s a significant mile marker in one of the greatest ways possible.

The voice in my head said to tread carefully because maybe it wasn’t true and if I looked away it would disappear all together. I had already tried that. Nope. There it stayed.

Then came the rush downstairs. I needed to tell someone NOW. Like, an hour ago. The husband had gone to work. I was there with only the kids. Jerry was namely concerned with breakfast, Honey Nut Cheerios and cartoons. Confident that he wouldn’t know what he was looking at, I showed Jerry the screen so that I could have confirmation that it wasn’t coffee deprivation that had me seeing strange, pink things.

“What do you see buddy?”

” A pink line…” (he looked up at me)

“Yea…but just one?”

“No, (matter of fact) there is a pink line AND a dark pink line,” he said in a sort of, “how can you NOT see it” and “do you really need me to point that out, mom?” kind of way.

Boom! goes the dynamite. I just needed someone else to see it for me, because don’t most women?! My four-year old did perfectly. Good kid, that one. I made him his breakfast.

I got to call the husband and tell him for the third time in our years together that we were going to have a child. It’s humbling. Our third time taking this journey. It’s more than you could hope or ask for. I could hear the grin in his voice, see the smile on his face. He’s calm though, not one for jumping up and down and shouting much and making a scene. He’s a chuckler and a big smile if you’re lucky. He’s a quiet reveler, that one. He’s wonderful.

We exchanged I love you’ s. I was sad that I wasn’t able to wait so that I could tell him in some over-the-top and adorably cute fashion when he walked in the door. Don’t people bake cupcakes and put color inside of them, or a bun in the oven or have a t-shirt made up and printed and shipped express to their house within 6 hours or something for things like this? The thing is, I couldn’t imagine knowing even a minute longer than he.

What a morning.

Now, hours later those creeping thoughts came in. The prince of lies made his presence known.

At that point, it had been recently that I was thinking that perhaps I was built to simply be a mom of two. Two has its rewards, two is wonderful. Two meant that I could start de-cluttering the house of things that they were growing out of. Two meant that there would be no more midnight feedings. No more infant induced fog. And, very soon, no more diapers. Two could be convenient since we had already hit that number.

There really is nothing overly simple about two babies. But, really, what was I going to do with three? There we were that day, snowed in with not much to do, mom seriously lacking in the creativity department. I was already symptomatic: tired, a sour stomach, preferring to strictly lounge on the sofa. Some days, pre-pregnancy, I was beyond maxed out with two of them.

How would three little pairs of hands work at the grocery store? Where would the car seats go? Who was going to have to share their room? How was I going to get rest after the delivery with two of them underfoot? What about my thoughts on homeschooling Jerry in the fall? How would I do that while I’m up nursing all night?? What if this baby has colic? What if it happens….what if I *gulp* never sleep again??

And, am I even that good at mothering? I fight distractions and impatience on a normal day. It’s hard for me to be needed, sometimes. It’s a struggle against yourself to hold it all together and make lunches and wipe noses. Now a third one would put an even greater stress on those limits.

And don’t even get me started on my physical appearance. I’d been working at wanting to get back in shape, (is that a thing? working towards WANTING to get back into shape?) and now a third baby? Yea, that’s really gonna help matters. No perfect basketball sized bump for this woman. And I’ve been blessed with two relatively smooth pregnancies. So this on will probably be a doozy….

So many things, so many details. All robbing my joy from news that wasn’t even 12 hours old yet. I was struggling, and baby LeCompte was only newly known to the world, to their parents.

Some gifts come with assembly required.

I’m terrible at seeing opportunities within every problem. I tend to see a problem within every opportunity. I let it all amount simply to how it’s going to affect me, my day, my time and my ability to function. I begrudgingly see the work laid out before me as a burden. Make no mistake, I’m sure that three children is not a joke. I also believe that it is a gift. Just sometimes, those gifts come with assembly required. You open the box only to find that it’s going to take you five hours, a screwdriver, a flashlight and nuts and bolts to put it all together.  What in the world???

But aren’t those sometimes the best kinds of gifts? 

Don’t they end up being the most worth it? The ones that you’re the most glad to have?

I spent the evening, somewhat lost in my thoughts, making a pot of chicken and dumplings. The husband approves of my chicken and dumplings, and so do I, actually. I plopped each dumpling into the boiling pot, and began the waiting. Waiting for them each to float. The heat cooks them and I watch, just until they’re right.

The kids came bouncing into the kitchen. The games began.

The chasing. The giggles. The tickles. The silly faces and noises and raspberries. The hiding and the seeking. The silly mom faces that I do. The tricks I play to lure babies into my clutches for more tickles and to steal more kisses. All while the dumplings cooked gently on the stove. The clothes hummed in the dryer. The snow fell outside.

In those instances, when my mind is off of myself, it’s really actually on. On to what matters. I forget about the loads of laundry spilling into the hallway. The floured mess around my kitchen. The toys underfoot. The busy day. I forget because I’m really not going to remember and count those things as important when time melts away one day at a time. But this, with the kids, now that was important. It was a gift. It’s all a gift.

And every perfect gift comes from the Father of Light in heaven. And He gives the best gifts. How much more does He give us? He gave His son, the best gift of all. And it’s a gift that I receive, over and over again, everyday. A gift that gives strength and hope on the days when time runs tight, when moms are maxed out and minds are fragged. If that is the best gift, then I can’t wait to see what the rest of them are.

Two pink lines do change most things. But only Jesus changes everything. And as I was crawling around on the floor, I heard it clear as day in my head and in my heart.

“You’ve got this. Because you’ve got me.”

The great I Am.

If you didn’t quite follow this post (seriously, if you didn’t, were you sleeping or something??) then I’ll say it plainly: I’m happy to announce that our family will grow by one more minion come October (ish). We are overjoyed and so fortunate. And we cannot wait. Only we can wait…because this means that we have a lot of stuff to do between now and then. 

 

 

These Are Days

It’s what motherhood is made up of.

I used to think that it was when the kids were sick, and I was up half the night running baths at 2 a.m. to clean vomit out of curly hair. Or those longs nights when the baby was going through a growth spurt, needing to nurse and be held and consoled back to sleep every 90 minutes. Or maybe on the days that I had a few extra kidlets running around the house because a friend needed me to do some kid sitting so she could make it to a dire appointment. I used to think that it was those moments of familial disorder and upheaved schedules that I would find myself curled up in the fetal position, both mentally and physically, wishing for it to all stop. 

It’s actually quite the opposite for me. 

It’s the days that are...tedious that wear me down to the nubs.

It’s the grey, overcast winter days that just. won’t. go. away. and let spring break through and finally begin to have its way, where we spend the days cooped up inside, the same place we have been for weeks, biding our time. It’s the quiet days. The days where we don’t have anywhere in particular to be, no one in particular has cause to stop by. There isn’t an itinerary besides brushing our teeth and hair, putting on pants one leg at a time and just being.

Those are the days that I rub the back of my neck, close my eyes and have to think happy thoughts and say quiet prayers so that I can buckle down and get it all done.

Praying to get it all done when there really doesn’t seem like much to get down.

Monotonous days are what eat at me. Chaos I can usually, for a spell at least, handle. Maybe it’s because in those instances I don’t have a choice? Because the kids can’t take care of themselves when they are ill, and the husband has to put on a tie and head out the door to work everyday and be somebody so it’s up to me and Motrin. Maybe it’s because I don’t have any other option than to feed the squealing, wiggling baby, and the quickest path back to sleep is the one of least resistance anyway, so what’s the point?

The days that meander on by, without play dates and Chick Fil A and library story time and trips to the park and welcomed phone calls from friends and ice cream…those take a toll on me. Maybe it’s because I welcome the distractions. I want the 12 hour gap between wake up time and bed time to be as painless as possible. Am I soaking and savoring or am I sprinting? Sometimes, I think it’s the latter.

I don’t intend to be this way. To constantly feel the need to hurry things up. In fact, I wonder just why I can’t seem to sit still and feel like I am fully in the moment. Because I’d like to think that I would appreciate the stillness and the focus. But, in truth, I want the rush. There is less involved in that than in the slow and steady pace.

Like, I know that it’s better for me to want a salad and to run a mile on the treadmill, but in truth, I want a Twinkie and I want to watch Law and Order: SVU on the sofa right. now. and not move or answer the call of “mom!” to any little body or vacuum the carpet or any of the above.

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It’s beckoning me. This silent voice. “Slow down and just be and savor.” The days are long, but the years are short. That’s the best statement encapsulating motherhood that I think I have ever heard. These days, man, you want them over, sometimes. You can see yourself at 8:30 p.m. reading a long neglected book, or watching that movie you have been putting off, or maybe getting into bed to accrue eight actual hours of shut-eye. And standing between you and those moments of bliss are unruly children, a messy house, piles of mail, a ringing phone and dogs under your feet. Those rest periods are too tempting. They’re all that we can focus on at times. We forget to try to make the best of what IS in front of us.

People wonder how a stay at home mom does it.

It’s the narrow door. The road less traveled by. The path seldom tread upon.

Long days. Short years. Only so many sleeps until they’re blowing out candles on their birthday cake, or swinging a baseball bat for the first time, or buckling their shoes on their own. That’s the trick. “Hurry up”, moms say. Sleep through the night, brush your own teeth, put on your own pants, find your shoes yourself, unbuckle your own car seat, learn how to read. We focus on the inevitable release, not the connection. Don’t worry. They are hurrying. We’re just too busy sometimes to notice. The trick is, do we breathe it all in as best we can. Breathe in everything, exhale grace. For me, no, hardly at all anymore.

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Being there for every moment that you can be. To help them through every step. To teach them not to wipe their noses on their sleeve, or dump macaroni and cheese on the floor when they’re all done with it or to be afraid of the dark. That’s the road less traveled on anymore. Be proud to be innovative and unique. Be proud of what you do. Be proud that the work that you do is kingdom work and that even though you can’t always see it for what it is, you know it has to count somewhere.

The narrow door.

The way of joy. 

Clinging to joy on the days when there isn’t much else to cling to. It’s easy to have joy on sunny days spent at the park. It’s hard to have joy on days with monster laundry mounds and interrupted sleep and needy, argumentative children. But, it’s the way of joy. To let them be your joy. It’s the way of Life to accept the gifts that He has given us. Children that teach us to be still, to be patient. The work isn’t just being done by us for them, the work is being done IN us, by Him. Joy is vital. Happiness of fleeting. Joy appreciates value every day that you choose it.

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This is the narrow door.

The way of joy.

The way of goodness. 

Can we give it back? The grace that we have been shown? That we have tasted? Can we comfort as we have been comforted? Loving our children with an ethereal, Christ-like love? That’s a tall order when I can’t even seem to make it down the stairs in the morning without wishing for coffee and thirty more minutes of shut-eye. Now, we’re talking about divine love and labor? All of their life is a labor, a masterpiece work still being constructed. Mosaic tiles laid out together. We can’t always see the grand picture. On the days of fever, flat tires, speeding tickets and lost toys we have to trust in the goodness. That one day we will see it all come together, fitting tightly together. Those days where words hurt, feelings are bruised, we chalk them up to goodness. Because we can try again tomorrow.

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This is the narrow door.

The way of joy.

The way of goodness.

The way of faith.

You don’t know if you have faith unless you survive the hurricanes. Unless you are a lonely puddle. Who after the rains come and dump and pound, are filled to the brim, clearly reflecting the heavens above back. A pothole or canyon in the ground is nothing until it’s filled. It’s empty. We are nothing until we are filled. We aren’t anything until we have His everything. We can’t mother unless we have faith.

These are days. Long, tedious days. Brimming days, busy days. They’re precious. Love them. Gloss over the ones that aren’t so great. But live them out. And be glad.