Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Spinning Babies and Visiting the Mikvah for an Easy Birth

I don't know if anyone out there on the interwebs has been waiting to hear what happened, but it went something like this:

I posted about the baby being breech and us finding some upside down books and properly flipping them on a Monday. On that Tuesday, I started having unbelievable pain. I couldn't sleep on either side, let alone my back. I had to sleep sitting up. The pain late Tuesday night was so excruciating that we called the nurse's line and they scheduled me in for a morning appointment.

I woke up having not slept, in immense pain, concerned about what was going on. I went to the doctor Wednesday morning, explained what was going on, and the nurse practitioner got out the ultrasound. And then, "Well, I wasn't expecting that!"

Yes. The baby had flipped. Just. Like. That. We canceled the version appointment and as of this past Thursday, baby was still properly positioned -- head down.

Now, whether you believe in segulahs or not, you have to admit that's pretty crazy, right?

So last night, I decided to embrace another segulah. It's the tradition of some to go to the mikvah during the ninth month of pregnancy as a segulah for an easy labor and birth. Now, my experience with Asher tells me that I can use all of the help, prayers, and good luck possible.

The funny thing about going to the mikvah is that 95 percent of the time you can't and shouldn't write about it. When you're going to the mikvah, it's usually because you're coming out of being niddah, and you don't want the whole world knowing your menstrual cycle. The 5 percent of the time you can talk about mikvah is either when you're converting to Judaism or taking a dip for the purposes of changing your situation, position, or cleansing yourself to prepare for birth.

So last night, I went for a dip in the mikvah. What happens is that you go to the mikvah, take a quick shower (no intense prep), then go dip in the mikvah dunking only once. There is no special prayer to say, and you don't say the normal mikvah blessing. You can say whatever you want to HaShem, and that's what I did. I asked for an easy labor and birth, a healthy child ... and that was that.

Furthermore, there's a segulah for a woman who has had trouble conceiving to go into the mikvah after a woman like me. Unfortunately, no one went in after me. But it got me thinking: What if you show up at the mikvah for your normal visit and unknowingly go in after a woman in her ninth month? And then bam! You're pregnant! What luck, eh?

Now, we wait. This baby is meant to show up before Shavuot, and I'm praying that it's sooner rather than later.

Blob Watch 2016 begins!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Oh Come On! The Blob is Breech

Well, this has truly been a pregnancy for the books, and we're in a state of breech, still. The Blob doesn't seem to want to turn, so we've begun with the segulot
Segulah (also written segula; plural segulot) literally means a "remedy" or "protection" in Hebrew. The term is pronounced suh-goo-luh.

In Judaism, a segulah is viewed as an action that will lead to a change in one's luck, fortune, or destiny.
In Judaism, there is a segulah for just about everything under the sun. Having children, overcoming bad luck or illness, making more money, finding a job, picking out the right religious garments ... you get the idea. 

With a breech baby, there are a bunch of different things that you can do to hopefully turn the baby, the most common and prominent being the typical ones: check your mezuzot (the parchments placed on the doorposts of the home) to make sure they're still viable and not upside down and make sure your seforim (books) aren't upside down. 

The funny thing is, we should have checked our mezuzot before we even moved into the house, because after the balagan of buying the house and having some interesting challenges securing a mortgage, we came to find out that the mezuzah on the front door of the house (the guy who owned it was Jewish) was not only no longer usable, but it was also upside down. Yikes. 

So we checked the books, or at least, we thought we'd checked the books. And everything was upright and accounted for. Then, a Chabad friend mentioned to me that they did the same only to discover later that the slipcover on a book had been right-side up while the book was upside down, so I told Mr. T we needed to check them again. 

Lo and behold, he discovered that three of the machzorim (prayer book for special Jewish holidays) from his grandmother were upside down in a bookcase that is mostly filled with non-Jewish books. BAM! 

Will the baby magically turn now before my version procedure on Friday where we go to the hospital and a trained physician attempts to turn the baby from the outside? I sure hope so. Everything I've read and heard about the procedure has me on pins and needles, terrified at the outcomes (or non-outcomes) and excruciating pain. 

But after last time, I really, really really really don't want to have to go through another c-section and the recovery process. I just don't think that I can take it. 

In the meantime, I'm hauling tuches to get work in order so that when this baby does show up (and for some weird reason I keep getting the feeling that The Blob will be early and that this is going to also be a hard birth), that my coworkers are good to go and not left in the dark. It's a huge undertaking of writing, scheduling, curating ... and my brain is totally mush right now. 

Babies do weird things to your brain, your heart, your body. I can't get over how important the role of women, and mothers specifically, is, and how little I understood went into it before undertaking this journey first with Asher and now with The Blob. I also still can't get over how little respect and consideration is paid to mothers around the world, but specifically in the United States

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I'm Terrified: How to Love and Parent Two Children

Although I really, truly prefer winter, for some reason there are a lot of tastes, scents, and sounds that hold a special place in my heart and send me swirling back to various points throughout my childhood and college years.

We live near a high school, where just about every day there is some kind of sporting event going on. For me, the sound of a baseball hitting a metal bat delivers me to the days when I lived on the baseball field because either my dad or older brother were playing. Starbucks trips this time of year remind me of when I was in college and worked as a New Student Enrollment leader and would get a grande iced mocha just about every morning, the whipped cream melting into the cold drink creating swirls and clouds. A trip to Home Depot had me hearing the sounds of outdoor wind chimes, reminding me of summer nights listening to the neighbor lady's chimes ringing out with a passing breeze. And, of course, freshly mowed grass -- one of my least favorite smells of all time -- is so prevalent that it reminds me of growing up in a home with a mom and a dad and two brothers, one of which mowed the lawn begrudgingly on the hottest days while I avoided the sun inside.

Back in those days, I hated being outside in the heat. These days, I cherish days where I can sit outside and work in the sun.


Something odd happened a few nights ago when I went to bed too late and couldn't fall asleep. Tossing and turning because of the extreme discomfort of this pregnancy, it suddenly hit me: I only have about a month left where Asher is my only child. Just weeks left where he is the absolute center of my universe and the only little human that I have to share my life and my love with. The smack of reality that soon he'll be moved slightly to the side so that I can love and nurture a second child still stings. I don't know why I hadn't considered the reality before. How does a parent love two children? How does a parent find a space for two little humans in her life?

The love of my life.
To be frank I'm terrified. Asher has been all I've had and all I've known in my life. When iBoy entered my world, he was old enough that he didn't need me in the same way that a baby, toddler, child does. He didn't rely on me for everything from food to putting on shoes to kissing a boo-boo to ushering away scary bumps in the night.

Asher is my world. When Mr. T was gone for nine months, the reality hit me that I would be happy with just my little man forever and ever. If I never had another munchkin, my heart was full and I'd be fine. And, even though I've been pregnant for months, I've still been living with that reality.

I'm scared that I've given him to prominent a place in my heart and mind, that when this new little one shows up that I either won't be able to give it the love and attention it needs or that I'll be completely unable to provide that love and attention to Asher. As I said, I'm terrified.

Is it something normal a parent faces with a second child? Does it just work, like everything else in pregnancy, child bearing, and rearing? Do you just figure it out?

How do you love and parent two children?