Sustainably Single Parenting

Making the most of life's journey alongside my three!!!

The Kid is Alright April 22, 2013

Last night we spent three hours in the emergency room.

Don’t worry. Everyone is alright. I debated about taking Terra, who’d cut her lip on our coffee table, for nearly an hour before making my decision to go. The cut wasn’t ghastly, but I used to work in an Emergency Room and gunshot wounds aren’t ghastly when I’m in the right frame of mind.

TerraLipTerra was fine. The big gash that appeared to go straight through her bottom lip turned out to be two unconnected cuts. The hour I spent debating, pacing, searching the internet for information on cut lips, and consulting friends for their opinions, Terra spent icing her lip, and wearing a makeshift butterfly bandage. By the time we saw the doctor there was nothing more they could do to improve her healing outcome.

What I was really looking for in that time before finally deciding to go to the hospital, was his opinion. I just wanted to hear him say, “She’ll be fine, don’t take her.” I wouldn’t have gone. I would’ve trusted his decision and I would’ve stayed home. But he isn’t here anymore.

It’s not a bad thing, that I have to finally fully rely on my maternal instincts, my own knowledge, and my own skill, but it is a learning process. I was so accustomed to having him here for the big decisions; the car problems, whether or not we’d vaccinate, the home maintenance, and the severity of injuries.

Being a single mother means he’ll no longer be here to manipulate my decision making, but he’s not here to validate me either. Sometimes it’s hard to not have his reassurance that I’m doing the right thing. I’m learning.


Back to Basically Alright March 25, 2013

Nohra is over 11lbs at four weeks old! That's a gain of 4lbs+ since birth :)

Nohra is over 11lbs at four weeks old! That’s a gain of 4lbs+ since birth 🙂

Today is my first day of feeling good again.

I was able to use various natural remedies (warm, moist heat and massaging, increasing my Vitamin C and taking Echinacea, increasing my fluid intake and resting) to beat mastitis without antibiotics. Yay! It also helped that Nohra is going through a growth spurt and was begging to nurse almost constantly these past few days.

I was in so much pain at times, but several things helped me to push through. One was knowing that I couldn’t afford to get any worse as there wasn’t anyone to care for my daughters. Another was that if I had to take antibiotics and transfer them to Nohra by nursing her I’d feel incredibly guilty. Another was that no one was here to comfort me regardless of how much I complained so it was better to stay tough (very similar to birthing). I’m happy to have won this battle. Thank you all so much for your kindness and advice!

Terra and Amara modeling their new sunglasses and outfits courtesy of my sister :)

Terra and Amara modeling their new sunglasses and outfits courtesy of my sister 🙂

Today was spent cleaning, trying to get back on track from several days of letting the girls go off their schedule and wreck the condo. It was bad. It still isn’t perfect, but today alone I got everyone bathed, the gerbil cage cleaned, the cloth diapers and the dishes washed, the bathroom cleaned, a load of laundry folded and put away, and a draft of my Master’s Project Prospectus completed.

The plan was to stop and celebrate every small victory along the way. Every cleaned body, room, dish, diaper and whatnot. But I was too busy scurrying to clean as quickly as I could each time I was able to put Nohra down to stop and enjoy each accomplishment. I can certainly say that being a single mother of three young children has made me much more efficient. I have no time to do anything slowly anymore.

There’s still a lot of cleaning to be done. My summer semester proposals need to be finished this week, there are bills to pay and appointments to make it to and Terra’s fourth birthday on Saturday. I cannot wrap my head around it all. When I dreamed of my adult life I never saw it being like this. I thought that I’d have babies, yes, but everything else was inconceivable. I do enjoy having children, I’m just eager to reach the period of our lives when I can share so much more with them.

There’s still so much I want out of life, but days like today I am certain that we’re going to be alright.


What a Slap in the Face March 22, 2013

I was finally starting to feel little bit better.

I got caught up on my homework, caught up on the laundry, spring cleaned the girls room, stocked up on groceries, and made it to everyone’s therapy session this week. I was looking forward to spending the weekend drafting proposals for my last two courses of graduate school. But there’s always something to keep things from being perfect.

Today, I have mastitis. It feels horrible. Have you ever been in so much pain that you wanted to tear off a body part? Well, if what they say about the Amazon warriors is true I would get rid of the pain and throw a wicked javelin for doing so.

It feels like there is an anvil hanging off my breast. My body aches, I have a migraine, I keep getting chills. My stomach hurts so badly I do not want to eat, my stomach hurts because I haven’t eaten. I cannot win for losing. Am I complaining? Maybe I am. I don’t remember mastitis  ever being a this bad.

I’ve gotten mastitis four times now in my 48 month nursing career. I’ve taken antibiotics before, but I would really like to avoid taking antibiotics while Nohra is so young, and even if I wanted to fill a prescription, my primary care doctor is out on sick leave, for cancer. I called her office today, since it’s Friday, just in case the pain intensifies over the weekend (if that’s even possible), but they will not give me a prescription without coming in. The office is over an hour away, it’s closed on the weekends, and we have trouble making it to places 20 minutes away unscathed. I would just switch primary care providers, but my doctor referred me to my cardiologists, and finding a new provider could back up my appointments with my cardiologist. Sigh.

I’m putting hot compresses on it, massaging it although it feels like masochism. I’m still nursing from it, and trying to save as much energy as I can. I really don’t want this to get me down. I was feeling so good about being caught up and being able to get ahead this weekend. Two steps forward, three steps back. But I’m still committed this journey, and I’ll get where I want to be eventually.

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Woe Is Pregnancy October 12, 2012

My daughters are three and five, so my pregnancies with them seem fairly recent, but after giving birth I always gloss over how annoying pregnancy can be.

I remember the births vividly. I have no delusions about the consuming feat of labor and delivery; how much energy it takes to breathe easy through hard-hitting waves of contractions; the terrible tricks of transition. I remember well why they call it the “ring of fire” when baby is crowning, but I also remember the sheer joy and immeasurable humility of having a baby glide through my bones.

It was those subtler, constant and consuming pregnancy nuisances that I completely minimized in memory.

I remember complaining about the pain in my ribs. I don’t remember feeling like I was being pulled apart. There is a continual strain coming from my rib cage. It feels as though my ribs are being stretched to all sides and that the seven layers of skin holding them in might not prove strong enough.

37 weeks – 2007

I remember the pelvic pain and feeling pressure. I don’t remember waddling at 23 weeks because the aching in my pelvis is so strong that it hurt to put my legs together. I don’t remember there being so much pressure in my vagina that it hurt to sit down. I’m carrying around unfamiliar, weak, sore and swollen pieces of me.

I remember the practice contractions. I don’t remember being squeezed to the point where breathing becomes difficult. I don’t remember holding the bottom of my bump in a futile attempt to keep the pressure from affecting my bladder. I don’t remember being worried that they are strong enough to be a sign of preterm labor. And then, of course, I stress that it’s my stress level causing the contractions, which inevitably continues the cycle.

None of these discomforts are the same as true labor. I can handle that. When I’m in labor I am in my element, totally present, focused on creating the most peaceful earth-side entrance for my baby as possible. No screaming, no crying, no complaining, no drugs. It’s different when I’m in labor; the end is so near, and my mental commitment to staying relaxed throughout the process helps to keep things progressing positively. Pregnancy, however, is a lingering stretch of vexation, a waiting game, leading up to the day where the pain all accumulates, amplifies, and finally, finally pays off.

I’ve only got..17 more weeks of waiting…17 more weeks of rib-splitting, kicked-in-the-crotch feeling, Braxton Hicks contracting joyous pregnancy.