Monday, May 25, 2009


One of the blogs I started following was about a young mom whose baby was born with anencephaly. I think that is what it is called. Faith lived just 3 short months but her life touched mine deeply. When I was checking my blog updates today I saw that she had passed away yesterday. I will say prayers for your mom and family tonight baby Faith. Check out the blog here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

exercise and such

I am finally fed up with all the weight that I am gaining back. I had lost sooo much weight after I had Lilly. It was like it had melted off. Well, that was short lived. I think that #1 I was gaining back some of the fluid I lost when I hemorrhaged after Lilly's birth and that #2 I had to regain some of the muscle I lost. I lost weight during my pregnancy (12 lbs) and then gained about 5 pounds back at the end of it. Then by my 6 week postpartum visit I was a total of 40 pounds less than my first maternity visit. So by the end of my pregnancy and all last summer I had no butt and skinny arms and legs. Anyone who knows me that I don't naturally have skinny arms or legs and I have a butt. I am just built that way...pretty muscular. So, in my head, I know that some of the weight I gained back was muscle. I have my normal butt, arms and legs back. But when I step on the scale, my heart sinks. #3 is that Lilly is not nursing night and day. She still nurses a lot, but nearly what she did before food. The combination of the 3 factors has lead to me gaining back 20 of those 40 pounds. So, okay, I am still 20 pounds less than I was before I had Lilly. But I still have a lot to loose.

And to be honest, I don't want to diet. I hate dieting and I don't think it really works. I always find ways to cheat but still stay on the plan. I don't want to be a sneaky eater. I want to be an honest eater. So I am trying to make better choices. Not let myself get to the starving point. Drink enough water. Move my body most days of the week.

Today I went for a good-paced walk pushing the jogger (and Lilly) with my friend Caroline in the park. Also, instead of napping during Lilly's morning nap I did the 20-minute Winsor Pilates DVD. My core strength is just completely depleted since pregnancy and a c-section. My belly is actually the only thing that really bothers me.

Off to bathe and nurse Lilly girl!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday Grandma!

I meant to post this on May 14th, which would have been my Grandma's birthday. Alas, things got busy and it slipped my mind. Yesterday, as I was walking Lilly I saw that all the Irises were in bloom. Grandma loved irises. One year when she was living in the senior housing I took her to the Presby Iris Gardens in Montclair, NJ. I have such great memories of that small trip because it was something that I could for her. I know that she had her faults. But she was also funny and quirky. She was so far from the little old granny crocheting in her rocker, it was not funny. She would have loved Lilly. Man, do I miss her sometimes.

married life

Do you ever just want the arguing and bickering between you and your husband to end? Often it just seems like an ongoing battle that we take a break from and pick it right back up. Thankfully it is usually over minor things like cleaning and cooking and what's for dinner. But seriously? I really would like to be able to just have a weekend during which we have NO ARGUMENTS. Our common arguments go like this:

Please keep in mind that this is decidedly one-sided.

Me: I thought you were not sleeping in today.

He: I didn't. I slept until 9 like I said I would.

Me: It is 9:45 and considering I have been up since before 7am with our daughter, even 9 is sleeping in.

He: I'm sorry, okay. (in a slightly churlish voice)

Me: Whatever. Now it is time for her morning nap.

(later on)

He: Why don't you take a break?

Me: Because the house is a disaster, we have no clean laundry and we have nothing in the house to eat for dinner.

(sometimes arguments ensue over this.)

Before dinner, as I cook, sometimes with a toddler screaming at my legs.

He: Why is she crying like this?

Me: She is hungry and tired because we are eating way too late for a 1 year-old.

He: Stop crying!

Me: Don't talk to her like that!

He: Like what?

After dinner is done and baby is bathed, changed, read to and nursed...all by me...
He: What are you doing?

Me: I am cleaning the kitchen. I cannot go to bed with it like this. I need to be able to come down in the morning, make my coffee, which is decaf to begin with, and get breakfast for Lilly.

He: I cleaned all her toys.

Me: Thank you. (This has entailed everything going haphazardly into any bin or basket. I know she is too young to realize that her toys are organized or not, but I like them organized so I can see where everything is. Also, I get aggravated when I see her pull trash or non-toys out of the toy bin.) Sometimes I fix things right then, if there are obvious things that need fixing. Otherwise I wait until morning and he is at work.

He: What? What did I do wrong?

Me: It's just that.... (use your imagination)

He: anything said with a tone or curse words interspersed in daily conversation

Me: Why are you saying it like that? and Watch your mouth around the baby!

He: What tone? What are you talking about?

Or like tonight, I came down from putting Lilly in bed for the 2nd time and did a load of laundry. I then came up and worked on the kitchen for probably about an hour. I cleaned up meat juice that had spilled all over the counters and floor. I put away the dishwasher and washed the dirty dishes. I put away any food or condiments form our dinner. Then when he was shooting me with foam darts, he was wondering why I was not amused. When I asked why he just lied on the couch the entire time, he said that he can never do anything right anyway. I know that this can be true. It seems that our arguments are mostly about me wanting him to do more. From what my married friends, especially those with young children, say, this is all too common. So what do people do? Give up? Just do all the work (cooking, cleaning, laundry, baby caring) themselves?

I have been working on letting things go. My mom always says, "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy." I think I need to concentrate on being happy. But damn it...I am right!

Okay, I do have to add that Vinnie does do things for me. This morning he made me and Lilly pancakes. He manned the grill while I did the sides and fed Lilly. And he went out to the store to get stuff so I could make cookies for the playgroup tomorrow. Maybe, for a guy, that is a lot in one day. And I am not being sarcastic about this. Lastly, but most importantly, he goes to work every day and provides for us.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Birth days and stories

Today is my 34th birthday. Life takes us on some crazy journeys and I am pretty happy where I am today. 10 years ago I would have imagined my life very different. Needless to say, it was not always the easiest of travels, but I am a stronger, better person for it.

I so wanted to post on Lilly's birthday, but it just got crazy. We had a wonderful little party with my friend Pamela and her children Katharine and Thomas and my mom and Nanny.

The night before (Wednesday) I was standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes and thinking about Lilly's birth. What was I doing last year this time type of thing... I was flooded with intense emotion thinking about her birth. I had anticipated an easy, uncomplicated birth but had the opposite. When I first started having contractions I used my exercise ball to sit on and do figure 8s to help her spiral down. I visualized her pushing her way out. I stayed really calm and breathed deep into my belly for her. Vinnie and I walked around the neighborhood, stopping to lean on trees during contractions. When my contractions slowed down and stopped completely a few times, I just thought that it was not the right time.

We drove to my parent's house for dinner because everything had completely stopped. As we hit a few potholes on the 2 mile drive, labor started in earnest. At my parent's house I could barely eat the delicious pizza they had ordered. Good sign! I got on my knees and leaned over the back of the sofa during contractions. They were getting more intense and closer together. I could barely believe it was really here!

We went to hospital, probably a little contractions were 3 minutes apart for 1.5 minutes for about 40 minutes. They say to wait until an hour hits. We got to the hospital and parked in the parking deck. I had hard contractions several times on the walk into the hospital. I got up on the bed to be examined...2-3 cm. Okay, not as much as I would have like or thought...considering I had been having contractions for about 2 days now! We switch to the room that I wanted with the birthing tub and contractions STOP. Completely. I was devastated but tried to remain calm. I knew that (stress, anxiety) could affect my labor. My midwife, Joanne, gave me the option to stay there and rest for a bit or to try to stir things up then. I chose rest because this was now the 3rd night of sleep interrupted with contractions. A few hours go by and Joanne comes back to check on me. I had been having contractions during this time but the wireless monitors had not picked them up. And also the baby was showing no change in heart rate which is odd. Before they start pitocin, which I was a bit resistant about to begin with, my midwife wanted to break my water because the baby was showing signs of distress. Sure enough it was completely full of meconium. The doctor on call was called in to consult and we decided that a fetal monitor would be put on before rushing to surgery...there was still hope!

After my water was broken the contractions were fast and furious. And now I was not allowed to move because the baby's heart rate was going super low and taking a really long time to get back up. That was truly torture. All I wanted to do was move!!! At that point I was saying, okay, if you will not let me move I may need something for pain. And at that point it was too late because a c-section was a possibility. I think it was about an hour that I labored like that. I was crying and begging for my mother.

My mom had thought we had a few hours to go and we had told her to not come right away. Luckily she got there when she did. She came into the room and saw the baby's heart rate doing what it was doing and she called the nurses. The nurses had been on their way in for the same reason. At that point it was time to just get the baby out safely. Things moved very quickly at that point...they were getting me ready and I was crying hysterically, Vinnie was trying to fit into scrubs 2 sizes too small and I was wheeled away. I was given the spinal and Vinnie made it in!

As the doctor saw the baby he said, " Oh, this was the problem! The cord was wrapped..1, 2, 3, 4 times around! This is the 1st time I have ever seen 4 times in my 30 years as a doctor!" I had my own complications afterward that made my recovery slow and difficult. My baby girl, on the other hand, did beautifully right away. Her apgar scores were 8 and 9...not bad for a baby who was wrapped 4 times!!! She nursed like a champ...and still does!

Lilly Bernadette was born at 10:46am on May 7, 2008. She is the light of our lives and I do not remember what life was like without her. Life without Lilly would not be worth living.

I am still working through the emotions of having had an emergency cesarean section. But I do not feel as traumatized now that a year has gone by. I definitely want to have a VBAC if we are blessed with another baby. There were many times that I was hurt by comments people made about my birth experience vs. their birth experience. e.g. Well at least you did not have to push a baby out. I would rather have surgery. Meanwhile I was doing everything possible to avoid surgery. Who wants major abdominal surgery... and all that entails???

In the end, I know I did what was best for me and my baby. I prepared by going to a great childbirth class taught by Kim Collins. I took prenatal yoga. When the time came I labored calmly and peacefully. I did whatever I needed for me. I ate and drank what and when I felt like it. I was able to labor without pain killers until I was prepped for the surgery. I avoided all unnecessary medical interventions until my midwife deemed they were necessary. We have a beautiful little girl who is full of life and oh so smart. The experience I had giving birth to her is important. But honestly, the fact that she is here with us really is the most important and final piece of that puzzle.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. It took me a few days to write this because I was preparing for Lilly's 1st birthday party yesterday.

edited to add: Telling a woman who has just had a c-section, emergency or otherwise, that "The most important thing is that the baby is here." is generally not helpful to the woman. Even if she comes to that conclusion on her own, it may take her years, or never at all. I am guilty of saying that in the past, pre-baby. I think I said it because I was at a loss of what else to say. I probably would just say, "I'm sorry." if I was talking to someone about it now.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


I really have nothing to say because I am pretty overwhelmed and cranky. I should say, I have nothing POSITIVE to say. In the past 10 days I have dealt with: a sick baby, a teething baby, a sick husband, a final grad school project, husband's birthday, a short trip down the shore, a leaking car, dealing with said car company, car shopping and now getting ready for Lilly's 1st birthday party. Oh and let's throw my period in on top of that...cause that's always fun. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. And for some reason Lilly is refusing to sleep in her crib. Great.