Sunday, November 11, 2012

Breastfeeding in the Holiday Season: TEN WAYS to Eliminate, Educate & Elude Confrontation

Photo courtesy of

The holidays are a wonderful time to get together with family and friends. The warmth and cheer and the good food are enough to fill a person's heart with contentment to advance into the next year in a good way. I, for one love Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. And for those that don't celebrate these holidays, there is Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ashura, among many others. Breastfeeding can be daunting in and of itself. A lot of women don't  have the courage to do it in public, around strangers. Breastfeeding around family members who are unsupportive or unfamiliar with it can be even more daunting. One reason being, that you know them and you have to face them on a regular basis. Or, at least, once a year.

You may be confronted by family members with rude comments or dirty looks and feel the need to leave the room to avoid these confrontations. If you feel most comfortable being in another room, by all means, do what you feel suits you best. But for a lot of breastfeeding mothers, they may not want to leave the room and miss the festivities. Which, in a lot of cases, you may be there longer than one feed for your baby or child and this can cause a lot of missed time with family and friends.

If you feel you may be confronted at these gatherings, there are many ways to go about avoiding them or standing up for yourself and your baby to make your holiday stress free and family friendly. I have asked some mothers to share their experiences, breastfeeding during the holidays. Here are a few:

Jessica writes:
'My youngest son was born in March, so by the time Thanksgiving came around
that year, he had already passed the "recommended" '6 month cut off'. I had never been shy about nursing in public, and
my family knew that well. I would proudly lift my shirt anywhere and
everywhere. Thanksgiving that year, I'm at my aunts house, trying to eat my
food, get my then 3 year old to eat anything I could get him to try, and my
8 month old was hungry.

I put him in the ring sling and situate it so no one could really see anything other than his
head, just out of respect for it not being my home. My uncle got up and left, came back
and grabbed his children. That made other family members take notice and they all got up
and left. Then designated my aunt to come in and tell me how inappropriate
that was to "whip out a tit" at the family table. And how no one felt
comfortable eating in the same room as me, if I could please go eat alone,
in another room. I smiled and said no, and continued eating. After that, I
didn't speak to anyone. I made an extra plate to take home and packed up
and left.

By Christmas I thought it was settled. We arrived at Christmas dinner though, and
the first thing out of their mouths was asking if I brought a bottle so I wouldn't flash people

I wish I could say that my story has a happy ending, but it never happened. I went on
to breastfeed my son fora total of 29 months. My family is still very unsupportive of
 breastfeeding but I don't let it bother me, and I have no plan on adjusting my "behavior" for
their needs, as my job is to fulfill my child's needs.'

Lisa says: '"You're STILL breastfeeding? Isn't he going to become too dependent on you?! (said of my then 1.5 yr old)…"'

Jennifer writes: "My husband’s parents came up for a belated Christmas this past January. At the time, my daughter was 5.5 months old and still exclusively breast fed. I didn’t think anything of nursing her in the living room with my in-laws in the room. Apparently, this made the step dad uncomfortable, but we didn’t know that until a couple days later when my husband's mom called to tell him. They expected me to go into another room to nurse my baby, in my own house. My husband was appropriately outraged, as was I. His mom even went so far as to say, and I quote, “I don’t appreciate her whipping out her breast in front of my husband.” As though I was trying to seduce a man twice my age by feeding my baby. Since then, the relationship has been strained, at best. It’s unfortunate that people are so narrow minded and prudish about the act of breastfeeding, but I refuse to alter the way I feed my children simply for someone else’s comfort, especially within the walls of my own home. I’m still breastfeeding my daughter, now 15 months old, and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon."

There is also attire you can wear, so that if it's not practical or comfortable to cover, you can go uncovered without showing much. When in public, I do not cover because we are not comfortable that way. I wear a tank top under a shirt and pull up the t-shirt and pull down the tank top. Of course, there is nursing attire, but if you're on a tight budget, like me, you work with what you have. There is often little to nothing shown when I use the shirt-tank method and we're both happy that way.

While these situations are often unavoidable, there are ways to diffuse them. Here is a list of 10 things you can do or say, if you are comfortable:

1. Using a cover is always an option, if you and baby are comfortable.
2. You may use this time to educate family members or friends. Just a short blurb about the benefits of exclusively breastfeeding or extended breastfeeding.
3. You may say things like "That sounds like it worked out for your children, but this is what works for our children and we are happy."
4. Get the support of another family member or your spouse beforehand to intervene, so you have an advocate.
5. Laugh and make a joke about how you promise not to wave your nipple like the breastfeeding banner without a child attached.
6. If they mention that there are children in the room & they don't know what to tell them, offer to explain to the children what is happening so the parents don't have to try to answer their questions.
7. When talking about breastfeeding, remember to smile and sound light hearted. Hopefully, putting off the defensive stance your family member or friend may have.
8. If you're asked why you haven't put it in a bottle, explain that you (and these are just examples) a) can't pump b) baby won't take a bottle c) you couldn't pump enough for baby for the holiday gathering d) you forgot your pumped milk
9. If they offer solids, say that you're worried about an allergy or tell them that it is not recommended by AAP or WHO to introduce solids before "X" months or that they can't have (insert name of food) until "X" age.
10. Your baby may have teeth and this also may prompt comments about solids: "Your baby should be eating food since he has teeth." "You're breastfeeding AGAIN? Here, give him this." You could say: "No thank you, we haven't introduced that into his diet yet."

I hope that giving these examples and experiences have helped you go into your holiday season a little less stressed and more confident in your choice to breastfeed your baby. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Best For Babes Creates a "911" for Nursing Mothers!

Best For Babes Foundation has created a hotline for women who breastfeed in public, who happen to get harassed in some way by a business owner or manager, or are in some way not protected by law. When you call the hotline, the incident is recorded with detail and dates. This hotline is necessary, because some women just don't have the support to have the big voice to change things that need changed. Another is so there is recorded proof of incidents for businesses that have caused breastfeeding mothers grief and for legislators to change state laws (like in Idaho and Georgia). Let's not forget the working mom, who may need to pump at work! I have heard countless stories of mothers not provided a place to pump because law does not require it. A friend of mine is still in high school and is breastfeeding. She needs to pump during school hours, but is afraid that her need to pump will result in resistence from teachers, as she had trouble even getting her assignments when she was on bed rest during her junior year in high school. Every breastfeeding mother needs to have this number in her phone, so she knows she has support and will be heard. This is a nursing mom's 911!

Above is a link to information on the new hotline. Check it out, pass this along. Too many women stop breastfeeding or won't attempt to, due to harassment and lack of laws protecting their RIGHT to feed their babies the way nature intended. Please get this out there.

Best For Babes launched their hotline last week. Since the launch, they have received several phone calls, reporting their experiences. This is NOT a made up problem. Women don't go "looking for" negative attention when they feed their babies in public. Women have a voice now, through BfB. There is strength in numbers and we all need to work together to normalize breastfeeding. Here is a link to their progress with the hotline after just one week:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Gluten Free, Wallet Friendly Breakfast Ideas!

Alot of people I know are pretty crunchy and are going gluten free or have been for years! This is for people like me, who want to be gluten free, but are finding it expensive or hard to do. Gluten is in tons of things you wouldn't even think about! So I asked a few friends to help me collect some ideas for breakfast since it's the "most important meal of the day." You really want the breakfast of champions, don't you? *wink*

Let's get started:
3/4 cup Oatmeal with 1/2 of a cut up fruit or a handful of berries

Eggs (yum!) Some are not fans of eggs and if you're vegan, of course, this isn't an option. ;)

Sheep herder potatoes (recipe) You can use whatever meat you want(or no meat)

Frittata! Throw last night's leftover veggies into the pan with some eggs and cook to your preference.

Muffins! I like blueberries myself. (recipe)

Everybody loves pancakes and if you don't, you're crazy! (recipe) I love peanut butter on mine. There are always all natural peanut butters out there, if that's what you like. Go to whole foods stores. Good choices :)

Raw milk! Can't go wrong there. I have a few friends that have this as a major staple in their diet. It CAN get a bit on the spendy side. I think $3-4 for half a gallon? But you're getting fuller with it, so it's worth it.

I've heard lots of good things about bean bread! A friend showed me this recipe.

Fruit smoothies! Throw your favorite fruits in with your choice of milk, protein, & blend it up!

Egg muffins (recipe) Easy to make, easy to throw in the freezer for a fast breakfast the next morning!

Midmorning snack! White bean vanilla cake (recipe)

If you have any breakfast ideas you'd like to send in, I will include them in this post with a shoutout to you. :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Having Dreadlocks is a LIFESTYLE! Here's Mine...

So it's been almost a month since I decided to dread my hair. I used the twist and rip method. Didn't use any products and stopped shampooing my hair (I use the no poo method)

This is 2 hours after I started twisting and ripping. It took a long time, as I had to wait for the kids to either be taking a nap or in bed for the night.

A fan asked me how "one would put dreadlocks in their hair", so I made this tutorial...

All done! I left out my bangs, so I could do more with my dreads.

One week old dreadlocks! (yes, this is my weirdo smile)

Yay! Two week dreadiversary! It hasn't been all rainbows and unicorns in dread-land. The transition from using shampoo to just using baking soda and apple cider vinegar for my hair left it feeling oily and it was hell trying to ignore it. I almost took my dreads out to escape the way my scalp felt.

Yes, that IS an awkward empty spot on the back of my head. The downfall to having done my dreads by myself.

Three weeks into the dread life and going strong! My hair has almost fully transitioned and is starting to lock up. I had bands in the bottoms of them because I was paranoid that they would unravel. I cut up an old t-shirt to sort of wrap my hair to keep it out of my face instead of using a ponytail, which was pulling hairs out of my dreads and would leave them bent from being restrained.

Some advice for those of you who want to dread your hair: There are a few ways to dread your hair.
1) Back comb
2) Neglect
3) Palm roll
4) Twist and rip

I used twist and rip. I almost wish I had done neglect. Although it does take a little longer for them to lock up and gather into dreads, I've encountered many people who have done neglect, where their dreads are smaller, which is what I would have liked for my thinning hair (just had a baby 10 months ago and my hair was falling out like crazy!). Do not use regular shampoos! You need a residue free shampoo or you can us baking soda and ACV. I've also heard some good things about Dr. Bronner's soap. Another thing: Never EVER use wax. I don't care what Knotty Boy tells you, you don't need to buy products to be successful at dreading your hair. Good luck and I hope you enjoyed this post! I look forward to posting updates on my dreads! *thumbs up*

Sunday, August 19, 2012

You're A Section, A Number (To Him, That Is)

photo courtesy of

There is a lot wrong with today's maternal healthcare. Things that should have nothing to do with bringing our babies into this world. Birth rape, abuse, lies, blame, humiliation. Just to name a few. Everyday, birthing women and new mothers are made to feel inferior and minuscule. Too many women go into pregnancy uneducated, naive and scared. They believe doctors are God and what they say goes, wether you like it or not. Against your will and you don't think you should refuse because there is a baby involved in the decision.

Pull the dead baby card and mom will submit to anything you want. Give a woman inaccurate statistics for the benefit of your agenda and you have a willing participant of whatever you want to do to her. Make her feelings invalid, you have a patient that's afraid to protest your orders. Here's a story of a momma that admits she could have avoided c-section, had she been more informed of her rights and about birth.

My first pregnancy I was pretty naive (even with my 2nd), and had no idea what I should ask, and even asked what I should be asking. Most of my appointments I was just checked, got a lot of ultrasounds and pictures, and was told "Ok see you next time!". I had mentioned once that I wanted to see about a water birth, but was told "Only whales birth in the water". When I woke up December 20, 2005 at a little past 5 am, I was so uncomfortable, and couldn't get back to sleep no matter what I tried.

My significant other had work that day, and I told him to go ahead and go, if anything happens I would call him. I went to my Grandmother's house while he was at work, just in case. The entire day I couldn't sit, stand, lay down, nothing! My back hurt and I was exhausted. Finally around 630 pm I called my SO and told him to meet me at the hospital, because things weren't changing. 

When I got to the hospital, I was wheeled into a room, layed down, and immediately hooked up to machines and an IV. There were so many "nurses" and a couple "drs" in the room. They were waiting for the on call dr from my dr's office to get there. I was given something to help "move things along". "Drs" and "nurses" were in and out, and I dont know how many times I was given just "a little bit more" of whatever to "get things moving". My SO got there and as soon as he walked in the door, I said "I think my water just broke". I vaguely remember feeling like a water balloon popped. I don't remember exactly how much time was passing, or how quickly things were going. I just remember not knowing what was going on, I was scared, and I was in pain. 

I was asked if I wanted an epideral, and I remember declining, but the pain wasnt going away and I was so tired, so I caved. I remember having the urge to either push or poop. I think I did both LOL My dr came and he was in and out, he checked me a couple times, but never really stayed in the room longer than to look at the machines, and check to see how I was progressing. Then at around 2 am, December 21st, I was told we had to have an emergency c/s because the baby's heart rate was not good. 

I was wheeled into the surgery room, lifted onto the bed, and I remember hearing my dr INSTRUCT the surgery! "No dont cut like that, cut like this" - Heard that a couple times. "No we have to stitch like this, not like that". I wanted to scream, I wanted to say "GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME!" I couldn't do anything! I could barely do more than look at my SO and cry! 

I remember looking at him and thinking "Please help me!" He just looked at me, caressed my head, and said "It's ok. Everything is ok." I remember feeling every slice, every pull. I felt like my abdomen was on fire! I felt them pull on my baby like she was stuck. Right after everything was done, my doctor just left. 

Over the next few days, the in house pediatrician tried talking to me, nurses tried talking to me, the "LC" tried talking to me. I couldn't comprehend ANYTHING anyone was trying to tell me! The only thing I remember being told in the hospital was that I would never be able to EBF a baby bc I didn't have all my milk ducts. She could "tell" bc the underside of my breasts are/were flat. So I "had" to supplement. Not to mention, my baby was losing weight on just breast milk. I was under the impression she wasnt getting enough, so I let them supplement. 

But even after all of this, I should have just felt happy because I had a healthy 7 lb 13 oz baby girl. It wasn't until after 3 months a friend's mom told me that the hospital I was to use was a "learning" hospital, and most the "nurses" and "Drs" there were students, or brand new looking for a guinea pig. I was also informed that that dr I had on call pushed for c/s. I, also, later found out from a different dr who I went to when I was pg for #2, that he pawned of his deliveries. She stopped working with him bc he always pawned them on her. He didn't like delivering naturally, *he* preferred c/s.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Forcible Retraction on an Intact Male Infant/Child: Don't Let It Happen To Your Son!

my poor sick bug

My youngest child(7 months old), "L" has had a fever the last 3 days. I became very worried when it spiked this morning to 105.5 degrees fahrenheit. After a dose of Tylenol, I took him in to the Emergency Room, like many concerned parents would do. They took his temperature, which had dropped to 103. Still, the previous temperature had us very worried. We waited for them to get everything together to get urine and blood. I was told that using a catheter to catch his urine would be best because "the extra skin cells(his foreskin) would affect the test results and contaminate the culture".

I gave consent, and they go ahead with the procedure. I was horrified as the nurse pulled his skin back to reveal his little "head". She wasn't gentle with inserting the catheter, either. The nurse kept jamming it, trying to get it into his bladder, but the catheter was too big. L started crying even before the catheter because his foreskin started bleeding. And he was screaming bloody murder he was in so much pain. I felt sick to my stomach and started crying. My 5.5 year old son was with me and was alarmed at how much pain his little brother was in. He started crying as well. I then started shaking in anger, because the nurse persisted with her jabbing the catheter with force that shouldn't be used on ANYONE that is having something foreign put into their body and not paying attention to him bleeding.

I fought such an internal battle of telling her to stop, but feared being ridiculed. I finally told her I wanted them to use a bag to catch his urine instead. "Oh no, I'll have someone else try to do it. I just can't get it past his urethra," she said dismissing my comment.

As she left, the attending doctor came back to see my son and her jaw fell open as she surveilled the scene in the room. My puffy, teary eyes, my screaming infant son with a catheter hanging out of him and my older son, crying in a chair off to the side. She removed the catheter and had me put my son to the breast to calm him. The doctor gingerly put a urine bag over his penis and put a diaper on him, apologized and informed me of the blood test results, which showed he was fighting an infection, possibly a urinary tract infection and that he would need antibiotics.

His urine tested positive for infection as well. He received a 24 hour antibiotic shot and we were released with a script for his medicine. I feel horrible for not knowing to advocate my son's needs. I feel guilty for not telling them to not use a catheter on him. I feel like a bad mom for allowing that stupid nurse to forcibly retract his foreskin. I am writing a letter of complaint to the hospital and asking them to educate their staff on how to care for intact boys. Never ever forcibly retract a boy's foreskin. Here are some links I am providing in my letter to the hospital, so more people can be educated and advocate for their children. Information is power, and our voice is important, because our children don't have one yet.

If there are more links you would like me to include or write about, please email them to me at or post on my Facebook page:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Submission in the Household: Domestic Abuse Edition *TRIGGER WARNING!*

Photo courtesy of Samurai Karate Studio. Find them at

A woman is out on a date with a guy she just met. The date is going well and they hit it off. She can't help but think "Oh, he's so sweet and perfect. I hope he'll see me again." And she does. They make their relationship official and all is well....

Fast forward 12 months. She's just forgotten to put his clothes in the dryer, because she was cooking breakfast. Now he's going to be late for work. "Why can't you do anything right?" he says stepping slowly towards her.

"I...I'm sorry, I just... forgot. I was trying to make you breakfast..." she stammers, cowering.
"Forget it! Now I have to wear wet clothes!"
She bursts into tears and can't stop herself from thinking, "He's right, I can't do anything right."

Later that week, she's bathing her daughter, and couldn't get to the phone in time to answer his call. He comes home that night, in a rage. He accuses her of cheating, since she wouldn't answer his call. "No," she pleaded. "No, I was just giving my daughter...." She doesn't finish her sentence. He hits her across the face. "See what you made me do?" He backs away and goes to take a shower, muttering about how worthless she is. She's so confused. Why did she make him hit her? It was her fault, all her fault.

Photo done by me

He comes to her in bed that night and lifts her chin. She flinches and pulls back. He apologizes and tells her it won't happen again and that he just has anger problems. She shouldn't make him mad like that.... ever again..... But she did. Everything made him mad. He didn't like her talking to friends and her family wanted to see her, but she was too ashamed of her appearance. If she doesn't get out soon, it might be too late.......

Research suggests that 1 in 4 (25%) women has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime. Women make up 85% of domestic violence, while men make up the remaining 15%.

Depending on the type of survey, there is a range between 600,000 and 6 million women who are battered each year. Women between the ages of 20-24 are at greater risk for nonfatal violence from a partner or spouse. Most abuse comes from someone that the woman knows personally. Separate and divorced men and women are also at high risk for nonfatal abuse, says the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004.

Each day, 4 women die as a result of abuse... Each day, 3 children die as a result of abuse. The FBI estimates that 32% of female homicides are by their partner or spouse.

Not many people understand the impact domestic violence has on battered women. She loves her partner and is attached to the loving part of him or her. They don't like the abuse, but in their mind, their loving gestures make up for it. "It won't happen again." "He says he's going to get help for his anger." Smoke and mirrors. Justification for the spouse's or partner's behavior.

As a woman who was in an abusive relationship, both physical and emotional, I know how persuasive an abuser can be. He persuaded me into thinking I was worthless without him, that I was irrational in all my thinking. He persuaded me into thinking that he wouldn't hurt me anymore, that it should be enough that he provided for me financially. I owed it to him to submit to him.

The day I had enough and left, only further confirmed that I was making the right decision. Saying hateful things is not something a loving person does. Hitting is not something a loving person does. Being manipulative is not something a loving person does. A loving person doesn't make you feel worthless. A loving person encourages you to be independent and achieve your goals, not keep you from them.
Photo courtesy of

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, call this number for resources 1-800-799-SAFE(7233). Don't second guess yourself in your choice. Don't listen to your abuser, when they try to get you to stay. Do not continue to submit. Fight back by leaving and never looking back. Help stop domestic violence.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Levi Jaxson's Unassisted Homebirth

This is my youngest child's birth story. I really want to write my older 2 children's birth stories, but it's a little hard, because of the choices I made and medical professionals taking advantage of me.

I haven't written in a while. It took quite some time to start to find myself. But that's another blog post in and of itself. THIS is about my new little love. My second son, who changed my perspective of birthing and how relationships should work and who I could and couldn't trust. This is the story of how he came into this world.

On Friday, November 18th, I had my membranes stripped. I was 39 weeks 4 days pregnant and very optimistic that it would do much for me. I wasn't necessarily tired of being pregnant, I was really excited for labor to start. After going for an off and on walk of 3.5 miles, I decided to give it a rest and not pursue contractions any further, so that I wouldn't be worn out the next day if anything happened. I started getting what seemed like Braxton Hicks that evening and they got to 7 minutes apart pretty consistently. They weren't strong at all, so I decided to get some sleep at midnight. I couldn't get to sleep in bed, so I came out to the couch and put some "sounds of nature" music channel on to help me sleep.
I woke up around 4:30AM, to what I thought was me just having a full bladder. I felt restless afterwards and couldn't sleep. I didn't know why, until I had a hard and very noticeable contraction. This happened again 10 minutes later and by 5AM, they were averaging 5minutes apart. Still the same intensity. I get more restless, wondering if this really is it and start pacing the living room and kitchen. I kept wanting to do something to keep me busy, but I couldn't figure out what, even though there were dishes in the sink and cookies I planned on baking. They jumped to 3 minutes apart and a minute long while I paced the rooms. 
After an hour of pacing around, I started to feel a little worn and stayed sat down for the most part. They spaced out to 5-7 minues apart, but more intense and I had to let out low moans to cope. Even though the contractions got harder, the space in between them increasing discouraged me and I started to think that this was another labor tease. heh The denial phase seems to happen alot with women.
My husband got ready for work as I labored. I was fine with it and completely prepared mentally to labor alone. He was also under the impression that I'd have a doula friend with me, but she'd left for certification training the day before. Since I hadn't experienced a completely natural birth before, even though I had 2 children prior, I wasn't as prepared physically as I thought I'd be. I had no idea how much harder the contractions would be hitting me. I wouldn't even necessarily called it pain, as much as the contractions were intense. Like waves that kept climbing and I needed to match the height of them with the sound of my voice to stay on top.
So, the husband left for work at 6:30AM and I had him hold me through a contraction right before he left and he said he was sorry that he had to go. By 7, the contractions were still spaced out to 5-7 minutes but coming harder. I leaned on the couch and it felt good to be part way bent over, rather than squatting or hands and knees, which both hurt to do.
My 2 yr old daughter got up at 8 and I made her cereal and I surprisingly didn't feel irritated with her presence like many mothers describe during labor. I even switched my music to cartoons for her so she'd stay occupied after she ate. She checked on me regularly and was curious about the sounds I made and even mimicked me a couple times.
9AM rolls around and the contractions are picking up in intensity and a little bit in length but the time between them was still the same. I'm in and out of the bathtub at this point, not sure what would make me most comfortable. I was feeling the need for being on my hands and knees in the water, but it was far too crampy for me to do this. I was getting louder with each contraction. As the waves climbed higher, so did my voice. It was like a chant that was needed to keep me grounded and solid and whole through this entrance.
10:35 comes and as I'm stepping out of the tub for the 50th time, my water breaks. It's clean and not stained with meconium, so I go on. Then the monster contractions come. I update that my water has broken on a Facebook group and when the first tidal wave of a contraction hits, I'm on the birth ball, hitting enter on the post. "Hoooooooooooooo,motherf**king sh*t. Hoooooooooooo." Not being prepared for the contractions to come faster and 3 times as hard, it left me gasping afterwards, and I knew I had to get in hot water for relief. I retreated to the bathroom and added more warm water. I laid on my side and hung onto my inflatable like a liferaft and kept my voice as high as the waves took me and I loosened my arms around the pillow as the wave died down. My jaw and eyes were relaxed as the waves washed over me and I clung on, drowning them out with my voice.
A contraction hadn't come when I thought it might and my eyes snapped open as I finished catching my breath. I had stood up to see if I could sneak out of the tub to pee before it came. And then, an invisible force pushed me down onto my hands and knees. This was the first time I felt half desperate to escape the waves. Almost like a whirlpool and I was afraid of drowning. I wanted to crawl away from the contraction, but all I could do was rock back and forth. I remember a contraction in this position that I had to growl to get through. I thought for a moment that bearing down slightly might feel good. I don't know what time it was, but I know it was less than 5 minutes of pushing. I sat 2 contractions in the tub, shaking and on the verge of throwing up. A person will NEVER understand what the uncontrollable urge to push feels like until it happens to them.
During the pushing, my daughter came in and watched for a second and asked "What are you doing mama?" grunt*Having a baby, honey* "Oh, okay. I'm gonna go watch cartoons now." Goofball.
Another tidal wave contraction washes over me and it's like someone taking a remote and hitting a button that says "push" over and over again. A neverending cascade of lost self-control. My BODY pushes once, his head is at my perineum, a 2nd push(by my body) his head is out. A third push, and I'm helping my body this time and he's out. He's sputtering for a minute and taking his time pinking up, but he finally wails once and settles down.
The placenta took 15 minutes to come out, but it seems to all be there. I had a placenta smoothie(for those that don't know, it's only a small piece of placenta blended in a fruit smoothie) after things calmed a bit. He came down so quickly that he didn't have a cone shape to his head. It's perfectly round. He's fast asleep after nursing and I couldn't be happier and feel more whole after this experience.
Levi Jaxson Wheeler
11/19/11 10:50AM
8lbs 4oz 20.5 inches
born after 5 1/2 hours of active labor

Silent Lullaby

I wrote this when I was 16.

Silent Lullaby

I wended and weaved
Through the debri
Up on the stairs
Like a rodent in a maze
The splintered boards raked at my bare legs
Everything so eerily quiet, I shivered

I, the only being alive
But unthriving
Where had all familiarity gone?
A thing so light in this great significance
Had been whisked away like a child’s blanket

The door at the topmost stair
Hung on a single hinge
And clothing which lie tattered and limp
Was strewn about the floor
The owners unknown

The dining table was upended
And partly decapitated
A mattress’s springs
Had made their way through the fabric
One slender ankle protruded tragically
From behind a tall picture
A portrait of a young couple
Painted in the 1800’s

With little ease, I stepped over a broken lamp
To reach the shredded canvas
When I removed the canvas, my throat tightened
My eyes stung with hot, sorrowful tears

Not a cut or bruise
Was visible upon this child
Yet, she lay unconscious
In a peaceful position
Holding a string of rosary beads and a teddy bear

Then, I heard it in the dead stillness….
God's silent lullaby.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Our Love Story- Chapter 3: New Beginning, New Life

Back to the story. I know, you were waiting for the conclusion. Just on the edge of your seat. Yeah, right. ;)

Right, so I left off with my moment of clarity. I went to Ray's work regularly, because that was basically the only access I had to a phone (his cell phone) without having to use a pay phone. He'd been increasingly uneasy about me using his phone without his supervision, because I was "acting sneaky". On this particular night, I was talking to my mom and my son, who had left for a little bit, until I could get things under control. I talked for 45 minutes, and the whole time while he was on the clock, he sat there..... and listened to the entire conversation. After I got off the phone, he was very angry with me and I asked him what was wrong. "You were on the phone for forty five minutes! I have work to do!" Uhhh.... so why weren't you working? "Because you were being sneaky on the phone. I don't trust you on the phone with your mom." Okay, wow. Now, I can't talk to my friends, my sisters OR my mom. This was rich. So I left a few minutes later (so he could work, God forbid).

After I got home, I reactivated my Facebook and asked Billy to send money for Casey to get diapers, etc. He ended up putting in $75. I had a conversation with him, back and forth. I ached to see him. Even though he said he wanted nothing to do with a relationship with me, I needed OUT! I never mentioned this to Billy, but the $75 was my ticket out.

When Ray got off work, he demanded to see my Facebook, which he'd been doing the entire month I'd been back there. I figured I deserved to have my privacy violated, since I'd left and betrayed his trust. But tonight, since I knew there was stuff he wouldn't like, I told him no. An argument follows and he threatens to throw me out, for the 4th time. He expected me to beg him to forgive me, like the last times. It was his leverage on me. This time, I said "FINE! Go ahead." And threw all my stuff together in 5 minutes.

We argued off and on for 6 hours, the whole time, he's insulting me, calling me crazy and a whore and the only thing special about me is that I'm psychotic. All of the insults made me cry, and as I'm crying, he's asking me why I'M crying because I was the one leaving him. *eyeroll* You may ask why I stayed for that long after I'd gotten all my stuff together. Billy had sent the money through Western Union. It was closed before I would have gotten there that day. I couldn't leave until the next morning at 9AM. I was stuck.

By 4AM, I was drained of all energy and emotion. He almost sucked me back in, when he convinced me to come to bed with him. I didn't let him touch me. I wept until 5AM and finally fell asleep. I woke up at 8:30 at which point, I was met by him sitting on the bed. I grab some of mine and Casey's things and try to go out the door. He stops me and asks me if I'm leaving for good this time. When I confirm that I won't be coming back, he gives me this look I'll never forget. I could swear it was evil. He got 2 inches from my face. His eyebrows were furrowed deeply, his nose was wrinkled in a snarl and he growled at me through clenched teeth, "You will NEVER come back. You are a piece of trash, good for nothing whore. You're a garbage parent. I hope you DIE giving birth to my son. You will regret leaving, I promise you." Then he spit at my feet.

This did nothing but confirm I would, indeed, never return. It scared me. I don't remember feeling that afraid, ever. I wouldn't have been surprised if he'd grabbed me by my throat as well. A few of his exes had confirmed that he was physically abusive to them.

I had no problem getting the money from Western Union, after I waited for them to open at 9AM. I got gas and left town as quickly as I could. It was hard work not to fall asleep on the way. It was only a 3 hour drive, thank goodness. When I got into town, I headed right for Billy's work. I stopped at a convenient store first, to call and have him meet me outside. He sounded put out and I didn't blame him. I was so relieved to see him, I wanted a hug, but knew he didn't want the same. I tried to give him the rest of the money. I cried and asked him if I could crash on the couch until I could figure out a way to get to my mom's house. He reluctantly agreed and gave me the key to the apartment.

We had a long talk about how things were going to be. We wouldn't be a couple, I would only stay as long as I needed. He didn't want me to sleep on the couch, because I was pregnant and the couch was uncomfortable, so I slept in bed with him, but stayed far from each other. It hurt to be so formal with him in person. After a couple days, I couldn't stand it anymore and started trying to get him to warm up to me. I made him breakfast when he'd leave in the mornings, fed him well for dinner, and cleaned up the pig sty he had made(guys living alone equals YUCK!).

During this time, we talked more and more about the things that were happening and why they happened and how we had felt when they happened. These times were emotional. A week after I got back, we were talking and he started crying. I was already crying, but I went to him and consoled him, hugging him and stroking his face. We looked at each other for a long time. I wanted to kiss him, that's all I wanted and all I could have expected. "Kiss me," I whispered. We kissed deeply and the rest of that night was history, if you know what I mean (nudge nudge)

We spent the next couple months, mending what had been wrecked during the years of addiction and illness and especially the 6 months of hell we'd put each other through. No doubt, though, I had put him through more in that time. We were so happy, despite me carrying Ray's baby. We never talked about the baby together, except the possibility that Ray would never truly FATHER him. The months rolled by, we did better than we'd ever done. November was my due month, and I started preparing for the birth.

During that time, I cleaned like a mad woman and cooked everything under the sun I could think of so I wouldn't have to when the baby arrived. One night, about a week before I had the baby, and I was cooking, he came up behind me and held me tight and whispered "I love the new you. You're amazing."

A small divide was driven between us, as we had differing views on where he should be born. He feared for my safety, no doubt, but he was also uneducated. I wanted to stay home, even without the help of a midwife, and he wished I'd go to the hospital. My mom BEGGED him to convince me to go to the hospital. I knew he felt pressure from her too. I stood my ground.

On the 19th of November I woke in labor at 4:30AM.
(taken at 11pm, November 18th at 39 weeks 4 days)

 Billy had to leave for work at 6:30AM. I had told him a friend was coming over to help me labor and if all went well, he'd be home when I was ready to deliver. Well, my friend was out of town. I didn't tell him this, because I didn't want to worry him more. And I ended up delivering on my own, at 10:50AM that day. He was stunned when I called him and told him the news. And relieved. He'd told his co-workers and even they had been on pins and needles, hoping everything would be okay.

I named him, Levi Jaxson Wheeler. He took my last name, because Ray was no longer involved, nor did I want him to be. Levi did fine, when he was first born. Pinked up nice, let out a nice wale, nursed. But when the afternoon rolled around, he started getting sleepy and his color started getting dusky. It would improve for a bit, then his condition would deteriorate again. By 6PM, when Billy got home, I was very worried and took him in.

The medical team was great with him and stabilized him quickly. A couple of the staff were condescending about where I had him, no doubt, blaming his condition on me birthing at home, but I didn't care. I wanted him to be okay. They stabilized him, gave him antibiotics(because he was born at home and could have been infected) I was glad that my kids' pediatrician was on call that night, because I knew him. He didn't seem upset that I had him at home, just concerned. After 2 days in the NICU, and next to no sleep for me, they did an ultrasound on his brain and it was confirmed that he'd had a small brain bleed from birth and had nothing to do with being born at home. I was so relieved. I blamed myself for those 2 days. It would have happened, no matter where I'd given birth.

Things went great after being released. And Billy was so proud of me. So proud. While I stayed with Levi in the NICU, he was talking to my mom the whole time and she was criticizing me for staying home and he said exactly this "I don't care what you think, Wanda. I am so damn proud of her! She stayed home, gave birth alone, cleaned everything up, and was up and around hours after delivering. She's actually a housewife now. A better mom. I'm proud of her." When my mom told me that, I started crying. I hadn't heard him say anything speaking so highly of me before. It made me love him even more.

Billy fell in love with Levi.
And I fell deeper in love with Billy. How amazing that they weren't biologically attached, but he loved him anyway.

We learned to appreciate each other and listen to each other's needs and to not only love each other, but to CARE FOR each other. Anyone can love, but it takes a strong and mature couple to know to care for one another. We write each other notes like these:
(This note reads: Baby the house looked great tonight. I can tell you worked hard on it. Thank you sweetheart. :) FYI: You are wonder mom. Levi cried for 5 seconds and you jumped up(I was sleeping on the couch) heh I thought it was the tv, but not you. lol You are wonder mom and a good one. I am so proud of you.) Seeing, hearing each other's love has impacted us and showed us that love can truly do anything.

 We are still happily together, and loving each other more. There are still issues from the past we need to work out, but they no longer go ignored. I love Billy and I love our life together. I couldn't ask for a better man. We started out so dysfunctional and such an odd couple. We beat the odds. Nobody thought we belonged together, much less stay together. But we're proof that love knows no bounds and that love is a choice and we chose to keep loving each other, even after all we'd been through. I love you, sweetie, with all my heart.

Monday, June 11, 2012

You Know, That Moment When You Feel Guilty For Breastfeeding.....

I know this falls out of chronological order from my chapter by chapter love story, just had to post about this today.

I was at the food bank with my son, who will be 7 months on the 19th. We sat down by another mother, who looked to be about 17 or 18, whose son is also 7 months old. Her baby started getting fussy, so of course she grabs his bottle and mixes some formula to feed him. Now, I don't have a problem with formula feeding moms at all, especially when I don't know the circumstances and who on earth would ASK what the circumstances are, anyway. But I saw myself in her, when I was her age. This is only related to what caused my guilt.

My son gets hungry, so of course, I try to be discreet and feed him. An older woman had just sat next to me and started filling out her paperwork.
She looks over and says not-so-quietly "Oh, you're nursing? Oh that's so wonderful! I nursed all three of mine for 2 years each. It's the absolute BEST that you can give your children!" And through talking for a few more minutes I found out that she too, had home births with her children, as I had, with my youngest.

I saw the other mother out of the corner of my eye when the old woman was talking and she lowered her head and turned a bit and I felt bad that she had to hear that. It doesn't matter how true it is, maybe she knows the benefits and regrets starting formula, maybe she couldn't keep her supply because she had to work, or just dried up for no reason, maybe she was misinformed and told not to breastfeed and that formula was "just as good as" breast milk. I felt guilty that it came easy to me. I loved that the old woman was lovingly encouraging, but I wished she hadn't said anything, to spare the young mother the shame.

I still feel a little bit of shame that I didn't breastfeed my oldest that long. He was only 6 weeks old when I weaned. And at 17, you tend to believe a lot of stuff you're told about parenting. I was lucky that I kept my supply for 7 months with my 2nd child. I dried up from flu a few times, and then I became selfish and didn't want to "be tied down" anymore. And, I hope I can save some mothers from feeling ashamed or not good enough. Every mom that feeds their child the best that THEY KNOW HOW is a good mom. When you know better, you DO better, and when you do better, you can afford to help others as well. If we can work together and not shame each other, then we all learn something and we ALL do better.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Our Love Story- Chapter 2: Against My Will

My mom found out what was going on and forced me to stay home for 2 weeks or she'd call CPS. They should have been called long before that. We stayed clean long enough for me to land a good job, working at a heart and lung clinic, doing medical records. I loved the job and I was happy to be making good money. Temptation led right back to the dope. This time, pills were a constant add in the mix.

Fast forward 7 months. I've just lost my job after having been caught being high at work. After that, Billy and I lost our apartment and we moved into my mom's house. Billy kept getting high as I struggled to stay clean and this took a toll on our relationship. After I entered a program to help me stay clean, I left him.
(shortly after getting clean, dates on camera are wrong)

We got back together a short time later and he went into treatment. At the end of August, he was out of treatment and we married in early September.

 Now, I failed to mention before, that I'm Bipolar and since I wasn't medicated and only clean a couple months, I was having manic episodes. A week after our wedding, I decided I wanted to go to Seattle and live... alone. After I got there, I turned on my phone and got several messages from Billy saying he was going to hurt himself, he was so confused, why did I do this, and like a flash I snapped out of my mania. I panicked and bolted back to Montana. But not before I got pulled over twice for going way over the speed limit. I had to get there before anything happened to Billy.

We moved out of my mom's house shortly after and started over in our own house. I found out I was pregnant in early October, which, again was a surprise because I was on birth control. The idea quickly grew on us and we began planning. To our dismay, 4 weeks later, I lost the baby a week before my 19th birthday. We were disappointed, but agreed to try to have another baby as soon as I recovered. We became pregnant on New Year's Eve that year.

In June, Billy got promoted at his job and we moved 300 miles away from the town we called home. Pregnant and without family for the first time, it was hard on me, which made it hard on our relationship. I made several trips to my moms house that summer. A few of them were unannounced to my husband and this too strained our relationship. I was so alone, with Billy working so many hours. I knew no one and our son was so spirited, he made it difficult to go anywhere, even the 12 step meetings I needed to attend.

In October 7th, we were blessed when Casey Mercedes James made her entrance into the world on her due date. She had red hair, just like daddy. And those were our first words when she was born. "She has red hair!" The little girl we had decided on 3 years before was finally here and we were happy.

Our happiness would soon falter, as 2 months after my daughter's birth, I feared I might hurt myself and entered treatment. The doctor dismissed my insistence that I was Bipolar and misdiagnosed me as clinically depressed. What was it that people say? The customer is always right? Anyway, I didn't  continue my medication, because it didn't stabilize me.

My emotional troubles affected my husband and I. We weren't spending time together, I wasn't cleaning the house because I was anxious and depressed and this made Billy resentful, which made him not want anything to do with intimacy and this drove me deeper. I found solace in socializing on the internet and immersed myself, so I could hide from my life.

I found motivation to start exercising(but not clean... weird) and I was starting to feel good about myself. But when I entered a 5K race, Thanksgiving 2010, I trained hard and was confident. I was finally doing something. Billy didn't want to go and I told him to stay home, I didn't care if he didn't go as long as I wasn't late. He puttered around, getting ready, we get there.....15 minutes late. I couldn't race. I was crushed. I hated him after that. He ruined something I ached to achieve.

After that, I gave up on exercise. Why do it, if I didn't have a goal and why try to achieve a goal, if he was going to crush it? Again, I found solace on the internet and I stumbled across an ex(Ray), who was going to be done with pre-release in January. We started talking and he "listened to me" and "understood me". We were talking more and more, and soon, I was making plans to leave Billy.

When it came time to leave, in late January, a friend of Ray's came to get us. It was 3 hours to get to his house. The grass was greener on the on other side for only a few weeks. Ray seemed to get upset about small things and didn't like me being on Facebook or to text anyone. Even my family. He made the excuse that it was "hard to adjust to life on the outside". I believed him. On Valentine's Day, he'd been up all night and was being especially mean. The landlord had to come over to fix the water heater and when Casey wouldn't be quiet(she was 15 months old) he gave me a look I don't think I could forget, it was so mean-looking. On Valentine's Day.

I talked to Billy on the computer that night, when I couldn't sleep and we came to the agreement that I needed to get out and I still wanted to be with him. I had talked to a friend on Facebook about my plans to leave. The next day, I'd left my Facebook logged in and he went through my messages and found what I said to my friend. I was afraid to leave with him knowing.

The next couple weeks dragged by and we had to move into Ray's co-worker's house, because Ray's landlord didn't like us living together without being married(whatever, old guy). When we moved into his friend's house, his behavior got worse. I became friends with his co-worker(female) and he didn't like it one bit. In the middle of March, I found out I was pregnant. I was scared. I knew he would hold it over my head. "You can't leave if you're pregnant with my baby."

Two days after I found out I was pregnant, I left and came back to Billy. I left while I was manic and I second guessed myself so many times that I didn't know where I wanted to be, or where I should be. I went back to Ray. When I got back his friend was bitter with Ray and made us leave. We had to live in a motel. We fought everyday over things that he started. And he pinned the blame on me, every time. Since most of the fights were through texts, I SAW and knew that he was starting the fights, but being told that I was instigating the fights made me overcautious of what I could and couldn't say.

I texted him with the computer and he made me stay on the computer to text him every second he was at work. If the room was a mess, say maybe Casey made a mess, he got mad, but I was helpless to do anything about it, because if I didn't text him right away, he'd flip out and accuse me of this and that and a fight would ensue, with blaming me. It was all my fault.

Again, seeing how harmful his behavior was, I left to be with Billy. This time, I thought it was for good and Billy and I were starting to repair our relationship, despite being pregnant with Ray's baby. Everything was going great, but I started talking to Ray again, and he sucked me back into his trap. But this time, before I left, I'd gotten help for my Bipolar and had just started taking medication. Being with Ray again was worse than ever. He blamed me for everything bad that happened. He didn't let me go anywhere alone. I couldn't get off the computer to do anything without getting in trouble.

The day we found out the sex of the baby, things seemed great. I was tired, and wanted to take a nap. But he wanted to have sex. After telling him no repeatedly and him getting very angry, I told him I was leaving to cool off and run some errands. He told me my stuff would be on the lawn if I left. I told him to go ahead. He got in the car, so that he could make sure of where I was going. We argued the whole way to where I was going and I cried while driving. After we got back, I laid Casey down for a nap. He still insisted that we have sex. No no no no. I said it over and over. My words fell upon deaf ears.

Afterwards, he made me feel guilty for being upset by saying he felt like shit about himself. My feelings weren't valid as far as what he'd done to me. HE was the victim of what happened. He made me delete my Facebook several times over the next 10 days. It wouldn't be until 4 days later that I would find a moment of clarity.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Our Love Story- Chapter 1: There's Nothing More Intimate Than...

I want to post a disclaimer that this story has a lot of personal details. Comments are welcome, but please, no bashing, as these events are in our past. Since there is a lot of content, I will be posting this in segments of three or four. And one reason I feel I can share this...

"Chapter" 1: Nothing More Intimate Than...

This long journey started before we ever met and everything happened so we could meet the way we did. Our journey started one day, sitting at a stop light in traffic. This probably sounds cheesy and even cliche, but it was true for me. I saw this guy in traffic, average guy. I got this feeling in my gut, my soul and it told me "This man is going to change your life forever." He did.

He was my sister's co-worker at the local IHOP. I started work there, roughly a month after I saw him in traffic. I'd forgotten all about him until I saw him at work, the day after I was hired. We laughed and joked and had fun together at work, but something was there. After a week, we flirted around and one night, about 2 weeks later, I told him that I really liked him and he agreed, he felt the same way. That night, we shared a kiss in the men's bathroom, while I was supposed to be cleaning. It was the most magical moment ever. For a second, my heart stopped and I tingled and the room disappeared, it was only us. See what I mean? Cliche. But it was true for me. His name was Billy.

We started dating March 13th, 2006 and had already fallen head over heels. We daydreamed about future children, if we ever got to that point and came up with the perfect girl's name Casey Mercedes James.
Being together was one thing... but there was a problem. An age gap. I was 16 and he was 26. It had to be kept under wraps, which at a restaurant, does. not. HAPPEN! My sister found out a month later. Furious, she told my mom and my mom threatened to press charges. In Montana, it's not statutory rape after you turn 16, so he couldn't be touched legally. But it scared us, nonetheless. At the same time, it made us more determined to be together, no matter what.

It wasn't long after we got together that I noticed he was buying and selling pills at work, with the cooks. I was curious, so I got in on the action. I fell in love. I started getting curious with other things and hooked up deals with someone at school, who sold ecstasy, coke, pills, and weed. I don't know what else he sold, but it was all good and I did try it all.... within the same week. Coke was the last thing I tried and since I didn't care much for it, I sold it to a co-worker.

The day after I sold my leftovers to my co-worker, I told Billy that I wanted to try meth at some point. I knew that he did it and wanted in on trying that too. The next day, he picked me up 2 blocks away from the school at lunchtime and we walked around the park. He gave me two gel capsules that looked like prescription pills. I asked him what it was and he told me(some sort of anti-depressant medication). I figured, alright, if it gets me messed up, why not? He told me to take it and see how I felt in an hour. 20 minutes later, my scalp tightened and tingled, my arms felt giddy and I couldn't stop grinding my teeth or shut my eyes enough to blink. I didn't think anything of it. I was light as a feather. For the life of me, couldn't figure out why I couldn't stop chewing up the little baggy that the pills came in. I even tore off a little bit of a branch of a tree and started tearing it apart with my teeth. I was also feeling very intimately friendly, to say the LEAST.

After our park escapade, he dropped me off at the same place he picked me up from. Before I got out of the truck, he said "You DO know what I gave you, right?" "Yeah," I replied. "Prozac, right?" He paused nervously, "No, it was meth..." I FLIPPED OUT! I got back in the truck and shut the door. "Seriously? What the fuck! Really?" Thousands of thoughts flew through my head. *I didn't even have a chance to say no. What if I wanted to change my mind and didn't really want to do it?* It didn't matter. I had to get to class. I'd already skipped one class that day.

After 4 days of being up and having lots of sex, I finally came down. My mom found out and demanded I tell her where I got it. I never said anything, but she knew. I got tested and came up positive for everything I'd tried in the last 2 weeks.

A week later, I started feeling sick. I couldn't control the urge to vomit. I thought I was having negative side effects from being clean. Billy mentioned to me, there was a slight possibility of being pregnant. Since I was on birth control, I doubted it, but opted to go to the community clinic 2 weeks later to get tested. Positive. And by the dates of my last period, I was 6 weeks along. Little did I know, I didn't bleed from a period. I had implantation bleeding and was 10 weeks pregnant when I found out I was pregnant. I was mortified, because, here I was, between 5-7 weeks pregnant and putting all that crap in my body. I had no idea. No clue, until I was clean. I had gotten pregnant 2 days after we got together.

The roller coaster started from then on. He continued to do drugs, behind my back and we only saw each other once a week, so he could avoid me knowing(although, I knew full well what he was up to). But since I was in denial, I drove myself crazy, trying to get ahold of him and see him. When I did see him, he didn't touch me. He drank beer and watched football. I was almost to the point of leaving him, by the time it came to deliver our son.
36 weeks pregnant

On December 15th, at 7:30 in the morning, I woke up in early labor. Since I didn't know what to expect, I was tense and unsure what to do. This led to a lot of pain. A lot. We made our way to the hospital at 9:30, since it seemed like my contractions were too painful to bare.(what a wimp I was!) We were sent back home, after being deemed "too early in labor" to stay. I was bummed. This left me to cope with my contractions without the help of Billy, because since I had woken him up at 8AM, he was too tired to stay awake. At 5PM, I decided I wanted to go to the hospital. I was about a 4, but progressing slowly and as soon as I got on monitors, they wanted to keep me in bed. This made contractions so much worse and I begged and begged for the epidural. How was I to know that I had the right to get up out of bed to help with the pain if I wanted? I was 17, with no knowledge, except what I was told about how PAINFUL childbirth was. I submitted. After the epidural, there was talk of a c-section, because my contractions were almost stopped. They asked if I wanted pitocin and I nodded, and said yes, between a sob , fear that I might have to be cut open. What choice did I have? After some amazing coaching from Billy( I was shocked), at 1:45AM, I was informed that it was time to push. I didn't know how to push and gave feeble attempts. After 15 minutes of little pushes, and getting a feel of it, I pushed to a 10 count. At 2:30AM, Michael Wayne James was born into the world, but was blue and "in need of resuscitation". The room was silent for 2 minutes, as the nurses worked on getting him breathing and pinked up and I wept silently. He gave a strong kick and everyone cheered.

Once he was swaddled, he wasn't given to me, everyone else held him(mom, both sisters, Billy). I remember thinking to myself "I. want. my. baby!" But I waited. I fell in love when I saw him and held him and I vowed to take care of him, good care.

Fastforward 4 months. My Billy and I, new parents to a baby boy and seeming happy, got ready to move in together, in our first apartment. An odd, familiar urge rose in me, and I regretfully didn't ignore this urge. When Michael was almost 5 months old, my boyfriend and I started doing drugs again. We were smoking meth, shortly after moving in. I wasn't able to hold down a job, due to my use. As soon as I had a bad day at work, I quit. In mid- August of 2007, when Micahel was 8 months old I got in an accident and I cried and cried because I was so glad my son wasn't with me in the car.

I had found a needle with meth in it that my boyfriend was hiding. Shooting up? Hmmm... Well, since he's going behind my back, I'll go behind his. I called up a couple that shot up dope together and asked them if they'd help me with my first time......

That whole week was a blur. I cheated on Billy with the couple because I wanted to get high some more. What did I care if I had to do that? It made me aroused anyway. Billy found out the next day and a shit storm ensued. He went out and drank. We made up by doing some dope and having sex. People say there's nothing more intimate than shooting up with your partner. At the time, they were right.