I am 1 in 4.

1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage.

1 in 4.

1 out of 4.

I never thought I would be the 1 in 4. I never thought I would go through the pain of losing a child albeit a very small one.

July 27, 2017- I had the positive test. My husband and I were pretty excited. We were looking to finish out our family. We had always wanted a larger family but not so large that it was unreasonable. We wanted to be able to give each child a special time and place and make sure they had enough love.

I hadn’t told anyone except for a small group of women whom I love dearly. They are my tribe. They complete me in every single way possible.

#scrunchiesforever

I didn’t have any morning sickness which is very weird for me but I took it as a sign that this would be the easiest pregnancy yet. My boobs hurt like a mother and I was super tired and hungry. We went through our day to day.  We talked about names and settled on Tyler for a girl and Jack for a boy. We had discussed how we were going to tell our other children. I panicked at the idea of telling my family because they don’t really like that I have so many kids already.

August 31, 2017- I went to the bathroom and there was some blood when I wiped. I started to get upset. My husband and children were all asleep. I decided to watch it and see what happened. There were no cramps so I didn’t see the need to rush to the ER at 10PM.  The next morning, I woke up and told my husband and he told me to go to the ER. I went to our local hospital. I tend to avoid this hospital because they are notoriously terrible. I got there at 8AM. The doctor ordered a urine test. I had to wait an hour to get the results. Then an hour later, they sent me for an ultrasound. The US tech was quiet and rude. She didn’t particularly seem the nicest. She wouldn’t let me see the screen and said nothing besides, “You can get dressed again and I’ll take you back to your room.” Okay.

Nearly two hours later, the doctor comes in and says, “5%. That’s the number of women who have healthy, full term babies. The US showed a fetus measuring 6 weeks and 1 day and no cardiac activity. I can’t say for sure that its a miscarriage but go home and we’ll test your HCG in a few days.”

I got home and told my husband. He doesn’t respond well to sad news. My birthday is just around the corner. I end up taking it easy for a few days and on my birthday, I start bleeding heavily. For the next four days, I bleed heavily and have the most painful cramps cascading while I pass clots over and over again. Some felt as large as softballs. It felt a lot like my post partum hemorrhage with Ollie— the sliding out of clots that you can’t control.

On the fourth day, I get on all fours in my shower because the pain is constant and I just let the waves take me over and then as quickly as they came, they stopped. I sobbed and sat in my own blood. I made a joke to myself that I felt like Madame Bathory.

The bleeding stayed pretty heavy for the next few weeks. I ended up needed to take iron. I made an appointment with my OB/GYN out in Cleveland and he did an US just to verify that everything had passed. I had done it all on my own.

Many people don’t know this but I have never felt so proud of my body and uterus. I have had four cesareans. One was a failed induction. One was a repeat. One was an emergency and the other was a failed VBA3C. Failure runs rampant in my reproductive systems. I thought for sure I was going to need a D&C to finish this out but I had done this all on my own. I couldn’t give birth naturally in the water but I could birth death naturally in the water.

Such a macabre thing to say but when you’ve lost a pregnancy that was so very wanted, you have to find the positivity.

We were given the go ahead from the OB/GYN to try again as soon as we feel ready. How do you decide when you’re ready? I guess we’ll find out.

To help myself heal, I decided to create digital art of how I felt. To check out my other works, visit my business page on Facebook.

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I am WOMAN.

Women are strong, don’t you know?

We’re able to do a million things at once or nothing at all while maintaining our everlasting beauty and grace.

We are the nurturer, mending broken hearts and lacerations and words said unkind.

We give life.

We silently deal with death almost never admitting that our hearts and souls are beyond broken.

We weep for our children. We weep for our families.

The world around so unjust and demeaning that if you are not a white man, this world was not built for you to succeed.

You never know we’re sick. We cruise through our daily routine without so much as sniffle.

The undying support.

Happy Halloween.

Everyday has been Halloween in my house lately.

I wear a mask to hide the sadness. The complete and total desperation in my heart. Many don’t know what is going on because I am strong for everyone else.

I’ve been battered and beat down to the point where it doesn’t really hurt anymore so I am strong for those who can’t be strong for themselves.

I am torn in so many directions. I am told I am a terrible mother and that nothing I do is good enough and yet, I keep on doing what I have to do.

Things that make you go hmmm…

So if I, a custodial parent, were to to deny my child any of the necessary items, I would be an abusive and negligent parent. I would most likely lose the rights to my children.

However, a non custodial parent can got months, if not years without paying a single dime and he doesn’t lost anything. Maybe his license. Maybe even some jail time but he still has rights.

Hmmmm… Patriarchy much?

Homeschool?

What about friends?

What about social interactions?

Don’t you think the actual teachers are better to teach your child?

Homeschooled kids are weird.

You just don’t want to vaccinate, huh?

When people approach a family who has chosen to homeschool their children, they are so full of misconceptions and ignorance that they just usually spew it out like a Venetian fountain.

FRIENDS.

Who says that friends are only found in a public school classroom? I know that many of my BEST friends were found while I was out experience life. People with common interests. Not people I was forced to congregate with based purely on age and regional location. Forced interactions don’t friendships make.

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In the same breath, social interactions don’t only happen with peers. My child interact in stores, doctors’ offices, with their siblings and family. Nobody define social interactions as those only had within the walls of a government funded school.

Ahhh. Teachers. Teachers are great people. I’ve personally had some amazing teachers in my years. And I’ve had some who had checked out and didn’t care much. I actually had an Arts and Humanities class in 11th grade that was required for graduation. The teacher, who was a French teacher said that she didn’t like this class and she didn’t like teaching it. So why the hell should I like learning it? All of this is a moot point to the fact, I don’t have 25+ children running around that I have to attempt to teach. I have 3 that are being homeschooled. Each of them, my own. I carried them, birthed them, and subsequently taught them through their early development. I think I am perfectly capable and qualified to teach my own children.

Homeschooled kids ARE weird. If by weird you mean not pretentious jerks that are easily swayed by their peers and all follow Kanye on Twitter. (Not saying there’s anything wrong with Kanye but Yeezus, he’s not who I want my children aspiring to be.)  I’m going to make a massive generalization here, from my experience many kids in the public school system are ignorant, rude, sex driven little beasts with unrestricted access to the internet on their computers and iPhones. They’re self entitled titty babies who cry, “That’s not fair” when they don’t get to play first string.  Everyone gets a participation medal even if they suck.

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Children are never allowed to learn to cope with disappointment and failure. Failure is a part of life. It happens. Its how we learn to do better but now, they expect something for nothing just because they’re there.

Now as to my children’s vaccination status…

PUBLIC SCHOOL, PRIVATE SCHOOL, HOMESCHOOL, NO SCHOOL— my vaccination status and their medical records are nobodies business. Ohio currently allows children who are not vaccinated in the school as long as they have the proper exemptions filled out. This may change in the future but for now, it is what it is.

So the next time someone says, “Oh we’re homeschooling”. Don’t be that guy. Don’t be the person who tells them they’re making a bad choice. Just because it isn’t the choice for you doesn’t mean its a bad one. People have their reasoning.

It is 11:51 am and I’ve yelled 12 times.

For the last four years or so, I’ve been practicing gentle parenting. I don’t normally yell. I don’t spank. We use our words but the last few weeks have been hell.

My patience is wearing thin. My oldest is 9. She tests my patience to a point where I want to cry. I am so defeated that a 9 year old is getting the best of me. We start bed time routine at 8PM. They’re still fucking around at 9PM and 10Pm and occasionally even 11PM. They don’t even try. I’ve asked. I’ve pleaded. I’ve been nice about it and now the only thing left is being not nice about it.

My four year old laughs at me when I tell him to do something. He legitimately falls on the floor laughing at me. He cries and screams and tantrums to no end and then when its all over, he laughs.

My two year old doesn’t speak. She doesn’t listen. She doesn’t care. You try to talk to her and she just pokes you in the eye and says “Mama Eyes” and proceeds to point out everyone’s eyes.

So I’ve yelled and yelled and yelled and threatened to take away all of their toys. I’ve tried scaring them into submission. I’ve tried saying, “I’m calling dad!” Nothing works. They’re still not listening.

I’ve come to a simple conclusion:

My children escaped from my womb to make me want to run away. They elicit this fight or flight response every time.

So if you need me, I’ll be binge watching ID while eating giant Reese’s because #adultingsucks.

An unending cycle of dependence

In February of 2016, my husband lost his job. He had a very good job. It paid well and we were able to pay for everything we needed and have extra left over for fun stuff. We were middle class and I was okay with that. We didn’t depend on any sort of welfare to get by.

As soon as he lost his job, I applied for assistance to make it less stressful. My husband applied for literally hundreds of jobs and I applied for some as well in addition to my design work and art. He went to a few interviews and never heard anything back. After 5 months, he found a job making half of what he had earlier but I told him, “We’ll make it work. We always make it work.” 

So he’s been working for over a month now and he’s make 1/4 of what he normally does so far. The money is gone before the weekend is over with paying bills.

A few days ago, I got a letter from the ODJFS that we needed to verify income. That’s fine. I’m not trying to scam anyone and we send it in. They’re cutting our benefits in half. So seeing our predicament, I started applying for more jobs. Seeing as I have a college degree, I figured I could make more than minimum wage but alas— there are no jobs where I live that aren’t minimum wage.

So I look into daycare.

$500 a week. So I look up child care assistance… by working, I make myself ineligible.

So then I think, “What if we work alternating shifts?”

All jobs in my town seem to require open availability and won’t let me just work one shift and my husband has been working different schedules because of training.

Its a never ending cycle.

Starving Artist PT 1

I always remember being a kid and my parents telling me that I had to pick a job where I’d make money.  Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t make myself love doing anything but creating beautiful things.

Every career seemed all about money and progress and promotions. I honestly, just hated the rat race. Every job was about who could do the most and best for the least amount of money so I said FUCK IT and started working for myself. I refined my abilities that I had long since forgotten. I relearned skills I hadn’t used in years and then I took the leap and started posting.

Part of me thinks that people just comment about how amazing something is because they’re too nice. You post it up and no one buys it. Is it because mechanical reproduction and Pinterest have cheapened what I do? Is it because people really are that poor right now that I’m not marketing to rich enough people to put a poster on their wall? I don’t get it.

I want everyone to be able to put a picture on their wall. I also want to at least break even. People don’t realize what goes into creating a work of art. In addition to supplies— some things take hours or days to create. Is my time not worth anything to these people? Do they not care that I spend $50 a month simply on ink cartridges? Or $6 shipping just to get their letters to me and then another $5 shipping it back?

Art is beautiful. I love making things but I would also like to make some money today.

A happy medium

There’s this back and forth in the parenting world and it disgusts me to no end.

You aren’t CRUNCHY enough.

You’re too crunchy, ya hippie.

Your scheduled cesarean is a terrible idea.

You can’t have a natural birth. Drugs are there for a reason, duh.

You aren’t even going to try to breastfeed?

OMG the crap in that formula is going to make your baby retarded.

GMOS?! Eww.

You spend all that extra on organic?

It goes on and on and on.

The biggest competition (for lack of a better word) comes when you see the natural birth advocates versus the medical intervention advocates. Instead of educating each other, they bash and post malignant articles to shun the other side. Its sad. I mean from a personal standpoint, I find that there can be a happy medium between the two. I was lucky and had no complications from my cesareans. Would I wish it upon anyone else? Hell, no. Would I try to talk someone out of it if it wasn’t medically necessary? You betcha. Do I judge their choice? Probably secretly but I will be as supportive as I possibly can. Many people told me that a VBA3C (vaginal birth after three prior cesareans) was not possible. It was too risky and there were too many unknown variables. I did the best research I could with the information I could find and people’s stories and decided for me, it was in my best interest to try and have a TOLA3C in a hospital setting with constant monitoring. I would never do anything to put my baby at risk but it was pertinent for me to try and show other people that it can be done safely and to show myself and those doctors who denied me previously that I’M NOT BROKEN.

It was never about the perfect birth for me. I don’t have a perfect birth. I have everyone’s stories of their perfect births but my perfect birth is one where I am alive and my baby is perfect. Having the vaginal birth is just a perk. When things didn’t go my way with this last birthing experience, I couldn’t allow myself to be upset. I could have died but not because I chose to VBAC but because I had gestational hypertension that required magnesium and me sitting for my entire birthing experience. I was unable to use gravity and wasn’t given ample time before more interventions were used. Pitocin caused a post partum hemorrhage which could have cost me my life but thankfully the medical professionals acted fast and accordingly.

I skipped many of the extra tests during my pregnancy this time. It wasn’t because I felt the need to tell the medical field off but it wasn’t entirely necessary. I had my finger pricked at every appointment.

So when I say, there can be a happy medium where people can birth natural with safety precautions, I mean it. There’s no need for this garbage to continue. People are so set that their way is the only way but its not.

In times like we’re currently facing, we need to band together and be a community together.