Monday, August 31, 2009

Hats Off

Shane has agreed to write up his version of Tommy's birth story, now I just need to coerce him into doing it SOON. He has the memory of a fly (and also, he's so not techno savvy that I'm not even sure he knows what a blog is), so he truly forgets everything two seconds after it happens. If he doesn't write it up soon, I'm afraid his version will read like this: "Erin woke me up, then she started yelling, and then she had a baby on the stairs, the end."

I know when I wrote about that night, I talked about looking up and realizing the kitchen was full of firefighters, while I sat there in all my naked glory. I didn't tell you, though, how one fireman was brave enough to come downstairs, and how he was so very nice. He told me that they didn't have an OB kit or a bulb syringe, and I remember thinking, "We have a bulb syringe upstairs," but I was not thinking straight and thought that if I told him that, he'd make me walk upstairs and get it. Instead, I told him that I cleared Tommy's nose and mouth with my finger. Even though they didn't have an OB kit, they did have a teeny, tiny baby hat that he gently put on Tommy's head while holding him ever so safely. Before we left that night, he shook Shane's hand and told him congratulations.

(It fit a lot better the night he was born.)
Isn't the hat darling? When we got to the hospital, they put on the standard pink and blue striped hat, and the nurse tried to throw this hat away because it had blood on it. I was all, ARE YOU ON CRACK, LADY? and instead had her put it with our things. I'm glad I did. It's so tiny and it reminds me how the entire way to the hospital, I peeked at his dark, dark hair curling around the edges of the hat.
It also makes me think of the very kind firefighter, as well as the very kind EMTs. I've already told you how they were my angels, but I didn't tell you how three days after Tommy was born, I received a card from the two EMTs. Indeed, before most of our family sent cards, they sent me one telling me they were so blessed to be a part of his birth. It made me cry. And then a week later, we went to the fair, and Shane saw the fireman who was downstairs with me that night. Shane said, "I think you were there when he was born." The fireman jumped up and shooked both of our hands, then asked how Thomas was doing. He remembered his name. I joked that it was good to see him when I had clothes on, and he laughed and told me to bring him down to the fire station to show him off. Shane thanked him for all they did that night, and he said no thank you was needed, as we'd already done all the work when they arrived.

When Luke was born, I found out who my true friends were, because I lost a lot of friends when I became a mom. But when Tommy was born, I didn't lose any friends. Instead, I saw the happiness he brought to people. To the firefighter and the EMTs who have jobs where they must often see the saddest of cases, he brought light and hope. A healthy, beautiful baby with an APGAR of 9, already cradled in his mama's arms. And to us, he showed us the goodness of the hearts of others, of those for whom work is more than just a job, but instead, a calling. I've always said that as a teacher, I have the utmost respect for those others in the public service calling, like firefighters and policemen, but now that I've truly seen the passion with which they do their jobs... well, my hat is off to those men and women.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My First Love

There are so many stories from the night Tommy was born that didn't make it into his birth story. I'm trying my hardest to tell them, if not just for my own memories, but time is short these days. I'm also trying to get Shane to guest post and tell his own version of Tommy's birth, so please leave some comments convincing him! Flattery will always work.

This story is about my dad.

I've talked about my dad before, how close we are, how he was truly my first love. I'm lucky to have a dad who is exactly how dads are to be.

The day I went into labor with Tommy, I called my mom after my appointment. I told her I was progressing and that I was having sporadic contractions. I told her to keep the phone nearby just in case, even though I wasn't entirely sure that it was the real thing. My mom, of course, passed this news onto my dad, who was sure it was the real thing--much more sure than my mom and myself.

Apparently, at about 9 or 10 that night, before going to bed, my dad kept nagging at my mom to call me and check up on me. She told him, no, that I'd call them if and when it was time. Still, she said he kept asking her if she didn't think that maybe they should call and just get Luke anyway, just in case. She told him, no, that it'd be hours even if I was in labor, and they went to bed.

When I called at 11:48, she answered the phone right away. I said, I think it's time for you to come over, so they jumped in the car. Initially, my dad wasn't even going to come along because her plans were just to crash in our bed until the morning, but at the time, three convicts had just escaped from a nearby prison, and he didn't want her to drive alone.

She said he drove her nuts on the ride over because he kept saying, "I hope she didn't wait too long." She told him that I was totally calm on the phone, but he still kept telling her that he didn't think I was going to make it to the hospital. When they came around the corner and saw the flashing lights, he said, "I told you she waited too long." My mom told him, no, the flashing lights were at the neighbors, until they got closer and saw that they were in our driveway, and my dad said, "She waited too long!"

At this point, I was already in the ambulance and shortly after, my entire family crowded in the back. First my mom holding Luke, then Shane, then my dad. My mom and Shane immediately asked how Tommy was, but my dad looked right at me and said, "How's Erin?" The EMT in the back with me laughed and said, "That's just like a dad... making sure his little girl is okay."

So next time, forget cervical checks and timing contractions...if my dad says I'm in labor, I'm going to listen!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Everybody Is Talkin' 'Bout Peace In The World

This week's theme for You Capture is Peace. Initially, I struggled with this. My life hasn't felt very peaceful lately. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy, but I'm also FRAZZLED.
Still, there is so much peace to be found, if you only take the moment to look for it (in other words, give peace a chance).
There is peace in sitting amongst the newly sprouted Queen Anne's Lace that dot our backyard
"Soft and sweet
How the notes all bend and reach above the trees, trees"

Peace in the sun breaking through the trees after a cloudy morning
"But for now we are young
Let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see"
Peace in finding moments to steal a hug
"Love to be
In the arms of all I'm keeping here with me, me"
Peace in puckering up for a kiss
"Now how I remember you
How I would push my fingers through
Your mouth to make those muscles move
That made your voice so smooth and sweet"
Peace in beautiful days at the park with friends
"What a beautiful face
I have found in this place
That is circling all round' the sun
And when we meet on a cloud
I'll be laughing out loud
I'll be laughing with everyone I see"

I hope you found your peace this week.

Lyrics from "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea" by The Neutral Milk Hotel

Monday, August 17, 2009

Confessions of Perfection

When I was pregnant, every now and then, I'd have a moment of thought where I'd worry that I'd be disappointed if I had a boy. I've never told anyone this, and so, I hope you won't judge me for confessing those thoughts. Disappointed because so often, when people have a boy and then a girl, or a girl and then a boy, you hear people say, "Oh, now you have the PERFECT family, one of each." I felt those comments to heart every time I'd hear them, because while I was never sure what I was having when I was pregnant, I felt more boy thoughts than girl, even telling Shane at one point that I thought we'd have a girl later, just not yet.

I feel silly confessing that, because when Tommy was born, and I looked between his legs, I felt... joy, elation, thrilled, everything but disappointment. The second he was out, my family became even more perfect than it already was, because I am now lucky to have not one, but TWO boys. I still remember how my voice shook with happiness and emotion as I called up to Shane, "It's a boy!" Would I like a girl someday? Sure, of course, I'd love to dress someone in pink, but if all I ever have in my life is blue? I'll still count my lucky stars every single night.

I'm finding, though, that not everyone sees it like that. When I'm out with Luke and Tommy and people ask if Tommy is a boy or a girl, sometimes they aren't kind. Sometimes they say things like, "Oh, too bad you didn't get a girl," or "No girl yet, huh?" When I'm out with just Tommy and they ask if he's my first, and I say I have an older son, sometimes I hear, "Oh, I bet you wanted a girl this time!"

No, actually, what I wanted was a healthy baby, AND I GOT HIM.
There is nothing more perfect than that.

Photo by Beth, of course

Monday, August 10, 2009

Genetics, Schmemetics

Since Tommy was born, I've gotten a lot of compliments on how I look. Including one woman at a garage sale who hilariously said, Excuse me, is that YOUR baby!? And then went on to tell me that I looked way too good for having a tiny baby.

I am really happy with how I look. My stomach is definitely still squishy and has loose skin, so you won't be seeing this mama in a bikini any time soon. But can I brag and tell you that I was back in my pre-pregnancy jeans at three days postpartum? You can slap me if you want, (and I kind of love it when people threaten to beat me up) but let's talk about how I never got back into my pre-pregnancy jeans with Luke. That's right. I finally got sick of wearing maternity jeans at eight weeks PP and went and bought all new jeans.

So, you have to forgive me if I get a little crabby when I hear someone say that I look good, and that it must be genetics. It's really not genetics, and I want my props here. Is that wrong? Probably, but I'm going to go ahead and give myself a pat on the back for doing so well this time around.

When I was pregnant with Luke, I gained 35-45 pounds. I say 35-45 pounds because I was steady at 35, until the DAY I went into labor, and I shot up ten pounds. Thus, I think that last ten pounds is stupid fluid weight and shouldn't count. By my six week checkup, I'd lost all but ten pounds, which means that last ten pounds was probably not fluid weight but brownie weight. And then, it took a year and a half and a jogging habit to lose those last ten pounds. Naturally, I lost them about two seconds before I got pregnant with Tommy, but at least I lost it. So when I got pregnant with Tommy, I vowed to be a healthier pregnant woman.

And I was. I ate my fair share (okay, more than my fair share) of refined sugars, but I was active. Truthfully, I ate way more junk food this pregnancy than I did with Luke, but I hardly gained any weight. I jogged 2-3 miles a night and did a light step routine until I was 24 weeks. I stopped at 24 weeks because I started having Braxton-Hicks while running, and it just wasn't comfortable. Then I started using this workout, and from 24 weeks until the day I went into labor, I probably skipped a total of ten workouts. If that. It wasn't always easy and that DVD kicked my butt, but it felt good to be that active. I was proud of myself. I started out my pregnancy at 146 pounds and at my last checkup, I weighed 155 pounds. Tommy weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces, so I was basically all baby. The day after he was born, I was back down to 146. This morning, I weighed 137 pounds, amazingly enough since I eat ALL THE TIME. I know that once Tommy stops nursing constantly, I will likely gain some of that weight back, but I'm okay with that.

Truthfully, I've never been the type of person who cared much about exercise. But I've learned how good it can make you feel, especially when you see results. I really believe that constant exercise helped me with a fast labor, and I also believe it helped with such a quick recovery. Now, you can totally start the slapping for being obnoxious "Whoo I lost all my pregnancy weight super fast" lady, but I needed to pat myself on the back just a little bit. And now I'm going to go reward my super awesome weight loss with a bowl of ice cream. What?