Take A Chance on Me

Almost five years, I stumbled upon this article in the newspaper. My jaw dropped. I was just beginning my official Doula certification and I was in need of a mom who would let me attend her labour. That’s not exactly the easiest thing to make happen when you don’t know anyone who’s currently pregnant. This was like fate. But what was I supposed to do? Call her up and say “Hey stranger, let me come to your labour”?

Not exactly…but sort of.

First, I had to stalk…wait…find her on Facebook. Then I had to send her an awkward ramble of a Facebook message saying I found her in the newspaper and I really wanted to come to her labour. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I also had to convince her that she wanted me there. I cannot believe how hugely I stepped outside of my comfort zone for this. I mean I practically required a passport for being so far away from my zone. It was a burning fire in me to just take that chance. Luckily she was willing to jump outside her comfort zone too.

I was so naively certain I knew all I needed to know about birth. Contractions start, you push the baby out. BAM. At this stage of the game, I had only ever been to my own labours, a few friends labours and a friend’s sister’s labour that I practically begged my way in to for the experience. I was hardly what you would call experienced. No.

Meanwhile, dozens of births later, I still feel out of my comfort zone every time I enter a birthing room. I’ve quickly realized that even though there are only two ways that a baby can come out, there are millions of ways that journey takes place. I may not remember all the names, I definitely don’t remember the vaginas, but I most certainly remember something about each of those birth stories.

There’s the slow-dance-birth, the holiday-birth, the holy-shit-its-a-girl-birth. There was the two-hour-birth, the tooth-birth, and the surprise-breech-birth. I don’t think I will ever forget the first-section-birth, the turkey-birth, or the theres-five-of-us-in-the-bathroom birth also known as how-did-I-fit-under-the-sink-birth.

I look forward to your birth stories as much as you do. There moments you have created for me have been unbelieveable. You are the one who threw up on me. You are the one who said you wanted to show everyone how strong you were. You were the one who cried in pure relief when I said things weren’t as serious as the doctor made it seem. You were the one who trusted me with your baby in the NICU. You were the one who laughed when I rolled my eyes at your partenr who complained his hand/arm/leg/neck was sore while you were in the middle of a contraction. You were the one who trusted me with your first family photos. You were the one that wanted me to cut the door when daddy couldn’t. You were the one who apologied for waking me up at 2am. You were the one who was concerned if I ate.. You were the one who let me part of the blessing we call birth. You were the one who made me realize my passion. Every single one of you. Especially you, Newspaper-birth, you took a chance on me and for that I will forever be grateful.

Often, the first question a new doula will ask is how to find clients…my answer isn’t typical but it definitely worked!!

#DoulasBenefitEveryone

2016

I’m not usually one for New Year celebrations. It’s 9pm on New Year’s Eve and I’m in bed, not surprising to most people who know me. It’s always been a weird concept for me that people celebrate the year end or the start of a new year when for me it doesn’t really make a difference. I mean, school isn’t over, fiscal year runs til March, it’s sucky January. WTF is there to celebrate?????

Then 2016 came along…

If you haven’t heard of Phoenix then consider yourself lucky. It’s a new pay system for Federal Government employees and it has been the bane of my existence. One the days I’m not screaming at my computer then someone is probably lined up outside my office to complain. I’ve been worn down to the final strands of sanity that I so desperately cling to most times anyway. I’ve been yelled at, hounded on my days off and after hours, tracked down via FB, and don’t forget those two very fun times when I was secretly stalked by that super awesome co-worker who thought it was “funny” to sneak up to my door and hide just so he could listen to what I was saying and try to catch me talking shit. The funniest part of all that is I’m very open about the shit I talk…just ask me next time ok?

I moved, which was THE BEST DECISION EVER…but led to some very stressful times of adjustment.

My grandfather had a major surgery. I was designated as his person for the duration of his hospital stay. It was not an easy task. Nobody should ever have to sit by and watch a loved one struggle so deeply with pain and breathing tubes in the ICU. That day changed me. I can’t even put it in words how traumatizing that was for me. Maybe because it was my Poppy, maybe because I’ve lived such a fortunate life that I am 35 and still have my grandparents to talk to every day,

WebMD has been my best friend in trying to diagnose my own health issues. Low iron, high calcium, high PTH levels, non-existent vitamin D levels, kidney stones, stomach pains, nothing crazy, just enough to drive me even more insane than usual. (It’s actually diagnosed, Primary Hyperparathyroidism)

My dad died. Never thought I would ever actually care but, go figure, it’s opened a whole new can of whoop-ass in the feelings department…and they won’t go away.
It was actually better for me just thinking he was out in the world somewhere being a dick to someone other than me. Leave me with a tiny bit of hope that someday he would show up and actually be nice. Maybe apologize or something. Now he’s just my dead dad. The dead dad that left shit wide open. Not much closure other than at least now I don’t have to worry about him finding the kids when they visit PEI.

Throw in the usual family drama, friend drama and then Donald Trump and well, I’m so over 2016. I get it now. I get how some people just want to leave an entire year behind them and move on to a new one with celebration. It wasn’t all bad of course, but enough is enough.

Bring on 2017, with immense anticipation of (hopefully) good things to come.

Struggle

This time last year I was stressed about how the hell I was going to afford presents for the kids. I was barely keeping the power on. I was literally one month away from having to block off rooms with blankets to conserve heat and only three months away from foreclosure on my home. We hardly had food. I was a blink away from a crying meltdown at any moment. Life was miserable.

This time two years ago I was stressed about how the hell I was going to afford presents for the kids. I had a new-to-me best friend who was going thru HELL on earth, we were planning the great escape from her shittier-than-cow-shit boyfriend (Hi Cory, I still hate you too), there were lots of extra people around my house, plus stray teenagers. The weather was causing me panic attacks because of my treacherous hill. Life was miserable.

This time three years ago I was stressed about the how the hell I was going to afford presents for the kids. I was terrified in my old and scary house. I felt alone and miserable. I was so broke I was actually getting the kids to “borrow” food from their dad’s house without him knowing. Talk about mom guilt. Wow. Life was miserable.

See a theme year? Broke, anxious and sad. Yes. But you know what else? Free, empowered, loved. Content, at peace, simplified. I always thought yoga kind of began the journey of the new me, but man, this last four years has defined me.

I was forced to not buy stuff. I was forced to rethink most “major” purchases. I began to realize that quality over quantity is a legit thing. I had a few moments where I sold stuff out of desperation but that slowly turned to selling stuff for pure satisfaction of not having junk laying around. Life wasn’t about dinners out with friends. It was all about Wednesday wine nights with friends that mattered. It was about pushing past anxieties to make sure life appeared mostly normal for the kids. It was about finally, finally, finally realizing after all these years of struggling to be on top that I would rather be on the bottom and happy that at the top and miserable beyond belief. I realized that I would rather be cold and hungry than with guy I literally despised looking at. I was better off (more) broke and able to be myself.

The last four years of my life have been the hardest. But also the best. I learned to be very independent. This reduced some of my anxiety. Because of that I actually let my guard down enough to meet my soul mate Lisa. With her I learned to laugh and have fun. In my ability to have fun I found myself a guy to have fun with. My guy taught me fast and furiously that I could be a better person than I ever thought I could be. The last four years have been rough but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

There have been art nights and Jenga parties. Sleepovers and roommates. Breakups and makeups. Challenges and growth. I mean, seriously folks, I met my BEST FRIEND because my battery died. I found soul-hugging comfort in my tiny apartment because I know what it’s like to be freezing in a large, two story house. I appreciate small gestures because I know how false some large gestures can appear. I know the difference now between wants and needs.

I think of these things all the time . I would never ever change anything in my life. It’s all brought me to where I am now.

This year I am not stressed about being able to afford presents for the kids. I still make the same amount of money. But I live in an apartment instead of an oversized house. I walk to work so I sold my oil-eating car. I don’t pay for heat, I don’t pay for house/car insurance. I don’t buy crap I don’t need (most of the time anyway). I even stopped shopping at Chapters and go to the library instead. I don’t have credit cards. I don’t have overdraft. I quit smoking 6 months ago. I haven’t eaten fast food since August. I gave up the crap to live a simpler life. Giving all that up has left me calmer, happier, more content life. I am the happiest I’ve ever been. Right now, in this moment.

I miss the rowdy nights of laughing til we cried. I miss the nights where we would solve all the world’s problems over multiple bottles of wine. I miss the coffee dates and I miss doing her job every second Friday. I miss donating blood together, I miss yelling at each other’s kids. I look back on what we went through, the highs and lows, and I realize I wouldn’t go backwards to have those moments again. It’s all about moving forward these days.

This year, I have paid cash for all the presents. I have bought what I deem to be non-wasteful gifts. I didn’t buy fillers or fluff to add volume to the number of gifts.
I don’t get to see my BFF as much as I want because she’s not down the street from me. But she’s happier than she’s ever been too. I’d rather text every day and be content than see her every day in misery. I wander to the grocery store every few days with my clothe bags, I hang out for hours at the beautiful library. I have so much free time that’s not consumed with my old house trying to kill me.

Life is good. Not despite the past, but because of it.

Wound

The grey matter of life is not one of black and white.
It’s hard to explain what it’s like when a father you hardly knew dies.
Frustration takes over.
Then anger.
What’s the craziest, though,
is the utmost shattering sense of guilt from not feeling sad enough.

Three years have past since words were exchanged.
Yet I think of him more now in the last two weeks than in that entire time alive.
His words won’t leave my soul, his crazy is making me insane.
It’s hard to blame a man’s heart when his mind was at fault

Mental health devoured any chance of a bond.
Narcissism never let him know me.
Voices, visions and a visceral void.
Never would I ever call him dad.

Its over, the daddy issues are gone.
Burned along side his ashes.
All that remains is an unmistakable turmoil
The unresolved wounds with appear
Buried deep is angst yearning for repair.

I know not what to do with myself
This pounding in my gut is hard to bear
Sleepless nights
Closure’s door slammed shut
Indifference feels different now.

~ A wound gets worse when it is treated with neglect~ Stevie Nicks

Consent

When your friend wants to vent but has no outlet to do so…you let her borrow your blog…from LK…

Retaeh Parson, Audrie Pott, Stubenville, Glen Ridge, Dalhousie, Jian Gohmeshi, Bill Cosby, Brock Turner…. The list is actually massive when I googled “high profile rape cases”.

Recently at my son’s high school, a boy who in the fall, received nude pictures of a girl and showed them to his friends, received no punishment from the school, and then in the spring, the same boy sent pictures of his penis to different girls at the school, who showed their friends, and again received no punishment. The girls did though… It struck a cord. No matter what side of this issue this boy was on, the school did not punish him. “Boys will be boys”.

Now Brock Turner is all over the media, and society is again screaming loud and clear that we have a major problem.

I have two sons. I love them dearly, but I am scared as hell for them. While I try to use these high profile cases as a way to open conversations with them about sex, rape, and consent, the rest of the world seems to be telling them, it’s not a big deal. They only SAY it’s a big deal, but there are no real consequences. If you can stick it in, go for it. If you can take a picture, show us. If you can lift her skirt, have at her. If you won’t, send her over to me, I will. Women are here for our sexual gratification, our entertainment, women are here for us to use. No consequences.

I can only hope my discussions with them will play on their minds, when, and I say WHEN because they WILL end up in one of these situations, or witness one. I can only hope they think of their little sister. Of their girlfriends, and girl friends. Of the various victims we have read articles about, and discussed at length. I’ve said over and over, be the PROTECTOR. When society tells you it’s not a big deal, and while the law, or your school, may not give you the impression there are consequences for your actions, even if your friends call you a pussy, I am begging you, be the protectors.

What I’ve said to my boys about consent? What EVERYONE needs to say to our boys about consent? It means two people, of sound, sober mind, ENTHUSIASTICALLY WANTING each other. Both people, enthusiastically participating in the activity. Not trying to convince or pressure someone. Not begging for them to want you. Not relentlessly asking for naked pictures. Not a drunk chick you don’t know. DEFINITELY NOT AN UNCONSCIOUS WOMAN BY A DUMPSTER. We need to talk about this in the schools, at home. We need to talk about this in graphic detail. If she’s drunk, watch for predators, if she’s passed out, get her to safety. If she’s a stranger, or an acquaintance, or even a friend, who is drunk and coming on to you… It’s a NO. Just NO. No for you, no for your friends, and no for anyone else around. No means no, maybe means no, drunk means no, passed out means NO. It’s not about whether girls should get drunk, or whether girls should send naked pictures, or wear tank tops and short skirts. It’s about the boys. It’s what we are telling our boys. It’s about respect. If she liked you enough to send you a picture, respect that. Keep it private. If she liked you enough to willingly, and enthusiastically take her clothes off for you? Don’t call her a slut, or snap a picture, or tell your buddy she’s easy. Respect her. Keep your shit private. Keep HER shit private.

I will continue to pound this message into their heads, but I’m one mom, and they are just two boys, and it’s hard, and scary, when everything else coming at them seems to be telling them the opposite.

Contributed by LK

Cry

Tonight is one of those nights for a good cry. I sit here, listening to Miley Cyrus (whatever), and I’m bawling.

It’s one of those night where I’m missing my friends who live so damn far away now. It’s the sadness of missing my boyfriend after two whole nights apart (I know, shut up). It’s the nighttime darkness. The mornings of gloom. Anxiety creeps in over back-to-school routines. Money issues. Those never end, blood sucking, mother fucking, money issues.

Did I mention the car and the fridge with one wheel in the grave? More sad music plays in the background, because why not torture myself more. Maybe I had some wine. (whatever) I might be a tad overwhelmed with work. I am lacking sleep. So I cry.

It’s the climb up the proverbial never ending mountain. Just when I think I’ve reached the peak, there’s a mudslide. Tomorrow I get up and start over with a new day. A new day with the same frustrations, the same sadness and the same stresses. But with a release of emotions that somehow makes it feel like I’ll be able to handle it all. I will lace up my hiking boots and start the new trek to the top.

Now, back to Miley…

~ Wendy ~

Why

Want to know a very quick and dirty way to get to the root of any of your issue?

Ask yourself why, repeatedly, until the answer becomes clear…

Example:
Why do I have a headache? Because I drank wine last night.
Why did I drink wine last night? Because I was sad.
Why were you sad? Because my goldfish died.
Why did your golf fish die? Because I forgot to feed it.
Why didn’t you feed it? Because I hate the goldfish.
Why do you hate the goldfish? Because it reminds me of the time my psychotic sister tried to drown me in a bowl of water when I was 8.

Basically, if you dig deep enough and honestly, you can actually figure out the real issues. Once you figure out the why, you can figure out the where, the when, the who and the what.

The where and when are easy: That’s geographically, how old you were, summer/winter, etc.
Which critical point in your life did this occur?

The who: Was this your teacher who yelled and created anxiety? Was it your mom that always fell down and smell of booze? Was it the ex who made you question the motives of any future man?

The what: The what is the effect of all of the above. The outcome. The what makes you “YOU”.

My friend and I talk ALL.THE.TIME about these types of scenarios. I can directly relate my anxiety to a few key points in my life. I can relate past boy issues to my daddy issues. I can admit my flaws, my perfect imperfections if you will, not with justification but with clarification. It all makes sense when you start to put the puzzle pieces together. From there, why you cry at father/daughter scenes begins to make sense. Why do you have a tendency to binge drink a bottle of wine if you’ve had an anxious day makes you slow down a step. Why do you feel unworthy of love starts to sound like why do I feel so lucky in love? You see though, the why’s don’t always have to start off bad. You might live your life thinking you’ll never be content or truly happy because of what happened to you as a teenager. You might blame yourself for your parents divorce because of that one time you heard them fighting about you. Or hate yourself for that time you got so mad you slapped your son because it reminds you of the time your father hit you. Maybe you don’t fully appreciate what’s right in front you of you. What’s right here and now, what’s in front of your face just trying to love you to the best of their ability. But then, then you wake up one morning, at thirty-three, and somehow life seems clearer. All the whats of your life start to add up. They craft the path of your life. You find glimmers of happiness because you remember that time when…

You see the sun rise and set differently because of that time you had to get up really early to catch that plane. You take deeper breathes and a calmer approach because you don’t want to repeat patterns. You allow yourself to be loved because of that one great first date. So my friend, do not let what happened in the past dim your views on life. Do not let them make you feel guilt. Do not give them the time to fester in your soul. Own them, accept them, love the shit out of them. For they are what makes you you and what makes him him.

~ Wendy ~

Walk The Line

Do you know how much it sucks to post about your private life, only to have it completely implode on you within days/weeks/months of your post. There’s this fine line of trying to decide if it’s worth it to let life play out in words or if it’s best to just keep it private to save the torture of everyone knowing your joy and pain as it’s happening in real life.

I just spent a few hours going thru my old blog posts and had this panicked feeling of wanting to delete all the posts that no longer applied. You know the ones…”OMG, I love my husband”…nah, shit, we’re getting a divorce….”OMG, I loooove my new boyfriend”…nah, wait…we broke up too. FML…it’s so embarrassing. You’re so sure of something one day, then two months later you look back and wonder what the fuck what wrong with you?! There’s days that I’m actually convinced that writing about my life somehow jinxes my life.

So here I sit, glass of wine in hand, debating if it’s worth it to unleash my soul to the world anymore. I fret over the content of what I want to say vs what I think I should say. I tend to censor myself as to not offend ‘so-and-so’. Maybe it’s getting older and realizing what is actually important in life? I’m 33, and it’s stupid that I give a shit about who I’m appealing to on social media. I started this bastard of a blog as a fun way to journal my yoga experiences. Over two years it’s turned into some demon that chases me in my dreams.

I’m an open book in real life. Ye ask and ye shall be told. I don’t know why it bothers me so much more to be honest via the cyber world. Maybe it’s paranoia, maybe it’s realizing that not everyone needs to know your business. Either way…I’m taking a step back from vomiting out my heart and soul. Maybe some things are best kept private. Maybe in two weeks I’ll forget I wrote this and blabber on about life all over again. Who knows?! All I know for sure, at this very moment, is that I’m the happiest I have ever been. Like EVER. And I don’t want to ruin that.

For now, without hesitation…I sign off, not knowing if I’ll be back or not. And I’m ok with that.

Summer

I finally understand why I find it so hard to blog in the summer….lack of inspiration AKA the kids aren’t here to drive me wildly cuckoo mad.

This conversation just occurred:

Wendy: Jeremy, the school called and said you had detention for forgetting your gym clothes AGAIN. (One week into school…shoot me now)
Jeremy: yeah
Wendy: Well…what happened?
Jeremy: I didn’t have a kitbag here.
Wendy: You could have used a sobeys bag.
Jeremy: Uh…I don’t want to have to DRAG around a sobeys bag.
Wendy: Wouldn’t that be easier than having detention?
Jeremy: It wasn’t detention, it was study hall.
Wendy: OK…well was it worth an hour of your time in STUDY HALL?!?!
Jeremy: It was 45 mins.
Wendy: WAS IT WORTH IT?!?!
Jeremy: Yes.
——————————-
Riddle me that?

Teenagers are annoying.

Baby #3

The stork has arrived once again!

Friday, the 19th of July, I got the long overdue call that Mama M’s water had broken. According to the estimate date she was approximately 10 days overdue, which probably felt like 100 days to Mama M. I’m not sure there are many things worse than being overdue in the dead of summer.

Mama M & Daddy J went to the hospital to get checked out. Sure enough, the time had finally arrived and I was called to go to the hospital at 11:30pm to what was sure to be a fast labour. By this point she was already 3 cms dilated and 75% effaced (thinning of the cervix, has to be 100%). She was well on her way, and the contractions were already at 2-2 1/2 mins apart and lasting 45 seconds of more. On paper…this was huge.

M’s breathing was priceless. She could write a book about proper breathing techniques for birth. Actually, J could write a book about proper coaching and breathing as well. I have never witnessed a couple as in sync as they were. It was actually very moving to see. Even at the peak of her pain, there were still hugs and kisses and sweethearts and darlings. They breathed together as one as they waltz in place during all the contractions.

Fast forward through about 5 hours of walking and swaying back and forth thru contractions…
It was early morning and the pain was getting worse. As always, there’s generally a shift in the way the mother reacts as she gets closer and closer to the goal of 10cms. There was such a shift that it really seemed like she would at least be 8cms…not so. But she was at 5cms. Progress at least?!

It was now 5am on Saturday and nobody had slept since Friday morning. Patience was wearing thin and the dreaded defeat hit. This was going to be a long labour. Mama M decided to opt for some Fentanyl to help ease some pain. It was part of her birth plan to have a drug free delivery, but that’s not always achievable with long labours. There’s a reason it’s called a birth plan though and not a birth contract…you are able to change your mind.

With the drugs able to relax her a bit, she drifted in and out of sleep for a few hours. By 9am, she received a 2nd dose of Fentanyl and they checked her cervix again. This time she was still stuck at 5/6…talk about defeat! By this time they decided to break her fore waters, which is the fluid that remains trapped between the baby’s head and cervix. Breaking this can be useful in creating more pressure on the cervix to help it dilate, but can also be a cause for the cervix to not dilate uniformly and can cause swelling…catch 22 really. You don’t know whether it’s going to help or not until it’s done.

Guess what…it didn’t help. By noon, after another cervix check, she was still 6cms and now her cervix was swollen, plus she now had a fever. The decision was made that she had approx. 2hrs to progress or it would be an immediate C-section. An epidural was given it hopes that it would relax her enough to let her body do the work it needed to do.

Guess what…that DID help. By 1:30pm she was dilated to 9.5cms. I’m not a huge fan of epidurals…I’m barely a mediocre fan, but when used at the right time for the right situations they actually can do a good thing. In this case, it stopped a C-section from being performed.

By 3pm she was fully dilated, Mom & Dad took power naps to rest up for pushing. I ran downstairs and inhaled a sub for breakfast/lunch and by 4:30 she was starting to push.

This is were things get blurry….and graphic. *Readers be warned* (BABY IS FINE!)

After about 30-35 minutes of pushing, there was huge progress. The baby moved down nicely, crowned, and then the head was out. But all of a sudden then was an emergency page for “SHOULDER”…and in the blink of an eye the room was full of nurses and NICU staff. The baby’s shoulder was stuck behind Mama’s pubic bone. Shoulder dystocia…a very scary thing.

The baby is literally stuck in the vagina. With no room, the umbilical cord is squashed and the baby’s lungs are also compressed so there is no way for the baby to get oxygen. The baby has to come out NOW.

You’ve never seen a pregnant lady in labour be moved so fast. Within 30 seconds, she was flipped onto her hands and knees, then back again, legs being pushed back, with a nurse pushing on her pubic bone with her whole body strength. The position changes more than often help to shift the baby.

The doctor then placed her hand up past the baby’s head, into the vagina, grabbed a hold of the baby’s arm and pulled. Out popped baby…a very blue/purple, limp baby. The NICU team took the baby right away and within 30 seconds the baby started to cry the tiniest, little gurgly cry I’ve ever heard. In the chaos of it all, it was confirmed that the baby was indeed a GIRL! It would take a few days in the NICU to come around, but in the end she was fine.

As quickly as it happened, it was like slow motion. By far, the scariest birth I’ve ever witness. By the end of it, it looks like a scene out of a movie. There was literally blood every where. I fully understand why it’s recommended to have an extra change of clothes/shoes with you. It was insane. It was a learning experience I will never forget.

Overall, a scary yet beautiful birth. The parents were so in sync, the most active participation by the dad, the most grateful parents to just hold their little girl. It was a blessing to be a part of, and I look forward to the next time.

~ Wendy ~