Labor memory triggers

Someone recently commented on here mentioning the tv show House of Cards. I was immediately thrown back to the day I went into labor. Valentine’s Day 2014. I was in the hospital, patiently passing the final weeks of my pregnancy, enjoying each day under continuous monitoring until I hit 39 weeks, the planned time for induction. At 36 weeks I thought I had plenty of time. Chris and I planned a romantic date in the hospital- he was going to pick up sushi (cooked rolls for me) and we were going to watch House of Cards, which was released that day. While he was at work I was having cramps on and off all day and when I saw a little bloody show, I called him, suggesting he come right to the hospital after work. I was scared something was happening. But as the day progressed and nothing seemed to move forward, I called him again, telling him to go ahead with our plan- get the sushi, but stop at home first and pick up Mabel’s blanket- the special one I had ordered, just in case. (just in case she died. I wanted her to have a special blanket to hold her in) Once he made the trek picking up all the necessities, we settled down to a nice dinner, each of us sitting on one side of the hospital tray table on wheels. I was a little uncomfortable with the cramping through dinner and so we decided to walk to the lobby and pick up some ice cream. The hospital café recently started stocking Ben & Jerry’s so we grabbed a pint of peanut butter cup, with full intentions of snuggling together in that one person hospital bed, chomping on ice cream and watching House of Cards. By the time we got upstairs to my room and I had a few bites, it became too uncomfortable to sit down. Labor had started.

Reading the House of Cards comment, brought me back to my labor- not in a bad way. It’s nice to be able to recount my labor in such a safe space. I don’t often tell my labor story outside the babyloss community because the follow up questions and comments can be rough- I didn’t realize you have a baby! Or How old is your daughter? I know I have every right to chime in, like any mom of a living child would do when something brings up a memory like that. But if a simple remark about how xyz reminds me of my labor then leads to my child’s death, awkwardness inevitably ensues- we all know what this is like. And I don’t want to seem like I’m fishing, looking for sympathy. Honestly, most of the time I simply want to remember and share my story- be a regular mom who can tell these things without consequence. I don’t want the awkwardness, or the pity- in some ways I just want the gentle laughing at how these seemingly random things remind me of childbirth. But it’s often just not the case.

I think of my labor whenever I think of sushi and Ben & Jerry’s peanut butter cup ice cream. I remember eating them and throwing them all up later. I think of my labor when I am reminded of House of Cards or Valentine’s Day. These are my little triggers (delightful triggers in a way) that remind me of that day. A scary day that led to a sad day, but it’s still part of her story, so I take pleasure in remembering it.

Do you have random things or associations that trigger memories? Do you share them?

Carrots and Ice Cream

I am not known for my healthy eating habits.  I’m not a terrible eater, I just have very little will power when it comes to things like bread and chocolate.

Throughout pregnancy, people asked if I had any cravings.  Truth is, not really.  I had aversions.  After eating a particularly spectacular lobster roll (the true kind, hot and buttered) in early pregnancy, I suddenly couldn’t stomach it anymore.  Sauteed spinach grossed me out.  I developed dysgeusia- water tasted like metal, which can be associated with pregnancy.  I couldn’t stand drinking water from my home faucet.  So I started drinking seltzer, which I never liked before.  I wouldn’t say I craved it, I just developed a taste, out of necessity.  My husband could argue that I craved ice cream, but I’ve always craved ice cream.  I happened to eat more of it pregnancy because it was my go-to comfort food when we got bad news, since drowning myself in wine was out.  I ate a lot of ice cream.

When I was in the hospital, I had many visitors bearing gifts.  Word got around that I liked chocolate and so I was showered with every kind of delicious treat you can imagine.  I started making anyone who came into my room leave with a goodie in hand.  The cleaning lady left with some cookies.  I made every nurse leave with a candy bar in her pocket.  At one point a few people asked Chris if they could bring me a desert- he suggested something savory or even with veggies.  I received five different kinds of cheese and a chicken pot pie!

In the hospital I was also gifted some very special ice cream.  In my room I had a mini-fridge, rumor has it that the Maternal Special Care floor is the only one in the hospital with such luxuries because of the diabetic moms.  But the freezer in it was tiny and not cold enough to support my ice cream habit.  There was a main fridge down the hall, which patients could use.  It was well signed, stating we should label our food and it will be thrown out after twenty-four hours.  I risked leaving my ice cream in there, figuring there are many long term patients on the floor and I was kind of well known.  Day after day my well-labeled ice cream stayed in the freezer, so I stopped worrying.  It was a few days before I had the chance to try the special ice cream- from the Midwest with chunks of chocolate the size of candy bars (Graeter’s) because of the plethora of goodies I had stocked in my room (see above).  The night I finally went to try it, it was gone!  Someone had cleaned out the freezer.  I was heartbroken (remember, I was on a tether and couldn’t just run to the store and get ice cream when I wanted).  When word got around, then nurses practically ran a witch hunt.  The poor manager who threw it away (to her defense the fridge was signed saying it would) felt so bad she gave me some hospital bucks to use in the cafeteria- which we used on the night I went in to labor, to get some Valentine’s Day ice cream.

In the beginning of pregnancy I started eating more healthily.  I really tried to incorporate more fruits and veggies.  So as I waited in my midwife’s office for my very first ultrasound, I happily munched on carrot sticks, thinking how good I was being!  I was hoping someone would see me and comment on what good choices I was making.  Moments later, as I looked at the ultrasound screen and saw no baby, no heartbeat, nothing but an empty sac, I lost my taste for carrots.  I didn’t eat carrots for the rest of pregnancy.

Now carrots have that special meaning. At first, every time I would see them…a side dish at a restaurant, at the grocery store, as an Easter decoration… my stomach somersaulted in a jumble of both craving and aversion.  Thinking lovingly about my little carrot and then reminded that she’s gone.  But now, especially after witnessing Mabel was here, I see carrots and my heart warms.  Because now, my friends and family and even strangers see carrots and think of Mabel.  Today my friend sent a text photo saying last night at the store her boyfriend said “Mabel!” and she turned around to see:IMG_6607

Today I tilled our garden, getting it ready to plant some carrot seeds.  Happy 3 month birthday to my Karate Carrot.