Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Midwives and neighbors and a tiny (9 lb) baby boy

3:30 in the afternoon. I'd been having mild cramps ever since my midwife appointment earlier that day, when she stripped my membranes and said that even though I was only 2 cm I would have a baby within 6 hours and it would be a super fast, easy labor. Yeah right. But then 5 hours after that, at 3:30 on a sunny Pi Day afternoon (and my actual due date!), those mild cramps suddenly got worse. So I text the 2 friends who were going to watch Maxwell, as well as messaging Joe. One woman is on the other side of the island and cant get back for a couple hours. One woman's phone had died and was out of contact for a couple hours. Joe had been called into a meeting and was unreachable. Ok.... Now what.... Worsening cramps turn into obvious labor contractions. I call my other neighbor, luckily she's home and can watch Maxwell. Finally get a hold of Joe. It's only been 30 minutes, but it sure feels longer. He gets home shortly after 4. Grab our bags and run out the door. Arrive at the hospital a little before 5, and have 3 people ask if I need a wheelchair, but I turn them down because sitting up hurts the worst. Get upstairs to labor and delivery as quickly as possible, but by now I'm having contractions every other minute and the pain isn't dissipating much in between, so we move slowly. The nurses and midwife on duty take one look at me and spring into action. They rush me into the triage room and get me hooked up to an IV while trying to find an available delivery room. I'm at 5 cm, the midwife tells me that I'm going to progress too quickly for meds. Two contractions later I'm in a delivery room at 8 cm. One more and I tell them I'm going to push. Three contractions with pushing, lots of yelling and death grips with Joe's hand, and an hour and 45 minutes from when I first thought labor was starting later, little baby Teddy was born.

That first midwife was so wrong. She predicted 6 hours, it was actually almost 7.

Two weeks later I'm sitting here feeding the easiest baby ever while the toddler is acting out the Zugor from Tarzan 2 and I'm really quite content. It's been a nice break from reality, but alas, I really need to get back to it. My to do list for moving is a mile long and still growing, Joe is back at work. The pile of laundry never seems to shrink, but all is well and we cannot wait to get to CA and then on to our new life as a homeowning student and teacher in CO.

I really do need to call about getting day care sorted this morning, though. Maybe after my coffee. And after I change this poopy diaper.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Brief Story of my Craziness

Today I was eating breakfast/lunch/whatever meal you want to call it while Maxwell was not taking his nap.  He's supposed to asleep, but it's been over an hour and he's still up there rubbing his eyes and crying in his crib.  Ugh.  Anyway.  I figured I should get dressed.  So I put on a new shirt, and it felt like it was painted on, and not in a good way.  Without even thinking, I put my food down, got up and made a cup of coffee with a splash of 1% milk and a teaspoon of sugar.  It wasn't until I sat down again that I realized that that's not exactly normal.   Replacing meals with coffee because my shirt is too tight is not normal.  This kind of thing happens at least 3 or 4 times every day. The thing is, I'm supposedly better.  Recovered.  Healthy.

If I took a hard look at it, I suppose it all began in high school, as it does with a lot of people.  That's when the weird ideas began to creep in.  How could they not?  I was bombarded with pictures of super skinny celebrities and magazines full of dieting tips, and all my friends and I talked about food and weight on a daily basis.  It was unhealthy, but normal unhealthy teenage girl stuff.  It wasn't until after I'd moved out, then back to Bakersfield that it all came to a head and got out of control.

Officially the diagnosis was EDNOS, Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.  It's a vague diagnosis, but that's why it's such an important one.  It's for people who have an eating disorder, but who don't fit the very narrow criteria for a diagnosis of anorexia or bulimia or binge eating disorder.  In my case, I followed a very restricted diet, one that had far fewer calories than my body needed, and binged and purged (b/p) occasionally.  I never became so underweight that I could be called anorexic (my lowest weight was 116, with a bmi of 19.3, which is still within healthy limits, a diagnosis of anorexia requires 18.5 or lower), and didn't b/p often enough for bulimia, but that didn't mean that I wasn't still very sick.  At the time, of course, I felt like I was just a failed anorexic.  Because, you know, that makes sense.  Failing at being skinny enough for anorexia isn't something I should have been embarrassed about, but I was.

I'm not going to go into exactly why I did this to myself; it's all very boring and routine and boils down to low self esteem and poor stress coping mechanisms, or how I got better (therapy and whatnot), because that's not the point right now.  It's that it's been 10 years and still my first instinct when I'm stressing or feeling fat or whatever is to go back to all those bad habits I learned all that time ago.  Drinking coffee instead of eating is one.  Then there's things like intentionally making my food too spicy or salty, so I don't really want to eat it.  I don't trust myself to keep things like laxatives or diuretics in the house.  I definitely don't even look at diet pills.  Even though I'm better, it never really goes away.  I'm aware of it now, and I can stop myself from doing anything harmful.  It does seem weird though.  I'm not unhappy.  Sure, I could probably stand to lose a few pounds, but overall I'm ok with what I weigh and how I look.  I figure this has gotta be what being an addict is like.  Even after you've been sober for a decade, there's still always that first instinct to grab the bottle or pill or to skip a few meals.


I'm gonna go finish my pasta now.  It's macaroni tossed with the extra filling from some broccoli and ricotta manicotti that I made earlier this week.  Yummy!

Also, I think Maxwell is finally asleep, yay!!!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Uncle Mike

I don't mean to be rude or offensive, but the fact is, Uncle Mike was always one of my favorites.  Often, my absolute favorite family member.  It's not that I dislike any of you guys, it's just that I felt like we always had a special connection.  I always felt understood by him.  And he always gave great advice.  Like when I was a teenager living in Tehachapi and complaining that it was just so boring all the time!  He let me whine for a few minutes before interrupting my nonsense to tell me that anywhere can be boring.  I could be in the most fantastic place in the universe, but if all I do is whine about it, I'm going to be bored.  What I needed to do was figure out what I'm passionate about, and then figure out how to live passionately wherever I am.  It was very Uncle Mike advice.  And also very true.  Granted, living with passion every day isn't always feasible or practical, or even (by most) advisable, but it sure made teenage me rethink what exactly it was that I was complaining about.  Shortly after that I started getting interested in owning reptiles and amphibians, and that's a passion that I still hold today, although obviously, I can't actually own any here.

He didn't just teach me how to live life though, he also taught me how to play Gin Rummy.  Or is it just Gin?  I honestly have no idea, he taught me at least a dozen times, each with different rules, and unsurprisingly, beat me every time.  This is something I fully plan on doing with Maxwell, as well as my nieces and nephews.  He totally cheated at Capture the Flag too, just ask Grace after we played a very memorable game at Muna's house in Stallion Springs.  Even that was valuable though.  I learned that sometimes it's ok to bend the rules, as long as everyone is ok with it, and we're all having fun, it doesn't matter if it's not quite by the book.  I loved every card game I played with him.  And I loved playing Capture the Flag.  I wish I could play again.

He was someone who always made time for me.  Always made me feel important.  Feel heard.  I'll miss you, Uncle Mike!  I hope you're having fun on this next great adventure!

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Ok, so several weeks ago I started writing this blog entry.  It never quite sounded right, so I kept adding and editing, and it got kinda out of control, and I"m giving up on it, but despite the rambling and repetitiveness, I do think I might have gotten my basic point across?  So I'm finally posting it.  Feel free to skip this one, it's me being all existential and, well, rambling.

For the past few weeks I have been reading Some Assembly Required by Anne Lamott.  I like her writing.  It's all fun and easy and she is all Quirky in ways that are normally cute, and only occasionally annoying and I generally feel better after putting a book down.  And as with most books, I tend to put myself in the lead role and think "Oh yeah, this is totally like me!  I would respond to this situation in the exact same way!" which is awfully egotistical, but I'm ok with that.  We're all allowed to be a little self-centered.  I am sad to say, though, I'm finding it hard to relate to much of what she says in this one.  She talks a lot about her religion and her spirituality, which I read as a mix between your basic American Christian, and Bay Area Eastern Zen Hippy.  I'm not religious by any means (my spirituality begins and ends with daily awe about how beautiful the world is, and frustrations about how people keep screwing it up), but I'm familiar enough with those worlds that I can empathize.  She is also somewhat of a control freak, and while I sometimes feel the need to control myself and my world, I have no desire to control anyone else.  That just sounds exhausting.  And that's where we really diverge.

Like so many other people, she seems to have a real difficulty in letting other people live their lives without interruption.  I do get what she's saying.  There are dozens of articles about how hard it can be to sit back and watch people you care about screw up.  We all want everyone around us to be successful and happy.  We want them to make only the best decisions, all the time, every time.  But what happens when they make a decision that we think is wrong?  What the heck are we supposed to do, let it happen?  Bite our tongues and butt out?  Because, clearly, we know better than they do. Nevermind the fact that "we" and "they" are often the same group of people.  And most of the articles are about how you need to just let go and let other people make their own mistakes and come to their own version of wisdom or something.  I dunno.  Honestly, I usually get annoyed halfway through and occasionally even stop reading because none of that is relevant to me.  I do not try to fix other people's lives.  If asked, I'll certainly tell you my opinion, but I've watched too many people make too many bad decisions to think that they actually give a crap about my opinion.  I can't change their mind.  I can't make them listen to me.  And I can't stop them from living their lives however they see fit.  And why would I want to?  I don't know all the intricacies of what they're going through!  And even if I did, we all experience the same problems differently.  I don't feel the need to control everything.  I barely feel the need to control my own life (Following, FTW).  But what does this really say about me?  Does it say that the reason that I don't try to fix things is that I'm just apathetic?  I think a large part of why I don't try is because I don't think I can.  I hear my friends complaining and I want to yell at them.  I want to say "Just stop being stupid!!!" and I honestly think that's the best advice out there (are you having problems?  Do you think you're too fat? Does your husband/wife not love/respect/like you enough?  Does your boss think you're incompetent?  Ask yourself, are you being stupid?  Well then!  STOP IT!!).  The problem, of course, is that no one wants to hear advice like that until they're ready, in which case they probably can come up with it on their own.  So I try to just be supportive of them through whatever bullshit problems they're going though (God, how condescending does that sound?) and be there for them while they're trying to change.  Changing our lives is something that is so, so hard for most people.  Honestly though, it's not for me.  Change is easy.  I can't stand staying the same.  Being in the same place day after day after monotonous day.  I guess it's not that I think that Lamott has the wrong idea of what Zen is, it's that I think Zen means very different things for different people.  For me it's coming to appreciate those same dull moments that I already experienced.

I remember in a job interview once I was asked "What was one thing that you did that was scary?"  First of all, that's a stupid question, but I guess all interview questions are kinda stupid.  They're just designed to give you a better idea of who the person you're talking to is.  My answer was something along the lines of "Well, a couple years ago I went to Peru by myself.  I didn't speak the language (well, sorta, but not really), I had no one that I was traveling with, I just had to hope that the guide (who only barely spoke English) was a good guy and would be a good person.  Whatever that means.  It was kinda scary, because obviously a foreign country where they speak a different language is scary, but at the same time, stuff like that doesn't really scare me.  I think it's all about what makes you brave, and most people, if they did that, they would be "brave" but since that didn't scare me, I wasn't really being brave, you know?"

I didn't get that job.

That was such a bad answer.  I know you're supposed to turn every negative into a positive, but that came off as so….  "I am better than you because I am braver than you, even though I sorta said the opposite."  Ugh.  How awful.  I sure wouldn't want to work with that person.

And I definitely wouldn't think that that person was "zen."

Ok, here's another story (I'm full of stories tonight, deal with it).  I was in Bible Study as a teenager and the girlfriend of our pastor (they later married and whatever, but seriously, at this point they had been dating for like 5 minutes and he already had her leading Bible Study?  Whatever.) asked us what our gift from God was. Because, you know, we're all gifted.  She asked me first.  Holy Shit.  I think I was 15 or 16 at the time.  And like most girls my age, I was horribly, terribly, and paralyzingly insecure.  And she asked me what gifts God gave me?  But I was going to be brave, and tried to answer honestly.  I told her (and the rest of the group) that my gift was adaptability.  I can jump headfirst into an situation (as long as it doesn't involving actual jumping, as my family will be quick to point out (I WILL CONQUOR THAT ROCK!!!  someday.  maybe.  hopefully)) and adapt to it.  Own it.  It will be my new story.  Well that wasn't what she was expecting so she mumbled something like "Ok, so you're gift is being a missionary?  That might be good for you?" and quickly moved on to the next person.  Everyone else quickly realized that she was not asking "what are your individual gifts?" but "what key words that we talk about within this church can you pretend to identify as?" and the rest of the Bible Study proceeded without incident.  I never quite trusted her after that though.

My point though, is that I believe that "Zen" is overcoming all the bullshit obstacles that our own personalities through up in our way.  For some, maybe even for most, it's learning to go with the flow.  But for me, it's learning how to accept when the flow stops and your life is no longer a rushing river, but a calm lake.  Because the thing is, even when it seems so calm on the surface, water is still moving. Maybe there's a spring that feeds it, maybe there's a little trickle off one side where water flows away, maybe it's just seeing all the gallons of water that float off into the atmosphere, but it is moving.  That's what I have a hard time with.  I feel like since I've had this baby, since I've been married really, I've been stopped.  I've turned into a lake, and I don't know how to be a lake.  So to find my zen, I need to find out how to move again.  I miss the rushing of the rapids, I miss the drama of the waterfall (and to be clear, when I say drama, I mean on a larger scale, ask anyone, I am not into girl drama), I miss the violence of the wild world.  So I am going to sit here.  Quietly.  Unchanging.  And maybe I will learn serenity.  

Backyard Anoles in Waianae

Just a few anoles from my backyard.
 This guy has the pretty diamond design on his back that I love so much (note, I don't know how to sex them, so they're all going to be referred to as "him/he/his" because clearly I'm sexist.  Or something).

This is a different one who had a darker, speckled design, although you can't really see it in the pic.  I can say with certainty though, male.  At least…  wait…  I'm pretty sure only the boys have the flap. I could be wrong.  Maybe I should research this?

This yellow spotted one was on the grill.  They like it there.  The metal is all warm, but it's in the shade, so there's lots of bugs, and they can jump into the grill itself when something scary comes by (as he did a few seconds after I snapped this shot).

Big guy on the other side of the grill.  He'll be really pretty in a day or so, you can tell by how light his head is that he's shedding.  He was actually about twice as big as the others.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Toddlers are terrifying, but way more fun

It's finally happening.  The cats are terrified (as they well should be), I'm steeling myself for the inevitable with a beer, and I'm trying not to use google for too much advice because that's a scary rabbit hole that I'd really like to avoid.

Maxwell is turning into a toddler.

Gone are the days when I could get him to curl up with me when he's upset.  He no longer loves staring at the fan for hours at a time.  He remembers that things like power cords and cell phones and dirty metal forks that he grabbed from the dishwasher during the .3 seconds that my back was turned still exist after I take them away, and he lest me know just how unhappy that makes him.  Luckily, he doesn't have the endurance he will have later, so for now he only screams for 30 seconds or so before forgiving me.

Now that he has discovered that he can move around, he's discovered how frustrating it is when he CANT get somewhere.  And, oh, the tears.  The giant crocodile tears that erupt when we are preventing him from going where he wants.  Sad, sad baby.

Until 30 seconds later when he's happy again.  Toddlers are pretty bipolar.

The thing is, I actually really prefer this.  He is sooo much more fun now!  We can play games now, instead of just me playing a game in front of him.  He's an active participant now.  I can see him learning things, and see how happy that makes him.  And I trust that now it actually is happiness, instead of just not-hungriness.

And now that he's not nursing every 2 hours, I can enjoy a beer whenever I want. And since I went a couple years without much drinking, just one beer is enough to get me feeling a little happy.

It's awesome.

And I swear I'll write more later, I just didn't really feel like writing right now, but also felt like I sorta should.  Every little bit helps, right? 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

"Wine makes me reflective" or "This is Perfection"

The sun is almost too hot. It's making my legs feel all tingly and prickly and so vey close to itchy, but not quite there yet. If it weren't for the glass of cold Chardonnay (some California winery I'd never heard of that was on sale for $10.99 at the local grocery store), and the lanai above shading my body and head, I might be uncomfortable. Either way, I probably should put some on some sun screen, at least an SPF 15 (to prevent wrinkles, obviously, as I've been blessed with skin that only rarely burns), but I'm not going to. Living on the wild side. The waves are starting to pick up, still small enough that they'd be good to swim in if it weren't for the coral shelf. I'm not all that surprised to see people snorkeling. It's got to be pretty bad, not nearly clear enough and personally I hate snorkeling when there's waves, all the up and down gets me faintly motion sick. Tourists. Despite it being (by Hawaii standards) terrible, they persist, and probably have a grand time. Good for them. Up on my 2nd floor lanai (or 3rd floor depending on how you count it) I can't see any fish, but I can see the island of Lanai'i and bits of Molokai when the wind blows just right. I've been watching the water hangs colors all day. This morning when I got up to nurse Maxwell (at 6:30, despite him not sleeping at all last night) it was a pale peach color, streaked with silvers and links and only hints of blue. As the morning wore on, the silver took over the peach, and then the blue took over the silver. Now it's a deep sapphire, except on the crests of the waves. The waves have stirred up enough sand and coral and little bits of the other stuff that makes up the ocean (besides the water, I mean), that they are green. Not the algae green of Carpinteria, but the bright tropical green of, well, a tropical island. Which is only suiting, given that I am on one. I've got endless books on my kindle, and a couple physical books, too. Maxwell is finally napping (hopefully for at least an hour), and joe went inside to read, which of course means he's napping as well. I found it somewhat amusing that I still had to hop on a plane and rent a car and book a hotel room to get the Hawaii that so many people assume I live in everyday. That's ok though. Even if I dont get to feel that perfect almost too hot sun and watch the whales leaping out off sapphire water all while reading a good book and sipping perfectly acceptable Chardonnay, I will still enjoy it without resenting that this isn't my normal life. After all, it would be much harder to appreciate if this became my "ordinary."