Not a rookie/Still a rookie

Not a rookie:
I know better than to rush to a diaper change upon hearing the first trumpets heralding a fresh poopy diaper. Better to wait a few minutes to make sure the deposit is complete.

Still a rookie:
I am apparently STILL incapable of changing a poopy diaper without using 146 wipes and getting orangey poop on my hands/my shirt/her clothes.


Not a rookie:
I never aim my daughter's lovely face directly at mine when trying to burp her as I have had spit up land IN MY MOUTH in the past and I will NOT make the same mistake again.

Still a rookie:
I have still managed to get spit up in my hair and EAR this time around and the babe is not even two weeks old yet.


Not a rookie:
I slept, fitfully, in the same room as Zoe until she was 8 weeks old (at which time we moved her into her crib in her own room), listening to her every ragged, uneven breath and holding my breath at every piggy snort. Now I am sleeping in the same room as Eliza but I am sleeping WITH EARPLUGS (that allow to me hear her fussing or crying but tune out most of the rest).

Still a rookie:
I still listen to every ragged breath (when the earplugs are out and sometimes I strain to hear her breathing even with them in) and wonder if this rattle is a harbinger of her first cold, does that sigh mean her sleep patterns are wonky and OMG DO YOU THINK THAT STUTTER IN HER BREATH MEANS SHE HAS SLEEP APNEA?!?!


Not a rookie:
In reviewing all my infant sleep books/chapters, I was reminded that the most important thing about the first couple of weeks is to make sure that Eliza gets a full feeding each time to help set up a clear feeding/waking/sleeping schedule in her wee brain. Simple, right?

Still a rookie:
Ah jeez. What is a full feeding anyway?
She's rooting AGAIN and it's only been 45 minutes.
She's DEAD ASLEEP after 5 minutes of nursing. I've vigorously rubbed her feet, her head and her back. I've stripped off her clothes. I've poked her, wiped her with a wet washcloth, even rubbed her sternum (like I've seen ER doctors do to measure level of consciousness). I GIVE UP.


Not a rookie:
I am so much more relaxed this time, enjoying Eliza's little baby-ness instead of worrying over every little hiccup or red skin splotch. Holding her on my chest as she sleeps, I drink her in, knowing just how fleeting this blissful pastime is.

Still a rookie:
How is it that Eliza is already almost 2 weeks old? This is my "last" baby (or so I've professed) and I know I will never get her infancy back yet it seems to be flying by without me noticing. MAKE IT STOP.


Getting your belly back after baby

Okay. There's no easy, painless way to do this.

So let's just pull the band-aid off quickly, shall we??

Phew. Okay. I have now officially done it ALL on this blog (Labor story in extreme detail? CHECK. One week post-partum bare belly photo? CHECK.)

(But note: I wore all black for a"slimming effect".)

(Too bad all it slimmed was my flat, flat behind.)

Truth be told, I'm actually a little stunned that I look like this one week post partum. In a good way. Because after Zoe was born I looked 7 months pregnant. FOR ABOUT A MONTH. So to have had a 10 lb baby and look only 4 months pregnant a week later feels a bit like success. (I'm sure all women reading who have never been post partum are a bit horrified by this picture while most women who've had a baby KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. Unless, of course, you are Heidi Klum, in which case, OMG HI HEIDI.)

But I digress.....

Where were we? Oh right. How do we go about regaining our prepregnant posture, supporting our backs and looking NOT PREGNANT, possibly even HOTTTT, after having a baby (or two)?

I am a Pilates trainer. I got my body in decent shape after one baby. I have helped numerous women get in shape after having a baby. So I'm about to practice what I preach. And you poor suckers lucky people get to come along for the ride!

First thing you need to know when trying to get your belly back in shape after having a baby is whether you had a c section or a vaginal delivery. (Duh.) If you had a c section, you're going to have to wait to get your doctor's okay before performing any exercises. If you had a vaginal delivery, you can pretty much have at it as soon as you feel ready.

(All people who are going to attempt to follow my advice should get their head examined doctor's okay first, I'm not a doctor, please sign waiver here, BLAH BLAH BLAH.)

Next, you need to find out if you have a diastasis recti. A diastasis recti is the splitting of your "6 pack" abdominal muscles into two halves. While all pregnant women stretch out these muscles during pregnancy, some of us actually split them into vertical halves (lucky us!). You can check, and correct, for one at any time post partum, even years later.

Checking for Diastasis Recti
*Lie down on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
*Place your fingertips on your belly right at the midline, above your belly button.
*Lift your head off the floor and press your fingertips into your belly. You are looking to see if they fall into a trough-like space between the two halves of your ab muscles. Measure how many fingers you can fit into the trough. If two or more fingers fit in the trough width-wise, you have a diastasis and will need to start out with simple exercises to encourage the muscles to come back together.
* Repeat, this time with your fingertips below your belly button. Note how many finger widths you can fit in the trough above and below your belly button.

(These exercises are also safe and good for abdominal training at any time. They are great post partum exercises even if you didn't have a diastasis [you can just leave out the bracing part].)

1. Breathing:
*Lying down on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, lower back curve preserved (ie. do not flatten your back into the floor at any time during this exercise).
*Inhale through your nose to prepare.
*Exhale through your mouth and draw your belly into your spine without tipping your pelvis or flattening your back. You are drawing in your deepest abdominal layer, the transversus abdominus, which acts like a natural girdle and is a vital part of spinal stabilization (which we all need when we're hauling around babies and toddlers and carseats and diaper bags and grocery bags and OMG I NEED A SHERPA EVERY TIME I LEAVE THE HOUSE). Imagine you are trying to fit into a tight pair of jeans (which, seriously, you shouldn't do to yourself until at least 6 months post partum so just IMAGINE, k?) Keep neck, shoulders, and bottom relaxed.
* (Note: If you had a vaginal delivery and you had substantial tearing, you will want to wait until your undercarriage heals. There should be NO pain with this exercise, especially in your pelvic floor. Kegels will help return your pelvic floor muscles to full strength. Once you are ready to begin abdominal exercises, imagine the pelvic floor lifting up with each contraction of your deep abdominal muscles.)
*Repeat 20 times.

Once this feels easy, progress to exercise 2.

2. Breathing with abdominal bracing
*Lie down on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, with a long, thin towel (I like to use my bathrobe belt) under your lower back.
*Cross the towel ends in front of your abs at the level of your largest trough and hold one in each hand (When you noted the trough above and below the navel, where was the biggest trough? Start there. If they were even, start at your navel.)

(Worst picture ever but I had to take it myself so there you go.)
*Inhale through your nose to prepare.
*Exhale through your mouth as you draw you belly into your spine and pull the ends of the towel so that your waist is cinched in and the two halves of your abs are brought back together.
*Repeat 20 times.

Once these feel easy, progress to exercise 3.

3. Breathing and bracing with pelvic tilts.

Same as above, except you add a tilting of your pelvis and a flattening of your lower back into the floor, as you exhale and draw the two halves of your abs together and in toward your spine.

Once these feel easy, progress to exercise 4.

4. Breathing and bracing with chest lifts.

Same as #2, except you add a lifting of your head and shoulders as you exhale and draw the two halves of your abs together and in toward your spine. It's like a slow motion "crunch" with your abs being drawn together by the towel/soft belt.


So there you have it. Some exercises that I will start doing, uh, today? Yes, yes, today.

I have a 3 finger width diastasis and have some serious work to do to get these abs back in shape. I am feeling like my undercarriage is healed enough (Did I mention: 10 LB BABY? SUNNY SIDE UP?) to start some of these exercises (along with some Kegels.).

So I start today.

(Now there, seriously, is more than any of you wanted to know about abdominals and pelvic floors, mine in particular. )

(Any questions? Feel free to email me or leave a comment.)


This is not a cautionary tale

This is my labor story.

It could be viewed as a cautionary tale about why pregnant women shouldn't be allowed to go past 40 weeks. Why women should be induced before their due date if the baby seems large. Why some see natural childbirth as a silly exercise in unnecessary pain in this day of easy, safe epidurals.

It could also be viewed as a triumphant story of just how little inductions or elective c sections are truly necessary. How much is possible if medical science stays at arms length, at our disposal but not running the show. How strong and powerful women can be if we have a patient and loving support system.

This is my labor story. And since it's mine I want to tell you: it is not a cautionary tale.

It is a triumph.


Monday May 18th, 2009

I went to the OBGYN in the morning, waiting hours to see him as his office was as sucky and overbooked as normal. He said the baby looked "fine, lots of fluid, lots of room. No reason to induce before the two week cut off" on Wednesday, though with my mom leaving on Thursday, we decided to schedule an induction for Tuesday morning. I felt defeated and resigned to starting labor the next morning with the drip drip drip of Pitocin.

After a rushed lunch, my mom drove me out to the valley for my last appointment with the acupuncturist. She gave me a sweet hug as a greeting and I could tell she felt badly that my labor hadn't been started by the previous pokes. This time she added even more needles, twisting them repeatedly in my sacrum and feet and ears for extra oomph. I could feel my belly cramping as I lay over her pillows and listened to the "baby greeting" meditation playing in the background. By our drive home I was tired, crampy, cranky, DONE. But at home Zoe was waiting for me, needing me. Already I felt torn: I needed to rest, my first baby needed me, who wins? My mom and CG were scrambling to get things ready for the next day's induction and we all decided to go out to dinner.

Which is how I found myself wandering the courtyard of CPK trying to keep Zoe from falling into the fountain while trying to stay calm as the cramping in my belly started to seem more and more like contractions.

By the time we got home, I knew something was happening. I had promised Zoe I would help with her bedtime and I promptly had to take it back. (Welcome to your new sibling! Get used to broken promises, I guess!) I decided to take a bath to see if the contractions would speed up or slow down. As I lay there in the warm water, CG came out from putting Zoe down to ask me what was happening. We decided to go get Zoe up before she really fell asleep since we promised her we would say goodbye before we went to the hospital and this would make it a bit easier. I said goodnight and she kissed me goodbye over the rim of the tub. I tried really hard not to cry and failed.

CG called our doula and I called out to him from the bathtub that I wasn't sure this was true labor.

CG, who had been timing the contractions for that last hour, was sure.

The doula was sure.

As soon as the doula arrived, she suggested a walk to help the baby descend and keep my mind off the contractions. I threw on some clothes and my crocs (waterproof footwear seemed called for) and off we went, hoping desperately to avoid my neighbors.

Waddling around the neighborhood, I found myself having to cling to CG with each increasing contraction, my teeth chattering away in a strange labor side effect. This was it, for sure.

We came home. We turned on the "labor, baby- mellow" music mix and bounced on the birthing ball. We took another walk. We sent my mom to bed so that she would available for Zoe in the morning. I lay on the living room floor, alternating between cuddling with and clutching at CG for dear life. I laughed at CG's jokes and drank water and peed as often as possible (FYI: you want to stay hydrated for birth but a full bladder can get in the way of the baby descending so you should pee as often as possible. Who knew??). I felt loved and supported by both my amazing husband and my doula and only just a little bit frightened about what lay ahead.

Hours passed.

By midnight I started to really, really, REALLY need help to get through the contractions and we all agreed it was time to get to the hospital. I rode in the front seat, on my knees, facing backward, moaning and crying like a dying camel. Once at the hospital, we found out that the valet parking we were counting on was unavailable at that hour. So CG helped me out of the car into a wheelchair and raced it to the nearest spot they would let him leave it.

I couldn't sit. I stood up, alone in front of the hospital's grand main entrance, bent over and clutching a bench. Soon I was assisted inside by a kindly security guard who asked sweetly "labor and delivery?" as if he didn't want to offend me by assuming anything. CG and the doula caught up with me and we got to labor and delivery. Even though I had preregistered and had all my paperwork, even though CG handed over my prenatal records from my doctor with every piece of information they could possibly need, the douche intake nurse at the desk needed more paperwork, more signatures, ME to say out loud my EFFING social security number. Then they wanted me to go to triage to make sure this was truly labor. CG and my doula, bless them, insisted over the moans of my latest, greatest contraction that we didn't need to go to triage. My doula roared "This is LABOR. She is in VERY ACTIVE LABOR. Please talk to your supervisor and get us into a delivery room, RIGHT NOW." which he did. (Don't mess with my doula, BTW. She's sweetness and light and all things good and SHE IS A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH.)

As soon as we got in the room, I stripped down and climbed on the hospital bed. After being checked, I was 6-7 cm and time started to melt and meld and my memories don't have much clarity after that. I remember clutching and squeezing the blood out of my loving husband's arms as he did his best to keep me focused and relaxed. I remember my doctor arriving. I remember seeing all the baby medical items being wheeled in and nurses racing around which I knew was a good sign; they thought this would happen quickly. I remember my doula getting in my face when I got whiny and telling me there was nothing to be scared of, to breathe INTO the pain rather than away from it. This was the baby telling me she was ready to come out. I remember CG holding me after each contraction, whispering sweetly in my ear that I was amazing. That I could do this. That I WAS doing this.

I remember the doctor telling me I was 10 cm and could start pushing.

Unfortunately I didn't feel any urge to push. AT ALL.

I realized instantly that this was why I wanted a natural childbirth. I wanted to know what it was like to feel that strong urge to push and to be up and ambulatory and in control of pushing my baby out. When pushing Zoe out, I couldn't feel the entire bottom half of my body because of the strong epidural. I was supposed to push Zoe out but I felt nothing that could help guide me. I felt like a bystander in the process of getting my baby out of my body. I had to be told when and how to push because I couldn't feel anything.

I didn't want to feel that way again.

So here I was with Lima Bean, feeling EVERYTHING except the one thing I wanted to feel. But it was 2 am and I was "allowed" to push, so I dutifully started pushing. And pushing and pushing. I was told that pushing would feel great. Empowering. That the act of pushing would take the edge off the contractions and give me that amazing endorphin rush I'd read about.

It didn't feel that way. It felt like my worst contractions just kept coming with no respite. I pushed in every position I could think of: on my back, on my hands and knees, on my side, squatting with my arms over a bar. CG and my doula kept encouraging me, never giving up. But I watched the faces of the nurses and my doctor as they all stared silently and unimpressed at my nethers. They didn't say much. They didn't tell me "that was a good one". They were too quiet.

I started to lose it after about an hour of pushing that was going nowhere. She wasn't descending at all. I couldn't squat any more. I couldn't push any more.

I'm told my eyes kept rolling back in my head and that I was collapsing in a heap at the end of every contraction.

CG and our doula conferred and she came in close to me "Do you think if we got you something for the pain, and let you rest for a bit, that you could push this baby out?".

I, apparently, said "yes".

After the anesthesiologist arrived and I begged "please hurry, PLEASE HURRY" and almost knocked over the nurse who was trying to hold me still, the epidural was in and I was asleep.

A few hours passed and I woke up around 5:30 am. Our doula asked me if I wanted to push, if I had rested enough. CG had insisted to the anesthesiologist that I wanted a light epidural and I'm so glad he did. I could feel the contractions. I could feel and move my legs. I COULD FINALLY FEEL AN URGE TO PUSH. I started pushing again, this time with renewed energy, focus and motivation.

And she still wasn't going anywhere.

I glanced over at my doctor, who was sitting, slumped and bleary-eyed on the side of the bed, not looking at me. The nurses didn't look enthused. I could feel that Lima Bean was stuck. I was pushing her over and over again and she was stuck on something. They told me she was sunny side up (just like Zoe had been) with her forehead stuck on my pubic bones. The baby's heart rate was fine so they would let me keep pushing if I wanted.

So I pushed and I pushed and even though I'd had a rest and had most of the pain taken care of, after another hour and a half of pushing I was getting tired and discouraged. "Can't you just pull her out?" I whined and begged. "Why can't I get her out?"

My doula focused me with her serious face. "Only you can get her out. You can do this. You need to find a way to push her out."

I think I also saw a few glances between her, CG, the nurses and the doctor that seemed to say "what happens if she can't get this baby out soon?".

There started to be some murmurs about "other options" and "vacuum extraction" and I got pissed. Royally pissed.

I wanted to push her out.

So I imagined her slipping past my pubic bones and I tried to focus my pushes in a new, different direction.

And suddenly, when the doctor had stopped paying attention and the nurses looked like they had given up, I felt her move.


Past my pubic bones.

She was free.

"She moved!" I exclaimed, knowing it was true. "She's not stuck!"

They all rushed to check and they confirmed what I had felt and I pushed some more and pretty soon the doctor had her head in his hands and was suctioning her mouth. I pushed one more time and felt him working her shoulders out, pulling on her head until her shoulders popped out.

"Occiput posterior" or, sunny side up, just like Zoe.

Then she was fully out. And on my belly.

I wanted her to stay there, it was written in our birth plan, and in my imagination. I didn't want her cleaned or checked until we'd bonded. I wanted her on me, indefinitely.

But she was big, and they needed to check her weight and her blood sugar so they let CG cut the cord and then they took her away.

There were collective gasps as her weight was announced: 10 lbs. 12.2 oz. My doctor looked especially shocked. He started to tell me: "If I had known...." and I blocked him out.

She was here. She was huge. The nurse said she needed immediate nourishment to keep her blood sugar even. I glanced questioningly at our doula and she nodded. So CG gave her a bottle.

And I finally got to hold her. Nurse her. Kiss her poor bruised head. Fall in love with her chubby, perfect little face. And the rest of the world fell away.

7:23 am May 19th, 2009.

She was here.


(Beating her scheduled induction by 37 minutes.)


Some might view this story as a sad disappointment. I should have had my perfect natural labor and it's too bad that I didn't make it "all the way". It's too bad I didn't have a homebirth where maybe I would have been relaxed enough to have her all on my own. It's too bad I didn't get more acupuncture/chiropractic/chakra balancing to help her descend earlier. It's just too bad.

Some might view this as a failure of the medical establishment to assert itself against my stubbornness. My doctor should have known how big she was and spared me this ordeal and the possible complications. I should have had a c section or an induction weeks ago. It is a story of needless pain and struggle.

If I've learned anything, it's that the only person's opinion of this labor story that really matters is mine.

I view this story as testament to my husband's patient, loving, indefatigable support. To the wisdom and tenacity of our doula. To the strength and grit of our little Eliza.

To my own power and determination.

This labor story is all of ours.

And it is a triumph.


No nips, just pics

I don't know which is funnier: that I thought I'd have the TIME to write a real post anytime soon or that I thought I'd have the brain power to do so Any. Time. Soon.

Until I get a fresh shipment of both and am able to tell you just how I got this beautiful, amazing, scrumptious little creature out of my body (I know, I know, you're on pins and needles over there in your world, where sleep is had in more than 1.5 hour increments), here are the few clear pics where you can't see my nipples. (You're welcome.)

My three favorite people.

Two out of three smiles ain't bad. Especially when the frowny one is only 6 hours old.

Yep, the sweet head pats pretty much make my heart explode.


Fashionably late (and LARGE)

I am thrilled to announce the arrival of Eliza Louise CluelessButHopeful. She was born this morning, Tuesday May 19, 2009 at 7:32 am ( beating her scheduled induction by almost a half an hour).

She was 10 lbs 12 oz which ... OMG. You would not believe the wrinkled, dimpled, rolly polly dimensions of this giantess. I am a bit frightened by her, to be honest! She's a MONSTER!

Pics and labor stories (to delight, impress and TERRIFY) to follow once I can scrape my body out of this hospital bed.

Love and thanks to you all for your comments and emails. They have bolstered my spirits these last few weeks more than I can explain.



I have/had many friend who had trouble getting pregnant in their mid-late thirties. I was told by several gynecologists that I would probably have problems conceiving a child at any age due to my wacky, super-late-to-start, always irregular periods as well as procedures I had done 15 years ago to remove precancerous cervical cells. Both times, I was convinced we didn't need to be super careful because I would have trouble getting pregnant and would need to really "try".

I got pregnant BOTH TIMES without starting to "try" yet.


I was told by my OB, my doula, my friends with more than one kid, STRANGERS AT THE GROCERY STORE that second births come early. To be prepared weeks ahead of time.

I am now officially 12 days late. If you go by MY count (My OB didn't care about my conception date and went by the size of Lima Bean at the 6 week ultrasound. Um, dude, I was there and I'm pretty sure I know when the one time is that we didn't use the child proof lid, if you know what I mean), I'm actually more like 18 days late.

My mom leaves on a plane on Thursday morning (after pushing her plans back a day), she has to get back to my dad who's going through the last round of chemo, and my OB will insist on induction on Wednesday if Lima Bean isn't here by then.


They say to walk. I've been walking. Twice a day. Last night I waddled by our neighbor's house and acted as some seriously good visual birth control for the amassed high school seniors headed off to prom. As her tuxedoed teenage son opened a plastic box with a corsage in it and pinned it on his girlfriend while eyeing me nervously, she exclaimed "That baby STILL hasn't come out yet?!".

I've seen an acupuncturist way out in the valley twice in the last few days and will probably see her again tomorrow. The needles she stuck in my feet, sacrum and ears are supposed to bring on contractions and help the baby descend. Contractions, some. Descent, NO. She's still high, possibly stuck facing the wrong way in my pelvis, just like Zoe was. The acupuncturist said I may be one of those women who are meant to hold pregnancies longer than average. Maybe by my body's cycle, I'm not even "overdue" yet. Maybe my metabolism, my genetics, my pelvic alignment, my stressful week last week are all colliding to keep me from going into labor. I need to relax, let her come when she's ready. Not be so focused on the "due date".

It's so hard to not go to some dark mental places. Like: perhaps my body just doesn't work right. I'm not meant to have babies. I would have been one of those women who died in childbirth 100 years ago with a baby stuck in my pelvis for days who can't seem to find her way out.

I have the name and number of a foot reflexologist who's supposed to work wonders and brings on the labors of celebrities all the time.

I know I am running out of options when I'm considering spending yet more money on something that is supposed to WORK WONDERS and yet feels like pointless hocus pocus. Might as well drive to the Caioti Pizza Cafe and get their famous labor induction salad. What's left to try??


We will induce with Pitocin, the one thing I hoped to avoid all along, on Tuesday if Lima Bean doesn't find her way out on her own before then.

I would really, really, REALLY like her to find her way out on our own before then.


Because, honestly, what else is there to do?

My friend C gave me this kit for my baby shower after reading my hand wringing post about trying to celebrate this pregnancy:

And with my mom here and Zoe finally feeling better, we decided to totally trash our bathroom before the final post-stomach flu bleach fest and give the kit a whirl.

Zoe wore an apron and some seriously large gloves and mostly spent her time flinging wet, plastery strips around the bathroom. (Note ginormous belly and ill advised cropped palazzo pants- do these look good on ANYONE?- in background).

Da belly.

I decided against casting the boobies. Especially since I think the final cast might make a pretty awesome fruit bowl.



Dear Lima Bean,

I know, I know, I can't seem to make up my mind. (Welcome! I'll be your crazy mother for this [hopefully] long, blissfully happy life of yours! Sorry you didn't get someone a little more sane!)

A few weeks ago, I was all "NO NO NO. NOT NOW. Now is too soon, I'm not ready, so just stay put. NOT NOW."

Then last week, I suddenly changed my tune to "NOW! How about NOW! NOW would be a really good time! Don't you like the sound of 5/7/09 as a numerically perfect birthday?? How about you cooperate and come while your grandparents are still here so they get some payoff for their weeks of waiting patiently?"

Then the last few days I've been terrified of you coming NOW. Zoe, my first baby, has been so sick and we've all been a bit terrified. Your father had to take her to Urgent Care last night and get some fluids in her and she's still not better and we're a little scared and tired and worried and, well, now doesn't sound so good.

Last night I started having some fairly regular contractions and I held my breath and then let it out and willed myself to sleep. I woke up this morning with shockingly little to report, just a few contractions here and there.

I know that you will come when you're ready, at least that's what everyone's telling me. And I know that there is no perfect time.

I'm sorry for jerking you around. I hope you come on your own, sometime soon and that your sister is well enough for me to stop freaking out.

I will work on being ready for that NOW.


Your Clueless But Hopeful Mama


Changing of the guard

My mom arrived last night and my in-laws left today. (That would make the total # of people using our one bathroom for a 12 hour period: 5 adults and one toddler with the stomach flu. GOOD TIMES.)

What do you say to your saintly in-laws who completely disrupt their own lives for THREE WEEKS to camp out at your house because you were convinced that you were going to go into labor early (Since everyone and their mother was telling me I would. They also swore that because this is a second labor, it will be easier than the first. If they are wrong about that, heads will ROLL.), who then have to leave (because you know, they have a life to lead that doesn't involve doing your dishes and babysitting your toddler) before even getting to meet the new baby?

They put up with Zoe's initially abysmal behavior ("No I DON'T WANT NANA!"), let her warm up to them slowly and gave us several "last in a while" date nights. They did laundry and dishes, took Zoe on "flower walks", and didn't once ask me why I don't just induce already.

I guess I just say "Thank you" and hope that they get it.

In true toddler fashion, Zoe probably said it best of all on Sunday night: "Hey! I have an idea! What if me and Mommy and Daddy and Nana and Papa lived together all the time. In the same house! That's a good idea!"

Sounds good to me.

But how about we wait until we have more than one bathroom.

Just a thought.


PS. Zoe's stomach flu is horrible. We may be headed to the ER tonight for an IV if this keeps up. I didn't expect to be headed to the hospital for ANYTHING other than a baby right about now. Life with a toddler sure does keep me on my toes. I am supposed to go for an acupuncture induction tomorrow and am trying to decide if that's a wise choice given my first baby's situation. Plus tomorrow is my mom's birthday and we were hoping to actually celebrate in some way that didn't involve rotating shifts with a barf bowl.


Just another post to tell you I'm still pregnant

What a lovely mother's day! Sunshiney day with homemade crepes and fresh fruit for breakfast. A trip to Venice Beach to let Zoe roll around in the sand (pictures later if I get my act together and can find the other camera!). A delicious BBQ dinner (the first corn of the season! YAY!) with my in-laws, my sweet cooked-every-meal husband and my first (and STILL ONLY) babe.

(If you look closely, you can see my awesome Mother's Day present, a little necklace with Zoe and Lima Bean's names on little silver discs! I love it!)

Unfortunately, today it's back to motherhood reality. Stomach flu reality. Poor little girl.


Be There Now

Zoe, who just learned how to pump her legs on the big girl swings the other day (*sniffle*) but was unable to get onto the swings by herself, says "Maybe I can pull myself up onto the big girl swings when I get to Virginia. I can't wait to get to Virginia!"

At least once a week, CG and I consult July/August calendars and flight schedules and rejigger our plans for a vacation in Vermont/moving to Virginia.

Every time I buy something I think, will we use this up before we move? Or: where will this fit in our new house?

I troll the internet looking at new furniture for our new house that is roughly TWICE THE SIZE of our current one.

I lay in bed at night wondering when will be the last time I sleep in my bed, in this bedroom. Tonight? Tomorrow night? (After LB's arrival, I will be moving into the guest room with her until the move.)

I can't seem to be here, now. Restless, I find myself living in the future every single second.

So yesterday I got a massage. I tried to focus on my breathing and only my breathing.

In. Out. In. Out.

(When will the baby come? Can I really do this natural childbirth thing or should I stop selfishly making everyone revolve around me in uncertainty and just sign up for induction?)

In. Out. In. Out.

(What will Lima Bean look like/be like/sound like when she starts talking?)

In. Out. In. Out.

(Will I like anyone in Virginia? Will they like me?)

In. Out. In. Out.

(Have I read all I need to read about childbirth, infants, sibling preparation? Am I as ready as I can be?)

In. Out. In. Out.

In. Out. In. Out.



How I quit my bitching about TV and came to love, of all things, Barney

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled "Will I ever give birth or will I be the first woman to die of old age with a fully grown adult child still ensconced in my womb?" bitching to talk about, of all things, TV. Because, ahem, several people in my household have been watching a lot of it these days.

Because it deserves a bit of an update.

Because, why not?


This is what a slippery slope looks like:

Upon Zoe's birth, we resolved to keep TV at bay indefinitely.

Sometime after her second birthday, we started watching the copious videos of baby Zoe staring blankly into nothingness/picking her nose/smearing her hands on the camera lens being adorable and used IChat to talk with friends and family far away.

Then we searched for, and found, some music that Zoe learned at school on YouTube. Then Feist videos. Then Feist on Sesame Street. Then Sesame Street snippets with Natalie Portman, Alicia Keys, Aretha Franklin, Destiny's Child, etc. etc. ETC.

Then she discovered, and fell in love with, "Barney and Friends" through the suggested video stills YouTube pops up at the end of each video. And I found an easy, almost-painless way (painless as long as I beat a hasty retreat before the "I love you" song) to get a shower, make a meal, surf the web looking for ways to start labor that don't involve medication or explosive diarrhea.

Then I found myself the other day yelling to Zoe: "Come in here right now and watch a video!".

Um, yeah. Slippery slope indeed.


Okay fine, I can't quite make it a whole post without bitching about STILL being pregnant.

Because, OOOF:

Any day now, Lima Bean, ANY DAY.


This is what readiness looks like

Dear Lima Bean,

Your continued happiness to stay put in my belly for .... EVER? has given me plenty of time to reread some of the books that I read when I was pregnant with your big sister. Our doula specifically recommended that I reread some of the gloriously natural birth stories in Ina May Gaskin's "Guide to Childbirth" to prepare my mind for the normality of our - ANY DAY NOW- attempt at natural childbirth.

There's nothing like reading about hippy, 48 hour, orgasmic birth to make you feel like maybe you're just not cut out for such a thing and a Pitocin drip/epidural cocktail ain't such a bad thing.

Or maybe that's just me.

The hypnobirthing book has also been a bit dogeared this last week. And the author insists that you have to be truly, deeply READY or your baby will feel that you aren't really ready and stay put. You need to remove ALL fear. ALL trepidation. ALL ambivalence.

I'm not sure if it gets any more ready than this for us, dear Lima Bean. There IS still some fear. There is still some trepidation, some ambivalence. I can't hide that, or wish it away. I want so much for you to be a healthy and happy addition to our family. Is that enough of an invitation?

That is my greeting to you. Please be healthy and happy and come when you are ready.

Because this little Clueless But Hopeful family is nervous, excited, curious, tired, open.





your Clueless But Hopeful Mama.


The irises beat me to it

It's dark out now so I can't go take a picture but believe me when I tell you that the irises bloomed before me.

I have entered that phase of extreme pregnancy where I should probably post every day to keep the "are you still pregnant?" emails and phone calls at a minimum.

As of 8:34 pm, Monday May 4th, I am still very pregnant.

After two weeks of having my poor in-laws camped out here to help in the event of an "early" birth, it seems this baby is going to be on time or late. Nothing like making your in-laws stop their whole lives, do your dishes/laundry/cooking and hang out in your one bathroom house for weeks for NOTHING.

Don't get me wrong. I'm THRILLED that Lima Bean didn't come early. She will be full, FULL term. CG and Zoe have their own birthdays. I've had enough time to craft a bit, pack and repack our bag repeatedly, and read some labor/baby/fun books.

We think we've decided on a name. (with help from the Eminence herself!)

We have met with our doula again. We've had several date nights (wherein I insist I'm not very hungry and then proceed to eat most of both of our meals). We've reworked our birth plan and attached it via shiny ribbon to a basket of snacks for the labor and delivery staff. (We've finished all the work for escrow on both of our houses! YAY! It's official!)

What's left? Wash the baby clothes, AGAIN? Embroider doilies for our OB? Make origami cranes out of newborn diapers?


Baby bird's new wings

We've been trying to keep Zoe's life a little still these days, no major changes, no new activities, lest her world tilt off its axis before Lima Bean's arrival. We certainly didn't want to try to force any new "big girl" skills right before her new baby sister comes to change her life FOREVER.

Turns out, Zoe had other plans.

Nothing too major, and she is certainly clingy to me more than normal, as if I might disappear at moment's notice and come back with a baby to displace her (hey wait.....), but when you add up all her new abilities I feel like I'm watching a ball rolling down hill.

Away from me.

She has suddenly started requiring "privacy" in the bathroom and insists on wiping her own bottom and washing her own hands (the two things she previously really, REALLY needed help with.) At first, I would hover by the barely open door and watch nervously as she teetered on tiptoes on top of her stool, reaching for the faucet. Now I sit and wait to rush in at her first distress call but more often than not am greeted with a triumphant Zoe running past me, pants askew, shirt soaked at sink level.

The other day, she asked if she could wear underwear during her nap. I thought about the weeks and weeks of dry pull ups at nap time and said okay. She emerged from her nap with a self-satisfied smirk that I have a feeling I will see again in her teenage years: "I'm dry Mommy! See, no leaks!".

For some HORMONAL reason, this made me cry just a little bit.

She can drag her own (heavy, clunky, adult- sized) folding stool over to the sink and fill her own water cup from the filter. She has mastered getting herself (creatively) dressed. She can buckle part of her carseat and open and close the car door. She can turn on the garden hose, open her gummy vitamin jar (!?!@(@!(@$&(@#*$&!), open and close the gate at school.

She has started to bargain with us, in earnest. A few days ago, when told "you can either stay here and play with Papa or come to Target with me", she protested, whining and crying before suddenly stopping, a very clear light bulb going on above her little noggin. "Hey! I have an idea!" (Don't you love how they start using your EXACT words, tone, and inflection? It's simultaneously lovely AND creepy.) "How about Papa goes to Target and YOU stay and play with me! Doesn't that sound like a great idea, Mommy?!"

Nice try, little bug.


At our parent education class these past few weeks, she has left the safety of her beloved baby swings and turned to the big girl tricycles. She jumps up on the highest one, the one with the bent wheels and "Princess" written in pink, curly script on the side, and asks for a starter push. She tells me to "stay WAY BACK there, Mommy. I'm going on a FAST bike ride. BYE BYE!".
She searches for the slight downhill patch and tries to go "FASTER, FASTER!". Her little body wobbles side to side as she pushes the pedals and her attention falters, her little bike headed for the grass. "Watch where you're going!", I blurt out and then stop myself. The next time she forgets to coordinate her steering and pedaling and is headed for a minor crash, I bite my tongue and clench my fists by my face and wait. She crashes. And gets up. And cries a bit as I hold her.

And then she jumps back on the bike and turns it around to "DO THAT AGAIN!".

Lord, help me.


At tumbling class, each week is a new adventure for her. She has gone from my gross-motor delayed baby to an excited but timid tumbling class newbie to a daredevil. She's now leaping off of high wedges, walking unaided on low balance beams and turning upside down (with help) on the rings. This week, she taught herself ("Don't help me Mommy! NooooOOOOO! DON'T TOUCH ME!") to do a somersault which just about gave me a heart attack as I envisioned myself explaining to the ER docs how it seemed perfectly okay to let her break her own neck.

After her last tumbling class, she asked to walk to the car without holding my hand. For safety's sake (someone might get hurt from the exploding Mommy-heart shrapnel), I told her no.

Some things are sacred. Like the feel of her soft, smooth hand in mine as we chat about her new adventures and how she has to "tell, AND SHOW, Daddy" all about it.

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