Welcome Asher Eleanor!

I’ve been debating how to start this story…it seems so typical, so normal, and yet, of course, as with her sisters, she deserves her tale written out. And it is miraculous, like all births are. And it is silly, like births in our house seem to be. And, as is the trend, it is written with a baby in a sling, by a tired, vaguely incoherent mama.

As we’re both sitting here, wondering how we ended up with THREE kids (much less three girls!), I’m literally left wondering how I’ve got this tiny baby in my arms. Again. I know, I’ve been in denial for quite some time about it all, and even blogged over at Motherhood Unadorned about my feelings towards this pregnancy. And I’d LOVE to say it’s all roses and lilies now that she’s here, but I’m not sure. Yes, Asher belongs here, clearly. And yes, much like when Finleigh arrived, and when Ryan arrived, she just fits. But I’m still left wondering – how the hell did I end up with a third child?

We had plans to head to the pumpkin patch on Sunday. I really, really love fall (I’ve surely blogged about that before), and Halloween, and my birthday (on the 24th – you can send presents), and despite knowing I’d be 39w pregnant, I was excited to go to Enumclaw to hang out with some friends and do the patch with the girls. Finleigh was teeny last year, and enjoyed watching it all, but couldn’t partake. Ryan remembered it all and was SO excited to go back. I just love to take photos of it all! We joked that baby better wait, as Enumclaw is about an hour from home, and how would that explanation go to the police/fire/paramedics? “Please drive past 4 hospitals to deliver this woman to her home so she can give birth?” Um, yeah. But, as nothing was happening that morning, we hustled our buns together and got out of the house. I had some suspicions that it would be soon as I’d done a massive grocery trip the night before, and insisted on having chicken chili in the crockpot before we left, but you know, just because I teach this stuff doesn’t mean I recognize it in myself. We’ll get to more of that in a bit.

The girls had a blast at the pumpkin patch, and we had fun warming back up at our friends’ home nearby. They had delicious homemade soup that was a teensy bit spicy (I should have guessed…) and the girls played hard. We got home, all in one piece, and without a newborn, and settled in for our usual crazy, zany dinner/bath/stories/bedtime routine.

I always spend a fair bit of time in my classes talking about what things parents can do at home to kick start labor. It’s an amusing topic and always gets the class laughing: walking, exercise, spicy foods, sex. Yes, sex. What gets your baby in there will get your baby out! And, since I was quite done being pregnant, well, yeah. And as expected, contractions started shortly thereafter. But I expected them to fizzle out…after all, just because the other two came at 39w (ish) didn’t mean I thought this one would. I half expected her to wait until Halloween!

About two hours later, I called the midwives to chat, and see what they thought might be happening with these contractions. See, she’d tried to escape at 37w, and I wasn’t really enthusiastic about calling them back out for nothing again. But, neither of us was really excited about having another unassisted birth, either. Michael was totally amused at this point – this was basically a total repeat of Finleigh’s birth, only with slightly less disbelief from me. We thought, yes, maybe early labor, as I was clearly dealing well and could move and talk through these, but should try to go to bed soon and maybe take a shower to relax. I watched one more episode of Big Love (love that show) and then showered and went to bed.  I remember sort of sleeping through contractions, and feeling them but not waking for them, and thinking that if they didn’t keep me up, then they weren’t anything. Really, at this point? Really, Katy? Now we’re talking about 5 hours of contractions and you still don’t really think you’re in labor?

At 2:30am, I woke up to a stronger contraction, and got up to hit the bathroom. I went back to bed, thinking this STILL wasn’t really it. I laid in bed, drifting in and out of sleep for another hour, and then the contractions got more intense. By 4am, I woke Michael, and we decided it was time to call the midwives back. They asked if I thought they should come, but I had to hand the phone over to Michael to tend to a contraction. I’m sure the conversation was something to the effect of, “yeah, um, you need to come now”.

We moved to the living room, and texted a few friends who wanted to join us. I was still thinking we had a while at this point. Contractions were strong, but not unbearable, and I was dealing well. I kept telling myself that I can do anything for ONE minute (though they felt longer). Of course, doing anything for ONE minute every 30 seconds for any length of time starts to SUCK. And then when you realize you are having an even harder time coping, and you are no longer quietly breathing, and you can no longer stand on your own, and you’ve got to hold on FOR DEAR LIFE to your partner, that yep, this is labor and you’re going to have a baby in the very near future. Of course, at this point, I’m still thinking that I’ve got a while, and why the hell do I give birth at home where there’s nothing stronger than ADVIL??

And then, holding onto Michael and trying to CLIMB to the ceiling, I hear the MW say that she thought I was pushing. Pushing? Brilliant!! I should totally push! That might be fantastic! So I pushed. And I was really glad they got the plastic table cloth under me as I announced that I was peeing. Nice, right? Birth is the great equalizer, folks. One of the MWs said she was taking my pants off (what’s with me trying to give birth in my damn pants?), and I remember her trying to actually get my pants off my ankles and me saying something to the effect of “leavethemthefuckalone”. I was pushing. One LONG push. One LONG contraction that really didn’t seem to end. Except it did. And there was her head. I reached down, instinctively. This was the first time I’d ever done that. I felt her head: soft, hot, velvety. Her cord was wrapped around her neck, and the midwives were working it off. And then I had to push again. I pushed hard. Harder than I did with Finleigh…I worked for this kid. One huge, long, hard push (or four, I don’t remember), and out she popped.

7 pounds, 5 ounces, 20″ long. At 5:20am, October 17th. As the sun was thinking about rising on a beautiful, cold, clear, crisp fall morning. My favorite kind of morning.

I crashed on the couch, exhausted, elated, and still shocked. I’m pretty sure Michael was equally shocked, but I honestly have no idea. We didn’t talk, I hardly talked to anyone. I labored. And then I birthed. With so much wonderful support, but in my own world the whole time. I couldn’t have done it without any of them, but I did it alone. If that makes sense. I just laid there, on the couch, with her on my chest, shellshocked. I had a baby. She’s here. In my arms. Michael went to get Ryan, and we both hoped she wasn’t disappointed that she missed the birth (again). This time, she’d get to see the placenta!

She was elated to see the new baby…her new sister. She asked what we were naming her again. Oh yeah, her name! We’d been quiet on the name this time, since we shared her sex. And because I wasn’t entirely sold on it. But now that she’s here, it’s perfect. It suits her to a “T” and suits our family quite well. It “goes”.

Asher Eleanor.

Asher means “fortunate, blessed and happy”. Eleanor means “light” and is the name of my great aunt, my dad’s Aunt Rene.

We are, indeed, fortunate and blessed to have this sweet girl join our family. We were surprised at her intentions to join our family, but are truly, truly blessed to have her here with us.

We also find ourselves truly, truly blessed with friends and family and friends who have become family. Though no one made the birth (again- we’re just too quick for that), we had so many sweet people be a part of Asher’s first day. Lindsay came to say hi instead of heading out for her morning run, Kirsten skipped half a day of work to feed us and hang out with our big kids, and be a part of a very, very normal birth (which I know was insanely difficult, and also, hopefully, cathartic), Ruth took our biggest sister out for a special outing on her own, and so, so many others have helped in tiny, countless ways. I don’t know that any of you will ever really understand how important our “family” here in Seattle is.

Asher truly, truly is a blessing to us all.

This photo says 773 words.

celestin by ~oye on deviantART.

I stumbled on this image the other day on Pinterest and it’s been haunting me ever since. Likely not so much because I’m pregnant right now (or maybe it is) but moreso because of how much, and how often, I think about the state of maternity care in our nation.

Though I understand the photographer was simply paying homage to another photographer, using her newly born nephew as the subject, I find it speaks VOLUMES about birth in hospitals. And yes, I recognize that this post may piss people off. The good ones usually do. They touch nerves, they elicit guilt, they bring up memories you’d might have rather not remembered. But the truth is that our maternity care is abysmal, we’re doing it to ourselves (yes, even those self-selecting OUT of hospitals), and we can change it, if we just choose to open our eyes to what’s really going on.

Maternal Mortality in the United States falls behind 40 other countries at 11 deaths per 100,000 live births. It’s defined as the death of a mother, from a number of various causes, within 42 hours after giving birth (1). Severe bleeding/hemorrhage is listed as the top cause of death. One of the most used drugs during labor in American hospitals is Pitocin. Why? Because it (can) speed labor up (why, I ask, must labor be sped up and not allowed to go at the pace the woman’s body deems it should go?). One of the side effects of Pit is post partum hemorrhage (2). Ironically, it’s also administered by midwives FOR post partum hemorrhage. The drug works, much like our own natural oxytocin, to create uterine contractions. This can be a good thing, or it can be a very, very bad thing.

The use of Pit often leads a laboring woman towards an epidural a lot faster than she might have gone on her own (if at all). Pitocin contractions are notoriously intense, moreso than oxytocin contractions, and can come on stronger and more suddenly than a woman’s body (and baby) are ready for. So she asks for an epidural. Though epidurals are considered generally “safe” by the medical community, they introduce a whole host of other potential problems to a labor (3). It is extremely controversial to say that the likelihood of a cesarean delivery is greater with an epidural, but it appears more and more that this may be the case. And, though a cesarean is again, generally considered a “safe” surgery, it is still major surgery. And with that comes another host of potential side effects, including blood clots and anesthesia issues, and placenta previa and accreta for future pregnancies (4).

Maternal death is highly preventable. Highly. If modern obstetrics would just LEAVE BIRTH ALONE, and let it develop as it needs to, most of the time, it would be fine. The WHO believes our cesarean section rate should be at 10-15%. It’s currently above 35%. I refuse to believe that all of those are true, true emergencies. Yes, I know, yours was. I understand that, and this post is not to undermine your birth, how you’re processing it, or how it has been retold to you. What’s hard for me to process is how many women are told their c/s was an emergency, needed to happen, baby might die, and it’s largely because of how we care for women in labor in hospitals. Care providers push, nudge, outright force babies out of wombs before they’re ready, and we are left to believe that our doctor saved our sweet baby (and likely ourselves) from the throes of evil, scary, deadly labor. Except that many of the hospital interventions LEAD TO that “life saving” c/s. Again, I DO NOT wish to undercut YOUR experience, how YOU felt about it, or how it makes YOU feel. What I wish to highlight is the culture surrounding birth, and how it’s so much more about an institution (a patriarchal one at that, believe that women are simply not capable of doing this whole “labor thing” without modern science to help it along) rather than an individual. And again, until the institution can change, there’s little hope for women and babies.

So where the hell was I going with this little lesson in the “snowball of interventions”? I was getting to the picture, and what it said to me.

And to me, it shows a newborn, alone, on a hospital bed and I wonder, where’s mama? Because I don’t know of many mamas who’ve just given birth and would voluntarily leave that sweet baby, lying there, alone. That is, quite possibly, the most tragic thing I can think of.

Mama Birth: Daddy As Midwife- A Beautiful Homebirth-

Our birth story was “published”…in another person’s blog!! It’s one thing to post it yourself, but entirely another for another blogger to find it worthy enough to share. We’re honored. And the Mama Birth blog is a lovely resource for expecting families and birth junkies alike.

Mama Birth: Daddy As Midwife- A Beautiful Homebirth-.

via Mama Birth: Daddy As Midwife- A Beautiful Homebirth-.

Unrelenting Passion

I love that I’ve found passion in life. It’s an amazing thing to be passionate about things, and to be able to delve wholeheartedly into ideas and topics that mean so much to me.

But where I find passion challenging lies in the sharing of said passion. I sometimes get, well, overly passionate about it all. And even more so after Finleigh’s birth. I know that my zeal for natural childbirth and breastfeeding turns people off. And part of me really wants to say eff it. It’s the way it’s meant to be done, and dammit anyway, you have to try. If you don’t want to have a go at childbirth, then don’t get pregnant. If you don’t want to have a go at breastfeeding, then don’t have a baby. I don’t say these things though, because I risk losing people in my zeal. This comes off a discussion in a group, where I, as a mommy, said something about breastfeeding that set someone else, a mom who had chosen not to breastfeed her child, off. She was bothered by the “digs” that formula feeding moms endure. And while yes, I respect people’s right to choose, and telling women that they HAVE to breastfeed or go through a natural childbirth, to me, is akin to telling a woman that she cannot have an abortion, or telling gay people that they cannot marry, I just wish (and hope that someday) it’s all considered normal enough that breastfeeding or natural birth aren’t considered just another option.

So, I try to tone it down. And really, as an educator, a bigger part of me does believe that women and families have to go through birth in ways that make them comfortable (not talking about physical comfort, but personal, mental comfort). Birth is such a personal journey and I can’t even begin to pretend that I understand all of the implications for each individual. I suppose that I would just beg people to do real research. And by that, I mean REAL, DEEP, INVESTIGATIVE research into childbirth. The methods, the politics AND the practice. A family’s choices go so much deeper than “epidural or natural” which is so often the debate I hear.

And then there’s breastfeeding. Yes, I’ve heard it before: “but I couldn’t”, “I didn’t produce enough milk”, “my baby was allergic to milk”. I don’t entirely buy it. And while I applaud a mother’s effort (because they’re all valiant), I still don’t entirely buy it. Breast isn’t just “best”, it’s normal. If we didn’t breastfeed our babies, civilization as we know it would not exist (hell, if we do, civilization might exist in an entirely different way as well). So it doesn’t jive with me to hear as many women as I do that “can’t do it” for x, y or z reasons.

What I do know is happening is that we don’t support women. We (as an institution) want women to breastfeed, but we don’t help them do it. We want our babies breastfed, but again, don’t support it. We hear of women being kicked off planes, out of restaurants, and being asked to cover up while breastfeeding their babies. I see women all the time covering up with those awful “Hooter Hiders” (kudos for a cute name, but it’s still a lame product), more obvious than the women who can nurse discreetly without one. I even see women covering up in a mommy and me class. What? Seriously? That’s the safest place to learn to nurse your baby in public. A place no one cares if you flash your boobs! And of course, part of me thinks that if those are what it takes to get more women to nurse, then great. Use ’em. But a bigger piece of me, again, believes that we have to walk our walk, and if we’re going to promote breastfeeding, we need to promote it for real. Without coverups or caveats.

And beyond support the breastfeeding mother, how can we support the women who do need to formula feed without making that the norm? Yes, absolutely, women who need to use formula, for whatever reason, deserve to be supported. But how can we support those women, without allowing formula feeding to become “normal”. Because while, yes, it’s ok to use if necessary, it’s far from normal. And it shouldn’t be considered such. It shouldn’t be considered the immediate alternative. And it certainly shouldn’t be marketed as such (but there’s another topic that’s already been blogged about beautifully in so many other places).

I had this post in my head when I stumbled on this post from “Blacktating“. The author describes her experience learning to nurse in public, yearning to nurse in public:

I saw how a baby might start to wiggle a bit and like Houdini the mom had unhooked her bra, lifted her shirt and latched the baby in seconds flat. It looked effortless and it also looked like there was a baby in her arms – no breasts hanging out, no cover ups – simply a babe in arms. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to feel that assured. I wanted to look that smooth and at ease.

And she felt comfortable enough, with her community, to learn and try. Most women today don’t, and I guess I don’t understand that. They feel pressure from all angles to breastfeed, or to have a natural childbirth, but aren’t offered ways to learn to do that. They see the research that shows that epidurals and inductions are dangerous, but hear from friends that labor hurts and the epidural is a godsend. They know that breastmilk is the perfect first food for infants, but don’t know how to get started, or are made to feel awkward about nursing. Where are our communities?

And as usual, women do other women a disservice. We are our own worst enemies. This hasn’t changed since elementary school. We cut each other down to make ourselves feel better. Heck, I may even be doing it right now. Telling pregnant women horror stories of 40 hour labors and tears from here to there, and nipples trashed by babies doesn’t help. No one needs to hear your train wreck story. There’s a time and a place for it, and your pregnant friend is not the right audience.

What she does need to hear is that birth is normal. That feeding your baby, from your  body, is normal; and while challenging, possible. And that being a mama, if it’s something you really want, is the best job in the whole world. Becoming a mama will transform you. It will give you passion for something new.

(A huge part of me feels like I might want to offer an apology for this post. But I’m not going to. Because I’m not really sorry. What I will say is that this post IS NOT at all directed at women who’ve had to, for TRUE MEDICAL REASONS had to have a cesarean, or not been able to breastfeed. Lord knows y’all don’t need to feel any more guilty for choices that you didn’t really get to make.)

Finleigh Esther has arrived…

And as is tradition in this family, she arrived with quite the fanfare.

I kept joking with my midwives that I wouldn’t even recognize labor until my water broke, since that’s how things started with Ryan. They thought I’d be OK. Heck, I was really only joking. I TEACH this stuff…c’mon. Contractions 5 minutes apart, lasting a minute or more, for more than an hour, hard enough that you have to breathe through them. Well, I had those contractions, but they didn’t really hurt, and I didn’t have to breathe through them unless I was sitting down. That probably should have been clue number one.

Let’s back up a bit though…

Saturday (3/20) I decided that I was pretty much done being pregnant, and I was just about ready to do ANYTHING to get this kid out. I mean anything. I bought castor oil. But I didn’t take it. I ended up just chilling on Saturday, going to the park, napping, going to a birthday party for Ryan’s friend, falling asleep early.

Sunday (3/21) Operation Get Baby Out in full effect. We had no plans, as we’d kind of expected to have a baby by this point. So, off I went to walk, without the Peanut. She walks too slow, and I wanted a bit of time to myself. I headed to Redmond Town Center…I had a 30% off coupon for the Gap, and they had the one and only pair of jeans RE likes on sale. Got those for her, walked a LOT more, did some stairs, then got bored. Felt some cramps while I was walking, but certainly nothing that would stop me. So, I headed to Ben Franklin, and wandered around there for a while. Stopped at a drug store to buy an enema (told you, about ready to try anything), then headed to Trader Joes. Still crampy, but not bad at all. Grocery shopped, and got everything we’d need for the week. By this point, I was tired, so I headed home. Michael and RE were still out (they’d gone to run some errands too), so I decided to get Ryan’s spring clothes all washed and ready to go. Then I facebooked (what else would I do?). Michael and Ryan got home, and we made one heck of a dinner (steak with beet and kale risotto – amazing).

After dinner, I couldn’t sit still, and my back was really sore, but of course, I chalked it up to having been out all day. So, I folded the laundry, swept the floors, vacuumed, straightened the baby’s stuff, cleaned the kitchen, then went off to do that one other thing that gets labor going…you know the one. Well, that might just have been the kicker. Contractions were a pretty consistent 5 minutes apart after that, but they still didn’t really hurt (aside from that darn sore back). I sat on the ball while we watched TV and just kind of chilled out. Around 11, we thought maybe we should call the midwives just to give them a heads up that labor would probably be happening at some point that night. We called at about 1130 and my MW suggested I try to get some sleep. I was in bed by midnight.

At 1am, I woke up to a strong contraction (argh, that sounds like one of the things I read my labor classes…so rote). I laid there through it, because this had happened before and they’d faded away. But this one was long and strong. And the next one came pretty close…I think about 3 minutes apart. I tried getting on all fours, but it was horrible, and I was alone, in the dark, stuck in an awful position. I could barely move, but knew I had to get Michael. I hollered, but he sleeps like a brick and didn’t hear me. I had to find my way out to the living room…I did, but barely. I made it to the dining room table and bent over it. I told him he had to call the MWs…we made that call at 1:37am.

I made my way back to the bedroom, since leaning over was the only comfortable position I could stand, and I’d rather lean on the bed. Michael bustled around getting the bed made up with the table cloth under it. Meanwhile I’m contracting every minute or so, lasting longer than a minute (time was pretty irrelevant at this point).  My thoughts were a jumble of “ohgodthishurtsican’tbelievei’minlaborhowmuchlongerwillthislastthishurtssobadholyshit”. I really had no idea how long this would all last. At some point, I realized I was pushing a bit…crap. The midwives weren’t there yet. I yelled to Michael (no idea where he was, probably right by my side, but I really couldn’t see anything) that I was pushing. He threw the second plastic cloth under where I was standing, which was a smart idea, as the next little push broke my water. Honestly, one of the thoughts I had at this point was something to the effect of “oh my god, I’m doing this, we’re doing this, all by ourselves, and it’s totally normal and this is birth and how it’s really meant to happen, and I’m pushing with the urge, and no one’s telling me what to do or how to do it and this is birth”. The next push, which felt like only seconds later, really broke my water. And I mean full on huge gush of water…followed almost immediately by a little head. A head? What?! Where were the MWs?? Yeah, not there yet. Michael supported the head, and I yelled, “oh my god, is that a head? I think that’s a head!” Michael replied that yep, it’s a head, and was I ready to push out the rest of our baby? Nope, let me breathe for a second. I felt the next contraction, and with it, an amazing urge to push. I guess Michael helped guide the baby’s shoulders out, one at a time, turning her a bit and helping her join this world. She squeaked, then cried, then really let it wail. I kept telling her to cry for mama. He handed her to me, but the cord was a little short, so we were in kind of a strange position. He had to help me up to the bed, as I started shaking from adrenaline almost immediately. Not sure how we got up there, but we did, and I flopped over, ecstatic, amazed, awed, and completely blown away. We didn’t even really bother to check the sex, we were so overwhelmed with what we’d just done, together, alone. We were still alone. We checked – a girl! I’d known from the get-go…the moment the stick turned pink we were having another girl, but of course, I wasn’t positive until she was in my arms.

Finleigh Esther was born at 2:04am on March 22, 2010. At home. Caught by her daddy. While RE slept (yes, slept through mommy yelling and screaming and moaning). And the midwives and friends drove.

Patty arrived first…Michael greeted her at the door, and told her that the baby was here. She was disbelieving. And then, apparently, a little panicked. But upon arriving in the room, realized all was OK. It was great to have her here…she got me a pillow, found some blankets for me, and just kind of held my head until the midwives arrived.

Lindsay got here the same time as the midwives…she was also in shock that the baby was already here. Well, so were the midwives, really! Lindsay started taking pictures almost immediately, since that was her job. I’m bummed there were no pics of the birth itself, but it was such an awesome experience I wouldn’t trade it.

The midwives were a little concerned, of course, wanting to make sure the placenta came out…it was now about 20 minutes after birth and the placenta really showed no signs of wanting to separate. We gave it a few more minutes…then they had to do some manipulating to get it out, but it came out, cleanly, and without any excess bleeding, so we were all set. They checked me out, and were I think a little surprised to find that all was totally fine.

By this time, Finleigh was nursing, so we let her nurse, and chatted about what had happened, and laughed and talked until she was done and ready to be examined. We woke up Ryan at some point in here. She was super excited to meet her sister, and since she missed the whole placenta/umbilical cord thing, she was really into watching her get weighed and measured. She weighed in at 7 pounds, 8 ounces, and 20 inches long. A full pound and an inch and a half bigger than Ryan was. They hung around for a little while longer, and around 4am, everyone left. Patty helped get Ryan back to sleep, and Finleigh and I settled in for the rest of the morning to sleep.

Around 730, we woke up to Ryan wanting to make sure her little sister was really here. I’m sure she thought it might have been a dream. I know I was wondering the same thing myself…

At this point, I know it’s cliche, but I can’t imagine our household without Finleigh. She’s a part of us, and an amazing part. She’s certainly brought Michael and I closer together…who knew when I started dating him in high school that someday he’d be catching my babies!?

Welcome to the world Finleigh Esther. We love you.

Feeling Restless

I’ve been feeling antsy for a while now. It’s annoying me, because my New Years resolution was to be content, and honestly, I’ve been doing a pretty decent job of it.

But lately, I’ve felt restless.

I feel like I’m ready to start a new adventure, a new journey, a new something. I’ve got a few things in the works (to share later), but nothing solid enough yet that it feels real.

Is it time to move (not out of the Seattle area)? Time to change careers (doubtful)? Time for new people (I can’t imagine it)?

So really, I’ve no idea what to do about this restless feeling I’m having right now. Instead of dwelling on it too much, I’m eating chocolate. And for now, that’s working.


I had a parent ask me in a labor and birth class the other night what it felt like after I’d given birth, and if I felt lighter (a lot of the moms have complained of that heavy feeling late in pregnancy).

Without missing a beat (or thinking) I responded:

“Empty. I felt empty.”

And I didn’t mean it in a negative way, but rather, in a sort of sad way. Melancholy, I suppose. I remember really mourning pregnancy, and the loss of having Ryan inside me, and the realization that I’d now REALLY have to share her, and care for her on the outside. It was more than just that my body had been emptied, but it’s really hard to describe it.

I think the closest I can get is that it’s like an amputee. You know your leg is gone, but it still itches sometimes, still hurts, and you still think you’ll be able to reach down and touch it.

Pregnancy is a little that way.

Your babe is here, and you are holding, touching, nursing and caring for her, but you still think that you’ll reach down and touch that huge belly, you feel “phantom kicks” and would SWEAR that you’re pregnant (but you’re not), and sometimes, years later, you feel phantom milk let-downs, again, swearing that you’re about to look down to find two huge wet spots on your shirt.

And so, as you celebrate the birth of your child, you mourn the loss of your pregnancy. It’s an important step, and giving yourself some time to mourn it is important. Again, this just came up, and I felt like I needed to write it out…for all the challenges, I LOVED being pregnant, loved that feeling of having another human being growing inside me, and loved bringing her into this world. And to love something that much, is to mourn it when it’s gone.

32 weeks, November 2005

To all my mamas…

I’ve been thinking a lot about Mother’s Day, and thus, all the moms in my life who all mean so much to me. There are so many women who’ve really helped shape the way I mother our child, and the way I behave as a mother, I can’t even count them all.

Some, I’ve known my whole life. Since the moment I was born, my mom’s been a permanent fixture in my life. The person who’s there for me, regarding anything and everything at nearly any time. The women without whom I don’t even think I’d know how to be a good mother to RE, or (honestly) sometimes an imperfect mama to RE, and that it’s OK to be imperfect, to F up sometimes, to have a toddler who uses the word sh!t (correctly, mind you). Mom’s the one who taught me the value of sing-a-longs (no, we’re not talking Disney here; think Hello Dolly and “California Dreamin'”), dance-a-longs (Grease, Footloose, Dirty Dancing), and story telling. Mom taught me to bake and sew, two things I just may have surpassed her skills on…at least, I know I can rock a better chocolate chip cookie. Mom taught me that it’s OK to have cocktails at 3 in the afternoon with your good friend (I know, it was only once, but I’ll never forget it).

Other mamas came into my life as I was growing up…friend’s moms, moms who did things a little differently than my mom. Moms who didn’t wear sweats all day (I get it now, mom), who went to work outside the house (thank you for not), who made exotic things for dinner. But in the end, no matter how close I got to those moms, they weren’t my mom, and that’s the important part. The grass is never greener, and it took me a very long time to learn that.

Then, there’s my partner’s mom. Indirectly, she’s had a huge influence on the way I parent. She raised an amazing boy into an even more amazing man, who supports and loves me and helps me to be a pretty cool mom (he’s a pretty cool dad, too). He was raised to respect women, put the toilet seat down, eat his veggies and wear babies, and for this, I cannot thank his mother enough.

And of course, the mamas who came into my life after having had RE, and the friends who became mamas somewhere in there, the mamas who are now some of the most important people in my life, the women I count on day in and day out, to share the joys and challenges of parenting toddlers (and so many of you, infants). Women with whom I share ideas, creative recipes, and bitch sessions. Women whose birth stories have ignited fires within me, whose parenting stories have set off tears, and set us laughing ’till our sides hurt. These women are also, in large part, why I am who I am. Though the earliest foundation for being a mama came from home, more recent inspiration comes from friends (who are like home). For our friendships, I am eternally grateful, and I truly hope that someday, when our kids are all, like, 40, we’ll be sitting at their weddings telling stories about when they were babies.

I hope that someday, RE will think of mommy and remember singing to Mamma Mia in the car, dancing to rockabilly in the living room and “sewing” with me at the machine…it’s the everyday moments that become history, isn’t it?

Though I ran out of time to make you all something, I truly hope this letter can count as a Mother’s Day gift. I don’t know that you all know how much you mean to me…


Re-Post…Birthin’ Day.

And a repost, in memory of RE’s day of birth…and one of the most important moments in our lives. I cannot believe our child is three years old, and that this day (and post) occurred three years ago.


Mesh Panties Are Sexy

Mesh Panties are Sexy

Courtesy of Evergreen hospitals wifi and my trying to stay awake for another half an hour to feed Ryan again, here is it!

As a few of you may know, I was chosen to host a “passion party” Saturday night. If you don’t know what this is, it’s basically a tupperware party for sex toys. So it’s in the middle of this fun and frolic that I get up to go pee…no biggie right? But I go to sit back down and *gush*. Oops, what’s that? So I rush back to the bathroom, thinking, have I just peed my pants? I changed into a pad and went back out. I announced to my 10 friends sitting in my living room that I thought my water had broken. So of course, everyone flips out and starts rushing around! Total mayhem! In any case, we finish the party out, cause everyone was just about to order their goodies anyway, and I still had to get Michael home from work and all that.

So, I spent another hour and a half at home, finishing up the party, doing dishes, dealing with the dog, all the while, just cramps coming every 10 minutes. I’m thinking, hey, no big deal!! We finally get out of the house, me, Michael, my best friend Alyssa, Julie and Mary. It’s an entourage! Which is what they called us when we arrived at the maternity center! But Mary and Julie were at the party and I didn’t have the heart to tell them not to come on down. Plus, I figured it would be a while and I’d need the company and so would Michael. This is about 9:45.

By the time I’m in the room and all dressed in my SEXY mesh panties and HUGE diaper pad, I’m having pretty good size contractions and I’m at a good solid 4cm. Still irregular though. 20 minutes later, they’re getting more regular and much much closer together. By 11, they are nearly on top of one another, and terrifying. I couldn’t talk, breathe, walk, even move…I just cried. So, despite my original plan for a drug free birth, I begged for an epidural. Maybe begged isn’t right, I think I demanded with a few expletives. But whatever. I wanted to kiss the anesthesiologist. I LOVE that man. Got the epi at midnight and by 12:15, I was laughing and joking with my friends, and having a great time! We were joking around with the night nurses, watching David Hasselhofs newest video ( And I was dialated to 7! Rock on!).

I hung out, slept and just generally chilled all night, all the while, progessing slowly. At one point, the labor nurse, Kathy, (my other new friend) gave me some pitocin to help make the contractions a little more meaningful. I was stuck at 9 cm for about 2 hours, but to tell you the truth, I didn’t really care. I got to rest and sleep and store up my energy.

By about 5:30, we started pushing!! At 5:35, I had to stop pushing so she could get my doc in there. By the time my doctor arrived, I’d been pushing for about 20 minutes and the baby’s head was crowing. Let me tell you, epi or no epi, you’re gonna feel that! Ouch, they call it the “ring of fire” for good reason. (And having just seen Walk the Line, all I can hear is the Johnny Cash song) After 45 minutes of pushing, Ryan came out!! She was so desperate to accesorize, that she helped herself to that pretty necklace known as her cord, and came out a bit blue at first. But as soon as they got her a shot of oxygen, she was bright pink and screaming!

Michael and I just kept looking at each other saying that we can’t believe she’s ours, that we made that, or that we actually did it. It’s the most amazing feeling in the world. I love Ryan more than anything, and watching Michael give her eskimo kisses, I love him a VERY close second.