Saturday, June 28, 2008


Every mother has a birth story. I was going to say that every baby has a birth story, but those stories aren't really about the babies. That day belongs to the mama. Your life is forever separated into two distinct phases: before I had a baby and after. It's a weighty thing. Try as I might, I can't quite get past the disappointment of having a birth story that was not what I envisioned. The short version: Claire got stuck and ended up coming out many hours later, via c-section. Not many women would hope for such an outcome. All of this time, I thought I was over it. I have Claire and she is fine. I am the one left scarred.

Months later, I went back to the hospital to see a friend with her newborn. I held the baby, talked with her for a few moments and hightailed it out of there so that I could cry in the parking lot. If you haven't had an emergency c-section, you won't understand what it can do to you. It doesn't seem like a big deal. I wonder if I will always feel that the very first thing I did as a mother was a failure? I know that I am a good mother. I know that my girl is fine. But I am scarred. It's a small scar, and I eventually regained feeling there. The sense of fear takes longer to heal.

I have been quiet about the birth of this baby because, honestly, I can't hear any more opinions. I don't want to hear about your aunt whose scarred uterus ruptured and her baby died. I don't want to hear about botched scheduled c-sections and the NICU. I don't want to hear that the most important thing is a healthy baby; obviously, I get that. I have been stuck. Stuck between trying to give birth and scheduling another surgery. Stuck between hospitals and birth centers. Stuck between fear and certainty. I've read all of the books and the websites. I've prayed. I've talked this to death and I am tired of being stuck. I'm tired of not trusting that my body can do this thing that it was designed to do.

Claire's c-section was preventable. Imagine coming out of a major surgery knowing that it was unnecessary and then trying to care for a screaming newborn, while you are unable to rise out of bed unassisted. Imagine thinking about doing that again, all the while listening to the voices that tell you that your scarred uterus is no good. But my scarred body has gone and grown another child. It has healed and held him all of these months, even as I doubt my own ability to do so. Maybe I'm not so scarred. Maybe doing this thing, knowing what I know means I'm not so scarred. Maybe.

Here she is, in all of her glory, the first product of my imperfect reproductive organs. How I love her. How she is worth all of my scars.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

better than nesting.

With 2 months until my due date, rather than spending a lot of money on maternity clothes, I've been ordering shoes online. I love these and I really love that they're going to fit long after I abandon my elastic waist wardrobe. Maybe someday I'll even be able to buckle them unassisted. Not today, though. Today I wore them unbuckled to church until I found a sympathetic friend that was able to reach my feet.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


You drive to a nearby outlet mall with your 2 year old and a friend to pick out a dress for your baby shower. She offered to come and help with the child. You are say, 30 weeks pregnant. You are maybe the tiniest bit cranky. You pick a few things and head to the changing room. Before you can get into the changing room, your perfect size 6 friend decides to try on a few things in the MATERNITY STORE. What do you do, folks?

Just wondering.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Dear Claire,
In your 26th month, you spent almost 2 weeks feverish and sick and were only content when sprawled across my growing belly. I found myself calculating the poundage of baby and toddler pressed upon my bladder. It was more than I normally could stand. We took trips to the doctor's office, we got to know the advice nurse and you developed a fondness for red Tylenol. You were clingy, needy and unpredictable. You threw tantrums. I began to fear that this was your new personality. I'm so glad I was wrong.

Doctor's offices have a way of making mommies feel like idiots. In one of my finer parenting moments, I insisted that you definitely didn't just have a cold, spent 4 hours collecting 2 ounces of your urine and drove across town to have it analyzed. When the results came back, The Dada said I was vindicated. And I was. I know you, Claire. Every night, the last place I go before my head hits the pillow is into your room to watch you breathe. I know you.

Your illness proved to be a nice little distraction from the impending birth of your gigantic brother. It also gave me an opportunity to hold you and rock you in a way I haven't done since you were tiny. You are much too busy now for that sort of thing. But for a couple of weeks this month, you wanted nothing but me and I am glad.

Even sick, you still wanted to sit on the forklift with The Dada and "drive" the JD whenever I'd let you outside. You're hardcore.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

kind and generous.

My good friend, Erin* called a couple of weeks ago with the best offer ever. She said she wanted to watch Claire for a few hours on a Friday morning so that I could get anything done that I needed to do before El Segundo gets here. My answer? HECK YES, sweet, sweet woman. Erin said to think about how I wanted to spend my morning and she'd come over first thing with her 2 kids and entertain mine.

Every single thing I could think of doing involved being at home (cleaning, cooking, decorating the babe's room). I realize that this time is a precious gift because (at least for a while) the party is going to be over after baby gets here. It was seriously impossible to get anything done when Claire was a newborn, and I'm aware that 2 is going to be harder than 1.

So, what would you do with three hours, internet? I'm totally out of practice when it comes to large chunks of time without a wild woman toddler on my hands, and I could use some suggestions. Free time starts first thing tomorrow morning!

*And no, you can't have Erin's phone number.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Mama: What do you want to do today, Clairegirl?
Claire: I pay.
M: Who do you want to play with?
C: I pay with baby. Get out tummy, baby.
M (heart bursts a little): We'll play with him soon, girlie.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

i can't see what anyone sees in anyone else...but you.

Happy Father's Day, Nate. Rest up, round two will be here before we know it. I love you.

Photo courtesy of Jennie Pino

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Somebody's parts are going to be on TV tonight at 8:00 and again on Friday at 8:00.

When a friend mentioned to her non-mechanical husband that Nate's parts were going to be on TLC, he thought she was referring to his parts. Just so we're clear, the parts we're talking about ones that Nate has built and are G-rated.

I loved him before he was famous. We are so proud of the Dada.

Monday, June 09, 2008


If you're tired of her bangs flopping into her eyes, try a barrette. If she's unwilling to wear one, put one in your own hair for about 30 seconds. If she's anything like my girl, she'll NEED one in no time. Genius.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

no amount of coffee.

Claire and I baked this morning. It is not noteworthy that we baked; we are girls who like to bake. It is not unusual that Claire was wearing nothing but a Cars-themed pull-up, nor that we were baking banana bread. Even the background music was the same as it's been. I found myself fighting tears this morning as I watched her attempt to crack eggs and fit the entire kitchen aide mixer into her mouth. Me and her. Her and me. My heart is already so full, I wonder how there could be room for someone I don't know. Yet I am assured that there will be plenty of room for him when it's time. Right now, she fills every bit.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

i'm not sure that plaid bermuda shorts are ever a good idea.

Except maybe when paired with a middle-aged man's beer belly. Then maybe they work. Maybe.*

*Update: tonight a friend mentioned that she saw this picture on the blog and thought that Nate had very smooth legs. For the record: this picture is of me, not Nate. Also for the record: Lyna thinking that it was Nate made me even happier than that one time that Claire lifted Nate's shirt and said, "hi baby."