This week's working mom of the week is Sandie Law of Macaroni and Peas. Sandie is a busy mom and food lover. She offers customized menu plans, grocery lists, and one on one coaching for busy parents. Her focus is on healthy, kid friendly solutions that save you time and money.
Life Lessons Learned
To save you from doing the math, I'm 31.
I started dating the man who would become my husband when I was 17. We were married less than two years later (that's 1996, if you're keeping track). Many many people were counting the months and watching my belly to see if I was pregnant. Nothing could be further from the truth. At 19, I was certain I didn't want to have kids. I joked with my family that I'd get a cat...if it lived, I'd get a dog...if it lived, I'd think about having a baby.
No, I wouldn't recommend getting married so young. Yes, we're still married and very happy.
Over the years, I watched my coworkers get pregnant and have babies. Everyone I knew had an easy pregnancy, labor, and delivery. I heard no horror stories about colicky babies, difficulty breastfeeding, or emergency c-sections. I was young and naive.
Right after our fifth anniversary (that was in 2001), we decided to start trying for a baby. My husband wasn't entirely certain we were capable of dealing with a child. He's always been the more pragmatic of the two of us.
I told myself it could take ages to get pregnant. I told myself I wouldn't seek outside help until we'd been trying for over a year. I told myself I'd wait three months after going off the pill before we started trying (i.e we'd use some other form of protection for three months).
Apparently, I'm pretty good at lying to myself.
After five days, we stopped using other methods of birth control. Four weeks after I stopped the pill, I was peeing on a stick. When it didn't tell me I was pregnant, I was devastated. I know...so many people struggle for years and years to get pregnant and here I was, freaking out that I didn't get pregnant after 3 weeks of trying.
Thirty five days later, I was peeing on another stick. This time it told me I was pregnant. I was elated. I checked again. I was so excited, I couldn't help but tell everyone I knew that I was pregnant.
Right away, I had lower back pain. I was told it was a kidney infection and was given antibiotics. The infection went away...the pain didn't. My doctor kept insisting that my baby was way too small to cause nerve pain. That lovely back pain was just the beginning.
I was lucky in that I didn't have morning sickness. Instead, I was ravenously hungry all the time. I ended up gaining 20 pounds during the first trimester.
The back pain? Oh, it never went away.
My bouncing baby boy blessed me with stretch marks on my arms, legs, breasts, and belly. I realize it's not his fault. I gained 65 pounds during my pregnancy. That's gonna give anyone stretch marks. My belly was ginormous. Yes, there was itching. Yes, I tried all those fancy creams and no, none of them helped.
I had sciatica (pinching on the nerve that causes pain and numbness that runs down your legs). My fingers and feet swelled up beyond my wildest expectations. I was so swollen, I started snoring and my face got all puffy. I had heartburn and migraines for the first time in my life.
And then there was the birth.
Even after my less than delightful pregnancy, I clung to the idea that I'd have a natural labor and birth. Looking back on it, I can see how silly that was.
Thanks to my less than exact conception date, my due date was pretty variable. My doctor chose to induce me by breaking my water a few days after my due date. I had no idea how horrible amniotic fluid smelled. I was given disposable panties with a really big pad to wear while I strolled the hallways in my nifty hospital robes and Eeyore slippers while dragging an IV rack behind me.
I was surprised by the mildness of my contractions. They started in my back and felt no worse than the cramps I had when I was a teenager. After a few hours, the contractions came closer and closer together. Turns out, my contractions were too close together and not strong enough to do much. I was given a very mild dose of Pitocen to get things moving, but it didn't do much. They were concerned about giving me more lest I start hemorrhaging.
After 13 hours of extremely unproductive labor, I caved in and asked for an epidural. I was given one while lying on my side...I think that might be why it didn't take as well on my right side. Eventually, I was able to start pushing. Three hours later, my doctor announced that she could feel my son's ear. Babies are supposed to come out crown first.
In my delerium, I thought my son had an ear on the crown of his head. I panicked. I was frantic. My doctor tried to hide her giggles while she explained that my son's head was tilted to the side. She gave me two choices...remove the epidrual and try squatting to see if that helped or they could do a c-section. Even if I chose to remove the epidural and squat, it might not work. They didn't want to keep my son in the birth canal much longer. He was stable, but there was no telling how long that would last.
I had been in labor for 24 hours straight. I was exhausted and hungry. I asked for the c-section.
I am surprised at how much I remember about the c-section. The nose hairs of the anesthesiologist who was standing at the head of my operating table waiting to dispense morphine...the reflection of my operation in the surgical lights...being strapped down to the table. That was one of the most terrifying things I've ever experienced. My husband watched over the curtain the entire time. I could feel everything they were doing. It didn't hurt, but I could feel it. It was like having a baby sized tooth pulled.
My husband said that I asked for the baby's APGAR score over and over again. It was 9.5 in case you're curious. I don't remember asking at all. I vaguely remember seeing a baby in a blue hat waved in front of me before I was wheeled away to recovery.
Oh, the baby...
My baby was (I'd say is, but he's not a baby anymore) wonderful. He was perfect in every way...no colic, very laid back, slept through the night at 6 weeks, and ate like a champ. I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful baby. As he grew, he took on new challenges and changes without much fuss or trouble. With the exception of ear infections (he inherited tiny ears and the subsequent ear infections from me), he is a spectacularly healthy child.
There were drawbacks. I had a major case of the baby blues. I felt like a bad mom for needing to be induced, for having an epidural, for having a c-section, for not being able to breastfeed, and for feeling like a bad mom. I realize that doesn't make sense. It doesn't have to. It took me two years to realize I actually had post partum depression. It took another four years to get my meds right and find a therapist I clicked with. Finally...this summer...I feel human.
People say your life will change irrevocably and in ways you can't expect. They're right and they're wrong.
Aside from the depression, I have changed in ways I never expected. I am good with kids. I joined the PTA. I have become crafty. I watch Spongebob. I always assumed I'd want to go back to work after my son was born. I figured I'd be bored at home and that I wasn't the "mom" type. I was dead wrong. I crave nothing more than spending time with my son. My biggest goal right now is to find a way to stay home with my son without filing for bankruptcy.
On the other hand, I still have a lot of the same hobbies I had before my son was born. My son's been exposed to role playing games since he was concieved. I still love movies and books and music. I've shared that love with my son. I am proud to be a geek and I'm proud that my son is a geek.
The moral of the story?
I was shocked beyond belief by the depth of my love for my son. I love my child more than anything or anyone else in this world. Yeah, even more than my husband. He's the smartest kid on the planet (isn't yours?). He's sweet and gentle, he's funny and inquisitive, he's like me and like his dad.
I learned something really important about myself thanks to my son: I'm a good mom. I learned to trust my instincts and accept the constant change that comes with kids.
Thanks again to Sandie for being my Working Mom of the Week. If you are interested in being featured, please contact me. Thanks!