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*sigh* Nostalgia. Don’t you just love it?

So just two days ago my baby turned 11 months old. (AHH!! Almost a freaking year!)

But not just that. It marked the first anniversary of my escapism from my office job, my career at the time, really. And the birth of what I can only describe as a new me. How new, you ask?

Well, I thought I’d post a few excerpts from e-mails I wrote way-back-then:

Finding out I was pregnant (and crying for the entire first month that my life was over): “Crap crap crap. I’m freaking out. Not gonna lie to you. Brandon sits there – and is all sweet & supportive – but I couldn’t stop crying – great reaction, huh?!! (He described it more as ‘weeping’.) But even he called himself the sad clown. Sad eyes – and a smile.

When I had complete placenta previa, and my provider had assured me there was no other option (at only 20 wks pregnant, mind you): “Things are good here, we’re just praying for the previa to resolve itself. I agree I wouldn’t mind a scheduled twenty minute nap and hello – your baby’s here! But I’d also have to deliver WAY early, so prayers are all welcome.

Someone giving me my first baby-outfit: “LOL! How are we going to do this?! This is not in our personalities to find the Barbie doll sized stuff ‘cute’ and be excited at having to dress something else other than ourselves!

Questions my husband had as we eventually switched to a homebirth (at 35 wks pregnant): “When does care transfer from the Ob/Gyn to Midwife in terms of exams & check-ups? What does the contract look like in terms of exceptions, expectations, and timeframe? And what kind of follow-up is provided (if any) – or do we see an OB for things like wound healing, etc.? What kinds of paperwork (normally taken care of by the hospital) will we need to be responsible for and what will [our Midwife] be responsible for? i.e. birth cert, social security, etc… In general, what kind of equipment are routinely brought to a home birth – specifically, any routine meds? intubation equipment or ambu bag? suction hardware? Finally, if she were a tree, what kind of tree would she be? 🙂

On telling my family about our decision to homebirth: “Ha ha – I do know whenever I go home – I’ll be seen as the crazy Homebirth breastfeeding hippie chick – I should take a moxie stick & yell liberal colloquialisms just for effect. 😛

To my future doula, now friend and co-educator: “Originally my husband and I weren’t going to do a doula, we had looked into it and truly couldn’t afford one. But, I was taken aback by your passion, have conveyed that to my midwife and she seems confident in you as well.

Before I was even close to due: “AHHHHH!!!!! I’m so excited I can hardly wait. I stayed at home yesterday actually with my first real contractions. They weren’t very long or strong but lasted one and off for almost 24 hours! The closest they ever got was 10 minutes apart, so I figured they were false labor, but it was still exciting. These last three weeks are going to be torture playing the waiting game. I kind of wish I would go early, even though I know statistically it’s improbable.

When I had questionable pains, already a week overdue, and at “risk” for breech: “Mine if I write at you for a second?? I’ve done EVERYTHING the peeps have recommended – I’m drinking herbs, saw an acupuncturist yesterday who gave me a moxi stick to take home, and of course am doing the positions. I truly felt him moving back the right position again last night.

Then, my voice changed. My faith in NATURE changed, and in myself:

We were due last Saturday, yes, but not induction believers. I won’t even discuss that possibility until 42 weeks if my body’s still holding out. I mean, I have no idea when I actually got pregnant, much less how my body ovulates and when I could have conceived. I will not risk him being underdeveloped due to some computer error, and am comfortable with my body kicking him out when he’s healthy enough. (OK, maybe not physically comfortable AT ALL, I’m a beached whale, but at least ideologically so.) In fact, since my previa completely cleared up & I’m now low risk, we’re doing a homebirth! I’m so extremely pumped. I’m not having to worry about some quack wanting to cut me open cause I’m not laboring “fast enough” – and the rates on intervention like that here are ridiculous! Even the birthing center had protocols which were scary.

Finally, at almost 3 weeks overdue, 3 days before he was born: “So I did castor oil yesterday, twice, via the suggestion of my midwife, and with the full consent of the people who’ve been doing the wellness sonograms on the baby. (They’re officially called BPP’s – Biophyical Profiles – which is a fancy way of saying they check the cord blood volume, amniotic fluid, his vitals and his practice breathing rates. It’s a glorified sonogram with an acronym. :P) I was a little scared of the idea of the castor oil, but either because I have a stomach of steel or because my body had already kind of cleaned itself out naturally when the mucus plug was coming out – it did NOTHING. Nada. No contractions, no vomiting, hardly any diarrahea, just went straight through me.
Into the rabbit hole I continue – with the next choices being either acupuncture or a homeopathy consult. And here’s how I feel about both: placebo effect. If you don’t believe it’s going to work, it won’t. Not to mention I truly BELIEVED the castor oil would work. So here I sit waiting on my midwife’s acupuncturist to arrive at my apt. (In the most ironic of circumstances, her homeopathy person isn’t available because it’s her BIRTHDAY. LOL!) But anything I can proactively do the avoid pitocin, which scares me way more than the castor oil did. Wish me luck – I’m working really hard to be open minded about this – as well as to avoid going to NJ again tomorrow. It’s not a long trip, I just hate waiting for buses.

Of course, that “placebo effect” broke my water a mere 10 minutes after the acupunturist left our apartment. Our son was born 31 hours later. And now I’m getting certified to teach childbirth education classes.

Ah, Nostaglia. What a difference a year makes. Well, 11 months.

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Recently my child has made some amazing milestones. He’s sleeping better, eating better, napping once a day (freaking finally!!) and started saying “ma-ma” and “da-da” specifically at us. Then, yesterday, he looked at me and made the sign for milk!! I was thrilled (mainly because lets face it – I am NOT consistent with that stuff).

We hear about these all the time – the milestones our children make. The teeth breaking through, the connections they make merely through play. We rejoice in them. We share them. But we rarely take the time to rejoice in milestones of our own.

Is it because as adults we’re expected to move forward? Is it taken for granted? Is a milestone at say, 28, not as important as one at 11 months?

So here’s mine: This week I stood up for what I believed was right.

Unsolicited advice was given out and I spoke up.

As a result of voicing my opinion, I was criticized, name called, finger pointed, bullied, and eventually lost a friend over the perceived “judgmental” slight. Now, I’m not gonna lie and say I didn’t get defensive. Feelings were hurt, things were said and I got VERY depressed at first.  But I refuse to do the same back. Why? Because to me, its deconstructive.

I should back up here and qualify that this is HUGE in my world. I was raised Southern style, people, good ol’ Southern Baptist at that. You never openly disagree with someone, you don’t speak up, and you certainly don’t cause conflict. You look pretty and puff up your hair. 🙂  If you do cause offense you immediately apologize, because basically we’re taught it’s wrong to offend. And since we assume all Southern “ladies” are brought up this way, it stands to reason that if YOU’RE the one offended, you’re most likely overreacting. (I know that’s hard for some of you to believe, but trust me, it’s a Southern thing. And yes, my Mama always told me to stand up for myself, so kudos to her at least.)

But back to this week: my gut told me to stand firm.  And as a result, I was rewarded tenfold! I was embraced not only by unexpected friends, but by the stories of some amazing women who truly needed to tell them. Stories they are still afraid to tell. One said she’s afraid of people thinking she’s stupid, another she “wished she would have known.” Another said she’s afraid of a backlash coming her way, as the incident didn’t happen to her, it happened to a friend she gave advice to.

So here I am. Admitting my milestone. Mine was to stand up for myself, not expecting this outcome of course, but here I am. And I feel really, really, really good.  Fully expecting to be criticized for this post too – because of my wanting you to see how AMAZING it is to have a clear conscience and heart.

Forums can be a great place to post anonymously. Support groups can be found online. But our greatest resources are true friends who will sit, listen, and walk through the fire with you.

Your stories made me cry. They truly touched me. And they will touch others, but the first step is telling them. Getting them out and getting prepared to heal. Because I hurt for you. So badly. Because I cannot imagine.

So we’ll milestone together. You’ll eliminate fear and regret. I’ll eliminate negativity. We will teach. We will support.

And you are loved.

Ok, I need a cheering section.

PEOPLE – it’s the 18th of January! This blog has been up a month and a freaking half. There is no About Me section typed, no Birth Story page completed, no “content.” Just gratuitous pictures of my child; albeit adorable gratuity, yes.

And that’s where I get hung up. My fabulous neighbor, now crazy close friend, and current bloggess extraordinare Manhattan’s Peak tells me so. That five minutes is all you and I need together (me and my beautiful Mac really) to express whats-a-going-on in my world. That’s its not a website I’m building but a personal blog.

And I WANT you to get to know me, hear my story, know why I want to help change the face of birth for women. Because the idea and reality of birth changed for me after I became pregnant with my son. I went from always being good at a job, to finding something I was truly passionate about.

But first we gotta get past the hurdle – I’m seeing this as a chore. So I need rah-rahs, words of inspiration, help. New blogger to season pros, I am reaching out to you. Battling my urge to sound with it and well read and procrastinate in the face of ‘content’ to pure reality. Cause I may be passionate but idiotic things like paying bills and editing is getting all up in my way.

Oh, and one more shot of Mr. Cuteness, you know, for old time’s sake:

"Get your drunken baby! Passed out baby here!"

Contact Me

Gillian Foreman gillian@uptownbirth.com 347.565.5597

Cause you can’t get enuff:

Now teaching Babywearing!!

Uptown Birth has expanded its reach to include Babywearing! Look for Urban Babywearing in Harlem, Inwood, Riverdale, and Upper East Side! UrbanBabywearing.com

Contact NFP

Nurse-Family Partnership Andrea Albert e-mail 917.440.2962