Are You Going to Try for a Girl?

I have five boys. Since I live in Utah, the land of many children, I rarely get judgmental questions about that number. What I do get asked is:

Are you going to try for a girl?

The assumption, of course, is that I want a female offspring. I don’t. I’ve dreaded making a girl since my own Maturation Program in school. My feelings of absolute shock and betrayal are still present, besides the knowledge that I’d have to spring that information on my own daughter someday…

“That life you’ve lived up to now, with sunshine and rainbows and happiness? Well, dearest daughter, that’s all over in a few years! Once you hit your teens; you’ve got bleeding, pain, weight gain, and hormone fluctuations. -But don’t worry, when you don’t feel like cutting your own uterus out of your midsection, you’ll be able to put on a lot of weight for 9 months and pop out something that you’ll need to care for …for 20 years, at least…”

Yeah, I’ve got issues with being a mother. But if you didn’t know that already, you probably missed the name of the blog.

Back to the point: I’m terrified of birthing a girl. In that light, one could assume I’ve never been trying for one. I think it’s obvious that I haven’t, anyway, but can see how others assume that based on my constant impregnation.

Frankly, I’m not sure why I keep getting pregnant, either.

Either, or: no, I’m not “trying for a girl.” I’m trying for a baby. If that baby comes out with his (or her!) vital body parts then we’ve succeeded. If he (or she!) is also healthy and whole then we’ve done even better.

And if s/he is an excellent sleeper, we’ve hit the jackpot.

picsea-RW1GPQFNy-A-unsplash

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo Credit: Picsea

Did You Go Swimming Today? and Other Post-Delivery Fallacies

Hi, Mom.

“Hi, honey! Were you sleeping?”

No… (I was. I try to sound perkier.) What’s up?

“Oh! I’m at Wal-mart, and all their Christmas stuff’s 75% off!”

That’s great… but I’m not schlepping around yet.

“Oh… okay. I just thought you’d want to know.”

Okay. (I try to sound grateful and happy.) Thanks for telling me…

My mother’s a great person. I’m indebted to her for everything, beginning with the gift of life. However, I’ve noticed she’s not really aware of what I’m experiencing this time around the pregnancy and recovery loop. That exchange is just one example; though, to be fair, she called around 10 a.m. and not earlier. Odds are I was probably awake. She just happened to forget that I couldn’t go shopping yet since I’m STILL HEALING from a C-Section.

She’s not the only one, either.

A neighbor of mine asked if I was going to attend a Christmas choir concert about a week after I’d delivered. I responded:

No, Carol*. C-Section.

Just today, my husband took the other boys to a swimming pool with their grandparents. A friend texted, asking if I was going. As in, asking if I were swimming.

No, I can’t.

*Not supposed to?*

No, and don’t feel like it.

That’s the beauty of the C-Section recovery, I suppose: while I’m not allowed to do certain activities, I also don’t FEEL up to them. Heavy-lifting? Too tired and weak. Picking that diaper up off the ground? My sore stomach region says, “No bending.” Swimming at a pool? Can’t fit into a suit.

It’s not just me recovering, either.

“Hey, Mom!” (It’s my son that loves fun, just before going to the pool.) “D’ya want me to get the car seat?”

The baby’s not going to the pool.

“Why not? He has a suit.”

(I smile.) That won’t fit him quite yet. Also, he’s too little and would get too cold right now.

“Okay!”

Maybe by the time summer comes around, both the baby and I will be up for more. We’ll at least both fit into our swimsuits by then.

lubomirkin-XKpPsuuGE_Q-unsplash.jpg

*Name changed

Photo Credit: Lubomirkin

©2020 Chelsea Owens

What C-Section Recovery is Like

I’m no stranger to surgery, even when that surgery is a Cesarean Section. Why? Pregnancy #2 ended a bit dramatically, culminating in a Traditional C-Section. Turns out one’s not allowed to labor after that.

This Ol’ Pregnancy Rodeo happened a few years after the others, however, so I’d forgotten a few everything. So what have I learned so far?

  1. It hurts.
    What hurts? Everything. My stomach is tender, my uterus aches, my intestines can’t quite figure out where they’re supposed to end up, and my nether regions are trying to remember how to function.
  2. I can’t bend over.
    I can, but am certain that action’s bringing on the rupture of something I need later, like my bladder. Mostly I shake my fist at everything that drops and curse gravity.
  3. I am SO EXHAUSTED.
    Right after my first C-Section, I remember trying to dust the furniture in the living room. I did one table before collapsing on the sofa, ready for a nap. I’ve had even more to do this time and am therefore entirely dependent on chocolate and threats to my other children.
  4. Babies don’t sleep.
    Well, they do sleep A LOT. If the baby boy’s not eating, he is only content to be asleep. Still, his schedule’s enough to make Buddy the Elf want a nap. This is true whether I had a C-Section or not, but makes Side Effect #3 that much more difficult.
  5. Babies need stuff.
    From diaper changes to laundry to walking around, the baby’s needs are tricky to meet when you consider Items 1-3. Just holding the little one to nurse and burp involves dexterity in order to avoid my midsection.
  6. I’m fat.
    In the space where the baby once occupied there’s a big, squishy void. It hurts (see #1), it can’t firm up yet, and it makes me feel like Totoro since I put on an extra 50 pounds during pregnancy.

totoro-980324_1920

The upside of the whole thing was scheduling exactly when I would deliver. This came in handy for arranging babysitting and planning out the month’s events afterwards. I also didn’t have to deal with labor pains or tearing during delivery.

Now, someone may be reading this when she didn’t schedule surgery. My second, unexpected, emergency C-Section fell into that category. No, there’s no scheduling. Still, this can give one a handy guide if she’s wondering what’s normal and what’s not.

Hang in there for a relaxing six weeks, buy a belly band, and accept any and all offers to help. And have hope: this is my fourth time recovering, and I’ve always bounced right back to bending and sleeping. I even lost the extra weight …eventually.

 

Photo Credit: Image by manseok Kim from Pixabay

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

I Had My Baby!

Just a little heads-up: I delivered my fifth baby boy on December 2, 2019 at 1344. He weighed 6 lbs, 4 oz and measured 19 inches long.

Baby Five Top (2).jpg

He’s much smaller than he seems in the picture, but we’re a month along and doing fine.

Top Ten Things to Never Tell a Pregnant Woman

As I’m more obviously pregnant now, I’m getting a few well-meaning comments and questions from people. While most know to avoid the “are you pregnant” one, a few of the others I’ve heard left me thinking that I really need to make a list.

So, without further ado, here are The Top Ten Things to Never Tell a Pregnant Woman:

10. “You don’t look pregnant.”
Since I first felt the wonderful joys of ‘morning’ sickness, this comment has hurt. I realize it’s coming from good intentions, I do. Still, when you’re already aching in your lady parts and constantly feeling like tossing your Saltines, hearing that you don’t look pregnant is the worst.

9. “You look so cute.”
I don’t know why, but I’ve heard this one several times lately. No, I do not look cute. I look like a whale. I look like an elephant. I look like myself in a Sumo wrestler suit that I cannot take off for …a few years. Cute things are little and precious, and I am neither of those whilst pregnant.

8. Assurances of how long it took them to bounce back.
This is more of a stinging comment for older women who are pregnant. If it’s their first time in the ring, they might be more severely depressed post-partum when they can’t go jogging within a week. If it’s not their first time, they know better and don’t need the reminder -especially from someone who looks like she never carried anything heavier than a baby guppy.

7. Lists of risks for the foods the pregnant women is eating.
Another helpful one. If the person is really looking to be helpful, a kind reminder BEFORE any money or effort is spent would be nice. Or -as the best idea- show up with perfectly safe foods for the pregnant woman and her entire family.

6. “You’re eating for two.” Wink, wink
Lady, I know I’m pigging out. Maybe I’m just excited that the food’s staying down this time. Maybe I really do have cravings that seem to involve the wrong side of The Food Pyramid. Maybe I need to eat every hour because my stomach is being smashed in an upside-down direction.
Whatever option you pick, keep it to yourself. And, pass the ice cream.

5. “It’s only nine months.”
You know what? YOU try it.

4. Horrible delivery stories.
Again; as helpful as these are intended to be, maybe keep them to yourself. Especially if the pregnant woman has done IVF or prayed for ten years or whatnot, stories of botched or nearly-botched deliveries are terrible. Didn’t you know that stressing the mom out can cause premature labor? -Yeah, don’t tell her that, either.

3. Shameful comments about her birthing plan.
I addressed this somewhat in my article on planning a C-Section. If you know the person well enough to comment, maybe begin with a simple question: Are you choosing that plan because of past complications?
There’s always a nice way to say things and I know people can choose that way.

2. Horror stories of what the baby looked like, or how it changed sexes.
Like I mentioned in #4, just don’t. No one needs to worry that she’s going to pop out some alien with tentacles where they shouldn’t be.

1. Stories of babies dying.
I once expressed my anxieties about birth to a former neighbor, who responded that at least the child would be “teaching people in heaven.” That is not comforting; that is strange.
Getting a baby to attach, grow, not have complications, and pop out is HUGE. Please, please don’t tell an expectant mom about someone losing her child at birth. Save it for if that happens to her, when you give her a genuine hug and help her to cope.

—————

Here’s what went down this past week:
Sunday
, October 6: “No Kids Allowed: The Death of the Family,” an observation of society’s changing expectations.

Monday, October 7: “The Toilet Seat, a poem.”

Tuesday, October 8: Shared a quote by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Wednesday, October 9: Recommended mixing your own cleaners.

Thursday, October 10: “Eat a Balanced Diet?,” a snippet concerning dieting.

Friday, October 11: Thought about raised voices in “The Merits of Yelling in the House.”

Saturday, October 12: Shared Marcy G‘s tweet about kids and their feelings of ownership.

Sunday, October 13: That’s today!

 

Photo Credit:

©2019 Chelsea Owens