Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Anniversary Baby!

I remember it so well - 3 years ago right at this moment I was walking to my wedding with my mom, Maria, & Heather. I was so excited! The wedding we had planned was finally about to happen. Everything - every single part of that weekend - was perfect!! Everyone was ready to have fun and we were ready to give them another reason to celebrate! We had a great time and I think everyone there did too. Here we are in the photo booth signing the marriage certificate with out dear friend Matt who performed our wedding ceremony.

Today, life is very different in such a sweet and wonderful way. We went for a walk around our neighborhood with 6 month old Ada. Included in this walk was a hike to Corona Heights. The last time the three of us did this walk Ada was still an inside baby...and I was in labor. Here I am looking at San Francisco from Corona Heights at about 12 hours into my 36 hour labor.

And here is a family self-portrait from today.


We're headed over to Moira's tonight for a quiet time with friends. I'm excited - it's been a while since I've been without being pregnant or having to work the next morning!

Happy Anniversary Love!
Happy New Year everyone! I hope that 2010 is a year full of prosperity, fun times, and wonderful surprises for all.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Taking the good with the bad

Overall, the good outweighs the bad, which is a nice reflection. All year I have dubbed 2009 "the year that can kiss my ass". Focusing on gratitude really does change your perspective. Even still, I am looking forward to 2010 and hoping that it is a quiet year full of health, wealth, and good times with friends and family.

The Good
1. Ada. The best thing that ever happened to me. It's so nice that this is our family.
2. Tim and I will soon celebrate 3 years of being married (11 as a couple) and going stronger than ever.
3. Tim and I both have jobs.
4. We have a roof over our heads. While we can't afford a lot of the stuff we want - it is just "Stuff" after all.
5. Tim, Ada, and I are all healthy.
6. The American Classic lasted one more year. New car payment avoided!
7. We are surrounded by friends and family. What a wonder to be so loved.
8. Our financial situation isn't great, but all things considered we have little room to complain.
9. CA came through re: maternity leave. I was able to take more time than I originally thought.
10. The cats are all healthy and adjusting to the new addition quite well. 

The Bad

1. The illness and death of my mother. 
2. The "Lost Weeks": this is what Tim and I call the period of time from 18-22 weeks of the pregnancy where we thought that Ada was missing a prominent, crucial brain structure.
3. The IRS struck again. Bastards.

I'm not a big country fan but Dave Matthews redeems it for me - this is a great summary of how I feel as the new year rolls in:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Etsy begets Renegade

Everyone knows Etsy, the super-great site for crafty hipsters, right? Well, there is an entire craft fair called Renegade that is mostly comprised of Etsy sellers. Moira discovered it in Chicago. We are lucky in that the powers-that-be have decided that San Francisco is now on the roster.I went to the first fair here about a year and a half ago. I missed it this past summer because we were in FL with 3 week old Ada to see my dying mother. Lo, all was not not lost as they now have a holiday fair as well. We hit it last Saturday. Ada did reasonably well hanging out in the Ergo. We drove over to the east bay that morning so that I could get the H1N1 vaccine (pathetic, right?) so she had already had a long day. Renegade blew her mind. And who can blame her? It is pretty darn spectacular. Moira rushed to get her camera out to document the moment. Once again, we were mistaken for a lesbian couple. Here she is with a knit starfish on her head.

Now for my long-awaited, much loved Renegade loot:

First up is this cute little clip with felt leaves on it. I think it will be adorable on Ada when she finally has hair.

 Next is this great little dish. I have been in need of a jewelry dumping spot and this one is quite lovely. It's really just an old dish glued on top of a crystal-esque candle stick but props to the girl who came up with it as they were all so pretty.
UPDATE: Broken. Well, I enjoyed it for the full 9 days that I had it. Fark.

Then we came across another crafter who has a way with felt. I picked  up this cute little purse. It's just big enough to fit my phone, drivers license, and some cash. It hooks to my keys so it is quite perfect for a quick bundle to grab on the way out the door. It also fulfills my deep and abiding love for ric-rac. Super cute, right?

The same seller had these cute little poppy pins. I put it on my Hazel coat from I got the coat during my firs trip to Renegade and I still wear it almost every day! It was time to adorn it with something colorful.

Speaking of Rebe - I got this great bamboo dress there. Brown is not my favorite color but this does go nicely with the Jeffrey Campbell shoes I got on sale and love but didn't know what I would ever wear them with. Believe it or not, this dress is quite flattering - the photography is poor quality, I know. And let's face it, I'm no model!

Finally, I saw this glass bead necklace and had to have it. Immediately when I put it on I said "yes!". The seller threw the earrings in for no additional charge. Love it!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Getting ready for Christmas

I sometimes like to approach problems/questions in a way that it perhaps a little unconventional.  I put the thought out there and let the universe take care of the rest. Whenever I do this the universe brings to me the perfect solution to the problem. The task of finding the perfect "Baby's First Christmas" ornament for the tree was no exception. I've been casually looking but pretty much everything I've seen is just cheesy or super's just going through the motions.

Last night we went to Cole Valley Hardware to get our Christmas tree. It has become a San Francisco tradition that Tim or one of his brothers has to carry it up the hill. Some sort of bragging rights thing that an only child like me simply can not relate to. When I went inside to pay for our tree I saw it: the perfect ornament for Ada's first Christmas.


We also did the Santa thing. When we made a weekend trip to San Luis Obispo we stayed at a place called The Apple Farm. This place is like how Disney would do Americana country decor. Not quite our style but it was really nice. One of the things they are known for is the amazing Christmas decorations. It was truly amazing! Santa was therethe morning we checked out. We seized the opportunity to get a few shots of Ada with Santa - in fact we had to plan carefully in order to get a few pics the second she was handed over to good old St. Nick because of the high likelihood that our daughter would scream in terror (see the Halloween post for a refresher).

What we didn't realize is that you can't go see Santa anymore without wearing your Christmas best. Apparently these are the photos that end up at Shutterfly becoming the cards we all get. The other parents were all too happy to explain this to us. They were also happy to judge Tim and I out loud for having messed up so terribly. Whatever. Ada was still the cutest baby there even though she had on jeans and a pink t-shirt...


6 months and solids

Today was Ada's 6 month pediatrician visit. Here are her "stats":

Age: 6 days shy of 6 months.
Weight: 17 lbs 10 oz. and 26.5 inches
Size (diapers, onesies, etc.): Size 2-3 diapers and 9 month old clothes (some 6mos still fit and some 12 mos. fit already)
Eyes: Blue/gray with an inner rim of brown like Tim's eyes have
Hair: It's coming in so slowly. There is still a prominent bald spot.
Sleeping: sleeping through the night - we are incredibly blessed. She is a great napper too.
Milestones: Clear to start solids!
Words/sounds: She is still in the pterodactyl phase. It is beyond hysterical to watch her be so pleased with herself. It must feel good or something.
What we are looking forward to: I am unnaturally excited about starting solids. This is going to be so much fun!

As soon as our pediatrician said we could start solids we got really excited. Her first food was oatmeal. Here is a photo essay on how it went:


Monday, December 7, 2009

You are going to be so jealous

I got a package at work today. Here is what I found inside:

What is this beautiful medallion? Why it's the Cat Writer's Association Muse Medallion, of course. You probably didn't know that there was such a thing as a Cat Writer's Associaion. It's OK, I didn't either. In fact, the technicians went skipping over to a computer to figure out what this accolade was for and if they sent it to me by mistake.

VIII.3 – Color Photograph (single)
Judge’s comment: “It told a story. The image stayed with me for days. Adorable! Intriguing lighting. It’s so uniquely the essence of kitten.”
Dr. Monica Shepherd, “Frankie Meets Her Shadow” Our Animals

The website explained it all. I won this award for a photo I took of our foster kitten, Frankie. She was playing with her newly discovered shadow on Christmas day 2008 and I caught the whole thing on film. The photo appeared in the magazine that my organization publishes as part of a larger story. Unfortunately, that article isn't available online. For your enjoyment, here is the winning photo:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The end of a wonderful weekend

Thanksgiving was wonderful. We went over to Jen's parents house for dinner. The food was great, Ada was welcomed with open arms and the company was fantastic. After dinner we were sitting on the floor of the living room. Ada had decided that she was finished playing on the playmat so I had her in my lap. She was staring at Jen's dad with complete fascination. She reached for him so he took her to his lap and asked, "Does she have a pop pop nearby?" So sweet!

I spent Friday playing and snuggling with Ada. I didn't get out of my pajamas until almost 3:00!

Moira and I went to the farmers market and then took Ada to go shopping. Ada was a tropper but the timing was not so great  as she fell asleep just minutes before I went into the dressing room. She was transferred easily to Moira and there she slept while I tried on party tops and tried to figure out what is going to work for me now. I'm pretty much back where I was pre-pregnancy but just cause you can squeeze into it doesn't mean it fits.

Dad and Rob brought crab and sourdough bread for lunch. We feasted! Yum!! As a souvenir from Mexica they brought a little dress for Ada. It's really cute. they also let us know that there will be no adult gift exchanges this year. It's been tough in real estate.

That night (Saturday was like having 3 days in one) we met Moira back over at Jen and Andrews house.  It was fun to hang out with friends and I didn't want to see the weekend come to an end.

Friday, November 6, 2009

She Rolled Over

Oh. My. God.

Tim and I have been wondering when in the heck she would roll over?!  This morning Ada and I were settling in for some quality tummy time. I turned to get her Jungly Tails book and a couple of the birds I made for her and as I turned around I caught her just in time!! That little monkey! I squeeled with delight and dropping her toys clapped my hands almost reflexively. Tim came running in to see what was going on so I put her on her belly again and she just flipped right over as if it were nothing. One more time to rule out a fluke! We were beaming and carrying on like fools.

Ada's First Halloween

For the third year in a row we went to Belvedere St. I doubt we'll ever do anything else on Halloween! It's a perfect Halloween outing for us and it turns out to be perfect for Ada too!

We didn't dress her up - I couldn't think of a costume that would work with the Moby. I guess I could have made us into a mummy and baby but I just now thought of it. Instead she wore an orange footie and pumpkin bib. Thank goodness Halloween wasn't a week later. In a matter of days she went from fitting into this footie to busting out of it! They grow so fast....

 We also didn't carve a pumpkin. We aren't doing a very good job of introducing our daughter to Americana! However, we did find a guy dressed as Cookie Monster. I love Jim Henson so much that I was magnetically drawn to the CM.I love it that I'm totally psyched to be felt up by Cookie Monster while Ada is non-plussed. This guy got so much action for Halloween that Tim has decided to be a Sesame Street character next year.

For the most part Ada was just looking around at people but was largely disinterested. This is good for two resasons:
1. It is nothing like the night before it when we tried to go to a Halloween party and she just cried and screamed in terror. We had to leave within 10 minutes. Now, the party was hosted by a Cole Valley moms group woman who I also work with. It was perhaps the most benign Halloween party in history as more than half of the guest list was under 2 years of age.

2. She's not asking for candy yet. I don't know how to tell her all that corn syrup will ruin her liver.
A few other random pictures of Ada looking slightly more interested.


Friday, October 30, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!

It's time to order planner pages! SQUEE!!

Everyone who knows me IRL knows that I am a dedicated, die-hard Franklin Covey user. I have been using the planning system for 12 years now and I am convinced that I wouldn't have accomplished a thing without it. Oh, I have tried some variations on this general theme (software on my palm pilot, a spiral-bound year-in-one FC system) but never with good results. Financial constraints one year meant that I had to begin the year without my new planner pages. It was a complete disaster. Having learned my lesson the hard way I am sure to never start the year without my new planner pages and I don't deviate from the original system.

This year though I am trying a little twist: I designed my own planner pages. It was a complete PITA to gather, upload, and edit all the pictures that I wanted to use throughout the year in the planner. I got my pages today and I am soooooo excited!! They look great! I'll probably spend a good part of the day working on setting up my planner and thinking about my goals for the new year.

The other thing I'm trying to do is replace my old Spacemaker binder. The thing is 12 years old and falling apart. The newer ones they have are truly awful though - I mean, really gross. I might have to replace my rings and keep using this one.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Resurrection Fern

My utter devotion to Iron and Wine is no secret. Love them. Never grow tired of them. Here is the song that is currently haunting me. I simply can't get enough of at the moment:

Thursday, October 22, 2009


A few weeks back I was holding her and it occured to me, " Frick, I really love this kid." I mean like really, REALLY love you love someone you have known for a long time. Not that I didn't love her before that moment but it's different now in such a wonderful way. Every day is just more wonderful than the one before it and life is so much better with her in it. I could kick myself for waiting so long to have kids.

Tim is over the moon that she can do this. She hasn't rolled over on her own yet.

I LOVE how she is trying to look all foxy hanging out in her Bumbo. It's tough to flirt in a Bumbo, man. That thing is creepy if nothing else.

We took this picture only to prove that she does sleep in her crib. She does it every night, all night long and usually without waking up. We are lucky and we know it. 

Name Penant

On her first 'real' day, the nanny sheepishly asked me if Ada's name was "Eva". We thought we chose a name that would be pretty darn easy it turns out to be more complicated for most people than we thought. Sigh. Our poor babe. She is cursed to go through life saying, "Ada. A-D-A. Shepherd, like the dog or the biblical sheep herding person."

I already had this little project in the works and I can't say that I'm sad about it now! I am seriously resisting the urge to sew ric-rac on everything in my path. I love ric-rac so much! Behold: Ada's name penant.


P.S. Ada had her vax round #2 today. I think it hurts me more than her. She is napping now.

P.S.S. I miss my Florida hookers so much that I am actually listening to country music. Something distinctly Latin is up next followed closely by some very raunchyhoopty.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Adios Night Float!

...and don't let the door smack you in the ass on your way out!

Tonight is Tim's final night float for forever  (theroetically). We've been at this on and off since he started his internship in June 2006 so I can't say that I'm sorry for it to be over. He has taken single nights here and there in internship and one full rotation of nights. It's comical - we've actually passed each other on our street while I'm coming home from work and he is leaving to go to work! How couples survive this way is beyond me. Last year his program went to full weeks of working every night. When I was first pregnant he did a full month of nightfloat. That was fine because all I wanted to do was sleep anyways - neither of us missed a thing. He had another week when Ada was about 5 weeks old. This is his last week and now his last night. No more desperately trying to keep the baby quiet in the day so he can sleep! No more cases of Diet Coke in the pantry! No more foil over all the windows in the bedroom! Woo hoo!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

First week back at work

It wasn't too bad!

It was great to see everyone and catch up. I got to see some of my old clients who had waited for me to come back - yay!! It's so nice to be appreciated. Really. Send your vet some happy mail. I like to read my happy mail on those days when everything is going so wrong.
I got to work with some relief vets who are just fantastic. I truly love the vets I work with - I have such genuine caring and concern for them. I'm happy to back among them. That's one of the very best parts of my job.

Ada did well with Alicia, our nanny. She actually reached out for her one morning as I was leaving for work! I didn't call home to check in on Monday as I was on ER and pretty busy. Alicia called me on Tuesday to let me know that Ada was doing well! So funny! I'm not worried about the immediate stuff...I was initially worried about getting back on the horse that is veterinary medicine. That's been fine. It really is like riding a horse although I find myself being a little slower and more deliberate - rechecking dosages and the like. It will all shake out in the wash given some time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I never thought I would be so excited about this during my married life! We had our first successful post-baby date today!

Attempt #1: Tim got called in and I got a traffic ticket getting him to the hospital.
Attempt #2: Can't find the concert tickets.
Attempt #3: Abandoned in favor of me making a very last minute flight to FL.

Today was totally spontaneous and a total success!!It was beautiful, sunny, crisp day! The nanny was with us today to watch Ada. Tim was done with his clinical and lab obligations by noon. I picked him up and we went to Hog Island Oyster Company in the Ferry Building. We sat looking out over the water, sampling oysters, and sipping champagne. There we were in the middle of a weekday having a purely indulgent time together! It felt like we were skipping school! After lunch we walked around the building holding hands. So romantic! I feel like a new woman!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

One week of maternity leave left

One week from October 4th  will be exactly one year from our positive pregnancy test. It will also be the day I return to work.

Essentially my maternity leave is over as my mind has already started to make the transition. A few weeks back I went in to work to meet a friend for lunch. I went into our software to look in on how a patient was doing and I was so slow and clumsy with it. The other day I realized that I have forgotten all the doses for my favorite sedation protocols and drugs! It comes back quickly but apparently I need to study!

I feel so sad and depressed at the thought of leaving Ada to go back to work. I love my job and my career. At the same time the long, sometimes stressful days and all-consuming nature of my job can be exhausting. Even without a baby it was mentally and physically tiring to juggle my job and a life - mostly because I want to be able to give more to my job, to find solutions for my patients, to research cases, to learn from the people I work with. I will have to work extra hard to find a balance.
I tell you this much: the only thing I regret about having a baby is not doing it much sooner. I would have a dozen more if I could! I would also stay at home to raise them if I could. Why did we wait so long? How did I ever live before my daughter (who is sound asleep in her swing and humming along to some sweet dream)??

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Basket Full of Birdies

I mentioned working on crafting projects. This is the final result of one of them. It's a basket full of stuffed birds for Ada to play with! The tails are just the right size for tiny hands to grasp. I got the pattern from Spool.

Spontaneous Fun Night

We had a night of great fun with the Taylors! Andrew came by after work yesterday to find me eviscerating a cloth bird I was making (I'll post pictures of my latest crafting when it's done). Tim came home about 20 minutes to a nice "Welcome Home" that included a bottle of his favorite Cremant. We hung around chatting, catching up, and making some plans. Jen got done with work around 8:00, an early night as she was expecting to be in the OR until midnight or so. It was on her way home so she stopped by Burma Superstar and got some takeout - love the Burmese style curry with beef! We opened a bottle of Lionheart 2007 Pinot Noir, which only got 86 points but deserves so much more - it is a great wine.

All the while Ada was a perfect angel. She checked out her new Bumbo - I scored it off of Craigs List earlier that day for $15 (never used, they didn't like the color). She found it a bit perplexing at first, but it's catching on. Then she hung out in the Moby. Then is was time for her bath, a bottle, and sweet dreams. I guess our little lovebug knew that mommy and daddy needed a some adult time :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Celebration of Life

We got back from FL (again) yesterday. Ada did well on the flights - I am so proud of her!! She has been sleeping a lot since we got home so I think that she was really worn out.  Not surprising! The whole family was in bed by 8:30 last night. I am glad that we don't have to travel again for a while.

Tim's parents came down to Naples for my mom's memorial. It is so sweet that they came. I am very, very lucky to be part of their family. I was able to pack up a little bit of my mom's stuff and send it to Tampa with them. Apparently smoke has been absorbed into everything and they had to drive with the windows open for a while. They repacked everything when they got it home and washed all the china. Superstars. Tim's dad bought a pack-n-play for Ada and the future grandkids to use. It was a very sweet idea and he picked out a really nice one. The only problem was keeping Poochie the cat out of the Pack-n-Play!

Diana and Gilberto brought Laura over from the east coast! It was soooooo nice to see them. I wish we had more time to spend together. Still, it was so touching that they came - a monumental effort with a tiny baby! Laura is just beautiful and D & G are naturals as parents. It's so beautiful to see this friend who I've spent so much transformative time with as a mother. I'm glad we are doing it at the same time! Ada is only 8 weeks older than Laura (and almost 3# heavier at birth) but she looks like a giant compared to Laura! So funny!

My mom's memorial was really nice. Lynn put a lot of effort into making it a thoughtful reflection of my mom and it turned out well. Charlie put together a slide show of pictures and music - a task that really took a lot of time and effort. It's obvious that he put much thought into the music. As I hugged him goodbye he told me to listen carefully - that there was a message there for me. I told him that I had been waiting for one. Many people got up to speak about her. I didn't. It's just not my way. I was talking to Tim's mom about it's just so funny how the sides of a person can so selectively be shown.

I don't know why God didn't see fit to give my mom a dozen and a half kids. One (me) wasn't enough! My mom was a rescuer. Since I was a kid there were wayward, young women in and out of our house and our lives all the time. Some of them she could help - learn how to manage money, leave an abusive relationship, take care of themselves, get clean... these women clung to her for it. They all called her mom.
That's one side of my mom, I suppose, but one that I saw from a very different perspective:  since I was raised up that way I am already hyper-responsible, goal-oriented, practical, perfectionist - not that there aren't things about me that are begging for improvement but there was nothing for her to fix! I wasn't enough of a train wreck to keep my mom busy. At the same time that she was proud of me and loved me I think I bored her!

I have come to the conclusion that no relationship is as intimate and intense as a mother/daughter relationship. Especially if you spend enormous amounts of time with only each other for company. We were so close that sometimes it was hard to know where one of us ended and the other began. Sounds romantic, but it is no way to live. When she got married to Jeff and I was immersed in school we started to distance ourselves from each other. It was hard (harder for her, I think) but it was good. I think I would be unable to function if I hadn't slowly started to make a life of my own years ago.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My mom died

Nancy Carol  (August 26, 1947 - September 4, 2009)

I went back to FL to be with her in the final 18 hours of her life. I truly didn't think that I would want to go but when the time came I really felt like I needed to go - for her and for myself. I'm glad that I went. Being with her in those final hours was the most powerful experience of my life. Even more so than giving birth. It has sent me into a tailspin of sorts.

My mom and I had been so close when I was growing up. We have had problems communicating and finding common ground for several years now. There are so many things that contribute to that. Maybe I'll find the strength to write about them objectively here at some point, but not now. Interestingly, when I went to her the day before she died all of that just vaporized and it was like I was 5 years old again and running to my mommy. Her eyes were pleading...for what I don't know. She wasn't ready to die. She told me that she still had so much to do. I told her I loved her and that she was a good mom. She replied, "sometimes I wondered". Sigh.

Now I find myself in foreign territory. I feel so much guilt for every wicked, senseless, stupid thing I ever said or did. Here is the catch: my mom was hurt that I grew up and made a life of my own. That was unavoidable so I don't know what I could have done to prevent it. So you can maybe see the rock and the hard place...The best I can hope for is that I will be much more measured about how I interact with people from now on, especially when I feel frustrated.

Heaven and spiritual matters also loom large in my mind now. Never before have I felt such a driving need to know that heaven is real. I am devouring recollections of near-death experiences to try to reassure myself that she went somewhere better, her anxiety and pain is gone, and that in her newly found divinity she has forgiven me everything. A few hours before she died she spoke the last words I was able to understand, "I am so scared." God couldn't spare an angel or my grandfather to come down and give her comfort? That makes me so angry and disappointed.

The timing couldn't be worse. She has been looking forward to having a grandchild for years and was so excited. They got to meet when Ada was just 3 weeks old. Being so very pregnant and then having a newborn to care for meant that I couldn't come to take care of her or to advocate for her. I had hoped that she might do some of that for herself or that the people around her would be a bit smarter about their decisions for her. In the week that we were there with her I could see the ways that she struggled to not complain when Jeff did things that were so obviously not to her liking. I guess that I just feel like I could have done it better.

Bye, mom. I'll see you again soon. Until then, please watch over my family. XO, M

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Oh, for fuck's sake

I've been gone a while.

My mom was taken for a radical surgery a few weeks before Ada was born. The diagnosis that came from this? Lymphoma, which is probably the cancer that is the most amenable to chemo and has a decent prognosis. She is still having complications from that surgery almost 4 months later and chemo has been delayed time after time... she will probably be dead before Christmas. I have some feelings about this that most people probably would never understand. Really, if you don't understand it then you probably don't have an ambiguous relationship with a family member and you should fall to your knees and thank your lucky stars. I have heard, "At least you have a chance to say goodbye." It's cold comfort.

Ada was born. Life altering. Awe inspiring. All consuming. I love being a mother. She challenges me and fills me up. I worry that I don't have what it takes to do right by her. I hope she doesn't have my bizarre, ugly physical features and terrible personality flaws. I hope she isn't as socially awkward as I am - it's too painful. God help me, I will be unstoppable if anyone tries to hurt her though. Fierce is my love - I've never experienced anything like this kind of love.

I love being on maternity leave. October 4th seems so close :(

About 2 weeks ago I was cleared to start normal activity again. I'm trying really hard to be dedicated and have done well, if I can toot my own horn. In 2 weeks I lost 5.5 pounds and an inch from my waist. Well, 3 weeks after giving birth Tim and I were leaving a pediatrician appointment with Ada in the stroller. An old guy in the elevator asked me when the baby was due. Sigh. Well it happened again tonight.
Tonight I went to a cancer talk at the local veterinary referral practice. In conversation with the hosting practice manager and another woman from the practice he mentions that he is going to take their interns over to my practice for a tour. I asked him to not mention seeing me. "Why not", he asks? Well, I'm on maternity leave. So the lady says, "Oh, when is the baby due?"
Damn it!! I'm 10 pounds from my pp weight and one inch from my waist away from pp measurement. I mean, really? REALLY?? I am no super model but I don't effing look pregnant anymore. I could seriously cry. Ugh. Just when you think it's going well...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Baby Peeper's Birth Story

Labor is hard. Giving birth hurts a lot. The first week home with a new baby is harder than giving birth.

I started having mild contractions on Thursday morning (June 18th). They were totally tolerable - Tim and I went to breakfast at Zazie. As the day wore on the contractions were getting stronger and closer together but not so bad that I couldn't keep doing things. This is where they tell you to resist the urge to be productive and just take a nap instead. I wish I had taken that advice. I started keeping track of them around 1:30 pm. When Tim got home from work we went for a walk because that is supposed to help your cervix dilate, which can take a long time with your first baby. It was comical - I had to stop every few minutes and sit on someone's front steps while I had a contraction. We tried to go to bed but I couldn't sleep. The birthing ball was my friend, walking and moving around was great, and I took 2 showers before we left for the hospital. At around 3:30am I woke Tim up to come help me. I labored at home until 6:30am and then we went to the hospital.

When we arrived I was 100% effaced and 8cm dilated (the walk apparently worked). I was rushed into a L&D suite and everyone anticipated that we would meet our little Peeper by noon. I settled in to our room with a fabulous view, made friends with my nurse and midwife, and continued to labor. Everything was going along just fine until the contractions started getting farther apart and less intense. What's worse is that after a few hours of this I hadn't made any progress when it came to getting my girl toward the exit. They put me on Pitocin. Yeah, I didn't want that but what was I going to do - keep the baby in there forever? As expected, the contractions went back to the former intensity and closeness but still no progress.

I asked for someone to come and check me again because I felt like I wanted to push now or very soon. Turns out my water hadn't completely broken - they broke my water at 1:30pm on Friday. Let me tell you that when that fluid came pouring out it was like a tsunami!! With the next contraction I could feel the baby descend into the birth canal - freaked me out! Transitional labor sucks ass. I spent almost the next 4 hours pushing. And the public pooping was awful but you know how I feel about public pooping. People will try to tell you that you won't notice it. will notice it. We had a lot of trouble going from about 0 to 3+ station - it took forever because she was turned kind of to the side and heading for a face-up delivery. I ended up doing some squatting etc to try to encourage and help her spin back to being face-down.

I was so freaking tired by this point I was having trouble pushing through the whole contraction. I was trying to rest between contractions so my eyes were closed then and during pushing I was squeezing everything so hard that my eyes were shut then too! I didn't notice Tim with a camera. But I did notice him getting really stressed - it takes a lot to make him get frantic. The baby was having late heart rate decelerations and now there was meconium in the amniotic fluid - we were headed for a c-section. I actually was instructed to NOT push during every other contraction. That was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do was not push.

At some point I realized that the room was full of people including the attending, fellow, and resident all crowded between my knees. Pediatrics was hovering in the background in case the baby had aspirated meconium. She crowned finally!! She was there with the maximum circumference of her head lingering at the final exit. Ring of fire is an excellent description. I tried to wait it out until the next contraction and then do the slow, controlled push so I wouldn't tear. Pfft!! Whatever, I couldn't take it anymore so I pushed without the contraction (I did give the fellow warning to get ready) and then she was born!! I'll give it to you straight: it feels pretty weird to have a baby come out of there.

She was born 9 pounds even and 20.5 inches long at 4:54 pm on June 19th. She was whisked off by pediatrics for some length of time I can't even speculate about. It seems like only a couple of minutes but I might have fallen asleep. She was screaming from the very start and her apgars were a 9 so once pediatrics declared her healthy I got to hold my babe. That moment is one that so many say they will remember forever and it's full of emotion etc...I was just so tired and I just couldn't believe she was ours. In an instant I became a mom, Tim became a dad, and this little person was separate from us both after 40 weeks of being tucked inside me. All I could do was stare at her and kiss her forehead. Just surreal. It took about 4-5 days before I didn't feel like I was in the room with someone else's baby and I was just the sitter.

I had a second degree perineal tear that was pretty jagged and weird so it took the fellow some time to suture me up. She was apologizing for taking so long. I said, "Take your time. My vagina is very important to me!" We were her last baby of her fellowship as she was graduating and moving on to private practice the next day! Taking care of that has been's not the end of the world but you know, it's a tender area. Well, we were headed off to the recovery room about 2 hours after delivery. The nurse helped me up to go to the bathroom - I was not prepared to be so debilitated and need so much help. I did that and came back and was waiting for her and Tim to gather all our stuff and woosh - I was standing there and blood poured out. I lost about a liter in all - dropped my hematocrit 10% and into transfusion range. I got some more drugs and that was that. The real effect of the blood loss was on my milk supply but we wouldn't know that until days later.

A word about pain: there seems to be some kind of unspoken competition amongst women about epidural or not. The one advantage I can see to it is that I could have slept and not been so damn tired when it came time to push. There were so many people who expected me to "cave in" - I hate that sentiment. Someone after commented "did you do it just to prove that you could?" Well, yeah I kind of did. Maybe my next labor will be different -there's no telling what is going to happen. I did ask for some drugs shortly after I got to the hospital. Nitrous is used pretty routinely in Europe and they are trying it out at UCSF. I viewed pain relief as a tiered system: I would start with nitrous and if that sucked then I would resort to fentanyl and if that didn't do it I would consider an epidural. Since I was so dilated when I arrived I was told that there probably wasn't time for an epidural so I made the mental switch right there - the epidural was no longer an option so I best make do with what was available. I did use the nitrous and later 3 micro doses of fentanyl. Thank God for opiates.

We finally named the babe - Ada Caroline. Funny, it was driving everyone crazy that we didn't have a name so we drug it out a little farther than we had to. Just savoring the secret.

You know that I've been facinated by the whole question of what turns a woman into a mother. Here is the thing - I am able to talk about other stuff still!! But I am head-over-heels for my kid. I think that pregnancy is where it starts - you can't deny that it's happening even from the very start. Then your body changes and you have a physical reminder all day every day. By the way, my post-partum body is a lot less scary than I thought it would be. For the ladies about to give birth I recommend getting a belly bandit or something like it. Now that she is here it is all-consuming...and delightfully so. I love to just sit and watch her moving around and looking at things. When she cries I want to make it stop but not because it bothers me but because I want her to feel comfortable and happy. I adore her - every hair, every sweet breath, every little noise, all of her. I want to snuggle her all the time and be with her always! I love watching Tim with her too - it is a whole new level of closeness that I couldn't have anticipated. He adores her and is already a great father. It just makes me love him even more deeply.

Monday, March 23, 2009

28 weeks

Me at 28 weeks. Puppet is being very helpful.

Glucose tolerance? I has it. Keep the cookies coming my way and nobody will get hurt.
Anemia?? I has that too. But just a tiny bit so no iron supplements yet. Hooray for pooping!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Before I even started this blog I had once central, burning question about motherhood: what is it in this transformation that makes some women begin to identify exclusively with being a mother at the exclusion of virtually all else? I had intended, in part, for this blog to be something I could look back on to determine if I had become one of those women and to trace the steps of how I got there. Maybe it's because the process itself is so gradual that I haven't come back to touch on this topic yet. A quiet weekend like this gives me time to process what is happening and then chose whatever response I want to manifest as opposed to reacting under stress and exhaustion, which is what I normally end up doing. It's still formative, but here's what I have so far:

I'm fairly prone to egocentric, self-absorbed thinking. In order to nurture another one must be less full ones 'self'. Since becoming pregnant I have observed a shift. My irreversible, unconditional connection to this baby of mine has forced me to turn away from the sense that I am the center of my own (or anyone else's) universe! Losing the familiar boundaries of my own skin and the weight of bearing responsibility for another is disorienting at times. Nevertheless, the death of my own falsely constructed ego that is driven by external circumstances...I do not mourn it! Rather, I think that the construction, maintenance and defense of my own ego has led to great dissatisfaction. I am trying to see this the opportunity to become more connected with something bigger and more meaningful all the while striving to be a person who can talk about something other than my kids. We'll see how this evolves...

Friday, March 6, 2009


Sorry, all. I've been trapped at the SF SPCA for days on end working my fool ass off. I'm not sure if it's a phase of the moon or the season or what but we have been so busy and the cases have been just bizarre! I believe in the mission of where I work but the 12-14 hours a day it takes to make it happen? Not so much.

We did get away last weekend. We left Saturday morning and drove south to the Pinnacles National Monument where we did some light hiking. We carried on to Paso Robles where we stopped at a winery - Tim did some tasting and I did some sniffing. We did manage to get a nice red blend and a Viogner that I am looking forward to in a few months. We got inspired to try to take that trip to Oregon to tase the Pinot Noir's for the season in November! Squee!! We stayed at a B & B in Cambria for the night. We went to the Hearst Castle in the morning - I wasn't expecting to be amazed but I was pleasantly surprised!! It's pretty cool if you ever get a chance to go. Next up was a stop to see the elephant seals - they are done breeding and the moms are all gone but their fatty babies are left behind. We got to stop at the Phoenix for lunch - yum!! We went up to Point Lobos State Reserve for more light hiking and for Tim to check out a diving opportunity. It's quite beautiful there! Then we drove past Carmel and Monterey on our way home Sunday night. It was a short, but nice getaway!
Lazy elephant seals above. To right: Me at 25weeks.
Notice any similarities??

Back to reality, I got home last night a little after 8:00 to find Puppet had a urinary obstruction. We turned around and went back to the clinic to unblock him. Struvites. Puppet is home now - his BUN (30), Cre (2.), and K (3.9) never even went out of range and the urine wasn't bloody so it was a quick turnaround. He's home now much to Frances's disappointment.

Puppet the night before he blocked
checking out our (free) Peg Perego
infant car seat.

Beyond that we are still in super plan and save mode. It's still overwhelming but once again my job has managed to distract me so much that there isn't any time left for something as silly as worrying, planning a future, or having feelings. Pffft!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Registry is finally finished

My goodness...that seriously took days of work. Days. Ridiculous I tell you.

Of course, I'm going based on what all these checklists say you'll need. I'm sure I'll get a few months into it and have to ask myself, "Why on earth did you ever think this was useful?" or "Did you really think you needed 12 of these?" And yes, I leaned toward organic stuff where ever possible, which turns out to be almost everywhere. I'm sure this will bring on a huge load of criticism from my mother who will ask why I can't just buy burp cloths at the dollar store. Well, I guess I could but I don't want to. Luckily between BabiesRUs and Amazon I managed to find everything we need (or think we need) and even some stuff we just want. I am only disappointed that doesn't have a registry. Le sigh.

I am super lucky though- a woman I work with has a 6 month old girl and she has passed down to me several things including tons of clothes, swingy things, bouncy things, playmat things, and yes, even her Peg Perego infant car seat. Nice!

As an interesting aside, to access a registry you have to spell my last name correctly! This should be interesting. I thought that when I took Tim's last name I would be simplifying my life. Ha! So naive...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

She's on the move!

Baby peeper is moving a lot these days! Maybe it has something to do with my own increased energy? I've been feeling her regularly for a couple of weeks now but Tim hasn't been able to feel her at all...until last night. She was moving so much and kicking hard enough for him to feel~ I wish I had a camera to capture the look on his face. It was priceless and so sweet!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

At 5 weeks (above)
At 9 weeks (below)

At 12 weeks (above)
At 18 weeks (below)

At 21 weeks. Notice that I'm not bothering to show any skin anymore. Nobody wants to see that.