Adrik’s Birth Story

July 26th was my 6th anniversary. My sister watched the kids while we went to the gym and ate tiramisu, sushi rolls, and fried chicken in the Harmon’s parking lot. I’ll write another post here shortly on how much working out helped me during pregnancy and postpartum.

While at the gym and in the car, I’m contract. Low-key, strong, consistent. No, I don’t time mine. I just pay attention to whether they keep coming. Probably coming about every eight to twelve minutes. Nothing urgent or exciting. Just strong enough to breathe through but no pain. They kept up all day. I usually go into labor in the evenings. I can tell when it’s 4 PM because my contractions almost instantly start kicking up a notch.

During the day, I distracted myself while keeping a vague awareness of my contractions. I played Plague Inc. on my laptop, reading, trying to nap, and eating the Crumbl cookies that my sister brought. It was a good day. I thought about getting some homework done but didn’t feel like it. The contractions were still there; not really getting closer together. Taking a shower slowed them down a lot. Hot water will do that if you’re not very far into labor.

I wanted to encourage them by relaxing more, so I sat in my office and played my “Birth” playlist from YouTube. I walked around and swayed, focusing on relaxing. My kids were still around; yelling and doing what they do. I wasn’t able to focus and relax enough to move these along. I called a neighbor to take them up on their offer to watch them sometime. Damon took the kids over. It was Remi’s first time being away from us for more than a few hours. Damon was nervous. I told him not to make me nervous.

I took my laptop into my room to see if changing positions would help move things along. My brain was everywhere; what if he didn’t come tonight? What if the other mom who my midwife was with didn’t have her baby? Was I overthinking this labor? It felt just like my others did at the beginning. Finally, I decided that I needed something to get me to loosen up and chill out. At that moment, I wished that I could dance. My belly was huge though and easy movements were out of the question. Then I had an idea; Remi will watch ballet videos with Haven sometimes. She lifts her arms up in a V shape and smiles. So, I tried it. I couldn’t help but smile. It was impossible to be tense or stressed when doing “The Remi”. I did it a few times and felt free, so I kept doing it till my arms got tired.

My midwife was going to head over soon. My contractions didn’t hurt more, but they were getting closer together. No idea what the timing actually was. All that I knew is that they weren’t twelve minutes apart anymore. I walked around and found myself getting cold. Damon retrieved two blankets from the dryer; one for me and one for my sister. I put on my sweater and pulled the blanket around myself. It felt like my midwife was taking a little while. I didn’t want these quitting.

My midwife arrived and was surprised that I wasn’t just relaxing in my birthing pool. I didn’t want to jinx anything. Damon got the tub out and helped her bring things in. She checked my cervix; I was a very stretchy 5. She asked what I wanted to do. Breaking my water would probably get me a baby in less than two hours. I didn’t want to do that just yet; everything gets way more intense after your water is broken. I didn’t feel ready to face that yet. She suggested a tincture to give me that extra jump to get things moving. Damon made me some dill seed tea. It’d worked wonders with Remi…maybe. Sample size of one isn’t that great, but it seemed to help a lot. The tincture started making my contractions stronger within half an hour. I got into the tub.

The tub was comfy and made maneuvering my body easier. Damon sat on the couch with an embroidery hoop, sewing up our down comforter that’d gotten a hole. My sister was on her phone. Everything was calm. I reached in and could feel how soft everything was. I could feel his head a few inches in. I couldn’t reach my cervix though. After a little bit, my midwife checked me. I was at a 7. His head was farther down than the opening of my cervix..just like Remi’s had been. Great. That meant that my cervix had to stretch all the way around his head. She asked if I wanted for her to break my water. I was still scared. So scared of the pain and intensity that comes after your water breaks. But I was also tired of waiting. We broke my water on my bed, and I immediately felt things ramp up. Not wanting to try working through these “dry”, I returned to the tub after another contraction squeezed out some more of the amniotic fluid.

Damon sat beside me as I sat in the tub, starting to hyperventilate a bit and cry.

“I don’t want to leave. I want to stay right here. I hate that part. I don’t want to leave.”

There’s a place called “Labor Land”. If you’ve been there, you know what it’s like. The sensations of your body overtake you. Sometimes, you groan. You “ooooh”. You leave your body yet have never felt more encompassed by its power. Every movement becomes an effort in moving through the waves. You’re not able to speak during contractions. Talking between them is tiring. I was afraid of leaving the world behind and falling into that place.

The hot water was making me tired. My midwife said that’s often your body’s way of making you calm down and conserve your energy for the end…whenever the heck that would be.

“I just want to push him out. I don’t want to go through transition.”

I’d been “training” for this moment for months. I’d not missed a week at the gym since January. My core was stronger than it’d been since high school. I was ready to push this kid out. But my body wasn’t. I kept repeating phrases like that over and over. Seriously, I didn’t want to do this. I didn’t want to “labor”. I was so tired. I just wanted to sleep. I got out of the tub and made my way to my room. Damon laid beside me on our bed. I pulled the white blanket around me and tried to rest.

Oftentimes, I’ve heard of and experienced the intrusion of the analytical brain during labor. This wasn’t one of those times. This labor required me to think through what was going on. As I laid there, I talked to myself (in my head) as a form of distraction from the surges in my body.

Here is comes. Pull through it for another ten seconds. Yup, you got this. Aaaand done.

This feels like someone is pulling a fire skirt over my body.

I can handle another one. Just one more.

One more. I can handle one more.

I don’t know how long I talked to myself for. My midwife came in and asked if I was dozing. Damon was reading on his phone beside me and said “I think so” or “Yeah”. I don’t remember which. Ha…Nope. Just like with Ty; I was in the most exquisite intense pain that I’d been in but looked like I was sleeping.

It began to change. Each one became more intense. I twisted my head to the side and felt like vomiting.

“I just need to throw up, then I’ll be okay.”

Damon had a bowl lined with a plastic bag for such an occasion. He passed it over to me after I’d said that I felt like throwing up. I reached in and felt my cervix, which was all the way in the front now. I was at a nine or a ten. This was probably transition.

I didn’t throw up. But suddenly, I felt a feeling of bearing down. I can’t remember what sound I made, but it was loud.

“He needs to come out right now.”

My midwife asked if I wanted to push in the tub. I said “yes”, but after about thirty seconds (or however long it was…I have no idea), I knew that I wasn’t going to make it. Damon was by my side. I told him to help me up now. I told him to help me get from my back to my hands and knees. He asked me why. I told him that he needs to come out now. I was on my hands and knees. I felt that overwhelming urge to push this boy out.

And with one long roar and push, I did.

Adrik fell out onto the bed. Nobody caught him. He cried. I laid down with a cry of relief….and a stream of celebratory expletives. About a third of the words that this kid first heard were probably the f word. I was so overjoyed to have him out.

“@#$! Yeah!!!! I @#%ing did it! I @#$@ing had a baby!”

No joke. I made Damon high-five me. I pulled my small man to me. I didn’t see his face for a little while because of how he was positioned. He was covered in slimy, white vernix. His color was fine.

He was a bit wet still from having not being squeezed at all on the way out. But he did it. I told him that he was not going to the NICU like his brother. He was going to show him up and transition.

He did. It took him about half an hour to transition to our oxygen. He’d told me in utero that he was strong. I don’t know how else to explain it. I knew that he knew that he was strong.

Can we just talk for a sec about how much it hurts after you have your fourth baby?!! I seriously wanted to yank my placenta out of my body. Pushing that out brought about 75% as much relief as pushing Adrik out. And nursing him for the next few days…I mean, really, God?!??! You couldn’t make this easier with each kid??? I was asking for ibuprofen goodness sooo soon after he and the placenta were out. I had Damon take a picture of the placenta. One of my friends wanted to see it, and I wanted to encapsulate it. It’s sitting in my kitchen cupboard right now.

Oh yeah! I didn’t tear. I had like three little papercuts in a few places. But no tearing. I don’t know if that’s really a victory or more of a sign that my perineum just said “Welp! Time to scootch.”

Anyway, after small boy’s vitals, weight, and measurements were checked, I waddled to the bathroom with the help of my midwife. My sister, who missed Adrik falling out by like 5 seconds, made me a grilled cheese sandwich. My boy was born. I’d done it.

Adrik Daniel Roarke Johnson born at exactly 37 weeks on July 27th at 1:23 AM.

7 lbs 2 oz (heaviest baby) 20 inches long

Adrik towelHaven holding AdrikBig brotherAdrik with hatRemi holding Adrik

Oh yeah. I was all worried that Remi would be jealous. NOPE! He’s her baby!

 

 

 

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Adrik’s Birth Story

NO, NOT ANY DAY NOW!

I need to rant about something. I’m 35 weeks pregnant. Remi still doesn’t get that her position as the smallest will be gone in 2-3 weeks. Consequently, she screams her effing head off for me to hold her for like 46-79% of the time that I’m home. There is NO ROOM on my lap!!!

“Any day now?”

Technically, yes. A baby can indeed come out at any time during the entire pregnancy; ranging from “miscarriage” to “stillborn” to “NICU baby” to “okay to be here on their own”. I’m only 35 weeks. If small boy comes out now, he’ll probably struggle to breathe. Acting like I’m going to explode if I go ONE MORE WEEK with this child inside of my body is not helpful. He needs to cook for at least two more weeks. If I had babies at the time that most people do, he wouldn’t be here for another 4-6 weeks.

I was telling Damon yesterday that certain physical characteristics that can only go so far before people start making fools of themselves.

6’5”? Big guy. 6’8”?……..”HOW TALL ARE YOU?!! YOU’RE SO TALL! HAS ANYONE EVER TOLD YOU HOW TALL YOU ARE? BECAUSE YOU’RE TALL!”

“Aren’t you due like..any day now?” -said to me by a supervisor at 33 weeks

“We thought you had gone into labor because you literally look like you’re about to pop.”- coworker when I huffed in 2 minutes late.

“Are you done yet?”- lady passing me at church. Yes. I am so done….

That *staring at my belly* has got like 2 weeks left”- said to me at a family BBQ.

“Turkey’s about done! Your belly button’s sticking out!” -RANDOM OLD DUDE AT THE GYM WORKING OUT ON THE MACHINE ACROSS FROM ME

Pissy owl

My “due date” is August 16th. But if I’m still pregnant in August, I’m going to light myself on fire.

Took this photo today.

35 weeks Adrik smiling
How I look
Water balloon red
How everyone else sees me
Pregnant meerkat
How I feel

I LOOK ADORABLE, OKAY?!?!

34 weeks Ty
34 weeks with Ty (April 2016)

Notice how I’m totally making a face in that picture to conceal the double chin. Working out and not being depressed work on NOT looking fat this time around. I weighed probably 180 something with Ty (second baby) at this point. The kids are yelling at me to make lunch now.

……………..Made grilled cheese because I’m wonderful like that. We installed this giant wooden gate to go in the entrance to the kitchen. It’s over four feet tall and keeps the squirrels out. We rarely have break-ins anymore.

I need these shirts in a maternity size.

Take Off Eh

Soon

NO, NOT ANY DAY NOW!

How things are going

In the weeks before Haven was born, I had a whole nursery thing going with decor picked out and spent the last month refolding baby clothes and organizing them just so.

She turns 5 at the end of August. Baby #4 is heading South at the end of July (he’d better…)

Here’s how that’s going: Sitting in the back of stats class. Baby is kicking the crap out of my insides. I’ve got pelvic pain out the…place where pelvic pain is located. Messaging Damon making a plan for what needs done before baby shows up. Most of it is “squirrel-proofing the house”. We put up a giant wooden gate in the kitchen to keep Ty out. It took wayyyy too long for us to wise up enough to do that. The little savage has probably dumped about $50 worth of food onto the floor in the last six months; $30 was a nearly full bottle of actual vanilla.

Anyway, I was making a list of what needs done on baby’s “birth day”. I put down

  • Find someone to watch Ty. Want to include Haven in the birth

Damon typed in…

  • Find someone to watch Ty and remi? Want to include Haven in the birth

I forgot that I had a third child. That is how this is going.

Me: I literally don’t remember what else I need when this happens…”

Husband: “Pads. epsom salt. Maybe diapers. Size 1 diapers. Wipes.”

Diapers. New babies blow through diapers like cocaine at a bachelor party. Ty is finally toilet-trained. Mostly. Going to have two kids who wear diapers full-time. Joyous day!!!!!! I’ve got a garbage bag full of miscellaneous diapers left over from each baby or from other people. The diapers are unused, I should add!! I put the protein powder bag in the fridge this morning, okay? Anything is possible at this point!!!

Today, my midwife asked me if small boy has a car seat yet.

“Uhhhhh. He’s got one. I just have to get a booster seat for Haven.”

“Well, given that you have babies earlier, you might want to think about that sometime.”

At least we’ve already got our skinny car seats that fit three across. Booster seats are like $30. I’ll take “Things that I forgot about till I’m in labor baby is born” for 400, Alex! It’s still 6-8 weeks away. But the time has been flying by, man! I just found out that I was pregnant yesterday. I got the positive test and thought “Cool! Now I’ve gotta make dinner for everyone now!” It didn’t feel like much was happening for awhile, other than I was bloated. And tired.

I started going to the gym in January and have kept it up regularly since then. My pregnancy photos double as fitness before and after photos. If I don’t go for a few days, I starting aching. Bonus: my butt looks FABULOUS. And arms. Generally, I’m pretty cool with the physical changes. I’m excited for after this kid comes out and my muscles become even more defined.

Can I just say that I feel cynical when I read pregnancy questions on the internet now? Should I be reading them? Is that a productive use of my time? No. But also, I occasionally do. Why do I do it? Because I like reminding myself that nothing about pregnancy or the female body is predictable.

Question from internet: “My baby is soooo low in my pelvis. Does this mean that I’ll be going into labor soon?”

Me to myself: “Ha..HAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!! No. This kid has been half a finger in since week 26.”

Question from internet: “I’ve been having contractions every five minutes for the last hour. Am I in labor?”

Me to myself: “If that was indeed indicative of being in labor, then I go through labor for three months before the birth…”

No, I’m not exaggerating. I have what’s called an “irritable uterus”.

List of things that make my uterus painfully contract:

  • Standing up
  • Sitting down
  • Laying down on my back
  • Laying down on my side
  • Leaning back in my chair
  • Sweeping
  • Cleaning tasks in general
  • Stress
  • Bending over to pick things up off of the floor
  • Going over a bump of any height in the car
  • Turning into my driveway
  • Standing for longer than 5 minutes
  • Having children sit on my lap
  • Having children lay beside me
  • Anybody touching my stomach
  • Bladder containing any trace of urine
  • Laughing
  • Baby kicking

“You must be contracting all of the time!” Yes. Yes, I am. I quit counting contractions in my third pregnancy. I had in the previous two and drove myself INSANE.  They are countable. They come consistently for over an hour sometimes. Four minutes apart. Or closer. Accompanied with a lower back ache and pressure in my tailbone. From 28 weeks on usually. They are not “real labor”. I ignore the list of “Signs of labor”, especially “Go in if you’re having more than a few contractions in an hour that last for a minute.”

Oh, please. I’d live there for the last three months if I listened to that.  Not an exaggeration. How do I deal with it? I ignore it or take an Epsom salt bath…making sure not to lean back in the tub too much. That’s all that I can do. They are somewhat productive though. I’m usually dilated to a stretchy 3 by the time I’m 36 weeks. Lucky me…No, seriously. I can feel how big the baby’s head is when I check my cervix. I can feel the freakin ridges in his skull.

Anyway, I forgot that I had a third child while writing my “to-do” birth plan. I forgot that small babies need a butt-ton of diapers…ha…ha. My uterus is cranky. I’m in amazing shape. Go baby.

Slide

Elf on lawn

Blue eyed elf

 

Remi smiling

I love my third baby. I’d never forget her ❤

 

How things are going

To the mom who wants an unmedicated birth

For some reason, people really like asking what “method” you’ve chosen for your child to vacate your body.

“In the same position that they were conceived, of course! Ya think I can pull off a handstand with this belly??!”

If you do decide to try the above line, PLEASE message me about it; I’ll buy you lunch.

If you’re a first-time mom, people’s eyes may roll back into their heads when you use the word “unmedicated” or “natural”. Mothers who have birthed before may scoff or say “HA! Good luck with that!”  “First-time” moms/”new” moms, who are moms, take so much flack for literally everything under the sun. 

Side note: I don’t like using the word “natural” in general, but especially when it comes to birth. I don’t view C-sections as “unnatural” or “inorganic”. Death and snake poison are natural processes too. Un-medicated sounds wayyy less pretentious too. Onward! 

Let’s get one thing straight; the offense/mockery/disbelief that people take towards the concept of choosing an unmedicated birth in this country doesn’t go away even after you’ve birthed without medication. I’ve birthed three babies; two in birthing centers and one in an inflatable tub in my living room. People have given a few responses when I bring up having used a midwife instead of an OB/GYN (if they chose to have an epidural):

“Oh. You think you’re better than me, huh?”

Okay, no people don’t actually say “you think you’re better”, but it’s pretty much implied in many contexts. While walking with two moms after class one day, one of the moms asked the other (who had just given birth the week before) if she’d gone “natural”. The postpartum mom said “No! I’ll run marathons for medals!” Meanwhile, I’m trying not to roll my eyes because I could not care about anything less than how someone else’s child leaves someone else’s body.

“You’re so brave!”

I’m birthing my child; not returning the Ring to Mordor. I think that you’re brave. I couldn’t handle going to the hospital for my births (unless it was medically urgent/necessary/twins). I hate hospitals. I hate people telling me what to do. I hate not being in control of my own body. Don’t call me “brave”. This is what I want!

“WOWWW! YOU’RE SO AMAZING! WERE YOUR BIRTHS SUPER EASY OR SOMETHING?!”

They ranged from   “Hnnnnnnnnnn…….” *sound of me not paying attention to a flipping thing around me during my first birth because FOCUS* to”Holy f*ck, kid. Will you come out already?” to “So like….when does labor start?” “You’re dilated to an 8.” “Cool.”

 My assumptions regarding someone having a baby are that the person IS HAVING A BABY. I don’t understand why anybody would interject their “should do” opinions on this subject, BUT HERE WE ARE!

There are approximately THREE people who know your baby or your body:

  1. You
  2. Your baby
  3. God/other force of the universe that guides or watches stuff go down

I should give my midwife some credit here. She’s been pretty on point with her guidance, but she also has the humility to acknowledge that she is not psychic. You might say “Well, I don’t even know when my baby will show up!” EXACTLY! And YOU’RE the exit portal!!

How much impact does the birth of a stranger in the grocery line have on your experience? ZERO. She dilated to a ten in five minutes and her baby slid out like a sea sponge? GREAT! You Facebook friend tore hole to hole in the back of a Ford Explorer, delivered by a fireman? THANK YOU FOR THE VISUAL! Heck, even my mom’s (six) birth experiences have resembled mine not at all!! It seems that the only traits that I inherited from her were 1. A cranky uterus that contracts all of the time because WHY NOT?! 2. The ability to get pregnant easily. The former sucks…thanks, Mom!!!! The later is great…thanks, Mommy! ❤

Other people’s birth stories are their stories. Same with their babies. One of the most annoying parts of being a mom (parent period) is the remarkable ability that EVERYONE ELSE gets to tell you how to do anything with your child. And it doesn’t matter how many kids you have. Despite this being my fourth pregnancy, people still enjoy forecasting baby boy will show his face. At the pediatrician’s office, they distribute these rad packets of information filled with recommendations for what to do with your kid. Your pediatrician might give suggestions along the lines of “Hey. You’re kid is like 5 minutes old, but AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE FOR THE WIN! TIME TO SLEEP TRAIN!!!”

As a note, if you feel like sleep-training is best for your baby, family, and general sanity…DO IT! The detail that escapes everyone’s brains is that YOU are the one who is raising your kid! Nobody else has to deal with the crying, tantrums, general “Can we just friggin NOT?!?!” that comes with following their crappy suggestions or just the reality of trying to raise humans.

You want to have an unmedicated birth? Feeling discouraged? Picture this: You’re announcing that you’re running an Iron Man marathon. Do people start swamping your comments section with “I collapsed after mile five! A friend of mine literally drowned while we were swimming! Just forget all of that noise and come join me on the sidelines!” People don’t scoff and tell you that you can’t do it; they give you encouragement. But you bring up giving birth to your own child? Discouragement abounds! Suddenly, EVERYONE is an expert on your body! Everyone knows that you’re just signing up for misery and hell completely naively!

Like, really. Could we be more arrogant? I get the want to share your story with other people, but projecting your experience onto someone else instead of letting them experience it for themselves?! That’s just selfish and arrogant. And don’t pretend like you’re trying to “protect them”. It sounds more like you’re trying to protect your ego and validate your own confidence at the expense of someone else’s. At least let people TRY to do the things that they want. Especially grown women who will be experiencing their birth; NOT YOU! Nobody is asking for you to go through unmedicated birth, people! 

Enough about the losers. You’re birthing without medication. Here are some things that I found to be helpful. But BY ALL MEANS, PLEASE TRY what helps YOU!

  1. Go into yourself. You might feel like making noises that you’ve never made before. Make ’em. You probably won’t be able to help it. The outside world might shut out and that’s okay. Your midwife has got you. It’s okay to fade into your mind. You don’t leave labor without a baby.
  2. 100% anecdotal based on my own experience. But there are studies to support it. I’m only posting one of them, but if you hit up Google Scholar and type in “dill seeds labor effects”, you’ll find the rest of the literature. Dill tea. Get some dill seeds from any store and steep them in some hot water (add sugar if you want). Drink it when you start active labor or shortly thereafter. Had my easiest labor with this stuff. Not sure what caused what, but it can’t hurt.
  3. You can do this. Work with whatever your body is doing and don’t fight it. Breathe through contractions. Imagine a wave that you’re going up and down. Whatever visualization helps you. You can’t fight yourself. There is no outside force inflicting anything on you. With unmedicated labor, the sensations are completely your body. Nothing is “hurting” you. Your body wants to give you your baby, and it takes power to do that. Epidurals only shield you from what still has to happen.
  4. Invite someone who you trust to be an attendee for the birth. I had a team at each of my births; pouring water on my back, giving me sips, massaging my hands, applying counter-pressure. This could be your partner (hopefully, they’re there), mom, sister, best friend, whomever you’re cool with seeing you exposed and vulnerable.
  5. Water helped me a lot. Actually, I can’t sing enough praises to it. My first would have been born into the birthing center tub had she not come out midway between the bed and the tub. My second and third baby were born into water. I only left the tub to pee. It really took the edge off of the contractions and made maneuvering easier. I’m planning on baby #4 coming out in the tub, but we’ll see what he has in mind.
  6. The baby’s position makes a HUGE difference. I had back labor with my first because she was turned partially face-up for the first half of labor. After she scootched into place, my back quit hurting. Two and three came out in an awesome launch position, so pushing took nine and seven minutes (respectively). Hopefully, #4 is cooperative.
  7. My labors got more intense after my water broke. My water broke before labor with #1. My midwife broke my water with #2 once I was dilated to a 5. With #3, I waited until I was dilated to an 8. Her amniotic sack was super thick, and her head was farther down than my cervix (think of a plastic bottle with the top bent sideways), so it had to “snap around” her head to get her out. I’m thinking of not having it broken with #4 or waiting till the very end. But we’ll see what happens when we get there.

Birth is one of the first major decisions that you make as a parent. Sooo much of parenting becomes “Imma do what I want because this works for me.” Your kid may or may not decide to cooperate with what you’ve got planned, but you have every right to try what you want and make adjustments as you go. That’s how life goes, as you know by now. Birth is no different.

This is my fourth, and I have no idea what to expect. Well, somewhat as far as the mechanics are concerned (I do know where my vagina is). But every labor has been totally different. For all I know, this could be a breeze. What do I know? I can do it. 

You can do it.

 

image (6)
Speaking of births…..when did THIS GUY TURN 3???!!
DON'T EVEN
Remi says “Don’t even start with me on births…”
43878576151704085
Because they’re ADORABLE
To the mom who wants an unmedicated birth

Dating App advice for those who want to stop dating: girl edition

Do you want to get really good at dating, or do you want to STOP dating because you’ve found someone who you want to be with?? If you just like dating and have no intention of settling down, keep at what you’re doing..

Dating seems like a game; a game of “How well can I charm myself into your pants?”

I have to shake my head at the concept of a dating app. The trouble with dating apps is that it’s taken the art of getting to know someone who was in close proximity to yourself and transforming it into a “How good are you at taking selfies?” and “How clever is your writing?” contest.

Yes, to an extent, dating is like “interviewing”. BUT ALSO…the kind of things that get overlooked are just plain silly. People aren’t treating dating apps like they would Linkedin or Indeed. They’re treating it like a cheap, nervous Craigslist ad asking someone to paint the shingles on their roof in exchange for cookies.

Critique for upping your dating game

  1. DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT YOU?!! I can’t tell you how sad it makes me when I see girls putting this kind of stuff on their profile:

“Hi! I like tacos and watching The Office! Send me a funny joke!”

“Make me laugh, buy me pizza…I like Harry Potter.”

“Send me a pun! Also,

Can you imagine if Elizabeth Bennett had faced Mr. Darcy for the first time and and said, “EYYY, GOVNA! I LIKE CRUMPETS AND THREE-MILE WALKS! FETCH ME A CUPA TEA, YEAH?!” He would have run from the ballroom screaming. (Yes, know that British people do not usually talk like this. That’s WHY it’s funny!)

 Who DOESN’T like tacos?? EVERYONE likes The Office…okay, maybe not everyone; but everyone has at least seen enough of it to decide if they do like it or not. The point is that you’ve thrown out an extremely cryptic, vague “description” of things that everyone likes in an attempt to be “clever” or “haha! I have no self-esteem!”, THEN you put it on the DUDE to be creative?!?! Give me a break.

What does this say about you? It comes across that you don’t feel confident enough to actually say anything positive about yourself. This is not only depressing, but also a RED FLAG TO ANY SELF-RESPECTING DUDE. If the poor bastard guy still messages you, it probably means that he just thinks that you’re hot or just swipes on everyone. It makes you sound desperate.

Side-note: If you’re only using a dating app to get validation that “you’re pretty”, just do what every other girl with low self-esteem does and post pictures of yourself wearing booty shorts on Instagram. Waaayyy easier! AND you get to SEE how many people think you’re a babe.

Feed me and tell me
PLEASE STOP BEING TRIXIE

What should you do instead of writing a LAME, quasi-self-deprecating-attention-starved-uncreative “description”? Write something that you’ve accomplished or do really well. It shows that you’re bold enough and that you like something about yourself.

You’ve run five marathons, earned an Associates’s/Bachelor’s/Master’s/trade school degree, cook bomb-A spaghetti,  can burp the alphabet, sell knitted sweaters on Etsy, change your own oil, write poetry, travel to Zimbabwe for volunteering, refurbish furniture, WHATEVER YOU DO!! (And if you don’t or can’t do anything, that should be a hint to get off of the dating app and DO something!!)

2. Be SPECIFIC about who AND what you’re looking for!

Just giving a description of yourself isn’t going to tell your prospective swiper anything about what you like in another person. Sometimes, people who are good at things don’t necessarily like sharing those things with another person. I love working out, but I hate working out with Damon. I’ll go to the gym with him, then go bike while he lifts weights. I go to the gym to relax and enjoy the burn. He goes to prove to himself that he’s freakin’ Superman. It’s stressful to watch. OR when we happen to enjoy the same snack! Heaven forbid! There are few worse feelings than opening the freezer to get the ice cream you were saving only to discover that your DEARLY-BELOVED, THIEVING SPOUSE HAS EATEN IT ALL!!!

Put what you’re looking for in the other person. If you don’t know what you’d like in another person, it probably means that you don’t know yourself very well. It doesn’t have to be anything super exclusionary or crazy:

“Looking for a smart dude to share walks in the park with…”

“Looking for someone to cook with”

“Looking for a casual bar-hopping buddy.”

“Looking for a dude who wants seven children”

That last one might freak most people out, but if that’s what you really want, and you do get a taker….YOU’RE WELCOME! Are you looking for a friends-with-benefits buddy to make out and “watch” movies with? Are you looking to get married? Most people whose profiles I’ve seen will put the stupid “level of commitment” that they’re looking for slider right smack-dab in the middle. Who cares if you freak the other person out? If they’re freaked out by you being honest about what you’re looking for, WHY ARE YOU LOOKING HERE?

Most women who are in their mid-late thirties and forties will actually be honest about this portion because most have been through the ringer of marriage and know if they’re interesting in diving back into that again. They put it closer to the “commitment” side to avoid the losers who are looking for a buck fuddy (no, YOU’RE the pervert!).

If you seriously won’t consider a guy who DOESN’T have a bachelor’s degree or who can’t change his own tires, then SAY THAT. If the dude is offended by it, then they won’t swipe. If they see that and FIT IT, then they’ll probably be able to say “HEY! I’M JUST WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR!” Boom. Boost of confidence. Everybody wins.

You might say “But what if “HE” doesn’t fit whatever I put?!!” Well, whose fault is that?! For goodness sake, YOU’RE the one who will be stuck with sifting through countless messages from hopeful swipers. Save yourself some time, and quit wasting their time. If he doesn’t fit what you’re looking for, then why would you bother?? Again, if you’re just doing this for some ego-stroking, please heck off of the app. Nobody needs that in their life.

3. How do guys evaluate your profile? 

I know that girls, on average, get more messages than guys. Guys tend to be less picky than girls. This is the swiping criteria that I’ve seen guys use:

  • Does her photo elicit a shudder, gasp, or explicit word? NOPE
  • Can you tell which one is “her” in the group pics? If you don’t have any clear, solo photos, it says that you’re the ugliest one in the groups pics. NOPE
  • Are all of her “good” photos Snapchat filtered? Like those stupid Bambi, glowing ones that hide what you actually look like and scream I THINK THAT I’M UGLY AND YOU WILL TOO! NOPE
  • Do she look like she plasters her face with Extract of Oompa Loompa? NOPE

On a very basic level, guys use the criteria: “Would I bang or naw?” No,this is not inherently a bad thing. If he says that he doesn’t do this, he’s lying. Okay, I’ll make this even more clear for those of ya’ll who don’t believe me: if a non-relative male goes out of his way to talk to you, and he isn’t into guys, then there is a 99% chance that he’d have sex with you. It’s science. End of story. ONWARD!

If you’ve got all selfies, it says that you’re boring and don’t do anything but take pictures in the front/passenger seat of your car. Here are the kinds of photos that you should post:

  • Clearly facing the camera full-on with minimal makeup and not doing the turn-your-head-at-a-weird-angle that means “I’m trying to hide that I’m fat” face
  • Outdoors, still facing the camera. Without sunglasses is better. If with sunglasses, make sure that you’re smiling
  • Smiling/having fun doing something. If it’s a group photo, choose one where it’s obvious that you’re the focal point of the picture
  • If you’re posting a photo from a wedding, same thing; make sure that it’s obvious which one is you. Don’t do a bridesmaid photo if your other photos are crappy/unrecognizable/wearing sunglasses. He wants to know what you look like, not how you polish up for your lady friends. Actually, avoid bridesmaid photos; “Well, she’s ugly, but I could date her friends.”
  • MAYBE ONE CAR PHOTO IF IT IS THE ONLY ONE. To clarify, I mean selfies taken in the seat of the car. You all know what I’m talking about. If the photo involving a car is you modeling next to a sexy sports car, post it. Or maybe not. Your inbox might explode.

We’re going to exit the profile section now and enter into the world of messaging…

           4.  RULE #1 Do not make a guy humiliate himself for you. 

What do I mean by this? Do not make a guy throw himself at you. This does not mean that you cannot be picky. It means that if you like him, don’t act like you have eighty other dudes on standby, so he’d better measure up. You’re not that special. I don’t care how beautiful/smart/blah blah whatever your daddy says you are; if you treat people like they’re expendable, they will walk away. If they don’t, they’re probably not the kind of person who you want to be with. Be kind. Give him a real chance if you are interested. If you’re not interested, don’t pretend to be or string him along just in case your backups crap out on you.

Instead of trying to come up with a clever ice-breaker, start off by sending:

“Hey, I actually really prefer talking on the phone. Do you mind if we do that instead of the awkward messaging back and forth stuff first? :)”

Here’s why you should do this:

A- You’re interested enough to expend time talking to him on the phone instead of texting from the toilet.

B- Phone calls show WAY more of your personality than texting does. He gets to hear your voice, attitude, intonations, responses to what he says. Texting is confusing as monkey balls, people. You can’t tell if the other person is faking what they’re saying like you can over a call.

C- It gets the conversation moving instead of waiting hours/days/WEEKS for the other person to reply to a single message. You cover way more ground and can end the conversation by setting up a date (should it work out). Or, if it doesn’t seem, you can politely say “I’ll have to look” or “Sorry, I don’t know if I’d want to date you”. But usually, if you’ve talked on the phone, you feel better towards the other person. And because you’ve already gotten a feel for what the other person is like, you’ll better be able to tell what they’d be interested in doing.

D- It shows that you’re confident enough to initiate and put yourself out there. When you take a lot of the pressure off of the guy to initiate, he can perform better…and yes, this is a principal that I practice to this day. If you can make a guy feel confident, you’ll probably see his best side.

Damon and I spent hours on the phone every night when we first started talking. We’d text a lot too, but only if we couldn’t call. We couldn’t get enough of it. Talking in person was even better.

             5. Do not swipe on anyone who you will not send the call message to; you won’t get matched with anyone who you wouldn’t call.

Is this all starting to pull together? You make your profile clear and specific enough that the right kind of person will respond to. You swipe on people who you will respond to. Everybody wins. Stop being so self-conscious about what you want in a person. If your philosophy is “Well, I don’t want to exclude anyone who would give me a chance so…”, then you’re being desperate and unfair to the other person. They do not exist to stroke your ego, make you feel good about yourself, or make you feel validated as a human being. It is your job to do that for yourself. The other person hopefully brings out what you like best about yourself. If you don’t know what that is, then figure it out before subjecting droves of people to your insecurity.

ALSO, people are not mind-readers. Even after eight years, I still have to ask Damon what he’s thinking because I DON’T KNOW. It’s actually one of my favorite things to ask because he tells me!! This generates even more stuff for us to talk about! In eight years, we’ve only not talked for MAYBE three days (one of us was camping and didn’t have service). In those 2,980 something days, we’ve NEVER run out of things to talk about. I still can’t get enough of him.

There you have it. This should be enough to get you started, or hone in on what you want. I’ll probably write a sequel post soon targeted to guys

Please share to stop the madness!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dating App advice for those who want to stop dating: girl edition

Why I love my midwife

I smile and use my best manners.

“20 week ultrasound?”

“Yeah, around there.”

“Are you looking forward to it?”

She doesn’t look at my face; doesn’t make eye contact as I say “Yeah, it’s my fourth.”

The iPad isn’t pulling up the form properly. She hands it to the guy next to her and switches it with one that seems to be working. I sign the forms and sit down again. Three minutes later, a tech comes out with a piece of paper and says my name; hardly makes eye contact. Damon and I gather the kids. Ty carries his shoes which he was attempting to put on the wrong feet. The tech leads us through the maze of doors and hallways. We enter a dimly-lit room; ultrasound machine humming beside a reclining bed.

With towels tucked into my shirt and pants, the tech pushes the wand into my exposed belly. I quite trying to be friendly and charming after about five minutes. He walks me through what he’s showing me though, so I almost don’t mind that he doesn’t make eye contact at all.

I watch my twelve-ounce baby boy wiggle on the screen. His position isn’t very helpful; breech and squished onto his arm. The tech is certainly thorough, seeming to ignore that my uterus is contracting with each firm push. I don’t fault him for the pressure; baby isn’t in a great spot. But still, it hurts a lot.

I’m glad that my midwife have given me an ultrasound a few weeks prior, confirming boy parts.  She’d put the wand on my belly. Instantly, a pair of splayed legs were on the screen. She blinked and chuckled.

“That..that’s a wiener!”

Damon and I smiled. She gave me two ultrasound pictures to show off my little man’s penis. She delivered Ty and Remi. She’s seen the inside of my body with the ultrasound, checked my cervix, given me breast exams, massaged peppermint oil into my palms, prescribed me antidepressants, held my babies, and never seems to tire of it.

This tech tells me what he’s doing at least. That’s more than the ultrasound tech with Remi did. That tech had greeted us coldly, barely told me what she was doing, and seemed disgusted by even touching my body. It really craps on an amazing moment when the person conducting really wants to be anywhere else than showing you your baby. People are people. People have bad days. But it would seem that everyone in hospitals just seems to be having a bad day. No wonder we have an opioid problem…anyway.

“We’re all done with looking at the internal stuff. Now we’ll look at more fun things like arms and legs.”

Fun? You sound like you’re about to tell me that my loan was “unfortunately” denied.

Baby doesn’t want to show his hands. The tech has me roll on my side to check my kidneys to see if that’ll get him to scootch over. It sort of does. We’re able to see a little hand. I count the fingers myself, making the mistake of expressing a timidly enthusiastic “I see five” out loud. The tech ignores me, shoving the wand into my protesting uterus. He says that he’ll try to get a better look to see if it’s a boy or a girl, seeming not to have heard me refer to the baby as a “him” for the last twenty minutes.

“We already know that it’s a boy, so it’s all good if you can’t.”

“Have you had another scan?”

No. I’m psychic, bruh.

“Yes. A few weeks ago.”

He’s able to find a penis, takes a picture, and moves on. He wraps up. I wipe off and use the restroom next to the room. I guess I can’t complain; the guy was thorough. Who cares that he didn’t make eye contact? Who cares that he didn’t seem to cared when I commented on what I thought what amazing? He did his job. It’s my job to be care, not his. He shows us out, and we walk to the car with the three kids. I feel like crap, but what does it matter? The baby appears to be healthy.

It isn’t just ultrasound techs. The few times that I’ve seen an OB were enough to show me why some people don’t want to go through pregnancy again.

The first two times were for birth control. I waited for an hour before seeing a tired OB who glared at the wall while I asked her for a prescription. Maybe me not wearing my ring was why she was disgusted. I had my prescription within five minutes, so that was a plus. Who cares that I left feeling like crap?

After finding out that I was pregnant with Haven, I saw an OB for my first visit. He didn’t tell me that I was getting a pap smear until he was already in with the speculum. I had just dropped my knees, confused. Obeying. He maybe asked me questions for ten minutes. We confirmed the heartbeat though, so who am I to complain?

The second OB didn’t even put gel on the speculum. Going in dry with metal? That hurts. He poked around for a few minutes. I felt like I was in a mechanic’s shop. Just pop ‘er open and fumble around, right? He pulled out. I sat there awkwardly with the thin blanket draped across my legs. He crossed his legs and squeamishly held a piece of paper in front of his face while telling me different methods of birth control, despite me saying repeatedly that I did not want birth control. I walked down the hallway to the lab to have my blood drawn, feeling so bad for the 11-weeks-along mom who was getting her prenatal workup. This was birth for her. This was her start of motherhood; dry speculums, OBs who don’t give a shit, paperwork. One of the most amazing experiences in mortality transformed into what felt like a rapey trip to the DMV.

I mean, what was he supposed to do? He went through eight years of medical school, four years of residency, etc. etc (ALLEGEDLY) . After all of that laborious education, he doesn’t get paid enough to give a shit. I clearly owe him money for that experience.

I left the clinic, went home, cried in the shower, and scraped my wrist till it swelled up like a burn. I still have a scar.

Oh, and the bill that comes in the mail later. Like another slap in the face.

If I had a high-risk pregnancy, I’d (begrudgingly) go see an OB because midwives are trained for low-risk patients. No patient is “no-risk”. Something could go wrong. If it does, my midwife is trained for that. She has the equipment for it.

When I meet with my midwife, I get a solid, uninterrupted hour of her time. We show up when our appointment is scheduled (which is easily changed via texting her). If another family is wrapping up their visit, we sit on the cushy, grey couch in a room with toys. There’s a pillow embroidered with the words “At your cervix” and a pink outline of a uterus and Fallopian tubes. I love that pillow…

I go to the bathroom to pee in a cup. There’s a cushioned wooden changing table. The soap smells like lavender and lemon. I hear her chatting with my kids while she grabs my chart. I weigh myself next to the two armchairs and tell her the number. She holds out the container of urine testing strips for one of my toddlers to pick out. She dips it into the cup of urine and shows me the results. In my most recent visit, I was pretty dehydrated. She got me a glass of water from her kitchen, all the while chatting with me about how things were going in the birthing world. I ask her for stories, if she’s noticed trends with her patients, and what the biggest baby she’s delivered was.

I finish my water. She sits on a chair next to the couch and speaks in a smooth, soothing voice while taking my blood pressure.

“Do you want to see a baby?”

I sit on the examination table while she readies the heart doppler, always crooning “Ohhhh little baaa-byyy!” before pressing it against my skin. Soon, she hears a heartbeat and counts it. Satisfied, she applies warm gel to the ultrasound wand, handing me a small towel to tuck into the top of my pants. I get an ultrasound at each visit for a few minutes. Baby looks good. She takes a picture for me. I sit on the couch by her computer while she sits in her chair. We chat about whatever needs addressed at that visit. She asks me and Damon how I’m doing, checking up on my depressive monster. She shares research that she’s found on various topics in women’s health, knowing that I’m an inquisitive student. My kids play in the other room while we talk. At the end of our hour, she asks me when I’d like to meet again (usually a month from that day). I tell her the day and time, usually getting exactly what I want. The kids clean up the toys. She offers them the choice of a cheese stick or fruit snacks. I give her a hug, and we say goodbye.

Ty was born with an infection and had to stay in the NICU for a week. We’d moved from the birthing center across the street to the hospital four hours after he was born. My midwife complied with the rude ER staff who treated her like an uneducated moron, one of them asking if I’d had an ultrasound (despite literally looking directly at the scan). She brought me a heating pad for my post-birth cramping and checked how everything was going. She came to me at the hospital, bringing the forms to apply for Ty’s social security number. She texted to ask  how Ty was doing during his stay. I texted her when we were discharged. She came to me for home visits a week and six weeks later.

She sat with me by the inflatable pool in my living room as I labored with Remi. She shared stories about her profession and explained how the more licensing you get, the more liability you’re taking on. She could tell when I was contracting just by looking at my uterus from her chair. She knew from my noises and breathing how far I was dilated. She told me to look for that pressure as I dilated to a ten. Instead of telling me when and how to push, she just told me in her calming voice to keep my noises low and to think of my bottom (don’t push like a maniac so as not to tear). She measured Remi’s oxygen levels and proclaimed “I could kiss you for these numbers, my dear!” as it showed she was oxygenating beautifully.

When postpartum depression rears its hideous head, I send her a text. She’s able to get me a prescription. She’s able to tell me what’s helped previous clients. It works.

Oh, and her fee for all of this goodness? $2300. Start to finish. First visit to last visit. Before the self-pay discount of $200 if insurance doesn’t come through (which it hasn’t…twice).

She’s worked as a nurse in hospitals, delivered Inuit babies in the tundra, and delivered over 700 babies since opening her practice as an advanced practice nurse midwife in Utah. Hundreds of birth announcements decorate the walls of her practice. She can point to every one of them and tell their story and how they got their name. She knows the family situations of her clients, what they do for work, never revealing names or anything that would identify them. But she knows her patients.

She’s part of the family. She’s managed to make her place in hundreds of families. Clients always come back for more. And she’s qualified and licensed. She keeps on top of her continuing training.  Somehow, she managed not to trade compassion for expertise. No trade of sensitivity for wisdom. She’s my standard for the healthcare system, or at the very least, women’s healthcare.

If you can top that kind of care, shoot me a message.

 

 

 

Why I love my midwife

I hate dance moms

Haven started ballet back in September or October.

There’s a little window that you can look through to see your kid dancing. For the first little while, I’d stand and watch Haven dance. Because she’s adorable. Why do I sit on the couch in the lobby now? Because I hate dance moms. No, not the TV show. You can at least silence a TV show. There’s about five to seven suburbia moms who crowd in front of the window with their respective womb squirrels. I used to be able to reasonably tolerate their chattering because it’d been a year or so since I’d been exposed to a drove of young mothers.

“I have to make a flamingo cake for Penelope’s birthday party! I don’t know how to make a flamingo cake!”

First of all…what the actual ducking fluff is a flamingo cake, and why are you required to make one? I made a carrot cake for Haven’s first birthday. Yes, it was a cake literally made out of carrots. It was not in the shape of a carrot. Now we go to the store and let them pick one out (with heavy persuasion because glittery cherry pink icing is going to taste nasty). No, I’m not hating on people who make their children’s cakes. I’m hating on people who act like they’re exerting insane amounts of effort for their child when it’s really to fill the void within their self esteem.

“HOW OLD IS YOUR BABY?”

Mind you, I wouldn’t mind hearing this question once. But it literally gets asked every single time I’m within even six feet of these women. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. And the follow-up response is ALWAYS “OHHHH!!! SHE’S SO LITTLE!!!”

What if we asked each other the same questions that we ask about each other’s kids? How much do you weigh? How many times do you poop every day? What time do you go to bed every night? Are you reading yet? Are you walking around a lot? What size pants do you wear? What toys do you play with?

Do you know how insanely bored I got just typing those questions? Except the toys question…that might spice up the conversation.

“HOW MUCH DOES YOUR BABY WEIGH??”

This is the mom version of “How big is your dick?” Would you like that in Imperial units or metric? The answer to both is “When I took her to her pediatric visit, nobody was concerned. Therefore, I didn’t care.” All of them feel the need to chime in their baby’s sizes and exact weights. I’m thinking “Do you literally do nothing but weigh your kids like steer your spare time??” So, if you obsess over how much you weigh, it’s called an “eating disorder”, but when you obsess over how much your kids weigh, it’s called “attentive parenting”? Imma call bull honky.

“You have to buy dresses for every holiday! Easter! Fourth of July! Halloween! Oh, and Valentine’s Day!”

“Valentine’s Day is the best!!!! And Christmas!”

……………Does your husbands pay you not to bother them all day? Mine donates plasma for our little girl to attend dance, but PLEASE go on…

“What time do your kids take naps?”

“OHHH! IS SHE WALKING YET?”

“Aiden weighs thirty pounds! Haha! He’s SOOOOOOOOO BIG for his age!”

“Ava HATES bell peppers! Do your kids like bell peppers?”

“I only change his diaper four times a day! Is that bad? Am I a bad mom??”

“I bite my kids fingernails instead of clipping them! Is that gross?”

Yes. That is gross. What is wrong with you?

We literally do this job all day. Every day. Every. Single. Day. Why in the name of Mother Goose do you insist on talking about it more?! Can’t we talk about what books we’re reading? Why Shonda Rhimes decided to ruin Grey’s Anatomy? Why there is no paid parental leave in this country, and how Europe the rest of the world is laughing at us? Environmental injustice? How you and your partner are doing? Favorite sex position? Anything besides the friggin womb squirrels that we created?!!!

“Look at how well she dances!”

“WOW! LOOK AT HER POINT! SHE’S DOING SO WELL!”

“Thanks! I have her practice at home!”

………..Can’t we just let the little girls freakin’ dance? Does this have to turn into a bragging session? They are FOUR. FOUR-YEAR-OLD. Yes, they are amazing and adorable. But ALSO!!! That is not a reflection of you!!!

You know who some of my favorite moms are? The ones who don’t talk about their kids. The ones who can talk politics, religion, education, civil rights, philosophy, workout routines, or memes that they saw. If my kids come up with people, I saw how many; 3 and expecting. That’s it. If they ask how old they are, I say; 4, almost 3, 1, and end of July *pointing at tummy*. THAT’S IT. Unless there is a hilarious RELEVANT quote from one of them.

When I had Haven, I used to not be able to talk to people who weren’t parents. What did they know, after all? What did we have in common? I almost lost one of my best friends over the seeming lack of overlap in interests. Then I pulled my head out of “Mama Llama Land”. My internet searches all revolved around parenting. Conversations were about baby, weight and height, tricks that you could use to knock your kids out get your kids to sleep. Then…..10,000 diapers and 3.3 kids later……..that all got reeeeeeeeally boring. I now quest for ways to avoid the topic of children; unless it’s philosophically addressing issues around why parents now feel the need to hover so much. Or most annoying things that they do to know that you’re not alone in having ill-behaved children for some part of the day.

No wonder your friggin kids are so self-centered!! All that you talk about and do revolves around them! I’m not putting the quotes in all caps just to be obnoxiousThe dance moms literally exude that kind of excitement about all of this crap. And they bring ALL of those same topics up every single Wednesday. I’m not crowding around that tiny window anymore. The estrogen is so high that I came out of the studio with DD’s. No, seriously. It’s physically painful to be hear. Rather than bringing ear plugs, I go and sit on the couch with one or two other parents who play on their phones and ignore their surroundings. I take Haven to dance because she loves to dance. It has nothing to do with me, I’ll watch her at the recital.

You win this round, dance moms. I’m out. XP

 

 

 

I hate dance moms