Birth Story

Thoughts

Weighing in at a mere 7lbs 6oz, Amelia Ryan officially joined the party at 12:09 on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

Disclaimer: this is long, and probably not for everyone, stop reading whenever you want. No one will even know.

We got to the birthing center in Kailua on Sunday night on the cusp of 41 weeks… though originally I had intended on going all natural it seemed that a little nudge would be helpful. That nudge slowly turned into a full round-house kick into motherhood. 

But it was awesome!

I waltzed in at a full 1cm dilated! I could either stick to my anti-drug guns or just try to get things going and enjoy the process. Plus, I may never again get the chance to do drugs, I’m about to be someone’s mother, for Pete’s sake!

We were there to have our baby and by any means necessary it was going to be a great experience!

I  got started on misoprostol, the gateway drug…

One dose of fentanyl down, allowed me enough relief to crack some jokes catch some Zs. After the first 24 hours I had gone from a paltry 1cm dilated to a gaping 3cm. It was somewhere in the dark realm of night, that I realized the journey had only just begun. Slowly.

We’d be in for a ride!

Monday night around 7pm we thought “Hey, why not try this cool balloon invention! Oooh, and while we’re at it let’s invite pitocin to the party!”

Turns out pitocin and balloons are a very uncomfortable, and awkward couple.

As things progressed, a few nurses had likened the pushing sensation, to needing to poo. One even introduced herself and in the same breath warned Ryan not to mention anything when/if I inadvertently shat the bed during delivery. Pictures were being painted. Beautifully.

I decided that double teaming the pitocin and balloons warranted the mediation of a numbing agent. But by the time epidural started knocking at my vertabrae – pitocin and the balloons were mid quarrel, I was mid contraction, and my nurse was mid blood pressure read, when I nonchalantly noticed my left hand was the size of a softball. My IV had infiltrated into my already chubby hand and fingers. It was cute.

I’m pretty sure that blood pressure read was a bit higher than my usual.

After a stabbing around in the dark for a while, we were able to reattach the IV in my wrist and carve out a venue for the spinal tap.

I was finally able to once again see the humor in the situation. We laughed, breathed and with what was left of the night, slept.

Tuesday began with another 7:00 shift change. Our savior of a night nurse, Brittany warmly introduced us to the saint, Danielle. And we immediately started planning positions and working with postures.

(Considering all of the insane moving parts, these two girls were the most amazing people and made me love the situation more than I can even believe.)

I was being coached to push – for hours – doing practice positions, and getting checked for the  head position of the mystery person trapped inside my vagina. 

This was a far cry from the hypnobirthing course with which I had been indoctrinating my husband for months. But like a champ he praised, coddled and coached me through the whole process.

Finally, I was getting there, really close. Like a 9. Transition – true, active labor… epidural’s kryptonite.

Now, I was in pain. Not gradual pain. Immediate, sharp, full-body shaking pain. No more 1-10, yellow-happy-face to red-mad-face, scaling bullshit. Real pain.

Kern feet. Shoved into sternums. My nurse on one foot, husband on the other. It was dainty. Elegant.

We called for the doctor. By the time she put on her catcher’s mit, I was passed ready, and getting a little irritated by the possibility of anything intensifying. My only thought was that if pooping was common, I was going to Jackson Polluck the wall. My magnum opus.

I gathered all of my strength, honed my breath thought I was dying and stacked my pushes in a constipated effort. Suddenly I felt release, the flood gates opened, noise resumed I was back in the room, and I heard Ryan exclaim “It’s a girl!” 

Like a light switch, the pain stopped and I was beaming happiness once again! I saw Ryan’s eyes well up as we brought our baby to my chest. It was over. Nine months of pregnancy. 40 hours of induction. All of the interventions. One cord snip. Over in like six mind numbing shoves.

And that’s where it began! 

If this experience taught me anything it is flexibility, and the power of perception. It wasn’t my ideal route, as outlined in my three page, color printed, floral bordered birth plan. But it was the most fun, amazing experience of my life! And it brought me closer to my husband than I thought necessary! I anticipate motherhood will follows suit. So, in this next season, I aim to roll with the punches, look for the positives, and enjoy the process because that’s really what determines life’s happiness. 

And I am so excited to share my life with a brand new little human and help her enjoy the process too! She seems really great so far!

P.S. – I didn’t even poop!

Rethinking the past

Thoughts

I have been working primarily on commissions lately… lots of peoples pets. I started to revisit some of the pieces I really enjoyed working on in the past. I decided to select a piece and highlight the process of painting it.


This was one of my first large pieces that I painted for the sheer desire to expel emotions. I listen to Gravedigger by Dave Matthews Band for days on end as my inspiration.

I was frustrated with my schedule of work, class and life (or lack there of) I squeezed in minutes of painting between each outing… and felt as though my head was going to explode. All I wanted was more time to paint. To mitigate and cranial damage, I created Angst.

To this day it serves as a vibrant reminder of busier times, when I was chomping at the bit to just paint, unfurling my love of color, emotions and self expression.

What I really love about art is how it can be interpreted by the audience in various ways.  It can speak all languages and tell many stories.

What does this piece say to you? Leave a comment…

Colloquialisms gone awry

Thoughts

There are many common day sayings which are not quoted properly. Some are just semantics, changed in small measure but some, by leaving off a few bits and pieces, have lost their true meeting in the tides of time.  My personal two favorites are here below…

1. ” curiosity killed the cat” … the actual idiom reads “Curiosity killed the cat and satisfaction brought him back.”   In leaving off the second part of this message it has a totally different meaning. Curiosity is not a bad thing, with it comes knowledge, experience and of course the satisfaction.

2. ” the world is your oyster”…  this is Shakespeare, and should be remembered as “The world is mine oyster which I with sword shall open.” Life is not just hand it to you it’s something that you have to go after, grab hold and sieze.

Go ahead, spread the word. We need these adages back in their proper form.

To which we are awake

Recent Projects, Thoughts

I came across a piece of wood. Not drift, more like a slice that had once been in a pallate gang. It grabbed my attention. So, I grabbed it. 

Already sprayed with intermittent azure, I dyed the rest of the bored board, blue. Begining with mandalas I tried to give it a new purpose. A voice.

With displeasure, I sanded away the poignant Thoreau truism. Again, I began to dye… the other side.

There are two sides to every story. The ambiguity of this, yet to be told… 

“Only that day dawns to which we are awake.”

-Henry David Thoreau

I’m Just as Strange as You…

Recent Projects, Thoughts

I have always cherished the art of Frida Kahlo. She embraced her own image, creating various pieces embellished with flora, fauna, mysticism and realism. I appreciate her raw representation of her own face… of her flaws, imperfections, vices, and idiosyncrasies which we have been taught to cover-up. I ventured to embrace my own (as perhaps we all should) with quick colored pencil and wet paintbrush sketches… 


I am using these as the base for my next self-portrait… a sans make-up, fully “flawed”, Kahlo’d version of myself, through my own eyes.

​I used to think I was the strangest person in the world, But then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. 

I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too.

Well, I hope that is you are out there and read this and know that, yes, Its true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.  

                                               ~ Frida Kahlo

An eloquent reminder

Thoughts

I came across this poem… It reminded me of Edgar Guest, it reminded me of the power that we call carry within ourselves, it reminded me to be cognizant of how I think, act, react, interact and live.

If you think you are beaten, you are;

If you think you dare not, you don’t.

If you’d like to win, but you think you can’t,

It is almost a cinch that you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost;

For out of the world we find

Success begins with a fellow’s will

It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you’re outclassed, you are;

You’ve got to think high to rise.

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before

You can ever win the prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster man;

But sooner or later the man who wins

Is the one who thinks he can!
                                 – Walter D. Wintle, 1905

The Last Best Place

Thoughts

It has been three weeks since we left Montana… and much longer since I’ve had a moment to post. 

Over the past few weeks we have ventured through Washington down the coast on Highway 1 to Oregon and into California. We spent one week just North of San Francisco and finally settled at the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. 

Excited by the idea of a change of pace I felt that the Bay Area would provide that perfect opposition to the life we had been living in Montana. Diametrically opposed they were… cars replaced cows freeways where rivers should be… 

It made me sit back and reminisce about Montana. What was it about Big Sky country that was so special? Why was it considered the “Last Best Place”? Originally, I just figured it was a silly grammatically incorrect colloquialism, but now I know it rings with truth.

I decided to make a list of all the things I miss before I forget.

▪The speed limit is almost always 80, winter brings it to a snailspace of 75.

▪There are more cows than people. The people that are there are so warm and familiar.

▪There is NO sales tax. If it costs $1.00 it costs $1.00.

▪The residents have a pride that rivals the Texans.

▪Hiking through thigh deep snow, removing layer upon layer to sit in a natural hot spring forged out of a mountain side.

▪The redundancy of “Big Sky” for business names and everything else.

▪The lack of reliable cell phone reception.

▪Fishing the Yellowstone.

▪The scenery.. and wildlife, especially the moose.

▪Smiles and waves from every car (ie. truck) that passes by.

▪There is only one area code, 406.

▪You can just assume everyone is armed.

▪You don’t have to worry about locking anything. 

▪The only time you feel in danger is when you’re hiking alone and you packed snacks instead of bear spray.

I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.”                      -John Steinbeck 

There are so many more reasons why Montana is considered the Last Best Place. I grew to love it… I’m excited to grow to love my new home here as well.

Adventure awaits… 

Sweaters in July

Art in Life, Thoughts

Yesterday Gobstopper sized hail started gushing out of the sky. It’s July. In Montana. It has been in the eighties and nineties lately and absolutely beautiful – we were reminded yesterday about Mother Nature’s bipolar disorder. 

It was the first day since my 30th that I have worn anything but flip-flops and shorts. I had a hard time figuring out how to put on a sweater.  

Luckily some kind citizen took it upon themselves to protect and care for a very lucky soul in the area.

And she wears it well.

Version 3.0

Thoughts

 

I just hit 30.

BAM!

Officially an adult, or so my age dictates.  I realized recently that Resolutions are not just for New Years, but also applicable for Birthdays, and heck, even Mondays.  I think in life we are always striving for betterment and our growth and development should always be a goal.  As Heraclitus said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” If we take those words to heart there is something to be said about accepting change and making the most of it.  We have a daily, never-ending opportunity to make our lives and ourselves into whatever it is that we want. Reflecting on my past decades I have realized that there are a lot of kinks to iron out, so, as I venture fourth into this new decade of life I aim to make it the best it can be… version 3.0.
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“The world is mine oyster, which I with sword will open”

When Life gives you Lemons

Thoughts

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Life has a sneaky way of teaching lessons.  Not all of them are peachy, however, there is always a lesson to be learned. Sometimes it feels like being kicked while you are down, or so I suppose (I have never been kicked, so I am just taking the popularity of this phrase as an indication of it’s supposed validity). But the most important thing is that you get up, dust yourself off, pick up the remains of your hubris and refocus.

Bad things will happen. Murphy said it best… “Anything that can go wrong, will” and that is okay! If nothing ever went awry how would we gauge when we are on track? How would we learn to appreciate the great?

It literally just dawned on me that something was off in my life, keeping me out of the flow in which I wanted to be- and all along I was pandering to it. Though I thought that I did a damned good job plastering over my stress with an over-exuberance of jolly… all smiles and margaritas. Today, it hit me. I was drowning my subconscious on something that was not benefiting me in any way. If it doesn’t suit you, do buy it. Simple as that.

I am stoked at the moment to be released from the burdens I allowed to weigh me down. Freer and lighter than ever I have a new lease on life, appreciation for the little that I do have and a sunny outlook for the days ahead. So, as you look into a storm just know that there is a lining of silver, no matter how faint. Focus on that – and as always, the storm will pass. What is most important is that you remember the storm, learn from the storm and always pack a pair of rain boots to dance is its wake! You may even see a rainbow.