Monday, November 24, 2008


Internet, I am taking a break. I'm not sure when I'll be back, but at the very least I'm going to enjoy my last week of maternity leave and my baby and spend as little time on the computer as possible. I'm also going to enjoy Thanksgiving, even though there will be 13 people in my house for dinner. I know! We were going to scale back this year and yet... huh. That didn't happen. At least I managed to swallow my [very large, bulky] pride and allow people to bring some of the food, which means that I will not have to spend all day in the kitchen.

This year it's pretty obvious what I'm most thankful for: my beautiful son, who was only a dream at this time last year. Life with him is better than I ever could have imagined.

I'll leave you with his smile and a wish for a wonderful Thanksgiving. May your plate be full and your heart happy.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

MOST people know that I have excellent bowel control. Humph.

Yesterday, chatting with Mike about my day:

Liz: So we jumped in the jumper for a while. Yes we did!

Lion: Woo!

Liz: And then we ate!

Lion: Wee!

Liz: And then we ate again!

Lion: Goo! GAH!

Liz: And then we pooped our pants!

Lion: Ahhh!



Mike: You... uh... had an accident?

Liz: What?

Mike: You pooped your pants?

Liz: WHAT? Not me. Your son. YOUR SON pooped his pants. Oh my god!

Mike: Oh! Well, you said "we."

Liz: I also said WE jumped in the jumper. Did you think I somehow managed to cram myself into that contraption?

Mike: Sorry.

Liz: So you really think I would crap my own pants?

Mike: (laughing) Well, you've said that sometimes it's hard to find time to go to the bathroom. I thought that maybe... you know... you didn't make it in time.

Liz: I don't even know what to say.

Mike: (still laughing, wipes tears from eyes) Sorry.

Liz: You think I would poop my pants.

Mike: Sorry!


Mike: I'll just shut up now.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I interrupt Yankee Doodle Sexual Innuendo Day to say Holy cow, actual snowflakes are falling from the sky.

Okay, everyone living in the DC area- this is your cue to start rush hour early! MUST BUY TOILET PAPER OMG.

Better break out the puppy dog hat, which I have been saving for just such an occasion.

May I recommend diapers?

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Yank Yer Noodle

Last night I was bouncing Lion on my knee and singing Yankee Doodle. Or trying to, rather. I guess I haven't attempted to recall the lyrics to this song for a long, long time, for this is what came out of my mouth:

Yankee Doodle went to town
Riding a big pony
Stuck a feather in his hat
And called it macaroni

Yankee Doodle keep it up!
Yankee Doodle dandy!
Keep it up and keep it up
And let the girls be handy!

Mike burst into laughter.

Liz: What?

Mike: What was that?

Liz: I know I didn't get all the words right. How does it go?

Mike: I don't know, but yours sounded like the raunchy version.

Liz: Huh?

Mike: Riding a big pony? Keep it up and keep it up? Let the girls be handy?

Liz: Oh.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008


The sensation of spit-up running down your neck and back isn't so bad. It's when it soaks into your shirt and starts to cool that it becomes unpleasant.


I stepped on the scale the other day and discovered that I'd lost all the baby weight, so I gleefully pulled out all my old pants and tried them on. Most are still bit tight around the waist. I wonder if the rubber band trick is still acceptable if you're not in the early stages of pregnancy?


I took Lion to the pediatrician for his two-month check-up. As I placed him naked on the scale, the nurse announced, "Two feet long and thirteen pounds, four ounces!"

Suddenly he peed all over the scale and the wall.

"Make that thirteen pounds, three ounces," she corrected.


My baby has this huge smile where his nose wrinkles and his eyes crinkle and looks like he just heard the best joke ever. I live for it. No one ever told me that a toothless grin could be your drug of choice.


Passing a gaggle of teenage girls in the grocery store, one of them gazes at Lion and says, "Oh, I want a baby!"

"Bloody nipples," I tell her as I pass.

I do what I can.


I've been doing all the grocery shopping since I've been on maternity leave, so there's been a severe shortage of grocery store conversations. However, we managed a short one the other day:

Mike: Hey.

Liz: Hi.

Mike: I'm at the store.

Liz: I know. Hey, can you get me a pint of Haagen-Dazs Rocky Road while you're there?

Mike: Ice cream craving?

Liz: No. I just like the way the almonds get stuck in my teeth. It's strangely satisfying.

Mike: Uh, okay.

Liz: Thanks.


Liz: So, why were you calling?

Mike: I knew you needed something. I'm like Lassie.

Liz: Seriously.

Mike: So, seriously, this grocery store doesn't sell condoms.

Liz: They don't?

Mike: Nope.

Liz: I thought all the grocery stores had them.

Mike: Not this one. I even asked at the pharmacy counter and they said no.

Liz: Peculiar.

Mike: Maybe it's the Catholic grocery store.

Liz: What, do they sell calendars instead?

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Lesser Evil

So, which would you rather: shots in your tender thigh or a trip to Wal-Mart?

Right, I'm with you. Needles it is.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Natural childbirth redux

A pregnant reader stumbled upon my blog a while back and emailed me to ask for some feedback on my experience with natural childbirth in a hospital setting. And like a good blogger, I neglected that email inbox for a good month or so and didn't see her note until yesterday. I tried to respond but my email was bounced back. So, Sarah, if you're still out there and haven't given birth yet, I hope you'll find this post helpful. (and I'm sorry)

Standard cautionary statement: I AM NOT AN EXPERT ON NATURAL CHILDBIRTH. Or anything else.

I'm worried the hospital staff will mess up my plans [for natural childbirth]. I've written a birth plan, but other than that- how were you able to get around that?

Sorry, there isn't a short answer to this question. Get comfy!

I was under the care of a practice that included both midwives and doctors, and their philosophy is that natural childbirth is a natural (duh) and desireable way to give birth. If a patient decides that they want drugs, that's fine, too, but I knew in advance that they would support me. I didn't have a birth plan because everything I wanted was their standard approach to care (no drugs or episiotomies, baby goes to mom right away, any non-critical treatments for baby are delayed, etc.), but in general, I think a birth plan can be a good thing if it's not too lengthy.

Another important thing: the hospital didn't require continuous fetal monitoring. I don't know about other women, but being chained to the bed with a fetal monitor probably would have been the end of natural childbirth for me. Lying down isn't a good position for labor and birth anyway- standing and walking makes the most sense so that gravity is working in your favor. Aside from that, I really needed to be able to move around so I could manage the pain. Ask if you can be checked intermittently instead, preferably with a Doppler.

If the above doesn't apply to you, some of these other approaches might help:

We hired a doula who we liked and trusted, and she was a great resource to us before, during, and after the birth. Completely worth the money, if you can afford it and find someone you're comfortable with. She was there for us, and only us. While our midwife was also wonderful, she had lots of other patients to tend to that night. The doula stayed with us the entire time. It really gave me peace of mind.

My husband was on board with natural childbirth, and we'd done lots of preparation terms of understanding labor and how we could work together (and with the doula) to avoid interventions. We did perineal massage, practiced breathing and labor positions, etc. We had a "bag of tricks", if you will, or props. The doula had things like scarves and aromatherapy supplies and a birth ball. We also brought some items, like an ultrasound picture of the baby for me to focus on, a (washable) gardening knee pad for when I knelt on the floor, a small electric fan, a boom box and some meditation CDs, and lots of Gatorade, Jell-O, and breath mints. The bathroom had a shower where I could labor (but alas, no tub).

In addition, I'd invited my mom and Mike's mom to be there for the birth. I told them in advance that if they couldn't handle seeing me in pain, I couldn't have them in the room with me. People freaking out and saying, "Don't you want medication now?!" would have been completely awful, because I needed to feel confident and capable. Fortunately, the moms were great and I was so glad they were there.

So, in a nutshell: surround yourself with people who will support you and believe in you.

Also- labor at home for as long as you can before you go to the hospital. We spent all afternoon at home with the doula, and left for the hospital when my contractions were about 2 minutes apart. In retrospect, we could have stayed home even longer than we did, but we had no way of knowing for sure how far along I was. The more established your labor is when you arrive, the better, but you have to be comfortable with your decisions.

What worked for you?

Besides what I wrote above, I tried to prepare both physically and mentally. I exercised right up until the day I went into labor. I meditated a lot, and visualized myself having the experience I wanted. I sought out positive feedback and birth stories from other women (Roxanne, for one- thank you) and tried to ignore people who implied that I was crazy or a martyr or wouldn't be able to do it. The book Birthing from Within (by England and Horowitz) was really, really helpful. I also practiced self-hypnosis before the birth, using Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method as a guide, but ultimately, I didn't end up using it much in labor. I don't know why- I just didn't. Before the birth I feared that I might lose control and feel unable to handle the pain, but that never happened. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Honestly! And it was incredibly empowering.

Is there anything you were disappointed with, or would have done differently?

Yeah, I was disappointed that my baby decided to take a gigantic crap before he was born! The large amount of meconium in the amniotic fluid meant that we had to speed things along, and the pushing stage ended up being different from what I had visualized and wanted. It also meant that my husband couldn't help catch the baby as we'd planned, and I wasn't able to hold my son right away. I was sad about those things, but in the end, it didn't matter that much. In all, Lion was treated by the neonatologist for only about ten minutes post-birth, though it seemed like an eternity at the time. He could have ended up in the NICU, and we are thankful that didn't happen.

I wish there had been a tub in the room. I wished for one many, many times. The hot shower was enormously helpful, but a tub would have been even better. If we have another baby, I will seriously consider a birthing center or a home birth for that reason.

In all, the experience was pretty much what I wanted. It took preparation, support, and a little bit of luck.

Hope this was helpful. I hope you have (had?) the experience of your dreams.

(if anyone else has feedback on NCB in a hospital, feel free to chime in)

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Friday, November 07, 2008

His future's so bright, he's gotta wear shades

We were out with Lion the other day and ran into a friend of ours and her four kids. It was the first time the kids had seen the baby and they were quite enchanted.

Fifth grader: He's so cute!

Third grader: Look! He lost his pacifier. (she puts it back in his mouth)

Mike: Thank you.

Fifth grader: Hopefully he won't be a thumb sucker like Garret.

The three girls glare at the two-year old.

Me: Hey! I think it's okay to suck your thumb.

Seventh grader: It's just that it's bad for his mouth. He might have to get into orthodontics.

Fifth grader: (wisely) It's okay for babies to suck their thumbs. But if you're a teenager, FORGET IT.

Third grader: What sports will he play?

Mike: Hmmm... I don't know. Maybe he won't play any sports. We'll have to see what he likes to do.

Seventh grader: Yeah, Claire. Not every boy has to play sports.

Claire: I know that. I was just wondering.

Seventh grader: Maybe he'll be a writer.

Fifth grader: Or a dog trainer. Like Cesar!

Claire: (dreamily) Maybe he'll have a hair salon and be fabulous.

The fabulous Lion has a message for E and Bearette:

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Rock on, Obama!

Lion was very, very pleased about the election results. In fact, he's still out partying.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008