Friday, December 18, 2009

Favorite Zygote Stories

I was out to dinner the other night with a bunch of work colleagues, and a lot of the people with children were sharing horror stories about poopy diapers and smeared baby food and middle-of-the-night wake ups. Another sans-child friend said that one of his favorite questions to ask people with kids, since they tend to commiserate on the horror stories, was what their favorite recent kid moments were.

In no particular order:

1. Zygote sleeps through the night now most nights, and she sometimes even skips the 5 a.m. feeding which is nice in some ways, but sad in others. When she does wake up at 5, we bring her into the big bed, feed her, and then let her sleep with us for the rest of the morning. She makes baby noises and holds my hand, and when she wakes up and realizes I'm there, she gives me this big grin as if to say, "Cool. You're here. I am happy that we are hanging out."

2. She's finally gotten into the bath routine. Now that she knows how to splash, she screeches and laughs and swats at the water. Other time, she lounges back on the tub pillow and crosses her feet and signs. Ah, the life.

3. When she nursed when she was little, she would kick and swat around and generally be very wiggly. She still does this to some extent, but at her last feeding of the night, she puts her one arm on my chest and her leg curled around my other arm and calms down. It's like getting a great glass of red wine at the end of a shitty day.

4. She screeches and pants whenever the cat comes into the room. If he's feeling it, he will rub up against her and she laughs like crazy.

5. She likes my renditions of Christmas carols.

6. When she wakes up in the morning and she's not in our bed, I can hear her gooing and gahing and generally keeping herself entertained on the monitor.

7. She loves the MG. She gets the biggest smiles.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Why I'm Not Blogging: Or Things I've Done in The Past Month

In no particular order:

* Bought a new car
* Not driven new car much because registration is hung up somewhere between MA and NJ. Long, boring story.
* Spilled entire bottle of breastmilk on insurance agent's desk while relaying this tale of woe
* Started Zygote at daycare
* Zygote's first cold
* My bad cold
* Dropped Zygote on floor. Twice.
* Allowed Zygote to eat laptop cord. Inadvertently.
* Pumped in weird places. Twice.
* Attended useless meetings. Multiple.
* Christmas shopping.
* Christmas cards.
* Thank you cards. Again.
* Thought about writing. Lots.
* Wrote. None.
* Thanked God for Zoloft. Multiple.
* Wished for lottery ticket. Multiple.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Today Was Hard

Nothing in particular went badly. I just found myself, more than once, thinking, "What the hell am I doing here?" Or "I'm leaving the kid for THIS?" I really don't want to use Zygote as an excuse, but all that job disatisfaction from before has become so much more...pronounced now.

Sometimes I really just wish somebody would tell me what to do. An oracle or something that just appears and says, "I've been thinking about your life, and this is what you need to be."

I try and remember that it is not the job (it's a fine job), and that it's me. And that in the grand scheme of things, I am a happy person with a good life and nice husband, cats, children, family, things, etc.

But when pumping is the best part of my work day, something needs to change.

I have applied for four jobs in the last week. I just want an interview.

Monday, November 16, 2009

File Under: Things That Make Me Feel Old

Every job that I want requires "knowledge of social media." What does that even mean? I use Facebook. Does that make me knowledgeable?

Anyway, I'm attending these social media brownbags in the hopes that I will become a hipster doofus with a job title like "Social Media Expert." We watched this today. Interesting, but made me cringe too.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Zygote: Month Five

I hope it's not cheating if I just cut and paste from a mail I sent to a few friends.



Zyogte turned five months old today. That seems so old. We no longer get "oooh, tiny baby" or "fresh baby" when we go out. She's growing up.

What to say about a baby that doesn't sound like the usual my-baby-is-so-special-and-I'm-so-in-love-with-her drivel that is really only interesting to the parents and grandparents? Nothing, really. I am so in love with her. This is a good age. Our first month was just nutso with the normal postpartum period and the flu and MG's appendicitis and YG's hearing loss and my crazy-ass depression. Once the antidepressants kicked in and she started becoming more aware, it seems like it's been pretty smooth sailing. Or if not smooth all the time, at least we have a mutual appreciation of each other and how much we can piss each other off. So we try to limit bitchfests as best we can.

She is a happy, smiley baby most of the time. She started with the smiles very early, and giggles and talks a lot. I haven't heard a lot of B sounds, but a lot of gahs and cahs. She also discovered how to make this high-pitched shriek that she uses a lot, mainly when talking to her hands. I find it charming, but I imagine it's annoying to anyone sitting next to us in a restaurant. Rich has an easier time making her laugh than I do, and I think it's because of his facial hair and his renditions of songs from the Muppets. She humors me when I sing her Beatles songs, but I can't really get her laughing unless I'm tossing her in the air or really roughhousing with her, and I'm sure there's some book somewhere that will tell me I'm damaging her by doing this.

She has a variety of stuffed animals and toys that she likes, but prefers the smaller ones that can be stuffed in her mouth. One of her favorite games is throwing her binky down, and then picking it up and putting it back in her mouth. I watched her figure this out over the course of several days, and it's much more fascinating than it sounds. She had this look on her face like, "I am such a BOSS right now. Look at me with this thing."

The Exersaucer reigns Supreme. I also tried some Baby Einstein despite my pre-kids belief that babies shouldn't be watching TV. but it just put her to sleep and/or she got much more interested in chewing things. She drools like a Mastiff, and her teething periods SUCK. But she's such a champ the rest of the time that we're handling them okay. By handling them okay, I mean white-knuckling and trying to keep her as comfortable as we can what else can you do?

She's also very active, or as active as you can be when you can't walk or crawl yet. She doesn't snuggle, and never really did when I carry her around, she's always peeking over my shoulder or wiggling around to see where the action is. When we put her on her stomach, she grunts and groans, but she's managed to pull her knees up to her chest already. She definitely wants to move, and she most definitely wants to catch the cat. She does a lot of rolling and jiggling too. I suspect that we're going to need to child proof our place sooner rather than later.

The transition back to work has been about as difficult as I expected. I was feeling very apathetic about my job and my career before I left on maternity leave and I have been itching to do something new. Add the feeling that I'm missing watching this cool kid develop on top of that...hard. My mom lived with us for most of October when I first went back, and it worked out way better than I could have imagined. I seem to regress into a sullen teenager whenever my mother is around so I thought we would spend the whole time fighting. And yes, there were times when I wanted to kill her ("why do you have to talk with your mouth full?," "for the nth time, no, you cannot put a blanket in the crib," and "she is not starving because of breastfeeding.") But I was mostly just grateful to have her around when I left in the morning and came home at night. It was also the first time in my life that I learned more about what it was like for HER working and raising three kids. She also took Zygote to all the historical sites around Boston and developed her own routine with her. Nice all around. Rich's sister is watching Zygote this month, and that's been working out as well. She starts daycare in December, and then I'm hoping that we will finally settle into a routine.

Right now, I nurse her in the mornings twice before I go to work, have my work day, and then rush home to spend some time with her and nurse her again before she goes to sleep. Pumping at work is another thing that doesn't suck nearly as bad as I thought it would. It's not fun, but it gives me some breaks during the day to think about the baby and to try and imagine what I'd be doing if I wasn't working here. I mostly draw a blank, but the pumping time gives me a few minutes to remember exactly why I'm here. Cliché, but true.

I'm not working on Fridays and besides the whole bleeding money thing, I like having that extra day to spend with Imme. I plan to use that day for writing once she is in daycare, but for the past two months, we've been sleeping late, going to the bookstore or the movies, and sometimes taking the T to MGH and running back to Cambridge along the Charles when it's not too cold or windy. There's also a ton of mundane errands to do, but I've been enjoying the time. I still haven't quite come to grips with the fact that I am now a part-time worker and that effectively puts my career on hold for a bit, but see above: not so hot about that career anyway.

Things are good. Looking forward to the holidays and introducing Zygote to Christmas, Italian-style in NJ.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

We Just Bought A Flip -- Can You Tell?

In lieu of real blogging...movies! Zygote's baptism from a few weeks ago. What I find hilarious is how absolutely shell shocked and miserable I look. Totally wasn't the case, but I guess I just have that mama look now. Bring on the cat sweatshirts.

video

It's The End of the World As He Knows It

Poor kitty. He thought the last few months were bad...

video

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Straight for Equality



I attended an online seminar for Straight for Equality at work this week. I mainly wanted to support my coworkers who are members of my company's LGTB alliance, but I found it really useful. Particularly around issues of understanding why gay coworkers are not comfortable sharing pieces of their personal life at work. I heard a horrifying story about a straight guy who hung a flier for a LGTB event in his cube and overheard people discussing "fucking faggots" and it reminded me of my own run-in with a bigoted mofo at work a few years back -- a gun-toting NRA member who told me he stopped his subscription to Time magazine because they had a photo of Ellen on the cover. We got into it, but I wonder how many people are comfortable are getting up in some one's face because of mofo bigotry. And I wonder how much of my fuck-you-I've-got-balls attitude would stay in tact if I really felt I was in danger. This makes me alternately depressed and wanting to beat some heads.

So I signed The Pledge. You Should Too. And check out the guide.

Maybe we will take their suggestion and have a I Love Gays party. That's not what they call it, but I reserve the right to edit.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Was NOT Raped By My C-Section

The first time I heard the phrase "I was raped by my c-section," I didn't actually take the time to think about how offensive that statement might be to actual survivors of rape. I just thought it sounded stupid and melodramatic. In Childbirth Is Not Burger King. You Can’t Always Have It Your Way., Rachael Larrimore takes these people on. I like the piece. It sums up my feelings nicely.

Then you get to the real crazy in the comments.

There is nothing quite like birth and parenting to bring out the fundamentalist crazies.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Missed Last Week: End Fat Talk

I could use this reminder right now.

A Typical Weekday

Between 5 and 6 am: Get up to feed Zygote

Next two hours: Shower, eat, dress Zygote, play with her a bit, feed cats, feed Zygote again

Between 7:30 and 8: Drive to work, curse traffic on 95. Remember that I promised never to complain about traffic after my hellish commutes in NJ. Think, "fuck that."

8-10: Various cube-dweller related items

10: Pump

10:15 - 12:15: More work. Curse Powerpoint.

12:15 - 12:30: Eat lunch at my desk. Always a packed lunched. Check the New York Times. Get depressed.

12:30 - 1: First panic that I am not going to get done everything that I need to get done.

1: Pump again. Double pump to save time. Try not to stare at the clock.

1:15 - 3:30: Endless conference calls, phone calls, emails, living of the dream.

3:30: Pump again. Count ceiling tiles. Make a mental gratitude list.

3:45 - 5: Mad rush to complete everything.

5: Slink guiltily out the door, convinced that I will be fired for my lack of commitment to work.

5-5:40ish: Commute. Curse Alewife. NPR.

5:45 - 6:30: Play with Zygote.

6:30 - 7:30: Feed Zygote, feed self, dress Zygote for bed. If she has reached the smelling point, we bathe her.

7:30 - 8: Clean up, make tomorrow's lunches, grunt pleasantries at YG.

8: Feed Zygote again.

8:20: Collapse on couch. Converse with husband. Mind numbing t.v. and Internets. Occasional reading. Guilt over not writing or blogging or keeping track of Zygote's various accomplishments in the 500 baby books we have.

10: Bed.

It's kind of exhausting and you'll notice that I don't really do the cooking, and we outsource (heh) our cleaning. Also, my mom is with us this month so there is no rush to get her to daycare in the morning. Yet.

I know that we're going to get it together in time, but I am already feeling the pull between work and family and then wondering how I am going to fit me time (writing, reading, running) in.

Seriously, though, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Back To Your Previously Scheduled Program Shortly

So I wildly underestimated how exhausted I would be with this whole work/mommy/exercise/baseball combo. Much like I underestimated how time consuming the whole baby thing would be at first. Underestimation seems to be the theme of my life lately.

More to come shortly. Hopefully before the post-season is over.

At least we know one thing about the Project -- it kept me updating.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Post 30: So What Have We Learned?

So this is it. 30 in 38 is now complete. Did I learn anything?

Well, for one, I really wish I was a full-time writer and not a full-time cube dweller. I was hoping that I could have written this yesterday or earlier today so that I could avoid being maudlin, but I was spending that time with Zygote. YG asked me if I wanted to cry now or later, and I answered "later" and then promptly started crying. It's not that I don't want to work. Work is important to me, and sometimes I'm afraid that I don't have an identity without work. I am a Hard Worker. And if I'm panicking at the thought of going to work tomorrow and not really wanting to be there, then who am I? A not very hard worker with a non-existent writing career? Blah. Whine. If you're unemployed, you probably want to gag me right now.

So right, lessons learned.

1. I work best when there's a deadline. I've been half assing this blog for about three years now, and I know from my Google stats that some of you do read it. But I only update sporadically. Having this self-imposed deadline helped me to do some minimal journaling, that I then translated into these posts, and maybe someday will turn into something else.

I'm not taking any classes this semester and that worries me because having class assignments forced me to write. Without the deadline and the potential to be embarassed, I just don't seem to write, and that leads me to number 2.

2. I need to make the time to write. Fairly obvious, but I'm horrible at that. I try and squeeze it in when I can, but I don't make it a priority. People have told me to treat my writing as a second job in order to take it seriously, and that works for about three seconds, and then I go watch t.v. Or read more books that I wish I wrote.

Fridays will be my writing time from now on. No work, minimal baby, not a lot of distractions.

3. Marketing is not bullshit. I've taken a few classes now on how to market personal essays and I've purchased an embarrassing number of books on the same topic. I take copious notes and check Writers Market from time to time, and then I don't do much.

4. This is related to the time thing -- edit, edit, edit. Some people journal or blog and the result is beautifully crafted, breathtaking prose. This is so not me. I am all jumbled stream of consciousness. I finished two pieces in the last year that I really loved (and got my personalized rejection letters for -- woo hoo!), but I had worked on them over the course of three semesters. I need to remember to give myself time to edit. Or if all else fails, spell check. And barring that, fix the where/wear, their/there/they're things. At least give the appearance of trying to be a "real" writer.

5. Take notes. My brain is full. I see the world as if it's a story I'm living and I'm constantly thinking of things that I want to jot down and remember (various conversations with the crazies on the T, overheard bits of interesting factoids, city life, Zygote, etc). And then I don't remember. And that's how this happens.

6. Define success. For this little project, success meant just putting some shit out there for 30 days. I really don't know how I will define being a successful writer. Does it mean being published? Does it mean writing every day? Utilizing my Fridays? This is important since I am prone to oh-woe-is-me-I-can't-do-anything sorts of ramblings.

7. YG told me this one last night. He took a class and said the instructor told them to change the phrase, "I'll believe it when I see it" to "If I believe it, I'll see it." Normally, the earnestness of these types of leadership instructions makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little, but I like that one. I have to believe that I have as good a shot as anyone of getting published, and stop believing that I am destined for the cube for the rest of my life.

8. Just write. There's so many warm, fuzzy writers' manuals filled with that advice. Again with the earnestness and the encouragement. But it's true. Some of my babble is bound to take shape sometime.

So that's it. I intend to keep up the blog to keep folks updated on Zygote and me and the rest of the fam, and I intend to keep up the journaling and fine tuning my other pieces this Fall. And working. And taking care of Zygote. And running. And.....I will be fine.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Post 29: Things That Were Awesome About This Summer

A far from exhaustive list:

1. Zygote. Do I really need to get into this one? Watching her go from rubbery blob to tiny, sometimes blobby person has been amazing.

2. Two weeks in Long Island.

3. The return of copious amounts of wine and beer to my diet.

4. An inordinate amount of time watching bad t.v. and not feeling guilty, like usual, because I was 'nourishing my child' while doing so.

5. Running again.

6. Discovering Cambridge and Somerville with the stroller.

7. Reading.

8. Not working.

9. Restaurant Week.

10. The Water Club at Atlantic City.

11. JP Licks.

12. Walden Pond.

13. My birthday.

14. Being able to stay in NJ for more than 24 hours.

15. Drinks in Davis with YG, while church friends watched Zygote.

16. Can we say AL Division Champs?

17. Seeing old friends.

18. Sleeping until 9 most days, showering whenever, unemployment (read: elastic waist) pants

19. Ball games

20. Dinners on the porch with a bottle of wine.

It wasn't quite the "Summer of JM" that I imagined, but it was still pretty great.

Post 28: This Is What A Relationship Looks Like -- Guess You Had To Be There Edition

I hate feet. I mean, I really, really hate feet. I get pedicures because I don't even like touching my own feet. I find foot fetishes weirder and grosser than plushies or furries. Feet = gross.

YG knows this, and when I am being super cranky or getting all up in his face about something, he will take his hand, rub it on my face and say, "mmmm....I was just massaging my calluses" or my personal favorite, "I love giving pedicures to the homeless."

He also steals my pillows every night. Being a tad obsessive compulsive, I have a system for proper placement of my pillows. The memory foam one is for my head, and the fluffier one stands propped against the headboard for easy access if I want to hug it or move it in some way.

Every night, I will go to the bathroom and when I get back, the pillows are either switched up or gone entirely. Ticklefest ensues, and I beg YG not to take my pillows anymore, to please, just let me be at one with the pillows. On the rare night that he does not touch the pillows, conversation goes something like:

Me: What's wrong?
YG: What do you mean?
Me: You didn't take my pillows.
YG: You hate it when I take your pillows.
Me: Are you pissed at me?
YG: Yes
Me: It's because I'm fat, isn't it? You're mad at me because of the lard.
YG: And the prattling.
Me: Yes, you hate me because I'm a fat prattler.
YG: That is exactly why I didn't touch your pillows.

I'm sure this is the type of thing that is only amusing to two people.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Post 27: Reality Check

YG and I just went through a budget exercise to try and figure out what our financial picture (aren't I grown up with my fancy phrases?) will look like after I go back to work at reduced hours and we factor in child care. The result is not pretty. I'm not in total panic mode yet, but I know that we're taking a big hit. My Fridays off are supposed to be for writing, sending out some writing and spending time with Zygote. If I were a contractor and I worked hours on Fridays, I could bill for them. But I'm not a contractor. I'm a regular employee working reduced hours, so if I work more than my allotted hours, I lose money. The onus is on me to make this work. The onus is on me to not check the crackberry, not be available, and use the Fridays to figure out how to extracate myself from this career that I've built.

And the onus is on me to not get laid off while doing so, because the alternatives (check out: U.S. Job Seekers Exceed Openings by Record Ratio) suck.

I WILL NOT DO WORK THAT I AM NOT PAID FOR. Hold me to this, Internets.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Post 26: Race Update

36: 47! That's not as good as my time last year, but way better than my times in the races I ran while pregnant. It was perfect running weather -- about 62 degrees and sunny. The race venue was not that great. They switched locations because of overcrowding so the route went through the bowels of the seaport, including Seaport Boulevard that stunk of well, seafood.

I feel pretty good about myself. Yes, I was slower. Yes, I have a mom belly. Yes, I will always think I need to: lose weight, eat better, exercise more, etc. Today, though, I am a-okay.

The MG took pics.

Pre-race, wearing my super-flattering XXL UPenn sweatshirt purchased at my brother's graduation. I tell myself that it wasn't that long ago and that I don't need new workout wear, but...it worked out well during pregnancy.



Zygote, not so impressed by having to be out in the cold.



Post-race.



Congrats on this beautiful day!



Slightly happier now that the food source has returned.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Post 25: Zygote's Letter

Say what you will about Dooce, I love/d that she wrote her kid a monthly letter. YG and I had this plan to faithfully update our journal for Zygote, but things didn't quite work out that way. Here are excerpts from the three month one, and I have to say that these updates would be much easier to write if she wasn't staring at me and shouting every time I dare to turn my head and pay attention to anything else.

Dear Zygote --
You are now 3 months old, or 15 weeks and one day to be exact. Sometimes, I can't remember what it was like before you. We had a tough first month, but right now, most of my time spent with you is a joy. You still have moments when you scream bloody murder and I can't figure out how to comfort you. Then I have this crazy cocktail of emotions ranging from helplessness to anger to fear because I'm afraid that I'm not doing this mother thing right, that I SHOULD know what to do to make you feel better.

The crying moments are few and far between, though. Most of the time, you give me these huge grins and giggle when I make up songs for you. Our days are pretty lazy. I usually feed you in bed in the mornings and then we play and I watch t.v. while feeding you again. Afternoons, we'll go out for a run or walk to Harvard Square and I'll get a cupcake and bring you to the bookstore.

When you're older, I hope that I have more friends with kids for you to play with. We go to mommy and me group (barf at that name, you'll understand in time) every week and may make some new friends, but for now, I'm content with it being just us. And your dad. He's still my favorite person in the room, and I hope you'll see how cool he is when you grow up.

Next week, I go back to work. I am not looking forward to it. There is nothing wrong with my job, but I have no connection to the work that I do. I am unimportant. And have mixed feelings about leaving you to work that doesn't mean much. Still, work, and earning your own money, is important. When you grow up, you can be anything you want to be, and I encourage you to be selfish -- you are allowed to find that job that you love. I'm going to keep searching for that because I want to be a good role model for you. I know that I will miss you when I'm gone, but know that I'm never really GONE. I'm always with you.

Love,
Mama

Post 24: Running Blah Blah

I'm running my first race post-Zygote tomorrow morning. I am excited, nervous, insert adjective of your choice. I ran this race last year at my best time, 10:35 per mile, and I'm pretty sure there's no way I'm going to beat that. A little sad, but then I remember I couldn't really WALK three months ago. My goal is to run the whole thing without stopping.

It's been nice getting back to running. Earlier in the week, I took Zygote down to Kendall Square and ran the 2.7 miles along the river back to Harvard Square. The stroller weighed about a thousand pounds, and the wind was right in our face, but still, totally glorious. She slept and I rewarded myself with a cupcake.

In other running news, I decided to switch up my sneakers. I had been totally devoted to Saucony Triumphs, but read that ASICS Nimbus were also good for under pronators. YG swears by ASICS, so I'm trying them out. So far, I'm neutral. They feel much stiffer than the Sauconys, but maybe it's because I'm just not used to them. I threw away my faithful green machines, otherwise known as the Saucony Triumph 4. They were my second pair of Sauconys, but I logged the most miles with them and really got into running at that time. Still, small apartment = no space for tons of old running sneakers littering the floor.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Post 23: Things I Wish I Did More of This Summer

The theme of the day seems to be social awkwardness.

There's no easy way to say this, but I wish I had more friends. If you are reading this, you're probably a friend a therefore exempt. I was hoping that a summer off with a baby would magically get rid of the social awkwardness and that I'd be going out on lots of play dates, meeting other people with kids. My mommy groups have been great, and I've been able to meet lots of new women, but I never seem to be able to make that transition from meeting at a particular place and time to "hey, let's go out for coffee." I see these women in the neighborhood all the time, and we chit chat, so I seem good at making acquaintances, but not friends.

How DO you make friends as an adult? As a kid, it seems like you are constantly thrown in these situations where you get to meet other people or you can just go knock on someone's door and ask if they want to ride bikes. And then there's college where everyone knows no one, so you naturally gravitate toward people like you. After college, though, there's work and....?

A friend of mine moved to a new city with her family and made up business cards with her contact information that she gave to people that she thought were cool. She recreated a whole network of friends and acquaintances within a few months. I admire someone that can do that and can naturally go out and meet people, but the idea of me doing it makes me just cringe.

Still, Zygote at least gives me a conversation starter, so we're going to try another group today and see if we can make a friend.

Post 22: Additional Dumb Shit That I Say

In trying to pay attention to the "likes," I've noticed an overabundance of "it's kind of funny..." followed by stories that are not actually funny and aren't meant to be funny. It's the modern girl's version of "no offense."

Post 21: Networking

YG and I went to a networking event downtown last night. Our dinner plans were cancelled and we already had a babysitter lined up, so we figured what the hell. Networking is one of those words that makes me cringe. I know you need to do it to find jobs. I know that you're more likely to get a job from someone you know. And I know that you need to meet people in order to get to "know" them. I know all this stuff, and I still hate it.

Networking brings out the worst of my social awkwardness and brings me back to my middle school days when you wonder who you're going to sit with at lunch. At these events, I always assume that everyone knows each other, is easily carrying on tons of scintillating conversation, and does not want an interruption from a dorky outsider. It's worse going with YG because he's Mr. Big Man on Campus and a relentless networker -- he has a natural kind of social ease and can get even the most boring and awkward people to talk. I usually stall out after "what do you do" and "what do you want to do." I then mumble my way into the "where are you from" and eventually land on the weather, where most conversations go to die.

It actually wasn't that bad. We set a goal of collecting five business cards before we walked in, and I work well with goals. I had a glass of wine so that I'd have something to carry and lubricate myself to be a little less lame, and I set off. I had lots of conversations with laid off investment bankers and people in the financial services industry, one fun conversation with a woman who had started her own event planning business, and only one painfully awkward one with a person in "educational leadership." A lot of the women talked about needing to find something more flexible because they have kids which was expected, but still depressing. YG rescued from a conversation with some douchebag financial analyst obviously looking to pick up women, and then we left and had dinner "al fresco" at Upstairs on the Square.

Overall, it wasn't that bad. Knowing that YG was there and watching me forced me into conversations, as opposed to hiding out in the bathroom. I had a lot of trouble answering the question, "so, what do you want to do?" I really have no idea. I still like PR, but I know it's time for me to get out of high tech. Suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Post 20: Reading I Have Enjoyed This Summer

The best part about being home with Zygote this summer was that I had more time to read than normal. My summer list included:

1. Cconsider the Lobster: And Other Essays by David Foster Wallace -- When DFW died, I felt like a bit of an ass because he is supposedly one of the voices of my generation and I hadn't read anything by him. The title essay was fantastic, but the piece on John McCain's 2000 bid was even better. I now want to tackle Infinite Jest.

2. Mother Shock: Loving Every (Other) Minute of It by Andrea Buchanan -- My friend, Sarah, sent this to me when I had Zygote saying that it helped her through the early weeks of motherhood. I read this collection of essays my first few weeks with Zygote, while she slept on our walks through the neighborhood. It took me forever to finish it because she screamed a lot during those weeks, but I found it infinitely relatable.

3. The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld -- Light beach read. I loved Prep, so I was expecting more, but this was nice for Long Island.

4. The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb -- As with all his books, I adored this. It took a while to get going, but it was worth it. The characters are so developed and the plot details are intricate. It could be cheesy, but it never is.

5. The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter -- The best way I can describe this book is ....interesting? A few friends gave it rave reviews, but because I don't normally like mysteries, it sat on my shelf for three years. I still don't know if I liked it, but it was 672 pages and I couldn't put it down. That's saying something.

6. Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose -- This is normally the kind of book that I love. I'm a big fan of reading about doing things as opposed to actually doing them. I liked the focus on sentences and paragraphs, getting back to grammar basics, since it's something that I'm terrible at. I also liked the examples, but had a hard time relating to passages that I hadn't read before. It's not a guidebook, though. Another plus is that I now have another list of books that I'd like to read, including giving Chekov another shot.

7. The Ten-Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer -- I haven't finished this yet, but it also falls under the category of Books That I Am Not Sure I Like But Still Can't Put Down. It's about a group of friends who all gave up their careers to raise their children and what they are thinking and feeling ten years in. I don't particularly like the characters and find them very snooty and whiny and over educated and navel gazing. But, cough, also highly relatable.

I'm hoping to tackle a few more in the next week, and of course, keep it up once I return to work.

Edited to add: Relatable is not really a word? See above about grammar and me.

Post 19: Does This Count?

I laughed out loud.
And then cringed a little because I am such a corporate yuppie.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Post 18: I Don't Know What to Write About

That isn't entirely true, but I feel like I would need a novel to get into everything swirling around in the brain right now. I know that I want to write about how conflicted I feel about going back to my job (not about working, but going back to work that I don't feel that passionate about and that I'm not doing particularly well at). I also want to write about the first three weeks after we brought Zygote home from the hospital because I'm finally far enough away from that to talk about it. And I want to write more about Zygote.

But all of that stuff is HEAVY. No queef stains or fart waffles in that.

Please leave suggestions in the comments section if you would like to hear me rant on a particular topic. I think that would actually be a good job for me -- ranting.

For now, I'll go back to walking around with bluebirds on my shoulder and rays of sunshine coming out of my ass.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Post 17: Found Items That Bring Back Good Memories

While I was in New Jersey last weekend, I found the perfect item that provided a snapshot of a brief few months of my life. I have been using the same planner format from Daytimer since I started college. It's the one page per day format, and if they ever discontinue it, this whole facade of an organized life will crumble.

I was searching around for something to read while waiting for my parents' impossibly slow computer to load, and I found my planner circa 1997. On the outside, there were two stickers for Mil Mulliganos and Too Hectic, and inside, flipping through the planner pages, I found:

1. Directions to Wilmington, North Carolina and a phone number for the Fountain Motel. BB and I drove down to the WE Fest to watch Mil Mulliganos and The Sidedoor Johnnies perform that summer. We were also running from the roommate incident from Hell. Both of were all hung up about making sure that we had a place to stay with a pool and found the motel online. After a full day of driving, we found the motel and the pool AND the Interstate and the gas station both were next to. If you leaned on the headboards in that place, you would stick.

A quick Google search informs me that the WE Fest still exists and is described as "an artist driven celebration of up and coming musicians and independent culture, featuring more than 70 bands from around the country and the world." It should not be confused with the other WEFest, some sort of country music event.

I have pictures from this trip, and I am always wearing platform sandals. Also, a green floral bikini with boy shorts. Disturbing. I also remember a night at a bar where some idiot told BB she looked like Tori Spelling. She does not.

2. Plane ticket stubs to Chicago. I took a number of trips to Chicago to visit my then boyfriend. He was living with his band. He supposedly had an air mattress, but it was really a pool raft. I slept on the raft because that's what you do when you are cool enough to have a boyfriend in a band and you get to fly out and visit him. I also remember their favorite bar in the neighborhood and the cool people that worked there.

3. A big "21" scrawled in marker across the page for my birthday. The Mulliganos were back in Syracuse, playing at Chuck's. At midnight on Sept. 4, we went down to Armory Square so that I could have my first legal beer and then some. On my actual birthday, I wore a polyester leopard print shirt and two of the roommates from 850 made me a big leopard 21 that I wore as a necklace. I drank a lot of beer. The insane roommate fell off our porch and bit off part of her tongue. I have a picture of NN and KL in our house, looking all "are we dating or just hanging out?" Now they're married with two kids.

4. Postcards from different art students that lived in the Red House. I thought my life would be complete if I could be "arty" enough to be considered for The Red House. I still have a plastic beer cup from one of their last parties. It's a frat house now.

5. A post-it note that says "hand in assignment to Hubbard." Hubbard was one of our magazine professors and I believe he was my advisor for a while. NN and I were in a class together with a number of other women named Jennifer and a few faces from the Feminist Collective. He called us the coffee clatch because we all sat together.

I really miss college sometimes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Post 16: Health Care Debate vs. The Anus Bandit

I like to think that I'm a fairly intelligent person. I watch the news. I read the paper. I'm somewhat well-informed. I had a dream about a brilliant post that I was going to write concerning the healthcare debate and how I see this more as a moral issue than a political one. It was super -- clear, articulate, etc. All the things I was hoping that this blog would be.

And then I spent more time than necessary flipping through Creative Cursing: A Mix 'n' Match Profanity Generator, and anything intelligent I had to say slipped out the window. YG's niece received this book as a 21st birthday present, and we got such a kick out of it that I made a special trip to Urban Outfitters to buy our own copy. The fact that it's stocked at Urban Outfitters should tell you that I am too old for this shit.

Still, YG and I laugh so hard that we now have a word of the day. Last night's was anus bandit. Say it with me -- anus bandit. Awesome.

Other recent favorites:
Fart Waffle
Rectum Diddler
Queef Stain
Boob Licker

Some people end up with book deals because of their blogs. I suspect this will not happen with anything that includes an anus bandit.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Post 15: Like More Dumb Shit That I Say

A list of other idiotic phrases I've noticed myself saying in my attempts to speak like a literate adult.

1. Yeah, but....
When there's a break in the conversation for a bit. It's my version of "as I was saying."

2. I mean...
Of course I mean it. I'm saying it.

3. Literally...
Incorrectly.

4. Dude, totally...
I do not surf.

5. Ya know?

6. It's like...
A like, but somehow more annoying.

7. Do I even need to mention the swearing? You know me.

WHY DID YOU PEOPLE NOT TELL ME THAT I SOUND LIKE AN ILLITERATE OAF?

Like seriously, in my head, I sound much smarter. Dude.

Post 14: BREAKING NEWS REPORT -- Foot Discovered in Suburban New Jersey

Whippany, NJ -- Two feet were discovered earlier this morning after several unsuccessful attempts to locate them.

The discoverer, a three month old child named Zygote, located the feet at approximately 9:01 a.m. ET this morning. She described the event as "gaaahh.."
Onlookers noted that she seemed quite proud of the achievement, with continuous shouts and smiles.

Attempts to place the feet in the child's mouth have been unproductive thus far.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Post 13: Like Seriously with the Likes

If you're a friend of mine on Facebook, you most likely saw the video that my good friend, SKB, posted of Zygote doing...well, nothing. Zygote is staring, immobile, and SKB and I are talking in the background. SBK is, as usual, hilarious and in between my own daily 5 minutes of funniness, I noticed a horrible, glaring defect. Like a totally awful defect like. Like it was totally like gross.

My love of "like."

I've long known that I use the word "like" way too often. I took a public speaking class to try and help with it and I try to catch myself. But it always slips in. "Like" has replaced "said" in almost all my stories and it's become a replacement for all my other "ums," "uhs" and "ya knows." I was hoping that people couldn't notice, or that if they did, they were so utterly taken with my wit and charm that they let it slide.

Then I saw that video, and holy shit, am I mortified. I sound RIDICULOUS. I am 33 years old and I used the phrase "like, oh my god" for real. I have a Masters Degree. In Communications. Something is not right here.

I asked YG for his opinion on me and my likes, and when his response was "honestly?" I knew that I have a serious problem here. He says that it is fairly rampant, but because I make up for it with that aforementioned wit and charm, it's just one more of my lovable quirks. Hmmmm....He says he notices it most when I "prattle." Hmmm again. He's not an asshole, and even if I tried, there's no way I could convince the world that Mr. Eagle Scout/Good Citizen of the World YG was an asshole. I appreciate him because he will give an honest opinion, and when he says that I should work on something because it could be holding me back, I know it's the truth.

So...I'm working on it. And it's hard. Now I stop talking when I catch a "like" so instead of just sounding like an idiot, I now sound like an idiot with a speech impediment. Progress, not perfection.

The world would be so much easier if I didn't need to communicate with other humans.

Post 12: Three Months and 9/11

Zygote is three months old today. It seems weird to celebrate on a date that will always be associated with something bad. More on that in a bit.

First, Zygote is fabulous. She has grown into an engaging little person that I enjoy spending time with. She has crazy big eyes that follow you around a room, and even though I know it's not possible, I imagine that we are communicating when we stare at each other -- that we GET each other. She likes grabbing at things, especially her purple dinosaur, and everything goes immediately into her mouth. I suspect that my laissez faire attitude about germ prevention is going to have to change soon or else she's going to end up with Ebola or some other insane disease. We still go for walks every day and have a routine where we walk down to Harvard Square, browse the bookstores, get a cupcake and then have a feed on Cambridge Common. I'm sad that this will change once the weather gets colder and I have to go back to work. We've traveled quite a bit with her and she mainly sleeps in the car, but will kick her feet a bit when the music plays. The Beatles are a favorite, along with Fiona Apple and Cat Power. She screams when she's tired and hungry, and well, so do I. Or I wish I could. Basically, I love her to pieces and can't imagine her changing, but I'm looking forward to those changes too.

Second, her three month anniversary marks the 8 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It's hard to imagine that my child will have no understanding of a pre 9/11 world. YG said the other night, "I hate the post 9/11 world."

I was watching the coverage this morning and had to turn it off. It was always devastating, but now, having Zygote and imagining all those people who lost their children...it feels different. I couldn't quite handle it.

I'm back in Whippany again which is where I was on 9/11. I was living in Brooklyn at the time and had made it in to work to watch everything unfold on t.v. I couldn't get back to my apartment so I stayed in Whippany, waiting in the house by myself until my parents came home.

I tried to write a story about my experience of that day for one of my classes, but the feedback that I got was that I lost my voice -- that it wasn't funny and it wasn't me. I have a really hard time trying to figure out how you write a funny 9/11 story, but when the teacher asked me why I chose to wrote about 9/11, I told her that this dumb fuck that I work with was chastizing me for allowing the MG to ride the T because "you know, 9/11." I guess I was extremely animated in retelling the story and how I tore this woman a new one, and the teacher suggested I write about that or at least my animosity toward a certain breed of suburban woman who won't allow her child to play in the yard or take a dump by himself lest there be terrorists lurking around somewhere. I don't know. It still seems wrong. It seems wrong to even write about it here.

I do know that I will never forget, and maybe that's all that is important. I don't need to retell it.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Post 11: Birthday Weekend

For someone feeling kind of maudlin at the start of the weekend, it ended up being fab.

Zygote's present to me was sleeping until 5:30 on Friday night, allowing me to function unlike the walking dead on my actual birthday. We packed up the car and headed out to Walden Pond where we found a spot under the trees. YG and I took turns laying on the blanket, playing with Z and reading, and swimming in the water with the MG. It was a perfect summer day -- blue sky, not too hot and the water temperature was "warm" by New England standards. I left feeling warm and freckly, my favorite summer feeling.

After returning home, YG took the girls out for a walk and I went and got a pedicure, a screaming pink color. The woman at the salon remembered that I was getting a I'm-going-to-have-a-baby pedicure the last time I visited and told me how nice I looked. Win! I spent the rest of the afternoon in a quiet house, journaling and drinking wine. YG and the girls came home with a bouquet of sunflowers and hydrangea (my favorite) and we went out for Indian food and people watching in the Square. Followed by cupcakes and the MG's presents at home. She gave me a beautiful pair of earrings and a "to-do list" pad, a gift after my own heart. YG's present would come later.

On Sunday morning, YG gave me time to get in a 2.5 mile run before church and brunch. His sister came over for babysitting duties at 2:30, and he wisked me off to my surprise destination. I asked what we were doing. His response, "what are two of your favorite things?" Well, eating, obviously, and shopping. It pains me to write that. I feel like I should say that my favorite things include visiting art galleries and attending poetry readings and debating philosophy with my professorial friends. And, true, I do like those things, but dudes, I'm from Jersey. I LOVE the mall.

So, we went to the mall, or the Boston equivalent, the Prudential Center. YG knew that I needed a dress for his sister's upcoming wedding and some back-to-work clothes. Most of my clothing post-Zygote is weirdly ill-fitted, and I was hating on my mom pooch and hips and anything else I could think of to bitch about. He escorted me from store to store, helping me pick out dresses, sitting patiently while I tried them on and offering decent advice. We left with one beautiful Calvin Klein dress for the wedding, a pair of jeans sans elastic waist band, a courderoy blazer, two sweaters and a scarf. I was giddy, and felt good about myself. He really is the best gift giver ever.

We had martinis and then dinner at Top of the Hub and were back home by 8:30 p.m. Not a rock star evening, but a great one regardless.

Today, he went biking and I went running again and we took the girls out for lunch again. Now we're all just lounging around, basking in hangover of a long weekend.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

This Is What A Relationship Looks Like: Accent Edition

Lying in bed, playing with Zygote, who is immune to all of our tactics to make her laugh:

SG: Z, why are you so humorless this morning?
(Z stares)
YG: Because she's missing the "h" in humorless.
(Glare)

Hahhhhhumorless.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Post 10: Thirty Three

I haven't been looking forward to this birthday. I haven't been dreading it either. It's just there. Thirty three. It's not a milestone birthday or anything special -- it's just, to be over dramatic, a marker that another year has passed. I sometimes wake up and think, "how did I get to be this old?" Not that 33 is old, but I feel like I should FEEL older in some ways, and most of the time, I still feel like a kid in adult clothes.

So, a gratitude list if you will, of things that are working for me at 33:
* My beautiful girl and the successful, interesting pregnancy and labor that brought her here
* YG
* the MG
* my family, as far away as they are
* a great apartment in a fabulous city
* running again
* reading lots of books during my time off
* dribs and drabs of writing
* an uneasy truce with how I look
* my other two children, the cats
* summer nights in Davis Square
* and countless other everyday moments that would be uninteresting to most people but me

The big hole is that I feel largely...unfinished. My return-to-work date is now looming over, and I dread going back. It has absolutely nothing to do with the job or the people. The work is fine, and I actually really love my coworkers. I just feel like I've wasted over a decade doing work that I don't enjoy and that the time is slipping away. And that if I don't figure out something else to do soon, it won't be a decade that I wasted, but rather a life. Most of you that read know that I've been complaining about the same thing for years, but with each passing year, it seems more urgent. And it caught up to me, to some extent. In my horrible-for-many-reasons review this year, I was asked, point blank, "Do you even want to be here?" There is no problem with my work or my work ethic. The problem, I was told, is that people get the sense that I don't want to be there and it's that -- this weird lack of commitment to the fact that this IS my life and my job -- that is keeping me stuck in the bowels of middle management. It hurt. Because it was unbelievably true.

YG scolds me when I say that I have "wasted" a decade of my life and reminds me of all the things that I have accomplished. I also remind myself that it took a while to get the other things that I am truly grateful for like a husband that I respect and who treats me well, and a place to live where I truly feel comfortable. It took me the better part of a decade to figure those things out, and it's going to continue to take time to figure out where I belong work-wise.

The good thing is that 33 doesn't feel too old. I feel like I have a good balance between wondering how the hell I ended up an adult and feeling like 33 is still just the beginning of a lifetime, that I have time to work things out and navel gaze a bit more.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Post 9: But I Am Running

Ah, yes, a running update. I'm back up to 3 miles a couple of times a week. My first race is the last weekend in September, and I'm signed up for a 10K on Oct. 12. I highly doubt I will be able to run the whole 10K, but we'll see. I don't love the jogging stroller, but it's better than nothing. It's more of a pain in the ass to time my runs with my boobs and Zygote's nursing schedule. I won't even get into the gladiator wear I need to put on to keep those boobs in place.

Post 8: These Days

There are days when I really don't know what the hell I am doing. They were there before baby, but since Zygote's arrival, the frequency has definitely increased. I really don't have much to do during the day beyond feed baby, walk baby, feed cats, and bathe myself, and that last one isn't necessarily a necessity. Occasionally, I try and pull a meal together and there's always a mountain of laundry to do.

Still, I should be able to accomplish this stuff and have room for other things as well, no?

Today, I had grand plans to run to Staples to fax off some things, pick up cat food, go for a walk or a jog with the jogger, finish thank you notes, put away the laundry and maybe shower. Exciting. I still couldn't figure out how to get it done. Zygote seems to be teething early so today was a scream-all-day kind of day. I didn't take a shower until 6:30 p.m. with the baby screaming in the bouncy seat on the bathroom floor, and I'm now eating cold leftovers and desperately trying to get the house in some kind of order so that YG doesn't come home from his business trip and wonder why I'm such a sloth and what I was doing all day.

Two steps forward, one step back, right? And the writing? Well, it's not really happening. I feel like I'm too close to the baby stuff to write about it, and everything else seems so abstract right now.

I think I need a glass of wine.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Post 7: The Students Return

Zygote and I went to Central Square this morning to pick up her birth certificate, and because the weather was gorgeous, we decided to walk the three miles home. On the way, we passed a number of moving trucks. They have been lined up all weekend, clogging the streets and causing traffic jams, and Harvard Square is teeming with meandering parents in Harvard visors and maps, not quite sure where they're going. And I know that I'm getting older because it seems like the new students are looking younger and younger each year.

Still, I love this time of year. There's something about the beginning of a new school year that feels like you're getting a clean slate. My birthday has always come near the start of the school year as well, so every September has that "this is the year I'm going to xxxx" feeling.

I'm not quite sure what I'll be doing this year. Spending time with Zygote, trying to figure out the rest of my life? I won't be taking any classes in the Fall semester because I want to try and figure out how to juggle my work/home schedule first, but I know that I'm going to miss it.

In the meantime, I'll try to be helpful to the tourists and the new kids, giving directions when asked and attempting friendliness and avoiding cursing them for taking my parking spots and my seat at Diesel.

Post 6: Middle School

"No, the worst thing, worse even than sitting around crying about that inevitable day when my son will leave for college, worse than thinking about whether or not in the meantime to get him those hideous baby shots he probably should have but that some babies die from, worse than the fears I have when I lie awake at 3:00 in the morning (that I won't be able to make enough money and will have to live in a tenement house where the rats will bite our heads while we sleep, or that I will lose my arms in some tragic accident and will have to go to court and diaper my son using only my mouth and feet and the judge won't think I've done a good enough job and put Sam in a foster home), worse even than the fear I feel whenever a car full of teenagers drives past my house going 200 miles an hour on our sleepy little street, worse than thinking about my son being run over by one of those drunken teenagers, or his one day becoming one of those teenagers -- worse than just about anything else is the agonizing issue of how on earth anyone can bring a child into this world knowing full well that he or she is eventually going to have to go through the seventh and eighth grades." -- Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions.


Zygote has a number of years to go before we have to confront this particular horror, but this morning, the MG packed up her stuff and headed out for her first day of middle school. She's only in fifth grade, but in her district, middle school runs from grades 5-8, with the little kids getting thrown in with a bunch of large-breasted hozzles and boys who already have facial hair. The school has done everything it can to assuage parents' fears, keeping the kids apart except for when they enter and leave the building. Still, I am nervous. If I had the power to redo, or just skip, any time in my life, I would probably choose middle school. I don't think I'm unique.

The MG must sense this because she has had tons of anxiety preparing for school. She's worried about remembering her locker combination, changing classes, and getting bullied. And how have we responded to her questions and needs for reassurance? Well, basically, I've flat out lied. I tell her that it will all be okay, and that while it wasn't enjoyable ALL the time, I've always liked school.

What I didn't tell her: it was horrendous. I don't tell her that the mean girls were out of control and that some of the mean girls were supposed best friends. That the boys are still ridiculously babyish, until they're snapping your bra or whispering filthy comments to you. I don't tell her that you are never smart enough or pretty enough or funny enough or skinny enough, and that if you think these things don't matter, your friends and classmates will tell you that you're immature. You will have boobs or you won't. You will have your period or you won't. You will have a first boyfriend or you won't. Neither is preferable because with all of your raging hormones, every option will seem awful and you'll probably hate the world and everyone in it. Melodramatic much? Well, at least she doesn't have to take the bus. I would have to do some of my best PR work yet to put a good spin on that.

I read Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence about a year ago and one of the most important bits of information that I took from that book was to check your baggage at the door. I obviously have my own biases, but I'm trying not to let them influence the MG's experience of middle school. I honestly hope, for her sake and selfishly for mine (I wouldn't sic my preteen self on my worst enemies), that her experience is different from mine and that she thrives.

One day down. 1,459 to go.

And then there's high school.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Post 5: Sentimental Nonsense

Zygote has learned how to laugh. She will open her mouth wide, move her head from side to side and bellow. It's redonk adorable.

Tonight, YG and I were leaning over her changing table, shoulder to shoulder, talking to her. She had been a little bitch earlier in the evening, probably tired out from the long drive. We had to leave our friend's house because of her constant screaming, and home was no better. Eventually, though, she calmed down and we set on her table to get her ready for bed. We would each say something to her and she'd coo and giggle. If we didn't know better (and to avoid becoming the type of holier-than-thou parents who think their children are geniuses), we would swear she was talking to us. YG tickled her and she screeched and smiled, and he exclaimed, "oh, you are so cute."

"Look what we made," I said, staring at her. Then I started to cry AGAIN.

"See, Zygote," YG exclaimed. "Mommy isn't the crusty, cold person she thinks she is. She's a sentimental softie."

Zygote cocked her head. I spoke for her, "I don't know, man. Sometimes she's a real bitch."

And then we all laughed.

Post 4: Leaving Zygote

For the past eleven and a half weeks, Zygote and I have been, quite literally, attached. Because of nursing, I hadn't really been away from her for more than a couple of hours here and there. In the insane, sleep-deprived weeks after she was born, this fact could send me into a tailspin, with lots of tears and moaning about how everyone else got to go someplace cool except me. Insert eye roll here.

YG and I both think that it's important to spend time away from kids for a number of reasons, but the first being that you should have some time to reconnect (ew, Hallmark word) and remember why exactly you wanted to have kids with this person in the first place. My parents went on a vacation by themselves every year, and we hope to do the same.

So we began planning. At the start of the summer, I could not wait to get away. It didn't matter where. I just didn't want to be here. I didn't want to constantly be feeding and doing laundry and crying. I wanted out. I know this was all post partum hormones raging, but when you're in it, it's hard to see that it's temporary.

We scheduled a trip to Atlantic City. At first, we were planning to spend a full week away, but we couldn't line up my parents for babysitting duty for a full week, so we decided on a two-night stay. I started dutifully pumping and preparing.

And then I didn't want to go. That's probably not entirely true. I wanted to go, but I was afraid of missing Zygote too much while I was gone. I've gone from hating this attachment to enjoying it and accepting that laundry and feedings and elastic waist pants are my life for a while now. I also became paranoid, thinking about all the things that could go wrong while she was with my parents (who have raised three semi well-adjusted children) for two days. They could get in a car accident. They could think it was too cold and swaddle her in too many blankets and then she would suffocate. They could trip and fall while carrying her. She could get attacked by deer (seriously, this one woke me up out of a deep sleep). Or worst, she would do totally fine and not miss me at all. Or worst worst, she would do totally fine and take to the bottle and not need the one thing I can exclusively give her and not need me anymore.

I am not normal.

I cried a little in the bathroom this past Thursday when we were getting ready to leave her but knew, deep down, that YG and I needed this trip, and that my parents would enjoy their time with her. It was fabulous. We gambled and spent a whole day doing nothing but sleeping late, swimming in the pool and drinking and eating and gambling some more. We read books and magazines and watched Sports Center uninterrupted. I drank a ton of girly drinks and wore dresses and regular bras and praise Jesus, stillettos. I missed her terribly, but I had a blast.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Post 3: Henry David Thoreau Probably Never Called Your Grandmother A Bitch

Today was a gorgeous summer day, and YG had to work so I decided to take the girls to Walden Pond for some swimming and sleeping and reading in the sun. It was glorious. Zygote napped for most of the time. I finally got around to starting The Emperor of Ocean Park. And the MG made a few friends and swam for most of the afternoon.

But because this is me, you know there's a catch, right?

I was nursing Zygote when I noticed that an older woman was shooing the MG away from the little girl she was playing with. MG followed them over to their blanket, where the woman shooed her away again. MG went back in the water, upset, and I heard her shouting, "Stella, stella! Come play with me!" The girl ran back in the water, smiling, but was grabbed by the woman again. MG sulked back to the blanket in tears. When I asked what was wrong, she said that the woman, the girl's grandmother, told her she was too old to play with Stella and to go away. We saw Stella going back into the water so the MG took off, and I told her to nicely tell the grandmother that she would like to play. The two girls splashed around a bit, but then the grandmother came over and shooed the MG away again. The poor kid sat in the water, doing her best Brando impersonation, shouting "Stella! STELLA!" If it wasn't so heartbreaking, I would have laughed.

Defeated, MG returned to the blanket and I let her play with Zygote while I went for a swim. I did a few laps, and noticed the grandmother at the water's edge. I swam over and introduced myself as MG's stepmother, and said that while I understood that MG was a few years older, she really enjoyed playing with Stella.

I don't know what I was expecting. Usually, I'm the bitch or at best, the cold one, in social situations so I'm caught off guard when someone else is inexplicably rude. The woman replied, in a heavy accent, "I told her to go away. She's too big." I said that I understood, but they seemed to be playing together nicely. "I told her to go away, to stop annoying people. She's annoying."

Immediately, I am in bitch mode. Annoying? It's one thing for me to think the MG is annoying. Let's face it: most kids are from time to time. But we're related. I'm ALLOWED to think she is annoying. This, though, was a total stranger telling me that my kid was an irritation. I attempted to remember that mothers are supposed to have manners (I think. Although I didn't read it anywhere, it makes sense) , and responded with a not-too-snotty, "well, okay then. No need to be rude."

Then, HER fur was up. "Rude? Rude? Your daughter. She is annoying and rude."

Editorial note: the MG may be many things. Rude is not one of them. She's overly polite and always says "excuse me," "please" and "thank you."

Manners were gone. "Sure, lady, whatever you say. Go ahead and be a freakin' bitch [emphasis on the bitch] about it."
Then I smiled and stomped away while a few other parents gaped.

Back at the blanket, the MG asked what we were talking about and I gave a noncommittal response about the weather. I let her go back in the water where she made a number of other friends and they played about a year's worth of Marco Polo.

After we packed up our stuff, I took her for pizza at Mike's in Davis Square where we people watched and played with Zygote. And yes, she did annoy me with about 60 billion questions and stories. She's allowed.

Post 2: Documentation

Of the many weird things about being pregnant and having an infant, one of the strangest things is the realization that, at one point in time, my parents were equally as enamored with me. I'm the oldest and they were married for about four years before I was born so they must have had the same 'what the hell are we doing? how is this going to change our lives?' conversations, and then subsequent 'hey, this is going okay. we should do this again' conversations.

We talk about these things now because I'm curious, but I didn't really know anything before about my parents' lives as young people deciding to have kids and struggling to figure out what to do with those kids once they had them. It seems like, in my mind, we have always been the family we are now -- all five of us. Although one of my earliest memories if of my brother being born. I remember that I had a book called, "The New Baby" and after he was born, my dad took me to the Livingston Mall to get my ears pierced, my present since presumably, my brother was their present. Then we went to the hospital. This was before "rooming in" and "family time," so he was still in the nursery and the nurses gave me a stool to stand on to look through the glass. I don't remember anything else, but I do remember that stool and peering through the window. Sadly, I don't have any recollection at all of my sister being born, but to be fair, we all sneezed and my mom was pregnant again. Also, I was six so forgive my less-than-astute powers of observation. I did find, though, documentation of my sister's birth when I was digging around some paperwork at my parents' house. On that weird light green paper with the dotted lines across the middle to make sure you're printing your letters correctly, it said, "My mom had another baby. Her name is Becky. She has brown hair. We like her."

The other weird thing I've discovered is that not everybody goes through life looking at people and events like they are characters and plot developments in their own personal novel. Some people are fine with things just happening, and they don't feel the need to document everything so that they won't forget it. I am not one of these people. I have kept a journal since I was ten years old. I like to remember the specifics of what I was doing, what I was wearing, baseball scores, the weather, etc. and sometimes the important stuff of what's going on in my mind and who I've loving/hating at the time. When I die, my children will have pages and pages of documentation confirming their suspicions that their mother was a self-involved headcase with a lot of teenage angst long after the teenage years. And that also, she had no idea what the hell she was doing.

I don't know if that makes me happy or sad, but I like that, in between the whiny 'what should I do with my life' ramblings, Zygote will find long detailed explanations of lazy, summer days just watching her smile and giggle, how I could happily spend hours walking her around town and chattering about where we're going, hoping that she might get it, and how I have such hope for her.

I don't know why I assume that Zygote and I will not be close later on. Who knows? Maybe we will manage to successfully navigate the middle school/high school years without her feeling totally alienated, but not in a creepy 'my mom is my best friend/my children are my LIFE' sort of way. I hope so. But if not, I have the documentation to prove that at one point in time, all we needed to make each other happy, was each other.

And, that I am crazy. But of course, as a teenager, she will already know that.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Project: 30 in 38

I go back to work in 38 days. Soon, I will find words to express the dread and sometimes excitement (adult conversation ALL DAY) that I feel about this. Right now, I'm a little bit sad because I'm finally starting to get the hang of things, have a routine, and enjoying my time with Zygote...and the end looms.

Like most things post-Zygote, the reality of my maternity leave didn't quite match up to the summer I had envisioned in my head. I had chattered endlessly to YG about "The Summer of JM" and how I was not only going to write and read every day and make a ton of new mommy friends, I was also going to figure out what exactly I was going to do with the rest of my life, develop a plan and be well into plan execution mode (to use a little corporate speak) before I headed back to work. YG indulged me. This is his second kid so he either knew better than to frighten me ahead of time, or he actually believed that I might be able to pull this off. He knows how I am when somebody tells me that I can't do something. I do it anyway. With gusto. No matter how stupid or ill-informed it is. I ignored all of my friends who told me that "maternity leave does not equal vacation" and went ahead with envisioning The Wonderful Summer of JM.

It's now 11:08 a.m. and I am sitting here in my pajamas with morning breath, an unmade bed and finally, a napping kid. This is not out of the ordinary. However, I have my second load of laundry in the washer, am ready to empty the dishwasher, wasted time on Facebook, and possibly, if luck holds out, I can take a shower. I'm feeling pretty good. And that, folks, is the reality of The Summer of JM. Don't get me wrong -- I've had a lot of free time. I did read some good books and I got back to running and I joined a moms' group to meet some new people, but I WILDLY underestimated how much time I would be spending being Zygote's mom.

I'm now at the point where I really like being Zygote's mom, but with the return to office life coming soon, I want to try and tackle some other items on my list. Last night when I was waxing neurotic to YG about all of this stuff, I said that I needed a Project. I haven't taken a writing class in a while and when I don't have deadlines, I tend to forget about writing. I was whining about how I didn't know what I want to be when I grow up and how it's unlikely that I will figure that one out in next 38 days, and when I caught a breath, I continued to whine about how I can't even figure out what to write about and how I can't even get my poorly-maintained blog updated. Whine, whine, whine. Angst, angst, angst.

The end result of this conversation was the decision to try and write 30 pieces/posts/whatever you want to call them in the next 38 days. I don't know if YG suggested this just to shut me up -- it was after 11 p.m. when most normal people would like to go to bed, but also when my neuroses seem to kick in high gear -- or if he knew I would immediately like the competition aspect. But, I like the idea. And given that my only other projects at the moment seem to be deciding what rerun of America's Next Top Model I'm going to watch while nursing Zygote, let's just consider this Item #1.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fuck You, PETA

Really?



That's low. And it doesn't make any sense. Surely veganism doesn't always equal thin. And I thought PETA was all about saving the animals, not a diet campaign.

According to their own press release, "“Trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA has a free ‘Vegetarian Starter Kit’ for people who want to lose pounds while eating as much as they like."

And I thought the sea kittens campaign was bad.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

All That Parental Bliss

is sometimes negated when you have to use cutting shears to remove your child's shit-filled onesie.

Insomnia: Remembering Chloe

I can't sleep and am waiting for the Tylenol PM to kick in.

Last week, my friend's six-week-old baby died. I am struggling to figure out if there's something we can do or say and to make sense of how something like this can happen. It was a fitful pregnancy and each week, I would wake up and hope that she would make it through another week and get her kids (twins) to safety. And then a miracle happened, and they were born. Six weeks later, one is gone. IS there anything you can possibly say? It seems like there are no words, and as someone who hides behind words and doesn't deal especially well with feelings, I'm at a loss. I am just sorry. For the family. For my friend. And for the little boy struggling to survive without his sister.

And then there's the strange feeling of guilt over my own healthy family and this renewed desire to fiercely protect them. Today, Zygote had a bunch of shots. She turned purple and screamed and YG held her hands and I stroked her foot. My boobs actually started leaking once she started to cry. She's been hellish all day, but I just kept her close and nursed her more than usual. She isn't a snuggly baby -- she's too kicky and alert for cuddles -- but she stayed wrapped around me for most of the day. And I cried because I'm so lucky to have her in my life.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Two Months

I am in love.

Pregorexia and Other Thoughts

One would think that I would have plenty of time to spend blogging with the "not working" and all, but organizing my life in two-hour chunks is way more difficult than I thought. But today, there is naptime, sweet naptime. So I can post links to all the interesting articles I've been reading (note: I do most of my reading on the blackberry during middle of the night feedings. Breastfeeders seem to be an untapped market for mobile device makers).

First, I read this response over at We Are The Real Deal to Maggie Baumann's essay on pregorexia. If you're not scouring the Internets daily like I am, the back story is that Baumann talked about suffering from an eating disorder during both of her pregnancies and then was thoroughly annihilated in the blogosphere. I do wish Baumann had gotten some help for herself, but I'm really put off by the backlash. Here's the bit I couldn't have said better:

"The truth is that millions of women suffer from eating disorders and the majority of American women struggle with some form of disordered eating–from chronic dieting to compulsive exercise to secret eating. Most of us know firsthand what it means to have food and weight issues. Why should we expect that those issues will just magically disappear during the most body and life transforming (not to mention stressful) times in our lives, aka pregnancy and new motherhood? There are mothers who have full-blown eating disorders and pregnant women who shed tears over their changing lives and changing bodies. There are women who look at pictures of celebrity new moms in their bikinis and feel desperately unhappy in their own skin and women who are terrified of passing their poor body image on to their children. These are all vulnerabilities that have the potential to unite us. "


Before I got pregnant, I assumed pregnancy would be such a relief because it would be the first time in my life that I wouldn't have to obsess about my weight. Ha ha ha. And then reality and an actual pregnancy hit. While I did eat what I wanted for the first time in a long time, the obsession didn't magically disappear. Sometimes it was actually worse, thanks to the doctors who were telling me that I was either gaining too fast or too slow depending on the visit. I was not only obsessing about my weight, but it became more loaded because I thought I might be harming my kid if I got too fat or too skinny. One conversation with my doctor went something like this:

Doc: You're putting on weight a little bit faster than we would like.
Me: But what can I do about it? I go to the gym every day and I'm only eating a few extra calories.
Doc: Well, at this point, you can cut out the extra calories. You might also want to cut out sweets and carbs.
Me: I thought I wasn't supposed to diet during pregnancy?
Doc: Well, that's not a diet. It's eating healthy.

Yeah, okay, I get that, but I still contend that all the obsessing about my weight gain and the related stress was much worse for Zygote than ice cream or my Chipotle habit.

The kicker? I was told -- while waiting to have my C-section after my prior 30 hours of labor -- that one of the best things I could do to avoid another C-section would be to get myself down to a healthy weight.

Folks, I gained 33 pounds during pregnancy. That's within the guidelines. Prior to pregnancy, I wore a size 12 which is about average. And then I lost all that weight within 6 weeks. I am woefully average.

And now, I am still obsessing. I wonder when I'll have the time to exercise, what it will be like to wear "work" clothes again, how to eat enough fruit and vegetables so that Zygote will get what she needs, how we're going to cook healthy food for our kids when we both work, etc. I am not Maggie Baumann, but I certainly have my share of disordered thoughts. I think I'm pretty average there too.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Vacation 2009

Just back from two weeks in Long Island. Lots to report, but that will have to wait.
Pictures here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

arrival

Heading into week 2 of vacation in Long Island so posting is light. Nursing the baby and typing this on my blackberry at the same time...I have arrived at parenthood.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Something Sensible That I Said That I Don't Want To Forget

...in case it makes it into an essay or something later on.

I feel like I am an extra in someone else's life -- like I have no clue what I'm doing, have no business being here, and that people are going to discover it and take her away from me.

Also...

My life is all about choosing what chair to breastfeed from next and the occasional load of laundry.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

One Month In

And we haven't killed each other.


Friday, July 03, 2009

Zygote's Birth Story

June 2009

Dear Zygote –

This is your birth story. Even though I, your mother, consider myself a writer, I had a hard time describing the monsoon of emotions that came up during your last few weeks in utero and your eventual birth. These are just the details. Maybe someday we will get to the emotional part, but I wanted to remember everything before it started to fade away. Also, I know my grammar sucks. And yes, this is hard for a writer. We’ll deal.

Your Due Date: June 2, 2009

Your dad and I went to see Dr. Fine at Harvard Vanguard and you were still looking very big and hadn’t descended. She sent us to get an ultrasound to check your size, and we drove across the city to Boston Ultrasound in Brookline through tons of traffic and ended up waiting for an hour to be seen. Two different people took your measurements. One put you at 9 lbs, 3 oz. and the other put you much over. An average of 9 lbs, 10 oz was determined. Dr. Fine was worried about you being over 10 lbs and me not being able to push you out. We spoke that afternoon and she felt that someone my height and weight could push out a 10 pounder. I was happy. I didn’t want to schedule a C-section.

Your dad and I drove out to Ayer and picked up your big sister, Jessica, from your grandparents’ house. We had pasta for dinner and watched The Simpsons, one of Jess’ favorite shows.

The Next Week

Over the course of the next week, I did everything that I could to get you to drop or get my cervix dilated and effaced. I went to the gym almost every day and took walks around our neighborhood. We also tried evening primrose oil, red raspberry leaf tea, spicy food—all things I had previously dismissed as “hippie shit.” Then we set up the breast pump and I would sit on the exercise ball and bounce, hoping something would happen. We looked at my belly in the mirror every day and convinced ourselves that you were moving. We also spent a lot of time going out to eat with friends, figuring we’d be pretty cooped up after you were born. Sol and Brandon came over for ice cream, and Matt, who was visiting from San Francisco, came over twice. Your Nana Bonnie called every day to check your status. On Sunday, we even snuck in some last meal out at Harvest, waiting for your arrival. On the menu – apple cinnamon pierogies, huevos rancheros and lemon semifreddo for dessert.

We did some chores around the house on Sunday and planned on eating light that evening, but we finally met our “new” neighbors and they invited us over for steaks on their back porch. Of course, we said yes and even joked that it was the sort of random thing that happened in other people’s birth stories. We were still hoping you might come out on your own. You had other plans.

Monday, June 8

We went back to see Dr. Fine. You were still pretty high and I wasn’t dilated at all, so we decided to do an induction on Tuesday night to see if we could get things moving. Your dad and I went home and finished our chores and errands. I told work that it would be my last day and happily put on my out-of-office response for the next 16 weeks. I also did laundry and gave the cats extra food. We then walked up to the gym for one last workout together in the hopes of exercising you out. No such luck.

We then decided on dessert before dinner and went for ice cream at JP Licks before picking up a pizza at Mike’s for home. I ate about a third of that pizza, knowing that I wouldn’t have much of an appetite for the next few days. Then we just went home and relaxed.

Tuesday, June 9: Induction Day

I slept late that morning and let Alistair, one of our cats, stay in bed with me longer than normal. Your dad had some work emails to finish up so I read some books and burned CDs for the hospital. It was a rainy day so I couldn’t go for a walk, but your dad and I decided we wanted one last adult lunch in Davis Square before your birth. We broke out the umbrellas and headed up to Blue Shirt Café and ordered our usual: a wrap to split and vegetable soups. I don’t remember what exactly we talked about, but your dad was probably talking me off the ledge as usual. I was VERY nervous about your arrival. As is my typical way, I was totally logistically prepared for your birth, but emotionally, I was a wreck. I was afraid of labor, scared of screwing you up and afraid of messing up the good relationship your dad and I have. I was worried about being a mom. Your dad has been through this before so he understood.

We decided to get something sweet and headed over to Mr. Crepe to split a chocolate and banana crepe and decaf café au laits. The guy working the counter was sweet, and when he found out I was being induced that afternoon, he told us he was happy we chose to spend our day there.

After lunch, we walked back to the house and double-checked our bags. More typical behavior for your dad and I. We always double check in the event that our items decided to make a break from the bags when we weren’t looking. At 3:30, I called the hospital and they instructed me to come over after dinner. They told me to eat at home where the food was better. We snuggled in the bed for a while, talked about what you might be like, and made some veggie burgers for dinner that we ate while watching bad t.v. on the couch.

We called our families and the doula to let them know what was going on and headed over to Mt. Auburn Hospital. We almost left our second bag in the car because we assumed that with your position, the induction wouldn’t work and that we’d be going home the next day. Our doula told us that happened frequently with first pregnancies so we worked out a preferred schedule of when we would go home and what induction methods we would try next.

In Labor and Delivery, we were assigned a room and I changed into my johnnie gown. Another doctor, Dr. Andersen, came in and explained how the Cervidil application would work, and then waited for the order to be placed. It came quickly and burned immediately. We settled in and watched the Yankees/Red Sox game. The Yankees played horribly; losing 7-0, Burnett vs. Beckett, and it seemed excruciatingly long. We needed to wait 12 hours to see if the Cervidil had succeeded or not.

The nurses were nice enough to find your dad a cot so went to bed, the last good night sleep we had. I was given and Ambien to help me get to bed and tried to ignore the beeping of all the monitors.

Wednesday, June 10: Laboring

When I woke up, I noticed that I was having minor contractions, and that I was really uncomfortable. Dr. Fine came around 8:30 a.m. and removed the Cervidil application. It was incredibly painful and burned so much that I started to cry. Her internal exam made me writhe in pain. It turns out that I was allergic to the medication and had a bad reaction that was causing me to swell and burn, very convenient when anticipating labor.

The positive? It worked! I was 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced. Dr. Fine advised that I start working with my contractions so your dad and I decided to stay in the hospital and not go home to labor as originally planned.

It was still early when I first started to believe that I might not be able to do this. We had originally told our doula to come after lunch, but after a few hours of whimpering, I asked your dad to call her. I took a shower in an attempt to relax. The water felt good on my back, but I started getting very sleepy. I wanted to lie down in the bed, but every time I did, I would get nauseous and start to gag. My back was in unbelievable pain, but none of the recommended back labor positions were working for me, so I just started to cry again.

I don’t remember how long I cried, but while I did, your dad put all of my focal points and pictures on the bed: a picture of the beach on Long Island, a picture of the beach on Longboat Key when your dad and I went to spring training in Florida, and a rock that had the word “grace” carved into it, a present from our minister, Dan, for when your dad was first dealing with his hearing loss. I sat on the birthing ball and tried to focus on them. The only two positions that seemed to give me any relief were the ball and sitting in the rocking chair where I was able to doze off for a little bit.

The contractions were hard, but in between, I was able to talk a little and walk around. I don’t remember when Ananda, our doula, arrived, but I think it was around noon. I was in the middle of a contraction, crying, with my eyes closed when I felt another set of hands on me. Ananda and your dad kept massaging me and helping me through back labor, one of the most painful kinds of labor (or so I read). They would push down as hard as they could on my back to apply counter pressure, but I was still in incredible pain.

Around mid afternoon, Dr. Fine came in for a status check. I was dilated to 5 cm, but you were still facing the wrong direction, sunny side up, and she wanted me to walk around to try and get you turned around. The next couple of hours were a blur, and I don’t remember time as much as just pain. Your dad figured out a system that helped me manage the pain a little bit better. He would watch the contractions on the monitor and shout out to me when they were peaking. I would cry and scream, “I need this to be over,” and he we would yell, “almost over” or “done, done.” That was the only thing keeping me sane.

They were also worried about me not eating and needing the strength to continue through. Months earlier, when we were at a “Meet the Doctors” session at the hospital, one of the doctors mentioned that women wouldn’t be worried or thinking about food while In labor. At the time, I couldn’t imagine any situation in which I would not be thinking about what to eat, but they were right. All the carefully prepared healthy snacks we had picked up before going to the hospital seemed disgusting to me. Against my will, I ate a banana that Ananda offered and your dad smeared with peanut butter. That was probably the worst banana I have ever eaten. Your dad left to make some phone calls, and Ananda helped me, still whimpering about wanting to go home, to the bed. I think I was lying down for about five minutes, when I suddenly shouted, “puke. PUKE.” Ananda grabbed a basin just in time for me to vomit up everything. Worst Banana in the World: 1. Me: 0.

We decided I should take a bath to try and deal with the pain. I took a pillow into the tub and sat in the water while your father poured warm water over my belly. It was relaxing, but I didn’t like being away from our “system.” The contractions seemed worse when I didn’t know that they would be ending.

I had another status check and had progressed to 6 cm, but things weren’t moving as fast as the doctors would like. You still weren’t descending. And the contractions just kept getting worse, with the back pain not lessening. Your dad and Ananda suggested I try another position to try and turn you. My most vivid memory of this part of labor was kneeling on the bed with my face and limbs wrapped around the top part of it, just screaming bloody murder and crying. I felt delirious and kept saying that I wanted it all to be over with and that I wanted to go home. I was pretty sure that we were nearing dinnertime, and I just knew that at only 6 cm and several hours into labor, that I would not be able to manage the pain on my own. I started begging for drugs, but your dad and Ananda told me to take it one contraction at a time. I don’t know how long I did that, but finally, I burst out crying again with an “I am not fucking around. I need some help. Please! Please!”

We called Dr. Fine and she went over our options. I still knew that I didn’t want an epidural. I wanted to be able to move around and to feel you, so I opted for a narcotic. The shot of Nubane must have been enormous because two weeks later, I still have a bruise, but it was such a relief. I could still feel my contractions, but they felt more like those from the early morning – the ones that I thought were totally not manageable at the time. I was able to relax a little. Your dad and Ananda ate dinner. We watched the second Yankees-Red Sox game. The Yankees lost. Again.

Thursday, June 11: Birthday

I don’t remember a lot of what happened next, but after a few hours, the narcotic started to wear off. The contractions were back and painful, but they hadn’t sped up. My labor was starting to stall out at 7 cm and I was feeling everything. Still, you hadn’t descended.

I managed through a few contractions, but then I asked Dr. Fine if I could get another shot. She wanted me to try and get things moving on my own and suggested I take a bath or a walk. Your dad and Ananda got me up and we did several laps around the L&D ward, stopping whenever I would have a contraction. One of the awesome night nurses kept telling me how great I looked and to keep going. We walked over to the post-partum wing and watched a little baby in the nursery getting cleaned up. Your dad kept me reminding me that you were coming soon, and we looked out the window at the Charles River at night. We walked back and I received my second Nubane shot.

At that point, we all tried to sleep. Ananda slept on a mat on the floor, and your dad slept on a chair next to me with his head on the bed. When he would hear me cry out during a contraction, he would grab my hand in his sleep. Dr. Fine checked me again, and I had progressed to 9.5 cm but still needed to efface more. You had descended a little, but not enough. At this point, she told me that we were probably looking at several more hours before being able to push. The narcotic was wearing off, and I was exhausted so sometime around 4 a.m., almost 24 hours in, I decided to get the epidural. I wanted the strength to be able to push and knew I couldn’t handle another few hours of contractions.

Your dad and Ananda had to leave the room, and I had to stay with the one nurse who had been brusque and rude earlier. When the anesthiologist came and expressed disbelief that someone would get an epidural at 9.5 cm, she immediately warmed up and said that I had been through enough and held my shoulders as I battled and shook through my next set of contractions, crying. We had problems getting the needle in, and he thought he might need to retry, but then everything came together. The relief was immediate. It was hard to remember what I had been so scared of. Your dad and Ananda came back, and we all went to bed.

Around 6 or 7 a.m., Dr. Fine came back and checked me again. I was exactly the same as I was a few hours prior. We decided to break my water to see if that would speed things up. Even that was problematic. She had to try a few times before the bag would finally break, and when it did, I was happy I was in the hospital. This was no small trickle. More like an endless gush. Dr. Fine started talking about the possibility of a C-Section if you didn’t descend more, but she wanted to give me more time to labor.

Her shift ended at 8, and I was turned over to Dr. Liau. She went through the same explanations as Dr. Fine and told me that I had finally progressed to 10 cm, but still hadn’t descended. She thought we should give you more time and then try to push you down. We waited. Your dad made some phone calls. The nurses prepped the room.

When it came time to start pushing, I was asked to roll onto my back. I had been on my side for hours in the hopes that it would move you face down and further into the birth canal. On my back, your heart rate plummeted and there was frantic activity to get me back on my side. We tried again, but the same thing happened. And again. They gave me an oxygen mask that stayed on for the duration of my labor.

Dr. Liau again explained our options. We could try to push, and then run the risk of an emergency C if you continued to get into trouble, or we could choose to get a C-section and give them time to prep the operating room and me. It my choice, but I desperately wanted someone to tell me what to do.

Your dad and I asked everyone to leave and I just looked at him. He started to cry which made me cry and said he couldn’t watch me go through any more pain only to end up in an emergency situation. I was so tired and afraid of you being hurt. I opted for the C-section.

We called everyone back in the room and they told us how things would work. At that moment, I really wanted to make sure I saw my parents before the operation and kept asking your dad if they were there yet. When they finally arrived, he let them in and I started to cry and said I just couldn’t do it anymore, that I needed to get you out. Your pop-pop told me not to cry and held my hand and kissed it. I was still holding the Grace rock. Your nana told me not to worry.

Then it seemed like we were waiting for hours. An earlier C-section was finishing up and the doctor preferred to wait until the main operating room was open instead of using the emergency back up. A woman scheduled to have a C with twins was bumped for me, and I felt guilty.

Then it was time. Your dad needed to stay in the room and change into scrubs while I was wheeled into the OR. It was then that I realized I was having an operation. I was staring at the bright white lights on the ceiling, and it felt like I was in a movie. The doctors administered my second epidural and did a number of tests. I was paranoid about feeling the cut and kept telling them, “I feel that” for every little twinge. They assured me that it was normal. They covered my belly with an antiseptic and then brought your dad in. He looked cute in scrubs, but I could barely listen to him talking because I was so scared.

He held my hand and stroked my hair. I forgot to tell the doctors that I wanted to hear what was going on, and they were so many people talking it sounded like everything was an emergency. It didn’t hurt, but I just felt a lot of pressure and discomfort. Then they told me that I would feel a LOT of pressure when they took you out. It felt like ten people were leaning on my stomach, and I may have cried. And then your dad and I thought we heard a cry.

The anesthesiologist told us he could see and said that we had a healthy baby. We asked if you were a boy or girl, but he couldn’t see so it was a few seconds before he declared, “it’s a girl!” Your dad and I laughed in shock because we were so sure that you would be a boy. And then we both started to cry. Your dad looked at you and he tearily told me that you were beautiful. I had my glasses on, but all I could see was your big shock of hair and squirming limbs. It old your dad to take a picture and show it to me and cried when I saw you. The doctors let him bring you over to me and I saw your big eyes, and he held us cheek to cheek. More tears. I didn’t want to let you go.

You were 9 lbs, 2 oz and 21.5 inches long, born at 11:47 am. The nurses had to take you to the nursery while I was getting sewn up. Your dad stayed with me for a bit before going to be with you. Under the lights, I got the post-epidural shakes and went through four warming blankets. I shook so badly that I needed to hold the sides of the table. I was exhausted, but channeling Lifetime movies and afraid that I might die and leave your father a widow with a new newborn if I closed my eyes, so I willed myself awake.

My stitches were in, and then I was sluggishly transferred back to my bed and wheeled back to the birthing room. Your dad, Ananda and your grandparents wheeled you in shortly after. We tried to nurse immediately and I felt your skin on mine for the first time and watched you root around, amazed that you knew what to do.

And then our adventure began.

Love,

Mommy