Tag Archives: family

Overflowing

I overflow a lot.

In the form of tears. Words. Gasping sobs. Sometimes quiet woe. Often energy that has me flying around like a whirling dervish. Sometimes with feelings that I can’t find the words to express without rambling.

As I described before, it’s like this feeling in my chest gets too big for me. Too wild. Too strong. I can’t contain it anymore. Cue spillage.  I mean, we make fun of this one birth video because the woman says she, “Could feel the love bursting forth from her womb” when she looked at her husband while in labor. (In 26 births, I have yet to see love bursting from anyone’s womb.)

But lately? It’s kind of like that.

Andrew and I have been together for almost ten years now. TEN. I met him when he was *cough* a teenager *cough*. We’ve been together since before he could legally drink.  I’ve watched him grow up and I have become a completely different person who is no longer running, but deeply intent on staying put.  With his departure rapidly approaching, I can’t help but look over the years past. Where we’ve been, what we’ve done, how far we’ve dome.  I think that’s inevitable.

Amidst the sadness, the fear, the worry and all of those “I’m going to miss you!” feelings, there is also this intense sense of pride and this huge…swelling in my chest that I can’t contain. It’s built up of love, pride and just emotion. I started really feeling it when I sat at his MA Thesis defense a couple months ago.  He rolled his eyes when I told him I teared up, but I DID! He was so casual, so non-chalantly speaking on topics that the average person would have no idea about. He spoke about linguistic analysis, he spoke about the habits of serial killers’ language, he spoke easily about cognitive load and speculation for further study. He had an intense panel that included the world’s top profiler, one of the world’s leading experts in deception detection and one of about 50, licensed forensic evaluators in the country.  It was so impressive and yet they all conversed with ease. They threw him tough questions that he didn’t bat an eleash at returning. He spoke so eloquently with such knowledge and poise – I just couldn’t help but tear up.  I mean, I always knew he was smart but this? This was different.

When I think about him leaving, it feels like there’s this gaping hole in my chest. Like part of me is being torn out without consent.  And yes, while I’ll miss the sweetness of him making coffee for me in the morning or packing my lunch, and the help that he gives me while I work three jobs – mostly? I’ll just miss being around him.  I’ll miss hearing him jabber on about this criminal or this case – things normally I just roll my eyes at (while secretly swooning).  I’ll miss hearing about his work int he FBI lab, or him joking about how the tri-state area is safe from eco-terrorists for the day. (He’s been involved in a research project and he’s been interrogating fake terrorists.)  I’ll miss his brain. His heart. His drive.  Yes, I’ll still see him or hear his voice via skype and phone, but it won’t be the same.

In the last year or so, I’ve just been so overcome by how far WE have come together.  I’ve gone from not having an idea of where I wanted to be, from being a housewife (that sucked at housewifey things), from being depressed and aimless, from fearing another birthday, to a woman who has direction. A woman who has supported over 26 families through pregnancy and childbirth. A woman who has begun teaching countless more through childbirth education. A woman who burns passionately for women and babies. For their rights. Their choice. Their births.  I’ve become firey once again, and while with that comes the emotion, I’m realizing slowly that in order to be the best doula (and hopeful midwife) I can be, I need to be able to be vulnerable and tap into those feelings.

He has gone from front line security and law enforcement applicant, to having alphabet soup after his name. To having three documents working on publication. To having results that may potentially affect his field in a major way.  He has become so confident. So strong. His brain is so well fed and growing. He has a job that is begging for him to start sooner and two advisors all but begging him to come back to complete his PhD. He’s gone from having one job prospect to seeing the world open up before him with opportunities, including private enterprise.  I just am in awe.

Together, we’ve weathered such storms that many marriages and relationships never have to weather. We’ve grown individually and it has made us so strong together.  Sure, we fight. Oh, boy, do we FIGHT.  But in the end, we are together. We’re better, together, and I feel like we both really know that now. We might not have before, when we were idealistic young people, but now? We know it.

I am just overflowing with all the feels, but there are some pretty big, wonderful ones in the mix.

Advertisements

2014 in the Rearview Mirror

Man guys. 2014. Amirite?

It was such a doozy of a year, but as I go through all these questions I really feel like it was one of the best I’ve had. I feel like I’ve done a lot of fretting and worrying but I’ve also done so much growing and loving. I can’t really complain with that.

Apparently, sometimes it really is a good thing to look back and see how far you’ve come.

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

I attended a birth! I saw a real, live baby being born! I also had my first homebirth (!!!) and I attended my first cesarean section. Most of my firsts are firsts for my doula work. (First episotomy, first forceps etc, etc.) OH! I also took my FIRST, real adult vacation that wasn’t camping! How crazy is that!?

2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for 2015?

I don’t even remember what mine were last year. Probably not. I will make some general intentions and a few longer term goals though this month. I think it is the right time for me to do so.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Weeeelllll, I saw a lot of births this year (17! SEVENTEEN!) , all people that were close to me by the end, but not family/friends.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, sadly. My Aunt Becky passed away in October after a long multi-year battle with aggressive ovarian cancer.

5. What countries did you visit?

Just the good ol’ US of A.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you didn’t have in 2014?

I would like to have more stability next year though with a large move on the horizon, I don’t see that happening. Oh, how I dream of feeling stable and having roots. I’d at the very least, like to have a more solid plan for the next 5 years of our lives together. Dare I say I would like a pregnancy as well or is that crazy talk?

7. What dates from 2014 will be etched upon your memory and why?

I’m so bad at remembering actual DATES, I’m more of a memories kind of gal. I’ll never forget my first birth, the homebirth, a few other doula related moments. I will never forget standing atop Rockefeller Center with my family in June, our vacation for my birthday and my Aunt Becky’s passing. Hearing that my father was officially cancer free!!!

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?

Becoming a doula. By far. BY. FAR. I still cannot believe it happened.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Gaining weight back and treating my body like garbage. It’s made me feel so terrible. Inside and out.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I got a pretty good cold before Christmas and I have been battling a few injuries that have kept me down, but nothing major. Thankfully!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A vacation. My grocery delivery. (Yes, really.)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My husband’s. I’m not one to be all lovey-dovey on the interwebs but man, he really was pretty stellar this year. I worked 40 hour weeks, attended seventeen births (yes, I’m saying it again because OMG!!!1!), endless prenatal visits, interviews, postpartums and several TWO DAY births. I was ridden with anxiety and depression at times, I stressed, I struggled…and all along? He did the laundry, cleaned the house, cooked meals and held me while I cried. The guy even came to get me at work when I broke down late on Friday night and felt like I couldn’t go further. I mean…I just don’t know what I’d have done without him this year. It’s certainly given me some perspective.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Politicians. People on social media. Medical professionals. Anytime there’s an injustice – I feel so wounded for all involved. ALL.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Haa, oh NYC. My money all went to rent and cab fare. And dining out when I was too wasted and exhausted. Sadly it did NOT go to Broadway shows liked I would have preferred!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I got insanely excited about seeing Alan Cumming in Cabaret. Like…WOUND RIGHT UP excited. Andrew made us ‘take a walk’ when we got there because I just couldn’t settle down and sit still. Drinks may have been necessary to get me to just stop. But guys. ALAN CUMMING.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

Ugh. Stupid old Taylor Swift, “Shake it Off”.  I really can’t stand her.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

a) Happier
b) Fatter. Ugh.
c) Oddly enough, richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I’d seen more movies and had more quiet time with Andrew. I wish I’d seen more friends and gone out more.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying. Working.

20: How did you spend Christmas?

With my family in Maine. So happy we did.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?

Yes. With birth. I really, truly did. I just fell unapologetically, head-over-heels in love with it all.  I see amazing things happen! Life!

22. What was your favorite TV Program?

The Blacklist. The Good Wife. White Collar (it’s gonnneee!?).

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Hate is an ugly word.

24. What was the best book you read?

Baby Catcher, by far. It was so inspiring for me to read it! I was so grateful to get it as a CDP!

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Eh. I’ll admit I haven’t discovered much. Jason Mraz’s album with Raining Jane called “YES”.

26. What did you want and get?

Experience. Confidence. Direction.

27. What did you want and not get?

Time to myself. Stability. More time in a day.

28. What was your favorite film of 2014?

Hah. I saw one movie in 2014 – American Hustle. No joke. ONE MOVIE.

29. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?

I turned 34 on July 6th and we went to Boston! It was SO. FUN. We’d never taken a vacation that wasn’t to see family or camping. We stayed in an ACTUAL hotel, rented a real rental car and did touristy things! We got room service! It was just a much needed break.

30. WHat one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

More time to breathe.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2014?

Will blood wash out of it? Does it go with leggings? Will this work at the hospital?

32. What kept you sane?

Andrew. My birth friends.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Honestly? The police brutality issues. It’s hard being the wife of law enforcement and can feel incredibly isolating.

34. Who did you miss?

My family. So hard. SO hard.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

My doula mentor and my childbirth ed instructor. Both are AMAZING women. One is a midwife now and one is just my best friend. Honestly. They were rocks for me and amazing resources. I wish I could hug them daily.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014?

Even when you aren’t sure of your purpose, you may be just exactly what someone needed.

Daily Battle

I work hard at myself. Really hard.

Every day I work to fight the demons that say you are not good enough. You’re not working hard enough. You are fat. You are worthless.

Every. Single. Day. I fight to make myself believe I am strong, capable, worthy of love and friendship. I fight to believe that people like me, that I am a good person full of love and compassion and that I have purpose.

Every. Day.

Some days are easier than others of course. Some days come and go and I barely notice the work. Other days, it feels like I am trying to walk uphill, on crumbling steps that disintegrate beneath my struggling feet.

At 33, I have gotten better. It’s gotten easier. I know where the darkness lurks most often and I am more or less prepared.

I have been so excited to come home. To spend Christmas with MY family. To be cozy and warm. To be loved.

I realize, sadly, that while I do feel those things, they are a tiny, little fraction of my thoughts and feelings.

Instead, my thoughts are like this.

I need to eat, but if I go to the fridge, Mom will comment and I will feel guilty and gross inside. 

Does this shirt show my belly fat, that I have gained through stress and depression? I don’t want Mom to see it and comment on how tight it might be.

Have I cleaned up enough? I don’t want Mom to see that I have been around, lest she get mad and say I left things around.

I really want to eat dessert, but…am afraid of what Mom will say.

I am so grateful that she bought food for us to eat…but I worry she will throw it in my face later if I am not good enough.

I would like to share some of my own traditions…but…she gets mad when I try to suggest a change.

Is that Mom coming up the stairs? Please…say she doesn’t want me for something.

Please, can I just have 20 minutes to myself, quietly.

So, the demons roar back with my tears. With my intense fears. With the realization that I trult sometimes feel traumatized. The demons and darkness come back, now that their Master is around, their ally.

The daily battles get bigger and have higher stakes.

At least for now. I am working hard. Harder than ever.

No wonder I struggle.

The Best Kind of News

It was rainy and dreary on Tuesday. My Mom and Stepdad had just left, I was starting to get sick and I had to work in the afternoon at my new job. My new job where I am still fighting the voices in my head that keep telling me they will find out I am awful and will fire me. The voices that are telling me the other shoe will drop ANY MOMENT. It was not shaping up to be the greatest of days for me.

Lucky for me, I knew I had a package from Ashley at the post office, so I was off to pick up the glorious, well-timed box. I was ready to kick ass and take names too, since no one had even attempted to deliver it.  I was riled RIGHT up and was in NO MOOD to deal with any bullshit.

Then, while I was waiting in line, I got a text from my Dad.

Spontaneous tears.

He had a CT scan last week to check on the size of his lymphnodes (Since he has lymphoma, that’s where the cancer is. There and in his bone marrow) and was at the cancer clinic to find out the results and to get his fourth (out of six) round of chemotherapy. Well, excuse the capslock but – EVERY SINGLE NODE WAS LESS THAN 1CM IN SIZE! This, in comparison to August when a couple were EIGHTEEN CENTIMETERS. Less than 1cm people! That’s like |      | this far or something. Oh my good god, would you have been able to hold back tears on that one?

That’s not all.  Once I finished sobbing at the post office, I got a text from my Dad’s girlfriend who said that his chemo drugs were now GETTING PAID FOR. So, my Dad, who has no health insurance but will be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars – just got his chemotherapy drugs paid for by the drug companies. As someone who thinks drug companies are evil bastards, I have never, EVER IN MY LIFE been so grateful to them. Dad will still have to pay for the scans, doctor visits and so forth, but the drugs are most expensive!

So let’s recap this. Halfway through his treatment program, his lymphnodes have drastically reduced in size, meaning the drugs are working as they should. So, so well. Ontop of this, he is getting financial help from the drug companies (who get a tax break for doing so) and his financial burden will be lessened. Well then.

I know that many of you will cheer and celebrate this massive victory (so far) with me and I honestly am so grateful for you all as well. You have made the last few months not only bearable, but full of love and support and comfort.

Thank you friends.

I just…you guys. I can’t express to you, just how grateful I feel on the eve of Thanksgiving. Yes, I am sick and grumpy but damn. I have a job that is already helping with my mood and self esteem and is making me feel like a worthwhile human being that is strong, capable and able to do anything if she just takes that first step.  And the best part – My Dad is doing so dang well and I just love him so much. He is kicking cancer’s ass and is keeping such an awesome attitude while doing it.

I hope that I am as strong as he is some day. I really do.