Tag Archives: motherhood

This is Motherhood

15 May

Good evening, lovelies –

I sure do hope everyone is doing well! I’ve got some news to share – I’m 35 weeks pregnant with our son! Yup – I’m in the last week of our 8th month of pregnancy.
I began this blog in my 6th month of being pregnant. Hoped to wrap it up in my 7th month. But here I am in my 8th month with the 9th month quickly approaching and I am finally finished.
I have been stringing words together for months. The struggle has been with each sentence a new construct formed. I’ve changed the course of this script a jillion times. I was too apprehensive to share my thoughts because they felt like nonsensical rambles of blazing pregnancy emotions that echo the fragility of life,  how excited and anxious I am to meet baby boy, to also include my running endeavors. If the frequency and subject of my thoughts were diagrammed on a scatterplot you’d witness there was no notable relationship between the two. My pregnant mind has no conscious or unconscious shackles. And while that’s a great thing it offers me no favors in the organizational flow of what you’re about to read. Please enjoy but pardon the unrhythmic groove.
So here goes …
The first 19 weeks of this pregnancy I was sicker than my first. There was a range of icky feelings but my gosh the dueling duo: fatigue and nausea were omnipresent. Their repeat game was strong. Every. Single. Day. No snooze. No reprieve. I surely didn’t mind at first. Par for the course. Right? I mean we wanted this pregnancy so who was I to complain? I opted to hit the sack earlier than reasonable to ward off the displeasure. I willed 8pm to come around every single night. It was at that hour I could cuddle with my little almost 2 year old love bug and snooze until the a.m. without discomfort. The peace of Oriana’s soft, warm breathing lulled me to sleep.
Each morning greeted me with heavy eyes, cramps, thirst, nausea, dry heaves and exhaustion. But how? I had slept for hours. The morning routine of feeling perpetually seasick only subsided when I caught a bad upper respiratory infection. For days I thought it was pregnancy related symptoms but the two ailments conflated together made me one miserably tired mama, anxious to get better, and overwhelmed at the idea I was burning through the very sick leave I was resolute to save for maternity leave.
Fast forward and I was still sick. The doctor opined that I had the flu. I had every symptom but a fever – no fever is why they weren’t keen on administering the flu test from the get go. But when antibiotics couldn’t ward off the grossness they knew… the freaking flu! Regardless, I was knocked on my ass for two weeks. When I thought I was on the upswing the unforgiving bug kicked back into 5th gear. It felt like an 18 wheeler ran over my body shattering my spirit and ability to hang tough. I couldn’t move. I hadn’t a clue how I ever managed to run – a marathon or 400 meters – both felt like Herculean accomplishments as I laid there in bed wallowing and quietly falling apart – ego, pride, and health. The thought of running and dreaming of running rendered me vapid. As did the thought of mustering the energy to walk down the stairs for hot tea only to go back up the formidable steps. Being pregnant and sick was intolerable cruelty. It was breeding ground for tears. Thank god for my husband pulling both mommy and daddy duty and doing so like a pro while I acquiesced to quarantine in our bedroom and subsequently binged Grace and Frankie on Netflix.
Within a day or two from me rising back from the dead my daughter had caught the flu. It bid me farewell only to greet the most innocent of sweethearts. Fortunately we caught her flu immediately and thanked the Tamiflu gods for her quick recovery. But the threat of fevers and my immobilized fear of seizures as a result of said fevers had me keep a watchful eye on my little love, more than what was probably rational. Good news: No seizures to report. Thank God. We were armed with Lysol, bleach, Clorox wipes, Kleenex, purel, etc. for the next few days and we disinfected our house of all germs around the clock. We refused to host the yucky pathogens any longer.
In a blink the misery of the cold season making haven in our home was gone. I found myself 6 months pregnant and finally back to feeling myself – ready to slay dragons. To top it off, all pregnancy related discomforts of morning sickness also dissipated around this time. Finally. Wohoo!
Wohoo is an understatement.
So what is it like to be 8 months pregnant (almost 9 months in 6 short days) the second time around? There are so many feelings!
With my first I had an anterior placenta meaning that I never felt our little girl kick. I felt her stretch but no kick-o kick-o. With this pregnancy I feel our little dude often, kicking and jabbing. The activity is more miraculous than magic itself. Outside of the tangible feels it’s visible that I popped a lot sooner than my first pregnancy and that’s to be expected. In the beginning and at random some days it would look like I swallowed a soccer ball. Other days I would be flat as a board.
I have a permanent bump now.
This is the stage I love the most! I have been relishing in the transformation because I know this is going to be our last pregnancy. These moments are fleeting and I’m holding on to them as tightly as I can knowing that time is a thief. I want to will time to freeze. I want to bottle up my feelings in an effort keep these precious moments forever. It would smell like coconut oil, Johnson’s baby shampoo and beams of sunshine that is so our Ori girl. I want to give each second with her all my attention. I wish I could pause time and breathe in all the magic that she is. I would gaze at her eyes longer, watch in slo-motion how her left cheek crinkles with an indent of a mini v-shape when she says “cheeeeeeese” or is jubilantly happy – which is nearly always.
I would listen intently to her laugh. I would listen to her sweet and soft voice and play it on repeat like my favorite recorded songs on cassette back in middle school. I play every single video I have of her from birth to now, always. But unlike my mixed tapes these recordings never grow dull or worn. Her every little move, reaction, expression, and sound has me spellbound.
Oriana has bewitched me.
I want to hold on to my girl and selfishly keep her small, gentle, silly, and innocent. I also want her to have ambitions and lead change for the greater good of the world. Her father and I want to lead by example and teach her that the world is her horizon.
I can see Oriana in the future manifesting greatness. She has the tenacity of her mother and the stubbornness of her father. It is my job to show her that there are no limits outside the ones we prescribe to or manifest out of fear. I want to illustrate the reality that some people generally suck. I don’t want her to be surprised by this. Oh the scale of suckiness – my goodness how it can range. From the people who suck because they literally do not care about others, to the extreme… I want to teach Oriana to proceed with caution when faced with people who literally suck the very life out of you by being a constant negative, use the victim mentality to manipulate, and meddles in all that you do waiting to watch you fail just because they can. It’s these people I want to prepare her for. I don’t want these people or the several other categories of suckiness, not limited to the mean, and evil, to ever have the ability to break her. I want to teach her that she can bend without breaking. She can be resilient in the most trying of times. To be buoyant. I want her to show up in the face of adversity and show it who’s boss despite the discomfort. I want to lead by example so she can see that you can overcome sucky people and sucky situations because it is only temporary. Having ambition and integrity lasts a lifetime – they are the moral code and the compass that define us. I will remind her that karma handles people (maybe not as contiguous as we’d like but ironically it is always at the right time) and the situation can and will change.
I want Oriana to shine knowing naysayers aren’t competition but reminders that she’s doing something right. I want to be transparent and let her know that people are not always nice. While this world is magical, jealousy and envy are everywhere casting dark shadows. Ori needs to be armed with an umbrella and be prepared to weather the storms. People will try to chip away at her crown to elevate themselves but that’s not her problem to own. She must vibrate higher! I want to empower her to eliminate what doesn’t help her evolve. Sometimes that may mean letting go of people who aren’t in her corner. You know – those people who claim to love and support you but are really snakes in the grass waiting to attack? I don’t want her to give these folks the opportunity. I wish for Oriana to be her best self always. To practice kindness, forgiveness, and empower others to be their best versions as well.
I want to teach my girl and unborn son that there is no secret to success. The price of admission is determination, an indomitable spirit, and a stubborn will (thank your mama and daddy for this one!). No naivety allowed. Eliminate the platitudes. Refuse to overturn your convictions to appease others when it is in opposition of your morals. That is not a shortcut for success but rather an undercut of your values. Be the hardest worker in the damn room. It will upset people. And those people may drag your name in the mud – but flowers blossom from the dirt and manure so let them think they are doing you a disservice. Always smile. Like your mama – you will come out smelling like a rose and looking like one too. You’ll be radiant with a lacquer of strength and delicacy. Let them stare. This is fragility paired with strength.
The dichotomy of fragility and strength is a powerful tool every woman should own. Every woman should know how to wear it without apology. It’s an accessory too often overlooked but necessary. It’s an arsenal of self-worth packed with power and confidence. I want my unborn son to respect women for this trait. I want my girl to know she has all the power within for greatness – to look inward rather than outward for approval. I want her to expect that some people will repeatedly attack her confidence and self-esteem because they are quite aware of her potential – even if she isn’t always aware. I want to empower my baby girl to be her own heroine. And that her mama is her biggest number one fan. Forever and always. I know her presence will command the room and I’ve only been her mother for 23 months.
But back to current state – my 23 month old baby girl, my little cherub, my little rosebud, my boogie, my everything, who has a life of lessons awaiting her…may she always act with equal parts grit and grace. If her future self is anything like her current 23 month sassy-self this is a guarantee. How did I get so lucky to be her mother?
I want to hold her close, and closer. Breathe her in, like really breathe her in. Tickle her silly. Record her belly laughs, her soft voice, her peek-a-boos, her incessant “what’s that” and “where’d it go” questions. I want to kiss her, and squish her and smoosh her today and forever x infinity. I know that’s not an option. Forever is a thief. A cruel heartless, unyielding thief. I want to hold on to the moments when she gingerly points to my belly and squeals “baby!” I want to delay time when Oriana enthusiastically grabs her books, backs up into my lap, leans against me and her brother bump, and pleads with me to read. Every third word is interrupted by her orating something she sees or questions. “Eeeeeeeeeee!” “Esssssssss!” “Cccccccc!” “Mama, Ooooooo!” My heart bursts out of my chest! Who knew the alphabet could elicit so much glee! With our son’s arrival around the corner I’m cherishing these moments with Oriana a little more – holding on to the moments with a stronger grip because I know the dynamic will change. She will always be my first born – my baby girl made me a mama. She is my kind of special.
Oriana makes me feel life. She makes me love life on a level I never knew existed. My love for her is fierce. All the peripheral chaos is silenced because she is the center of my world. I’m not marred by the daily stresses of life anymore because she reminds me to ignore what doesn’t enrich my soul. She reminds me of the fragility of life. I’m forever grateful for that. I am forever grateful for her. And to think I have another love coming – my heart will implode!
Who knew I’d be on a journey to pave the path for my daughter’s future endeavors, to teach her resiliency, what really matters in life, how to contribute to the world, her community, her peers, all while at 23 months old she is teaching me the art of boundless love, forgiveness, and kindness.  How ever am I (or we) going to love another little one as deeply and emphatically as this little one? Howwwwwww!?
I know it’s possible – I know your heart makes the room just like my expanding belly is making room for our little dude. I’m already flooded with emotional intensity watching our son grow, kick, and give me hints of who he is. In less than 5 weeks we get to meet him – and the flurry of ardor will envelope me more than it already does today – forever changing my course. Anchoring me deeper in love. It’s poetry.
I am blessed. To our unborn son, Kobé Bruno Shreeve, we love you. And we are anxiously awaiting to meet you.
This is motherhood.
Thanks for stopping by,
Valgal
XO
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“And She’s a Mom!”

3 Aug

Yesterday marked my first run after work postpartum. I set out to sweat but also to quickly return home to be with my babes.

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I woke at 4:30a. Bus to metro to work by 6:45a. Returned home at 6p ish. Showered my baby girl with kisses, squishes, and cuddles (a proven test that my lip stain is indeed a stain as there was no evidence of my smooch fest on her cute little cheekies 💋). Little O fell asleep shortly after so the guilt of leaving her for my needed “mommy time” aka “run” didn’t sting so badly. I returned home around 7:30ish to find my little rosebud giggling with daddy. 

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Seriously peeps, coming home is the sweetest gift ever!

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But let’s get real about some things…

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The Monday-Friday grind, the commute, and wanting to spend every waking minute with little O while also training for a marathon, training to get my body back, and making sure my relationship with my better half continues to thrive is a challenge.

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The transition to motherhood has been blissful. But the transition trying to find the time to connect to my mind, body, and soul as well as trying to connect with my partner is nothing shy of a taxing adventure. It’s an adventure plagued by my own heavy guilt (because of societal standards) coupled with the subtle microaggressions from others and the ubiquitous endorsements, advertisements, and stepford-esque wives evangelizing the glory of motherhood and condemning any other activity that taketh your attention away from it. 

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Not all dialogue centered around motherhood is riddled to make you feel guilty. But my point is, some dialogues about motherhood actually reject mothers carrying other roles; thus, rejecting women and the whole feminist evolution. The content strikes me as callous because the words scream to me that when motherhood “ails” women it deviates women from their previous multifaceted construction to that of a singular dimension. We are not one dimensional! It’s as if having a child suddenly diminishes a woman to carrying one title only – a mother. Is that all that is expected from us? Being a mother? Anything on top of that role is an attaboy moment – “She managed that project, delivered her pitch, ran a marathon, and she’s a mom!” Why is there the qualifier, “and she’s a mom!”? What purpose does it serve? We are whole without it. We should not be typecast as if being a mother abates us of all competencies. (Thanks to Lauren Fleshman for pointing that out in her podcast with Dr. Melody Moore.)

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I’m a mom. A new mom! I was a runner first. And people still don’t understand my desire to run, especially post pregnancy because it means I leave the house and my babes after being away all day for work. I think it makes people uncomfortable because they couldn’t fathom leaving the house and their newborn. Maybe it’s a fear of separation anxiety from their baby (I did experience this). Or maybe it’s their fear of being criticized for putting their own needs first. I don’t feel the need to repent for continuing to put my needs first. I’m on call all day and night – a little time etched out of the day for me is reasonable, not selfish.

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Yet I’m criticized on the daily – I’m sure of it. Some days I feel assaulted by negativity because of the opinions of others about how I “mom.” No one explicitly criticizes me but their comments are back-handed. Do you know what I do? I smile and nod. I play dumb. While it’s hard to ignore the undertones of chastisement, I pretend I’m not competent enough to understand their insults because hey, I’m a mom – remember – all competencies were removed with my placenta – part of the deal.

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Why is there this brazen epidemic to mommy-shame? I question if I’m a bad mother because I’m trying to do it all. Intuitively, I know I’m not a bad mother. But yes, I leave the house after working all day to run. And yes, I’m a breastfeeding mom who drinks wine with dinner. At least it’s not the bottle! I’m not a bad mother.

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But do I need to explain myself so that my actions make others feel comfortable? No.

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I still have a commitment to myself while also holding the torch of motherhood. Becoming a mother doesn’t dissolve me of my identity. Rather, it highlights it. 

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So there you have it. In a culture that pretends there is equality among sexes, why is it that we celebrate motherhood but impose insidious maternity leave policies? Why is there gender inequality in the workplace? Why do we celebrate men who become fathers with a pay raise but women who become mothers don’t see that same jump in income? Why is it that our culture preaches women can do it all but then women are ruthlessly assaulted and shamed when they try to {cough cough} and do so successfully? For a culture that is so politically sensitive about the most paltry of matters, why is it so crass towards women and women’s rights? The whole empowering women movement is just a dog and pony show. The kicker, why are some of the hardest critics of women those that share my gender – women? It’s pitiful. We can’t rise when we are anchored down by our own kind! Come on ladies!!! 

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Years of false paradigms have flooded our minds with what it means to be a woman, a wife and a mother. It’s such a narrow definition of success. We should stop expressing concern about a woman’s (a mother’s) well-being because of a false idea of what she should be. 

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I am a woman. A mother. A daughter. A sister. A granddaughter. A niece. A cousin. A wife (soon). A friend. An employee. A runner. A lover of all (especially my Boston terrier, Mika). A pseudo chef. A wine lover – bring on the Malbec. A tequila nut. A frozen gummy bear spaz. A book worm – I can never have enough books. A terrible singer. A shoe fanatic. A luster of the new Garmin Fenix 3. A woman who loves dressing up my sass but equally loves to be accessorized in sweat. Whether I’m in stilettos or my laces are tied, in conference rooms, or starting lines, or singing lullabies, you can’t define me. I don’t fit in a box. 

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And so, I will continue to defy the norm. I invite you to do so as well. If you’re reading this and you are a mother, I ask that you acknowledge that you are more than just that, albeit being a mother is a privilege and a gift! The only qualifier I want referencing me as a mom is, “and she’a badass motherrunner” – because let’s get one thing straight, I’m am!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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XO

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Valgal, badass motherrunner 

My Type A Journey to a C – A Birth Story

15 May

Good morning friends! Happy Weekend!!! 

Oh my goodness, this is my first Saturday morning waking up as a mom. Yes. A mom!!!! My heart is melting as I type this on my phone while simultaneously staring at my beautiful daughter all swaddled up and dozing off. I am spellbound by her every movement, face, sound, gesture…

And then it hits me. The sudden reality that I am a mother. Proof that being type A doesn’t mean much as far as game planing goes. Trying to get pregnant at precisely the right time (yeah right), trying to arrange when the baby comes, crafting a birth plan(s)…With planning I’ve learned that something will happen making a muck of your neatly arranged, tailor-made itinerary. (I didn’t have a birth plan but I’m still bemused over my birth story.)

This whole “embracing motherhood” thing started in August 2015. But motherhood materializing into something other than a hashtag on Insta got real on Tuesday, May 10th. 

On May 10th I went to my routine weekly pregnancy checkup. This was the 39th week appointment! The doctor and I discussed how I was feeling and talked about dates for a scheduled induction in case baby girl didn’t debut Sunday, May 15th. 

On my way to my next appointment at Maternal & Fetal Medicine I phoned Andy. I was stoked to tell him that if baby girl doesn’t come on her own they plan on inducing me Wednesday, May 18th. I shared the news in a quick flash as the next set of doctors whisked me away and hooked me up to the non-stress machine.

After 40 minutes of what is typically a 20 minute monitoring session of baby’s heartbeat  and movement I was escorted to the sonography room. This was after the intermittent intervals of nurses coming in and asking me to drink orange juice topped with what felt like aggressive poking of my belly. *Side Note: I visited Maternal & Fetal Medicine weekly due to baby girl’s risk for SGA (small for gestational age). Nothing was ever too alarming. Images and testing always revealed that my amniotic fluid levels were perfect, baby girl was measuring petite but proportionate in the 12th percentile, and her heart rate was top notch. Except on Tuesday, May 10th, something was off kilter. 

When the sonographer wrapped up she told me she’d be back after she shared the images with the doctor. This is normal. Fast forward 10 anxious minutes and the dapper Dr. Akoma greeted me. She was beaming. My panic had immediately frittered away.

Dr. Akoma, again, beaming, had bright eyes with a sparkle. I was admiring her composure. She made me feel settled. Worry-free.

She spoke. “Looks like you’re having a baby!” 

Me: “I know!” In a pitch like a 5-year discovering she’s going to Disneyland.

Dr. Akoma: “Well alright, let’s get you induced!”

Me: “Oh, yes. I am scheduled for Wednesday, May 18th.

Dr. Akoma: “No, dear. You’re going to be induced today. Your baby, although her heart rate is great, she isn’t moving like she should and you don’t feel her enough to reassure us that your pregnancy should continue. At 39 weeks she is term. She is ready. Are you ready? Call your husband and tell him to get here. Your room is being prepped.”

Me: “Oh my gosh, okay. Is she okay? Oh wow, so we are doing this. Today? I get to meet my baby girl?! What do you mean my room is getting prepped? I have to wrap up work. I mean I don’t have to but there are things I need to do. Can I go home and get my hospital bag? ” My furor was extraordinary muffling my speech. Dr. Akoma was probably unable to make a thing out or thought I was delirious.

Regardless, I was about to have a baby!!!! 

I called Andy. “We’re being induced, TODAY!!!” This communication string was priceless. Emotional. Exciting. Inexplicable. It was an exchange of words and enthusiastic cries that will be forever etched in my heart. A private dialogue between two parents-to-be preparing for the best day of their lives.

I was accompanied by a lovely nurse who gave me red carpet treatment all the way to the labor and delivery wing. The experience was surreal. Not at all as I had envisioned. 

Labor and delivery. 

Wow.

Fast-forward a few hours. It was 3:30p. I was intoxicated by my emotions and the realness of “having a baby!” I laughed a bit, too. I was anxious. Nervous. Excited. Our lives were about to change in a matter of hours.

Side Tangent.

Me: “Babe, you know what’s wild?! I’m so happy I ran yesterday! I logged at least one run in in my 39th week of pregnancy! Whoop! Whoop! Which really means I can say I ran my whole pregnancy!”

Andy: “Val, you’re out of control. You shouldn’t have run. You’re done. You can’t run now for 6 weeks. You’re going to listen to me and the doctor.”

Me: “Yeah. I’m well aware. But seriously, I would’ve been so disappointed had I not ran yesterday.

But back to having a baby!!!

At 3:30p on May 10th I was only 70% effaced, 1cm dilated and feeling painless contractions. To begin the induction they gave me Cervidil. It is designed to ripen the cervix to 100% to begin active labor. The process using Cervidil was expected to last no more than 12 hours. 

After several hours my contractions were back to back about every two to three minutes. They were painful. Painful. Painful. I told Andy and the nurses that I wanted to shake the hands and kiss the feet of every woman out there who had a natural birth because these contractions were tempestuous! I recall thinking that I must be 100% effaced and super dilated if they hurt like they did!!! I was ready to keep them coming because each one meant we were closer to meeting our daughter.

Around 11pm three + nurses came rushing in. They were fixated on the monitoring screen. They gave off panicky vibes and were speaking quickly in a language foreign to me. Andy took one look at me and saw my fear. He grabbed my hand to comfort me. He proceeded to ask, “What’s wrong?”

After they assessed everything they informed us that our baby’s heart rate fell drastically with each contraction and it had been too low for too long. She had not yet recovered from the last few contractions.

My heart stopped. 

No tears formed but I was crying on the inside. I was scared. I tried to stay calm. Relaxed. Strong. I was everything but.

Cervidil, although a mild drug, created stronger than expected contractions for me and our baby was distressed with each one. They feared it could be due to prolapse of the umbilical cord. “If this occurs, the umbilical cord may become compressed between the fetal head and the walls of the mother’s pelvis, thereby cutting off the blood supply to the fetus. Unless a vaginal delivery is expected to occur immediately, cesarean section must be performed to save the baby’s life.” The staff couldn’t delineate which one was influencing our daughter’s low heart rate. Was it the Cervidil or prolapse of the umbilical cord? Either reason behind it, fetal distress was not good and the alternatives were looking dour.

They removed the Cervidil. 

That’s all I’m going to write on that.

Roughly an hour later I was given an epidural. Finally!!!

They exercised some caution before administering it. I didn’t give a care that I was only 1cm dilated, my body was in labor even though it appeared I was failing to progress.

Within 30 minutes of receiving the epidural my already low blood pressure plummeted. In turn, baby girl’s heart rate fell to its lowest and was not recovering timely. It was a spectacle. After careful monitoring and continued guests rushing in and out, the doctor on call came in to discuss a cesarean with me. I obliged that if it’s necessary, it’s necessary.

Then our daughter’s heart rate took a turn for the better. Yay! The cesarean was an afterthought, for the time being. But with that being the third time they flirted with it, I began to think it was highly likely.

It was finally dark in the room. The machines weren’t yelling at us anymore. We finally had some semblance of peace and quiet. It was as tranquil as it could be. It was as tranquil as it would ever be. The nurses continued to monitor me. Hours went by with faint beeps in comparison to the alarms. The conversations being held by the medical staff echoed in the room but the epidural helped me zone them out. They told me to relax because I’ll need all my energy for pushing in a few hours. I was beginning to feel reassured that we could have our daughter vaginally. I breathed deep. Looked at Andy. Smiled. 

But there was no chance to relax once they began the IV drip of Pitocin at 7a. I was surprised they were giving me this drug since it was a lot stronger than Cervidil. But who am I to question the doctor? Oriana’s heart rate was steady again at 130 and had been for a while. I didn’t feel the need to challenge them. The first of the Pitocin dosage was small and it was gradually increased.

Then there was a repeat of the noise that flooded the room a few hours prior. Alarms were ringing, medical staff  were avidly speaking in doctor-tongue, and I was being asked incessant questions about my health, allergies, fetal movement…

Our daughter was experiencing, yet again, serious fetal heart rate deceleration. I was still only 1cm-2cm dilated. The Cervidil and now the Pitocin, although they acted catalysts to make the contractions stronger, weren’t working to dilate me. 

Active labor was happening but at slow rate. Despite back to back contractions, transition aka pushing was guaranteed to be hours away. This was not good. With the fetal heart rate decelerations continuing as frequently as they were, baby girl was not getting the oxygen needed to sustain labor. Therefore, the doctors did not want to risk continuing as it would jeopardize baby’s health. In every effort to avoid an “emergency” they wanted to conduct a cesarean for immediate delivery.

They asked me how I felt about it. I had no feelings about it. I was prepared for anything in labor and delivery. My type A personality took a backseat. I did not try to govern the process of delivery. My birth plan was this —> epidural. I was prepared to be game for anything. And I was.

I knew far too well that you can’t plan for labor and delivery. I didn’t plan on being induced. I was told I was going to be induced. I didn’t plan that my body would fail to progress in labor. But my body failed to progress. When vaginal birth was no longer an option, I was already prepared for the invasive procedure better known as a c-section. I didn’t plan on a cesarean. I was told it was medically necessary. 

My type A personality accepted the substandard and dreaded C. Honestly, I would have accepted anything to ensure the health and safety of my unborn daughter.

Within minutes I was being rolled out to the operating room. It was May 11th at 11:15a. I had no time to really conceptualize what was happening. They turned Andy away to another room to change. I was there, in the mix of all these doctors, anxious inside. Crying inside. Thinking my body failed. Thinking I failed as a woman. But then something switched. I couldn’t stop thinking that I’d be holding my daughter in an hour. The crocodile tears fell down my face.

The operation was something else. To be numb but tugged around like a rag doll. Hmm. I held Andy’s hand and griped tightly. In a matter of minutes, literally, the doctor said, “Your daughter will be here in 5 minutes.” 

I turned to Andy. This was the last time I’d look at him as a man not yet a father. My eyes bigger than ever filled with tears. I was Excited. Nervous. Anxious. Already in love. I froze the moment in my memory bank. 

Then…

Doctor: “She’s got so much hair! Congratulations on a beautiful baby girl!”

May 11th, 12:04p we became parents to Oriana Yoshie Shreeve. A bundle of perfection weighing in at 6.5lbs and 19.6″.

Just like that I saw my daughter in a flash of a second while they transferred her from my abdomen to the table behind me. They took her to do the Apgar testing and invited daddy. I was left there on the table alone. I was literally paralyzed from the chest down unable to get her in my line of sight. I turned my neck as much as I could to try and catch a glimpse of her.


Tears were perpetually falling from my face. I was thinking, “I have a daughter. We have a daughter. We have a little girl!” 

My sweet fiancé transformed into a daddy. I watched him in those precious moments overwhelmed with emotions and falling in deeper love with him. This is our family now. I spent 39 weeks waiting to meet this little soul and there she was – a few arm lengths away with her daddy whom was and continues to be captivated by her.

When they finally placed her in my bed, I nuzzled her warm skin. I stared at her. I breathed her in. Life stood still. She was all I knew existed.

The way I felt in that moment was new but familiar. She is my heart. She has always been my heart. In that instant I couldn’t recollect life without her. She fills me completely. She is proof that love is not something you search for. Love isn’t something you dream for. Love is something you do. And she, our baby girl, is a result of the love between her father and me. She is the best part of us. She is our greatest gift. 

Everything in my life like the nonsense, the stress, the chaos, the opinions of others, the friends that have come and gone, the what-ifs, it all became preposterously irrelevant when I met Oriana. She obliterated it all. She has opened me. 

Today she is 3 days old. She’s sleeping peacefully near me. I catch myself staring at her in complete awe that she is mine – all mine. Staring into her eyes and seeing her fixate on me eliminates the pain from the cesarean. Her very being reminds me not to feel ashamed of my body post-cesarean. 

Of all the things I’d done wrong during my journey through life, in getting myself here tells me I’d done something right. The severe swelling (thighs, calves, ankles – entire legs), my likeness to Frankenstein with the wretched staples, the extreme discomfort, the inability to get in and out of bed without it being a 10 minute ordeal, while it doesn’t sound ideal, is something I’d do all over again. Life doesn’t need to be so complicated. Oriana has shown me how simple it all is. And it’s astounding.

I have a daughter. The amount I love her cannot be qualified. It’s all-encompassing. I don’t know who I was before her.

I welcome my new life. I may be type A but the C has taught me to accept all things. You can’t know beautiful without knowing a bit of brutal. The C was brutal. But it is a temporary state of brutal/discomfort. My scar will be a beautiful reminder of my daughter and our time together as one. Oriana is my forever. She is my blossoming soul. She is my kind of beautiful. She always will be.

I love you, Oriana. Thank you for making me a mommy.

Thanks for stopping by!

Valgal

XO

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