August 20, 2014


on friday, at 530am, my alarm went off and i slowly moved to hit snooze, though i had already started stirring 10 minutes before. i laid back down on the bed, glanced over at my sleeping husband and toddler, and then opened up my phone and started scrolling through instagram and facebook. i do this every morning because i'm an addict. i quickly see that not much has been posted between the last time i checked around 1am. i close my eyes again and start going over the list of items i'll need for the next few days.

my bag has been packed since wednesday, though not entirely. i've slowly been adding items i think i'll want while we're in the hospital for the weekend. my robe, the same one i wore during my last hospital stay. my floral hospital gown, the one i got at christmas for this very event. nursing bras, tank tops, a tiny newborn outfit, a tiny newborn hat.

in a few hours from now, we'll be a family of four. we've been marking each day this week as our last day as us - our last weekend as three, our last monday, tuesday, and so on. and this morning is our last morning. the last before we know what our new guy looks like, the last before all of our attention is given only to river. i cry a little and reach over to pull him closer to me before i slip away to go take a shower.

family of 3 - just 14 days before birth day. 

at 630, my mom arrives. riv is up by now because he's a light sleeper and we've been moving all around the room, getting the last of our things ready. he runs to the door saying, "hi gigi! how ya doin' gigi?" they play together while we load the bags and bucket seat into the car.

my phone goes off with a few texts from some girlfriends of mine. well wishes. i start to cry now. the reality of what's happening and their kindness and of course, the goodbye i've been anxious about for days. all of it is overwhelming.

i reach down to pick up river and give him a hug and a kiss. i say that we'll see him later that day and that i love him so, so much. i smile a big smile to distract him from my tears. he says, "see ya soon, mama." we get in the car and i'm still crying as we drive down our street.

we arrive at the hospital at 7am. we check in and sit in the waiting room for a bit while. we read an old children's book about a little native american boy who learns to hunt for animals. we both comment on how violent it seems for a children's book, and that we're probably raising a bunch of softies these days so what do we know.

our lovely nurse arrives and takes us back to our room. i'm given the standard hospital gown and an IV. we meet another nurse and the anesthesiologist and then my doctor comes in to say hello before we see her again in the OR. it's a fair amount of waiting after that, 2 hours or so. we talk and laugh and marvel at how calm and quiet it all is. we take some photos, post an update to social media, and continue to wait.

when it's finally time, we all walk together toward the operating room. brian is given his scrubs and is told to wait in the recovery area while i'm taken in. i kiss him and head off with the OR nurse.

the room is freezing. it's super bright and white and huge. i jump up on the bed, sit down and hunch over so that they can give me my spinal. it takes a few tries before my legs go numb and i'm quickly maneuvered onto the bed flat. they put a blue sheet up in front of me and start talking a lot of hospital talk, operating talk, c-section talk. i'm warm now because i'm completely numb and because they've given me a blanket for my chest - at least i think they did. i close my eyes and take deep breaths. i want to stay calm and happy.

the anesthesiologist asks me if i feel anything. i say no and he replies, "great, because they've already started."

brian is whisked in and comes to sit right by my side. we kiss. he seems excited, nervous, relieved. i'm glad he's there but i'm still in my own world, taking deep breaths and focusing on the oxygen i'm getting. it's like a lifeline to me.

everything goes pretty quickly and before i know it, i hear those first baby cries. i'm so happy to hear them. they get him cleaned and wrapped up and bring him over to us. i kiss him, a nurse takes a photo of the three of us and then brian heads out with baby and nurses to the nursery while they close me back up.

this part took foreverrrrr. i'm pretty sure i fell asleep a few times. i was so relaxed and tired and emotional. plus, it's pretty boring. i would have liked an ipod or book-on-tape for entertainment. not that sleep isn't valuable, though, right?

when they finally finish, i am wheeled into recovery. brian is there, so happy to see me. he's seriously the cutest ever. the baby is still in the nursery because his blood sugar was low. they tell me it's pretty common with larger babies to which i immediately reply, "wait, how big was he??" 9.3 lb. i still, today, cannot believe i had a nine pound child in my belly. no wonder i got stretch marks this time! yes, i did. and yes, i'm still recovering from that shock too. it's the saddest.

anyway. while baby was working on his sugar levels, i threw up a few times, slept for a minute or two, and got a dose of norco. i was feeling a-ok when they brought him in finally. i just held him and cried happy tears.

hank (brian) and i said over and over to each other how easy this birth was, how calm and relaxed and nice it was. obviously, surgery is not the ideal. it's not exciting to know you're being sliced open and willingly! but even with that reality, it was such a great experience for us. it was a hard decision to make - especially these days, when natural birth is so en vogue - but i am so happy i made it.

august rhodes henry
born july 18, 2014

we love you to pieces, baby boy.
welcome to the family.


July 22, 2014

the boobs and the babe

say you have a second baby and you think that since you just stopped nursing your first babe 4 months ago, that your boobies will be ready and happy to take on a new client. but then, instead of a celebratory receiving, your boobs are sad and angry and screaming and cracking and bleeding and crying. 

then, you'll be sad. 

maybe it's because your boobs quickly forgot how to do the dew. perhaps it's because new baby is a super large and strong lad who drinks with a fury that your boobies had not known before. even still, maybe it's just a part of the process that you completely forgot about, that you knew would be difficult but not ever this difficult. 

what do you do? 

you probably ask your husband at 3am to go make a bottle of formula because you. just. can't. you probably cry a lot and curl your toes and tap your feet and tighten all the muscles in your body. you hold your breath. you squeeze the shit out of your boobs to try and distract yourself from the piercing pain of the milk monster baby. you try your best to stuff the entire breast in his mouth because that's what you should do but somehow, it's never enough. 

you will pump more. you will embrace the pump more than you ever did the first time. 


you will also hope that this is just one stop on the nursing train because things will get better as they almost always do. you imagine that soon enough, your little lady lumps will toughen up and show that baby they're up for the job. 

because you are one strong mama. you've done this before and you'll do it again. 

that's what you'll do.

July 14, 2014

DIY - Maternity Photos at 38 Weeks


being a champion procrastinator, less than mediocre planner and inexplicably reluctant photo shoot purchaser, i decided to take my own maternity photos on saturday. after digging around for my camera battery and tripod - items i haven't used in months, sadly - i set it up and just went for it. i didn't think about my wardrobe or river's. you'll notice he's wearing his weekend shorts and nothing else. i'm wearing a tank i slept in the night before. i did, however, throw on a long, semi-sheer skirt, hoping to catch some of the light and to create some semblance of motherly femininity.

i think in the end, i was able to capture a few special moments. though i hope you can appreciate that even when i look serene, i just ran over from the tripod, trying not to get my skirt caught on odds and ends, trying not to trip, and getting into just the right spot before all of 10 seconds is up and the camera goes off. and at 38 weeks, i'm not graceful.

so, put that in your pocket and enjoy!

that last family shot is a bit of a miracle. we're all looking and mostly smiling and centered and not falling off the hammock. which is what i said to hank as i sat down and just before the camera went off, "hurry, quick, put him on your lap, i'm sliding off this fucking thing!" 

i'm the sweetest. 

so there you have it. you too, can take your own maternity photos at home, in an hour or so. with a tripod and photoshop, you're fully equipped! ya know, if you have really low standards for this kind of silly stuff, like i do. 


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