Good Friday? How about Best Friday Ever.

Sorry y’all, this isn’t a post about religion or the recognition of any Christian holiday. It’s about the day, or more like, really early morning that changed this little world of mine forever.

I haven’t shared Charlie’s birth story in writing, just verbal recounts of the massive event. It seems fitting to write it all down now that it’s nearly a year later and Good Friday will forever be an extra, extra special day in my book.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to share any disgusting details, or take you on a journey of incense and chanting. I’m an all American girl who gave birth in a foreign country, buckle your seat belts.

Let me start with the visit to the hospital a couple of months before D-Day. We had no choice but to go to the private hospital here as I am not an Australian citizen, nor do I have permanent residency. Yet. And we also had no choice, as I refused to share a room in the public hospital. I mean, who SHARES rooms anymore? This is something that baffles me with Australian healthcare. All in all, I had pretty standard expectations of this hospital as my nephew spent a night in the surgical wing after having his tonsils removed. I found his accommodation to be pleasant and up to date. Boy was I in for a surprise when we walked into the maternity ward.

Lucas and I waddled into the reception area, well Lucas didn’t really waddle so much, and we were greeted by plastic covered sofas and chairs in the waiting area that looked like they were from the 1980s. I wasn’t put off by this immediately as I was distracted by the competition. The other preggos. Who was going to deliver first in this group? I’m positive this morbid curiosity is only present in the warped minds of first time moms who have yet to embark on the highly anticipated journey of child birth.

As we collectively waddled and shuffled around the maternity ward, and shoved women who were much bigger than their real size and their husbands into little hospital rooms and delivery suites it became apparent to me this whole ward was out of date. When we were told that the husbands, “are only allowed to stay one night during your stay.” I realized the mentality was also a little out of date. Perhaps it just wasn’t what I expected but, I’ll be damned if I will be left alone with a new baby, in a hospital that has furniture older than the American Constitution while my husband chews his fingernails at home. In one room that we crammed our sweaty, pregnant selves into, I saw a television that I kid you not, was on a metal arm that pulled away from the wall. Where the hell is the plasma screen tv and double bed?! I kept pent up my concerns as I didn’t want to seem like the arrogant, loud American, who nothing was good enough for. Thankfully a little distraction came when a woman who brought her husband and toddler on a leash asked if she could stay longer than the maximum of six nights. Six nights?! And she wants to stay longer in this time capsule? I nearly laughed out loud. At the end of the tour, I couldn’t exit that building fast enough. The fear of the general unknown and difference of my expectations and what we were met with nearly proved too much for me. I soothed myself with the knowledge that aforementioned nephew had been born there and I was absolutely checking out after one or two nights. No exceptions.

It also didn’t hurt that my mother came to Australia the week before Charlie was born. We spent the next six days touring Canberra a little bit, as much as my hippo self could get around. On the Wednesday before Charlie was born I took mom and Dave to the Botanic Gardens. We walked through the rainforest exhibit as it was shady and cool, really nice for my giant swollen feet, and well, everything else.

20130329-173036.jpg
This is what pre-labor looks like. If I had only known!

Perhaps it was all the walking, or maybe just the fact that I had been cooking that little turkey long enough that the timer went off. We picked up Lucas from work that evening for dinner and a movie. He will tell you that I was a whole new shade of white and very quiet. At dinner, I started having the biggest Braxton Hicks contractions, and my stomach was like a rock. I felt a bit off but not like I was in labor certainly. After dinner we headed up to the movie theater to catch a showing of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Luckily for me it was sold out. All I wanted to do was go home and eat a Popsicle. All that evening the fun times started to roll. I couldn’t get comfortable to save my life and at 4:30am I shot upright in bed with a real, big girl, call your momma, the big show is a startin’ contraction. Game on.

13 hours, one breakfast burrito, one deli sandwich, a dozen soaks in the tub, and one of Dave’s (my soon to be stepdad- yay!) spicy burritos, I felt it was time to go time traveling. Now, at the ante-natal classes (Aussie speak for pre-natal) they told us to call the hospital before we came so they could gauge by the sound of my voice the gravity of the situation. Apparently, nurse midwives have a sixth sense and it is the ability to hear a woman’s voice and determine how soon a baby will come out of said woman. Apparently. I did as I was told, called the hospital and in normal OHM fashion, I made light of the situation.

“Hello, labor and delivery, how can I help you?” super nurse asks,
“Yes, hello. My name is CJ, my doctor is blah blah and I am in labor.” I tell the nurse.
“Oh ok, how are you feeling?”
“Well, haha. I feel like my baby is trying to escape my body.”
“Ok then, you can come in anytime but you might want to wait a few more hours.”
“Yeah ok.”
We left five minutes later. Just because a girl can joke about it doesn’t mean it’s not happening!

When we arrived we were escorted to a delivery suite and discovered that there was ONE nurse on staff. Another woman was already in heavy labor and going to deliver soon. The nurse called me “Petal” about 89 times and I was in too much pain to tell her that I didn’t know why she insisted on calling me part of a flower, or a car accelerator as I suppose it could’ve been either, but that she could stop. I donned my ever so flash hospital gown and proceeded to labor away. Every Ingrid Michaelson song ever recorded played in shuffle mode on my iPod and i couldn’t have pre-planned a better playlist for the time. About an hour later the nurse came back and asked if she could check the baby’s heart rate, and told me I’d have to get on the bed. I obeyed and she said she was concerned about the heart rate and wanted to continue to monitor it. Then she left.

Holy back labor.

Can I get an epidural now? Can we turn on the gas? Can I have ANY drugs?

Hello? Anybody?

My dear husband was such a trooper, he kept hunting down the lone nurse and begging her to call the anaesthesiologist for us. My in-laws arrived from Singapore before the anaesthesiologist showed up.

While waiting for the $1000 doctor to arrive and relieve my agony, I did use the F word. I am proud to say it only happened once the whole time and it was mid-contraction when I thought the flood gates had opened and both my mother and Lucas decided it would be a great time to let go of my death grip hands and take a little look. “What the F are you doing!?!?” I growled. They both promptly dropped the covers and resumed their posts.

After the drugs, and two and a half hours of pushing, some suction cup action, and some full on dragging my baby out the doctor proudly proclaimed, “Oh look! They’re shaking my hand! Look! look!” To which I replied, “I don’t have time to look! Just Get It Out!” Turns out, little Charlie was pushing back every time I pushed and she needed some extra assistance to make her debut. When her little face was visible my third birth partner and sister-in-law, let us all know, “It’s a girl!” Even though the “girl bits” weren’t even showing yet. Apparently my child was born with a very feminine face. Awwwwww.

At 3:58 on Good Friday morning, as “The Chain” played in the background, our sweet baby Charlotte Josephine was born. It was unlike I expected, and a little as I thought it might be. 24 hours of actual labor was quite enough for me and I am so grateful we had a perfect little girl. It was a flood of relief and joy like I had never known. Each day has been a steep learning curve but we are getting the hang of this thing. I venture to say we might have parenthood figured out in about 18 years. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had, being this little girl’s mom. Happy sort of birthday my darling girl. Good Friday indeed.

20130329-225057.jpg She’s named after my grandmother, Estella Josephine, aka Granny Jo.

xx OHM

Tagged , , , , , ,

Life’s Little Adventures

Today began like any other day. Where the night before was riddled with a hysterical baby who couldn’t choose between play, sleep, or cuddles. And her cot (Aussie speak for crib), was filled with hot lava that only babies can see or feel apparently. In the morning, the civilized part of the morning I should say, we got up and did our usual thing. The rest of our day was shaping up quite well, which in the world of One Hot Mess can only mean one thing. Something must go awry.

That something was when I arrived home after some grocery shopping to find I was locked out of the front door. Alright then, I told myself, lets check the back. As I struggled to open the gate from the opposite end it was meant to be opened, I also pulled off the trick of balancing a wriggly 11 month old on my hip. Ah! The latch came open and we shuffled through, down the back of the house. Recently, Charlie has been mesmerized by the opening and shutting of doors. So, to save her little fingers from smashing and our ears from ringing, we have been latching shut all the doors. This is fine and dandy until you have two bags full of perishables and can’t even get in the flimsy screen door! Luckily for me, there is a spare fridge in the garage so I was able to save the food, and perhaps a piece of my sanity. Unlucky for me, my dear husband was in a meeting and couldn’t answer my witty but pleading texts to jump on his next Knight In Shining Armor opportunity.

Let’s back track a bit. You’re probably wondering why on earth I don’t have a house key. I have car keys right?! Ding! You my lovelies are some smart cookies. I will reward your curiosity. I have traded cars with above said dear husband because he is handicap at the moment and can’t drive his car which has a standard transmission. He apparently doesn’t need a house key on his car keys. Why? I have no earthly idea. Or unearthly for that matter.

In the end, Charlie and I had a little adventure on the back deck. She played with the lone car key and I ate my sushi lunch I picked up on my way out of the shops. I’m glad I was around to vouch for her if need be though. She only has one sock on, hiccups to beat the band, and her hair is a mess. Someone might mistake her for a transient squatter.

20130326-151628.jpg
“Why won’t they let me in?!”

xx OHM

Tagged , ,

Baby Brain

We’ve all done some pretty stupid things. I will shamelessly tell you, the dumbest thing I did pre-baby, but I won’t tell you the dumbest post-baby thing because I probably can’t even remember. That’s the crap thing about Baby Brain, you can’t even remember what it is you forgot.
Pre-baby, when I was 18, I arrived at my boyfriend’s house after a long, gruelling evening
at the Jewlery store, preceded by a tough day at school. (I wish sarcasm had its own font, but I trust you, my readers, to pick up on what I’m laying down.) It was winter in Colorado and anyone with a brain knows its cold! Especially at night. So here I am, yakking away on my cell phone, in my car. The flip kind of cell phone mind you, this was pre-BlackBerry days, post-Nokia brick days for you kiddies. I have gathered my purse, my coat, and car keys but I tell my friend on the phone, “Ahg! I can’t find my phone anywhere!” To which she responds, “Where did you have it last?”

Wow. We were a couple of geniuses. I blame being 110 percent self-involved on that one.

Ok, I do remember my golden moment as a mother thus far. It was a warm Spring day and I was taking Charlie to the paediatrician (Aussie spelling) for a check up. I had her buckled into the car when I remembered I needed her Blue Book. The Blue Book is all her medical records from birth FYI. So, I run back into the house to retrieve this. But, before I leave my precious child in the driveway, I think to myself, “Hmmm, better lock the car so no crazies steal her while I’m in the house for 15 seconds.” Beep. Done. I race inside, grab the book and race back outside. Just as I pull the front door shut and hear the lock click, I realize, “Holy mother, I left the car and house keys on the table.” Now my baby is locked in the car, and I am locked out of both car and house. This is the moment when you envision the authorities ripping your child away from you, telling you you’re unfit. Or if you are like me, you say screw the authorities, I’ll smash a brick through a window before that happens! Luckily, I have my cell phone in my pocket and I dial Lucas 42 times before he FINALLY picks up and I can breathlessly tell him to, “Please come home I’m locked out and I’m the worst mother in the world!” The next seven minutes were the most paced, anxiety filled minutes my driveway has ever seen. Charlie, slept the entire time.

I remember these little gems of moments in my life every time I do something incredibly mindless or witness one of my friends fall into this misfortune. This past Saturday, I’m waiting at Zumba for my lovely friend Beck who I met at Mother’s Group and I adore to the end of the earth. She comes in and uses what is normally my line, “Oh my gosh,you aren’t going to believe what I did!” She goes on to tell me that she accidentally followed the car in front of her into the car park without getting her own ticket. Wait, wait, wait. What the heck is a car park? Ah yes my American friends, here is where I can show off my awesome Australian to American translation skills. A car park is a parking lot, or a parking garage, or a parking space. Pretty much anywhere that is legal for you to shimmy your SUV into. In this instance, Beck was referring to the parking garage near the gym we go to and you can park free for the first two hours. Now, having Baby Brain starts when you’re pregnant and it never goes away. Ever. Baby Brain is at times a debilitating condition, especially when you have five free, peaceful minutes and you can’t remember why the hell you’re in the kitchen. Or, you’re so zoned out you sneak into the car park like my friend Beck, the hardened criminal who dragged me down to the ranks of Canberra outlaw with her.

Prior to the Zumba class starting we were devising ways to get her car out without getting caught by the authorities and not having the giant yellow arm come smashing down on her upon exit. Suffering from my own Baby Brain, it took me until half way through the class to get my lightbulb moment. By this time in the class, I’m looking more like a drunken woman in yoga pants who thinks her moves are the best this world has ever seen. Being distracted by my ever-so-clever idea is not helping my coordination.

When class ends I inform Beck that we CAN get her car out and I am 99 percent positive it will work. She will follow me out, I will zoom as soon as the arm lifts and she can just zip out behind me. As we near the exit, my pulse attempts to quicken but it’s still elevated since my out of shape derrière just finished a semi-difficult workout. I think to myself, “It’ll be fine, and if its not, well, I just won’t think about that.” We get to the exit and I hesitate, not knowing which one to take, there are two lanes, I decide on the one that has more room for two cars to line up so we can maximise our acceleration. I push in my ticket, don’t take time to read out loud the, “Have a lovely day!” message that I usually mock, and hammer the accelerator. My father would be so proud. I even put the Touareg in “sport” mode to prepare for such a drag race moment. I check the curb with my left rear tire, don’t tell Lucas, and Beck squeaks out behind me. We did it! I’m sure the cars at the stoplight think we’ve lost our marbles when we both do a happy dance, but I don’t know them so who cares?! Lesson learned, sometimes you’re so preoccupied and/or brain dead from motherhood you have to resort to criminal activity. I don’t recommend it, but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!

xxOHM

p.s. Feel free to share your “Baby Brain” moments, it’s good to know we’re not alone!

Jet Lag, A Natural State of Drunkeness

When I was in my early twenties, and certainly never before I was twenty-one, I would find myself in a state of fog. Perhaps this was alcohol included fog, unless you have photos, I may never admit to it. We can all relate to this “fog”, the one where you think you’re handling yourself really well. You carry on coherent conversations, wax philosophical, and look really, really good. At least you think you do. When in all reality for us ladies, your mascara is probably smudged around your eyes, your forehead is a bit sweaty, your nose is shiny, and those cheeks are giving off that tell-tale pinky color. If you’re of the male species, your forehead is sweaty as well, your eyes are a bit droopy, and your undershirt is sticking to you like you’ve just completed an Iron Man. You’ve probably repeated yourself three times, slurred at least five, but when you did, you stopped, slowly corrected yourself and thought, “not too shabby, they have no idea I’m drunk!”

It’s all fun and games until the next day you realize, I don’t remember 85 percent of last night. That’s what jet lag is like to me. Without the hangover thankfully! I’ve traveled internationally quite a few times in my short life, and hope to be so fortunate that I can experience the delights of jet lag many more times. The thing about drunkeness and jet lag is that you remember the most unimportant details of your travels. You can’t recall where the hell your shoes are, but you know that the guy who tried to buy you a cocktail was wearing a “Tapout” t-shirt. Hey, at least he has gumption if no style sense. And you can recall that the flight attendant had purple nail polish, but where on earth did you jam those customs forms!? The fun continues when you land and bumble your way through the immigration interview, the man at the end of the line asks if you have any trail mix or beef jerky. Seriously? I just told him I had some baby food, and he comes up with trail mix and beef jerky? Yup, my ten month old just loves her some beef jerky!

The fog continues for the next two days I’m convinced. You put on a straight face, and act like an adult. Yet, at the end of those two days when you finally feel less like an Alzheimer’s patient, you know you had conversations with people, but about what, you’ll never know. One day, I think I’ll try to enjoy jet lag, when I can lounge around for a couple of days, Charlie can feed and bath herself, and I won’t have to worry about who I told what to. Unless its Charlie and I told her she could date. Because that’s never happening.

OHM xx

20130227-103824.jpg

Tagged , ,

The Best Laid Plans

I’m a planner, sort of. Not one of those control freaks, down to the minute, exact details planners. I’m one of those, Libran planners. The ones who have a general plan but can’t make up their mind about the details until they ABSOLUTELY have to. I blame it on my star sign, it says I’m indecisive and anyone who knows me remotely well will agree. Becoming a mother really forced me to start planning a whole lot better. I’m a work in progress.

When I travel, I am forced to make concrete plans. Especially when traveling with an infant. My gorgeous Charlie is a blossoming ten and a half months now which requires both all the baby things, and big girl things. Boobs, and lots of distraction. Not at the same time of course, that’s just hazardous.

This trip, I traveled back to Colorado to visit my people, alone. Alone?!?! With a baby?!? Yep, you’re not the first person to say that to me. Especially after last night, when a shuttle bus full of Australians and myself checked into the Holiday Inn. Unexpectedly. Apparently a bird hit an engine on our plane. Unexpectedly. Unless it was a suicidal bird, but what can birds be so depressed about? They have wings! I digress, myself and many other passengers are “delayed twenty one hours and fifty minutes”. Awesome. Me, my baby, LA and a whole day to kill. Just when I was feeling pretty proud of myself for thinking I had all my plans sorted and would be passing this jumping bean of a baby off to my husband and family in Sydney very soon, the universe reminds me to tap into my inner Buddhist.

As I push my ten dollar SmartCarte from one terminal to the next so I can obtain my new itinerary and hotel voucher I panic. One wrong bump will send my overpacked suitcase off the edge and my zippered chaos will be unleashed on the sidewalk. Then I start thinking about the fact that I will have to unzip those monsters in the hotel. I feel as though I can hear the contents laughing at me. The little cans of green chiles are snickering, “are homemade burritos and enchiladas worth it? hahahahaha”, the five plastic canisters with these awesome rice puffs Charlie loves are shaking their contents ominously, shck, shck, shck. But they’re organic! I NEED them! Truth be told, Charlie wouldn’t care one way or the other if I didn’t jam those puffs in my cases. But I want Australia to see what’s out there, we need more and better options.

FLASH, FLASH, FLASH, CLICK, CLICK, CLICK!

What the heck?! Oh, paparazzi. The gawker inside of me pokes her little head out for a minute. Who could it be? Anyone I care about? No! I tell her. As I near the scene it’s obvious the shutterbugs got excited over a nobody and they’re actually still waiting for their target to appear. I hear one of them cracking jokes, and some middle aged woman cackles as though he’s the celebrity! Get real, people. I then have to manoeuvre my cart and its overstuffed contents through this mass of lookielous who for whatever reason have no where better to be than near a celebrity for five seconds. I only ran over one woman’s heel with my cart as she did not get out of my way. All the while, in my head I’m thinking, “Lady with a baby!” Like that scene in Grease, when Rizzo thinks she is knocked up. As I make my way through the crowd I secretly hope this celebrity tries to rush out as I’m passing the doors and doesn’t have the path cleared for them. My baby is way cooler than any movie star. I’m sure all moms think that, and they’re right!

After I am past the mob I have a sudden rush of gratefulness. I can wear my baby, push my breast pads, cans of green chiles, 42 diapers, and 97 baby toys through LAX without someone snapping my photo. Except for the government, which is a whole other issue. It doesn’t matter that my make up has probably all been worn away by Charlie’s, “fountain on the mountain” ponytail. Or that the baby bjorn is squishing my back into a muffin top. I am free to be Charlie’s mom without the whole world judging me. Or, asking me what is in my suitcases, but I guess I just told them.

Now there are sweet little murmurs coming from the hotel crib, and I have Intelligentsia to get to. That gorgeous husband of mine says its the best coffee. Plus, it’s near the beach. Winning.

xxOHM

Tagged , , , , , ,