Monday, October 5, 2015

Oaks' birth story

ill apologize now to those who venture down this rabbit hole-its VERY detailed.  i wanted to keep record of everything for me primarily.  you have been warned!

as my due date (9/15) neared, i started getting nervous.  unlike with brecken, i didnt spend alot of time thinking about labor positions or doing any research on breastfeeding...i just didnt think about it much honestly.  but as the days passed, i started to get nervous.  not so much about labor, but about brecken and arrangements for her and cobalt and getting everything ready...ahhh!  but this time around i felt more contractions and was more aware of my body and having a to do list distracted me.  

why wasnt i nervous about labor?  well i was to some degree, but mostly i knew what i would have done differently and the same from the first time around: i wanted to go natural again, i knew i could do it just fine with brian there to help me, i wanted to avoid pitocin if possible, i knew my water probably wouldnt break spontaneously twice in a row, and the midwives were all aware of brecken’s mild shoulder dystocia and the resulting episiotomy.  i had a plan!  i was ready!  


HA. HA. HA.  pretty much everything i planned/was ready for didnt happen.  on thursday, i was feeling a little funky.  i had decided to not worry about it, and spent the day just enjoying being brecken’s bff-she rode a horse, danced to native american songs, rode in a horse drawn wagon, had chocolate milk...basically we had an absolutely perfect day.  i did feel tight, like one big but mild contraction, and had yet again been woken up the night before by a couple contractions.  i thought that something might happen that night, but i was determined to not get too anxious or waste a day with b.

aaaaaaand then it happened.  my water broke. again.  bascially, it was the EXACT SAME labor as brecken, but this was the alternate ending where i chose not to get pitocin early.  so here it goes:

Friday Sept 11, 2015, 2:30 am-im woken up with mild, crampy contractions.  barely there, but still definitely there.

2:50-sit up to time them.  of course, they stop. go to the bathroom and since i already have my phone in my hand, surf fb for a minute.

3:00-go to lay down but feel my pants.  go back to the bathroom, and discover my entire mucus plug.  THE ENTIRE THING.  gross.  vaguely think “huh, wonder if my water is more likely to break now…?” get back into bed and immediately feel the tell-tale trickle.  lay down and refuse to believe my water has broken until it happens again.

3:45-no more trickles!  so maybe water didnt break!  yay!  move to get more comfortable and have another trickle.  i finally am resigned to the fact that my water broke (which is good, dont get me wrong...i just dont want a repeat of the first time.)  reach over and wake up brian, telling him that my water broke.  as if i needed more confirmation, i have a little gush as i sit up.  thank goodness i put a towel under my sheets when i went to bed!  

4:00-call the midwife.  she says that as long as my water seems normal (it does), then i can stay at home if i want.  i want!  so i try to go back to sleep but keep having really mild contractions that are just irksome enough to keep my adrenaline up and prevent me from sleeping.  

6:45-chat with my mom, update her, and get up.  

9:30-drop brecken off with Theresa, who is going to keep b while Im in the hospital.  her little girl Olivia and Brecken get along so well, this was a load off my mind.  now im free to have a baby!  

10:30-take cobalt to the dog park to walk myself into labor.  it doesnt work.

1:30-go to the drs office to have a non-stress test to make sure the baby is still doing well and that i havent developed a fever.  baby is fabulous, and im as cool as a cucumber.  midwife checks me, and finds that my water broke up high, which is why im trickling instead of gushing.  my fore-bag (the part of the water bag that is between the cervix and the baby’s head) is still intact.  this means that if labor doesnt start, we have a few options.  we decide to go home and keep walking and stuff and if things dont get moving, we will head to the hospital at 9 pm to get things going.

4:00-eat.  this ends up being the last time i eat before heading to the hospital, which is a mistake. my contractions still arent progressing.

5:00-cobalt is picked up.  silly to include, but he is part of the fam :)

9:00-call the midwife-we are heading to the hospital to get things going.  we decide that the options are pitocin, a pill to induce, or tearing the fore-bag. if i chose pitocin, id have the same situation as with brecken- a fast but augmented labor.  i choose to tear the forebag and go from there.  

11:00-we are in our room, ready for things to pick up and get going.  the midwife snags my bag and contractions immediately are stronger and more regular.  yay, im laboring on my own, finally!  im happy and excited that things are progressing without assistance, since that didnt happen the first time.  i get the birthing ball and stool and i alternate between one of those and walking the halls.  oh, and we put harry potter on, as is our tradition :)

Saturday, 4:00 am-my contractions are regular, about 3 mins apart, and strong.  they are stronger than they were with brecken, and im starting to think that maybe im getting close to transition since the contractions are getting longer and closer together, and they just *feel* worse.  i get checked, im only at a 5, 70% transition yet.  im a little frustrated because i really felt like i was further than that.  brian at this point jokes that he thought we would have a baby by now judging by the last labor.  me too, and im irritated enough that the next time my phone dings, i turn it off.

6:00-pretty convinced i HAVE to be in transition now, the contractions are so sharp and stabby, and im starting to get little push feelings.  they are still 2 mins apart, but are now 1 ½ mins long which my midwife says is pretty typical for second time transitions.  get checked again, only a 7, but 90 effaced.  now im really starting to get worried.  these contractions are really really strong, and i am starting to get really really tired.  ive been up for 28 hours already, and havent eaten in 14 hours, and i can feel my body getting fatigued.  if its taken this long to get to a 7, how much longer am i gonna need to go?  how much more painful are these contractions going to get?  im not ready to give up, but i am getting angry.  i know that i havent been in labor that long (really only like 7 hours) but i wasnt prepared for things to be moving so slowly either.  its less about how much time has already passed, and getting worried about how much more time its going to take.  brian sees my mood and jokingly asks me what we are going to do with the next kid.  i joke back “epidural.”  this is funny cuz ive never wanted one for a billion reasons, but its also a pretty poignant glimpse into my frame of mind.  

7:00-i get a strong push feeling, but im not sure if i just legitimately need to poop or not so brian gets a nurse. she checks me again.  still just a 7, but now only 80% effaced.  she asks if im holding back on the contractions.  i have no idea what she means, i am not trying to hold this baby in!  maybe its from trying to hold in the poop…? im no longer mad, im just deflated.  i dont know what to do anymore-im SO tired, im starting to get overly emotional.  i can feel the feels welling up and i know its because im so tired and weak.  the midwife comes in and checks again and wants to do an experiment: she wants to check me while i have a contraction.  this is SO painful i actually cry.  she says that my contractions are putting virtually no pressure on my cervix and that at this point im going to need pitocin.  
i feel so defeated.  this is what i was trying to avoid and here i am having to do it anyway.  i dont have anything against pitocin necessarily, i just wanted to have a natural, unaugmented labor if possible, but here i was struggling through just the first part of labor.  because my contractions are already so intense, im really having a hard time wrapping my head around them being intensified by pitocin.  add on top how exhausted physically i already am, and im really overwhelmed by the forecast of a long, arduous, indefinite span of time ahead of me.  i ask brian what he thinks, and its a testament to him that he answers “i cant answer that. its up to you.” i know he thinks an epidural is a fantastic idea, but his answer was so respectful of my desire to have another natural birth.  i was really grateful for that, even if it wasnt necessarily helpful :)  in true Alex fashion, i am thinking not just of right now, but of the logical ramifications of my choices  5 steps ahead.  i really dont want an epidural, but i *really* dont want to plug on, end up too fatigued to push, and need a c-section.  that would be my worst nightmare (just the thought of a c-section puts me into a panic attack), so that is factoring into my decision as well.
while we are talking about options (which are few: basically pitocin without an epidural, or with), i have another contractions that is incredibly painful. part of it was my position im sure (laying on the bed), but it also was just how my contractions were going.  brian looks at me and asks if that contraction made up my mind.  i nod as tears run down my face.  

8:30-by the time i make the decision to get the epidural, the anesthesiologist is with another lady, so i have to wait.  THE WORST!

9:00-the guy comes in right as im having a contractions as he says to the nurse “she is a great breather!” the nurse said “she has been doing a great job.”  that made me feel a little better, like if he even knows im doing a good job then im not wussing out. but i still sob through the whole epidural.  the guy did a good job, but i was terrified and it hurt.  

10:00-i have about an hour of relief, and i get some rest.  but suddenly i have a contraction that is really painful.  i feel like my guts and the baby are going to fall out my butt.  that sounds so bizarre but it was sooo different from cervical pressure.  it was so intense i had the chatter/shakes afterwards, which kind of scares me but the nurse explains its just a combination of adrenaline and hormones.  the nurse tells me to roll with the pressure, and to hit the button for more meds so it doesnt hurt.  after 3 contractions, the pain still hasnt subsided so the anesthesiologist gives me an extra shot right into my line.  the next hour i feel contractions and some pressure but its not painful.  i roll with the pressure and let my body do its thing.  the nurse also suspects the babys head is turned just slightly wrong and its putting weird pressure on my cervix so she puts me on my side with a peanut ball to help turn him just a smidge.

11:00-i have a stronger contraction and my body pushes.  after the contraction my body keeps pushing and i can feel a pressure between my hips reminiscent of a bowling ball but without the pain, so brian gets the nurse. she checks me and im ready to push!  finally.  i cant feel my stomach or legs at all, and im light headed and nauseous.  its really weird to push when i cant feel my legs.  after the first push, i tell the nurse that im lightheaded and that i needed an oxygen mask last time so id probably need one now.  so they give me one and that really helps.  i wasnt sure how well i was pushing so i tried to gauge it from the midwifes reactions.  even though i cant feel the progress of my pushes, i can feel pretty much everything else. like, i can feel the ring of fire, which i wasnt expecting at all.  its just as fiery as with brecken!  as i am resting, the midwife comments on how much hair he has.  brian looks at me like its from my side, but i was bald until i was 2!  once his head is born, he turns his head too soon and the midwife has to turn him back-that is incredibly painful too, but as soon as she gets him turned back he comes right out.  silver lining: no tearing!

he was born at 11:36 am, a healthy 7 lbs, 15 oz, and 20 in long.

so, i have come to the conclusion that my body does not labor by itself well.  it clearly wants to do things one of two ways-alone and REALLY SLOWLY or with help and really efficiently.  and i must have pointy pelvic bones to break the water bag up high twice.  i really struggled with feeling like i gave up and that i could have done it if i didnt have any expectations of what it should be like.  but at the same time, there is no way i could have known how much time it would take, and i knew that my body had about reached its limit.  im still struggling with it actually.  i feel apologetic, ashamed, weak.  im trying not to have expectations for next time, but i am trying to come to terms with the fact that pitocin is probably my normal. well, tha or else an epidural.  and for now, im focusing on the fact that i have a happy healthy little boy, and thats what really matters.

Monday, February 10, 2014

hello colorado: move part 3

So after arriving in CO, we still had a couple days before we could move into our rental house.  so while brian went to work, the sweetness and i drove around and killed time.

which was really boring.
selfies in the hotel.  really boring.
i decided to drive down to the house and get familiar with the area.  i immediately found that driving in co was not going to be like ca.  for example, the speed limit on the freeway is less than 60 mph.  wut?  SO SLOW.  also, people rarely go the speed limit.  by that i mean, most people (in my experience) go at least one or two mphs UNDER the limit.  sometimes as much as 5 under.  boggles my mind.
this is on the major north-south freeway through denver. not kidding.
i took doggie to a dog park, figuring that he was dying being in the car for so long and he loved it.  i found a cool one near our house and spent 2 hours there.  i try to take him at least once a week now, but it is hard to do when its so cold.
loving being out of the truck of the car.
loving watching the dog from a different perspective than her car seat.
we live to the southwest of downtown denver, close to the mountains.  we have a great view of them off our back deck, and it is nice to have a skyline to look at.  ive also noticed that the air here is REALLY clear.  unlike the inversion in slc, the air does not hover over denver here.  in fact, from a little hilly roll in a street a few blocks away, i can clearly see downtown, which is 20 miles away.  its really cool to come up over the hill and catch a glimpse of the city, especially at dusk when the setting sun catches the glass buildings.

view from the road
when we moved in, we had already taken the mattress out because we slept there the night before, but the next day, we got it all out of the truck in under an hour, thanks to 10 guys from that ward that come over to help.   all while dumping snow!  there was about 6 inches by the end of the day, at least.
our welcome snow.
now, after more than a month here,we are almost completely unpacked, we got brian another car so i can stop driving him to the light rail at the crack of dawn/being stranded at home without a car.  i have joined two local mom groups, gotten a library card and checked out 6 books, joined a recipe testing group with girls from church, bought kitchen chairs and had a couple over for dinner, and started working out every day.  ive tried to throw myself into being here and dare myself to not find a way to like it here.
unpacking the kitchen.
but when people ask if im loving it here, all i can muster is an apathetic "eh."

and theres no real reason that i can articulate.

i like the house.  actually, i kind of love the house.  its felt good and cozy from the first day.  but the house could be on the moon for all it matters in many ways.
the cute house.  taken while creeping on it before moving in 
i leave the house every day, at least to go to the gym, but usually for some play date, or run errands, or to hit up the library.  so its not for lack of getting out.  ive met lots of people (and am having trouble remember so many peoples names), but i dont feel like im connecting with many.  which is disappointing.
we took brecken to the zoo, and she loved the monkeys and fish.
air force academy chapel, mlk weekend
but maybe thats my fault.  i know im keeping it close to the chest.  im not trying to be cautious, but its happening.  people are really nice-a good mix of the wa down-to-earth-ness and ca outgoing-ness.  but i still feel...on the outside.
the cutest mitten-eater ever.
in the sahm moms groups, im one of the youngest (even at 27!! even in the babies only group!!).  the same with the church girls, though people keep telling me theres a hidden trove of girls my age with young babies.  i dont mind being young, but at least with the mormon women, it puts up invisible walls that dont seem to be easily breached.  it doesnt help that the mormon women all think im significantly younger than i am because of only having one baby.  the other week someone made mention of having started a family late, at 27.  i said, "oh im 27!"  and she was like, "what??  i thought you were like 24."
first time on the swing
loving it.
thats not helping me any.

so, i dunno.  im trying.  i really am.  i just cant quite eke out "yes" to the inevitable question.

brian, on the other hand, is loving it and loving his job.  which makes me really happy. and cobalt loves the snow, and goes crazy in it every day, and even got to have a play date with one of his brothers (which was awesome, they totally loved each other).  and brecken is doing well, though she had pink eye the other week (not like it affected her any, the champ).

its apparently just me thats playing hard to get.

Monday, January 27, 2014

in limbo: move part 2

after driving all through the night (basically) and sleeping in a flea ridden motel (you never know, it allows pets after all), we arrived at brians moms house in alpine, ut.  it was the 30th, and we couldnt be in our place in co until the 3rd, so we had some time to kill. brian hadnt seen his family in a year and it was a perfect time to catch up with his brothers and sister.

since it was our anniversary, we decided to take his mom up on some babysitting time!  i had been feeling pretty crappy about my post-baby body not fitting into my clothes and feeling like the clothes that did fit were completely unflattering, so brian decided to take me shopping!  i dont shop for clothes often (like, maybe once a year) and he hates when i take him with me.  but he was so supportive and encouraging and didnt whine once-he even gave me good feedback!  now THATS an anniversary present haha.

other than that, we hung out with his family.  new years eve was spent with everyone over, playing games until the kids pooped out.
gratuitous naked baby
i love his chaotic family.  there are 6 hulme babies-more people than my whole family-and half are married.  i love the feeling of having so many people close by.  its cozy and warm and loud and obnoxious and awesome.  we had a lively debate, beat the pants off each other in games, we hung out and talked and caught up, and stuffed our faces while we did it.  its fun to see them all together, this big group of ADD-infused adults who are more alike than they know.  its like a secret we spouses carry, seeing reflections of our partners in their siblings.  and we love them all, whether because of or in spite of their similarities.

so after a couple days, it was time for us to hit the road again.

i dont remember taking the 80 eastbound past park city, but i know i must have as a kid to visit family friends who living in wyoming and colorado.  it was...what i expected haha.   pretty empty, and boring, and alot like northern nevada.  except there were more hills i guess.
the only exciting thing about wyoming was brian 

as the sun set, we neared Laramie.  thats when trouble started.

the temperature dropped, and it got really windy.  i had started to take a little nap, thinking i could drive from cheyenne to denver and give brian a break. but i was only asleep for about 20 minutes before i couldnt handle the tension anymore.

the signs kept saying "slick road--slow down" but it was hard to tell where it might be slick.  there was some blowing snow, but not much and it wasnt sticking to anything.  but soon we could see the wet-looking patches of black ice and they were constant.

and then the car in front of us slid a bit.  and i just about died.

you see, my car has summer tires on it.  there was no need for anything other than those in ca, and while my car was heavy enough with two adults, a baby, a dog, and stuff, it still is front wheel drive with basically grip-less tires.

the car slid a bit several times, and i could see the stress starting to build up in brian-he talks alot when he is stressed (is this funny to anyone else?).  and the snow was coming down harder and sticking, forcing us to drive in slick, snowy ruts.  we tried to keep another cars taillights ahead of us, but everyone was flying compared to us.

after a while, we lost the taillights we had been following, and between that and a one particularly bad skidding episode, i really lost it.  we pulled off at the next exit and tried to figure out how far we had to go til cheyenne and what the road conditions were like further on.

they were bad.  and there was still 30 miles left.

suddenly, we understood what the road-block arms were for on the side of the freeway.

for the second time in less than a week, i sob-prayed. but this time, i wasnt scared or sad for me.  i was terrified about getting in an accident with the baby in the car.  yeahyeahiknow, paranoid much?  way to look on the bright side, eh alex?  but ive driven through lots of bad snowstorms, and you are never invincible, no matter how prepared you are.

it doesnt help that the last bad storm we drove through, which was through parleys canyon late at night with a foot of standing snow and my little brother asleep in the back seat, was recently revealed to me as the scariest moment of brians life.


so after i got my shiz together, we hit the road again, determined to go as slow as we needed no matter how fast anyone else went/how long it took us.  and unlike that last storm-where i attempted to boost brians confidence/stifle my own fear by telling him over and over how confident i was in him and his driving abilities, but in reality drove him crazy-i kept my panicky compliment-blather to myself.

1.5 hours later, we hit cheyenne.  and the difference was as sudden as night and day.  the roads were instantly clear and the rest of the drive was a breeze.  but by then i was so wrung out emotionally that i happily hunkered down in the passengers seat with my french fries and diet coke and never offered my driving services.

so sweet of me.

brian was set to go back to work the next day, so we found another hotel that would accommodate the dogalog that was close enough to brians work for him to walk, and we fell into bed. and we swore we would never. ever. make the drive from laramie to cheyenne in the winter or at night or in a storm ever. again.

Friday, January 24, 2014

who i am.

i am an attorney. a wife. a sister, a daughter, a friend.  a woman with great accomplishments and great potential.

i am also a mother.  i dont really feel like a mother; i dont know what its supposed to feel like, but i guess i always assumed id feel old, absorbed, boring.  not that my friends who are moms are, but thats just what i was afraid of becoming.

but then, out of the blue, im suddenly struck by her.  her cuteness, her sweetness, her adorable smile, and unending wiggles.  

and im shocked by my momness.  i love her unconditionally, intensely, adoringly.  so much so that i worry ill never love another kid like i love her.  

and then im all watery-eyed and sentimental and pathetic. and i look at brian and he knows.  he knows and he laughs at me.  and then we look at our baby girl, and i know he is feeling the exact. same. way. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

goodbye, california: move part 1

my last post of 2013 expanded on the crushing heartbreak i felt about moving.

my first post of 2014 is an apathetic hello from our new home.  but ill save the apathy for later.  for now, this is the in-between-the-old-and-the-new-home post.  or, one of them.

during december, brian worked from denver while i stayed home in ca, doing my thing and trying to pack.  that didnt really happen, to be honest [and i felt lots of bad-wife guilt for that but whatever].  mostly i palled around with my friends and ate dinner at my parents every night and tried to not think past christmas.  and for the most part i was successful.

christmas baby!  a recreation of a picture of me at my first christmas
christmas was lovely, with my brother and his wife coming in from utah, getting to talk to my other brother via skype on christmas day from his mission in ga, and an adopted brother on his mission in pa.  we gifted, and caroled, and ate, and skyped, and played, and it was quite merry. just the way christmas should be.
Rudolph. im a horrible person.
but the day after, it was back to the grind stone and packingpackingpacking.  our truck was dropped off on friday, and we had some guys from church come help with the loading of the truck with my dad acting as supreme-truck-tetris-player on saturday morning while my grandpa enjoyed baby time, and some girl friends came and helped me clean in the afternoon while mommasita (my mom) and granny (her mom) wisked off the baby.  it was a very very long day, but made so much more bearable by all the help we got from friends and family. we camped out in the empty house that night with sleeping bags and a packnplay, went to church on sunday, stopped at my parents house for goodbyes and dinner, and we hit the road.  we planned to drive to slc and stay a day with brians mom-we would leave in the evening so that baby would sleep and we would go as far as we could go before stopping for the night.
bye bye, little house. 
it wasnt so bad, saying goodbye to my friends, but only because i didnt have to do the tearful hugs [mostly-one friend left a few days before and after a last breakfast together, i sobbed].  i mostly saw them at church and because we were so busy with herding kids/husbands or being herded by kids/husbands, it was more of a "see you later" kind of thing.  which at first i was disappointed by, but then i was thankful for. as youll read about in a moment.

however, saying goodbye to my family was much harder than any time before. ive always walked out the door with a hug and a wave and "see ya" when the time came to move to the next place.  as we picked up the sweetness and our stuff, my mom reached for her for one last hug and kiss.  my eyes welled up watching her love a little girl that i know reminded her so much of me as a baby.  instead of watching them, i turned to hug my dad.  which was a bad idea.  as he told me everything would be good, his voice caught, and i struggled to hold back tears.  and by struggled i mean i failed.  but i held it together for the most part with just a couple errant tears leaking down my cheeks. 

by the time we got into the car, i was totally fine.  no scratchy voice, leaky nose, or anything.  but as we got onto the freeway, brian asked me to say a quick prayer that we would be safe as we drove.  that was a bad idea.  here we are, brian is driving down the freeway in the dark, the baby blowing bubbles in the backseat, the dog scrunched in the trunk with some luggage walking around in circles trying to get comfortable, and i have my eyes closed, my head bowed, and im blubbering through sudden tears.  quite amusing, and im sure  what brian was thinking as he reached over to grab my hand with a little smile on his face.

i asked for peace, that i would be able to let go of the sadness of leaving my friends and family, and that id be able to make new friends.  and at the moment, i was SO glad i didnt have a chance to spend too much time saying goodbye.  cuz then this ridiculousness would have happened multiple times.  

so we drove.  sweetness fell asleep before we had even crossed the bridge to benicia, so we just drove more.  and drove and drove.  we found a hotel that would take a dog, and we tried to sleep on the craptastic, tiny bed they called a double but was really pretty much a twin.

did i mention that the next day was our anniversary?  5 years of matrimony.  that day dawned to a bed shared with a dog who wouldnt stop whining at 2 am and had his dreams come true when brian let him on the bed.  the three of us, squished into a tiny bed, were quite a sight.  i had somehow become the third wheel  during the night and was barely clinging to the side while brian and the dog were cozily cuddled together.  brian laughed as i got out of the bed to cuddle with the baby, asking "did you ever think when we got married that in 5 years youd wake up to a baby buzzing her lips to herself and your husband cuddling with the dog in the bed of a gross hotel?"  
happiest dog in the world.  

nope, cant say i imagined that. i also didnt imagine id be moving across the country on that day either.  but im so glad thats how that day started-i needed this new adventure to start with something i could laugh about.  i needed to feel hope and happiness with the people [erm, dog] i already have.  if i couldnt laugh and be happy with them, i was going to be awfully lonely in colorado.  that morning i was able to look around and say "its going to be ok," and believe it.  
5 years. whew. 
as we piled into the car and got drive-thru hashbrowns and egg-foodstuffs and got on the freeway, brian in an uncharacteristically giggly voice pronounced, "we have the cutest dog, and cutest baby.  how did we get so lucky? i have the best family."  and all i could do was smile and nod because my voice had suddenly decided to get all scratchy again and my eyes were in danger of leaking.  this time not because i was sad. this time because i was thankful that i was taking this cute and awesome family of mine with me on this adventure; thankful that the peace i so desperately needed was coming; thankful that the next five years were starting with even more love than the first five years did.
batdog, the sweetness, and us.
and just like that, we were halfway to our new home.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

heartache defined

so, the previous post talked about why we are moving and the difference between me and brian.

what it didnt talk about is how hard this decision was, and how emotional ive been.  

as i mentioned, there are alot of things that i dont want to leave-my friends, my mommy network, my career. but above all, my parents.

i am the oldest of 3 children, and the only girl.  i have always been a daddys girl, even when we butt heads because we are so similar.  my friendship with my mom came later, once i was in college, and we have been best friends since.  

6 months ago, my parents moved to concord from salt lake for a job for my dad.  this was not intentionally to be near us, but it was seriously fortuitous.  my dad had worked for the county as an outside consultant years prior, and his contacts had helped me land a job there as a temp during the last presidential election.  my relationship with the staff opened the doors to my dad applying for a position that became available last spring.  when he got the job, i cried. my first thought was "he's employed!"  my second was "they will be here for the baby!" and so they were.

and now, when the baby is not even 3 months old, we are leaving them behind in a place they barely know.

the range of emotions i feel just about leaving them is mind boggling:

confusion: i never cared before about living close to my parents.  during college i lived 9 hours away, and growing up my grandparents were almost never within driving distance. leaving my parents was normal and expected. but here i am now, 27 and distraught at moving far away from them.   ive never felt that way before.

frustration: why did we feel so strongly that we were supposed to move here, and they feel the same way, only for us to leave them so soon? it doesnt seem fair, or logical, and surely there must be a reason, but i cant see it yet.

guilt:  i have given them their first grandchild, and they have loved seeing her as often as possible.  my dad loves to steal her away from me at church, and seeing them dote on her has been like looking into the past at how they loved me as a baby.  they love her so much, and here i am, about to whisk her away to places that leave them to rely on pictures and memories.

sadness:  having my parents so close has been wonderful-family dinners are so fun, my dad has become a father to brian, brian has become a big brother to my brothers.  i have been blessed to see them at church, and watch people admire what good people they are. i have had the opportunity to proudly introduce them to my friends and neighbors, and brag about how great they are to their new acquaintances.  and i wont get to do that anymore.  i wont get to celebrate the small things that warrant a special dinner.  i wont get to do nails with my mom or watch football with my dad while eating his signature ribs.  sure, i can do that when i visit, but these are aspects of our relationship that have developed after i became an adult, after i got married.  having them close has fostered such a strong relationship, and ill be losing that.

justification:  i too am the oldest grandchild to my mother's parents.  when i was born, we lived close to them in New Jersey.  but when i was 6 months old, my dad was stationed in AZ, and they moved.  if they can do it without killing themselves with guilt, so can i.  the only difference is my grandparents knew the risk with an army son in law.

anxiety:  my parents have been really supportive of us and want us to do what is best for our family.  but ive struggled with the knowledge of their hurt, and ive worried and stressed and cried over what they arent saying-that they are crushed.  i worry we've disappointed them.  

divided:  i want to tell them how i feel, but to do so would be to admit to brian just how difficult this is for me.  granted, he already knows.  but this is difficult for him too, and i dont want to ruin his excitement by dwelling on my hurt.  but to keep it in makes them feel like i dont care.  so i do a poor job of straddling the line.

when i think about leaving them, i sob.  sure, i can skim over it in passing, talk about the logistics of moving away from my parents, without really feeling it.  but when i really think about it, im a wreck.  writing this post has been so difficult, both to articulate and to see the screen through salt water.  i used to scoff at those people who couldnt stomach moving away from their parents.  actually, i still do under normal circumstances.  but this isnt normal.  for once i didnt think we would be ships passing in the night- for the first time in my life, my parents are planning on staying in one place, probably until at least my dad retirement in 10 years.  i thought i would watch my parents be grandparents as my baby girl grew, that they might be here for her first steps, her first word; that i could run away on a mom date when i needed a break and catch a movie and popcorn with my madre; that id be here when my little brother got home from his mission; that i would be cleaning up the remains of my dogs destruction after they watched him for us. 

i guess its not meant to be.  and that hurts.  more than i ever thought it would, and more than id ever prepared for.  i put on a good show, saying its difficult but we will all get over it.  

but im not over it yet.

d is for...

as many of you know, we moved to concord about a year and a half ago, right out of school.  i studied for and took the CA bar and brian worked in the city.  we got a dog and had a baby, and settled in.

our 5th wedding anniversary is fast approaching, and in that time, we have moved 5 times (not including our first apt together or our brief stint living at brians grandmas).  but before we hit 5 years, that number will yet again increase.

because d is for denver. or doomsday.

brian has been offered a great job in Denver, and through all our conversations and contemplation, one thing has been clear-this opportunity will be better for our family in both the short and long term.

and for the first time in a long time, im having a hard time moving.

growing up i moved alot-the side effect of military moves/a dad with itchy feet-but only after living in a place for several years.  in some ways, that was really hard; everyone had made friends, was involved in the community and church, had solid jobs and networks, ect.  our moves as a couple have been very different-1.5 years is the longest we have lived in any one place (though sometimes in similar areas), and in some ways thats what makes this move even harder; we thought we would stay for a while, so we put down roots and got settled, only to suddenly be uprooted again.

brian is very excited.  this is a great opportunity for him career-wise, and he is excited to be in a better environment, venturing into a new area of design, and feeling more financially secure. 

i am less excited.  im licensed here in CA (after spending a year of my life devoted to the bar), i have alot of great friends here, and my parents recently relocated nearby.  with a new baby, the network i have has been a life saver and im (surprisingly) loving being a stay at home mom.  coming to grips with leaving all of that behind has been really difficult.  im terrified of being in a new city, stuck at home with a dog and a baby, with no friends and no career.  really, this is my friends' faults; if they werent so great, i wouldnt care so much. kidding. my friends here are irreplaceable and fantastic, and i dont expect to find people just like them, but ive been so blessed to have them in my life so far, and i hope to keep those friendships strong even with distance.

ultimately, ive seen how excited brian is about the job, and how badly they want him.  ive always said that i would follow his career since i had no intention of being the main breadwinner (by choice...i dont handle that kind of pressure and stress very well), and this is my chance to really live up to my word.  that doesnt mean i wont mourn my losses-the close vicinity to friends and family, the cute nursery i spent so much time on, the perfect weather, the time i spent studying for the ca bar. but im trying hard not to wallow in them.

and that doesnt mean ill wear as much fleece as the locals.  no way.

soon ill be able to add colorado to new jersey, arizona, germany, utah, washington, southern ca, and the bay area.