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  • HyperHam 8:30 pm on May 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , birth trauma, PTSD, therapy   

    Our Birth Story. Part Two. 

    Our birth story began at 9.22 am on January 23, 2011, with the birth of our son, Alex.  Most people’s stories end there; the baby is out, pictures are taken, nervous assembled family members hug in an adjoining room, the circle of life.  Like everything else about us the birth was different.  Our true birth story began when Alex made his arrival.

    Our birth story is not pretty.  It had no feel good moment.  It was 66 hours of pure, unadulterated hell, followed by two more days stuck in hospital, incredibly lonely, and in pain, and hurt.  My soul was crushed, there was no way around it, and if it weren’t for the mammoth strength of my husband, Monkey, I would not be here today.

    Life in the weeks after baby Alex was difficult, but so rewarding.  His life gave my life purpose.  He smiled (and it was a smile, not gas!) gave me strength I never knew I had.  Slowly, the physical wounds healed.  But the mental wounds, reliving the terror when I closed my eyes, feeling ghost hands and instruments inside me when I knew I was sitting on the couch, nursing my son, safe and sound, they stayed with me.  Always, always in the corner of my eye, they sat  just out of the line of sight.

    They waited.

    Alex was probably nine months or so, and Monkey had to travel for family business for a week.  I was fine, I said.  I got this.  Lexi and I had found our groove.  Baby massage on Mondays, chilling with the yummy mummies on Wednesday mornings, going for walks, we had this.  But Alex got sick, an awful lurgy headcold, and I caught it within a day, and those 10 days without Monkey was a day in, day out marathon of runny noses and no sleep and screaming and pain and finally…I snapped.  I was pushing baby in his pram (because of course his sinuses hurt so badly he couldn’t sleep on his back in his crib), and he was just screaming and screaming and screaming and I –

    • I shook him.

    He thought it was funny, to have mommy grab his pram, wheel him around, and jiggle the pram hard making the funny yelling faces, and he laughed.  I recoiled in horror, walked away, went to the computer, looked up the crisis hotline, and dialed the phone.  I didn’t get off the phone till I had spoken to someone, and had the soonest doctor appointment to deal with it.

    The first appointment was an assessment, that took about 1.5 hours, although it seemed twice as long.  I cried, and cried, and cried.  I was broken.  But anyone who is a parent, and especially the primary caretaker, knows that being broken isn’t an option.  You have to push the demons behind your line of sight, as you have priorities.  Child comes first, second, and third.  And fourth.  And…you get the point.  But the demons weren’t going anywhere, and they were now interfering with my child.  So they called me back a few weeks later; they found a therapist who specialized in birth trauma, and there was a creche in house, so Alex could play while I worked.  A few weeks after that, we began.

    I was diagnosed with PTSD from the birth, and our therapy followed the protocol for the disorder – me telling the birth story, in the present tense (and now I am on the table, and now I am pushing, etc), over and over till I became accustomed to it.  For several months we worked intensively, me telling the story over and over, talking about ‘hotspots’ in the story (parts where I would break down), working through especially difficult moments, her pushing me to relive detail after detail until….until I became bored.  I was bored of telling the story, bored of the power it once held over me.

     

    I had finally finished giving birth.

     

    The story isn’t over, of course.  I still have one last piece of the puzzle to get through – obtaining my birth records, and going over them with a general counsellor (making sure I understand what my body went through, so I have no lingering doubts about how everything healed).  But just like the birth of the child means the worst is over, so is the worst of Alex’s birth over.  I can finally look back on Alex’s birth and find some joy.

    The light of my life came into the world on January 23, 2011.  Finally, after 15 months, I can see that light fully.  No darkness in the corners of my eyes.

    Have a good night.

     
    • barefoot_med_student 11:13 am on May 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Wow. I’m so glad you got through the trauma – to think, there are countries where mothers with birth trauma are expected to just push through it on their own.

      I also wrote a #blogitforbabies post here 🙂

      • HyperHam 2:30 pm on May 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks! It\’s cool to read your piece and get the medical side of it all. Well done!

  • HyperHam 3:45 pm on April 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Being an Eco-Geek 

    Monkey has been playing Deus Ex whenever he gets a spare moment on the PS3 . It’s a cool game to watch – enough storyline to keep an observer interested, with lots of strategy for him.  He likes to be really stingy with his weapons, preferring to take out his opponants hand to hand (as he scores extra points and has weaponry ready for the big bosses at the end of every level).  Monkey is overall, exceedingly stingy.  That’s one of the things I love about him – he doesn’t waste resources, money, anything.  Sure, he gripes about getting the newest electronic kit, but when it comes down to it, he’s fantastic at either finding the best deal, or getting it second or third hand.

    We’re a stingy/eco/whatever family, overall.  We’ve started composting now that we have a tiny garden patch of our own, and I am going nuts over it (in a good way).  The little seeds we bought from the local nursery have become gorgeous plants that I am potting in largish pots, which will eventually go into the soil once it’s guaranteed there are no more frosts.  Our composter looks like a Dalek, so THAT’S awesome, and is already halfway full with about a gazillion fruit and veg scraps (as I make 90% of baby’s food).  I’m getting out waaaaay more, and getting my hands dirty.  It’s wonderful to watch baby touch the plants and dig his fingers in the dirt (and only less wonderful when he tries to eat said dirt).  Even if we fail miserably this first season, I’ll still consider it a win.  And of course, we still cloth diaper the majority of the time, and hang laundry on the line versus the dryer.  We’re the new geek – the Eco Geek.

     

    So, how is this rather Luddite practice of reducing/reusing/recycling considered geeky?  Like everything else, if you want to geek it out, you can.  For instance:

    Math geeks:  Knowing the square footage of your plot of land/pots, and the root ball of your desired plant, solve for X  (where X is the amount of plants can can thrive in the footage).  Variables include soil needs and sun requirements.

    Sewing geeks:  Can you create a Con worthy costume using ONLY clothing you currently own but never wear?  Bonus if you can source props from household items. Can you also make blankets from old tee shirts, receiving blankets for new baby geeks, or (super MotherEarth womyn geeks) your own menstrual pads?

    Mechanical geeks:  Using minimal purchases and empties from your bin, make an automated watering system for your plants.

    Craft geeks:  Can you, without purchasing anything, create all of next year’s holiday/birthday presents?  Bonus points for making your own wrapping paper.

    Drunk geeks:  Duh.  Make vodka/beer/hooch.

    Apiology geeks:  Can you create your own beehive and then collect the honey at the end of the season?

    Chemistry geeks:  Make the following eco-and money-friendly home cleaning products:  Dishwashing detergent, laundry soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deoderant, window washing fluid, and body soap (and yes, you can quote Fight Club while you make the last one).

    But, why do all of this when you can easily go to the store and purchase said things?  Well, why do you dress up for SCA, or spend hours at a table rolling 20 sided die, or wait in line for the newest white and chrome gadget?  Because you can.  Because you find a challenge in it.  (And in the case of the Apple store, because apparently you can’t manage a mouse with more than one button – OOOOH LINUX BASED BURN YO).

    Yes, I know, there is no time in the day.  Yes, we all move at the speed of light, blah blah blah.  I thought it would be really hard to cloth diaper, and then I hit my stride, and it’s not.  I thought it would be hard to compost.  It’s not.  I thought I’d never get to garden with a baby – I can.  The point is, you can use your geeektastic skills outside of Second Life/behind your screen/away from the LARP, and still do great stuff.

    Go Eco, Go Geek!

     
  • HyperHam 4:41 pm on April 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: geek girls, , open source boob project, twilight   

    Being a Geek Girl, or why Twilight pisses me off 

    There is a debate in the blogosphere about Twilight, and the ingrained misogyny behind it.  Oh, I don’t mean the outright misogyny of the story itself, I mean the criticism of it.  Apparently, if you hate on Twilight, you may just hate women.  Interesting.  And by interesting, I mean increasingly infuriating.

    The Ferrett’s stance is that when teenaged girls come together to like something, THEY (whoever THEY are – are you on the THEY newsletter?  You totally should be, it tells the rest of THEY what THEY should hate on at any time) want to tear the girls down.  By ripping on Twilight, THEY “… sends a bulletin to teenaged girls that whatever you like, you should change that shit right away.  Because you’re kind of silly and stupid, and maybe you should alter yourself to like better things.”

    And you know what?  He’s right.   If you like these books, a small part of me *does* think you are dumb, and that you *should* like better things.  Fine, I’ll take up the women-hating flag on this one.  And here’s why…

    These girls SHOULD like better things.  These girls should strive to read something better than shittily written drivel that is incredibly disempowering.  Wow, wooden characters, stilted dialogue, piss poor story development, *and* I get to be taught that girls should feel proud to be stalked, to have an overprotective boyfriend who ‘loves’ them enough to micromanage them, and eventually serve as nothing but a vessel for whatever her mate wants for her – don’t worry about college plans or your own life goals, you need to be a wife and mother now, and THAT’S ENOUGH.  Woo-whee, who do I throw money at to get those great lessons, wrapped in awful prose?  If Myers would have pushed a pro-anorexia agenda, or a pro-cutting agenda, I’d be just as pissed.  Young girls SHOULD be told that starving themselves is bad, and that they need help if they start DIY bloodletting.    But because she wraps it in a ‘romance’ packaging, it’s somehow OMGZ EVIL for me to find fault with it.

    See, if I was Ferrett, I really wouldn’t have drawn my line in the sand on Twilight.  If I was him, I would be angry at Stephanie Myers and every shit writer like her who churned out this drivel, while writers who create works featuring strong female protagonists languish on the slush pile.  I would be angry at the PR machine that dresses up this misogynist fantasy and sells it as ‘true love’.  I would be angry at the parents who think YA that is smart and challenges you but has sex, violence, or language (like So Shelly by Ty Roth) should be monitored, but that little girls, just figuring out their identity, should live in a Bella and Edward licensed world.  That  is who I would be angry with, not people who dare to point out Twilight’s many, many faults.

    I tell ya, there is nothing like being told you are a woman hater for hating on a book that hates women.

    It’s bad enough that reading comic books as a child I was taught that women were simply pawns in villains’ machinations against the hero; later, that women could be ‘super’, but only if their mammary glands could serve as flotation devices; and finally, that you could be reasonably proportioned and smart, but only if you were dead; seriously, the first strong woman that I saw in the pages who wasn’t stacked like a porn star was Death, from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.  So to be told that I am a misogynist for not liking Twilight is a slap in the face.

    Double points if the person telling you this is one of the main proponants of the ill fated Open Source Boob Project.

    Triple points if he has also said of women who, after repeatedly saying no to a guy who bugs them for a drink/dance/date, finally give in and say ‘yes’:   “I can’t decry the process of “asking repeatedly,” mainly because it’s the only stimuli a lot of women respond to.  Frankly, I think any woman who has to be begged fifteen times before she eventually accepts should be drug into the back alleyways and beaten, because her rampant need for a string of pleadings trains the wrong sort of men that no doesn’t mean no.”  (What.  The.  Fuck.)

    Yeah, apparently *I* am the one who hates women.  Of course.

    The more I think about this, the angrier I am getting, so I am just going to stop now.

     

    Fuck Twilight.

     

     

     
  • HyperHam 1:00 pm on April 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    In Fatty News 

    I tell you to listen to your gut,

    offer a picture tutorial on how to make organically decorated Easter eggs (great for kids!)

    GET NEKKIED FOR ART (completely work safe post, only the links are nekkid),

    and figure out what we talk about when we talk about dieting.

     

     

     
  • HyperHam 2:41 pm on March 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    In Fatty News… 

    I talk about my looooove of chocolate, and

    realize that it is not all my fault.

     
  • HyperHam 9:49 am on March 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Going off the geek grid 

    A friend* of Monkey’s and mine recently dropped off the geek grid for a time, getting rid of facebook, closing down livejournal, and the like.  She’s come back now, which is great, but I found while she was gone I was envious of her.  There are days I would love to just shut everything down, kill my Internet footprint, and become a total Luddite.  I’m not alone – my friends who are the biggest geeks (I mean the ones who build there own computers) have done a massive 180 in the past few years.  Where before they shot for ‘first name, first page’ status (typing in just their first name would pull up their webpage on the first page of Google rankings), now they are impossible to find.  It’s not a coincidence that those who pioneered the Internet are now quietly in the background.  People are losing out on jobs and college placements because of idiotic stuff they post – even older folks who started their careers before the popularity boom of the Internet are finding old, scanned in photos of their younger days causing them issues.

    Baby Alex is the first generation to truly be born into the Internet.  While I was 18 when I first showed up on rankings (Google wasn’t even invented then, we searched on Yahoo, and in a Netscape browser for goodness sakes!), his photos were indexed on the web within hours of his birth.  He has literally grown up on technology, from Skype to Picassa to his own Youtube channel. I worry that in a few years he’ll want to go off the grid, and will be unable to.  I worry that I am making decisions for him unfairly – putting him out there without his consent.  I guess all I can do is what I have been doing – celebrate him in my own geeky way, and try to keep him safe.

     

     

     

    *I say friend in a weird air-quotey way, because while we are friendly with her, we have never met each other – such is the way of the Internet

     
    • Tribble Wife 10:58 am on March 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I don't think I'd ever want to go off the grid entirely, but I do sometimes long for privacy and stop using almost all of my social networking sites.

      Other times I can use my "internet footprint" to my advantage; I scared the pants off that scam dress company by informing them that I'm a well known blogger and will be using both my blog and my Twitter account to let the internet know! They only have to Google their own company name to see my blog about them pop up.

      I won't get my money back, but they stopped threatening me when they realised that I'm a public (ish) figure that people know.

  • HyperHam 11:43 am on March 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    In Fatty Olympics News… 

    I pull a Rime of the Ancient Mariner,

    curse the Fatty Ascent of Man,

    and celebrate a New Day.

     

     

     
  • HyperHam 9:35 am on March 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    When crazy meets crazy 

    On Mondays I have my therapist, who can only be reached by taking 2 buses there and back.  Notoriously, one of the bus lines is always filled to the brim with pissed off people.  Never fails, someone is always in a bad mood.  This time, however, it was a crazy person.

    I am a big proponent of treating crazy people with dignity and respect (and yes, I get that many crazy people don’t like being called crazy, but I would like to point out that this is my journal, ffs).  I don’t freak out when they engage me, I chat with them in a polite manner.  However, I wish with this guy I would have taken the next bus.  He wasn’t mean, or violent, he was just…there is a look in a crazy person’s eyes when you know at any moment they could snap.  I have that look every once in a blue moon, so I know the look very well.  This guy was a walking embodiment of that look.  And for some reason, he was fixated on my son.  He wanted to play with him, say hello, touch his hand.  Again, I normally don’t have a problem with engaging crazy people…right up to the moment where they interact with my child.  Then we have a problem.  So for a very nervous 15 minutes I tried to keep the man focused on me versus Alex, and for Alex’s part, he did a great job standing his ground (at one point the man reached out to touch his hand, and Alex literally slapped his hand away and gave him a look which I can only describe as ‘Bitch, please’).  And while it wasn’t my stop, I got off a mile from home (the bus hub) just to ensure if he did get weird, there would be oodles of people around.

    Sigh.  It’s tough walking the line between insanity and the sane, knowing how mad it can get inside someone’s head, because of how bad it’s been inside mine, and yet knowing that my son will have to grow up with that.  It’s a bitter pill.

     
  • HyperHam 10:54 am on March 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    This week on Fatty Goes to the Olympics… 

    I…

     

    Realize that cooking can be as much of a vice as eating,

    Forget the pain of regret (and gastro-enteritis!),

    and pull a Schroedinger’s on cheating.

     

     
  • HyperHam 12:07 pm on February 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    The Phases of Mommy Fashion 

    A buddy of mine on FB was remarking that while she loves her designer diaper bag (the same one that Angelina Jolie has!), while empty it is 19 times heavier than the free one she got at the chemist. As a friend of hers pointed out, Miss Angie has nannies to carry her bags. It got me thinking to the phases of Mummy fashion that every woman seems to go through in post pregnancy. If you are pregnant right now, be on the lookout for these developmental milestones.

    Phase One: URGH.
    You have just had a baby. The thought of putting on anything more than a nightshirt, undies, and a robe is horrifying. Climbing in and out of the shower is a trial in strength, so doing something as time consuming as fixing your hair seems ridiculous. If people come over, you may put sweatpants on, but that’s it. Fuck shoes. This phase may be as short as 2 weeks, or as long as 12, depending on how evil your birth was.

    Phase Two: THE LIGHT.
    You gingerly step to the closet one day, and realize that your fat pants now fit! In a surge of energy, you find both a top without a stain on it, pants, and even a pair of shoes that are not fuzzy with cartoon characters on them, and you step outside. A homeless man takes one look at you and slips you a pound. You can’t remember the last time you took a shower that was longer that 3 minutes, but you are sure as hell going to have one, just as soon as you go to the hairdresser. This is a fun phase, enjoy yourself. I got a buzz cut and bought pretty makeup.

    Phase Three: YUMMY MUMMY.
    You are in your stride now. You’ve figured out burping, colic is probably over, and you can get your kid into a pram and out the door in less than two and half hours. You may or may not be pre-pregnancy weight, but you are at least learning how to work it. Look at you, branded coffee cup in one hand, brochure for Baby and Me Yoga in the other. *two snaps* WORK IT GIRL! This phase will hopefully last a long time.

    Phase Four: CODE RED.
    Baby decides to change up the game. Your angelic little sleeper now wakes every hour on the hour from teething. The cute little baby that would sit happily in his playcage while you got ready now screams when you leave the room (or his arms!). Forget clean clothes – baby how slaps over bowls, chucks food, and is constantly grabbing at you with sticky hands. You spend most of your time on the floor, retrieving thrown toys from under the couch. Then baby decides to get his first major cold/flu, and you find yourself at the urgent care ward in a pair of dirty yoga pants, a tee shirt sans bra, hair that hasn’t seen soap in 3 days, and flip flops that do not match. The only good thing about this phase is that you *can* get out of it. Eventually the teething fades, they do go to sleep, and you will have a few days/hours of Phase Yummy Mummy before the next Code Red crops up.

    Bonus Phase: HONEY BADGER.
    I call this the Nirvana of the phases, although some would consider it Hell. You do not give a shit about what you look like. Jean shorts + black socks + tennis shoes + skanky top + hair sticking up = WHATEVER. DEAL WITH IT. I’M A FUCKING MOTHER. I KEPT ALIVE ANOTHER HUMAN BEING TODAY, WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO? THAT’S RIGHT, NOW SHUT YOUR HOLE. HOLLABACK.

     

     
    • Tribble Wife 12:18 pm on February 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I APPROVE OF THIS POST!

      Seriously, it's impossible to look gorgeous even *half* the time when you are dealing with a Small Person and all their different phases… that's part of the reason mothers look better in their 40's than they ever did before! 🙂

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