Tubal Ligation

fallopian tubes and uterus model

Spay and neuter your parents. It sounds like a public service announcement to me when I talk about having my tubes tied. I’m struggling with it, you know. I have a scheduled C-section for this Monday and as the time nears, I find my nerves settling on the tubal ligation more than anything- more than the being sawn in half, more than the arrival of a human being, more than the recovery of a C-section.  A lot goes into making ones self unable to reproduce further.

As women we are born with every egg we will ever produce. Isn’t that something? That’s why we are considered women of advanced maternal age beyond thirty-five years old. Our eggs are just old. My sixty-four year old husband makes new sperm all the time and has no need for medical assistance in getting them from point A to point B, thank you very much (I know you are all wondering, unless one of his kids is reading this- in which case, you don’t care).

Look, I’m done. I know I’m done. Hell, in my twenties I wanted a complete hysterectomy so as to avoid reproducing at all. I’m glad now that’s not an elective surgery and thankful for my sisters who insisted I remain intact in case they required the letting of my uterus to them.

So what’s the problem? The finality of it certainly weighs on me. The obvious alternative is birth control, but I’ve never been on it and I don’t want to pump my body full of chemicals, or remember to take a pill, or get to the doctor for a shot, or have a device implanted somewhere. I’m done, the tubal makes sense. I think it’s a woman thing to think about the finality of your reproductive life. Even if I were ninety, had twenty kids and reproduction was biologically viable, I would still lament the finality with which a tubal ligation presents itself.

I’m not a happy pregnant person, I’m about to have two boys (exactly what I could have hoped for outside of healthy babies first and foremost), and my husband has four adult children from his first marriage. We are done. I am done. I still can’t reconcile the finality of it though. My mom had her tubes tied when she was thirty-seven, just one year older than I am now (I feel a lot younger than my mom seemed then), and had five kids. She said the same things occurred to her. She even had an older husband too, twenty years her senior, though biologically childless. He took us five girls on as his own- we were lucky that way.

I am going to have the procedure, thus ignoring the screaming of my biological need to reproduce. It was only conjecture in my twenties when I said I would have a hysterectomy. I wouldn’t have been able to go through with it had it been more than just one of my hair brained ideas back then. I’m too enamored with the possibilities, of roads not traveled, of roads with bridges that I know to be out but am positive I can traverse where others have failed. I love having options for no reason other than I am not hewn in. My biological clock is hypertensive as it considers it’s mortality, like a horcrux (Harry Potter reference for you muggles), refusing to let go. But let go it must, because I am having a tubal ligation and spending the rest of my life investing in the two children I conceived accidentally on purpose.

Sisters and Siblings, Cousins and Chaos

If you’ve read some of my other posts you will have discovered that I have a large family.  Being the second of five girls affords me the ability to mine into the nuances of family dynamics in such a way that enables a perspective that is shaped by the phenomenon of learning how to be consequential in seemingly inconsequential scenarios.  In other words, how to be heard when you can’t even hear yourself think, let alone the person with whom you are trying to communicate.  If you are from a large family I’m making perfect sense.  If you’re not, you have already disengaged and begun skimming the rest of this post for relevant information or you’re gone already and I’m talking to myself.  I hope you’re still here.

Sisterhood plus mom.

Sisterhood plus mom.

I bring this up because my sisters are and I are gathered together this weekend for my baby shower.  There are five of us and only one that has not begun to contribute offspring to the menagerie that currently exists.  Besides the youngest, my other sisters have three children each or the intent to have more and I am contributing my second and final offspring to the melee.  I thought that I would be one and done, but as a sibling of four others, I could not stand the injustice of my child being an only child.  Who would talk over him, steal his toys, pester him, punch him in the face for no other reason than existing before he did?  Why should he get to be an only child with his parents’ undivided attention?  These are things that made me the person I am today. 

So it is that I am expecting, any moment hopefully,  a second child and a sibling for my oldest son.  In the mean time, I have relied heavily upon my sisters and their children to provide the harassing that I wanted for my son.  It is often a competition of noise when “the sisterhood” and the cousins are occupying the same space.

A few of the cousins peacefully coexisting for the moment.

A few of the cousins peacefully coexisting for the moment.

My oldest son and two of his cousins are bringing up the rear of the cousinship- merely toddlers mimicking the antics of the older ones who were not too long ago toddling about and setting the precedent for cousin conduct.  It boils down to having as much fun in the limited amount of time allotted them as is humanly possible.  Sometimes that time frame is a week and often times merely a weekend.  They make the most of their time, no matter how long, and there are always tears when the time to part arrives.

They break off into their age appropriate sets, conniving and planning to ambush the others and eventually coming together to create a collective assault on their parents.  Sometimes that’s mischievous and others it’s in the form of a play or recital. 

The brothers in law fall in the middle of the kids and the wives.  They are excellent sports and referees as they monitor the kids and tolerate the cackling and conspiring of their wives as the sisterhood overwhelms the plans and actions of day to day lives for the duration of the visit.  The BIL’s take on a child friendly outing with all the kids in tow while the sisterhood has some alone time, in trade for their own adventure later in the evening.  A deal has been struck, they concede the hemorrhage of money it takes to finance the sisterhood’s antics and all parties are satisfied.

Brothers in law conceding to a group photo.

Brothers in law conceding to a group photo.

Our family is loud and obnoxious, but we are a posse of awesomeness that feeds off of each other.  We came together this weekend for my baby shower, but it coincided with an event in one of my sister’s lives that required a little extra attention.  We build each other up when the world has dared imply we are not what we know ourselves to be- strong, confident capable women.  Sure, we have our flaws and short comings that we have been known to point out in each other during spats, but let an outsider point out the same flaw or insult and it’s: you mess with one, you mess with all.  The sisterhood and our offspring have a pact that though we cannot be together all the time, we make damn sure it counts when we are.  If you happen to be caught in the crossfire or allowed in the festivities, just hang on and hope for the best.  That’s pretty much all were doing anyway.

Child Proof

istockphoto.com/jorgeantonio

istockphoto.com/jorgeantonio

Child proof: I’ve come to the realization that I don’t even know what that means.  I’m not dense, I know what it’s supposed to mean, but like so many other things in life, it’s subjective.

Case in point, and what prompted me to write this post, is my 2 1/2 year old niece.  Child proof for her should have meant a brand new unopened bottle of Children’s Tylenol remaining unopened until such time as an adult deemed it appropriate to open and administer the drug in the appropriate dosage and for the appropriate symptoms.  What it meant for my niece was: I think I’ll peel off the plastic around the cap, unlock the child proof cap, peel off the seal that normally functioning adults cannot pry off, pour it into my toy tea cup, while spilling some in the process and having a tea party.  Luckily she was discovered before she could consume any.  It begs the question though: What deems something child proof?

Is it a preconceived and highly tested method of what the average child is capable of accomplishing?  Are there sweat shops in Cambodia where children of varying ages are trying to break into Tylenol bottles?   Is the criteria: hey, if an adult can’t open it, we’re probably good?  Child proofing is not an exact science and since a parent cannot be in all places at all times, we have to hope and pray that we can be present enough to intervene in time, in the event that our child out child proofs the child proof precautions that are instituted for his or her protection.

Children are resourceful.

They are smarter than adults in that they do not limit their possiblilities on what the world (or the packaging) says they can or cannot accomplish.  Three protective barriers to access the Tylenol within the bottle did not deter my niece from reaching its contents…and in less than five minutes.  I can’t open a brand new, unopened bottle of Children’s Tylenol in less than five minutes.

Is putting something out of reach considered child proofing?

Have you seen the contraptions that children will come up with to reach something?  I’ve seen items configured in such a way that defies the laws of physics that function perfectly well for elevating a child to a position which enables them to retrieve items that are not meant for their grubby little hands- either for their own protection or my own sanity (like my favorite candy that I eat in dark closets so they won’t beg for it).

Don’t rely on child proof latches to protect your children either.  I think that’s another example of, if adults can’t open it then a child can’t, flawed form of reasoning.  The little McGyvers will have them open quicker than it takes you to get into them so you can cook dinner.

Baby gates: they don’t work for your dog, they don’t work for your kid.  Baby gates only teach your dog and child how to climb.

Though I’m a big proponent of car seats, they’re not exactly child proof.  You realize this the first time you’re driving down the street and see your child has freed himself from his restraints and is drunk with freedom in the back seat.  You hope just the one woman shaking her finger at you as she passes is the only one who notices your child is not properly secured until you can get safely pulled over and wear them out for scaring you and making you get drive by judged.

You know what they need to child proof?  The sugar and the flower, markers, the tv, iPads and cell phones (pass codes not withstanding), cosmetics, dog food,  just to name a few.  I’m sure you can come up with several more that you should feel free to share in the comments.

As parents, it’s our job to minimize the damage as to what our kids can get into to.  Just as the laws of physics are null for children, so too is time and space, which I suppose is a part of physics.  It’s a well known fact that time is slower when you’re a kid.  That’s why a 5-minute time-out for a toddler is an eternity for them.  The same holds true for the time it takes for a child to infiltrate the Tylenol.  Where I couldn’t get lost in 2 seconds, I can turn my head in a store and immediately turn it back like an annoying practitioner of a game of red light-green light, and an Amber Alert is necessary for my child.  I don’t know how they do it but the space/time continuum does not apply to sub-adults.  I don’t know when we lose this super power, I know only that if you still possessed it into adulthood, it was immediately stripped from you upon parenthood.

My sister beat herself up a little for all the what-ifs involved in her toddler potentially drinking a toy tea cup full of Tylenol.  As an ER nurse, she’s well aware of the consequences.  There are some things though that you just have to be relieved that you were able to interrupt, rather than beating yourself up.  The fact is, children are just more resourceful than adults are and we’re going to have near misses.  We can only hope they’re dumb in the areas that will keep them safe and smart in the areas that will help them excel.  As my mom says: there’s something to be said for having dumb kids.  Unfortunately, I never had any.

Here’s to dumb kids where it counts.

Preparing for a C-Section

Introductions after the c-section

Introductions after the c-section

1 in 3 deliveries end up being Cesarean sections.  I am 2 weeks from my second C-section delivery, the first being due to a failed induction. This second because most doctors won’t do a VBAC(vaginal birth after caesarian), for fear of rupture to the original C-section scar.  I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit for a VBAC though.  I am just fine with getting unzipped and delivering the baby via C-section this time.  I was looking forward to a natural delivery the first time when, due to other circumstances, I had to elect to induce.  Now going into my second C-section, I have some idea of what to expect.  If you are pregnant with your first, I would suggest doing some research on C-sections, just in case.   Here is a place to start.  I’ll include some links to professional advice and include my own unprofessional advice, based merely off of my own experiences.   With 1 in 3 deliveries ending up in C-section, it’s a good idea to be prepared.

My C-section Story

A C-section takes you by surprise.  I imagined the miracle and horrors of child birth, but I ended up being sawn in half like a lovely assistant in a sideshow.  That first C-section is confusing as you have presumably labored for several hours and prepared for the pushing and heaving and hoeing of a vaginal delivery. I read all of the books, took birthing classes, prepared for the possibility of tearing (and hoped that an episiotomy was performed prior to that occurrence), I worried about pooping on the table.  I didn’t worry about a C-section, even when I had to choose to be induced and was informed that the risk of C-section went up.

My induction failed which prevented a vaginal delivery from being a viable option to my miracle birthing story.  I was moved from my delivery room where family and friends had been popping in between contractions, where familiar faces were plotting how they would get to hold the baby first and considering how offended they would be if in-law so and so got first dibs on holding the new baby.  When the call for a C-section occurs, they are replaced with strangers in disposable paper outfits,  their faces covered by masks.  I vaguely recognized my labor and delivery nurse who had been tending to me and corralling my family all day, my doctor having disappeared to prep for surgery.  Everyone else was a new addition to my birthing team.

I was strapped to a table, a partition hanging between me and my lower half- must be part of the illusion as I wait to have the two halves of the operating table turned apart to the oohs and aahs of the gallery.  I felt nothing, maybe a tug here or there, while my husband chanced glances over the paper barrier.  Like a macabre puppet show, the doctor peeked my son over the partition so I could  see the bundle of…we’ll stick with joy here.  Then he was whisked to an isolette, to be sucked, cleaned, smacked and measured.  Everyone had abandoned me by this point.  My husband no longer petting my head and reassuring me.  I was left shivering, arms strapped down, only able to crank my  neck to try and keep up with what’s going on while my doctor was tending to my severing.  Now that the baby was out, he wasn’t really my doctor’s domain anymore. Good thing, because someone had to put me back together.

Then, briefly, my baby was being held next to my face, screaming.  He was lowered so I could kiss his face and then my husband and baby disappeared  while I, the sideshow, was put back together again.  Only my lips had touched my baby.  My arms not yet allowed to comfort him, to comfort my 9 months of growing an entire human, feeling them kick and turn and grow.

This is my story, yours may have been and may well be different. Here are a few things I would do differently or will repeat during my second.

Know what you want going in.

Include a C-section protocol to your birth plan.  This way you can make sure the C-section team knows what you want, so your husband knows what you want and so you know what you want.  At the time, I just knew I wanted my son to be born healthy.  I regret not getting to hold and nurse him right away.  Some women get to nurse right away, I did not and was too wrapped up  in the medical care that he required to think to insist.  He was fine and I wish I had been prepared to require I get him immediately, rather him being taken away to the nursery.  Obviously I want what’s best for him medically, but assuming all things are fine, hand the baby over.  This time I will be more assertive with my requests since I’m familiar with the process.  This is yet another reason to consider the possibility of a C-section, so you can make such requests at the time and feel comfortable doing so.

Recovering from a C-section is uncomfortable.

If you have been through a C-section , then you are familiar with the long road of recovery. Now that I know what to expect I will be better prepared, rather than ambushed by what is to follow.

There is pain once the epidural is taken out. 

Your pain management becomes oral, which means you have to stay on top of it.  Request the pain meds, don’t try to be a hero.  There was a moment when I felt fine, when my nurses got me out of bed to take a short walk across the room.  It was mid-stride that the pain set in.  I could neither walk nor sit because the pain was so intense.  I could only stand there and cry, because everything hurt.

The pain meds will constipate you.

They will give you a stool softener to help you pass your first bowel movement.  It hurts to even breathe so you can imagine what going poop is going to feel like, especially if you’re constipated from the pain meds.  Drink lots of water prior to your delivery and eat fiber rich foods as well, to help prepare your body.  This is probably good advice prior to any delivery, but especially C-sections.  Continue to drink your water post-op in order to keep things moving- I wish I had.  They wouldn’t let me eat solid food until I farted, or flatulated if you please.  I was starving, having gone in early the day before, labored all day, not delivering via C-section until 12:21 am and not passing gas until late in the afternoon the following day.  I definitely had a case of the mean hungries.  I never wanted to fart so badly in my life.

Have a Boppy as part of your hospital bag.

I would think this would be ideal for vaginal deliveries as well, but for a C-section, it’s necessary.  Nursing your baby can be uncomfortable because of your incision.  Placing a Boppy around you allows you to protect your incision and prop the baby up while nursing.  They will show you a couple of different holds, but I found the football hold to work best for me.  This is where you hold the baby tucked like a football under your arm while they nurse.  The Boppy helps hold them comfortably in this position.

The Boppy aslo helps for bracing.  You will want to apply a little pressure to your incision when you cough, laugh or sneeze.  It is quite painful to do so without the bracing.  I learned that the hard way.  With a Boppy permanently attached around your middle like a lifesaver, you are prepared for any eventuality.

Be prepared for the bleeding.

Yes, you will bleed even though you did not give birth vaginally.  You will probably get these really cute mesh panties that they stuff with the most ginormous pad you’ve ever seen.  Believe me, it will reach its saturation point. I bought the extra long overnight, thin, pads for recovery at home.  The long thin pads also make great bandages to keep your incision from weeping on you pants and underwear once you’re home.  Follow prescribed wound care protocol of course, but this worked well for me.

You cannot get up on your own for about 24 hrs.

Don’t even try.  Your nurse will be getting you up and making you walk and you’ll hate them for it.  You have to walk though and it’s for your own good, so be nice, say thank you and gut your way through it.

I found this link to a National Institute for Health website that has several link for various resources related to C-sections.

The important thing is to get through those first few days.  Once you are discharged you will be caring for yourself and your baby.  You will work out the kinks and get a routine that minimizes your discomfort.  The healing process typically takes about 6 weeks, at which point you will have a follow up with your doctor and be released for full or appropriate activities based on your recovery.

Hopefully you get the delivery for which you planned, but I wish that I had planned for the possibility of a C-section.  If you have been through a C-section, feel free to add any tips down in the comments.

 

 

 

 

Life lessons from a Green Cheek Conure

A few weeks ago I wrote a post saying good-bye to my 15 year old dog, Atticus.  Today I am reposting a beautiful post of celebration for someone who lost her beloved bird, a green cheek conure, in a freak accident. What the Turquoise Bird Taught Me, is a funny and sincere insight into lessons she learned from her bird- animated with gifs and pics.  A truly remarkable tribute to her little friend and quite honestly, child.  Give it a look below, or click the link above to view it on her blog.

What the Turquoise Bird Taught Me

Meet Boz. Boz is a Green Cheek Conure with a turquoise mutation. Full of personality, life, and love, Boz was my soul mate in animal form. Boz passed away 2 days ago after a tragic freak accident. He was only 18 months old. In his 18 months, he taught me so many important lessons about life. As painful as his loss is and as painful as even his good memories are at this point, I feel compelled to share his lessons. And so I’ll share with you What the Turquoise Bird Taught Me.

WHAT THE TURQUOISE BIRD TAUGHT ME: 

1. Look at things from different perspectives 

Things aren’t always what they seem, so look at things from different perspectives. Sometimes they are exactly what they seem, but take a look just to be sure.

2. Bring your light to light up someone else’s world
Boz’s very presence could light up a room. Let your personality shine to light up someone else’s world. You never know what impact your light may have. 
3. Approach new things carefully, but with Courage
It takes Courage to conquer a Dr Pepper can when you are only 62 grams. 
4. Connect with people through your own passions
By sharing your passions, you share a piece of yourself which might otherwise remain untouchable
5. If you can’t stand on your own head, stand on someone else’s 
Not really a lesson, I just love that he loved to stand on my head
6. Don’t let clipped wings keep you from trying to fly
People will try to clip your wings (both figuratively and literally)-don’t stop trying to fly
7. Love who you love
Love who you love without consideration of what others will think
8. Spend quality time with your loved ones
9. Take picture with friends… or photobomb them for fun
10. Keep your life spicy! 
Keep life interesting-indulge in new experiences 
11. Study hard… if you’re not in school, help someone who is!
12. Don’t let money worry you 
But don’t steal your parent’s credit card like Boz
 13. Sometimes you gotta take a gamble
14. Be vulnerable
The greatest love lends itself to vulnerability by breaking down every wall
15. Take naps with your people, relax!
Why recline over there when you can recline right here??!! 
 16. Do something you love and do it often

Who knew so much life and love could be compacted into such a tiny creature? Boz was my whole world, teaching me valuable lessons on life, love, and as I recently learned: vulnerability. I hope you will find his lessons as valuable as I have.
And to my Bozworth, I’ll see you in my sunset.