What to Expect When You Tell People You’re Having a C-Section

Going in for delivery of my first child was terrifying. I didn’t know what I was doing; had only vague descriptions of labor pains and ‘usual’ procedures and breathing techniques. I knew the only way I would be able to learn was by what seemed a literal trial by fire.

I wasn’t far off. Ouch.

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This mother looks way chill for passing through labor.

The second time in the stirrups, I determined, would not be so out-of-control. I was a seasoned mother, after all, and knew what to expect and what I wanted. I therefore began seeing a midwife at a birthing center. I felt this was a good step down from hospitals without going full home birth.

Problem is, my second pregnancy had a complication no one but the negligent ultrasound technician knew about …until I passed a blood clot at 28 weeks. Within a few, short days I learned all I could about placenta previas. Within the ensuing weeks I learned that I would have to deliver at a hospital. In fact, I would require a Cesarean Section.

I spent a few weeks on bed rest, which did little to stop the placenta from bleeding. I ultimately checked into the hospital full time and delivered shortly after 31 weeks.

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My son wasn’t as fat as this healthy child, at birth.

The bad news didn’t stop there, in terms of pregnancy plans. Due to the position of the placenta’s major blood vessels, the performing surgeon opted for a classical (logitudinal) cut. I would, forevermore, require a C-Section for any children I grew.

This has led to a handful of judgmental questions in my ensuing pregnancies. No, no one else chooses how I deliver. But; yes, particularly during the rash of natural birth methods, my announcement of a schedule C-Section elicited concern.

“Did you know <insert terrible statistic> happens in <this percentage> of deliveries?”

“You’re choosing to do a C-Section? There are other options out there that <have this holistic benefit>.”

“But I read that <this awful thing> happens to the baby and <this slightly less awful thing> happens to the mother when you have surgery instead of a natural, at home birth surrounded by family and a only a doula to interfere…”

Over time, people have gotten better about comments. Or, I live around older women who are prone to more complications that often lead to surgery. Or, I’m never the glowy sort of pregnant woman and I look like I might punch someone who mentions it again.

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It’s not so bloody in a black and white photo.

Whatever the reason, I know the answers to the nosy questions:

Since we were planning a natural birth, I know the statistics surrounding ‘medical intervention.’

know there are other options out there, but they’re not for me unless I want a ruptured uterus.

And I know that I may not be able to bond with my child through a beautiful water ceremony after which I eat the placenta and therefore form a permanent, circular bond with him.

Most of all, I KNOW that the most important part of delivery is getting a whole and complete child into the world with as few complications as possible. If I’ve selected the best hospital and birthing team we can afford, know what procedures to anticipate, and am willing to advocate for safely ‘holistic’ things like breastfeeding and skin-to-skin; I’ll be just fine.

And, frankly, it’s none of their damn business anyhow.

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Sunday, August 4: “The Top Ten Reasons Why Being Pregnant is Awesome.” Pretty self-explanatory, really.

Monday, August 5: A sentimental poem, “Five Minutes Later.”

Tuesday, August 6: Shared a quote by Kevin Heath.

Wednesday, August 7: Talked food storage in Food Tip 8.

Thursday, August 8: “Making a Muddy Mess,” a snippet about children enjoying life.

Friday, August 9: Advocated doing something with those printed words in “Books Around the House.”

Saturday, August 10: Shared Marcy G‘s tweet about toddler angst.

Sunday, August 11: That’s today!

Photo Credits:
Sharon McCutcheon
Sharon McCutcheon
Patricia Prudente

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

The Top Ten Reasons Why Being Pregnant is Awesome

Even I’m getting sick of my whining about child-bearing. In order to practice more positive thinking, I decided to look on the bright side of life. Here are my Top Ten Reasons Why Being Pregnant is Awesome:

10. I always have something to complain about.
If I’m sitting in company or just drooling at the kitchen table, I can pipe in with, “Had more heartburn today.” When meeting someone new and answering their, “I didn’t know you were pregnant. So, how do you feel?,” I have a ready-made list of maladies.

9. If I’m looking for social cred, all I need is a pregnancy or birth announcement.
Not that I pay for analytics, but my top posts on TwoFaceBook are announcements of child-bearing and -birthing sorts. Nine months of fun is a low price to pay for artificial popularity, right?

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8. I get special treatment whenever I play The Pregnancy Card.
We purchased a used desk when I was just coming off bed rest in June. As I took the stairs one at a time in the woman’s house where we picked it up, I explained about my condition. She wouldn’t even hear of my helping to carry the desk out to the car.
Now if only I could get free food from restaurants for flashing my tummy, I’d be set.

7. I can sleep anywhere, at anytime.
Weeeelll, I actually can’t sleep at bedtime, lying down. Still, it’s a handy skill during school performances and boring conversations. And, because of Reason #8, the person talking doesn’t get offended.

6. I get to wear overlarge, comfortable clothes.
I expect that, by 30 weeks, no one will bat an eye when I walk around in a muumuu.

5. Literally any other woman who’s had a baby wants to give me a hug on a hard day.
One difficult day after dropping my oldest at karate, I drove to the nearest grocery store and miserably shuffled around trying to find an edible food item. I ended up at the deli counter staring morosely at the chicken tenders. After I explained my condition to the older woman working there, she said, “You poor dear. I remember those days!”
Pregnancy is a camaraderie sort of thing.

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4. I do not have to diet.
Obviously I should not go overboard and assume that all-you-can-eat applies to every meal, but taking dieting off the table has been wonderful.

3. I do not have to exercise.
Yes, exercise is important. Yes, many women run a marathon whilst expecting. The general rule is to continue at the activity level one was at before impregnation which, for bed rested me, was not much. I’ve been thinking about it as the Couch2Bed Program.

2. I get an easy excuse for anything.
This is pretty much like #8, but applied all across the board. Dropped my glass? Forgot shoes? Late by two hours? Sorry; pregnant.

1. If all goes well, I get a baby at the end.
I’m just going to insert a few, cute stock photos here.

Not everyone can get pregnant, I know. For those who’ve done it and now wonder what they’ve gotten into, I hope I’ve given you a bit to think about besides heartburn as well.

Now, go take that nap. Eat that bag of chips. Forget that train of thought. You’ve got a baby to make!

Baby

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Sunday, July 28: “Why the Heck Would Anyone Get Pregnant?,” a post discussing the reason for impregnating and birthing.

Monday, July 29: Wrote “Pregnancy Limerick.”

Tuesday, July 30: Shared an inspirational image from Pinterest about motherhood.

Wednesday, July 31: Recommended watering down juices.

Thursday, August 1: “Frugal Decorating,” a snippet about the unintentional side effects of decoration neglect.

Friday, August 2: Thought about life goals and housework in, “The Dishes and Other Evils.”

Saturday, August 3: Shared The Mum Bum‘s tweet about pregnancy.

Sunday, August 4: That’s today!

 

Photo Credits:
Suhyeon Choi
Nicole Honeywill
Unsplash
Unsplash
Chayene Rafaela
Filip Mroz

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Why the Heck Would Anyone Get Pregnant?

Most of this pregnancy, I’ve griped. “I feel sick.” “I am so exhausted.” “No! (to husband) Don’t even look at me, let alone touch me.”

And those are what I say aloud.

Yet… this is my fifth time in the baby-making ring. Surely I had some idea of what I was getting into, if not some say in whether I entered. Which leads to my overarching thought: Why did I get pregnant?

If we were in my counselor’s office and were addressing my childhood and the relationship I had with my influential relatives ….we’d be here a long time. Although my couch is comfortable, I’m sure no one wants to sit through that. What I’m really interested in is why, given how horribly uncomfortable pregnancy and childbirth is, we women go through it all.

Yes, you in the back? No, you’re wrong. It isn’t ‘for the children.’ Next?

See, that’s the easy answer. That’s the ‘You follow the speed limit to avoid a traffic ticket’ type answer. That’s the ‘You don’t sky dive to avoid death’ answer. That’s the ‘You should avoid eating  Taco Bell to avoid intestinal distress’ answer.

Being pregnant is difficult. Just this time around; I am fat, bloated, exhausted, have constant indigestion, feel sick when I’m awake, and have jumped a few clothes sizes. I have interesting nerve pains from child-carrying #1 and my midsection moved somewhere after #4. My second pregnancy ended with an emergency, vertical C-Section and I now always count on no labor, surgery, and increased risk.

So …why? Why? Why? Why?

Actually …it really is for the children. I just didn’t want to sound all schmaltzy.

Because, frankly, it’s not “for the children” the way people picture that phrase. It’s not like ‘I will sacrifice myself to this gunman in place of my child.’ It’s not like ‘I will give my child anything he wants because I love him.’ And it’s certainly not like ‘I will never have a selfish thought again in my life.’

‘For the children’ means that they will live longer. My children, your children are going to help shape the future world. They are the only lasting legacy we can make, even if we were as influential as Jesus -because even He had to have people’s children’s children’s children pass on His message. He had to have people teach His teachings and print His word and learn to pray in His name.

Someone’s got to live after I’m gone, after all. Let’s hope they remember to hang up their towels.

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Sunday, July 21: “Everyone Needs to Get Messy, Especially Kids,” about …getting messy.

Monday, July 22: Wrote a poem, “A Parent’s Poetic Lament.”

Tuesday, July 23: Shared a quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Wednesday, July 24: Share another one of my quick, easy dinner ideas: “Veggie Melt.”

Thursday, July 25: “Two Different Socks? Why Not?,” a snippet about my sons’ fashion sense.

Friday, July 26: Emphasized the importance of keeping the kids fed in, “Manic Kids? Try Snacks.

Saturday, July 27: Shared Mom on the Rocks‘ tweet about therapy.

Sunday, July 28: That’s today!

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Everyone Needs to Get Messy, Especially Kids

My kids love to make messes. They’re not as enthusiastic about cleanup. At my most stressful, I tend to stand in the midst of their disaster area and say, “Well, don’t want to clean it up either! What if I decided to stop shopping for food and making dinner and cleaning your clothes??”

But those are not the sort of messes I wish to talk about today. Instead, I want to talk real messes, messes like: mud, water, dirt, homemade slime, and toasted marshmallows.

My 8-year-old came home from his Cub Scout Day Camp this week, his first time going. Covered head to toe in dirt and holding what he’d purchased at their little store, he glowed. They’d spent all day doing fun activities. They watched skits, shot a B.B. gun, and crafted. He had so. much. fun!

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Nothing warms my heart more than seeing deep, satisfied happiness on my kids’ faces. I see it when they are proud of something they worked on. There’s a flash of it when I laugh at a joke they told. There’s an almost tangible feeling of it when they’re arm-deep in sand at the beach, making castles or forts or whatnot.

We parents tend to think that fun has to be expensive. We buy gaming systems or children’s museum passes. We plan expensive vacations. We fork over cash for opening night at the movies and their overpriced concessions. We pay to attend the trampoline park, amusement park, waterslide park, or fun center park.

Why not just go to a park park?

Even if you’re not near a park or a backyard, you can still look up homemade crafts for home. I know slime’s extremely popular. Or Play-Doh. Or -even better- cookie dough.

Hands-on, tactile activities are more important for brain development than ‘strategy’ in a computer game. Interactions with physical materials help ground children (and adults) in reality. And, as I mentioned earlier, creating something with your own hands brings a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Besides, who doesn’t like to get messy?

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Here’s what I wrote this past week:

Sunday, July 14: Advised everyone to go jump in a sprinkler in “When the Summer Gets Hot, Get Sprinklers.

Monday, July 15: “Bedtime Routine Haiku.” If only they’d stay in bed.

Tuesday, July 16: Shared a quote by Ewan McGregor.

Wednesday, July 17: Recommended hitting after-holiday sales with “Shopping Tip 1.”

Thursday, July 18: “Guess I’ll Keep Him” -a snippet about my second son.

Friday, July 19: When life gets overrun with weeds, “Stop and Smell the Bindweed.”

Saturday, July 20: Shared Batman’s Mom‘s tweet about her snarky son.

Sunday, July 21: That’s today!

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

When the Summer Gets Hot, Get Sprinklers

Summer is here in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s been hot!

We’re nearing 100° and feeling it. Every afternoon I’ve noticed a bit of a wilt amongst the plants, people, animals, and even the asphalt.

What’s a family to do, especially one trying to save money?

WATER!

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For just such times; we have a plastic kiddie pool. We have a relative with a much larger pool. We’re also a ten minute’s drive from three splash pads (the greatest invention since public elementary school). Heck; I’m a fan of sprinklers, hoses, and buckets.

If you’re one of those parents always looking for great DIY hacks, a neighbor of mine once brought over water balls she made from cut-up sponge strips and an elastic. After they’re dipped in water, they make great weapons or game props.

If you’re one of those parents who wants the kiddos to do something useful once in a while, park your car away from the house and let them ‘clean’ it while they water-fight. Or, put the hose and/or wet children over a dry patch of grass.

And if your spouse is too uptight about the whole thing, ‘accidentally’ lock him out of the house while the children happen to have hose access.

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Hopefully he’ll cool down enough to forgive you.

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Sunday, July 7: “The Women’s World Cup Ain’t Such a Bad Thing,” a post about the positive influence of the recent World Cup.

Monday, July 8: Wrote a poem titled, “Pregnancy Side Effects May Include…

Tuesday, July 9: Shared a quote by Paul Reiser.

Wednesday, July 10: Showed y’all the effects of Bar Keeper’s Friend.

Thursday, July 11: “True Boy Mom Love,” a snippet about boy ‘love.’

Friday, July 12: Felt grateful for money-friendly venues in, “Thank You, Businesses, for Free Events.”

Saturday, July 13: Shared Maryfairyboberry‘s tweet about realistic meal prep.

Sunday, July 14: That’s today!

 

Photo Credit:
frank mckenna
Jessica Cao