Archives For birth stories

Internet Exploring #1

August 18, 2016 — 6 Comments

Internet Exploring #1 // Julie Van Can

Huzzah! Here we are, the official inaugural issue of Internet Exploring. Fun! AND, it’s on time. That doesn’t happen often. Just ask any one of my college professors, or high school teachers, or grade school teachers, or sunday scho–ahh you get it. Since I talked more than I needed to in my first post explaining this whole deal, I’ll get right to the goods.

This week, Julie Van…

Can Read

Monstrous Births 
This essay. Man. It hit really close for me. I don’t consign on all of it, but if you’ve read or heard my birth story, you’ll get why some parts really jive with me. Even if you’re not a woman or¬†a parent, this is just a really interesting read¬†about the way we moralize¬†experiences¬†and¬†attach narratives to certain life events. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, read the last few lines. You’ll want to put¬†them¬†on a bumper sticker, and then¬†go back and read the rest.


Can Laugh At

1977 JC Penny Catalogue 
This needn’t an explanation. The clothing speaks for itself. It speaks for itself so loudly that if the clothing were¬†sharing an apartment with you, it would wake you¬†up in the middle of the night with its insane, maniacal cackle. And no matter how many times you politely ask them to keep it down, it would REFUSE to be silenced.


Can Follow

Mari Andrew

This week’s¬†“I DEMAND YOU FOLLOW” comes from my sister Laura, who has started the not-at-all unwelcome practice of¬†texting me¬†screenshots of Mari Andrew’s Instagram on a near-daily basis. She’s funny and clever and draws things are the so so TRUE. Follow her.

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Can Cook

Sweet Potato Hash

In case I didn’t make it clear in my intro, I am not culinarily inclined. I can follow a recipe, and I know what trendy foods to Instagram, but these recipes will best serve readers¬†with a similar cooking ability – people just looking for¬†simple, tasty weekday meals (because weekends are for delivery, and if you don’t believe that, we may not get along). And so! Here’s an easy favourite you can make tonight. It’s a hash. You literally just put everything together in a big messy pile, and it’s delicious. The real reason I like this one so much is because of the chorizo. A few years ago, I started making a cheesy onion dip with chorizo, and every time someone said “Yum! Is that bacon in there?” I’d get to smugly reply, “Oh no, that’s chorizo. It’s Mexican.” So, bring your messy-pile-game to¬†a conceited¬†new¬†level with this recipe.


Can Stream

Reply All

Here’s another recommendation directly lifted from my Sisters’ K group text: Reply All. It’s a¬†podcast¬†about the Internet, but you’ll figure out pretty quickly that tagline does it no justice at all.¬†It’s two very likable fellas talking through some seriously bizarre¬†+¬†interesting stories, and the common thread (or cable?) through every episode is technology. It’s insightful and engaging and sometimes a little silly. What more could you want! I’ve only listened to a small smattering of episodes, but I’ve got the On the Inside¬†episodes queued up for tomorrow, and I can’t wait.


Can Buy

Eye Buy Direct

I bought glasses! Partly because I’ve finally accepted my eyes have aged out of the “contacts” bracket, and partly because of Kelly Oxford. It’s a little misleading to say I bought them this week, though. I bought them two weeks ago, and GOOFED UP MY¬†PRESCRIPTION SO BADLY I LOOKED LIKE BUBBLES FROM TRAILER PARK BOYS. So, I returned them (for free!) and my proper frames + lenses arrived today ¬†(if you wanna see what they actually look like,¬†you’ll have to follow me on Snapchat, or see me in real life. Personally I think I’m funnier on Snapchat, but I’ll leave that up to YOU). So in conclusion, I made a really stupid¬†mistake, and they footed the bill. All in all, an excellent experience in e-commerce and customer care.


Can Meme

Fav 7 Shows

Twitter is having a moment with these “Fave 7” lists. I love lists and I am OK with the number so this was obviously something I’d attempt. And I did attempt. And I failed. Because I simply watch TOO MUCH TV and love each show like its my child. I wrote an initial list, realized I forgot a bunch of favourites, revised it, revised it again, and gave up. But Coach Taylor wouldn’t be cool with that, and TV is the only sport I’ll ever play, so here is my FINAL TOP 7 LIST. With a bunch of honourable mentions because I cheat like that.

:
The Americans
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Mad Men
The Office
Parks and Recreation
Breaking Bad
Fringe

Honourable mentions: Fargo, Friday Night Lights, Enlightened, Jane the Virgin, Crazy Ex Girlfriend. I have AT LEAST five¬†more but I’ve got to stop somewhere.

…OK I’LL SNEAK IN THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE-OFF.


And that’s it for the inaugural edition of Internet Exploring! Please go ahead and share your comments on anything you read or watched here. Writing about pop culture is fun, but talking about it is even better. ūüôā

One¬†edition down, a LIFETIME to go (or maybe like…40?).

 

This is Not A Birth Story

December 19, 2015 — 15 Comments

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I’m going to tell you a story. It’s a story about the day my son Connor was born. But this is not¬†a birth story.

Oh, I wrote a birth story. 7¬†months ago, in fact. It’s 3500 words long¬†– a¬†good 500 words longer than most of the papers I wrote in my undergrad.¬†But I’m not going to share that story. That story sits in my drafts folder, and may surface someday, perhaps¬†as required reading in¬†high school¬†health classes¬†everywhere, as the country’s most effective means of teenage birth control.

So, why did I write a Birth Story Novella if I didn’t want to share it? Well, originally, I thought I would share it. In the weeks leading up to Connor’s arrival, I read every birth story I could find in my internet universe. Blogger birth stories. Family birth stories. Friend birth stories. Friend-of-Friend birth stories. Home births, c-sections, water births. You name it. If you’re reading this, and wrote a birth story, I read it.¬†And so, a few months after Connor was born, I figured I owed the internet our¬†birth story. I mean, that’s what¬†bloggers do, right? And writing a birth story is supposed to be healing! Cathartic! Magical, even!

So, I hunkered down, hospital charts in hand for reference, and wrote Connor’s¬†birth story. I wrote about my 36 hours of labour. The¬†tub labouring. The epidural.¬†The oxytocin. The epidural failing. The¬†saline injections. The¬†2.5 doses of lidocaine. The back labour. The midwives that began and ended their shifts during my labour. The 3 hours of pushing.¬†The vaccuum. The moment when everyone in the room finally realized Connor wasn’t coming out on his own.

And, worst of all,¬†I wrote about being strapped down to a table in the operating room, contractions still coming fast and furious,¬†and¬†realizing the spinal for my c-section wasn’t taking either.

“It’s not working. Oh God, Oh God, it’s not working.”

I wrote about the fear when I realized they’d have to put me completely under.

I wrote about¬†the panic, the agony, the despair unlike anything I’ve experienced in my lifetime.

I wrote about how¬†the¬†first memory of my son is hardly a memory at all – a fleeting image¬†– brief, and bleary. A hazy picture of Matt with a baby. “What is it? What is it?” I said, before drifting back to darkness.

I wrote about all of that, because that, technically, is¬†Connor’s¬†birth story.¬†And that¬†birth story sucks.

For a long time afterwards, I couldn’t think about it too much. It was too¬†unfair that so many people held Connor before I did. That so many people heard his cries before I even awoke. That I wasn’t there for his first hours on this earth. That after all the work, all the suffering, I¬†was robbed of the moment that was supposed to make it all worth while: A baby on my chest, my husband beside me, in on the world’s best little secret: that we were three.

Writing about those feelings wasn’t cathartic. It wasn’t healing and it wasn’t magical. It just made it all worse.

And so, after spilling 3500 + words on Connor’s birth story and feeling no better, I started thinking about the moments after that¬†story ended. Because when Connor’s “official” birth story ended, this story began:

This story starts¬†36 hours after my first contraction. 12 hours after my epidural. 3 hours after Connor was delivered¬†via c-section and 1 hour after I woke up¬†and¬†blacked out again. This is the moment I met my son. And it doesn’t matter who held him first or how he got here, because when my husband Matt put him on my chest for the first time, it felt like two pieces of a locket finally coming together.

This story continues when Matt handed me a phone, and I got to tell my mom, voice broken and cracked, that she and Dad had their first grandson. That his middle name was Thomas, after Dad.

This story gets even better when, after introducing Connor to a room full of people that will love him every minute of his life, the nurse turned of all the lights, wrapped Connor in a blanket, and tucked him right back into my chest. It was the complete reversal of the scene a few short hours earlier. Instead of¬†blinding¬†lights overhead, an operating room full of people I didn’t know, and a sleep that wasn’t natural at all,¬†I had only the soft light¬†lights of the city outside, an empty room,¬†and four hours¬†blissful¬†sleep with my baby boy.

This is the story that matters, and one I’m privileged to live out, chapter by chapter, every new day I spend with Connor.

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Birth stories can be beautiful, empowering, and full of memories to be cherished,¬†but they can also be gruelling, disappointing, traumatic and awful. And I’ve finally realized that those stories are¬†OK to forget.

I think I found it so hard to come¬†to terms with with that last¬†statement¬†because¬†we live in an age where people make playlists for their births. They bring in¬†professional photographers to capture every minute. They pick out candles and hire doulas and plan a birth experience. And that’s not a bad thing! That’s good! But the undercurrent running beneath that sort of attitude‚ÄĒthat a birth story is the most important moment in your life, and it will fulfill every expectation the internet puts out there‚ÄĒcan make it incredibly crushing when you don’t get a story you want to remember. Thankfully, I’ve learned that there are always other stories worth remembering.

Those other stories everywhere. Like the story of a¬†couple’s first glimpse of the¬†sweet two year old they’ll soon bring home from an orphanage.¬†The story a precious babe’s first night at home after months in the NICU. ¬†The story of these three young foster children getting¬†their adoption papers for Christmas. They’re not birth stories, but stories of beautiful beginnings¬†all the same.

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Once the clouds around my labour finally lifted, I not only had a new appreciation for the stories like the ones above; I was also finally able to hear, and appreciate, one more very important story from that day Рthe one from my husband.

Matt didn’t get to see Connor being born. He didn’t get to hold my hand for the final push. He heard¬†Connor’s¬†first cries only as muffled wails¬†through¬†hospital walls. But none of that tempered the unbelievable joy and relief he felt when the doctor rushed out to tell him “It’s a boy!”

Connor didn’t get to spend his first hours on this earth with me, but he did¬†get to spend¬†them¬†with his Dad: skin-to-skin, head on heart.

Now isn’t that a beautiful story?