Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Secret Life of (un)Schooling

Homeschool has been on my mind a lot lately.  I vacillate between going crazy with my children underfoot, being thankful we can live frugally enough to keep me at home, wishing Mississippi would stop being the bane of my existence and allow unvaccinated children to attend daycare and school and being so flipping excited at the prospect of watching my children flourish under our guidance and love.

It's a lot of work keeping up with all those conflicting thoughts and emotions.

But no matter if our unschool plans work out or not, you can't stop the teacher in me from coming out all.day.long.  Henry is very well-versed in the natural science world of our backyard and astounds me with his comprehension of books we read.  

He refuses to say his ABC's and has little interest in identifying numbers and letters but the kid can break down the life cycle of a moth, knows exactly what plants needs to thrive, explains that baby animals that come out of eggs don't drink mama's milk but babies that are born drink mama's milk and has a firm grasp on categorizing animals into herbivore or carnivore status.  

Tonight's post-bath activity involved him wearing my cowboy boots and his cowboy hat and using my robe's belt as his lasso to drag the rocking horse into a "safe, dark place so she can have her babies".  He proceeded to rearrange the furniture so she could rest behind a chair in a dark corner and I watched as he lifted up to her tail and the announce "there is another baby!".  We could only leave for our walk once I proclaimed his job was done -- the mama was healthy and comfortable and the babies were drinking their milk.

So yeah, we are doing our little unschool thing which involves us doing whatever we want to do and knowing that our kids' lives are enriched by it all.  Our biggest little's 4th birthday is just around the corner so we are firmly planted in "preschool" mode but I can't fathom our attitude changing about homeschooling our children anytime soon. 

Of course, I can't fathom Mississippi law to change anytime soon.  Or moving our of state anytime soon.  So here we sit.

Sitting like a mama bird on her little clay eggs.

Just doing our thing.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Duality of Dealing With Loss

Two friends and I talked about my miscarriage at a "let's have drinks" get-together a few days ago.  Maybe it was the irreverent atmosphere of the bar, the fact that my one beer was long finished implying that everyone else had moved on to subsequent drinks or maybe it's just because I have really amazing friends but this conversation was completely different than any other concerning my miscarriage.

One friend told how her mother had two miscarriages and the way her mother spoke of those losses was so positive that even as an adult with children of her own, she has a hard time remembering miscarriages are emotionally difficult for women.  

Another friend speculated that our culture's obsession with abortion and pro-life vs. pro-choice debates has created an environment making it even harder to overcome the emotional burdens of miscarriage.  During Mississippi's Personhood Amendment debacle, we were asked to decide if we believe life starts at conception.  Everybody in my circle, including myself, agreed that yes, life starts at conception.  Of course, I did *not* vote for the Personhood Amendment for a vast number of reasons but that doesn't change the fact that for months the hottest topic in my state was the discussion of whether or not life begins at conception.  And, that's just my local little tip of the iceberg.

We talked about how I really am doing okay.  How I believe my baby was not compatible with life.  How I believe everything is for a purpose.  Perhaps Baby Tomas's purpose was to teach me compassion.  Maybe not.  At this point, his purpose isn't clear and maybe it never will be.  But, his short little life certainly had a purpose.

And as strange as it seemed to say out loud, it felt really good to talk about how our loss has been immensely freeing for me.  No more physical hardships of pregnancy, no more worrying about how I would take care of a newborn and still give my very needy children the attention they desperately crave, no more rushing through my doula certification just to put everything on hold for a year with a new baby, no more worries about money.  The list goes on and on.

The duality of being thankful for the benefits of a miscarriage while at the same time mourning the loss of what could have been -- a beautiful round belly, a peaceful homebirth surrounded by my family and women who love me, a precious newborn, first steps, first words -- is a tribute to the spirit of life, especially the life of Baby Tomas.  

And for those of you who are dealing with these conflicting emotions and the aftermath of infant loss, I found this speech a huge inspiration for peace in my heart.  Spoken at a "Spirit Babies Ceremony" on the winter solstice in San Francisco in which women came together to honor babies lost through abortion, miscarriage and stillbirth on the longest night of the year, I hope it will grant you the same peace and perspective it gave me.  

And now I am off to do non-pregnant activities....like mentally plan a Spirit Babies ceremony in my own little town, prepare for my first doula birth, and obsess over how excited I am to attend a CAPPA Childbirth Educator course this fall. 

And, I really am okay with that. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Not My Words.

Excuse This House

Some houses try to hide the fact, that children shelter there. 
Ours boasts of it quite openly, The signs are everywhere!
For smears are on the windows, Little smudges on the doors,
I should apologize I guess, For toys strewn on the floor,
But I sat down with the children, And we played and laughed and read,
And if the doorbell does not shine, Their eyes will shine instead.
For when at times I'm forced to choose
The one job or the other
I want to be a housewife-
But first I'll be a Mother.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

YuYu Makes Her Debut

Lulu or 'YuYu' as she calls her self is 21 months old.

Her favorite things are:
saying "no, Heidi!"
nursing, nursing, nursing, nursing!
brushing her teeth
making sure you do whatever she wants you to do
telling me that the chickens need all "dirty" food that falls on the ground
making art
taking walks in the stroller
pitching fits in the grocery store because she wants to walk instead of ride
playing in the parked car
carrying a purse or whatever bag is on hand that she can call a "purse"
counting 1-2-3 and 8-9-10
crying because the only words she knows to 'Ring Around the Rosie' is "ashes ashes"

I still get comments about how beautiful she is everywhere we go.
And, like my mom always said, being beautiful isn't everything but is sure does help.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ending the Endless Snacks.

As I predicted, writing the details of our loss dramatically cleared my brain of the internal whirl of the past week and a half.  Thank you so much for the kind words on all of my sad sad posts.  What little I've read about grief said that some people are internal grievers and others are external grievers.  Apparently I'm external.  It feels good to share and it feels good to know I have prayers, positive thoughts and lots of love and light heading my direction.  I need it all and it is much appreciated.

This weekend was a big fat disaster filled with lots of tears, snotty runny noses and bad attitudes from every corner of the house.  I woke up this morning with a sore throat but I was determined to break the ugly little cycle my family has become accustomed to.

Today was day 1 of my new life with two toddlers.  Just two toddlers.  And nothing else to focus on during the day.  Just my toddlers.  And having fun.  And not going crazy.  Emphasis on the 'not going crazy'.  Pretty sure that's my current goal in life.

Since Henry was a wee little bossy boy, I've considered having meal times, snack times and ending the endless grazing.  I figured that if I was ever going to do it, today would be the day to start.  My children need reigning in after a solid 1.5 weeks of crappy parenting on my end and a previous 5 weeks of lazy pregnant parenting.

So, I did it.  And, it worked!  They didn't beg for snacks all day.  We went to the park and they actually played rather than focusing on their snacks.  And more than anything...they ate meals.  Real meals.  Breakfast.  Lunch.  Dinner.

Surely I'm not the only mama who understands how momentous this is?

This is what I did:

1.  I made Henry and Liza a breakfast plate.  Their plates were essentially the same but a little different. Henry had toast with jelly, orange slices, almonds, and a slice of avocado.  Liza's plate had a peanut butter tortilla roll-up, orange slices, walnuts and a slice of avocado.  Liza and I share eggs every morning so I knew I could count on that as well.  They ate and then we covered up the leftovers with a napkin and left the plate on the table.  When they asked for a snack, I reminded them they could finish their breakfast plate.  Both kids nibbled a bit more but it was apparent they really weren't hungry.  They just enjoy new snacks.

2. Around 9:45, I gave the breakfast scraps to the chickens and the kids ate a snack of a slice of cake we baked on Sunday and shared a piece of fruit.

3.  Requests for more snacks were refused with the promise of lunch at noon.

4.  Lunch consisted of tuna fish on crackers, olives and a piece of cheese.  And, they ate their whole lunch!  Well, enough of it for me to be happy.  Seriously.  My kids are snackers.  This was huge for them to eat a proper meal.  I kept the olives and cheese leftovers out until about 3.

5.  At 3, they ate another piece of cake -- must finish this cake soon!! -- and a few slices of orange.

6.  And, then they ate supper at 5:30.  They.Ate.Supper.

Amongst other notable events of the day, I pushed through endless activities the kids enjoyed but dulled my brain to the max and resisted the urge to move to the next activity that I would find more interesting.   I can't be the only mother with a shorter attention span than my children....can I?

All in all, it was a great day.  A normal day.  A pre-pregnancy day.

With the added bonus that I wasn't preparing and barely cleaning up after an endless parade of snacks.

Now if I can just get little Lulu nightweaned, life might be even better than it was......before I got pregnant.....and miscarried.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Story of Loss - pt. 2

I need to write this out for my sanity even though my emotions are still saying no.  My brain has begged to get these words out since the day I miscarried but the task has seemed too daunting.  I'm feeling so much closer to being myself and I know this is an important part of my healing.

The afternoon of my "missed abortion" diagnosis was spent at the hospital getting bloodwork for my RhoGam shot and at the Women's Clinic waiting for the hospital to fax over the results of the bloodwork so I could actually get the injection.  I sat there for hours in a total daze thinking about my first doula client's prenatal appointment scheduled for that night and writing down everything I would need to discuss because I knew better than to trust my brain to remember any thing important.

Finally got back home and we broke the news to Henry.  He was confused.  Sad.  And wanted to get back to watching his cartoon.......the Netflix crutch began that morning.....

I wrapped my brain around no longer being pregnant.  Waiting to miscarry.  Hoping it would happen fast.  Obsessing over my achey back.  Thankful for my healthy babies.  Identifying the heavy feeling in my uterus and realizing it wasn't a pregnant feeling.  It was a miscarriage feeling.

A sweet friend brought dinner over.  We chatted. I felt normal.

The next morning, I woke up a wreck.  My back was aching.  I didn't know what to think.  Mr. Messy decided to go to work and I enlisted my babysitting co-op to find a friend to keep my kids that morning.  My instinct said the physical act of the miscarriage would happen that morning but I was so confused.

Lost.  Tired.  Sad.

As soon as the kids were gone and the house was quiet, I turned on our Mother India playlist and listened to the Hanuman and Shiva chants over and over again.  My back cramps were becoming more intense and I was starting to bleed heavier.

I googled "waiting for a miscarriage" and immediately realized googling was not healthy at this point.

So I waited.  I knew it was coming.  I chatted on Facebook.  I waited.  I cramped.  I bled.

Eventually, the cramps had me pacing the house.  I pushed the thoughts of pacing the house during Liza's birth to a far dark corner of my brain.

Bleeding.  Heavier.  Heavier.  Made sure I had my phone with me wherever I walked in the house because hemorrhage horror stories floated through my brain.

So thirsty.

Rocking on the toilet.  Cramping.  Bleeding.  Freezing cold even though I was wearing a sweatshirt.  Wanting to puke but the trash can was full of dirty nighttime disposable diapers so I held it back.

Cramping.  Bleeding.  So thirsty.

Finally.  A clot passed.  Big.  Apple sized.

Cramping.  Bleeding.

Second clot passed.  Not as big.  Plum sized.

Immediate relief.

Praying it was over.  Completely unsure of what to expect.


And that was it.  I had a miscarriage.  I was no longer pregnant and I was no longer carrying my dead baby.

I bled for 7 days and had a few more cramping episodes but nothing serious.

My body did what it needed to do.


Just sadness.  Lots of sadness and feelings of being overwhelmed with the normal pace of my life.

And tired.  So tired.

Friday, May 18, 2012

10 Unicorn Farts:

1. This is honestly the first time I've grieved a death in my life.  I'm 30.  Quite a nice run if I say so myself.

2.  People don't want to hear about your grief.  They say they do.  But, they don't.  These posts about my sadness are barely getting any hits whereas my "big news" post got many more hits than my average.  As a blogger quite enamored with the number trends of my blog posts, this fascinates me yet it's completely understandable.  I don't want to hear about your bad news.  I want to read your birth stories, read your healthy redo recipe of a chocolate cake, hell, I even want to see your new haircut.  But, read about your sadness and your grief?  No, thank you.

3.  Too bad my life is full of sadness and grief right now.

4.  I won't lie.  I think I'm doing pretty good.  Even with kids that won't stay healthy, we've been getting dressed and doing our normal things.  Still many more cartoons that I'm comfortable with but I'm slowly easing out of the Netflix crutch.  I'm finally doing the last month's worth of laundry that has piled up and proven my family has entirely too many clothes.  I'm cooking real food for meals rather than just handing out apple slices and blueberries.

5.  But, I'm sad and hollow on the inside.  I can tell my hormones are still in flux.  I still prefer to zone out during the day and find myself getting unreasonably frustrated with my children.  I want to shut down but can't.  I'm too needed.

6.  My friend, Alisha, sent me this link to a site for bereaved parents.  Yesterday I finally gathered the courage to visit the site.  Their explanation of grief was a godsend.  It made me feel normal.  Cause, you know, this grieving business is new to me.

7.  I'll go ahead and throw it out there that I haven' taken pictures of my kids in 2 months.  Seems like that bit of news fits with this depressing theme.

8.  My Jessica Seinfeld's 'Deceptively Delicious' avocado chocolate chip cupcakes were delicious.  Avocado for the fat in lieu of oil.  Brilliant.

9.  #8 was my at my attempt at a normal blog post.  Pitiful attempt, yes.  Maybe next week will be my week to write about non-depressing things.  Maybe not.

10.  And, yes, this post's title was a total bait and switch.  Forgive me.  I'm a whore for blog hits and I'm  curious to see how a cheerful title will affect the numbers.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Too Many Thoughts

I took a shower.
Put on real clothes.
Dressed my kids in non-pajamas.
Did our normal Wednesday thing.
I didn't cry once.  Kept on thinking.
My worry list is much shorter now:
Milk drying up at 20 weeks.
Three carseats in a car.
Sleeping with two.
Too tired and hot.
Tandem nursing.
Jealous kids.
Too much.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Story of Loss - pt. 1

On April 1, 2012, my suspected pregnancy was confirmed.  I had implantation bleeding on March 29 but my last cycle had started on February 22 so I was very confused about my irregular cycle and why I had negative tests for the past week but no period.  With great relief and a huge sense of joy, I looked at a few ovulation calendars online and chose December 10 as our estimated due date.  We were thrilled at the thought of a Christmas baby.

But, even that day, I had an unsettled feeling.  Anxiety.  A feeling of uncertainty.

Since I had tested positive on the earliest possible day, it took about 2 weeks to actually feel pregnant.  Those waves of nausea and the sense of falling asleep in my chair was a great relief because that unsettled feeling remained in the back of my head at all times.

Around 7 weeks pregnant and the day of our town's arts and crafts festival, Mr.  Messy decided it was time to start spreading our good news.  He told everyone we saw about our Christmas baby.  I was fine with that because I felt like my paranoia was just that but my unsettled feeling was growing stronger and stronger.

Around 8 weeks, I finally told Mr. Messy about my feelings.  He was very reassuring but the nagging thoughts lingered.

A few days before 9 weeks pregnant, I had the tiniest bit of pink spotting.  Even though I spotted with Liza and I know that first trimester spotting is normal, that spot on the toilet paper was enough for me.  I knew I was miscarrying.  I went into full-fledged depression mode -- taking to the bed, crying, letting Mr. Messy take care of the kids.  I lost it.

The next day, the spotting was the tiniest bit heavier.

The day after that, I had a streak of red.

Then, a gush of brown.

I pinned all my hopes on a sub-chorionic hemorrhage.  Not a great thing to hope for but I knew it was my only hope and my bleeding lined up perfectly with the symptoms.

But, my heart already knew the truth.
I knew we weren't going to have a Christmas baby.

On Wednesday, May 9, I called my OB and left a message with him nurse pretty much begging her to fit me in that day or do anything she could so I wouldn't have to see the on-call doctor who I don't trust to be respectful of my homebirth plans and my need to be an active participant in healthcare decisions.

Within an hour of my message, I was sitting at the Women's Clinic.  I told my OB, Dr. Cobb, about my bleeding and as soon as I said that I hadn't felt sick or had any pregnancy symptoms in a week, the look on his face said it all.  He asked what I wanted to do and I said that I wanted to check for a heartbeat and follow-up with an ultrasound if he didn't find a heartbeat.

10 minutes later I was in the ultrasound room.  I saw the sac.  I saw the baby.  No heartbeat.  No movement.  It was so obvious I didn't even ask the technician what she saw.  I watched her measure the sac at 7 weeks and 2 days.  Exactly 2 weeks prior.

Immediate grief.  But, also a strange sense of relief.  My heart already knew the bad news and now my brain saw for itself.

I really was at peace immediately.  This baby wasn't meant to be born.  At least I knew for certain now.

Dr. Cobb saw me a few minutes later.  He instinctively knew I wouldn't want a D&C unless it was medically warranted so we talked about the risk of infection and he told me that if I emotionally needed to be done with it all, he could schedule a D&C whenever I wanted.

I called my midwife a few hours later.  She told me what the physical aspect of the miscarriage would likely feel like and gave me firm instructions to call if I needed support or had questions about the bleeding.

To be continued.......

Monday, May 14, 2012

THE DAY I WENT VIRAL...or something like that

Since I've been nothing but doom and gloom for the past several days, I would like to share a funny story.  A true story.  A story that was quite embarrassing almost one year ago.  A story that is finally funny.

Last summer I wrote a guest blog for my friend Imogen at Alternative Mama.  She was looking for guest posts, I had a topic I wanted to write about so I ignored my kids for about an hour one morning and wrote out my thoughts on choosing to let Liza wean from my breast whenever she is ready.  No great revelation for my readers but it was perfect for Imogen's blog.  

But, there was a problem. At the end of my post, Imogen included a picture of, ahem, an unattractive woman sitting on an ugly couch with a cute toddler girl nursing her baby doll.  I fully approved of the toddler nursing her doll but I just couldn't get past the thought of people thinking I  sitting on that ugly floral couch.  Shallow.  Yes.

It really bothered me.

So, I assigned Mr. Messy to take a picture of me nursing Liza.  And, he didn't even cut my head off.  Amazing.  This picture was emailed to Imogen with a little note that I would loooove if she would remove the original "couch" picture and publish my post with a picture of me.
Problem solved.

This picture went viral.  

Okay.  You are right.
Viral, I was not.

But, it was as close as I have ever gotten to going viral and here is the Facebook thread to prove it. 

And, I was oh so very much embarrassed.  And, violated.  And, disturbed about what other people were doing to my images that were floating around the interwebz.

But, now I like it.  Still not sure who this guy is but I like it.  Or.  I'm okay with it.

*Apparently, Imogen switched my picture with a picture of a woman nursing twins.  I'm definitely okay with this as long as it's not that unfortunate floral couch picture.   

**And, this has been a much better day.  I actually slept last night and although my kids are sick with a fever and we are still watching endless cartoons, I don't feel like my world has been turned upside down anymore.  At least not at this moment.  Thank you for your thoughts and kind words.  They mean more than you could ever know.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


It's been 4 days.  Plainly said, I'm a mess.  I'm shutting down when my kids need me.  My stomach is already flat so I assume that means I'm not eating enough.  I haven't cooked in a week.  We've been eating out a lot and I'm not really sure what my kids have been eating.  All I want to do is sit on my bed by myself,  zone out on Facebook and work on my doula certification.  I feel like myself when I am distracted.  I am now fully informed on accupressure points and rebozo techniques to use during labor and aromatherapy is my next topic to tackle.  Let's just say distraction is my new best friend.

My brain is having lots of recurring thoughts.  Mostly good but I think that's just because I'm pushing away the bad thoughts.  My friend Elizabeth helped me realize that even though I would have preferred to appreciate the beauty of pregnancy and birth, my body was also designed to take care of a baby that wasn't meant to grow.  And I have to admit, it gives me even more respect for the female design seeing first hand how my body knew just what to do when the time came for the release.  After Liza's birth, I had a strong feeling of kinship with women through the ages and that feeling is very strong now as I grieve my little lost baby and know most mothers have experienced a similar grief.

My logical brain is telling me to write out the story of Baby Tomas' loss to help process my grief but I'm not ready to feel that much sadness yet.

I'm grieving.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Since the inception of OMML, I've processed life's events by blogging and I know our miscarriage will be no different.  I will need a chunk of time to myself and readiness to cry my eyes out but I feel this baby's story deserves just as much love and attention as the births of Henry and Liza.  I'm not ready to write it all down but it is important for me to honor our little baby that wasn't born because he matters too.


Mr. Messy and I, independent of each other, decided this baby is "Baby Thomas" because Henry was insistent we were going to name our Christmas baby after that whiny ass train I can't stand.  It is the least we can do for our biggest little boy.

So, his story is important and I know it is important for me to get it out of my mind and through my computer as a part of my grieving and healing process.

To be continued...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sad Sad News.

Without going into the details, an ultrasound confirmed our baby will not be joining our family in December.  At this point, all I can say is that I even more appreciate my two children and the everyday miracle of their healthy pregnancies and births.  And my friends who support me and are taking care of those little miracles today.  And my ob who intuitively understands my appreciation for my body's design.  And that I do have that appreciation, understanding and perspective to understand that these things happen and while I am sad sad sad, I know it will be okay.

Two out of three isn't bad.

I suppose.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Back to blogging and our VERY BIG NEWS!

The last week of March 2012 was a very big deal.
I turned 30. 
I officially began my Birth Doula certification.  
I found out I am pregnant with baby #3 and due this December.

A big deal in deed.

Turning 30 was easy.  Being pregnant is fairly easy for me.  At least easy enough where I can't complain.  The sweet little thing was eagerly anticipated and our happy juices are still flowing at the thought of adding another precious face to our bunch.  The Doula certification was exciting but not easy in the beginning.  Especially considering Birth Arts International requires 5 births for certification and my plan is to finish everything up before I take my BabyMoon break at the beginning of November.  So, I began frantically working.  Working.  Working.  I have to admit, I impressed myself.  I knew there was much to do before I could open up for "business" and I did it.  At least enough to actively search for clients.  Much of the certification is incomplete but my paperwork and documents are ready for clients.  And of course, all this working working working took up my brain space during the day and my time at night so no blogging.  But, I am hoping now that the frantic rush to get ready for clients is over that I will be able to find balance and go back to my blogging ways.  It does seem that I will have to let go of my compulsion to gain new readers and break the previous month's number of site hits 

But, balance.  I am searching for balance.  And some things will have to be released.  But, blogging is not one of those things.  I have too much to say.  And, it's killing me keeping it all to myself.

So...if you are in the area, I am a doula!  It's official. 

And we are expecting a baby.  And planning another homebirth.  And indulging in copious amounts of dairy now that Liza has outgrown her dairy sensitivity.

Life simply doesn't get any more exciting.


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