Tag Archives: Birth

Birth Was Great But Now I Can’t Sit Down : Five Essentials For Postpartum Care

July 7, 2016

Hello from the other side, friends. A few weeks ago I had my third baby, officially graduating me to the postpartum phase. Since I’ve done this before, I knew to have low expectations and plenty of Senna Lax. It’s been okay. Basically I have three speeds postpartum: totally fine, totally overwhelmed, and totally dead inside. As long as I can keep the last one at bay for the majority of the time, we’ll be okay.

Physical recovery has been fine, too. Nothing can compare to the horror of the first baby, and I know better than to think my body will return to a teenager in five minutes (or ever). We’re taking our time. My advice to anyone about to go through this for the first time is this: Give yourself grace and ask for what you need. If you need someone to come hold the baby, ask for help. If you need your partner to stop watching Game Of Thrones on his iPhone because it’s making you nauseous, ask for help. If you need more of those ice pack pads from the hospital to take home so your vagina doesn’t fall out, buzz your nurse and ASK FOR HELP. You just had a baby, it’s okay to have needs.

It’s also a good idea to take time for self-care, especially if they help make your body (and your brain) feel a little more normal.

Today, five things I’ve found that help make this part a bit easier.

You got this.


1. Thinx underwear.


Is it just me or does the bleeding after baby seem to last forever? I’m on week three and still not able to walk around footloose and pad free. Even though I’ve long moved on from the diaper phase of postpartum recovery (praise Jesus), that light bleeding off and on all day and night just keeps on going.

Fortunately for women who hate wearing pads (all women), there is a new way to walk around with your flow. Thinx period panties replaces pantyliners with its built in miracle system and allows you to feel more like a normal human being postpartum. I don’t really understand how it works, but I do know that wearing these special underwears is 100x better than wearing a pad.

Official review: Comfy, convenient, not gross, NOT A PAD. 5/5 stars.

Q&A –> Yes, I’ve heard of the diva cup. No, I don’t want to try it (you can’t use it postpartum anyways). Yes, I’m going to use Thinx for my period. No, I won’t be able to just use them the whole cycle (my flow is too heavy). Yes, they are comfortable. No, it doesn’t feel wet. No, it doesn’t smell bad. No, it doesn’t feel like sitting in your own blood. Yes, you have to rinse them before you wash them. No, you don’t have to change them during the day. Yes, I actually really do love them.

10 bucks off your first pair.


PS: 100 million girls in the developing world fall behind in school just because of their periods, forcing many of them to drop off. See how every purchase of Thinx underwear helps here.

PPS: Their sister company makes pee panties and they were a lifesaver during pregnancy. You can find that review here.


2. Miralax.


Well hello old friend.

We’ve talked about that first postpartum poo before.

Look, I don’t need to ruin your day with my sad tales of anal fissures and crippling constipation–but I will say that for my friends out there who also have this problem after birth: solidarity, sister. The pain is so real and devastating.

This time, the troubles didn’t hit me until 3.5 weeks postpartum. I thought I had avoided it this time, but my body was just waiting to surprise me! All of a sudden the ass glass is back, and now every trip to the bathroom is like a second birth. Please excuse my screams.

Even if you don’t have fissures or hemorrhoids, most women experience some minor poo problems post delivery. Two things I’ve found that help soften things up: Miralax + Senna tablets. Both things help keep things moving without being too hard on your body.



3. Non-maternity clothes.


My postpartum wardrobe the first two times consisted of ratty maternity clothes, unflattering XL t-shirts, and sweatpants. Not great for morale.

Postpartum wardrobe this time: kimonos, flowy tops, compression leggings (bless), and a few new nursing tanks from Target. Candis from The Jones Market also sent me this shirt, which feels like butter and is so roomy and forgiving.

Look, we all know that after you have a baby, your body feels like a bloated jellyfish. What I’ve learned this time around is that anything that helps you feel like a normal, healthy human being is worth the price. Don’t settle for your stretched out maternity tops that hug in all the wrong places. The morale boost is worth it.


4. Peapod grocery delivery.


A few years ago if you were getting your groceries delivered, you were either a wealthy hermit or Beyoncé. Now you can get them delivered fairly cheaply from your local grocery store. The grocery store that you were going to take two young kids and newborn to while you tried to shove bananas in the cart next to the car-seat (because that’s about all you’re going to fit in with that seat taking up most of the room).

This week I placed my first Peapod order and a day later, all my groceries were delivered to my door without me having to get three kids and myself out the door. Groceries that I took two days to slowly pick out and add to my cart while I looked up recipes and figured out what I want for breakfast. It’s magic, and I definitely ended up saving money because of all the stuff I didn’t get roaming the aisles. I also saved my sanity, which is worth its weight in gold. For new Peapod users, click here to get $20 dollars off your first order (what!) and free delivery for a month (there is literally no reason not to do this).

This is my life now.


5. Dry shampoo.

Dry Shampoo

Self-care with kids means doing the most you can with the time you have. And what you don’t have a lot of during the postpartum phase is time. Dry shampoo cuts hair care in half by eliminating washes, dries, and styling (three things I’m hardly doing anyways). It’s especially great for those of us with long hair who only shampoo a few times a week.

A tip from my friend Heather: Apply dry shampoo the night before and wake up with volume and a more even cover.



Oh Novi: A Birth Story

June 17, 2016


My sweet baby boy Novi was born on a cool June night after 21 hours of labor.

Things people told me about delivering third babies:
1) The baby will come early.
2) Labor will be quick.
3) It will be easiest one yet.

(Nope on all accounts)

My contractions started the morning before around 5am, two days after my due date. Because we weren’t sure if it was the real thing, Austin still went into work at 6 but promised to be back in a few hours if things didn’t slow down. They didn’t. They also didn’t speed up. Just like my other two labors, things moved slowly. For eight more hours my contractions were 7 to 10 minutes apart. In that time, Austin came home from his last day of intern year, my parents drove in from Philly, and Waylon and Eva ran around like drunk college kids asking WHERE IS THE BABY and CAN I HAVE A POPSICLE.

Meanwhile I never sat down because whenever I did, the contractions slowed down and I was determined to make this happen. And so I walked and rocked, rocked and walked. For a while I tried to walk outside, but it was so hot that I only drenched myself in sweat. At one point I was so desperate to stop walking circles in my kitchen that I drove myself to KMart to walk around in the air conditioning while my family sent threatening texts from the living room. It was a special time.

Once the evening came, I stopped timing contractions and started the work of really breathing through them. By 6pm, they were close enough together that I knew we needed to leave for the hospital soon. When I called the nurse and said my contractions were around three minutes apart, she said, “You need to come now. I don’t want you to have this baby in the car.” I laughed and waited 40 more minutes. I knew better. My body takes forever to dilate, and I wanted to be home as long as I could.

Things Austin did while I labored at home:
1) Nap.
2) Shower.
3) Light gardening.
4) Craigslist.
5) Instagram memes.

Things I wanted him to be doing once the pain reached an 8/10:

Finally around 7pm, we loaded our bags into the car and left. On the way we stopped at the diner where my parents had taken the kids and said goodbye. It was hard to look at Eva. I felt overwhelmed with love for her, but also excited and focused on the night ahead. I had one contraction outside the restaurant, ran in to kiss my babies goodnight, and then shuffled back outside to have another contraction. Things were starting to pick up.

Once we checked into triage, I felt a tiredness wash over me. I’d been up since 5, in labor for fifteen hours, and on my feet the whole time. This is when I said to the nurse, “Just to let you know, I’d like an epidural.” She gave the thumbs up, and four days later (two long hours later)–they finally gave me one.

Things I don’t want to be doing when the pain is a 10/10:
1) Watching Friends reruns.
2) Peeing.
3) Lying down.
4) Holding my gown together.
5) Waiting for an anesthesiologist.

This is the part of the story that, for me, usually ends in a calm, peaceful birth. Just like with Waylon, I’d been in labor for 17 hours and I was ready to rest before pushing a baby out. Instead, the epidural failed twice–and before they could try to fix it one more time, my water broke and I went from 8 centimeters dilated to 10 in about five minutes.

I wish I could describe what it’s like to have a drug free birth when you are not prepared to have a drug free birth. Have you ever been on a leisurely walk and then tripped and fallen onto a bed of hot nails? It’s kind of like that, except you’re exhausted and the walk wasn’t ever that leisurely to begin with.

In a very short time, my water broke, the drugs disappeared completely, and I felt the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. Twice I tried to ask if anyone was going to fix the meds, but no one answered me. Instead they just avoided eye contact and tried to act busy. That’s when I knew things were about to get real.

Truth: delivering Novi into this world is the hardest thing I’ve ever physically done. At one point his shoulders got stuck (shoulder dystocia), prompting a doctor to press down as hard as he could on my abdomen to help push the baby out. Austin said he pressed so hard that you could hear an audible crunch. Luckily I couldn’t hear it over my very audible scream.

Things I yelled during labor that I don’t remember yelling:
1) NO
5) IT BURNS (hey ring of fire)

It was all very loud and fast, slow and silent at the same time. Once he finally slid out, I was so emotionally and physically spent that I just closed my eyes and wept. I never saw them hold him up or heard Austin say, “It’s a boy!” Instead I felt it all. I felt the weight of him on my chest, the relief of it being over, and the surge of immediate love for someone I just met.




We named him Novi Fox because we are the kind of parents who name their kid Novi Fox. Since Novi isn’t a real name, it doesn’t have an official meaning which means I can give it one all its own. So far I’m thinking “child who never complains,” but we’ll see.



It’s been five days since I delivered my sweet boy into this world, and while it was difficult and unexpected– his birth story has already started to feel less like hard jolt and more like an amazing and beautiful feat. I’m so glad I got to do this one more time.

Oh Novi. We’re so glad you’re here. You are everything I dreamed you could be.


// hello novi video //


Real Talk

December 20, 2013

Real Talk

If you skipped yesterday’s birth story because it’s long and contains birth, our daughter Eva was born last Friday at 5:57 in the morning.

11 hours of labor, 10 minutes of pushing.

Yes, I got an epidural. Yes, I finally pooed four days later.

No, it wasn’t as bad as last time.

Baby E was 8 lbs, 2 oz. and a little over 21 inches long. I have a second degree tear which is nothing compared to the third degree tear that still haunts me from last time. I’m not ready to go horseback riding, but it’s pretty manageable.

Things I wish I could do: Answer phone calls, write thank you cards, lift my two year old into his bed without feeling like my uterus is falling out, walk through a room without tripping over 100 things, eat cheese (postpartum bowels!), maybe leave the house.

Austin has been busy with school this week, which has made things difficult. Caring for a needy newborn and a slightly panicked two year old, alone, while your nethers try to recuperate is not easy. 

Things that have made it easier: Friends who go with you to doctor’s appointments, friends who bring you chocolate brownies and casseroles and bunches of fresh grapes so that you can maybe, finally, poop. Friends (you!) who text and snapchat and call (even though I still haven’t ever answered) and email and tweet and facebook and send care packages and do all the things to say: you are doing this and I love you.

Thank you.

Here are some things that are real:

Waylon loves his sister but does not love anyone else loving her. When people come to visit, he either screams DON’T LOOK AT HER or tries to quietly burn the house down. He is cooped up and longing for my complete attention. I watch him trying to fight through it and it breaks my heart. When he falls asleep at night, I miss him. I feel guilty for being frustrated with him all day long. I look at his newborn pictures and cry. Every day he asks if when he gets little, can he maybe nurse? The fact that he doesn’t remember those 18 months of bonding and breastfeeding just kills me dead. A few nights ago he said in his most sincere, small voice, “I love when you hold me, Mommy.”

We persevere.


Yesterday I thought my appendix was bursting. So much so that I started mentally writing my eulogy until Austin pointed out that my appendix was on the other side and maybe I just had a baby so that’s why it hurts. I disagreed but he remained unalarmed.

(Postpartum cramping is no joke and worse the second time around).

It’s only been a week. Things will get better. Things will get worse. I tried taking it all day by day but it was too overwhelming so now I’m taking it hour by hour. At one point this week everyone was crying except Austin and I thought: I can’t do this.

But the thing is, of course I can.

One last thing. My greatest fear this time around (besides my perineum falling off) was not being able to bond with the baby or feeling as in love as I did when I met Waylon. I worried about it for nine whole months.

As it turns out, all of you seasoned mamas were right. I had nothing to worry about.

Happy Friday. Hour by hour.


Eva December: A Birth Story

December 19, 2013


Eva December Baer was born on a cold, winter morning. The sun was low, there was snow on the ground.

She was born on her due date. No one was surprised except for me. I thought she would wait. I thought I had a little more time.

I woke up the day before with contractions every 15 minutes. They lasted all day and were fairly mild. I dismissed them as pre-labor, did the dishes, and took my son to Hershey’s Chocolate World to ride the free ride and see the singing cows. We held hands. I tried not to look at the time.

Austin came home mid afternoon to study. I mentioned that my water might have broken but I couldn’t tell for sure. Things didn’t feel right. We kept shrugging our shoulders and pretending I wasn’t in labor. We discussed hamburgers for dinner.

I tried to nap, but instead consulted Google’s horror stories and decided that maybe someone should check to see if my water had broken. I called the midwives as I assembled dinner and they said, “Come in right now.”

I went alone. I didn’t want anyone to think this was it if it wasn’t. I didn’t want to be the girl-who-cried-labor. Too much pressure on my uterus, too much pressure on me to know if these were real contractions and if this was real amniotic fluid.

I tried to stay breezy.

Austin said, “Please let me come along. We’ll call my parents.” I said no and quickly kissed my son goodbye. I left my packed bag behind. I said I’d be right back.

I cried the whole 45 minute drive there, checked into triage, and cried the whole time I waited for a midwife. I was uneasy and scared. My contractions had started to worsen in the car and I didn’t get to have the goodbye with Waylon that I’d wanted. Austin tried to FaceTime me so I could say goodnight, but I just sobbed and said, “Please don’t put him to bed. They have to let me come home.”

When the midwife finally came in to check, she verified that my water had not broken and that it was just a mild infection that looked a lot like amniotic fluid. I tried to thank her but was too busy having a contraction. She said, “Wait, are you in labor?”

They let me leave.

I told the midwife I didn’t know when I’d be back and she just smiled and said, “I’ll see you in a few hours.”

I’d told my parents not to come, that this wasn’t real labor, but they ignored me and had been on their way for over an hour. They passed the birthing center just in time and my mom was able to drive me home. She drove ten miles under the speed limit. The contractions were now five minutes apart.

As soon as I got home I felt deep and sweet relief. Now we could get started.

I hugged my son, told him his baby sister was coming, and rocked him to sleep in between heavy breathing. My contractions were 3-5 minutes apart, but I could mostly talk/swear through them. I ate a hamburger and tried to make jokes. My dad tried not to pass out.

Austin started putting our bags in the car at around 2 minutes apart, but I stopped him. I wanted to wait. I knew it would be more comfortable to labor at home.

But the contractions got worse and fast. Austin asked if he could do a cervical check to see if I was progressing and I let him. We left immediately after. He said, “It’s time.”

The car ride was fun! (No). I tried to stay cheery, but my driver kept singing Christmas carols in a high falsetto and acting like nobody was in labor. Finally I asked him to kindly stop singing OR I WILL THROW MYSELF FROM THIS CAR.

No one was surprised to see me come through the doors. I’d left at three centimeters dilated and returned at five.

As I labored in triage, I didn’t think I’d need or want an epidural. The contractions were strong, but things were moving quickly and I still felt like I was in control.

Then the nausea set in!

This hadn’t happened in my previous birth so I was confused why I suddenly had the flu. The room was spinning. I was weak in the knees. Every contraction was suddenly much worse because I couldn’t breathe through suppressing the urge to vomit and hard labor at the same time.

And so I said, without shame, “I’ll take that epidural now.”

And it was so.

I never stopped being nauseated, but I was able to rest. Normally they would have broken my water right after the epidural to keep things moving, but because I was positive for Group B Strep, I required two doses of penicillin and had to wait.

The nurses turned all the lights off and took turns holding my hand in the dark while Austin slept on a cot in the corner. It was a cozy night and I felt at peace with the birth and excited to meet my baby.

They broke my water around five in the morning and she was born by six. My body was ready. I felt the urge to push only minutes before she started crowning.

At least twice I reminded the room that last time I tore so badly I could barely sit for months, so could we all work together to ensure this doesn’t happen again? Everyone just smiled and avoided eye contact. A nurse offered to take pictures.

I pushed for ten minutes and at 5:57am, Austin delivered our daughter into my arms.

She became part of me as soon as I saw her face. Her eyes and mouth were Waylon’s, her nose was mine. She was hearty and healthy, letting out an earnest cry before she was all the way born.

I took deep breaths. I felt all the feelings.

The rest is as you expect. Second degree tear (which feels much different than a third degree tear praise baby Jesus), a lot of severe postpartum cramping, and a backache I still can’t shake. Since Austin was able to deliver her, the midwife held my perineum together and helped coach me through controlled pushing. She was amazing. If I saw her today, I’d probably weep. As it goes with women helping women.

We left the birthing center 28 hours after she was born. I wanted to sleep in my own bed and our baby girl was eating and pooping and showing all the signs of being a wonderfully healthy human. It was nice to be home.

We named her Eva long before her brother was born. It means life, the first woman, the creation of a soul. Her dad thought of December, my favorite month of winter. A time of magic, of heartache, of healing. A time of astounding joy. We welcome her with heavy, happy hearts. Another beautiful life.

And that is the story of how Eva December was born.

She is loved.



|watch in HD|

5 Tips For Surviving That First Post Labor Poo

August 30, 2012


We’ve talked about a lot of things here on the blog. We’ve talked about marriage and sex, breastfeeding and hemorrhoids, mornings and morning sickness. What’s funny is that out of all of it, the thing you bring up most is the first post labor poo. Sometimes in the middle of the grocery store. Women come up to me and say, “Wasn’t it just terrible? I can’t believe how terrible it was.” Then they thank me for talking about it.

Of course no thanks is needed. Honestly I don’t know how you don’t talk about it. I wish so desperately that someone would have warned me of this atrocity. I wish even more that someone would have told me what to do to make it less painful.

Some of you will mention you have never had to deal with a difficult first post labor poo. For some reason or another, you were blessed with amazing bowels or a body that takes labor and delivery like a Dugger. My sincerest congratulations. You dodged a bullet. You are dismissed.

Here’s my story:

Two days after I came home from the birthing center with my new baby boy, I knew I couldn’t avoid it any longer. It had been 6 days since anything had passed through my system and it was time. I waited until the baby fell asleep and then quietly slipped into the bathroom. Austin wasn’t home so I gave myself a little mirror pep talk and took a few deep breaths. It was go time. Literally.

Ten seconds into the endeavour, I was crying and bracing myself against the wall. Two minutes later I was on the phone with my OBGYN asking if it was possible for my vagina to fall out while trying to have a BM.  The nurse was very kind and assured me I just needed to relax and maybe take a stool softener. A stool softener? Honey, I’ve taken 7.

I hung up.

After a few more minutes of quiet screams and pledges to never, ever do this again–the baby started to cry from the other room. Panic washed over me as I realized I was really in no position to get up. I was in the middle of Anal Armageddon for Pete’s sake. I waited a few minutes hoping he would fall back asleep, but his cries only escalated. I tried calling Austin who was painting a house a few miles away, but he didn’t answer. I cursed him. I cursed him for not having to do any of the hard parts; labor, a third degree tear, and now a situation I can only describe as “ass glass.”

Finally I just faced the fact that this was happening, picked myself up, waddled out to the baby, returned with him attached to my breast, and the experienced the worst 15 minutes of my life. Really. It was the worst.

A year later and this memory is the single largest barrier between me and baby number two. In retrospect, I should have done things a little differently but I didn’t know any better.

Save yourself.

Five tips for surviving that first post labor poo:

1) Get medicated. IB profin, tucks pads, cooling creams, stool softeners, wine. Do it. Do it all.

2) Apply counter pressure. It was only after my first post labor poo that a friend told me to apply counter pressure. It was in a facebook message and I immediately started crying. Yes! Of course! Applying counter pressure in the front with a frozen pad makes it much easier to go in the back without worrying about anything ripping or falling out. (Tip: Soak a pamper and then put it in the freezer. Take out when you’re ready to use the bathroom).

3) Don’t do it alone. Wait until someone else is around before attempting the first labor poo. Moral support plus you won’t have to risk bringing the baby into a war zone.

4) Avoid cheese and anything else that will make your stool hard enough to cut glass. Fruit and veggies are your friend. Prune juice too if you can stomach it, though I’m pretty sure prune juice contains no prunes. Just dirty feet and garbage.

5) Go to the doctor if it doesn’t get better. Not to freak you out, but my post labor poos didn’t get any easier. In fact, I shit glass for 6 weeks straight before I finally went to the doctor. As it turns out, I had nasty anal fissures as a result of a difficult delivery. Swallow your pride. If it still hurts after a week or so, you might need a prescription to poo in peace.

Now that you have all the secrets, I should probably tell you that no matter what–it’s still going to be uncomfortable. That whole situation in general is uncomfortable. Be gentle, be safe, and avoid anything that is going to put stress on your body. Two weeks after I had Waylon, we moved and I regretted it for days afterward. My body suffered, especially that part of my body.

What about you? Do you have any tips on post labor pooing? I know it’s awkward for some of us to talk about it. If you ever need to feel less awkward, think about Paris Hilton pooping because she totally does it too! Everybody poops! And almost every mom has survived a gritty post labor poo. It’s a rite of passage. One that still leaves shivers up my spine.

Good luck.