Archive for December, 2009

Apparently, My Vagina is Only Good for One Thing

I should start by saying that I had no idea I’d be typing another grief blog about something completely different a year and a half after my mother died. I’ve only spoken to two people outside of my home in the last 24 hours, and neither of them had anything to say that I actually needed to hear. When most people think of grief, they think solely of death. It is as though if no one has died, the stages of grief shouldn’t be taking place. It actually applies to a myriad of things — divorce, illness, death, or anything else where a person is let down. When I say, however, “I just need a moment to grieve.” People say, “You’re still going to have your baby, girl. Stop tripping. You’ll be fine.”

Yeah, all of that is easy to say when you’re not the person going under the knife for a second time. I’ve read hundreds of women on the internet say, “The doctor cut my bladder trying to get through the scar tissue from my last c-section, so the urologist had to repair. The whole surgery was 2.5 hours.” So, no matter how many women say, “Girl, I had five c-sections, and I’m fine.” The fact is: that surgeon doesn’t know what my last incision looks like until he gets in there. Though I feel slightly powerless, I still have a choice, and I’m choosing not to worry.

I also had serious bonding issues with Mooch after I had her via Cesarean. Plus, I just went through a grieving process that took a lot of work, energy, and therapy. Now I have to go through it again while trying to connect with a new baby. A new baby that I won’t be able to hold as soon as she comes out. They won’t place her on my chest, so the natural love hormones can flow. They’ll be stitching me up, and she’ll be across the room some where. I’ll be full of drugs. She’ll be full of drugs. You’d think after a 3 week long prodromal labor, replete with contractions and everything, I’d just want to get the baby out. I don’t. I want my chance. My spiritual path teaches patience. I’d labor for another week to get it! My non-stress tests and biophysical profiles all came back with flying colors. I’ve been going every 2 days to be checked. There’s tons of amniotic fluid, the baby never showed signs of distress, I don’t have gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. We’re both fine! There are women who went to 43 weeks and 5 days, and had perfectly normal deliveries. If one of us were unhealthy or showing signs of distress, I could understand rushing, but other people are the only ones worried — mostly about covering their asses legally. If I’d at least gotten a chance to go into labor on my own, give it the old college try, and it just wasn’t working, I wouldn’t feel so bad. Since my feelings are something that I get to choose. I’m going to choose to feel good about all of the “labor” and patience that I have put in thus far. I’m going to choose joy.

Even when my whole birthing team let me down with cell phones ringing during my labor, loud shouting, a painful unnecessary castor oil induction, and sharing stories during my contractions about their own births (and how quick they were), I still continued. I’ve been having violent contractions all week. My cervix feels like someone chewed it up and put it back (Men, imagine someone cutting your balls to pieces and putting them back in your scrotum. Ladies, imagine the worst bladder infection you’ve ever had multiplied by 800.). This is all because of other people’s attempts to rush the process — blue cohosh, castor oil, and black cohosh. All of these herbs are great if labor has actually begun, but when used to induce labor, they can lead to a condition called Irritable Uterus (excruciating irregular contractions that don’t dilate the cervix at all). I was told to begin them this past Saturday. It’s like I’ve been in active labor for 48 hours (most people only endure 2-6 hours) knowing that it wasn’t going to result in a baby. Each check showed very little dilation. I even went to Mooch’s show Tuesday night while having the violent contractions. I smiled, gritted my teeth, and ignored people’s “You’re *still* pregnant?” comments. I wanted to do this so badly, but when even the midwife said she couldn’t back me past 43 weeks for legal reasons, what else was I to do? I wasn’t going to have Hannibal deliver the baby on the kitchen floor unassisted.

So here I am left feeling defeated. I feel like my vagina is only good for one thing. I’ve gone from, “I don’t even want the baby anymore” to “I feel like a failure” to “I can picture us in 10 months happily planning her first birthday party.” It’s all part of the process. These feelings have all transpired in 48 hours. I’ve cried more from the loss of the natural experience than I’ve cried from the contractions. My face is red and puffy. I’d post a pic, but I don’t want to scare you. Feelings are real. I have chosen to speed up this emotional process for the baby’s sake. By the end of the experience, both of us will have faced so much trauma that the last thing she needs is a mommy who is angry with her. I still have a choice. I won’t choose anger.

I haven’t slept in two days. When I roll over I have a contraction. When I sneeze I have a contraction. If someone touches my stomach, I have a contraction. When I blink, I have a damn contraction! They are often one minute apart for an entire hour. We’re not talking Braxton-Hicks either. Hannibal has been great for the past few days. He’s rubbed my lower back literally all night, done all of the phone/email communication, and set up three different sitters for Mooch during our hospital stay. I packed all four of our bags between contractions and limped around clearing the house of anything that reminded me of homebirth. I even had Mooch deflate the birthing ball. I ignored my midwife’s text messages all day. She was very sweet. I’m not mad at her. She just doesn’t really have any answers at this point. I don’t even think she’d heard of an irritable uterus until I diagnosed myself online (I’m truly my mother’s child. Give me a Merck Manual, and I’ll run amok). The midwife just stared at us Tuesday night. Plus, just talking to her reminds me of the loss. As with all things, I have a choice. I’ll choose not to blame.

I give birth Friday (Yes, being cut is still giving birth. I give much respect to all of the c-section mamas out there). Later today, I have a pre-op exam, where I get to bank my own blood and discuss how I want things to go. You’d think after three weeks of labor and 8 million contractions, I wouldn’t have to fight anymore. Guess again. Now I have to go in and fight vaccinations, Erythromycin (antibiotic eye goop), routine pitocin, and all the other “protocols” that protect hospitals from lawsuits. I figured I’ve come this far, the least I can do is pick her birthday. I think 1/1/2010 is a cool birthday. Plus, now we’ll have three January babies in the house if all goes well. Mooch is 1/10 and Hannibal is 1/20. That makes me smile past the pain in my cervix a little. The lessons, at this point, are patience and choice.

Thank you for all of the supportive comments, texts, donations and messages delivered through Hannibal. I get them — even if I don’t respond. He’s just my filter. Your love has gotten me through this.

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Character Brief

She stood in the hallway just beyond a shadow from the coatrack, warmth rising from her skin to fill the stillness around her. A knotty fist in her lungs kneaded the breath in and out, then back in. She pressed the bones of three toes into the brown of the doorframe, trying to keep tears from pooling in her lower lids.

Dark, inky clouds filled her eyes. She mistook her fear for guilt. Thoughts are oblivious to the stretch of skin across bone.

She wanted to say she hadn’t meant it. She wanted to be comfortable, but neither of these things would be true again, if they ever had …

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Thematic Thursdays: "Talib Kweli is My Husband"

If you’ve known me for any amount of time, then you’re aware that Talib Kweli is my husband. We’ve had our ups and downs, but I’ve always stuck by him — even when at one point I feared he was going mainstream (everybody has to do what they have to do to get that cheese at some point). I stayed up many nights arguing with people about his flow being “in the pocket,” his complex metaphors, amazing alliteration, and knowledge packed lyrics. While others hopped on for the Black Star Album, I’ve been down since “Doom.”

When he made the “Reflection Eternal” album with DJ Hi-Tek, I was in heaven! I couldn’t tell if Tek made the beats first or if he orchestrated the music around Kweli’s lyrics. It was awesome! I made t-shirts at that point that said, “Talib Kweli is my husband.” I’m not making that up.

I’m really not sure why I latched on to him this way. I’m not a fanatic of anything by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I don’t even have a favorite ice cream. My husband, Hannibal, worries about that (Don’t be confused. Hannibal is my second husband. We married in March of this year. I’ve been married to Kweli since 1997. What you know about that polyandry? Stay focused). He thinks I should have more than just a favorite color (lime green) and a favorite rapper (Talib Kweli). I disagree.

Anyway, I haven’t really been keeping up with the industry lately, because I’ve been up to other things. This morning, Hannibal said, “You know Talib has a new project with Hi-Tek.”

I didn’t even look up from my keyboard to reply dryly, “Don’t play with my emotions.”

“No, I’m serious.” he said. “I’ll email you a single right now.” I went to my inbox, and sure enough, husband number 2 had not let me down. Husband number 1 is, in fact, working with Hi-Tek again. I’m ecstatic!

Here’s the single:

And an old joint just for kicks:

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Workin’ Wednesdays: Digital Scrapbooking

I’ve had many clients ask for digital scrapbook pages. Depending on the detail and complexity of them, they can be quite lucrative for me. It’s also one of my favorite things to do since I scrapbook regularly anyway.

I’ve only had one person ask me to do an entire book. Needless to say, money wasn’t an issue for her. Lol!

Here are a few I’ve worked on (Click on the images to enlarge):

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Tuesdays With Mooch: Mooch Does Kwanzaa

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