The Truth About Postpartum

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As much as I didn’t want to write this blog (and admit these things in print), I feel it is my duty to report back on this particularly undocumented period of pregnancy: The Fourth Trimester. You readers rely on my frankness so no matter how embarrassing it is, I have a duty to you to come out with it.

Before my baby was born, I read up on what to expect postpartum and nothing really prepared me for what I experienced. I wouldn’t be surprised if reading this doesn’t prepare you either–it’s a mother-loving head trip! Good luck to you. I’m only glad that I have recovered most of my hormones at three and a half months postpartum, if not all my memory.

So without further ado I give you:

Amanda Hanna’s 6 Truths About the Postpartum Period

  1. Like Adam & Eve in the garden of Eden, you will live your life without shame. I am speaking in total honesty when I tell you that I walked around the hospital (practically) buck naked, hemorrhaging from my nether regions for the first 24hours of my daughters life. I don’t recall ever brushing my teeth or my hair or even looking in the mirror. Once my epidural wore off I was asked to pee in a cup and that one endeavor left me covered in urine for the remainder of my stay because God knows I didn’t attempt to shower until I was released from the hospital two days later. I look back now and laugh at myself for packing things like dental floss in my hospital bag. Ha! If only I possessed the shame of a normal human, but in those first 24 hours I had no thought in my head besides the well-being and whereabouts of my baby. Even now, it’s like National Geographic over at my house. I rarely put a shirt on. My boobs are always out in front of company. A thin layer of breastmilk coats everything around me and I don’t even attempt to wipe it up more than once or twice a week. What for? It’s just going to drip again.
  2. Prepare to be crazier than you have ever been in your life. I had read that upon giving birth your hormones crash but I never fully realized what that would mean. Even me telling you about it won’t prepare you for when it happens. Like the Jamaicans say, yuh nuh ready! When that baby leaves your body, expect to go bat-shit crazy. I remember one night in those early weeks when my mother-in-law was staying with me and my husband in Florida. I had gone to lay down for a little while she spent some time with the baby. After about five minutes I raced out of bed to tell my mother-in-law that whatever she did, she must not give the baby any honey. In my mind I imagined my mother-in-law getting up, innocently to make herself a cup of tea with honey, and dripping a little honey on her finger by mistake. Then I thought she might let the baby taste the honey (as grandparents sometimes do) and I was beside myself with worry. I shot right up so I could let her know that honey could kill the baby and under no circumstances should honey be allowed near her. Thank God for my MIL’s patience because she very calmly replied that she would make sure to not give the baby anything other than breastmilk. All I can think is that she remembered how crazy she went after giving birth to her own kids. Another day I told my husband that I needed him to get me a baseball bat because I noticed all these drivers texting while they drove and I couldn’t have such criminals driving potentially explosive ‘weapons’ on the same road as my child. I fully intended to get out and beat the shiz out of anyone who had the nerve to text and drive near my child. My husband casually informed me at that point that in Florida, I would likely be shot if I attacked a stranger with a baseball bat in traffic. All I’m saying is: you go nuts after your baby is born, so expect it. Don’t let it surprise you like it surprised me.
  3. Get ready to weep. I am not a crier generally. I have had friends for over twenty years who have never seen me cry. I am just not that kind of girl. I’ll tell you what though–having a baby makes you cry all the time. I cried when she was born. I cried when she latched on to breastfeed the first time. I cried when the hospital staff pricked her to take her blood. I cried when she cried and I didn’t know why she was crying. I cried when they kept her overnight for jaundice and made me go home without her. I cried and cried and cried that night. I cried when I drank coconut water because I remembered being in labor with her for so many hours and drinking coconut water to stay hydrated. I cried when my husband would talk to me in anything other than ‘gentle tones’. I cried when I watched her sleep. I cried when she looked up and smiled at me for the first time. It was three months of non-stop crying, and apparently it was 100% normal.
  4. You will live in fear of two things: Taking a Poop & Having Sex. After I gave birth I had the distinct sensation that my downstairs area had turned into a wishing well. I could feel breeze swirling around an endless, deep, dark cavern of space. I imagined myself flinging coins into it waiting to hear the sound of them hitting water. Thanks to the episiotomy that allowed my daughter to be born after 25minutes of pushing, I was now held together by stitches. After a week, those stitches began to dry out and harden, making everything in that region uncomfortable. Just the thought of taking a poop or having sex, filled me with a sense of dread. I started to tell my husband that maybe he should take a lover because I didn’t think I’d ever have sex again. I stopped eating solid food out of fear that the food would eventually have to come out of me. It was an extremely tense time for me and therefore those around me.
  5. You will go between never wanting to have another baby, and wanting to have another baby right away. From the start I only wanted one child. I was a big advocate for the only child. Well guess what, I spent days swinging the pendulum between never wanting to have sex again to wanting to get pregnant again immediately. It was an irrational time of life. My husband was at his wits end. I’d tell him not to even thinking about touching me to literally throwing myself at him and telling him to just ‘do it now and get me pregnant’. I really have nothing to say for myself besides ‘hormones’. What are you gonna do, amiright? I was especially sexy with my topless, breastmilk-leaking, National Geographic, barely showered or brushed teeth, baby-weight-holding self. It’s a wonder I remain not-pregnant, right now.
  6. You won’t remember those first 6 weeks. Right before we left Miami I looked at my husband through a haze and asked him what had happened since the baby was born. My mind was literally blank. It was like I’d just woken up from a dream state and couldn’t decipher fact from fiction. Had I really told his mother not to feed the baby honey? Did I really walk around the hospital naked and unwashed? Was I a lunatic? (Yes to all three). It’s amazing I’m still married. This is why society tells you to get married before you have a baby because if there was anyway a man could easily leave you in those first 6 weeks without a legal obligation to stay, he would. Hell, if I could have left myself I would’ve. Half the time I didn’t even know I was there! It was a miracle I managed to function from hour to sleepless hour, but function we did and I can say at the three month mark I officially started to feel like myself again. Sure, it’s still National Geographic over at my house because I am pumping every four hours, but I get a lot more sleep and at least one shower a day. I have family that comes to help out when my husband can’t and a delivery guy that makes sure to bring me food when I can’t make it out on the road. I look back at those pictures and videos from those first few weeks and smile at how much my baby has grown since then. It feels like a lifetime away. All I can say is Thank God we got through it alive.

Best of luck to you expecting Mama’s out there! My only advice is take the help. People offer it and out of politeness your first instinct is to turn it down–don’t. Take it! Take all the help you can get because you do actually owe it to yourself and your family to eat, sleep and shower every once in a while. Oh yeah–and have sex with your husband. He needs that too.

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The Labor & Delivery Story

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The Lead Up to D Day:

I am a prepared person. No matter what it is I’m doing in life, writing a new novel, starting a new venture, even going on vacation, I do my research. Childbirth is no different. Before I even entertained the idea of getting pregnant, I watched numerous videos on childbirth. I read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” BEFORE I was expecting. (You can probably tell I’m not the kind of girl who enjoys surprises). I watched “The Business of Being Born” 6 times leading up to my impending delivery. I signed up for “Prepared Childbirth Classes” at the hospital that painstakingly went through every stage of pre-labor, active labor, transition labor and postpartum. I took a crash Hypnobirthing class on my birthday so I would be ready in case I had no choice but to deliver the baby with my own two hands, in a pitch-black elevator shaft in the wake of a natural disaster. At the moment when I was driving to Costco on Monday, August 8th when I felt my first real contraction, I could not have been more prepared. I had 5 copies of my birth plan tucked neatly into my pre-packed hospital bag. I was going to stay at home as long as possible and hopefully get to the hospital when I was ten centimeters dilated and ready to push. My birth ball was inflated. My husband had been practicing effleurage and the breathing exercises. We could not have been more ready to go…

False Alarm:

The contractions started slowly. I’d get one then I wouldn’t get another until thirty minutes later. Sometimes they’d stop all together and start back up. By midnight I decided I was not in labor and went to sleep. On Tuesday morning (August 9th) when I woke up, I convinced myself that I’d imagine the whole thing. Surely a person would know when they are in labor, right? Wrong.

There is actually an entire show devoted to people who didn’t know they were in labor. They didn’t even know they were pregnant. This is what I thought Tuesday afternoon while walking in Dolphin Mall. Every step I took brought another contraction. Some were strong and others I couldn’t even be sure were contractions. Each one felt different. “I need to go home” I declared to my husband and father while we stood in line to buy a whale lamp for the baby’s room at Home Goods. The contractions continued throughout the day to come more regularly, ten minutes apart. Sometimes I could talk during and sometimes I couldn’t. By 10PM I told my husband we should call the doctor and ask what we should do. Yes, I was having contractions, but it wasn’t like I was dying. Wasn’t I supposed to feel like I was dying? Isn’t that how it looked on TV?

My doctor assured me that I should feel like I was dying.

I told her that the hypnobirthing teacher said I had a strong uterus because I didn’t experience menstrual cramps. Could it be possible that I am about to have the baby but my strong uterus is making it easy on me? She didn’t think so.

Around midnight the contractions started to go in the opposite direction. After getting stronger all day, suddenly they began to get weaker. Instead of coming in a regular 9 to 10 minute interval, they started to stretch to fifteen or twenty minutes. This is when I started to suspect something might be wrong.

“Let’s go to the hospital,” I told my husband. “Something is happening”. Well, that’s all my father needed to hear. He got so flustered he spent ten minutes running around the apartment in his underwear looking for his pants. Matt and I were in the elevator and he still hadn’t managed to get dressed and find his keys despite the twenty minute notice I had given him. Regardless, we went ahead. I wasn’t in pain but I wasn’t waiting any longer. I’d been feeling contractions for over twenty-four hours and I thought there was a good chance this baby was coming out. Her head was so low that the ultrasound tech was alarmed the day before when she’d tried to guess the weight. “Does the doctor know she’s this low?” the tech asked. “How low is she?” My husband wanted to know. “She’s as low as she can be without actually coming out,” the tech said.

We got to the hospital and I told the nurse I wasn’t sure if I was in labor. I told her about my strong uterus. She told me to fill out the forms and a nurse would be with me. She didn’t seem to know about people with strong uteruses. My husband and I sat patiently as I got hooked up to machines and waited for the internal exam. Was I in labor? Was the head about to crown? Could I be one of those people on TV who confused childbirth with food poisoning? Is it possible I could just sneeze the baby out with no discomfort what-so-ever?

“You’re about 1 and a half centimeters dilated,” the nurse declared. I couldn’t understand it. I’d been having contractions since Monday afternoon and here it was, Wednesday, August 10th at 1:00AM and I was only 1 and a half centimeters dilated. “If you want we can admit you and induce you,” she offered. No way, I said. I have a plan. I’m going to go into labor naturally and stay home for as long as possible. Then I’m going to arrive at the hospital when I’m 10cm dilated and start to push. It’s all in my birth plan if she would like to take a look. She did not want to take a look.

“Come back when you’re doubled over in pain and crying,” the nurse told me. “Then you won’t have to wonder if you’re in labor.”

We went home and went to sleep. The contractions had gotten substantially weaker since learning how little I had dilated. I went to sleep thinking that I would be pregnant forever.

D Day:

The clock said 5:45AM when I felt a dragon had bitten through my abdomen. The pain radiated down my legs and wrapped several times around my body like a boa constrictor, squeezing the absolute life out of me. I sat straight up in bed but couldn’t manage to get any further. The pain seemed to pin me in place and I couldn’t make a sound. All the air got sucked down into some dark place inside of me. I saw my husband sleeping beside me but he might as well have been miles away. I couldn’t reach him. I couldn’t cry out. It was as if I was encapsulated by my pain. It was so strong that it incapacitated me. I watched the clock for a full 90 seconds until the grip began to loosen. Just like that, I felt perfectly fine. I lay back down wondering if I’d imagined it. I’d just been to the hospital and the nurse told me I could be pregnant for another three weeks. There is no reason to believe that what I’d just experienced was a contraction. It was late. Maybe it was a dream?

Ten minutes later the dragon bit me again. This time I managed to roll out of the bed and squat against the bed frame. I realized very quickly that it was far more painful to lay down than to stand up, so for the next four hours I stood, bracing myself against the wall in silence as my husband slept. I started recording the contractions. They were coming in a regular pattern ten minutes apart. After the fiasco of the night before, I didn’t want to wake anyone up. Besides, wasn’t my plan to stay at home until I was 10cm dilated?

By 10:00AM I had taken two showers, bounced on the birthing ball and couldn’t labor alone anymore. I decided it was time for the husband to wake up and help me. “Get the F* up,” I caressed his face gingerly as I breathed through another dragon bite. “I’m having a F*ing baby over here!”

“No you’re not,” he turned over and stuck his head under a pillow.

I decided to try my Dad. “Dad, I’m in labor. I’m having this baby today,” I told him.

“That’s what you said last night,” my Dad sighed as he rolled over and went back to sleep.

I was the girl who cried labor and now nobody would believe me.

In my mind it was time to take another shower. When I came out I found my husband had roused himself to go to the mall and grab some breakfast. “Would you like anything from the Ebar?” he asked as he looked for his keys.

“I can’t eat anything, I’m in labor,” I declared. I had to admit, even to me it sounded unreal. How could I be in labor? I was just at the hospital and they told me I was nowhere close.

“You won’t go into labor in the middle of the day,” my Dad assured me, “you’ll go into labor at a far more inconvenient time. Nobody has babies in the middle of the day.” This logic seemed to convince my husband that he had plenty of time to grab a coffee and a bagel and even do a little browsing over at Nordstrom before coming home.

By then it was noon and I was in some serious pain. The problem was that neither my father, husband nor brother believed that I was anywhere near having a baby. At twelve thirty something changed. This time, everything got more intense. The pain lasted longer. The contractions came closer together. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t breath. I felt the baby’s head and it was low. “As low as it can be before coming out….”

“I need to go to the hospital,” I announced as my husband and Dad laughed at something on the TV.

“Why don’t you wait til later?” My Dad asked. “There’s no rush to go now. I want to watch the rest of this show.”

“Matthew, take me to the hospital,” I demanded. Matthew ignored me as he texted on his phone. “Just relax,” he assured me, “it’s not as bad as you think”.

I decided right then and there that I was 100% alone in the world and I would have to pick my ass up and walk to the hospital. The thought of that walk with the August Floridian heat met a contraction head on and tears sprung to my eyes.

“Take me now!” I screamed so loudly that my husband literally jumped up off his chair. Finally he could see that this wasn’t a joke. I was in labor. I was having this baby today. As far as he knew, I might be having this baby right there on the couch. He finally agreed. The seven minute ride to the hospital was one of the most painful and fearful of my life. I felt like I was sitting on the baby’s head. I felt like if I breathed too hard she could fall straight out.

We walked into the hospital to see a long line of people waiting to get through security. That is when I lost it. Here I was, (in my mind) minutes away from giving birth, and we had to wait for a bunch of people to submit their IDs and get processed before I could get to the maternity ward. I’d have to have my baby here in front of the imitation Starbucks in the lobby with a dozen strangers watching me. When the contraction hit me, I doubled over and started to weep. Yes, weep. I am a degree holding drama queen and when confronted with the scariest situation for womankind–natural childbirth with an audience–I weep. The security guard took notice and asked my husband what was going on.

Finally, Matt summoned the words he’d been denying all day. “She’s having a baby!” He declared. The crowds parted and I was ushered quickly to the appropriate floor. After filling out all the admitting paperwork for the second time in twelve hours, I was finally taken to triage to be checked. If you’d asked me, I was ready to push. The pain was ten times worse than anything I’d ever experienced. I’d watched the videos on youtube and I knew what ten centimeters looked like. That was me. If I wasn’t ten centimeters then I didn’t know anything about anything in this world. “I’m ready to push,” I told the nurse, expecting her to rush me straight into an ER. I saw visions of myself having this beautiful natural childbirth experience. Three pushes and the baby would be on my chest. She would look around with her alert eyes, crawl to my boob and magically latch on. I would feel endless relief, joy and exhaustion. Hell, I was exhausted now. I hadn’t slept much since Monday night!

“You’re three centimeters dilated,” the nurse reported matter-of-factly. That was it? 3 centimeters dilated? How could that be? I was in so much pain. I was literally weeping in front of strangers.

“I’m going to need the epidural,” I told the nurse. “As soon as possible”.

My husband looked at me guiltily. “Is there anything I can do?” He asked helplessly.

“Yes,” I told him. “You’re in a hospital. Find a doctor and get a vasectomy.”

The pain only escalated between the triage bed and me being moved to a delivery room. The contractions were getting much stronger and closer together now. I have no idea how women have babies without epidurals. I know that I never want to experience that level of pain in my life. The epidural was quick and painless. Once it was administered I fell straight to sleep for four glorious hours. Yes, I felt totally loopy and I loved it. I overheard my Dad, brother and husband idly chatting on the couch in my room as they watched some lunatic on the news try to climb Trump tower. They were wondering what would happen first, would the baby come before the guy reached the top?

Around 6:00PM the doctor came to check me. “You’re ready to go,” she declared. My Dad was about to go get something to eat. “Go where?” He asked. “She’s ready to deliver,” my doctor told him. “Is this a good time for you?” she wanted to know.

“Sure,” my Dad said, “we can wait to eat.”

The doctor turned off my epidural and let it wear off for about half an hour so I could have some feeling of where to push. I woke up from my nap feeling totally rejuvenated. Everyone left the room except the doctor, one nurse and my husband. I  told them to turn the TV off because my baby was not coming into the world watching FOX News.

With the first push my husband saw the head. (I told you she was low). Twenty-five minutes later my daughter was on my chest at 7:04PM weighing 7lbs and 4 ounces. I didn’t feel a thing. We were all laughing when she was born. The thought of my daughter entering into the world to the sound of laughter and absolute calm filled me with endless joy. In an instant, everything and nothing changed. It was like my life before was a dream, and she was always there with me. My husband watched her take her first breath. He cut the cord and held my leg steady as the doctor delivered the placenta and stitched me up. I saw none of it. All I saw was my baby girl. It was everything I said I didn’t want, but exactly what I actually wanted. I felt energized and calm from my nap. The room was quiet and intimate. My baby was healthy. My husband took the baby and came over to me. We cuddled together looking at her endlessly dark eyes and I felt nothing but complete wonder. It wasn’t a scary childbirth story, it was one hundred percent wonderful.

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I Am Losing My Sh*t

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I am 38 weeks pregnant and I am losing my sh*t. My cellulite laden arms and cottage cheese thighs are protruding SO WIDELY from my overly plump bosom and belly that I literally have to turn sideways to enter my apartment. And laying down? Forget about it. It takes me a full 3minutes just to roll onto my side, on the couch and inch myself up when the need to pee strikes suddenly, as it does, every fifteen minutes. (I am not even talking about my hips, which I am pretty sure will always be the size of an extra-wide shelf). From the beginning of my pregnancy I have made an effort to exercise and make healthy eating choices, and despite all these positive choices, I have still managed to end up–today–at 170lbs! A 45lb weight gain. 12 of those pounds amassed in the last 3 weeks. I could literally punch the editor of Fit Pregnancy magazine in the c*nt right now. Where is the f*cking fairness in this world? Meanwhile, every other pregnant woman eats donuts and cake and tells me, “can you believe I lost a pound since my last weigh-in?”

Pass me a mother-loving box of Pop-Tarts!

And what’s worse–this baby is showing no signs of budging. I had my first internal exam today, fully expecting to hear that I was on the brink of going into labor only to learn that I’m not even 1cm dilated. “Everything still feels firm” my doctor said as she removed her entire arm from my hoo-ha. Never in my life have I felt more like the rhinoceros from Ace Venture Pet Detective. Just like that it hit me: I will be pregnant forever. This baby and I will continue to grow at a rate of 4lbs a week until she inevitably sheds me like a snake sheds a skin, and emerges as a fully formed teenager.

That is when the palpitations began and the panic set in.

After 6 months of living in Zika exile, totally isolated from my husband, family and friends, it is safe to say I am cracking. All I want to do is have this baby and go the f*ck home. I have been walking up stairs, squatting down low to pick things up and bouncing on a freaking yoga ball for half an hour a day hoping that today–August 3rd–the day before my birthday, I would finally go into labor. And all for what? What bloody good did any of it do? I’m still 15lbs over the healthy weight-gain recommendation for pregnant women, which means I will never F*ing losing this baby weight. Well and good for someone who wasn’t swimming 100 laps a day and walking 2 hours every afternoon for her entire pregnancy–but not good enough for me. Not good enough for me, who literally killed myself NOT to gain more than 30lbs.

And don’t you even tell me to have sex to start labor! I am f*cking humpty dumpty over here. Do you honestly believe I haven’t tried having sex? I cannot even reach my hoo-ha. I cannot turn or bend or lay down comfortably. I cannot go 15minutes without almost urinating all over myself. And thanks to a miscommunication with a hairdresser, my hair has been chopped short and curly so I can’t even try to hide my bulbousness under hair that never really got that pregnant shine in the first place.

Still I tried, and after several attempts at sex, and much threat of death, I have abandoned the idea that I will ever successfully have sex again. Anyhow, sex is the reason I’m in this mother-loving situation in the first place–so keep your “just have sex” comments to your mother-loving-self.

Yes, I am very grateful that I can even be pregnant. I recognize that I am lucky and that my baby is healthy and that pregnancy is 40 weeks so I should just suck it up and gain another 10lbs in the next 2 weeks, but f*ck it. I am only human and right now I feel like a Mac truck with a two ton load who’s being told I need to learn to drive on water. I am drowning in this pregnancy, and I am at my bloody wits end!!!!

Tomorrow is my birthday. I told my husband that all I want is for him to get a vasectomy. I have never wanted anything more in my whole life.

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Pregnancy Survival: What You Really Need!

Hello Friends, I am writing to you from the surface of the sun (South Florida) during the depths of my third trimester. It is an understatement to say my every waking (and sleeping) hour is a challenge of survival, between the constant heart burn, leg cramps and incessant need to pee. However, as with everything in life, I have approached this as a learning experience. I can happily report that my research in this area has produced positive dividends for those of you who are seeking ways to make pregnancy a little more bearable.

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So without further ado, (because if you are pregnant in the summer like I am, you have suffered enough) I give you…

Amanda Hanna’s Guide to Surviving Pregnancy:

1.Get yourself a Snoogle! I cannot say enough about how this pregnancy pillow has saved my life. It’s so amazing I got two–one for me and one for my husband. (It’s not like we can cuddle while we snoogle, so why not let his back get some support too?) I have stripped my bed of everything save a fitted sheet and my snoogle. A light blanket is nearby in case my husband gets cold at night. I sleep in next to nothing, in full on AC and underneath a ceiling fan, sweating half to death, yet comfortably tucked away to dreamland. It is my only hope of truly restful sleep, in between waking up to pee every half hour for eight hours straight. Trust me! This is a MUST HAVE item.

2.Wacoal One Size Fits Most Panties:  Just because your ass is growing faster than the national debt, doesn’t mean you have a bunch of money to throw away on new underwear every month. Get yourself a set of these stretchy, comfy, amazing panties and you will never go back to the Cooch-Mooching Victoria’s Secret crap ever again. I only wear these panties these days and half the time I forget I’m wearing underwear at all. It’s that comfortable! In fact, this is something I will continue to buy in my post-preggo life.

3. Jessica Simpson Maternity Jeans: Name a day of the week and I’m wearing these babies. I bought one pair of these jeans for around $50 back in February and they have served me well through 20+ pounds of weight gain. I have two months to go to my due date and I predict these jeans will see me through to the end. They are both slimming and comfortable. The elastic waste gives my belly support and also allows me to tuck my Belly Buds in tightly so my baby can enjoy her music while I enjoy walking the Mall.

4.TUMS: How would I live without my midnight snack? They say the more heartburn you have, the more hair your baby will have when she’s born. Well, I’m giving birth to Repunzel. I am not a fan of taking medicine while pregnant, so instead of the stronger ant-acids, I rely on a steady combination of TUMS and milk (about a gallon every 3 days) to keep me from literally breathing fire.

5.Vitamin E Oil & Palmers Cocoa Butter: As a girl who went to bed one night skinny as a rail and woke up the next morning with a hefty pair of boobs and hips, I am no stranger to the stretch mark. That’s why I took a very liberal approach to skin care from Day Zero of this pregnancy and I’m happy to report (as far as I can see) I am new-stretch-mark-free! Twice a day (or more if you’re in a particularly dry climate) has seemed to be doing the trick. Vitmain E oil is also great for your lady bits to help prevent tears during labor. (I will have to get back to you on if this works later on).

So there you have it, my tips and tricks for surviving pregnancy. If you have any tips and tricks of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments below. Happy Gestating Preggos!

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Never Let Your Husband Know He Is Right

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Since I began dating my husband over seven years ago, when we have fallen into disagreement, I have always ended up being right. Not like you have ‘always been right’ meaning you are right more times than not–I have literally ALWAYS been right. When it comes to where to live or what to eat or what to buy or who to trust, every single solitary time, I have been right and my husband has been wrong.

You can chalk it up to my being older than him. Maybe the credit is owed to me living away from home, on my own, since a week after I turned 17. Or maybe it’s because I’m just smarter in general. Who can say? The fact of the matter is, when it comes to a fork in the road, I consistently choose the right path and he consistently disagrees. Luckily (for him), after being wrong so many times early in our relationship, Matthew now accepts the fact that I am always right and does not persist in challenging me anymore.

That is until we entered 2016–the year that everything has gotten flipped upside down and damn near dunked in caramel-colored horse manure!

Since the beginning of the year, my husband has been right not once, but twice.

The first time this miracle occurred was during a dispute over my car. Two years ago I got a brand new car that I 100% loved to drive. It was small enough for me to feel confident driving, yet big enough to let the other cars on the road know not to try to run me over. It was incapable of going fast (which I prefer since sometimes I step too hard on the gas and scare myself) and received very high safety ratings. On more than one occasion I declared that for the rest of my life I would never own another vehicle.

The argument first began when we found out we were pregnant. My husband took a look at the practically nonexistent trunk space and declared there was not enough room for the baby. I looked at him like he was mad. My parents owned a two-door hatch back when I was born and managed with me just fine. Why couldn’t we have a baby in a compact SUV, I wanted to know.

My husband and I bickered on and off about the size of my trunk and the practicality of having a baby in such a ‘small’ car for months, until the day I found the perfect stroller. I called Matt to tell him about it and after gushing on and on about the fact that it was the ONLY stroller I could get to close without the help of a salesperson, Matt asked me how big it was.

“You realize that stroller cannot fit in your trunk, right?”

With those words, the whole world changed. It morphed into a puddle of sheer fun-house mirrored madness. For the first time in the history of the world, Matthew was right and I was wrong.

Initially I tried to dispute the facts, but it was useless. Regular people cannot argue with numbers, much less a person like me who still counts on her fingers. I decided to be the bigger man and congratulate my husband on his achievement. He was right. I was wrong. It was a hard bullet to bite after my nearly seven and a half year streak, but I guess the day had to come eventually. I was confident that lightening would not strike twice.

Until it did just a month later. From the day I got pregnant, I knew I was having a boy. I felt it deep in my bones. When I was hungry, I wanted steak–the bloodier the better. I experienced very little nausea and absolutely no morning sickness in my first trimester. The (almost indecipherable) bump I had until week 18, was very low. The internet and I were in total agreement, I was having a boy. The only one who disagreed was my husband, who swore that I was having a girl. He had no internet research to support his claim, but in his lifelong tradition of being wrong and strong, he insisted that he just ‘knew it’.

Low and behold, the lightning struck twice! We are having a girl. It doesn’t make any sense to me (or the many online quizzes I took), but that is the case. Matthew was right not just once, but twice.

I don’t have to tell you the problems I’ve had with him since that day. Now, with every dispute, I am challenged with the phrase: “Just like you were right about the car and the baby?” You would think the man was a broken record. How is it possible to think being right TWO TIMES IN YOUR LIFE overrules the millions of times you have been wrong? It is unfathomable. Perhaps if the times did not occur so close together he wouldn’t feel as emboldened, but I cannot help but regret ever giving him the credit. Maybe it is because I am an extremely fair person. Maybe it is because I felt happy for him to be right–at last–after years of failure. Maybe it is because I am a fool! All I know is, life was much more peaceful when I was right and he was wrong.

The moral of the story is kids–never let your husband know that he was right. No good can possibly come of it.

DON’T NYAM & SCRAM. BUY A BOOK, NUH! DATING FOR DINNER. THE NEW YORK CATCH. NEW YORK SOCIALITE. NEW NEW YORK. (OR ALL 3-IN-1 NEW YORK SERIES). RED ROCK CAFE. MIDLIFE WIFE.

I’ve Hit The Pregnancy Wall (Yes, Already!)

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I am writing this from my apartment in Miami, where I am currently in hiding. My arms are stretched uncomfortably over my keyboard as I prop it just below my round belly. As I type, my arm fat jiggles rather disconcertingly against my massive boobs. After I passed week 22 of my pregnancy, I went from ‘not really looking pregnant’ to ‘strangers asking me when I’m due’. That’s right, I’ve exploded. At night I feel the ligaments stretching and each morning it becomes harder and harder to tie my shoes, until this morning when I finally gave up and had to cross my leg to reach my laces.

I will be 24 weeks pregnant on Monday. Meaning….I will still have 15 slow, hot weeks to go.

My doctor informed me yesterday that I’ve amassed a whopping 8lbs in 4 short weeks. “This is it,” she regaled me happily, “you’re gonna really start to put on the pounds now.”

Meanwhile in the rest of Miami, beautiful pregnant women roam malls, drive cars, and take pilates classes without batting a coiffed, false eyelash. Beautiful, shiny-haired, manicured, glowing pregnant women! Women who (despite being with child) somehow find the energy each morning to blow-dry their hair, do their make-up and choose flattering outfits that complement their high heeled shoes. I took my husband to a sleep training class and he spent the entire class staring at the pregnant Sophia Vergara look-a-likes around me. He says he’s never seen so many beautiful women in one place before–and all of them knocked-up.

Just for reference, I am the ugliest pregnant person in South Florida. My hair has remained unchanged from my pre-preggo state. My skin has continued to look dull and blotchy. My nails are probably in the worst state they’ve ever been in because I cannot find a good manicurist in walking distance. (I paid $50 at a salon for a mani-pedi to come out with nails the color of fungus). While others craft chic maternity looks accenting their bumps, I shuffle across the Earth in Old Navy t-shirts and the bell-bottom maternity pants I (accidentally) bought on sale from Motherhood Maternity, that only make me look more short and squat. (Why bother waste money on cute outfit when I spend 95% of my day alone hiding in the apartment?)

For the first time ever, the way I look in clothing is only surpassed by how terrible I look naked. I have to close my eyes against the cellulite that is threatening to burst free from the backs of my thighs. My legs that were once toned buckle with fat pockets. Same goes for my hips and arms. (I am almost driven to tears when I think that only six months ago I was running upwards of 20miles a week training for a marathon, and now I cannot walk Dadeland Mall without becoming breathless). My boobs have gotten so big that some nights I sleep in a bra, even though the underwire kills me. (When I don’t sleep in a bra, the fear of suffocation kills me).

My husband keeps asking me if I’m okay when I’m talking. He asks me this because I constantly sound as if I just ran up a flight of stairs. I didn’t run up a flight of stairs. That’s just how I breath now. Talking is like running up stairs.

My doctor says that she will not help me in any way to go into labor early. Not even at 38 weeks. Not even at 39 weeks. Possibly not even if my due date goes and comes. I asked her if my fetus is paying her. She laughed. She thinks I’m funny. Nobody sees my suffering.

I cannot believe I have hit this pregnancy wall so soon. How in the world am I going to make it until August? How in the world is my skin not going to explode by then? How in the world will my body EVER recover???

Okay, that’s enough typing. Time to go take a nap on the toilet so I’m not interrupted every fifteen minutes by the need to pee.

DO A GOOD DEED AND BUY MY BOOKS. IT’S THE LEAST YOU CAN DO AFTER ENJOYING MY SUFFERING. DATING FOR DINNER. THE NEW YORK CATCH. NEW YORK SOCIALITE. NEW NEW YORK. (OR ALL 3-IN-1 NEW YORK SERIES). RED ROCK CAFE. MIDLIFE WIFE.

Things To Opt-Out of During Pregnancy

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Is it just me or was pregnancy less demanding in the 90’s? I don’t recall my older cousins having to jump through all these Pinteresty-hoops in order to create people out of food, but for some reason I am now expected to celebrate every aspect of my pregnancy with more than a slice of pizza and some mini-Tollhouse cookies. I am expected to approach each phase of this glorious experience, like some angelic creature emerging from a crystal stream.

Pregnancy, if the Internet is to be believed, has evolved into an experience  that seems incomplete without a series of events–events that require buckets of time and money. It seems impossible to bear a child nowadays without pausing to rejoice in the following phases. Though this may be fact, I am choosing to opt-out of these events on the basis of my finding them utterly (or at least partially) ridiculous.

So without further ado I give you:

Amanda Hanna’s Things to Opt-Out of During Pregnancy

1. The Pregnancy Reveal Video. Long gone are the days when you could just tell people you are with child. Simply telling people does not elicit tangible dividends in the way that, say, YouTube likes always do. Who wants to hear you are pregnant when they can watch some semi-professionally produced movie about how a lonely sperm once found happiness with a time-sensistive egg in the warm tropical climate of a seldom visited uterus?

As idyllic as all that may seem, I am not a cinematographer and therefore do not possess the necessary skills to set that fairly tale into motion. I will say that my pregnancy was facilitated with the ample help of a boutique Napa Valley wine procured on my honeymoon, but that’s about as far as that story goes–and none of it was illustrated with talking cartoon fruit or bobble heads.

2. The Gender Reveal Party. Is it a girl? Is it a boy? Is it both? The questions are endless and I will admit that I heartily looked forward to finding out what I was having. Since my husband and I only plan to have the one child, we would’ve been excited for either, but once we found out that was it–we did not hire a team of people to spread the news. We spread the news ourselves in our own boring way.

I announced the good news to my family and friends on Facebook with the very complex and witty statement: We are having…a girl! Matt took a somewhat more visual approach and posted a photo of our babies ultra sound profile with the same caption on the only social media account he uses: Instagram. Remarkably for our day-and-age, both announcements were managed without the help of balloons, a specialty over-priced cake, glitter of any kind and the attendance of a catering staff. We are having a girl. Gender revealed! (See how I did that?)

3. The Maternity Photoshoot. There she is, the Botacelli-esque hair, the flowing silk robe, the wreath of wild flowers in her hair. A manicured hand rests a-top a swollen pregnant belly, tenderly. Her eyes are to the Heavens, her feet are in the sand. Her bowels are pungently flatulent! Isn’t pregnancy grand and shouldn’t all pregnant women spend their days half-naked in a field of wild flowers contemplating mother Earth?

Perhaps some pregnant women….but certainly not THIS one.

4. The Active Labor Photo-Shoot. This is it, the moment we have all been waiting for. The shattering of the Va-jay-jay! It has taken months for this tiny creature to gain enough mass to virtually destroy that which you have spent your life kegel-ing to keep taught. There will be pain. There will be joy. There may or may not be threats of divorce and dismemberment…but by golly, let’s all encapsulate this moment with a stranger taking up-close-and-personal photos with a super sensitive HD lens. Especially when I’ll be naked, morbidly obese, blotchy faced and leaking various fluids from every possible orifice. That’s what art is about, after all!

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty sure I am going to spend every minute of my labor trying to forget everything I heard, saw and felt. There is no need for me to immortalize the event in a semi-gloss Shutterfly album.

5. The Newborn Photo-Shoot. Finally, after all that hard work, she is here. Only two days old, fresh off my traumatic birthing experience, I will invite a professional (probably the same photographer who suffered though my birth) to pose my tiny newborn in adorable knitted outfits so we can forever remember what she looked like as a baby carrot. Or a baby sunflower. Or a baby in a tea kettle.

It’ll be great. She totally won’t sh*t and puke all over everything. Newborns don’t do that. (And if she does….I can help clean up. It’s not like I’ll be tired or anything after laboring for 36 hours then morphing into a moo-cow every two hours to keep the darling girl alive and fed. No problem!) Better to spend my days seeing how my unvaccinated newborn will do in a ladybug outfit that a hundred other unvaccinated newborns have worn, shat on and puked on in the last year or so. Isn’t she precious?

And oh yeah….it’s not like a Bachelor’s Degree isn’t going to cost half a million dollars in the next eighteen years. Better I spend a thousand dollars on this sh*t!

BEFORE YOU GO….BUY SOME BOOKS. I HAVE A KID TO SEND TO COLLEGE, PEOPLE. DATING FOR DINNER, THE NEW YORK CATCH, NEW YORK SOCIALITE, NEW NEW YORK, (or all 3-in-1 THE NEW YORK SERIES), RED ROCK CAFE, MIDLIFE WIFE.

 

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