Monday, July 28, 2008

The assumption seems to be....

....that we're hoping 'this time it's a boy'. I think this is universal, too, and if our first child had been a boy people would probably assume this time we're hoping for a girl.

The truth? Before we had Luca, I always imagined myself with a son. When I got pregnant, my husband and I were both convinced it would be a boy...all signs pointed to it being so. We had our ultrasound at 20 weeks exactly. I didn't want to find out the baby's sex. My husband did. So we compromised. Since the u/s was in December, we had the tech put the picture with the results in an envelope for us to open on Christmas. We never made it to Christmas, though. Darrick caved and convinced me to let him open it on Christmas Eve morning.

When we saw the picture, and the faint writing that said, "It's a Girl!" we were in shock. SO surprised were we, that we didn't really believe it was true. In fact, the next time I went to see my midwife, I took the picture with and asked her to help me decode it. "I don't see anything," I said, "so I'm not sure how you can KNOW it's a girl."

"Exactly. You don't see anything, which is HOW we know it's a girl." Oh....right. But she drew me a diagram to take home to Darrick anyhow, a picture of what the u/s was (or was not) showing us. And it was true, in the end, that despite all our absolute certainty that we'd have a boy, we brought a sweet baby girl into this world. And it was not what we expected, but SO SO much more.

So now here we are, pregnant again, and this time I have NO feeling about boy or girl. Lots of my friends have guessed this one's a boy, and their reasons for the guess are varied. Everything from "I just think you'll have a boy." to pointing to how different my symptoms are this time around. And of course, most people who hear we're expecting #2 assume we're HOPING for a boy. I suppose it makes many families dream of one boy and one of each to even things out. But do WE hope for that?

I can't speak for my husband, but personally, I can't imagine not having my little Luca girl. You dream and imagine your life one way (for us, it was having a boy that first time...not that we PREFERRED it, but we just ASSUMED it would be so), and then it takes a turn, and that turn is the HAPPIEST turn you could imagine. And, all the sudden, you cannot even begin to dream of how life would have been if it had gone the other way. So this time, probably even more so than last time, I am wise with the knowledge that life hands you exactly what you need, and I am not one tiny bit concerned about whether I will, "get my boy". Because whoever we get, he or she will be awesome!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Best and Worst of Vacation.

I keep meaning to share some more about our California vacation, but between first trimester fatigue (lots of naps required) and general avoidance of the computer since I'm in denial about the need to return to work tomorrow, I've slacked.

So....I am going to do a little Best and Worst.

Best Thing About Flying:
A baby who sleeps from takeoff to landing, thus rewariding us with praise from flight attendants and fellow passengers alike. Seriously, I am SO lucky! On the way to LA, Luca fell asleep on my lap at takeoff, and woke when we exited the plane. On the way home, same deal. Both times there was no fussing, crying, or general baby annoyingness to be found. I always fear being 'that mom' on a plane, but every flight she's been on (this makes 4) she's been a trooper!

Worst Thing About Flying:
Feeling like a jerkface for being skeeved out by the older dude who sat next to us. First, there were other open seats, so I wondered why he would sit next to a mom and her pretty baby. And then he started to ask questions, like her age and name and if this was herr first flight. Later, as she slept in my arms, he offered a spot on his tray for my juice. I tried my hardest not to assume he was a weirdo. And felt like a COMPLETE ass when I realized that his WIFE was across the aisle, and his teen daughter was 2 rows in front of us. Turns out, he was just a kind man, and I need to stop watching the news, as it appears to be making me a paranoid freak.

Best Thing About LA:
Seeing my Gramma! She's just the sweetest and cutest, and we love hanging out with her and listening to her stories...even IF it's for the 347th time. Nothing beats Gramma!

Worst Thing About LA:
Aside from the crime, grime, and general ickiness of the area Gramma lives in, it would be showing up at her house on the way home to discover she's in the hospital. Granny has heart issues, and was having breathing problems, so she was checked in for the night. We only got to see her for a few minutes, but it seems she'll be ok.

Best Part About Bass Lake:
What's not to love? The movie The Great Outdoors was filmed here for a reason! It's beautiful, quiet, the water is perfect. AND we got free lodging thanks to my Aunt!!

Worst Part About Bass Lake:
Not enough time to enjoy the perfect water and weather. I want to go back NOW!!!

Best Part About Yosemite:
Oh my gosh....IS there a best part??? I've been to Yosemite a TON of times (my sister worked there for years and my mom grew up vacationing there), but I always love it. We visited most of the 'big sites', so here's a quick run down.
- Glacier Point: the place to see it all. It's a drive up here (you can also hike it, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone but THE most avid and in shape of hikers), but really worth it. You park at the top and walk around a loop of sorts. When you come up the first trail, you're greeted by Half Dome, looming large and in charge...and DAMN is it an amazing site:

If you walk around further, you see down into the valley, and can view the different falls, Curry Village, and the park's swanky resort:

- Yosemite Falls (upper and lower): we only did the trail to the Lower Falls as it was easily manageable with a small child and stroller. In the spring, when you get to the falls, you get sprayed with water. In late summer, you have to climb the rocks to get to the water, which Darrick happily did.

- Bridal Veil Fall: this is a short hike, and like Yosemite Falls it'll splash you in the spring. When we went up, the water flow was pretty weak, so we went rock climbing for a bit to find some streams. Very pretty, and an easy hike for most.

- Vernal Falls: All I can say is WHAT A HIKE. It's 8/10 of a mile from the sign at the bottom, and it feels like it's 8 miles. Why? Well....the beginning is deceivingly simple...a slow and steady uphills slope. The further you get, the more steep the trail, and you'll find people young and old pulling over to catch their breath. Seriously. Hardest hike I've ever done. I made it to the top, thanks to some help from Darrick (who beat me up there, enjoyed the view, then turned around to retrieve me an coach me the last 100 or so feet). This hike was done without my mom and baby...thankfully my mom talked us OUT of trying to push the stroller up the hill, because I'm pretty sure I would have about DIED. Once you get to the bridge, you can go another 7/10 of a mile to the top of the falls, OR another 7 or so miles up Half Dome. thanks. We'll leave that to the fit Europeans.

- Mirror Lake: an easy half mile trek, slowly uphill most of the way, to a beautiful and serene lake. The water is freezing, but it's worth sneaking some feet into.

The Worst About Yosemite:
Not much.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Same Baby, New Tricks

A video from our vacation. Our favorite is 'the monster':

Old Posts added.

I have a few posts I wrote over the past few weeks, which I wasn't ready to publish yet. I am going to publish them now, so please scroll down to July 4th for more....

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Back from vacation.

Darrick, Luca and I just got home from a trip to California with my mom and sister. We flew into LA on Saturday, visited my Grandma, and then drove up to Bass Lake (outside of Yosemite) on Sunday. My mom's sister owns a home there, and it's beautiful, AND she very generously let us stay for free.

Sunday we relaxed and walked to the lake. Monday and Tuesday we went into Yosemite, and Wednesday was more lake time and the drive back to LA. We flew back home today, and I landed just in time to get dropped off at the hospital and be there for the birth of my friends' beautiful baby girl, Elle! What a week!!!

Anyhow....more stories to come, but I am BEAT and need to head to bed. So, for now, just a few pictures. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A lesson for my readers.

I recently received a comment on a VERY old post about my 'evil pit bulls' and how 'vicious' they are to my baby. You can see the post here.

The comment I received was this: "why give pittbulls a bad name they are just the same as every other dog it is how you treat them, then you will see the inner spirit of a dogs mind"

So, I thought a little eplanation might be in order for my readers who may not know me quite so well. I like to use a little tool, which in the literary world, is referred to as IRONY. Please peruse the definitions of irony below, brought to you by our friends at the American Heritage Dictionary. Adam, this one's for you! And welcome to my blog!

American Heritage Dictionary - Cite This Source - Share This i·ro·ny Audio Help (ī'rə-nē, ī'ər-) Pronunciation Key
n. pl. i·ro·nies

1. The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning.
1. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning.
3. A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect. See Synonyms at wit1.
4. Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs: "Hyde noted the irony of Ireland's copying the nation she most hated" (Richard Kain).
A5. n occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity. See Usage Note at ironic.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

More midwives.

On Saturday, we had two more meetings set with midwives. One was first thing in the morning, and one was set for late afternoon.

The morning appointment was with a midwife who lives about 10-15 minutes southeast of us, on a farm with real live chickens and goats and horses. Her house has a green roof, and 2 cats were walking the edge of the patio's railing while a big, old looking dog slumbered on the porch. Idyllic, I tell ya. The midwife herself is probably in her early 50s (she looked younger, but she mentioned having turned 50), and immediately she was very warm and welcoming. Her office was a large room in the back of her house, with an exam table, a low futon (I'm sensing a theme here), and a desk. She also had a yoga ball floating around, as well as a mini table with mini chairs and toys for kids accompanying their parents. The floors were dark cherry wood, and attached to the room was a bathroom with what appeared to be a large bath/shower. We sat on the futon, Luca immediately made herself at home playing with the blocks, and the MW sat in a chair facing us.

She asked us some general questions about Luca's birth and about us (what do we do for a living...what do we want from this birth...), and then she told us about her. About how she has 7 children and several grand children. About how she started as a doula and has been a MW since 2001. About how her first births were in a hospital, and her last were at home. She talked some about her rules for who she will work with, her expectations and ours, and answered the basics like transport rate to the hospital (about 5% which seems to be industry standard) and why she transports (erratic heart rate between contractions, broken water for more than 24 hours with no contractions, etc.). But more than that, we felt her out, and she did the same with us. By the time we left an hour later, send on our way with a warm hug, my husband was already telling me he thought she was 'it'. I kind of was feeling the same.

But, anothe appointment was on the agenda. So we would go to that one and see.

And go we did, but just Luca and me, since Darrick had something come up and I wasn't too strict about him being there. This next appointment was in Mesa, about a 20 minutes drive from home. On the website were pictures of what looked like a nice historic home...but reality fell a little short. After a search for the correct office, I walked through an open door and was met by a midwife who looked nothing like the woman on the website. I said, "Hi, I'm Katie." From the other room came another woman, the face from the website, but with a blank expression of sorts. I said, "Sorry I'm a few minutes late and my husband couldn't make it, but I'm here."

"Did you have an appointment?"

Flash back to the Saturday before, when I made the appointment for 4 pm. Flash a little more current to Thursday morning, when I had a voicemail from the MW asking where I was, since we had a 10 am appointment. I called her back, and we straightened it out (techincal glitch with her blackberry). And now, 3 phone calls later, and she couldn't remember my appointment?

"Yup. Originally it was at 4, but we moved it to 4:30. We talked? On Thursday?"

She sat at her desk and opened a planner, saw my name penciled in, and seem satisfied I wasn't fucking with her. THIS was a much rockier start than I'd hoped for. But, as we sat and talked I realized I really really liked her. As opposed to the midwife I'd met that morning, this one was a bit younger, more activist than nurterer, but that was ok with me. And I clicked with her pretty well. Her office was 3 room: a main meeting room, an exam room, and a classroom where she holds birth classes and prenatal yoga and mom's groups. Pretty neat all in all.

So now I was torn. Three midwives, all capable and kind and with different personalities. Did we want the first midwife: tattoos, hippie-ish, spiritual without being overt, very mother-earthy? The second midwife: gentle, quiet, calming influence who's laid back style meshes with our own? Or the third midwife: perhaps a bit more scattered and slower to warm up, but very thorough and respectful, funny and an activist?

It's a huge decision to make. And there are more women out there we could interview, but that would just muddy the waters more.

So we talked that night and made a decision. And we're happy and confident with it, and we both agreed. So now it's onto the next phase: hiring our midwife of choice and starting to do some work to prep ME for this whole experience. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Anyone who knows me, knows I love to read. And ever since discovering My Sister's Keeper several years ago, I've become a mostly devoted Jodi Picoult follower. I've read quite a few of her books, to varying degrees of entertainment and satisfaction. On the list of books I've read you'll find Nineteen Minutes, The Tenth Circle, Vanishing Acts, The Pact, Picture Perfect, Harvesting the Heart and, most recently, Mercy. What I like about Picoult's novels is that the characters are always engaging and the stories tend to revolve around current events and front-page topics, such as school shootings, suicide pacts, modern day marriage, and (in Mercy) assisted suicide. What I find disappointing about some of her books is the endings that fall flat.

I just finished Mercy. I originally bought it when I was almost due with Luca (so, over a year ago), with the intention of reading it while in the hospital. That SO didn't happen...shit, I barely brushed my hair while in the hospital with Luca, much less read. So then I thought I could read it during maternity leave. Instead, it collected dust next to the stack of chick flicks I had timed perfectly to come through my Blockbuster Queue when maternity leave started. Instead of reading for fun and watching movies, I obsessed over books on babies and breastfeeding, and the only shows I ever had time to watch were the 3 a.m. episodes of 'A Baby Story' and 'House of Babies'.

Mercy is a story with 5 main characters. There's a small town sheriff, his flower-shop owner wife, a newcomer to town, and his recently dearly departed....who was killed by her husband...and a woman who drifts into town and starts working for the flower shop owner. I'm not giving anything away by saying the newcomer killed his wife, but I don't want to get into the details of the why and the how, lest I ruin the plotline for anyone interested in reading it. Instead, I want to talk about the underlying theme of this particular novel: love, and the depths with which people in a marriage love one another. There's one particular part of the story where the accused killer and the sheriff's wife are discussing love and marriage, and the accused killer says, "You know it's never fifty-fifty in a marriage. It's always seventy-thirty, or sixty-forty. Someone falls in love first. Someone puts someone else up on a pedestal. Someone works very hard to keep things rolling smoothly; someone else sails along for the ride."

I thought a lot about this statement as I read this book...because it is about the lengths people would go for love, and the depths to which we sink sometimes and almost destroy that love. It's about the difference between loving too much and not loving enough...about how far love will drive people...whether it's driving them together or driving them apart. And it took me awhile to get into this book enough to see that this is what the story was really about: the balance of love. The trade offs people willingly make, the things we accept or reject in the name of holding onto love; or of holding onto our image of love.

I'd love to hear what other people think of this topic, but I don't expect anyone to chime in. It's something to think about though: is your love 50/50? 40/60? 90/10? Who comes out on top, and why? Are you ok with that? Is your significant other?

What is the weight and the depth and the quality of your love? And what can you do to make it more equal, deeper, richer? Are you willing?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Coming Out of Sorts.

I have a good friend...I'll call her K. K and I have known each other for almost 9 years now, and we get along great. Last round of babies, she was due 3 months before I was, which was fabulous because nothing beats being pregnant and experiencing new motherhood with a good friend.

K and I had very very different experiences with our medical staff and our births last go-round. The end result was that she feels she was pushed to have an unecessary c-section, and I was able to labor in my own time under my terms. After we both had our little girls, we talked a lot about our experiences: what was good, what was not so good, what we would change, what we regretted.

So, surprise, surprise....guess who's due a month before me this time around?!?! Both K and I couldn't be more excited to know we're going through this grand adventure together again. And because of all our talks about our birth experiences, she made the decision to switch to the care of my midwife, who delivered Luca. She's met with her and fallen in love like I knew she would, and she's SO excited about possibly having a VBAC this time around. So, of course, when I first called her with the news that we're due a month after her, she excitedly exclaimed, "How cool! Maybe our appointments will be on the same days and we can go together!!" I didn't quite know what to say, since the midwife who delivered Luca won't likely be the one delivering this next baby (unless she can acommodate me with a home birth), so I said nothing.

I don't really know why I said nothing. This is one of my best friends I was talking to, and she knows me and my husband and even if she thought homebirth was weird, she might tease me but would support me. I knew this, and yet I wasn't ready to share.

Fast forward to today, and K calling me as we're both driving home from work. We talk about how we're feeling (me: shitty. her: shitty, but better than last week) and ouor weekend plans. And as the conversation was wrapping up some, she asked me, "So, when's your first appointment?"

The conversation:

Me: "Um...well...I don't know yet. I haven't really made one."
K: "Why not?"
M: "Well, Um...they don't see you until 8 weeks and I haven't called yet."
K: "Oh, you better get on that. Wonder if we'll be on the same days?"
M: "Um, yeah...well....the thing is...I'm not sure I'm going to go back to that office." :::SILENCE::: "Um, I mean, I LOVE the midwife, and I'd LOVE for her to deliver my next baby but...well...our insurance doesn't cover maternity."
K: "Wow. You must have been pissed to find that out after getting pregnant."

:::insert long conversation about how I already knew, and the skyrocketing costs of paying for our old insurance plus 20% copay vs paying ourselves, as well as some ranting over the abysmal condition of the health care industry in America:::

K: "So, if you're paying out of pocket, why can't you still use her?"
M: "Well, if we need to we will, but we're shopping our options."
K: "Meaning?"
M: "Um...well...midwives...and things like that....maybe delivering outside the, at home?"
K: "Wow. You could totally do that." turns out I needn't have worried. Like all my wonderful friends, K was supportive and all for it. It was a relief, too, to 'out' ourselves to her, since I can't imagine keeping our plans a secret from someone so damn important in our lives.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


On Monday, went and met with our first midwife candidate. Her office is kind of a drive from our house, but not too bad, especially since she does appointments on Saturdays.

She's in what looks like an older home converted to an office, and she shares space with a yoga studio and something else...not sure what, exactly. We were let in by one of the other women working in one of the offices, and directed to the Midwife's office area. It was a decent sized room with a low futon, desk, and exam table. The exam table was covered with a brown cloth, and above it hung a purple pendant. Behind it, covering the wall, was a cranberry colored gauzy fabric. The floor of her office was exposed cement, and all over were pictures of her 5 (!) kids, as well as things like toys, seashells, and a birth doll and cloth pelvis. My husband kept commenting how how much he liked her office and its 'hippie' vibe. It was pretty cute.

The midwife was SUPER nice and really normal and easy to talk to. We talked a bit about her experience and what led her to midwifery, her rates of episiotomies (almost none) and transfers in labor (2 of 40 births last year), what we envisioned for our care, what her costs include, etc. We got along really well, and my husband liked her a lot, which is nice. She asked some questions about my history and Luca's birth, to make sure I'd be a good candidate, and told me we are 'ideal candidates' for home birth.

All the while, Luca tooled around the office barefoot, playing with the birth doll and the toy blood pressure cuff. Lu was also really interested in the MW's on each wrist, wrapping over the tops of her hands. Every once in awhile, she'd toddle over, grab one of her hands and trace a tattoo, and then pat her leg and walk away. Very sweet.

One extra selling point for her that some may find odd: she is not an overly religious person. Darrick and I are spiritual, but not religious, and in our search for a Midwife, we have noticed SO many of their sites referencing God and His role in birth, or quoting psalms. Don't get me wrong, neither of us has ONE SINGLE PROBLEM with people having strong religious conviction and building their work around it. But, all the same, I'm not into someone being there for my birth who is overly religious and lets it bleed into my care. I just keep picturing us hiring a religious midwife, and her directing me, "Push for Jesus, honey!" and me wanting to push her head under the water in the birthing pool.

So, we talked about this a lot before deciding who to interview, and we feel good about our 3 candidates. While they all MAY BE religious, none of them have it broadcasted all over their websites. I guess Darrick took it for granted that I would KNOW this MW was not religious, because in the middle of the interview, he blurted out, "We are so glad you're not a religious FREAK." Once I recovered from my shock, I realized the MW was laughing and took the comment in stride. I explained we don't care if our MW is religious, we're just not comfortable with her religion infringing on our birth experience. I referenced the websites with psalms and whatnot, and was SO happy to hear her response: "If you're hiring a midwife who tells you if things go wrong she'll be praying for you, you may want to ask what you're paying her for. There's spirituality in birth, and then there's science and knowledge. And science and knowledge HAVE TO win if you want good outcomes."

Ahhhhhh....what a fucking relief to hear her say that...AND to know my dear husband didn't scare her off!!!

So...we really like her! I told her we are interviewing two other women to possibly go with, but we'll get back to her soon. I could TOTALLY see hiring this midwife, but I feel like we owe it to ourselves to at least talk to a few others and see who all if out there. So on we go!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Happy 14 Months!

Today Luca turned 14 months old. The past month has been a whirlwind of activity and new words from her. She's getting so tall and active. It seems like she went from being a monster-crawler to running around the house full speed in the blink of an eye.

Her biggest developments in the past month were in...well...her mouth! Not only has she sprouted several teeth (some premolars, starting on canines....) but she's also getting very verbal, which is amazing to watch happen! Her vocabulary went from probably a handful of words to being really pretty impressive. Her MOST favorite word (and object) right now is ball, which is said in a high pitch voice as 'Bah.' It's very matter-of-fact when she says it, which is too cute for words. And, on top of it, if you say to her, "Luca, where is the ball?" she shrugs up her little shoulders and goes on a mad search for a ball, calling out, "Bah. Bah. Bah." until she finds one. And then....she chucks it at your head. Ahhh...that's our kid!!!

In addition to 'bah', her other new words are 'nana' (banana), 'hi', 'wow', and 'gah'. Gah, of course, being 'God'...not because we're holy like that, but because she once tipped over in the kitchen, smacking into the wall, and SOMEONE ( was me) exclaimed, "Oh God!". Which, of course, she promtly picked up on and now exclaims herself whenever she falls. Nice. Blasphemy at the tender age of 14 months. Maybe we should have listened to my Mother in law and gotten her baptised after all.

I mentioned before her increased mobility, but it doesn't come without a price. She is fast and pretty agile, but she's still sort of unstable on her feet. The air trips her sometimes (and she yells out, "GAH!"), which is why her latest nickname has become Tippy Tumbles. She tips. She tumbles. She yells out blasphemouos phrases. She's Tippy Tumbles.

The only other exciting (for us) news in Luca's world is that she has started sleeping in a bit in the mornings. Up until about 3 weeks ago, her normal wake-up time was between 5:30 and 6. Just recently, she's taken to sleeping in until 6:30 - 8, which is like a little slice of heaven for us. Nothing like not waking at 5:30 on a Saturday anymore.

Anyhow, I'm sharing some recent pictures here because, well, I think my kid's just THAT cute. Enjoy! And Happy 14 months to us!!!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Finally, Ponytails, Barettes, and Headbands!

I guess Luca has pretty long hair for her age...or so lots of moms tell me. I think it looks 'average', but this is coming from a mom who had a bob herself by the age of 15 months.

The problem is, her hair is hard to DO anything with. We've been trying to get her used to clip-in bows and barettes, since I see no need to cut her hair just yet, but the front part gets in her eyes. Sometimes we get away with sneaking them in (2 tips: put them in while your kid is sleeping, OR put 2 in, one below the other, so that baby feels a barette, pulls is out, and the top one stays in place), but by and large she HATES stuff on her head. This is nothing new. The kid never liked hats or sunglasses either.

Never one to give up too easily, I kept persisting, and as reward for my patience (, I've managed to sneak a few cute hair days by her. So, you KNOW I have to share proof of these proud parenting moments, right?

Single barette snuck on while napping.

Taking the 'multiple barettes put in will ensure at least one STAYS in approach' to the extreme.


Headband fun!

The headband, amazingly, stayed in for HOURS!

The search

I suppose this deserves a preface of sorts, to put everything in context. When I was pregnant with Luca, we had established my well-woman care with an OBGYN who worked with a Midwife. The midwife who was there when I started going to the office was great, but she left when I was almost 20 weeks. I was kind of nervous about the change and afraid I wouldn't care for the new midwife. I wasn't OVERLY in love with the one there, but both my husband and I felt really comfortable with her, so we were hoping we'd be ok with the new midwife as well.

Well, anyone who knows me knows that I was not only OK with the new midwife, but I really adore her! I also really like the OB, which is fabulous because either one of them might have attended Luca's birth, depending how things went. In fact, I liked them so much that I've referred something like 5 or 6 friends to that practice. I often joke that I should get a referral bonus from them!
Anyhow, I was more than thrilled with the way I was treated while pregnant, as well as with the way my labor and delivery went. And Janice, the wonderful Midwife, is such an amazing, spirited, loving, and supportive person to have there for a birth. I cannot express in simple words how much having her attend Luca's birth meant to both Darrick and me.

So...why "The search for a Midwife", since I already FOUND a great one??? Three simple words: Insurance Maternity Coverage. Darrick and I spent some time earlier this year evaluating our finances, and we kept hitting the same huge wall...the cost of health insurance through either of our jobs was about the same, and that amounted to...well...too damn much. So we started doing some research into buying into an individual plan. My work would pay for me, and his work would pay for him, but neither would cover Luca unless we were willing to take on the cost. When Darrick started his job, we had all switched to his insurance, which meant he was losing about $700 a month from his paychecks, which went straight into the coffers of the insurance company of his employer's choice. We loved the insurance and NEVER had a problem with them, but $700 is a LOT of money. It was offset some by the fact that my employer, when I went off their insurance, started paying the difference out in my paycheck. But $700 is $700, and what that amounts to is a LOT of lost income.

Something else we were considering: the cost of having a baby with employer-sponsored insurance vs with our own individual plan. See, the thing we didn't realize until we looked into it further was that MOST indidivual plans, at least in AZ, do NOT COVER maternity (unless there is a complication of pregnanct) unless you buy a more expensive plan AND unless the baby is born 18 or more months after your coeverage begins. We weren't willing to wait 18 months. So what now?

There are no birthing centers in our area of Arizona, so we called my wonderful Midwife and asked what the cost was to have a pregnancy covered by them, sans insurance. And then we called the hospital where Luca was delivered, and found out what that charge, without an epidural and with an epidural, would be. The total for THAT was only about $400 - $2200 more than we paid WITH insurance. If you do the math, and you pay $700 a month...and you can find your OWN insurance for $150 a month...then you're saving $550 a month. At the LOW end of the self-pay fee schedule, in one month we've MORE than saved the difference. Even at the HIGH end (with an epidural), we still make up the difference in savings in 4 months.

None of this factored in a c-section. Which, with or without insurance (a 20% copay) we'd be screwed if we ended up with one anyhow. And, I never plan on having a c-section (let's hope that's not Famous Last Words), so I decided to not even find OUT the cost of that.

Anyhow, after crunching all the numbers, we decided getting our own covereage and paying for the birth out of pocket route was our better choice.

And then, one day, in the middle of all this discussion, I threw out a 'joke' about our next baby: "If all else fails," I quipped, "we can always set up a pool and I can birth in the kitchen."

Silence. Not the "HELL NO!" I expected from my husband. I glanced over, and he was looking thoughtful. "I mean," I filled in the silence, "it's not like it's unheard of. And we've done this before. And the hardest part would be not having pain meds, but if they weren't here for the offering, I could go without. Women do it every day."

More silence. "It's just something to think about." (Remembering in my head how, last time, he had insisted from the beginning that he didn't want to 'see anything' when Luca was born, and how he was SURE I shouldn't even THINK about going any other route than fully medicated.)

Finally, from my husband, "How much would THAT cost?" (Remembering, at this point, how he had done a 180, and not only watched Luca being born, but cut the cord and encouraged me to not cave to the epidural too early while supporting me through a 26 hour labor...and then how he was 100% behind me when I decided to get the epi.

(Also remembering how he was 'freaked' by breastfeeding before she was born, and then how he was the one who finally got her to latch as I sobbed fat tears at 3 am on our first night home along.)

And so it began...the research...the reading...the Google obsession and the Motheringdotcommune discovery. We soon figured out that homebirth, for us, would be the most economical solution. And, even more importantly, it was a decision I felt most at ease with. The pain thing worried me a little, I admit, but I had always viewed pregnancy and birth as a natural human function, not a disease or something in need of treating. I loved the midwife model of care. And I discovered the more I read, I really WANTED this.

And despite my fear that it would NEVER fly with my husband, he agreed.

Since making this decision, we've told a few people. Amazingly, we've yet to get any outright negative responses from the handful of people we've told. I anticipate lots of questions and weird comments, but we're ready for them (I think).

Friday, July 4, 2008


Note: This was written on July 4th. Along with a few other posts, I wrote it and saved without publishing until I was ready to make it public.

Back in May, I decided to have my IUD removed because Darrick and I knew we wanted to try for a baby again soon. We want at least 2, and we didn't see a point in waiting too long to start trying again.

Well....turns out we didn't have to. I took a pregnancy test this morning, and HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY TO US! Those two little lines came right up in the window before a minute had even passed.

It's weird, finding out you're expecting baby #2. It's surreal and exciting and sort of scary as hell, but in an entirely different way than last time was. It's more scary in the 'How will we deal with two kids on two different schedules...2 carseats...a double stroller...two kids in diapers at once? I know we can handle it, and if we're anywhere near as lucky this time around as we were with Luca, we'll have another super kid to work with. But it's still scary and kind of overwhelming.

It wasn't really, however, much of a surprise. Not only am I apparently one of the most fertile women ever, but I knew about when I *could* get pregnant, and I was more in tune with the signs this time around. I felt implantation pain, and 'knew' it was that instead of just wondering why the hell it hurt so bad. I noticed a slight increase in fatigue over the past few days, as well as that sour belly I had all first trimester with Luca. But the thing that cinched it was when I woke this morning feeling overwhelmingly nauseous. I looked over at Darrick (who knew I kind of suspected something) and asked what I should do. "Take a test." he said.

Sure. Except I had woken hours earlier to pee, and I wasn't sure I'd be able to pee enough to take the test. Regardless, I went into the bathroom, unwrapped the EPT, and copped a squat on the pot. Holding the test in it's spot, I sat there, and nothing happened. Then, from the bedroom, chanting "Take the test! Take the test!"

And just like that, the pee came out and the test was done. I sat on the bed while Darrick went to read the instructions and see how long it would be until we had our answer. Before he could figure that out, though, he looked down and saw, clear as day, 2 pink lines.

And so, another adventure begins!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Making it as a professional vs Minding your P's and Q's.

There are days when it seems like I am from the last generation of people taught to lead their lives based on some basic tenants:

- Always say please and thank you.
- Be respectful of and never speak back to your elders.
- Don't start a fight just for the sake of arguing.
- If you're going to speak, make sure you've got something to say.

It was morals and belief systems like these that shaped most of my generation in our youth. And our parents, bless our parents, by and large did a good enough job at hammering these things into our little psyches so that we still remember them to this day. More than even remembering, they are ingrained deep into our minds and our mannerisms.

This is great....fantastic, really! Thanks to people like my mom and dad, there are adults like myself running around who always say please and thank you, always hold doors for others, never fail to bless even strangers when they sneeze. We defer to our elders, and we don't make waves when riding out the tide would be easier for everyone involved.

So my question is: how can one balance these basic principles of not being a complete jackass with having a successful professional life?

It's counterintuitive, if you think about it. People such as myself, we make good and do good by remembering our manners and respecting those who are meant to be shown respect. And then...we enter the work world, and suddenly we're not 'assertive' enough. We need to 'speak up' more. We should 'share our opinions' on every little thing from where to have the office lunch to what color to make the logo. know...that is fine. Except, people such as myself sometimes find ourselves shrugging our shoulders and saying 'I can eat wherever.' or ' like them all.' And we're not just SAYING it...we really CAN see the logo in any of those colors, and no matter what we think it'll look great. Is there really anything wrong with that?

Well, yes and no, I suppose. I've never been known as a good decision maker. I will suffer through dinner at Res Lobster - despite being staunchly anti-seafood - if it's what everyone else wants and I can just get a Diet Coke and a salad. I have no problem with the gray OR the red OR the black in the logo. I think it's a bonus to be laid back and adaptable to change. But sometimes, I suppose, in the professional world it is important to be able to make snap decisions and decisevely choose black over gray.

So, what is a girl to do? I can't very well just ignore my mom and dad's teachings whispering to me 'Be nice to that woman, even if she never follows through - after all she's your elder.', can I? And am I supposed to fabricate a strong opinion on green file folders vs blue when really I don't see the damn difference? How do I balance these conflicting parts of my life: the teachings of my parents (which, by the way, I refuse to forget because I think these things also happen to be the markers of decent and kind human beings) vs the expectations places on modern professionals?

I don't have the answer. But I do wonder if anyone else out there does.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin