There are so many little moments, it's hard to doodle just one.
They come flying through my line of sight like all the little light torpedoes in warp speed... the way that snow flurries past headlights onto a windshield on mountain storm night.
Trying to hold onto just one little moment long enough is a scramble.
I feel like that person in the tube of fast air trying to catch all the money and shove it in pockets before the wind ride lottery is over.
If I'm lucky, I can jot down ideas.
Pens are everywhere.
I very often have one half a hand free to do anything and my toes still aren't trained in script. I have to rely on my Mom memory which is running on two to three hours of sleep a night.
I love so much.
The way she looks at me and tries to understand.
The way she turns into a little boob zombie, crashing her open mouthed head into my clavicle over and over again when she wants to nurse.
The way she sleeps with her mouth open like her Mom.
The heat of her on my chest.
Today's precious is brought to you by laundry.
Nugget is between diaper sizes right now. Well, she's between like five brands and two sizes of diapers. Her hips are newborn while her thighs are size one and that makes for a fair amount of blowouts which makes for a fair amount of laundry.
And I love it.
I love it all.
The way her little clothes wrap into mine in the dryer. Her little socks trapped in the tumbling magnitude of my nursing bras. The way all the pink and white off sets the black stretch fabric of postpartum fashion. The way she doesn't give a shit when she shits herself.
I wish I had that kind of ease and confidence.
Newborn unfuckwithable confidence.
I love being a Mom.
Someday soon here... I'm gonna get to type with TWO hands.
Sorry for not posting the last few weeks, my sugar dumplings. I haven’t even been able to brush my teeth...which reminds me, I hafta cancel my dentist appointment. And hair appointment. And breastfeeding class...and baby shower.
I am only posting this for posterity. I haven’t told friends or some family members cuz...there’s no point and I don’t wanna be one of those “woe is me” martyr types. Doesn’t suit me. My smile is too nice for that.
Saturday morning, two weeks ago, my adorable Mom requested we do another driving dry run to my birth hospital so she could reabsorb the lay of the route and land. Considering she’s my getaway baby driver, this is not a request to ignore. If you know my Mom or have a Mom or your own, you’ve witnessed the dangers, frustrations, and worry of Mom driving. It can be a real challenge for all parties involved. Moms often utilize backwards routes, attempts to turn only to be somehow thwarted, routinely drive around the block so as to confirm and reconfirm destination certainty, and most Moms express the need for passenger to not sigh, squirm, make a face, or comment on drivers skill... which makes the entire event high risk.
So when Mom expresses a need to re-digest, we encourage a patient slow chew.
Furthermore, for the last three ish weeks I’ve had consistently awful rib pain. Front, middle back, throbbing. It’s kept me up at night, annoyed me in the day, and confused me... I’ve iced it, I’ve heated it, I’ve massaged it, and inquired the Googs and my Doc and other preggo ladies for wisdom. No avail.
I was told and figured it was just pregnancy irritation and par for the third trimester course.
Bummer, but manageable.
When Mom mentioned she wanted the dry run, I thought it’d be a good chance to get that checked out...ease my mind a little.
So off we went.
And there I stayed.
Four days later in the antepartum wing, hooked up, drugged, exhausted, stinky and trying to halt preterm labor.
After arriving safely via Mom driving, we waddled up to L&D and we’re met by fresh faced, lovely nurses who basically said they can’t tell me squat without getting officially checked out.
I was hooked up to baby heartbeat monitor and contraction monitor and, well, monitored.
For a long time.
a really long time.
I was seen by Nurse 1 who, after 6-7 hours of monitoring, noticed I was having contractions. Big ish ones, every 2-5 minutes...that I could NOT FEEL.
Nurse 1 checked my junk and said, “yep, 1-2 dilated, 70% effaced...”
In comes Doctor 1 and shots and panic and meds and surprise and off I was wheeled to admitting and a labor room.
Nurse 2 checked my junk and said, “yep, 2-3 dilated, 80% effaced...”
Thank goodness my Mom was there...we just couldn’t believe it.
Doctor 1 checked my junk and said, “yep, 3 dialated, 80% effaced...”
So more shots and pills and waiting and wondering. Still no contraction pain...
Admitted officially to labor, paperwork signed, fears felt, NICU explained, potentials discussed, and Doctor 1 checked my junk again and said, “yep, 4 dialated, 80% effaced...”
I had more hands in my junk in 20 hours than I have had in months. Like, literally and literally.
After rib pain inquiry and a jolly jaunt in the car—preterm labor was the haps and I hadn’t even brought a water bottle.
Round the clock meds considering they wouldn’t let me take the ones I’d brought from home... antacids, Prozac, benedryl, antibiotics, steroids, procardia, to name a few. There is no real rest to be had in a hospital... and nurses come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities.
Eventually and on day four my dear OB came in, gently cervical checked me, reduced me to 3.2 dilation and 80%, and released me unto my own recognizance with the direction of modified bed rest.
Its been a whirlwind—hospital and home.
i couldn’t believe I couldn’t feel any contractions? Am I just so tough? Supermom? Naive?
Every spasm and twinge, a panic.
Every gaseous thud, a worry.
Every pee, a search for blood or mucus or clot.
Every night, a dream of water breaking.
Endless worry about preemie care, Nugget’s health, my comfort, “the plan,” and the realization that even the tiny things you thought you could control...you can’t.
Birth plan, schmirth plan.
Let’s just have a healthy baby, healthy mama.
The gist of the goal seemed to be to keep Kiddo in the oven until at least the 36 week mark, which is this upcoming Tuesday. After that, birth away! I will be able to walk, attend, socialize, move, drive, shop, and visit. All my energy has gone into research and worry and power baking this Kiddo... I haven’t doodled or written a thing until now.
I decided to illustrate my birth plan.
Seems fitting, having Kiddo on Pride Rock after half a ward was up my cooter and giving me drugs.
I just want to complain for a minute.
Most of the rumors are true.
Third trimester is filled with all the same yuck of the first, but with added shittiness for flavor.
You lose your lungs, you lose your vagina.
You can't tend to your feet so those turn into hideous, dead skin bird claws.
Your Nugget grows and pushes your ribs out and heat and ice soothe none.
It's exhausting just to masturbate so... yeah, no.
You pee on your hands every time you're asked for a urine sample, which is now weekly.
Your face swells and the glow you had turns into sweat. And more sweat.
Your gums NEVER STOP BLEEDING.
Sleep. Ha. That's a fucking joke.
You can't even bring yourself to leave the house to pickup more antidepressants.
Your joints weaken and every little thing is amplified into a world of discomfort and awkward.
Nothing stays clean after you clean it so you just keep cleaning things again and again.
You fret over every movement the Nugget makes.
You fret over every movement the Nugget doesn't make.
You're tired of belly touches and unsolicited advice.
Heartburn. All of the heartburn. Torches. wildfires, burning everywhere all the time.
You have no income and haven't had any for a long time which is ridiculous.
You've had no contact with FOB and haven't seen the man IN TWO MONTHS who so convincingly dumped you to be friends to be there every step of the way by your side through this pregnancy.
Your back hurts from building the high road, being uncomfortable, and sleeping akimbo.
Your arms hurt from holding you back from every run away thought you want to have, but shouldn't.
Your heart hurts cuz it still hasn't forgotten anything.
Your mind races after every weird dream you have, admiring all the things still undone.
And seven weeks left.
Until you become a Mom.
Whatever that is.
Aside from a big, dark unknown blank spot.
I shared a post to the facebooks the other day that went a little something like this:
”Got the guilts.
Haven’t been walking my miles like I had been.
Haven’t been doin my morning preggo yoga.
Been enjoying the sugar and the bread.
Haven’t gotten to the post office, the store, the consignment place, or the art shows.
Flaked on more plans than I’ve kept.
All I wanna do is sleep and vegetate and bathe and feel time pass so I can hang out with this tiny dictator, new bff, ball of leaking smoosh, and have this new mom job already.
Ambitious and restless meets ever expanding burning flesh body of winded catharsis means total body disconnect.
Thanks for being my friends still, friends.”
The overwhelming response was that of comfort in the shape of well wishes and “don’t be concerned’s” and alla that is just about being third trimester pregnant. A lot of “listen to your body” and such.
Good advice, love my friends, and yes.
....but.... but... how do I do that?
Except mixed signals. That’s the problem.
The Body is all:
...so it feels like one big organ-ized argument happening inside me all the time.
Anxiousness met with sedation,
heartburn met with spicy pickle cravings,
backaches met with desire to hike,
and nine weeks left to be amazed, befuddled, humbled, and confused. By the time I figure out which part of me I should listen to and when, Nugget is gonna be out and about, serving up cuteness and diapers the likes of which shall bring chaos to my household. I'll be battling hormone drop, baby blues, and bloody diapers of my own.
As for the past week and I'm sure the coming weeks... I don't wanna leave my house, I don't wanna go anywhere, I don't wanna do much, and I don't wanna see anyone. Other preggo mamas tell me (and sourced me) that's a sign of nesting.
"One of the few formal studies, conducted in 2013, found that pregnant women spend more time cleaning and organizing their home than women who aren't pregnant. They're also more selective about the company they keep and more likely to prefer sticking close to home." (link)
But with this internal cocktail of hormones and prozac, I have no idea how to find the root of anything happening inside me anymore.
I have a few theories though... mystical maybe's that might explain the why's.
Why don't I want to go for walks in the chilly sunshine?
(Maybe it's because I'm so over thinking about my life and my failed relationship that I literally can't take anymore so my bodily instinct of emotional self-preservation is taking over?)
But what about a short stroll with friends?
(Maybe because the Nugget Cave feels like a goddamn cannonball in my upper pussy area and every step I take is met by furious gravity?)
Why don't you want people over to comfort and celebrate and socialize?
(Maybe because the flu epidemic is insane and I can only apply hand sanitizer so many times before my flesh falls off)
What about yoga and practicing some of that hypnobirthing meditation?
(It makes me sleepy... and if I sleep in the day I can't sleep at night... and if I can't sleep at night all I do is toss and turn and get up to pee and binge watch Planet Earth II and Gilmore Girls)
I want this blog to thrive, this website to flourish, my mind and body to agree, my soul to be chill, my heart to heal--all these efforts PLUS growing a belly monster means...
10,000+ folks turned out, including Nugget and I,
for Reno, Nevada's part in
the 2nd Annual Women's March.
Not bad, not bad at all.
People are striving for prolonged happiness. We're hoping for joy and hilarity and peace. We relish strength and wisdom and progress. Who can blame us? When it's good, it's good and feeling good feels great!
We live to linger in those positive moments and we exhaust ourselves chasing them... holding onto them... remembering them... recreating them.
But that's just the half of us. Literally. The positive.
Why do we treat the negative like crap? Why do we pretend it doesn't exist? Why is it so hard to honor sadness and sorrow? Why are we so uncomfortable being uncomfortable?
Is it in how we were raised? Is it a societal thing? A cultural thing?
That's a shit ton of questions with no answers. No rule of thumb. No general basis.
I guess all I can do is reflect on my own emotional vocabulary and accountability. Somewhere in between 12 years of Catholic school, being a woman, a sister, a sibling, puberty, and sort of a millennial, being emotional became a weakness. I have apologized for crying most of my life. Actually, I've fought back more tears than I've shed for sheer protest against crying for whatever reason. I grew up only crying in my sleep from dreams that were sad or shocking with no control over the waterworks or my subconscious.
(It's all fun and dream tears until you're in the bed next to someone you may or may not have had sex with and you start sobbing in your sleep only to freak your bedmate the fuck out--true story)
Do any of ya'll have a 'cry movie?'
Yeah, a cry movie.
Like, one you watch periodically to induce crying because it's an unnatural thing to do without prompt?
Well, I did/do.
I don't know how many times over the course of my existence I purposefully set aside 36-48 hours to watch What Dream May Come (yes, that one with Robin Williams that's kinda like Dante's Inferno and he crossed through hell and ethereal realms because he loves his Annie so goddamn much and I want someone to love me that goddamn much). I spend that movie violently holding back tears and eventually sobbing so hard that my eyes swell up like irritated bee stings and I have to chill them with iced spoons for hours later. Hence the 36-48 hours of solo time.
Highly. Highly recommend that movie for cry movie. Oh, or An Affair to Remember.
Another good one.
All the same...
I think it all boils down to how the ''I can do it myself'' "I need no help" "I'm find and unaffected" mentality has overshadowed my ability to ask for help when needed and I guess I thought that's how good character was formed. Sadness became a form of weakness, emotional vulnerability became something to avoid, and strong skin was priced much higher than thin.
Man Oh MAN, this pregnancy... This forced growth--emotional and physical--has taught me that being emotional is not weakness. I've cried so hard this pregnancy, I discovered new sounds I could make wailing into a pillow... or my steering wheel. I learned my eyes don't have to swell if I just don't block the damn exit and let the tears out. I have grown from navigating the pain of being dumped and fallen out of love with... I have learned that I don't break... I have grown in wisdom and humor. I am more well-rounded. I am more stable. I have learned more coping skills, sharpened my tools of processing, and reacquired my big girl panties. I can cry gracefully. I can also cry like a snot wielding mad woman. I can be angry and so filled with rage that my hands turn to pale, white, bloodless fists.
Allowing myself to feel that... giving myself permission to be negative, to be blue, to be red, to be whatever "negative" emotion I am feeling has, in turn, brought me right back around to actually being happy. Letting those feelings fly for however long they need to has not let me down. Expressing emotion is a strength, not a weakness.
Hello, 2018, you saucy, well-rounded, wild thing, you.
Mallory Kate is a blogger, artist, single mom and funny girl outta Nevada.
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