Tag Archives: Parenting

Oh Novi: A Birth Story

June 17, 2016

IMG_8230

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) Napped.
2) Showered.
3) Light gardening.
4) Craigslist.
5) Instagram memes.

Things I wanted him to be doing once the pain reached an 8/10:
1) NONE OF THOSE THINGS.

Finally around seven, 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 before getting the drugs, and I was ready to rest before pushing a baby out. Instead, the medicine wore off 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
2) I’M NOT DOING THIS
3) I CAN’T DO THIS
4) JUST PULL IT OUT
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.

+

IMG_8237

+

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.

+IMG_8533

+

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 //

***

Happy Mother’s Day

May 6, 2016

People often say that motherhood is harder now than it ever has been before, but I don’t think that’s true. Instead it’s just different. Some things are better, some things are worse. A lot will always stay the same.

I feel lucky to be a mom in 2016. Screen time and cyberbullying are tough terrain, but along with the bad has come a lot of good. For example, Daniel Tiger! The shift away from fear-based parenting. Breastfeeding pillows! We are also no longer expected to stay home and make lasagnas if we don’t want to. Despite the daily op-ed pieces on “Mommy Wars,” it is possible to create a fulfilling life without worrying what everyone else thinks.

I’m not saying it comes without serious challenge. But now more than ever, our sons and daughters are seeing their mamas pursue a life of meaning with equal co-parents, supportive friends, and without fear of retribution. That’s some good stuff right there.

Motherhood will always be hard, but the upside is that there is always space for change. We are only as “good” or “bad” as we decide to be. Happy Mother’s Day to the strong women who decide day after day to show up and do their best.

***

The Second Trimester: A Love Story

March 9, 2016

2nd Trimester

Oh second trimester, how I love thee. The long bouts of energy, the relief from nausea, the vast exploration into the world of carbs with an extra side of carbs. Words cannot express how lovely it is to walk around vertically and not constantly cry on the bathroom floor. The last time I threw up was 8 weeks ago, and already I look back at it with the strange nostalgia usually reserved for wartime movies I pretended to enjoy.

The visible proof of pregnancy is nice, too. All that extra help with doors without the weight of nine months of cheeseburgers resting on your pelvic bone. I’ll take it! Of course there will always be the friend of a friend who asks if you’re overdue at 23 weeks or the aunt who constantly points out your third cousin’s wife who “looks like she’s swallowed a basketball.” But we persevere. I may not look like I’ve swallowed a basketball, but it does look like I’ve swallowed a basketball player–and if that’s not overachieving, I don’t know what is.

Perhaps my favorite part of the second trimester is the TO DO LIST. Some women nest for the last few days of pregnancy, I nest for the last few months. Which is great for my minimalist pixie girl clean house dreams, but sad for Austin who is helping me scrub the basement steps at 11pm. I can’t wait to see what I’ll be doing at the end of May. The day before Eva was born I moved an entire couch across the living room while Austin cleaned the ceiling fans.

There is still so much to do.

When people ask how I’m feeling, I hesitate to answer. This has been the physically hardest pregnancy so far, but my favorite out of the three. Despite the bodily side effects, these months mark the end of a chapter that I have very much enjoyed–and I’m very aware each day how lucky I am to do it one more time.

Three months to go.

***

Second trimester with Evie.

Essays For Motherhood: A Parenting Guide For The Millennial Mom

February 4, 2016

Essays

Chapter One

I Can No Longer See My Vagina (And Other Concerns): A Pregnancy Story

Chapter Two

Dressing Your Bumps: A Buyer’s Guide To Clothing A Large Mammal With Dignity

Chapter Three

I’d Like To Be Naked, Wearing A Wide Brimmed Hat, Listening To Sufjan, And Immersed In Water: Finding A Birth Plan That Doesn’t Sound Like The Plot To A Psychological Thriller

Chapter Four

Tucks Pads, Ice Packs, And Hemorrhoidal Spray: A Postpartum Love Story

Chapter Five

 Breastfeeding vs Bottle-feeding: How To Figure Out What’s Best And Then Stop Talking About It

Chapter Six

Dr. Seuss’s Bedtime Tales: What To Keep And What To Misplace At A Goodwill Drop-Off

Chapter Seven

The Baby Is Always Watching: The Art Of Covert Intercourse (A Handbook)

Chapter Eight

My Kid Is An Asshat: When Babies Become Toddlers And Ruin Your Day

Chapter Nine

Mumps, Shingles, Rubella, And 47 Other Things Your Child Doesn’t Have But You Google Anyways

Chapter Ten

That’s Great Honey! (And Other Phrases To Acknowledge Your Child While Staring Aimlessly At The Wall)

Chapter Eleven

Nobody’s Sleeping, Not Even The Dog: A Comprehensive Guide To Napping While Standing Up

Chapter Twelve

I Was Told This Would Take Two Days : When Potty Training Isn’t “A Breeze” (A Survivor’s Guide)

Chapter Thirteen

Pinterest Lied To Me: 17 Children’s Crafts That Require Zero Skills, Rallying, Or Clean Up

  Chapter Fourteen

Mommy, Where Is Your Penis? : Troubleshooting Your Way Out Of Uncomfortable Conversations With Four Easy Words (Go Ask Your Dad)

Chapter Fifteen

Public School Vs. Private School: An Exhaustive List Of Why It Doesn’t Matter Either Way

Chapter Sixteen

From Wall-E to Inside Out: 11 Pixar Movies To Avoid On Your Period

Chapter Seventeen

Lost In Costco And All I Need Is Cinnamon: A Detailed Map

Chapter Eighteen

I’m Sorry Your Child Feels That Way: The Ultimate Guide To Navigating “The Other Mom”

Chapter Nineteen

 27 Ways To Disable An iPhone: The Teenage Years

Chapter Twenty

My Child Wants To Take A Year Off Before College To Smoke Weed (A Self Help Directory)

Epilogue

They’ll Probably Be Fine After Therapy: A Realistic Ethos

***

Kids 1-3: A Side By Side Comparison That Is Likely Interesting To No One

January 28, 2016

3

Have you ever sat with a group of parents, stuck in the middle of a 45 minute discussion about infant pooping patterns and wondered: HOW DID I GET HERE? HOW DO I GET OUT? This post is kind of like that conversation!

Truly I’ll discuss sleep training and sippy cups any day, but my favorite parenting conversations revolve around family dynamics; personality differences, birth order, how we are shaped by our childhoods. I also love how much our ideas about pregnancy and motherhood shift with time and/or more children. For example, if you have a child who sleeps through the night at a few weeks old, you might have a different perspective on sleep than someone who hasn’t slept through the night in two years. Time is an even stronger factor. I love talking to mothers of teenagers and adults. There is often so much grace and balance behind their stories, a comfort to those of us still in the toddler trenches.

I have no profound conclusion to share from these conversations. All I have is some raw data, a side-by-side comparison of three kids from the same uterus that is likely interesting to no one else but me. Even Austin will see this post in his inbox and hit delete. Feel free to do the same. Just glad I finally have it written down in one spot.

xo

+++

PREGNANCY

FIRST SIGN OF PREGNANCY
Baby #1: positive pregnancy test
Baby #2: positive pregnancy test
Baby #3: round ligament pain, food aversion, sore chest

FATHERLY RESPONSE 
Baby #1: what
Baby #2: yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Baby #3: so excited, do you want to watch tv

MORNING SICKNESS
Baby #1: medium, sick until 10 weeks
Baby #2: worse, sick until 12 weeks
Baby #3: worst, throwing up regularly until 19 weeks

#1 CRAVED FOOD 
Baby #1: mexicana
Baby #2: icy fountain coke
Baby #3: greek salad

WEIRDEST PHYSICAL AILMENT
Baby #1: eyelashes fell out
Baby #2: plantar fasciitis
Baby #3: toe and fingernail infection (kill me)

PREGNANCY ROSE
Baby #1: ability to sleep in
Baby #2: cold weather in third trimester
Baby #3: last pregnancy nostalgia

PREGNANCY THORN
Baby #1: pelvic pain
Baby #2: round ligament pain
Baby #3: tbd

GENDER PREFERENCE BEFORE ANATOMY SCAN
Baby #1: girl (super cool boy instead)
Baby #2: boy (super cool girl instead)
Baby #3: don’t care (don’t know)

DELIVERY DAY
Baby #1: due date
Baby #2: due date (I know)
Baby #3: tbd (whenever babe)

TOTAL HOURS OF LABOR
Baby #1: 24 hours
Baby #2: 17 hours
Baby #3: less than a day would be nice

BIRTH PLAN
Baby #1: natural birth please!!
Baby #2: whatever happens happens?
Baby #3: still deciding

BIRTH REALITY
Baby #1: epidural at hour 17 and 2 centimeters dilated, thank baby jesus
Baby #2: epidural at hospital door
Baby #3: healthy baby=grateful heart

POSTPARTUM CRAMPING
Baby #1: what’s that
Baby #2: hysterical sobbing, percocet
Baby #3: tbd

POSTPARTUM RECOVERY TIME
Baby #1: one year (third degree tear)
Baby #2: six weeks (praise)
Baby #3: tbd

BEBE

NEWBORN TEMPERAMENT
Baby #1: Charlie Sheen of babies (colic)
Baby #2: Mother Theresa of babies (angelic)
Baby #3: tbd

BABY’S SLEEP PREFERENCE 
Baby #1: insisted co-sleeping
Baby #2: insisted independance
Baby #3: (last baby so please cuddle with me until you’re 15)

BABY’S SLEEP MILESTONES
Baby #1: slept through the night at 14 months
Baby #2: slept through the night at 2 weeks
Baby #3: tbd

CRAWLED
Baby #1: a week before 7 months
Baby #2: a week before 7 months
Baby #3: (the later the better)

WALKED
Baby #1: 10 months
Baby #2: 9 months
Baby #3: (the later the better)

PACIFIER
Baby #1: self weaned at five months
Baby #2: addict at two years and counting
Baby #3: (no preference, pros and cons)

BABY’S STANCE ON BABY WEARING
Baby #1: yup
Baby #2: lol, nope
Baby #3: (please?)

BREASTFEEDING
Baby #1: weaned at 20 months
Baby #2: self-weaned at 6 months
Baby #3: (last baby so you will do this until you’re 7)

PERSONALITY PROS
Baby #1: easy attachment because often attached
Baby #2: easy to care for because often content
Baby #3: tbd

BIG KIDS

POTTY TRAINING
Baby #1: a year of struggle
Baby #2: take your time, kid
Baby #3: let’s work on being born first

NAPS
Baby #1: stopped at three
Baby #2: you will nap until you’re 5
Baby #3: (see above)

PRESCHOOL
Baby #1: first day at 3 years old, emotional armageddon
Baby #2: first day at 18 months old, best day of her life
Baby #3: tbd

HARDEST YEAR OF PARENTING TO DATE
Baby #1: the year of the threenager
Baby #2: expecting the same
Baby #3: have you ever met a three-year-old you liked

TEMPERAMENT 
Baby #1: tentative, sweet, sensitive
Baby #2: wild, happy, confident
Baby #3: tbd

CHILD’S INTEREST IN BABIES
Baby #1: 10/10
Baby #2: 2/10
Baby #3: n/a (the oven is closed, we can get a dog)

CONTRIBUTED PARENTAL GRIEF  
Baby #1: 100%
Baby #2: 100%
Baby #3: not looking good

CONTRIBUTED HAPPINESS 
Baby #1: 100%
Baby #2: 100%
Baby #3: so far, so great

***