When I Knew That I Was Bisexual

I was twelve. It was during homeroom in middle school, which at my school wasn’t called homeroom but instead named with some ridiculous acronym that never really made sense and no one actually used.

So anyways, I was in homeroom.

Every day in middle school was a social learning opportunity. I was observant and desperate to be “cool”. I noticed how the cool kids dressed, listened to how they talked, watched how they carried their books (down at the hip is cool, grasped in front of your chest is nerdy). I also picked up vocabulary that wasn’t being taught in any of my classes… the kind of vocabulary kids only got to learn if they had older siblings or were allowed to watch whatever they wanted on TV.

These kids in homeroom knew about something that I had never heard of. It began with a conversation with one of the girls at my table saying she was ambidextrous. Another boy chimed in and said he was too. A second girl, late to the conversation, said “I think I’m bi too!”

The two 13-year-old boys at the table were quick to snicker, and the girl became embarrassed and defensive, backtracking and trying to understand why what she had said had elicited that reaction. The boys knew something she didn’t, and knowledge on forbidden topics was practically currency in middle school.

Still trying to grasp what she had said, she kept talking, clarifying that she thinks she can write with both hands, and isn’t that what they were talking about?

One of the boys decided to clue the rest of us in on the joke. The second girl had claimed she was bi, which, according to them, was a term for someone who likes both guys and girls. NOT the term for someone who uses both hands to write. They explained that bi means someone who “goes both ways”, which I guess could actually describe ambidexterity, but that is obviously not what the commonly understood meaning is. Just like how when I say “the pill”, we all know exactly which pill I am referring to.

I immediately thought to myself upon hearing this definition, “Oh, so that’s what I am. That’s what it’s called.”

It really was that simple of a moment. I heard the word, learned the meaning of it, and knew that’s what I was. There was never a question to me. No “bisexual awakening”. I have always been bi, the only defining moment for me in my sexuality was when I realized what it was called and could then identify myself.

Really, guys. No big “Aha!” moment. Just, oh! That’s me! And right on to the next subject.

Throughout adolescence I had crushes on both boys and girls, but I just didn’t know how to express the crushes on girls at an early age. And by the time I wanted to, where I knew I liked a female enough to say something, I had already realized these feelings not be met with open arms. I worried my female friends would be awkward around me or uncomfortable with me. But I never felt different. Or wrong. Or guilty for these attractions. Honestly, (and purposefully), I didn’t hide them very well.

I continued on in my teens dating the boys I liked, and I told every one of them that I identified as bisexual. As for the girls I liked, I knew  full well they did not like me back so I never pursued it.

 

The rest of the story of how I got to where I am now—with a toddler and a future wife—is for another time. The Steph You Should Know here is that I have always been this way, I have always felt this way, I just didn’t know what it was until puberty— at the same age that most everyone else is figuring out who they like too.  I never “became” bi, I didn’t transition to  bisexuality, and it is definitely not a phase. It’s just me.

A Year Later…

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Eli is so OLD! He’s almost THREE! I have been a mom for so long now. I think back to pregnancy, which began in 2012. 2012?! It doesn’t seem like I have been Mommy for that long. But at the same time, I can’t really remember what it was like before either. They always say it flies by—and except for the weird time-freeze vortex when he’s throwing a tantrum in the toy aisle at Target— the time really does go fast.

He has all his teeth, he does puzzles by himself, he even tells me when the light turns green when I’m driving.  We celebrate every milestone… and then some. Like the day he asked to eat a baby carrot, that was huge in our house. Eli won’t even touch any food that feels wet, let alone eat it. It was like he took first steps again, I was so excited. HE ATE AN ACTUAL VEGETABLE!

There are so many days where I am so impressed by him, and I have to remind myself that I’m his mom and I get to take some of the credit for how amazing he is. For my first try with the whole parenting/raising another human thing, it’s gone surprisingly smooth. I feel very lucky.

For those of you who are Facebook friends…. you know I have some other big news from the last year. I met someone. And I feel very lucky for another reason, because this someone and I are getting married.

Blog, meet Rachel.

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Rachel and I met last March, right around the last time I posted on Steph You Should Know. If you’re keeping score, it’s totally because I met her that I haven’t been posting. It’s also because of her that I am posting again now. A month ago I asked her to marry me, and after how many times we have been asked “so… who is wearing the suit?”, it just felt natural to take to the internet to discuss and expound on our relationship. We are bisexual. Both of us. While I feel my sexuality is a relatively private detail, it raises a lot of questions when I say I have a fiancé who is female and a two year old son. I would like to address and answer those questions.

There is some stigma surrounding the B in LGBT, and not many know what bisexual means. Honestly, Rachel and I are very new to the scene, so we are not experts on it either (and not claiming to be experts). All I know is how I feel for her when I see her face, and how full and warm my heart is when I see how much she loves Eli.

She is the partner I did not know I would find, and she came along when I wasn’t looking for her. I am so surprised and amazed by her and how gracefully she has entered my chaotic life. My life now features a rollicking toddler and an inspirational, supportive partner. The stories I share here will be the Steph You Should Know— the struggles, joys, and funny anecdotes of parenthood, partnership, toddler-rearing and wedding planning— all wrapped in one package.

 

And let me say it now: thank you all for your support. You have no idea how much it truly means to us.

 

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My loves walking in a field of tulips

 

My Son’s Favorite Word That I Unknowingly Taught Him

He picks up a lot from watching me, I am also a standing eater. Although I usually get more of the food in my mouth.

He picks up a lot from watching me, I am also a standing eater. Although I usually get more of the food in my mouth.

I don’t live in his mind, so it’s probably a little assuming of me to say it’s his favorite word. It definitely reveals way too much about our home life.

Baby Daddy and I had been trying to figure out for a while what word Eli was trying to say. He would say this word over, and over again, with increasing volume and intensity, and we couldn’t figure out what he meant. One evening when we were handing off, we discussed these words. There were two: one that sounded like ba-ba-doi and another that sounded like yeh-pa-dee.

As we talked it out we realized what one of them was. Yeh-pa-dee. Say it out loud. Yehpadee. Still stumped? I’ll give you a hint: It’s a game show.

I’ve been trying to get on this game show for years, and I watch it every night. When Eli’s doctor asked if he had any screen time, I proudly told him no…. and then remembered that we watch this every evening promptly at 7 o’clock. When I told the doctor what show it was, he seemed amused and wasn’t concerned about Eli’s exposure to this side of television.

Still don’t know what the word is?

Jeopardy.

My son says Jeopardy.

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We never did figure out what that other word was, but he stopped saying it, so I’m guessing he found a different way to get the point across.

I’m slightly pleased that Eli knows the word Jeopardy but also just barely abashed. It’s a big word for a year-and-half-old kid. It’s pretty impressive. It also is now how to he refers to any television. If the TV is on in the background, it’s “Jeopardy” to Eli. Even the TVs in the electronics department of stores are “Jeopardy! JEOPARDY!”. I don’t really know how to explain to others why my child is shouting the word Jeopardy every time we walk into a Costco.

There are worse words he could be repeating. There are more personal things he could be sharing about our family to random people—and I know those moments are sure to come down the road, in that magical, awful, golden age where children are little truth mongers. Jeopardy is a cute, harmless word for him to know. What Eli picking up the word Jeopardy shows me is that I have to watch how I talk and what I talk about in front of him, and that I needed to start last week.

The Steph You Should Know: If there is something you do every single day with your baby present, trust me, they’re picking it up. Which gives me a lot of (probably false) hope for early potty training.

My kid? He says Jeopardy. Maybe one day he’ll be the next Ken Jennings. (A mom can dream.)

I’m Still Mad About What Another Mom Said to Me

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Look at the above photo. Tell me, can you find what I am doing wrong as a parent in this picture?

A mom in the waiting room could see clearly what mistake I was making and made sure to let me know.


First, the Steph You Should Know from the following story: this was not an isolated incident. While I live in a very kind area of the country—seriously, Portlanders are really nice people—that doesn’t stop the Mom Wars. These battles are everywhere and know no boundaries—in all senses of the word. Mom Wars can best be described as the animosity and judgement other moms feels towards each other for differing parenting and lifestyle choices.

For example, there is apparently this huge feud, (that I had no idea about until I read some comments online), regarding who is better: stay-at-home moms versus working moms. Without bothering to take individual situations into consideration, some mothers (and I say that as if there is another word at the end of it) feel righteous enough to tell other mothers that there is only one right way to raise a child.

The worst part about the Mom Wars? All of the judgement, the rude comments, the put-downs— it all comes from other moms. This baffles me. We all know how hard it is some days. So why aren’t we, moms, lifting each other up?


 

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Sending Baby Daddy selfies in the waiting room, before the incident.

Last March, when Eli was 8ish months old, he had a fever. It was a tiny smidgeon of a fever, barely even 100.0, but I decided to take him into the pediatrician’s office. He had been acting funny and pulling at one of his ears, and I was worried he had an ear infection. We were a week away from getting on a plane and I wanted to make sure he was healthy before traveling.

I made the appointment, took him in, got him looked at. He was totally fine. The doctor couldn’t find any reason for his fever, made it clear I didn’t need to worry, and gave me some good tips for my upcoming flight with Eli. All in all, a very uneventful and unnecessary trip to the pediatrician. Uneventful, at least, until we walked through the waiting room on our way out.

A mom had come into the waiting room while we had been in the exam room. She was perusing a shelf of pamphlets in front of the door as I carried Eli towards the exit. I said “excuse me” in my quiet, polite, Portland way, because I needed her to move away from the door for a moment so I could get through it. It’s one of those heavy doors on an arm that slows it down so it can’t slam. She reluctantly moved aside, and as the door was closing behind me, I heard her say in a voice loud enough for me to hear,  “It’s too cold outside for a baby not to have socks on.” 

She knew the door would close slowly. She wasn’t trying to say anything to my face, but she wanted me to hear her remark.

Look at how happy this kid is. Would you find something mean to say to that face?

Look at how happy this kid is. Would you find something mean to say to that face?

In early March, it was maybe 50 degrees outside, and Eli had a slight fever. So I removed his socks to help him  stay cool. Anyone who has had an 8 month old child knows that they tend to remove their own socks anyways. Whatever, I should not need to justify myself. Why, oh why, lady, did you think it was okay to underhandedly let me know this was not up to your standards?

She was not kindly informing me that the temperature had dropped outside; she was clearly not trying to help me out. Her intentions were to notify me that I was not taking care of my child correctly. That I was failing as a mother. That she could take care of my child better than I could. If she wanted to me help me out, she would’ve said it to my face. But she waited until I was a safe enough distance away not to turn around and confront her but still within earshot.


I wish I could pinpoint why this happens. If I had to guess for myself, I would say it’s my age. Or lack of a wedding ring. When I tell people at work that  I have a son, the response is often, “You have a baby?!”. Sometimes, in this way, they are complimenting my waist size or how young I look. But usually, the way they say it makes it clear to me what they think of my ability as a parent in correlation to my age and appearance.

Regardless of the reason why she did this, I felt so much doubt and anger after this mom said this to me at the pediatrician’s. I wanted to go back in and tell her my baby had a fever, and I was actually overreacting and being overprotective by taking him in at all. I wanted to go justify myself to her; I wanted to prove to her that I am a good mom.

Does anyone else hear how messed up that sounds? I felt the need to prove to a complete stranger that I am a fit mother. Moms, why do we do this to each other? We ALL know how hard motherhood can be, and yet we continue to judge each other to the harshest standards—standards that are NOT one-size-fits-all. It’s been a year, a whole year, and I can still hear her voice in my head; I can still feel the doubt surge through me.

If you’re reading this and you’re a mom, I want you to know something:

You are doing a great job. 

(And don’t you dare let the lady at the pediatrician’s make you feel anything less than that.)


I did find out why he had been acting sick later, when I saw the tooth coming through when he was screaming on the airplane. (Flying with an infant…Oi … that fun experience is a whole post for later).

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Before our flight last March. Bye bye PDX carpet =(

I’m Baaaaack

I’m finally ready. I can tell I’ve been away from my blog for a long time when all of the photos of Eli look like he’s still a baby.

I mean look at him, he’s totally a toddler now.

Anyways, there are going to be a few changes in format here.

First, no more FitMama. For a few reasons, but mainly because I don’t want to. No one wants to read about the mom who lost all the baby weight super easily and who had very few struggles regarding staying active and healthy post-baby. It’s not that I’m never going to talk about fitness, I just won’t try to have a weekly segment.

Second, I am going to get more personal. I started writing this because no one else I knew was really going through the things that I was. (And also because I spent my whole pregnancy becoming a fountain of knowledge for all things pregnancy related and I wanted to share the wealth.) I’m still one of the only moms in my peer group. Sharing on here helps me feel I like am not alone, and it also gives my peers a glimpse into what motherhood is really like—the stretch marks and the beautiful moments and everything in between.

 

That’s all for now, internet. I’ll be back shortly. Byyyyyyye.

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I’m Not Ignoring You, I Just Need Space

Space.

Space.

Hey Blog, I miss you.

But to be perfectly honest: being perfectly honest is exhausting. That last post (wayyyyyy back in October, I know) drained me, emotionally.  I want to keep sharing. I’ve been getting feedback from readers recently (I’m totally just pretending to be nonchalant about the fact that I have reader[s]), and I know my absence has gone noticed.

I just wanted to say: Blog, I’m not done with you yet. You weren’t a phase. It’s not you, it’s me. I need to spend some time living my life, not writing about it.

I am not necessarily a private person, but some of the stories I have (and want, and need) to share come from a place that I’m not ready to visit regularly.

The good news, I finally have time for you, blog, because Baby Daddy is home from deployment. This is sure to drum up a lot of new content as we work through co-parenting. Spoiler alert: It’s been really great. Eli is thriving. That’s really all I care about. The rest is just icing and cherries.

Thanks for the space,

Happy Holidays!

-Stephanie

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Festive Eli

 

The Day The Test Turned Positive

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October 21st, two years ago. It was a Sunday. I got home, looked around for my roommate, deduced she was at the gym, and walked into the bathroom.

It said to wait three minutes before reading the result.

One minute. It was positive .

The first thing I did was curse. Something probably starting with an S or an F. I cursed First Response, for being so accurate and actually telling me 6 days before my missed period. And I cursed my mother for being right. (The women in my family can sense it—it’s our super power—we know when someone is pregnant. My sense didn’t kick in until this year. My mom’s sense for pregnancy, very strong after having two of her own, knew I was pregnant before the test would have even registered it.)

Rewind to the previous week: I had been quite sick. October 15th. It started on Monday, with a migraine. Sometimes migraines make me nauseous. So when I woke up and threw up the next morning, I didn’t think anything of it. I had this fullness, this tight discomfort in my gut, and I was certain it was the stomach flu. Nothing sounded good to eat, and I couldn’t handle the smell of food at all.

October 19th. By Friday, I was feeling a bit better. My mom and I were shopping with my sister, and in Forever 21 my sister pulled me aside and quietly asked if there was any possibility I could be pregnant but was not telling mom. I vehemently said no, and even if there was, a test wouldn’t even give a result yet, I still had 8 days before I was even supposed to start my period.

October 20th. On Saturday, I went to my boyfriend’s place. I was still sick; I don’t remember if we had plans, I just remember all I wanted to do was take a hot bath, something I like to do when I’m sick. We discussed the next weekend, we were going to see our favorite band on Friday.

“Are you excited to see Timeflies?”

“Yeah… but that’s the day I’m supposed to start. So I’ll probably take a test that day.”

“You’re not pregnant.”

“What if I am?”

“You’re not.”

“I know. But I’ll take a test every other day until then, and I’ll know on Friday if I don’t start.”

October 21st. Sunday. The morning after that conversation. I should’ve just taken the test at his place, but I didn’t. I wasn’t exactly a stranger to a pregnancy test, so I knew to take it in the morning—first morning urine would have the highest concentration of the pregnancy hormone. I knew that if you are pregnant, the hormone level doubles every 48 hours, which is why I had planned to take a test every other day. Sunday, 6 days before my missed period. Tuesday, Thursday, and then if I didn’t start on Friday, the test on Saturday would definitely pick up the hormone… if I was indeed pregnant.

Turns out I didn’t need my arsenal of tests. Even though I wasn’t ready to know, I knew. Two pink lines. I had been so unprepared for the result. I was alone, in my apartment, looking at the test and the two lines and the timer hadn’t even gone off yet.

I don't have the positive pregnancy test anymore, but I do still have the box it came in.

I don’t have the positive pregnancy test anymore, but I do still have the box it came in.

Immediately, I wanted to call First Response and complain. I didn’t want to know yet! Then I thought to call my mom and tell her she was right. My brain was racing, my heart too. I got a couple paces away, almost to the bathroom door, turned around and went back to the test on the bathroom counter and checked and that the two lines were still there. They were. In fact, they were getting clearer. I had a brief moment of wanting to just go out and sit on the couch and watch TV and eat breakfast like nothing was different at all. All these thoughts happened in the short span of a few seconds, and I realized quickly that what I really needed was for someone else to see it. To verify it for me. Yes, it’s two lines. Yes, judging by the key next to the result window, two lines indicates pregnancy. I hadn’t even let myself think it yet. It wasn’t real yet.

The only person who was nearby was my roommate. I shoved the test up my sleeve, and marched to the apartment gym to find her. I knocked on the door, and she timidly came over and opened it. (Apparently, I looked like I was upset… and since we only had one key to the gym, and she had it, she had to let me in, and I guess the look on my face was enough to make her question whether she should open the door or not.) Standing in the gym doorway, I took the test out of  my sleeve and showed it to her.

“What does this mean?” she asked me.

“It means I’m pregnant.”

For a couple minutes she went back to the elliptical, and I sat on one of the exercise bikes because I didn’t want to go back to the apartment and be alone again. She tried, but there was no way to get back into her work out after my interruption. We walked back to the apartment. I called my boyfriend. Asked if he would come over, please.

Later, when I asked him what he thought was going to happen when I called him over, he said he thought I needed him to move something heavy, or get something down from a high shelf.

The telling was unceremonious. We sat on the couch. I showed him the positive test. Cue his turn to curse.


Two years later. I see commercials where the wife cutely tells the husband, or I find out about a friend’s pregnancy, and I see their excitement about the test being positive. How thrilled they are. I didn’t have that. I don’t know what that would be like. Everything surrounding my entire pregnancy was tinged with this sense of ‘this isn’t supposed to be happening’. There was never excitement. Even after I decided (7 months later), to keep the baby, there wasn’t an excitement. I didn’t feel like I was allowed to be excited. Because he wasn’t planned. We weren’t married. By the second trimester, we weren’t even together anymore. We were still in school. We weren’t ready. We were too young. We wouldn’t know what we were doing.

There was so much negative. The only positive thing was the test.


I write this blog for two reasons:

1. catharsis

2. to help other women

Many pregnancies—even those occurring within marriages—are unplanned. It can be scary; it can be downright terrifying. Mix that with the sudden overwhelming responsibility, add feeling sick every day, and you have yourself a woman who needs a friend. I want to be that friend. I want to tell you what it’s really like. I want to tell you my story and listen while you tell me yours. I want you to know, it’s okay to feel all these things. I didn’t have anyone close to me who was going through what I was. All the pregnant women I saw were happy the test turned positive. They had been trying. Their husbands were elated to be dads.

This is the Steph You Should Know: it’s okay not to be excited. A pregnancy is a really big deal. October 21st, 2012, is the day the entire trajectory of my life changed forever. I was taking 20 credits, preparing to apply to medical school by the next year, I didn’t want to get married for several years, and I didn’t want to have kids until I was well out of medical school and had established myself as a doctor.

And then, where there should have been just one line, there were two. In another life, on another path, I am currently applying to medical school. I am planning to move to whatever school I get in to. I have the time to work, and I can work the job of my choosing, not the job that works around my baby sitter’s schedule. In another life, I don’t have a “baby daddy”.

But in that other life, on that other path, I don’t have a son, either.

And from the October 21st two years ago, to the one today, I can tell you one thing very, very confidently: I would not change one thing.

When I told Baby Daddy I was writing about the day the test turned positive he said, “best worst day of my life”.

Thanks Baby Daddy, that sums it up perfectly.

Other Moms Will Lie to You

There is this club that I belong to. It’s an all women’s club. Don’t even get me started about all the fees and hidden costs. To become a member is relatively easy, all you have to do make an entire new human and grow them in your own body.

No big, right?

If you are pregnant, welcome to the Mom Club. It’s a wonderful place full of confessions, advice, information, and other people who know what you are going through.

There is a drawback to the Mom Club though…. comparisons, unwarranted advice, and boldface lying.

We all share information with each other. (Ahem, this blog.) Sometimes it is to a complete stranger in the aisle at the store, other times it’s your own mother or sister. One thing all moms in the club like to discuss is labor and delivery. But they don’t tell the truth! Especially if the mom they are talking to is pregnant. I’m going to make up a percentage here, but let’s say about 75% of mom’s lie about their childbirth experience.

It can be as simple as exactly how long their labor was, or whether she cussed as the top of her lungs. Or as complex as how she actually felt to hold her baby for the first time. Whether it is a small lie or a big lie, it still isn’t the real story. So I’m here to tell you the truth—everything I remember—no sugar coating.

IF YOU ARE EASILY MADE QUEASY…. STOP READING.

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THE FACTS:

Labor at Home. I did not go into labor on my own, mine was induced, so I can’t give any truths about laboring at home or elsewhere. Also, my water did not break on it’s own.

I Have What Up There!? I did lose my mucous plug… I hoped it meant something was going to start happening. It didn’t. I walked around at 1 centimeter dilated for a month. It was gross when it fell out, but I knew what it was so it didn’t freak me out.

Bye Bye Personal Bubble. Once you reach the last month of pregnancy—and during your delivery—so many different people will put their hands up your vagina. Doctors, nurses, a midwife or two. You end up not really caring. It also can be very painful when they do cervix checks…. they measure dilation by how many fingers width it is. So… ow. Even worse when it happens during labor. Even weirder when they  say “and I can feel the head”.

The Naked Factor. Triple the number of people—most that you met about one minute before—who have shoved their hands in a very private place, and that is roughly how many will see you naked. And not just naked, but spread open wide. And very, very vulnerable (and undignified). There is a difference between just standing being naked and being naked while delivering a baby. It doesn’t get much more exposed than that.

Getting the Drugs. I have no issue with needles. I got the epidural earlier than I wanted to but the anesthesiologist was about to be in surgery for 2 hours so I jumped on the opportunity. Didn’t hurt at all. The only crappy part was then being stuck to the bed. You have to stay in a reclined position once you get one. Even if I had wanted to move around I couldn’t because my legs were numb…. mostly. I could feel when people touched my legs. If I was laying on my side, then the lower leg would get more numb and the upper leg would be more sensitive. I had to shift every so often to even it out.

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Pleasantly epiduraled and watching Harry Potter. I think we got through 4 of the 8 movies that first day.

The Wait.  I can’t speak for other moms. Maybe 20 hours of trying to birth a baby really did fly by for them. But I was in the hospital for 20 hours until my baby was born, in induced labor for 16, and feeling every single contraction and pain for the last 2 hours. It was a long day for me, especially since it started at 6 am and I never got to eat. By the time they were saying “okay looks like you’re going to have the baby” I was just like…. “now? but I’m so tired.” Which is the story I hear a lot: the mom was in labor for so long, their body working so hard (whether they could feel it working or not), and they were exhausted by the time the baby was actually ready to come out. It’s a long day. Or two. 

I also felt like the hospital stay after baby was born was too long. I actually begged them let me go home a day early. I just wanted to get home where we could be more comfortable and get settled.

The Pain. This, I remember. I distinctly remember feeling the contractions… first just little twinges… and then my entire body was clenched  tight with pain. I had had Braxton-Hicks contractions for a lot of my third trimester; they are nothing compared to the real ones. The uterus is just one huge, massive muscle, and it only gets one show. Or two. Or however many kids you decide to have. The point is, unlike a bicep which flexes for you all the time, the uterus just gets the one shot to show off. And it does.

My uterus took up much of my torso. My internal organs had rearranged and moved aside. That meant my entire midsection was one giant, muscle. Imagine holding your muscles in a flexed state until the point where they shake and then ultimately release. That’s what contractions are, and they only get more intense. The uterus just keeps on keeping on—especially if it’s high on pitocin.

The labor induction drug caused my contractions to come hard, and fast, and without much break. I had 1-minute-long contractions every 45 seconds. I also felt a very different kind of pain, one that the epidural, even after they gave it a boost, could not cover. The pain of bones being pushed to the point of breaking.

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That is what happens when soft baby head meets hard mommy pelvis. Oof. This picture of his cone head makes me cringe, and I’m his mother.

I didn’t cuss, but when I asked them later, they said I wasn’t silently bearing the pain either. I didn’t scream until we reached the operating room, and that was mainly because they had to remove the epidural to give me the spinal block, and you have to sit up hunched over for them to do that…. so I had to hunch over the muscle that was clenching and unclenching and trying it’s damnedest to get a human out of within another human. Sorry to the nurse who was holding me up whom I dug my nails into.

Regarding the c-section, I felt no pain at all.

The next day, I was still having contractions. It’s normal. They aren’t as intense as the labor ones, but they are not comfy either. It’s the uterus clearing out and shrinking back down. I still get phantom contractions. Since I had back labor, I feel my whole lower back cinch up tight and it radiates up and into my belly. Still. It’s been over a year. That might not be very common, so don’t expect it to happen.

Bodily Functions.  I never got to the pushing part, so don’t ask me about pooping during labor. (Or tearing, for that matter.) Any birthing class will tell you that it happens a lot, and they nurses take care of it before anyone ever knows. And with tearing, I know they prefer the mama to tear naturally, because it heals better than being surgically cut.  Not my personal experience. And maybe not yours either, 1 in 3 of you pregnant readers will have a c-section.

I did vomit, though, which is normal. That is why they won’t let you eat until the baby is born. I puked all over myself. Worse than after my 21st birthday and a bit more embarrassing. Also, I was catheterized so I peed into a bag for a day. That part was great, I didn’t have to think about getting up to go pee, finally.

Recovery. The only pain I was completely unprepared for was my empty belly the days following delivery. It just feels… weird. Very tender to the touch and to a lot of movement. Probably because of the uterus, and because my abs were all stretched in funny places and labor is a hard work out. My belly felt like a waterbed to others. Kind of bouncy and lumpy. I wish I could explain how it felt on the inside… maybe it was my organs shifting back into place? I don’t know. It was just… uncomfortable.

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Weird shaped belly a week after birth. Empty and tender.

 


To summarize, labor hurts. It’s painful in ways I hadn’t thought of or even had the capability to comprehend. It’s icky, it’s exhausting, it’s hard. It’s trying, it’s draining….

It’s the birth of my child.

And I think that’s maybe why some of the moms lie, because after everything you go through, you don’t care. You have your baby, finally. It is true that the moment the baby is out all of the pain goes away instantaneously. It’s an incredible phenomena. For some, maybe at that point the memories of the pain really do wash away  and become some distant idea. Not for me.

I remember the pain, and I don’t care. I’d still do it again exactly the same way. I have nothing to compare it to. It’s not like I had ever been in labor before that, so to me, it wasn’t that bad. If it means I get Eli, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I’d like to think that other moms aren’t lying… they just don’t care that it hurt, or that it took for-freaking-ever, or that they were too tired to hold the baby after it was born. Because in the end, it doesn’t matter. Your child is born. How they got here stops being important. You meet them face to face for the first time and know that you would go through it all again if you had to.

It sucks, and it hurts, and it’s not exactly pretty…. but labor and delivery is the most amazing thing humans are capable of. It’s incredible. And after? You’ll feel lucky to have gone through it.

Welcome to the Mom Club.

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Changes

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After a bit of a hiatus, I feel that I need to fill you in.

There have been a lot of changes going on around me lately. My mom got married, I got new roommates, my baby daddy was home from Africa for two weeks, then Eli and I went camping for a week, I go back to work this week, and I have another wedding that I am in the following week. And not to mention, Eli is a full fledged walker now, he’s switching from two naps a day to one, and his separation anxiety is stronger than ever.

So my blog—while I want to have it be awesome and successful and reach lots of readers—is just not the top of my list. Eli is and always will be, my first priority. In fact several things make the list before Steph You Should Know. I love writing, I love sharing, and I think of new posts every day that I want to sit down and work on. Free time for my blog is just not something I have in abundance though. With the free time that I do have, I socialize, garden, or exercise. Or do the ever-present housework.

I plan on coming back at my blog with gusto, and I reallllllly want to do a month long series on pregnancy. But that month is not going to be August. Until I get things more settled and organized, I can only promise a few sporadic posts here and there.

Never fear my health and fitness lovers, FitMama Friday will resume either this week or next. But as for the rest of it, the stories from the trenches of being mommy and getting to this point, those will have to wait.

Hope your summer has been as wonderful and adventure-filled as ours =)

What You NEED to Start Doing for Your Health

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I tried to keep the blanket on him….he’s a squirrelly sleeper.

It has been a year. I made it! I got through the whole first year of my son’s life. He and I both made it. Not only made it—we thrived. We crushed this first year. We owned it.

Okay, enough patting myself on the back.

Why was it so easy? Why didn’t I crack? Why didn’t I feel fried? Scrambled? (Why are all these words ways to make eggs?)

I got enough sleep. I put my sleep as my own number one priority. Taking care of Eli was the number one priority for us, and then for me—just for me, when he was taken care of—I made sleep the most important thing in my life. I made sure I got enough. I didn’t try to push myself to be more, do more. Even this blog? I only work on it when Eli is sleeping. And if I decide I should nap while he naps, I do. Nothing, NOTHING, is more important than sleep.

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Think of how you feel when you have not gotten enough rest. Are you physically at your best? Mentally? Emotionally? No. Now think of feeling that way and trying to keep another, tiny, curious, needy little human alive. (Needy in a good way.) To be the best parent I can be, I first need to be well-rested. It is the ultimate. It comes before being hydrated, being well-fed, and exercising. I cannot do anything else more valuable to my health than getting an adequate (or more than adequate) amount of sleep.

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Waking up together, well-rested on Christmas morning =)

If you find you can’t go to sleep because you have other things you need to get done you are doing too much. Take something off your plate. Sleep is when our bodies recycle the cells we have spent and used during the day, especially in our brains. All of those cells that no one knew what function they had, except that they were more active when we slept? They are the little recycling centers of our minds, that take all the junky beat up cells, break down the parts, and give them back to the body to be used again or shipped out. When you don’t sleep you are letting all those junky cells build up in your body and in your brain.

It doesn’t matter how healthy you eat, how often you exercise, or how emotionally balanced you are, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, you aren’t doing your body any justice. Sleep comes first.

Go take a nap.

Good luck and Happy Friday! (And happy 1st birthday, Eli!)

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Mmmm that face! So sweet!