Monday, November 26, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Luca and Uncle Brandon
Luca eats her hat while Grandma looks on.
Grandpa tries to get Luca to be a fan of pickles. Mission failed.
Luca and her mommy
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Once upon a time, I worked at an animal clinic. I loved the job, save for the insanely mean egomaniac who ran the place and the cult-like trance the Office Manager inficted upon us all. While working there, I became friends with Lindsey, who was one of the funniest, most upbeat people I'd ever met. I remember when she started she was leaving a 'telemarketing' job where she worked late night hours. Uh-huh....sure, Linds. I read between the lines and was pretty sure she was a phone sex operator. She heard from the trance-inducing Office Manager that I wanted to be a Vet when I grew up, so she thought I was super serious.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
1. The rubber ducky with the surfboard.
2. Miss Piggy.
3. Her Daddy.
5. Miss Piggy.
Things that do not make Luca laugh:
1. The rubber ducky WITHOUT the surfboard.
2. Family Guy. (she'll get it some day)
3. Her Mommy.
4. Belly Zrbtts.
5. Dogs other than Miss Piggy.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
This post is not about babies. So there. This post is about how if Darrick and I ever get divorced, it'll be over gas or schnitzel. I will now commence explaining the gas thing, but the schnitzel one is for another post.
We recently decided that it makes more sense for me to drive Darrick's car to work and him to drive mine. His gets better gas mileage, and my drive is about 3 times further than his, so it's a money-saving move.
Rewind two weeks. I'm getting ready to leave for work in the morning, and the night before we had decided we'd switch back and I would drive the Party Wagon that day. The thing you should know is that right now I am picking Luca up from daycare so Darrick can coach wrestling. This means I have to leave work at 4 on the dot, which also means I need to GET to work at 7 on the dot. No time in the morning for dawdling or running errands. So, this particular morning, I am about to leave, and I grab the Party Wagon keys, and Darrick mentions, off-handedly, "Oh, you'll need to get gas." Now, under normal circumstances, I would be mildly annoyed but it would be no big deal. But the pressure to get to work on time combined with a fierce cold that had hit me 2 days before threw me over the edge. I believe my response went something like this:
"Daaaarrick! Are you serious?!?! You're serious?!?!? You KNEW I was going to drive today and you KNEW I wouldn't have 10 minutes to stop for gas. WHY do you let the tank get empty anyhow???? It's time to be responsible. You know, would it hurt you to go out of your way to take care of things like that for me??? If you REALLY loved me, you would fill my gas tank up so I didn't have to worry. That's what NICE husbands do! NICE husbands don't spring this shit on their wives at 6 a.m.! Thanks for NOTHING!"
:::insert major pout and cue music from Psycho's shower scene:::
Anyhow....I ended up driving his car and we were fine, but this story gives us some context for the following humbling tale.
Tuesday afternoon, I have a meeting and I fully plan on leaving from it to go home. It will end about 3:15, and there's no point going all the way back to my office just to turn around and leave right away. I'm excited. I gloat to Darrick about how I'll be leaving early and isn't it wonderful that I'll be able to get Luca early and HOORAY! Seriously.....nothing makes me more happy than the prospect of getting off work early.
So, the meeting ends at 3:15, and I practically skip to the car. I turn the radio on and put the windows down (because, you know, it's finally below 90 degrees now that it's almost Thanksgiving) and am SO happy to be heading home. I look at the gas gauge and think "Eh, I have enough gas to get home."
You know where this is going, right?
Turns out, I did NOT, in fact, have enough gas to get home. A fact that I was saddened and embarassed to realize only AFTER going up the ramp of the freeway, wondering why the car was not wanting to shift into third gear, panicking wildly, steering over to the shoulder, and almost crying as the car stuttered to a stop.
SHIT. What to do, what to do????
My first thought was to call Darrick, but then I remembered his cell phone was lost and he was in practice anyhow so even if he HAD his phone he wouldn't hear it ring.
My second thought: call work. So I call, and I get ahold of them, and explain where I am. My VERY kind co-worker calls AAA to see if she can use her membership to have them come bring me gas. No dice. They tell me they will figure out what to do and call me back.
I hang up, and call Darrick's school. They tell me they will page him and to please hold. 3 minutes later, they tell me he's not answering the page, sorry. I calmly (or, you know, maybe NOT so calmly) explain that I am broken down on the FREEWAY and supposed to get our baby from daycare, and I really really pretty please with sugar on top need to get ahold of him somehow. The woman says she'll send security out to see if they're at the track running, and can she please get my cell phone number to call me back. Even in mid-panic, I am mildly amused that she thinks my husband won't know my cell #, but too grateful to laugh.
So, what does one do when stranded on the freeway with no idea who will pick her baby up or who will rescue her? Well, in this case, one calls her friend in Chicago and talks about what said friend will wear to a Junior League event that weekend, and whether friend should choose the ballet flat or the ballet flat with the Mary Jane strap. (More cool points for anyone who can tie that in the post title.) Thanks for keeping me occupied, friend.
So, fast forward....my OTHER wonderful co-worker brought me some gas and Darrick called me back and left practice to pick up Luca.
It all worked out in the end, but you better believe I am STILL hearing about it from Darrick. When I got home, he actually said to me, "I'm not mad at you anymore." Uh....mad at me? What?
Yes, apparently at one point in all this hullabaloo, he was pissed that I ran out of gas. And this, friends, is why gasoline may some day lead us to divorce.
Again....remind me later to explain schnitzel and it's potential role in our marriage's demise.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
The cast: Darrick, Intern Emily, Luca and her stroller, me, and some random woman and her boyfriend.
We just finished breakfast, and both Darrick and I decide we need to refill our coffee, because at the core we are caffeine addicts. Being the polite and considerate mom that I am, I decide that it would be wildly inappropriate to attempt to push my stroller with my baby through the very long line of people waiting to order just to get my fix. So, I leave Intern Emily with the stroller and the kid, and take my coffee cup and her soda to get a refill, since Darrick is already through to the other side.
Me, to random woman standing in the way of my next fix: "Excuse me. Can I just sneak through for a second to get a refill?"
Random Woman, to me: "Sure."
Random Woman, to her boyfriend as I pass by, said just loudly enough to so that I can hear: "I HATE being treated like a door."
Me, to Intern Emily after I finish getting the refills: "Next time, I'm going to take the stroller so that instead of being a door, she can be a fucking speed bump."
Friday, November 9, 2007
Luca is 6 months old. I cannot believe it. I don't know where the 6 months went, because I could swear it was just a week ago I was pushing that kid out.
Unlike a lot of women I know, childbirth for me was really, truly a beautiful, peaceful, and calm experience. Oh, sure, it hurt. Like nothing I've ever experienced before. It was a pain I could not have imagined. When you're pregnant, everyone tells you that contractions feel like "the worst menstrual cramps ever". Uhhhhh.....if I EVER have menstrual cramps that feel like THAT, I'm going to take a steak knife and carve out my own uterus, relying only on pain relief in the form of a few shots of tequila and a strap of leather to bite. However, despite the pain, I really would do it again tomorrow if it meant having another experience like the one I had and another baby like Luca.
So, now that Luca is 6 months old, I thought I should write about her birth, if only so I never forget all the special moments and little details. Every month that passes, the details get more and more fuzzy, and I want to remember those sweet and painful moments as well as possible.
I had my weekly appointments on Tuesdays at the end of my pregnancy, so my last appointment was exactly a week before Luca was due. It was a normal appointment: I cringed as I stepped on the scale, I tried to pee in a cup and only managed to eek out a few sad drops, I got my blood pressure checked, and my midwife checked my 'progress'. A lot of OBGYNs start checking a pregnant woman to see if she's dilating or effacing as early as 34 weeks. However, I go to an OBGYN practice that has a midwife in it, and I was seeing her. Midwives, in general, tend to be more hands-off about those kinds of things because, as any new mom who was 2 cm dilated and 75% effaced for 3 weeks in a row can tell you, it basically means just about jack shit. So my midwife started checking my progress at 38 weeks, and at my 39 week appointment it was the same: fingertip dilated, 75% effaced. On my way out, my midwife said she'd see me next week unless I had the baby before then, and gave me a reassuring smile.
I started thinking maybe I'd be overdue. My mom had 3 of her 4 kids early (I was the 4th, and the only one who was late), so I'd gone the whole pregnancy thinking that I'd be early. We even had a betting pool with the families, and I bet on April 28th, even though I was due May 8th.
The rest of the week at work was normal, but on Thursday I suddenly thought "Oh my god...I'm due next week! I better wrap everything up by Friday, just in case." I don't know why, but suddenly I had this feeling I wouldn't be back at work the next week.
My mother in law, who was living in NY for work at the time, came into town Friday night. On Saturday, we decided to go over to her house in Tempe to have dinner and watch a fight on TV with Darrick's family. It was De La Hoya vs Mayweather, and it was a good fight. His whole family was packed in the living room watching it, and I sat in one of the recliners, wondering what I ate that was making me feel crampy. The pain was really low and sort of steady, and was also in my lower back. I drank some water, got up and walked around, and thought "This can't be labor. If I was in labor, it would feel different." In childbirth prep classes and books, they tell you contractions are a tightening across your entire belly, but it didn't feel like that, so I didn't say anything. I didn't want to cry wolf and get everyone all worked up if it was something I ate.
When Darrick and I left that night, I couldn't wait to ask him what he thought. We drove home with the windows down, and I told him I thought maybe I was going to be in labor soon. He sort of smiled and said "Ok, sure, honey.", but I knew in my heart this was it. When we got home, I asked him to time the cramps, but they were so erratic we gave up. But the pain was getting stronger. Darrick decided to go to bed, and I tried, but I couldn't sleep. So, as he snored softly, I gathered some things and settled in for a bath. I laid in the tub for a long while, soaking and relaxing, feeling the rhythm of the tightening and pressure. I talked to Luca, rubbing my hands over the smooth lump of her body, telling her I was so excited to meet her and hoped she'd be here soon. After the bath I gave myself a pedicure. Yes...really. It was some sort of odd obsession I got about having pretty and clean feet in labor, since they'd be in my midwife's face. If you're wondering, I made sure ALL the zones she'd be exposed to for extended periods of time were up to par. How very considerate of me, no?
The next 6 hours I felt the contractions - - - which I now recognized as such - - - getting stronger and more regular. I napped off and on downstairs, curling on my side on the couch. I walked out onto the back patio, looking at the white moon in the black night sky, and rubbed my belly and rocked side to side. I imagined what was to come.
Around 6 a.m., I was curled up in bed next to Darrick, hugging my body pillow through contractions. Finally, I woke him up and told him I was sure I was in labor. He suggested I call the midwife, who had given us her cell phone number. Before we did, we timed contractions for about an hour. They were closer together now, but not in any pattern and mostly lasting 30-45 seconds. I called her anyhow, but she thought I sounded too calm to be delivering anytime too soon, so she advised I walk, eat, sleep, relax....just try to stay comfortable and labor at home until I felt like I couldn't wait any more.
So....we waited. I sat on my yoga ball and bounced. Darrick pulled out the video camera and documented us waiting. We tried to watch TV. I fought the urge to call everyone I knew and tell them I was going to give birth soon. I walked, I sat, I crouched. By 1 p.m., I was having pretty regular contractions, but they still weren't in a 5 minute pattern. They'd come every 3 then 7 then 5 then 4 then 2 then 2 then 6 then 4 minutes. Darrick was getting anxious, and thought we should go to the hospital, but I was afraid I'd be sent home and we lived less than a mile away so I thought we should wait. By 3 p.m., I caved and we got into the car. At this point, even sitting was not fun.
We got to L&D, and were sent to triage, where I donned a gown and was hooked to monitors. The baby was doing fine, and I was 4 cm dilated, so I was sent on the dreaded 'Walk the hospital grounds for 45 minutes and come back to be checked.' instructions. By this point, I was not wanting to walk, but I did. We went down the stairs to the basement cafeteria, and the whole way down I pictured me having a bad contraction and tumbling down the steps. In the cafeteria, I was tortured by my husband buying food and eating it as I bent over the back of a chair in pain. Don't worry...he's not an immense asshole...I actually asked him to eat so he wouldn't be hungry an hour later and start whining or -worse - leave me alone. I did have a nice woman come up to me while we were in there and say, "I remember when they made ME walk around when I was in labor...I wanted to tell those assholes where to shove it!". She was my new best friend.
While we were out walking, we called the families to let them know where we were. We asked them not to come down yet as we didn't know if I'd be admitted. When we got back to triage, I was 5 cm, so I was making enough progress to check in to the labor suite....which was SO nice! We settled in and I got in a gown and made myself comfortable. I was having a lot of back pain by this point. It was so bad that the contractions in my belly weren't phasing me that much. Getting comfortable was difficult, so we decided to try the shower. Poor Darrick had to hose my fat pregnant ass down like I was some sort of elephant in the zoo, but DAMN did the shower ever feel good. It was the best 45 minutes of my labor. I wanted to stay in there all damn night! But I had to come out to get monitored, and didn't go back in. I tried the yoga ball, but it wasn't that comfy at the moment. So the rest of the afternoon and evening, I labored in the bed for the most part. I thougt I would want to move around, but the pain in my back was making that hard to do. Instead, I shifted from side to side and kneeled facing the headboard to relieve the pain. We called the families to check in, and I tried to talk to my mother in law and my mom, but I hadn't had any pain meds, so when a contraction came on I tossed the phone to Darrick.
I had gone into pregnancy and labor saying I wasn't sure if I wanted pain meds. Most every mom I know told me I was a damn fool and should get the epidural as soon as medically possible, but I wanted to play it by ear. Before I was IN labor, Darrick was very adamant about me getting the epidural, but when labor hit, he didn't try to push it at all. So I went as long as I could without, but by about 10 p.m., my contractions were one on top of another, and had been that way for about 2 hours, the baby was facing to the side instead of down, I was 8 cm dialted and going into transition so I was shaking like crazy, and I was still having back labor, so I caved. I will say, getting the epidural was VERY painful for me, and I'm not sure why, but within 5 minutes I couldn't feel a thing below the waist. As soon as the epidural was in place, my water finally broke, and I was told to relax until it was time to push. Darrick and I tried to sleep, but were awoken when someone in another room had her baby and we heard the excited "It's a GIRL!". He turned to me and said "Oh my god. We're next! I can't sleep!". I couldn't either, so we called our families and finally allowed them out of their cages to come down and see us. While we waited for them, we took some pictures and talked about how exciting this all was.
The family all got there, and spent maybe 15 minutes with us before I had to be checked again and they were kicked out. It was about 11, and they decided they were ready for me to start pushing. I was offered the mirror, and at first I declined, but the nurse talked me into having it there under the condition that she'd move it if I asked. They turned the epidural down half way so I could feel contractions, but I still didn't feel any. With my ok, they turned it off all the way, and I started to be able to feel the tightening of my belly, but no pain. I pushed through contractions for just over an hour. Unlike in the movies, I did not scream, grunt, curse, or punch. I didn't sweat like crazy, and no crazy nurse was yelling "PUSH! 1......2......3.....keep going!...5......6......7....c'mon mom! push!....9....10...and BREATHE!". Instead, I held my legs and my midwife and Darrick held my pretty, clean, manicured feet (SEE??!!?? It WAS a good idea!) and pushed when I felt a contraction.
The moment she crowned, I looked in the mirror, and goddamnit, that was a beautiful moment. I must say, too, that my midwife was SO kind as to cover up anything ugly or scary and just let me see her little blonde head.
I kept pushing, and I could feel a strange tapping sensation. She got hiccups on her way out, which was kind of funny. Also funny was that we kept saying"C'mon down!" to her and laughing, and my midwife then informed me that she was on Price is Right in the 80s and WON the Showcase Showdown! I KNEW we were in good hands!!!!
When Luca finally emerged, my midwife said "It's a girl!", and placed her sweet, tiny, pink body on my chest and I cried and said "I did it.I did THAT. WOW." And then I looked at her, looked at Darrick, and realized...the kid looked NOTHING LIKE ME. And I cried tears of joy.
Once everyone was cleaned up, my family was allowed in to meet her and take pictures, and then we were left to get to know our newest little family member.
Here I sit, 6 months later, and that night is one of the best nights of my life. I am so lucky to have Luca, and to have a husband who adores his wife and daughter. We are lucky, as a family, to have parents and siblings who support us and adore our little girl. It's been such an incredible 6 months (+ the 9 I was pregnant), and I can't wait to watch Luca as she continues to grow and learn and blossom. She rolls over, she army-crawls, she has great hand-eye coordination, she sits on her own, and she is just so full of joy and smiles and curiosity. She is a daily reminder to me of all that matters in this world and of all the hope I have for the future.
Happy 6 months to us!
Monday, November 5, 2007
There was even a sighting of the deceased Pope John Paul in a fire recently. Yup, the dead Pope made of flame, crouched over and waving a blessing.
Being the heathens that we are, we get a bird fetus in Luca's tie-dye onesie. The one I made for her back in the day, when she was the size of a lime in my belly.
I'm thinking we should call The National Enquirer now.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
What they didn't, or perehaps couldn't, tell me was that having a baby is quite literally akin to taking a chunk of your soul and placing it in the cutest possible packaging right outside of your body. And, for the first few months at least, that little chunk of soul is so close to you so often that it sort of is easy to pretend you are still one. She sleeps better next to you. Her body folds into yours perfectly. Her smile is a mirror of yours. You are separate, but she has yet to catch on and you sure as HELL aren't going to be the one to point it out to her and start on the road to her hating you and thinking you are the 'meanest mommy ever' before it's her time.
I think the point at which that little chunk of your soul becomes a separate and distinct being is different for everyone. As a mom who breastfeeds, especially, I think for Luca it took awhile to recognize that we are not the same person. The first sign she was starting to realize this came at about 3 months old, when suddenly she realized that while nursing she could unlatch, roll from side to back, look at me, smile with milk leaking down her cheek, and then roll back on her side and carry on. And, she could (and did) do this about 8,765 times per nursing session. I remember when she was first born and my mom (who breastfed 4 kids) told me that baby should be able to breastfeed in 5-10 minutes per session. At the time, this just made me feel like there MUST be something wrong, since Luca only finished in less than 40 minutes if she fell asleep while eating. Anyhow, by 3 months she'd shortened each meal to about...oh...30 minutes. That is, until she discovered that - HELLO! - I was there! Right there! Just a roll away! And so it began, Luca's realization that she and I were not one being any longer, along with the return to the never-ending nursing session.
With a face like that, though...could I really be annoyed?
It took me longer to recognize the separateness of our beings. No, really, though. I mean, on an intellectual level of COURSE I know we are two separate beings. But it wasn't until she made The Move. You moms know the one: The Move to The Crib.
For us, this happened when she was about 4.5 months old. I know, I know....moms everywhere are shaking their heads in disbelief that she slept in our room that long. And, just to get those heads shaking more vigorously, she even slept in our bed sometimes. That's right...right there in our bed. Horror of horrors. Next thing you know, we'll be buying her a pony and teaching her about liberalism and birth control.
Anyhow, I posted once before about how I want Luca to be able to embrace her Orange side for as long as possible. And part of this was letting her 'tell' us when she was ready for things like sleeping in her crib. And, much to the chagrin of the parents out there who would shake their head and wag a stern finger at us for being lax about where she was sleeping, she did indeed let us know when she was ready. And the transition, I'm proud to say, was 97% smooth. We still have our rough nights where she does not want to go to sleep. I still bring her back into bed with me sometimes in the middle of the night. But, by and large, it's been a success.
And yet, here I am, a month and a half into the whole crib experience, and I'm still adjusting. The little sprout is fine. She's happy. She sleeps like...well...a baby. And yet I find myself, night after night, creeping in to watch her breath. And when it's too dark, and I can't be sure she IS breathing, I crouch down and sneak an arm between the bars and lightly rest my palm on her back or belly, just to feel the rise and fall. It may as well be the rise and fall upon which the universe exists, as far as I am concerned. And in those moments, when the house is quiet and dark and my little bird is sleeping, safe and sound and without me to hold her (sob! I can't believe she doesn't NEED ME!), I have to remind myself that a chunk of my soul will forever live outside of my body. So I hold the warmth of her little body in my palm and I whisper "I love you so much." to her sleeping form, warm and pink and smelling of all things sweet and lovely, and I tip-toe out of her room into my bed and, like a kid waiting for Christmas, I anxiously await the morning when I can hold her little body again.