It’s been kind of cryptic around these parts the past year or so and it feels like it’s time to step out and be a little more transparent with my writing. Vulnerability was never my strong suit, and though I’ve always been pretty open about my life, how stressed I could get, how crazy my kids would act and how annoying my husband could be, it was never from a place of complete honesty. I guess I never really thought everyone wanted to see the weak parts in all their glory, so I put on a bit of a show to try to mask some of what was going on. The things I wrote were true, just not very deep. You didn’t really see Morgan. So I’m pushing aside all worry of coming across cuckoo for cocoa puffs and I’m just going for it! (Which, in essence, is another step in my healing process. To step out and be seen for who I really am. So thanks for being a part of this!)
There’s been somewhat of a paradigm shift for me. Do I still have hard days as a mom/wife/human being? Sure. But the change has been in how I’m trying to not automatically go to the negative place in my mind, thoughts, etc. and purpose myself to think on what is good. To not grab hold of the lies and negativity that cross my mind so easily and quickly, but instead to purposefully push those aside and replace them with something positive and true.
The most helpful tool of sorts that has impacted my life has been this: Think about what I’m thinking about. In my darkest hour, I was saturated in condemning, shameful, comparative, negative thoughts. I was so hard on myself for the mistakes I’d made and the person I had become over time. I really didn’t recognize myself and actually quite honestly hated who I saw in the mirror. The true shift began when I stopped buying into that garbage.
Think about what I’m thinking about. I do this as often as I can throughout the day. Not every thought HAS to take root and become a part of my identity. There are a lot of pretty negative/hurtful/perverse things that cross our minds if you start to pay attention. The thing I decided is, who cares? Just because something crossed my mind doesn’t mean it’s true or that I am forced to believe it. Yes, it’s natural to ruminate on ideas and concepts that aren’t necessarily life-giving and fruitful… we all do it, all day every day. But how much sweeter would it be if those ideas were mostly good instead of soaked in harshness and negativity? Hear me out if it sounds like a pointless concept – what harm would it do, really? We know reality. Bad things happen to us. We mess up. People are cruel. But what happens is when we sit around and ruminate on these things, we begin to believe them, they began to shape how we see ourselves and others and then over time we find that we’ve actually become the thing we feared or hated. When I say ‘we’, I’m really talking about myself because this very thing happened to me.
Not sure if this is coming across clearly, so let me give a few examples from my own experience.
I can remember times where I was too harsh with my kids and made them cry. Later that night while laying in bed, here’s what was happening in my mind, “You’re such a terrible mother. They don’t feel loved or accepted. You’re such a monster. You always do this. They’re going to grow up and have issues because of how you always scream at them. You’re screwing them up. You’re so cruel. You’re never going to change.”
This is where I lived. Every day. With everything that I put my hand to. I burned something while I was cooking and then thought, “You’re never going to be a good cook.” I got angry with Justin and then I thought, “He’s going to leave you and find someone else who IS kind to him.” How sad!! I became so fearful, angry, bitter and hard on myself, not even able to see the good. The reality is, I messed up. I was angry. I was manipulative. I flipped people off and chewed people out and hurt those I loved and who loved me. I was a terrible cook. Does that mean it’s the end of the world and there’s no hope for me? No. Does that mean I’m always going to be that way and I’m a monster? No.
The next thing I began doing after thinking about what I was thinking about was to stop believing the junk. Sometimes positive things don’t cross our minds very often on their own, so for me, that means I sometimes have to literally look myself in the mirror and think (sometimes say) “No Morgan, you are good. You are honest. You have a pure heart. You are gentle and kind. You speak nothing but sweetness and truth. Justin appreciates you. You are a perfect mother.” And you know what? Those things may not be 100% true in the moment, but doing that has changed me. I don’t hate myself anymore. I truthfully can say I love myself, where I am right now. I may not be perfect, but who the heck is? I might as well be a little easier on myself while I’m figuring all this out. It sure hasn’t hurt anything.
There have been some dark moments where I’ve been driving down the road and thought, “I should just swerve off into that ditch” and then I was like, all disturbed that I merely thought it. “Oh my God, I’m going crazy. I am a danger to myself. My mind isn’t right.” I was upset about that for a long time because on top of actually thinking about killing myself and not really knowing why, I was also pregnant at the time. Am I suicidal? Do I really want to die and take my baby with me? NO WAY! And that’s the honest to God truth. Just because it crossed my mind for whatever reason, I didn’t have to believe it or follow through with it. And I didn’t have to believe the lies that followed! I am NOT crazy. I have a sound mind and I love my life and my baby. That’s an extreme example to apply this concept to, but in the day to day, we really do grab hold of a lot of crap that we don’t have to.
Take the lady who cuts in line for example. Was it rude? Absolutely. Do I know everything about this woman and her life? No. She could be a kind, considerate person who just happened to be caught up thinking about her grocery list and didn’t see me. If I were to bite her head off, or leave the store and ruminate on how rude she was all the way home, while I was cooking dinner for my family, while I was laying in bed on into the next day, give her a piece of my mind while blow drying my hair, what does that do? It just steals my peace and joy. It’s like a poison you just keep drinking. A knife you just keep twisting. So yeah, maybe the fact is that she was actually cutting me in line because she was an inconsiderate butthole. It would STILL do me good to think the best about her. Where’s the harm in that? This applies to thinking and speaking about my kids, my husband, myself. If you’re believing the best about others, you have to believe the best about yourself as well. “You’re never going to be a good cook.” You know how many times I’ve thought that about myself over the course of my life? I finally decided to stop believing it and try to do the opposite. And you know what? I’m not Iron Chef Mario Batali, but I’m sure not as terrible at it as I once believed. I’m actually getting pretty good. I never would have given it an honest shot if I didn’t stop myself from believing the worst.
I know thinking on something that doesn’t seem possible sounds dumb. I keep it in perspective. If I was in a dark alley and a man came up to me with a shank, I definitely wouldn’t be believing the best about him like, “oh maybe he just wants a friendly conversation” – like, use a little wisdom. Homeboy is getting maced and can find another friend. (Plus, what am I doing in a dark alley to begin with?) Also I realize I have to change some of my ways and circumstances aren’t going to shift just because I think “I am kind.” I’m just noticing that taking that first step in starting to believe good things, and starting to imagine that I could be different than how I am now is actually doing some of that work for me. What I’m saying that where I put my mind and my speech, my actions are following. And then, it’s been amazing, but the circumstances are starting to change. It feels unnatural, sure, to argue with my husband and then stop myself and think “I’m more kind than this. He loves me. I love him. We’re better than this” And then instead of continuing to be mad at him, it actually has helped me then be better at apologizing and owning up for my side of things. And over time, we are finding that we aren’t even having those fights at all because we’re both thinking the best about one another! It has helped me to break out of that familiar place of feeling so sorry for myself, so depressed and anxious and fearful and bitter, so hard on myself for messing up, that I can actually stir myself up on something positive, take care of the mistake in the moment and move on to do better next time. No ruminating. No beating myself up.
Think about what you’re thinking about. You don’t have to accept everything you’ve been told by yourself or others. If we’re not careful, we can get caught up in believing the worst. I challenge you to capture those thoughts about yourself — the big ones at first, then the more subtle ones you’ve believed for so long will start coming up — put them to death and replace them with the best possible scenario. Because the truth is you are pure hearted. You are kind. You are patient and gentle. You are a wonderful person. You are great at that one thing. You’ll be amazed with what starts to happen once you begin to believe it.
Tomorrow Ruthie will be TWO MONTHS OLD. Mother of pearl, that was fast.
This little lady is something else. She is such a delightful little bug — she’s very alert, smiles all the time and makes the sweetest cooing sounds. I can hear her “talking” in the next room right now, as a matter of fact. THE BEST. I’m thankful that she is sleeping through the night and never melts down, even though it’s looking like she’s begun teething. I know, WUT. I guess that’s what happens when you bake for three extra weeks… I have to remind myself that she’s actually closer to 3 months old, which is when Maddie and Jack started teething. Seriously though, even with that happening, Ruth is such an easy-going baby.
When I was pregnant, I had a hard time imagining what this one would look like and what kind of personality she would have. Since I already had a girl and a boy, it was hard to imagine another one looking any different than Maddie or Jack, but she came out seeming like a perfect combination of them both. Now her personality is starting to come out and I can assuredly say she is her very own brand of wonderful. The only thing about her that isn’t perfectly dainty is the fact that her poop could rival that of a 250 pound man after consuming a large and very spicy curry. Look at that sweet face though!
I seriously thought I’d be pregnant forever. After almost 43 weeks in my belly (yes, you read that right), Ruth Margaret Gable is finally here!
After that last post I wrote, I was sure I’d be going into labor at any moment. Like I said, since about 37 weeks, I had been having a ton of false labor pains. I’d sit through a few hours of contractions, getting more and more uncomfortable, sometimes I’d make a call or send a text to my midwife to give her a heads up, and then pfffffft. Like clockwork, they’d fizzle out and I’d go to bed with the sads. I had made up my mind since the very beginning though. I wasn’t going to get my little grubby hands involved in any way this time. I wanted my labor to start naturally and to have as little medical intervention as possible. I realize this might not be an option for everyone, so I’m very thankful for the chance to experience pregnancy, labor and delivery in the way I felt the most comfortable and in control as I was able. After two previous forced starts to labor (castor oil and pitocin), I really wanted a different experience. I have to fess up though… I did drink a bit of castor oil somewhere around 41 weeks in a moment of weakness, but most of it immediately came back up and gave me nothing but a bad case of gas for a few hours. Which, let’s be real… wasn’t all that different from every other day of the pregnancy.
On the morning of August 2nd, I woke up feeling a little off. I was just sort of lounging on the couch all morning watching HGTV and was feeling some period-like cramps, which I pretty much dismissed as another bout of false contractions. I was going to be pregnant forever, remember? Around 11 or so, the four of us got up and around and took a trip to Walmart to get some plumbing parts for our leaky toilet. I said something to Justin about how funny it would be if I was really in labor and didn’t have a working toilet. HAHAHA, SOOOO HILAR.
Walmart was Walmart and I wanted to leave after about 3 minutes. I was more agitated than I had felt in a long time and was still feeling contractions, but I wasn’t quite convinced they were the real deal yet. On to Target we went.
It was about the time the kids were looking at a giant book about Legos that I realized. I timed a good handful of contractions with an app on my phone as we leisurely strolled through Target and they were about 45 seconds and 4 minutes apart. Welp, I guess it’s time to grab that gigantic tub of licorice I’ve been craving and skidaddle.
In the parking lot, I called my midwife. She had checked me out the day before and I dilated to about a 4, but after discussing it and considering all the starts/stops, we decided it’d be okay if she headed out of town to go to her granddaughter’s birthday party for a day. By the time I called her to let her know I thought this could be the real deal, she was already in her car with her husband and on their way. I had a back up midwife lined up if anything like this happened, so I wasn’t really worried. Plus, I kind of still didn’t really believe I was really in labor. I KNOW. Looking back and thinking about how I had to stop and breathe through contractions and how I even passed the makeup aisles without so much as flinching in their direction, HOW COULD I NOT HAVE KNOWN? This is the third time I had done this, for Pete’s sake. It’s almost like I needed it in writing, signed by the President or something.
My midwife suggested I go on home, take a bath and eat some lunch. Usually, relaxing a bit will cause false contractions to ease off, so that’s what we were trying to do. I did what she suggested and while I was in the shower, Justin was scrambling around the house, straightening up and making a bed for me on the couch. He also fixed the toilet at lightning speed and I am forever grateful. He was such an angel throughout this entire thing… More on that later.
So after being home for only about half an hour, I was starting to feel legit pains:
(Apologies if the exposed midriff is causing you to stumble.)
After Justin took that photo, I had to use the bathroom like whoa, so I hung out in there for about 20 minutes (TMI, don’t you love it? Poop and labor = BFF). I could hear him pacing the living room and making some phone calls. My midwife, who was still on her way out of town, gave him the number for the back up midwife. He called her and she was 40 minutes away. Yikes. Next was a phone call to my parents, who were supposed to pick up Maddie and Jack at this point, but they were 2 hours away. Then a call to my doula, who was busy at another birth. I remember leaning on the bathroom counter and Justin came in to tell me that we were on our own for at least the next 40 minutes and we seriously just laughed. During the pregnancy, we talked about what would happen if he had to deliver the baby and they covered it in the home birth class, but we never formally planned for it to ACTUALLY happen. I can’t describe what was going on in my head at that moment, but even though everything I had envisioned was seemingly slipping through my fingers, I somehow knew it was going to turn out more than fine. The peace was indescribable… as were the poop pains. Back to the toilet, brb.
A few minutes later, I emerged a new woman — a woman in honest-to-goodness active labor. I ended up on my knees on the floor in front of the couch, leaning my upper body over the seat cushions. I have no idea how I chose that place to have the baby. I had tossed around a few possibilities beforehand, thinking maybe it would happen in our bedroom or bathroom. The tub, perhaps? Candles lit and relaxing music playing? The fact that I landed in one of the most random spots in the house without any recollection of consciously choosing it proves what I had heard about home birth and your instincts just leading you to settle in the right spot for you to birth the baby. Sounds kumbaya my Lord, but honestly, it did end up being the best place for me to have the baby. By the way, there was no time for candles or music. I labored to the soothing sounds of Jumanji on TV in the next room where my kids were hanging out. Screeching monkeys really puts you in the frame of mind for birthing, FYI.
Justin called my midwife, put her on speaker and set the phone on the couch about a foot from my head. I clearly remember NOT wanting to talk or be helped in any way. I wanted to be done. I screamed, I cried a little, and she calmly coached me through it. She told me to put my pain to good use and bear down through the contractions. Justin was behind me (sorry, honey) and was doing everything my midwife instructed him to do. I’ll spare you some of the details there. Water had started leaking, he was checking for the baby’s head, you get it. I can’t remember exactly what he was doing that whole time, but he was encouraging and sweet throughout it all. And remarkably calm! I felt so safe with him there.
I felt the baby’s head move down at one point, then again during the next contraction. I was like, “ohhh craaaap, this is really happening” and my midwife could tell by my screeching what was going on. The baby was almost out. She said, “Okay, Justin and Morgan. I need you to look in each other’s eyes and agree that you still don’t want to call 911. Are you ready to do this?” Through blurred, mascara-teared eyes, I looked at Justin and we both said “Yes.” I’m sure I looked so hot in that moment. Like, irresistible even. Justin’s expression was the best though. I’ll never forget it. Excited, a little nervous about the unknown, but still confident. And dang cute. I think he looked the cutest he’s ever looked to me on that day.
You guys, it felt like I had to take the biggest poop of my life. I knowww, I’m sorry for the repeated mentions of poop, but it’s honestly what it felt like! The pain in my butt was literal and it was something I hadn’t felt with the previous epidurals. It. Was. Intense. But it didn’t last long.
I pushed once and the baby’s head came out. No time for 911 anyway at that point. Justin held it, as I was still leaning over the couch. Right at that moment, the back up midwife busted through the door, slid across our living room floor while simultaneously snapping on her gloves. It was kind of Matrix-y and awesome how she flew in like that. She put her hands down there to catch the baby as I pushed her out. She passed Ruth through my legs and I held her for the first time. Baby Ruth. She was here and she was perfect!
Don’t be fooled by this picture. This was about 10 minutes after I had Ruth, I totally wasn’t wearing pants and still had to deliver the placenta. Buckets of fun! That part took three flippin hours and was honestly the most painful part. My back up midwife kept saying, “How do you spell relief? P-L-A-C-E-N-T-A” and she was not joking. Getting that thing out was the best feeling ever. Then I could actually take a shower, snuggle my sweet baby and eat some Chipotle.
Our sweet Maddie and Jack were in the next room the entire time, poking their heads in and out to check on me. Maddie even unlocked the door for the midwife and handed Justin a few things during the crazy part of my labor. Justin and I had done our best to prepare them, but I think my screaming kind of took them by surprise. They were incredibly sweet to the baby when she arrived though, and that hasn’t stopped since.
More posts to come, as I’m sure I forgot a few details and I’ll have some questions to answer. I’ll get to that soon. For now, know that we’re in heaven with our family of 5 and are all enjoying every second with our precious Ruthie.
No belly photo this time… just close your eyes and picture a hippo wearing a maxi skirt and I’m sure it’ll be close.
This is all new to me, this waiting game! When I was pregnant with Maddie and was baaaarely a day over my due date, I decided to drink a nice little castor oil cocktail. It sent me right into labor and I had her 12 hours later. And then with Jack, I was induced for no good reason a few days before my due date. So yeah, this is different. I’ve been having tons of false labor start/stops since about 37 weeks, which has been super duper fun and not at all leaving my loved ones sitting on the edge of their seats. I’ve been doing my best not to let impatience get the best of me and just let it happen on it’s own, which is so NOT the way I’m used to operating. It’ll be best in the long run, I truly do believe that.
Honestly though, you know what just plain sucks? Watching as all your friends who were due close to your due date having their babies like, a month ago. Every time I see another one on Facebook give birth, I’m just like Napoleon Dynamite…
For the time being, I’ll just continue bouncing on the exercise ball, hoping it doesn’t explode underneath me while watching One Tree Hill on Netflix and reminding myself that I won’t be pregnant forever. And that my boobs WILL stop growing at some point. (Right? Please tell me I’m right.)
And just like that, I’m in my 8th month! (Today is 33 weeks, 3 days)
Time flies when you don’t post weekly pregnancy updates, doesn’t it? It’s been kind of different/weird, to not be giving the social network every detail of this pregnancy, because last time and the time before that? Well, I basically shared everything, down to the nitty-gritty-no-one-really-wants-to-know-how-much-facial-hair-you-are-growing. But it was fun, you know? Talking and sharing and connecting… and yes, complaining every waking hour of the day. That part was like, SO healthy for my mental state. :) This time, and I know I’ve said this a gillion times, but this time it’s just SO dang different.
The past year has been kind of a season of separation from some social types of situations. A time of being more guarded with my words and really placing a lot of value on what I say and what I do. A time of maybe being a teensy bit radical in some ways. I know those close to me have noticed some stuff changing and may be kind of weirded out and concerned by the sudden nature of the shift in priorities, but honestly, so much greatness is coming of it. I know it’s just a short period of this, to really gain perspective on where I was living — in such a negative, harmful, hurtful and painful place. To step out of that for a bit, to really gain some understanding of why I was the way that I was, so when the dust settles and things get back to ‘normal’, I will be much more grounded and sure of who I am. So I won’t be so shaken up by little things that may go awry in my life. I’m feeling that change right now and it’s good. It’s really good. I’m not telling everyone to go out and do this because wow, stuff really gets stirred up! It’s a very purposeful thing for me and my family, with an end in sight. So I’ll be back here writing more regularly at some point in the near future.
With all that said about guarding my words, you guys know I haven’t had an ultrasound, right? WHEW, I went there! Guard momentarily down! Nope. Haven’t been to the doctor either. Midwife care, yes, traditional OB, no. Huh? What was that you just thought? It’s okay, gurrrl. If you want to unleash the beast, go for it… I’ve heard it all at this point! I can do this dance. I’ll even dip you and give you a kiss at the end because seriously, after hearing what I’ve heard over the past 8 months, nothing could bother me at this point. I’m not being unwise or reckless. There’s a plan and there’s safety involved and this is another very purposeful thing we’re walking out right now. Different? OHHH yes, especially for me, who once held the title of The Queen of Unnecessary Ultrasounds. But again, good things coming from it!
One small example, not going to the doctor means I haven’t weighed myself in several months. Like maybe, twice during this entire pregnancy. It’s been freeing in a lot of ways, but you know, a funny thing happens when you don’t obsess over the number on the scale — You STILL find ways criticize yourself!
Behold… the woman with a hundred chins…
Such a sweet picture of me and Jack Boy, but I still zone in right on those rolls. Count em up! One two, skip a few, 99, 100! I’d love to say that I’m at a place where weight gain doesn’t bother me, but LEZBEREALHURR. It’s a process, people. I am enjoying eating though. I like, really, really enjoy eating. And snow cones. Something about snow cones just does it for me these days.
Oh also, has anyone seen The Business of Being Born? Or any other home birth type documentaries? Would someone please tell me WHY every woman seems to give birth topless??? Enlighten me, por favor. Yes, I will be giving birth in the comfort of my own home and it’s nothing my midwife and husband haven’t seen before, but I can’t. I assure you, I will be covering these monstrosities. My kids have seen me getting into the shower and seem to think something about my physical state is ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS. Not that my kids will be there for the birth, I just mean there’s a common theme of “LARGE” going on with me right now and I think I’d even distract myself mid-push and start laughing if I was completely nekkid. We’ll just leave it at that.
On that delightful note, I’ll wrap things up. No wait, look at this photo of “beautiful scenery” first and get that other image out of your mind:
The next time you hear from me, I’ll probably have this baby! Woo!