I did that thing again. I took a picture every time I cried at something stupid during my pregnancy. Enjoy!
I did that thing again. I took a picture every time I cried at something stupid during my pregnancy. Enjoy!
Right out of high school I got a job as a seating hostess at an Italian restaurant. It was only my second day so I was trying to make a good impression. So when I got this monster of a stomach ache I didn’t want to tell anyone I was in pain.
It was only my second day! I didn’t want to ALREADY be like, hi, I think I need to go home… or at least sit down. I couldn’t be a wimp like that when I knew that it could just very well magically resolve itself.
So instead of asking for a bit of a break or taking care of myself in any way, I did this: I stood at still as possible at the podium and locked my knees. I don’t know if anyone else has this kind of logic… but if I’m in pain I just stay as still as Dr. Grant trying to evade a T-Rex then I don’t have to feel my own insides.
I stood stiffly like that for a couple of hours honestly. But I was not going to give in and tell everyone that I was suffering. That is not what I am about. I could be trapped under a cement roller and choose a squishy death over “bothering” someone with my needy problems.
I guess when you black out the first thing to go is your peripheral vision. That’s what happened to me anyway. It took me all the way to tunnel vision before I was like, hmm, I should probably say something to someone. I turned to my manager Kristin and all I got out was, “Hey, Kristin. I don’t feel very good–”
It was weird. I could hear my other manager yell, “She’s going to pass out.” And I felt them catch me. But then all of the sudden I was asleep. I actually had a dream when I was passed out. I swear that’s always in the movies but that actually happened to me. I dreamt I was at a theme park with my mom and sister, so when I woke up on my back on a bench in a restaurant waiting area, I was more than a little disoriented. It took a minute to remember oh yeah, wait… wasn’t I at my new job?
Me: What happened?
A Cook: You passed out. Here have a coke. *hands me a class of soda*
Me: Thanks? … What?
There were SO many people around. I don’t know how long I was out, but long enough to gather a small crowd. This one guest was like FRANTIC AF. He shoved past everyone to get to me and was like half-yelling at me.
Guy: Are you a diabetic?
Me: What? No.
Guy: Are you sure?
Guy: Do you want me to call your doctor to find out if you’re a diabetic?
Me: I… I’m not a diabetic.
He shoved a little green mint into my hand (even though I was already holding a full glass of Coke)
Guy: I grabbed a mint off my table, because you’re diabetic.
Me: Oh, but I’m not… okay, thanks.
I was out long enough for them to have called my mom to come and get me, which if you knew the majestic levels of worry that my mother can achieve then you know how the rest of my day went. It was embarrassing to have to take sick leave not even 48 hours into this new job. But hey, at least I got a Coke and a mint…
Hey, I’ve been sitting on this news for a while now… but I am officially a professionally published author! Yay! One of my short stories, The Prisoner, has been picked up by an anthology called Bubble Off Plum (more on that later). I actually found out about it, the day I gave birth to Casey. I was laying on my bed, trying to tell if my contractions were real or false, when I opened the email. I get a lot of emails from editors and agents that are the usual thank you but… THIS ONE WASN’T. It started off with “Congratulations!” I was like, YEAH woohoo… this is a really weird day. haha
THE PRISONER: Flynn plans to escape his new prison cell despite his bunk mate’s efforts to stop him.
It got picked up by the first and only place I submitted it to! And ah, I was so glad too. I love this story. Like, I love all my stories because they’re my brainchildren, but this one is top notch. ANYWAYS, I don’t want to give away too much about it, because I want you to read it!
I am SUPER stoked for this anthology too. It’s full of weird twisted little stories and should be an excellent read. Almost a thousand people submitted stories and they ended up picking 27 for the final compilation. I tell you that to convince you of the quality of the anthology… also I’m bragging. The ebook is already purchasable at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. On Friday, paperback versions will be available. More details can be found here. But it should be a pretty good one!
Other than that, I’ve been working on other stuff. I have five or six other stories out on submission right now and ACTUALLY I began writing another novel. I got to the halfway mark, 25k words, the night before I had Casey. So finishing it has been a much slower process. It’s a lil’ YA romantic comedy about a socially awkward boy who is courted by a confident outgoing girl. Like a reverse of the guy-in-pursuit trope. Anyways, it’s been really fun to write, but I’m kind of in an odd place right now with novels. I took a minute to write down all the ideas I had for books (a LOT) and I organized them into genres. What I discovered was that I either write light and funny YA rom coms OR creepy big twist thrillers… and nothing in the middle. I’m either one or the other.
I felt that this was a bit complicated because… how do you brand yourself for both of those audiences? Ultimately, I felt that probably my thrillers were the stronger, more marketable ideas and more conducive to an actual writing career. But now I am pretty torn because I have two YA contemporaries that I don’t know what to do with (Okay, one and half a draft.) I could pursue self-publishing with one genre and traditional with the other. Or maybe go whole-hog, this-is-me-as-an-author and try to brand for both. Who knows. There are SO many nuts and bolts to figure out when it comes to selling fiction and all I want in the world is to have an agent or a publisher or someone to just tell me what the eff to do with all these ideas I have!
For now, I guess I’ll just keep writing.
It was two weeks before my due date. I kept waking up all night to go pee like fifty billion times. I just had a TON of pressure. Daniel snoozed his alarm for work and as we were laying there I was like, hmmm… actually, these are contractions. Regular contractions.
I slapped Dan’s arm and was like “Hey, I keep having false labor contractions.” Haha, so let me go into this: when I had Jack he came a week late. So I FULLY expected to deliver much later. Like I was seriously looking into an elective induction if the baby was going to go longer than his due date. My mom had bought an airplane ticket to arrive ON his due date and then stay the next couple of weeks after. Soooo “denial” is going to be a strong theme here.
Because my mom wasn’t coming for another two weeks, I was majorly stressed out about who would watch Jack in the event I had to go to the hospital. My dad had GENEROUSLY offered to hop on a plane moments notice if it came to that but Hey Man… I had better been pretty dang sure I was in labor before telling my dad to drop everything and fly to Pheonix. So as you can imagine I was preggy stress crying about it. Dan talked me down. He texted my dad just letting him know what was going on and then I sent him to work, telling him that it was “probably nothing”.
I took a shower and ate breakfast *just in case*. I still wasn’t super convinced that they weren’t false contractions, so I decided to lay on my side for a minute to see if they would go away. They most certainly did not. They were ten minutes apart and every other one sucked worse than the last. I called my dad because I was about to have a friggin’ panic attack on whether I should tell him to fly to Arizona or not. He said he had already looked into flights. (He was obviously more convinced than me.) My dad told me to call the doctor to see what he thought. I was super unsure about doing that, because OBVIOUSLY the doctor would just say, “Yeah? How about wait until they are five minutes apart lasting one minute for a whole hour and then just go to the hospital. Why are you bothering me with this?”
I decided to call the doctor and waste his time anyways. At first I got the emergency answering service which I thought was really odd because it was past nine and that’s normal business hours. The conversation went like this:
RECEPTIONIST: And what’s the purpose of this call?
ME: I’ve been having contractions all morning. They’re ten minutes apart. I just want to know what the doctor thinks I should do.
RECEPTIONIST: Okay, but is this an emergency?
ME: … … Um, I’m in labor?
So they send the page out and my actual doctor’s office calls me back. I told them I was contracting every ten minutes and they countered with hey, go to the hospital. I was floored. They told me it was likely I was laboring during the night since I had pressure. My doctor was already at the hospital doing a surgery so they told me I might as well go in and get checked.
I called Daniel at work like Hey I know you’ve only been there for an hour but come home and drive me to the hospital. Then I called my dad and told him we would soon know whether it was real or not.
So we get all checked in. I’m totally calm and like whatever, not even in any pain or anything. I was totally sure I was only a one. I packed my bag SO half-a$$ed because I was like oh, they’re just sending me home anyways. Like I didn’t even pack underwear or a hairbrush. So when they told me I was at a three, I was like… wut?
Me: Am I having a kid today?
Nurse: Let’s just keep you for a while and see…
At 12:30 she came back in to check. I was still at a three which was like, oh good, send me home I want lunch I’m friggin starving. But she kinda hesitated and was like you know what let’s just have you walk around for like an hour and see what happens.
(I should also mention that we had Jack with us this whole time. He was such a good kid! I was really impressed with him. I thought that he would be somewhere between being bored or traumatized, but he was super excited to be out of the house and playing with Daddy.)
We were given the green light to walk around the hospital and I immediately waddled my fat butt down to the cafeteria. Look. When you are at the hospital in labor, they don’t let you eat anything for a long time… and that’s rough because I’m a pig. So oink, oink. That’s what I chose to do, okay! I was SUPER big and pregnant in nothing but my flimsy hospital gown and socks walking through the cafeteria trying to decide what I was going to eat. It’s fine, I’m sure everyone knew why I was there and that I didn’t have anything contagious. I mean, only my husband could have given them what I had. ANYWAY I chose to eat a fruit cup, because even though I was starving this labor thing was getting pretty real and I knew that things would get intense later that night.
But I was wrong. Not about the fruit cup, but about things getting intense much later. Things got intense RIGHT THEN, REALLY FAST and REEEEEALLY painful. The walking just like dropped him down or something I don’t know, because it hadn’t even been ten minutes out of triage before I was feeling like I was about to die.
We ate quickly and I could barely even make it back to the room. The labor was insane. When I was in labor with Jack, I was having contractions that lasted five minutes a piece instead of the conventional ONE. Well. Yeah. That was happening again. When the delivery nurse came in to transfer me she took one look at my face and walkie talkied for the anesthesiologist to meet us in the delivery room. Which I was super glad about… well sort of.
So here’s another comparison to my first labor and delivery: with Jack my epidural was AMAZING. I didn’t feel it at all. It worked perfectly. It was like the golden standard of epidurals, really. With Casey. Holy balls. This was the worst thing about the whole entire delivery and when I say horror story, look, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
By the time the anesthesiologist came in, I was in full blown labor. I had escalated from a 3cm dilation to a 5… IN HALF AN HOUR. Things were nuts! I was like hysterical. It was crazy. I mean, ME, I was crazy. Daniel had left to take Jack to a babysitter out in the parking lot and I was bawling out of control saying stuff like, “Please don’t do anything until my husband comes back. I want my husband, I’m so frightened. I just want my husband!” He came back in, but the hysteria didn’t go away. I felt delirious. Like, I felt like I wasn’t even myself and I was trapped in this painful body watching myself go bonkers. They were trying to give me specific advice on how to sit and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t tell right from left, the pain was just so overwhelming. I even remember yelling at the nurse, “I’m hurting so much that I can’t even comprehend what you’re telling me right now!”
They attempted to put the epidural in but it DIDN’T GO. I actually felt it stab me in the spine. Like I know what it feels like to have your spine STABBED from the INSIDE. It was a horrific pain… on top of an already horrific pain. Looking back, I don’t think that it was the doctor’s fault. I think it was because I was so out of it with the labor and like having a panic attack and stuff that I just couldn’t sit well enough for them to do it correctly.
It took 35 minutes for them to get my epidural in. They may not seem as bad as it is, so try to imagine this: You are having one of the most generally recognized worse pains in the world cramping your body for full minutes at a time and making you hysterical… while at the same time someone is behind you, literally stabbing you in the spine the same area where most of your nerve endings are. Okay, THAT is what it was for 35 FREAKING MINUTES. Like… an entire episode of The Office is 20 minutes. You could finish watching Diversity Day and I would STILL be getting poked with a needle on a hospital bed for ALMOST ANOTHER EPISODE MORE with tears dripping into my husband’s helpless arms.
But I will say this… Even with how painful that medieval spinal tap was… IT WAS STILL WORTH IT BY FAR. So I hope that tells you something about how hard it is to deliver a baby. And I also hope that you give your mother a phone call today.
After I got the epidural, things were calm, borderline boring. Jack was gone and well taken care of. My dad was on his way from the airport. Dan was working on projects, of course, because residents ARE SLAVES. If I had been delivering at his hospital, they probably would’ve made him do some rounds while he waited. Nothing too eventful happened here. I took a little video and hung out. I was basically paralyzed I was so numbed up, my back was still sore though.
At six or maybe even later, the doctor came in and broke my water. I was at a nine by then. The nurse said that they were going to wait until I could absolutely no longer take the pressure anymore and then they would have me push. She said it would be worth it to hold out as long as possible because then I would have to push less. So I just kinda sat there wondering if I was going to be able to feel it if a baby started coming out of me.
I felt the pressure pretty soon afterwards. They checked me, I was a ten. I remember the nurse said, “Yeah, there’s no more cervix.” Gnarly. I had the shakes so bad. They were like violent. I wasn’t hurting, but I was shivering like crazy.
MORE SEMI HORROR MOSTLY JUST GROSS DETAILS HERE. You can skip this paragraph too if you want. So I had to puke so bad. And this exact same thing happened when I was pushing with Jack. I was told that the before the baby comes out, his head rests on a nerve that makes you super nauseous. You don’t feel the pain of it because of the epidural, but the pressure wants to make you barf. Well I was trying so hard to hold in my DANG FRUIT CUP. And honestly, you know when you are trying not to throw up like you can’t even move or talk or breathe or anything. Finally, my nurse said, “Just go ahead and do it, it will help push the baby out anyways.” Hahaha! So I was like, yup, I’m there, and I let it all out. And she was freaking right, dude! I literally felt the baby get pushed down when I puked. You use the same muscles to throw up / push a baby out. ANYWHO. Not sure why I felt the need to include all that, but there you go. All the honest and disgusting details of birth.
So they get me ready to push. They basically had to hoist my BUM LEGS into the stirrups because I was so dead down there. I did three sets of pushing during contractions. (For your information, in between contractions is hilariously awkward. I was sitting there all spread eagle while my doctor stands at my hooha, hands on his hips talking about “how he knew I would beat the gal in nine because it’s my second time.” It’s all casual and every day for them. For me, it’s all naked and life-changing and this big medical trauma.)
That was a tangent. Hi! Okay, back to Casey.
Three sets of pushing and he was out. POP! It was like ten minutes of pushing. Maybe five. With Jack I remembered sobbing and being SO melodramatic and yelling, “My son! My son!”. With Casey, I was still in so much shock at his early arrival that I just stared at him with a stupid look on my face, feeling super confused at how the whole day went.
He was so pink and had lots of hair and chubby cheeks. He is this easy-going lovey-bug! And I couldn’t be more thrilled to have him as an addition to our family.