He’s here

My last day of work was on Friday. The following day I taught a Girl Scout workshop and on Sunday afternoon I received a phone call from my midwives concerning a cholestasis test I had taken a few days prior. The test showed elevated liver enzymes which pointed to either preeclampsia or cholestasis. The second part of the test was not ready yet to determine a diagnosis but they said it was likely that’s what I had(and was confirmed the following day)

Long story short I was admitted to the hospital Monday night to start the induction process at 37 weeks. By 4:20 the following afternoon he arrived. It was SUCH a great birthing experience. I labored naturally until the very end—-the epidural just started to kick in when it was time to push! 5 good pushes and he was out! I barely tore and didn’t need stitches or anything! 

And here he is: Baby Kai!  

 

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Why I’m getting an epidural

I gave birth to my first child with no medication. At the time I felt like it was the best decision–it was “natural” and what my body was “supposed to do” As someone who is terrified of doctors and hospitals, having a natural birth in a birthing tub “felt” right for me. When I had a miscarriage, soaking in the bathtub helped with the contractions and I knew a tub of warm water would be the best medicine when I was in labor with my son.

As many birth plans go, that is not what happened.

I went into labor in the afternoon of September 10th and was admitted to the hospital around 6:30pm. I have little memory of what happened next.

I remember my doula arriving an hour or two later.

I remember crawling on my hands and knees to the bathtub

I remember being in so much pain I couldn’t move, and blacked out on numerous occasions.

I remember wanting to sleep, but being unable to.

I remember being left alone a lot of the time, which was probably the hardest thing of all.

By the time the nurses had filled up my birthing tub, I remember being so excited to have the baby in the water….then my water broke.

There was meconium in the amniotic fluid, which meant the baby was in distress and I was not allowed to give birth in the water like I had wanted.

After 11 hours of hard labor I was exhausted. They told me to push, but I was unable to because of the exhaustion and lack of rest. Also I was feeling like I was about to faint and going in and out of consciousness.

I looked at my doula and begged her to tell them to give me some pain meds, but she just said “You can do this, you’re strong”

I couldn’t do it. I tensed up. The baby’s heart rate dropped and they rushed in to get him out as soon as possible. I ended up on my back on the hospital bed anyways(which was uncomfortable for me at the time) because they wouldn’t let me change positions anymore. I ended up with an episiotomy, but my son was born healthy.

I did not enjoy this birth experience at all. I didn’t feel the “empowered” “mother earth” I had imagined. I felt like a failure, and furthermore I felt like I wasn’t really “there” because for the majority of the time I wasn’t even lucid because I was blacking out from the pain. I had my doula but I really don’t remember her being a great support, or at least the right kind of support I needed, but I didn’t really have anyone else there to help me through the birth.

I fully advocate for anyone having a baby to choose the method that works best for them, and for many, natural birth is the best option. I feel kinda bummed that for me it wasn’t the wonderful and empowering experience it is for so many others. I am glad I got to experience what that was like, but I knew when we got pregnant again that I was not interested in going through that again.

This time I was to be able to rest. I want to feel mentally present. I want to feel more in control. I want to feel confident. I want to feel empowered to give birth pain-free.

Giving birth is badass no matter how you do it. This time  I’m doing it in a way that I can enjoy the experience and feel relaxed bringing my next son into the world.

Rose

My father gave me a last name no one could pronounce: KUSIOLEK

The polish pronounce it “Kewshwick” 

But an Eastern European tongue dragged the rough syllables over a raw American accent

Until the letters misplaced somehow

leaving me cringing whenever anyone tried to pronounce it

By sight.

“Q-Zee-OH-Lick”

 

By age 15 I had dropped the name altogether except for on my birth certificate

Truthfully, it was not the only reason I abandoned the weight of my origin.

My mother’s father had also forgotten his polish name.

Substituting “Wachowitz” for “Sterling” in attempt to polish a tarnished childhood into silver.

I too never wanted the stain of my own history with the sins of my father

Knowing too well how the harshness of his name would reflect upon me

Growing up I was the only child in my mother’s household with the same name as the man who abused us all. The same soil that holds the roots I have wanted nothing more than to pull out of myself.

Rose is the name of my father’s mother. The woman who abused him. Who taught him cruelty. Who taught me what I am capable of. I’ve learned that I cannot run from the choices of those who came before me, but I can continuously turn away from the path that’s been laid out in front of me

And I planted a garden

With seeds I inherited

But I tended the garden

Differently.

Gave it water when it was thirsty and sang songs to it in the moonlight

Nurturing myself as I grew crooked, but still reaching towards the sun

In the end we all make it there, either through blooming into the things other told us we were

Or by becoming who we want to be.

And every time I unfold my petals and swallow dew

I remember that I have thorns too

That I am all of the things I fear

And all of the potential to grow in ways they never could.

 

Fine China

 

Impermanence are the plates

In the storage unit

That havent been used

Since the months before

She died.

 

Her children hide her pieces

Every reminder.

 

My mom packs them all up in boxes

And leaves them behind

And there is less and less of her

With each move.

Her hands. Her teacups.

Her perfume. Her shoes.

Her photo albums.

Less and less of her

In my house

 

When she died

No one asked what I wanted to keep

Just sold what they could

Donated every last scrap of her

Poured her body in the ocean

And watched it all sink.

 

I looked for anything they might have saved

In every corner

Of the new houses

They bought

With her inheritance

Found cobwebs

And dirt

Stuck my empty hands in the closets

Searching for her ghost

 

A single saucer

Or a necklace

Or the fine china

She served her heart upon

Every christmas

 

35 weeks pregnant

So on Friday my midwife told me I need to “slow down”. That many of my latest pregnancy complications are most likely related to stress. It sounds silly, but it felt good to be somewhat validated and to have “permission” to stop. To stop everything. To stop working and movement and have it be “okay” to rest. It frustrates me that I can just go go go unless someone else tells me not to, but it feels good and dare I say “relaxing” to have that freedom and that “out” in order to spend the last few weeks of pregnancy doing absolutely nothing except meditation and hiking and being quiet and painting.

Refocusing on the important things.

It sounds quite nice actually.

She told me that it was time to tell my job that I needed to take time off, and that she would support me in doing so. The thought of being at home all day again is daunting, but I am trying to look at it as freeing up the space to get in the right state of mind for labor. To give off the vibe to the baby that it is safe to be here in this place. That we are eager to meet him. Tomorrow I am going to bring this up with my employer and *gulp* inform them of the new plan. It feels like a bit of a failure to leave early and to not come back like I had planned. I really do love working there. I would love to come back and work there again. I need to remind myself that jobs will always be there, but those first months of my baby’s life won’t be. I feel like I missed out of Raj’s first few months because so much was going on at the time, and I don’t want to feel that way again.