Monthly Archives: May 2011

Staring at 80

I was at the park with a pregnant (for the first time) friend, having a picnic and playing with 80. I found that although we had lots of conversations (and I’m actually quite proud of how I didn’t let them lapse as I paused to tend to 80), I found myself quietly watching 80. I do it a lot, and it didn’t seem odd to just watch 80. I do wonder if Kristen found the contentedly-watching-my-baby thing less comfortable. 80’s *my* baby, so of course I’m the most interested in her. I’m hoping she enjoyed looking at a baby, knowing hers is baking.

Not dead yet

<a href=”” title=”DSC_2161 by sundaykofax, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”331″ alt=”DSC_2161″></a>

I made a no-sugar apple/applesauce muffin for 80’s birthday. I wanted frosting for a real good mess, but wasn’t sure how to keep the sugar level sane.

Thanks to a delicious lunch as Sofra, I was inspired to blend two parts cooked sweet potato to one part goat cheese. What I ended up with was a very sweet, creamy, almost marshmallow-tasting frosting.

I’m that mom who limits sugar, just like my mother before me. Some day, I’ll compromise on letting 80 have mor

on Flickr” href=””>Not dead yet

No rapture, no rapture, no rapture, stop!

Happy birthday, baby chick!

<a href=”” title=”DSC_2161 by sundaykofax, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”331″ alt=”DSC_2161″></a>

I made a no-sugar apple/applesauce muffin for 80’s birthday. I wanted frosting for a real good mess, but wasn’t sure how to keep the sugar level sane.

Thanks to a delicious lunch as Sofra, I was inspired to blend two parts cooked sweet potato to one part goat cheese. What I ended up with was a very sweet, creamy, almost marshmallow-tasting frosting.

I’m that mom who limits sugar, just like my mother before me. Some day, I’ll compromise on letting 80 have more sugar, by allowing her to eat Smurfberry Crunch on Saturday mornings, just like my mother before me.

The Birth Story (part 5) [and a year later]

This languished as a draft so long, I forgot I hadn’t published it. A year later, here’s what happened to me and my body after I gave birth. Warning, it’s a bit graphic, and my anatomy is discussed.

So, we know 80 ended up in the nursery under observation. One of the reasons why I didn’t freak out was because I was busy with my own minor woes.


Aw, there’s my sweet, cross-eyed baby. I’d like to think she’s making this face on purpose, like someone just asked her “What was being birthed like?”

I’ll remind you that I was stellar at giving birth. I was a champ. One thing I remembered to do was drink a lot of water, keeping myself hydrated. I figured there’d come a point where I wouldn’t want to have anymore, so I really stocked up. Really. I drank a BUNCH of water. This was my undoing, as I forgot to pee. I think it’s because there was so much going on down there, pressure and the like, that I didn’t pee all that water I’d drank.

This didn’t present itself as a problem until after 80’d been born, it was decided that she needed a bit more care (over in the nursery), and the midwife and nurses had time to attend to me. They were concerned that my uterus wasn’t contracting (it’s supposed to), which meant I was still bleeding a lot. They gave me a shot of Pitocin to help my uterus contract down. They felt my abdomen and realized that my bladder was HUGE, and blocking my uterus from shrinking down. I tried to pee, with no luck. I’d experienced this before, where you have to hold it so long it kind of goes on strike and refuses to open for anything.

So, they had to use a catheter, and that’s when the LITER of liquid that was holding up my progress was removed. Whew. The midwife attended to the tiny tears (one internal, and two symmetrical ones between my inner and outer labia) that required a stitch apiece. I was asked if I wanted to see the placenta, to which I said YES. The midwife brought it over, and explained what part was attached to me and what part was attached to 80. She said that it’s the only organ we can generate that is meant to be discarded. She showed me a giant vein on it, that is called “The Tree of Life”, which she said with some reverence. (If you’d like to see my ACTUAL placenta, which shows off the Tree of Life pretty well, click here.) She then told me that I had done an amazing job, I was really strong to have been able to listen to my body and to her, and she was honored to have participated.

I later asked A’Nova if that was the normal cheerleading speech to new moms, and she said no, that I had a particularly smooth birth and not every one can follow the midwife’s coaching (especially when it’s to stop pushing when there’s a baby head half out of you). It’s really hard to not feel overly proud of this, especially since most of my friends have NOT had a smooth birth.

A few hours later, I still couldn’t pee, so they left a cath in overnight so my bladder could get back to sane proportions (note: having the cath applied wasn’t pleasant, but after that it wasn’t much of a bother, and totally worth being able to pee).  My uterus shrank just fine — mama-hormones from nursing help shrink it too, so whenever 80 nursed, I’d feel this warm, low feeling spread across my belly, right under her. It felt awesome. It was ecstasy (also, like Ecstasy). It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had, ever. I experienced similar (but lessened) hits of this when nursing 80 for the first few days. (Your body releases more endorphin when you nurse. I was known to make a just-shot-heroin mmmmmmm noise.)

Once I was in the post-birth recovery room, and saw myself in a mirror, I realized that I had burst blood vessels across my jaw, from pushing so hard.


I also now had a baby on the outside, which left my abdomen looking like I was maybe 6 months pregnant. I was worried about how I’d think about my body, since books warned that I might be disappointed. I wasn’t! I kind of liked my doughy, soft belly. It decreased at a reasonable pace, so I didn’t get too upset about not fitting into pre-pregnancy jeans.

Another thing they just don’t bring up in popular culture portrayals of birth is that you normally bleed for weeks. It doesn’t hurt (it’s was like having a long-ass period), and tapered fairly quickly. The only thing was, I tried cramming myself into pre-preg jeans, then had a liiiiittle more bleeding than usual. Heh. So, don’t do that. Probably not a great idea to smoosh your uterus.

That’s about it for birth-related body stuff. Ask any questions you’d like in the comments and I’ll update to include answers. Ask away, I’m not shy.

80’s 1st

We kept the baby alive for a year. Here’s proof.


80 and I went shopping for a new sippy cup (upgrading to a straw), which has a nice rite-of-passage feel.

Two friends (well, four friends if you count the toddlers) stopped by to wish 80 a happy birthday.


Pants are for suckers. Pants-free is the way to be.

I’ll be posting the cake-smash pics and video in a separate post. Off to eat celebratory lamb tikka masala. It may be 80’s birthday, but it’s also my birthiversary and I get treats too.

A year ago right now

I was googling “what do contractions feel like?”, unbelievingly I was having them. Next I tried to get some sleep.

I’m having a little trouble falling asleep tonight, thinking about it.

So many moms

I’m a mother! It’s my first Mother’s Day!*

on Flickr” href=””>80 and Sara
This is a representative sample of the group. 80’s my baby, but Sara belongs to Abby and Jasper.

We celebrated by having two moms and their son over for brunch. Seriously, the best way to celebrate Mother’s Day is with as many mothers as you can pack in per child. Polygamist lesbian moms, come on over.

We made the same awesome easy crepes Laurie made during the Hott Librarian Getaway 2011. I doubled the recipe, and it exactly fed four hungry adults, a two-year-old, and a one-year-old. My favorite topping combo was Nutella and bananas, and the other popular concoction was butter, lemon juice, and powdered sugar.

*Jason pointed out last year that I was a mother, as I had a nearly fully-incubated baby in my abdomen. It’s a different feeling, much easier to feel celebratory (possibly because I feel I can demand it). It was a year ago that I was physically huge, overly warm, and generally uncomfortable. This year was much more fun, although we could just decide to go see two movies on a Saturday afternoon anymore.


Neighbors!, originally uploaded by sundaykofax.

B and 80 are neighbors, and we hung out at the May Fair yesterday. B’s papa seems mighty impressed at the sharing of crackers and fine knitwear.

Through the Gauntlet

Lunching with sheep, originally uploaded by sundaykofax.

As we come up on 80’s first birthday, folks are asking me if we’re having a big party.

I’m taking my cue from the hilarious parenting book Be Prepared, which points out that you’ll just be stressed out and not enjoy it, so you should instead photoshop your baby’s head on a thoughtfully provided first birthday photo. It’s not like 80’s going to remember.

We happen to have friends coming to town that weekend, which will provide a special-event feeling. After thinking about what I might look back and wish we had done, or a tradition to begin, I decided that the one very birthday-like thing to do is provide the right environment for a traditional “smash cake into face” scenario.

I’ve been having waves of “oh wow, 80’s just about a year old” feelings. It seems impossible. There are two factors at work: this has felt like the slowest year of my life, and when 80 was a newborn I also spent a lot of time thinking about how some day she would be a year old, and it seemed devastatingly far in the future.

Along with the loads of advice and comments people made to us while I was pregnant, “it gets easier after the first year” and “it goes by so quick!” are the two most common. I hope it gets easier after the first year. This first year was HARD. Harder than I had anticipated. Of course, there have been many things that have made the difficulty more than worthwhile, but still. If it got easier, I’d be stoked.

The other comment, about how your children’s life goes by so quick, comes from parents of older or grown children. I can see how parents would feel this way, but I wasn’t sure what made this such a standard experience (and comment to me, which always feels like they’re lying to help me get through it). At this point, I think this past year has been both the slowest and the quickest year of my life. My friend Jake just happened to blog about this on a more general level:

“Time passes by quicker as you grow older as a function of perception of time in proportion to your lifetime; i.e. that 1 year in the life of a 10-year-old = 1/10, while for a 50 year old =1/50.”

It all makes sense then. I’m experiencing 80’s first year with her, which means every day is significant and memorable struggling to turn the page of a book, or put food into her mouth). At the same time, trying to look at MY year is nearly impossible because it’s intertwined with hers. I can remember a few events that aren’t 80 related — going kayaking with Jason for our anniversary, having too many margaritas with Margaret, and this series of similar moments during naps when I’d eat chocolate-covered almonds and read photography books. Mostly this has been 80’s year.

I’m OK with this. It was a pretty important year. As Jason and I keep saying, “Hey, we haven’t killed the baby yet!” 80 is turning out to be a happy little person, and she has zero scars. We’ve done our work. Jason told me I was a kick-ass mother yesterday, and I hold on to that as an intangible reminder that I’ve actually been working very hard. What I have to show for it is packaged into 20 pounds of duck-down-hair, blueberry-eyed, husky-voiced awesome.

So think of this when you talk to someone whose first child is turning one: they have made it through the gauntlet. The first year is over, and they will never be so terrified of a newborn again. They are inevitably thinking about their child, about how awesome they’re just starting to become (words! steps!) and their birthday, but they should be congratulated for having made it through this first year. They’ll never be first-time parents again — from now on, they’ll have a modicum of experience to guide them. It’s an intense year no matter what their life is like (stay-at-home parenting is hard; not being the SAHP is hard), and they should be recognized for it. Something like “A year old? Wow! You did such a good job! I hear it gets easier from here.”

For those parents just starting The Gauntlet, I’ll tell you my secret. There’s a guy who humor-blogged about each week of his daughter’s life. Reading those blog posts on my phone while nursing a newborn kept me sane.