Sunday, November 7, 2010

This Week = Fail

As most people know, I've been in the hospital for 5 days.  That's right, 5 days.  I suppose I will give you the short, sweet, condensed version.  You don't need to know all of the annoying bits and pieces, like staring at the wall, being closed in a room, and having everyone you see wearing a mask.  Yay!

Here's what happened:

Tuesday, November 2nd

Terrible headache began around 10 a.m.  Meds did not help.

Went to hair appointment to find out that it was LAST Tuesday at 2 p.m.  Damn.  Head is hurting so bad I can't see.  I go vote.  I can barely make it home, because the sun is hurting my eyes.  I thought it was a migraine.  I begin to dry heave when I get in the door (which is not fun with a terrible headache).

Try to sleep.  Chills.  Wake up with 102.5 fever.

Michael gets home, tries to take care of me.  Headache is the worst I have ever, ever had.  I can't move my head in any direction, my neck is killing me, and tears are rolling down my face.  It was worse than childbirth.

Wednesday, November 3rd

Headache there when I wake up, but feels better.  Fever broke the night before.  Called Mom, told her I was feeling better.  Yay.  11 a.m., game over - called Michael to take me to Urgent Care.

Urgent Care turned into the ER at Summerlin.  The doctor immediately said Meningitis, and ordered a CT scan and Lumbar Puncture (spinal tap).  I passed out and started semi-convulsing, so they weren't able to get anything out.  I was admitted.

Thursday - Sunday, November 4 - 7th

Procedures, pokes, prods, doctors, nurses, lack of sleep, peeing a lot, and not seeing anyone.  Quarantine for 5 days, where everyone had to wear masks and gloves, including my own family.  The door had to be shut at all times, and people were in and out of my room 6 times a night taking my blood and vitals.

So, to summarize:

Total Doctors:  Neurologist (with Nurse Practitioner), General doctor, Infectious Disease doctor.

Total Days in Hospital: 6 days, 5 nights

Total Days with a migraine: 4 (3 days with pain meds)

Total Procedures: 1 CT scan, 3 total Lumbar Punctures (spinal tap), 2 MRI's, 6 total IV's, 2 swollen wrists, 19 individual needle pricks (from drawing blood), 4 days of receiving the strongest antibiotics available, potassium drip ,and lots of pain medications.

Final Verdict:  Viral Meningitis, caused by an unknown virus, and complicated by an atypical migraine.  I am not longer contagious.  I should not be taking ibuprofen in the future, as the Infectious Disease doc says it made my condition worse.  Migraine medicines have been prescribed as a preventative measure against future  apocalyptic migraines like the one I experienced.

I am still not 100%, so I am not sure if I am going to work this week.  I already had Thursday and Friday off, but I may just go in for a couple of hours on Wednesday.  We'll see how I feel, and what my discharge instructions are.

To conclude, this whole thing sucked.  I tried to stay positive, but getting my spine poked, my brain looked at, and my skin assaulted isn't fun, not to mention that I haven't seen Naomi in a week.  The most difficult thing in this whole experience is not being able to see her.  It really kind of ripped me apart.

Thank you to all who sent positive thoughts my way - I definitely felt the love.  Special thanks to my family for wanting to kick the hospital staff that didn't know how to communicate, and especially my Mom who made an emergency trip from Illinois to stay until the end of this coming week.  We couldn't have done this without her.

I'm looking forward to being back to normal.  In the meantime, I'm going to go rest.  I've got a life to live.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

Upon our return to IL last month, Michael and I started talking about our wishes to move back to the Midwest.  We said, hey - let's save money, quit our jobs, move across the country, find a new place to live, new jobs, new childcare, and all that fun stuff.  YAY!

As much as we would love to come back...I don't know if that is possible right now.  Yeah, we're putting job feelers out right now, but when there are 200 people applying for one position, what is the likelihood of getting said position?

On top of all of that, let's be honest.  We both have great paying jobs - Michael loves his, and I at least like the people I work with.  So it doesn't challenge me in the least - big deal.  They are paying me money to do things that are easy to me.  About a million people in this city would gladly take over for me, so I need to be thankful for what I have.  We love our daycare, and we have some great friends.

Our biggest thing is that we miss our family so, so much - which is why we seem to have this same conversation every time we go home.  The grass is always greener on the other side.  Ok, say we move - yeah, we are closer to home, but why take a chance of getting a job that pays less, or that we are less happy in?  What about the stress of moving across the country again, only this time with a 7 month old and a dog?

On the other hand, if we stay, we need to get a house.  The housing market is great to buy right now, but not to sell.  What if we don't stay for more than 2 years?  Do we still leave, and try to sell?  What about trying to rent it out via a management company?  But won't EVERYONE be trying to do that?  However, we need to get a house because  I am not going to continue paying $1050 in rent for a two bedroom apartment when we could get a three bedroom two bath 1400 square foot house for $90,000 in a good part of town.  I'm just not going to do it.

We are confused on where to go next.  On one hand, we leave, spend a ton of money that we've saved up to buy a house to move, get lower paying jobs, but live closer to home.  On the other hand, stay in a city that is sinking faster than the Titantic, but have the money to put down on a dirt cheap (but good) starter house, while being away from family.  Plus, both of our jobs seem pretty darn secure at the moment.

So, the next few months will be telling.  Our lease ends next August - at that time, we are either moving back to the Midwest, or buying a house and settling down here for a few more years.  We'll be looking for a house in Nevada, and jobs in the Midwest - all at the same time.  Either way we go, it's a gamble.

Being an adult sucks.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Distortion of Our Past

With the wide range of suicides happening in our country due to bullying, I began to think about the past.

No matter what clique you were in during high school, chances are there was another clique you looked at and said "hey, I want to be like them", "omg, they dress hideously", "so and so has 'issues'", etc.  Looking back at my high school days, here are the "cliques" I remember running around - and the weird thing is, with only 99 kids in my graduating class, lots of kids were in multiple cliques.  I don't know if that was the norm everywhere else, but it was for my school.

There were the guy jocks, who thought they were the shit.  They walked around with their football jerseys on, and worked on intimidating those around them.

There were the girl jocks, who, although they seemed nice, they would talk about your horrible performance at the track meet when they thought you weren't looking.

There were the band geeks, who learned that changing on the same bus with members of the opposite sex could be fun.

There were the musical geeks, who ended up just messing around back stage and in the audience during practices.  Many of these students believed their shit didn't stink, and they were often talking about others and how they "didn't deserve that part".

There were the brainy kids, who had their heads in books all of the time, and didn't care about what was going on around them.

There were the nerdy guys, who practically peed their pants when a girl they liked came anywhere near them.

There were the nerdy girls, who tried to find love no matter where it was.

Then you have the posers, the dreamers, the ones with "issues", the teasers, the bullies, and every other stereotype out there.

I have now been out of high school for almost 9 years, and I've realized how absolutely distorted our pasts are.  We all had this warped idea that everyone fit into a mold, and would stay the same until they were 104.

I'll be honest - if you know me, you know that I had some "issues" in high school.  Yep, I was one of those people.  I attempted suicide, cut myself, and wished that I was a "cool kid".  I tried so hard to be liked, to fit in, and to be what other people wanted me to be.  These "issues" were ridiculed, pointed out, and used against me, even by parents of fellow students.  Although I had a diagnosable and treatable illness, the misconceptions of that illness followed me everywhere.  It made it hard for me to go to school, or to even function in my small town - the same town that I loved up until then.

Even though I myself was ridiculed, I also ridiculed other people.  I was not immune to the viciousness that circulates high schools.  I remember distinctly teasing students who were different than myself.  I remember teasing a girl who obviously hadn't washed her hair in multiple days.  For someone  who was teased, I certainly teased others with as much furor as those who teased me.  It was a vicious cycle.

After graduation, I peaced out - I never wanted to go back to that town.  There, everyone knew I had "issues".  I started college, and realized that I indeed was "ok".  People liked me for who I was, and I didn't have to change myself for other people.  I grew up.  I still couldn't go back to my hometown without having a panic attack (thanks, Post Traumatic Stress!), but I was getting there.  I kept thinking, "HA, I bet some people didn't even get OUT of that town!".  I refused to go to my 5 year reunion, thinking that it was just going to be a re-hash of gossip, whispers, and teasing.

Fast forward some years.  The monster that is Facebook arrived in 2004(ish), and it exploded.  First, I was friends with only college friends, then Michael's college friends, then I got a friend invite from someone from HS.

As time has gone on, I've been able to not only see myself grow, but those I stereotyped?  I've seen them grow and thrive as adults as well.  Many have families, husbands, careers, dogs, cats, deaths, divorces, and family scandals.  Some have found God, some have found pot, and some have become political activists.  Some have gone to war, others to college, and some started their own business.   Those people that I thought were the most beautiful or the nicest are actually not all that pretty or not all that nice.  Some of the nerdy ones are the most successful; some of the most popular are doing great things for less fortunate populations; some of the meanest are actually now fighting for the little guy.

My point, after all this, is that our past is distorted.  We see what we want to see.  We sometimes continue to feel what we felt when we go somewhere from our past.  Thankfully, I can now go to my hometown without all the panic, but I would prefer to just avoid it.  I realize that I teased others, and feel guilty how I projected my own insecurities onto other people.  I'm not sure what happened to the girl I teased about her hair, but it left a big impact on me - but probably not as much as I made on her.  I hope that she is doing alright.

Now, almost a decade later, I am able to objectively look at my entire high school and say "I really hope they are doing well for themselves".  I realize that not going to my 5 year reunion was probably a good idea, but that it would also be good for me to go to my 10 year reunion.

As much as I still want to be bitter towards situations that happened, I remind myself that I'm a pretty changed person - and so is everyone else.  We've all had those big moments: the cringe-worthy ones; the life-changing ones; the exciting ones; the sad ones.

Everyone who bullied others were bullied by someone.  Everyone who was bullied also bullied someone.  We all had our doubts, fears, and bad moments.  We were all at the same level - just no one told us that.

As we move through the rest of our lives, we have a responsibility to pay our experiences forward - stop bullying, and be a good example to our children.  There should be no excuse for an adult to bully someone else - and we should treat our children the same.

Positive thoughts to those who have lost someone due to bullying, and to those who are still working through the scars of bullying.  I hope you can get past it soon.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

10 Guilty Pleasures

I was thinking the other day about embarrassing guilty pleasures that not many people know about me.  Common, we all have them, and I'm sure that we all have those guilty pleasures that would make other people think "Wha the wha?".  I have nothing else better to do today, so I am getting my list together:

10.  I will watch an America's Next Top Model Marathon no matter when it is on, or what channel it is on, or how many times I have seen it.  There is nothing like seeing a bunch of immature wanna-be-models duke it out, cry, and backstab each other.  Awesome TV.

9.  I love playing video games.  I know that I say it is to spend more time together, but I really also like playing by myself.  I needed a "me" day yesterday - and that included 7 hours of video games.  The day was needed and well deserved, which is why I am in a much better place emotionally and physically this week.  Sweet.

8.  People watching - I love it.  But usually it's for things like counting the number of mullets or the amount of people who don't dress for their body type.  I know, but really, I'm an equal opportunity judger.  And if you think "Oh my!!" and that I am a horrible person, just ask yourself this - when was the last time you judged someone?  If you say never, you are a liar.  The end.

7.  This may not be a huge secret, but I love calling people out on their bullshit.  Sometimes people are taken aback, but that's who I am.  I own it.  If I sugar coat something, it's only a little bit.  I think this is why I love being on Baby Center's Debate Team so much.  The good this is that I won't say anything on those message boards that I wouldn't say in real life.

6.  I like researching spirits, energies, auras, and astrology.  I like meditating, yoga, and all those "weird" and "wakadoo" things.  They are so complex and interesting!

5.  I'm gonna be honest - one of my favorite guilty pleasures is illegal.  No, not prostitution.  No, not murder.  Maybe MJ.  Just sayin.  Legalize that stuff, please!  Then I can do it recreationally without worrying about it showing up on a drug test.  Or that whole jail thing.  The gubberment can even tax it and get us out of debt.  Win.

4.  My blog = guilty pleasure.  (Ok, it is, but I didn't have anything to write from number 4.  So sue me.)

3.  I am obsessed with the show "Bones".  It's really kind of dumb (I mean, really, can they get together already?), but when I discovered it on Netflix, I was hooked.  The last couple weeks of pregnancy was so great because I got to lay on the couch and watch 4 seasons of "Bones".  Alas, crap like that doesn't happen anymore.

2.  I love to jam out to show tunes in the car, shower, or at home by myself and imagine myself on stage.  I know, dumb, but this stems from my childhood ways of doing the same thing.  If anyone actually saw me doing this, I would be completely mortified.  I'm sometimes hardcore about it.

And finally...

1.  Watching Lisa Lampenelli specials.  Yes, I am embarrassed to admit it, as she is indeed the "Queen of Mean", and bases all of her material on social, physical, and economical stereotypes.  Maybe that's why I think it is so funny - because I know that I shouldn't be laughing, but I am anyway.  I also know that no one is safe from her stand-up, and I know that she does what she does to highlight the idiocy of stereotypes.  At least I try to think that.  She's  Some may be shocked by this - that is why I just keep it to myself!! 

Naomi Update!!

Naomi did great on the flight to home and back to Vegas!!  I was so proud of her.  We sat by a crabby lady on the way there, but Naomi got her revenge when she just stared at her without smiling for 80% of the flight.  HA.  Eat it, lady.  I'll get photos and videos of the trip up soon.

She's also sitting up on her own now, though we still put the Boppy pillow right behind her so she doesn't bump her head when she falls over.  She's eating lots of baby food these days - green beans are her favorite.  She turned 6 months a couple of weeks ago, and weighed 17.5 lbs.  This girl is growing!

Michael's long hours are starting to kick in, and I think that we are really ready for it.  We'll make it through this for sure!

And I'm out.  I should probably get back to work, yes?  Oops.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Naomi and I will be trekking back to St. Louis, Mo and Petersburg, Il in a couple of weeks, and I am scrambling to discover the best way to safely and efficiently travel on a nearly 4 hour flight with a 6 month old by myself.  I'm sure it will be interesting - I'll have to blog about our adventures when we get back.

Anyway, while I was thinking about this massive process, I mentioned to Michael that Naomi and I were going to stay on the plane until everyone had removed themselves so we don't have to fight "traffic".

As I was mentioning this, I came to this question:  Why is it necessary for ALL passengers to rush for the exits once a plane has landed?  Do we not realize that we all really, truly will get off the airplane at one point or another? 

For that matter, why is it that in most "group" situations - movie theaters, concerts, planes, meeting famous people - people are in a rush to get to where they are going?  Are we all really in that big of a hurry?  I don't really think so. 

Is this an American problem, or does this happen in other cultures too?  Is it just the American public that does everything fast, wants everything immediately, and don't take a second to stop and smell the roses? 

Take a moment.  When was the last time you just stopped and actually relaxed?  No TV, no electronics of any kind (maybe some music - whatever).  Maybe a book?  Talking with an old friend?  Hanging out by the pool? 

As my life has gotten busier and busier, I've been looking for ways to really and truly take a moment out each day and just be.  I don't think that people just look at things and say, "I don't have to do that right now - the world will not end if that isn't done".

Since I've had Naomi, I've discovered myself thinking a lot about death, and the mortality of our beings.  I'll see my family laughing together (or napping together, as of recently), and think how in just a brief moment can drastically change everything.  I try to find something little every day to fulfill the requirement of taking a moment to breathe.  My favorite activity is sitting with Naomi for awhile before she goes to bed in a recliner and singing songs together.  Dinner, dishes, and homework can wait - time needs to be taken out for just her and I.

What matters to me is that society needs to stop hustling around - pushing and shoving our way through life - and stop to reflect on how to improve our lives and the lives of people around us.  How great would it be if people started doing that?

To bad you have to go to another continent to observe this type of behavior in a society.

(PS - I wrote this blog while watching 'The Men Who Stare At Goats'.  Dumb movie.)
(PPS - Naomi's going to be getting teeth soon, as evidenced by her ever growing screaming fits.  She got her lung capacity from her mamma.)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

And We're Back to School!

The school year has finally hit, and the extra traffic pisses me off.  First, I don't care that you are 12 years old and have a BMW.  Please stay off my ass as we drive into the parking garage.  And, yes, I see that you, a student, parked in a staff parking spot.  I want to punch you in the face.

Now that's out of the way.  Good. 

I really, really like working with students - for the most part.  So many students that I have worked with over the last few months have been kind, thankful, and work hard.  Of course, they are overshadowed by a-holes who yell at me because they have to pay out of state tuition.  First, don't get pissed at me because you assume that since you moved here, you are suddenly entitled to in state tuition.  It doesn't work that way, princess.  Second, don't have your parents call me because they will "talk me into it".  Please.  Do your own talking. 

While I like working with students, those with an elitist attitude makes me want to put a fork in my eye.  My job is not to fix everything for you.  My job is to help you succeed by giving you resources across campus.  If I can, I'll make phone calls on your behalf - but not if you are giving me attitude.  I'm sorry that you dropped your class after the drop date.  I'm sorry you have to pay for it now, and get a W on your transcript.  BUT, you are an ADULT.  If you could act like one, and familiarize yourself with policies that are clearly posted, it would make everyone's life easier.

I'm frustrated at work.  Obviously.  But, each day, you have to get up, and say "I'm going to have a good attitude today.  How am I going to make this day great?".  When I don't feel that way in the morning, I might as well take a personal day, because me being there wouldn't be fun for anyone.  Luckily, I don't hit those days very often.  It's all good, though - I have a job that pays pretty well, I like who I work with (for the most part), and they are flexible when Naomi is sick.  These are all good things, and I need to remember that each day.

Umm, what else?  Naomi is about to roll over - but she's taking her sweet time.  We started implementing rice cereal 3 times a week at night so she can get used to it.  She hates it, and spits it out.  It was cute at first - seriously - but I can see the process frustrating me in the future.  It's one of those things that I have to take a deep breath and remember that these moments won't last forever, and I will miss them one day.

The further I get into motherhood, the more I get pissed off about people making it sound like it's all about unicorns farting rainbows.  I know I've been through this before - I just felt like saying it again.  Yep, I can do that.  It's my blog.  Ha.

Random thoughts for the week:

1. Has anyone else noticed that America's Got Talent has been going on way too long?  Choose a winner, thanks.

2. I started classes for a Mental Health and Developmental Disability certification at CSN this week.  All my courses are online, so yay! 

3. Along with #2, I decided about 6 months ago that I am going to go back to get to school for my Masters in Social Work.  I can go half time while working so I can get it 70% off (YES please).  I won't start for a couple more years, so in the meantime, I'm getting a certification or an AA degree (I know, I did it backwards - BA, Masters, then AA.  Whatever.)

4. People with nice cars (BMW, Jaguar, etc) piss me off, because let's be honest, you are just shoving it in people's faces that you have a lot of money.  Sorry if that is judgemental - but again, my blog, my rules.

5. My kid is ginormous, but she is eating less than she should be.  How does that work? 

6. I am so tired of Sharon Angle vs. Harry Reid.  I'm voting for Fred Flinstone.

7. I still like my husband.

8. I'm tired of my dog jumping on my head at 3:45 a.m., but I don't have the heart or the sanity to put her in a cage.  I know, I'm a softie.

9. Some people should not be on HD shows.  Sir, you look 100 years old and you are wearing lipstick. 

First UNLV tailgate this weekend - sweet!  Then Labor Day celebration on Sunday at Mary's.  I have Monday off, but Michael doesn't - sad panda.  I'll be playing video games while Naomi is napping, though!

I must go do my homework now.  Is it sad that I am excited about doing homework again?  I'm sure it will go away within the next couple of weeks.

Until next time - in the meantime, ponder this thought: "How did someone come up with the name 'Platypus'?"  Talk amongst yourselves.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back in Action

I miss my BabyCenter friends.  I don't frequent BabyCenter to share ideas on parenting, trade information on best practices, or any of that other crap.  No one wants to hear from me about that, and I don't want to hear about how "awesome" you are as a parent.  Shove it.  If I have questions, I'll ask someone like my sister.  Thanks.

No, I go on BabyCenter to debate.  Not strict debating like this:

Team one, you have 3 minutes to debate whether or not aborting a fetus due to severe chromosomal abnormalities is ethical.  Team two, you have 3 minutes for rebuttal.

Nope.  It looks more like this:

1. Someone posts the question.
2. Someone posts an answer.
3. A new person comes in and tells the original poster and first poster that they are awful human beings who murder children and should repent of their sins.
4. More people join, some with great scientific evidence (complete with references), others with "I know so and so who knows so and so, and they did THIS, so you all are WRONG"
5. People start getting so mad that they forget how to spell and start spouting off hateful "You all are bitches!" language
6. Those who get overly angry and defensive are then mocked by the snarky users.

(I may or may not participate in the snarky category)

Whatever.  I don't care what your opinions are - I just want to have a nice, juicy debate that helps my mind work a little overtime.  If I get some fun out of it, then my day is complete.  It may sound silly, but I've really missed getting my snarky-ness out of my system.  I really don't say anything on there that I wouldn't say in real life, so I am still pretty true to myself.

I will say, though, that I am so sick of the following things when it comes to motherhood:

1. Competition: Everyone's child is the BEST.  Jack did this...well, Jill did THIS!  Oh, you aren't cloth you know how that ruins the environment?  Why are you using a jumperoo...don't you just want to hold them?  My thoughts: I how you raise your child.  Please do not give me advice that I do not ask for.  If I am curious, don't worry, I will ask you.  You can also count on me to not tell you how to raise your kid.  Thanks.

2. Working: OMG, you're back at work already?!...How can you leave her at daycare?...Don't you just wish you could stay home all day and cuddle with her, and teach her, and just spend wonderful time with her?  My thoughts: First, quit asking me "are you always going to work, or are you saving up to stay at home".  No one has ever asked Michael that question, have they?  Oh no, because I have a vagina only I get the questions of "are you going to stay home".  Dear society - quit assuming that because I pushed her out means I will stay home with her, and quit assuming that if a Dad stays home full time means that he doesn't have balls or ambition.

3. Society: Now that I am a mom, gender roles in society piss me off times 100.  I discussed a little bit of this in #2 of this post, but also in previous posts.  The expectations that women need to meet as mothers and caretakers are astronomical in nature compared to their male counterparts.  I am tired of the assumption that I HAVE to work (I happen to really like my job, and I'm damn good at it), and I am also tired of people assuming that I don't have time to spend with Naomi, or making snide comments that "someone else is raising your child".  That statement turns me into a raging lunatic.  I hate the looks of judgement that I get when I say that Naomi is with a daycare instead of a private nanny.  Basically, I am tired of society putting all of these expectations on me, just because I have a uterus.

It sure sounds like I am bitter.  Don't worry, I'm not.  I love my life, my daughter makes me really freaking happy, and my husband is fantastic.  What I don't love is the mold that I'm expected to adhere to.  I stand behind no man - I stand next to him.  No man is a master of my home - we are masters together.  No person will ever tell my daughter things that are "expected of her" just because she is a woman, like "don't do that, it's not lady-like".  Stupid.  She can do anything she pleases - sons and daughters should be held to the same standards, not "boys will be boys" vs. "be ladylike".

I would love to study the psychology of the feminist movement, and how it is continuously evolving even today.  When you stop to think about it, women are still held to a different standard to men, just like other groups are held to a different standard than the "white boys club".

That's a whole other blog post.  This little lady needs to get to bed - it's not ladylike to stay up this late without a chaperon.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Thank God my road looks good!

Michael and I were driving to a BBQ in Summerlin on Saturday. It was beautiful out! I was getting over the flu, so I was obviously a little more feisty than usual.

So, we're just taking a leisurely drive along the north 95, and Michael makes the comment "Oh, the gravel area around the on and off ramps look really nice! It must be the federal roadway beautification project or whatever it is called."


Now, I understand the Nevada Recovery Road project program - we're getting some pretty crappy roads re-paved, giving some much needed infrastructure relief while providing jobs. I think that's great, and we will continue to look at the infrastructure of our country. That's not what I am talking about.

Oh no, I'm talking about the nice desert landscape that ushers our vehicles along our long trek from one highway to another - that long, 0.25 (or less) drive that can leave families fighting because they have nothing pretty to look at. We're not talking one or two cacti hanging out, waving at your car as you drive by - no, we're talking about two cacti hanging out, having a beer, watching a couple of strippers make out while pole dancing. We are, in fact, all about entertainment in this community.

I understand providing jobs. But landscaping? A roadway? Not even a roadway, just a piece of land that you look at when you are driving a horseshoe between highways. Someone is just going to crash into it anyway! Or it will be swept off during a monsoon because the people in this city are piss-poor planners and 'forgot' to create a drainage system! Is it really necessary to provide a positive aesthetic when less than 10 miles away you have a tent city that houses men, women, and children - yes, children - because they have nothing to eat, and no place to stay.

Why have we become a society of people who concentrate on "important" matters, like what things look like, and how people view us? Have we become so materialistic that we forget that so many of our fellow human beings are dying everyday of hunger (not only in this country, but around the world)? Maybe we can buy one less plant to put in that gravel - use that money for food, and those workers you hired? Pay them to hand out food! Eureka!! You now are providing a service, a needed service, for the American people, AND you are providing jobs.

But, I get it. Don't I understand that having plant life, pretty painted sound walls, and pristine overpasses help tourism? They help make our city look good. You're right - every tourist comes here and their first "bad" thing they see is a slightly run down overpass (not even run down - so, it looks like there has been a sun shining on it. Big deal). Right - they also run into a man, woman, or child - yes, child - handing out cards listing information about legal prostitution in our state. WOO! That makes our city look great - right along with the pictures of SWAT teams clearing out tent city and police busing homeless citizens to one part of the city to keep them quarantined. Don't want the nice visitor folk to see that we have problems in this city!

I'm sorry, I just must be ungrateful for what I have - you're right. I am so very thankful that I got to see beautiful, painted overpasses on the way to my afternoon cookout. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Whew, it's a good thing this city and state know how to treat their citizens - they even entertain us in the car. What was I thinking? I'll cease my critical thinking skills and just assume that our politicians and government officials are actually looking out for everyone's best interest. It's seems like the popular thing to do these days.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

You gotta own it, people.

So today I had a great lunch with a colleague that I haven't seen in a long time. She and I are pretty similar, and we had some great conversations over Cafe Rio (which is not on the list of Weight Watchers-friendly foods, but I didn't care today).

Anyway, we talked about how people do not take responsibility for their personalities, actions, reactions, etc. People just don't say, "Yes, I did that. I made a mistake" or "This isn't my strength, but I will work on it." Things like StrengthsQuest overly focuses on a person's strengths. It's great to talk about that, but it is also important that we challenge ourselves. It builds character.

Anyway, there are things that I would like to "own". Everyone should come up with a list, for sure. Own who you are. Be proud of what you do well. Continue to work on things that you need to improve upon. Don't stay stagnant. Figure out what you can do to make your world, or the world of another person, a better place. Be HONEST when you make a mistake. Apologize, even when you don't think you should. Sometimes taking the high road builds character and supports integrity.

So, here is what I own:

1. I own that I suck at sending cards and gifts. Apparently, it's hard for me to send it out. I can purchase a card, sign it, stamp it, address it, and then it sits on my counter for a week. On average, all cards are at least a week late. Everyone in my family knows this. I continually try to improve it, but I still suck at it. By the way, Andy/Laura, Cassie/Devin, and Shane/Jessi, I have your wedding gifts, but I haven't sent them out yet. I know, you got married 2 months ago. Sorry.

2. I can be overdramatic. That's pretty self explanatory. For a little while, little problems can seem like HUGE problems to me. I just need some time to work through them.

3. I own the fact that when I see a woman who is not independent, depends on a man for everything, and stands behind a man because he is "the head of the family", I get pissed off. Own that you are a woman, have great ideas, and can be self sufficient. You don't need a freaking man to be complete. Get your shit together.

4. I own the fact that I use humor and sarcasm to break up work days, conflict, and stressful situations. People say I'm funny - that's awesome, because we all need to laugh each day. Things can always get worse.

5. I own the fact that I can be judgemental. I can judge people who don't wear clothes that suit their body type (larger ladies, please don't wear belly shirts. Thanks.). I can judge people who think that they are superior. I can judge people for having habitually shitty attitudes. Take that crap somewhere else. And if you say that you don't judge people, you are a freaking liar. And I own the fact that I called you a liar.

6. I own that I can be brutally honest. You never have to guess where you stand with me. I sometimes cross the line, which will be followed by an apology. I also wear my emotions on my face. If I'm pissed, you'll know it.

7. I own that I can sometimes share too much information. Case in point: when I was pregnant, people asked how I was feeling. I would tell them, in detail, how I was feeling. Many stopped asking at that point. My philosophy is that if you don't REALLY want to know, don't freaking ask. I also own the fact while I love my daughter, I hated being pregnant. I don't look forward to doing it again.

8. I own the fact that I don't blindly follow what I'm told. I will think critically, and take your argument apart. I also own that I sometimes shove other people's opinions down their throat. I'm working on that.

9. I own that I discredit your argument if you quote Fox News. Sorry. (But that also includes most media outlets these days - everyone is so freaking biased. Everyone just needs to do their own freaking research).

10. I own that we make decisions that is in the best interest for our daughter. If that doesn't meet "perfect mother" standards, kiss it.

11. I own that it's ok to choose to be crabby. Just don't let it run your life.

12. I own that I don't wash my hair every day. I own that I don't shave every day. Priorities.

13. I own the fact that sometimes I go to bed without dinner because I am too tired to make anything. Yes, I know it's not healthy. No, I don't care. Thanks.

14. I own that I have body issues, and that I hate the way I look and feel physically. I have no confidence when it comes to my physical appearance. Now, my wit, professionalism, integrity, ethics, and character? Yeah, I freaking rock.

15. I own the fact that I won't poop in a public bathroom, even if I have to wait all freaking day.

16. I own that I've made grave mistakes in my past, but those mistakes don't define me.

17. I own the fact that we don't recycle. I know, we are earth-haters that are contributing to the downfall of society and our earth. I'm contributing to the death of our children.

18. I own that I feel like I am not making a difference in the lives of students. I try and try and try, but it feels like a drop in a large bucket.

19. I own the fact that sometimes I go to bed wondering if I am doing the right things for Naomi.

20. I own the fact that I am a working mother. I like working. No, I don't secretly wish I could quit my job. I love my job. I own that my only identity is not Michael's wife, or Naomi's mother. I own that I'm a pretty kick-ass professional who works hard to balance responsibilities, and a great friend. I create my own identity, and that includes being Michael's wife and Naomi's mom.

21. I own the fact that I curse like a sailor. And that I have a hard time toning it down. It's a work in progress. And I own that I am way loud.

22. I own the fact that this list is turning into a "This is what I think, bitches!" post. :)

23. I also own that I suck at blog writing lately.

People, I encourage you to own it. Embrace who you are, your opinions, and your decisions. Continue developing yourself. Help others develop. Next time you are mad, take a deep breath. Remember that life could be much worse. Don't let anyone tell you your feelings are not right or valid.

This has been the word of Megan. Do with it as you please.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Supermarket Shuffle

Regardless of where we work, live, and what we do with our lives, we all have to eat. In order to eat, we all must go to the supermarket, yes? If you have ever been to the supermarket, you no doubt know how to do the Supermarket Shuffle.

First, depending on when you go, you have to find a parking spot, which can be, in short, a pain in the ass. You circle the parking lot 3 times, and have to wait for slow people to move the heck out of your way. Dear people, there is such a thing as walking toward the LEFT or the RIGHT of the aisle – I do need to maneuver my car through here, and I can’t do that if you and your 15 kids are walking in the middle of the aisle. Thanks.

Once you find your parking spot, 100 miles away from the store, it’s time to truck up to the store in 100 degree heat, which feels much hotter on asphalt. By the time you get to the store front, you have huge pit stains, the soles of your shoes have melted off, and your hair is immediately in a ponytail.

You get a cart (which I call a buggy, but Michael teases me for that, so I’ll just call it a cart), but it has a broken wheel. You grab another one – but that one has sticky residue on the handle. You grab a third one, but it has a used Kleenex in it. You go back and grab the first one, but some big breasted bimbo in stilettos grabs it and gives you a smug smile. Bite me.

Once you have your cart, whatever may be wrong with it, it’s time to maneuver the store. Now, I am a planner, so I make my shopping list according to where things are in the store. It is very difficult for me to continue my shopping if YOU MOVE THINGS IN THE STORE. Let’s just say, in a perfect world, you don’t move things – do you know how much easier that would be for the planners of the world? I would love to get in and out quickly. Thanks.

Once you are going up and down the aisles, you find that they are clogged with people. And by clogged, I mean not even a small amount of Liquid Plumber could penetrate it. You have the elderly gentleman trying to get through with his cart; but he can’t do so because jock strap to his right is trying to figure out what his wife wrote on the list she gave him, and bimbo that stole your cart is on his right gabbering on the phone. On top of it all, you have Michelle Dugger and her 19 kids running up and down the aisle screaming “I want THIS!”. People? PEOPLE! First, please let this poor gentleman in the scooter out, and please move your ass so I can grab ONE can of black beans, which is conveniently located in the middle of the aisle. Maybe I’ll just forgo the black beans this week.

Not only are the aisles crowded, everyone looks PISSED. No one likes the Supermarket Shuffle. Let’s all stop being so mad, shall we? Sure, everyone in the aisle over turns me into a raging lunatic, but in the end, let’s at least throw out a smile or two. We’re all shuffling, after all.

Finally, FINALLY, you make it to the checkout counter. Although there are 150 checkout counters, there are only 4 open. On a Saturday Afternoon. Are we serious? You find a line, behind 4 people with large carts, and once you are finally up next, the person in front of you needs something special that only a manager can do (override a code, ring up something, etc). The checker flips the little switch to blink their freaking light, and we wait 10 minutes. You look at all of the other lines and notice that if you had chosen one of them, you would have been out of their 20 minutes ago. Once you are finally up, the checker talks your ear off – not just little conversation, but unable to ring you up and talk at the same time. It’s another 20 minutes before you are out the door.

You get back out to the parking lot, your soles melt a little more, and you finally get to your car – and you notice that there are NO cart corrals around. This causes you to go searching for the nearest one, because you hate it when lazy people just leave them out. You finally try to back out of your spot, only to be waited on by 3 different cars who all insist that they were there first, and want your spot. Once you have pulled out, you hear normal people yelling at each other and throwing the bird.

And that, my friends, is the Supermarket Shuffle. And it’s a huge pain in the ass. It would just be so much easier if everyone just got out of my way, everyone just throw each other a smile, and go about your day.

I’m going to go make a meal with those black beans that I worked so hard for.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Well, today was supposed to be my due date…but obviously Naomi had different ideas! I am happy to no longer be pregnant.

On the other hand, I miss being pregnant. I know, that’s messed up, considering how much “fun” I had during pregnancy. But there is something to be said about the closeness between a mother and her child during those 9 months. I really, really never thought that I would feel this way – I still touch my stomach, thinking she’s still in there. I know, weird.

Something else really weird – I actually had a good time during labor, as crazy and as hard as it was. It actually went the way I wanted to (unmedicated, having a good time with Michael, etc) – however, I would have left out all the bellowing and the almost having her in the car thing. Those are just things that make it interesting.

Naomi is absolutely amazing!! We find new things about her every day and night. The first two nights were a little rough, but it seems like we are starting to find a groove. She’s crying a little bit more, but she still squeaks a whole lot. She likes to be held, and tends to wake up every time I try to put her in her crib – which makes nights a little rough, but she’s used to being inside me, all warm and snuggly – so of course she is going to wake up. She likes to be swaddled – everything but her arms, of course. She gained 3 oz. and grew 1 inch in 3 days – so I’m sure she isn’t going to be small for much longer!

All the remains of the jaundice that they found in Naomi is now gone, according to the pediatrician, which is wonderful news! He said that she probably didn’t have to be in the NICU after birth, but that the hospital probably just wanted to be careful with her.

Nights have been long, but Grandmar and Grandpa Stepp are in town until Friday, and while Grandpa is working from “home”(aka hotel room), Grandmar comes over around 7:30 a.m. to watch Nomes so I can get some sleep. It’s been a god-send, because nights are a lot of up-and-down and holding. I’ve been getting a little more sleep overnight, but not a lot. Naomi, though – she gets LOTS of sleep, and I guess that’s what counts.

Grandma Hullinger is coming on the 7th, and we are so excited to have her! By that time, I’ll have a few days with Naomi alone while Michael is at work, and doing “night duty”, so it will be nice to have some help again. She gets to stay until the 14th, so that’s good! We wish Grandpa Hullinger and Uncle Matthew were coming too, but she’ll have to wait to meet them.

And, I must say, I started writing this blog 3 days ago, but am finally able to finish it at 3 a.m. while Naomi is sleeping on my chest. I know, I’m a champion multi-tasker.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Dramatic Arrival!

Thank you to ALL for your support and thoughts for Naomi! Naomi was born at 4:38 a.m. on 3/23/10, weighing 7 lbs, 1 oz, and measuring 19 inches long! She was smaller than we all expected, which I’ll probably be addressing later in the blog.

In true blue Megan fashion, the story of the birth is a little dramatic. Michael and I are still looking at each other, saying “I still can’t believe that freaking happened”. I will try to do the story justice, as many of you reading this are across the country, and I can’t tell you in person. Just try to imagine me saying it out loud to you over some Starbucks.

It’s Sunday, 3/21/10, the first day of Spring. Or first full day. Whatever, that’s not important. I woke up feeling “weird”, as I put it that day. I was starving, then nauseous, and just really tired. I actually slept really well on Saturday night, which was great, so I wasn’t quite sure why I was so tired (other than being 39 weeks pregnant – that’s 1 week shy of my due date at 40 weeks, which was March 28). Maybe it was the late night Michael and I had on Friday, 3/19 – we went to a choir concert for the Las Vegas Master Singers, then went to the Imperial Palace Karaoke Club for our friends’ birthdays. I may or may not have gotten my butt on stage with 3 friends and “sang” (badly) Wannabe by the Spice Girls. It was interesting to be singing with a boa 9 months pregnant. I think that is what brought on labor!

ANYWAY, back on topic. Sunday, I wasn’t feeling the greatest, and I was a little irritable. I haven’t cried much in pregnancy, but Michael and I were watching TV, and he got a phone call from his parents, and I just burst into tears for no real reason. I left a message on the phone for my sister, and Michael got off the phone and hugged me for a little while. He knew I didn’t feel well, so he started a bath for me, made me some tea, and tucked me into bed.

Timeout – I would like to say now that I have the most.amazing.husband.ever. He is the reason that I was able to get through this process, he was patient, kind, and just – amazing. Rock star. I just wanted to get that out there.

Ok, time back in. My sister called me back, and we talked for about an hour, she made me laugh a lot, and it made me feel loads better. I played around online from my bed after that.

I’ve had “practice contractions” (Braxton Hicks) increasing over the last 4 days, so I was used to the tightening of all of my muscles, and it just was natural. Well, around 6 p.m., I had a much different type of contraction – I can’t really describe it, especially those early ones. All I know is that I knew in my mind that it was different, and I had to get up and walk around. It still didn’t go away until about 1 minute, so when I had another one 30 minutes later, I thought “Hmmmm….”

I tend to over analyze things (I KNOW, you are shocked), so I was trying to not put too much thought into this process. I decided that I would see if the contractions had a pattern, and if they woke me up at night. There was only a slight “pattern” (at that point, they were about 20 minutes apart, lasting 1 min 30 seconds on average), but they did wake me up at night. I woke up almost every time kind of moaning – it freaked our dog out, LOL.

Around 3 a.m., they were about 12-15 minutes apart – still not a definite pattern, so I knew I was probably in early labor, but I think I was in denial. I was SURE it was just false labor, and I was going to end up looking like an idiot. Again, I over-analyze!

I woke Michael up and told him what was happening, and the look on his face was priceless. There is nothing like looking at the face of your partner when you say “Hey dude, I think your daughter is preparing to move out of my uterus”. It makes me smile thinking about those quiet hours of Monday morning – finally packing our hospital bags (yeah, last minute, LOL), laughing about life, and spending some time together. (And, now I am tearing up. I still have some hormones up in here)

So, around 4 or 4:30, I called my parents. They were coming out for the birth, and if this was pre-labor, I wanted them to be able to have time to come out. I called my Mom first, and although it was early, she was on full alert – Grandmar (yep, it’s Grandmar – her name is Marlene – awww, clever!) and Grandpa have been chomping at the bit to hope on a plane, and it was now time! I got a hold of Dad, and he was in total plan mode. It made me smile – they were so excited to come meet their granddaughter!

Michael called his parents too, and although they aren’t coming out for another few weeks, they were super excited and told us to keep them updated through the process. Grandma and Grandpa Hullinger are super excited for their first grandchild, and we wanted to keep them as updated as possible. We couldn’t believe this was happening!

So, Sunday night into Monday, I got a total of 45 minutes of sleep. I tried really, really hard to sleep, but contractions that are 1 min 30 seconds total every 12 minutes and getting stronger kind of get in the way of that whole sleep thing. Michael got about 4 hours, but went ahead and called off work Monday in case that this was ACTUALLY it (I was still in denial – I didn’t want to get too excited!)

We called our doula Sarah around 7:30 a.m. to tell her what was going on. I’ll just refer to her as Sarah from now on, because it’s easier. She was excited for us, and told us to drink lots of water, take some walks, keep eating, and let her know when it was getting hard to get through the contractions, and when there was a pattern. At that point, we were about 10-12 minutes apart – it kept going back and forth, so it wasn’t quite a “pattern” yet.

We get our dog Roxie prepped for her little vacation to the PetSmart Hotel – she is staying with them during this process so we don’t have to worry about her, and she gets to play with other dogs. I wanted Buffalo Wild Wings really bad that morning (for those of you who saw my Facebook status at 4:45 in the morning, LOL), so Michael went to drop her off and pick up some wings for me while I laid in bed. I was getting really tired (remember, only 45 minutes of sleep at that point).
I ate my BWW, hoping that the spicy-ness of the Parmesan Garlic wings would help speed up the process (for those of you who don’t know, there are lots of “natural” ways to help speed up labor – spicy foods, walking, sex, etc. I was too tired for the latter two, so spicy foods was the winner – and YES, the Parmesan Garlic wings is SPICY to me, don’t judge it.)

Halfway into eating them, I started to feel nauseous, so we put the left over wings in the fridge (which, I am really looking forward to eating when I get home). I started to feel contractions a little more consistently by this point, but we were still about 9 minutes apart.

At this point, I can tell you a little more about the contractions. I knew by this point that this was probably the real thing, and for me, the contractions felt like I needed to take a never-ending poop. And, since I am honest about everything, I don’t feel weird telling you that nature has a way of getting the body ready for birth, as the days leading up to birth is like a natural enema. Yeah, that could be TMI, but eh, get over it.

So, anyway, I knew that I didn’t need to poo, but it sure did feel like it. And I peed a lot during each contraction – so I knew that my body was really prepping at this point. Contractions were getting a little tougher to get through, so we called Sarah, and she arrived at our apartment around 3:30 p.m.

Timeout – I would also like to say that having a doula during this process was a god-send – when the contractions were getting to be too much, she had a whole arsenal of things to help calm me down. For those of you who didn’t know, Michael and I decided to do an unmedicated childbirth, for a number of reasons. Because of this, we decided to labor at home as long as possible, hoping to arrive at the hospital around 6-7 cm instead of the usual 4 cm. I knew that I would probably elect to have an epidural if we went too early, and I didn’t want that. Sarah’s job was to keep me calm, provide emotional support, help me get through the contractions naturally, and check my dilation periodically/time contractions to find a pattern so we knew when to go to the hospital. I would also like to point out that there are usually no “textbook” births, so what happened to us isn’t really all that weird. Well, maybe a little. So, anyway, since we wanted an unmedicated childbirth, I KNEW I would say “I can’t do it” at one point or another, so Michael and I came up with the code word “dolphin”, which I would say if I had hit my wall and I meant “Give me the drugs or I will stick my fist down your throat”. Don’t ask where we came up with the word, because we don’t know where it came from, LOL.

Ok, time back in. I STILL didn’t have a pattern for my contractions, and Sarah knew that it was probably because I was tired, excited, and having strong contractions every 8-10 minutes at this point. She gave my hands, arms, and legs a massage with lavender aromatherapy (my favorite scent for sure), which helped relax me, and had a really small glass of wine (yes, it is ok, don’t freak out people).

Sarah and Michael were talking as I drifted in and out of sleep on the couch, while trying to concentrate on the larger contractions. I found that some were much, much harder to deal with then the other smaller contractions, which made me tense up. Tensing up during contractions can make them hurt worse, and can stop up the dilation/progression process, so we wanted to keep me relaxed.

We went outside and walked, which was rough during the stronger contractions, but felt great during the in-between. We came back inside, and Sarah insisted on getting me something to eat. Out of habit, I said “I don’t really feel like cooking”, which got a laugh out of Sarah and Michael. Michael went out and got Chipotle, because it was fast, and rice/beans have good complex carbs, and the steak had good protein. I figured it was better than a burger, which has pretty much zero nutritional value.

While Michael was out doing that, Sarah and I just talked, and I tried to talk through some of the contractions. They were getting much, much stronger, and I was already feeling somewhat nauseous. I pretty much knew that I was going to end up vomiting up my dinner (which I did, lol), so I didn’t eat all that much. But, surprisingly, it was good to actually throw something up, because throwing up bile sucks (reminds me of my first 18 weeks of pregnancy!). Anyway, Sarah said that if she had to guess, I was probably 4 cm dilated already, which was great progress. We already knew that Naomi’s head was in the right place, and really low, so that was great.

After the vomiting incident, I felt better, so I got on my birth ball to move/bounce through the contractions, which were getting long. Sarah started to time them, and although there was STILL no pattern (there usually is by this point), each contraction was at least 2 minutes long. Two minutes!! That’s a really long time for a contraction. So, since all the textbooks say that “real” labor has a pattern of contractions (consistently timed apart) and they are 1 min 15-1 min 30 sec, I was still considered to be in “pre” labor.

Now, by this point, no positions are helping my contractions, and I’m having a harder time getting through them, so Michael and Sarah would rub my hands during the contractions. Touching someone else (like on the hands) is soothing, and creates endorphins, which help the contractions become regular, be less intense, and helps labor. I had to have “focal” points during the contractions so I could concentrate on something else, so during contractions I talked about how Michael and I met, etc. He was my source of endorphins.

It was important to me to have a positive birth experience, so I actually was cracking jokes most of the time, which is just like me – have these pains that make me want to drop to my knees, pull out my hair, and scream so all humanity could hear me, but still be cracking jokes.

So, 11 p.m. rolls around, and contractions are stuck between 5-7 minutes apart, but each lasting 2 minutes long – leaving very little time to rest. However, Sarah said I HAD to rest, or it would prolong labor. The thought of prolonging my labor made me want to stick my face in acid, so they gave me another massage with aroma therapy and Michael rubbed my back. Sarah also officially check my dilation, and sure enough, at 11:30 p.m. on 3/22, I was 4 cm. This is important later in the story, so remember that.

Sarah said that she was going to head home, because I wasn’t really progressing all that much, but if my water broke, or if contractions were coming closer together, call her and she would come back over. I was trying to breathe through contractions at this point, but I heard her say to Michael “Call me right away if her water breaks – it could go quickly after that”.

So I tried to rest through the contractions, still each 2 minutes apiece. Again, that’s a long freaking time, friends. I actually got about 45 minutes of sleep during this part, on and off, which saved me later, for sure.

But one contraction was so painful it woke me up, shot me out of bed, and I loudly went “UHHHHHHHH” in the middle of our bathroom. I had been able to just moan “regularly” (whatever the hell that means) during the contractions, but this was something different. Michael asked “Are you alright?”, to which I promptly said, “Does it effing look like I’m alright?” (poor guy). I had to pee during the contraction, then plop, my mucus plug came out (I KNOW, TMI, but it’s important to the story). This means I was dilating past a 4, so hooray!

Well, NOT so hooray, because then contractions started to come consistently – every 4-5 minutes, 2 MINUTES EACH. WTF. So, contraction would start, 2 minutes of hell, then rest for 2-3 minutes, then start again. Michael called Sarah, even though there really still wasn’t a complete pattern. We timed them over the phone with her, during one I yelled “FUCKING DOLPHIN!!” which I immediately took back after the contraction was done – but it was getting REALLY tough to get through them.

Sarah arrived at our apartment at 2:45 a.m., and I was laboring in the bathtub. Ladies, if you have children, get through the contractions in water – they were easier to breathe through, and it was relaxing – well, as relaxing as they could be at that point. In my 2-3 minutes of down time, I would pass out sitting up, then wake up with a start for my 2 MINUTE CONTRACTION (I’m still shocked on how long they lasted).

Sarah had me get out of the tub, and had me go over to my birth ball so I could sit on the ball and lay over the bed to try to get rest between contractions. During my second contraction on the ball, I said “I HAVE to stand up”, and stood up, walked 2 steps, and SNAP. Water broken all over the floor. I still don’t know if I got it on the towel or my newly cleaned carpet. We’ll worry about that later, I guess.

Without hesitation, and completely calmly, I said “Hmm, my water broke”. Less than 15 seconds later, the most intense pain I have ever felt, EVER, came over me and I ran over to the toilet. My loud moans and “ahh! Ahhh! Ahhh!” alerted Sarah that this was no ordinary contraction. She said “Megan, do you have the urge to push?!” and I said “Yyyyyeeeeeesss!!”.

Her head whipped to Michael, and calmly said “You need to get the car right now, we have to get to the hospital immediately”.

All I remember of the next 5 minutes is Michael running around, out of breath, with a look of fear in his eyes. I only had a bra on at this point (I was sweating soooooo bad), so they threw a robe on me, sans anything but my bra. As Michael came back in the room, I calmly said, “Michael, can you grab those clothes for me? I’ll need them later”. For some reason, I was extremely calm. Really calm. And really able to handle what was happening. It was weird (and didn’t last, LOL).

We’re on our way out the door, and Sarah says to me, “Megan, whatever you do, DO NOT push. Just don’t, you can do it”. I then hear her tell Michael that if we need to, pull over, and we’ll “evaluate the situation”. That didn’t register with me until later.

And here is the kicker – we live 30-35 minutes from the hospital we were delivering at (I wanted the best for our care). Well, Michael is flying on 95/515 to get our booties to Summerlin. I was really calm through the whole thing, until we got to the Spaghetti Bowl, where the bumps in the road are horrible. Taking those at 85 mph was not fun – and it was not helping me trying not to push.

We get to the hospital, and I am able to walk into the ER (those are the only doors open). It’s 3:45 a.m., and they can’t find me a wheelchair. They took their sweet time, and I am just in a daze because I NEED TO PUSH. Finally I said “I NEED A WHEELCHAIR”, they found one, and we went to Labor and Delivery.

We get up there, and although I was pre-registered, they made Michael fill out some paperwork before triage. This part only took a minute, but I was trying to not give in to the need to push. I stare at these 2 nurses that just give me the look of “I am sure you have hours left, lady”. I’ll say biotch nurse to refer to the one that took me into triage.

Biotch nurse says, in her biotchy way, “I have to check to see if you actually ruptured your membranes” (aka water broke). At this point, Michael ran back downstairs to move the car, so it was just me and Sarah (and biotch nurse). At this point, I let out a bellowing wail. Not a girly scream, not an “Oooo, that hurts”, a bellowing “uhhhhhHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA”. The poor other people in triage must have been scared, lol.

Biotch nurse checked me, quickly said, “Room 41, now”. I hopped (ok, kind of rolled like a beached whale) off of the table, and back into the wheelchair. Biotch nurse was suddenly very nice and soothing. Looking back at it, that should have been my first clue!

I get into the room, and suddenly there are 5 nurses in the room, running around. Sarah told me to keep my eyes on her, and DON’T PUSH. Michael was back and rubbing my back. I heard the biotch nurse say “Her doctor will be here in 20 minutes”.

I bellowed “uuuhhHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA” again – I needed to PUSH, why wouldn’t they let me push?!?! I’m griping the side of the bed like it would save my life. During this, they are trying to admit me – asking me questions about allergies, prior health stuff, and I’m just looking at the lady trying to formulate words. She tried to get me to sign something, and another nurse was like “We HAVE to do that LATER!!”. IV’s went in, and monitors went on – they were trying to figure out here heart rate, and they kept pushing my abdomen, which really effing hurt. A LOT. I bellowed some more. I squeezed my legs shut so tight, and was grunting. All the nurses were like “Don’t grunt, Megan, don’t grunt!” and “Breathe deeply, you can’t push yet!!”

I remember the nurses talking quickly, and quietly, and some of them saying “We can deliver, but her doctor wants to be here” (or maybe said needs to be here, I can’t remember, I was a little preoccupied.)

Michael’s voice was steady the whole time – “You can do it, Megan”, “I love you”, “You are doing great”, “You are amazing”. Looking back at it now, he must have been freaking out more than a little bit. He was behind me, Sarah was in front of me, so I was staring into Sarah’s eyes.

I don’t remember what all I said during the 20-25 minutes I waited to push – but I remember thinking “be nice to the nurses!!” and “Don’t drop the f bomb!” I also was trying really hard to stop bellowing (people, it was loud), because I knew that I was probably freaking the other mothers on the floor out. I apologized to the nurses for being so loud, and one said “Hun, the rest are quiet because they all have epidurals”. I do remember saying things like “HOLY SHIT”, “Shoot me in the face”, and “God kill me now”. I didn’t cry, because it just wasn’t like that. It was like my body was revolting – I started to push a little bit, then had the hands of 4 people trying to calm me down so I would stop pushing. I bellowed a lot more.

My doctor flew in the door and they quickly got him into scrubs and my legs up on the stirrup things. I thought dazedly that I wanted to give birth laying on my side (helps the baby descend into the pelvis), but then stopped giving a shit. I started to push – then I heard the doctor say “Megan, you have to stop!”.

I stopped, and bellowed some more. It went against all forces of nature to stop pushing – and by this point, I’ve been “not pushing” for over an hour. No wonder I was bellowing. She was coming, whether we liked it or not!

Finally, he let me push. 5 pushes, people, and she was out. Between the time the doctor came in the door and the moment Naomi was born, it was about 10-12 minutes, no joke. When she was coming out, the doctor told me to slow down, so I wouldn’t tear. I didn’t care. (For the record, I got a 2nd degree tear, which I am paying for now, but I honestly didn’t give a shit.) It felt SO weird – it is so hard to describe – but I knew she was on her way out. Someone said “Megan, look, she’s on her way out”, to which I responded “uhhhhAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAH!”.

So, next thing I know, this beautiful face was on my chest. It wasn’t as gross as I thought it would be, to be honest. Her eyes were closed, and she wasn’t crying yet, but she was wiggling around, so I knew she would be ok. I was just in awe – I had so much energy – and I just had a little girl! She was smaller than I thought she was going to be. Although she was a little purple (I DID just push her through my birth canal), she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I didn’t cry, though – I thought I would – but I think that I was just mentally and physically in shock.

Usually, they let the baby stay on the mom’s chest during this, however, they let her stay a minute, then had to take her away. Apparently, she thought it would be fabulous to eat some of her poop while in utero – they figured it out because I had mycosis in my amniotic fluid. They had to make sure it wasn’t in her lungs, etc.

But, she was great! They give babies a “score” after birth, and she got a perfect score. Michael stayed with her (we were in the same room, but he stayed right beside her). He got to feed her first meal, got some great skin-to-skin and eye contact, and had some daddy-daughter bonding time. I realized later that in my daze, he began to cry when she was born. Yep, he’s the greatest man I’ve ever known.

It took the doctor longer to stitch me up and all of the “third” stage of labor (I won’t get into details) 3 times longer than it did to actually deliver Naomi, no joke. At that point, they offered me pain meds, which I absolutely took. Hey man, she was out, it couldn’t hurt her, and my body was shaking so badly! I proceeded to apologize to everyone for being so loud – and they all said that I actually did really, really well.

I found out that I was fully in “transition” when I walked into the hospital, and when biotch nurse checked me, I was 9.5 cm dilated, and was 10 cm by the time I got to the delivery room. Had I pushed, Naomi would have crowned, and she would have basically flopped out. There was literally no time – I was really holding her in. That’s why it was so painful – I was going against the laws of nature for a full hour and a half. No wonder.

Biotch nurse even ended up apologizing to me – she assumed that I was a mother who was 1 cm dilated, and just wanted the epidural early. That’s how calm I was when they first got me into triage – she thought I was 1 cm dilated – until she looked (and until I started bellowing).

Michael says it was an interesting and unique experience, but it warms the heart. He also said that it really bothered him to see me in that much pain, and that it scared him – he said that he never wants to see me in that much pain again. He says that witnessing her birth is one of the most amazing moments of his life.

So, in all technicality, I was in “pre-labor” for about 30 hours, and in “actual labor” for, oh, less than 3 hours. The speed of the delivery is unusual for first time moms – but when have I ever done anything by the book? And let’s be honest, I think that Naomi will do things when Naomi wants to do things (sounds like someone I know). My contractions stayed 2 minutes long throughout the whole process as well – which is also unusual. And, had I pushed, I would have had Naomi in our Kia Optima. Good thing Michael didn’t know how close I was to doing that on the way to the hospital, or he would have freaked out, LOL. I was at the hospital less than an hour before she arrived, and they had to take all my admission paperwork, blood, and urine work AFTER she was born. Oops. But, in the end, we got our wishes for an unmedicated, natural childbirth. Since Saturday Night/Sunday morning, I had a total of about 2 hours of sleep between then and Tuesday night. I didn’t even nap yesterday, because every time I tried, I got poked and prodded by someone, LOL.

All in all, it was a pretty good experience. It hurt like hell, and it took a toll mentally AND physically, but it was all worth it. 100% worth it.

Naomi is just awesome. She hates it when her feet are touched. She has her daddy’s big toe. Her fingers are really, really long. She looks a whole lot like her daddy. Her eyes are gorgeous. She calms down when I begin to talk to her. She’s just…amazing.

Bad news came down last night, though – she’s jaundiced, so she now has to be in the NICU under lights to bring it down until maybe tomorrow (Thursday). Basically, my O+ blood is attacking her A+ blood cells, which isn’t good. However, it’s a common condition, so all this is preventative measures – let’s hope it stays that way. I’m going to try to stay in the hospital with her, so it doesn’t look like we are getting out until tomorrow. We went to see her in the NICU last night, and I just burst into tears. Michael told me to think of it like she was out getting a tan, but I hate that my daughter is in there by herself. I want to be there to soothe her when she needs it. Last night was the first night we haven’t been in the same room for about 10 months. I felt like my friend left me, and I wasn’t there for my friend. The feelings and emotions that I have for her are so new – it’s so hard to explain.

I’m just so consumed by the utter love and adoration I have for this little girl. Our daughter. I never thought I would love someone so much. Motherhood is already the most amazing thing.

So, that’s the story. I almost had my kid in the car, LOL. I’ll keep the blog updated with pictures and videos, and here are some Michael took yesterday – we’ll get some other ones up as soon as we have more!!

Naomi looks beautiful...Mommy, not so much. It was a long day!!

Naomi's first meal and skin-to-skin contact with Daddy

What up, g?

Naomi Marie, 7 lbs 1 oz, 19 inches long

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I'm glad you are doing well, but could you not use so many !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ? Thanks.


I don't know what the hell it is, but what is with the Facebook status updates that just have to tell the entire world how AMAZING you life is?

Now, I don't mean the "I feel very blessed today", or the "I'm having a great day because my husband/significant other rocks", or even the "I am so lucky!".

What I am talking about are the "Let me run through all of the amazing things in my life right now, refer to all of the obstacles that I have overcome, and I am giving the figurative finger to those who didn't believe in me!!"

For example, if I wrote one, it would read something like this:

"I have the most amazing husband, that I've been with for almost 9 years, a rockstar daughter, and a fancy dog! Michael and I have amazing jobs, we drive nice cars, and although we are in debt, we are paying it off!! We love each other very much, we have great families, and lots of friends!!!! And for those of you who thought that Michael and I wouldn't make it through long distance, or thought that I would just be crazy my whole life, just LOOK AT ME NOW!!!!!!!!!"

And the post has to have 1 million exclamation points, just to make sure everyone knows that you are practically screaming at how amazing that you have it right now. To really read it right, you have to think about it in the context of me on the Maury or Jerry Springer set, waving my arm like it's my job.

Ok, so yes, there is some truth in all of these statements. These people are truly happy that their lives are going that well. I'm happy for them. But do you really need to fill up my news feed with how FANTASTIC your life is? A simple "I feel blessed" or "I am very lucky in my life right now" would suffice. I promise. Most people would be, aww, that's nice, they are doing well for themselves. But if you have an off-the-wall crazy-pants post like that, you have me wondering - who are you trying to impress?

Now, some could say the same about me, with my brutally honest blog and Facebook postings on my pregnancy. That's cool. I personally call it realism, but that's just me. Pregnancy is not about lollipops and gumdrops my friends, and I have never been one to blow smoke up your ass, so why start now? Are there moments of laughter, joy, and wonder? Oh, absolutely, and I post those too.

I've learned that in real life, though (that's the non-Facebook and internet life for you Millennials out there), people do not want to hear about trials and tribulations of pregnancy, or life in general. If they ask, "How are you feeling?", they want to hear me say, "Oh, I feel great, I have _____ long to go, I am really looking forward to it! It's just an amazing experience", which they would follow with, "Well, that's great!" and then give some sort of whacked out advice about being a parent that they assume I care about.

In my reality, for a long time, when people asked "How are you feeling?", it would most definitely be followed by how I was actually feeling. Again, no smoke up your ass, friends, because that shit's hot, and it would hurt. Now, it's like I have to say "Oh, I feel great, I have _____ long to go, and I'm really looking forward to it! It's just an amazing experience" or I get the look of "WOW. She's got issues." I finally got sick of it, so here I am supplying the facade of "pregnancy is lollipops and gumdrops!!"

But since when did I really leave something out? I'm a pretty open book, if I feel a certain way, you're gonna know. Done and done.

So, anyway, this isn't directed toward anyone in general, but to the many people who have posted something like that on Facebook. I get it. You are doing GREAT. I am really, very happy for you. Now calm it down. Thanks.

And it looks like that sass button has returned. Hooray!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Woot for updates!

It's been awhile - my bad! :) This entry may not be humorous, sassy, or anything of the like, but maybe just an update. We'll see.

Anywho, I'm a little over 34 weeks, so that means about 5.5 weeks before my "official" due date. I think Ms. Thang is going to arrive on April 1 or 2 (specifically, go into labor on April 1, and her arrival on April 2), be about 7.5 or 8 lbs, and be 21" long (she'll have her daddy's length). I think she'll arrive at 3 a.m.

Daddy thinks she'll get here March 17, 11 a.m., 8.5 lbs, 19" long. I think he's wrong - that's early for a first time mom to give birth (but "at term" all the same). The winner gets bragging rights. Place your bets, my friends.

We've decided to give birth unmedicated, which means no induction (unless medically necessary) and no epidural regardless. Unfortunately, I am not able to receive most medications used in an epidural due to drug interactions, and to be honest, I don't really want it anyway. I would rather not put more medications in her than absolutely necessary.

Now, lots of people don't understand our reasoning to have an unmedicated birth. That's ok, it's not for everyone, and some people have no choice but to have an epidural. Who the heck am I to tell you what you should or should not do? For us, this is our best option. However, what DOES make me mad is the "oh, you don't know how much it will hurt, and you will scream for those meds". No, I won't, but thanks for having faith in me. I will not give her meds that aren't necessary, period. We didn't come to the decision easily, and we are using a birthing approach that I can really connect with.

I made fun of the approach we are using a LOT as we began to use it, but I've ended up loving it a lot. For those of you who know me, I enjoy holistic approaches to life (meditation, hypnosis, spiritual connection to nature, etc). I've done self hypnosis since college, and I believe that it is something that really helped me quit smoking. Anyway, it's something that I know and respect.

So there is this program called Hypnobabies; my sister used it during her birthing processes, and liked it a lot. She was nice enough to send it to me, and as Michael and I were starting, I nick-named it Hippie-babies, because it is very holistic and meditation/hypnosis based. It made me laugh.

But, as we've been going through the program, I've just fallen in love. I've had lots of problems with pelvic and back pain throughout the pregnancy, but through the month of January and the early part of February required me to use a cane in order to walk. It stunk, and it started to hit me mentally because I felt like I lost my independence. The techniques taught through Hypnobabies has really, really helped with pain management, and anxiety of becoming a parent. Again, not for everyone, but something that has really worked for us. I look forward to using the techniques during birth. I'm sure I'll still have some colorful language, so never fear. The sass will still come out!

We were lucky enough to hire a Doula to help us through the process. What is a doula, you may ask? Basically, it's someone who is a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support during birth. She'll help us labor at home as long as possible, go with us to the hospital, and help us into good positions during the birth. Also, she'll help explain any interventions that the hospital staff tries to give us (i.e. offering drugs, indicating that I'll need "help along" when I really don't, etc). She's already helped calm my fears about my increasing blood pressure (which can be a bad thing), and will meet with us after Naomi gets here to help us with questions, etc. She's awesome, and it'll help keep me focused.

I am ready for her to be here! I'm ready mentally, physically, and the apartment...well, maybe not so much ready, but that's what I can do when I go on maternity leave, which starts March 1. YAY!! That will give me a few weeks to wash all of her clothes, keep the house clean, etc. because after March 7, she can really come and be "at term". Holler.

It's so cool feeling her move around these days, but SO WEIRD. She's like a little alien. Her butt was in my ribcage at one point, and I saw the little bump move. I was like WHHHHHAAAAT is THAT?! Duh, it's my daughters butt. Now when it's up there, I pat it and say "What's up?". I talk to her a lot, so she knows who I am. Michael talks to her too, which is neat (though he thinks it's a little weird).

She just makes me laugh already. I wonder sometimes if our brains are connected while she's using my bladder as a toy and my cervix as a trampoline. Does she hear what I am thinking? Does she know when I'm thinking about her with lots of love? Lots of times I start smiling about her randomly, and her butt moves again, and it makes me giggle. Who knew that despite all of the uncomforts, scary moments, and hit-the-wall "I'm done" syndrome, I could still love her so much before she even gets here?

Michael and I have talked about what we think she'll look like. I think she'll have Michael's eyes, but my facial features. I forgot what he thinks, because I forget pretty much everything. Personality-wise, I think that she'll have a quick wit and a sassy tongue (so, maybe a little like me), but have a huge heart and laid back (a lot like Michael). She'll be a great mix between us both. Again, I forget what Michael thinks, but I think he said that she is going to be just like me. I'm not totally sure if that's a good or a bad thing, OR how I am going to be able to handle that.

Being a parent scares me. I don't know how to do it. I don't want to be too protective, yet not too "do what you want". I want her to be independent, yet supportive. I want to allow her to make decisions for herself, but maybe help guide her in those decisions (asking what she wants for dinner - which will probably be followed by "pizza!" - but maybe offering her choices). I want to utilize things like technology to help her learn, but I want her to be able to get her creative juices flowing by using a box and turning it into a spaceship. Or a boat. And using clothes to help her imagine herself in far off places. I want her to have the same experience with movies as I did - the Wizard of Oz for example. I had that WHOLE thing memorized, and I would act out the entire movie in our living room. I want that experience for her.

There's just a lot that I want for her, and a lot that Michael wants for her. And then my controlling, "planning" part of me wants to sit down with Michael and create a parenting plan. Which will go out the freaking window. Ach, it's just so exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Does everyone feel this way, or is it just me?

I think my sass button is broken today, because I just feel all sorts of sentimental. What the heck?! I'm sure the sass will come back eventually. I should start writing down my witty statements and just come on here and write them down.

But yep, pretty lame today. I'm about due for a ranging post, so stay tuned.

(And Naomi says hi, because she just kicked me in the ribs and moved her booty. Maybe she has a song in her head)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Humanity knows no borders.

So, this isn't necessarily a pregnancy post, but I needed to get it out there anyway.

I keep hearing the following statement: "I feel bad for Haiti...but we need to take care of our own country first!"

Now, here I have an opportunity to be all nice, and explain my opinion in the kindest of ways. But ya know what? I don't feel like it. So often I want to "keep the peace" and listen to all sides, but I get completely fired up about this. And it's my blog, so I can say whatever I damn well please.

What has happened to our world when we completely focus on ourselves? What kind of place do we live in if it's fight for ourselves? It seems as if we are in purely survival mode, even when we don't necessarily need to fight each other.

I will discuss this in two parts.

One - "We don't do anything for our own country!"

Although I agree that we don't have the best processes in this country, there are many, many, many assistance programs designed to assist American citizens. It's not perfect - however, there are organizations across this country who help citizens, as well as government assistance programs to help. AGAIN, not perfect, and we could do a whole hell of a lot better - but our country DOES help people who live here. (The fact that we need to help MORE IS OUT THERE - but my point is that it's not like we are COMPLETELY ignoring our own people. We just don't offer the best right now.)

Two - "I care about ________ but..."

Dear world, humanity has no borders. I don't give a shit if you live next door, across the street, in the next country. I don't care if you a white, black, german, asian, mexican. I don't care if you are living in this country "legally" or "illegally". I don't care if you can ever help me back - at one point, everyone needs help. In this particular situation, Haiti needs supplies, needs help. I am damn proud of our country for stepping up and helping them out. I don't think it necessarily has to be financial - sending doctors, etc will help. In the end, the people who are there need help. Just like people in other countries experiencing genocide, natural disasters, and poor living conditions need help.

There are ways this nation helps out people, whether it's domestically or abroad - don't go running around saying "But we need to help our people!" We are helping our people, and although we have a long way to go, we cannot ignore what is happening in this world.

Forget about countries and governments for a minute. The people that are hurting next door, across the street, or across the world - they bleed red, too. They have minds, spirits, souls. They have the same nutritional and psychological needs that we do. Why is it that borders of a country get in the way? What makes an American citizen so much more important that a citizen of another country?

Some may say "Well, they are using tax money to pay for assistance to other countries". While you may have a point, are you so hard hearted that you feel that some of your tax dollars go towards getting water and aid to a country who is in desperate need of it?

Others may say, "Well, look at Hurricane Katrina - why did it take so long for them to get stuff to the Superdome, and it only took 24 hours to get to Haiti?" Well, because FEMA f-ed up, that's why. If I am correct, the Red Cross is a non-profit organization - they are the ones sending most of the aid at this point - and while the gov't is donating money, I don't think it's through FEMA.

AGAIN, I think our country needs to improve on a LOT - government assistance programs, health care, etc. But we can't forget about our freaking fellow human beings.

It absolutely shocks me that people are upset about helping other people in this way. Do you remember how other countries came to our aid with Katrina hit? Or what about 9/11? If my daughter needed help, if she was sick, if she was in an earthquake, if she needed medical attention - I would want someone to help us! Is that so much to ask?

If you give something to someone - say, volunteer your time, give $5, whatever - do you expect something back other than gratitude? If so, you are doing it for the wrong reasons, my friend. If someone helped my daughter, our family, I would try to not only pay them back, but I would do the same for something else. In the end, it's about helping your fellow human beings.

I'm not sure what it is about different nations/borders that make people less likely to support our gov't assisting other gov'ts in a time of need, but get the hell over it.

I could start another blog on how our country can improve on helping our own population - but that's a whole other topic, which I will probably address later.

But in the end, here is my basics: help where help is needed, regardless of background, circumstance, socio-economic status, or citizenship. Stop this bullshit of "well, they should help themselves" - I mean that domestically AND in emergency situations abroad. Is money tight for our gov't? You betcha, but we spend STUPID amounts of money on bullshit around here - and we bitch and complain about helping people live and eat after an earthquake. You have got to be shitting me.

So, if you agree with me, great. If you don't, fine. But I would hope that someone would come help your child, your spouse, your parents if faced with a dire situation. Or would your opinion stay the same, your pride get in the way and say "I want to do it myself because I don't want to cost the gov't money?".

I hope that you don't have to live in dire circumstances that people in our country AND around the world live in. If you are reading my blog, it means we are friends, or we have mutual friends, or what have you. I am pretty confident that although we have bills, responsibilities, children, debt, health problems, etc, we are ALL completely and totally blessed. You are reading this using internet, yes? So, that means you have a computer or have access to a computer. Are you eating? Do you have to choose between paying rent or feeding your children/family? Are you sleeping in a shelter?

It's so easy for us all to throw stones, and say "I think we should do this" and "What the heck, why are they doing that". But if we just sit here, either as individuals or as a country, and don't fight for our fellow man, that makes us selfish pigs.

So, tonight, as you are watching your movies, playing on the internet, bitching about our government, cooking food, playing with your kids and pets, and making plans for the weekend, think about those who are less fortunate, domestically and abroad. In the end, it matters that we help our fellow man. Help doesn't necessarily come in currency. Michael and I can't afford to really give a lot to Haiti - but I'll say lots of prayers. Maybe instead of buying bagels this week, we'll buy regular bread for toast - that will save some money, and we can send our grocery savings this week. That's how we can help - how can you?

Humanity knows no borders.