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Suck Muppet & The New Tooth

My sweet little Sadie has annoyed me for the past two days.

She is cutting her first little baby tooth and being incredibly dramatic about it.

I joked to Ryan the other day that when she cuts her molars I’m going to become a full blown alcoholic, if this is how she treats a little bottom front tooth.

So because I’m never in this space, the space where my child annoys me, I want to write about it and explore it.

Sadie, so far, has been a friggin dream. She is alert, inquisitive, warm, people-oriented, sweet and independent.

She toodles around the living room and kitchen, selects her own toys and busies herself with them. I get to do most household things in the same space as her without having to lord over her every move.

Well, at 3 months she started standing, by 4 months she only wanted to stand at all times (that includes diaper changes), by 5 months she was starting to crawl, and now at 6 months she is starting to pull herself up on anything that looks like fair game (the oven bottom drawer, the bottom of a foot stool, the footrest on our ikea chairs, a bag of flour that is taller than her).

So now I am trying to slice things, bake things, grate things, and deal with hot food things, while simultaneously making sure my tiny human doesn’t smash her giant bobble head on my very unforgiving tile kitchen floor (again).

Cooking has become a deathly sport, for her and I. While I watch her and chop cucumbers, will I lose the tip of my pinky first, or will she lose her balance and smash her head on the corner of the drawer (again)?

Anyhow, until two days ago, the ‘who might perish in the kitchen’ game was manageable. But then- The Tooth.

For the past 48 hours, my previously very amenable and self-satisfied little creature has become what Ryan and I have come to call ‘Suck Muppet’.

Suck Muppet is IN LOVE with Mommy.

Suck Muppet will Wail at the top of her lungs if Mommy appears to be moving away from her.

Suck Muppet forgets to Breathe she cries so hard when Mommy does in fact, step away from her for a mere moment.

Suck Muppet will not sleep in her own crib anymore. Only in Mommy’s armpit.

Suck Muppet does not play with her toys if Mommy is not Right There beside her.

If Mommy is on the couch watching her like she used to, Suck Muppet will just crawl over to Mommy, stretch her arms up and cry for Mommy to hold her.

Suck Muppet is a monster.

Typically all I need is 5 minutes away from my baby before I crave her and miss her again, but with Ryan away at work during the week as often as he is, I don’t have that 5 minute break to reset my Mom clock.

So last night I decided I would finally allow myself a shower. One act, all day, for my own benefit.

I dragged Suck Muppet’s exersaucer into the bathroom. Put it right outside the frosted glass doors. Stepped into the shower. Exhaled.

Then the screaming began.

It didn’t matter that I had brought her in Right Beside Me. That she was within her required 5 feet of comfort. That I was singing and talking to her from inside the shower and periodically poking my head out to wave and say hello.

I finished the shower.

I scooped her up in my arms.

I put her in her jammies and brought her to bed with me.

I let her fall asleep in my armpit.

I told myself tomorrow was another day, and we fell asleep.

And in fact, today was much better.

She’s still clingy, but not as bad, and I took myself out of the house and had a great catch-up with a friend at the mall, and got more things done around the house than I did yesterday and I found myself enjoying her again.

I told a Mom-friend about this today and she died laughing at me. She said she loves it when Moms like me who always say our babies are perfect finally hit a breaking point and admit that from time to time our babies suck.

So I guess that’s what I’m here to say.

99% of the time, Sadie is awesome and I have a blast being her Mama.

And the other 1% of the time- there is Suck Muppet.

For a peek into my future- here’s a chart of baby’s tooth development that makes me shiver in my Mom booties.

XO, Em

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Having a Baby Changes You: The Cool Mom is Dead

I wanted to have a baby and still leave the house and still see my friends and still do everything I did before the baby.

So I did.

I had the baby. She stayed in NICU for 4 days, then she came home, and the whirlwind began.

Family came to the house to stay and help us out.

Extra people in the house means extra cleaning, extra bed-making, extra sheet-washing, extra food-buying, extra food-making, extra communication and doesn’t allow for a routine to be built as a family; because each new family member that arrived to help arrived with different methods of communication, different areas of helping out (some walked the dog; some did dishes; some loved baby snuggles on the couch), and each week was different.

And that was so great and so wonderful and so nice and we are eternally grateful for the army of family that arrived week after week to help out- but all those extra things are one more extra thing on top of the original thing- which is navigating how to all of a sudden snap your fingers and become someone’s Mom.

So I was managing all those house guests.

And trying to be nice. And friendly. And polite.

To everyone that came through my door.

With throbbing nerve pain resounding through my clitoris, a newborn baby squawlering on my hip, and running on three hours of sleep.

I wanted to please everyone. Be a nice mom. A mom that had it all together, never lost her temper, was never demanding or bitchy, pleased everyone and had a perfect home.

Also in those first six weeks were a plethora of necessary appointments.

Between Sadie and I, we had weekly appointments at: the midwife’s, the obstetrician’s, the chiropractor’s, Calgary Lab Services for lithium testing, the psychiatrist for mental health check-in’s, and the family doctor’s. They weren’t all in one week, but it usually worked out to be about 4 out of home appointments per week- with a revolving door of guests in my home, throbbing nerve pain resounding through my clitoris, a newborn baby screaming on my hip, and running on three hours of sleep.

So I bundled the baby and I up and went to all those appointments.

I wanted to do it all.

I had made the decision to stay for the first 6 weeks with the family doctor’s clinic that had supported me throughout my pregnancy. The catch was- they were located in Canmore, where I had moved from at 34 weeks pregnant, and now the drive to see the doctor was an hour and 15 minutes away.

My reasons for this were twofold- Canmore had been my home, and as such, my core group of girlfriends that had been with me through all the stages of my pregnancy was still located out there and if I drove out there, I could pop in and visit them- and also, I wanted the doctors and nurses who had been so kind to me during those first 34 weeks to see the fruits of my labor.

So three (or even four times- I can’t remember), I bundled up my very newborn baby and drove an hour and 15 minutes one way to go to Canmore.

One of the times I was there, I popped into my old workplace and surprised one of my closest friends with her first Sadie-hug as she had yet to come out to Crossfield to see us and I thought she might like that.

That day was a hard day for us; Sadie, Ryan and I were all exhausted, in a rush, sick of spending all our day stuck in the jeep and rushing around like chickens with our heads cut off- but I demanded that we stop at my old workplace to give that friend a nice surprise.

I wanted to be the cool mom. I wanted to do it all.

The other three or four times I went out to Canmore, I would always visit my old friends at my old workplace, or send out a group message saying ‘Hey, Sadie and I will be in town this Friday- does anyone want to hang out?’. If the answer was no, I tried to invite them for fun events in my new neck of the woods. Boozy Stampede party? Group sleepover at my house after?

I wanted to be a cool mom. I wanted to be a good friend. I wanted to do it all.

This week- it all kind of hit me at once.

I had a friend come over to help me at my house for the week because my husband was away for work again. Because, oh yes, in the midst of all this- my husband took a new job wherein which he is pretty much gone for the first 6 weeks of his new job training, so that’s been fun…

I’m not a diva- I’m not a princess- I need to make it clear here that I don’t have a revolving door of people coming to stay with me because I’m demanding or selfish or incapable of operating as a mother of a newborn-

I have a revolving door of people coming to stay with me because I have bipolar type 1. And as someone with bipolar type 1, I have a medically necessary requirement to sleep at least 5 hours straight for at least every 1 in 3 nights, or for lack of a better word, I will go psycho and need to be committed to a mental hospital for 14-30 days.

It sucks, and it’s embarrassing (even though that’s dumb to feel, because its not like I asked for bipolar- its just a shitty life card I’ve been dealt)- but it sucks and it’s embarrassing to need these people in my home as an otherwise capable grownass woman of 33 years of age. It sucks to have to beg people to come stay with me so I don’t go crazy.

So my friend came to stay with me this week and I was trying be nice, and polite, and perfect, and happy, and not demanding, and not bitchy, and not short-tempered.

And I failed.

Four days into her stay, I yelled at her to move her stuff away from my child’s closet doors so I could put my child’s laundry away.

A fight ensued; I ran away into my bedroom, shut the door and cried, and my friend left my home shortly thereafter.

I spent the whole rest of the day crying intermittently while trying to get shit done, like clean the house and feed myself and my child.

The fight with my friend made me so upset that I started thinking of some other friends with whom I had recently fallen out of touch, so I reached out to them by text and basically said ‘Hey, have I done something wrong? I don’t hear from you anymore and it makes me sad.’

And within four hours, the two friends basically wrote back what I feared they might, which was something along the lines of ‘this relationship is one-sided’ and ‘you’ve changed, so you’re not worth my time anymore.’

And I bawled my eyes out.

I had tried so hard. I drove out to Canmore 3-4 times in the first 7 weeks of my baby’s life. I had texted. I had tried to make plans. I had tried to maintain those friendships. I had wanted to do it all, and to do it all well.

Be a Mom. Be a Cool Mom. Not let it change me. Have a clean home. Have a Perfect home. Have people over. Entertain them. Feed them delicious meals fresh out of my oven. Be fun. Be gracious to those who came to stay in my home. Maintain all my old relationships. Keep my head up.

And yesterday was my final straw.

Who am I kidding??? I can barely f*cking meet my Own basic needs on the daily- why am I power cleaning the house and whipping homemade meals out of the oven for guests when all I ate yesterday was a chocolate bar and a bag of corn chips I found stuffed in my couch???

Why am I trying to be gracious to those who enter my home and know that they are here to help me sleep- why can’t I just tell them my life is a mess, I am exhausted and I need them to shut up so I can go the Eff to sleep?

Why am I driving multiple times over hell’s half acre to try and maintain friendships with people that haven’t come to see me or my daughter once since my baby was born?

Why am I trying to hard to be the Cool Mom and to please Everyone Else??

So I’m done.

The Cool Mom is dead. I did away with her yesterday.

Whoever doesn’t like me now that I’m just a boring old Mom can continue not liking me- and I’m no longer going to shed tears for those losses.

I’m going to lean into my loving husband, tuck my child into my armpit and gaze at her big blue eyes, and hunker down in my beautiful home.

As my Mom always says: “You can’t please all of the people all of the time. Only some people, some of the time.”

I’m going to start trying to live that way, and letting it be okay to not be okay.

XO, Em

Room in My Womb: A History of My Motherhood 

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Mother’s Day is coming up. It’s coming up soon, and it’s coming up hard and fast for some of us. This particular Mother’s Day, I’m really excited about it, because it’s my First Mother’s Day with a babe in arms. It’s taken me many, many years to get to this joyous occasion, though, and that’s what I want to talk about.

My tagline for this EmPowered Mama blog is Motherhood: Raw. Real. Honest. And that’s what it is always going to be. So without further ado- let me reveal to those of you who may not know, that I have considered myself a ‘mother’ for quite some time now.

On September 1st, 2005, I had an abortion. The fetus, if it pleases you to call it that, was 7 weeks, 4 days old.

I terminated because I was young; my family was largely unsupportive, and everyone seemed to think that I, as a 19-year old girl, would know what to do in this unplanned situation.

I didn’t know what to do, and I made my choice to terminate the pregnancy because I thought it was the choice that would most please my family.

I have regretted that choice in some form or another for all the days and years since.

Interestingly enough, the development of bipolar disorder occurs when a person has a combination of 8-13 different genetic factors and incurs a traumatic event in adolescence/early adulthood that effectively ‘launches’ their potential bipolar disorder into action.

The loss of my potential firstborn child was the catalyst for every single future mental health battle I’ve had since then.

To sum it up, in my first pregnancy, I did not get to birth a child. I did, however, birth my entire lifelong battle with mental illness.

Oh- the things you wish you could have known at the time.

Anyhow- fast forward through a lot of hellish years to when I finally had had enough therapy to forgive myself and get my shit together and I met Ryan and we fell in love and we said, ‘let’s make babies!’

So we did.

And we were SO good at making babies that within a month of going off my birth control, we were Pregnant!

We conceived somewhere around Valentine’s Day 2018. We had a positive pregnancy test on March 21, 2018 and we danced around the kitchen in a circle, holding hands and paws with the dog. I’ve never seen my man look so happy. It was Perfect.

And then it wasn’t.

I started bleeding March 26th. I didn’t stop bleeding until April 23rd. Our chance at becoming parents had died. Another little piece of me had died.

We got through it. We got our doctor’s clearance to start trying again.

And now- as I type this- I am using my other hand to soothe the forehead of my sweet 25-day-old baby girl, who is having a little nightmare beside me while she sleeps in our bed.

If there is a God- God is good.

It’s been 14 years in the making, but I finally have my babe in arms for Mother’s Day.

It took me 14 years to get here, and I’ve been many Moms along the way.

A grieving mom, a mourning mom, a hopeful mom, a bereaved mom, a persevering mom…

But I know that there are Many other women that don’t have their babe in arms this Mother’s Day- and this blog is for them too.

This is what I wrote for the “About” section of my blog:

“My blog was born because the shit women go through to make a baby is absolutely Nuts- and the fact that we all walk around making it look Easy is a goddamn travesty. Women are Incredible, and mothering is Hard as Hell.

This blog is for new mamas and old mamas and wannabe mamas. First-time mothers and mothers of multiples. It’s for bored at work moms and unconventional moms. Infertile moms and miscarriage moms. Stepmoms and adoptive moms and birth moms. Moms who still have a sense of humour. Old mothers. Young mothers. Mothers who are now grandmothers.

Anyone who’s ever wanted to be a mother.
Anyone who’s ever had a mother.

So basically- women.
This is a blog for All women.

I want you to join me. I want you to come along beside me in your little Mom-mobile and read these blog posts and share in these journeys. Let’s hear each other’s miscarriage stories and infertility stories and birth stories and postpartum stories. Let’s see pieces of ourselves in them. Let’s laugh about these stories. Let’s cry at the sad bits and pee our pants laughing at the funny bits. Subscribe to my blog and start following me if this sounds like it could be a fun ride for you. If reading my posts doesn’t make you pee your pants or bawl your eyes out- or do both at the same time, I’m doing something wrong.

XO, Em

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Taint for the Faint of Heart: Sadie’s Birth Story

April 13, 2019

YOU WERE BORN TODAY!!!

We came into the hospital at 7:20 pm on your due date of Friday, April 12th.

We had my waters broken at 10:20, went into contractions reallllly frickin quick from there, got on the Oxytocin drip and went from 0-100 Reallly fast- contractions coming stacked right on top of each other like pain pancakes.

Daddy was a Hero during this phase- I was pretty awesome too.

Then I got my epidural around midnight and told Daddy to go to bed.

He slept in a big black comfy lazy boy chair from midnight-4:30 and you and I chugged through the night like a little train, just pulling each other along.

It took me from 12:00 am to 2:00 am to get from 3 cm to 4 cm, and then from 2:00 am to 4:30 am to leap straight from 4 cm to 10 cm fully dilated.

The resident OB came in at 4:30 am to check your position cuz you had a little dip in heartbeat and he announced:

“We are Fully Dilated!!!” in a really shocked voice and the whole room flew into cheers and celebration!!

Our nurse Justy was with us for the whole ride, and by 5:00 am she had us leaping into all sorts of different positions trying to push you out of there.

Baby Girl- you were a Ton of Work to get out- but in a room Full of people telling me what to do, I zeroed on in just your Daddy’s strong, clear voice reminding me what to do, and man did the three of us ever work together in perfect harmony to get you out.

My first 30 minutes of pushing were Hilarious- I looked like a Complete idiot and nearly burst every blood vessel in my head- I think I was trying to somehow push you out of my eyeballs? Maybe my ears?

Daddy corrected me, and the second half hour that I pushed you I got the hang of what I was doing, but you had your long body all tilted to the side, so all my awesome pushing just resulted in my mashing your sweet little skull plates into my pelvic bones for 30 minutes- sorry about the big ole bruise on your noggin from that!!

At 6:00 am, after an hour of pushing, the resident OB and Dr.Henning came in and both took turns getting your body turned to come straight down, and then I realllllly got to work pushing like an Olympian Gold Medal Powerlifter- there are pictures- I look like a lady on a mission and No One could break my stride.

I found lung capacities I didn’t know I had- strength and clarity of purpose I didn’t know existed until then- and I breathed you out in sets of 4 pushes, 10 seconds long each, every two minutes.

Around 6:30 am, they had to tell me to ease back on my power pushing, as I was about to blow you right through my entire vagina to anus section.

Sure glad they didn’t let me do that!!!

I rested out a few sets of contractions, stopped pushing, let us both relax for 15 minutes, and then started again.

Instead of tucking your chin in to your chest, you were trying to come out with your little face staring straight ahead out of my vagina, so they had to use the forceps to try and get your head tucked in a little better.

As soon as they said the forceps had corrected your little noggin and I could push again, I pushed with every last shred of determination that I had in me, and at 7:29 am, after two hours and 15 minutes of pushing, your head popped into this side of the world and you were staring Straight into your Daddy’s Soul.

He looked down at you, you opened your big black eyes and looked Right into his heart, blinked, and then let the rest of your body slide out.

Your Daddy lost Every Shred of composure at that point.

He said he had been holding tears back since 2:00 am, and when you blinked at him, the floodgates just poured right open.

I was smiling and laughing and crying tears of joy and your Daddy was weeping like a man who had just discovered he in fact had no bones, and was now the most Vulnerable person on the face of this earth.

Daddy looked at me and said Oh My Lord I am going to feel this way about her for the next 20 years.

He couldn’t get a word out without bursting into tears.

It was amazing to watch him become your Dad.

I’ve never loved a person so much in my life.

Then you and your Daddy went off to NICU together to figure out your bowels, which is a story for another day, but it’s 11:20 pm on the day of your birth, and I wanted to tell you how it all went down while it’s still so fresh in my mind.

We did it all together my little love, and we did a Great job.

You are here; you are ours, to have and to hold. To nurture and protect for the rest of our lives and our journey as a family has begun.

We love you so much,

Mommy and Daddy.

P.S. You are 7 pounds and 14 ounces. Just a squeak shy of an 8-pounder. You are 59 cm long, which works out to 20 inches. You’re the biggest baby by far in NICU right now and the nurses love you cuz they don’t get to see big babies like you that often.

I’m Becoming Me Again

When I started this blog as a Very new mom, I wondered if there would be times that the blog would go dark because I would be so busy with the baby that I wouldn’t have time to write. Well, my last post was August 20th, so clearly that has happened.

I wondered, as a Very new mom, what ‘too busy to write’ would look like. And I’m laughing now because ‘too busy’ has not been at all what I had pictured.

My child is an angel. I know- honestly, I’m sure Everyone at some point thinks that, but Sadie is a gem. She sleeps deep and often. She is alert, active and very independent. She has never been sick. She laughs and screams and makes hilarious growling noises but very, very rarely makes any noise that sounds like discomfort. She is So wonderful that we don’t wish to have a second because surely he or she will be Satan, Sadie is so wonderful in comparison.

All that said- I thought ‘busy’ would look like colic. Gripe water. Endless nights and tears and cries that blurred into days. Sleeplessness that draped everything in a fog of misery. But with Sadie- busy doesn’t look anything like that.

It looks like Sadie and I nestled deep into our cozy corner of the couch, snuggling with each other and staring into each other’s eyes. It looks like me dying laughing while she violently attacks her exersaucer toys with gleeful abandon. It looks like me doing a jig to country music in the kitchen while she stares up at me from her play mat on the kitchen floor; giggling already cuz even at 6 months, she knows her mama can’t dance worth a hill of beans.

In these moments, I am ‘too busy’ to pick up a phone call. ‘Too busy’ to break free from the cozy corner of the couch and do all the adult things I need to do, because snuggling takes priority over all else. When Ryan asks ‘What did you do today?’ ‘Snuggle’ is an appropriate answer. Imagine that! Instead of a work day, I get to stay at home and make 50% of my previous income so that I can get in a full 8 hours of snuggling.

It has been Awesome. I had No idea that I could love and be so IN love with my own baby. I wouldn’t change the last 6 months for the world.

But today I went to the dentist- a new dentist, in Airdrie- and I noticed that I was frazzled. I was haphazard and drove to the wrong clinic first and so was quite flustered when I had to put my lace-up winter boots back on again and hop back in the car and head to the real one. The front desk lady asked me if I had remembered to fill in the new patient forms she had emailed me almost a month ago. I hadn’t. Had I remembered to get my x-rays from my old dentist in Canmore like I said I would? Nope. As I was answering her questions, I noticed I was bumbling over my words and I think I even threw in a few nervous swear words. As in, ‘Shit, I’m sorry I forgot to do that!’ or some such. There was no one else in the waiting room, but really, shouldn’t I have mastered being able to speak full sentences without profanity by 33 years old??

I had to fill in some forms and I noticed that my writing was Terrible. It was the scrawl of someone who hadn’t had occasion to have to wield a writing instrument for the past 6 months. The forms asked my occupation. I wrote ‘N/A’. I’m planning on going back to work when my mat leave is up but I have no idea what that work will look like. I’ve thought about freelance editing, I’ve thought about social media consulting, I’ve thought about copywriting or starting my own small marketing business, but really- I don’t have a clue yet.

And I realized in that dentist’s office that snuggling for a whole day may no longer be all that I need. I might need to get back out there and interact with adult humans more regularly so that I don’t nervously swear at nice little office ladies.

It took the dentist 3 units of scaling to scrape all the accumulated gunk off my chompers. I explained that I haven’t bothered to see a dentist since I got pregnant. I explained that as a new mom, I don’t floss my teeth as often as I should. She smiled knowingly as a mother of boys aged 7 & 9 and said that she likes to floss her teeth while she watches her Netflix for 20 minutes at night while riding her stationary bike. And I thought ‘Oh Shit! If this is what I have to look forward to as a working mom, I need to start stepping up my game Now so that I’m not a complete clusterf*#k by the time I return to the working world.’

I finished at the dentist and drove to collect my small human from my amazing friends who had watched her for the appointment. They are sleep training champions, so I decided to start there. I begged them for their knowledge and jotted some notes down in my iPhone, resolving to start tonight, even if Ryan is out of town and I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. If I can start becoming myself again by regaining some precious hours at the end of the day, then that is a good start.

I’m currently typing this out in my bed, propped up on my pillows, with the baby monitor beside me. My child, who is normally partying until 11:00 pm, is fast asleep and has (mostly) been that way since 7:00 pm. I am writing this blog and feeling so grateful to be able to hit the keyboard again. Emily likes to do that- I remember this now.

The next step is to find a hot yoga studio in Airdrie that offers childcare. I remember that Emily used to love hot yoga in the winter. After that- I’ll tackle my wedding planning. After that- I’ll decide what I’m going to do for back to work and how to get there.

For today- I have clean teeth, a sleeping child, and a really good feeling. I feel myself again.

XO, Em