Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Top 5 Things I Know About Drug-Free Labor....

So, for Mommies to Be who are possibly freaking out about labor- here's a few things that you can pretty much expect if you go the no-drugs route that I prefer.

1. It hurts. Yep, they tell you the truth about that. Intense, biting, wringing waves of pain that get closer together as the big moment arrives. You can fight them, and wear yourself out into a screaming, moaning crying mess. You can breathe through them and end up spitting out curses in little puffs. You can Zen through them and chew your lips bloody. But they will NOT kill you, believe it or not. I personally prefer a combination of breathing and Zen that may or may not resemble a muttered mantra of "Ihateyouyousorrysonuvabitchandi'msharpeningthefilletknifewhenigethomejustforyou." Especially if the XY donator is patting my hand and trying to be helpful.

2. Your body will want you to MOVE. I mean that. The worst thing that you can do is ignore those demands- if you feel like you should be curled up in a fetal ball in the corner or bent sideways and backwards over a chair- there's probably a really good reason. Walking, swaying, rocking, bouncing, squatting, crouching, rolling, stretching- all of these things are the body telling you "hey, we need some gravity over here on the left!" or "cramps at two o-clock, take evasive action!" Instincts are awesome- and really, who the hell cares if you look silly while in labor? You're pushing a watermelon out of something the size of a lemon- there's no graceful way to weather that particular storm.

3. The shower may be your best friend. I almost lived in the shower during my last labor. I may live in it during this one. Water is innately soothing and incredibly comforting, and it helped me deal with feeling like there were small spikes being driven into my spine at regular intervals. If you can get into the shower- do it. Make a labor partner come in and chat with you while you shower. Bring aromatherapy soap. Have someone wash your hair. Enjoy the little bits of relief you can get, when you get them.

4. Labor is UNcomfortable, so make yourself as comfortable as possible.  Fluorescent lights (overhead lights in general) hurt my eyes and head, so I turned on all the little side lamps and turned off the overheads.  Hospital gowns give me the shuddering skeevies, so I buy myself something comfy specifically for labor- blood will come right out with Ivory soap and cold water.  And awesome socks, because awesome socks are love.  Heating pads or hot water bottles, foot massages or ice packs- whatever works for you- do it.  Listen to your music or watch a movie that makes you laugh.  And if ANYONE in the room makes you uncomfortable or unhappy, kick their ass out.  I don't care if it's your husband- if he's being a dick, toss him.  Mom being a pain? Boot her.  The person who is engaged in pushing a St. Berhard through the cat door is the ruling monarch of that room- so enjoy being the Queen Bitch.

5. Beware the ring of fire.  This is the point where you start SCREAMING for relief- and it's too late, because that awesome little person that you're about to fall in love with (after you want to kill them) is making his final descent.  Throw on some Johnny Cash and go along for the ride- you're committed at this point and there's no going back.  No one ever thinks to warn us about this- and they SHOULD.  Because trust me, that last push to get that kid out of you and into the world is the absolute hardest part of labor.  It's also the most rewarding, so embrace it whole-heartedly, and go for the gold.

You've got this, Champ!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Your Due Date is When?

So, here I am in the homestretch of pregnancy, and I've decided something- my doctor likes to screw with my head, just for fun.  I've had 4 or 5 due dates now.  And none of them are really accurate.  So my BEST guess is that sometime between Halloween and Christmas, the Alienbaby will make his appearance.  Well, screw guessing.  I'm taking action.

You see, my best friend is possibly available for emergency haul-ass-down-and-save-me-from-committing-murder the second weekend in November. Which means I'm going to pull out the raspberry tea, the bumpy dirt roads, and the walk-like-a-camel stops and do my best to go into labor then.  Because honestly- there is no one I love more in this world that The Queen Mother of Ta-Tas, and she is possibly the only person in the delivery room I won't want to kill.  And she'll help me smuggle coffee past the nurses.  See why I love her?

Also- I am tired of being pregnant.  To be fair, I was tired of being pregnant approximately three days in, but now I'm really bone-tired of it.  Possibly the two jobs, school, sick kids (oh, yes, the kids had the running puke-and-craps for a week, did I mention?), the itchies from hell, and the displaced ribs on my entire right side have something to do with that.  The insomnia isn't helping either.

Perhaps that's why I'm daydreaming about going into labor.  Unlike most preggos, I don't dread labor.  I love it.  I look forward to it.  Okay, yeah, it hurts.  So does stubbing my toe or falling down the stairs eleventybillion times while trying to do laundry.  Or getting thrown off a horse- and I've done that  A LOT.  But- and here's the great thing- labor hurts only until they hand you the scrunched up little demon you just pushed out.  And once the intial 10 fingers, 10 toes, proper equipment, no tail checklist is done- there's this rush like nothing else.  Because that's YOUR demon, and he's all in one piece, with no missing or spare parts, and you can relax.  And once you pop into the shower (ignore the bloodbath, it's normal), toss on an industrial sized maxi ad and some clean jammies, the world pretty much settles back onto it's normal axis, and you can get on with being a mommy. 

Except now you have rogue milk cannons attached to your chest.  And those are a WHOLE different ball game.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Things I Want to Say- the family edition.

I love my family like the Alienbaby loves applesauce.  They are quirky, bizarre, charming, and utterly mad, but I adore them.  That aside, there's a list of things three and a quarter miles long I often think, and seldom say.  But oh boy, do I want to...

1. First- what is with the drunken elephant stomp?  There are three culprits for this one- the BF, the Daredevil, and Gollum.  When all three of them are in residence, it sounds like feeding time in the big top.  I love them, but occasionally, I feel like I have their shoeprints on the inside of my eyelids.  Haven't you guys ever heard of "walk softly and carry a big stick?"

2. The Battle of the Tea.  Everyone in this household drinks iced tea (the SWEET kind, of course) like it's one of the necessities of life.  Unfortunately, there are arguments on how to make said tea.  The Ex makes the best, hands down- brewed, steeped for 20 minutes, 1 full cup of sugar, and stirred (counter clockwise) for exactly 30 seconds, with a metal spoon.  We all agree on this- and yet there is a daily fight over how to make the tea (and who needs to do it).  Can't we all just agree to adopt the Ex's method and make the tea whenever it gets low?

3. Why do I have no underwear?  I'm the only girl in the house.  We wash a dozen loads of laundry a week, and I fold dozens of pairs of boy undies in all shapes, colors, patterns and sizes.  Unless one of you guys has a secret fetish for wearing my granny panties or we have fairies who only steal ladies' undergarments, there is no excuse for me to constantly scramble around looking for my panties.  May I PLEASE have them back?

4. Drama is for stage shows.  Granted, my life is pretty crazy, but I'm trying to find the humor in it.  It makes me sad and worried when the only things I ever hear are how bad things are.  I know things are tough all over, but please smile and try to say something positive every once in a while- otherwise I might have to shove a bar of sunshine up your rump. :)  It's for your own good.

5.  I love you guys like I love sunshine, kittens, rainbows and shiny things.  I don't tell you that enough, and I'm sure sometimes you think I am the ogre in the closet because I'm always so damn blunt and hardheaded about things that I have strong opinions on, but I do love you.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

PSA for everyone: Making Your Bed

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, ever since we (finally) got a bedframe and got the bed up off the floor. 

Nothing compares to a good bed. 

I don't mean a top of the line mattress or a fancy headboard.  I mean a bed that is a retreat from everything else in the world, a comfortable, safe, warm place to curl up in.  I can't remember where I heard/read/saw this, but I remember absorbing the information that people who take the time to make their bed (and room) a sanctuary report feeling more productive, sleeping better (even on fewer hours of sleep) and having less stress.  As a Mommy who works all the time, I value all those things.

The BF and I recently splurged on really nice sheets, pillows, and a new comforter set.  Between that and not killing myself trying to clamber up and down 20million times a night from the floor, I am amazed at how much better and more rested we both feel, and how different our day-to-day life is.  For instance- now I make the bed.

I love making the bed.  The ritual of shaking out the sheets, smoothing them into place, fluffing the pillows and comforter and turning everything back makes me smile.  Seeing my bed made up with the throw pillows in place and the covers smooth makes me feel accomplished.  And it keeps the sand and grit from the hardwood floors OFF my sheets- amazing. 

My bed is the place everyone congregates.  The kids come in to snuggle or watch TV with me, the BF and I do our homework curled up on the bed with our laptops.  Friends come in and plop down cross-legged to talk, and if we had a cat, he'd be curled up right in the center.  It's a safe place- it's impossible to argue or fuss when you're snuggled into fluffiness.  And sliding into bed after a long day at work on good, smooth, soft sheets is a luxury that can't be denied.

No one should go without good sheets.  I don't care if you've slept on sandpaper over a bed of nails for your whole life- you deserve great sheets.  The higher the thread count the better, and cotton is never wrong.  You can keep the silk and flannel and fleece and satin- my money is always on plain old cotton, that just gets softer in the wash.  They're not expensive, overall- a trip to TJ Maxx or some place similar will net you a really nice set of 3-400 thread count sheets for between 20-30 bucks.  And they are worth it.  So are good pillows, and a nice comforter.  And the best investment in the world for a Mommy (or anyone else) is a waterproof mattress pad with a quilted top.  Junior spills his water on your bed?  No problem- strip it down, toss it in the wash and dry it, and you don't have to sleep in a wet spot for so much as an hour.  (It works on vomit and pee too- and we all know how often that happens with kids.)

Mommies- you deserve nice things too.  Buy yourself some nice sheets.  Tell Hubby to bring you home the comforter set you want (ours was another TJMaxx find- $70 for comforter, shams, dust ruffle and three toss pillows- and it's reversible, machine washable cotton in a really great pattern) for your birthday.  Take a moment each day to make your bed- and trust me when I say that at the end of the day, when you come back to it after the screaming, crying, schlepping, lifting and hauling that is daily life with kids, families and careers- you will thank yourself.  Because there in your room is a clean, clear island of peace that says "Hi there!  Come snuggle."

Everyone needs the snuggles.  Go get them. :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Oh, Boobies.

I woke up this morning with what certainly feels like a case of mastitis/milk fever.  I'm familiar with the process, but I've never had it BEFORE the babies arrived.  I'm due at the end of November, so with about 8 weeks to go, I didn't expect to deal with the engorged, painful, leaking boobs yet.  I have hot, painful lumps on the right breast, and a feeling of general flu-like achiness and fever. 

So, I'm drinking hot herbal tea, have hot compresses and Tylenol on board, and I'm sitting around topless expressing milk.  It's a shame there's no hungry babies around- I seem to have PLENTY to go around.

Speaking of hungry babies- Alienbaby is getting huge.  This means that Mommy eats everything in sight- double bacon cheeseburgers from Wendy's have been a favorite lately.  Also, jalapeno cornbread with applesauce, chips and salsa, chips and applesauce, cheesecake, corndogs with applesauce, applesauce, peanut butter bread with apples, cheese with apples/applesauce, spaghetti, bread and butter, steak, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes with cheese and garlic toast, applesauce, and oh, yes, applesauce.

I don't, as a general rule, eat a quart of applesauce every two days, or even eat apples very often.  Apparently, I'm giving birth to the carnivorous Irish reincarnation of Johnny Appleseed.