Peeing on a stick

We’ve all done it. It’s the “oh shit where did my period go?” Or “Why do I all of the sudden have the urge to murder a human over a pickle?” or “my boobs hurt…… oh no.” or on the other side of the spectrum “oh god please be a positive this time” “please let this one be real…”

The little signs that urge us to the drug store to buy an over priced piece of plastic that we will be urinating on. We either take it home and let it burn a hole under our bathroom sink or can’t wait one more second and run into the bathroom in the CVS and whip that sucker out in a stall.

Results in five minutes…. don’t read it for five minutes.

What if it’s a false negative? What if it doesn’t work?

I could be pregnant.

Your heart is racing, your mind is in sheer panic mode. If this is something you have waited for or something you’re terrified of, we all have a panic moment.

My husband is a filmmaker. He read a short story my sister wrote for a college assignment about a girl waiting for her pregnancy test results. After he read the story, he knew it needed to be told on a much larger platform. We did the research and found that this story is rarely told. Lots of stories about the moments leading up the the peeing on a stick, and more stories about the aftermath of a pee stick moment… but hardly anything on the moments during the wait. Those long five to seven minutes a woman rarely forgets. So my husband, the filmmaker, wrote a short film about these few minutes.

It’s beautiful and perfect and the most wonderful way to tell this story. He gives a voice to women without getting political or religious, it’s just a human moment.

We want to capture this perfectly and give it justice. We want as many people as possible to see this story.

So we need you, my dear readers. This could be a project you would love to donate a few bucks to or simply share on your facebook, or it could be the thing you’ve been looking for that helps get you started in the film industry! We are still looking for Associate and Executive Producers!! Either way, we need your help to reach our goal and make this film something that can be seen.

Please go to the link below, read all about the story and our plans, consider donating, and share the link on facebook. A share goes a LONG way!

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/amen-a-short-film-by-clint-howard-ii-women-drama#/

 

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I am a postpartum depression survivor

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My middle name is Joy.

I embodied Joy my entire life and everyone knew me as the loud comedian. I loved that about myself, it felt like no one or no thing could ever take away my joy.

Then I had postpartum depression. It was with my second born and it came out of nowhere. I had gotten my birth story I wanted and nothing wrong happened with me or my baby. Since the delivery was my biggest concern, I assumed I was in the clear of “baby blues”. My midwife would check up on me a couple of times and I just told her no, and that I was still in awe of my awesome delivery and my happy, healthy new baby girl… there were no signs of postpartum depression in my mind.

Four months went by and my mom was told she had stage four breast cancer. Our world changed and everything shifted. I knew I was sad, but I always justified my sadness as I was mourning the news of my mom’s cancer. But it was more than mourning or just a sadness. I was lonely. I was trapped.

Sleep deprived, baggy eyes, hurting breasts, crying baby, and jealous toddler adjusting to big sister life… it all came crashing down on me.

Before I knew it, I was hiding away from the girls and going into my closet to self-harm. It felt like the only thing I could do. This was a new feeling for me – I had thought about it before when I went through a hard childhood but this was different. I wasn’t doing it for attention or even an escape. I was doing it because I felt physically trapped inside my skin. It felt like my brain was going 180mph and my body was at a halt. I had to move, I had to run, I had to feel something other than despair. I did this for about a month before I told anyone. My husband had no idea and I worked very hard to keep it that way. I was ashamed, I had major mom guilt, and I was irate with myself for not enjoying my new perfect healthy baby girl. Telling someone meant I was showing them how awful of a mother I was.

Finally, in a moment of weakness that I can’t explain, I described the trapped feeling to my sister, who had yet to be a mother at the time. Of course she was immediately concerned for my well being… and I didn’t even tell her the whole truth. She told me I had postpartum depression and I needed to call my midwife immediately….

Postpartum depression…. me?? No way… I am always the happy one. Could it be depression? What else could it be?

I let that sit for a couple of days before I spoke to my husband or my midwife about it. I didn’t want to alarm anyone (… so irrational and I should have shouted it from the mountaintop). It wasn’t until my first panic attack that I had a glimpse of my reality.

I was trapped. Like I needed to escape my skin again. I couldn’t breath. My heart was beating out of my chest. I was in pain. I thought I was going to die and my biggest fear was that my dying would be an inconvenience to the strangers around me.  Wow… there it is. The moment of clarity. I’m not okay. Something is wrong. This isn’t me.

It would be another six hours before my heart felt normal again. I should have gone to a facility that night but I didn’t want to burden anyone.

The next morning I finally made the phone call, made the appointment, got the meds. I was put on a low dose of Celexa to help with the depression and anxiety… it was a whole new world for me that I had so much to learn about. I did the research, spoke to the midwife and the doctors… it saved my life.

Once I was transparent and told everyone about the anguish I was in, no one was mad at me. Crazy, right? No one was angry that I had to spend the money on the doctor or the medication. No one took my children away from me. My husband didn’t leave me. My family still loved me… I only received amazing support  from every person I told.

I stayed on my medication for two years before I was given the green light to ween myself off of them. It should also be noted that I could not have done this without the help and guidance of my therapist.

I still have anxiety and moments of slight panic… I still have a rare urgency to hide in my closest from time to time… but I am happy to report that I have found natural ways to pull myself out of those high anxiety moments. This is extremely difficult and something that took me years to learn with weekly therapy sessions… and not for everyone! But it worked (and still does) for me if I am consistent with it.

I am telling my story for you, momma. Don’t sit in this. Don’t assume you’re this huge burden on society… the stress of momming is SO REAL and lonely. Get out there and get some help. Talk to someone, anyone. Message me! I’ll understand!

I’m also telling my story for you, friend or family member. You just saw the strongest person you know give birth and own motherhood in a beautiful way… don’t assume she is okay. Check on her! Don’t just show up with a meal and leave. Talk, ask questions, get nosy! You could literally save her life and never know it.

You’re not alone, momma.

Enter Daisy

IMG_1542welcome daisy love – born june 5, 2015

I have to start by explaining just a tad about why I had a c section with my first child. I grew up wanting an all natural water birth. I knew the right people to talk to and the kind of support I would need. And well, like most women, I thought I knew everything else I needed to know already. I didn’t do any research other than what I already knew to be true – don’t go to a hospital to have your all natural birth, doctors hate us hippies. don’t compromise your goal. get a midwife. get a doula. don’t get the epidural.

my biggest regret going into the delivery of my first born – not doing the research. We were restricted on the midwife we wanted due to insurance reasons. We settled with a midwife in a hospital. We did not want a hospital birth but this midwife was recommended to us and we heard she was a big advocate for all natural birthing.

Needless to say, I did not get the support I needed. I was not told how to take care of my body. I didn’t care about my weight gain, my diet, my swelling, or even my baby’s position. At 36 weeks they discovered in a sonogram that Rebekah had flipped breech. My midwife told me that this was normal and she still had plenty of time to flip before I went into labor. I didn’t think anything of it and went on my way waiting for signs of labor.

My water broke and I went into the hospital a few hours later. Contractions weren’t strong but I thought it was still early stages so I didn’t worry. I was under the 24 hour time clock, though. They put me on antibiotics to prevent any kind of infection from my water breaking and eventually they gave me pitocin. Which was my first disappointment.

In a nut shell… 22 hours after my water broke, my midwife came in the room (for the second time since I had arrived) and checked my progress. She discovered that Bekah was breech, and for some unknown reason, suddenly treated me like a major emergency patient. I no longer was in any kind of control at that moment. From the time she discovered breech, to the time I was being laid down for a c section… only three minutes had passed. They FLEW me down the hallway to the OR. I thought so many things were wrong. After 22 hours of exhausting labor, I wasn’t able to even think clearly. I just wanted it all to be over and to be holding my baby.

I felt robbed of my natural delivery. I went through post traumatic stress for months to follow. I was depressed and broken in so many ways. The recovery was the worst experience I have ever gone through. Simple tasks took two people to help me do them. I didn’t change my brand new daughter’s diaper until she was a week old. My husband was exhausted and wasn’t able to take any time off, but I was still unable to take care of the baby on my own because of the surgery. I was helpless and hopeless. I will never forget the heartache that followed my “emergency” c section. It became my goal to obtain a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) with my next child but I knew that it would take me years and hard work to get my body back where I needed it to be.

That was then. This is now.

Being pregnant with Daisy was already off to a much better start. We weren’t bounded by insurance problems. We were able to pay cash for a midwife. The midwife we wanted. Not attached to a hospital or an OBGYN who will only be useful in a surgery. She was perfect, I knew she would help me with my VBAC. She is a VBAC mom herself and her heart’s passion is helping other moms do the same.

This midwife taught me so many things I thought I already knew but simply had no clue. This pregnancy was much different.

I attended yoga classes, watched my diet closely, went to a chiropractor monthly and eventually weekly, and attended a birth class.

My birth plan was simple : deliver at home, in a massive rented tub, using Hypnobirthing techniques, with my midwife, doula, sister, and husband. Perfection. I had everything in line for the perfect VBAC.

One week before my due date, Daisy flipped breech. This was my worst nightmare. I immediately assumed the worst and expected another c section delivery. It was so discouraging to say the least. My midwife was hopeful. She gave me several tips and tricks on flipping a baby into the right position that I could do at home and with my chiropractor.

I had lots of “practice labor” or false labor, if you will. It was my body trying desperately to get her into birthing position. It was exhausting. We thought I was in labor countless nights all to end in pointless contractions that led to sleepless nights.

After I hit my 42 week mark, Daisy had flipped breech and back to head down THREE times. No joke. I worked my butt off to get her head down and before I knew it, she was doing flips again. We  couldn’t figure out why she wouldn’t get into my pelvis. But at 42 weeks, she was head down. I was desperate to get her lowered into my pelvis so that she couldn’t flip again. So castor oil for the win.

Ladies – castor oil….. ew. I mean for real ew. Make this a last resort. ew.

So on Wednesday at 4:00 I took the castor oil. It was supposed to start working within one hour but nothing happened. So I assumed it didn’t work. Then at 8:00…. those contractions hit. I was in real labor! Contractions were hard and strong all night. I wasn’t able to lay down at all. My best comfort was to sit in the bath tub so that’s where I was for several hours. At 6:00 am on Thursday morning, my birth team was headed to my home to help me to deliver. When she arrived, I was 100% effaced and dilated to 5 cm! This was the real deal. I was ecstatic.

I labored for a couple of hours and then the contractions began to dwindle. Became fewer and far between. I decided to take advantage and take a nap… woke up two hours later to zero contractions and zero progress. I was still only at 5 cm.

We had to make a decision. Daisy still was not lowered into my pelvis, my body had stopped progressing, and I was already two weeks over due and in danger.

I needed pitocin. Without it, even if my body did kick back into active labor, it might not continue to contract after she was born and I would be at risk of hemorrhage. That was it, all we needed to know. We needed a hospital.

My midwife is good friends with the most amazing OBGYN I have ever heard of in my life. When he met us, he asked us what we wanted to do. He didn’t have a plan outside my own.

I told him that I didn’t want the pitocin and that I was there only because of the worries, not because anyone wanted to be there. So instead of throwing an IV in me and starting pit, he tried other natural methods first.

We decided to break my water and see if that would get her lowered. Once my water broke, we discovered a large amount of meconium in the fluid. Daisy had let out at least two bowel movements inside the amniotic sack. Which is common when the mom goes that far past her due date but the real danger in this is the possibility of the baby breathing it into their lungs. Now we really did have a time to beat. I needed to have this baby soon.

After trying a few more labor positions to no avail, we started the pit. Slow at first and then increasing at time went on.

I never asked for an epidural, but I would be lying if I told you the word didn’t come into my mind a couple of times.

The hypnobirthing techniques I learned helped me tremendously. I was able to be calm the entire labor. Using my controlled breathing to get me through every contraction made it bearable. I was in control the entire time. I was completely aware of my  body and what I needed to do in order to have this VBAC.

Transitioning from 7 to 10 cm was the hardest part for me. It took every ounce of concentration so that I could relax and not tense up with every passing contraction. I had the most amazing team helping me through them. I could not have done this without every person there for me.

Finally, it became time. The nurse came in to help me into a position that could help the baby to lower into my pelvis, but as soon as I laid down, I felt that intense pressure. My instinct was to begin pushing! This is where I lost my cool for a real second. I don’t remember everything I shouted but oh man I needed to push. The nurse rushed to check me and said what I had been wanting to hear for the past two days – I was 10 cm dilated and the baby was fully lowered into position! It was time to meet my Daisy.

Before I knew it, I was sitting up, the lights were on, the NICU nurses were on deck, and the OBGYN was ready to catch.

After 40 minutes of intense pushing, she was born. At 3:19 am on Friday morning. It was done.

Now here is where I get real and tell you a truth moment. The second she was born and it was done, my birth team was telling me it was over and I had achieved my VBAC. The only thing that came out of my mouth was –

I fucking did it.

That I did. That I did…

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I busted my ass you guys. I only gained 16 pounds throughout my entire pregnancy, I was able to flip my breech baby three times, I did it all without any pain relief. I got my VBAC. It was done.

Daisy did unfortunately do what we feared, she breathed in the meconium.

I cannot tell you how thankful I am that we were in the hospital for the moment she was born. The NICU nurses were able to suction it all out of her lungs in the room, they never had to take her away from me after she was born.

The only real scare was about 5 hours later, Daisy suddenly stopped breathing in our recovery room. Thank God a nurse was already in the room talking to me when it happened, she was able to whisk Daisy down the hall to the NICU and returned with her only 30 minutes later. And that was the only time it was needed.

We only had to spend one more night in the hospital and were released on Sunday afternoon.

I was home with my new healthy baby girl and her big sister is still in awe.

We are all almost fully recovered almost three weeks later and I feel like I have climbed Mt. Everest.

I fucking did it. I beat the odds. I did what most women are afraid of doing.

Every moment was worth all of the hard work and pain poured into the past ten months. I feel more accomplished than I ever have and I know that this has changed my life forever. I no longer feel like there is something my body cannot do if I put my focus and determination behind it.

Birth without fear, mommas. If I can do it – you can do it.

My goal of this post is to not only raise some type of awareness to birthing without fear, but to empower my fellow woman.

Pregnancy is hard. Labor is hard. Delivery is hard.

Every woman is different and has a different experience. But you can do it.

I welcome all questions if you have them. Hynobirthing will be a whole other topic for another day – it was a five week class after all. Until then, please message me with your questions. I will be open and honest about every detail. Every ounce of support is absolutely necessary in your birthing experience, no matter the birth plan.

Thanks for reading all 2,100+ words of my first post. I promise not all be this lengthy…