An Open Letter to Baby Dads

An Open Letter to Baby Dads

Dear Honey,

First of all, I want to thank you for all you do for this little family- for the hours you work, for the middle of the night feeds and changes, for the consoling of tears and for making our baby smile. I want to thank you for having my back through pregnancy and being right by my side during the wild journey that is labor, delivery and recovery. Your efforts are so appreciated and do not go unnoticed…

…but honey, my love, my sweet husband- I just can’t help some nights where I want to cut you. When I’ve woken up for the third time in 4 hours to our fussing child and you’re blissfully snoring next to me… I may or may not dream of ways I could hide your body where no one could find it. And for this, I want to apologize…

I’m sorry if I’ve been short with you. I’ve been giving every waking moment to our baby who won’t nap today. While you get to talk to other adults at work, I have spent my day asking my 3 month old what I can do to make her happy, talking to myself and talking to the dog… no one responds.

I’m sorry if I snapped at you. My body, which grew and carried this life you hold, still aches from all the changes and trauma it has been through. I’m sure my hormones are still off the charts and not to mention the headaches I’ve been having since she has entered this world. I’ve spent all day trying to console her and maybe catch a nap myself… I don’t really have to tell you though, that that didn’t happen.

I’m sorry I haven’t been “in the mood”, but I did have an IUD inserted so we could have sex without getting pregnant again just yet. It’s been making me crampy and tired… and the random spotting of blood has ruined several pairs of underwear. And I don’t know if you remember, but our child ripped me apart on the way out and I had to be sewn up down there, forgive me if I’m apprehensive.

Also, I don’t know if I mentioned this, but my body hurts.

I’m sorry if I get angry with you when you get to just go to bed… because I can’t just crawl into those sheets and drift off to sleep with you. Instead, have to pump milk from my breasts to feed our child and if I don’t, they will become hard and sore and leak all over the bed. Once I’m done doing everything for everyone else, I then have time to wash my face, brush my teeth and climb into bed only to lay awake while my anxiety plays a sweet selection of embarrassing and annoying moments from my past.

I’m sorry if I’ve been distant. To avoid arguing about who is more tired (*cough, cough* it’s me) I choose not to engage in that conversation. Mostly because I just don’t have the energy for it. My everything- my emotions, my energy, my time, my life has all been given to this baby today. By the time you come home, I have very little left to give.

No I don’t want to snuggle, I’m sorry, I’ve had a human and a dog attached to me all day.. I need some space. Don’t take it personal. I still love you.

No I don’t want to cook you dinner, but I will because I haven’t had a moment to make an actual meal all day for myself.

While I am sorry for all of these things- I need you to remember all that I’ve been through and am going through. I know I seem fine… I carry it well. I know I get to be home all day while you’re at work, but it’s lonely. I know I’m back to working out, but don’t mistake that for me not being in pain still… I’m trying to do it for my sanity. I know it seems all good most days, because while this season of my life is hard, it’s also amazing and so full of love- but I’ve already ridden a complete roller coaster of emotions over the last 12 hours. By the time you come home, I’ve got nothin’ left.

I’m sorry I can’t be everything I was before this little human came into our lives, but I’m learning to be this NEW version. I’m busy upgrading. Please try not to make me feel guilty for all I’m NOT doing in the process.

I love you and you’re amazing… but please let me spiral into this social media wormhole I’m about to be in while my brain and heart rests. It will get better for all someday soon.

But not today. And probably not tomorrow either.

Love, most days,

Tired baby moms everywhere

The Birth

The Birth

I have been asked a few times when I’d be sharing this part of the journey and trust me I’ve been wanting to! But naps have literally been non existent until this moment… I haven’t had more than 20 mins to myself in the last month, but baby girl is finally figuring out that sleep is nice and we are working on nap times in her bassinet today (instead of on my chest where they have been happening since birth) so here’ goes….

Sophia Frances Howard came fast and furious into the world on 11/21/19 at 2:03pm, weighing 7lbs 8oz and 21.5in long. But it wasn’t without a couple bumps in the road. Miss Sophia was brought into the world a week and a half early after induction.

I was 38 weeks pregnant when I had my, what I didn’t know would be my last, weekly doctors appointment at my OBGYN. For the second week in a row I was showing some high blood pressure and it being so late in the game and the fact that I had gestational diabetes, preeclampsia was a concern and having the ‘beetus put me at a higher risk. They sent me to Labor and Delivery to have a non stress test and some lab work. I was TERRIFIED and not prepared because I knew ANYTHING could happen. I thought to myself “holy shit I could have a baby TODAY.” And I wasn’t ready. But luckily, after an hour and half at the hospital, my BP stayed pretty consistently just under the concerning level and they sent me home. Soon after, however, one of my midwives called to say that my urine sample showed some protein, another sign of preeclampsia. She told me they would need a 24 hour urine sample.. meaning- I got to collect my pee in a bright orange jug and store it in my fridge next to the spinach until the next day. Also meaning, I had 24 hours to prepare myself mentally and physically for the fact that if this 24 hour sample shows too much protein, I would be induced and I would be having this baby.

SH-I-TT-ING my pants is an understatement. Needless to say, that whole 24 hour window was pretty much torture, mentally. At 38 weeks, I was done. I wanted this baby to come. But at the same time I was like “I’m going to have a fucking baby?!?!?! AHHHH! NOT READY!” We could go back, have another non stress test and they could send us home to wait for labor to happen naturally if all comes back okay… and the thought of going home was like WAIT NO IM DONE OKAY GET HER OUT! But also what if I stay and get induced and it takes forever or creates complications and we end up in the hospital for days and days?! My mind was a CLUSTERRR fuck of thoughts and emotions.

On 11/20/19, Mike and I packed up the car with our things, anticipating induction, and headed to the hospital. I walked in with my jug-o-pee and was brought to a room to start another NST. My anxiety was through the freakin’ roof and it only got worse the longer I had to sit and wait for the NST to be done and the results to come back. I was going out of my mind. I needed to know if we were having a baby or not. Finally one of the midwives came in and informed me that I did in fact have preeclampsia. My organs were essentially failing, my body was done growing this baby and we needed to get her out. She told us they would start induction with a Cook Catheter (also known as a Foley Catheter or Balloon Catheter) which goes into the vagina (not your urethra, which I thought it was at first and I was like omg no how does that work?! No thanks) and it helps to open up the cervix so labor can begin. Before they put this in, I was already 2cm dilated and 80% effaced, which was awesome news- things already started on their own! But I would have to keep the catheter in all night and we would start pitocin in the morning. The journey was just beginning.

7am on 11/21 came pretty quickly. We said goodbye to our AMAZING nurses from the day before (who we became friends with on Instagram and still talk to… they are just seriously awesome) and met the nurse that would inevitably be helping deliver my baby. I was still waking up, groggy from the morphine they gave me to help me sleep and they told us to order breakfast and asked if I wanted a shower. I agreed as I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed, my disgusting morning ritual. My nurse came back in a few minutes later and asked if I had showered yet… umm no, I’m still half asleep. This bitch looked at me like how my own mother would when she’s annoyed with me and said “well you better hustle!” …….. ‘scuse me? You did NOT just tell my pregnant- about-to-have-a-baby-any-minute ass to hustle!! I was bullshit. She left the room and I shot daggers toward Mike and proclaimed “I HATE HER.” She was older and seemed a little too modest for THIS personality. It was not a good start. We did not vibe. I was so annoyed that this woman would potentially be helping me deliver my child. I wanted my other nurses back. I could be 100% myself with them and with this nurse, I felt like I had to be a good, quiet little girl… and if you know me, I am not that.

As I was trying to brush my hair after my shower and get myself together, she’s trying to get my blood pressure but then doesn’t communicate to me that she wants to start my pitocin. “Jeez you’re like a moving target!” She says to me, annoyed. Lady, IDFK what you’re trying to do you are not telling me! Once we get the pitocin started, Mike and I went to take a little walk around the nurses station. I was sportin’ a sweet blue johnnie and those sick mesh undies with a giant pad on my ass. We all know johnnies are open in the back but the way mine was tied it was like more on the side. Well, apparently a piece of my mesh covered booty was peeking out my johnnie and that was incredibly offensive to my nurse. She chased me down with another johnnie and made me put it on to cover myself. “Oh my god, YOUR ASS IS SHOWING! Put this on!” She whispered loudly through her teeth to me as she held it up over my backside. I laughed back and said “oh god I don’t care, I’m in labor. And if you knew me, I don’t embarrass easy.” She goes “well that’s what I’m here for, to give you some modesty.” Ok Susan…… we are NOT friends. Everything she said to me from then on annoyed the absolute shit out of me.. but I was not going to let this woman ruin this day for me. I was going to be myself, real and raw, no filter- just like what birthing a child IS, and she would just have to deal with that.

Shortly after they turned up the pitocin after our walk, I started to feel the contractions. They started to stop me in my tracks. It was like really crampy period cramps. I was a little tired so I got in bed to relax and just breathe through the crampiness. Not long after I got kind of comfortable, the contractions got worse and worse. I was starting to grunt a little when they hit their peak. My lovely nurse blurted out to me “what’s wrong? why are you grunting?” UM I’M HAVING CONTRACTIONS WOMAN?! Like wtf do you think?! Am I not supposed to make noise? Then my midwife comes in and checks my cervix- I was 6cm dilated! My nurse tells me I’m able to get the epidural if I want it now… well this is my first time doing this thing so I don’t know how much worse the contractions are going to get. I passed up on it, thinking I could get through more contractions if I had the breaks in between. HAHAHA…

Not more than a minute later, I start having back to back to back contractions. No breaks. Nausea inducing, cramping, writhing contractions took over me. I’ve never felt anything like it in my life. And this is where I say congratu- FREAKIN- lations to those who go through labor naturally… y’all are super freaks of nature. There is no way I could have gone through the rest of my labor without the magic of an epidural. And an epidural I had!

In walks Igor, straight from Russia, the 6′ 8″ anesthesiologist. His name wasn’t really Igor, but I need you to have the Russian accent in your head for this. My husband does the best impression.

“Okey, I explain to you everything I do. I put on glove. I hang up coat. I need you to sign paper.”

Guy, whatever. I can’t even breathe right now and you want me to sign something?!

When I tell you this man took FOREVER to get this epidural in my back, I mean it felt like a damn century. I had 4 or 5 back to back contractions in the time he took to get this needle in. Everyone in that room is lucky I couldn’t even speak what I wanted to scream in that moment. Stop changing your fucking gloves, Igor and gimme the fucking drugs!!! Even my nurse agreed that he took way too long to get it done. We started to bond after I spent the last 30 minutes or so scream- whispering ‘fuck’ into her chest and groaning guttural animal noises. She actually told me how much she loved working with me at the end of it all and she really became more of a mother figure during the process than my annoying ass nurse… it was a happy ending for all.

So then- peace. Peace at last. Tingling, numbing peace. Contractions began to just feel like my hamstrings tightening. Sweet freakin relief. My nurse put my legs up in the stirrups and had me start to push. And if you’re anything like me and you gotta know the real shit- yes fam, I pooped. It happened and I’m proud. I knew I’d be ‘a pooper’ and it helped me to know that I was pushing hard and pushing right… I got that baby out of me with those poop pushes, damn it! I’ll fly this ‘ I POOPED’ flag high and proud!

ANYWAY- After some time working on pushes, listening to a calming playlist on Spotify, switching positions and cervix checks, it was time for my midwife to break my water. Once she did that, the real show started.. this baby was coming and she was coming FAST. Next thing I knew, her head was about to come out, the number of humans in my room doubled and my midwife was getting suited up for delivery. A few good pushes later and there she was being held up in the air in front of us. We started the process at 8am and had her by 2pm. SURREAL.

And while I’m being transparent here, I will be honest and say that it wasn’t that “unconditional love at first sight” wave of incredible emotion everyone makes you think happens. I’m sure for some people it does but for me it was more like, “Holy shit I just pushed that human out of me. Holy shit that’s mine?! Holy shit I made a human.” I mean, we WERE still kind of strangers to each other. I had to get to know this little person. I was in a complete state of shock. And then I noticed she was rooting (looking for the boobs) while on my chest and we tried to breastfeed. It worked… she latched. All while my midwife was sewing up the lovely tears the babe gave me on the way out. I held her for almost an hour while she nursed. I started to feel that love set in. Love, excitement, amazement, confusion, apprehension, scared as shit, but mostly- peace. We did it. We made a healthy, beautiful baby girl and delivered her successfully into the world.

…..Now gimme a perc because my whole lower half HURTS.

Sophie is 2 months now and is already a personality- filled firecracker. It’s been a long 2 months, honestly. They say it flies by and while I can see the changes in her happening quite quickly, I am writing this to never forget how long these days have felt. I know that I only have a short amount of time left where she is this dependent on me and I’m trying to soak it up as much as I can, but I’d be lying if I said some days I didn’t wish she was a little bit older, a little more able. And while these days are boring AND exhausting- it’s all part of the journey, a part of the journey I know I’ll miss, and while I’m tired, I’m loving figuring out who this little human is and loving to love her unconditionally.

I can’t wait to see what the next 2 months bring.

A GD Reflection

A GD Reflection

I’ve made it. I’m officially considered full term at 37 weeks! I cannot believe that in the next couple weeks this baby girl can make her debut whenever she feels like it. I thought that before she decides to pop, it would be a good time to look back over the last 8 months and reflect on this long GD journey.

As you know (or if you don’t), I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 15 weeks pregnant. It’s been a frustrating and confusing journey, but now that I’m at the end, I have seemed to finally figure out what works and what doesn’t. My fasting numbers are finally UNDER 90! And I’m so glad that I advocated for myself when my endocrinologist wanted to put me on insulin around 24 weeks. My fasting numbers were hardly ever close to 100 and I just really questioned how necessary it was to be so strict by keeping them under 90, while many other women with this diagnosis could be under 100 or under 95, per their doctors’ offices. It just proved to me that there are so many gray areas to this and for my office to be so strict seemed like more of a liability issue than anything else. I stuck to my guns and my hormones have figured their shit out on their own. There’s no shame in taking insulin at all, but I was GD determined to be diet controlled if it were possible and I’m proud to say I have accomplished that! A huge bonus to staying diet controlled is that I really didn’t gain much weight up until this point. But don’t worry baby mommas, my feet and hands got me lookin’ like the Michelin Man these days. I am hopeful, however, that after this babe comes out and I get to stuff my pie hole with the list of foods I have going in the notes on my phone, I will be able to stay on track and shed this baby and water weight quicker than I originally thought I could.

But first and foremost… someone feed this inner fat kid dying to fall into a happy, grease and sugar-filled food coma before she explodes.

It’s been manageable without these things for sure… and I actually don’t really care for that much sugar any more, which is a great thing. Who knows… I might not even want to binge on half these things once I have one or two. But the days I’ve been ravenous or emotional have been tough because I haven’t been able to turn to food for comfort- something I believe all pregnant women should be able to enjoy. Those days were hard. Weekends where all my husband or friends wanted to do was go to breweries/ out for drinks has been hard… I friggan miss beers!! And enjoying them with people. But overall, my 9 month sobriety sentence hasn’t been so bad. I definitely don’t miss the hangovers!

Pregnancy is pretty lonely sometimes though. Anyone who hasn’t gone through it doesn’t know and those who have- been there done that and are now onto the next stage of busy-ass motherhood. I’m not saying I haven’t gotten support when I asked, it’s just a pretty personal journey that’s hard to explain… and it can feel like you’re on your own island sometimes.

Luckily I have an amazing husband who has been my support and best friend through it all. He reads the week to week pregnancy updates on, he helps my beached whale ass get up off the couch and sometimes out of bed to pee at 3am and gets my nightly bedtime snack for me. He listens to me bitch about the constant shooting pain in my vagina (aka lightening crotch), my itchy skin, my inability to roll over in bed normally, the fact that I’m bored but too tired and sore to do anything and my salami nipples. He deals with my roller coaster of emotions, sometimes lack of conversation and my pregnant farts. Look, pregnancy is not glamorous and I am NOT the one to make you believe that it is. Sure, the whole concept is pretty amazing and the kicks are cool… but in my honest opinion, it ain’t very pretty or fun. Im grateful that my body has carried it so well, but I can’t wait to get this child out of me and be able to get up off the couch in less than 30 seconds without yelling FUCK! and waddling across the floor like a penguin.

All of the glitz and glamor aside, we cannot wait to meet our little girl and move on to the next chapter. I can’t wait to see what she looks like and hold her in my arms. I can’t wait to see the awesome daddy Mike will be and how our lives will change. I know there will be many more emotions, shitty pants, sleepless nights, worry and anxiety… but I also know there will be so much love and joy to be had. I can’t wait for the days that are to come… and I know once she’s here I will learn to appreciate the long GD journey it took to get here even more.

Griffy, The Anxious Rescue Pup

Griffy, The Anxious Rescue Pup

Almost 2 years ago, my husband and I made the decision to adopt a rescue dog from an animal rescue in Maine. We had been talking about getting a dog for quite some time but the timing just never seemed right. I saw this boy’s sweet face on my newsfeed- 7 months old, crate trained, potty trained, good with other dogs… he seemed perfect. I sent in an application immediately and got in contact with the rescue owner. We set up a date to pick him up….

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Dear Self,

I want to take this time to recognize how hard you’ve been working on your heart and your mental health. Remember the last few years? Remember how awesome they were but also how much your anxiety took over your ability to fully enjoy those things? Remember all those panic attacks and the heaviness? Remember how alone and desperate you felt? Remember all the validation you thought you needed from friends and family who just didn’t know how to give it? Remember just moving through life, going through the motions, with no sense of your purpose?

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Anxiety; The Real Mind Flayer

Stranger Things fans… you know what’s up. And if you DON’T watch Stranger Things on Netflix, you. are. missing. out. It’s Sunday… get on that shit NOW.

Today, I am getting real vulnerable with y’all, because I’m very passionate about the importance of mental health and ending the ignorance and stigma behind it.

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GD is G.D. Confusing.

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SoOoOo, I promise I will write about something else other than this stupid diagnosis, but it’s the thing that’s in the forefront of my mind right now. I also get a ton of questions about it and have realized that not a lot of people know what goes on and what it means for me and baby ‘Box’.. (called this after my husband’s nickname… until we find out gender FRIDAY!)

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