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Birth Trauma

5 Sep

I haven’t written anything in awhile, but this morning I found myself reading pictures on the Improvingbirth.org Facebook Page about birth trauma, and how negative our views on birthing women are. How little they seem to matter. How much is taken away from them while they are doing one of the most important things in their life. Check it out. The amount of women who experience some sort of trauma is absolutely horrifying. 

Now, that all being said, I have and currently know some amazing nurses, doctors and doulas. I’m not saying everyone in the medical field is bad. I’m not saying that there aren’t emergencies and that every birth is perfect. I’ve said all this before. I have a great deal of respect for nurses and doctors. What I don’t respect is professional medical personnel in any capacity forcing women to do things that they don’t want to do. I don’t respect them getting court orders to perform a csection. I don’t respect them belittling a woman’s choice or making her feel uncomfortable or forcing themselves on a woman in an effort to “help her”.

I’ve had both good and bad things happen during the births of my babies.

While I was pushing with Reilly (for almost 3 hours), my midwife staved off of an episiotomy for as long as she could. She waited when I asked her to. She let me make that choice.

When I got to the hospital while in labor with Ophelia, the attending OB and nurse were adamant that I wasn’t in labor because my contractions were erratic and not “text book” even though I was 4-5cm dilated. They told me to either get up and walk around for a couple hours or consent to something I didn’t want (fetal monitors and an epidural) if I really wanted to be admitted that badly. They told me that it would “be awhile before I had that baby”. I signed the consent form for an epidural. At the time, I was in so much pain (they made me lay down on a teeny, tiny bed so they could keep the fetal monitors on me, even though I asked them if I could take them off) that I probably would have done a lot of things to get out of that triage room and out of that bed. When my water broke and I was suddenly almost fully dilated, they finally took me seriously. They tried to move me from triage to a labor room, which failed because I was pushing. 5-7 nurses and an OB rushed into the tiny room (which was stupid. There was only enough room for the OB and one nurse, plus my husband and I) while I lay on my back, trying to push my baby out. They told me to “wait to push”. They gave her medication that I didn’t consent to after she was born. 

 

During my 39 week appointment with Bachman, my midwife was butthurt that I didn’t want my membranes swept. She told me that it would speed up labor. I had already been in early labor for a week and was 5cm dilated at my check up. I was having contractions while she was checking my cervix. She advised me to walk around for a few hours and come admit myself to the hospital (the same hospital that during my previous labor told me that they wouldn’t admit me while I was in labor with Ophelia because my contractions weren’t “text book”.) I ignored her advice. Because I remembered what had to happen for me to be admitted previously. I was scared that they weren’t going to labor the way I wanted to. That they were going to make me lay down in the bed with monitors strapped to me (“for 20 minutes at a time”). I was scared that they were going to notice that my body wasn’t making enough progress for them and either tell me to go home or try to get me to get pitocin. I was scared (and voiced this regularly to my husband) that they would try to talk me into a csection. 

When I finally went into labor with Bachman, I was at home. We had to call 911 because we wouldn’t have made it to the hospital in time. Brad had 911 operators telling him to “not allow” me to labor on the toilet. When EMS showed up, they tried to coerce me into laboring lying down on my bed instead of standing up in the bathroom. They turned on my bathroom light multiple times after being told not to. When my husband told them that I was just fine, that this wasn’t my first baby and that I was a certified doula and I was comfortable with how I was laboring, one of the guys got snippy and asked him “if you didn’t want our help, why did you even call?” simply because I wasn’t doing what they wanted me to do…they wanted me to do things I wasn’t comfortable with. My husband had to tell this gentleman that if he wasn’t going to listen, he would be escorted out of our house by the MP who was there. 

When the midwife suggested I come into the hospital and I didn’t, I was less scared of delivering at home, by myself, than I was of going to the hospital because I wanted to give birth to my baby my way. 

Now, my births were no where near as traumatic as some. I wasn’t forced to do anything. I wasn’t held down by medical professionals. I was listened to for the most part. But, these thing bother me still YEARS later. And the parts that bother me are the parts where my feelings and concerns and the facts about MY body were not listened to. When I got to the ER after Bachman was born, the midwife who had told me to come back to the hospital the previous day made me feel terrible that I had listened to my body and didn’t come in. She made me feel bad that I wanted control. While in a labor room, she also tried to forcefully remove a piece of the placenta that got left behind…it felt like my insides were being ripped out. When I asked her to stop, and asked if we could wait a while to see if it passed by itself, she acted offended, then proceeded to tell me that if it didn’t pass within 12 hours, she would be manually removing it. (It passed by itself less than 4 hours later.) 

 

I’ve read a lot of stories and listened to a lot of first hand accounts of women giving birth to their children. Some were amazing. Some were not. Some are much, much worse than anything I’ve ever gone through. But we are the ones who grow these tiny little creatures inside of our bellies for 9 months. We are the ones who take these babies home to care for them. We are the ones who raise them. We are only in the hospital for a short amount of time in the grand scheme of things and while there are serious, true, real emergencies, they are the exception, not the rule. The worst phrase I ever hear in regards to babies being born is “a healthy baby is all that matters” because it’s not true. How can we expect women who have had traumatic births to raise these children who they haven’t been able to bond with? Or are so fucking traumatized from their births that they have post partum depression or PTSD. How can we expect them to be at their best for their children when they are having a hard time dealing with their experiences?

Babies ARE important. They are so important. I want my babies healthy and happy. But I also want to be treated like a human with rights to birth my baby how I want to birth my baby, pending no complications. I want the right to be able to say “no” and have someone listen to me. I want to be able to stand up during my delivery and eat a cheeseburger because there are no complications, not because of some hospital “policy”. And look, it’s not that I don’t understand why women are told not to eat. I understand all of it, and I’m sympathetic to the doctors and nurses who truly want a better birth experience for women but have to follow the rules. I’m sympathetic to the bad things that can happen during labor because it’s not predictable. But while hospitals and doctors are trying to control what I do with my body, no one is remembering that we wouldn’t be here had women not given birth. Are the maternal and fetal death rates lower now than they were 100 years ago? I don’t have the statistics, but logically speaking, yes, since we have 100 years of medical advancements for real emergencies.

Can someone tell me why we’re so afraid to let women listen to their bodies? It’s mind boggling to me. While I’m done having kids, I have friends who are still having babies. I have three kids who might have their own babies one day. This desperately needs to change. The fact that birth trauma is a thing at all is deplorable. The fact that we need to fight for our own rights is sad. 

 

This is a crazy, all-over-the-place rant, and for that, I apologize. I don’t know all the facts and I wish I did. I can only share my experiences and opinions and fight for my kids to have the right to birth at home, or by themselves, or to say “no” to a c-section and not have scare tactics used on them. I may be done having babies, but the rest of the world isn’t. 

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A PSA for Friends and Family of Nursing Mamas

17 Jan

I know none of my friends or family have ever done this, but I need to throw this reminder out there. If you know a mom who is breastfeeding her baby, please, please do not tell her to stop. Don’t tell her when her baby is 6 months old that she needs to stop. Don’t tell her that babies who have teeth can’t breastfeed. Don’t tell her that she needs to stop at 1, or 18 months, or 2 years or 3 years. Don’t tell her that a baby who is “old enough to ask for it” is too old to nurse. That actually makes it easier!! Remember that the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding a MINIMUM of 24 months. Remember that breast milk has nutrients and minerals and helps babies build up immunity to sicknesses. Remember that every day a mother breastfeeds, she is helping protect herself from cancer. Remember that there is a strong bond when nursing. It can comfort both mama and baby. Remember that not all mamas have an easy time standing up for themselves and their babies. Remember that it’s their body. And their baby. And, while helpful (I am NOT bashing formula moms, I was one!) formula is the lesser of the two. Please remember that if a mama stops breastfeeding because of YOU and your words, you may be happy and think she’s doing the right thing, but she may be upset and sad an depressed because she felt forced into stopping. And remember that while relactating is possible, it is difficult and not everyone can do it. Don’t tell a mother to pump milk so you can feed the baby. There are other ways to bond with a baby besides feeding him or her. Some mothers can’t pump. Some babies won’t take a bottle.

Breastfeeding is normal. That’s why we have breasts! We are not doing anything unnatural. We are simply feeding our children. Please, if a mother comes to your house, do not shame her into feeding her child in a different room. Do not ask her to cover up (especially don’t say that to me, because I will not hesitate to throw a blanket over your head while you eat). If you’re out in public with her, and her tiny baby gets hungry, please stand tall next to her. Because it’s hard to nurse your baby in public when people think you shouldn’t. Its hard to ignore the looks and the comments. Hold her purse or bag while she settles her young one. And then continue with your business.

Breastfeeding for any length of time is difficult. There are days personally when I just want to hide in the closet and tape my boobs up until they dry up. There are women who have babies who had a hard time latching or who have plugged ducts or battle thrush. There are moms who have to work and cannot pump to meet their babies needs. There are moms who desperately want to nurse their children and they can’t. When you suggest that a mom is doing something wrong, simply by nursing her child, you are doing something detrimental to that woman, that baby, and that relationship.

I’m lucky. My years having and nursing babies have been filled with mothers who are or have nursed their babies. I have had amazing support from all sides if the equation. Without the support of those I love, I wouldn’t have nursed as long as I have. I have not been shamed in private or public for feeding my child. I have not been told that I’m hurting my child psychologically because I nursed him or her. It’s tiring and frustrating to read things every single day about proud nursing mamas being beaten down by the public, and worse, their friends and family simply for giving the best to their baby.

I already know the people I associate with are supportive, but please, support other nursing mamas. Even if it’s a stranger. Tell her she’s doing a great job. Tell her to keep it up. Tell her that what she’s doing is important. Tell her you’re proud of her. Just that little bit of support can make confidence soar.

If you know someone who is a nursing mom, stand up with her. If you are or know someone who is trying to force their agenda on a nursing mom, tell them to stop. Tell them to do research. Tell them that they are not helping. Tell them to let the mama and her baby decide when they are done nursing.

And remember this. If it weren’t for lactating women, none of us would be here today. Formula was not always around. Babies who had mothers who couldn’t nurse and who didn’t have access to wet nurses, died. This is part of what our body was made to do. If we weren’t suppose to breastfeed, our bodies wouldn’t produce milk.

This has been a Public Service Announcement.

The Hardest Job

14 Jan

Okay, so, I was going to go on this big rant on my facebook page, after reading a blog post by an Army wife blogger, complaining about the word “dependapotomus”. Now, that’s not what this is about. In the little comments section, was this gem:

(retracted named): Being a Military spouse is the hardest job you have to be strong, supportive and independent. Don’t let the ones that talk like that get to you, They are just jealous that you are stronger than them.

 

I’ll get into that in a second. But I had to switch over to blog form, after not writing for over 6 months, because I just simply have too much to say about what that person said. So let’s get to it!

Now…ladies, please. Please stop putting out there that being a military spouse is “the hardest job”. Hear me out for a second. Yes, I do understand that sending your loved one half way around the world for months and months is difficult. I understand that working or taking care of your kids without your spouse around is difficult. I understand that everyone gets upset for the time they miss with their loved ones, whether it be anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, births of babies, pregnancies, and really, just every day life. I’ve been through it more than once. We alllll know that the husband has gone on deployments and countless TDY’s in the 6 years we’ve been married. He’s getting ready to miss the 5th birthday of mine….five of the seven birthdays I’ve had since getting married to him, he has been gone. And yes, it’s sad. And yes, it sucks. But I do completely understand that he would *rather* be with me on my birthday (or any other time) than doing whatever it is he HAS to do. But I also understand that he, surprise, has to do his job. That doesn’t mean that I can’t be sad or upset, but it does mean that I cannot take out my anger on him.

With that being said…my job, as a wife, is to love my husband, be supportive of him, hold down the fort when he isn’t around and just, in general, be a good wife and person. But I will absolutely, 100% tell you that my job is NOT harder than his. My job…as a wife…is absolutely NOT the hardest job. My job as a mother is absolutely NOT the hardest job. Are they difficult? Absolutely. Are they frustrating and tiring? Definitely. Do I want to just curl up in a ball and cry in a corner some days? You bet your ass. But never, never, never in a million years will I ever tell you that I have the “hardest job”…and I will especially never tell you that I have the “hardest job in the military”…cuz ya know, I’m…I dunno…NOT in the military.

Not only allllllll of that…but there are *shock* OTHER WOMEN (or men!) who have spouses who do dangerous and difficult things too! Policemen and firefighters to name a few. What about the men and women who go out on fishing boats in awful weather for 6 months or whatever out of the year? What about their spouses? Are their spouses not “strong” enough? Are they not “supportive” enough? And they not fucking “independent” enough to have “the hardest job”? What about single parents? Are they not strong and supportive and independent? Do they not have equally difficult struggles…possibly even more so than a military spouse who, at the very least, have a roof over their head, food in their fridge and a reliable paycheck in a generally decent neighborhood where they don’t have to worry about much?

Women, please stop this. We aren’t in race to see who can be the most badass, hardest, best and most supportive group of wives. I went into my marriage knowing with 100% certainty that the husband would be deploying within the year. That didn’t change a single thing. You could take me back to when we got married, show me a movie of exactly what would happen over the next 6 years and ask me if I would choose to live that life, I would do it every. single. fucking. time.

And do you know whyyyyyyy I would do that? Because regardless of how many days my husband is gone…regardless of how many birthdays and anniversaries he misses, regardless of how much we miss him….I love him. I don’t love him because he puts on a uniform every day, or has a steady paycheck.  I love him simply for being him. I’m not entitled to the label of “hardest job” because I don’t have that. Stop being selfish and stop acting like you are entitled to more than you are, simply because you CHOSE to marry a person in the military. And if you got married prior to your spouse joining the military, then this is especially true for you…because I’ll assume that you were part of the decision making process in joining the military. I’ll assume that you follow the news and know whats going on in the world and that our spouses do get deployed, some of them more often than others, and that we are not living during an active draft where people are forced to join the military. Every single solider has had the choice to sign their life away to the military right now. Every single spouse has had the choice to sign their marriage certificate. We all have a choice. And we are not entitled to special treatment specifically because we chose to marry a person who was in the military.

Please remember spouses, that we are civilians. We have resources out the ass if we are having a hard time. The military is generally pretty good like that. We have friends and family who can help us if we need help, because I’m not talking about asking for help. I’m talking about turning the act of marriage into a game of “who’s better”. Personally, I know my husband appreciates the fact that I don’t act entitled. Every time he’s gone, I’m sad that he’s gone. I grieve for the loss of time that’s coming up and the days I don’t get to spend with one of the people I love the most in the world. And that’s all okay. And then I strap on my big girl panties and I do exactly what I would be doing anyway. Even if he was here, I would be waking up at 6:15 every morning to get my oldest ready for school. I would argue with my two toddlers. I still wouldn’t want to do the dishes or fold laundry, but I’d do it anyway because that is what I’m supposed to do. If he had any other job in the entire world, I would be doing the exact same thing.

Also note, I’m very proud of my husband for what he accomplishes. I try to encourage him and support him as best as I possibly can. But I understand that he has a job that he has to do. And he’s gone more often than other spouses. Its never been calculated, but we’ve probably spent at least a third of our marriage apart. And that’s okay. Because my job is my job and it would be just as difficult regardless of him being here or not, and regardless of him being a soldier or not. Because my job doesn’t change. I’m safe, at home, taking care of my house and kids. I’m not in a war zone. I’m not risking my life jumping out of airplanes (though I have done that and it IS a blast).

I hope my stance is clear, spouses. You are not entitled to the “hardest job” mentality. If you honestly think that you have the hardest job, then I’m sorry, but quite frankly, you’re delusional. Difficult does not mean hardest. And difficult has many different means for everyone. Just because you find something difficult or not difficult, doesn’t mean everyone else feels the same way. Stop being selfish. Respect the fact that other people have it harder, and easier than you do. Respect the fact that your spouse (hopefully) works very hard at his or her job, and respect the fact that it’s generally more difficult than yours. Respect that not only are YOU sacrificing time with your spouse, but they are sacrificing their time as well. I’m not stronger than you, him or her over there. I’m simply doing the best job as a mom and a wife as I can possibly do. It’s so frustrating to me to see that kind of “I’m better than you” mentality, especially in a group of women who do have to go through difficult things. We are ostracizing ourselves from our non-military spouse friends because we simply can’t keep our shit together. Those of you who have the “hardest job”, please take some time to reflect upon yourself and the billions of other people in the world who have it WAY harder than you do. I’d hope that simply by taking the time to stop thinking about yourself and take a look at the world around you, you might be able to see that you aren’t the only person standing in the sun. There are millions of people who have difficult lives, difficult jobs, difficult relationships that are much harder than what you do.

Summer Adventures

28 Aug

I haven’t posted a blog in about 3 months now.
BAD MAMA!!

I have a good excuse though. You see, we moved! So I’ll give you all the short version:

May-June: we were busy trying to figure out exactly when we’d be moving. A lot of issues came up. We stressed out and got all irritated, but it all worked out in the end. We shipped our van to Washington

July: We put our pup, Moka on a plane to Seattle. We had household goods shipped. We stayed in a hotel in Hawaii till the 9th when the three kids and I flew to Washington. The husband got there around the 17th. We did a bunch of stuff with my parents and bestie. Left for Ohio on the 22nd. Did more stuff with my Inlaws.

August: Flew back to Washigton and stayed for a couple days. Packed up our van with a couple months worth of stuff, camping gear, our kids and our dog and drove, over 5 days, from Olympia, WA to Fort Irwin, CA. Along the way, we camped and stayed in a super tacky theme hotel. Made it to Fort Irwin on Aug 9th. Picked out a house over the next few days, found out that we’d have to wait longer for a house than we thought and got into temporary housing. Reilly started school. We got a new dog, Jasmine from the stray facility here on post. Had a 21 hour power outage (which sucked), had a monsoon (which also sucked) and now here we are!!

In the next month, the husband will be getting ready to do work stuff, we’ll be celebrating Ophelia’s 3rd birthday(!!!!) and we’ll be getting into our own house and having household goods delivered, which also means tv and internet!! Finally. I’ve missed my tv and internet.

More updates to follow, but that’s pretty much the gist of it.

Also, the desert is freakin hot. Like, uncomfortably so. I miss Hawaii a ton right now!

Family Fun Weekend

5 May

So in keeping with my “seizing the day” thing, we had a fantastic Saturday! Also, this post is long. So apologies for that.

I forced everyone to get up at 4am (on a Saturday!! Mean mama!) so we could take an hour long drive to out past Honolulu. I normally don’t like driving to that side of the island. The traffic sucks…like, really sucks…and there isn’t enough on that side of the island to warrant an hour long drive. The only thing that’s over there that is even remotely interesting and worth the drive is the shooting range. Though, the beaches are beautiful over there..and the Kona Brewing Co is over there with its tasty, tasty beer…but like I said: traffic blows.

Back on topic. I forced everyone to get up at 4am and we drove to the other side of the island from us so we could watch the sunrise. You can see in my poorly edited picture where we started and where we ended up. (Off topic, but still kind of relevant, I think its funny that you can drive from one side of the island to the other in about an hour. That’s like driving from Olympia to Seattle or close to it back home.)

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Roo was actually really, really excited about this for some reason. I don’t know many 7 year olds who are like “HEY! Lets get up before its light outside and take a car trip to go look at the sky!” but she was a trooper about it. All the kids were in fact, which was great.

We were planing on going to the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail, but by the time we were getting close, we wouldn’t have had time for the mile long walk. But, that’s okay. We can go another morning (not for the sunrise, but early enough that its cool and there isn’t much traffic out there, because I do really want to go). We stopped at a scenic point really close to Sandy Beach, which gave us a great view of the ocean. We could also see  Lānaʻi and Moloka’i, which I thought was pretty badass.

 

So we got there about 20 minutes before sunrise and we just got to listen to the ocean…there were minimal cars driving around (it was almost 6am) so it was pretty peaceful. Sunrise was at 5:58am and let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. In my life, I’ve seen maybe a handful of actual sunrises…where you can see the sun come up over the horizon. I love them. I think they are incredible and amazingly peaceful. There is just something so beautiful about a new day and more often than not, people just don’t appreciate how awesome our planet is. I had a blast pointing out all the colors to Ophelia (she likes pink and purple!)

May 2013 079

This picture is right before sunrise. How cool is that shit? I mean, in Hawaii, we are in the middle of the ocean. Surrounded by water. And you can’t see this just anywhere. I loved it! The colors are just….wow. May 2013 065The husband got way better pictures than I did on the camera I was using. I’m horribly unsteady (I blame the constant flow of caffeine into my system) but he got some amazing pictures. I just snapped a couple shots with my phone. Because that’s how I roll.

 

Good'n

Finally getting to see the sunrise? Gorgeous. Absolutely stunning. I loved every second of it, AND I got to cross something off of my ‘Hawaii Bucket List’.

Then, keeping with our apparent theme of a “family fun day”, we took the kiddos bowling. Let me say this. I love my kids. I love that they love to explore and are interested in the world around them. But it makes things like bowling quite difficult when the little kids just want to run around. Ophelia kept trying to run to the front of the bowling alley to go sit on the ride-on toys (that didn’t work) and she kept trying to play on the gambling machines (you’re too young Ophelia!!!). Bachman just ran around trying to get into anything and everything he possibly could. Reilly was busy trying to chat up a boy. (Oi.) But Reilly also bowled the first strike…of the first game…in the first frame (she was the first person to bowl). So that was pretty awesome for her. Though, she then spent the majority of the first game pouting because she wasn’t bowling anymore strikes. *sigh* Kids, man.

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Ophelia thought it was a blast to carry her own (8lb) ball to the “help you bowl” thingy and push it down the ramp. Even Bachman got in on it for a couple frames during the second game. Mostly because Ophelia was getting exhausted and after the first turn, she was done.

 

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But we all had a blast! I do love doing stuff like this with my kiddos…even if it is tiring to chase them around the bowling alley for over an hour. We got bad-for-you food, enjoyed each others company, and let our kids have fun. Also, they loved wearing bowling shoes…which I think is funny because I used to love wearing bowling shoes when I was a kid too. Now? I think they’re kinda gross….but back then, it was fun.

 

 

 

THEN! After bowling (and a much needed nap for Ophelia) we went to the Toby Keith concert here on post that was put on by the USO. Which, come on…free concert? Hell yes. I used to listen to Toby Keith when I was a little older than Reilly, so it was really cool to go see. We weren’t sure if we were going to make it…shortly after we got home from bowling, it started dumping rain. And it did that for a couple hours. I didn’t really want to take the kids to a huge field, with lots of drunk people, in the rain, past their bedtime. But, the rain cleared up in time, we walked down there and got a decent spot (close enough that we could mostly see what was going on, but far enough away that we didn’t have to deal with a huge crowd). The kiddos got to dance and be crazy…Ophelia pretty much danced through the whole show, minus a few 5 minute breaks where I was sure she was going to pass out in the tent. Bachman ran around like crazy until the concert started, where he promptly nursed and fell asleep in the baby carrier, missing 95% of the concert — and he slept through the whole thing, minus one wake up. How that kid can sleep through all that noise is beyond me, but he did it, and it was really nice to not have to chase him through all the people. I also have to say that I think its great that my kids first concert was country music. My first concert…at 10 (or 9? or 11? I can’t remember…), was to see Alan Jackson. So that was pretty cool. They stayed up way past their bedtime and immediately went to bed when we got home (and slept in till 7am…and yea…that’s sleeping in at our house)…everyone was completely exhausted and happy. Which makes me happy. And, we were creating great memories for our kids.

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All in all? A fantastic day. A completely exhausting and long day, but fantastic none the less. I wish every day could be filled with so much awesome. It can’t, of course, but we did get to see some things that we wouldn’t normally get to see, do some things besides go to school/work, clean the house and do boring stuff. And we got to do fun things with our kids. Over the next few weeks, life is going to be busy. We have various BBQs to go to (including our welcome home/going away BBQ), we’re getting ready to move back to the mainland and to visit family. So I’m really glad we got to take the time to have a great family day.

Seizing The Day

1 May

I know I have a pretty mundane life. I’m a stay at home mom where the highlight of my day is if I get to take a nap or not. (Kidding. Kind of.)

I have a pretty set routine…wake up, have some coffee, get Reilly up and ready for school, yell at her to quit watching tv and get ready for school, tell Ophelia that no, she can’t have chocolate for breakfast and then I take Reilly to the bus stop, where I have to tell her at least 5 times not to sit or stand on the arm rest of the front seat.

The rest of my day can be up in the air…I may go grocery shopping…or I might clean up a room that’s a disaster…and sometimes, I sit on my ass all day and read a book. It varies day to day, but the same shit always happens…get up, shower, fill the rest of the day up with stuff, dinner, and bedtime.

When I was 22, a little over a year after I had Reilly, I decided my life was boring. I was stuck in a rut with my then-boyfriend, I was poor (even though I had a job)…I was just miserable. So while my ex went to Warped Tour with all his friends (using money I made at my job, funny enough) I took the day off work and went and got a tattoo. It’s on my foot and it says Carpe Diem. It’s one of my favorite tattoos. And I don’t always seize the day…life happens…kids happen…that’s just how it goes. But since I got that tattoo, I’ve taken life less for granted and more for what it is…that no day is guaranteed. That life is short and that nothing is waiting for me after I’m gone. I have this life and this life alone and I need to make the best of it.

Enter my husband of 5 and a half years. We met and got married after less than 2 months of knowing each other. We seized the day and have a pretty great relationship. 2 cars, 3 kids and a dog. With him being in the military, we move every few years. Never did I ever think I’d get to live in Hawaii. And in a month and a half or so, we’re heading to California. Somewhere I’ve always wanted to live.

Which brings me to last weekend. Skydiving has been something I’ve always wanted to do. Jumping out of a plane? Where you could possibly die? You want to feel alive…go skydiving. Of course, there are tons of other ways to feel alive…but watching the ground come at you at 120mph? Jumping out of a tiny plane above cloud level with nothing to save you but a thin veil of fabric? It’s definitely an experience of a life time.

I was so nervous on the drive to the facility. I was nervous as I strapped up and then got on the plane. I was pretty much nervous until I got to the door of the airplane with my tandem jumper strapped to my back and I was basically shoved out of a plane.

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The free fall was amazing…I can’t even describe it. After we jumped, I felt so exhilarated.

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We fell for about a minute before the chute was deployed, and then I got to spend the remainder of the time looking at all the beauty around me. The ocean, the beach, the mountains…all of it was gorgeous…

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And I didn’t die. And the only things that top jumping out of a plane (so far)? Getting married to my husband and my relationship with him, and my children.

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So I’m vowing to do more things that will make lasting memories…for myself…for my husband and I…and for the kids. Because when I’m on my deathbed, I don’t want to be thinking about all the things I didn’t get a chance to do in life. I want to remember all the things I got to do. I want to remember the feelings I felt while doing those things and how I felt afterwards. After we landed on the ground after skydiving, I was so happy. So stinking happy. Like, on a ridiculous high, better than anything I’ve ever smoked.

This weekend, I want to go see the sunrise. There have maybe been a handful of times I’ve actually been somewhere that I can see a gorgeous sunrise…so I want to experience one in Hawaii before we leave.

And I know…that we won’t always be able to do whatever we want. We have lives. We have responsibilities. We have jobs and a whole bunch of not-so-fun stuff that we have to do on a regular basis. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take the time to live a little and seize the day more often.

Tattoos

14 Apr

I’ve been getting tattoos for 10 years (wow…it doesn’t seem like that long!) over the years, I’ve gotten 18 tattoos…most with a special meaning to me, about my life at the time. Any time I walk into a studio, they forgo the care instructions discussion and just give me a quick reminder that the worst part will only last a few minutes, then quickly mumble “but you’ve done this before…” and get on with it.

I’ve been itching to get some new ink over the last few months since it was March of 2011 when I got my last ink (thanks pregnancy and deployment!) so I decided that since the husband was home, I could leave the kids with him while I went and got some work done!

The fun thing about this trip (yesterday, April 13, 2013) was that I was getting some artwork that my oldest daughter drew. So I decided to take her with me! She’s been to tattoo studios before, but has never actually seen anyone getting a tattoo before. She also went with me when I got my lip pierced, and she had fun watching me get jabbed with a needle. While we were waiting for the artist, Kobi, at Tattoo Hawaii (in Honolulu) to get set up, she asked when he was going to start…she was anxious to watch me get jabbed with needles (she totally admitted that).

So my badass 7 year old got to watch her mommy (who will be “too old” for tattoos in 11 years, apparently) get inked up. She had fun! She got to watch the art of tattooing…she got to chat up one of the owners and make new friends.

I got to spend some alone time with my baby girl and my husband got to spend some time with the wee babes.

All in all, an awesome way to spend a couple hours! In addition to the picture that little miss badass drew, I finally got to get Bachmans name done (14 months later) and add to my husband tattoo since he got promoted (almost a year ago!)

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Reilly and I at Tattoo Hawaii!

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My zombie that Reilly drew! Love!

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Bachmans name!! In his daddy’s handwriting!

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Husbands rank. <3

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Approved!!