Category: Personal

Aug 28

What Is Time, Even? (Ruminations on my Son’s Third Birthday)

Personal 2

Greetings Bookworms!

Guess how many books I read last week. No really, guess. ZERO! That’s right folks, it was a slow reading week. We had a couple of no-nap days AND the good sir turned 3. As a result, my reading was limited. I still read, of course, but I didn’t finish anything. Still plugging away at Harrow the Ninth (so completely banana pants) and Wicked and the Wallflower. Since I don’t really have books to tell you about, I’m just going to post some pictures of my birthday boy and word vomit feelings. Cool?

I have a very vivid memory from when Sam was like 8 days old. I was googling something. Probably baby sleep schedules or the appropriate color of baby poop or baby acne. Anyway. Regardless of the question, the answer according to Dr. Google was that whatever I was concerned about would resolve somewhat by the time he was 6 weeks old. I nearly cried when I read that because my hormone fueled sleep deprived brain thought 6 weeks sounded SO FAR AWAY. I believe the cliche goes something like “the days are long but the years are short.” It’s the sort of phrase I’d cringe to see on a decorative sign: I’m bitter about the truth of it, I guess.

THREE YEARS. What is time, even?! We’ve reached the unofficial end of the baby stage (in my mind, anyway). He’s a whole kid with a personality and complex emotions and an impressive vocabulary. I’ve been working from home with Sammers since the pandemic got rolling in mid-March. Daycare re-opened in June but I haven’t felt safe sending him back yet (that’s not an indictment of the daycare, just the inevitability of infection despite everyone’s best efforts.) Thanks to my job being super supportive, I’m free to keep working from home with him for the time being. Whenever I get down about how hard it all is or how there are no good choices, Sam will do some cool new thing, and I’m reminded that having a front row seat to his milestones is pretty sweet. His imaginative play is SUCH a joy to watch. He’s always been very verbal (aggressively so, if I’m being honest) so it’s hysterical to watch him narrate the games he’s playing.

I’m a huge proponent of people expressing their feelings on motherhood, because it’s not often perfect and Instagram worthy. Everyone’s situation is different and everyone’s experience is different and it’s totally fine to have moments where you’re miserable or think wistfully of your pre-children life. That said, no matter how awful a day we’re having, there isn’t a single one that goes by without my being utterly delighted by this boy. Like, he might have thrown several tantrums throughout the day, yelled at me that I don’t understand him (yeah that happened yesterday), and told me to “stop saying” while I was in the middle of a work meeting (also yesterday), but EGADS I just love this kid so much. His very existence feels like magic and I’m trying so hard to soak up all the snuggles and silliness. It’s been a wild ride, but such a fun one. Happy Birthday, Buddy. I hope you can somehow feel every bit of my delight in you.

You knock me out, I fall apart.

 

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Jul 16

2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Twenty Eighth

Personal, Romance 4

Greetings Bookworms,

Who wants some Sammy stories? Last week I made the decision to watch the new Hamilton movie after Sam went to bed, which meant that I was up entirely too late watching it. Totally worth it, but I was dragging the following day. As I was reheating leftovers for lunch, I was singing bits and pieces of the musical to myself. Sammers came in and was all, “Mommy what are you singing?” and I was like “Well, buddy, I’m singing songs from Hamilton.” He then demanded to listen to Hamilton. Now, I’m not particularly squeamish about profanity, but my not-quite-three-year-old can best be described as “aggressively verbal.” I was not in the mood to have to either explain what exactly a “bastard orphan son of a whore” is, or to have my toddler repeating it. So I settled on having him listen to “Dear Theodosia” with me, the loveliest of lullabies. I used to sing it to Sammy as a baby, taking some liberties with the lyrics, of course.

ME: Dear Sammysaurus, what to say to you? You have my eyes, you have your father’s name, when you came into the world you cried, and it broke my heart…

SAM: Oh no! My heart! YOU BROKED IT! I need that!

ME: Oh, Sammy when you smile I am undone, my son.

SAM: I do not smile! Look! I make a mad face!

Yeah, we’re still struggling to ditch the pacifier. It’s a process.

In other Sam news, he’s befriended a decorative penguin doorstop thingie that I got for Christmas (see left). He’s obsessed, carries it around, has conversations with it: the works. The penguin’s name is Phillip. He’s even decided that my penguin butler Alfred is Phillip’s dad. The imaginative play is so much fun. Now, Phillip was named because Sam asks the names of everyone and everything, and I’ve been naming all our penguins with alliterative names so I can remember them (clearly Alfred predates this policy.) I did not intentionally name this penguin for Eliza and Alexander Hamilton’s son- it just happened. Sometimes I’ll do young Phillip’s rap for Sam, mostly because I like shouting numbers in French and it doesn’t include any difficult to explain language. He LOVES it and will demand that I “sing Phillip!” regularly. It’s only recently occurred to me that Sam thinks his penguin doorstop is responsible for the rap, which is the most delightful thing I can imagine. When everything looks bleak, you’ve got to grasp at charm and whimsy when it presents itself. Sam is contrary and energetic and LOUD but he’s also my favorite person on the planet. “You knock me out, I fall apart- and I thought I was so smart.” Indeed.

Anyway, I’ve been a big reading slowpoke the last week or two, but I do have a couple of gems to share with you, so let’s talk books.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert- Talia Hibbert just continues to be perfect and wonderful with her latest novel, Take a Hint, Dani Brown. I raved about how much I adored Get a Life, Chloe Brown a few months ago, and I was excited to see where the Brown sisters went next. Danika Brown (Chloe’s younger sister) is a brilliant scholar. She’s driven and focused on completing her PhD and not at all interested in romance. The stress relief and distraction provided by amorous encounters? Sure. But a relationship? That’ll be a hard pass from Dani Brown, thank you very much. That doesn’t mean that she won’t flirt with the impossibly handsome former rugby player working security at her university, though. Zafir Ansari spends his spare time reading romance novels and coaching young rugby players on how to channel their emotions in positive ways. I mean, I’m already swooning, but then, he goes and rescues Dani from an elevator with his bare hands and carries her out of the building during an emergency drill. WHERE IS MY FAINTING COUCH?! The two end up in a viral video, because of course they do. Then they fake date, because why wouldn’t they? Then they catch feelings, OBVIOUSLY. Look, this book is wonderful and charming and self aware because Zaf is such a romance novel buff. I’m also giving Talia Hibbert extra brownie points for writing a male lead with an anxiety disorder who handles it like a freaking grown up. It’s so lovely. Read this book, folks.

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole- When it comes to romance novels, I almost invariably choose romantic comedies because that’s what fills the void in my dark, sad soul. (That was melodramatic, but bare with me.) I ADORED Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series but I was nervous to take on her historical romance selections because I knew it wouldn’t be all fun and fluffy. It would be romantic, sure, but also challenging, because slavery is a hideous uncomfortable beast to grapple with. But then there was a sale, and I was like, “take the plunge, trust Alyssa Cole” which turned out to be excellent advice. An Extraordinary Union is set during the Civil War. Elle Burns is a formerly enslaved person with an eidetic memory. In order to help the Union, Elle agrees to go undercover, and, essentially, back into slavery so that she can gather intelligence for the military. Malcom McCall is another secret agent- one who adopts the guise of a Confederate soldier. He uses his charm and acting ability to infiltrate a rebel enclave in Virginia, which is where he runs into Elle. The unlikely duo discover their shared connection and fall hard. But the stakes are impossibly high. And, even if the fate of the nation weren’t on their minds, there wasn’t exactly a clear path to “happily ever after” for a biracial couple in this time period. But, like I said. Trust Alyssa Cole. The ending was most satisfying and I’ll definitely be continuing the series.

That brings us to right now. What am I reading? I’m working my way through The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune with my eyes, and I just started Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev via audio. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to tell you about next week- both books are very promising thus far. Tell me Bookworms, what have you been up to?

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Links in the post above direct to Amazon, but if you’re interested and in a position to do so, please consider making a purchase from a local independent book store. IndieBound and Bookshop make it easy to do just that without having to leave your home! 

 

 

 

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Mar 25

2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Twelfth (With Bonus Kid Lit)

Kidlit with my Kidlet, Personal, Weekly Wrap-Up 4

Hey Bookworms,

Life comes at you fast, huh? Two weeks ago coronavirus was scary, but not panic inducing. Today it’s changed just about everything. I used to LOVE reading fictional accounts of plagues and pandemics. Now? Not so much. Two weeks ago I started writing a listicle of some of the great plague books I’d read over the years, but I just don’t have it in me to finish that right now (I assume most of you aren’t interested in plague books right now either, but if I’m wrong on that, I’ll finish up that post because I wouldn’t want you to run out of reading material, even if your tastes are macabre in the current moment.) In case you were wondering, I finished ZERO books this week. I can only listen to audio books in fits and starts, and by the time I get to bed (which is where I normally do the bulk of my reading) I’m so mentally exhausted by the news and our new reality that I make it a chapter or so before I’m out. Sammy’s sleep has been crappy as well, which I assume is due in part to the fact that he can feel our anxiety, even if he doesn’t totally understand what’s going on. He’s been extra clingy and working from home with a toddler is really, really hard. I don’t want to be all gloom and doom, but I don’t necessarily want to put a shiny, happy face on all of this because it sucks. For so many reasons. On so many levels. And I’m really angry. For so many reasons. On so many levels. And yet, literally, the only thing I can do to help anyone is stay home. I can’t even sew so I can’t occupy myself by making masks or anything (but honestly, is anyone else getting SERIOUS wartime vibes? I can’t even count the number of WWII books I’ve read that discuss the women on the home front knitting socks for soldiers. Now we’re making masks for soldiers- because let’s face it- our healthcare workers have become war heroes.)

For my own mental health, I cannot wallow for long. I’ve got stuff to do. I still have a job! One that I can do from home! SAKES ALIVE do I ever miss my childcare, but I’m still going to be able to pay my bills… I just won’t look at my 401K for the foreseeable future. As far as stuff I’m grateful for, I’m glad I live in Illinois right now. I know, it’s a pain in the butt to have a stay-at-home order, but I know it’s saving lives, and I wish the rest of the country would get on board so this won’t drag on as long. I’m finding it extremely comforting to have a competent local government- who would have thought we had it in us? Also, since you can’t actually isolate yourself from a tiny human that you have to take care of (and I wouldn’t want to) I am reveling in all the extra hugs and snuggles. Those little hits of dopamine are doing my anxious brain a world of good. And, since I didn’t finish a grown-up book this week, I thought it might be a good time to look at some of the books on Sammy’s heavy rotation list right now.


Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri: We have such an extensive library that books we haven’t read in a while often feel like brand new. It had been a while since I pulled these off the shelves, but I’m glad I did. Sam demands that we read “the taco book” over and over and over. If you ever want to make friends with a dragon, remember that tacos are key. And ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT on your salsa, because spicy things are a no-go for dragons. Unless you want your house incinerated. (We’ve learned from some of our other books that spicy foods also give penguins hiccups, so if you’re feeding foods to animals and/or mythical creatures, go easy on the spices.)

Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel by Adam Rubin, Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri: For those of us who have dabbled in time travel fiction, this book is even funnier than the first. Also, tacos grow on trees. I wish tacos did grow on trees, particularly because we are currently running low on tortillas so we’re going to have to wait until we really need groceries to procure more. And, IDK what the tortilla situation is- bread products are scarce, but are tortillas? I digress. I put these books on my baby shower registry because I was constantly craving tacos during my pregnancy, and a very wise friend of mine with her own children purchased them for me.


Diggersaurs by Michael Whaite: This book combines two of Sammy’s favorite things: dinosaurs and construction equipment. It’s got a nice rhyme scheme and charming illustrations. We have read this book ELEVENTY BILLION TIMES. It’s actually starting to show some serious wear- anybody have advice on repairing children’s paper backs whose pages are coming loose?

Boom Chicka Rock by John Archambault Illustrated by Suzanne Tanner Chitwood: After having several conversations with my MIL about Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and both of us being confused, she realized that the book she thought I’d been talking about wasn’t at all the same book she’d been discussing. Apparently Boom Chicka Rock was a favorite of my husband as a kiddo, so she bought a copy for Sammers. It’s very cute and revolves around a team of sneaky mice trying to abscond with a birthday cake under the nose of the house’s cat. Sam thinks this book is hilarious and fun because it’s chock full of word play. There are a couple of instances within the book that I find a little awkward to try to get the rhythm right, but all in all, it’s a really fun read.


101 Trucks: And Other Mighty Things That Go by April Jones Prince, Illustrated by Bob Kolor: Have you figured out that my kid is a fan of trucks? And construction equipment? This book is a delight for him. Right now, he’s particularly fixated on the page that showcases all the different types of “movers,” buses in particular. Everything is a bus. The Duck Boat is a Duck Boat Bus. The Trolley is a Trolley Bus. The Articulating Bus, impressively, is an Articulating Bus. Big words are also Sam’s jam.

As for what I’m reading, I try to listen to Miracle Creek during Sam’s nap time (when he deigns to nap, oof), and I’m really starting to get into the groove of Magic for Liars– I anticipate to have finished at least one of them by next week’s update.

I’d like to give a shout out to all the folks driving trucks, delivering things, providing takeout orders, stocking grocery shelves, and keeping things running enough so the rest of us can hunker down. And, obviously, healthcare workers. I’ve seen meme after meme about nurses and doctors not wanting to be hailed as heroes and that they just want everyone to stay the heck home, but I don’t see why I can’t do both. Hang in there, friends.

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. The links in the post above direct to Amazon, but if you’re able, please consider purchasing books for delivery from your local independent book store by clicking the links below:

Dragons Love Tacos
Dragons Love Tacos 2
Diggersaurs
Boom Chicka Rock
101 Trucks
Miracle Creek
Magic for Liars

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Nov 21

Self Indulgent 10th Anniversary Post

Personal 4

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if one does not loudly proclaim one’s anniversary on the internet, the anniversary is not valid. Hey, Jim! We’ve been married a WHOLE DECADE. High five! (Remember that time I wrote you anniversary limericks? This post is almost as cool.)

It is, apparently, a THING, in some corners of the web, for people to attempt to re-wear their wedding ensembles in celebration of significant anniversaries. I’m sorry to disappoint you, Internet, but you shan’t be seeing Jim and I in our finery today. Why?

  1. Jim’s tux was a rental. He’s also lost a bunch of weight over the years and is basically aging in reverse, the handsome devil.
  2. My dress is timeless and lovely and now ENTIRELY too small for me. I’d blame it on the baby, but tacos have a lot to do with it.
  3. While I am extremely vain, Jim still hates having his photo taken.

    Awwwww

    Fortunately, thanks to my BFF, all is not lost in this quest! Back in 2009, my “nephew” Jack served as our ring bearer. He was 20 months old and totally GQ in his baby tuxedo.

    This little nugget will be 12 in March, if you can believe it. ::SOB::

    I’ve mentioned what a marvel my BFF is on many occasions (like here) but y’all. SHE PRESERVED THE TINY BABY TUX (including the little silk boutonniere my florist made and attached with a safety pin. Pro florists know a thing or twelve.) She returned it to me after Sam was born. And, well. I did a thing.

    I know most of these are kind of blurry, but I was chasing a moving target with a cell phone.

    Sam is about 7 months older than Jack was when he wore this ensemble, so the fit isn’t quite the same. Also, since I did this on a random weeknight after daycare, I wasn’t about to attempt to tighten the tie. (Please note that my son is sporting a bruise on his cheekbone from face planting into a toy kitchen set.) Sammers looks a bit more like a drunken, brawling groomsman leaving the reception than a precious ring bearer about to walk down the aisle, but I digress. On the occasion of our tenth wedding anniversary, the, uh, product of our union (why is there no non-creepy way to say that?) donned formal wear from that momentous occasion.

    Happy Anniversary, Jim! I love you and I like you. And our kid is cooler than both of us put together.

 

 

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Aug 22

TWO!

Personal 8

Dearest Sammers,

Today marks your second trip ’round the sun. It’s super cliche to talk about how quickly children grow, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if wormholes were involved or something. This year went at friggin warp speed.

And what a year it’s been! You have learned and grown SO MUCH. I’ll just list some milestones off the top of my head because coherent prose isn’t coming easily today. Look at what you’ve done, Buddy:

  1. You had your FIRST HAIRCUT! (And subsequently several more, which is good because food ends up in your hair a lot.)
  2. You had ear tubes put in, which are nothing short of miraculous. Ear infections, BE GONE!
  3. You learned how to walk! It was on your own terms and a bit later than is typical, but you’ve always been kind of a rebel.
  4. You learned your letters! (Which, frankly, was a complete shock to me. We definitely didn’t drill you on that, so high five to daycare and the more-than-recommended-amount of screen time you get, I guess?)
  5. You can count! Sure, occasionally “chicken” pops up when you get past ten, but chickens are awesome.
  6. You have developed an affinity for “gourmet” food combinations. Would I have dipped dill pickle slices into blueberry yogurt or teddy grahams into meat sauce or blueberries into honey mustard? No. But I admire your culinary creativity.

We’ve had our share of struggles and tantrums and stomach viruses, but you are SO SO SO loved. You’ve brought me more smiles and laughter in your two years than anyone ever in the universe. If it were possible, I’d have exploded into a shower of glitter by now out of the sheer force of my love for you. Lucky for all of us, that isn’t a thing that happens, because, among other things, it would be IMPOSSIBLE to clean up.

Predictably, I teared up last night while reading I Love You Just Like This, just like last year. It’s not even meant to be one of those smooshy parent feelings books, but it always gets to me. I think it’s because it speaks to the way I express love. It’s silly and sweet and full of quirky metaphors. I will ALWAYS love you bluer than Cookie Monster’s toes.

Happy Birthday, Samuel James.

XOXO,

Mommy

PS- Dada certainly shares these sentiments, but I imagine he’d argue that he wouldn’t have exploded into a glitter shower of pure love. He’d probably have turned into a Transformer or something.

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Oct 31

One Halloween. Two Halloweens! Ah, ah, ah!

Holidays, Personal 1

Greetings Bookworms,

You may recall that last year I (very predictably) dressed my tiny 2 month old baby up as a penguin. This year I had every intention of dressing Sammy up as a dinosaur. I had a costume and everything. But then I saw this and I couldn’t not buy it. Especially given that my kiddo is such a big Sesame Street fan.

One piece of candy…

Two pieces of candy!

Ah, ah, ah!

Our neighborhood has a tradition of doing a little parade the Saturday before Halloween. It’s not really a parade, per se, it’s more just the neighbor kids taking a stroll and stopping to get candy from participating neighbors. We get TONS of trick-or-treaters on actual Halloween, most of whom come in cars from other places. I LOVE that our neighborhood is such a popular spot (it feels like a Disney movie the night of), but it means that it can be tough to pick out your neighbor kiddos in the crowd, especially if they’re wearing masks and stuff. The little parade allows me to see the kids I actually know in their costumes in broad daylight which is so much fun. Plus, Sammy is really too young for trick-or-treating (and had to ride in the wagon because walking is not a skill he’s quite mastered yet) so it’s a great opportunity to give him a little taste of Halloween fun. He managed to fish a KitKat out of his pumpkin bucket and gnaw through the wrapper before I knew what was happening, so CLEARLY he had a great time.

Happy Halloween, y’all!

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Aug 22

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Motherhood, Personal 13

My Darling Bookworms,

You’ll have to forgive me, I’m about to leak a bunch of feelings onto the internet. I scheduled this post to go live at 8:09 am central time on August 22, 2018 because at that very moment Sammy will have spent exactly 365 days breathing the air of planet Earth. (Sorry about the air quality, buddy.)

 

I’m a natural pessimist, so, as I mentioned yesterday, I read a lot about the difficult parts of early parenthood. I discussed the possibility of postpartum depression with my doctors before Sammers was born and was totally prepared to call in the reinforcements if needed. I’d read that not everyone immediately bonds with their child and that you’re not a monster if that happens. I’d read that breastfeeding can be incredibly difficult and that it’s totally OK if it doesn’t work out for you. I knew that I was going to be covered in all manner of bodily fluids at different points in time and attempted to steel my ickyness reflex. Heck, I’d even read posts about the first post labor bowel movement being the stuff nightmares were made of. There was no blog post too over-share-y. I was NOT going to go into this blind.

Side note: I’d recommend that all pregnant people do a little PPD research before the baby arrives. It really upsets me that PPD is so stigmatized and taboo. It can happen to ANYBODY and it doesn’t make you a bad parent. The stigma is garbage and leads to unsuspecting new parents suffering in silence during what should be a hormone-fueled haze of wonder and sleeplessness and joy. If you still feel like an emotional train wreck after 2 weeks, CALL YOUR DOCTOR. This has been a public service announcement. (For the record, I wasn’t afflicted with PPD so it’s pretty easy for me to tell people to reach out. But, I mean, you’d have treated your gestational diabetes, wouldn’t you? It’s not a personal failing to require medical assistance.)

To recap, I was prepared for the bad stuff (most of which I avoided by pure dumb luck.) I was not, however, prepared for this tidal wave of heart-eye-emoji, all-consuming adoration. I thought I’d be relieved to have survived the first year of parenthood, not clutching Sammy’s teddy bear in a dim living room and crying because it had all gone by so quickly. I am a SUCH a cliché. Just goes to show that parenting probably never matches anyone’s expectations.

This tiny person that I see every day? I just love him so much! Don’t get me wrong, screaming babies in the middle of the night aren’t any fun. But sometimes after he’s been snoozing in his crib for a while and I’m not ready for bed yet? I miss him. (I’m almost afraid to type that because I’ve become extremely superstitious when it comes to sleep and now he’ll probably stop sleeping altogether and I’ll be a zombie. He still doesn’t usually sleep through the night, so I don’t get to miss him for too long.)

I’d be content to snuggle Sam and watch Sesame Street for hours on end. Every time he learns something new I’m filled with pure delight. I’m completely undeserving of this sweet, kind, occasionally rascally little boy.

Happy Birthday, Samuel James. I love you throughout all the infinite universes. To the moon and back simply is not far enough.

Oh right, this is a book blog. Ha! I read I Love You Just Like This! to Sammers the other night before bed and got choked up. It’s the perfect book for your Elmo obsessed kiddo and your Mama Heart. (Thank you, Auntie Angie!)

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Aug 21

On The Night You Were Born

Personal 12

::Waves Sheepishly::

Hi. Hi there. I have… Not been writing. But here I am. Writing. Because MY BABY IS TURNING ONE TOMORROW. A whole year. It occurred to me that I never wrote out his birth story. I kind of want to document it before it goes all sepia toned, you know? On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman is one of our bedtime story staples, so I was like “what a great idea, to tell a story about the night you were born.” This post is way more journal entry than adorable children’s book (sadly, no dancing polar bears), but it’s what was in my brain. So read it or don’t, it’s probably TMI, but not exceptionally graphic. It’s not at all book related, despite my half-hearted attempt at a tie in with the title.

The young sir was due on August 15, 2017, a date that came and went with little fanfare and no baby. I’d read extensively during my pregnancy, mostly just “real talk” mom blogs and the like, so I’d have some kind of idea what I was getting myself into. (I intentionally sought out the “I Wish I’d Been Warned” kind of advice because I find knowing the ugly bits helps me deal in case things go haywire.) I didn’t crack an actual “parenting” book until I was desperately sleep deprived, and even then I fell back on the expertise of a blogger turned author. Go figure.

In any case, I knew that babies, particularly first babies, tend to run a bit late. And I knew that if my life up to that point were any indication, I’d be waiting. In fact, I saw somewhere early in my second trimester that a full solar eclipse was going to be visible across a large swath of the US on August 21, and I figured my kid would wait until then to make a grand entrance. I said this in jest while hoping against hope that I’d be one of those week-or-two-early types, because being super pregnant in August in the Northern Hemisphere sucks. I’m pretty sure being super pregnant in any weather is terrible, but like, I was swollen AF and it was too hot to even consider anything so glamorous as compression stockings. Me and my sausage feet woke up on eclipse day in a foul mood, watched the eclipse on TV in a foul mood, and waited for my doctor’s appointment that afternoon in a foul mood.

This was taken 9 days before Sam was born. I was already irritated. Check out that belly!

At the appointment, I asked my doctor to set an induction date, seeing as I was nearly a week overdue already. I desperately needed to know that they wouldn’t just let me stay pregnant forever. We set an induction for the following evening and I went home. A couple of hours later I started having some cramps, then figured out they were contractions. I called the doctor and she told me to head to the hospital to get things checked out. I’d been warned by friends that you’re not allowed to eat once you go into labor, so before we left the house, I ate a PB&J, pausing to utter such eloquence as “this suuuuuucks” during the contractions. Because they did suck. *My husband heard me utter “this suuuuuuuuuuuuuucks” at literally every single contraction for hours and hours and hours. I never swore. Just bemoaned the suckage that is labor pain and crushed the bones in his hand. Again and again and again.*

I wasn’t the type of person who went into labor and delivery with a birth plan or expectations. Given the long and frustrating path we walked to even get to this point, I honestly didn’t give a crap how the birth went down. I knew I wasn’t going to attempt a drug free birth and that I fully intended to take advantage of pain relief options as soon as they were offered. The rest, I figured, would fall into place. (I say I didn’t have a plan, but obviously I had some kind of plan. I would not have been prepared for the baby to be in such a rush that I had to deliver him on my bathroom floor. I should be more appreciative of Sam’s patience.)

I arrived to a packed ER, since it was past normal maternity ward hours, and was escorted to a wheel chair. My husband had to drop me off and park the car because all the close spots were taken. As it turns out, celestial events seem to have an impact on sending women into labor. Well, that, and the fact that August is the most popular time of year to give birth, but I digress. I was wheeled up to L&D and waited in a hallway for a while before they could get me into a triage room. I have no idea how long. Time had ceased to be meaningful. Eventually I got into a triage room and was given a hospital gown. Through my entire hospital stay I could not figure out how to wear these effing gowns. They had all these snaps on the arm holes and ties in the back and I just got all tangled up. Had I been more lucid I’m sure I would have worried that my inability to get a gown on was an ill omen for my future as a parent, but all I remember is that Dirty Dancing (I carried a watermelon!) was on the room TV when I got there, and it was no longer on the TV when I was transferred to a regular L&D room. I’d gone into labor at about 5, gotten to the hospital around 7 or 8, and was in triage until 11 or midnight. Because, as I mentioned, every woman in the tri-county area had gone into labor at the same time. There simply weren’t any rooms at the proverbial inn. (Ba du bum)

During my time in triage, I hadn’t progressed much. I was worried that they were just going to send me home to fend for myself, since I was obviously a huge wimp for thinking I was in THAT MUCH pain while only being one centimeter dilated. The baby had shown some signs of potential distress though, so I was allowed to stay. At the time I was assured it was probably nothing to worry about, but it was a good idea to keep monitoring things in the hospital. I was so relieved. I’m pretty sure I begged for pain killers the entire time I was in triage. A nurse gave me a couple of pills at one point, but they might have been candy. I mean, they literally did absolutely nothing for the pain. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they were indeed placebo, reserved for annoying pregnant women who have a low pain tolerance.

Once I was installed in the regular room, I was like “soooo about this epidural.” And they were like “you’re not really far enough along for an epidural how about this other thing?” And I was like “I’ll take whatever you’ve got.” I have no idea what they gave me, other than that it took the edge off the pain. I’ve never really understood the phrase “take the edge off” until I was given this medication. Like, everything still hurt, but it felt more dull and less stabby. An improvement, to be sure. Eventually that wore off, and when I asked for more they were like “your only option now is an epidural” and I was like “I’ve been waiting to hear you say that!” A lovely anesthesiologist named Joel came and administered that sweet, sweet spinal relief.

I was able to doze a bit after that, so I removed my contacts and settled in for whatever was to come. At some point my doctor came in and broke my water (I’m like, REALLY good at retaining water. And amniotic fluid. The indignity of it all…) There were several more distress signals from the baby that resolved themselves. It was just like “OK, body, hurry up and do something.”

Until approximately 7:30 the following morning. An attending physician came in to give me the “you’re not progressing and it’s been like 14 hours, we might need to consider some other options” talk. Then the proverbial feces hit the fan. Some alarms went off, and my room was suddenly flooded with doctors and nurses. It was like an episode of ER. We went from “we may need to consider some options” to “you’re getting a C-Section right now and we’re not sure if we’re going to be able to keep you awake for it.”

I am extremely grateful for the fact that I’d had Joel give me an epidural in the wee hours because the means to administer the medication that would allow me to remain conscious was already in place. I’m also extremely grateful that the baby’s heart rate stabilized enough so that by the time I was wheeled into the OR (like 8 minutes later) we were in a slightly less frantic situation. (I’m pretty sure they’d have put me under regardless if the baby’s heart rate was still in dire straits.) Scrubs were literally thrown at my husband, and they told him they weren’t sure he was going to be allowed in the room (that was contingent on my consciousness, apparently.) They weren’t sure if my doctor was going to be there. It’s a damn good thing I didn’t go in with any expectations, because if I had, this would NOT have been part of the plan.

I remember being terrified, saying “I can’t lose him!” into an oxygen mask, and then devolving into repeating a looooooooooong chain of Hail Marys aloud. The repetition and chant-like nature of Catholic prayer is soothing in a crisis, and I was way beyond being bashful. So I made it to the OR, my doctor, luckily, made it in time, my husband was allowed in the room, and a few minutes and some weird pulling sensations later (probs my organs being all removed and whatnot. C-Sections are crazy) I heard my Samuel start wailing. Best. Sound. Ever.

Now, because I’d been in an emergency situation, my arms were strapped to the table. And, because I’d been an emergency situation, I hadn’t bothered to grab my glasses and I’d already taken out my contacts. I was told to look to my left where Sammers was being weighed, but everything was fuzzy. Eventually Jim brought the baby close to me, but I couldn’t hold him, because arms strapped to the table. I could, however, see him much better and proceeded to give his tiny face so many kisses that my lips were covered in the antibiotic ointment they put on newborns’ eyes. Seeing as my guts were still out and the baby was doing fine, I sent my husband away to follow the baby to whatever newborn testing stuff needed to be done and the staff sewed me up.

Hubs haaaaaaaaaates when I post pics of him, but since you can’t see his face, I think this is allowed. Look at my tiny Sammy! You can see that my lips are a bit shiny from all the smooching.

At this point, since the tension was broken and I had a healthy perfect baby boy, I started chit chatting with the folks holding the scalpels and stuff. The staff commented that Joel had done a great job placing my epidural, but I think the anesthesiologist who ended up doing the actual surgery part was a little salty when I referred to Joel as “my new best friend.” Sorry, anesthesiologist whose name I don’t remember. You did great, too. I didn’t feel a thing, other than the pulling stuff that I was supposed to feel.

Fun facts for you. Did you know that if your baby is “sunny side up” (meaning head down, but face up) it can make even early labor stupid painful and result in a prolonged and difficult birth? Also, a “nuchal cord” where the baby’s umbilical cord is wrapped around their neck is usually NBD and resolves itself, but sometimes it IS a big deal, like, if it’s in a weird position because your baby is facing the wrong way and it gets all smashed by contractions and messes with the oxygen flow? Those are things! Unpredictable things!

I am very grateful. Grateful that I had an epidural even though I was only like 3 cm dilated. Grateful that I was in a hospital with an excellent team of doctors and nurses and techs who know how to put guts back into people. Grateful that my doctor made it in time (although, I’m sure the attending would have done a great job too, but it was nice to have a familiar face wielding the scalpel.) Grateful that I was able to remain conscious. Grateful that my husband got to witness the birth of our son. Grateful that I had a pretty easy recovery. And most of all, obviously, grateful for the tiny human person I love so desperately to be here and healthy and hearty. Whew.

Time was rendered meaningless while I was in labor, and it never fully came back into my cognition. I have no freaking idea how this was all a full year ago, or how my once teeny fragile baby has grown into a babbling, mobile, toothy, autonomous person. I still know just enough to realize that I know nothing, and thus we stumble through, delighting in the joys and trudging through the obstacles. Happy start-of-labor day, Sammers. You are my greatest joy.

 

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Oct 27

Hello Again!

Personal 10

Long Time No Talk, Bookworms!

I suppose I should explain myself. So, back in June when I last posted, I was getting a bit frantic about getting everything wrapped up at work and preparing everything at home for the Tiny Bookworm’s arrival. I continued reading, but I lacked the time and mental head space to compose coherent thoughts. Truth be told, I played a lot of Candy Crush. I’m not proud of it, but there it is. Being super pregnant and outrageously swollen wasn’t my favorite state of being. Anywho, I have big plans to catch you up on all the things including my bookish baby showers, nursery decor, and YES, books unrelated to baby things. Also books related to baby things because The Pout-Pout Fish is among my favorite things EVER (thank you, Lauren!)

Of course, the Young Sir has arrived (I totally went into labor on eclipse day, but he was born the following morning, August 22.) If you follow me on Instagram or are FB friends with me, you’ll have seen 8 zillion photos, but WHATEVER MY KID IS CUTE.

Bookworms, meet Sam. Sam, meet the Bookworms.

Taken in the hospital. He was all of 2 days old. Note the penguin blanket and the mildly pained expression. He’s embarrassed by me already!

 

Why yes, I’m completely smitten.

Sammers is most pleased to meet you!

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Mar 01

A Life Update

Personal 57

Greetings Bookworms!

I know, I know. I wrote a total of ONE blog post the entire month of February. I’m not proud, but I’ve had a lot on my mind. See exhibit A:

That’s right, y’all. I’m currently gestating a tiny human. But I feel like it would be disingenuous to be all “YAY I AM PREGNANT!” without giving you at least a tiny bit of context. So, here’s the Reader’s Digest version…

Hubs and I decided we would like to have a baby nigh on 3 years ago. And, while it is VERY TRUE that one can get pregnant from a single encounter (I don’t want to take away from the importance of being responsible for any of the young impressionable minds that might be reading this) it doesn’t necessarily work that way for everyone. The road from flippant “oh, let’s just see what happens” to monitoring your temperature daily and buying ovulation kits in bulk is pretty depressing. Long story short, 2.5 to 3 years of trying, a whole lot of tests that couldn’t find anything wrong, and one (very early but totally heartbreaking) miscarriage led to the little dude in my belly showing up all on his own. When he darn well felt like it. I’m currently 16 weeks along, and if what the docs are telling me is true, it’s a boy!

I didn’t confide the whole of what was going on to very many people, mostly because it bummed me out and I wanted to feel normal. I also realize that given what some folks go through with hormone treatments and medications and other procedures, things could have been SO much more difficult. But reading the occasional blog post from someone who had been through something similar helped me feel less crappy. So, if this is you right now and you need a hug? Consider yourself HUGGED!

I suppose it’s been good preparation for parenthood. There’s going to be a whole lot that despite my best intentions is going to be completely out of my control. I’m still super excited to embark on this adventure!

Alright Bookworms. Any parents (or super awesome Aunts, Uncles, and Fairy Godparents) have recommendations for excellent children’s books or must-have baby gear? 

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