i'm moving...

posted on: Friday, August 1, 2014

or at least, the blog is.

i'm resisting the urge to make this a Lebron James metaphor about taking my talents...elsewhere.

but i'm moving this little blog to a new URL: www.emfleming.com

hopefully, bloglovin does their part to make the transition a smooth one, but i clearly have limited experience with such shenanigans.  please bear with me.

so head on over.  there's a fresh new post waiting for you.  and i'm not making any promises, but there just might be another new one next week.  who knows.

happy friday! 

all kinds of emotional

posted on: Friday, July 4, 2014

You Can Be All Kinds of Emotional by The Lone Bellow on Grooveshark

this may seem unnecessary, given that i have always been a sporadic blogger at best.  but despite my predictable lack of consistency, i feel the need to formally let myself off the hook for a little while.  the hormone surges of the postpartum period have left me reeling these past few days.  anyone who knows me, or who has read this blog for any period of time, knows that i'm not at all uncomfortable with feeling all the feelings.  but it's a little tough for me to feel all the feelings...all at once.  

the past few days have been filled with both indescribable joy, and heavy, oppressive grief.  with paralyzing fear and anxiety, alongside total confidence in my abilities as a mother.  with feeling totally alone, all the while seeing and appreciating how incredibly supportive my husband has been.  and worst of all, i feel torn between feeling like i need to tackle my inbox and handle some work responsibilities remotely, and the ever-present knowledge that my time with Lyla before i go back to work is so, so brief.  i am trying desperately to soak it all up, remember every expression, every movement, to notice every change and watch her grow, to memorize her face.  i can't wipe the smile off my face when i look at her, and i cry hot, heavy tears every time i think about my daddy missing all this.  

i worry that i'm not taking enough pictures, that i'm not sharing enough with friends and family that are far away.  but i also am remiss to get behind the lens of a camera when it feels impossible to take my eyes off of her.  

this space has always been a kind of retreat for me.  a place where i can come when i'm ready to process, where i can write things out so they make sense.  and i know i will return here when i'm ready to write about how this tiny little girl has made my life and my heart feel so full.  but for now, it's all so overwhelming.  i just need to let myself off the hook for a few weeks.  so i can soak it all up and store it away in my heart before i feel any pressure to share it with anyone else.  

i'll still be overgramming like crazy on the gram of the insta, and i'd love for you to follow along.  i just need some time.  

you understand.  (:

she's here!

posted on: Tuesday, July 1, 2014

 Lyla Mae Fleming made her way into the world on June 24th at 6:38pm.  she weighed a whopping 6lbs, 4oz, and stretched out to 19 inches long.  ten fingers, ten toes, and perfect in every way.  we are overwhelmed by our blessings, and have spent the first week of her life staring at her every chance we get.  marveling over how we made such a beautiful creature, with eyes brimming with tears of joy. 



someday soon, i'll get around to writing her birth story, as all good bloggers do.  but i'm almost hesitant to share much, because i have had a truly magical experience.  like a mythical unicorn, if you will.  i'm adding it to the blessings i'm counting, and storing up all the wonder of this first week in a place deep in my heart.  there is just so much to be thankful for.

and we are. 

thoughts on having a girl

posted on: Friday, June 20, 2014

a few years back, i was talking to my baby sister about having babies.  i asked her whether she thought i would have girl babies, or boy babies.  without hesitation, she answered, "boys.  three boys."  her then-11-year-old decisiveness caught me somewhat off guard, and she couldn't really give a satisfactory answer as to why, except to say that it was just a hunch.  

truth is, i agreed with her.  i had always seen myself having boys.  the thought of having a girl scared me a bit.  girls are so complex, with emotional needs that are sometimes hard to decipher.  i've always had an easier time making friends with boys, and i chose to work in a highly male-dominated professional environment because i find men so much easier to get along with than women.  my crass sense of humor, which manifests itself all too often as foul-mouthed sarcasm, can be off-putting to women.  i've been known to bulldoze right over a fellow female's feelings without even being aware that i'm doing so.  it's been a bit of a problem.  

it took me most of my life to grow into being a girl.  i wasn't particularly athletic or tomboyish growing up, but i was always more comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt than a dress.  my interests tended toward the more badass things in life: science. medicine. EMT school. Weezer. ultimate frisbee.  i was way more comfortable in a fire house than at a bridal shower, for whatever reason.  

i made some incredible girlfriends in college who have patiently stuck with me as i've come into my own over the years.  they helped me feel more comfortable being a girl.  i learned to love dressing up, and grew to feel more comfortable with my girlish figure.  girls' nights became more fun than playing video games with the guys.  i got more comfortable with having and expressing feelings.  i remember the first time one of my best friends saw me cry--it completely blew her away.  

i feel like i've finally gotten comfortable with the idea of being a girl.  i'm in love with my impressive shoe collection, and no longer abhor the color pink (though purple...purple is still the devil as far as i'm concerned).  but it's taken a while.  and i've definitely gone about it in something of a circuitous fashion.  

i worry that i'm ill-equipped to help my baby grow into her girlyness.  if she takes the same path i did, i feel pretty confident that i can help her along.  but what are the odds of that?  with my luck, i'm going to give birth to the most girly of girly girls there ever was.  she'll detest the sight of blood and won't like being dirty.  she'll think my job is gross, and resent me for leaving her to go do it.  she won't understand why i joined the military, or why i think it's important to take care of the soldiers that keep our nation safe.  what if she hates beer and only likes White Zinfandel?  

these are the burning questions that keep me awake at night. 

as hard as it's been for me to surrender my body to this pregnancy, i've learned so much about the strength we women possess.  i work with men who have demonstrated incredible bravery, as well as mental and physical fortitude, under the most difficult and trying of battlefield circumstances.  they have been blown up and shot at, and put their bodies through hell, all the while making the right medical decisions for their guys, and saving lives in the process.  they are my heroes.  and i have often wondered how i would ever measure up to that kind of strength.  

but i have discovered an incredible strength within myself these past few months.  i can't think of a single one of those men who would be mentally capable of confining themselves to lying on their backs for two and half months, in order to ensure the safety of a person they've never met.  they would flip their shit the first time their liver was assaulted from the inside out by tiny little feet.  they would protest aggressively at their bodies changing so drastically and rapidly without their consent and outside of their control.  the trauma of childbirth would bring them to their knees.  

we women are brave in our own rights.  we are remarkably strong.  our bodies bear the scars of our bravery, displayed in the form of stretch marks, thigh chub, and saggy boobs.  our hearts and minds are capable of enduring, despite being plagued with worry for the well-being of our littles day in and day out.  we laugh about our forgetfulness during pregnancy, but often downplay how incredible it is that we're able to focus on anything else, given that we have another human rolling around in our abdomen.  the greatness we inherently possess is worth celebrating.  if for no other reason than that it is exclusively ours. 

only time will tell if my baby girl and i are destined to have much in common.  the resemblance we bear to one another may be limited to appearances alone.  but no matter how different we may prove to be, we will be united by our common strength and bravery as women.  if i can teach her nothing else, i want to teach her that.  

we have laughed often at her expense, my family and i.  we feel as though we know her already, as full of spunk and personality as she is.  we are all excitedly awaiting her arrival, and hoping she doesn't challenge Murphy and his damn law this weekend by trying to show up while her father is out of town.  though we wouldn't be at all surprised if she did. 

she is strong.  she is brave.  and she is ours, if only for a little while.  i couldn't be more excited to meet her.  


lately

posted on: Monday, June 16, 2014

here we are.  on the last weekend we get to spend together before we become parents.  just look at us--so blissfully unaware.

Father's Day was this past weekend.  Nick didn't really feel like it was "his" holiday yet, and i don't blame him.  i sort of felt like a cheater for celebrating Mother's Day myself.  but he watched a lot of World Cup soccer and got a delicious berry trifle and a massage out of me, so he apparently didn't mind being spoiled just a tad.  i was thankful to be able to put the focus on him.  let's just say i cried a lot on Sunday.  and avoided social media like the plague.  last Father's Day, i was getting off a 30-hour trauma call on Sunday morning, and i managed to sleep through the whole thing.  i don't think i realized then what a blessing that was.  

i hit the 38 week milestone today.  shit is really starting to get uncomfortable, to put it mildly.  i know i'm supposed to be really thankful to have made it this far--and believe me, i am!  but i would argue that ANY woman who is pregnant for much longer than she thought she would be (case in point: you post-dates mamas. how you did it, i'll never know.), starts to get pretty irritable towards the end.  the way i see it, i've gone a full 4 weeks longer than they thought i would.  and for the love...enough is enough.  

this morning, i rolled (literally) out of bed and managed to button my fatigues over the bump for--what i HOPE is--one of the last few times, and waddled my way into the hospital from the parking garage.  in the 3 minutes it took for me to make it inside, i was covered in sweat.  i was feeling gross and fat and miserable, and generally pretty sorry for myself.  i was in the foulest of moods.  it didn't help that every other person i saw in the halls was commenting "you're still pregnant!" "when are you having that baby already?!" and "that uniform BARELY fits!"  

i was ready to punch someone in the face.

then i sat down for the first lecture of the day.  i watched as an Army Major in uniform pulled himself up from his wheelchair and walked carefully on his bilateral prosthetic limbs to the front of the room.  he proceeded to tell me and the rest of my classmates about how he had lost both his legs in Afghanistan by stepping on an IED as his team was attempting to get food to a village that had been cut off from supply routes by the Taliban.  he got choked up more than once as he told his story: describing the incredible relief he felt watching the Black Hawk helicopter come over the horizon to pick him up and evacuate him, how it gave him hope that he might actually survive, how grateful he was for the medics and docs that cared for him every step of the way...from point of injury, to combat support hospital, to Germany, and all the way to San Antonio.  to my hospital.  he thanked us with tears in his eyes, for doing what we do and for doing it so well.  then he told us how, since his body would no longer allow him to remain in the Special Forces, he was going to medical school, so he could be one of us.  there wasn't a dry eye in the room. 

that's how i started my week of learning about operational military medicine.  by hearing from someone who is alive today because of it.  

so i decided if he could get blown up and learn how to walk again on prosthetic legs, i could be pregnant for a little while longer. 


professional developments

posted on: Friday, June 13, 2014

as it turns out, i stayed pregnant long enough to go back to work.  my doctors gave me the green light to pick up a few shifts after i hit 36 weeks, so last week, i pulled on my scrubs and Danskos and hit the floor.  on my first shift back, i made the egregious error of forgetting my compression stockings.  good.  heavens.  i felt like i had compartment syndrome by the end of that shift.  but other than a little leg swelling, the shift went well.  no one died.  and one patient who arrived in our Emergency Department without a pulse actually left the department WITH one.  great success.  i even placed a central line without my belly getting in the way (too much).  
right before i went into the hospital, i had received a great pair of maternity scrubs from Medical Discount Scrubs.  at 24 weeks, i was still tiny enough not to need them.  but now.  well, let's just say now is a different story.  i went with Cherokee from top to bottom,  and i'm really happy with how they fit.  i'm not a huge fan of flared tops or anything that looks too....maternal.  and while my current shape is pretty undeniably gravid, these scrubs help me do my job without looking frumpy.  bottom line: Cherokee maternity scrubs for the win.  

a week ago, i got to participate in my hospital's graduation ceremonies.  even though i won't technically graduate until the end of August, thanks to my unborn child and all her shenanigans, it was nice of them to let me walk with my class.  i managed to squeeeeeeze into my service blues for the occasion.  pregnancy puffy face and all.  everyone made jokes about how they needed eye protection in case i blew a button.  ha. haha. ha. ha.  it's a bunch of comedians i work with, i tell you. 

The Doctors Fleming
let's just take a moment to appreciate what uniform i COULD have worn.  behold, the Air Force service blues maternity jumper.  technically, according to some, it's what i should have worn.  but the uniform regulations were open to interpretation, to a degree, and i chose to interpret them as far away from this circus tent as possible.  it's not bad enough that you have to  be pregnant for your graduation, and therefore unable to...celebrate...in the ways you had hoped.  but to be forced to subject oneself to this pinnacle of attractiveness?  no.  just no.  

just for comparison, here's how everyone else in my class looked.  i wasn't the only one looking like a flight attendant.  every last one of us was wearing at least eight pounds of wool in that 90-degree South Texas heat.  and all the women were also wearing panty hose.  there's pride in putting on that uniform, to be sure, (especially on the 70th anniversary of D-Day) but good lord is it ever hot. 
The Class of 2014
as is tradition, our graduation ceremonies were followed that evening by a party, complete with a Roast.  i don't think i've laughed quite that hard in a while.  my favorite line went something like: "let's hand it to Emily Fleming for somehow managing to graduate from residency without actually doing any work."  hey, it was inevitable.  i knew they were going to nail me on that one.  at least i got to look more girly for the evening's festivities.
the afternoon of my fake Graduation Day, i received an email notifying me that my research abstract had been accepted for presentation at the American College of Emergency Physicians National Meeting in Chicago this fall.  (!)  so that's kind of huge.  i've alluded to this research project several times in passing, but in all honesty, i thought my abstract had a snowball's chance in hell of getting accepted to ACEP.  in Emergency Medicine, ACEP is pretty much the holy grail.  having my very own original research be deemed worthy of presentation there is such a big deal.  i feel awesome about it, if you can't tell.  suddenly my list of bed rest accomplishments doesn't look quite so small.

grow a human? check.

manage to not lose one's mind? check.

complete research requirement and have an abstract accepted to a major national conference? check check. 

feels pretty damn good to have something happening in my career, despite all the setbacks over the past few months.  actually, there are quite a few somethings happening for me, career-wise.  with that in mind, do i feel silly or ridiculous for having worried about my career during all of this bed-resting?  not one bit.  the fear for my career was every bit as real as my fear for my baby's well-being.  and i'm not here to rank them on some sort of legitimacy or worthiness hierarchy.  but now that i'm standing on the other side of the danger, it's nice to be able to say that those fears are behind me.  i still worry about my baby's health, like every woman does.  but i'm happy to say i'm more hopeful than despondent these days.  about pretty much everything.  

now if i could only have this baby...


full term

posted on: Monday, June 9, 2014

well well well.  check out who made it to term.  37 weeks today, baby. 

how do i feel about it?  if you've been following along for more than two seconds, you know i'm conflicted.  leave it to me to have tumultuous emotions about something so clearly great.  part of me is thrilled to have beaten the odds and made it this far.  another part of me is just annoyed to still. be. pregnant. 

before the hate mail begins about how i should just enjoy my pregnancy and be thankful for crying out loud, allow me to explain.

this pregnancy has been difficult, to say the least.  (understatement of the year?)  for the most part, i've enjoyed the actual being-pregnant part.  aside from the bed rest and the inpatient hospital stay and all the doctor's appointments and the fear for my baby's well-being, i didn't hate it.  i've marveled at all that my body has been able to do, and i've enjoyed musing about who this little person growing inside me is going to be...trying to predict her personality based on the constant, never-ending assault of my internal organs by her tiny, ineffectual heels and fists.  let's just say i have no delusions that she will be an "easy baby".  i know i wasn't.  maybe it's karma? 

but Texas in June is miserably hot, y'all.  it's 90+ degrees out from here on out for all eternity (or November. whichever comes first.), and the humidity is remarkably unpleasant for a normal person.  much less one who is carrying an extra 30lbs of baby accoutrements.  though that number is not incredibly large--my docs are thrilled that i didn't gain MORE weight, given my relative inactivity for two and a half months--let's just say that things have...redistributed.  they're...softer.  before this pregnancy, i was far from a picture of athletic prowess, but i was in shape.  i had muscles.  now....let's just say they've diminished somewhat.  okay, a lot.  bottom line is, being flabby in 95 degrees and 90% humidity feels gross.  plus i'm just...puffy.  the wedding rings came off weeks ago.  it ain't fun.  or pretty. 

one of my best friends and colleagues was pregnant recently. she delivered in December, and we all mused about how her attitude would be towards the end.  she is one of those people who is never caught without a smile--just generally pleasant and incredibly delightful to be around.  one of my attendings speculated that she would come unglued around 38 weeks.  "no one escapes the misery of the last three weeks of pregnancy", she would say.  but true to form, this dear friend of mine never cracked.  she worked in the ER with a smile on her face right up until the day she delivered at 39 weeks.  god bless her.

well friends, i am here to tell you that i followed the rules.  no matter how incredibly grateful i am to have made it to full term, the misery that is the final month of pregnancy is hitting me hard.  i'm over it.  it's been fun (okay, not really), but let's get our baby on.  

any day now...

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