February 8, 2012 § 4 Comments
It’s been a whirlwind of a week over here in the O’Brien household. We’ve had tons of friends and family come to our aid with help, food, and care. I’ve been doing my duty to rest as much as possible, as this time, I’m determined to not take six months just to start feeling normal again–I was moving to Long Beach when Audrey was three weeks old and walking our year-old puppy everyday thereafter. Not a brilliant recovery plan.
So this time, I’m determined to sit on the couch doing nothing and actually sleep when the baby sleeps like they tell you to. I’m just hoping Trev and I figure out how to get our oldest–that’s funny to write–out of the house while he’s at work. Audrey has gone out with Grandma, Aunt Liz, and other friends and has had a blast. It’s funny how much I miss her. When she’s not here, all I can think is:
I wonder what Audrey’s doing? I hope she’s having fun.
And I want to be having fun with her. She’s gone to the park numerous times, to Disneyland, to the Magical Playground (an indoor play place), to the grocery store, and lots of other places with her Papa. Wherever she goes though, I want to be there with her. I’m sure other parents who’ve experienced having more than one have gone through the same range of feelings I’m having now.
I’m jealous of those who take her out and enjoy her company. I long to sit and snuggle with her, holding her nice and close. I can’t wait to do even the simplest of chores with her out of the house, just to see her face light up as she learns more about life. And I look forward to the time when we’ll be able to be together having fun.
I love my first baby.
When Edric came, my heart expanded and found plenty more space for him. It wasn’t even a question or worry on my mind. Room for my buddy just appeared. Partly the oxytocin, partly because bringing people into the world is the most sacred and glorious thing known to man. Hands down. Now that he’s here, I can’t imagine life without him similarly to how I can’t imagine life without my Audrey.
Holding Edric everyday is a pure joy. I could stare at him every second and I spend much of my time doing so. Yet I still miss Audrey. It’s the oxytocin spill. It’s pouring out everywhere. I’ve tried to hold it in and keep it contained, but I can’t help it. I love my babies. And I’ll never stop.
January 29, 2012 § 4 Comments
I’m feeling pretty discouraged. On Saturday I visited my “Mama”* midwife, Margo, and found out that I was 90% effaced and 3 centimeters dilated. That made me feel so excited about the impending bun in my oven. I thought,
“Wow! You’re almost ready to go! Maybe it will be soon!”
A few hours later I began having stronger contractions than normal 8 minutes apart, then five minutes apart. From two in the afternoon to nine or so that night, they persisted. My “Sister” midwife, Kelly, came to visit me. She asked if I wanted to be checked for progression and I was a little nervous about the the possible outcome: Nothingness.
She encouraged me and gave me a homeopathic called gelsemium to calm my nerves and antsy-ness. I had just eaten, so I had to wait 20 minutes to take it. I thanked her and saw her home saying,
“At least you can’t go backwards.”
I’d made it this far. The worst thing that could happen is the baby wouldn’t come that night as I had hoped. You see, induction of any kind–natural or medical–only works if the baby is actually ready to come. Whatever method(s) you use will only be successful prior to if the babe was already thinking,
“Mmmm, now’s a good time to come out and see the world!”
Apparently he or she inside of me had other plans for the evening. Like eating the pineapple, pretzels, and grapes I had just ate. However, I spent from 11:30 to around four in the morning with strong contractions three and a half minutes apart and lasting one a half minutes.
“For sure, they’re coming today,” I thought.
I was so stinking excited, sitting in our tub, by myself, for hours while Trever and Audrey slept away. I wanted Trev to sit there with me, yet I knew how uneventful it would be and how tired he was. My telepathy worked and he woke up around four to see me. Yet my contractions were slowly fading away. My mood was getting more and more disappointed. For surely this was it!
We popped in The Descendants, the latest George Clooney movie we’d received in the mail, thanks to the upcoming SAG Awards. It was good. And got my mind off my now non-existent contractions.
“It was like ‘Up In the Air’, only different,” I mumbled at the end.
“You’re getting the hang of this script thing,” he replied.
It was now after six. The sun has come up and was tinting the sky a light gray out the window. I dragged my feet to bed and tried to get comfortable. Three hours of labor-filled dream sleep later, I was wide awake. Trever made me a breakfast burrito and I crashed out on the couch again after shedding a few discouraged tears.
So here I am. Writing down my thoughts. Hoping to get a bit out. Hoping that I can encourage myself. I even said it, I can’t go backwards. They’re coming. I’ve made it this far. Let’s see how he/she surprises us, eh? And eat just a few more slices of pineapple.
*My midwives Margo and Kelly of Birthing Women’s Health fulfill two separate role’s for me. Like a mother/daughter team, they bring two perspectives to midwifery care. I trust each of them with their differing but complimenting opinions and know that I’m in great hands. Heck, I trust them with my life.
Photo: How can I be discouraged when
I have this little face to look at?
January 25, 2012 § 10 Comments
I guess I just feel like I deserve something nice. I had a few high hopes for my birth and preparations for what that would like therein that aren’t going to happen and I have to deal with it.
A little part of me was hoping that the 22nd would be the day. But it wasn’t. I’m not well known for my baby predictions though. Ha! And I’m okay with that. Although they haven’t yet arrived, there are some things emotionally that I need to let go of. I have feeling that has to happen for the babe number two to come.
Firstly, I was hoping for a little bit of savings to keep Papa from “having” to work. My desire all along has been for him to take a week off without feeling one inkling of regret. A full seven days to be with his little, beautiful family. And not have to worry about sleep. Or finances. But as fate would have it, we’re the most poor that we’ve practically ever been in the four years we’ve been married.
Secondly, I wanted to have more prepared. Don’t get me wrong, I did so much more than I did with Audrey. I got more food together and stored in the freezer. I created a Meal Train on mealTrain.com, so friends could visit the baby, hang out with Audrey, and bring us some yum food. And I organized and set up things beforehand that I remember being difficult with a newborn (clothing, diapering, chores around the house). Yet still I feel this insurmountable pressure that I should have done more.
I should have taught Trev how to make our basic favorite meals, so he feels confident enough to shop for us and cook with ease. I should helped Audrey prepare by using “Mommy’s Helper” more often. And I would have liked to of made more efforts to digitize our files, etc.
Lastly, I was hoping the baby would come when they wanted to and that I would feel less stressed. With Trever and Audrey being sick with colds over the past two weeks, I’ve just known that babe would stay inside till everyone was all better. Instead of relaxing and letting it go, I let it stress me out to no end. I’ve had a harder time during this pregnancy to remain zen as I did with more ease during Audrey’s.
So these things didn’t happen. They aren’t going to happen. And I just need to deal with it. Mourn over it. And let it go. Phew. It’s a toughy for me because I’m really dissappointed. I’m grateful that we’re in our own place, but I’m bummed that the deposit was so intense, it left us with no savings. Trever not feeling the freedom to be with us is by far the hardest thing for me to let go of.
I’m still waiting for a miracle. In the form of a residual check. Or a raise. Or a great consulting offer. Anything. I’m trusting for it as Audrey takes one of very few last naps snuggled around my big round tummy. Regardless of whether I let it go, they’re coming. And I couldn’t be more excited.
Update: Trever will be working the 4pm to midnight shift at his new job, so it’ll be nice to have him at home during the day. Yay!
Photo: Prenatal Yoga with Audrey.
January 20, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The second’s due date is coming up–January 28. It seems like we’ve been waiting forever, yet like no time has past at all. We’ve cozied up in our new place and settled in. I’ve done my fair share of nesting, organizing every possible corner, and have even digitized our files to check off one more duty on my list that continually got in the way or sat on the back-burner.
With the impending arrival of our beautiful little, I have thought of you continuously. I did not want to simply drop the ball for a month on my posts. However, I believe the first 40 days post-pardum to be sacred beyond all. Thus, I’ve taken a few precautions to prepare. So that you’re not utterly surprised when the small changes take place, here’s a heads up. Beginning on Friday, January 27, 2012:
- Mondays: On Monday’s, you will be reading original posts from me. Ranging from Creative Consulting topics to life as a mom of two.
- Wednesdays: I’ve asked a handful of you, my fellow friends and readers to write a single post during February, March, or April. If you would like to add to my favored Guest Posters, please email me. If a GP is not available, Wednesdays will be if-y.
- Fridays: Will be oldies, but goodies. A long time hence, I posted on a blog via Myspace. I have resurrected my favorites, done some editing, and perhaps even added a few extra thoughts before or after. These will be fun!
I’m so very excited to include you in my journey to be the mother of a second child. I cannot wait for their arrival. In that, I’m glad to have you as faithful readers. I feel as though we share a great connection–I always enjoy your comments–and look forward to the community interaction between us.
Feel free to offer your advice, email me regarding a guest post, or anything of the sort.
Photo: Sisterly [sticker] love.
August 31, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I’ve been really into food lately. As Trever pointed out tonight while I was making dinner, I’ve been making “gourmet” meals. What he means by gourmet is that I’ve been creating dishes from scratch rather than a box. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but it’s really started taking on a new level of deep satisfaction: it’s whole, raw, tasty meals that fill us up and help us to feel even better inside and out than we did before we ate.
This process has been going on since last August when we moved to Glendale. I started walking to the Farmer’s Market every Thursday and began shopping at Whole Foods after deciding that the local Ralph’s and Vons weren’t that awesome for choices with a diet like mine–gluten and casein-free whole food lover.
In October of last year after watching “No Impact Man,” I decided to try to eat 75% local food for 31 days. I’m excited to say I did it, we did it. And Trev lost over 10 pounds eating veg. (He should be a vegetarian according to Dr. Peter D’Adamo’s Eat Right For Your Type, so it makes sense.)
In May when I became pregnant, I also became very ill with morning sickness 24/7. At that point, Trever took over the grocery shopping for ten weeks while I was unable to do it without you-know-whating–I tried once and it didn’t end well in July. Tonight while I was cooking linguini with a red lentil sauce, he said he just did what he had to in order to survive. He ate top ramen, bean and cheese burritos, canned soups, peanut butter filled with sugar, and macaroni and cheese. Needless to say, he started gaining wait, lost focus, and felt more exhausted even though he wasn’t working a carpentry job.
Around the beginning of this month, I started doing one of my favorite things: watching movies on my Netflix app. I watched “The Girl…” trilogy in Swedish, Stardust, The Secret of Moonacre, and countless documentaries. One of the docs that Netflix suggested to me–and was simultaneously suggested through another friends blog–was Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead by Joe Cross.
After watching fifteen minutes of it, I told Trev he had to see this inspiring story of an Australian guy who completes a sixty-day juice diet (and then some) and goes from drab to fab. At the end of the movie, Joe is one good looking man and he changes the life of Phil Staples and countless others.
I realized how I spent the past ten weeks in bed or on the couch and I was ready for change. I got our grocery spending on a budget and created a weekly meal plan to cook real, whole, delicious food. Another side effect of being pregnant this time around has been not wanting meat, so Trev is back to losing weight and feeling awesome. And so am I.
It may sound simple to you. Heck, it may even sound crazy. What you put into your body effects every single last part of who you are. It can either bring you health, vitality, and wellness by acting like a medicine. Or cause you anxiety, pain, depression, sickness, and countless other diseases and side-effects by acting like a poison and working against you.
Food might not feel that way when you’re putting it into your mouth, but not getting micronutrients (fruits, veggies) will actually promote everything from colds to cancer (See Dr. Furhman’s website for more sweet info).
I hate to admit it, yet after my ten-week food sabbatical, for the first time in my life I am not persuaded by junk food. I’m free of the desire of a quick fix of a burger and fries and eat the almonds, rye crackers, and fruit I brought with me. I no longer notice fast food joints and start dreaming instead of the pesto sandwich with tomatoes, cucumbers, and spinach that I can make in 5 minutes at home. I can even go to party’s and see yucky food and remind myself how I’ll feel after I eat it and go, “Oh yeah, it sucks. I’d rather eat whole food.”
It may have took 27 years and the worst morning sickness I’ve ever experienced to finally get me to this point, but it was worth it. They say if you stop eating the bad stuff, you stop craving it. Well, I guess ten weeks is enough. Maybe Joe Cross had a point with those 60 days. I think I’ll keep this going. I want to live as long as possible for Trev, Audrey, and the person that’s baking inside of me.
Photo: Audrey eating by “candlelight.”
August 5, 2011 § 4 Comments
Today was one of those days where you take life and stare it right in the eyes. Audrey and I had a utopian morning with my friend Amy and her daughter Matilda at Swork Coffeeshop, but I quickly came back to reality when I got home. Trever and I have struggled financially since as long as we can remember. We’ve always been in love with idea of doing what you’re passionate about and not just what fills your bank account. And we’ve stuck to it, dog nabbit!
We’ve always desired to save for our future and Audrey’s (and the 4-inch bundle in my tummy), yet we’ve had too much debt and not a high enough income to do so. You see, when we first got together we had the brilliant idea of traveling the country in a trailer–playing music and making art for people. So we bought an Airstream. She’s beautiful, but she’s a thorn in our side fiscally. I also made the mistake of believing that my father would for some reason pay off my student loans once I had graduated from college. That has left us in quite a bind month after month after month.
While we don’t save a cent, we always seem to make it. We keep moving forward, plug along, find a way to scrape by, get a residual check, work through the weekends, find freelance gigs…we hustle. Since April, the hustling has slowed to a minimum. We’ve done the same amount of networking, applied to jobs, and worked as much as we could. Sadly though, we’re at a point where we just don’t feel like we’re going to make it.
We’re honest people. The kind who cannot not pay back our debt. We do whatever we can to pay back what we owe continuously and timely every month. Without fail, we somehow do so. Moreover though, the beauty of defaulting and disappearing are sounding more and more alluring. Falling off the grid appeals to our worn out spirits more every single day.
This is the time that something gives. We get a flash of brilliance, a break, a sudden idea that will help us to get by. We’ve always made it, so I’m just trying to swallow my worry and hold back my stress not only for me, but for the little one inside of me. I’m counting my blessings and thanking my lucky stars. I’m alive and I have a beautiful family that I love.
July 22, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I’m okay with being poor. There’s something about not having much that causes me to be more thankful and grateful for what I do have. In my case, less is definitely more. I don’t boast too much. Nor do I have a hobby that requires me to accumulate anything more than a writing tablet and a pen (okay, a keyboard would be nice).
That being said, I’m simple. And I’m simply poor. I think that perspective and being okay with it causes a much different path to come into alignment. When Trever and I had the goal when we initially got together to be successful as a couple it quickly went from in our music and art to financially. He continued to work hard as a carpenter and started getting back into acting and I moved to the OC and started looking for “the job.” You know, the one that has all the answers: starts at $45k+, includes benefits, bonuses, and vacation time. That job.
In January 2009, I just got so over it I needed professional counseling. I had made it in the OC, surrounded by the materialism…the internal and external pressure of having the right stuff for 17 months. I told the therapist that I couldn’t figure out the meaning of it all. That none of it made any sense. I didn’t realize how far down the rabbit hole I had found myself until I was speaking with her–I was existential looping. The meaning of life had gotten so far away from me that I couldn’t deduce how my life was measuring up. In short, it wasn’t.
Even more correctly, I had forgotten what I wanted and let it get away from me in the whirlwind that is moving away from everyone you know with the combination of the first year of marriage. After three months of attempting to work through stuff, we deduced that it might be chemical. I went to my ND, who gave me some magic vitamins (filled with folic acid, kale and other greens) and I almost instantly felt better.
By this time I was working during tax season for a Laguna Beach accountant that was making more money an hour than God. I briefly considered going back and getting my MBA (I’ve always wanted to teach at the collegiate level) and even applied to a program and got accepted. Those vitamins were my little miracle. I realized in a very short period–a month or less–that what I wanted wasn’t material possessions or wealth, but love.
Just knowing that I wanted love made me feel better.
And apparently it made my body feel better, so what did it do? It made a baby. Just like that. All of the sudden in over twenty months I find contentment and balance in my body and spirit and it goes,
“Poof! You want to be a mother.”
“I DO want to be a mother. Thank you body for reminding me.”
My old adage came flooding back into memory: I don’t mind being poor! I want love! Music! Art! So what did we do? When our lease was up for our $1600/month 530 square foot apartment in fancy schmancy Costa Mesa, we moved to my moms house in San Diego. We spent our time doing odd jobs, working for family and friends, even our midwives. I wrote some awesome songs on my favorite piano and Trever created a beautiful painting that I requested be hung by my side of the bed so I could see it when I wake.
Whenever I begin to stray from what I do not truly believe nowadays, I ask myself to come back into alignment with who I really am. There I find solace and comfort and beauty. I find myself. And I find myself being rich and overflowing with love, creativity, passion, servitude, and most importantly: Love. Yes. I said it twice.
The painting that I stare at every day.
March 2, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Before Audrey Taylor (now 14 months and counting) was even a twinkle in our eye, we knew we wanted to have two or three children. The thought of having one sounded too lonely (coming from a family of two and three, respectively, will do that to you) and that having too large of a spacing wasn’t an option. This was just the beginning of our having-kids perspective and the day Audrey was born after a 15 hour at-home labor–even though I was battling with the shock that I thought she was Jack Barron–I cried, “Let’s do that again! I want another one!”
Audrey has now been eating solids for eight months, walking for six months, and talking for four months. She’s been an independent toddler since the moment she started walking, feeding herself, saying “yes” or “no”, and communicating her wants and needs. Some days, she’ll only eat two or three times at the breast. Yet I can tell she still enjoys it.
In January, my husband Trever and I began discussing our family planning. I used one of those websites that projected my ovulation cycles after I had my first monthly friend since March 2009. The dates were the same as when we tried to conceive Audrey! We were so excited about the prospect that we tried that first month.
February was pretty tough for us as a family. Trever and I got stomach flu at the beginning of the month. Audrey began teething for the first time with actual teeth breaking through. Trever worked in the cold doing stucco for a friend one weekend and got sick for a couple weeks. And I got a stuffy nose and sire throat at the very end of the month.
All of these factors resulted in one thing: More breastfeeding! Audrey has always had that sixth sense when we’re sick and ups her breast-milk intake. Luckily, she’s never been sick in her life because of it. Moreover her teething has been so painful that she’s decreased her desire to chew solid foods and turned to me for those extra calories.
My monthly date came and went and through it, I took three pregnancy tests. All to my disappointment ringing negative. Then I took a mental note of our “tough” month and realized the increase in breastfeeding also increased my level of prolactin and told my body not to ovulate accordingly. Darn smart body. Phooey!
Here I am, laying in bed with a cold, disappointed. I did my Le Leche League research online and found my presumptions to be all too true. I had been on the right track with my decreased daytime feedings (only every four hours or so) and halting of the nighttime feeding altogether. As I overhear Snow White playing in the living room through our thin wall and receive a little text message support from my friend and fellow mom, Amy, I’m reminded: it won’t be long until number two is on the way. I’m satisfied to know that I’ve done what I can to make Audrey’s life better. Because, for her, breastfeeding is bestfeeding this month. Even if it means she has to wait a little longer for a sister or a brother.