Thursday, July 10, 2014

Jumble

I kind of feel like I exist in a few different planes right now.

Planes of life, that is.

Physically, I am a wreck. I gained 45 lbs with Clayton and a good 25 are still sticking around--around the middle of me. It's horrendous. All the work I had done to repair my relationship with food and center on Paleo went out the window. I can even track it. First tri, I could barely eat, and lost weight, and existed on mere survival. Second tri, I tried to stick with Paleo and gained very few lbs, to where even my doctor mentioned it. Third tri? I went back to pre-paleo Isha, ate what I wanted, and watched the scale climb to the EXACT SAME PLACE it climbed with Evelyn. Only I started this pregnancy at 158, not 185. All of this weight, it's all a consequence of my choices.

So I want to whole30 and will as of Saturday. But I also want to get active. And that's freaking hard when you are running on interrupted sleep and have a baby who nurses non-stop.

I am in a holding pattern of grossness and I hate what I see in the mirror. I desperately want to look better before I go back to school on the third week of August. Who knows if I will. It makes me queasy. I am so embarrassed, mainly because this is a direct result of MY CHOICES. I will learn and go forward but in the interim, I just hate every bit of my body.

But.
But.

That body is nourishing the most amazing little boy who exists on this planet. I mean seriously. He's adorable. He's sweet and he's passionate. He brings such joy to every minute. His big sister adores him and I am deliriously happy.

But.
But.

Sometimes he doesn't sleep. Because, you know, he's a baby. And sometimes, I am irrational and I get upset. He was doing 6-8 hour stretches and then reverted back to 2.5/3. It's infuriating. So I am not as happy at 1 and 3 and 5 am. But I am working on it.

But.
But.

Reality will eventually come to call. School will start. I will be a working mother of two little kids who will miss me when I am gone. I love to work and I want nothing more than to work every day. At the same time, I wish a reality existed where I could be with them always. I have new challenges--more Common Core to plan, a new course to teach (English 1 honors!), and some other things not to be discussed here. It will be an exciting year, and excruciatingly difficult, as I do it all around pumping three times a day.

But.
But.

I am so very lucky to be where I am, feeling all of these feels, thinking all of these thoughts. My every day is so incredible, and difficult, and loving, and harsh, and I just love it all. I just hope I can find a way to meld all of my planes into a happy existence.



Monday, June 30, 2014

Healing

New and old.

That's how I feel these days. Everything is brand new, and everything is an "old hat."

I have been there done that with an infant before, but never with you.

You, you, you. You are Clayton, and you are you.

Quiet, observing, particular, picky. That's you, Clayton.

But, oh, Clayton. If only you knew the healing you gave me.

I wondered once if I could ever feel completely whole. Despite a perfect daughter, I was drowning in a sea of emotions. I didn't know who I was. I felt incomplete as a woman and a mother.

I couldn't even give birth on my own.

the one thing we are designed to do.

and I couldn't do it. 

I wallowed for a while, and I hid for even longer. Then, I faced it head on, and I made it a part of me instead of the defining piece.

But still. Still. That little voice in the back of my mind was worried.

Here we go again. I can't do it. 

the one thing we are designed to do. 

This time? This time, with you, Clayton?

I did it.

I didn't even know there was still a piece of my heart out of place until you gently pushed it back where it belonged.

The depth in your eyes, I feel like it's mine. I feel like you are a part of me, in the flesh.

Not that Evelyn isn't--of course she is. But she is all her daddy. Her personality, her zest and life, her adaptability, it's all her daddy.

You are a mystery. You are unpredictable. You are me, and that's fitting because you healed me. You put my pieces back together and you showed me what I could do.

I think it will last forever, that moment. That moment that she cried, "reach down and pull your baby!" and I did and you were there and I was crying and daddy was crying and you were screaming and we had done it. Words don't exist to describe the emotions I felt just then.

Pride. Joy. Power. Love. Triumph. These words start to touch it, but barely begin to scratch the surface.

That was you, Clayton.  You, you, you. Because of you, I don't need a band-aid to hold my heart together. You are the glue and I have been healed.

New and old. Now I am new and old.

The old part of me will never go away, but you have made me new. I haven't been there and done that for this.

But I can't wait for it all.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Clayton Scott, you are one month old.

My wonderful, amazing, astounding little man.

You are one month old. It seems like the blink of an eye. It seems like years.

Every day, we are learning more about you. Mommy's biggest lesson so far?
You are NOT your sister.

No, you are not, not in any sense of the word. You are you. And you are a mystery, but you are miraculous.

I love that you need me; you need me more than she ever did. She is so independent, and always was. I have the sense that you will be a little different.

You love the milks. You LOVE to be held.




You sleep in 3-4 hour blocks, and no more. Another way you differ from your sister, and need me. 

Your expressions are limitless. You are an observer--you take it all in, you see it all, then give a quick opinion (shout). There is depth in your eyes, Clayton. I adore it. 

Your sister loves you desperately. It's ridiculous, really, that such a young girl with so little understanding of family and love could give her whole heart to you. I cannot wait to watch your personalities develop. 


My wonderful Clayton, I love you.

You have healed me in a way I didn't even know that I needed. I will write about that eventually--for now, I cannot even begin to find the words.

My life is better with you in it. I cannot wait to see how you grow and change.

Photos taken by the AMAZING Ashley. www.ashleyvosphotography.com

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Clayton Scott's Birth Story

Our precious baby Clayton arrived on Thursday, May 22nd at 5:24 pm. He weighed 7lbs 12 oz and was 20.5 inches long, and was born via the VBAC we so desired. It was absolutely incredible. Here is our birth story.

At my last two doctors appointments, 38.5 an 39.5 weeks, I recorded some pretty high blood pressure. It is clear, in retrospect, that it was just anxiety and wonder/worry about impending delivery. I didn't have a single issue in my urine, but regardless, my doctor was of the opinion that it doesn't help to keep me pregnant if I am getting high blood pressure. However, both times that I was sent to L&D, my immediate first reading was so normal that the nurse literally LOLed. But of course, they can't just let me out. The first time, I was monitored for about an hour, and labs were run, and everything was normal. They sent me home with instructions to check in over the weekend, just to be sure. I went in that weekend, everything was fine. Still, my reading was high again the next week, and I was sent back. This was Wednesday, May 21st--the check out day for Chris at school. I was once again monitored, once again my labs were normal, and a quick ultrasound showed my fluid was just fine.

My doctor had checked me, and I was at a loose 3. The monitoring showed that I was contracting, even with some regularity, but nothing was painful. I was sent home with instructions to check in on Friday. But we wouldn't make it there!

I got home around 2pm, and could still feel contractions. The regularity began to pick up, at about 6minutes, but not the intensity or pain. Chris brought Evelyn home at around 4:30, and that's when things got a little difficult. Evelyn was really snuggly, which isn't really unlike her, but I felt her head and realized she felt warm. This was potentially a difficult situation for us, because our labor plan was that our sitter would come in the morning, take Evelyn to school, pick her up after her own college classes, and watch her all night. But she could not miss her classes during the day with a sick baby. So we launched into attack mode to figure out a backup plan. It took about an hour to sort it all out, but we found a friend who could take her if she woke up with a fever. However, the madness took my focus elsewhere, and contractions slowed to about 12 minutes, but still didn't hurt.

We went through the rest of the night as normal, and got Evelyn to bed. By the time she went to sleep, she had no fever, so we were hopeful she could go to school. Chris and I decided to go to bed early, in case the contractions picked up. He fell asleep by 10:30. I could not fall asleep, and the intensity was increasing. It still wasn't very painful, but definitely stronger. At around 1am, I got out of bed and went to watch TV. I watched some Office episodes, and some cartoons, and around 2:30, I felt the contractions strong enough for every 7 minutes, so I went to wake up Chris. I got in the shower for a little bit, and that helped, but at 4, they were closer at every 6minutes and medium-strength, so we called our doula and our sitter. We weren't thinking we were going to rush to the hospital, but we figured having our sitter here would allow her to go back to sleep, and let me have a great peace of mind if we did need to leave. Both arrived within a few minutes of each other. My doula helped give us some strategies for getting through the contractions, which were picking up and getting stronger. She suggested that I take another shower, and I did. I was getting more serious and less like myself, so we knew it was getting real. It was around 6 am now, and we were worried Evelyn would wake up, and we didn't want her confused, so we moved to the bedroom. There, I breathed through contractions on the ball, and knew that this little guy was probably coming today. Things were getting increasingly painful, and just shy of 7am, I said I thought we should go to the hospital. Everyone agreed, (no one had been telling me the time of contractions, which were now between 3 and 4 minutes apart), and we were on our way.

We live about 25 minutes from the hospital and it was a rough ride. My doula suggested I sit in the back and lay over the seat, but I didn't really like that, and turned around and kind of arched my back. Either way, we got there, and headed up to L&D. I had a few contractions and someone offered me a wheelchair, but when I said no, I'd rather walk, she said, "Good! It's better that way! You can do it!" We checked in and got called back. The only crap part of our experience was this time. We were in triage from 70-90 minutes. I still don't know why. They required monitoring for 30 minutes, and did let me stand throughout, which was great. But then we just waited and waited. They wouldn't let my doula back, because triage can only have one person. A midwife, Norma, finally came back to check me, and said I was nearly an 8! Which was fabulous because in my mind, I had decided that if I was anything less than a 6, I was getting an epidural because I couldn't take it. At around 10, the got us a real room, and my doula joined us. The midwife wanted me to have an IV, which I consented to, and then we agreed to 20 minutes of monitoring and 40 minutes off monitoring. All I can remember about this time was pain. Lots of pain. I was crying a lot in between contractions, saying I couldn't do it. I was so tired. I hadn't slept all night, and I hadn't slept well the night before. I had no energy left. I kept on going, going as long as I could, until around 1:30-2pm. I asked the midwife to check me, and I was a solid 9, fully effaced, but Clayton was still at -2 station. My water had not broken, and it was really preventing Clayton's head from getting where it needed to be. I know that the midwife's preference was to break it, and deliver ASAP. But I was so worried at that point, about my mental state and physical capacity. Chris, my doula and I talked for a minute, and I made what I feel was the right decision. At 9cm, I asked for an epidural. I realize, in theory, how silly it was, but I just wanted an hour to rest. It took a while for the anesthesiologist to show up, and when he did, he looked and acted JUST like one of our assistant principals, which we found hilarious. By 3, I had my epidural, and life was amazing.

We took about a 45 minute rest, during which my IV came loose and ballooned my hand. My doula left to nurse her son, and Chris fell asleep for a few, as well. The midwife came in at around 4 and checked and I was entirely dilated, fully effaced, but Clay's head was still at the 0 station. Apparently, my super strong bag of waters was just not popping. My midwife admitted that she would have broken my water hours ago if it were her, but at this point, there was just no reason not to leave it. We agreed, and she broke it. I felt an immediate change, and we just waited another hour as he moved himself to where he needed to be.

By 5, I was getting a tiny little fever (from epidural and fluids, I am sure), and the nurse was concerned. The midwife came back and asked if I felt pressure to push. My epi was great--I felt my feet the whole time and by this time was definitely starting to feel the pressure. She said, hey let's just push instead of worrying about antibiotics. And Chris and I were both like WTF REALLY?!?! We made sure that everyone knew that Chris was a crier. Then, It was a flurry of the midwife changing and the nurse getting materials and getting me in position and then, I was pushing. Just like that.

I pushed for 9 minutes. 9. It felt like 45.

THe first few pushes, I didn't feel like anything was happening. In my head, I had a flurry of "I can't do this," "this won't happen" and "OMG what if i just stop, what will happen then?!" thoughts because it hurt. My epi was just so perfect to make sure I knew how to push with the contractions and feel them enough to really give it my all. My doula told us later that she had never seen a midwife work so well to help deliver a baby without a tear. After about 5 pushing session, she told me to reach down and feel his head. I did, but it was just kind of weird, really. Two more pushes and there was that much described ring of fire. Whewwwwww did it ever burn. Two more pushes and the midwife cried, "Reach down and grab him! Grab your baby!" and I did and I pulled him onto my chest and I looked at Chris and I can't describe it any other way than we were a hilarious sobbing mess. Just a mess. Sobbing. Blubbering. Telling everyone in the room how much this meant to us and how thankful we were and how amazing this was. I pulled Clayton up on my chest, and he was screaming with all of his little might. I could tell he was smaller than Evelyn. I announced that he smelled funny. He did. His scores were 8 and 9. I never asked why, but I am guessing it was because he was a little grey. All I can remember is pure, raw emotion at this point. Seeing Chris beam, hearing him tell me how proud he was and how amazing I was, say that he loved me, both of us telling Clay that we loved him, so much emotion. It was incredible. I don't want to minimize how much I love Evelyn by saying that this was the most incredible moment of my life, because so many moments can be incredible, but I was just oh so proud that we did it. We achieved what we wanted to more than anything.

During this time, my placenta was delivered, my midwife said I had no tearing (which my doula said was all because of the MW!), the MW announced I had a perfect vagina and called all of the nurses to look at it (THAT was odd lol) and Clayton just laid on my chest. They wiped him off, and then everyone left, and we had our special skin to skin time. After about 45 minutes, they came back in to weigh him and get his vitals. Everything about him and this birth was so perfect. Our doula headed home, and Chris held him while I scarfed some dinner. Then he rushed out to go get Evelyn, so she could meet her baby brother before visiting hours ended.

I spent the night solo, so that Evelyn could have normalcy at home again with CHris, and so that he could get a good night's sleep. I slept pretty well, and only got woken up 3 times by the nurses lol. We were discharged before Clayton's 24th hour in life.

Everything about this recovery has been amazing and so different. I could eat immediately. I could walk within an hour. I have been able to exist as a normal person basically the entire time. I have loved it.

Having Clay home has been something else. It was equal parts incredible, difficult, fun, exciting, stressful and emotional. I think the best thing I could have done was have zero expectations, but of course that can't happen. In some ways, it has been harder than I thought. In other ways, easier. Evelyn is pushing her boundaries, of course, but nothing beyond normal toddler behavior. She is such a good little girl and she loves Clay so much already. Chris and I are working together to find our new normal, which is difficult with little sleep, but we will get there. All in all, we are so very thankful and blessed tohave this perfect family, and to have gotten the birth experience we so longed for. Even though I feel I had found peace with Evelyn's birth, this entire few days has reunited all of the lost pieces of my soul, and completely healed me




Friday, May 9, 2014

Dear IB:

Well if I am making you do a reflective piece for a final, I am going to have to participate as well, huh? I guess it's only fair.

But there are things I want to say to you anyway. So I don't mind. (So yenno, don't whine about doing YOUR final).

In 2002, I graduated from my not-so-great high school as one of two people accepted into the University of Michigan. No one thought I would go. No one. My own parents didn't think I would go. I knew people attending Michigan State. I knew people attending all three local community colleges. And who I was in 2002 was not someone who would go it alone. I was a follower, I was quiet, I was afraid and I decided I would go. I had worked too hard not to. The four years that followed were amazing, and difficult, and rewarding, and enriching, and by far worth every single moment of struggle. Earning a diploma with that block M was, at the time, my proudest moment, and remains one of the top. I did that. No one else did.

So, be independent. Be afraid, sure. Life is scary. Change is scary. Being alone is scary. But it's also incredibly meaningful to know that you did something--you EARNED something, all by yourself. Don't let fear or worry stop you from achieving what you know you can achieve.

In 2006, I moved across the country for a boy. And a job. But mainly a boy. A boy who had broken my heart a few times before, but a boy that I felt in my bones was meant to be in my life. Because of that boy, I had a job prospect, but it was only a prospect. To ensure I had a fallback, I took the first job I could get in that tiny desert town--barista at a Starbucks. It was actually pretty great, and I'm thankful for the experience. It led to a teaching contract for a 21-year-old English major who had not a moment of teaching experience, and my whole world changed.

So, take risks. Do something you never thought you would do. Redfine who you think you are. Trust in your heart, because it will take you where you are meant to go. If I would have told 18-year-old me that 21-year-old me would do what I did, I would have laughed nervously and changed the subject.

In August of 2006, I started that teaching job. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know if I would be any good and I certainly didn't know what I was doing. I did, as a teacher, what felt natural, and not what someone or some test told me to do. I fell in love with 150 students that I still refer to as "My House G kids." They changed everything about how I looked at the world. These kids needed someone to look out for them--needed more than someone to teach them how to write an essay or analyze a piece of literature. They needed a role model. With the way that particular high school worked, I taught that same group of 150 students as sophomores. I fell harder in love. They took up a big part of my teacher soul. They gave me motivation to be a better person, and a better teacher, and to find ways to give them the very best.

So, be passionate. About something--anything. It doesn't have to be your job. Contrary to what you may think now, your job does not have to define you. I no longer feel mine does. But find something that gives you personal meaning and keep it in your life, no matter what the cost.

In August of 2008, that boy became my husband, and that husband and I took new jobs in a place we had never been. It all seemed to be destiny. It was the perfect area and the perfect school and the perfect job description. Everything should have been perfect. But it wasn't. We were a part of a new school culture that was foreign to us, and no one helped us navigate. We were adapting to a student population who didn't seem to "need" us, the true us, in the same ways they did before. We had bad experiences, and we thought that maybe we had made the wrong decision. We looked elsewhere for new opportunities, thinking that maybe we needed to end up closer to our home.

So, be critical. Don't settle for less than your own happiness. Don't tell yourself you can find happiness if you can't. But, don't rush yourself. Things don't always fall into place in the nice, happy, rainbow way we hope they would. Still, constantly ask yourself if you are doing what's right for your heart, and what's best for your future.

In 2010, we decided to stay in California. A dream of coaching was given from a different school, and it was taken. New plans were made, and happiness was achieved. New mindsets were formed. When you want to see the world negatively, the world will be negatively. If you choose to seek out positives, you will find positives.

So, change. No one part of you is set in stone forever, and no one part of you cannot be improved or altered if you so desire. Many of our plans changed as our lives went on, and if we had shut ourselves from their possibilities, I cannot imagine what amazing things we would have missed.

In 2013, I met a group of 17 IB students. It was only my second year with the course material. At times, I couldn't help but feel like that same little girl in 2006, unsure of what she was doing and figuring things out from the start. But I realized something throughout the year, as I could count on you to do what I needed, to lift me up during a rough first trimester of pregnancy that you weren't even aware of for a while. I realized that since we came here in 2008, I had still locked a part of my teacher heart. It was saved and held only for my first group of House G kids. It was a part of me, as a teacher, that only they had seen, only they had access to. Call it a defense mechanism, call it hardening, call it burnout. I kept it from every single class of students I had from then until now. But you? You found it. You tore down the wall and renewed my spirit in a way that I didn't even know that I needed. I don't really know how you did it. But you did, and you have changed me.

So, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my very pregnant, constantly hungry and usually cranky little heart. Thank you for showing me grace and understanding when things were hard on me. Thank you for trusting what I was trying to show you, and doing the work regardless. Thank you for your insight and viewpoint on all things literature. Thank you for truly defining what a Wilson student is, and setting the best example for future generations of students. Thank you for reminding me that I can love a group of students, and teach them, and be frustrated sometimes, but that ultimately, I can trust them.

I have told many a teacher at this school that I don't know how I would have gotten through this year without you. You were my bright beacon of hope in the day, despite usually feeling like garbage by the time you arrived. I am deeply blessed for the opportunity to know each and every one of you. I cannot wait to see what amazing things you achieve, and what amazing people you become, and what amazing contributions you will make to the world.

I leave you with words you have read, and analyzed, and probably hate, but I don't care. Jump. Be bold swimmers. Enjoy every moment of your future, because it's going to be incredible. Thank you for sharing this part of your life with me. I would say good luck, but you needn't any. Instead, have fun.

        Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
                                  from Song of Myself
             46
    I know I have the best of time and space, and was never measured and never
              will be measured.

    I tramp a perpetual journey, (come listen all!)
    My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods,
    No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair,
    I have no chair, no church, no philosophy,
    I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, or exchange,
    But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,
    My left hand hooks you round the waist,
    My right hand points to landscapes of continents and the public road.

    Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,
    You must travel it for yourself.

    It is not far, it is within reach,
    Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know,
    Perhaps it is every where on water and on land.

    Shoulder your duds dear son, and I will mine, and let us hasten forth,
    Wonderful cities and free nations we shall fetch as we go.

    If you tire, give me both burdens, and rest the chuff of your hand on my hip,
    And in due time you shall repay the same service to me,
    For after we start we never lie by again.

    This day before dawn I ascended a hill and look'd at the crowded heaven,
    And I said to my spirit When we become the enfolders of those orbs, and the
              pleasure and knowledge of every thing in them, shall we be fill'd and
              satisfied then?

    And my spirit said No, we but level that lift to pass and continue beyond.

    You are also asking me questions and I hear you,
    I answer that I cannot answer, you must find out for yourself.

    Sit a while dear son,
    Here are biscuits to eat and here is milk to drink,
    But as soon as you sleep and renew yourself in sweet clothes I kiss you with
              a good-by kiss and open the gate for your egress hence.

    Long enough have you dream'd contemptible dreams,
    Now I wash the gum from your eyes,
    You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of
              your life.

    Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the shore,
    Now I will you to be a bold swimmer,
    To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout, and laughingly
              dash with your hair.