Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sarah's Wedding and the Everyday Muffin Tamers

My sister-in-law Sarah is a genuinely thoughtful person, so when she asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding scheduled less than two months after my due date, she did it in a no pressure sort of way.  "I don't want to stress you out," she said, "I know the baby will be really little at that point, so it's ok to say no if you want." At the time, the idea of appearing postpartum in acres of chiffon was not that intimidating to me, because after Millie was born, my body had bounced back really quickly.  In fact, the combination of a 9 month booze cleanse, weightlifting my baby carrier, and breastfeeding had left me with a sort of rocking bod and Michelle Obama arms. Foolishly, I assumed I would tighten up in the same fashion after my second baby.*
*Throws head back and laughs, ruefully. 

Little did I know that the birth of my son would involve doctors cutting through my abdomen, presumably with a buzz-saw, and performing an emergency hysterectomy to remove my uterus, who would later be christened "Cersei Lannister" by readers of this blog. Now, 9 weeks post-surgery,  I am left with a pouchy, still-pregnant-looking stomach and I'm ashamed to tell you how much it bothers me.

So it was with trepidation in my heart that I approached Target last week, seeking some comfort in the form of SPANX. I was prepared to do my duty and honor my friend, but I'll be dammed if I was going to do it without shape-wear.

I found exactly the thing I was looking for. They were sort of a stretchy combination panty-hose/biker short getup, and they are-- undoubtedly-- the least sexy things I've ever worn.  As an added blow, Sean discovered gleefully that they are actually called "everyday muffin tamers." As in their ACTUAL NAME on the REAL, NOT MADE UP PACKAGING FOR THIS PRODUCT, is "Everyday Muffin Tamer." It's ok if you need to take a minute here to laugh at me.

I wouldn't lie to you about this

Well I'm here to report, those things worked.  I would heartily recommend them to any woman who has recently had abdominal surgery and/or a La Bamba burrito. Armed in my muffin tamers, I bravely entered the Bridal Affirmation Suite for my beautification procedures.  For those unfamiliar, the Bridal Affirmation Suite, (or, BAS.) is the central location at any wedding where the bride, bridesmaids, and mothers gather to dress for the ceremony.  Typical activities in the BAS include drinking champagne, applying makeup, and about 4-6 hours of telling each other how pretty we look.*
*which is always true, especially the more champagne we have.

I've been in a BAS before, but never when 9 weeks postpartum.  I would HIGHLY recommend this experience to new mothers out there.  During a time in my life when I'm averaging a shower every 3 days and 4 consecutive hours of sleep a night, I get to go into a room with highly trained beauty professionals that will hide the bags under my eyes and apply false eyelashes to my person? YES PLEASE.  Oh, look, someone brought champagne? SURE I WILL TAKE A MANGO MIMOSA. And also my daughter is in here but there's like 30 doting relatives in here watching her? ANOTHER MIMOSA IT IS.

Thanks to my muffin tamers and the inventors of false eyelashes, I felt confident standing up next to my beautiful sister in law (seriously-- no one that hot should also be that cool!) on her special day.  All in all, the wedding weekend was filled with wins for Sean and I. The kids were relatively well behaved on the 12+ hour car rides there and back. Millie was a flower girl and we made lots of jokes about what to do if she picked her nose during the ceremony. Then, Millie actually did pick her nose during the ceremony, but I handled it discreetly.* Then, the mom of the other flower girls explained to me that since she didn't eat it, we can also count that as a #momwin. Mom logic is awesome.
 *I put the booger inside my bouquet, because I'm classy.

Now I'm back home, and I'm missing the Bridal Affirmation Suite.  I haven't showered in 3 days again, and Millie would probably tell on me if I tried to day-drink champagne while Sean was at work.  However, I'm still smiling, because I've got a secret weapon--not just for wedding days-- but for everyday use. The packaging doesn't lie.  #muffintamers #everyday.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

We survive the move to NC-- with one major casualty

By this time, many of you are wondering how we've been hanging in there-- what with a newborn baby and a cross country move and all. The good news is, we've made it to North Carolina, and-- weeks later-- our belongings also made it to North Carolina! (Thanks for nothing-- North American Van lines!) All of us are now happily hunkered down in an apt in Durham while we look for a house.

This same house in Durham would cost $400,000.
I'll miss you, mid-western real-estate prices!

We are thrilled with the new opportunities before us, but at this point, we're also in survival mode. Here is a rough breakdown of how I've been spending my days.

  • 30% riding in a car with a screaming newborn
  • 60% Digging through boxes, searching for assorted kitchenwares.*
  • 10% Going to bed at 9:30
*where for art though, pizza cutter?

It's exactly this sleep deprivation that leads me to today's story, however.

The other day, Sean started his new job.  Now, it just so happens that he was running on about two hours of sleep because we had just driven to see the solar eclipse (which deserves a whole separate blog post because it was so fucking incredible--seriously) and we were delayed in the apocalyptic traffic jam afterwards.

In the morning, Sean woke up and began to trim his beard.  If you've seen Sean's beard, you know it is a thing of beauty. It gives him a rugged, lumber-sexual flare that is appealing to men and women alike. For some reason, it makes me weirdly proud when other men comment enviously about his lack of patchiness. Whenever our friends are like "Man Sean, I wish I could grow a beard as full as yours!" Internally I'm all like "yeah Suckers--- my husband is a REAL man--- bow down before his full-faced follicles you sprinkle-bearded half-men!" I'm the worst.

Anyways, perhaps the universe was punishing me for gloating, because-- unbeknownst to Sean, his trimmers had gotten bumped during the move, and somehow ended up on a shorter setting. When he went to trim up before the all-employee meeting where he would be meeting his new colleagues-- he accidentally shaved one side of it off. You heard that right. Sean ACCIDENTALLY SHAVED HALF HIS BEARD OFF because when you are a new parent, you do shit like that*, and I suppose I should just be grateful he didn't accidentally put my morning coffee in the gas tank of our Prius. He came in the baby's room and was like--- "uh honey-- do you want to see something funny?" And then I actually screamed because my FAVORITE BEARD was ruined. But also I was trying to be supportive so I told him it didn't look that bad. (Which is partially true because Sean is disgustingly handsome and it would take a lot to stop that dream train--but still.) Then, he trimmed the other side to match and then he started to shorten the front and I got pretty emotional and I was like STOP CUTTING IT RIGHT NOW.

*new parents are operating on about 40% of our normal brain cells, and 400% of our normal caffeine intake.

Sean's beard, driving us to North Carolina. RIP good friend. 

This story is admittedly hilarious, but I think what I love most about it is that it's so uncharacteristic for Sean to have a slip up like this.  Normally, it is the sort of thing I would do. For example, when I started my last job-- I cleverly decided to run through my endless supply of boy-scout popcorn* and turn my office into "the cool office with snacks." Unfortunately, on my first bag I had a microwave mishap that caused all of my new co-workers to evacuate the building while the fire department was called. "Nice to meet you," I told them, as we waited outside in the cold Ohio winter. "My name is KatieWould you like some popcorn?" I added, miserably.

*The neighbor's kid was a scout, and very persuasive

After all these years of me being sort of a disaster, it's nice to know Sean can have his moments too.  Even Smaug the magnificent had one penetrable section to his diamond waistcoat, and Sean is no different.  Also, incidentally, Sean could grow a better beard than Smaug the magnificent, and you can tell him I said so.  I'm sure a few months from now, we'll emerge from this sleep deprived cloud and laugh about all this. But for now, it's almost 9:30, and I think I'll go and try to microwave some popcorn before bed.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Pooping after pregnancy-- an important business opputinity for post partum Doulas

I have two favorite things to yell from the bathroom while I poop.*

The first is "KEEP FIRING, ASSHOLES!!!" From the classic movie, Spaceballs. The other is "WHO DOES NUMBER TWO WORK FOR!!!?" which of course originates from Tom Arnold's cameo in Austin Powers.

*Its the little things, like this, that keep our love alive.

This is a very important cinematic clip I want you all to watch.

Clearly, In our house, poop is a public affair, and we laugh and joke about it openly.  But, such an important thing happened to me today, that I needed to broadcast it more widely.

I took my first poop after having my baby. Anyone who has ever had a baby will know why this is a big deal.  I remember after I had my Millie, I was truly terrified by the prospect of pooping.  I was afraid that any squeezing whatsoever "down there" would send half of my vital organs shooting out through my sphincter. After delivering Ben, I had similar fears.  This time, they were compounded by the fact that I was also recovering from major surgery, and the narcotics they gave me completely shut me down for 5 days.  In the hospital, I tried to eat soft foods like pudding and fruit cups, but experience taught me that this would come out feeling like rocks and razor blades.

After they discharged me, I put myself on a 2 day diet regimen of watermelon and docusate.  Finally, I finally felt safe enough to give poop a try. It was horrible.  During Ben's birth, there was a wonderful Labor and Delivery nurse named Shelly who helped coach me through my contractions.  Oh how I wished Shelly were with me now, talking me safely through my poop.

"You can do it!" Shelly would tell me.
"No, Shelly I can't do it!" I would respond, "I need an epidural."
"Just a few more seconds" she would assure me.
Finally, when my poop was out, and safely in the toilet bowl, I would collapse with relief, and Shelly would stroke my forehead.
"You did it kid" she would say to me.
"Thanks Shelly." I would say, the accomplishment welling up inside me.

At the end of the day, I got to take the porcelain out to pasture,* even without Shelly there to support me.  In the process, I think I have stumbled upon a great new business opportunity for post-partum doulas who specialize in coaching new moms through their first BM.  Any of you out there are welcome to steal this business idea from me. In the meantime, I'll be here snacking on watermelon, sitting on the toilet, and yelling celebratory Spaceballs quotes.  KEEP FIRING ASSHOLES!

*This is an amazing new euphemism for pooping that Sean invented this week.

Monday, July 10, 2017

And the Winner Is...

Two days ago, I asked you to help me name my Uterus, who, before her untimely death made several attempts to murder me.

This has been one of my favorite blog posts ever, because of everyone's hilarious comments.  My favorite comment came from my bestie Stacy who send me this text message:

 "New out out-of-the-box submission for uterus name: Mariah Carey. Now, hear me out. She seems harmless, but every year she comes out of nowhere and just slays the holiday special shows."

This comment made me laugh so hard that I almost ignored the popular vote and just named my uterus Mariah Carey instead.  Among other notable suggestions were: Elle Driver (from Kill Bill,) and Catherine DeMedici. In all, y'all's suggestions were all super on-point and murdery.

Anyways, the results are in, and the winner of the popular vote is:
Cersei Lannister!
This is a screenshot from the google form I made, which-- to my delight- 53 people actually filled out.
To name my uterus is particularly appropriate because Sean and I like to play the game "what if we and all our friends were in Game of Thrones?" In this game, we decide what houses we would be in if we were in GOT.  Sean, clearly, is of the North.  In terms of morality, he's definitely a Stark, and in terms of handsomeness, I like to think of him as sort of a cross between Jon Snow and Daario Naharis. As for me, I am clearly a Wildling, although sometimes Sean says I might be one of those Dornish snake ladies. Either way, both of our houses are definitely enemies with the Lannisters, and it's no wonder Cersei was trying to do me in.

Today, I'm going out-- totally without fear that one of my organs may be plotting against me.  I know that, as a Lannister, my uterus always likes to pay her debts. But this time, I think Cersei overextended her power play.

RIP Cersei Lannister 
Well played, you treasonous wench, well played. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

What to do when your uterus tries to murder you

"Look at it this way" Sean told me, stroking my head as I fought off the anesthesia, "At least this way your uterus can never again try to kill you." I was laying in the hospital bed, a few hours after coming out of my postpartum hysterectomy, and holding my newborn son, Ben.

Nothing about this pregnancy has been easy, but I know how lucky I am.  In 2015, after having a placenta accreta, I routinely passed blood clots the size of grapefruits, and was rescued by a helicopter paramedic named Alan Jackson.  During this recent pregnancy, the doctors were looking via ultrasound every two weeks for signs of another placenta accreta, but found nothing.  Lured into a false sense of security, we went into labor expecting no complications.  Little did I know, my uterus is a murderous bitch. Here is a rough breakdown of how Ben's birth unfolded.

Early Labor 
  • 1:00 pm- My water breaks conveniently, while we happened to be at the hospital. 
  • 3:30 pm- The doctors check me, I have dialed from 3 to 4 1/2 cm! 
  • 5:00 pm- I am now 6 cm dilated and handling the contractions like a pro. Sean and I high five each other-- "The second time really is easier!" We tell each other.
  • 6:00-  All of the nurses agree that my hair looks really good. 
  • 7:00 pm- No progress in dilation, but Sean and I are having a hospital dance party to Sturgil Simpson, so things will probably move along soon. 
  • 8:00 pm- Shift change! Still only 6 cm dilated, but our new nurse tells me I have pretty mermaid hair, so I am placated. 
  • 9:00 pm- The doctors put me on pitocin. Surely this party will get started soon!
  • 10:00 pm- They up my amount of pitocin.  My contractions are now strong enough to make me involuntarily pee myself. #progress!
  • 11:00 pm- More pitocin. 
  • 12:30 am- A new doctor comes in.  She says that the other doctors have been lying to me, and I'm actually only 5 1/2 cm dilated.  My heart is broken into 1,000 pieces. 

Active Labor
  • 1:00-3:00 am- Contractions now extremely painful.  I begin to see that pitocin is an evil drug, designed to torture me. Hair is looking disheveled, but still ok. 
  • 3:30- My back is on fire.  I want to stab this yoga ball, which is in no way easing my pain. 
  • 4:00- Fuck You, pitocin. 
  • 4:30- Screaming out loud now. 
  • 5:00- Surely I will die from this pain. 
  • 5:00- I aggressively beg Sean for pain medicine.  Without drugs I will surely die, I tell him. 
  • 5:00- I realize Sean is a heartless asshole. 
  • 5:15- Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit. My hair looks bad. 
  • 5:30- Baby is born. 

  • Holding this child is incredible. 
  • Sean is most amazing husband on planet. My love for him is incomparable. 
  • Doctors still fooling with my stomach, trying to deliver the placenta. Very annoying. 
  • My baby has dark hair.  I name him Benjamin Henry. He is my precious. 
  • Placenta won't come out.  We head to operating room for D & C. 
  • Stay with Daddy, Precious. I'll be back soon. 

Operating Room
  • Doctors give me an epidural.  I feel truly nothing, confirming that the last 14 hours of pain have been totally optional, and I have suffered needlessly the name of natural mommy-hood. 
  • "If anything is wrong with me, just take my uterus" I tell them. I want to get back to my precious. 
  • They start the D&C. I see nothing, My face is under a sheet.
  • I'm still reflecting on my natural childbirth. "Your arrogance has brought you nothing but pain." I tell myself. 
  • Doctors repeating saying the word "hemorrhaging."
  • "This is definitely an accreta." The doctor says. My heart stops.
  • Terror. I am in terror. 
  • Hysterectomy. Pain. Drugs.
  • The surgery is over.  Blood everywhere  
  • They wheel me back to Sean. I hold my precious, shaking violently. We are kissing. Then, I sleep. 

When I woke up, my eye was crooked.  The optometrist later told me the trauma was so great it actually knocked me cross eyed for a day. I didn't care. I was back with my family.  When Millie came to the hospital, my little world was complete.  I'll be dammed if I will ever let us separate again.

Obviously, My uterus had been planning this the whole time.  She let me believe that this pregnancy would hold no surprises, then she waited until I was most vulnerable and pounced.  My uterus is a ruthless and scheming bitch and I'm glad she's dead now. As we lay in the hospital bed, Sean stroking my hair, and me starting at him with my crooked eyes, we began to wonder what we should name her.  Hodor turned out to be the perfect name for my cervix.  For my uterus, we developed this list of naming criteria:

  • Must be a female name
  • Must be murder-ey as hell
  • Probably has some maternal or redeeming qualities
  • Deceitfulness is a plus

Based on this list, I have developed a short google survey, which I hope you will complete.

Update 1- My eye is back to normal, and my hair looks really good.
Update 2- I am holding my precious.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Our House Makeover and the DIY network

When I first starting writing in this blog, the tag line was: "A blog about our first house, our new baby, and our adventures along the way." Four years later, this tag line is quickly becoming outdated.  We're expecting the arrival of a new tiny vomit machine baby any day now, and there is a For Sale sign in our front yard.

Before long, we will be moving from our first house, leaving our amazing neighbors, and headed back home to North Carolina.  Part of this move is job related.  Since President Trump has apparently chosen to ignore my top secret advice about renewable energy despite my promises that he could see Kate Middleton's boobs, it looks like all the progress on the "preserving a livable planet" front is going to be in the private sector.  So, Sean got an awesome new job with Solar company in NC, and we are selling our house.

As such, I've been reflecting a lot about the changes we've made to this place.

When we moved in things were a little *ahem*-- unkempt. From the front, our house looked a bit like a crazy old witch lived here. These days, our house is looking like a totally cute babe. If Cher, from the movie Clueless could see our house, she would describe her as a "total Betty." Look at those flipping window boxes!  Breathe in the trendy adorableness of our board-and-batten shutters!

All women love a good makeover montage, and I'm no exception.  Actually, I think men like makeovers too, which is why the DIY network has captured such a brilliant market. It repackages the makeover into something vaguely masculine by disguising it with power tools, then rakes in a fortune by advertising back-splash products to its hypnotized unisex masses.

We didn't invest in any backsplashes while we lived here, but we did watch a lot of DIY network, and I think one thing is for certain: If Mike Holmes were to come to our house when we first bought it, he would have been concerned.  He'd be all like "what kind of a contractor would build such wobbly deck railings for the sweet old witch lady who is living here?"  Personally, I'm more like Cher from Clueless. I saw an opportunity for a makeover montage, and I went for it.

The photographer is coming soon to take photos of the interior of our house.  When those come in, I'll update this post with some "before" and "after" movie magic.  In the meantime, I'll be cleaning frantically for our upcoming open house, and maybe watching the DIY network.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

My Cervix is named Hodor

WARNING: The post below contains a Game of Thrones spoiler alert! 

Did I ever tell you guys how my cervix is nicknamed Hodor? 

I know. I basically have no shame. For those of you who have never seen Game of Thrones, let me explain. Hodor is the name of a brave and incredibly sweet giant, who only says "Hodor" and dies valiantly "holding the door" against the evil forces of ice zombies who are trying to murder his companions.

Similarly, when we first got the news that I was pregnant, one of the biggest risks factors was preterm birth.  It was up to my cervix to "hold the door" and prevent this from happening, and for the past 4 months, Sean has been feeding my Hodor liquid courage in the form of weekly progesterone shots that would help my cervix stay closed. 

Recently, the progesterone shots have stopped, and Hodor's herculean strength is finally running out.  This bring us to our current state.  I'm now 38 weeks pregnant and officially miserable.  According to my doctor, that's because I've been walking around 3 centimeters dilated.

*Side note: I'm not exactly a secretive person, and basically everyone in town knows about my dilation. Last Friday, I went to a party where multiple city council members approached me to discuss my recent cervical measurements, proving once again that city council is the last remaining unit of government that is still responsive to the concerns of their constituents.

Anyways, I'm officially done being pregnant.  This baby is strong, and healthy and I'm ready for him to be born already.  That's why today I was in my office looking up exercises to induce labor on pinterest, and I found this picture.

Look at this lady.

My first reaction to this photo is to hate on this woman for wearing white spandex. (What if her water breaks? What if she falls down in that field? Speaking of that field, isn't is probably full of ticks?) But, to be honest, I would never confident enough to wear white spandex even when NOT PREGNANT, so I think in this case I'm probably just unworthy to be in the presence of her Lycra wrapped suavity.

When I look at this lady, I'm consumed by jealousy. She definitely looks a lot more comfortable than I feel right now, and she gets to frolic around in a field, hopefully with the foresight to bug-spray her ankles first. Meanwhile, I'm in my living room, doing lunges and other pinterest exercises in the hopes of inducing labor.  The only consolation for my envy? I guess I still have something she doesn't: Hodor.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Pregnant Ladies Have to Pee, and Other Truths

Lately, I've been walking around enormously pregnant.  Honestly "walking" is a generous term here, it's probably more like waddling.  And the world- faced with the enormity of my equatorial expansion is completely losing its shit.  So- in this blog post, I'm going to lay down some truths about pregnant ladies, and tips for how you can interact with us.
1. We all have to pee.  This is a universal truth.  If you are talking to a pregnant lady, you can rest assured that she has to pee at this very moment. If we, the pregnant ladies, seem in a hurry to get somewhere, then please sweet Jesus LET US GO. We are on our way to the bathroom, where we are either going to pee, or cry because someone just told us how huge we are, but probably both.

Every time I go to my OB appointments, they have me pee in a cup.  Each time, the receptionist asks me politely "Are you able to provide a urine sample today?" Then we both laugh, because she knows damn well I'm able to provide a urine sample, even though I literally just peed downstairs in the lobby. My OB receptionist is awesome.

2. Remove the word HUGE from your vocabulary.   This is pretty standard stuff really. In our house, Sean has wisely avoided saying the word "huge" for the last 6 months at least.  When we watched the NCAA men's basketball tournament this year, he would say "Hey baby-- come watch this replay-- the Tarheels just came up with a glowing and voluptuous rebound against Gonzaga!"

Here's some solid advice: Before you open your mouth to comment on a pregnant woman's body, ask yourself-- Would it be socially acceptable for me to say this about a non-pregnant person's body?  The answer is probably no.

The truth is, the pregnant ladies of the world do not need your reminders.  We know our bodies are changing. We already receive reminders of this every morning when we are dressing ourselves with clothes the size of industrial table cloths.  Each time we have to pee (which--as we've covered--is quite frequently,) we are also reminded by our belly buttons, which have become fleshy, swirling nebulons of pain.

So, as a public service, I've created a few substitute clauses you can use when interacting with the pregnant ladies in your life!

  • Oh my god! You're Huge! (substitute: Oh my God! You're a dead ringer for Kate Hudson!)
  • Whoa-- look at that enormous belly! (Substitute: Whoa-- look at that detailed transition plan you've left for your colleagues during your maternity leave!)
  • You look like you're about to pop! (Substitute: You look like you're about to propagate another human life using only your uterus and a steady supply of salt-and-vinegar potato chips, like a boss!)

3. We haven't shaved our legs. Not really.  I mean-- we've tried, but we're basically flying blind.  Personally, I haven't seen my thighs in two months. So, I want to apologize to anyone else who may be seeing them, namely Sean.

4. We are all Bad-asses.  Growing up, I sort of considered myself to be well supplied in the bad-assery department.  I was a small town karate star who--in my prime--could flip across my dojo like Simone Biles, and jump-front kick someone twice my size in the teeth.  It wasn't until after Millie was born that I realized the hard truth.  I was not special.  ALL WOMEN, everywhere, even ones who work at perfume counters at department stores,* ** are incredible bad-asses. After experiencing labor, I looked around the pews at the elderly ladies in my church, and was shaken to the core by the pantsuited empresses of Badasserwald that surrounded me, and overflowed out into the Narthex.

*Women who work at perfume counters are actually my biggest fear.
**One time, I tried to buy a summer fragrance in the autumn season, and was rightfully shamed for my ignorance.  I've never recovered.

So remember friends, pregnancy is bonkers. Basically all the moms you know are formidable and deserve your respect.

I hope this list gave you some convenient insight into the psyche of pregnant ladies-- or at least of this one. As for me, I think it's time that I waddled to the bathroom again.  Maybe while I'm there I'll try and shave my legs, like a bad-ass.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Poopie the Pill Bug, A Mother's Betrayal

Millie has a new friend.  He is a pill bug who lives in our garden, and she named him Poopie. This is the story of how I murdered Poopie. I guess I'm writing this post because I need to clear my conscience. But, also I'm writing this story because I think Poopie the pill bug is hilarious and I hope you will too.

In remembrance, "Poopie" the Pill Bug
May 10th, 2017- May 26th, 2017

It all started several weeks ago, when Millie and I transplanted the seedlings we had lovingly started indoors during the cold, terrible Ohio winter outside into our vegetable garden. We had big plans for these seedlings.  With our help, they would grow into tall sunflowers, rich aromatic basil, and cherry tomatoes by the fistful for our summertime snacking. We had tiny burgundy kale seedlings, and personal sized sweet melons.  We planted them carefully in our richest soil, along the soaker hose so they would get maximum irrigation opportunities.

As we planted, Millie ran around the garden, holding a plastic trowel, and capturing various small crawly things that were too slow to elude her. She took a liking to several earthworms, but became especially enamored with the roly-poly bugs she found throughout our straw mulch. One of these unfortunate invertebrates she named Poopie, and carried him throughout the garden, telling him of all the plants we are growing.

"This is a baby Zinnia," she told him.  "It will grow into a beautiful pink flower that I can wear in my hair. Isn't that exciting, Poopie!?"
Poopie showed no enthusiasm.
"These are baby Dill plants, Poopie." Continued Millie, botanist and tour guide.
Poopie remained curled in a ball and unresponsive.
"Millie! It's time to put Poopie down!" I called, as we finished planting.
Millie placed Poopie lovingly down beside the Echinacea patch and said "Bye Poopie!  I love you-- see you tomorrow!"

For the next several days, Millie would immediately capture Poopie (or one of his brethren) as soon as we reached the garden. "Hi Poopie!! She would yell into her cupped hands. "It's me! Millie-- did you miss me?"

Poopie seemed to be thriving, but unfortunately, my seedlings were not.  The dill was the first to go. Then, the sunflowers, and even my heirloom cherry tomatoes.  I thought we had a rabbit getting into the garden. Then, one overcast and drizzly evening, Millie and I went down to the garden to check on our plants.

The first thing we noticed were the slugs.  They were everywhere. Disgustingly, Millie and I picked 17 of them off of a single young zucchini plant. It was during this surgical slug removal that I noticed the slugs were not working alone.  One of the seedlings was bent to the ground with no less than 15 pill bugs, devouring it.  Millie noticed it too.  "POOPIE! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" She called out in alarm.

I didn't say anything to Millie at the time, but that's when I decided that POOPIE MUST DIE. We came back into the house and researched the best ways to lay siege on our newly stationed slug garrison. Secretly though, I was also reading about pill bugs.  It seems these innocent looking beasts mostly eat decomposing matter, but have been known to assassinate young garden seedlings as well.

Many readers recommended an organic solution called Sluggo Plus. This slug bait also kills pill bugs, by luring them into eating a certain type of delicious mineral, which then blocks up their stomachs and makes them die a slow, painful death beneath the soil.  I ordered it with zest, and applied it last Friday when Millie was at school.  I asked Sean if he thought I should wait for Millie to put the Sluggo on the garden, to which he replied "You're asking me if we should wait for our 4 year old daughter in order to handle and apply pesticides?"  I realized he was right. Besides, she's still too young-- I don't want her to have blood on her hands.

As I'm typing this, Millie is currently singing an epic song about Poopie the pill bug. She does not yet know that he is gone, but I still prefer to think of this song as a funeral dirge.  Here are the lyrics:

Poopie was a pill bug, 
He lived inside the dirt,
Poopie pooped on a slug,
And then ate him.

I think it's how he would have wanted to be remembered.  Rest in peace, sweet Poopie. May the gardens of your isopod heaven be filled with dill seedlings, and completely free of 4 year old girls.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Six Needs of A Laboring Woman

I have some very, very, good news.  I'M PREGNANT.  I know! You're probably thinking HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?  For those of you following what Sean and I have been through, you know that after the events of the last two years---my uterus was left as uninhabitable as the frozen ice-planet of Hoth.* Then, last August, a fancy doctor in Cleveland did an experimental surgery on me to repair "The Ole Gal." When he described the procedure to us, only 9 other women had gone through with it, and of those, 3 of them had gone on to have babies. ** Sean and I knew the odds were against us, but we decided to give it a try anyways. We were frankly shocked when I became pregnant almost immediately.

*If you are reading this blog to seek actual medical information and not Star Wars references, the medical term for what was wrong with me was Asherman's syndrome, caused by multiple D&C's following a placenta accreta. The hospital I went to was University Hospital- MacDonald Women's Hospital.
** Pro-tip-  If you nearly die 3 times from pregnancy complications and then conceive a baby who is an ACTUAL medical miracle,  the hospital will feature you in their annual development campaign and you can get some free family photography out of it! Woot Woot!

I won't lie to y'all-- this pregnancy has been hard.  If I had to pick one word to describe it, it would be "vulnerability," although a close second would be "Cramps," then followed by "salt-and-vinegar-potato-chips." I found myself jealously thinking of my relaxed mental state with my previous two pregnancies.  Remember when the biggest concerns I had were axe-body spray and cabbage related office smells? This time around, I've been scared basically the whole time.  That's probably why I waited until I was 33 weeks along to type this blog post.

The good news is, Millie's sense of optimism is unhindered, and she recently made me this drawing, which is my new all-time favorite work of art:

Lately, I've been letting the exciting reality sink in: Oh my god! I'm really going to have this baby! But unfortunately, the other reality has started to sink in too: OH MY GOD, I'M REALLY GOING TO HAVE THIS BABY.

Shit. Shit. Double Shit.  Childbirth is not the funnest thing I've ever done. So, I broke out my trusty book on "The Bradley Method," to brush up on my skills. For those of you unfamiliar, the Bradley method is a tried and tested natural childbirth technique, which for nearly 30 years has helped expectant mothers see graphic pictures of other women's vaginas.

Now that I'm reading it with the trained eye, I can see that parts of this book are total bullshit.

For example, it contains these reassurances:
"Natural Childbirth can be painless."
(Throws head back and laughs.) Please. 

"Partners-- don't let your wife sit on a comfortable couch while she is pregnant. She will secretly appreciate that you make her sit on the hard floor! Even if you overhear her complaining to her friends about you, she's actually just low key bragging that you're such a good birth coach!"
Partners-- don't be fooled by this lying book. I know it seems medically legit because there are so many pictures of vaginas in it, but this is BAD ADVICE.  

"Many women actually have orgasms when giving birth."
Yeah, so I'm not buying this one.  I get that every labor and delivery is different. Some women like aroma therapy--I preferred for my hospital room NOT to smell like a cheap head shop where teenagers buy bongs. Some women are meaner than snakes-- the meanest thing I told Sean during labor was "don't sing," as he tried to comfort me by crooning along with the playlist. 

When I had Millie I actually BROKE MY TAILBONE, and was so preoccupied that I DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE. So, all I'm saying is that if some women get to have ORGASMS-- that's not fair, and I hope all of those women have colicky babies, or, at the least-- really out of tune xylophones. 

So, as a public service announcement, I've decided to improve on the Bradley Method's "Six needs of a laboring woman."  

The Bradley Method's List:
  1. Deep, complete relaxation
  2. Abdominal breathing
  3. Darkness and solitude
  4. Physical comfort
  5. Closed eyes
  6. The appearance of sleep

Katie's List:
  1. Deep, warm Hot tub
  2. Husband, Stop Singing 
  3. Die Aroma Therapy, Die
  4. Delivery Room Ban on Axe body spray
  5. Open bag of Salt and Vinegar Chips 
  6. Silence from woman one room over, who's painless childbirth is climaxing in a loud orgasm. 
If you're a first time mom, the Bradley Method book CAN actually be immensely helpful. However, for those of us who are doing this for a second time, I'd like to recommend Dave Barry's Book, Babies and other Hazards of Sex,  as alternate reading.  This book, which is subtitled, How to make a tiny person in just 9 months with tools you probably have around the house, will not prepare you in any way for childbirth, but it contains far fewer graphic pictures of vaginas and makes for much more pleasant reading while you are sitting on your coach, enjoying your salt and vinegar potato chips.