Dream Journal 8/7/17 | Surprise!

Kyle and I were eating lunch in a large, beautiful park with his older sister. The three of us were sitting at a wooden picnic table, and she casually mentioned that their younger sister, and her boyfriend, were on their way to Mexico. Continue reading Dream Journal 8/7/17 | Surprise!

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Dream Journal 9/26/16 | Missing Baby

I was lying in a hospital bed, screaming in pain. A friend from high school was sitting by my side, as we waited for the doctor. A nurse came in and asked me if I knew how far along I was. Confused, I asked her what she meant, and she informed me that I was pregnant, and pretty far along. Continue reading Dream Journal 9/26/16 | Missing Baby

Daily Prompt 6/8/2016 | Everybody Poops

In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 6/8/2016 | Embarrassing

Becoming a mom has transformed my life in so many ways, but one thing I did not expect to change, was my absolute fear of embarrassing myself. I was pretty awkward as a kid, a trait I inherited from my mom, and this caused me to develop some pretty bad social anxieties early on, which I still struggle with. Growing up, I was terrified of everything having to do with failure and embarrassment in social situations. Because of this, I avoided going to dances, joining clubs, playing sports, and hanging out with friends, because I just felt like everything that I did would end disastrously. What if I tripped? What if I farted? What if I sneezed AND farted? WHAT IF I HAD TO POOP AT SOMEONE ELSE’S HOUSE?

Well, let me tell you, all of that anxiety flew out the window when my son was born… actually, it dissipated pretty quickly only a few months into my pregnancy. I found myself pushing my boundaries, reaching out to friends, as well as strangers, and talking about things having to do with me and my body, that I previously would have been embarrassed about. That strange comfort is still with me today. Sure, I have a whole new set of anxieties that I deal with, but when it comes to embarrassing bodily functions? Ha!

Example: Pooping during childbirth. Very common, most women do it. I did it. Yup, I did. Get over it. Your mom probably pooped, too! I didn’t even know about it until one of my nurses let it slip later on, after my son’s arrival, and honestly, I wasn’t embarrassed. I laughed! And everything that followed the birth of my son… I will save your sanity and stomachs, for those who are unfamiliar with what happens to a woman’s body after birth, but let’s just say, I accepted all of it. I wasn’t embarrassed to tell people that I had to go change my pad for the second or third time while visiting their houses, or that my boobs felt hard and painful, and leaked all the time. I wasn’t ashamed. I wasn’t embarrassed. I had already pooped myself in front of half a dozen people, while crouching naked on a bed, pushing a human being from between my legs (graphic, sorry).

Why should I be embarrassed?

Whether you’ve had a baby or not, everybody poops, everybody pees, and everybody farts. Most women have periods, and use pads, tampons, or menstrual cups. Most men get erections, sometimes quite unexpectedly, and unwanted. It happens. The human body is weird, and complicated, and sometimes gross, but it is nothing to be embarrassed about.

I should take my own advice, as I am still embarrassed about a lot of things about my body (adult acne, anyone?), but I’ve gotten so much better at accepting all of the strange things that my body does, and you should, too! Everybody poops.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Dream Journal 5/27/15 | Baby

Kyle and I were walking in a large department store, and several women kept stopping me and asking me when I was due. I got embarrassed and angry, because I wasn’t pregnant, but said nothing to them. After the 10th woman asked me, I turned to Kyle and asked him if I looked pregnant, and he looked at my stomach, hesitated, and told me that I looked very pregnant. I looked down, and sure enough, I looked 9 months pregnant, ready to pop.

Sure enough, as soon as we got home, my water broke, and we rushed to the hospital in a panic, because we were completely unprepared for a second baby, and hadn’t even known I was pregnant.

My delivery only took minutes, and then the nurse handed a very large baby boy to me. He was huge. She informed me that he was 18 pounds and 6 ounces. I was speechless. Everything was foggy, and the nurse brought in a birth certificate, and told me I had to write his name down on it. Kyle had stepped out of the room, and despite the fact that we already had our names picked out for our potential future kids, I wrote “Joseph James” on the birth certificate… which is not the name we agreed on. Then, I fell asleep.

When I woke up, Kyle was waving the birth certificate in my face, asking why I wrote that name down. I didn’t know. I asked the nurse if I could change it, since that wasn’t the name we wanted, but she said it was too late, and told us to pack our bags, because they needed the room. I protested, as I had literally given birth a few hours prior, but she continued to rush us, and then pushed us out the door. I cried the whole drive home, completely overwhelmed, and not sure what we were going to do. We only had one crib, and absolute not clothes for a newborn, even though he was very large.

When we got back to the apartment, we sent the babysitter home, and I crawled into bed with my toddler and my newborn, and just cried.

And cried.

And then I woke up.

Mommy/Daddy Birth Interview Assignment

Hello, friends! Recently, my good friend, Lindsey, asked to interview Kyle and I on our pregnancy/birth/baby experiences as part of a school assignment, and I was more than happy to do it! I thought it would be fun to share with you our answers, so you get a chance to hear a bit from the daddy part of our parenting duo. I had so much fun doing this interview, and it made me miss being pregnant! The baby fever is REAL, guys! Here was our interview:

Mother: Janise
1. How did you find out that you going to become a parent?
We weren’t trying to have a baby, per se, but we weren’t preventing it. We both wanted a baby, and after a while, I had my suspicions that it finally happened. I went to the store and bought two of those 88 cent pregnancy tests, the ones with the silly droppers, and sure enough, they came out positive!

2. How did you react when you heard the news?
I was excited. Really excited.

3. What was pregnancy like?
A breeze, honestly. They say something like 2/3 of women experience morning sickness, which can last for months, or the entire pregnancy, but I never had any at all. I never had any symptoms at all until the last few weeks when my feet swelled, which was awful!

4. What was the birth process like?
I wish I had been more informed of my options, and what could go wrong during labor and delivery. Despite a healthy pregnancy, I developed preeclampsia during labor, and had to be put on a Magnesium drip to keep my blood pressure down, but then it dropped really low, which made me incredibly sick. I had an epidural as well, and Pitocin to help my labor, so I didn’t feel anything at all. I was exhausted though, and slept a lot. I labored for about 14 hours, and pushed for an hour and a half. The pushing was the worst. My epidural had started to wear off, and I was starting to feel again. It was weird though, because I didn’t feel pain, just a LOT of pressure. My partner had to leave the room, and after pushing on my back for an hour, they had me switch to the supine position (on all fours), which was awful, and a lot harder. I felt like I didn’t have a lot of control or say in what happened, and when they would tell me to push, I felt like it wasn’t the right time. Yet when I knew it was time to push, they told me not to. It was really stressful, and I felt very alone, despite being in a room full of people.

5. What do you remember the most?
The moment they handed my son to me. I was still on my knees and elbows, and they handed him to me through my legs. I felt completely numb, and overwhelmingly happy, seeing his face for the first time. That made all the pain, the sickness, and the 4-day hospital stay totally worth it!

6. What do you remember about the first month after the baby was born?
Pain. A lot of pain. You hear a lot about the pain of birth, but no one ever talks about what your body goes through afterwards. I bled for six weeks, and because I suffered a 4th degree perineal tear during delivery, I had a hard time doing much of anything. Housework went completely undone, because my partner had to go back to work early, and I was alone all day, every day, with this newborn. It was a little overwhelming.

7. Is it what you expected?
Honestly, some things were easier, and some things were harder. Not to toot my own horn, but I discovered that I was kind of a natural at the whole motherhood thing. I knew exactly what my son wanted based on his crying, and that made things so easy. He was such a good baby, too! Slept great, didn’t have any colic, and ate like a tiny linebacker. The hardest, most disappointing thing for me, personally, was not being able to breastfeed. I had all these hopes that I was going to exclusively breastfeed, but it never happened for us. He just wouldn’t latch, and I found it impossible to pump enough. I still feel guilty about it.

8. At what point did you feel “comfortable” with a new baby and taking care of him/her?
Within weeks, if not earlier. The first few nights were a bit of a shock, and really confusing. I didn’t have any family or friends to help me, or answer questions, so I relied a lot on the internet to get me through it. I read a lot, and it paid off. He was only a few weeks old and I felt like a pro. It relieved a lot of stress and worry.

9. Did having a baby change your outlook on your partner?
Honestly, yeah, a little bit. Getting him to change a diaper, even 13 months later, is a fight. He used to get frustrated so easily when the baby cried, and he didn’t know why. It is frustrating, feeling like you are doing 99% of the work in raising your child, especially when the other parent is actually there, but he helps out when he is able, which I appreciate.

10. Did having a baby change your sex life?
Completely. I feel really bad about it, really, because we had a great sex life before, even when I was 7 or 8 months pregnant. But thanks to my traumatic delivery, it has been difficult. My body took a very long time to heal, and it is still uncomfortable for me to have sex now, but there isn’t much I can do about it.

11. What is your least favorite thing about being a parent?
The judgment. Parenting itself came easily to me, but the judgment that I’ve received from family, friends, and even complete strangers, is disheartening. Every little thing that I post online, someone always has to say something. Everything from not being able to breastfeed, to co-sleeping (which we stopped doing when my son turned 6 months old), to letting him use a pacifier. Someone always thinks you’re doing something wrong. It took me a long time to adjust to that, and to realize that my son is happy, healthy, and crazy far ahead in his development, so they can go find someone else to judge!

12. What is the best thing about being a parent?
Lately, it has been being able to actually PLAY with my son. He is finally walking and running around, and it makes life so much more fun. Before, when he was just a tiny thing, we could only play on one spot, on the floor, which was great… but this is so much better. Seeing him grow and develop, and learn new things, it is so amazing.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Father: Kyle

1. How did you find out that you going to become a parent?
We kind of knew for a while that it was going to happen. She bought a few pregnancy tests, and I was outside the bathroom door, and then we knew she was pregnant.

2. How did you react when you heard the news?
I was a little scared, but I was happy, too.

3. What was pregnancy like?
Not very different really. She didn’t have any cravings, or mood swings, or anything like that. Her stomach just grew.

4. What was the birth process like?
Scary. I wasn’t able to be in the room, I just couldn’t handle it. I was still there, on the other side of the curtain, but it was still scary. I was expecting her to scream, like they always show on shows and in the movies, but she didn’t scream at all.

5. What do you remember the most?
I remember when Janise threw up on me, because she had to take Magnesium, and it made her really sick. She wasn’t even completely awake when it happened. They didn’t let her eat anything, but then they gave her an apple, because she was so weak, but it didn’t stay down. That, and cutting the umbilical cord, which I did do!

6. What do you remember about the first month after the baby was born?
A lot of crying. I got really sick right after he was born, and we found out it was because of my blood pressure, and probably stress. So I remember a lot of crying, and being sick all the time.

7. Is it what you expected?
No, it was actually a lot easier. I thought it was going to be like death, or the end of everything normal, but it has been really easy. He is really good.

8. At what point did you feel “comfortable” with a new baby and taking care of him/her?
Umm, I think after he turned 5 or 6 months old, and he wasn’t so tiny anymore. It was less scary. I was always afraid to do anything when he was really small.

9. Did having a baby change your outlook on your partner?
Not really. It has been really cool to see her as a mom though.

10. Did having a baby change your sex life?
YES. It did! Drastically.

11. What is your least favorite thing about being a parent?
I can’t really think of anything. I didn’t have a life or friends previously, so not much has changed about my social life, except now there are three of us here. She’s made it pretty easy for me. I don’t have to change any of the bad diapers.

12. What is the best thing about being a parent?
Seeing how goofy my son is. He’s just like me. The weird faces he makes, and just how silly and funny he is, it just makes my day. He is a funny kid.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks for reading, friends! Thanks again to Lindsey for choosing to interview us. I hope you enjoyed our answers!

Was your pregnancy/birth experience similar to ours?

Jan (and Kyle!)

Trichotillomania and Baby Eyelash Envy

Hello, friends. I want to share something with you that I don’t talk much about. It’s not a secret, per se, but just not something I generally talk about. I have trichotillomaniaFor those of you who don’t know what that long, bizarre word means, here is an even longer definition:

Trichotillomania (trik-o-til-o-MAY-nee-uh) is a disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body, despite trying to stop.

Hair pulling from the scalp often leaves patchy bald spots, which causes significant distress and can interfere with social or work functioning. People with trichotillomania may go to great lengths to disguise the loss of hair.

For some people, trichotillomania may be mild and generally manageable. For others, the compulsive urge to pull hair is overwhelming. Some treatment options have helped many people reduce their hair pulling or stop entirely.” ~ Mayo Clinic

This affliction is actually fairly common, and there are so many different degrees of severity. I honestly don’t know how long I’ve had trichotillomania, but I remember becoming aware of it around the 8th grade. My symptoms are not nearly as severe as some people that I know (I went to school with a girl who had to wear beanies to hide small bald patches from her pulling her hair out), which I am thankful for, and they pop up randomly, usually when I am stressed, anxious, or upset, but sometimes I do it out of boredom, and don’t even notice it. I pull my facial hair, specifically, my eyebrows and eyelashes. When I was younger, I had long, thick, black eyelashes. If you’ve seen pictures of my son, picture those beautiful eyeballs of his, on my face, with blue irises.

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Look at him! He’s perfect. He got those eyes from his mama.

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Circa 2008 or so.

These days, both my eyelashes and eyebrows are coarse and unappealing. My eyelashes are still long, but there are noticeable (to me) gaps between them, making them look clumpy. It makes wearing mascara difficult, because I then drive myself crazy trying to separate the clumps, and end up with black fingers. I also can’t wear eyeliner well on my upper eyelids because of the thick gaps in my eyelashes, and how thick the skin is at the root. I am actually incredibly embarrassed about these things. I’ve also, on more than one occasion, pulled my eyelashes out so violently, that it caused my eyelid to become swollen and red. Try explaining that to someone who doesn’t understand mental disorders.

Most days, when I’m home alone with the baby, makeup free, I am okay with it. I don’t mind the gaps in my lashes, or the coarseness of my eyebrows… until someone mentions my son’s lashes. My mother and grandmother, specifically, are able to get under my skin about this. It isn’t their fault, as neither of them know about my struggles with trichotillomania, and likely haven’t noticed the difference in my face, as I haven’t seen either of them in years, but it still gets to me. I sometimes find myself feeling jealous of my one-year old son, because he has these beautiful lashes, and I will probably never have that again. Coincidentally, my trichotillomania worsened after my son was born, but has gotten a bit better.

“He has your eyes! You always had such gorgeous lashes!”
“Look at those LASHES! Just like his mommy!”
“You had the prettiest eyelashes when you were younger, too!”

Past tense now, of course.

It can take several weeks to several months for eyelashes to grow back, though there are little tricks to get them to grow faster and thicker. Of course, the rate at which they grow back means nothing if you continue to pull others out in the meantime. It’s a vicious cycle. I’m also a compulsive skin picker (hurray, adult acne!), but that’s a whooole other problem. Just add that to the list of weird things that add to my many reasons that I suffer from such severe self-esteem issues.

Does anyone else suffer from trichotillomania? Were you aware that there was even a term for it? How has it affected your life?

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan