A TALE OF FRIED CHICKEN (OR LACK OF)

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Last week something happened that left me crying for almost 2 hours.

What would that have been? Crying screaming baby? Sleep deprivation? Being peed, pooped and/or vom’d on? The inability to shower whenever I wanted? Nope. None of these reasonable and understandable facets of motherhood.

Instead I was crying for 2 hours because of a fried chicken sandwich. 

 

Let me go back and explain the entire situation.

Last week was a fairly mundane week. Kensi, my mom and I have fallen into a quasi routine during the week and so that particular day was no different. That early evening, my mom was making dinner, I was playing with K, and Dan was just coming home from work.

We all sat down for dinner chatting about the day and I was monitoring the clock closely because K always tries to sleep around dinner time and I’m always trying to prevent her from snoozing because I want to put her down for 7pm (don’t even get me started on this 7pm bus that apparently all babies are supposed to be catching).

Anyways, the previous couple of days K had been graciously falling asleep at 7pm and not waking up until hours later so that night I asked Dan whether we should take advantage of this and jet out to Sherway Mall after we put her down so I could return a pacifier I had bought a few weeks earlier. I got it at the Well.ca store and it’s this ‘natural rubber’ pacifier that I wanted to try on her but unfortunately I’m not as sharp as I use to be and I didn’t realize I had purchased the wrong age category. The soother was for 0-3m and K was just a week or two shy of turning 3m, so it would have been useless for me to even open it up to try.

The mall was closing soon so Dan asked me to figure out the closest entrance to park at so we could jet in and out of the store. Well what do you know but the entrance was RIGHT next to the newly opened restaurant Union Chicken.  If you haven’t been there yet you must – it’s SOOO good. Dan + I had gone a few weeks earlier so being close to the restaurant again reminded me, DAMN I REALLY WANT TO HAVE THEIR FRIED CHICKEN SANDWICH.

*Lightbulb moment*

ME: “Hey Dan, while I run into the mall to return the pacifier, can you run into Union Chicken and get me a fried chicken sandwich? PLEAAAASE”

DAN: “We just ate dinner!”

ME: “PLEAAAASE. PLEAAAASE. I REALLY WANT A FRIED CHICKEN SANDWICH. PLEAAAASE. I’ll be your best friend. PLEAAASE”

DAN: “I already am your best friend. And are you SURE you want a fried chicken sandwich because we literally JUST ATE DINNER!!”

ME: “Yes!”

DAN: “OK FINE” *heavy sigh*

So off I went skipping into the mall literally reverberating with excitement at the idea of having their fried chicken sandwich. I was in and out of the store fairly quickly and made my way back to Dan in the restaurant where he was waiting for my fried chicken sandwich take out order.

We hopped back into the car and I couldn’t stop talking about how excited I was. I even thought about how I was going to eat the sandwich when I got home because I didn’t want my mom to be offended that I was essentially eating another meal right after eating the meal she made for us. I even debated secretly eating the sandwich in my closet so she wouldn’t be upset!

We got home and I thanked GOD my mom pretty much goes to bed soon after K goes down, so we were all alone in the dining room and I’m excitedly ripping open the bag to get at the container that the fried chicken sandwich was in.

I opened up the container and I was stunned. OH NO THEY DIDNT. THEY GAVE ME THE WRONG ORDER. NOOOOOOOO

Instead of a fried chicken sandwich, I was met with a heaping pile of wet, sopping pieces of chicken covered with gravy and peas. WHAT IS THIS MESS.

That’s when I was worried steam might blow out of my ears. How DARE they mess up my order!

That’s when Dan interjected, “uh oh… I thought that was the fried chicken sandwich”

ME: “HUH? What do you mean? You did this? You mean they didn’t give us the wrong order?”

DAN: “ummm I ordered the Truck Stop Chicken Sandwich… because I thought it was fried.”

ME: “I’m sorry what? I don’t quite understand. You ordered THIS sandwich and not a FRIED CHICKEN SANDWICH?”

DAN: “I thought that sandwich WAS a fried chicken sandwich”

I proceeded to then pull up the Union Chicken menu because I didn’t understand what was going on. I was honestly baffled. Was I not clear when I said “fried chicken sandwich”? Could I have somehow given confusing and unclear instructions?

I looked at the menu and I see the Truck Stop Chicken Sandwich item he ordered. Then right below it as clear as day I see, “Fried Chicken Sandwich.”

That’s when steam actually came out of my ears. And then I started to sob. I cried and cried and cried and I didn’t stop crying until hours later.

Dan apologized profusely and said he just wasn’t thinking when he ordered and made an honest HUMAN MISTAKE (his words, “I’m HUMAN, I made a mistake!)

But his apologies fell on deaf’s ears because it didn’t stop the big fat tears falling uncontrollably down my face.

Yes that’s right folks, I was crying over a fried chicken sandwich. Or more specifically, I was crying at the LACK of a fried chicken sandwich.

I know this sounds preposterous and many people will likely judge me for how insane I am for crying over something so trivial, but let me break it down for you. It’s not JUST about the fried chicken sandwich. 

I cried because I’m home all day long with the baby and that fried chicken sandwich was the most excited that I had felt that day, and to not have it felt like a crushing blow to my soul. When you’re on mat leave it can be very isolating – physically and emotionally, so when you have something that you get excited by (seemingly big or small) you get REALLY excited by it. And then when it gets taken away from you quickly and abruptly – you get REALLY devastated by it.

I cried because it felt like I was being as crystal clear as possible but it seemed like nobody was listening to me.

I also cried because again like I said – it’s not JUST about the fried chicken sandwich.  Years ago when we took a trip to Florida with friends, I REALLY wanted fried chicken when I saw it at the grocery store. Dan dismissed my suggestion because we already had bought a lot of other food and he said it would be TOO much. But I REALLY wanted the fried chicken… so I said to hell with it, and I put it in the cart!

The next day, EVERYONE devoured the fried chicken.  And then I felt vindicated, I said “HA! See! People WANT fried chicken! And you tried to stop me!”  I wish I had gotten MORE fried chicken because it didn’t seem like there was enough.

Ever since then, fried chicken has become a symbol for when Dan tries to be responsible and rational, usually talking me out of some irresponsible craving or zany idea that I have (like that time I wanted a horse lamp that cost $3k from ELTE but Dan rightfully said no way jose. FYI I still wish we had gotten it because hello, it was on sale from $7k!). Most of the time Dan’s level headed, rational and logical mind is right – in fact I would openly admit that about 9/10 times he is right and I’m wrong.

But sometimes, very rarely but it does happen – I’M RIGHT. And I feel vindicated that my nutty idea or suggestion is valid. Sometimes it’s ok to throw caution to the wind and just indulge in your craving, no matter how irresponsible, gluttonous and indulgent it is. Because it feels good but mostly because it TASTES SO DAMN GOOD.

So yes, I was mostly crying uncontrollably in that moment because I was so disappointed at not getting something that I thought was already in my hands.

But I think some part of me was also crying because it felt like that zany, indulgent, gluttonous part of me that use to just do whatever she wanted without needing to think about someone else was being extinguished.

And that’s what I’ve come to realize is the challenge and dilemma of being a new mom for the first time. You have to balance being the person you use to be (selfish, indulgent, gluttonous, irresponsible, etc) with the new person you become, which is someone who is responsible for another human being 24/7.  This can be amazing and fulfilling in many ways because you’re essentially growing and shaping someone who can turn out to be super awesome and it’s all because of you. But it can also be exhausting, tiring, thankless and downright draining because it’s a LOT OF WORK, DUH!

By the next day – I apologized to Dan for being a maniac the night before and he of course apologized again for his genuine mistake that he made. He even offered to drive back that evening to Union Chicken to get me the sandwich.

But alas I said no – it’s too soon and still stings. In that moment, I didn’t feel like I could even look at a fried chicken sandwich the same way again without being reminded of the time I cried nonstop for 2 hours like a crazy person.

But ya know what? The universe wanted to nudge me along and tell me to GET OVER IT.  I swear to god when in doubt, ask the universe for answers and most of the time the universe will surely answer. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that THIS article came out yesterday – Toronto Life publishes “The 15 best fried chicken sandwiches in Toronto right now

The universe wants me to get over it, stop crying, and realize that my new life is very different now but I can still enjoy the things that I use to enjoy, and I don’t have to lose everything about my old self and life in the process.

Oh yeah, the universe also is clearly trying to tell me to go GET A FRIED CHICKEN SANDWICH ALREADY. 

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A different kind of birthing story

Before I had K, I knew that I did not want to have her at the hospital if possible. I read a book in university called “Misconceptions: Truth, Lies and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood” by Naomi Wolf and it fundamentally changed the way I thought about labour and delivery. 10 years later, that book still resonated with me and I knew I did not want to have a baby in a hospital unless it was absolutely necessary.

This is a personal choice for everyone, obviously based on everyone’s own comfort level.

I was all prepared to deliver at the Toronto Birthing Centre, but we actually ended up having a home birth! *GASP* I know I know, a lot of people seem to be uncomfortable or slightly horrified at the idea of a home birth. But to be honest, I feel the same way thinking about delivering in a hospital!

To simplify why I ended up going the home birth route, here is a list of the things I knew I wanted versus the things I knew I didn’t want.

Things I wanted:

  • Feeling comfortable – with the people around me and the setting around me as well. Hospitals don’t make me feel comfortable, period. I’ve spent more time in hospitals than I would like and none of those experiences have ever made me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. I also wanted to be in a big giant bed and not a small dinky sized one.
  • Feeling present + empowered. I wanted to be informed about what was happening around me and the autonomy to make decisions that were best for me.
  • To deliver on my body’s own time + schedule
  • MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC.  While other people were spending time reading books about labour and delivery, I was spending most of my time preparing a kick ass play list because from the time you start getting some contractions until the time you’re actually ready to pop a babe out, this could be DAYS. I needed good music to relax to.
  • Laughter! I wanted an environment that was calm and easy going so that I could try to have a good sense of humour about the situation instead of feeling alarmed and stressed.
  • Frankly – I wanted here to freely be able to come and go as she pleased to see me.
  • Centered – not only in the way I felt about the situation but I also wanted to BE the centre of attention.  I wanted to be like Mariah Carey where all eyes were on me and everyone catered to every ridiculous whim or need I had, and I could demand anything I wanted unapologetically. I want ice cream! I want my fuzzy monkey robe! Rub my feet! Take out the garbage! Get out of my room! I knew there would RARELY be an opportunity in my life that I could be so demanding and everyone around me had to gladly comply.
  • Lots of physical space. I wanted Dan to lay in bed beside me before and after the baby came. I didn’t want to feel confined like some sort of caged animal. I’m a human being dammit!
  • FOOD. I wanted my mom to be there cooking lots of food for myself and anyone there at the time so that it felt like a party instead of this big traumatic scary experience.

Conversely, here were things I didn’t want:

  • Feeling rushed – that I was following someone else’s schedule besides my own. Also feeling rushed or pressured about making decisions on things that aren’t fully explained to me that affected my body and the baby. 
  • Feeling cramped and restricted. I wanted lots and lots of room, to move around and also for Dan to sit or lay beside me if he wanted to on the bed. I didn’t want to feel squished on a twin sized bed. 
  • Feeling like I was not a priority. I didn’t want to feel like I was taking a number to give birth, like I was one of a dozen people and I was on an assembly line waiting my turn for someone to come see me. 
  • Feeling like an alien that was constantly being probed. I didn’t want people rummaging around down there unless it was absolutely necessary. I heard horror stories of people always being “checked” on like 20-30 times before they were determined to be dilated enough to start pushing. 
  • Cleanliness. I am a huge germophobe, I don’t even like staying at hotels (no matter how swanky they are) because I hate the idea of places that turn over and accommodate a high volume of people because inevitably there will be more opportunity for unhygienic practices. 

So based on reviewing the things I wanted versus did NOT want to happen, I came to the conclusion that having a home birth worked best for us. Granted originally I was going to actually deliver at the Toronto Birthing Centre, which would have accommodated all my needs on the ‘want’ list (except for Frankly) but because we ended up moving out of our condo to a larger space, I realized our home afforded more flexibility than TBC. Also by then, getting to the TBC would have taken longer and been more inconvenient for us.

Don’t get me wrong, I was MORE than open to going to the hospital if I needed medical intervention. I had never at any point ruled out that possibility and was open to it if that’s what needed to happen. I had lengthy conversations with my midwife team on what the plan was if things transpired and I needed to be quickly transferred over to a hospital. But overall my pregnancy had always been ‘low risk’ so I assumed that my labour + delivery had a high chance of staying a similar course, and when you’re low risk having a home birth can actually be pleasantly positive! I also trusted my midwife team immensely. Between my midwife and the student midwife, they had collectively witnessed and delivered over a THOUSAND babies. NO JOKE!

I know home births can be quite unconventional and people may be scared of it, but if I had to do it all over again I would make the same decision.

In a nutshell here’s what happened:

Wed Jan 18th: around 9pm

  • Ugh was feeling crappy and uncomfortable. I was thinking “God am I having contractions? I can’t tell! I feel like I’m getting my period, I just feel crampy and uncomfortable.”
  • I felt like that all night long and at some point I realized holy shit, these are contractions. Before it was more an ongoing uncomfortable discomfort but throughout the night I could discern a beginning and end sensation to the discomfort and that’s how I knew they were contractions.
  • I was also texting my doula throughout the evening keeping her updated on how I was feeling. She told me it sounded like my body was preparing for the baby’s imminent arrival.
  • I barely got ANY sleep that night and we started timing the contractions and by the next morning at 10am, we had calculated that I was experiencing the golden “5-1-1” rule.
  • For anyone wondering, this is when you would either call the midwife or go to the hospital: Contractions that are 1 minute in length and are 5 minutes apart for an entire hour.

Thursday, Jan 19th

  • Around 10am: Dan called our midwife and told them how I was feeling over night. Then they asked to speak to me on the phone and I repeated everything Dan said. Through the phone call though, my midwife could somehow tell I wasn’t ready yet, so told me to go back to bed and try to get some rest because it wasn’t time for them to come. I was like UMMMM WTF.  But I listened to them, I took some gravol and tried to pass out for an hour or so.
  • 12pm: started to blast my playlist throughout the entire house to keep calm and carry on. Also watched some episodes of Friends because any episode with Ross being Ross always makes me laugh (i.e. PIVOTTTTT!!!!)
  • 2pm: my doula Danielle came. By then my contractions were becoming more powerful and I was practicing the shizzle out of my hypnobirthing exercises. Both Danielle and Dan were doing everything they could to keep me calm and comfortable.
  •  My mom was cooking up a storm while I was chilling upstairs listening to music and breathing like it was my job
  • 4pm: Danielle finally told me to call the midwives back and asked them to come. I was reluctant at first because I didn’t want them to show up to my house and see that I was only 1cm dilated and would leave! But Danielle said this was their job and SO WHAT if that happened. So we did and they showed up an hour later.
  • 5pm: Midwives came and that was when they checked how dilated I was. At that point I closed my eyes and prayed that I was even in labour because up until that point I was worried I wasn’t even dilated! MOMENT OF TRUTH:  Turns out I was already 8cm DILATED AT THAT POINT! (FYI: you need to be 10cm for the baby to come out!)
  • I WAS BLOWN AWAY. I couldn’t believe I was dilated 8cm. I mean sure I knew I was having contractions but I honestly thought they were Tony Braxton Hicks contractions (i.e. the fake kind) and so part of me hadn’t accepted that I was going to push a human out relatively soon.
  • The next 5 hours were kind of a blur. I was walking around, doing my hypnobreathing, and being impatient and asking everyone around me whether this was real life and whether this was actually happening. Part of me was seriously in disbelief.
  • The team around me included: Dan, my doula Danielle, my midwife Grace and her senior midwife student Marion (who essentially was leading the whole show). Eventually we also had the baby’s midwife Erin join us as well. Lets just say my bedroom was a full house (esp if you include Frankly meandering in and out). Throughout the evening, people were taking turns being with me and taking breaks downstairs eating food my mom was cooking and jamming out to music. I was told everyone was in pretty high spirits during their breaks downstairs.
  • I think around 9pm my contractions were not progressing and my midwife asked whether I wanted to have my water broken (which was still intact throughout the whole entire time). So I agreed to have them break my water and that’s when shizzle got REAL!
  • They broke my water (hadn’t felt like I peed myself in a REALLY long time and thought, oh so THATS how it feels like lol). They made me sit on a birthing stool to bring on more powerful contractions, and that’s when I thought ‘OMG THIS IS REALLY PAINFUL!!!’
    • This is the thing, you WANT powerful contractions because they help move the baby along but you DON’T want powerful contractions because hello – it hurts like hell!!
  • By then my doula Danielle pointed out, “Katy, this is the first time I’ve heard you say throughout this entire point that this is really painful! That is amazing!” I wasn’t really in the right of mind to comprehend what she was saying, all I knew was that I really hated the birthing stool.  Trust me – the birthing stool SUCKS but is quite effective.
  • Finally around 10pm or so they said I was ready to push! By then I don’t really remember anything but after Dan told me that he saw veins popping out of my body and that I looked like I was transforming into The Hulk!
  • By 11:30pm – Kensi made her arrival! I was in disbelief she came out of my body. I kept asking if this was real life because I still couldn’t believe what was happening.  They cleaned up Kensi, and then put her on me and we snuggled in bed. The midwife team cleaned up everything around me and seriously within 15 minutes, our bed was nice and clean, and Dan,  Kensi and I were all snuggled in together in bed being in awe of what happened.  Frankly and my mom came in a few minutes after to see the newest member of the house!

I wanted to share this story because I think it’s really important to put more positive labour and delivery stories out in the universe.  Some people are really weirded out by the decision to have a homebirth (which is cool) but I’m also equally as weirded out about having my birth in a hospital. To each their own!

I wanted to share the story of how K was born though to dispel the notion that giving birth is this big, giant, traumatizing negative experience. It can be for some people, but it can’t possibly be like that for every single person in the universe (which is what the media portrays it to be). Yes – it can hurt like hell, but that’s because you’re effectively trying to squeeze a watermelon out of your nose. What it can also be though is comfortable, calming, music and laughter filled, focused, attentive, etc.

For anyone who gives birth in the future, it’s your body and your choice in terms of the preference or intention of how you want it to go down. Hospital, Birthing Centre, Home Birth – whatever happens will happen. But instead of listening to all the stories of absolute terror and pain, just remind yourself of this:

Your body was designed to do this.

A lot of people forget this and are scared or frightened by the level of pain they think they’ll endure.  But seriously – we all got here in the same way, and the body knows what to do because it’s the power and complexity of mother nature.  Once I came to that realization, I just worked on my breathing and the rest was history!

 

 

FEELING ALIVE

 

When you become a new mom for the first time, be prepared for how dramatically different your life will be like. This has never been more apparent to me than what happened to me last week.

Let me set the stage for you:

When we first bought diapers for Kensi, we bought a huge Huggies box from Costco – and that’s when I learned about THE BLUE LINE. What’s the blue line my friend? Well – I didn’t know this until I had a baby of my own, but technology has come a long way and apparently diapers now have blue lines on them that indicate when it’s pee filled!

Anyways – I had no idea how dependent I would become on this blue line until I ended using up all the Huggies and thought hey, why don’t I try buying some of those environmentally friendly diapers that are more expensive but better (so they say) for Kensi’s tush (and the environment!). Little did I know that THESE DIDN’T HAVE THE BLUE LINE so that’s why I found myself BACK at Costco last week, racing to grab another box.

On our way out the door, Dan and I were waiting in line while they slowly checked people’s receipts before letting them exit.  That’s when MY HEART STOPPED.
I looked over to my right and there in front of me was someone that I only DREAMED of seeing.

JC CHASEZ FROM NSYNC. 

My all time favourite childhood boyband. And my all time favourite boyband member.

Like I said – MY HEART STOPPED. I grabbed Dan’s hand and I gasped. For those 2 seconds, my heart felt like it literally jumped out of my body.

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But then it came crashing down.

Because OF COURSE it wasn’t JC Chasez of NSYNC. It was JUST some random WHITE GUY waiting in line who had a similar haircut and profile. WOMP WOMP.

Dan was like WTF is going on? And then I had to explain to him what had happened and why I suddenly gasped and got excited.

And that’s when I had the saddest realization ever. I hadn’t felt that exhilarated or alive in MONTHS.

In those 2 seconds, my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my body and I was honestly so excited my body felt like it was shaking.  But alas it was fleeting and the moment clearly came crashing down moments later because why the HELL would JC Chasez of NSYNC fame be at the Costco in Etobicoke at 8pm on a Wednesday night.

 

That’s when I became majorly bummed at how sad my life had gotten – that THIS encounter is what made me feel so alive (even for a fleeting few seconds). Dan could see how devastated and how dejected I was (probably felt quite embarrassed for me as well) so to cheer me up, he took me through the McDonald’s drive through on our way home and got me 2 baked apple pies. I devoured them in less than 2 minutes.

THIS IS WHAT MY NEW LIFE is like now guys – hallucinating that I’m seeing B list famous people at my local Costco. But you know what? When I was sharing this story with a friend last night who came by to visit and questioning how sad it was that this was the most excited I’ve been in months, she said something that blew me away.

“Katy, yeah – that is kinda pathetic but you know what would have been MORE pathetic? If JC Chasez really WAS at the Costco in Etobicoke at 8pm. THAT would have been more pathetic…FOR HIM”

I thought about that and was like whoa, MIND BLOWN. You’re right – LOL.