“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”
–Mary Engelbreit

Notice anything different about the blog?  Look up at the address bar.  Or the Title.  That’s right.  Things are changing around here.

There are numerous reasons why I went for the change.  It has been a long time coming, it just took me a while to figure out how to change EVERYTHING (not the best with computer stuff).  The thing is, yes I am a single mom.  That is where the original Single Mama Life title came from.  No, I didn’t go and elope, I am still a single mom.  But that’s not all I am.

When I started the blog, I think I still held a large amount of bitterness and resentment for Harrison’s father.  Little by little, that has been going away.  I wouldn’t say I have forgiven him completely.  But I don’t cry over it anymore.  I don’t get angry or stressed after talking with him (which might happen every 4 or 5 months…I can’t even remember the last time).  And now that I have come to the realization that I may never get child support, the doesn’t infuriate me.

Over time, I have been able to let go.  Even though I have said in the past we are better with out him, now I know for sure.  I know it would be hard to hand off a child every other weekend or holiday.  I am also aware that the parenting Harrison would get by going to his father’s would be challenging for Harrison and myself.

I know I have said these things over and over, but since last spring, I have been able to truly let go.  Healing brings about change.  You may have noticed a change in my posts in the last year.  I occasionally have the “UGH what a deadbeat” rants, but not nearly as many.  I have realized that the path my son and I are on is amazing.  Wonderful.  Happy.

Harrison and I have a special bond.  One that not many get to experience.  We are lucky.

I am no longer “just” a single mom.  I am a mother.  I no longer wanted to be pigeon-holed.  I know some people wouldn’t look at the blog because they thought it was primarily about “single-parenting” as opposed to just parenting.

I will still write about my struggles and successes.  In fact not much will change but the title.  And the look (yup, I am really excited about that one!).

Sometimes, I remember.  I remember what I first felt.   And I hate myself for it.

I remember seeing the 2 lines telling me I was pregnant and swearing.  Breaking down into tears.  I remember thinking my life was over.  Nothing was going to be the same.  That I had brought shame to my family.  That everyone would judge me.

A week after, I was working at an event my company was hosting.  I was running all over making copies, doing backgrounds, filtering applicants to the right section.  Suddenly, my stomach felt like it was being torn.  I sat down for a few minutes before making up an excuse to leave.  On the way to my car, I had to stop and rest 3 times.  I finally sat in the driver seat and burst into tears.  I thought I was having a miscarriage.  And I thought it was my fault.  Suddenly, I wanted that baby more than anything.

I called the doctor’s office.  They told me there isn’t much they can do at 7 weeks along and to rest and take a bath.  I curled on the couch in the fetal position.  For 24 hours.

Finally, I started feeling better.  I hadn’t bled.  The baby was fine.  But I realized at that moment that I wanted the baby more than I ever knew.

But you know what I dislike?  That I missed out.  I never got to experience that excitement of seeing the 2 lines and being happy.  At my first baby appointment?  The doctor brought up abortion.  When I told my family?  Shock.. When I told my friends?  They all said “sorry”.

No one said congratulations.  No one jumped for joy.

I didn’t get big fast, so I actually hid my pregnancy from public view for quite a while.  I never had anyone ask me if I was pregnant until I was over 24 weeks along.  That was the first person to congratulate me right away.

I didn’t relax or indulge in yummy treats.  I worked my ass off at 2 jobs, 1 was waitressing 3 nights a week.  Anyone who has waitressed knows how much running is involved.  I was afraid of getting fat and being judged, so I didn’t cave into the cookie craving or eat ice cream.  I remember going to a restaurant one night and ordering grilled chicken and steamed veggies while my friends got pizza.  I remember the doctor telling me I needed to start gaining weight, and to take it easy.

I remember hearing my friends talking about wearing “fake wedding rings” since they could no longer wear theirs.  And wondered if that meant they were judging me.  And why it bothered them so much to have a ring.  One time, a friend caught my eye while saying that and said , “it’s just because I like wearing a ring”.  But I know that isn’t true.

I wondered what people said when I wasn’t around.  I hate being judged.

Even now, I feel guilty.  It breaks my heart when HJ talks about other people’s dads.  He hasn’t asked about his, but he is starting to get it.

I wish I could have had a fun pregnancy.  Enjoying it and savoring in my cute belly.  Loving watching it grow.  Jumping up and down when I saw those 2 lines.  Smiling as I told everyone the news.  Having a relaxing pregnancy and feeling on top of the world.

And since I didn’t, I feel guilty.  Like I took something away from my son.  Like I took something away from myself.

 

Mommy Confessions Link-Up

http://thebrowsingbrunette.com/

Three years ago today, my sister’s family had been visiting me.  I gave them my bedroom (in my one bedroom apartment) and had spent the night on the couch.  I remember falling asleep that night and being unable to lay on my stomach because my chest hurt so much.  I didn’t think much about it.  Sure my period was late, but I had taken 4 pregnancy tests and gone to the doctor.  Everything and everyone said “not pregnant”.  The doctor mentioned that since I had just started taking birth control in January, that maybe my body was still adjusting.

I remember taking the dog on a walk after my visitors left.  I brought my phone with me to catch up with some friends.  One of my conversations was about planning our trip to Vegas.  We had picked a few weekends in April that worked for everyone and were going to get the tickets that week.

For some reason, I thought I should take another pregnancy test…you know, to reassure myself for the 6th time before planning a Vegas getaway.  

Later that night, I was watching Desperate Housewives.  During a commercial, I decided to take the test.  So, I went to the bathroom, peed on the stick and started to fold some laundry.  I was not concerned.  The doctor had said I was not pregnant, right?

While folding laundry, I glanced over at the stick on the bathroom counter.  Huh, that’s weird.  I could have sworn the box said one line, not pregnant, two lines pregnant.  This test showed one very distinct line and then another VERY faint line.

And then I panicked.

I called Rebecca.  I told her I just took a pregnancy test and I couldn’t read the results.  I asked if she could pick up another one and stop over.  I think I said this between gasping for air…

While waiting for Rebecca, I called my friend Courtney.  She answered and I quickly stammered out, “I’m fucking pregnant.”

I don’t remember her response, but I do know she said everything would be fine.  Meanwhile, Rebecca showed up with a double pack of tests and a Gatorade.  I ran to the bathroom, peed on the stick and stared at her for two minutes.  I told her to go look at it.  She came out of the bathroom and said, “It says the same thing.”

I remember being quite a mess.  Rebecca was unsure of what to do and when to leave.  I think I even had her in tears at one point.  I remember sitting on the floor in a pile of unfolded laundry.  I remember thinking holy shit, I am going to be a mom.

Then I remember thinking about Nate.  I was confused on where we stood at the moment.  Since we had dated, we had been inseparable, except for the past two weeks.  He had distanced himself.  Texting rarely, calling even more seldom.  We had hardly seen each other.  He had told me it was due to work, but I had a feeling it wasn’t.  I remember being at a hockey game with a friend and her saying, “Hate to say it, but I am glad he isn’t calling.  He is trash.  You needed to get him out of your system, on to the next.”

I remember thinking she was right.

But just that day he had actually called.  He had said he missed me and wanted to get together for dinner on Wednesday.  So where did we stand?  And now that I found out I was pregnant, what was going to happen?

I couldn’t help but think about a conversation we had a few months prior.  We were watching Juno and saying how our parents would react to the news of being pregnant.  He said he wouldn’t even tell his dad since they didn’t talk, but that we knows he would definitely be a better man than him.  That he would be a dad.  That we were at the age where our friends were having kids.

I remember that thought calming me a little bit.  But I was still freaking out.  Like I said, I didn’t really feel like we were even a couple at this point.  And I was pregnant.

Alright lovely readers…I need some advise.  Not for me, have no fear, but for an expecting friend.  She has asked for a baby carrier from her in-laws for Christmas, but needs to know the best one to get. 

With HJ I had both the back-pack looking carrier and the hip baby carrier, also known as a wrap.  I didn’t have a preference over one or the other because we didn’t use it too often.  But, my friend will be a stay at home mom, and will probably be running more errands with the little one in tow.

Which ones have you liked or disliked?  While chatting with my friend, we came across something to help her with her decision (it seems to be helpful, so feel free to pass it along to your expectant friends!) but it is always good to get first hand advise.  Please tell me your thoughts on the different baby carriers…the good, bad and difficult (seriously, some of them have so many straps and clips I wouldn’t know where to start!).

My due date was approaching (not quick enough in my mind).  November 9th.  I went to my weekly Doctor appointment that Monday, November 2nd.  After a quick check-up the doctor said, “You aren’t dilated, so I guess I will see you next week.”

Wah, wah.

The next morning (Nov. 3rd) I had to attend a resume work shop as part of my severance package for being “displaced” by my company.  I attended the 4 hour seminar, where I was unable to concentrate.  I think I was making other people nervous.  They kept mentioning how close my due date was and how I could leave if I needed to.  I felt fine, just annoyed that I was attending something for a job I no longer had.  After the seminar, I went home to walk the dog.  As we were getting back towards my apartment, I noticed my mom’s car in the parking lot.  “Oh lovely,” I thought, “a surprise out of town visitor with overnight bags in tow!”

I grumbled a hello and went inside.  My mom went to unpack, jabbering on about going to Peek-a-Boo baby to look at some “darling prints” or some crap  like that.  I was irritated.  I called my sister, “Ugh, mom showed up. “  My sister inquired as to why I was so annoyed.  I had no answer and realized I was being irrational/hormonal and set up reorganizing the kitchen cupboards.  Yes, the cupboards needed to be rearranged RIGHT NOW.

After a shopping adventure, my mom and I decided to make dinner.  I was whipping up some sweet potato fries in the kitchen when suddenly….”Um, mom?  My water just broke.”

She looked at me startled, “Are you sure?”

“Yep, pretty sure, can’t mistake that feeling.”

Having your water break only happens in around 1 out of 10 pregnancies (don’t quote me on that…), so I was a little shocked myself.  I had not even felt a contraction!  I called the doctor’s office (which was closed) and talked to the answering service.  “Yes, I am a patient there, and my water just broke.”

“Are you sure?”

Seriously?  After verifying it had in fact broke, she told me to get to the hospital ASAP.  I called my friend Amy, who was not only my wonderful labor and delivery coach, but a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital. “Hey Amy, my water broke.”

“Are you sure?” was her reply (naturally), “Some people just pee their pants.”

I was certain this was my water breaking and not a bladder mishap.  She told me to come in with my bags and HURRY!  I ran to grab my bag, camera, let the dog out, turn off the oven, clean up the kitchen.  Wait a second, my mom is here!  Why is she not helping while I run around all panicked!?!  There she is, on the computer.  “Hey, how do I send an email?”

ARE YOU FRIKKEN KIDDING ME MOM?!?!

“MOM!!  We have to go to the hospital, no emails!”

We get to the hospital where I am rushed to a room.  It is verified my water did in fact break, and I am dilated…to a one.  All of that for a frikken one.  Then all of a sudden I felt the first contraction.  The next thing I heard was “would you like your epidural?”

YES PLEASE!!

After that I spent the next hour or so watching TV (Biggest Loser) and talking.  Then they checked me again.  Before they checked, they said, “Don’t expect too much, you were only at a one.”  Then I heard, “Nine, you can start pushing!”

The next few hours (yes, hours) were a blur.  Pushing, back pain, not feeling anything from the waist down….Then the nurse left the room.  I heard her talking to someone about progression and something not going right.  Then the doctor and about 4 other people barreled into the room.  A quick check and the doctor said, “The umbilical cord is around the baby’s neck I need you to push.  The baby has to come out NOW.  I will use a vacuum to help, but you only get three tries and then we have to do a c-section.”

I did not spend three hours pushing to have a c-section.  Baby boy was coming out, and coming out healthy.  The doctor assisted with the vacuum once.  Then twice.  “Ok,” I was told, “This is it or we need to do a c-section.” 

I am fairly certain I was crying at this point.  But I pushed, and suddenly I heard the sweetest cry in the world.  A second later he was placed in my arms and I swooned over him, “Hi honey!  I love you.”  I have no idea what was going on around me after that.  I was so consumed with everything.  You always hear that you won’t understand the love someone has for their child until you have one of your own.  And WOW.

Little HJ came into the world at 3:15am on November 4th, weighing 6lbs, 15 oz.

We spent the next two days recovering at the hospital.  Families and friends visited, everyone wanting to give love to the sweetest little man.  I felt so blessed that this wonderful little child chose me as his mommy!

This story may take a few weeks or even months to get out.  It is not the easiest thing to write about (But in a way it also helps).  It brings back all the emotions and heartache I dealt with, so hopefully this helps me to heal…and maybe even to forgive.

I kept pretty busy during my pregnancy.  Before I was pregnant, I had been working one night a week at a restaurant to earn “fun money” in addition to my full time job.  Once I found out I was pregnant, I started working 3 nights a week waitressing to help with new expenses.  On the days I was not working 2 jobs; I was fairly run down from all the working and would go out for a walk or jog with the dog. 

My friends and family were extremely supportive throughout the pregnancy.  One of my best friends was even pregnant at the same time as me, so we were able to talk about our changing bodies and crazy cravings (mine was anything with apples).  I had an “easy” pregnancy.  No morning sickness, felt fine, etc.

I was so excited to learn if I was having a boy or girl, the day could not come soon enough.  The week before I was to find out, I heard through the grapevine that my ex had moved in with his new girlfriend…a Hooter’s waitress.  Many thoughts went through my head.  I was hurt, yet also found it amusing.  After stalking the new girlfriend online (don’t judge) and seeing that all of the pictures were pretty much of her in her underwear…I had to laugh.  But at the same time it hurt.  I also was thinking, maybe this girl will make him want to be involved with his child.  I in no way wanted to get back together with him, but I still had dreams of my child having a father.

Finally, the day of my ultrasound came.  My sister and friend came with me.  Right away, the tech said, “you want to know what you are having, right?”

I nodded yes, and she turned the screen.  There it was, clear as could be!  A BOY!  I was over the moon.  I was so excited to share my news, and of course to start shopping!  Everything looked good on the ultrasound, and my due date was set at Nov. 9th, 2009.  A few days later, the Doctor called.  She said there was nothing to be worried about, but a small cyst had been found in the baby’s brain.  She scheduled another ultrasound to make sure it was gone.  I freaked.  I googled everything I could.  And of course 98% of it said, do not worry, it is a normal stage of development.  But there were a few posts that made me cringe.  I went back in for another ultrasound.  I was a mess.  When I got called back, the tech said, “Really, you shouldn’t be nervous, I don’t even know why they tell people about this.”

Still, I was nervous. 

Turns out, the doctors and techs were right (shocking, huh?).  The cyst had cleared, it IS a normal stage of development, and I had no need to be a freak for the 2 weeks.  PHEW.

In July, I finally heard from HIM.  Why we talked, I don’t know (I feel that way about most of our conversations).  All it did was upset me.  I found out he still had not told any family or friends and had no desire to let them know.  He didn’t care if it was a boy or a girl.  He didn’t care how we were doing.  He didn’t care that I had moved…and didn’t even ask where I had moved to (even though it was just a new apartment in my same complex).  He wasn’t phased that he had ran into my friends.  And wasn’t shocked I had heard about his new living arrangement. 

In August, my friends threw a double baby shower for my friend and I.  I felt so loved!  We both received so many wonderful things and I was feeling better about getting everything I needed for the baby without breaking my bank.

September, my sister and another friend threw me yet 2 more showers.  By this point it was time to get the room ready and started getting ready (yes, I am a prepare-er).

Then October came.  I was on the phone with my boss when a few red flags were thrown up.  I flat out asked, “Is my position being eliminated?”  He didn’t say anything.  “Are you kidding?  I am going to have a baby in a month and I am getting laid off?”  He apologized and said it wasn’t his decision.  And said I wasn’t even supposed to know about it until the day of layoffs, 3 weeks from then.  Crap.  How was I supposed to find a new job at 9 months pregnant?  I was planning on maternity leave, and spending time with my baby.  I had a daycare lined up to start in January.  Why this??  Hadn’t I been through enough?!?!

The next day HE called, on his own.  He said he wanted me to call him when I went to the hospital.  I lost it.  Suddenly he wanted to be involved.  I went through all this and he says he wants to go to the hospital. 

I was pissed.  Pissed about my job.  Pissed about him.

After a week or two I came to term with the job loss and figured, this will give me time to bond.  That and I had a fairly decent severance package that would allow me to still take my maternity leave.  And get a few weeks off before my baby boy came.

As far as calling him when I went to the hospital, I gave it a test run to see if he was serious.  Called him a few times (like 15) and had no response.  Clearly, he still did not want to be involved.

I spent the few weeks leading up to baby day taking long walks, cleaning the house like a mad women (yup, I was nesting) and reading.  Relaxing while I could.  Baby and I were going to be ok! 

“I’m pregnant.”

The silence on the end of the phone was deafening.  It felt like an eternity before he finally spoke.

“Are you serious?”

I kind of laughed.  “That would be a pretty mean joke, so yeah…I am serious.”

We both sat there silent for a bit.  I was relived I had finally told him.  I had been sitting on the knowledge for a week and a half by this point, but wanted to wait until I had gone to the doctor to 100% confirm it.  We met up the next night to “talk about it”.  I told him he didn’t have to be involved.  His response, “I would never do what my father did.  I am a better man than that.”

I breathed a sigh of relief.  Thank God I wouldn’t have to go through this alone.  I immediately felt better; he immediately felt the need to light up a cigarette.  “Holy shit, get away from me, I can’t breathe that crap in!”

He went to the front door and opened it up.  “What are we going to do?” he asked.  “Do you want money for an abortion?”

I looked up at him completely taken back.  Did he really think I would be this emotional and upset if that was my plan?  I already had an ultrasound scheduled for the following day.  I was already doing what I could to protect my little one.  And he is suggesting THAT?

“Do you want to come with me tomorrow to the doctor?  Maybe that will help us both feel better.” I suggested.

“No, I am not ready for that.” He stated.

After a few more hours discussing telling our families, our zoo of pets and how to handle everything, I left.  I left feeling a little better.  He is here.  I don’t have to do this alone.  Thank God.

I had my doctor appointment the next day.  I called him afterwards.  He didn’t answer.  He didn’t return my texts.  Or any of my calls that day.  The following day he called and said “I did some research.  I will drive you to Iowa City.  They have a clinic that does lots of abortions.”

Wow.

“I don’t think you get it.  That is not an option for me.  I saw the baby on the screen, our baby.”

Clearly, this should have been a sign to me.  But he had said “I am a better man than that”.

We continued to hang out.  The only topic was the baby.  What we were going to do, where we were going to live, how we would tell people, etc.  He was being supportive, yet kept mentioning a road trip to Iowa City.  Finally, he must have realized I wasn’t budging.

He disappeared.

He wouldn’t return any calls.  He wouldn’t text or email.  Nothing.  It took me a month or two to realize that I was really on my own through this.

Part of me was relived.  I knew I did not want my child growing up with him as a male role model.  But most of me was heartbroken.  How could a man knowingly walk away from his child?  Leaving me is one thing, but leaving behind your child?

Two years ago this week is when I found out I was pregnant.  I had taken 4 pregnancy tests throughout the previous month.  Each said “not pregnant”.  And a visit to my doctor, where she said, “if you have taken 4 tests that all said no, you are not pregnant.”

Still.  Something was different.  For one, I was displaying some “symptoms”.  A good symptom…like my boobs looked amazing…I even had a friend comment on them…sign number 1.  After a few more signs, I decided to take test #5.  I had nothing to fret about since it WAS test #5 after all.  So during a commercial break of Desperate housewives, I took the test and started folding some laundry.  A few minutes later, I glanced over.  WTF!?!?  Is that a 2nd line?  Looked at the box…1 line not prego, 2 lines prego.  But the line is only partly there, what in the world does that mean???  CRAP CRAP CRAP.  I grabbed my phone and called Rebecca.  “So, I need you to run to the store for me, grab some pregnancy tests and get here FAST”

She didn’t ask questions.  She flew over, with a bottle of Gatorade and 2 tests.  I made her go look at the “results”.  “um…it says the same thing”.

“but sometimes those can be wrong, right?”

“It can show a false negative, but not a false positive”

I can’t say after that we started jumping up and down and planning a baby shower.  But I knew the instant I saw the positive test I was having a baby.  I was an emotional basket case the next few weeks.  Everything was a blur.  I went to the doctor, where they gave me “options” and then an ultrasound where I saw my precious little bean.  I told  the Deadbeat.  He said “don’t worry you won’t go through this alone, I am a better man then that”.  He proceeded to stay with me the next few weeks.  I soon realized he was doing this to convince me to have an abortion.  When he realized this was not happening, he disappeared.

A few people brought up my different options, but I knew the whole time I was having the baby.  I loved the little bean already.  The only reason I was so upset, was I knew my life was about to change drastically.  Not only drastically, but so unexpectedly.

My family and friends were amazing.  They all helped me become excited.  They showered me with love (and gifts!) and helped me switch my lifestyle from crazy and carefree to a more family friendly environment.

It is amazing how much a moment can completely change your life.  In an instant I went from one lifestyle to another.  With one faint line on a stick, I knew my life would never be the same.