About Me

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WE HAVE MOVED TO A NEW SITE!!! http://www.mommyhood-shivonne-costa.squarespace.com/ As of June 18, 2015, this is our new location. Please come join us!! I started blogging the week I got married. I thought it would be nice to blog the full first year, you know, to cherish those memories and share them with my family and friends. Little did I know, it was going to be my greatest coping skill for the craziness that comes with marriage! I found writing to be a fantastic way to reframe an ugly marital spat into a humorous event, allowing me to smile at the situation by the end of the post. And now, I am honored to share my struggles and joys of fostering, adopting, birthing, and raising 4 beautiful children. It's my hope that others gain laughter and new ways to see their own frustrating life situation through my writing. Because I love to write! PS, look for me on Facebook - "Mommyhood-Shivonne Costa"

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Baby Story

     It has been such an eventful week! From the exhilarating T-DAP vaccine (accompanied by a lengthy and painful reaction for this Mama) to my parents coming into town over the weekend for my first baby shower, life has been a whirlwind! It seems that overnight by stomach has grown at the same rate as the Grinch's heart when he finally learned to love Christmas. It feels as if Baby Boy is ready to bust on out of his current home with each punch and roll he makes, and by the end of each day, I feel thoroughly and utterly worn out. But I have to say, family time was just what I needed. My husband and dad stepped up and watched all the ragamuffins that attended the shower so that the mommies were free to enjoy some grown-up time and delicious food. It was so wonderful to feel such a large amount of love that day from family, friends, co-workers, and church members. My lovely friend who hosted the shower had everyone fill out a sheet that let each guest write down their wishes for Baby Boy Costa. And as I read through them later that night, I was filled with such happiness (along with many tears and outright belly laughs) knowing that this baby isn't even here yet and he is loved by so many.
     On Sunday I had to say good-bye to my family, which always leaves me feeling a bit empty inside for a few days. Luckily, I have to work such long shifts now, that I don't have time to think about such things as emptiness, sadness, hunger, or the constant need to urinate. I just go-go-go until my body falls into bed minutes after walking through the door at the end of the night. Thankfully, I had today off of work... which literally just means that I spent the entire day doing work at home that I wasn't able to do over the weekend or on the days I work long shifts, so, naturally, I pushed myself too hard and ended up on the couch this evening, elevating swollen ankles, resting my aching back, and warding off nausea. The kids' homework was done, dinner was cleaned up, and the little ones were actually playing together nicely upstairs for a change. Therefore, I felt justified to take a few moments to catch up on past episodes of A Baby Story that I had recorded earlier.
     Now, let me just say this. I find this show equal parts terrifying and gratifying, and I'm not exactly positive that it's a healthy thing for me to watch, since it causes my worrying mind to go into overdrive. But something about it is just like that car accident that you stop and stare at as you drive by super-slowly.... you wanna look away but it seems impossible to do so all at the same time. Tonight, I was halfway through the second episode when Taylor came downstairs and stopped, just in time to see the mother on t.v. begin her series of pushes. I watched her face, her little eyes as wide as saucers and mouth hanging open. "Oh. My. Goodness," she whispered to herself. I couldn't help but giggle as she watched the mother scream in pain, nurses hustling and bustling every which way. And then as she pushed the baby out and the doctor lifted the little boy onto his Mama's chest, Taylor's face burst into a huge smile. "Oh, wow! It's really a baby!" she said, still glued to the television. She was literally transfixed until the commercial break.... and that's when the questions began.
     "What was all that stuff on the baby? Where is the hole that the baby came out of? I didn't see a hole on the mommy's tummy... will her belly stay that big forever? When is our baby coming???"
     "Ok, ok, ok. First of all, that stuff on the baby was inside the mommy too, and it was keeping the baby nice and warm while he was in there. And there's no hole in the mommy's tummy because the baby came out of her privates. That's why girls have the privates they have, so that babies can come out."
     "Oh... that's just a little bit gross, I think. So, you will be naked when you have our baby?"
     "I won't be able to have pants on, that's right."
     "Oh my goodness.... so dad's gonna see your vagina???" (The shock was priceless.)
     "Uh, yeah. And the doctors."
     "But it's ok for doctors to see us naked, but NOT BOYS, MOM!!!!"
     "It's ok for daddy's to see mommy's naked."
     "Well, if the baby's gonna be naked, then everyone else can be naked too, I guess!"
     "No, not everyone, just me and the baby."
     "So, when's the baby gonna get here? How many more years?"
     "Not years... just about 2 more months. Remember, it's winter now, and the baby will come in the spring. You'll still be in Kindergarten."
     "I'm gonna be in Kindergarten for that many more years?!?!?"
     "No, Taylor, it's winter now. Then in spring I will have the baby. Then in the summer, you will be done with Kindergarten. It's only 2 more months, not years."
     "Are you gonna be old when you have the baby?"
     "No, I'll be 32 in two weeks and that's how old I will be when the baby is born."
     "Yep,  you're still gonna be old..."
     Thankfully, the commercial break ended and the show has fast-forwarded one month, showing the baby at home. I noticed right away that the parents of this particular episode named their little boy the same name that my husband and I have been contemplating. We haven't told the kids this name yet, because of their struggle with fixating on things and not liking change too much, so we've held out until we're certain. However, Taylor looks me square in the eye and tells me, "I like that name. I think we should name our baby that, too!" (And I have to say, I quite agree with her!)
     We decided to watch one more episode just as Cameron comes into the room. He takes one look at the woman on the screen and says, "Hey Mom, she's not even as fat as you and her baby is already coming??" Awesome. Thanks, Cam!! He quickly became just as transfixed as Taylor had, eyes glued to the screen, but with a much more confused look on his face than Taylor had shown.... and then the questions started all over again.
     "She's making weird noises... why is she making those sounds? It gross!"
     "Cam, she's just in pain. Labor hurts, Bud."
     "So she gets to eat ice cubes and drink juice?"
     "Yep, this Mama gets to. She needs it to help her get through the delivery."
     (Enter the tub for the water birth...)
     "You get to go swimming when you have a baby???" Taylor asks excitedly.
     "No, it's not a swimming pool, it's a tub, and some women have their babies in the water."
     "No fair! She gets to eat ice, drink juice, AND take a bath..." Cameron is actually pouting over the "fairness" of labor.
     "Cam, it's not like she's having a party, man, she's in pain, remember??"
     "Cameron, I'm not even going to TELL you why she doesn't have a hole in her tummy!" exclaims Taylor.
     And just then, with the final few pushes, the baby emerges into the water.
     "Hey, where did the baby even come from?" Cam asks, confused.
     "Mom!" Taylor whispers loudly. "Don't tell him the baby came out of the V-A.... Mom, how do you spell vagina?"
     "Taylor, you're so gross! Babies don't come out of there!" Cameron looked at his sister like she was utterly ridiculous.
     "Actually, Cam, they do. That's why mommies have the parts they have. God made us that way."
     He stares at me for a few seconds as if processing the information he's just learned.
     "Well, at least you get to have some juice." That was his final statement before leaving the room, probably to go hunt down some juice. However, at tuck-in tonight, he did ask me if he would be allowed to tie that cord into a bow and make the belly button. He was rather sad when I informed him that doctors went to school for 8 years to learn how to tie that special kind of bow, and that he wouldn't be allowed to do that part. So, as of now, Taylor loves the idea of labor (yikes) and Cameron finds it basically disappointing and unfair. What more could a Mama hope for, really?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Friend or Foe

     I woke up today and was devastated to find that I had mysteriously grown my first stretch mark while I was asleep last night. One deep, red line standing out against the ridiculously pale flesh of my right hip. I traced the line with my fingertip as my brow furrowed and a stabbing pain of ugliness began to nag its way into my mind. As I stood before the mirror, I examined every part of me (well, the parts that I can still see, that is), making sure that my frustratingly bright new mark hadn't brought any friends with him. I was saddened to see the two cysts on my thighs, ingrown hairs in places that can no longer be attended to, dark circles under my eyes, and a new patch of gray hair coming in at my temple. And let's not even dwell too long on the fact that I am much closer to 200 lbs that I am to 100 lbs, a thought that makes me nauseous and, surprisingly hungry, all at the same time. I realized that it's official.... I am now grotesque.
     So, I decided to take my hideous self to the bathroom for a shower, crying stupid tears the entire time. You know the ones I'm talking about. The tears that don't cleanse you or leave you feeling sated... but the ones that are filled with self-pity and nothingness... the ones that are vain and childish and hormonal and that reek of "I know I shouldn't be crying about this, but I just don't care"... the ones that are over a single, red stretch mark. Was there more to my morning than the mark? Sure, there always is. The kids I already have are nuttier than a jar of peanuts, I argued with my husband over something I can't even now remember, and my sweet baby Isaac looked at the dog and said "Mama" with such heart-felt conviction that I nearly had stupid tears all over again! But there was just something about that single stretch mark that pushed me over the edge into mood-swingy blubbering. Not because I pride myself on being something beautiful to behold, now marred forever by this silly line on my side, but because I now feel like a striped hot air balloon... you know, the family-sized kind. I feel fat. I feel ugly. I feel like crying stupid tears all over again because this dumb laptop I'm typing on can't actually fit on my lap anymore because I NO LONGER HAVE A LAP!!!
     What I do have, however, is a liiitttllle bit too many hormones, and tttaaaaddd bit too much sickness, and a wwweeeee bit of a problem getting a decent night's sleep (because apparently growing a stretch mark will just take it right out of a girl!). Yes, I realize that I could have woken up in some third world nation with little to no food or money to my name. I could have woken to find myself at death's door with an incurable illness. Or I simply could not have woken up at all. These things I was aware of as I balled my eyes out in the shower today. And then I remembered that I'm 6 months pregnant and that now is not the time to kick myself for being a blubbering mess and that everyone is allowed to have stupid tears sometimes, especially when they can't see their feet anymore... it's just a right of passage, I think, and I'm going to let myself have the occasional pity party every now and again (while still thanking God that I woke up in my safe, warm bed anyways!).
     What did help, however, was to realize that all these marks and changes are just reminders of the miracle swirling and kicking inside of me; Mere battle scars from this pregnancy war that I'm sure to win in just a few more short months. I know that when my little boy traces his little fingertip on my deep red line, I can choose to feel honored that his life, his very existence, is forever etched on my right hip... my special little tattoo that will always remind me of the months I carried him in my tummy (and my in back, and my rib cage, and bladder, and oh, in my lungs). Will my husband still find me "sexy" when it's time to undress for bed? Will I wear a burka to the pool from now on? Will I be tempted to Jackie Chan the next Mama that tells me, "You shoulda used cocoa butter...." in that sing-songy voice that oozes with I-told-you-so-ness? (Side note: I DO use cocoa butter, twice daily, and look who still has a red line on her side, folks!) And will I cry stupid tears again with the next stretch mark I see? I have no idea. I'm gonna go ahead and say that all of these are likely at this point. But I am going to try to see this new mark as a friend, not a foe... a line of love, not of shame... my special little mark that will forever symbolize my little baby boy.