Tuesday, December 27, 2011


For the past two years, I vowed to gain 30 pounds for the year. I had good reasons for this. In 2010, my logic behind the weight gain came from how every other year I vowed to lose, I instead ended up gaining. So why not use this reverse psychology (reverse-reverse psychology?)to have my body go the other way? Well, in 2010, I guess I did take the weight gain resolution literally. I got pregnant--no way I was losing weight that year. In 2011, my doctor told me to gain weight--probably the biggest pleasantry of pregnancy.

I actually never gained the full thirty pounds. Instead, I gained 26. But this year, I'm cutting the reverse psychology b.s., facing the truth, and am going to do the darn thing. I'm losing this weight. I want 40 pounds off of my person by the time New Years rolls around next year. Is that too much to ask? Probably. But I have my reasons: keeping up with Jude, being healthy, feeling good about myself, shopping for cuter clothes, and the thrill of a challenge.

I feel I have the makings to do this. I've picked up some insightful work out tips that I plan to implement this upcoming year, and I like eating healthy food. My biggest obstacles in this endeavor are time and energy. After a full day's work, I find it hard to want to do anything besides play with the baby and crash. However, I need to do this. I don't like the way I look now, and I'm a firm believer in making changes if something isn't going right. The first few weeks, maybe months are going to be tough, but I hope to see results that will keep me going.

I can do this. Surely, I can do this.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Working Mom

So I had to think long and hard about the title of this blog entry, and decided I would keep the "Working Mom" title after all, even if it means my husband will proudly link it to the Rush song. (I married Jeffrey for countless number of reasons; his fascination with the band Rush was not one of them.)

Also, it's been a while since my last post. Why? Well, it has to do with the content of this particular post. I am a mama, and I work.

Some may say we timed Jude's birth perfectly. The English teacher and band director had their firstborn in June, just after spring semester final exams and right before putting together a halftime show. The truth is, we would have welcomed a baby any ol' month.

I used to think the summer of 2001 was the best summer of my life. That summer I plunged wholeheartedly into independence. I had just finished my first year of college, moved to Oxford to live with my sister, held a job and took summer classes at Ole Miss. Between Trigonometry and my shift at Abner's, Amanda and I relaxed on the couch watching Springer, drinking rum runners, and smoking cigarettes. Those three vices equalled one perfect life. I put sleep on the backburner many nights in order to enjoy a party, earn a little extra cash for closing the restaurant, or carry on conversations about what my future absolutely did not hold for me (i.e. becoming a teacher like my mother--HA).

Fast forward ten years later, and my summer consisted of learning the ropes of motherhood. Once again, sleep took a hike, but this time, I wasn't going to a party. Instead, I was tending to the every need of the latest and greatest fellow in my life. Those eight weeks of learning Jude's different cries (hunger, wet, or just plain ol' pissed off), trying to keep the house in order (that shipped sailed about two weeks post partum), and bonding with my child were some of the most precious times I will probably ever have. However, just as I couldn't drink the rum-runners and smoke the menthols every day (luckily, those were just habits limited to my nineteen-year-old self. She was about a dumbass, by the way), so too did my glory days spent with Baby Jude have to end.

I have to say, I do not feel guilty about going back to work. When I dropped Jude off at Lilly's for the first time, sure I cried, but I knew what I had to do, and luckily I went back to work because I wanted to go back. I do miss Jude during the day, and I'm always excited to see him when I pick him up from Lilly's house. When I returned to work, I realized just how much I missed my colleagues and my students. This job was never just a paycheck to me but instead a really large part of who I am, something God has called me to do. Of course, I never was one to do something for anything other than the sheer fulfillment of it. For the past five and a half years, with very few setbacks, I have looked forward to coming to Holmes Monday through Friday and facing whatever challenge was in store for me that day.

Whenever I am home with Jude, I truly enjoy my time with him. We read stories, go for walks, hang out in the kitchen, and totally take advantage of learning about the new world he and I have both found ourselves.

Of course, I guess my glory days of staying at home didn't really end. Since I get an extended Christmas holiday and ten weeks off in the summer, I guess we could say the glory days are put on "Pause" for now.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Working Out

When Jude was born, he took what little ab muscles I had with him. For the past four months, I've examined, poked, prodded, jiggled and sucked in this silly putty that sits in place of my abdomen. I've come to realize the strangest thing about pregnancy is not the disproportional look of being pregnant, but the aftermath of when the little booger moves out.

For all interested parties, I gained a total of 26 pounds during the pregnancy, and at my 5-6 week post-partum check-up, had already lost 24 of it. Let me tell you something I've learned. Numbers lie.

I may be back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but my body is certainly not back to its pre-pregnancy form. I have slightly wider hips and a mini-FUPA (this is basically a crass acronym that my friend Sarah and I once spent hours (literally--hours) laughing over. I won't tell you what the letters stand for, but it's basically a sagging stomach. And it is ugly.) I only have one pair of jeans that fit (well, they button and zip but produce a slight muffin-top). Once upon a time, I called those jeans my "fat jeans." Now I just call them "my jeans."

However, in recent weeks, I have seen some changes in my body--positive ones.

All of these changes come, thanks in large part, from Reggie Haralson. Four weeks, ago, I made a commitment. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I get up at 4 a.m., leave the house at 4:30, arrive to Goodman at 5, and begin an hour of grueling workouts created by Reggie. He trains the athletes here on campus, and most of my days working out, I think he mistakes me for one of those young, strong, strapping football/baseball/basketball/softball/whateverball players. After the workout concludes, I shower somewhere on campus (depending on vacancies--haven't thought much about what I would do on a day lacking in vacancies. Can't think about it, really.)

I'm not the only one suffering through the workouts, either. Four of us meet up each time with similar goals toward weight loss and fitness. I have to say that these folks make the waking up and facing the seemingly unattainable challenge a lot of fun. Another fun part I experience includes having Reggie demonstrate some exercise that looks like hell would freeze before I could get my body to move like that, and then I turn around and actually complete it (or something like it.)

Today's workout left me speechless and breathless. We had to do chin-ups (among many other things. O.k. simple enough, but no. Not even close. This contraption which we performed this exercise on required us to climb some 2-3 feet off the ground. (To someone as afraid of heights as I am, 2-3 feet may as well be 2-3 thousand feet.)Once we climbed up, we then moved our hands to the handles and stepped both feet into the elastic band (I wonder if others were as terrified of being the one to break the band as I was). With Reggie's assistance (how much assistance is beyond me since my arms were a hurtin'), we did 10 chin-ups. With my eyes closed the whole time, I tried not to think of plummeting to my death. After my last chin-up, I completely freaked out, so Reggie had to get me down. I should have been mortified, but I was actually quite pleased with myself that I didn't cry. I wanted to cry so very badly, too.

But days like today allow me to test my limits and to do what I initially deem impossible. Of course, I hope we don't do any more chin-ups for a while, but at least I know I can do 10 of them. My hope for Jude is that he will push himself beyond what he thinks possible. Just as I'm getting my body back in shape, Jude is starting to grasp the concept of mobility. And once he finally gets going for good, may nothing stop him from discovering what's beyond possible.

Now, for all of those inquiring minds wondering what happens to Jude while I'm G.I. Janing it at work: Jeffrey gets him up and ready to take to the baby-sitter. He totally understands my drive to exercise, and as a bonus, he gets in some quality time with his son, especially since he gets home late on so many of those days. Perhaps knowing that Jude is in great hands while I go about achieving this particular goal motivates me to push myself more.

No, I don't plan on entering any kind of body building contests any time soon (or ever), but I hope I can continue to exercise with these great people and this great trainer. Plus, maybe I'll get a better body than my pre-pregnancy one out of the deal!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Four Months --Two rounds of shots down, many more to go

Last Friday, Jude turned four months old. That means one thing--another round of shots.

We got to the doctor's, stripped the boy down to his diaper, covered him with a blanket, and waited on the nurse to come in and check his height, weight, head, etc. True to form, Jude behaved practically perfectly--never even noticed his clothes were off (a future NASCAR fan I'm raising, perhaps?).

The nurse came back in to do her business, and we found out that Jude's head circumference is...I can't remember, but he currently weighs 13 lbs. 6 oz. (25 %) and is 24 3/4 inches long (45 %). He's a long, lean baby, that's for sure. Through all of that, he never cried, whimpered, anything.

So I figured I have a few good months left before Jude deduces that doctor=shots. He was doing so good and just flirting away with his nurse. This was a piece of cake.

I was wrong.

In came Dr. Stewart, and as soon as he took that baby, that baby hollered, and he didn't stop until that last shot was given--and that was about 30 minutes later. Yep. Jude rejected that doctor like Brett Michaels would reject a woman with conservative style and strong morals. How did Jude know?????

Dr. Stewart, whom Jeffrey claims resembles the lead singer of Staind, is actually very good with Jude. In fact, Jude has liked him the last two visits, but I guess he recalled those 6-8 week shots and won't have anything to do with Dr. Stewart any more.

Some things Jeffrey and I both learned from the doctor:
1. Jude is pretty advanced for his age, and we should go ahead and baby-proof the house--like right now.
2. Crawling is in our VERY near future.
3. The boy is strong. (He did kick the doctor a few times. We'll work on that later.)
4. and I'm excited about this one---time for solid foods that are not rice cereal (which actually translates to food pureed into a fine paste).

And a final thought on the 4 month check-up: I don't know who was more pitiful--Jude or Jeffrey. Hopefully, Jeffrey will come back with us for the 6 month check-up.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Never Too Early

So what's the one thing that's been on my mind since first learning I was pregnant? Education.

Education started with me.

I needed to school myself in taking care of my body to ensure a healthy pregnancy. I took a common sensical approach--if it's bad for you (in other words, if it tastes good), don't eat it.

Once I got that less than fun practice underway, I next learned how to have a baby. Lots of pictures, diagrams, anatomically correct models, and loads of tasteless jokes later, I wasn't what one would call ready, but I knew kind of what to expect.

Then there was the breastfeeding class. Skip ahead to the next one.

The point is, preparing for a baby, for me anyway, was much like preparing for my Masters Comps, except I didn't get three chances with a baby. I only got one shot (anyone else faintly hear Eminem's "Lose Yourself" playing in the background?). I was determined to make it count, and after all was said and done, I'd give myself a B+. ( I totally missed the part in childbirth class about the possibility of the epidural not working.)

Education did not stop with the birth of Jude either. I've gone from learning about baby bathroom habits to learning about clothing sizes to growth percentile charts to , my latest obsession, introduction to solid foods and how to prepare those foods at home (no jar crap for my kid, at least that's my stand for the moment. I've eaten many words since I've become a parent with "pacifier" being the toughest word to chew to date.)

I figure parenting will just be another one of those "continuing ed." courses. There's always something new to learn. Good thing I love school.

All the while I've spent learning how to achieve perfection as a mother (got a looonnnng way to go on that one), I've also dedicated time to Jude's education. Looking for a way to stress yourself to the point of pulling out hair and curling into a fetal position while rocking back and forth? Try comparing different schools' curriculums, tuitions, extra-curricular activities, and classroom/teacher ratios, wait-lists, and that'll do it!

Yep. Jude turned four months old this past Friday, and I've already researched different private schools where he'll start 4-K, driven by them, calculated how much I need to start putting back, picked up the phone and dialed before hanging up after the first ring (for fear someone at the school will discover what everyone else already knows about me--that I'm a weirdo), and mapped out several alternatives of how Jeffrey and I will get him to and from school since both of us commute 30 minutes from our home to work.

Let me back up and explain. Jeffrey and I live in Canton, MS--a place known for its historical Victorian beauty (although, our home is one of the newer ones--a craftsmen style bungalow built in 1924) and terrible public schools. Given that we stay in Canton (and we do really like the area and love our home even more), Jude will have to attend a private school.

Now, don't get wrong. There's always the possibility he will attend Canton Public Schools. See, these four years before he marches off to elementary are his trial run. During this time, Jeffrey and I monitor Jude's behavior and will take it from there. If Jude acts like a good little boy, we'll send him to private school--no questions asked. However, if he decides to turn into a little terror, he will need the survival training that only Canton Public could offer. Simple enough, and so far, Jude's been a perfect angel, as if he already knows Mama and Daddy's scheme.

Jeffrey and I have already selected a school for him--St. Anthony in Madison. We like the school for several reasons. First, Jude has the opportunity to learn our faith, Catholicism, every day, not just at home but in school as well. Second, St. Anthony takes part in the Whole Schools Initiative--a program through the Mississippi Arts Commission that integrates fine arts across the disciplines. My mother did her doctoral studies on this type of curriculum and serves as a field advisor for Whole Schools. In other words, Jude will have a little piece of family history invested in this sort of learning. Third, the student to teacher ratio is small, which is code for "Hurry up and get him on a wait list."

Anyway, of all the schools in our area, we like this one best. Of course, within four years, things could change. We could end up moving, Jeffrey could leave Holmes and take a job in Madison County School District (which has excellent schools as well), Jude could turn into a delinquent and find himself in Canton Public Schools, or we could have a change of heart about some of the other area private schools.

Of course, what we ultimately want is the best education for our child. Unfortunately, the school we really like as of now is expensive but not entirely impossible for us to send him there. Sacrifices will have to be made, but doesn't that hit at the heart of parenthood?

Every day, I compose a prayer for two things: Jude's education and Jude's future wife. I've long ago accepted (begrudgingly so) that my little boy will one day become a man. If these two things fall into place, maybe he'll turn out o.k.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Choice

I just read a friend's post on some wenches who have, more or less, criticized her for choosing to formula feed her child. One paid her a backhanded comment about how it takes "a real sacrifice" to be able to breastfeed. Read between the lines. Is that heiffer saying my friend doesn't sacrifice enough for her child?

My friend, just like myself, tried to but couldn't. So my question is, what are girls like us supposed to do--starve our children?

I feel fortunate that no one, so far, has approached me about my decision to formula feed. The worst I've gotten so far is "Well, at least you tried," which is actually pretty crappy since I find nothing wrong with a woman choosing not to breastfeed from the getgo.

Fortunately, I've found throughout my life that typically no one really questions me when I have big decisions to make. (Well, there was that stint throughout undergrad where I decided to major in English and even doubled my marketability with a degree in History. My parents, though they supported me, surely had some concerns that I would dwell in one of their attics for the next 30 or so years. I showed them, though. A band directing husband and a Masters degree later, I finally arrived to my career as English Instructor at a community college.)

Anyway, I attribute that I'm never questioned to one or maybe a combo of three things:

(1) I'm already just so brilliant that anybody need not question my motives.

(2) people take notice of my commanding presence (i.e. tall, gym coach-like physique) and find it best not to ask questions

(3) I wouldn't notice someone's doubt if it hit me in the face.

Yeah. The first option definitely proves most befitting.

Back to the baby feeding topic, though. Seriously, I have heard people say things like "No woman lacks the ability to breastfeed". I'm not entirely convinced by this statement's validity. When Jude dropped over a pound of his birth weight in just a matter of days and then took until he was nearly two months to put the weight back on, I think that was my first clue that something wasn't quite working. Not to mention, when I finally gave up the practice, I never had to perform any of those tricks that would help me "dry up," so to speak. So either I'm not a woman (and even though I did drop a gym coach reference earlier, I promise that was me in those stirrups pushing eight pounds of life into the world) or that statement is plain assanine.

I've also heard that same statement backed up with "After all, that's how everyone did it in the old days." Ok. Well, I do buy that. I also believe that infant mortality was higher and, oh yeah, didn't some babies have wet nurses? What ever happened to that sanitary practice?

Anyway, Jude's been a formula-fed baby since about 2 weeks old, and he's happy as a clam and growing like a weed. Maybe he'll be sicker than breastfed babies, but for now, I'll just take the precautions of running a humidifier when he sleeps and bathing him every day. Maybe he'll be morbidly obese one day, but in the meantime, I'll prepare balanced, nutritious meals and encourage daily exercise by playing with him.

So to all those breastfeeding mamas out there. I admire and respect what you're able to do. I wish I was included in that lot. However, I had a choice to make, and I too have a happy, thriving almost four month old.

To my friend: I'm sorry people have been so wretched. You have no idea how this makes my blood boil and my heart hurt My guess is their ability to breastfeed is the ONLY thing that's working out in their lives so they must "latch on" to it. After all, the best way to hide our own inaccuracies is to spin someone else's choice as flawed.

Monday, September 26, 2011

10 Years Ago

I had the opportunity to visit my alma mater, Ole Miss, this past weekend for the football game against Georgia. Needless to say, we stunk. However, my visit there allowed me the opportunity to reflect on September 24 ten years ago.

On September 24, 2001, everyone still could not stop talking about 9/11. Heck, we still talk about it! Honestly, on the tenth anniversary of that tragic event, while many posted about remembering where they were when they heard the news that day, I couldn't bring myself to post about my whereabouts.

To think about my whereabouts that day would only force me to think about IT, and I found myself unsure if I wanted to think about IT.

Then September 24 occurred this past Saturday, and I found myself back in the place where it started.

Ok, so have you had enough suspense yet? (Building suspense in a narrative is something my Comp. 1 students are working on, so I figure why not practice the technique myself?)

Back to the story...

Ten years ago this past Saturday, I woke up with sharp pains shooting through my legs. I didn't think much about it (except for the obvious "Ow"), and I knew I couldn't stay in bed since I had a test in Shakespeare that morning. I thought about driving to class that morning and just taking a parking ticket (hell, I parking tickets never stopped Amanda from getting a more convenient spot), but since I drove a Ford Ranger Pick 'em up Truck with a stick shift (yep, that vehicle would certainly elevate my status on Sorority Row), I thought maybe I'd do better to just walk.

A normal ten minute walk to Bondurant Hall turned into forty-five minutes with many sit-down stops between my dorm and the classroom. On test days, I always arrived super early, so the long journey to class just put me there right on time, and the path to class proved more painful with every step.

As soon as I arrived to class and took a seat, my pains went away. "Thank you, God," I silently prayed, because my first test as an English major, I already felt enough pressure to do well.

I couldn't tell you what the test had on it or if I did well, because as soon as I stood up to hand it in, the sharp shooting pains came back. I thought about just skipping my next class, but a dedicated student such as myself came on anyway. (Ok, ok, my next class was a closer walk than my dorm. However, if Jude ever asks, I went because I was just that dedicated, and he should follow such an example!)

I quickly figured out the cause of my pain. That previous Friday, I had closed at Abner's where I worked on my feet all night, went shopping in Memphis all day with my mom on Saturday, and spent Sunday working the lunch shift at Abner's and then studying all night for the test. Two weeks before all of that, I had busted my tailbone at Abner's (which paid up a cool $6.67 in Workman's Comp.--set for life, I tell you what) and was still sore. Of course that was it! I was tired and still suffering from a broken butt. No big deal.

After my second class with no relief from the pain in sight, I headed back to my dorm to rest before my lab that afternoon. However, I only made it as far as the Student Union since I was afraid I would sleep through the lab and receive a zero for the day. Because really, who wants to explain to the folks putting him/her through school that the reason for the failing grade is because you didn't show up to immerse water-filled plastic tubing into a big ole' jar of water in order to understand osmosis? So I went. Painstakingly so.

The only good that came from attending classes that day was how my pain subsided whenever I sat down. I figured, I could sit it through a boring lab taught by a grad assistant who proved as bored and tired as the material she taught.

Silly me.

Halfway through the lab, the pains came back, only this time they ran up my legs all the way through my spine. It hurt. It hurt so bad.

Luckily my lab partner and I finished earlier than usual and I decided I'd head on back to the dorm and rest up before band practice. And then it hit me.

How in the --bleep--will I make it through band?

Let's back up and explain Ole Miss marching band practice. General policy--for every practice you miss, Mr. Willson drops you a letter grade. Pretty much if you show up on time every day (and I mean EVERY day), you get an A. It's like a turbo GPA booster. I thought a zero in Biology lab would be a joke? A B in band, and I may as well have "Dumbass" tattooed across my forehead.

Needless to say, I was a little worried.

Of course, leaving Biology lab with pains in my legs and then my back, my trek back to the dorm...well...I didn't make it back. Ever again.

I stopped in the Union, which was closer, decided to get a Blimpie sub, and sit. At least then, I wouldn't oversleep and miss seeing Mr. Willson. Heck, I may would even run into a friend from band and hit them up for a ride to practice, especially since the practice field was ALL the way across campus. (Now I know Ole Miss is one of the smaller schools/campuses in the SEC, but that's all relative when you're walking around with a painful gimp in your gait.)

So at the Blimpie counter, I place my order, feel something wet run down my legs and collapse on the floor in front of God and everybody who screams Hotty Toddy.

Ten years later, I still can't decide what was more humiliating--busting my a$$ on the tile floor in front of a large crowd, having UPD swarm me and try to help me stand calling even more attention to my person, being taken out of the Union in a stretcher, relentlessly sobbing from all the trauma, or peeing on myself in the process of falling? One thing was for sure; I had seen better days!

After a prolonged stay in the hospital lots of uncomfortable tests, my neurologist diagnosed me with transverse mylytis--a rare nerve disease where my immune system attacks my body and eats the coating (myelin) around my nerves (why oh why is everything about me centered around hunger).

The disease did more than just keep me from walking. It aged me. I had to drop out of school for a semester. All of a sudden, worrying over a missed band practice seemed so trivial. So did the boy I was seeing at the time. So did those mid-term exams, those silly girls getting ready for Rush, and all that other stuff I had planned on involving myself in that semester. All of a sudden, those things could no longer be important to me.

I got really angry. And I mean, REALLY angry.

But ten years later, I found myself back on that campus, back where that goofy little girl all of a sudden ceased to exist so she could grow up. My condition is dormant. I can walk again. I finished my degree at Ole Miss and went on to get a Masters, I found my true love (also at Ole Miss), I landed my dream job (yes, underachieving freshmen are my calling), and I have Jude.

September 24, 2011 dealt me a rough hand, but ten years later, I finally can see that I won.

I couldn't help but think the other day while visiting my alma mater if Jude would attend Ole Miss. Secretly (or not so secretly), I hope he will. And if he does, he will almost daily walk across that spot where his mother collapsed so many years before. A place where I panicked and thought, for a fleeting moment, that my life was over. He will never fully realize the significance that spot holds, but that doesn't mean the history isn't there.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Using the Cloth

Thanks to the inventors of these, diaper duty has become both easy and economical in our household. Plain and simple fact: babies pee and poop (just like us--WOW). The recepticle in which these pint size people perform this job in can get pretty expensive. This is a Bumgenius 4.0 one size diaper. Some cool features include: it grows with the child up to 35 pounds; it is reusable; it washes well (haven't had a stain yet) with just detergent; it's a time efficient diaper--no spending hours scrubbing needed; and most importantly, Jude seems to like wearing them. The diaper wicks away moisture better than a disposable, in my opinion, and the leaks are not as frequent as with disposables. The best part--I put up a one time expense on these bad boys and never have to buy another diaper again. Sign me up!

I'm in total debt to my friend Libba for using them on her boys (who were born before mine). These diapers came highly recommended by her. Since she's a working mother like myself (and stays waaaaay busier than I do), I figured, "Why not give them a try?" Boy, am I glad I did.

Of course, as with any diaper, there are some cons: the main one being scraping the poop. However, Jeffrey and I invested in the Bumgenius diaper sprayer which hooks up to the toilet and gives off this supersonic jet stream of water to blast that poop right off of there and into the pot. We never have to touch it, and clean-up is done in a cinch!

Another con is the diaper pail. Holy Mackerel! Does that thing stink! At least with disposables, you can stick the diaper in a Diapergenie, and that plastic bag wrapping thingy covers up the odor, but for cloth diapers, it's an entirely different story. However, I keep the odor at bay with Lysol spray and I scrub it out with Lysol lemon scented wipes. That seems to help.

However, with the money I'm saving each week on diapers and the fact that cloth diapering is healthy for little Jude's bum (something I found out from my pediatrician--not sure how it's healthier, though), I guess I can manage the clean-up o.k.

Of course, others' reactions have ranged from utterly disgusted to sheer awe. Just as they don't give two flips what I think of any decisions they make, I could care less what they think of my diapering choice. (Supplemental thought--the second Jeffrey and I announced our pregnancy, people who were parents along with the childless people were hurling opinions at us as if they were stoning a radical religious martyr. The more "You should do this"s I heard, the more I ignored and did my own thing.) However, one opinion outside of our household does matter--the baby-sitter's.

In the near future, I want to write a post on how awesome our child care provider is. I'm not going to go out on a limb and say Ms. Lily loves our cloth diapers. She hasn't said one way or the other. However, she respects mine and Jeffrey's decision and keeps Jude in them rather than insisting he wear disposables. Also, even though I've told her to just put the dirty ones in a plastic bag for me to wash out when I get home, she rinses those dirty diapers before putting them in the plastic bag. I appreciate Ms. Lily for many things since she first started keeping Jude two weeks ago, but this is one of those things that tops the list.

Diapering certainly is far from glamourous. Things that excite me have gone from attending seriously awesome rock concerts to "Hey check out the pressure on this sprayer!" Jeffrey and I made a choice to use these cloth diapers, but I do understand others' choices to use disposables. In fact, friends have given us disposable diapers that their children have outgrown before they finished the package, and we've appreciated the generosity and use them whenever we're away from home for a while. However, I'm not necessarily going to rush out to buy my own since I have a perfectly good set of cloth ones that do the job just fine.

I'm just grateful to have this option available to me. The same people who have expressed negativity toward our decision more than likely aren't people I would turn to for sound parenting advice anyway.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Marriage-A Celebration

Tonight, I learned that my cousin Courtney got engaged to the love of her life. I am so excited for her! (I actually knew this was going to happen since her mom told my mom who then told me; it's been a long week of waiting to hear when we could all start shouting from the rooftops.) Courtney and I have a lot in common--mainly our love of shopping and accessorizing. Her mom, my Aunt Evelyn, always says she blames me for how Courtney turned out. It's one of the best compliments I've ever received. We have shared some really great times together, Courtney and I, and she even opted to have me and our moms go with her on a cruise for her senior trip instead of traveling with her friends. Since I'm my parents' youngest child, I've always kind of pretended Courtney was my little sister--someone I could love and look after--a way to pay forward all of the love I have received from my big sister. And now Courtney is getting ready to be a married lady!

When someone gets engaged and has a wedding, I think these public displays should call all of us married folk to reflect on our marriages. So of course, my wheels have been turning about Jeffrey and me over the years all night!

My marriage is the aspect of my life of which I am most proud. (For now, motherhood is a close second but only because I'm still so new at it and still ironing out the kinks.) Just yesterday, a colleague of ours came up to me and said, "I saw your husband today and was telling him 'I just love Jessica,' and he just looked at me and said, 'I love her too.'" Needless to say, my heart just smiled--mostly because my husband loves me without reserve but also a tiny bit because it's nice to know my wit, charm, and unconventional good looks also pay off at work.

I really believe God put Jeffrey and me together mainly because we would be too oblivious to do it ourselves. We had known each other a couple of years and didn't think a thing about the other, and then one night, it happened. On the record, we say we don't really know what ignited the whole relationship, but off the record, I know Jeffrey saw me in that black Size 6 halter dress (I sure miss those days) doing one of my infamous impersonations of the Huddle House bouncer yelling at Ole Miss frat boys and said to himself, "In Jones County, we call that a catch so time to reel her in!"

However we ended up together, I'm sure glad it happened. Since those Ole Miss days of courting that led to me walking down the aisle, we've only grown to love each other more. (Of course, with our love story initially starting at the Huddle House, we could only go up.)

In the seven years we've been together, we have shared some truly joyous occasions. We drove to Canada, saw several awesome rock concerts including No Doubt and Bon Jovi, purchased our dream home, but one of the best days of both of our lives was the day we found out I was pregnant with our first child. The joy we both felt left us speechless and we just stood in our bedroom just outside the bathroom door holding each other up since we both felt like we were going to collapse.

But just as marriage brings about many calls for celebration, the tragedies that plague it, unfortunately prove inevitable. The same indescribable joy we felt over learning we would become parents was quickly taken away from us when I miscarried three days later. We will never understand why it happened, and it doesn't matter if we know the reason since no answer will ever be good enough. Through all of the crying, screaming, hitting walls, and pulling over on the sides of roads, God saw to it that we grieved together. As individuals, we became stronger people; Jeffrey concentrated on his music and joined a rock band while I took up running. As a couple, we chose to celebrate life. We went to hear bands, stayed out late on weekends, ate good food, and traveled some more. Because of that tragedy, we saw even clearer what we meant to each other and we celebrated, and we have an even more solid partnership than ever before.

Even with Jude finally here, we will always feel that loss. As I've said in a previous post, I don't want to forget and neither does Jeffrey. Forgetting that horrific moment would also mean ignoring that incredible joy, and that's something no one can take away.

All married couples will experience joy, but they will also face tragedy. However, those tragedies prove necessary in order to really feel that happiness and see what they're made of. Since my marriage is my greatest accomplishment, I've been praying for Jude's wife since I was pregnant with him. I plan to write a post in the near future going into more detail about this. Even though this particular post doesn't fit the theme of this blog (a blog about me and my baby), I plan on Jude reading this when he's older and I want him to know, just in case he ever has doubts, how much his parents love each other and how wanted he is.

The way Jeffrey and I love is not for everyone (because really, could every wife out there handle a husband's undying fascination with Sci-fi and the band Rush? I think not.) However, everyone aspires to have those kinds of feelings for his/her spouse that Jeffrey and I have for each other. I wish Courtney and Matt all the best with their upcoming marriage. May they always know what they mean to each other and grow to love each other more with every passing day.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Maternity Clothes

Today marks another significant event in the lives of Jude and me.

I finally banished all the maternity clothes to the basement (ok, except for a few camisole tops--but come on, those things are practical).

What makes this significant? Well, I have my old body back (actually, let's just call it a work in progress) and--the best part-- a living breathing reason for why I needed the clothes in the first place.

Over the years, I have made shopping into an art. I have a talent for scoring top brands at ridiculously low prices. My greatest achievements to date include some Tory Burch fashions from Nieman Marcus for under $100 and a pair of Seven jeans from Maison Weiss for the low, low price of $20. The secret? I don't really know, dumb luck maybe?

As anyone can imagine, my closet has become so jam packed over the years that Jeffrey's clothes have moved to an antique armoir. After lugging my bins of winter clothes to the basement, I had finally decided "Enough!" because 1. my basement is dark and scary and b. searching for my outfit of choice each day had finally become way too cumbersome. I had finally reached a point where I would just wear and enjoy the clothes I already had.

Then I got pregnant.

I had the pleasure of wearing winter, spring, and summer maternity fashions. In the coldness of February, my regular clothes finally gave and I just kept blowing up on into the heat of June. I didn't exactly score any real deals on maternity clothes. Turns out, maternity companies are going to milk you for as much as they can (except if you want to buy moo-moos; those are pretty cheap, and yes, I have one or two). However, the maternity store A Pea in the Pod did award me a $100 gift certificate to restaurant.com that I redeemed at four different restaurants because I guess they figured preggos gotta get fatter and then they could swoop in once again and save the day by selling me more clothes with elastic that gives even more slack.

As far as I can recall, my pregnancy is the only time in my life where I really enjoyed getting fat. The clothes were actually cute and looked fairly decent on me. I have to admit I liked those sizeable coverings that simultaneously clothed me and my child.

The image above is me after an evening of celebrating mine and Jeffrey's seventh wedding anniversary--one week before Jude arrived. At that point, I had a lot of baby and a lot of good food from Char in that belly.

Now all of those clothes are put away in the deep dark corner of that scary basement. As I put them away, I had Jude within my sights to serve as my reminder of how grateful I am that he's finally here. And because of that, I couldn't get sad over saying good-bye to those clothes.

After all, those clothes still live in my house. Maybe one day I'll unearth them from the dark depths of my basement to wear again!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

It's no secret that I am an impatient person and like to have things go my way. I like to have things/attend events/carry out plans/see results--right now. If it doesn't happen right this second, expect to see a fit or two thrown. Then again, after the apparent fit, I can regroup and do the whole "slow and steady wins the race" thing since having my own way trumps impatience but only after I throw my fit--got to throw my fit first. This obvious and oftentimes unattractive part of my persona possibly comes from my Daddy (he likes to have fits too), or it stems from my role as the youngest child (we youngests tend to have a lot of attention heaped upon us as babies and still expect it years later--like 29 years later). So when it finally came time for Jeffrey and I to entertain the idea of having children, little did I know of the roller coaster ride we were in for.

I don't know precisely when Jeffrey and I decided we should go forth and multiply, but I do remember we were not always on board with the idea. When we first got married, I had plans for graduate school, Jeffrey wanted to get established in his career, I wanted something that could pass for a career--wasn't quite sure what at the time, and basically children were the furthest things from our minds.

So after we accomplished those life goals, and add to that a brand new (well, new to us; the place was built in 1924) home and a van (to haul Jeffrey's drums, not for kids--actually, Jude has yet to ride in the van), we finally arrived at the inevitable--kids. We felt pretty good about our position on family. We both pretty much agreed on how we would raise them (although I'm still not totally on board with Jeffrey introducing Jude to sci-fi. I mean, I know he's little now, but eventually I will want Jude to date and get married, and nothing repels a woman quite like Dr. Who.) Anyway, we were ready.

It actually took a few years and a lot of heartache before Jude graced us with his presence. I'm not quite ready to share our experience in detail with the world, and I don't know when or if I can ever put that into words, but for those couples who struggle to have children, you are not alone. You really do have to have patience and lots of it (having God in your corner helps too). But here's what I can say about my experience: Jude was well worth the wait, and I'm saying this after having just changed a blow out of a diaper.

I've had many humbling experiences in my lifetime (and my faithful readers who have been following this blog with its sarcastic wit, you've probably already gathered this). However, this particular one takes the prize. I definitely learned my lesson on patience. Now I'm not going to say that from here on out, I will be the most patient person ever put on Earth who makes Job look like a jealous wretch, because even since Jude's arrival, I've had some setbacks. However, my fits are not as frequent as they once were. After all, when something doesn't go as planned, I now have a little face that looks at me daily to remind me to just let it go.

Friday, July 15, 2011

What's In a Name?

I've always wondered how I got my name. My parents didn't name me after anyone in particular, so how did they come up with Jessica Lea? Since I haven't really gotten a straight answer out of either parent, I'm working on just making up a good story about it. You know, to fill in the gaps. (Hey, Blanche Dubois lived her life telling what "ought to be the truth." That motto's good in theory, I guess.)

Anyway, I figure if Jude is anything like me, he'll wonder about EVERYTHING, and that includes the story of how Jeffrey and I came to name him.

So why did we choose Jude?
Answer: "Because 'Stairway to Heaven' would be a stupid name for a baby!" --spoken by the ever so wise Jeffrey Brown, Jr. Yeah. I married that.

Ok, here's the real story behind Jude's whole name.

Vincent was an easy decision for Jeffrey and for me as well. Vincent was Jeffrey's Papaw's name. Unfortunately, he passed away before I ever knew Jeffrey, but from all accounts I've heard, he was a great man. No surprise there since Jeffrey comes from a pretty great family who has treated me as one of their own since the day I met everyone. Since I love Jeffrey's family, I'm pretty sure I would have loved him too.

So what does my side of the family think about the name Vincent? Well, they all love the name too! Sure they think it's a sweet tribute to someone Jeffrey loved so much, but their enthusiasm stems from elsewhere. See, we have a deep love for all teams Wisconsin. Go up North and cut open any of their veins, and I swear they will bleed green and gold. Half my roots lie in that northern soil, so how appropriate that I would name my kid after the greatest man (or should I say god? Could go either way with that bunch) to come out of that state--Vince Lombardi!

We definitely couldn't go wrong with Vincent.

Then there's the other part of his name and what we choose to call him day to day--Jude. Since announcing Jude's name at 19 weeks pregnant, we have heard more Beatles "Hey Jude" references then I care to stomach. However, both of us really do like that song, and I have always liked the simplistic-no-fuss-monosyllabic names for boys. The other reason we chose Jude comes from a place a bit more personal (and a bit more Catholic). St. Jude is the patron saint of hopeless causes. I'm sure it seems weird to many that I would name a child after someone whose name is associated with something so negative, but for me and Jeffrey, no name proves more appropriate. Before Jude existed, Jeffrey and I experienced a tragedy that really threw us for a loop, and maybe we ended up being better stronger people because of it. What I do know is that I look at my sweet baby every day and am reminded of how far we've come since then. I've never been one to focus on the past--always the future (and I have planned a whole post dedicated to this school of thought). However, our tragedy is something I never want to forget. For me, Jude represents what was lost and what is gained, and I guess that's what makes life so beautiful.

So Vincent Jude--such a big name for such a little guy! Of course, we wouldn't tell this whole story to just anyone because there are some emotional parts behind it, and who would want to witness a snot slinging in the midst of casual conversation? To just any ol' soul who asks about the name Jude, we just tell them we've named him after the heavy metal band, Judas Priest. And since mine and Jeffrey's weirdness is really easy to pick up on, they all buy it!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I had a lot of things to be excited about with my little bundle of joy, but one of the things I looked forward to most was Jude meeting his cousins pictured above. That's Ronnie and Jillian, my sister Amanda's children. They live in Milwaukee, WI and manage to get down to Mississippi a few times a year. They're not twins in the sense that they simultaneously resided in Amanda's womb, but instead we'll call them "Irish twins" since they came one right after the other. In fact, Amanda even pointed out that she started out a school year pregnant with Ronnie and ended that same school year pregnant with Jillian. She really wasn't kidding when she said she loved labor and delivery.

Anyway, those two provided me with much entertainment my first week home with Jude. We played bowling, watched "Calliou" (if you haven't seen the show, the best way I can describe it is Pink Floyd music put into a storyline/cartoon. Basically what I'm saying is, that writer must smoke a pound of weed every hour on the hour in order to create each episode!), chased the Weezy cat (she's not the same anymore), and of course, played with Baby Jude!

These two fell in love with their new little cousin immediately. Actually, Jillian went right up to him and patted his head. Ronnie was a little apprehensive at first but once he decided Jude wouldn't bite, he looked at me and said, "I want to pet her." I guess I should give the back story to that.

Two days before, when Ronnie and Jillian arrived to my house, we all tried to shower them with hugs, kisses, and presents. Ronnie could've cared less; he just wanted to find Weezy-cat. That kid must have some kind of awesome memory because the last time he saw my cat, he wasn't even two yet; that was over a year ago! Anyway, he kept asking, "Where is he? Where did he go," so I explained to him that Weezy was a she. Anyway, I guess he thought since Jude was also mine, then he must be a she who needed to be petted too!

Anyway, it was sweet to see the cousins all getting along during the week. Ronnie and Jillian especially loved rocking Jude in his swing, but the real treat came toward the end of their stay when they got to hold him!

Jude is definitely calmer around them than Weezy was. You've probably noticed there are no pictures of Weezy with the kids. That's because she stayed the hell away. Maybe Jude would've done the same thing, but being only a few days old, where was he going to go?

I definitely had a hard time seeing these two off to Wisconsin. They provided me with a lot of insight of what's to come in the next year or two. All I can say is I better hit the gym now so I can keep up!

Now that Ronnie and Jillian are back in Wisconsin, they still talk about Jude. Whenever I call up there, Ronnie always wants to talk to Baby Jude (he also wants to talk to Weezy-cat; I do a pretty good "Meow" over the phone, but I need to step up my baby-speak). Amanda can't keep Jude's birth announcement on the refrigerator because Jillian keeps walking around the house with it and saying "Baby Dude" over and over again.

It really stinks that Wisconsin and Mississippi aren't any closer than they are. Regardless, I see these cousins being the very best of friends. I look forward to the adventures they'll have, but I'm also a tad bit scared of what they'll get into.

Ronnie and Jillian will be back Labor Day weekend for Jude's Christening. Also that weekend, Jude will get to meet his other cousins, my sister's stepchildren who are also quite fabulous themselves, Payton and Trey!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Labor--Not Just a Day Off Work Part 2

It's been a few days since my last post, babies can be sort of high maintenance, but I'm finally ready to continue my story.

Back in the delivery room, I had given up on having an easy labor. My worst fear--the c-section--was looking more and more enticing with each painful contraction (and by then, those were coming every minute to two minutes). My nurse called the anesthesiologist back in, but she quickly let me know that he may not be able to do a whole lot at that point.

Dr. Pryor, the anesthesiologist, decided he would just take out the epidural and put a new one in. Again, Mama opted to stay in there and help calm me, but this time she would regret her choice. Because the other epidural had numbed everything but my lower right side, getting me into a seated position and into a "C" shape proved quite a daunting task. Not only that, those contractions were still coming on strong. Mama held on to my shoulders and told me everything I needed to do--relax, take a deep breath, close your eyes and think of England (oh wait; that was Queen Victoria to her daughter and also how I ended up in this blasted delivery room), but you get the picture.

Anyway, Mama's pep talk went over as well as a leadened balloon. What with her words, the blood pressure cuff compressing, the needle going in my spine, my spaghetti legs falling off the stool, AND the contractions, I was not in the mood and proceeded to let her know. I'm not sure what I said, but she responded to everyone with "I'm her mother and she knows she can abuse me." Whoops.

Mama also felt it necessary to provide commentary on everything Dr. Pryor was doing. He was actually quite impressed with her descriptions, so I told him "Well, Mama's a doctor just not of the medical kind." He got a good laugh out of that.

After all that, the needle was in place and all we had to do was wait ten minutes to see if the epidural took. After that, there was nothing else he would be able to do. So we waited...

And would you believe...


Finally! Something went right!

As soon as he left, the nurse checked to see if I had dilated any further. As it turns out, I was 9 1/2 centimeters. Whew! That was close! Within minutes, it was time to push this baby out.

I couldn't believe that within a few minutes I would be meeting my little boy. It was the incentive I needed to get him out. So I gave that part my all just like I had pushed myself up that steep hellacious hill at my first 5 k run. It wasn't going to be long at all until I finally got to hold my baby!

Ok, so it only took an hour for me to realize that the pushing part isn't like it is in the movies either. (Hollywood really needs to stop playing with folks this way.) All that drama of inducing labor and getting a new epidural, and that kid still wouldn't come out! Talk about being physically exhausted, but I kept going, mainly because I knew that baby was going to come eventually and once he got here, the nurses would finally cease their patronizing tones of "You're doing so gooood, oh you're doing so good!" Here I lay spread eagle in front of God and everybody; I don't need them talking to me as if I finger painted the most "beautiful" rainbow in the kindergarten class!

So about an hour and a half total, I pushed for what felt like the zillionth time, and after Count 3, the nurses both shouted "STOP" and it was time to call in Dr. Nicols. Freakin' finally! So Dr. Nicols saunters in, asks me why I have the mirror covered up (is she for real?), and delivers the fine fellow you see above.

Here's some other things the movies fail miserably at depicting:

1. The baby comes out a gory mess. Seriously, when they held up Jude for me to view, one of the nurses said "You can touch him." I don't remember if I actually said it (Lord, I hope I didn't), but I did think, "Do I have to?" (Sidebar--just let me know where it is I need to go to accept my Mother of the Year trophy.) The kid was gray. And he had goo on him. (Shivers...) However, they cleaned him up quite nicely, and once I actually did hold him, I fell immediately in love.

2. Speaking of holding the baby, yeah, they don't hand him off to you right away. Oh no. It was at least thirty minutes before I got to hold him due to Dr. Nicols having to stitch me up and the nursing team getting all of his stats. Therefore, I got to sit there in silent agony for thirty minutes thinking that my child looked like the crypt keeper from "Tales from the Crypt."

On the plus side, though, I didn't have the c-section. I had made it and received a pretty amazing souvenir because of it.

Labor and delivery was painful. It was gross. It was scary. But here's the bizarre part. I would do it again. And again. And maybe again after that. No, not everyday like my nutjob sister said she would do, but I definitely have my sights on more children down the road. (I think Jeffrey wants more too, but he accidentally caught a glimpse of Dr. Nicols delivering the afterbirth, so I'm going to give him some time to forget that trauma and then revisit the issue.) Sure it's one hard and tiring day, but when you have the support that I had (I know I give my sister a lot of grief, but really I wouldn't have made it through my first week at home without her--more on that later), a husband who somehow managed to put his weak stomach in check and be there for me, and one sick sense of humor, labor and delivery is totally manageable. Heck, it's a cakewalk compared to actually raising the child! :)

Later on that day, my family had informed me that a terrible storm was brewing during the delivery. Of course, I was a tad bit occupied to notice. We needed the storm since it hadn't rained in over a month. But what's even more significant (and Lord, please don't let this be a foreshadowing moment), Jude arrived to the world at 4:45 p.m., and he brought hail with him!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Labor--Not Just a Day Off Work

Starting a blog was not something I had any interest in until recently. Actually, I never thought I had enough going on to express in anything longer than a Facebook status. Maybe I still don't. You be the judge on that one.

Anyway, I've decided to join the blogger world to share the greatest treasure I've received: my son, Vincent Jude, whom we just call Jude. On June 7, 2011 at 4:45 p.m., life as I knew it took a 180 in the form of an 8lb. 1 oz. adorable baby boy. Gone are the days of sleeping late (or sleeping at all), eating when I want, watching TV when I want, basically doing anything when I want. And guess what? I couldn't be happier! Today, Jude turned four weeks old. I realize time is just going to speed by, so I better get off my rump and record some of his most memorable moments (and some of the least memorable--what can I say? I'm a proud mama!) I'm amazed at how quickly four weeks has passed and a little scared, too. I mean, what's next? College? So I figure I'll start from the beginning.

In short, I found out I was pregnant with the little guy on October 1, 2010. Boy, was that a long time to wait until my due date of June 4 (and Jude kept us waiting three days past that)! Jeffrey and I were so excited and even a little nervous, but I'll save that for another post. Anyway, I spent my entire pregnancy trying to do everything right--eating sensibly, light to moderate exercise, resting, you get the picture. Jeffrey and I took childbirth classes, and while they seemed helpful at the time, and really they were, my labor and delivery went nothing like what I had mentally pictured.

About a month before Jude's due date, I was delighted to find out that I was dilated half a centimeter, and I just knew that baby was coming that weekend! About two days before his due date, I was disheartened to find out that I was STILL dilated half a centimeter. Jude was not coming out. Dr. Nicols told me that I would have to be induced. I was not happy. I had heard one nightmare story after the other about inductions, and they all ended in one way: C-SECTION. Now I know many women have had this procedure and those same women all had beautiful healthy babies and recovered remarkably. However, those women don't have the fear of the knife, general anesthesia, and hospital stays that I do. That fear probably stems from that eternity I stayed in the hospital when I was nineteen. But I digress. Dr. Nicols scheduled me to come in the following Monday evening to start Cervadil, a drug that would help me dilate, and then the next morning labor would begin with a hearty dosage of Potossin (or however you spell it).

My sister Amanda along with my niece and nephew had come down from Wisconsin to help me out around the house. Also in town awaiting Jude's arrival were my mom and dad. Jeffrey had to go into work on Monday morning to interview folks for the dance coach position, so I was glad to have the company just in case Jude decided to come on his own (and was I ever hoping he would!) Mama made my favorite meal: salmon croquettes, flat fried potatoes, homemade mac and cheese and surely there was a green vegetable worked in there, but now I don't remember. Daddy kept calling it my "last meal" since who knew when I'd be able to eat again? The food was delicious as always when Mama cooks, but I didn't eat a whole lot since I was so nervous.

Anyway, after a small little meltdown, a shower, make-up, and a generous helping of homemade strawberry shortcake, it was time for Jeffrey and me to head to the hospital--ready or not. Amanda kept telling me "Labor and delivery is easy. If I didn't have to be pregnant and raise the child, I would have babies every day." I'm not sure why, but those words made me a little less nervous.

After getting checked into the hospital and changed into my ever so fashionable gown, the nurse gave me the Cervadil, and we waited. It was pretty uneventful--or so it seemed. I was reading "Eat, Drink, and Be From Mississippi" (still working on it a month later by the way, but good book nonetheless), when my nurse Christy came in to adjust the heart monitors. I didn't find any reason to be alarmed since she had been in the room a couple of times before to do the same thing, so I just kept reading. (By this time, Jeffrey was passed out on the couch. Hospitals have that effect on him.) All of a sudden Christy flattens my bed and starts turning me from side to side. Meanwhile, my book had fallen out of my hands somewhere. She then buzzed another nurse for assistance, and the two of them kept turning me side to side while telling me "Don't panic. Don't say anything." Yeah. That was easy. Next thing I know, I'm strapped to an oxygen mask for the rest of the night, and they yanked the Cervadil since the baby's heart rate was dropping. Great.

The next morning, Dr. Nicols came in to check on things (still hadn't dilated any), but she decided to start the potossin anyway. She also tried to break my water. I'll spare you the details, but it did hurt! And then come to find out, my water didn't break, and she was going to have to come back and try again! By that point, I was thinking maybe I should take all of this back. As soon as she left, I had to go to the bathroom, so the nurse helped me out of bed. When I stood up, well, let's just say it was like those women who go into labor in the movies. Dr. Nicols didn't have to try again; I should have been embarrassed by the whole ordeal, but I was too relieved to care.

Wouldn't you know that about an hour later, the baby's heartrate drops again and the nurses are back tossing and turning me around, and back in the oxygen mask I go for the duration of the labor! Dr. Nicols comes back and tells me if his heartrate drops one more time, she's cutting me open. At that point, I really did want to take it all back!

My mom showed up to the hospital and so did my in-laws. We had a nice visit, but then the contractions were getting more intense. The nurse came in to check for dilation, and I was at four centimeters! Then the anesthesiologist came in to start the epidural. Jeffrey opted to leave for that part, but Mama chose to stay. I wasn't at all scared of it since I wouldn't be able to see it, plus I have a pretty high pain tolerance.

O.k. o.k. I once had a high pain tolerance. Turns out, when it comes to labor, I'm a complete wuss. The epidural worked--except for my lower right side. So down flat I lay with this wedge under that side and that stupid oxygen mask covering my face and that damned blood pressure cuff contracting around my arm for what felt like every five seconds. All I knew to do was shout "Amanda is full of crap! She lied to me" over and over again. How dare she tell me that labor was awesome! Labor sucked! There's no way she could have babies every day! Jeffrey, of course, found this whole thing funny since he wasn't the one being blamed for my predicament.

By then, I was thinking that maybe I should take that C-section after all.

So digest all this, and I'll post more next time.