Friday, February 2, 2018

Sean and Katie's Place, Take Two

First family selfie in the new yard.

When I first started writing this blog, the tag line was "A blog about our first house, our first baby, and our adventures along the way." I'm really glad I documented some of this stuff--especially the stories about Millie---because I don't remember any of it. Apparently, my brain is like "I'm just going to block out any memories involving xylophone music, cool?" And I'm like, "No brain! I want to remember this stuff." And my brain is like "I NEED THIS, OK."Consequently, Millie's early years are just one slobbery, screamy, cuddly blur to me. Five years later, we seem to have circled back around.  New house. New Baby. New Sean and Katie. (Again.) This time, I know how important it will be for me to write it all down.

We welcomed our son, Ben in July, and moved out of our beautiful first home in Oberlin, Ohio a month and a half later.  After crashing with friends in NC and renting a truly tiny apartment, we've finally settled into our new house.  IT'S A GOOD ONE. We found a place in the country, with a super big wooded lot. Like-- ten acres big.  We've got a creek in the back where we can sit and drink beer in the summer, and by "summer" I mean "in March" because we live in North Carolina now, and it's delightfully mild here. According to my neighbors, there is even a white deer that lives in our woods. Obviously I've been freaking out about that because A WHITE DEER IS BASICALLY A UNICORN. And then, they told me that the horse farm down the street raises peacocks and sometimes they escape and run wild through the woods, and now I'm like "THE WORLD I LIVE IN IS MAGIC, AND ALSO HOW DO I BUILD A PEACOCK TRAP?"I know at this point you have a lot of questions.  Have you started building trails into your forest? (Yes.) Has Millie started her wilderness skills survival training yet? (Yes.) What are you going to name your peacock? (Reginald.) Is it pretentious for you to refer to your grounds as "Pemberley?" (Try and stop me.)

Anyways to update you all, I'm including some photos of the new house. I also have a before and after to show off of our guest room because I know how much you like makeover magic!

Cricket surveys her new kingdom, on the alert for any rogue peacocks.

Look at this flippin deck!!!

The guest room when we first moved in. This carpet smelled like funky mouse balls.

The guest room after Sean finished with it. #seanwillyoumakeoutwithme?

The white deer living in our woods. *visual approximation

All in all, things are going well for us.  Of course I'm going crazy trying to take care of a new baby and an almost 5 year old through all these moves, but that's a different blog post. Now, if you;ll excuse me, I need to go to home depot-- Millie and I are going to build a peacock trap.


Friday, December 1, 2017

Let's talk about baby sleep

Welcome! Scroll down to the bottom of this post to "resources" for the baby sleep coaching link, and the free white noise recording. 

When you are the parent of a young baby, one of the first questions that people ask you is "how are they sleeping?"  If you have asked me this question recently, you've probably gotten a tearful, long and incoherent answer to this question.  The short answer is NOT WELL, and I've been feeling very, very sorry for myself.

Sleep, precious sleep.

The fact is that Ben is almost 5 months old, and he has already had 3 different houses.  Until recently, Ben had no sense of normalcy, and it was really affecting his sleep. As of this morning however, EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT, because last night Ben SLEPT FOR 8 HOURS STRAIGHT AND NOW I CANT STOP TYPING IN ALL CAPS I'M SO EXCITED AND I FEEL LIKE I COULD ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING AND ALSO I'VE HAD LIKE 3 CUPS OF COFFEE AND HAND DECORATED 15 CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS*. I'm going to tell you how he turned the corner, but first I'm going to explain where we started from.  This is best represented in the form of a short play, which I wrote in a sleep deprived stupor just after Ben hit the dreaded 4 month sleep regression:

 *These are the ornaments.

Why I need Coffee: 
A mother's tale of infant sleep 
By Katie Hayes 

Katie: A tired Mommy
Ben: A four month old baby

7:00 pm:
(The family is eating dinner)

Ben: THE BABY IS TIRED. I'm so tired I can't keep my eyes open.  I'm the tiredest baby who ever lived. PLEASE put me to bed. PLEASE PLEASE? Oh my god I'm so tired. Mommy, have you no mercy in your empty, cruel soul? 
Me: Ok, let's go to bed. (Lights go out, swaddle goes on.)
Ben: I am not tired. 
Me: What? You said you were!
Ben: I would never say that.  You're imagining things. Let's cuddle. 

Me: What?
Ben: My pacifier fell out.
Me: That was like, hours ago.
Ben: Yeah, I know, but I just now realized it. 
Me: Ok, here it is.
Ben: No. That's not good enough. 
Me: What? You said you wanted it. 
Ben: I want the real thing.
Me: Just take the pacifier. 
Ben: Titty. 
Me: You're not hungry.
Ben: (singing, to tune of "funky town") Won't you take me to. Titty tooooooown!? Won't you take me to. Titty town.
Me: Not now Ben.
Ben: Tiiiiiity Town!
Me: Fine, just sleep afterwards okay?

Ben: It's time for my workout!
Me: What's up? I heard yelling and grunting.
Ben: I'm trying to roll over. 
Me: Can you do that tomorrow?
Ben: (Rolling) Look at my skillz, Mom.
Me: You're going to get stuck like that. 
Ben: No way, I'm basically a professional. 
Me: Ben, Listen--
Me: I told you you'd get stuck. 
Ben: Titty.

Ben: Just leave your titties in here with me, ok?
Me: That's not how it works. 
Ben: Why do you hate the baby?

3:30 am:
Ben: I feel refreshed!
Me: Go to back to sleep Ben.
Ben: I could never sleep on such a glorious day!  I love you MOMMY! I'm so happy to seeeeeee you!
Me: It is night time. 
Ben: Says you. 
Me: Says everybody, it's 3 am. 
Ben: You're so pretty Mommy. You look like a model. 
Me: (softening) Aww thank you sweetie! I--
Ben: Let me eat your hair. 
Me: Go to sleep. 

4:15 am:
Me: What?
Ben: You told me to tell you after 45 minutes was up.
Me: I would never say that.
Ben: Ok whatever, but since you're here (Lowers gaze.
Me: Why are you looking at me like that?
Ben: Like what?
Me: Like I'm a cheeseburger.
Ben: Who said anything about burgers? I'm more of a milk and cookies sort of man. 
Me: Ben, no--
Ben: Minus the cookies.

You get the picture.  Pretty much every night my baby had turned into an attention seeking titty-gobbler who tormented me and Sean. It is not an exaggeration to say that many nights he was up once an hour.

I was desperate, my life was in total chaos, and that is when I started working with Kaylan Adams, an infant sleep coach who I met through my sister.  At first I was reluctant to seek help because, after all I am an experienced mother who has successfully guided one baby through colic, xylophone music, and other infant horrors.  But, Sean had a different opinion.  When I told him about Kaylan's business he said: "She is a genius, There is no amount of money I would not pay in order to sleep at night again."  So, I took Kaylan up on her offer to help, and she sent me a bunch of materials for her online course "Start Strong." From this course I identified several different areas where I could improve.

 My first shocking discovery was that Ben was severely underslept. I hadn't previously realized this because I hadn't been writing anything down.  When Millie was a baby, I charted her sleep, feeding, and pooping cycles with a the precision of a scientist.  However Ben and I are usually on the go--trying to keep up with his four year old sister. My day was much too packed with me playing "Captain Barnacles" from Octonauts to actually take notes on my son's sleep. Once I started writing things down, I realized that he was only actually sleeping between 8-10 hours a day, instead of the recommended 13-14. 

There was also a lot of stuff in the course that I was already doing-- for example coming up with a clear bed-time routine.  What I liked about this information is that it forced me to really examine my practices and ask myself what was working, and where I was cutting corners.   

Between, Kaylan's course, sleep training, and  the reintroduction of "THE THUNDERSTORM," (A white noise recording that Sean made that now plays continuously in our home,) we now have Ben back on track in terms of his sleep. He consistently sleeps 14 hours a day, with one long (6-8 hour) stretch at night where I can get a little bit of rest.
This is Kaylan. Give her all of your money.*

*Full Disclosure: Now that I am a loyal acolyte of Kaylan's she will pay me referral fees if you purchase her course through this blog. I promise to spend this money on coffee.

When I walk around this weekend, I can't wait for people to ask me how Ben is sleeping. They'll still get an earful-- but this time it will be hopefully be hilarious stories about Sean accidentally shaving his beard off, or me fleeing from the grocery store like a coward.  If they're lucky, they may also get a hand decorated Christmas ornament, but that of course depends on how much coffee I've had.


Link to Kaylan's "Start Strong Course."

Video recording of "the Thunderstorm" an hour long white noise recording that plays continuously while our kids sleep and makes me want to continuously make out with my husband, who created it. #seanwillyoumakeoutwithme

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Update: I buy my t-shirts in the grocery store now

I've never been an overly fashionable person. I remember after Millie was born I struggled with the question all first time parents ask themselves-- can I wear jeggings now that I'm a mom? Or, did the birth of my first child somehow lock me into the clothing I already owned, barring my access from all future fashion trends? Could I indeed wear jeggings in 2013? Reader, I tell you I could.

But now, after the birth of my son in 2017, I am older and wiser. I find myself liberated from the pangs of uncertainty regarding my wardrobe. I am living back in the south,  I am operating on very little sleep, and I WILL WEAR WHATEVER GARMENT MOST EASILY ALLOWS ME TO TAKE MY BOOBS OUT IN THIS BOJANGLES. * **Period.
*To breastfeed, of course
** #freebojangles tho

Tonight, I reached new levels of relaxation, when I bought some high quality ladies' apparel in my local Kroger grocery. Naturally, I had waited until both of my children were asleep to go grocery shopping, because-- and I say this with love-- children are monsters.  Earlier today, I had failed to buy a carving pumpkin at the Fresh Market because Ben would not stop screaming.  Most likely, he was simply outraged at the price of artisanal pumpkins, but he elevated his concern to such levels that I could no longer focus on my grocery list. We walked out of the store, which probably saved me from buying a $15.00 jar of imported capers.

This evening I trotted through Kroger, hunting after the items I had failed to buy this afternoon. In the middle of the candy isle I saw it-- a giant display of star wars t-shirts. Hold the phone. I said to myself. I can buy clothes in the grocery store now? IS IT SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE TO BUY MY SHIRTS IN THE KROGER? I asked myself? No of course not. WOULD OBI WAN KENOBI HAVE DONE IT? Yes. Absolutely. I think i can say with 100% certainty that Obi Wan Kenobi would buy all of his shirts at the grocery store, because Jedi's don't have time to fuck around with driving to Kohls.

So, I grabbed the t-shirt and bought it. It's an awesome find, featuring a picture of Chewbacca with a caption that reads "Wookie Of The Year." Hahahaha! Even as I type that I am cracking up. Whoever made this shirt is a marketing genius, and the folks at Disney's apparel wing are not paying them enough. 
Seriously, give this person a raise.
 Anyways, thanks to whoever made this shirt, and had the vision and leadership to broker a merchandising deal with Kroger.  You are a model of corporate innovation. My only complaint is that the cut of this shirt favors a 13 year old boy, (undoubtedly your target audience.) As of the time of writing, I have taken a pair of scissors to the t-shirt, in order to give myself easier access to breastfeeding in the bojangles.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Grapefruit I Will Never Eat

There's a grapefruit on my kitchen counter and it's reminding me of all my inadequacies as a parent. I should have fucking known better.  I should have learned by now not to buy fruit that can't be consumed one-handed.  I am a mom.  I cannot reasonably be expected to get out a bowl, peel a piece of fruit, divide it into edible pieces, separate the fruit from the nasty skin, eat it, and then wipe my hands WITH A NAPKIN of all things.  Can you imagine? A NAPKIN. Christ what was I thinking?

I knew better in the grocery store.  I knew I should have gone with bananas or something.  Or apples. You can't go wrong with apples.  You can eat them one handed AND you can cut them up to take to the playground as a snack.  Oh JESUS I am out of apples and I am about to take my kids to the playground.  I have a mutiny on my hands. I guess I could pack up this grapefruit, but OH WAIT THAT WILL NEVER WORK.

I will never, ever eat this.

You know what?  I'm just going to throw this thing away.  It's taunting me, and making me feel undue pressure. I will try again in another year.  When I am not breastfeeding, I will have the capacity to peel and eat citrus without having to enlist childcare services. It's probably all shriveled up inside anyways.

Actually, now that I think of it, I could probably send it to work with Sean.  I bet at his office people have free usage of both of their hands, and can peel grapefruits as they please. Those bastards. They probably just sit around eating tropical tree fruits like anything. I bet they are scarfing down kumquats between their conference calls over there. Curse them.  Curse them all.  They do not deserve this grapefruit.

Nope, there is only one course of action.  I will keep my grapefruit--my sweet bauble of ambrosia--on my counter.  There I will dream.  There it will rot. I will keep it there until it becomes green with mold. One day, both my children will be sleeping at the same time and I will go to eat it.  Then, I will discover the mold and throw it out.  Eventually, I'll eat one of the sensible apples I just bought at the store.

This is my life now.

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.