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

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

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

Why Give Teachers Presents?

My children have had a fair mix of school teachers over the years; good, bad, never ugly. Some could have been ….better at their jobs. -You know, jobs where they should have known they were working with small children and might need a smidgen of patience and crowd control. One or two others were phenomenal and more than earned their middling teacher’s salary. The rest land just lower than that, which is fine for a normal human.

But that’s it: teachers make the same whether they put a movie on at least once a week day or whether they split children into ability-appropriate groups and organized educational games.

And all of them take my children all day. That right there is enough to earn their pay.

On top of that, they manage to teach my kids a thing or two that I couldn’t. I’d say that’s good for a candy bar on their birthday.

Best of all, that saint with a yardstick did not end up killing that one child (who looked a lot like my son) who dumped water on her on Field Day and ran off laughing about it. I’m …still working on what to get her.

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Teaching is a highly underrated and underpaid profession. Yes, teachers only work 9 months of the year. Technically they work from 8-3 instead of 9-5. They get summers off and Christmas Break and the occasional PTA present of a mug. Some do not try as hard as they might and some go into the profession intending to not try.

In actual practice however, teachers spend the ‘extra’ 3 months setting up lesson plans, classrooms, and schedules. Their days run from 7 a.m.-whenever they finish grading homework. Many work summer jobs to make ends meet (often also in an educational position like Driver’s Ed). Some have so many mugs they donate them straight to Goodwill. Most do not go into teaching to make money, but to make a difference.

Even the (two) times my children have had barely passable elementary instructors, I made sure those women received some token of appreciation at Christmas and during Teacher Appreciation Week.

Why?

The very people teaching my boys with positive reinforcement could use a little of their own. Teaching is difficult. The pay’s not worth it. In several areas of the world, the children and the parents put stress on already impossible expectations.

And maybe every time a child (who looks suspiciously like mine) acts up a bit, they’ll feel somewhat better knowing a parent out there loves them and appreciates what they do.

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Sunday, May 26: “Happily Ever After is Possible, but it Requires an Epic Journey,” a post encouraging couples to work at their relationship.

Monday, May 27: Wrote a poem titled, “Summer Vacation -Almost.”

Tuesday, May 28: Shared an appropriate image about real life expectations.

Wednesday thru Saturday: Nothing, nothing; tra-la-la.

Sunday, June 2: That’s today!

Photo Credit:
Nicole Honeywill

 

© 2019 Chelsea Owens

Happily Ever After Is Possible, but It Requires an Epic Journey

It’s happened again. Another couple we’ve known and loved announced the big D-Word: Divorce.

As a child raised in a nuclear family around other nuclear families, divorce was a word we heard on TV. It was almost akin to the cuss words my parents muted whilst watching films like “Hook.” Sure, I knew a few kids at school whose parents had split, but that wasn’t close. That wasn’t real.

As an adult, however, my perspective is quite different. Why? Well, frankly, because that ol’ D-Word has come up in conversation with my own spouse. As in, applied to us. As in, “What; do you want a divorce?”

Mature, I know.

Now, divorce is not always a villain. It is often a very good idea. I have a close friend for whom The Split was necessary for the welfare of herself and her children, and that was mostly from an emotionally abusive aspect.

In other cases, however, I can see it for what it is: giving up early.

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My husband and I know this because we chose to fix our relationship. We chose counseling, to try and follow the counseling, and to try to work on us every day. And believe me, it’s not like the movies. If we don’t do our ‘homework,’ the counselor’s advice does not work.

Countless hours and advice and helpful correction has helped enlighten me. I’ve realized that love goes through stages. From my own perspective, they are:

  1. The Honeymoon Stage. When you’re dating, flirting, or first married you don’t have to really try to love. I thought the husband and I didn’t have this going into marriage because we dated a while and knew each other pretty well. Believe me; we still did.
  2. I’m making these up, but I’d call this The First Itch. The wife sees an old friend or a new boss. Husband sees a hot young thing at the office. You’ve still got your good looks and vitality and someone else seems interested. You still love your spouse but the attention is sure flattering. And tempting.
  3. Mid-marriage slump. Remember when I said I didn’t think we had that first stage? I know we did, because we’ve entered this third period with definite feelings of dislike at times. The love that came naturally, the one that simmered in the background all the time -even while we had newlywed fights- is absent. Why? Because we are not trying to feel it.
  4. I’d guess that one or two other stages come next, like Midlife Crisis and Reconnection. I’m not positive since we’re not there yet.
  5. Acceptance and Mature Perspective. I think this is the age we all hope to get to, the one older couples are at. They’ve seen all the warts, moved past all the warts, and decided the warts are not what matters after all. They’re mature and their love is mature.

As the number of divorces climbs to a point of shrugged acceptance, I see patterns of behaviors in those who choose it. Most often the pattern is that one or both parties wants the constant feeling of Stage 1. When love isn’t exciting or doesn’t just happen any more, surely that means they are “out of love.” Surely that means “we just drifted apart” or “we realized we didn’t have much in common after all.”

I know an older couple who raised seven children together and went through a #2 Stage after #3. What happened? She forgave him. He repented, reformed, and is a much different husband to her now. They literally have little in common regarding shared interests but they sit by each other holding hands, each with his own set of headphones, each watching his own show on his own television.

Now that there is love.

C’mon, people. Try harder. Stop looking at Happily Ever After stories as fantasy. They’re not. You just may need to slay a few dragons or journey to find the lost stone before you’ll (again) win that princess.

It’s not easy. It’s not. You both have to work. You both have to know what’s most important. You both have to think a little bit about the future. I mean, do you really want to end up with only a trail of broken relationships to look back on; or do you want to share retirement (and possibly grandchildren) with a sweet, old person who understands you?

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Here’s what I wrote this past week:

Sunday, May 19: My procrastinating son inspired me to write “Special Projects Take a Lot of Time and Mess.”

Monday, May 20: Wrote “A Poem, I Think.

Tuesday, May 21: Shared a quote by James Baldwin.

Wednesday, May 22: Suggested fancifying your food for littles.

Thursday, May 23: “Don’t Forget Your…,” a snippet about my forgetful boys.

Friday, May 24: “Mom, What Can I Do?,” a post about taking a quick hour for your kids.

Saturday, May 25: Shared TwinzerDad‘s tweet about being an example, technically on Sunday.

Sunday, May 26: That’s today!

 

Photo Credits:
Henry Hustava
Hannah Busing
Marisa Howenstine

 

© 2019 Chelsea Owens