Monday, April 14, 2014

Bout Time





Well happy freaking Monday, right?!

I've listed all the descriptions above because they really describe my blogging since having Miss E in October. Really, I've thought about blogging a fair bit in the last few months, figuring that since E is a bit older it's probably about time I got back to my bailiwick, so to speak. Shame on you if you don't know what bailiwick means. Ha.

But really, what happens every time I go to blog is that I'm tempted to do something else--usually something more relaxing and mindless--in the very few hours that I'm free from baby or house duties.

I am going to try to remedy that, however. (Obviously, or you wouldn't be reading this.)

A few updates:

1) Emily is now six months old. I wish I could say it's gone by in a flash, and in a sense it has, but mostly it hasn't. That's clear, isn't it? I mean, let me be honest and risk internet troll hatred by saying that the first six months are _exhausting_. The first six weeks _unbearably tiring_. I really like my baby. But there is something so draining about trying to be continually engaged and present with your child and just generally trying to do all the rights things to raise a happy kid. Add a dog with shedding that won't quit and toilets that just keep getting dirty and you've got one exhausted momma. (And poppa.)

2) Having a baby has changed my body. Big shocker, I know. I can write more about this if you all are interested--just let me know. It's a difficult thing for someone who has struggled with an eating disorder and again, I wish I could say the trite line about how "Every time I look at my stretch marks I just think about how amazing it is that my body grew my baby," but WTFFFFFFFFFuck!!? Who really thinks that? Only new moms on Prozac, as far as I can tell. Yes, I love my baby, and yes, I'm still kinda confused and surprised that she used to reside in my belly, but am I able to sentimentalize stretch marks? F-no!

3) I may be going back to work three days a week, a fact that has incited some considerable guilt on my part, especially regarding "Does working three days a week make me a bad mom?" "Will Emily resent me?" "Am I abandoning her?" "Will I still be her favorite if I'm not there on three days?" Like I suggested above, things have changed a lot. Before having Emily I would never have gone any amount of time without working. Now, however, I'm surrounded by Boulder stay-at-home Moms and I'm struggling to convince myself that going back to work is a good thing for me and for E too.

And that's all for now. Will work on getting my @#$ here and blogging regularly.

*What are you working on right now? As in, what personal thing or issue are you struggling with?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Surprise!!! (Joanna)

Surprise!!! (Joanna)

And, really, surprise to everyone, since it's been such a boatload of days since I last blogged. (How many Hail Mary's for this, I wonder…)

It's a (virtual) baby shower!!

Maybe you're knocked up too, and that's great, but really this shower is for my friend Joanna of Midwestern Bite. She does a food satire blog, so today--in honor of her new baby's impending arrival--I thought I'd share some satirical thoughts about baby showers. Here's a top five of the snarkiest things I've considered RE: baby showers, and also motherhood in general.

1) There is such a thing as camaraderie between mothers. However, don't be fooled into thinking that motherhood is a "no judging zone," e.g. this scene I observed recently:

Mom 1 (said to me): "You should totally bring Emily to the gym childcare! It's just because she's your first that you're so worried. With my second I brought him at six weeks! Hey--Jenn, didn't you bring your second like, two seconds after she was born? It's so different with the second baby, right?"

Mom 2: "Umm." (Awkward pause) "We actually did attachment parenting, so no. I didn't leave her." 

And the subtext of that last remark is… "EVER." "I didn't leave her EVER." 

So, lest you think that we're all in this together, you're wrong. No matter how many raspberry-infused ice cubes us ladies drink together at the typical (read: idiotic) baby shower, we still reserve the right to judge you if your newborn seems to never get out of his/her pajamas onsies. 
<Cough. Emily has only worn like two real, non-pajama outfits since she was born>

2) Why TF?!!! do you get so many newborn onesies at real baby showers anyway, especially if your baby is born in the late-fall/winter? Who has the energy to change their newborn into a new outfit every freaking day when they're just going to sleep, eat, and poop the day away? Does even a trip to Target deserve a "real," non-pajama outfit? And in what climate do babies wear onsies in the winter anyhow? If they wear a onesie then you have to put other layers on them to keep warm, which--as far as I can tell--is just more shit you have to finagle when you're changing their diaper!!!


4) Why does the food at baby showers have to be cute? Google images for "baby shower food" and what you'll find is a conspicuous number of pictures of those edible fruit sculptures. If you google articles you'll find lots of menus that include things like salmon salad with sparkling something or other cocktails. It's like a flashback to the 1890s with all the propriety up in here--you might need to bring "your card" to leave with your baby shower hostess even. One thing is for certain: you will not be indulging in a couple of pieces of pizza, or binging on decent beer, when you agree to attend a traditional baby shower. And what a shame, really, since you probably won't be eating much pizza or drinking much beer after the baby is born and people immediately start evaluating the size of your hips and ass in order to determine if you can beat Kim Kardashian back into her skinny jeans.

5) Lastly, why.can'!! More to the point, why do men get to not come? I see why--with all the spritzers and "fun" games, and lack of real food--they wouldn't want to come. But why should they get out of it? Really the men should have to endure the baby shower--you know, to get all the presents, since that's what baby showers are really for--since it's the women that have to endure the freaking pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Here's a fun link from Baby Center on co-ed baby showers: My favorite takeaways are: 

"…realize that most men don't find the jellybeans in a baby bottle all that adorable." 
(Right, because most women think jellybeans are totes cute!)

"We had (the shower) outdoors, complete with punch, tropical invitations (so the men wouldn't be scared away), and reggae/Jimmy Buffett music." 
(All the men I know are truly drawn to tropical-inspired themes too.)

"One of the cutest games I ever played at a couples shower was 'Make a Baby.'" 
(I'll leave you to research _that_ game, my friends.)

In conclusion, the usual baby showers do not appeal to me. Also, I may have become more snarky since becoming a sleep-deprived mother.

But the beauty of my post--and the reason why it's dedicated to Joanna--is that Joanna doesn't do the usual boring thing! Even with a baby girl on the way she hasn't posted _any_ pictures of hot pink bows that will someday adorn her poor baby's head.

Thanks for that, Joanna, and congratulations on your new addition!! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013


It has arrived!

I can't say I'm entirely happy about it, but I suppose it does make the landscape round here look pretty magical. We were supposed to get two to five inches, and it looks like we got closer to two. I just hope it doesn't snow a lot on too many days this winter. Staying home with an infant when you can't readily leave the house sounds like a recipe for weight gain or postpartum depression--I can't decide which:-)

Is it snowing where you are? Can you peeps believe that next week is Thanksgiving? It's kind of strange for me, since for the last two years David and I have actually been out of the country for Thanksgiving. That sounds really glamorous, but two years ago we took a work trip to England at Thanksgiving--where we got engaged--and then one year ago we went to France over Thanksgiving--where we started trying for our first baby. I guess that second trip was kind of glamorous in retrospect:-) 

In case you're wondering--and since I brought it up--Emily was not conceived in France. Sadly, the only thing that we returned with besides our luggage is about five pounds. But, seriously, what are you going to do when you're eating breakfast on a lake in Switzerland and there is a cheese plate being offered to you? Right?

A lake. In Switzerland. At which I ate cheese. And nutella. Lots of nutella.

Actually, I've been thinking a lot lately about the travels that I've taken. Coincidence? I don't think so. There's something about being chained (in a good way…hehe) to a baby and, to some degree, your house, that makes you think about and long for the travels you've taken. I'm already dreaming about the day when Emily is old enough to stay with her grandparents so that David and I can take a weekend trip to Crested Butte or something. I'm longing for the days when David and I first started dating and we spontaneously decided to take a day trip to Vail so we could ride our road bikes in the mountains around there. 

On the plus side, Emily is seven weeks old today and things are starting to get interesting. She's developing new cries (besides the screaming that means "holy fuck where is my milk"), smiling at me, and generally just plumping up. I like a plump baby with a big round face so this is a good thing. Here's a recent pic of her.  

Sweet mohawk, right? She already has twice the hair that her father has:-)

*What trips do you daydream about taking or having took? (I'm too tired to worry about whether "having took" is grammatical. Sorry.)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Emily's Arrival

Emily's arrival began approximately four days after I stopped blogging here. Ha. Seriously. I just kind of petered out there, didn't I?

Seriously, though, Emily's arrival began on the night of Sunday, September 29, when I observed an auspicious sign that labor could be imminent. I'll leave off from describing what that sign might've been, but if you're a female you can probably figure it out for yourself.

After Sunday I was on high alert all day Monday for more signs of labor, though that didn't stop me from going to gym and using the elliptical. Actually, my Dad called me while I was on the elliptical and told me that I was crazy and that my water could break at any moment. It didn't. Nothing happened all day Monday, but on Monday night, at exactly 12:57 a.m. I started having contractions. Nothing terrible, really, but enough to keep me awake and enough to let me know that things were starting to happen for me and my "bundle."

I did not go to the gym on Tuesday, as things were definitely intensifying. The contractions were coming pretty regularly, though I could still watch episodes of Teen Mom 3 in between them:-) On Tuesday night they were really picking up and coming anywhere from every 3-10 minutes. David was starting to get pretty nervous about the prospect of delivering the baby in the car on the way to the hospital, but I still felt like it was too early to head to the hospital. Our friend Chris came over to arrange a drop off of my car for the friend who would be dog/housesitting for us, and I remember telling him and David that I couldn't be too close to having the baby if I could still talk (though with difficulty) through the contractions.

Despite my gut feeling that labor was still in the early stage, around ten p.m., when the contractions were every 3-5 minutes apart, David convinced me to go to the hospital. Of course, when we got there they told us exactly what I'd dreaded: I was 90% effaced but only 1 cm dilated. They offered me a few choices, including a morphine drip (WTF? Did I mention I'm pregnant?), some Ambien to help me sleep at home or at the hospital, or just a ticket out of the hospital. We stayed there for an hour or two and tried to sleep, though after two hours and no further dilation I prodded David to take me back home so I could at least try to sleep in my own bed.

I didn't take the morphine or the Ambien, but I did take two Tylenol and tried, with little success, to sleep. Needless to say I was tired by the time Wednesday rolled around, which was particularly unfortunate since it was clear on Wednesday that I was entering active labor. I could no longer watch Teen Mom 3 in between or during contractions, and spent most of the day in my bathtub, where the contractions were barely bearable if I could spray hot water on my back and belly during them.

Around four p.m., however, I was beginning to feel like I couldn't make it another night at home without knowing if things were progressing or not. And, given the hospital debacle from the previous night, I knew that I didn't want to be going to the hospital in the middle of the night unless I was sure things were progressing. So, I asked David to call my OB/GYN to see if I could come immediately to her office to be checked. And so we made another trip down to town, though this time I was in considerably more distress.

I was so grateful that my Dr. stayed late to check me, and even more grateful when she told me that I was four cm dilated and should head over to labor and delivery. According to her, I'd have a baby by two or three a.m. at the latest. Whew! Seriously, I nearly cried with relief; if the pain I was experiencing was still pre-labor then I was not going to make it through the real thing.

Over at the hospital I was still kind of in denial about really being in labor. Even now, it's still so surreal. We called our doula, Ranelle, and she met us there around seven p.m. My labor and delivery nurse, Lucy, introduced herself and we kinda just hunkered down and started working through the contractions. At the beginning I was mostly standing over the hospital bed, breathing and swaying back and forth during contractions.

Sometime around eight p.m. my parents came by and into the room to see how things were going and to say hello. I was worried about this because I knew it would upset my Dad, who didn't want me to suffer and who really pushed me to have an epidural. As expected, when I started to feel a contraction coming on and began deep breathing, I heard him say something to the effect of "Jesus Christ." Mind you, I was not screaming uncontrollably or crying or anything, but I guess being the only girl means that my Dad really doesn't like seeing me in pain. In fact, he actually asked the doctor on call about "spinal options," to which the nurse Lucy replied, "For your epidural, sir?"

After that, my parents left so the doctor could examine me again, at which point I was dilated to a six. Y.E.S.! That really gave me confidence that labor wasn't going to last forever and that I could handle it. My plan was for an unmedicated birth but to be honest I had been scared out of my mind that I wouldn't be able to handle the pain once things really got started.

After hearing that I was a six, I decided to get into the jacuzzi tub, since that had helped so much at home. I labored in the tub for a few hours, turning on the jets when a contraction hit and eating little energy chews while trying to drink lots of water. Getting out of the tub sucked; every time I had to pee I would stand up to get out of the tub and within thirty seconds a contraction would hit. It was amazing, actually, how helpful the water was. Whenever the nurse came in to check Emily's heart rate (which she needed to do during and after contractions), I'd just stand up to incite a contraction. Of course, as soon as it started I would immediate drop into the tub, where the pain was much less.

Ranelle and David were really helpful while I was in the tub. They gave me energy chews, encouraged me to drink water, put cool wash cloths on my neck and face, and just generally told me I was doing really well. Things were getting pretty intense and we all figured I was going through the transition phase, which is where you dilate from 7-10 centimeters and become ready to push.

Sadly, however, after a few hours--at around eleven p.m.,--nurse Lucy came in, checked me, and told me I was still at a six. According to her, I could either take pitocin to speed up and intensify labor, or I could have them break my water with a crochet hook. (Yes, a medical crochet hook, but a crochet hook nonetheless.) This was undoubtedly the most difficult part of the entire labor. Really. I don't know if I've ever felt so scared or so alone. I had been laboring for so long and really felt as though I couldn't take much more. I couldn't believe that my options were the kind of interventions that I had worked for so long and so hard to avoid. I knew that David and Ranelle were there to support me, but at that moment I felt very keenly that it was only me and my body that were ultimately going to experience this birth one way or another.

Once the nurse left us to discuss our options, David and Ranelle quickly discussed another option, namely, getting out of the tub and changing positions to encourage Emily to drop into my pelvis and encourage further dilation. She was tilted slightly to one side, which was preventing the full weight of her body from pressing on the cervix and opening it more.

Given that I had just received news that I found literally soul-crushing, I said, "Um, I think there is another option, i.e. an epidural, and I'd like that please." If Ranelle hadn't been there, I'm pretty sure that's exactly what would've happened. Luckily, Ranelle calmly and evenly told me that if I did have an epidural I'd be immediately confined to the bed, which would make it even more difficult for Emily to drop and more likely that labor would stop progressing and I'd be at risk for a C-Section. Since my number one goal was to avoid a C-Section, this really gave me pause, and after that I agreed to get out of the tub and get into some positions that Ranelle thought would push Emily down.

So we did that. For about an hour. And it sucked. I did lunges. I did cat/cow stretches. I layed on my left side and just got through every contraction until I felt something wet on my legs. It was my water breaking, of course, and at that point the nurse came back to check me and declared that I was at a nine!  I was pretty pumped but also knew that I would likely have at least two hours of pushing once I finally got to a ten.

At that point we went back into the bathroom, where I labored for another hour or so. By that time I had started bearing down during contractions, but since no one told me that I was at a ten I didn't think I was anywhere near pushing. What I didn't know, however, is that I was actually already at ten centimeters, but Ranelle, David, and the nurse had decided that it would be most effective if I let my body push on its own for a bit instead of having me use all my energy right away. So, after a number of contractions in the bathroom where I was unknowingly "pushing," they got me out of the bathroom and into the hospital bed, where they let me in on the secret. Of course I was glad to be near the end, but I may have called them "Fuckers" for not telling me that I was already pushing. In retrospect I guess I should've figured it out when, in the bathroom, I had reached down and was pretty sure I could feel Emily's head. (TMI?!!)

Since I had already done a lot of pushing--unbeknownst to me--the pushing stage went pretty quick. More nurses came in, along with the doctor, who suited up in full scrub gear and replied with a stern "No" when David asked to catch the baby. Ha. Actually, she looked at him like he was nuts for asking. (And she also played with her hands the way Mr. Burns from The Simpsons does in between contractions. She looked like a mad doctor concocting an evil plan.)

I pushed for probably four or five contractions before Emily finally arrived at 4:24 a.m. Some women say that pushing was really satisfying and less painful, but I'm afraid that just isn't true, particularly when the baby is just about to come out. In addition, women often say that once the baby is out they feel nothing because of all the oxytocin and baby love, but again, that was not true in my case. Because my labor had been so long the doctor was concerned that my uterus wouldn't be strong enough to contract and stop all the bleeding, so she had the nurse mash on my stomach and uterus. That might not sound painful, but trust me, that was no belly massage, especially when you consider that at the same time the doctor was stitching up the second-degree tear I had. (TMI now?) (BTW, David and I have since decided that it would've been hilarious if he had slipped the doctor twenty bucks and made some comment about making my "bizness" even "better." Does everyone understand that I'm using euphemisms here?)

I'm not really sure where Emily was during all of this. I think she was on my chest but really the whole thing is a blur. I do remember having her placed on my chest and thinking that she was slimy, squirmy, and weird looking. I also thought that some blood above her eye was a red birth mark, and I'm embarrassed to say that I was kind of bothered by the thought that she'd have a big red birthmark on her face. (I'm so vain, I know.)

Contrary to what he stated prior to the birth, David did tear up when Emily came out. As for me, I can't say that I immediately felt all the love in the world flooding my body. I quickly developed a strong, instinctive protective sense for Emily, but that amazing sense of love has only slowly developed as she and I have grown to know each other. I suspect that it will only continue as she gets older and develops more since, let's face it, newborns are kind of sleeping, eating, and diaper-dirtying machines that don't exactly "give" a lot when it comes to emotional bonding.

As for my thoughts on the birth, I think it went perfectly. I'm not embarrassed to admit that I wanted an epidural after finding out that I hadn't progressed after laboring in the bath tub, and I'm really proud that I was still able to have the unmedicated birth that I wanted. I haven't given it much thought since the birth since I've been so busy, but I think that having that kind of birth did exactly what I wanted it to, namely, gave me a little bit of extra confidence to start this journey as a mom with the knowledge that I am strong enough and capable enough to be a mom. (Since, admittedly, motherhood didn't and hasn't exactly seemed like the most natural fit for me.)

And that's pretty much it for now. More regular programming soon, I hope. In the meantime, share what you've been up to in the comments! (It's reassuring for me to know that the world has continued despite my entire absence from it.)

Except, P.S. here are a few Emily pictures...I promise I won't go overboard in this department but here she is looking a bit bigger and older since her debut photo.

"Why does my Mom cry so much at night?" (Haha, no seriously.)

"I get whatever I want as long as I cry."

Emily is bound to be a rockstar with that mohawk.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Yah, so you might've noticed that I took one. Heh. My bad. I didn't think I'd be posting like two seconds after giving birth, but I definitely thought I'd be posting sooner than a month afterwards. Let's just say that some unexpected obstacles arose that prevented me from: blogging, sleeping, showering, cleaning the house, doing laundry, leaving the house, returning phone calls, etc., etc. Taking care of a newborn is freaking hard!!

I should add, taking care of a newborn that won't eat is HARD! After my last post, when I announced Emily's arrival, things took a slight turn for the worse and we had to take Emily back to the hospital to be readmitted for a dangerous case of jaundice. Obviously the hormones are still flowing pretty hard here, since I just teared up thinking about her being in the NICU with sensors on her head and monitors all over her. Whew.

To make that long story short, I'll just summarize by saying that Emily was spitting up a lot of amniotic fluid after birth. This made her not want to nurse since nursing just made her pukey. Unfortunately, not eating enough in the days after birth meant that her body couldn't flush out the bilirubin (which causes jaundice) and thus it just kept filling up her body, making her yellow and lethargic. Also unfortunately, having high jaundice levels makes babies tired and much less inclined to nurse, thereby perpetuating the  cycle of not enough nutrition and not enough flushing of the bilirubin. Does any of that make sense?

The end result was a stay in the NICU, several days at home with a very bulky blue light blanket and a little eye mask to protect her eyes, and a VERY difficult time learning how to breastfeed. Since leaving the hospital we've tried feeding her through syringes, through a little tube that gets stuck to my chest while she nurses, with a nipple shield (since she tore the #$%& out of my nipples pretty much immediately when she was learning how to latch on), through a little tube attached to a finger that she sucks, and through a bottle. I won't go into more detail, but imagine getting up every 2-3 hours during the middle of the night, trying to get her awake enough to eat and trying to get her latched on properly while also trying to get a little tube full of breast milk into her mouth so she would get even more milk. The real takeaway is a lot of crying on my part and much milk spilt on everything in my bedroom. I knew a newborn would be a lot of work, but I didn't know that breastfeeding and just making sure the baby ate enough would be so challenging.

The good news is that things have improved since then, though we're still monitoring her weight very closely and we may still have to give her bottles of pumped breast milk if she stops gaining weight (likely because she's still not very efficient at drinking while breastfeeding).

For my part, I'm exhausted and mostly I just feel bad that I've wished away the entire first month of her life. Since I knew that breastfeeding often gets easier after 4-8 weeks I've really just been hanging on by a thread and hoping that that would be the case for us. I was also paranoid and overly worried about her weight gain and health and thus spent more time thinking about that than smiling at her, kissing her, and just generally soaking up all the baby love. Sigh. Oh well. My new parenting motto is <shrug>, "She'll be fine."

So, that's it for now, but I plan on posting more than once every three or four weeks. In my next post, assuming anyone wants to hear it, I'll do a birth story. Um, so, if you give a damn, write in the comments that you do and I'll write up a story of the birth. As a teaser I'll just say that even with a close-up picture of her arrival I still can't believe I've given birth.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Emily Ryan

Is here! She was born on Thursday morning, October 3, 2013 at 4:24 a.m. She weighed 6 lbs, 13 oz.--not too shabby for a vegetarian baby! We are currently a _smidge_ busy at the moment, but I'll try to pop in soon with a better update!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Positive Thinking Thursday

Um, I haven't blogged yet today, have I? Geez I'm getting kooky. The days are all starting to run together and really I'm just in a fog most of the time. On the bright side, however, the weather here has been pleasantly fall-like for the last few days. It has been mildly hot during the middle of the day but nice and cool in the mornings and evenings. I like this weather pattern. Too bad it won't last long and we will be in the thick of winter in about a month or so. Speaking of which, how is it October 1 next week? And on that note, should I try a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks? All the blog girls seem to like them and I've never partaken. It just seems too crazy to order a drink that has a pump of sugary syrup in it. And yet I ate three handfuls of chocolate alphabet cookies last night and a number of those homemade chocolate chip cookies last week. Go figure.

I have precious little to report today. I ran some errands for David, went to BodyPump, began the process of assembling our baby monitor, made the dough for more chocolate chip cookies (which I'll be taking in to the shelter for my co-workers tomorrow), made dinner, and watched the final episodes from season two of Homeland.

Dinner was the same mexican-inspired bowl that I made a few weeks ago--millet, ranchero beans, greek yogurt, and cilantro.

I also made some sauteed swiss chard that just looked too disgusting in the picture I took of it. You're welcome.

Since I didn't do _anything_ interesting today, I thought I'd show you pictures of our budding baby room. Until this week it was an office for Popsockets, so things have been developing very slowly. Here's baby's crib:

The rocking chair we just got:

The cushions for the chair have yet to arrive, little painting project is definitely a success:

I put all the little baby's clothes into her little drawers. When she's fourteen she's probably going to hate that dresser and kick it, sticker it up with idiotic pop band stickers, etc., etc. And all the while I'll just remember how I dragged my fatty pregnant a$$ out to garage to paint that thing for her. Sigh. I think I need to work on being more positive:-)

*What is something that you're working on right now, either physically, like a home improvement project, or mentally, like not being consumed by anxiety and uncertainty? Heh.