Transparency

Transparency:
openness, accountability, straightforwardness, candor
“the new government aims for better transparency”

On Saturday, my friend Steph babysat Lailah (a whole other blog post, lol) while I attended my friend Tinesha’s seminar. It’s part of a series of seminars entitled “Spread Love.” This one was about living a life of transparency.

The seminar was co-facilitated by Tarsha (pronounced Tar-Shay) Hamilton, who is the wife of An.thony Hamil.ton. Both ladies are phenomenal. They opened up by talking about their life struggles earlier on, and how they’ve both learned to be transparent in discussing the issues. Tinesha talked about her battle with depression, and how she has to learn how to process anger and deal with emotions. Tarsha talked about having lost family members to AIDS, the stigma attached, and how they did not discuss it openly when she was younger.

As an ice breaker, we each had to fill out a “Hello, My Name Is _______” page in our booklets. You have your name, how you found out about the seminar, what you hoped to take away from the seminar, and one thing you wanted everyone there to know about you. We switched papers with our neighbor, and we had to introduce each other. Several people mentioned that they wanted to find the balance between being transparent and just revealing everything.

I took a ton of notes while Tinesha and Tarsha were speaking, but I don’t have them with me right now. I also sent out some “live tweets” on statements and ideas that resonated with me.

The portion of the seminar that had the biggest impact with me was when we all shared a secret. I had flipped ahead in our packet (I can’t help it, it’s who I am, LOL) and saw the page entitled “Shhhhh…it’s a secret.” The directions were to write down something about you that was a secret. Everyone did, and then they were placed in a box. You did not have to write your name.

I don’t know about everyone else in the room, but that exercise was scary, humbling and freeing all at the same time. First and foremost, I know that putting things in writing make them real for me. And then I have no choice but to deal with them. Secondly, whenever you reveal something about yourself, you don’t know whether or not you will be judged. However, I obliged and wrote a secret on the paper, folded it up, put it in the box, and waited.

Once everyone was done, Tinesha passed took the box around to different people in the room, and each one pulled out a slip and read it. At first, there was mostly silence, and some gasps or sounds of sympathy.

And then it happened. One of the women was brave enough to speak up and say, “that one you just read, that was MY secret.”

And then another woman. And another. And each time they stepped up in the spirit of transparency to reveal themselves, great dialogue ensued. Offers of help and support were made. They were brave. There was no scorn or judging, just nods of sympathy and SUPPORT.

What I realized was:

  • We all have a story
  • A lot of us have THE SAME story…we just don’t know it
  • Transparency can lead to getting the help/support you need
  • Our stories are often the reason behind our decision making, in all areas of life
  • I have a few awesome friends

I don’t think that the point was to share everything with everyone. Of course, you have to be discerning regarding who you share your life with. But I think a good first step is being more transparent with the ones you love.

Are you transparent in your life? Do you think you could’ve written down your secret and then claimed it during the seminar? How do you think being more transparent would help you?

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Want more information on the Spread Love Seminars? Check out the following:

Tinesha’s website/blog

Follow her on Twitter: @roc_star

Follow her on Instagram: roc_star

She’s also a great loctician/natural hair stylist: Revolution EGO Salon

The One Where We Went to the ER

After Ms. Lailah sounded like she was wheezing and she vomited up her breast milk like Lin.da Bla.ir in The Ex.orcist.

What can I say? I’m a new mommy. And she sounded like she could not breathe very well. This is that lovely cold that started Thursday evening. Good ol’ daycare germs.

Of course, when we got there, she had fallen asleep and seemed to be breathing normally. But even HH said she sounded like she was wheezing, so I know it wasn’t just me.

She had a chest x-ray and it was clear. She wasn’t running a temp when we got there, but her temp had been slightly elevated previously. The doctor said he wasn’t surprised at that or the previous wheezing.

In the end, they told us to use a humidifier in her room (which would be our room, right now) and to use saline drops three times a day to help clear out her nose with the bulb aspirator.

So, HH is in the 24 hour CVS getting the saline drops and distilled water. I suspect we will all crash and burn when we get home.

When You Know Better

You should do better. That’s how the saying goes.

This is on the chalkboard at our gym:

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I am a fairly intelligent person. I tend to err on the side of logic. I like when things add up, and if you can explain something to me logically, I can be all on board.

Except this “clean eating” situation.

It’s a combination of things. Laziness. Not liking to cook (which is not to be confused with not being able to cook, because I can. I’m not Rachel Ray, but I can). HH not eating meat, the teen being a meatatarian, and me somewhere in the middle. Getting used to parenting a newborn. Between food getting eaten before I can get to it (grrrrr. Whole other post entirely), and feeling like I don’t have enough time in the day, I am often grabbing convenience food or whatever I can get my hands on.

I cannot find the motivation from within to do better right now. I don’t know where it is. I also need to work on emotional eating. Frankly, the chocolate cookie makes me feel better about stuff.

I don’t know. I’m just…meh. So many folks I know are great examples of what I need to be doing. I watch them and applaud their efforts.

And then I don’t make any changes.

I will get there. At some point.

Do you eat “clean” or relatively “clean?”

Labor of Love

Baby L decided to start her grand entrance into the world around 6:15pm on 11/12. It took me a good 30-45 minutes to realize what was going down. The contractions were like 15 minutes apart, and felt like menstrual cramps. I thought maybe I’d had too much ice cream.

Around 7:00, I shot a text to Middle Dolly and asked her how her contractions felt when she had my niece. She described the same feeling I was having. By that time, they had moved to about 10 minutes apart, and stayed that way until early the next morning.

I tried to get some rest that night, but it was hard, after the intensity got worse. They were waking me out of my sleep. I called the physician on call around 2:00am, and he advised that I could continue to labor at home at that point, until they got to 5 minutes apart, 1 minute in duration.

By 5:30, the 30 seconds of contraction pain was getting to critical mass. I told HH (via text) that was going to wake mom up and head to the hospital. 5 minutes apart my behind. I couldn’t talk through those things and I was over it dot org. At one point, I just remember not being able to move from the bathroom floor. I literally just laid out on the cool tiles thinking, I might have this baby right here. Let me get myself up.

We made it to the hospital in one piece, and without getting lost (if you follow me on Twitter, you know why that is significant, lol). I made my way up to maternity while mom parked the car. I had pre-registered, so I only had a few forms to sign. My first nurse of the day was Michelle. She had a nursing student in tow, but at that point, I didn’t mind. Which is interesting, because on the birthing plan I filled out (and forgot to bring), I actually indicated that I did not want any nursing students to observe. She seemed nice – and nervous – and I felt like I didn’t want to rob her of a chance to observe.

Michelle checked me and I was 3-4 cms dilated. I was also hooked up to the monitors to checks contractions, my blood pressure, and baby’s heart rate. At that point, the pain was still at a tolerable (but not pleasant) level. Michelle could see when my contractions were about to hit, and of course, I could feel them. At that point, I thanked Stacy and every other yoga instructor I’ve had for teaching me the proper way to breathe deeply. That’s the only way I got through each contraction. They took blood to check my platelets and they were at 122. Yay!

Once I got moved to a birthing suite, it just became a waiting game. HH made it here from work, and after that, he and mom did their best to help me with comfort mechanisms. The contractions were getting more and more intense. I really had intended to tolerate them as long as I could before introducing an epidural, but they became so intense each time one hit. I was using my yoga breathing and doing pretty well, and then one hit that was so bad…I just started crying. HH just looked like he wished he could switch places with me. Mom was rubbing my arm and shoulder and telling me it was ok and to cry if I needed to.

I decided to “tap out,” and asked my nurse to please get the anesthesiologist for the epidural. All my fear of that needle in my back flew out the window. The process was actually more tolerable than I thought it would be. However, due to it being a “procedure,” only one extra person could be in the room. HH went to the waiting area and mom stayed here. The anesthesiologist was very nice and explained each step in the procedure. Nurse Michelle was awesome and held my hands/shoulders while the epidural was done.

Once that kicked in, I could tolerate the contractions, and the nurse indicated I was at 6 cms. The only down side is that I could not move around. The nurse kept having to come in and turn me from side to side. My left side was ridiculously numb, and I could barely move that leg. It would periodically slide down off the bed, and mom or HH would have to put or back on the bed. LOL

By the time I got to the third nurse of the day, I was wiped. I was hooked up to everything you can think of: Foley catheter since I couldn’t get up to the bathroom, IV for meds, and blood pressure cuff to keep track of my BP. All these numbers were on the same monitor screen, and mom kept looking at them periodically and let me know. The nurses at the nursing station could also see.

At one point they brought me a “clear liquids” dinner: chicken broth, sprite, apple juice, and jello. HH moved the bed up so I could sit up and drink. I got like 1.5 sips of broth and then the nurses came in to say that sitting up was making Baby L’s heart rate decrease. So, I was forced to lay back down and I never got my dinner.

They kept checking me and kept saying, “still at 6cms.” The next step was to insert a monitor to determine if my contractions simply weren’t strong enough. After delaying as long as he could, the doctor came in and advised that the contractions were indeed strong enough, but his concern was that the baby’s head was not moving down. He wouldn’t have cared about the 6 cms if she was progressing. He looked as disappointed as I was, when he said he felt surgical intervention was needed. However, he left the decision totally up to me. By that time, I’d been having contractions for over 24 hours. I told him that I didn’t want to be having this conversation with him 9 hours from now, so let’s just proceed. I must’ve burst into tears for the third time that evening, bringing forth the part of my mom’s personality that I love…she said at the end of the day, the goal was to get Baby L here safely and for me to be healthy. I dried up my tears and gave the go ahead.

I listened to the childbirth ed lecture on C-sections, but never thought I’d be having one. There are so many doctors and nurses in with you. HH sat at my head, and there was a big curtain up, so we couldn’t see the actual surgery. The doctors started cutting and chatting about their travel plans. LOL! I actually started feeling a little sleepy. Next thing I know, they were telling me I was going to feel some pressure. It felt like someone was pushing down on my stomach. Then she was out!

They whisked her over to the warming table for examination and I didn’t see her for like 15 seconds, but I could hear her crying. Then they held her up so I could see, and I just started crying. I remember thinking, I’m that little girl’s mother!” HH took some pics of her on the table and her being weighed. Everyone wanted to know her name, and we told them. One of the nurses took a pic of the three of us together. Next thing I know, the room was clearing out, they had sewed me up, and were moving me from the surgery table back to my bed, so I could be wheeled to recovery. I was completely numb/paralyzed from the waist down. It was such a weird feeling to have them rocking me back and forth and feeling like I was outside my body.

In recovery, I was cold and shivering, and they had to bring me heated blankets. They were ready for me to start skin to skin contact with her, but I wanted to wait until I stopped shivering. Eventually, I did get to hold her and look at her beautiful little face close up.

When I look at her now (1 week out…because I started this a week ago, but as you can imagine, it took a while to finish), it was all worth it. Swollen feet, numb heels, prednisone, headaches, and even those ridiculous contractions. Now, I look forward to learning from her, and doing a better job of living in the present.

Each One Teach One

As you may or may not know, I am currently a first year mentor with Tri It For Life! This is the group that helped me complete my first triathlon last year. I totally had plans to mentor and train so I could kick my previous time’s azz, and then Baby H popped into the picture. Clearly, not happening. However, I am still going to try for a minimum of 12 mentoring sessions with this year’s athletes.

I cannot do any of the biking, due to balance issues, and the fact that the baby is not really protected if I fall. It’s not like they make a helmet that fits over my stomach. I may still go to a couple of brick sessions to help the ladies prep their bikes before rides and warm up. I could also be the person who stays in the lot to watch bikes while they complete their running.

As far as the group run sessions, there are always walkers in the beginning. I walked with a really nice woman last week named Ginger. She was telling me that her husband said he’d do whatever he needed to to square the kids away so she can get to as my training sessions as possible. I love hearing those support stories. Often times, it’s the opposite – families are not supportive of wives/moms getting out to do something for themselves.

This week, the Bubble Blowers finished their last session in the warm pool. The water in this pool doesn’t go above my shoulders (I’m 5’2″). We’ve been working with them on basic skills like floating on their backs, elementary back stroke, swimming on their sides with the kick boards and buoys, etc.

I love attending the swim sessions. The doc has totally given the green light on swimming for me. Since I’m already a member of the facility where we train, I try to get there early and get some time in the pool on my own. I even did a few free style strokes last night! That’s still a struggle for me, but I’m working on it.

20130702-181520.jpg(me on the way to the pool…gonna need a new tri suit by the end of this month.)

Which is why I laugh every time I think about the fact that I am trying to help others learn to swim. If you remember any of my posts from last year when I was training, you will laugh, too. LOL!

I just try to stress to them that last year, I was where they are. I try to get them to focus on learning to float comfortably on their backs, because in the cold pool you simply cannot put your feet down. They seem to be getting better, and some ladies are even in the pool without any flotation devices.

One thing we’ve done differently this year, is after each bubble blower session, we take them to the cold pool for 30 minutes. I wish we had done this last year. They’re getting a head start on getting used to deeper water. Although many of them try to sneak out before we switch pools, most do come over.

I’m having a lot of fun with just mentoring. While I’m disappointed about not competing in Ramblin’ Rose in September, it is for a good reason. 🙂 I love meeting all the new athletes. I wish I was better at remembering names! I am better with faces. I am going to try and spend as much time in the pool as I can, and I definitely want to be there when they finish the race in September and KNOW that they are tri-athletes.

On The Grow

Baby H is on the grow. I have my next doctor’s appointment on 5/31. I’m 15 weeks and I do have a baby bump. I guess that surprises some folks, but news flash – I’m 5’2″. There’s not a lot of room for this baby to grow vertically. LOL!

One of my friends sent me this article, which I just now got to sit and read in its entirety. I just chuckled at the following, because it’s so true:

“Suddenly, her body is no longer her own. Her entire extended family feels that it is pregnant, and all of them give her advice about what to eat, what to wear, and what to do. I was amazed by how total strangers would approach me when I was pregnant, pat my belly, and offer suggestions. Friends seem to think it their duty to tell pregnant women the worst stories they can think of about cesarean sections, labor pain, and poor outcomes.”

People just want to direct you in everything – all of the above, as well as how to refer to and talk about your baby, when to talk about your baby, etc. They offer unsolicited advice and get mad when you don’t take it…and then if you do ask for help with something later, they don’t want to be bothered because you rebuffed the unsolicited advice. LOL! Who wants to walk around feeling uncomfortable talking about their pregnancy? Not cool.

I tend to be in agreement with those who say a baby’s experience in the world is already being shaped by his/her mom’s emotional state while pregnant. So, my focus is to remain positive and try to make healthy choices.

I am grateful for the support system I have in my close friends (on and offline), and my sisters – who have been through all of this before. Grateful for the people who don’t try to make me feel like my questions/ideas are crazy. Those are the people I keep close.

In the meantime, I will practice my “wax on/wax off” for the folks who want to try and randomly touch me in the coming months.

Spreading the Good News

Whew! Now that the news of my pregnancy is out, I can exhale! It’s been so hard holding it in from you guys. We actually had planned to wait until this week (13 weeks) to say anything, but I grew impatient. And, someone almost – unknowingly – outed me on FB. I had posted a pic of Bogey and joked that she followed me around like a bodyguard. So my friend asked me if I was pregnant! I had to do post diversionary tactics! LOL! Another friend who already knew came in and helped.

So, let me take you back to the month leading up to finding out. I know some people can look back to an exact date when they conceived. I cannot. I know when I suspect it was, and with HH’s crazy work schedule there are limited days when he was home (this is before he started just commuting every day).

I was not on any hormonal birth control, and haven’t been since I stopped the pill in December 2009. Three years of barrier protection with no pregnancies is a pretty good ad for condoms. LOL! I digress. I also have a very regular cycle. So I suspected nothing until it went MIA.

Back in March, HH wanted to go ride go karts for his birthday. He and CH both wanted me to ride. While the insurance adjuster in me just kept picturing the kart crashing and tipping, I agreed that I would. However, when the day arrived (3/1), I was suffering from heart burn and my stomach felt iffy. If you followed my old blog, you may remember me tweeting about how I used to get heartburn all the time when I lived in ATL. So, this occurrence of heartburn never phased me. I took some apple cider vinegar and kept it moving, but I didn’t ride the go karts.

The next week I kept getting heartburn. I eat at my desk at work a lot, and sometimes hurriedly, so I chalked it up to that. On 3/9, my friend Audrey had a Partylite party and I headed over to her house for the evening. When I got there I drank some punch and started to feel nauseated. I thought it was because the punch was pretty sweet. Still not getting the clues. LOL!

It wasn’t until the presentation was finished and I excused myself to her bathroom, that it hit me. I was washing my hands and looked in the mirror and realized my cycle should’ve started 2-3 days prior. It was like that moment in Disappearing Acts (the book, not that iffy movie, lol) when Zora was looking at the calendar and realized her cycle was MIA.

OH, %#^*{!

I re-joined the party and ordered way too many candles *facepalm*. The whole time I was thinking, I’ve got to go get a pregnancy test as soon as I leave here. I also realized after my third trip to the food table that I had been eating like crazy. LOL! Due to another friend sharing her news about a wedding that none of us saw coming, I didn’t end up leaving Audrey’s house until 11:00pm. I zoomed to Harris Teeter and got a box of three tests.

I’ve taken tests before and I know your hormone levels are higher in the morning, but I couldn’t take it. I ripped one open and took it.

And waited. And looked at it sideways, and waited.

Finally, a very faint pink line appeared. And I thought, nah, because it was super faint. I resolved I wouldn’t say anything to HH when he got home that night, and I’d take another one.

The next morning I woke up bright and early and HH was still conked out. I went in our bathroom and clicked on the fan, hoping that would block the noise of me opening up that test. LOL! Took the second one and waited. Pink line again. A smidge darker.

And I just sat there for a few minutes and looked at it.

Finally, I turned the fan off and came out. I guess I was in there for longer than I thought, because when I opened the door, HH rolled over to face me and said, “you were in there for a long time – you ok?” Man, he scared the mess outta me because I thought he was asleep! I hadn’t worked out what I was gonna say! Hadn’t we just told his mom 2 days prior that we likely weren’t going to have any kids because we couldn’t afford daycare? LOL!

Me: well, I was in there because I had to take a test.
Him: *wide eyed stare*
Me: *hands him the test* I think you got me, bruh.

LOL! Yes, those were my actual words. You got me. Yes, I was there, but I’m putting this on him.

He smiled, I got back in the bed, he kissed and rubbed my stomach, and so it began! After that, it was a blur of making a doctor’s appointment, giving up my beloved Starbucks, and nervousness.

The morning of my appointment with my primary care physician, those jokers called to cancel! The doctor’s son was sick so she was going to be out. Uh, no ma’am! I’ve already waited a week and a half! Can I see someone else? Luckily, they got me in with another nice doctor and I was able to get my referral to an OB-GYN (I didn’t have one because my primary doc does my yearly exams).

I had some spotting early on, so I had my first ultrasound at the end of week 7. I don’t know how the techs do it. I recognized none of the things she was pointing out to me (ovaries, fibroid, etc). Finally, she confirmed that Baby H had implanted properly, and I heard the heartbeat.

Then it really, really became real. I’m gonna be somebody’s mommy!

*faints*

And then four agonizing weeks of not being able to go public. Man, that hurt. LOL! Especially when morning sickness and fatigue started kicking my butt. I needed people to commiserate with! So, I did tell some folks offline. *waves at y’all* We told “the rest of the world” last Friday. I’m so glad to be able to share now.

Stay tuned, I’m sure the next few months will be filled with pregnancy stories and home buying stories (which is a whole OTHER post).

Happy Saturday!