Sunday, August 14, 2016

What To Expect When Giving Birth: How Painful Is Labor REALLY?

During my pregnancy I had a lot of anxiety about what the pain of labor would feel like. I tried to convince myself that childbirth wasn't that big of a deal because it was totally normal and natural. I would think to myself, "It can't be that bad... right? I mean, I know a lot of really wimpy, frail, tiny women (who probably have very tiny vaginas) who've popped out MULTIPLE kids! I should be able to do it no problem... right???"

Well... let me tell you how wrong I was.

If you thought losing your virginity hurt like a bastard just wait till your vagina becomes a full-fledged Baby Cannon!

Every mother has their own special tale of that miraculous, awe inspiring, life experience of giving birth to their precious child 

OR what I like to refer to as: 

"My 28 Hour Journey Through The Ninth Ring of Hell"

Yes, that's right... 28 hours from start to finish. A word to the wise, don't wait till you're 8 cm dilated to get your epidural, because by then, it doesn't really work very well :(  Learned that one the hard way. And YES, the rumors are true! Labor feels like you are POOPING OUT A BOWLING BALL.

I remember all of the horrific tales of labor that other women would share with me (some of these stories were gruesome to say the least) and I would privately think to myself, "Well... you've always been a bit of a wuss" or "She must be exaggerating." How could something so "natural", and "common place" be so awful? I basically feel like I was 'duped'. Big time! None of these 'labor horror stories' even came close to the mind blowing, excruciating pain of the actual experience. 

I don't know how to put this except that words cannot do the pain justice.

The human capacity for language, and all forms of communication as we know it on planet Earth, cannot adequately express or convey the pain of pushing a baby out of your Lady Flower. 

The pain scale rating of "10/10" has a whole new meaning for me. I will never again say my menstrual cramps are a 7/10, not even a 5/10! The only 10/10 for pain that has ever happened to me was when a human being was exiting out of my Old Kipper. My worst menstrual cramps will now be, and remain forever, at the most, a 3/10.

The human brain however, is a wonderful organ! It has this sophisticated, hard wired coping mechanism of 'blocking out' or 'dulling the edges' of past painful experiences. Naturally with time, the sharp, cutting, vivid memory of pain gets fuzzy and dulls a bit.

Ladies, don't be fooled! It's a trick! 

The first words out of my mouth after giving birth were directed to my husband, "You're getting a vasectomy next week!"... quickly followed by, "I'm never doing this again!".

It's amazing how just a little thing like 'sex' can end with such a beautiful, chaotic symphony of vaginal destruction.

But all joking aside... it really was the most painfully horrific thing that's ever happened to me in my life.

My 'Mom Friends' are now trying to convince me that the second baby is much easier... YA, RIGHT! If it IS easier, it's only because my postpartum vagina is now extra 'roomy'. Hahahaha Just kidding! It 'bounces' back to it's original size... sort of... Ah, who am I kidding? My vagina's HUGE.  My vagina is so big that if it were named after a movie it would be 'Interstellar' starring Matthew McConaughey! Except in this version of the film Matthew would never make his way home.

Now a year later, I feel myself subtly sliding into the cozy, warm 'oblivion section' of my brain (the best place to be!) that says to me, "Awe... it wasn't that bad. You could do that again."  Ya right brain! Nice try! That's just the hormone Oxytocin (mixed with Vodka) and with our silly, little basic human instinct to keep our 'blood line' going for future generations... no biggy.

Honestly though...

When I think about the wonderment of labor,  
I have come to the conclusion that it must be the mixture of the two extremes; 
"the worst pain ever" tied in with "the best thing that's ever happened" 
that makes it all so worthwhile and exciting.

**Disclaimer: I love my baby and I would easily do it all over again in a heartbeat for her... she's the most precious thing to me. 

I'm curious about everyone's personal stories. What was your birth experience like?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Breastfeeding: What Does Your Milk 'Let Down' Feel Like?

When I was pregnant, my Aunt was talking to me one day about her experiences with breastfeeding and described what her milk 'let down' felt like.

At the time, I had no clue that a woman's 'let down' felt like anything. Apparently, all women experience different sensations when it comes to breastfeeding.

My aunt described her 'let down' as, "It felt like my nipples were going to sneeze." lol!

I have a close friend that says she never noticed her 'let down', and didn't have any sensation when it happened. This was also my Mother's experience too.

Some women describe it as a prickly, tingling sensation.

Luckily for me, my 'let down' sensation feels like a burning, hot, iron skillet is searing my nipples off. Lovely!

Also, during the first month or two of nursing, whenever I would experience my 'let down' I would simultaneously become crazy thirsty. There always had to be a huge glass of water beside me whenever I would feed my baby.

What was your 'let down' experience?

Sunday, March 6, 2016

My Mom Taught Me How To Say "F*#K OFF!"

When I was a little girl I was super polite. My mom had encouraged me to be forgiving, humble and not to repay evil with evil but instead, be nice to my enemies. I was a good little girl.

Being a good girl was a good thing to be! I did well in school, I wasn't a 'problem child', and my mom was very proud of me.

As a child, my mom and I moved around a lot. She was a single parent with little to no support or education, so we relocated often for her to find work. Being the constant 'new kid' at school was a big target on my back (not to mention my freckles and chubby cheeks).

Where ever we lived, it seemed like I was constantly picked on and bullied.

The worst it ever got was when I came home one day, at the tender age of 6, with bruises all over my body. Earlier that afternoon, after school, three boys my age had ganged up on me, threw me against a chain-link fence and proceeded to punch and kick me.

My mother took me to the Doctor and after he examined and spoke with me, he took my mother aside and quietly said, "This child has no sense of self preservation."

This came as a shock to her. She had always taught me the 'Golden Rule' and encouraged me to be a good girl. Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine that by not teaching me to defend myself, or to stand up for myself, she was essentially sending her little sheep out to the wolves.

That's when things changed.

Later at home my mom asked me if I knew any curse words. I was in shock. She said,"Do you know what the F-word is?"  Stunned, I answered, "Yes.", feeling my cheeks flush bright red. Using some caution in her approach she taught me how and when to say, "F*#K OFF!". She outlined the different circumstances of when that kind of language would be OK to use, and she taught me some basic self defense moves like 'Karate Chopping' and kicking. It was definitely emphasized that I should not just go around and randomly hit people, and if I was getting picked on to go to my teacher or a supervising adult first. BUT, if I was getting pushed around, beat up, hit, kicked it was OK to stand up for myself and hit back, or say "F*#K OFF!".

I remember clearly, a week or two later, a bully at school started picking on me while we were out on recess. I said, "Stop. I'm going to tell on you."  He then punched me in the shoulder. To his great surprise, instead of just 'taking it' and crying, I "KARATE CHOPPED" him immediately in the arm. I can still remember the look on his face as he recoiled in shock.

He never bothered me again.

Throughout my teenage years and as a young women, there have been times where I had to pull out the 'BIG GUNS' in situations where using the word 'NO' wasn't enough. There have been times when I felt someone was being too aggressive with me and being a "nice, polite woman" just wasn't going to cut it.

Don't get me wrong. I think it's really important to learn manners and be polite, but it's also equally important to know how to stand up and defend yourself, and know how to curse like a trucker if the moment calls for it.

Sometimes life gets hard and bad things happen. When push comes to shove you need to have a back bone and survive... and when the going gets tough, little Miss Goody-Two-Shoes needs to move over and make room for Big, Ole, Nasty Bertha!