Let’s remember it together:
The kind of morning where your sheets are drenched in hormonal sweat—the sweat that smells like a classroom full of first-graders and all their farts and sneezes and not so much the kind of sweat that smells like body odor or good sex.
The kind of morning where you wake up startled by the fact that you maybe slept and frantically sit up checking all the spots you might’ve put your baby to maybe sleep, too. The crib? No. The bassinet? No. Ah, the Moses basket.
The kind of morning where your teeth have grown more hair than your armpits and it’s starting to dreadlock into the texture of your smile.
The kind of morning where you have a crick in your neck, a crick in your shoulder, a crick in your elbow, and three fingers on your right hand are inexplicably numb.
The kind of morning where the first thing you think about is FOB/child support/old bills/new bills/spoiled milk/taxes and a bath.
Let’s sit through it together;
Today I took the kind of bath that lasted over fifteen minutes. The kind of bath third trimesters everywhere dream of.
The kind of bath where you’re no longer afraid of your razor and your ‘gina doesn’t tremble at its sight.
The kind of bath where six weeks of leg debris is shaved off, revealing the fresh flesh of a 25 year old on a 34 year old.
The kind of bath where your imagination can run wild so long as your flexibility can follow and you can reshape your ladyscaping into any shape or symbol you like because time and visibility are on your side.
The kind of bath where you fall in love with your new and improved lady bits again, marvel at their reconstruction, pat them on their little labial backs and reunite in friendship and forgiveness.
The kind of bath where you get to deep condition those pregnancy locks that haven’t fallen out yet before you tie it all in a giant knot on top of your head.
The kind of bath where after you get to use the yummy smelling lotions and even tweeze that one chin hair that’s decided to appear with new hormones.
The kind of bath that’s interrupted by the living room volume of Willie Nelson... and my Mom brain thinks the harmonica is my Nugget wailing in my absence.
We are near three weeks out from D-Day (Dorothy Day) and routines are being hoped for every day. We ebb and flow together, we aren’t stir crazy or lonely, and we’re bonded beyond belief.
When I self care, I’m takin care of us. Nugget is warm and fed and nourished and although that’s all my soul needs, is really... really nice to have smooth legs once again.
Nah, but for reals.
Her shit doesn't stink to me.
It's like roses and sunshine.
It's like perfection and success.
It's a symbol of my commitment to loving her every time she's at my breast.
It's a little gross when it touches my hand, or gets in my hair, or on my cheek.
It's always funny when she farts on my Mom, my brother, on me.
So far she looks best in blue.
Four hours is our longest sleeping streak.
She's the most perfect human I've ever laid eyes on.
Schnugglebuns McPerfectPoops, I love you more each day and week.
Introducing, Dotty Mo.
I don't know where to begin. There's so much I have to say. I'm rarely hushed and ushered to silence. I'd love to tell you every gory detail, every nuance, but, in truth... labor itself is starting to fade. My brain is helping me forget pain and I think, for once, I'm gonna let it.
I haven't listened to music since November of last year.
That's.... pretty much no exaggeration.
Everything hurt, every note, every word became a harsh recall of loss and struggle and heartbreak. I allowed that and took it as part of the process of this pregnancy and my life's current circumstance. Little Nugget didn't hear me sing along from the inside, I was too busy trying not to stress her with tears. So we let go of music for a while.
I took that time to write and write and draw and process my sadness and anger for a failed relationship whose failure I can now understand... heck, I think I'm even grateful for it. In that music-less time I talked often of hate, mostly due to a traumatized emotional vocabulary. There were few words, even fewer with lower-case letters, I could cling to the past 5 months.
And now that she's here. My beautiful is here...
I never want to say Hate again. I can't Hate anything. I can't Hate half of what made her, I can't even begin to think that way when I nurse her because every meal for her entire life... needs to be prepared with the most love I can muster.
How much love can a Mother muster?
So much that her Maiden-self split parts of her most vulnerable flesh and soul wide open to create her. It's immeasurable. It's happy tears. It's holding your breath. It's energetic and mystical and every cheeseball inspirational quote you've ever read that plucked a chord of half truth inside you.
I don't know how to make these lessons into a catchy narrative, a three part story, a climax with a resolution.
All I know is it's like I went to another world while laboring my daughter and when I came back, swollen, shocked, and upgraded, it's as if I unlocked a whole new compartment to myself I had no idea existed. A whole other floor, a giant rooftop filled with sun and infinite. This compartment is bigger than any other inside me and it had been sleeping all this time, waiting. Now she's awoken... this Mother Floor... and my eyes are open wide, my senses heightened, my energy field clings to Nugget and never exhausts.
They don't say Mama Bear for no reason. I could kill and would die. I would forever go without to make sure she never needs. Nine days out and she and I are in sync, my breasts ache when she is about to awaken and I jump up from bed five minutes before that. I never want to be apart from this miracle and I will fight the rest of my life to keep my place, in front of her, like a shield.
I see all Mothers in a while new light. The way they've huddled me and my pregnant, vulnerable form under their wings, collectively providing shelter. From Mothers sending me words of encouragement and understanding to the Angel that shows up on your doorstep the night before you go into labor to express that you're still not alone... that there are higher power(s) that look out for the weak and scared, no matter how they protest. The Mothers I've watched from afar for years building a life for their Little's, paving existence with their hands. The Mothers who are still pregnant and in line, waiting, with shallow breath and back aches wondering what's on the other side and what she's signed up for. The Mothers who all had babies along side me this spring, this year, this month... who I've journeyed with in tangible experience virtually, who have redefined companionship and hope.
It makes me stutter.
I see my Mother in a whole new light. I see her sacrifices, her strength, her Maiden Floor working like a well-oiled machine, a seamless, timeless locomotive with power and momentum, all pistons firing with countless miles of selflessness behind her. I'm in awe of her. Her knowledge and generosity with it. Her delicate aching hands holding my daughter, her granddaughter fills me. I am humbled and overwhelmed by the luck I have to be on this earth, walking, mothering upright beside, beneath, because of her. She's my Bowie. She's my Hawking. My water well. My level. She's the tone in my laugh. She's the reason I made it through this pregnancy, the reason Nugget is here and healthy. I can't stop crying thinking about how much I love this human.
It makes me grateful for my parents and I cry because I'm fortunate to get to still tell both of them I love them whenever I can... which isn't enough.
They both deserve more.
My Dad has a particular love language that can't be boxed and resold to be understood. It sneaks up behind you and showers you when you're not looking. It can come in the shape of a puzzle and you might have to put it together in poor light after the context is explained. It can come in the shape of a memory burst filled with intermittent laughter and punchlines throughout. It can come in the shape of an adventure filled promise. It can come in the shape of savory, sweet, rich aromas and satisfaction. It comes in waves of generosity and support.
My Dad's love is wise, yet youthful.
Which makes me think of my brother... and his journey. The journey of the Father and... how, if you're truly blessed, this other half lands somewhere on the spectrum next to Mother. How both parties jump out of the same plane at the same time and hope the wind keeps them together long enough to land within proximity. This isn't an easy task for man or Universe, understandably so. We forgive it, we have to.
If my sister ever comes around... maybe she'll get a slice of this love, too. I don't have the energy to reach out that far right now. Gonna let that dog lie a while.
There are funny things that happen everyday, too:
The poop that somehow made it's way to my cheek.
The poop that somehow made it's way to FOB's shirt.
The nicknames you give Nurses while in the hospital.
The ridiculous crinkle of postpartum pads as you walk.
The hormone roller coaster.
The fact that the first thing I smelled today was myself.
The one gray pube I found the shower I was reunited with my miracle vagina again.
The way Nugget turns into Robert De Niro when she has gas.
The time Carrie tried to put a sock on a tiny foot.
The way my nephew says, "Dorfy."
The visual of my Mom dancing to Elvis Christmas at 6am holding an alert Nugget.
Breastfeeding while pumping while facebooking and using your Bonus Thumbs (toes) to function.
The utter upheaval of one household on behalf of a tiny 7lb Queen.
The long and short of it... I'm changed.
I'm no longer just Mallory, I'm more and less at the same time.
The artist inside me is quieted by the fact that I'll never create anything so perfect again and yet fueled by the fact of this perfection's existence I want to run violently in the direction of attempting to do so. Every day. Till my feet fall off.
Yes, childbirth hurt.
I pushed for three hours with no epidural to bring her to our plane. She held onto the cosmos that tight and whomever she was so busy talking to on the other side must've been giving her all the secrets of the world. Far be it from me to interrupt that conversation.
I tore. Some.
I bled, am bleeding, will bleed.
I gained weight. Some.
My body is forever altered.
More people peered into my gaping miracle vagina than I've sat at a dinner table with in five years.
All of this, all of this tangible and memory nonsense seems like pennies of cost in comparison to the lottery of love I feel like I've achieved and been gifted.
1,000 words later and I could go on forever.
I hope you continue to join me on this journey. I dream of writing everyday, sharing our stories, working from home, and having a successful, profitable blog filled with Doodles and drawings and humor and truth.
I hope you, audience and Universe, can help up get there.
I truly believe... now more than ever... that anything is possible and everything happens for a reason.
We spent the last five months without music and now, as I sit here and type, Dotty Mo has been lulled to sleep by First Aid Kit and Sylvan Esso.
We're back to singing.
We're back to sound.
We're back to music.
We're back to feeling.
We're back to singular me and singular she.
We're back to separate rhythm heartbeats and humming.
We're good. We're back. We're in love, this time, forever.
Brief Birth Tale: Dottie Mo and the Case of the Missing Urges
So on Friday (3/09/2018) at my Doc’s he said I was dilated to five and did half a membrane sweep and said, “I’m on call starting 7am tomorrow—let’s do this.”
I was all, “hell yeah!”
Up at 4am Saturday (3/10/2018) ball bouncing, cereal eating, walking, and was checked into hospital by 8:30am. Felt twinges of pressure and had seen different discharge, but still no contractions or pain. I thought I was being a pussy just going into the hospital at this point.
Nurse Patience, bless her, shoved her trusty hand in the miracle vagina and said, “Hey, six cm!”
Doc said, “Let’s pop them sacs, yo!”
I was all, “Hell yeah!”
Still no pain or real pressure.
Still smiling. Still waiting. Still feeling like this shit was a weird breeze that was gonna bite me in the ass... that, or I was a physical enigma and gonna be blessed with a butter birth.
Texted FOB, told him to sweetly and patiently back up and I’d holler later.
He softly complied.
Skip to water popping at noon, dilated to seven.
They’re all, “want an epidural?”
Everyone’s all, “you can’t really feel anything...anything??”
I’m like, “nah, I can’t and nah...fuck it, this shit is allegedly almost over and I’m cool plus I heard catheters suck and I like moving my legs.”
Mom and I high five. Carry on.
By 3pm I was fully effaced, 10cm. I felt tremendous pressure from 8-10cm and breathed and began to regret the lack of meds.
Deeeeeep regret. Deep.
But the shit show must go on.
Eyes closed, breathing, eyes closed, silent, grasping, eyes closed breathing.
Oh, and vomiting.
More vomiting than I expected actually.
Then pushing was supposed to start.
I had no urges.
WHERE WERE THESE FUCKING URGES PEOPLE PROMISED ME????
I had no desire to push. I had a ton of energy and will, but no gravity or instinct to...
It was like everyone telling me I had to shit, not feeling like I had to shit, my body not signaling I had to shit, and having to believe people outside my body that I had to shit.
Very weird and in vain and pain.
Three hours later of ghost turd pressure pushing... the crowning began and oh my fuck ow.
Oh my ow.
Felt that shit.
Words said by me at this time:
Just grab her by the hair and yank her.
Fuck it! Let’s slice her out!
Stop telling me what to do, please.
Shut up. We're not singing.
Just shove her back up.
Small internal tear, placenta birthing sorta sucks too, and my Schnuggles was here by 6:20pm. Doc refused my request to sew up my entire vagina because I’m never doing that again.
I love my mom with all my soul.
I love my buddy and sweet love rock doula Allison who had never attended a hospital birth before. She brought oils that literally induced all the peeing and vomiting, held space, counted, encouraged, and put me before her needs all day.
I love my doctor who’s chill ass approach and voice could bring anyone’s milk down.
And I love this baby. Nothing else matters.
Hooray for home.
Mallory Kate is a blogger, artist, single mom and funny girl outta Nevada.
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