Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Pregnant Mother (by another blogger)

Pregnancy, and the expectation of the birth of a child, brings joy to entire families. Not only the parents to be, but the grandparents and siblings of the expectant couple all wish to share the joy of this miraculous event. A new baby in the family is a wondrous thing. However, many people seem to forget the pregnant mother in all the excitement. Grandmothers and aunts start planning what they will do and give to the child. Family members sit and discuss who will be at the actual birth and who will get to hold the baby first.

Grandparents run out and buy entire nursery sets and decide color schemes.

Many expectant Grandparents see a grandchild as their opportunity to do all that they could not do when they, themselves, were parents for the first time. People tend to forget or run over the feelings and desires of the actual mother to be. Some family members even go so far as to accuse the pregnant mother of being selfish. Any time a pregnant woman will announce HER wishes, it is swept under the rug as raging hormones, and the other family members go on planning HER life. The following are situations that often occur during a pregnancy.

1 - Grandparents start to decide what the baby will be named. In fact, many grandparents start to insist, and are then angry and hurt that they do not get to name the grandchild. They also believe that they have the right to veto a name that is not appealing to them. As much as this child will be a part of the grandparent's family, they already named their children. This is the sole right of the expectant parents.

2 - Decorating the nursery: Many relatives start going all out and buying entire nursery sets for the new infant. Either that, or they totally disregard the mother’s wishes as to color schemes and decorating wishes for the baby’s nursery. People, this is NOT your baby. Please honor the mother and let her have the joy of decorating HER child’s room.

3 - There have been various occasions where the Grandparents go out and buy an entire nursery for THEIR home, with the intention of the baby staying overnight quite often. There have been, unfortunately, many instances where the Grandparents will keep some of the shower gifts at THEIR home, so that THEY will be able to use them for the baby. Once again, we must iterate, this is NOT the Grandparents’ child. It belongs to the mother and father who conceived him/her. Most mothers want to have their infants/children with THEM at all times. This is NATURAL.

4 - The question of who attends the birth. Nowadays, there is a loud voice demanding that things be FAIR (e.g. “If the pregnant woman’s mother is with her at birth, then it is only FAIR that the husband’s mother be there as well.”). Many families are quite put out when they are told that they cannot be in the birthing room. They call the pregnant woman SELFISH. In this situation, the only people being selfish are those who demand the right to be in the audience, and this includes the father of the child. Many a time a man has berated his spouse, because she does not want his family members in with her while she is in the throws of labor. What people seem to forget is that, while this is a miraculous moment, there is an actual HUMAN BEING going through labor here. Just as everyone has the right to privacy when going under surgery, so does a woman have the right to privacy when she gives birth. While the event is miraculous and beautiful, it is also one of the most undignified positions a woman can find herself in, if she has people staring at her personal parts. No one has the right to demand attendance or be hurt by not being there. Not even the father of the child has the right to allow someone in the birthing room, unless the mother gives her consent. Please do not guilt the expectant parents. Do not barge into the room when told not to. NO ONE has the right to do this. Fathers, do NOT tell your spouse that she is being unfair not to allow your parents view the birth. You did not ask them to be there at conception. Do not insist now.

5 - Holding the child after birth: While we acknowledge that the desire to hold one’s grandchild, niece, or nephew after birth is a very natural and accepted desire, the mother and father have the RIGHT to hold their child first. They even have the right for a bit of quiet time to enjoy this bundle of joy. Please hold your excitement for a bit, and let the actual parents bond with THEIR child. The mother has just gone through hell. Let her enjoy the payment. You will have ample opportunity to hold and coo over the child.

6 - Visitation after birth: A woman who has given birth is just like someone who has gone through surgery. She needs time to rest, and she needs peace and quiet. She does NOT need tons of relatives coming to visit. She does NOT need the grandparents sitting by her bed 24/7. She certainly does not need rude people who refuse to leave, even when she nurses the infant. Also, as exhausting and hard as the birth is also on the father, his wife needs him WITH HER. He should not be catering to his family or going home to rest and leaving his wife alone at the hospital while he entertains relatives. The time for entertainment will soon come. Taking a couple of days off and spending it helping the mother of your child is the RIGHT thing to do.

7 - Visiting once the mother and child are home: While it is perfectly understandable that relatives want to see the baby, they must remember the mother. She is tired and needs her rest. She needs alone time with her husband so that they can get used to this new person in their household. The parents need bonding time, before the entire world goes back to its regular orbit. Soon, the father will go back to work and the home must be taken care of. Give them a week. Also, many Grandparents want to come visit and "help" the new mother. Helping means doing the wash and the dishes. Helping means cooking, cleaning and doing the shopping. Helping does NOT mean sitting around, constantly taking the baby from its mother and waiting to be catered to. Helping also does NOT mean telling the mother all the things she is doing wrong, how her baby is starving and should get the bottle instead of the breast, and generally berating her for all her child raising decisions.

8 - Grabbing the baby: There is a very NASTY and HURTFUL habit of relatives and friends simply grabbing the infant from its mother’s arms. No one has the right to do this, not even the grandmother who just wants to hold her grandchild. No one has the right to do this. If you want to hold the baby, then ASK!!!!. The same thing goes for grabbing the baby from the stroller, or waking the baby up. If the child is asleep, leave her/him be!!!! ASK the mother if you can hold her/him. This is also true when it comes to giving the child BACK to his/her mother. If the baby cries and the mothers asks to have him/her back to feed the infant, THEN GIVE THE BABY TO HER. There are numerous instances where a grandparent will refuse to hand the baby back, citing that the baby is NOT hungry, or that h/she needs a bottle and not the breast. No one has the right to refuse to hand a child back to the mother.

Please remember, in all this excitement, that it is the pregnant woman who carries the child for 9 months under her heart. SHE is the one who throws up, feels sick and has to run to the bathroom every ten minutes. The MOTHER is the one who goes through labor/surgery and has the child. SHE and her husband are the only ones who have a say in what goes on during and after the pregnancy. Let them ENJOY this special occasion, and do not ruin it for them with selfish desires. Also, do NOT put the husband in an awkward position. Many men are pitted against their parents and their wives. Please do not put a son in this position. Yes, he has to honor his parents. Yes, he loves his parents. However, he loves and honors his wife as well. This child was created by TWO people, with no help and interference the grandparents (on BOTH sides). No man should be put in the position to have to placate his parents at his wife’s expense.

One more thing that we would like to speak about has already been mentioned above. Many a father finds himself torn between his parents and siblings and his spouse. There should be no problem here. When you decide to marry/live with/start a life with a mate, then you have made a commitment to this person. THEIR desires should count above all others. Especially when it comes to something so precious as a child. Please remember that if you find yourself in the middle it is NOT your spouse who put you there, but your parents/siblings. Your spouse agreed to have YOUR child, yours and hers. She did not agree to be an incubator so that relatives on either side could have a child. When it comes to birth and childrearing, the ONLY two people who have a say are the actual parents of the child. To demand and insist that others have the right to tell the mother what to do is WRONG. To try and guilt one’s spouse into placating your parents/siblings is to betray and belittle her. By doing this, you are telling her that she is nothing in your eyes, and that her only duty is to bow down to you and your wishes. Please do not use the old worn phrase of honor thy parents, because your spouse IS NOW a parent and HER desires with HER child should be honored. Also, please take into account the implications and the results of your actions. If you side with others against the desires of your spouse, it will lead to resentment and lack of respect on her side. By you showing her that you have no respect for her as the woman who carried your child (and in pain shalt thou bring forth children) you are letting her know, intentionally or not, that you have little or no respect for her feelings AND WELL-being.

This article is NOT meant to bash anyone. It is not meant to try and ruin the very miraculous event of the coming of a child into this world. The only thing this article is meant to do is to remind people WHO is important here, and to protect the mother who wants to raise HER child.

Friday, March 5, 2010

In Memorandum.

Today at 12:41 pm CST, marks the official two year anniversary of Shawna and Ken's death...

Shawna Ralph and Kenneth Savage were killed on March 5, 2008 by a man named Jared Elkins in a head on collision. Jared was not paying attention to the road and was allegedly on his phone or iPod. Shawna tried to swerve away from Jared as he came right at her, but the guard rail on the side of the road stopped them from moving further away from danger and then he hit them going 60+ mph. Since they were stopped, it doubled the speed of the impact.
Ken had just turned 18 in January or that year, Shawna was exactly three weeks shy of turning 18.
They missed finals. They missed senior prom. They missed graduation. All because of one selfish, deplorable man who just couldn't bring himself to keep his eyes on the road.

I will never forget that day, or the days and weeks that followed. A black cloud seemed to hang over all who were affected, even though the sun was shining and life seemed to be moving all around us.
I always wonder, if I had only called her to invite her and Ken to lunch, would they still be here? If I had been a better friend to her, would she still be around? What if I had agreed to meet them elsewhere, would they still have met the same fate? I hate not having the answers.
Shawna was the best friend a person could ask for. To me, she was a sister. She had been one of the only friends I had that stayed true to me through thick and thin. She meant, and still means the world to me.
Ken was the funniest guy I had the pleasure of knowing. He was also very pretty, and he was well aware of this fact. But he was not as cocky as I just made him sound. Most of the time he was humble. He was sweet. He knew when he needed to listen and be a shoulder for you to cry on, and he knew when to give you one hell of a reality check. They both did.

Every day that they are gone, my heart aches for them. I never got to say "Goodbye".
All deaths are painful for those left behind, this I know. But part of me wishes I had seen this coming... Like a sickness, not an unpredictable car accident. I wish we all had more time with them... So we could all get the closure we so desperately need.I wish I could get the closure I need.

Last night, I was warning Derek and apologizing in advance for the mood I knew I was going to be in. He said there was nothing to apologize for and that he had an idea.
This idea ended up being a "going away" party of sorts. One where he said that perhaps I could call friends, reminisce, remember the good times and laugh about the bad... Because looking back, the bad times weren't really all that bad to begin with. He said we could go around and get all their favorite foods and chow down... Like Mountain Dew, Reeces, Chicken nuggets with honey, and taco bell. He said since they both loved Tim Burton, we could also go and watch Alice in Wonderland, and they really would have loved that movie.
When he first suggested it, part of me thought it was a great idea, the other part of me thought it was stupid because all I really wanted to do was crawl into bed, curl up into a ball, cry, and pretend this day didn't exist. But now, I'm starting to think it will be very cathartic.

Perhaps they are up there wanting to party, too.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Put one foot in front of the other...

So it's been a few days since the big blow up with Derek's oh so darling family... And it feels amazing to not have to hear any of their voicesor see their terrible grammar, horrid spelling, and over use of exclamation points spewed onto my social networking sites. I mean, I love his mother, but she definitely showed her true colors. I'm not one to enjoy people that use passive aggression as a technique or that try to play the victim when they are told "no." I like meeting the bull at the horns, and I like people that do the same. It gets things done much quicker. Plus, if you disagree on something, two peoplle that actually address their problems rather than hiding them and being little shits about it, usually resolve things much quicker or simply agree to disagree. Whereas with a passive aggressive victim type, you may feel so frustrated with them that you are inclined to junk punch them into another universe. And then you make yourself look like an ass. And we don't want that, now do we? So it's definitely been a nice little break -- a break that will last a lifetime for some members of his family, which I personally have no problem with. Better to protect my child from horrendous people than to allow them the possibility and opportunity to whisper lies into my little girl's ears about how mommy corrupted daddy and made him her slave and tore their family apart. Yes, seriously. I wouldn't put it past them.

Moving along now. I am now 30ish weeks along in my pregnancy and I cannot wait for it to be over. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy getting first dibs on bathrooms, having people offer their seats/spot in line to me when at a restaurant or store. I enjoy the feeling I get when I feel baby kicking or how funny it feels when I feel the rhythm of her hiccups. But I am tired of the gross parts. You know... Gas, rib pain, nerve pain, vomiting, heartburn that doesn't seem to have an end, constantly changing sleep schedules, always having to pee, Braxton hicks, you know... The works. I know that once baby is here I will have to deal with poop, crying, screams, feedings, and a complete lack of a sleep schedule altogether, but at least those are things I can accept and that are, for the most part, tangible and to be expected. Not to mention I have just begun to have stretch marks... I am so not okay with this. I have gone 6+ months without them, why are they showing up now? I still have a bit of pudge that baby can use when she grows, why stretch the skin and leave the fat? Jesus.
Today I asked Derek is I could just trade stomachs with him and he could carry baby the rest of the term... And I could deal with the weigh-ins at his job. He declined, though I am not sure why. I thought it sounded like a pretty sweet deal. He said, "But you're almost done! Just ten more weeks. You'll be fine." Ugh. Ten more weeks seems like forever, though. It's funny, the longer I am pregnant, the faster it seems that time had flown by. But the closer I get to the due date, the longer it feels like it will take. Ten weeks, Chloe. Just ten more weeks. Six, if she really wants to come early.

And since we're talking about pregnancy, I am terrified of giving birth at a base, seriously. I've had a pretty good experience with my mid-wife so far, but base medical, not so much. Especially not at the ER. I know I won't be going through the ER when I go into labor, but the simple fact that "doctors" and nurses like that actually exist at this hospital freaks me out. Like... What if they somehow end up working in Labor and Delivery when I have to go through there? I don't want a some incompetent corpsman that can't seem to find an already protruding vein or a power-tripping officer with medical "training" that calls himself a doctor touching me or even talking to me. I'll be stressed out enough as it is. I don't want a bunch of corpsman walking in and out of the delivery room or the place they have me beforehand just so they can say they did their rounds or get trained. I want a professional. Not them. No one needs to see me like that, anyway. Seriously. I especially don't feel comfortable with it if I am going to be on the table/bed thing spread eagle with my cooch out for all to see. Not okay with me. Maybe I can express this to my mid-wife and the nurses on-call and mybe they'll ignore all of their military medical training and actually listen to the wishes of the screaming, hormonal pregnant woman who is about to pop out a watermelon out of a hole that shouldn't even ever be the size of a lemon in the first place. Here's to hoping.

I am extremely glad, though, that in order to get on base you have to have an I.D. Or a damn good reason to be there. And even if they get on base and have never been there before but are there to crash the time baby is at the hospital, they are not sure where to go or even how to get to the hospital. This means no unwanted visitors. I mean, I'll still be telling the hospital that I want to register as a private patient and to ask me before allowing anyone in to see me, but the fact that Pendleton is a bitch to navigate through is seriously appealing.
However, I am torn when it comes to guests once I actually leave the hospital. Who will I allow into the apartment? Who will actually listen to our requests? Who, of all the people we allow inside, will actually help out around the house rather than sitting on their asses playing 'Pass the Baby'? Who will stress us out and who won't? And how long do they expect to be able to stay versus what I am willing to stand? Who will pitch a fit when I tell them they will need to find a hotel? All this terrifies me. And just like with the guidelines Derek and I set out on the Facebook page that seemed to put his family's panties in a twist, I know people will think I am being inconsiderate for not wanting that many people around and not wanting people to stick around for too long, let alone not letting them stay at our already small one bedroom apartment overnight. I figure, I just when through a pretty big life-changing experience, not to mention a huge medical procedure, I can say what I want or don't want to allow. I figure that it is time for Derek and I to bond with our baby... We shouldn't have to worry about stepping on anyone's toes. Right?
I mean, of course I want people to see our child. I don't want to pull a Brangelina or a creepy Scientology thing by keeping my child in hiding for six months to a year... But Jesus Christ. I am simply terrified of having to go through upon having a child when it comes to having guests soon thereafter.
I have had friends that invited everyone and their dog to come visit them and the baby, and I've had friends that limited visitation to a few close relatives. In both groups, I have heard more stories about how their guests just sat around, held the baby, interrupted feedings and nap times, made messes, and expected the new mother and father to cater to them and clean up after them. This is a situation I want to avoid entirely. Basically, I need to figure out who will help Derek and I out, and who will feel entitled to sitting on their ass just to hold the baby and make more of a mess for the woman who is recovering from childbirth to clean up. Is that so wrong? I hope not. The easy part will probably be pissing off the people I don't want around to the point that they leave. The hard part, however, will be actually figuring out who will be on which part of the list.

Below this post is the link to the Lemon Clot Essay, just to make my point. :)

The Lemon Clot Essay

The following is a link to an essay that I will be referencing in my next post. Read it and weep. Or be mildly disgusted. Whichever.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Let's start this show off with a bang, shall we?

There is a lot of background to the situation I am about to talk about, some that doesn't need to be discussed, but probably will be discussed. :) What is the point of having ablog if you can't write about the things going on in your life? Ah. That's right, that would be counter productive.
Anyway, let's start off from the beginning of my marriage. I am starting there, simply to gve a bit of insight. The rest of the story will be revealed through out later posts... As there would be too much to cover should I choose to talk about all of it now.
My husband and I got married at a simple civil ceremony that was witness only. The witnesses were two of our very dear friends that were stationed out here in California with my husband. Pretty normal, right? Well something I forgot to mention was that neither of our families knew we even had plans to get married. I know, bad Chloe. But it seemed like the right idea at the time. Well, we got married in February of 2009 and it wasn't until March or April that his family figured it out. His mother was fine with it, his grandmother said "it's about time", and his sisters flipped shit. Thus beginning the downward spiral that is my relationship with his eldest sister.
From then on, his sister would try to find anything and everything to bitch about to Derek about me. And unfortunately, he allowed her to continue saying terrible things about me. He also participated in adding fuel to her already very hateful fire by telling her every little detail of our fights, but usually conveniently left out key facts that said he had done something wrong, either. But God forbid poor little Derek ever do anything wrong, right?
Anyway, whenever either of them had a problem with me, no one would talk to me about it so that I could understand, stop, or fix the situation. Nope, instead they spoke to each other. Thus leaving me completely out of the loop when it came to even my own marriage. So one day, his sister apparently had it with me and began to harass me, threaten me, message, call, yell, etc. Anything she could possibly think of. So when I finally blew up at her, I told her everything her poor little brother had ever done to warrant any of the fights or lack of trust that I had in him. She was livid. I was, too. I mean seriously? What kind of bitch says things like "I will kill you" to her brother's wife? Oh that's right, trash.
So I go to Derek, not knowing he has part of the problem and demand that he stand up for me. I demand that he tell his sister to leave me alone... Since my threats to her about filing harassment charges aparently fell on deaf ears. He refused.
I know what you're thinking. "Girl! You should have left that boy right then and there." But believe me. At the time I has a spine of jell-o. So enter the next day. Derek finally tells his sister to apologize, but fails to inform me that he promised her an apology from me as well. So she calls, she starts apologizing and then adds a clause to her apology. Then demands an apology from me. When I refuse, she flips out again. This time, she won't stop calling. I am already stressed out from the night before, and I cannot get a hold of my husband. So, my body responds by having my stomach form ulcers and I begin to vomit blood. Yeah. That's fuckin' stressed.
I end up having to drive myself to the hospital in severe pain, vomitting blood, and her still texting and calling. I tried to ignore her calls but that only seemed to fuel her anger. So I try to get a hold of my husband, and get nothing back. So I call his command, let them know what is going on, and they FORCE him to come meet me at the hospital. That's right, he had been ignoring me so that he can talk to his sister and make her feel better. Amazing, right?
That night, I tell him he needs to stand up for me. He claims he already has, but we all know that isn't the truth. So I tell him he needs to call her, while in front of me, and tell her to leave me alone. He begins to get angrier and angrier, and eventually storms out without his cell phone. That's right. He walked out on his wife who had potentially peptic ulcers in her stomach. He was gone for well over three hours, too. I had gotten into my car and drove around looking for him, but I couldn't find where he went. When he finally came back, he had aparently walked to Wal Mart.
Anyway, needless to say I never got a real apology from his sister and it took weeks for him to finally apologize to me for the bullshit he caused and put me through.
However, since then his sister and I made up and had been pretty okay with each other. Until we had to move up the formal ceremony for our wedding. She didn't have any vacation days left and therefore couldn't attend. She was pissed, but at least I got to have my grandfather there. Eventually she moved on and all was well with the world. Except for that whole bit about my husband was secretly sending them the one sided info train on how much of a monster I really was.
Fast forward to Christmas. We went up to his hometown for Christmas and all seemed to be well. I was five months pregnant and still horrendously nauseous. His family is a bunch of smokers but they smoked outside while I was there, and Derek had stopped smoking as far as I knew. So I thought that was really nice of them, especially considering I hadn't asked them to and Missouri is fucking cold in the winter. Well, it stopped being such a nice gesture whenever I would overhear their conversations about me. His sisters bitched about me, called me an inconvenience, and basically said terrible things about me behind my back. So I went to my husband and let him know how I felt about it. I told him that not only was I out of my element but I was also beginning to feel unwelcome and hurt. He brushed it off. I would later find out he was saying the same things about me that they were and that he was in fact still smoking with them and lying to me about it. Cute, huh?
Eventually, a fight erupted between my husband and I, and rather than standing up for me to them, he called me a bitch and told me to apologize to his family for constantly disrespecting them. Aparently cooking, cleaning, and keeping my mouth shut was disrespectful. Who knew?
When we were finally on our way back to the airport to fly back to California, he and his mother were talking about how it will be so good to see him again in the summer when we came by to visit before moving back to Texas. This was something my husband and I had talked about, and had actually decided that since our child will be 2 months old at the time that we would be moving to Texas for school, that we wouldn't have the time, money, or energy to make that extra part of the journey. So when Derek refused to tell her, I did. And I did so as respectfully as I could. Derek was furious. Aparently he had gotten this lovely little notion in his head that he didn't have to honor anything he and I agreed upon, just so long as he could make his family of origin happyan forgetting that he had a family to take care of already; me and our child. Ugh, gag me. His mother, being the typically understanding woman that she is, told us that was fine and that Derek should have been okay with telling her that. She said she totally understood where we were coming from and that everything was alright, since we had a family, jobs, and school to take care of. No harm no foul, right?
So fast forward to this month. Derek and I decided that I would post a list of general ground rules that we would be implementing in regards to our child. They were simple, basic, common sense rules that usually don't need to even be stated, but sometimes people go a little crazy when a baby is introduced into the equation. No one seemed to have a problem with them, and those that did came to us for a better explanation. Very mature, right? Well, his family just didn't want to act like adults.they began to talk shit with each other, and even went as far as to peint out the rules I had posted and hold a "family meeting". And I'm not just talking about his immediate family. I'm talking even extended family, like grandmothers, cousins, etc. His oldest sister and I had been talking about it and she supported Derek and I at the time. Then the family began bitching to her, as though she had any say in what is or is not changed in our rules. But no one would tell us who had a problem and no one with a problem would come to us. So I posted something I knew anyone involved would see. I said that if they had a problem with something my husband and I decided, they needed to take it up with us and no one else. That they should act like adults, not children. That's when his mother began posting passive aggressive bullshit about how I would be offended too if my child ever tried to implement rules on her family in regards to her child. That I should respect those in Derek's family, even if they did not respect me. I explained in a very rational manner that I had considered what she said, but I disagreed entirely. I said that if my daughter wanted to make rules for people to follow, especially if it affected the health and well being of her child and family, then it would not be my place to argue with her. I may not like her rules, but she is the mother and thus gets to make those decisions. I also explained that had the rest of his family actually came to us with their issued rather than acting as gossip mongering children then I would have no problem respecting them.
That's when his older sister decided to change her tune and began threatening me with physical harm. That's right, she threatened to beat up her brother's pregnant wife because I had "disrespected her mother". So when my husband came home from work, I showed him everything that had been said, so he would fully understand, and I deleted her from Facebook so that I would have no contact with her in that way. One less stressor in my life. Well aparently that meant I was a coward, since she called Derek and started bitching at him about me removing her from my page. She was wanting to show off to her friends how much of a bitch I was, but she conveniently didn't tell him that she had made threats against me. Threats he had already seen. So after her continually interrupting him, I finally told him that if he doesn't cut her off and tell her to leave us alone, I was leaving. He finally told her, "this behavior will not be tolerated." And he hung up. That's right, my husband FINALLY chose me over his faaaaamillyyy. So I was pretty happy. She called him again, but he ignored her call. So she began calling me. I answer, grinning of course, and said, "I'm sorry, I believe my husband hung up on you." And click. She called again. I answered saying, "if you continue to call here anymore, I will file phone harassment charges. Now fuck off." Before I hung up she said, "Bitch I'll kill you!" Yep, another death threat. She then texted me saying, "you scared little bitch you ain't shit."
So that night, I proceeded to remove every single member of his family from my page so I wouldn't have to deal with any spies, bitching, etc.
However, another rat came out of the wood work and now she is cut off, too. Oh man it feels amazing to be able to sever ties with these horrendous and toxic people.
It just goes to show how pride truly goes before the fall.