Riding Life

mud-season-cartoon

My days are different now. If I want to ride, lots of stars have to align. The weather has to cooperate because my riding area turns in to a muddy bog if the sky thinks of rain. I have to not get caught in traffic coming home from work. I work 50 minutes from my house and that’s on a good day when traffic doesn’t impede me. My husband’s work schedule has to allow him to pick up the baby in the afternoon so that I can go straight home and ride before either of them gets back to the house.  And my husband has to be not so sick that he can’t get off the couch.

I was able to ride last Tuesday, even though I had a horrible cold.  I was planning on riding both days this weekend.  The weather was going to be gorgeous, Fox got to go out in only a fly sheet for the first time this year and my husband was getting off early enough that I would have plenty of daylight left while he watched Her Majesty(one of my daughter’s many pet names)

I had all the stars in line, except that last one.  My husband came down with the cold that I’d had except his was ten times worse.  Instead of riding on Saturday I packed the baby in to the car and went to Walmart for supplies for my ailing husband plus dinner for me.  Sunday my husband didn’t even go to work. He had spent the night before hardly able to breathe and unable to sleep.

That afternoon I put the baby in to her car seat and towed her out to the horse trailer.  She got to watch me clean and organize for my upcoming trip with Fox to central Virginia for a lesson with our new coach.  Then she fell asleep while I groomed, sprayed Fox’s crappy feet with anti-fungus treatment, then pull his mane so the looks presentable on Saturday.

It wasn’t the weekend I had planned, but I did get Fox to load in the trailer quickly and easily. Hopefully he will do the same on Saturday.  Superhubs and Her Majesty will be going with me on Saturday.  It’s a long drive and I wanted the company and the help.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Her Majesty Makes a Grand Entrance

baby1_aI have finally arrived on the other side of motherhood! Little Miss Alexandra arrived on a Sunday morning in early October.  True to form she was on her own schedule and arrived two weeks ahead of when the doctors predicted her arrival.

At around 2am on a Sunday morning in early October I jerked awake. Now the baby had woken me up in the middle of the night plenty of times before, with heartburn, because she wanted to shift around or because she was holding her own Zumba class in my stomach.  This was different, this was her ever so politely telling me that her arrival was eminent and I should get thee to the hospital.  Soon please.  So I rolled (because it was the only way I could get in and out of bed) out of bed and went to take a shower because who knew when I’d get to shower again. I pulled on my going to the hospital clothes and then went to wake up my husband who was still sleeping and oblivious.

I shook him awake, at which point he looked at the time on his phone, mumbled something about not having to be at work for a few more hours and went back to sleep.  I shook him again, again he tried to go back to sleep.  I shook him a third time and said very loudly. “No dear, your daughter, the hospital, let’s go.”

This motivated him, but because the contractions were still about ten minutes apart he got up, showered, dressed and did the animal chores before we got in to the car and made the hour long drive to the hospital.  We got to the hospital at about 4am.  I checked in, the OB and Nurse on duty checked me for dilation, told me I wasn’t and said either go home or walk around the hospital but it could be hours or days before it was really time.

My husband and I decided to go home. I found out later that each of us in our own heads were thinking we should have hung around the hospital but neither of us said anything.  Keep this in mind for later.

So we drove the hour home, stopping to pick up some food on the way and got back to the house.  I tried to lay down in the bedroom but not only were the contractions worse at this point but the baby was kicking me as well.  Really?!  Contractions AND you’re kicking me? So not cool.  After about thirty minutes at home I couldn’t take the pain any more and begged my husband to take me back to the hospital.  Even if the baby wasn’t ready they could at least do something for the pain.

So we get back in the car and start driving to the hospital again.  About half way there my husband starts slowing down and pulling over.  At this point the pain was so bad that I couldn’t not scream.  The pain just had no where else to go.  I freaked when my husband started pulling to the side of the highway.

“What are you doing, why are we stopping, no stopping, hospital, now!”    He quietly informed me that we had a flat tire.  Son of…  He got out and changed the tire.  Of course the day before I’d gotten feed which was still piled in the back of my car, which he had to remove to get to the spare tire then put back.  By this time I was already feeling the urge to push and had a very real fear that I was going to have this baby in the car.  Superhubs finally gets back in the car but tells me that we have to take it slow and easy because the spare is a donut not a real tire.  I want to cry at this point.

Eventually we get to the hospital.  Superhubs drops me out front and goes to park the car.  I find myself a wheel chair and wait for him to come back hoping I won’t start screaming in the hospital lobby.  We make it up stairs to Labor and Delivery for the second time that day, Superhubs starts taking care of the check in stuff and I sit trying not writhe until a big contraction hits and I can’t hold back the scream.  At which point I get swarmed by every doctor in L&D.  I get checked a second time and I’m at 10 centimeters, time to push.  And I start asking for my epidural.  Every person in that room gave me the sad, you are delusional look, because it was too late for the epidural.  This mind you had been my whole birthing plan.   Drugs and lots of them.  No dice.

I got settled in the delivery room, treated to oxygen, some blocks to take the sting out of everything and the Chief of OB holding my hand through the whole thing.  Which thankfully lasted about 15 minutes.  Yep. You heard that correctly my actual labor was 15 minutes long.

Alexandra came in to the world with a lot of drama.  Thankfully the rest of it, except the stitches, sooo many stitches, has been drama free.  She is a super happy, smiling baby.

 

 

 

Oh the Horror!

There is both comfort and drawbacks to working in an office environment that includes both those who are currently pregnant and those who have just had children. That is where I work. I’ve been working in this office for almost four months now and quickly deduced the people that I can and can’t tolerate.  I will be upfront. I am not a social person.  I hate about 80% of the human population, another 17% I tolerate and about 3% I actually like.  My husband is firmly in the 3% as are my mother and one of my sisters.  ALL of my husband’s are firmly in either the “I tolerate you”  or “I hate you” camps.   The list of people that I would actually leave my yet to be born child with is even shorter.  If you make that 1% list then you should get a medal for saint hood.  Here’s a hint, I don’t trust any of my in-laws alone with my kid.

Back to the office rant.  I very quickly became friends with a girl who has not only a set of two year old twins but also a seven year old son.  We can talk openly about pretty much all the gross pregnancy topics.  I like her, I feel comfortable with her and we follow similar principals for child raising.  Then there is the other girl.  I knew right off the bat when she point blank asked me, at an office breakfast function while we eating no less, if I was going to breastfeed that I would never like her.  Who does that?  First it’s none of her business, second it’s not a topic that should ever be discussed at the breakfast table and three she is soooo going on the “I barely tolerate you” list.  This girl reminds me all too much of my overly aggressive older sister (also on the “I tolerate you” list) which makes me not ever want to enter in to a conversation with her.

Earlier this week we were in an office meeting where this girl was talking about how she wouldn’t be able to go to a specific certification class that she needs for her new job title until November. This class is required to actually perform the role she will be doing.  She was expounding on how the class just isn’t being given in our area.  At which time I pointed out to her politely that she could find out from the scheduler if the class was being given at one of the other sites like San Diego or Georgia.

She practically yelled at the top of her lungs that she couldn’t travel to one of the other sites because she was still breastfeeding!  First off no one wants to hear you talk about breastfeeding, not even other breastfeeders, certainly not the people who work with your everyday. Second this right here is just one of the many reasons I will not be breastfeeding by the time I get back to work.  I applaud all those other mothers who continue to breastfeed for 6 months, a year, or more (I once knew a woman who as still breastfeeding her four year old!) but I will not be one.  I will not be shackled in to being a milk cow!  And just the thought of pumping breast milk at work, in a little room(whose purpose everyone is well aware of) makes me physically ill.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t talk about all the realities of pregnancy.  I think if we talked about it more then maybe less teenagers would become pregnant. I am saying there is a time, a place and an audience for it.  That audience does not include shouting it at the top of your lungs to a mixed gender group of co-workers.  I think I actually saw some of the guys turn green.  Let’s keep the horror between us shall we girls?

 

 

 

 

The Baby Registry vs The Tack Store

Like I’m guessing all new moms to be I was delusional about clothing size for a long time. Because in the beginning, just to lure me in a sense of complacency and happiness all my regular clothes still fit.

Superhubs and I had decided (after I’d finally told him, again another post for another day) that we would not tell our families about my pregnancy until Easter weekend.  This date coincided with the end of my first trimester.  We made the decision because at 40 I’m not exactly a spring chicken and the majority of things that go wrong with a pregnancy happen in the first trimester.  So before we got our families all excited (we’d been adamant for years that we weren’t having kids. EVER! The Universe is snickering right now) we wanted to make sure that we were out of the danger zone.

I had told my mother and my younger sister (who lives with her) had been begging for both Superhubs and I to visit at the same time.  This might sound strange but because of the farm and Superhub’s evil work schedule it’s almost impossible for us to go anywhere together.  So my mother and sister were delighted when I told them we were coming for Easter.  In reality Superhubs and I had decided that was the weekend to drop the baby bomb.

So all oblivious I threw some summer t-shirts and shorts in to a bag and I was ready to go.  That was until I actually got down to my mother’s and tried to put those t-shirts on which previously had been living in storage from the summer before.  None of them fit.  NONE OF THEM!   I ended up borrowing shirts from my sister who wears a size large.

This instituted about six months of almost continually having to buy new clothes and underwear.  I have bought more new clothes and underwear in the last six months than I have in the last two years. Part of this is because I wear a military uniform to work everyday.  So I don’t need a ton of office acceptable clothing.  I need a few outfits for going to dinner and the movies, some outfits that I can trash for doing farm work and animal chores and that’s about it.  Mostly I bought t-shirts, first in size medium and now in size large.  I also had a week where I would be attending a civilian run class at which point I finally had to break down and buy actual maternity clothes.  Not a fun prospect.

So while I was still delusional back in the early spring I was still cruising Tack of the Day, SmartPak, Dover and various other equine extravaganzas.  Periodically buying horse gear and more often riding clothes that to my thinking I’d be able to wear if not now then in late fall/early winter when I could actually get back on my horse.  I bought zero baby gear because it was so far off in my head and I just didn’t want to think about it.  See delusional.

I would vaguely throw things on to a baby registry or two but without any real zeal or thought.  Not to say I didn’t get the big items. I bought the stroller (a seriously wicked thing that I can fold up one handed!) the portable crib and the let our families know which car seats we wanted as both sides had decided to buy us one.   But I equated this to buying a saddle, bridle and halter for a new horse that hadn’t even stepped off the trailer yet.   A big thing that was going to happen but not yet.

I just didn’t want to jump too hard in to this baby thing and kept clinging to my horsey stuff even though after around mid-March I had stopped riding altogether.  I even went so far as to purchase a pair of breeches that were stretchy enough to wear over my baby bump after I’d gotten in to the second trimester and stopped feeling like I needed to sleep for two months straight.  That was an eye opener. I pulled a couple medium sized riding tights from the wrack and while they sort of fit I could tell they were going to be completely uncomfortable for long periods of wear, say like, riding for 30 or 40 minutes.   I reluctantly pulled a size large off the wrack and those freaking evil tights fit perfectly.  I almost cried right there. I’ve never been a size large anything in my entire life!

Superhubs and I finally got the nursery repainted from it’s lovely but too dark Silver Blueberry color to a nice soothing greenish blue color called Tidewater.  I got some horsey art off of Etsy and finally started sorting all the baby things our families had bought us.  Which is when baby registry craziness kicked in.  I now spend more time looking at baby things than I do horse gear, a fact that I still hate, but it hasn’t stopped me from buying the odd piece of horse stuff that I’m setting aside in storage for later in the year.  I snagged a FITS shirt off of TOD and a Horseware Platinum tank top I’ve been admiring for a long time off of Dover.   Both of these I got in an ever hopeful size small.  I also finally got the red pony a correctly sized Micklem bridle.  Although who knows when I will actually get to try it out.

I’m not delusional enough to think I’ll fit in to these clothes any time soon but the crazy hope is there and if not this year then I’ll have a kick ass horsey wardrobe for next year.  I plan on getting back to exercising and eating better once the little Queen has been evicted from her current digs in my body in early October.  If you haven’t checked out the website Stable and Spice, go do it!  It’s a health and wellness website created by and for equestrians!  It’s awesome!

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The Evolution of Exhaustion

exhaustionThis journey began way back in early January although I didn’t get clued in to the new plan until a week before my 40th birthday in early February.  Then I held on to the secret from everyone, even my husband for another two weeks.  That is a whole other blog post, the telling, that I’ll post about later.

No one bothers to tell you about all the little downsides to being pregnant. My two least favorite are the physical limitations and the exhaustion.  Both of these get in my way.  A lot. In the beginning I was still riding my beloved gelding, Fox.   He is the love of my horsey life.  Not that I don’t still love the bossy High Queen herself, aka Seneca, but Fox is a cuddler, very vocal and far more laid back then Seneca will ever be.

And I’ve gotten off track.  Again.  That’s another fun little thing that comes up with being pregnant.  Baby brain or pregnancy brain is REAL!  You forget things, all the freaking time.  Anyway back to the topic.  I was still riding in the beginning and then I hit the first trimester hurdle.  Exhaustion.  It was constant, aggressive and no matter how much sleep I got it never got better until I was in to the second trimester.

Thankfully through some quirk of genetics in the female line of my family I did not have morning sickness.  Thank you all that is holy!  I did have a moment or two of unsettled stomach but nothing like what books, movies and over eager mommies like to describe to you.

The exhaustion though made it really hard to do anything with my horses.  It was an effort just to groom them much less get the tack out, groom, tack up, ride, untack, groom again and turn my beloved pony back out.  It was just too much on most days.

Then blessedly the second trimester began.  Most of my issues went away.  I was no longer Monday after a horse trial weekend tired, I was still without the physical limitations that would come later and I felt pretty freaking great.  Except that I’d stopped riding at that point because my beloved red pony couldn’t really be trusted not to do something stupid while all my muscles had gone to pregnancy jelly. Thanks again Universe for ruining my ENTIRE eventing season!  Because getting pregnant in January means I won’t be getting back on my pony until late November or early December after the fall season has ended.  Yippee.

Now I’m at the beginning of the third trimester.  Only 69 days to go! And along with all the really fun things that again no one tells you about, like the baby constantly sitting on your bladder so that even after you pee, you still feel like you have to pee and the exhaustion has returned.  It’s not as bad as it was in the beginning but it’s still kicking my butt.  It’s more the afternoon after a really intense lesson with your coach tired than Monday after a long horse trial tired.

 

asleep

Yesterday I had aspirations of grooming the red pony.  I drove down my driveway and saw him happily grazing in vacation oblivion and I really wanted to groom him.  I figured I’d go in to the house, change, come back out and groom him for a few minutes.  The weather was even cooperating by being in the mid-eighties versus the soul sucking heat it has been the last three weeks or so.  Except that I went in to the house changed clothes and sprawled on the couch.  It’s like all the stress of the day, all the holding it together at work and endeavoring not to fall asleep at my desk (it’s happened, a lot) hit me at once and I just couldn’t muster the energy to do more than flip on the TV.

Superhubs made dinner and I managed to wrangle myself off the couch long enough to go feed my ponies and pet each one, even give Fox and Seneca some horse cookies to make up for not spending much time with them the last several months but that was it.  After I ate dinner I dragged myself off to bed.  Because again no matter how much sleep I get it never feels like enough.

An Eventer’s Surprise Journey

Back in January of this year I was tucked in to my little farm house, watching my horses out the kitchen window and hiding from the nasty weather.  I was also trying to decide what to do with my gelding, Fox, this year to further our competition goals.

For the last five years I’ve been trying to complete a Beginner Novice Recognized event.  It should have been easy. I lived in Area II after all, in the beginning I had a great, if temperamental partner in my OTTB mare Seneca aka Cameraine. I had my own horse trailer and knowledge enough to round out our basics with access to some great people to help me.  So why wasn’t I there yet?

My mare started coming up on and off lame at end of the summer in 2012 after a really great year with loads of progress and finally finding an awesome coach that I rode with every few months.  After several vet visits, x-rays, hundreds of dollars spent we were no nearer a definite answer for my mare’s issues.  I decided, tearfully, to retire her.  Don’t feel too bad for her she’s currently a fat, brown babysitter with no duties more strenuous than letting me groom and bathe her.

A year later enter my new partner Thrill Factor, aka Fox. He came in to my life the week after Labor Day in 2013.  We spent that autumn getting to know one another and then I gave him the winter off to settle in to his new home and life.  He had been a pampered racehorse and now he lived out 24/7 and had his very own person rather than a herd of people that spent just a little time with him before moving on to the next horse.

My work schedule at the time made it really hard to get much real training done but we trail rode and did small schooling shows.  We did an awesome clinic with Dom Schramm one summer and finished that year with a disaster of an outing at Kelly’s Ford.  The next year we still hadn’t gotten out much but kept plugging away, going to schooling shows and finished the fall season with another clinic with Dom Schramm where we learned a lot.

Which brings us to 2016.  I was bound and determined to make this the year we finished by at least going BN at an unrecognized trial if not a recognized one.  We were going to conquer all our demons. Which is exactly when the Universe threw a major wrench in all my plans.  Superhubs and I had been married for almost twenty years.  I fully admit I had never really wanted kids.  We’d been telling both our families for years we weren’t going to have kids.  Not once in all those years was there ever a hint of kids in our future.

Until a day this past February, a week before my fortieth birthday, when I was late.  I am never late.  I waited a couple more days, finally, laughing, got a pregnancy test and peed on the little stick.  There weren’t any little lines that I could have blown off.  Nope is was that one word I never thought would ever come out of my mouth.  Pregnant.   My exact words when I saw this were. “Well shit.”

Which is now the beginning of this whole new journey for me.  The struggle to fit my horse life, my work life and now my mom life all together in to one cohesive whole.  Other disciplines say that eventers are crazy.  We are the adrenaline junkies, the thrill seekers of the horse world.  Add a baby in to that mix.  Bring on the insanity!