Transition

During labor, there was the contraction- and it took all of my concentration for about 30 seconds, and then I’d get a couple of minutes to regroup and prepare for the next one. Then, after almost two days of that, I reached what they call “transition.” This is the last phase of labor, the shortest, and undoubtedly the hardest. Basically the contractions are long, intense and close together, and in my case I had back labor throughout, so it felt relentless. For me, it was the only time where I felt like labor was too much for me. I remember going from handling contractions on my own, to looking around for reassurance, saying things like “I just… I’m just… I just want… a… break…” Anyone who’s done it knows what I’m talking about. My hormone levels were so high, and my body was working so hard, that my mind just had a hard time keeping up with everything. It was so fast, and then before I knew it I wanted to push, and that was an incredible feeling. Then, before I knew it, I had my baby. If you had asked me about all that during transition, I would have said that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it, or if I could. But I did it. I got through it just fine. I was silent through all of my labor except for this time. I would make whiny groans and look desperately at my mom, who was excited at this point because when a woman’s in transition, well, it’s baby time.

Well, let me just say that for the first month I felt like everything in my life I could relate in some way to labor. Things were so repetitive, sometimes hard, but always doable. It was so empowering. I never felt alone or worried that I couldn’t do it. Lately, I’m in a funk. I mean just the past few days, I’ve felt so overwhelmed. Things are so different, and while in the first month I had people all around me, encouraging me, now I feel like I’m looking around for reassurance. Some of my friends I only see every couple of weeks, but I used to see them a couple of times a week. My mom would call every couple of days. I don’t think she’s called since she came over two weeks ago. In my head I can figure this out. It’s been almost 3 months. I should have the hang of this, right? I mean, no one can do it but me. Jeff works all the time, and went to school, and has band practice, and plays D & D one day, and works at the brewery, and had homework. Basically this means that, say, Monday morning he goes to work, gets home at 5, leaves at 7 for band practice, gets home at 11 and has to go straight to bed, gets up for school (well now work now that he’s graduated), then goes to the brew shop, home at 7 or 8, homework and then bed by 10:30, up again for work, then D&D until late…. and on and on and on. I know that he’s busy, and he is SO great when he’s here, but I lately have been so wanting more than just an hour here or an hour there. I want company. I want help. I feel like I did during transition, wondering if I was really such a champ after all. It’s not just the baby either, she’s actually great. It’s that I have to juggle that with housework and trying to get some food in me, and take a shower, and whatever. It’s my own overwhelmed energy I need a break from. It’s my own HEAD. I need meditation. I need acceptance. I need to open up that last centimeter to give way to my new life. So much. It’s just so much.

I’ve decided that everything that I’m feeling is entirely natural and healthy. This helps some. I spent the past few days feeling somewhat guilty for feeling this way. I felt bad because I adore my kiddo, and I don’t want to be anywhere else, but i fear that feeling this way somehow betrays her. I know that people are busy, and Jeff! I hate that I’ve whined to him and he’s had to look at me and tell me he wishes he were here more. I don’t want to pile more on him. He’s doing his best, and a great job at that. And then I get a twinge of anger because nothing will change. This is the way that it is. I have to accept it. It so feels like transition. But I know that I’m feeling totally normal. I need to give way to these emotions, recognize them, and keep on moving forward. Soon I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune. I think the other frustrating thing is that I wish I could throw my hands up and say “Screw it! I can’t do this!”, but I can’t do that. I know that I can do this, and I want to, and I am doing it. The great part about transition was that my head didn’t need to believe that I could do it for me to do it. It was the cosmic order of things, the way of the world. We don’t always have to understand it all for it to have meaning and purpose.

I needed to get this out. I feel a lot better already. I think part of this was just needing to feel it.

Ok, for those of you out there who plan to have a baby- try to do it exactly the way your body wants to do it. I mean, of course it’s up to you, but who would’ve thought that I’d learn so much about life just through the pain of labor? I mean, it’s incredible. I’m really grateful to have this perspective. It’s like I have a whole new way of looking at things. Maybe I’ll try to write more of my birth story today- that could encourage me even further.

Now some fun stuff:

`April 26th:
We made a mushroom and zucchini quiche… yum. It contained the smallest mushroom I had ever seen.

April 27th:
My Jeff GRADUATED! Well, pending one class this summer, but still. I am proud of him. He said it’s really surreal. I figure he can always go back too. I plan to be a lifetime student. A student of life, as it were.

April 28th:
I was laying on the couch yesterday, and Maya weaseled her way around my head and then rested on my arm like this. She got more and more relaxed, until, shortly after this picture was taken, she fell off the couch. We laughed at her, and she got right back up on the couch.

Bonus:

Violets are growing wild in our yard.

Ok, to preface this, I was recently viewing this and I got to thinking about how much I used to listen to James Taylor. I love love loved him. I started writing songs and playing guitar back then. I have great memories playing ‘Carolina in My Mind’ by a campfire up north. Anyway, I still listen to him, but not all the time like I used to. Then I realized… well. You can figure it out. Weird.

And because I must.

BABY.

Quote of the day:
“Of course there is no formula for success except perhaps an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.” -Arthur Rubinstein

Gracie
Gracie

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Comments (13)

  1. pithy_epigrams

    This is what I love about your entries. You have this amazing ability to step outside yourself when you are feeling upset about something. Then you analyze your feelings and you seem to always figure it out, and feel better.

    Very cool and awesome. If I might say.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      What an encouraging thing to say! Sometimes I feel like I’m hopelessly introspective, but I guess whatever works, right?

      How have you been? You haven’t posted in a bit.

      Reply
      1. pithy_epigrams

        Yeah, I know. I’m well. I should post, I’ve been lazy.

        Reply
  2. unicorntapestry

    Baby mushroom! aw…
    And congrats Jeff.
    And love to you. I wish I could be there more often…
    And I know you’re not even thinking of me when you wrote this rant, but I still wish I was.
    I love your honesty. You’re so real about life. It’s not all roses and sherry and puppies. It’s work. If/when I get married and have kids, I hope to live my life as gracefully (pun intended!) as you do.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Well yes, it’s not all roses and sherry and puppies. It’s hard sometimes, but then also has babies and lil mushrooms and friends that are much too far away. Yes. Pun appreciated!

      YOU ARE COMING TO SEE ME THIS SUMMER!!!! HOOOOORAAAAAAY!

      Reply
  3. lilpeace

    We talked earlier about this…but I wanted to add…

    You know, when you go through the beginning of what Jeff’s weekly schedule/routine is like, it seems very apparent to me that there ARE things that could change. He’s got at least three nights a week where he goes out to pursue his hobbies/interests/talents, etc. Those are “extracurricular,” so to speak, and while I think you should support him in pursuing those, you would not be out of line to request time for the same. Maybe you could tell him that you’d really like a couple of nights, or even one, where you get to go out without baby and do something for yourself. Pump a bottle, and go out. He does it several times a week, you can do it at least once.

    And if you need help, ask for it. Demand it, even. Sometimes I think that, no matter how well-meaning our partners are, if they’re not caring for baby full time it’s easy for them to forget that you need some YOU time, too. I think people working out-of-home jobs feel like their recreational time is very important, but it’s easy for them to just assume that life “at home with baby” is easy-peasy and allows for lots of free time. And of course, while not easy, it is much more flexible and allows for lots of tea-dates on porches–but that is not the same as YOU time, ya know?

    I think for the most part you’re right about this being a transition and just needing some time to get used to it and find a balance, but some of it could be improved, and maybe should be.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Thanks for this advice. I think you’re right. I’m gonna pump today during her nap. I think part of my issue was that I would count the tea dates and stuff as “me time” but then I was left feeling like I needed more. I do need more I guess. There’s hope for me yet…

      Reply
  4. Anonymous

    Great honest post today, staying home all day is tough! All moms need “me” time. It’s time, not just out of the house, but time out of the house without the baby. It’s easy to look at our partner’s busier life outside the home and think that they need more support or relaxation time because they’ve been “in the trenches” all day. Well, so have you. I agree with Gretchen, it’s important to make time for just you. Jeff is a great guy. He may just not realize that band practice and DD that often is not working for you. Yes, its important to chase your dreams but sometimes after you have the kiddo your dream may have to shift a little bit. It’s also important for Jeff and Vera to have alone time too.

    You ARE in transition and it takes time to make it all work. Jonah is almost a year and I’m still working on it. Feel free to give me a call anytime.

    We should do lunch again when we aren’t so rushed. I really enjoyed the time we did have though!

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Thanks. I will probably take you up on that and call ya. It REALLY helps to hear that other mommas are in the same boat/understand.

      Yes, lunch is in order. It felt so fast! Soon. I’ll check my calendar- plus Courteney has to hold Vera!

      Reply
  5. see_anotherside

    I love how introspective you are.

    I agree with the other comments. It definitely sounds like some ‘Grace time’ is needed. After all.. staying at home with the baby is a job, and everybody needs a little time off from their work, right? I really hope that doesn’t sound bad. You obviously adore Vera but if you get to have some time to yourself as well, then it may help refresh/relax you and you won’t be so stressed. And that will be better for everyone. πŸ™‚

    Also, congrats to Jeff. What was he studying?

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      It’s great that I’m getting so much validation! When you said “I hope that doesn’t sound bad” that’s exactly the emotion I keep grappling with. I guess now I know that it’s ok to need some “me time”, and that it doesn’t mean I need time away from Vera.

      Philosophy. He minored in Psychology (wasn’t that what you were studying? for some reason I feel like you were…)

      Reply
  6. poppleshatesyou

    Just to give you more validation, you are transitioning!! you are transitioning into being a parent! thats big! And everybody needs me time, especially mamas, it doesn’t mean they love their children any less, but mamas are giving and giving all the time and definitely need time to themselves. I definitely don’t think its out of line to mention to your lovah that you need at least an evening a week where you can go out for a bit of grace time sans baby, and it doesn’t even need to be every week if you don’t want it, but just having the option could make all the difference. even if you didn’t go out maybe it could be a little family time if you wanted.

    Anyhoo, so glad i found you in the LJ universe!

    I’ll be back in a2 sometime this summer and we’ll have to get together, i can’t wait to meet Vera and see you again.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Thanks. I’m glad you found me too! We will have to do that- it’s been at least a couple of years since I saw you last! πŸ™‚

      Reply

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