Tuesday, June 23, 2009


No, it's not ideal.

It's not what I would have planned.

There are much better ways to give birth.

It makes me sad.

It's one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make.


So, at this point you are probably asking, "Why?" Either with a judgy tone or just a curious one.

Well, the full answer to that question is one that I have only shared with a very, very small number of people (many of whom are/were my medical care providers.) Even though I'm all for honesty and information, the subject matter behind the "Whys" of us choosing a C-section instead of the completely drug-free, vaginal birth we had wanted are going to be very vague with those I have not already had lengthy conversations with.

To make a long, private and frustrating story less overwhelming - I'll just say that there were certain things that either just happened or were physically done to me after Soren's birth that have left me forever changed. In choosing a C-section, I am mitigating trauma to my birth canal so as to not make matters even worse. In choosing to tell many of my friends about this decision via my blog, I am mitigating awkward conversations, questions, etc.

As most of you know, I am a HUGE advocate of natural childbirthing. My mom and all of my aunts had their children without the use of any drugs and I was brought up with the same convictions that they had. I believe that mothers choosing to cope with temporary labor pain for the sake of their babies is the ideal way to birth. I think purely convenience-based inductions and C-sections are ridiculous and I think they are grossly over-performed in our country. I feel that if more people took the time to educate themselves, we would have much less interventions involved in our births today.

In spite of all of that, I can honestly say that natural childbirth isn't without it's share of costs. While we don't know for sure what the actual cause of my injury was, it is certain that I wouldn't be dealing with what I am dealing with now if I would have opted for the recommended C-section during Soren's birth. As we all know, hindsight is 20/20 and there is no way we could have known what would happen while we were in the middle of it. Soren and I were both fine, so we kept going - that's what we wanted.

I have never regretted giving birth to Soren without the use of drugs and I was hell-bent on bringing this little one into the world in the same gentle way. Knowing that I will not be able to provide my daughter with that same kind of birth makes me more sad than I can express here.

Still, I am making this decision because it is best for me and therefore, best for my entire family. I want to be able to enjoy my newborn and give necessary attention to my toddler instead of possibly having to undergo several surgeries to repair damage in those precious early weeks following the birth. I'm choosing the lesser of two evils here.

As always, I'm thankful for life experiences that help me see things from each side of the spectrum and give me a greater empathy for those I don't see eye-to-eye with. As I grieve the birth that I was wanting with this little one, I am learning to accept my circumstances and am going to try to be just as determined to make this birth a pleasant one for our family. It will do me no good to be depressed about it so I will resolve myself to making this surgical birth as gentle as it can possibly be. Needless to say, I've got my work cut out for me. Anyone want to see a "gentle" c-section birth plan?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Last Days

Today is a day of lasts in our family.

It's my last day working at the Sock Drawer, Karl's last day of classes (still has a project to finish though) and Soren's last day of "school" at ASI. If you've been keeping up with our lives via this blog since last September, you may remember how much I hated putting Soren in daycare program. It went against so much of what I believed in as a mother (for as young as he was) and I just looked at it as a necessary evil. I cried and cried that first day as I left my destraught child in a room of other scared and confused children. My heart literally ached.

Soren had a hard time adjusting to the new environment. He had never been a clingy child, so the hard good-byes only lasted a few weeks, but he refused to sleep there. So many people told us that he would adjust, but we knew our son better. The kid does not sleep with distractions around...and daycare is full of distractions. I even considered pulling him out, because I couldn't stand getting a majorly nap-deprived child back at the end of my work day. I don't know how many times I said the words, "It's just not worth it" during this school year. Still, we kept his tired little self there.

It also took him a long time to become part of the group. He was only there 2 days a week and he's a very independent child, so the adjustment wasn't easy. His teachers would just hope to see him throw a tantrum because that would mean he actually felt comfortable to show strong emotions in front of them. Never did happen - just saved it all up for Mama at the end of the day.

Well, here we are at his last day and I must admit - I fought back tears this morning as I dropped him off for his last day. I started explaining that it was his last day on the way to school and when we got there he yelled, "Goodbye friends!" His teacher said, "Good morning Soren!" and he happily turned away from his toy bugs and said with a smile, "Good morning Sarah!" We have sure come a long way from that dreaded first day.

He has definitely found his place at school and just when we were all getting used to it, we have to move on. His teacher told us that we can bring him by to visit if he is ever asking about school and we are still able to go on field trips with his class. Depending on how our lives go, he may even end up back with his class someday.

As much of a struggle this year has been in many ways, I cannot imagine what Soren would be like now if it wasn't for his year in this wonderful program. I'm convinced that his time there has helped him grow much more than I would have been able to. I still believe that nothing can compare to the love and care a parent can give to their own child, but I look at things much differently than I did 10 months ago. We are so grateful to have been given the opportunity to put Soren in such an outstanding program where each child is loved, respected, taught and studied. He has learned to share, speak his mind, resolve conflict, sing new songs and a million other things I'm sure. Who knows how much this experience has influenced his little mind, but there's no doubt that it has helped lay a solid foundation for everything else he will do from now on.

So yes, there is sadness in my heart today as I help him say goodbye to the people and place he has become so familiar with this year.

Now Karl's got some catching up to do now that Soren has already graduated from Cal Poly.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Soren Turns Two!

My Soren turned 2 years old this past Sunday, and it blew my mind a little bit. So much has happened over the course of his little life and in a way it seems like he's been with us forever. This year we decided not to have a huge party for everyone he knows, but just a family Santa Maria style BBQ at my parents' house. Soren got to play with his beloved cousins and I didn't have to make up goodie bags for other people's children. Perfect.

By the end of the day, he was stoned on sugar and so tired he had bloodshot eyes. It didn't seem to phase him a bit though. He actually became more and more outgoing as the night went on and everyone was getting a kick out of his loss of inhibition. It was a really nice way to celebrate two years with the sweetest little boy I know.

Here's some pictures for you all..

A Rite of Passage - Riding the tractor for the first time with Grandpa

Me and the guitar cake I made for Soren. A major labor of love, but well worth it.

Final product

My dad caught a gopher snake for Soren's party. Soren named it "Cupcake".

Soren and his famous cousin DJ
(DJ gives Soren tons of toys when we visit, so he's quite popular in Soren's book.)

Soren and cousin Liam - doing a great job sharing at the water table

My cousin Anna blowing bubbles for the kids. Soren and Liam delightfully trying to catch them.

We Cashdans like our snake captures

Present time!

I LOVED that Soren didn't get a ton of presents for his birthday.
He really got to be excited for everything he got.

I have no idea why I have this look on my face

Yes, another shot of the cake. It took me almost 5 hours, and then I had to cut it into pieces.
At least it's memory will live on in this blog.

Soren's BIG birthday present - a John Deere tractor given by several family members.
Grammy and Grandpa's house just got 100 times cooler.

This is what happens when Mama is busy hosting a party - Soren gets all the cake he wants.
Thanks Grammy!

"Two Years Old"