Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Eating to live.

There's a grumbling in my tummy. It's been there for going on two hours now. I'm trying to ignore it but it's suddenly morphed from just a grumbling to a burning and grumbling sensation. It's trying to tell me something.

I'm hungry. Or at least I think I am.

I'm trying to learn how to deal with hunger in a positive way. How is that possible you ask, if you aren't going to eat something?  Most people eat when they feel hungry. I can't. If I eat the minute I feel hungry, I eat until I start to feel sick. It's disgusting. So I'm training my over stretched stomach that it is in fact not going to die if I go three hours without eating. That water is just fine as a filler between meals. I'm trying to help it help it's self. I'm an emotional over eater. I have been for as long as I can remember so this hunger I'm feeling isn't really all hunger. Some of it is boredom. Some of it is guilt.

Yep. It's true.

Food has been my best friend and a horrible enemy of mine for as long as I can remember. It's brought me joy in moments of celebration, comfort in moments of strife. It's helped me get through a boring rainy afternoon when there was nothing I could think to do but sit with a bowl of goldfish and eat.

My emotional over eating has gotten me this far in life. But I feel like I've had enough. I feel like if I don't consciously make changes and have people hold me accountable for them, I'm going to need an entire new wardrobe soon and I'm quickly running out of sizes available in most stores. I need to train myself to eat to live and not live to eat.

I've tried many many times over the years to start watching what I eat and how much. It works. For a while. I lose a few pounds and my clothes fit better and then I slide. Slowly but surely into old, horrible habits. A handful of pretzels here, a slice of cake there. Just a little treat I tell myself. I've earned it. But really, I haven't.

In an minute all the effort I've put in to mentally strengthen myself against food is gone. I rationalize, eat myself into oblivion, feel incredibly guilty and then give up.

Sometimes I don't know what's worse. Living with my addiction or the guilt I feel over backsliding after a stretch of healthy eating habits.

I am back on the wagon. I'm counting calories and making sure I'm eating because I'm hungry and not because I'm feeling something I don't want to deal with. I'm making an effort to hydrate properly and making sure I'm moving around during the day.

As a stay at home mom I fall into ruts of "we've walked the block 8 times this week I'm bored with it already". It shouldn't be an excuse to not get outside and exercise (especially with the lovely weather we've been having) but it becomes one.

The biggest reason for this confession is that it's going to hold me responsible. I can honestly say, I haven't shopped in the non-plus sized section since I was in the 7th grade. 7th grade. That's like what, 10, 11 years old? Yep. I was a size 20w in the 7th grade. No one else had the clothes I was wearing because no one else was that big. I have accepted the fact that I'm a large girl and I've made the best of it but it's never been easy.

It took me a long time to realize that even though I'm fat I am beautiful. Dating in college and high school was hard. College was way harder. Being surrounded by super beautiful girls who always had a pack of boys with them was detrimental to my confidence. The more I hung out with my roommates and realized that none of the boys following them around were flirting with me, the more guilty I felt for being fat, the more I'd eat, the fatter I'd get. It was a vicious cycle. I hated it.

I am forever grateful to my husband for seeing past my size and choosing me for who I am. For seeing me as beautiful despite my size 24 jeans. For reminding me how pretty I am even as those jeans grow tighter.

I am ready to try again. Ready to face the hunger pangs and tell them "No! I'm not hungry. I ate an hour ago. I'm bored" and find something to do. I am ready give up living to eat and learn how to eat to live.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Two and a birth story.

Today, my darling babe is two. TWO!

Even though we've been referring to her as two since January, today is the day it officially happens. Not until 5:18pm though. I remember this day two years ago in hazy clips of hospital lighting, pain and a lack of desire to do anything but sleep. Seems an odd way to describe the day your first child was born but it's how I remember it.

Yep. I'm finally getting around to writing Noella's birth story two years after it happened. I'm a slacker.

I had finally made it to the week of my due date. Wohoo! I was bigger than a beached whale with cankles the size of a small elephant's. I was ready to have this baby! I was, however, not prepared to be induced. I was prepared for mother nature to do her thing and labor at home for a while before going to the hospital.

The decision to be induced was made by my doctor. They were concerned about the swelling in my legs so they had me do a 24 hour urine catch. Yep. I had to pee in this little bowl and pour it into a biohazard container (which had to be kept in the fridge by the way) for a full 24 hours and bring it back to the hospital. The collection started on a Tuesday after my appointment. They checked me at the appointment to see if I had gotten anywhere with the few contractions I had had over the weekend. I was only 1cm and fully effaced which meant I could go into labor myself but they weren't sure about waiting for it to happen. Anyway, all of Tuesday, I collected my pee and returned it to the lab. They tested it and on Thursday morning I got the call that were were to be at the hospital on Friday morning at 7:30. We were being induced.

I can remember a mixture of relief, excitement and panic all at once. A very unsettling combination of emotions. I called Jason and told him we were having a baby tomorrow! He only had one day worth of vacation time from his job we were saving for the big day. He took the time off because we were certain to be holding our bundle of joy by the next night.

We were wrong. We showed up excited to start the process. I was all like "Yeah! Let's have a baby!" and the doctor was all like "Sorry. It doesn't happen like that. We are going to start labor slowly. With a couple doses of pills so soften your cervix and unless your water breaks, you're going to go home tonight". We were confused. Didn't the lady on the phone say we were coming to be induced for labor? Doesn't that mean pitocin and lots of pain and then voila!? Apparently not. Not that I don't appreciate the slow start looking back but boy were we deflated!

We spent the day hanging out in a room in the maternity ward being hooked up to a monitor every 30 minutes or so and occasionally heard other women yelling as they pushed their little bundles into the world. We didn't have a contraction that was worthy of even a moment of teeth clenching.We were encouraged to get out and go for a walk around the hospital grounds. Which we did. And got lost and ended up being escorted through the cancer center back into the main part of the hospital so we could get back in time to be hooked up to the monitor again.

We could order meals and watch TV. We read and played games. Mostly we watched bad TV and talked. We were bored. Almost to tears. Our baby was never going to come. We were sure of it. Or at least, I was. I was positive I was going to be pregnant forever.

Dinner time rolled around and we were told that since we weren't really progressing, they were going to send us home but we needed to wait to be seen by a OB. The only OB got called into two emergency c-sections so she didn't come in to see us until 10pm. Lucky for us, we lived 45 minutes from the hospital, it was late and they had extra beds. We were going to spend the night and try again in the morning. That night wasn't too awful for me. It sucked big time for Jason.

I was given another dose of the magic cervical softening medicine in the morning. I was determined that today was going to be the day! It had to be! It was another long day. My parents stopped by for a little while. I was hit with a mother of a contraction while they were with us. For those of you who don't know me well, I don't like to be touched while in pain unless I ask for it and my mother can't stand to see other people in pain and not try to soothe them by touching. I remember swatting her away while I laid in bed through the contraction trying to remember to breathe and not swear. It flippin hurt. I was excited. This meant she was coming! Baby girl was on her way!

We didn't have any other really good hard contractions like that for a long long time. I had a few smaller ones I could bounce through on the birthing ball. I loved that thing. It made me feel so much better. I was certain they were going to send me home again. We made it through that whole day without much action. My parents brought us Panera Bread for dinner. I couldn't get through my meal because I was hit with nausea and some more contractions. The nurse (an awful awful one but more about that later) came in around 8pm and informed us that we were going to be sent home and that the doctor had sent her in to see how I was doing. I was on a birthing ball at that point. I stood up and walked over to the bed to be hooked up to the monitor once again. I sat on the edge of the bed and felt a very distinct pop. I told the nurse I felt something pop and my belly felt a lot lower.I told her I thought I peed myself because my bottom was wet and warm She told me it was probably just the baby settling down more and she highly doubted it would have been my water breaking because there was no way I progressed far enough today. I asked to go to the rest room before she monitored me to make sure I could make it through the whole session

She was wrong. That pop was my water breaking. I stood up again and there was a puddle of warm liquid around my feet and then a trail of it from the bed to the bathroom. I felt SO gross. She brought me in some of the fancy hospital disposable undies and a pad so I could get cleaned up. She went to talk to the doctor.

They moved us back into the room we had spent the night before in. We were going to be here until that baby arrived! We were finally on our way!

They came in before we moved to find out if I'd like something to help me get some rest through the contractions that were currently kicking my butt. I opted for the drugs to help me through the night. Big mistake. They made me hazy and unable to open my eyes. That night was a hazy flash of moaning and Jason flopping around trying to sleep over the noise I was making. It was too late to send him home for rest now. We were certain to be holding our darling babe in a matter of hours.

The next morning they moved us into a birthing suite. I remember my midwife asking if I wanted to try the birthing tub for a little while. I enthusiastically answered YES! The water was warm and inviting. I labored in the pool for a while. For me, it felt like 15 minutes. From what I was told, it was closer to two hours. By then our doula showed up to give Jason some rest. She was so sweet and so encouraging. I got out of the tub and started to walk the halls. I couldn't walk through contractions but she was right beside Jason making sure I was making it through them alright.

After a while my contractions started to slow down. First by only a little and then by minutes. They were going to have to get a pitocin drip going for me. I was too far along to just wait and see what was going to happen. I remember the pain getting super intense. I was having a hard time focusing on anything other than the next contraction. I still was hazy from the drugs the night before I wasn't able to open my eyes for longer than a minute or so. I was at the point where we needed to decide whether or not I was going to have an epidural. I was so tired. I was so ready to just have this baby out of me already. We opted for the epidural. The anesthesiologist came in quickly. We had to re-do the epidural because the first time he tried it only worked on the right side. Once I had my epidural going I was finally able to rest. Mentally anyway. I was comfortable. I was able to have conversations while contracting. It was wonderful to know what was going on. It took me an hour to go from 4cm to full dilated after I had the epidural.

It was only 40 minutes later that the tiny person I had been growing in my belly was placed on my chest all slimy and warm. When I think back to the moment I met my daughter, I can still remember what she felt like laying on my chest. I was in heaven. It was the best moment of my life. She was so perfect and alert. She looked up at me with big deep blue eyes. We were smitten. Jason was crying. We had done it. We made it through three days in the hospital to meet her and she was finally here. I hummed to her while the doctors stitched up where I had torn.

When it came time for her to be weighed and measured I didn't want to let her go. I wanted to keep her with me. It was the first moment in 9 months that she wasn't with me.

My epidural hadn't worn off yet so they had to wheel me on the delivery bed down to the room. My legs were so heavy and numb feeling. They kept slipping off the bed. I felt like a pile of mush. But I was the happiest pile of mush around.

It's been two years since that day. She has grown so much! She's walking and talking and feeding herself. She's coloring and running and picking out her own clothes. She's got hair long enough for pigtails and loves bath time. I'm so glad every day (yes, even on the hard ones) that she's mine.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Terribly Moody and Two

If Noella were a bit taller I'd swear lately she's been going through puberty. The mood swings that child has been having!

Don't get me wrong, I knew about the terrible part of being two. I knew I was in for messes and fits. It's the screaming and then suddenly she's fine and then suddenly she's terribly terribly mad.

I was not prepared to have my eardrums burst any time she hears the word no. If I don't have something immediately handy that is exciting enough to get her mind off of whatever it was she wasn't supposed to touch/eat/climb she reaches pitches that make me concerned for all the glass in my house.

Today, it was the fact that the iPad was on it's last leg of battery life so I asked her if she'd like to color instead. First I was met with "yes! Color!" and then suddenly, came the fit. Ohhh the fit. Rolling on the floor, kicking, screaming, crocodile tears. The whole bit. I tried to smooth it over with the lovely fresh paper and not one, but two boxes of crayons. She ignored me and continued with her fit of "WHY!? WHY!?" in between deafening screams that would scare away banshees.

She then stood up like nothing happened with a big smile and walked over to the table where I had laid out paper and crayons. She picked up a blue crayon and cheerily said "Blue!" and then set to coloring. Suddenly, as she colored she was mumble-whining something and then picked up the package of crayons and threw them at me.

Never once can I remember her throwing a mood swinging fit like this one. Needless to say, off to her room she went. I checked on her 10 minutes later when I hadn't heard her in a while and she was in bed, covered up, giraffe in her mouth sleeping like an angel. At 10:30. I didn't have the heart to wake her up so today is going to be a long one. A 10:30 nap means she'll be up at noon and won't take another nap later today. This will lead to her being exhausted by dinner and uncooperative for cleaning up before bed.

Two might kill me if it continues like this.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I'm going to sound a little crazy but lately, Jason and I have been seriously trying for a baby and it'a made me melancholy for the days when Noella was just a tiny babe. When I think back to when she was so tiny and new I can't help but think about all the things I wish I would have done differently. One of the biggest things I will probably always regret is not sticking it through the toughest times with breastfeeding.

It sounds like a totally random thing to regret almost two years later but I do. It makes me so so sad every time I think about the fact that I couldn't keep it up. I was tired. Beyond tired. I didn't take those two days after she was born while still in the hospital to sleep so when we got home and she suddenly decided she was hungry all night long it nearly killed me. (For those of you who know me well you know when I don't sleep I'm horribly horribly emotional. throw in post partum hormones and you're in for a rollercoaster.) I can remember the first night we came home with our new bundle of joy. The poor thing was so tiny and her head kept schlumping over in the carseat on the ride home. We were so enamoured but we had no clue what that night was going to hold for us.

She was literally awake every 20 minutes. She would wake up screaming, eat for five minutes fall asleep for 20 minutes and repeat. It. was. awful. The lactation consultant I called the next morning told me that was totally normal and that she was simply "cluster feeding" to help my milk come in. Yep. That was totally what I wanted to hear. This could be expected whenever she needed more milk than I was supplying. What had I gotten myself into?

Now because that first night was awful, I was a wreck the next day on top of post partum hormones. I stuck it out a few days before I started to lose it again. I didn't know of anyone else who had breastfed who could help me. The only women I could have asked for help were much older with grandchildren of their own now and so I felt awkward asking them to come over and help. Almost every time she needed to feed she stretched out stiff as a board and screamed until she was red in the face. It terrified me. And what if she wasn't getting enough? What if my milk wasn't nourishing enough? Was she ever going to be able to sleep longer than 2 hours at night?

I somewhere along the way decided that the only option was for me to pump exclusively because that way the milk would get into her mouth faster and therefore I wouldn't have a screaming stiff board of a baby. I was wrong. She still screamed but it was easier to give her a bottle than to try to get her at the right angle to line up for my breast. She was a strong little one. Moving her into a somewhat relaxed position when she wanted to eat NOW wasn't easy.

On top of feeding a seemingly ever famished newborn I felt like I couldn't let the house go. I was swimming in a big pool of anxiety over the dishes in the sink and the trails of sand and rock salt that was tracked in from the driveway. How was I supposed to keep this baby happy and be able to cook and clean? How did all those other moms do it?

Almost two years later I realize that in those first few months, no one expects your house to be clean or for you have showered in the past 4 days. Your only job is that baby and making sure you eat. I hate that hindsight is 20/20.

I regret not sticking through those rough first weeks. I feel like when I decided to start exclusively pumping so Jason could feed her too, that was when I kind of threw in the towel. We made it only 2 weeks breastfeeding and then about another month with expressed milk.

Jason says he wouldn't have had it any other way. He was able to help during the night basically from the get go which made him feel like he was really becoming a daddy. One major blessing we had from introducing her to formula early on is that she slept a full 8 hours at only 4 weeks old. She has been an excellent sleeper ever since (excluding teething and sickness).

I feel like I missed out on some sort of golden opportunity to bond with her. I know I did try and she was at least able to get the colostrum which is suuuuuper important but it makes me want to try harder the next time around. I want to make sure I stick through it next time.

I am very excited at the prospect of having another babe. I look forward to the changes that another Chauvin will bring. I just am waiting for that little pink line to tell me they are on their way. Soon. I hope.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Before I forget

This afternoon, Noella didn't want me to read books to her. She read them all to me.

I cried a little.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Superhero in a nursing cover cape

A few nights ago the Miss came running out of her room with the nursing cover I had for her around her neck like a cape. She's worn it everyday since. 

Yesterday she accessorized it a little more with an old ribbon and one of her headbands around her waist. She is quite the little superhero. She prevents crimes committed by the ants by terrorizing them with sticks and picking up handfuls of their anthills. 

She keeps the backyard safe from her post at the slider and ever watchful eye. 

Noella also likes to loudly alert me whenever there is an airplane or bird flying over our yard or if she hears a particularly loud vehicle. It usually starts out with "uh-oh! What's that!?" and ends with repeating whatever it is she's seen or heard over and over again until she can no longer see or hear it. 

I love my little superhero. Even when she needs a time out.