• After Birth…Stay in Bed For a Week!

    Although staying at the hospital was kinda boring, and I was ready to go home, I also felt a little nervous about leaving. I kept thinking “you guys are really going to let me leave with this thing? I can just take the baby with me, even though I have never been around a newborn, and hadn’t changed a diaper since I was a middle school babysitter.” My gut told me everything would be okay, and that my instincts would know what to do, but my rational mind was like “You guys are nuts! How do you know you can trust me with this?”

    Getting a fragile 2-day old baby in a car seat seemed as mentally complex as particle physics. A nurse was trying to observe the whole affair to make sure we did it correctly, but it was 100 degrees in the parking lot, and just having her watch was making it increasingly difficult to figure the damn thing out. Ahhhhhh the pressure! My mom had bought the seat for me with the best intentions, but is was so freakn’ complicated, it looked like an S&M torture machine. I can’t say I am positive she was in there right, and part of me feels like I Brittany Spears-ed my baby on her first day in a car, but off we went. On the ride back the song “Wonderwall” came on covered by Ryan Adams. The words “I don’t believe that anybody feels the way I do about you now,” echoed deeply in my ears. I started to cry, feeling how much I loved this little creature, and how I couldn’t believe she was actually here.

    Once back at the house, I got settled into my bed that was going to be my homebase for the next week. A midwife had suggested to stay in bed with the baby for 1 whole week, and I was taking her advice quite literally. Only get up to go to the bathroom, have all meals brought to you, and don’t even think about going downstairs. Just stay in bed, bond with the baby, and recover. For a type A, overactive person like me, this was not an easy thing to do psychologically. But I intuitively did believe she had a good point, and when I am going to follow directions, you better believe I follow those directions.

    I was kind of anal in not wanting excessive chaos around the baby while on my breastfeeding island. I only talked minimally on the phone to the people I super loved and needed to share my birth story with because I was afraid of the frequency of the phone waves fucking with my baby’s brain. Everyone that came and visited had to just sit on the bed with me and hold the baby there. I kept my voice low, and made sure every conversation was a soft murrmer. My mom said I was going to give the baby a complex and make her super neurotic if I kept whispering around her.

    “Mom! I am not going to whisper around her forever! Obvi! She just doesn’t need to be thrown into the manic energy of the world so quickly. I just want to give her some time to adjust.”

    So what did I do for a week in bed you ask? I read, read, and read some more. I didn’t know this about newborns, but they sleep a lot. She was sleeping about 20-22 hours a day, mostly on my chest. I read all three books of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” All 1,500 pages of it. I would get so into the book at times, that I would forget myself, until I would look down and be like “holy shit there is a baby on me.” It still seemed so surreal. My whole 30 years on the planet I had never had a baby, and now I couldn’t imagine what life was like without her. It was like her essence had always been close, I was just too distracted to notice.

    I also spent every moment that she was awake interacting with her. Her eyes weren’t open that much, so I just wanted to be present for every second I had the opportunity to stare into them. Not to be corny, but I felt like we were just taking the time to really get to know each other. The one thought that I could not shake in that week in bed was “this moment is never going to happen again… I am never going to have this magical time, with this baby again, and I am going to try and appreciate every nuance. Every expression. Every time she looks at me with recognition.”

    So all in all, Toni Bologna suggestion is to stay in bed for at least a week with your baby!

    November 18, 2010 • 1st Month, Birth, Mommy Body • Views: 4942

  • My First Breast Feeding Extravaganza

    I feel like there is a lot of mystery around breastfeeding, that you can’t fully comprehend until you try it. I know I was pretty dumbfounded as to what it would feel like, and how someone is seriously going to survive just by sucking on my boob all day. I had gotten a lot of books from friends on the “art of breast feeding” which confused me even further considering there was a litany of literature on the subject. I kept wondering if it was more complicated than I was assuming. Don’t you just put your baby on your boob and call it a day?

    After popping the baby out, Sage, my Doula asked if I wanted to try breastfeeding. Everyone was still in the room milling about, while the nurse wondered if I wanted my bedding changed considering all the birth juice that was pooled at my feet. Point being, it wasn’t the most calm of situations. I put the baby towards my boob, and she just kinda bobbed her head around. I tried to guide her mouth towards the nip, but nothing really happened and I didn’t want to be forceful and snap her head off on the first day and all. I also felt a little self conscious with people watching with looks of anticipation much like being at the US Open and waiting to see if Andy Federer was going to miss his second serve. I decided, “fuck it” there is too much going on.

    After about 30 minutes, the doctor, nurses, and Doula all left, and for the next 3 hours we just held her and stared at her face. Time was like an illusion and I couldn’t believe it was already 1:30 when the nurse asked if I wanted to take a shower. Getting up no longer preggo was the craziest feeling. In the shower I got so lost in my head thinking about the total insanity of what had just happened. I couldn’t believe I had just given birth and that my baby was out. While I washed off I realized it was the first time I hadn’t been with her for the last 9 months, and I felt so empty without her energy inside me anymore. Then, about 11 pounds of blood and birthing material suddenly gushed onto my feet and I decided it was time to get out. Lucky for me, they give you pads the size of a diaper for a giant to soak up all that fun stuff.

    Now that I was clean, and my bed was no longer saturated, I jumped in and the nurse handed me the baby like I knew what I was doing. I snuggled up next her and tried to sleep, but there was no way that was going to happen considering the amount of adrenalin pumping through my system. The nurse came back around 3:30, asking if I wanted to try feeding her. Looking back, I can see how everything about this moment was perfect for learning how to breastfeed. It was the strange hour in the middle of the night where you are naturally calm, and no one was awake to watch the progress. Breastfeeding is not a spectator sport, and I highly suggest trying for the first time by yourself or with one nurse to give you suggestions.

    The nurse told me to lay on my side, and lay the baby on her side, so she could try feeding on the bottom boob. The nurse explained that you don’t just put the tip of the nip in the baby’s mouth, but the whole freakin’ thing. The baby means business, and needs the nip all the way in there. So I would basically take my boob, and stuff it into my baby’s mouth. The nurse explained, that if she wasn’t “latched on” correctly I was going to have issues, so to stick my finger in her mouth to get her off and try again. Although the thought of anyone being “latched on” to my nip is quite intimidating, I did get what she meant because you definitely felt that sweet spot when she was stuck on there.

    The exciting thing they don’t tell you about your first breastfeeding sessions, is that it contracts your uterus. So basically, the baby feeding helps your giant baby-sized uterus shrink back to its normal pear size. Although the last thing you want to feel after having had contractions all day and giving birth, is more contractions, but there are two reasons why this is okay. Reason number 1 is that you know the baby is on there right and feeding. Reason number 2 is because you do not want your uterus to maintain that weird hollow baggy feeling any longer than it needs to.

    So at the end of the day I feel really lucky to have had such a great nurse to help me with this first experience. From then on I felt pretty calm about it, and never let her suck on my nip if she wasn’t latched on properly. I would stick my finger in her mouth and pry her off faster than bunnies get laid because I did not want her to give me raw nips. I need those things. I had a friend who had bleeding, cracked nipples, because of breastfeeding. She told me she just never really knew what it was supposed to feel like, so assumed it was normal to be super painful. Of course, everyone experience is unique, but these are my thoughts on how to make it easier for you…

    Toni Bologna Breast Feeding Suggestions That Will Rock Your World
    1) be calm
    2) have the least amount of people observing possible
    3) don’t let baby suck if not really stuck on like a Valasor Raptor
    4) moisturize your nips with Argon Oil!!!!!!!!!!

    November 17, 2010 • 1st Month, Breast Feeding, Mommy Body • Views: 2538

  • Breath My Baby Out (My Birth Story)

    So it has been 4 months since my last blog, and no, I am not 13 months preggo.  I had that baby and boy is that distracting!!! I am back though, and feel like I have to start from where I left off in order to get to where I am.

    One thing that I know for sure, is that I was wrong in my last blog.  Labor is called labor because that shit is hard!!! My birthing moment was by far the most humbling experience of my life.  When it was over the first thing I thought was “note to self… be nicer to my mother.”  So everyone loves a good birth story right? Well here is mine… all 19 hours of it.

    cast of characters….

    Me: mother of bebe

    Wes: father of bebe

    Sage: Doula




    3:30am-10:30am Around 3:30 in the morning I started to feel cramps.  Sort of like period cramps, but considering I hadn’t gotten my period in a hot minute, I wasn’t quite sure what was going on.  Not to mention, when you wake up in the middle of the night, you are confused.  Since I had never gone into labor, I wasn’t sure if these were contractions, or if I just seriously had to poo.  After about an hour, I decided that yes, these were contractions, as there was no need for the afore mentioned evacuation.

    Okay kewl.  I am officially having my birthing moment.  I went down stairs and started timing them.  They were 6 minutes apart and I was told to go to the hospital when they are 5 minutes apart for 1 hour.  Okay, word.  I figured I had time to be in my birthing moment and listen to my Ipod.  My dog cuddled up next to me, seemingly fully aware of what was going on, and eventually Wes made me an egg sandwich.  So far so good.

    10:30am-11am  The contractions had maintained at 6 minutes apart for 7 hours, so Wes called the hospital and they told me to come in.  We drove there with the sunroof open and music blasting.  The warmth of the morning star shining on my face, and I am thinking… “this isn’t so bad…this is a beautiful birthing moment.”

    11am-12pm  We arrive at the hospital, and meet up with the Doula, Sage.  I am still feeling pretty chipper between contractions and we head in.  Now this is a small country hospital, so before giving me a room, they wanted to make sure that I was really going to have a baby.  I was pretty sure I wasn’t faking it, but okay, sure, test away. The first thing they did was attach the “fetal monitor” to measure contractions.  Basically they strap you down to the bed, put some wires and nodes all over your belly, and tell you to relax. Riiiiight. I will give that whole relaxing thing a try when you take this shit off of me and I don’t feel like Frankenstein with wires hanging off my belly.

    The nurse asks me to rate my pain from 1-10, and I give it a 5.  “I am pretty good at dealing with pain though.” She gave me a sideways glance when I said that, basically letting me know “You don’t know what the fuck you are talking about.”  I resented her for this.  I was going to be special. I was going to have a painless birth, totally convincing myself this whole labor thing wasn’t that big of a deal. I mean, the contractions didn’t feel like eating M&M’s and ice cream, but they were manageable.

    Then the nurse had the amazing idea to check the dilation of my cervix. For those of you who have never experienced this awesome activity, let me walk you through it.  First, the nurse snapped on her gloves, and applied a half tube of lube to her hand.  Not her finger mind you, her hand.  Considering my stone cold sobriety, I found that to be a bit intimidating.  Then, she basically fist fucked me until her entire forearm disappeared up to her elbow.  God only knows what she was searching for as she measured the openness of my cervix.  Let me tell you… this was not as fun as it sounds.

    The nurse told me that I was 3 centimeters dilated, and I could go home. “What?  You have got to be kidding me? I am not going home right now.  I am having this baby today.”  Of course I didn’t say any of that, got my things, and went to the car.   Now what?

    Wes suggested that we go to a park near the hospital and hang out there. That sounded like a plan to me, because I felt like it would really screw with me psychologically to go back home.  I was ready to have a baby.  I knew the baby was coming, and I didn’t care what that nurse thought.  Besides, after a moment like that she could have at least taken my out to dinner and a movie. Continue Reading

    November 10, 2010 • Birth • Views: 5457

  • The language around birth is scary as f*ck!

    So what is with the language around birth?  Do you not find it a bit intimidating?

    1)    Labor: So the only words that I know associated with labor are “hard” labor and “manual” labor.  YIKES!  That is not exactly the peaceful image I want when I think about bringing a bebe into the world.  Also…why are women always “going into” labor, like it is some dark cavernous abyss?  And if you are going into labor, that means you somehow have to get out of it right?  How do I get out of labor?  Maybe we could call it “birthing moment” instead.  Like “Ohhhh…. No big deal everyone.  I am just having my birthing moment.”

    2)    Contractions: Okay… so that reminds me of math equations and grammar.  I don’t want to be thinking about school subjects I was only quasi good at during my birthing moment!  How about instead of contractions we said “birthing wave,” like “I am just riding this birthing wave, and when the waves get closer together my bebe will surf onto the shore.”  Doesn’t that sound nice?

    3)    Pushing: If the baby were to be coming out of my asshole, I would understand this idea of pushing.  I have pushed things out of my ass before.  In fact I am quite used to it.  But “pushing” something out of my vagina?  Nope.  That makes no sense to me.  My vagina is used to things coming in… not things coming out.  How about “exhaling” the baby out.  Yes… that sounds plausible… just a series of downward exhales.

    4)    Due Date: This makes me think of a deadline… and that makes me think of work… and work is not magical.  Besides… it is not like humans that are out of the womb develop at the exact same rate… why should we predict or expect baby fetuses to be any different?  Then you get fixated on this one day like it’s God’s truth, when really, only 5% of babies ever come on that day.  Why not a “bebe birthday month?”  Like “Eh… you will have the baby sometime in July.”

    5)    Water breaking/bloody show/mucus plug: Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Makes me think of a horror movie!  Seriously?  A bloody show?  Am I going to an avant garde Broadway horror musical?  Can’t those just be “signs the baby is coming soon?”

    I am just saying, that language can scare you! Especially because if you have never had a baby, birth is such an unknown experience. You can ask 100 women about their birth and you will get 100 different descriptions of what they went through.  If this is your first time in such foreign territory, don’t you at least want to talk and hear about birth with softer language?  I am not saying that I think birthing is going to be a walk in the park, but I do think the “common” medical words could have more positive imagery.

    June 29, 2010 • Being Preggo • Views: 3944

  • “But Officer… I am wicked pregnant and super have to pee!”

    “But Officer… I am wicked pregnant and I super have to pee!” Who would have known that the above words would get me out of being arrested? But they did. Okay… so maybe I was driving 20 miles over the speed limit… and definitely deserved getting pulled over. But c’mon! Nature calls! Did I mention I was also late to meet the baby’s new potential pediatrician… and get to yoga on time? I had things to do!

    Under normal circumstances, I would have gotten a speeding ticket and been on my way, but unbeknownst to me, my license was suspended!?

    “Well Ma’am… your license is suspended and I am going to have to arrest you.”
    “Ummmmm seriously??” But officer… how can a practice my preggo headstands in jail??

    Looking at my big preggo belly and my legs crossed, the officer took pity. He talked to his supervisor, and rather than arresting me, followed me to the hospital so I could go pee, and still make the tail end of the doctors appointment. Meeting the pediatrician with a police escort I am sure gave juuuuuuuust the right impression of what kind of mom I am going to be, as I asked about getting vitamin K as an oral supplement rather than having baby get the shot. Yeesh.

    So mom fails… but baby totally wins, as without that big pregnant belly, I am sure I would be writing this from my jail cell right now. You know, before this happened, I thought there was a possibility that I wasn’t totally prepared for the responsibility ahead. Starting with the fact that without my mom having purchased all the goods for the baby’s needs, I would have brought baby home wrapped in paper towels and duck taped to my chest. Another warning signal for me might have been when I got an email forwarded to me with all these “fail” pictures of bad parenting, (my favorites being below) and I was totally inspired about all the funny pictures I could take with my baby!

    I am thinking the fact that I am already exploiting baby in utero to get out of jail sentences, imagining all hysterical predicaments to put baby and take pictures for my own amusement, as well as speeding 20 miles over the speed means, means I still got a lot of work to do.

    At least, after spending 3 hours on the phone with DMV, I cleared my name of my suspended license, because it was not my fault. I actually paid that ticket of talking on my cell phone while driving… to my defense, though, I wasn’t preggo then. But yes, I totally told the guy on the phone my pregnancy woes to make sure he sent the fax TODAY so I could get my license re-instated. Hey… who knows how much longer I will have the DMV and the police on my side, and if a baby in my belly is the ticket, then baby, you can stay in there until college.

    June 25, 2010 • Being Preggo • Views: 7468

  • I Am Special Because I am Pregnant

    I am special because I am pregnant…

    Being preggo is probably the only time in a chick’s life where random people will shamelessly put their hands on you, and ask intimate questions about your health.  Usually, people don’t give a care if you are sleeping, or having regular bowel movements… but when you have baby in there, suddenly you are a magnet for attention and concern.

    Some women hate to have their personal space violated in this manner, but I for one, think it is awesome.  Just by being in a public space, people want to talk to me, or give me affection by rubbing my belly.  In my book… that is pretty freaking fantastic. Yes, it may be strange to be in a grocery store while receiving unsolicited advice on hemorrhoids, but when else will complete strangers relate to you with this same level of intimacy?

    We are such a guarded culture, avoiding all eye contact or potential interaction with the humans around us.  Most of us live our lives on the defense, doing whatever we can, not to interact with our fellow species… unless, of course, there is the social lubricant of alcohol/substances to coat the moment with a heightened sense of self-confidence.  It is a rare occasion that we interact with others in a way that breaks down the barriers of social norms, and actually acknowledges the insanity that is humanity.

    The fact that a baby, a miniature human, ignites an abandonment of social convention makes me think the human trepidation about other humans is just that… our conditioning.  That maybe, we are actually hyper social beings that crave the energetic exchange that can only be acquired through another person?  Maybe being a super preggo chick reminds people of their own vulnerability of wanting to be loved and that is why they are so quick to share a piece of themselves with me?

    Although it may get old telling people when I am due, or that I don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl, I will never tire of being appreciated and acknowledged.  It is not like I am doing anything but walking around with my big pregnant belly, but I have gotten more positive attention than I ever have on my 30 years on this planet.  And believe you me, that has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with this creature that kicks my ribs when I am trying to eat an organic turkey burger and then punches my bladder with little demonic hands just to make sure I am paying attention.  Once I squeeze this puppy out, I am sorely going to miss hearing stories about nipple infections and stuffing bra’s with cabbage as I get my Star Magazine.

    June 12, 2010 • Being Preggo • Views: 4218