Surgery, Finally

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Throughout my last pregnancy, I swore to myself it would be the last time I would put my body through something like that. I hated being pregnant for so many reasons. I made sure everyone knew it. Especially my OB, who had little patience for my nonsense. Of course, as part of my nearly year long interactions with her over the course of the pregnancy, she did ask what my postpartum plans for birth control would be. I enthusiastically stated that I wanted a tubal ligation, preferably while I was still in the hospital after delivery.

When that time came, however, no memory of our conversation could be found for her, so it must never have happened. Ugh, fine, I figured I’d get it done another time. And I did schedule it, as a separate procedure nearly two months later. I was back to work by then, and had to take a day of precious PTO I had just recently banked in order to go.

The surgicenter was clean and very quiet. My husband brought me in, and I went through all the expected motions at check in. Everyone was trying to assure me that I had nothing to fear, that general anesthesia would be no problem, and I should be in and out quickly. I stuffed my fear down into a quiet part of my mind, determined that I would be fine.

As they brought me back and connected the IV, I remember laying back and closing my eyes. Then waking up much later in a very groggy state. The surgery had gone fine, but apparently, one of the instruments slipped and lacerated me. I guess. No one explained it to me, or if they did, I have no memory. The doctor did tell my husband, but he had no idea what was really happening, and assumed someone would have this conversation with me. But they didn’t. In fact, at the time I type this, almost two months later, no one from my doctor’s office or surgicenter has given me any explanation as to what happened or how badly it cut me or anything.

The recovery took longer than I expected, but the end result, sterility, was all I really wanted. I’m glad I had my two boys, but now I’m done. And I’m glad I don’t have to worry about it any longer.

Peacemaking

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Returning to work, I am exhausted most days. Maybe it’s the medication finally working, maybe the burst of oxytocin from nursing/nesting/loving up on my newly completed family, but I have no room in my heart for negativity. So when my mortal enemy at work decides to speak to me in a kind way, I find myself simply being polite back rather than stonewalling with silence as I’d normally do.

I don’t like this person. I never have and I never will. I will not ever forget the times she’s tried to get me fired. Still, I’m in a position where I don’t want to actively engage in toxic behavior, simply because I’m too tired to keep at it very long.

So, in a sense, there is peace. Well, until she does something to piss me off again. Then we’re right back to where we started. But for now, it’s nice and I’m not unhappy about it.

To whom it may concern

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To whom it may concern,

You don’t know it yet, but you’re about to make a new best friend. I’m sure every mom thinks her kid is special, but here’s why I think mine is:

He’s a very chill and easily calmed baby. He’ll stop halfway through a bottle and realize he’s in love with you. He’ll give up on sustenance and emote love so hard at you, it’ll stop you in your tracks.

When you change his diaper, he’ll light up with simple eye contact and coo over the moon contentment if you rub his belly. Bonus points if you nibble his toes. He’ll wrap his little legs around your arms and dare you to stop what you’re doing to admire his sweet attention.

He’s been very chatty these days, so please be sure to ask him his opinion of every little thing. He’s got a lot to say.

He definitely enjoys his face time, so engage him as much as you can. He likes cuddles with some gentle back pats or jiggles. This helps too if he has trouble settling on a feeding or going to sleep.

He still needs a swaddle to rest, so make sure you can give him that option. It’s better if you have white noise. His favorite nap position is on my chest but I doubt you’ll have that luxury. Please do what you can to enjoy his cuddles. They are so precious.

Most of all, tell him that I love him. And that I’ll be back soon. And that I’m sorry I have to share this part of his upbringing with someone else. But mommy has to work and it’s just the way things are.

Tell him that that he’s awesome and amazing and I can’t wait to see him again. But, then, while you have him, enjoy him. He’s a beautiful, loving bundle of warm, happy old soul. Let him bring as much light to you as he does for us. Hold him, please, while I can’t, so this village we choose continues to grow.

Love him as I love him, which is so easy, considering how lovingly he melts in your arms. Love him please, until I get back.

From: a working mom

an open letter to my sons

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To my dear boys,

I’ve had this post in my notes for a long time, longer than either of you have existed, to be honest. When I decided I wanted to be a mother, it was an uneasy decision. I think that’s probably true of most people, but where I differ, I think, is my reasons. Before you were born, I was already a parent in many ways to the people who were supposed to be mine. It was their idea that I was to be the responsible person in our family, that I should be the glue to hold things together, repair whatever damage they would cause, and that I should do all of this without thought or rebuke and never stop until the day they ceased to draw breath.

During that time, I could barely focus on anything but their needs, bypassing my own care for theirs, thinking their thoughts, anticipating their next moves. It was exhausting. And eventually, it wore me down to the point where I could no longer do it. With codependency, which is what I would learn this type of behavior is called, there is no easy extrication. In order to remove myself from this toxic, enmeshed dysfunction, I had to do so with extreme emotional violence, isolation, and silence. I could give them no reason that they would accept, choosing instead to be the monster in their minds, rather than to expose their own monstrosity down to the core, something which would have inflicted much more pain than I was willing to accept. In doing so, I was finally able to free myself enough to consider a family of my own, and so, you two were born.

It is my hope that you understand my reasons for keeping these people out of your lives. There will come a day when I’ll have to sit down with each of you and explain that you have more biological family than you know, and why they are unknown to you. I can’t know for certain, but I can say that raising you without them in my life has been the lesser of two evils. Yes, I feel badly each and every day for doing something so severe, but I feel strongly that, if they were in our lives, the emotional toll (not to mention, the physical and financial ones) would be incredibly high. Their need to control, manipulate, and inflict damage on those around them would influence you in ways I cannot allow or accept. Having spent the years in therapy that I have, medicated and not, I would not wish that hardship on anyone, because even to this day, I am still influenced by it.

I want you to know the light and joy you bring to me and your father. I firmly believe that your personalities are shaped not only by the love we hope to bring into your lives, but also by avoiding the abusive, toxic behaviors that having my parents in your lives would cause. I know you are better without it. However, this means your very existence causes what I can only imagine is pain to them. For this, I am so sorry. What I do, I do to protect you, in the way that no one was there to protect me.

My dear, darling children, your love for each other is so pure and beautiful. I see it blossoming into what I can only hope will be a lifelong friendship and camaraderie. I hope you are able to look out for each other, finding humor and love and joy in each others’ company. My heart soars when you are playing together, laughing and cuddling. I feel like I may not have much left to give, but all that I have is yours to take.

You each are the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Your hearts are full of love and joy. Your minds are full of questions and determination to seek out the answers to life’s great mysteries. I love you both so, so much. Thank you for being such amazing little humans. I look forward to each morning, watching you grow up together. You make my heart so happy.

Love always,
Mom

Back to work

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I write this post under duress. I don’t want to go back to work. I don’t care that my 12 weeks is up. I don’t care that I have to start making money or getting benefits for my kids. I just want more time with my boys. I hate the people I work with, and the idea of trading the hours of my day in exchange for not nearly enough money so I can put my kids in daycare is beyond upsetting. I spent days crying about it. I don’t wanna.

Due to a complete failure on the part of my HR department, they have me starting work back again on a Friday, so I get 11.9 weeks of leave instead of the 12. I realize when I arrive that I left my breast pump at home, so I tell my husband that he needs to bring the baby by (he doesn’t start school until the Monday following). I end up nursing the baby sitting on the floor of my office because we can’t get comfortable anywhere else. It’s all I can do to hold myself together, knowing he’s going to be someone else’s buddy next week while I have to work alone.

The people in the office are on their best behavior. I can tell that someone talked about what they want them to act like when I got back. It feels even more uncomfortable, this fake niceness, than the thinly veiled hostility I was used to. I’m too tired to care. These people barely register on my radar anymore. I just want to get through the obligation of time and home to the boys. 4:00 can’t come fast enough.

Baby wearing ftw

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The best advice I have received to date on being a mom, especially with more than one kid, was to integrate babywearing into our life. When my first child was born, I tried it a few times, but didn’t really get that into it. My son didn’t like being constrained by a carrier and the few times he did let me wear him, the tasks I needed to do (e.g., laundry and loading the dishwasher) didn’t really work out the way I’d hoped. At the time, it was easier just to put him in his crib or the pack & play and let him sleep there.

But with the second kid, everything’s different. The older child is already into everything and not having the ability to clone myself, babywearing became a necessity to getting anything done. I have several options, as a result of an overzealous gift registry with my first born coupled with my hoarding everything from the first kid in case I could find use for it with the second.

We took the boys to a Christmas event at a nearby train station, and although it was freezing outside, we managed to make it work with the Moby wrap (and a big floofy onesie that made the baby look like a stuffed bear). At holiday events with family, when the baby needed to nap but there was too much commotion, swaddling him in the wrap was a great option because he was warm and snuggly on my chest and would actually sleep pretty well. It also gave me free hands to deal with our older son, which was super helpful.

Babywearing, especially in the Moby wrap, is fantastic in the first few weeks before he was strong enough to hold his own head up. Now that he’s a little older, we’ve done the forward facing Baby Bjorn as well, with a lot of success. I’m all about finding workable solutions as I acknowledge I’m living the hardest year of my life and I need all the help I can get.

Things on the floor are dead to me

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During my pregnancy, the baby took up most of my belly’s real estate. Even at the best of times, the occupied space was irritatingly uncomfortable. The tiredness made for increased clumsiness and I spent more time than I’d like to admit picking up the shit I knocked on the floor only to repeat the same mistake again and again. Towards the end, I began to declare that things on the floor are dead to me, so that I could deal with my limited mobility, but also use humor to engage others to assist my clumsy ass.

After the baby was born, I thought I’d be better at picking crap up that I knocked over. Employing matrix-like flex skills, and draining every ounce of energy from my legs, I’m grateful I spent so much time in the gym doing leg presses and squats.

How I feel picking up shit off the floor with sleeping baby in my arms

Sometimes I can employ the old toe grab, and try to toss it into one of my free hands. Channeling my inner chimpanzee is all well and good, but gets old rather quick.

Feet? Oh you mean my second set of hands? Yes, I am a veritable octopus…er, quadropus…

Ah, mom life.