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.

A passive agressive letter to my child’s father

You know, I’m not like you. I don’t use swear words and anger to make people listen to me. I don’t think that everything is wrong and I don’t feel the need to bring up parenting differences.

Coming at the way you did yesterday has made me realize that I’ve let have so much power when you deserve none. You are an imbecile and a man child. You act in true caveman fashion with a club in your hand. Unlike you, I don’t live on my mommy’s couch with no job and no car and spend my days hopped up on muscle relaxers and trying to determine the best way to make it through life free of charge. I work for what I have. I help people around me and I raise my children to be independent, free thinking PRODUCTIVE members of society.

A child is a product of their environment and unfortunately for A, she’s screwed. She thinks the world of you because she is too young, too blind, and too naive to ask where you were the first 4 years of her life. She will someday and you’ll have to answer for that. I will no longer make excuses for you. You are a repugnant human being. I may not be perfect but I never claimed to be. You, on the other hand, think you are God’s gift to humankind. You think your opinions and ideas are the only one that matters. Coparenting with a narcissistic, self entitled, waste of space is the hardest thing I have ever done but you know what?

I will be stronger in the end. My daughter will see the truth eventually and see that her mother may not be nice. She may not sugar coat things and treat her like a pretty princess but when she’s graduating college, she won’t thank you.

Parents like you are what’s wrong with today’s world. So unattached but overbearing. You use your fists and words to PUNISH children when children deserve to be loved and cared for. A child lies— spank them you say. A child accidentally breaks a tablet, drag them by their shirts into another room out of anger.

I didn’t punish you for choosing to party while I was at home raising your child. In fact, I welcomed you with open arms. Look what that got me. Another man child to keep in line. I love that you run away when faced with the truth. You never answered my question of where were you the first four years…

So where were you?

An Unexpected Birth Story…

As many of my friends know, I was very adamant about delivering this baby via VBAC. I had an excellent provider and was set up to be successful in every aspect of it. There are however things you cannot account for— such as blood pressure.

On January 14th, 2016- my water broke at home. I was so freaking excited that it had done it on its own. I wasn’t feeling any contractions besides what I had already been feeling for the last month. I patiently waited for my husband to get home and then my aunt met me to take my kids to my brother’s house.

We arrived at MetroHealth and were taken into the L&D triage. There I was checked my a fellow who said my water was not broken and it was just discharge. Then a resident came in to do a speculum exam and said, “It is indeed broken.” So I was moved to the birthing room.  When I arrived in the birthing room, my blood pressure was repeatedly taken and was repeatedly high. They ordered a bunch of tests.

After being placed on the monitors, we learned that I was not contracting and not dilating so my OB suggested putting in a foley catheter. It is meant to manually dilate your cervix. As the doctor was placing it, it was a lot of pain and was very uncomfortable but nothing prepared me for when they placed the weight on it. It was death. I had to lie in bed until it finally fell out.

I was unable to walk around because of the magnesium drip. It was meant to protect my brain in case my BP got too high. After the foley fell out, my doctor started pitocin. I could see the contractions on the monitor but I could not feel them. They placed two monitor internally and it was more painful than the foley but now they could get an actual read on how strong the contractions were.

30 hours in without an epidural and I start to get a headache and very lightheaded. Everything got very blurry and at that point, we decided that a repeat cesarean is not such a bad idea to eliminate the possibility of having a stroke.

I get back to the operating room and the resident messed up my spinal TWICE and finally the doctor got it placed. There was blood everywhere but she was born and perfect with a full head of hair! After about two hours, we are wheeled into the high risk room and I start getting the post partum cramps except they hurt more than anything I have ever experienced in my life and I feel things sliding out of me. I am screaming and the doctor notices that I am basically birthing blood clots.

They start weighing the birth clots and by the end of it, I passed about 4.5lbs of blood clots.  I lost the equivalent of a two liter bottle of blood. I start feeling warm and they decide they have to do a manual DNC right there. They tried three times before the pain was just unbearable (even with dilaudid) and wheeled me back into the OR.

Another spinal was placed and I eventually passed out from the pain. I woke up back in the high risk room and was receiving a blood transfusion.

Had the doctors at Metro not moved as fast as they did, I could honestly be dead right now.

I may not have gotten to birth my baby out of my vagina like I intended but I proved to myself that I can dilate and labor without pain meds. I can do it. I don’t need a doctor to prove my worth as a mother.

So welcome to the world baby girl. You are worth every ounce of blood.

When it rains—

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One month before my due date and I find everything going to absolute shit.

My husband’s hours at work have been dramatically cut so the company can save on their electric bill. He’ll have 11 consecutive days off from December 24th until January 4th. All but two are unpaid…  We can barely afford to pay all the bills but hey! I’m glad his company found a way to save money during the holidays.

My wheel bearing on my truck went and seeing as its the only safe car that fits all of us, it had to be fixed immediately. I’ve never felt so sad swiping my card at Autozone.

My husband’s car has tires that are so bald he almost went into the ditch today with a dusting of snow and of course Walmart is out of the super cheap ones.

The Holidays are around the corner and I had banked on his Christmas bonus to get gifts for the kids but they decided to take that away this year.

I am due anytime in the next 6-8 weeks and I still have things I need because again I banked on that stupid bonus and Christmas sales.

I am so stressed. Its ridiculous. Of course when you go to get any help from government agencies, I am told we make too much for help. We applied for unemployment for the days he won’t work.

I have a great support group of friends who luckily listen to me complain and offer their love and that has been so amazing to have that. Luckily, after the first of the year, the husband will be on salary and we won’t have to worry about this crap again.

Ugh. Happy Fucking Holidays.

My fears…

The closer my due date comes, the more fearful I get of labor and delivery. I have never been afraid of a cesarean but having a natural delivery scares me.

With a cesarean, its planned. You know exactly when you’re going to have the baby down to the exact time. You can get to the hospital without any issues and find daycare.

With a cesarean, it takes about an hour and then your precious tiny human is all yours. In my case, I was able to nurse Ben and Charley immediately in recovery and they did not leave my side.

And in my case, a cesarean is where I am comfortable. I know what to expect. I know how it will feel. I know how I will feel. Recovery is hard but manageable.

So you’re wondering, why stray from my norm?

Why push myself to do something I’ve never done before?

Why drive an hour for a VBAC supportive doctor?

Why put myself into an unknown, often undocumented situation that could have plenty of risks?

The answer is very simple—

I’M NOT BROKEN.

Every time, I decide to have a baby, I am repeatedly told that I must have a cesarean. I am not able to even have a trial of labor and that’s not fair to me or my body.

I have never known what it is to feel a real contraction that wasn’t pitocin filled. I have never gone into labor spontaneously. I have never felt the gratification and satisfaction of birthing a child the non surgical way.

HOWEVER, I AM STILL NOT BROKEN.

Plenty of medical professionals tell me that a VBAC3C is not possible and no doctor will allow me to even try. Well, they’re wrong.

They tell me that in addition to risks, there are stakes.

They tell me that me and my child will die.

They tell me that a repeat cesarean is much safer.

The truth is, they don’t know. There just isn’t enough data to give doctors a reasonable estimate of what could happen and as scary as it is, I am willing to help change that.

BECAUSE AS I’VE PREVIOUSLY STATED:

I AM NOT BROKEN.

I may go into labor and hours in something may happen requiring surgery but that is something I have come to terms with. The fact that I was able to attempt to have a vaginal delivery and someone believed enough in me and my body to give me a chance is more than enough to heal from my past birthing experiences.

This is meant to help me heal. It is meant to give me the option of having more children down the road.

I will do this. I will birth a baby without surgical intervention.