5.21.2015

Why I'm Having Another C-Section

So, let's just get the big stuff out of the way: I scheduled a c-section for the birth of Little Football. There, I said it - I AM VOLUNTARILY SCHEDULING A C-SECTION FOR MY BABY.

I think of myself as a strong woman. I have a hard time admitting when I need help and when I'm not good at things. I would like to think that I can take care of myself all on my own, but sometimes, that's just not the case. Sometimes, it's hard to ask for help. And sometimes you really need help.


When I was pregnant with Zoe I didn't have a fear in the world about childbirth. I had a very easy, simple pregnancy. I had barely any symptoms and I felt like I could kick ass. I didn't feel especially empowered - like some women feel like they were made for making babies, or it made them feel "more like" a woman. I never had that feeling. People choose and don't choose to have babies - I simply chose to. That didn't make me more of a woman, a stronger woman, a sexier woman - it just made me the woman I am. I never had this inherent need to be a mom, it was just something that I came to realize over time that I wanted to do.

As time pressed on with Zoe and I got more and more pregnant, I soldiered on. I finally hit a wall at about 40ish weeks. The time when most people have given birth. I still had to wait another 2 weeks. And this wonderful thing of my blog made me feel loved and supported as I complained that I was tired and just wanted that baby to COME OUT. I felt so loved and supported and cared for by friends, family and strangers. It was a wonderful feeling to have. And here, I turn to you again.


If you've been around this blog for any significant period of time you would know Zoe's birth went anything according to plan (here is Chris' account shortly after her arrival, and here is mine nearly a year later). If you don't want to read a lengthy post, here's the summary: Zoe was 2 weeks late, I was 3cm dilated that last 3ish weeks of pregnancy, we were induced, 24 hours of induced labor I dilated 1cm, I got an epidural at the 24 hour mark and nearly lost consciousness, Zoe's heart rate was difficult/unable to be monitored, we were rushed to have an emergency c-section. I know there is NEVER any planning for a birth - it will hardly ever go according to that plan. There is no telling how any birth will go and as much as doctor's encourage us to make a "birth plan" there is no plan when the shit hits the fan. And it hit our fan hard.

I had really wanted to attempt a natural birth. That was my goal. I felt I could rock its socks off.

Who knows if I could have.


I don't think I really realized how controlling of a person I am until there was a very clear moment where I didn't know what was going to happen to me or our baby. I was terrified as I had an oxygen mask over my face, many people in my hospital room and a baby's heart rate they couldn't track. I sobbed and as I asked Chris if everything would be okay (which, of course he had no idea) his strength in reassuring me it would be was probably the only thing that kept me from going into complete shock.

Zoe came out in her own way. Chris likes to tell me that I had just built such a good home for her inside my belly that she didn't want to come out. That made me feel better, but there was still this ever present feeling that I had failed.

For baby #2 I was determined from the moment we got pregnant that I was going to have a VBAC god fucking damnit. My experience of "giving birth" was so different and traumatic the first time around, and I didn't want to "miss out" on that experience. We met with our doctor (who I love) and he was behind us, whatever we chose.


But as time wore on. I grew increasingly uncomfortable. I couldn't really put my finger on what was up with me, but I was getting grouchier and grouchier and more and more frustrated. Then I went out to lunch with my friend who is also pregnant. Our first babies are 1 month apart and our second babies will be 1 month apart. A pretty special thing to share. My friend's baby was breach the first time around and she tried with all her might to get that little lady to flip. But her baby, just like my baby, was a stubborn little lady and decided how she wanted to come out. I think of this friend as a very strong woman also. She runs marathons, she's a scientist with a badass PhD and is so compassionate.

We both had c-sections and we were both disappointed that we didn't get to have a "normal" birthing experience. Whatever that really means.

At that lunch about a month ago she shared with me that baby #2 is breach as well. And she will likely have to get another c-section (unless the baby or some of the more minor things she does this time around help him flip over). She said that she was disappointed, but I also felt like there was a strength in her realization that she wouldn't give birth in that "normal" fashion this time around as well. We both really wanted to have a VBAC, but her kiddos let her know that wouldn't be happening.


Something in that moment finally made me realize that I was terrified to have a VBAC. I shared with her my fears, things I was afraid of, my questioning if I was being a weak mother. It was such a RELIEF to get all those feelings OUT that I didn't even know I was having until that moment. I realized that's where a lot of my anxiety, frustration and sadness had been coming from - I was scared to have a VBAC and that fear made me feel like I was a weak woman and mother. She made me feel like all of my feelings were okay, and also total bullshit. I am not a weak woman. And I am not a weak mother.

By the time I got home she had emailed me an article she told me about at lunch (here it is) about c-section mommas. I promptly started bawling my eyes out.

I realized in order to make me feel safe and healthy that I really felt like I needed to schedule a c-section. I was nervous to tell Chris because I didn't want him to be disappointed (I'm the one physically giving birth, but we're both experiencing the birth). Chris was incredibly supportive and just let me know that he didn't want me to feel like I "missed out" later. I had sort of rationalized with myself that, "How could this birth go any worse?" Well, in reality, a few decades ago Zoe and I very likely could have DIED in childbirth, and that still happens today. I know it's very rare and I'm not trying to say I am afraid that I would die in childbirth the second time around, but there is a very rational fear that I do not labor successfully this time because my body was given the chance to both naturally and medically and it didn't really do it.


I had to come to terms that that's OKAY. Some women have c-sections, some have natural births, some have water births, some have fast labors, some have long labors. THERE IS NO NORMAL BIRTH.

But the last thing I felt like I really had to come to terms with was the sense of competition among women for the best, the most natural, the "perfect" birth. We talk about mom shaming, but I really feel like there's a sense of birth shaming. People are very quick to say, "Oh, I had a natural birth at home in 8 hours and gave birth in my bathtub. It was a beautiful experience." And somehow that makes their birth "better." I felt (and still feel) like I have to justify my decision. And what it comes down to is my need to have a safe and healthy birth for me, Chris and our daughter. And anyone who thinks they have a better idea of what that means for ME can go fuck themselves.

This is what I want women to share with each other - you are not stronger or better because of the way you gave birth. You are not stronger or better because you chose to give birth or chose to not have kids. We are all strong and beautiful in our own ways. Every decision in life calls for a decision made by the one who is experiencing it. We should not feel the need to know what is better for one person or another. It's none of our business. And as long as people are healthy and happy, they're doing it right for them.


So folks - that's right, I'M SCHEDULING MY C-SECTION because I want a healthy, happy birth that isn't traumatic, doesn't result in fear and anxiety and even more medical intervention. This is the decision me and my partner have come to for our family. Have a nice day. :)

5.18.2015

Viva Las Vegas

If you follow us on Facebook you'd know that not this last weekend, but the weekend before that, Chris and I were at....


...the Hoover Dam!

Well, actually more specifically, we went to Las Vegas. Why, you ask? Well, in April we celebrated 10 years of being together, 1 year of being married and we decided why not throw in the celebration of a waaayyyy belated honeymoon while we're at it too? :) We are so lucky to have lots of family nearby so we were able to fly out on a Thursday evening and return home Sunday evening and have my mom stay at our house with the Zoe girl and my dad and Wendy, and Chris' mom and sister each took shifts to watch her as well. I know, we're very lucky. That meant....we got 3 FULL DAYS KIDLESS! It was actually the first time I've been away from Zoe for more than a day, so I was a little nervous (but also very excited). The good news - she did AWESOME. She had enough distractions and got to spend her time with so many people she loves and love her. She would ask my mom periodically, "momma, dadda airplane? Come back?" And my mom would reassure her and she'd go about on her merry way. Love that kid :)

So what did we do?

Well, we ate AWESOME food

yummy watermelon kiwi lemonade

I LOOOOOOVE me some fried chicken and waffles

Chris loves him a good pancake

our waiter was pretty amazed by the amount of food we ate. And we finished everything :)


oh yes, more chicken and waffles

aaaaannndd a frozen hot chocolate to finish things off

My friends and family all thought it was pretty funny that the can't-drinker (me) and the non-drinker (Chris) would pick a city like Las Vegas to go to. But we wanted it to be far enough away that it felt like an "event" and also close enough that we wouldn't be gone for too long. So the 1:20 flight sounded good.

What else did we do? Well, another reason why we're lucky is that my uncle lives in LV, so we were able to borrow one of his cars for the weekend so we could drive around to places a little further away.

Like the aforementioned Hoover Dam. Chris had been there before, but I never had. I must admit, I was a little terrified because I'm 1) afraid of heights and 2) I don't even know how to classify this one, but I'm afraid of being a small person next to a very large object that I am unfamiliar with. I know, that sounds like just about the most ridiculous thing in the world. Here is an example, whales scare me (SO BIG), the ocean scares me (SO MUCH I don't know about), standing next to a cruise ship freaks me out (those things are MASSIVE). Yes, I'm a total weirdo. So, I knew I'd be both completely in awe of the Dam, but also get a little bit of the heebie jeebies :)

The drive up was very pretty and had these awesome stone walls that blended right into the rock formations


I wanted to wait to really SEE the Hoover Dam till we were done with our tour. I didn't want to see pieces of it, or a snippet out of the corner of my eye. I wanted my first time seeing it to be BAM, there it is. So we took the tour first.

We went waaaayyyyy down the elevator shaft and walked through the tunnels. I loved the water seeping through the rocks


It was amazing seeing the HUGE tunnels that carried water throughout the damn


And we got to see where the hydro electric power was generated



Chris probably loved that part of the tour the best :)

Once the tour was over it was time for me to face my fear and go look at the beautiful Dam. And it was pretty fucking amazing


It was also very high up...


But it was a gorgeous site to see


Of course we needed to take a selfie :)



We walked the road on top of the Dam, read all the great plaques, looked at all the great engineering and architecture. It was pretty awe-inspiring and beautiful







We also walked across the bridge just across the way from the Dam.


I was possibly more terrified for this. Can you tell? :)


Oh my god I wanted to vomit all over myself when Chris would look over the edge. We were VERY high up


Just a little bit higher than the Dam





Oh, another selfie :)


After the Dam we went back to our hotel, rested, took a nap :) and then got ready for dinner and a show. We chose Zumanity (wanted to see a Cirque show, but didn't want to pay a fortune). It's a pretty raunchy show, so buyer beware, but it was HILARIOUS. Chris and I loved it. So funny, lots of audience participation (of which everyone was a wonderful sport and so funny) and of course Cirque shows are pretty awesome


It was a pretty small theater, so our seats were cheaper, but still very close to the stage. It made it feel very intimate



And I LOVED the walls that lined the theater - they were red velvet, with corsets stitched up the wall


 After the show we walked all around The Strip





Of course we watched the fountain show


And we came across a "levitator"


Chris spent a little while walking around the guy and figured out how his little set up worked and bonded with some guys who were all trying to figure it out, lol


And we watched street performers


The next morning, we of course had to gamble. And you know us - we gambled $1, ha! :) We actually weren't going to at all, but Chris saw Willy Wonka slots and we decided we had to in honor of Zoe (who is currently OBSESSED with watch "Wiya Wonka!" - the original of course, no Johnny Depp shit in our house.)



We walked around the strip more and I took a shot of my handsome fella :)


And when we were walking around one of the many people that approached us trying to sell stuff was someone who said you could make $20 for watching an as yet aired show and giving your opinion. Growing up in LA Chris had done this sort of thing, but I thought it was perfectly stupid and ridiculous, so naturally we agreed


It was a show sort of modeled like The Voice, but the celebrities vied for learning new skills and worked in teams. It was pretty bad, but hosted by Marlon Wayans who I love, so I felt bad. Damn you Wayans Brothers!

After that we drove around and were thwarted by a couple museums we were thinking about visiting. We also attempted to go to a gun range. Yes, that's right


My Grandma committed suicide while my mom was pregnant with me by shooting herself (shit just got real here for a second people). I have - as a result - always been TERRIFIED of guns. I have never held one, and the thought of it makes me want to throw up a little. Literally. So, we thought, why not get over this fear by doing something ridiculous in LV like going to a shooting range?! Well, it turns out pregnant women in their 3rd trimester can't go to a shooting range. DAMNIT! I was actually pretty disappointed because I had built up a lot of courage to finally get over my fear of guns and just DO IT, so to be told I couldn't sucked a little bit.

Oh well, we played mini-golf instead


And I totally destroyed Chris, mua ha ha ha ha ha ha :)

At night we walked around the strip more and made sure to visit Harmon Tower


And then we went to the Laugh Factory for another show that night


The next morning before our flight we walked around the strip MORE (we totaled it up and I think we walked about 8-10 miles, not too shabby!)

We rode the elevator up to the top of the Eiffel Tower


The theme of this trip was apparently "Get over your stupid fears Meryl"


It was a pretty gorgeous view


And because that Sunday was Mother's Day they were offering mothers to ride for free on the High Roller ferris wheel thingy (otherwise we totally would not have done this because it was a fortune for a 30 minute ride)



Again, gorgeous views. And again, from very high up



And just one last selfie :)


PHEW! After that it was time to head to the airport and get home to our kid. Upon our return home it was back to business as usual - there were tons of emails to respond to, clients to get back to, the A's homestand to work (where they SUCKED! ARGH! This season has been rough so far) and a visit from Chris' dad, so that's why I've been a little MIA these past 10 days or so - lots to get caught up on!

But we had such a wonderful time and it was really great to get away for a bit. And we're so lucky family helped to make it happen, yay! Happy honey-versary to us! :)