Monday, December 26, 2005

Merry Christmas

It's been a really nice Christmas here at our house. For the first time we had Christmas with just our little family instead of travelling to be with our parents, and I'm so glad we did. Not that we don't like our families - we actually missed them a lot - but having just the three of us at home together for Sawyer's first Christmas was a cool experience. Megan, Ryan and baby Caroline (who is starting to fill out and get some adorable chubby cheeks) came over on Christmas Eve for dinner. I attempted to make the dishes my mom traditionally serves: roast beef, mashed potatoes, candied yams, green bean casserole, fruit salad, and her incredible homemade rolls. It turned out pretty well I think. Of course, it's never exactly the same as when mom makes it! But it was a lot of fun to spend so much time cooking and putting it all together.

Christmas morning Eric and Sawyer got up early and played while I slept in until 8:00. (If that had been my only present I would have been happy!) After I woke up we opened our gifts. Saywer had a great time tearing open packages and playing with whatever he found inside; even the safety covers for electric outlets were a hit. My amazing husband gave me a new iPod, complete with engraving on the back that says, "Happy Wife, Happy Life". After all the packages were opened we had a big breakfast and went to church (for only an hour - woohoo!) When we got home we had leftovers for lunch and took a long nap. We talked to our families on the phone and then spent the evening watching our new DVDs of "Scrubs" and "Everybody Loves Raymond" while munching on Christmas candy.

Today we stayed in and played with our new toys, and Eric studied for the written part of his CCIE exam, which he's taking in a few days. He's taking this whole week off from work and it's so nice to have him around. I'm realizing how much I like my own family, and how lucky I am to have them.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Ugly Toys, Happy Boy

Before having a baby I swore I would never let my house get taken over by all those ugly, bright plastic toys that seem to clutter up the living rooms of otherwise decorating-savvy young parents. I was unable to keep my promise to myself though. It started before he was born with the Fisher Price Aquarium swing, given to him by his grandparents. It is truly hideous, but he loved it from the start and it was a convenient place to set him down so it ended up right in the middle of our living room. The latest addition - his ExerSaucer. It's so garish it makes the swing look tasteful, but having a place where he can safely play by himself makes uglying up my house totally worth it. He goes absolutely nuts over the blue elephant; I think once he gets teeth that thing is going to be chewed to pieces. So I guess my point here is that life is all about change and compromise, and one of the compromises of parenthood is having ugly toys in your living room.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

24 - The Mommy Version

My name is Chelsea, AKA Mommy. The following takes place on November 15th, 2005. Events occur in real time.

5:47 a.m. I wake up in the dark to the sound of Sawyer cheerfully babbling to himself. "Geesh. Geesh. Geesh. Uh. Uh. Oh." After silently begging him to go back to sleep for a few minutes, I realize that it's not going to happen when Eric comes in from his shower and enthusiastically bounces the bed, making the little munchkin squeal and laugh. Time to get up.

6:02 a.m. Change Sawyer's diaper and get him dressed. Morning is his happiest time of the day so I always feel bad that I'm about as much fun as a snail at such an early hour. I make an effort to be as upbeat as possible by giving him several zerberts and kisses on his cheek.

6:10 a.m. Head downstairs and put Sawyer in his Exersaucer, where he plays joyfully while I watch Fox News and eat a bowl of Fruit Loops (the new breakfast of champions.)

6:30 a.m. Kiss Eric goodbye as he leaves for work. He asks me about some bills I paid and for the millionth time since we got married, I marvel at his ability to think clearly in the morning. At least I know where Sawyer gets his morning perkiness from.

6:48 a.m. Sawyer starts to fuss and wants to be taken out of his Exersaucer. I pick him up and I can tell he's hungry and sleepy. We go upstairs so I can nurse him in bed. When I set him down on the bed and start to pull back the covers he gets all excited, kicking his legs and laughing because he knows what's coming - Eric calls this the Booby Dance.

6:55 a.m. Sawyer falls asleep while nursing, lying on my tummy. YES! Relieved, I gently roll him over onto the mattress, close my eyes and drift off.

9:50 a.m. I wake up again, feeling much more rested than before. Sawyer is lying on his back, grabbing his toes and blowing bubbles. When he sees that I'm awake he grins at me.

10:00 a.m. After another diaper change, we go back downstairs and I set him down in his swing as I put on my tennis shoes and attempt to drag a brush through my hair.

10:05 a.m. I head out for our morning walk, pushing the stroller. It's a gorgeous autumn day. I notice a pile of dog doo on our lawn, which is odd considering that we don't have a dog. One of our neighbors has been letting his/her dog poo on our lawn for a year now. I wonder if we'll ever find out who. I briefly consider calling my brother, the forensic scientist, and asking him to do DNA testing on the poo, but then come to the conclusion that they probably don't have a doggie DNA database.

10:19 a.m. On Sweetbriar Lane I have a brief chat with a neighbor mom who was pushing a brand new baby in a Peg Perego stroller. It's funny how after you have a baby, everyone else who has a baby comes out of the woodwork and suddenly you see moms and babies everywhere. It's a lot easier to talk to strangers too, because you instantly have something in common. I'm momentarily taken aback when she tells me her baby is named "Pablo" - they both have light blond hair.

11:04 a.m. Back home. I hold Sawyer in my lap while I pay bills online and do research on carseats - he has almost outgrown his infant seat. I want a Britax because they are supposed to be the safest, most comfortable ones out there, but I'm still working on justifying the cost ($250+) to Eric. I think I may be able to convince him because most seats have to be replaced once the child is over 35 lbs, but the Britax Marathon can go up to 60 lbs.

11:23 a.m. Bill paying time is over even though I'm not done because Sawyer has a total meltdown. He has very little patience for me being on the computer - it's like he can't understand why I'm staring at that glowing box and ignoring him.

11:30 a.m. Time for Nap #2. This time I nurse him to sleep and sneak off downstairs so I can get some things done. Laundry time!

12:02 p.m. Crap. While carrying laundry I tripped over Eric's shoe in the hallway and woke him up.

12:10 p.m. After nursing him back to sleep I QUIETLY sneak downstairs and continue laundry. While it's washing I download songs from iTunes and chat with the ladies on my LDS Moms discussion board.

12:30 p.m. I have lunch - a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and chocolate milk. I make a grocery list for later.

1:47 p.m. Little guy wakes up. Two good naps - today is a good day!

2:25 p.m. Head out to the grocery store and the post office. Sawyer is not happy about being strapped into his carseat and makes sure I know it. This is why I want to invest in a carseat that is very comfortable for him, it would make my life so much easier if he actually liked being in the car. Luckily the market is just a couple of miles down the street from us.

2:34 p.m. Sawyer is much happier once I get him in his sling and wear him around the grocery store. He gets a big kick out of watching me pick out fruit. he reaches out and tries to grab an apple and when he can't reach it he lets out an unbelievable ear piercing shriek, causing several people around us to laugh.

4:00 p.m. Back from the store with groceries for two weeks. Sawyer falls asleep on the way home so I leave him in his carseat on the floor of the living room while I put things away.

4:11 p.m. He wakes up and is groggy and grumpy. I pick him up, sit in my glider and feed him while I watch Oprah. It's about people who wear the wrong type of jeans and bras for their body. Sawyer is getting worse and worse at nursing while anything is going on around him. He's so curious about what's going on that he constantly turns his head, and he doesn't always remember to let go of my nipple first. OUCH.

5:00 p.m. I take Sawyer upstairs for his third nap, which is usually only about half an hour. I go downstairs and call my mom.

6:00 p.m. He is still asleep! I can start dinner in peace!

6:02 p.m. He's awake. Another diaper change and a quick feed - I guess he didn't eat enough last time thanks to Oprah. Back downstairs to do dinner.

6:04 p.m. We've entered Grumpy Time. The way Sawyer acts in the evening is exactly how I feel in the morning. Ugh.

6:10 p.m. Eric calls to say he's on his way home and that traffic is bad. He can hear Sawyer screaming in the background and I worry that he might turn the car around and head the other direction.

7:00 p.m. Eric is finally home. When I hear his car pull up in front of the house I murmur a silent prayer of thanks. I'm just about at the end of my rope with the little monster. Sawyer momentarily forgets that he's fussy and laughs out loud, kicks his legs and swings his arms when he sees his daddy come through the door. Eric changes his clothes and we sit down to have dinner. We take turns holding Mr. Grumpypants.

7:30 p.m. Eric takes Sawyer upstairs to have his bath and to read him a story, "Curious George and the Bunny". Sawyer likes being read to, but mostly that consists of him trying to grab the book and shove it in his mouth. One day maybe he'll appreciate the stories too and not just the way those cardboard books taste.

7:47 p.m. The little guy is all ready for bed. I lie down with him and nurse him to sleep, then sneak out.

8:15 p.m. Freedom! Eric and I talk for a while, share a bowl of ice cream and watch TV. I get out my scrapbooking stuff and make a new page.

10:02 p.m. I take a bath and read "Yoga Journal" magazine. This is my favorite time of the day. No interruptions, total quiet. Ahhhhhh.

11:00 p.m. Something wakes Sawyer up. I cuddle him back to sleep, which thankfully only takes a couple of minutes.

11:05 p.m. I go back downstairs and watch Season One of "24" which we are renting from Netflix. I wish I could be Jack Bauer! But I wouldn't be nearly as good at torturing people. Plus, I am attracted to men, and Jack Bauer just wouldn't work as a gay guy.

12:00 a.m. I force myself to go to bed. I'm always tempted to stay up way later than I should because it's the only time I'm alone and free to do whatever I want. But I know if I don't set a limit I'll be exhausted tomorrow. When enter our room I have to suppress a giggle because Eric and Sawyer are sleeping in the same position, on their backs with their arms stretched out up over their heads, and they are both snoring. I wish I could take a picture. I nudge Eric to get him to turn over and stop snoring.

12:15 a.m. Asleep...Until the morning.

Monday, October 17, 2005


Since having a baby I watch a lot more TV than I used to. I spend so much time at home now and it's the easiest form of entertainment - I can watch while I'm nursing, folding laundry, bouncing a fussy baby, making dinner, etc. I feel guilty about that, because I don't want to become one of *those* people. Growing up we hardly watched any TV at all. We played outside! We built our own doll houses, made pretend kitchens in the woods, walked to the General Store to get candy, took care of our horses, played with our dogs, etc. Compared to all that we cane up with to do outside, TV was boring. I really want my kids to have the same experience of being active and using their imaginations every day. So I worry about the example I'm setting for Sawyer by always knowing what happened on today's "Oprah." The thing is, there's not really anything else I can do at the same time as all the necessary mom stuff that makes up my day. Occasionally I read while I'm nursing, but I have a hard time focusing into a book when there are constant distractions, as there always are with a baby. Watching reruns of "Malcolm in the Middle" is much more doable. So for now, the boob tube (pun intended) is my main source of entertainment, and sad as it may be, having a few shows I keep up with gives me something to look forward to in an otherwise fairly monotonous week.

By far my favorite right now is "Lost". Eric and I started watching it on the second episode of the first season and we've been hooked ever since. Everything about this show is so well done. The premise is one that's been done a million times: a plane crashes and the survivors are stranded on a desert island where they have to learn to cooperate in order to survive. This is no ordinary island though. Strange, sometimes miraculous things keep happening, including the intrusion of a "monster" which has never been seen but is definitely there. The brilliance of the show is its method of character development. Each episode is dedicated to one of the 16 main characters. As events unfold on the island, periodically there are flashbacks into the life of the character before he or she was stranded. These memories always tie into the current happenings on the island, sometimes in profound ways. At the end of each episode I can't believe that I have to wait an entire week to see what will happen next. ADQ and Sara come over every Wednesday night to watch with me, and that's definitely a highlight of my week.

On the comedy side, my favorite is "The Office". I'm a big fan of the BBC version so I was skeptical about how the American series would turn out. The critics haven't been enthusiastic, but I've been pleasantly surprised. It is a different (more American) sort of humor, but just as hilarious. Steve Carrell plays the bumbling, ego-centric boss, and he does it in his own way, which is snort-Sprite-through-your-nose funny, and also a bit more likeble than Ricky Gervais' character in the British version. (My favorite quote from a couple of weeks ago: "I'm a night owl and an early bird, so that means I'm wise, and I have worms.") If you haven't seen it, the humor is a bit hard to describe, but if you've ever worked in an office before you will recognize every character and the situations are excruciatingly funny.

Those are my two must-see shows, at least until the new season of "24" starts in January. I have others I like, like "Wife Swap" on ABC, "Extreme Makeover Home Edition", "Prison Break," and the occasional episode of "South Park." My sister is always trying to get me into "Desperate Housewives" and "Alias" but I am resisting, because I figure I watch more than enough TV already. One of these days I'll get a cooler hobby, but for now, thank goodness for J.J. Abrams!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Just Had to Share

...some new pictures of my little goofball.

These days he is always in a bib because of the torrent of drool that constantly issues from his cute little mouth. His Aunt Megan calls it his "signature accessory."

He loves to hug his teddy bear...but even more he loves to suck on its nose. So nipple-like!

Here he is pondering the meaning of the existence of his hands (like his mom, he is VERY deep.)

There is nothing cuter than the indignity of a baby in a striped knit cap.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I Heart Matt

I think one of the hardest things about moving to a new area is finding a new hairstylist. In my experience, a good stylist is even harder to find than a good date. In college I had a great one named Jace. He was Japanese and hardly spoke any English, but MAN could that guy do hair! His specialty was color and I've never been so pleased with my highlights as when he did them.

After moving back to the east, I found myself once again without a stylist. I went to several different places with no luck. Then my sister recommended a hair academy near us. I was skeptical, but after my first appointment I was sold. This place is fabulous. Working in the salon is the last thing the students do before graduating, so they really know their stuff, and they all leave to go work in upscale salons where they charge $100 for a haircut. The prices are amazing too - $16 for a cut and style, and around $40 for color, depending on how much they have to use. The only drawback is that you have to be willing to spend at least a couple of hours there, since they really take their time, but I think it's worth it, especially for the price.

I've been there a few times and have always been pleased with the results, but I'm pretty sure that last time I found my stylist, a totally cute guy named Matt. He's working on his master's degree. He is gayer than the day is long, which in itself is enough to recommend him; it's probably totally un-PC to say this, but I'm sorry - gay men make the best hairstylists. There's no comparison, really. When it comes to stylists, I feel like Homer Simpson: "I like my beer cold, my TV loud, and my homosexuals fuh-LAM-ing." To give you an idea of just how gay he is, he already has degrees in make-up application and color, and in his spare time he does pageant consulting for Miss America contestants. And - I'm not making this up - his last name is pronounced "Girlie." Matt knows more about hair than anyone I've ever met, and he's completely passionate about it, which is so cool to see. He told me that he used to be a clinical nurse but after 10 years "I needed to do something where I could let my spirits soar!" And soar they do. The whole time he was working on my hair he danced around my chair singing along to the songs that came on the salon's stereo - when Erasure's "Chains of Love" came on I had to hold on to the armrests. He gave me eyebrow advice and I wanted to take notes because he has the most beautifully shaped eyebrows I have ever seen. When he was finished with my hair I absolutely loved it and Matt was even more excited than I was about how it turned out. "Oh sweetie!" he kept saying, "you look GORGEOUS! Totally Jennifer Aniston!" How could that not make my day? I've been feeling so shlumpy lately and spending a couple of hours with Matt was exactly what I needed. Now I've found my stylist. At least, until he graduates.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


I did the dumbest thing today. I was on my way out the door to visit my sister in the hospital (she's 26 weeks pregnant now and her water broke prematurely so she's now on hospital bedrest for the duration of the pregnancy. Please keep her and baby Caroline in your prayers.) At the last minute I remembered that my purse was upstairs, so I set Sawyer down in his carseat and run up to get it. On my way down my right foot slipped out from under me and I fell onto my butt/back and bumped all the way down our 12 steep, hardwood stairs. OUCH!!! I'm all banged up and in serious pain now. I might go to the doctor tomorrow but my guess is all they can do for me is give me painkillers that aren't good to take while breastfeeding, so I'll probably just take extra strength Tylenol and deal with it. I am so mad at myself for 1) being such a clutz and 2) wearing stupid shoes that hardly have any traction for the sake of fashion. On the other hand, I'm SO glad I didn't have Sawyer in my arms when I fell. He saw the whole thing happen from his carseat and just looked at me like, "Geez mom, what did you do that for?"

Friday, August 19, 2005

First Words

Thanks everyone for your kind words about Walker. No official cause of death yet; we're still waiting for the lab results to come back. Anne, I'm so sorry you lost your cat too. They really do become a part of the family. I still miss him every day.


On Tuesday, Sawyer said his first words. He looked me right in the eye and said, "Ga ba, ga bee, ggggg [spit bubble, gurgle]." OK, so those aren't technically real words, but still, I was so proud of him! This morning he woke up and immediately started babbling and cooing at the ceiling, kicking his legs and grinning from ear to ear. It was so cute that I didn't even mind that it was 5:45. He's also recently discovered his hands, so he combines these two interests by holding his hands close to his face and talking to them, then shoving them into his mouth.

I had a discussion with my sister Megan the other day about first words. She said that her mother-in-law insists that her son's first word was "basketball." Apparently he watched his dad play so much that he picked up on that before anything else. Suddenly I feel like I have to be careful what I expose Sawyer to. How embarrassing would it be if his first words were "Ryan Seacrest" or "Extreme Makeover"? Or what if it's something vulgar I say to Eric, trying to be funny? (Has anyone seen Meet the Fockers?) When my baby sister (now 11, but still very much the baby of the family) was three she went through a phase where she would watch The Princess Bride every day. She probably had the whole thing memorized, but the one line she would repeat was from the scene where Inigo Montoya finally gets his revenge on the Six-Fingered Man: "I want my father back, you son of a bitch!" complete with a Spanish accent and a menacing grimace. It was pretty entertaining to see her say that in front of guests, especially if they were coming to see my dad for a temple recommend interview. Hmm...maybe I should enjoy the pre-verbal stage while it lasts. But I can't wait to hear what Sawyer is going to say.

Monday, August 08, 2005

For Walker

It's been a rough couple of days. Yesterday morning my cat Walker suddenly and unexpectedly died. He was only a year old and apparently in excellent health. I'd had a long night with Sawyer so I stayed home from church by myself to try and get some rest. Walker had been playful and frisky all morning, attacking my feet as usual and playing with his favorite toy. He followed me upstairs when I went to go lie down. As soon as I had crawled into bed I heard Walker in my closet, meowing very low and quiet. I called him and he didn't answer me or come so I knew something was wrong. I jumped up and ran to the closet where I found him collapsed on the floor, not breathing and with no pulse. For several minutes I tried to resuscitate him, but he was already gone.

Today I drove out to the state lab to have a necropsy performed. The vet who did the examination couldn't find anything wrong, apart from him being a little on the heavy side (I'm sure all that butter was to blame for that). We'll get the lab results back in a couple of weeks but for the moment his sudden passing is a complete mystery.

I miss him so much. We got him right before starting IVF and I totally believe that I owe my ability to deal emotionally with that whole process in large part to him. The day after transfer when I was on bedrest he spent the whole time cuddled up next to me in bed. He had such a fun, quirky personality. I didn't realize before how involved he was in my daily routine, but now that he's gone I notice a huge absence. He would be underfoot while I cooked, he curled up on the side of the tub when I read in the bath, every time I went up or downstairs he would run next to me (several times I nearly fell down the stairs because of him), and he was always there by the door to greet me when I would come home after being out. At night when my foot dangled over the edge of the bed he would sneak up on it and attack. I would yell and he'd scramble off, highly pleased with himself. Funny how now I miss that.

I had a conversation with a friend a while back who had called me shortly after her dog had died. I tried to console her by saying that she would see her dog again in the next life. She immediately disagreed with me and said that her pastor had told her that there are no animals in heaven. I feel intuitively that this can't be right. Why would God create such a variety of life just to have it all cease to exist? Isn't everything God does eternal? When I later went to the scriptures I was comforted to find that Doctrine and Covenants 77 backs me up on this.

2: in...heaven, the paradise of God, the happiness of man, and of beasts, and of creeping things, and of the fowls of the air; that which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal; and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual; the spirit of man in the likeness of his person, as also the spirit of the beast, and every other creature which God has created.

Following verses go on to describe resurrected creatures living "in the enjoyment of their eternal felicity" and "full of knowledge" with "power to move, to act." I doubt it's part of our official doctrine, but I believe in my heart that the relationships we form in this life with our pets will continue in the next. And I believe that includes my Walker. I hope when I pass over to the other side that he's one of the first waiting to greet me, just like he used to wait by the door for me to get home every day.

I'll be seeing you, my friend.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Mean Grandma

I've been back from the family reunion at the beach for a week now and I'm just starting to recover. Well, not really. But doesn't it seem like you're more tired when you get back from a vacation than you were before you left? Maybe it's just me. It was actually a lot of fun. I'm glad I went. It was great to see my aunt and uncles and cousins. It's the first year I can remember where there wasn't a major family altercation, so that's always a plus. We normally stay for a full week, and this time we were only there for 5 days. My new theory is that 5 days is the limit on how long we can stand each other; any more than that and watch out! It was fun seeing my extended family interact with Sawyer. He's the first baby in the new generation, so he got plenty of attention.

The one amusing anecdote I can report happened on the way down to North Carolina (although amusing may not be the best word for it since I'm still pissed off about it). I was caravaning with my parents and sisters and like every year we stopped over in Williamsburg to visit my grandmother. We have a nickname for her but for the purposes of this blog I'll call her Mean Grandma. (Those of you who have been reading for a while might remember that last year she told me I had gotten fat within 10 minutes of our arrival.) This year was even worse because her, shall we say, unpleasantness was directed towards my baby. The evening we arrived we were sitting in her living room and my mom and sisters were taking turns holding Sawyer. Keep in mind that they live in Utah and rarely get to see him. Mean Grandma came into the room with a blanket and told my mom to put the baby on the floor because we were holding him too much and he was going to get spoiled! That is so wrong to me on so many levels. I mean, he's not even 3 months old, he can't sit up or crawl or even flip himself over, so what's he going to do on the floor?? And how on earth is he going to get spoiled by being held by his grandma, who he almost never sees?? My mom politely declined and said "Thanks, but I like holding him." Mean Grandma scowled and put the blanket away. The real shock came later, when she got her panties in a twist because I held Sawyer during dinner. She glared at me during the whole meal. The way she was acting you would have thought I'd brought my pet python to the table. I mean honestly, he's a baby! Note to self: next year skip the trip to Mean Grandma's! She doesn't like me, I don't like her, and I doubt that's going to change in this life. Yeah, it's sad, but I feel like it's not worth the effort to try to get her to like me. Is that wrong? When she starts being mean to my child, that's pretty much the end of the line for me. I don't want him exposed to that crap. Needless to say, I was extremely proud of him when he let out a huge fart during dessert. Way to go, son!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Off to Carolina

I want to give a shout out to Kristine of BCC, who gave me some of the wisest advice I've received yet.
Be patient with yourself and exult in what your body can *do*--creating and sustaining an entire new being is nothing to sneeze at!--and try hard to worry less about how your body looks.

Thanks Kristine for giving me a better perspective on this! I'm going to make an effort to focus on that from now on - especially as I'm sitting on the beach in a bathing suit next week (gasp!)

As of tomorrow I'm going to disappear for a while because once again it's time for the annual family reunion at the Outer Banks. My family is flying here from Utah and I'm really excited to see them. My parents are both a lot happier since my dad's judgeship was confirmed! Last year was kind of a nightmare because he was so stressed. I'll be back with hilarious anecdotes about my dysfunctional extended family, as always.

Friday, July 08, 2005


I've been MIA lately, once again. It seems that once I get out of the habit of blogging every couple of days I forget to post for weeks on end. This time it was started by a trip out of town. Eric had to go to Las Vegas for Cisco's Networkers conference, so I booked a flight and took Sawyer to Utah to visit my family. My younger sisters who live there had never met him before so it was a great opportunity to spend some time together. It was a wonderful trip. Sawyer was terrific on the plane - I just kept him in his sling and he was content almost the entire time. The whole time we were in Utah my family fought over who got to hold Sawyer - I had to practically pry him away from my sisters in order to feed him. And my mom was equally enamored with him. I'd get up with him at 6:00 a.m. only for my mom to get up, take him away from me and tell me to go back to sleep. Talk about a nice break! My parents also invited a bunch of old friends over for a barbeque, which was a blast. Leave it to my mom to volunteer to make hamburgers, potato salad, and homemade ice cream for 25+ people! I also had lunch with my online buddy group from Fertility Friend. Several of them had had their babies recently and it was so much fun to see them all.

The day after I got back, ADQ and Sara came into town so they could scope out apartments. We hung out for an afternoon and it made me so excited for them to move here.

Other than that I've just been mothering 24/7. I love it so much. I can't believe I haven't always been a mom. It has been a challenge to try to get anything done around the house though. One night Eric sat me down and asked me if we could work out a new system of dividing the housework, because the current system (i.e. me doing everything) obviously was not working. I just laughed, because only a few hours before I had been thinking to myself "wow, I'm really staying on top of things!" My feelings were hurt for a while, but it turned into a good thing, because I got organized and made a chore list that actually included Eric. He'll rue the day he complained!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Baby Laughs, Star Wars, and Scrubs

In the spirit of OSC's great column at, I thought I'd start blogging about my opinions of books, movies and various products. Not that I'm an expert on any of those things, but if you're reading my blog you might care what I think, right? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?


Since I'm a new mom, I've naturally been doing a lot of reading about babies. It was around my seventh month of pregnancy that I realized that I knew quite a bit about being pregnant - I had Dr. Sears' The Pregnancy Book and What to Expect When You're Expecting practically memorized (I loved the first, hated the second) - but I had absolutely no idea what to do with a baby once it was outside of me. So I started reading up and haven't stopped since. I picked up a copy of Baby Laughs by Jenny McCarthy (the former host of the dating show "Singled Out" on MTV) because several new moms had recommended it to me. Now that I've read it, I really wonder why. As it turns out, Jenny McCarthy isn't a very good writer. (I know, what a shock.) At the turn of every page I kept thinking, "I could have done better than this!" Not only is the writing bad, but she is seriously un- or misinformed about nearly every subject she addresses. She talks about the fact that breastfeeding can cause saggy breasts and how she decided not to breastfeed so hers still look fine. Guess what, Jenny? It's not bottle feeding that's keeping your ladies perky; it's the GIANT IMPLANTS inside of them. She mentions her implants several times elsewhere in the book, so it shouldn't have been hard for her to put two and two together. I guess hosting an MTV dating show doesn't make you a parenting expert. Anyway, maybe this is snobby of me, but I generally like to have the illusion preserved that the author whose book I'm reading is smarter than I am. So if you're looking for a book about being a new mom, skip Baby Laughs.

A great alternative is Vicki Iovine's The Girlfriends' Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood. It's well written, very funny, and even has a lot of useful information. It's also unique in that it mainly addresses how to take care of yourself during the first year rather than how to take care of your baby. Iovine has written a whole series of "Girlfriends'" books, including The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy (Everything Your Doctor Won't Tell You) and The Girlfriends' Guide to Getting Your Groove Back, and they are all equally funny and informative.


As I mentioned in a previous post, Eric, Sawyer and I went to see Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith a few weeks ago. Like so many others, we've been Star Wars fans since we can remember - literally, since we were born the year after A New Hope was released.(By the way, did you know that A New Hope's original title was Adventures of the Starkiller? True story.)And also like many others, we were disappointed in Episodes I and II. We both liked Sith a lot more. Finally, some character development! Yeah, OK, the script was still awful, but I felt like the story was good enough that even the worst lines were forgivable. By the end I felt empathy for Anakin/Darth, which I wouldn't have thought possible before. He faced the ultimate ethical dilemma: will you do the right thing even if it means losing the person you love the most? Watching him make the wrong choice was absolutely heartbreaking. Eric was depressed for the rest of the evening - I think the whole wife-dying-in-childbirth thing hit a little too close to home. Speaking of the childbirth scene, is it just me or did Padmé look about 4 months pregnant while she was in labor? I laughed when they held up two chubby 8 pound babies. Where was she keeping them?


For the past week I've been watching the first season of Scrubs, which recently came out on DVD. I spend so much time nursing these days that I set up the glider in front of the TV and now as soon as I'm set up I just hit play and watch an episode at a time. I'm convinced that Scrubs is one of the most underrated shows ever. The writing is clever and funny in a quirky way you don't often see in a 30 minute show. It has Zach Braff. And it often gets musical! Here are a few of my favorite clips.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

If You Want My Body, And You Think I'm Sexy, Come on Baby, Let Me Know... one?

So I'm having some body issues. While I was pregnant I felt fine, because pregnant women are supposed to look huge and bloated. Now that I've been unpregnant for over a month, I'm getting impatient for things to get back to normal. I gained 30 lbs during the pregnancy, and I've lost 20 so far. Sounds great, right? Well yeah, until you know that I started out the pregnancy about 20 lbs heavier than I should have been. So, 20 lbs lost, 30 to go. Man, that's almost as depressing as already having my period back (oh yeah, I saw the doctor today, and everything is fine; she is 99% sure the bleeding is in fact a period. I have 30 day cycles, and the bleeding started exactly 30 days after delivery. Apparently I'm the queen of period regularity. YAY.) I've had a slight weight issue since I got married. I know, go ahead, point and laugh at the girl who got married and got fat. It's embarrassing because it's such a cliche!

Actually, now that I think about it, it wasn't getting married that did it to me. I didn't really start to gain weight until we had been married for a year and I graduated from BYU. During college I was very active. I walked several miles a day getting to and from classes, and I usually had one or two dance or PE classes that kept me moving. After graduating, I didn't have to walk anywhere and I didn't have classes to make me get off my butt, and basically I got lazy. Add to the mix the stress of infertility, moving to a place where I didn't have any friends, and a post-graduate identity crisis and it's pretty obvious that I was set up to get a permanent case of the munchies.

I'm ready for a change now. It's time to get serious and get moving, because if I don't lose it before the next pregnancy, it's a slippery slope to becoming Fat Mormon Lady.

On the brighter side, here's a new picture of my little boy. He makes getting fat TOTALLY worth it!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Hallelujah! And Ugh.

The most amazing thing has occurred. For two nights in a row, Sawyer has slept for six hours straight! Without waking up for a feeding! And without waking me up at all! I can't even describe how good I felt this morning after having that much uninterrupted sleep. In my former life, six hours would have been a terrible night and I would have been grumpy for the rest of the day, but now that same amount of sleep is like manna from heaven. I'm not counting on this becoming a regular occurrence yet since he's still so little, but I'll take what I can get!

On the down side, I have to go to my doctor to get checked out tomorrow. After tapering off last week, my postpartum bleeding has returned (I know, ew) and it's a lot heavier than it should be (double ew). The nurse I spoke to on the phone today said she thought either I have been overexerting myself, or my period has already come back. Good heavens. I hope it's the former, because having Aunt Flo show up again this early when I'm exclusively breastfeeding would be too depressing for words.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


Sawyer is one month old today. I can't believe it's already been that long! He's already growing and changing so much. Here are some of his firsts:

1) His first bottle. I am something of a purist when it comes to breastfeeding and I was reluctant to introduce the bottle too soon for fear that it would cause nipple confusion (that sounds like the title of a risqué film, but I promise it's not) and make breastfeeding more difficult. But reality soon set in that if we never gave him a bottle, Eric would never be able to help with feeding him. Since Sawyer is one of those babies who wants to eat all the time, I get burned out on nursing pretty quickly, especially after a night where he's on a feeding marathon from 12 to 6 a.m. It turns out my fears were completely unfounded: Sawyer is a pro at both breast and bottle. I guess he likes food enough to get it any way he can. So the plan is for me to pump a few ounces a day so Eric can give him a bottle in the evening.

2) His first movie. When he was three weeks old we braved the theater and took him to see Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. We'll make him a sci-fi geek if it's the last thing we do! He did great and slept almost the whole time, except for once when he woke up hungry and I fed him right in my seat without having to get up. I would have felt weird about that except that it was a Wednesday and no one was sitting near us.

3) His first smile. He's smiled in his sleep ever since he was born, but he's just now starting to smile socially. When he looks at me and gives me a goofy, lopsided grin it makes my whole day worthwhile. We'll do pretty much anything to see that smile.

4) His first social outing. A group of women in my ward have a playgroup on Wednesdays and I took him this week. "Playgroup" is sort of a misnomer, since the other kids are all between 6 months and 1 year old; it's really for the moms. I like the women in my ward. Everyone is friendly and open and not at all clique-y. And it was nice to get out for a while and have some adult conversation, even if all we talked about was our babies.

5) His first bath. We gave him his first bath at a week old, right after his umbilical cord stump had fallen off. I take a bath every night to help me unwind (and also to make my Lovenox shot hurt less - I'm still taking those) and Eric brings him up to me and plunks him in. He loves it. No matter how fussy he is, he quiets right down as soon as he's in the water and screams when he's taken out. We have a little fishy on our hands.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Stuff I'm Learning

Our good friends Aaron and Katy recently sent us a really cool gift. It's a book called The New Parents' Book of Firsts: The Seemingly Insignificant but Truly Astounding Accomplishments of Mom and Dad. Instead of being about baby's first steps or first projectile vomiting incident, it has pages to record the things mom and dad do along the way, like "The First Time You Used Your Own Saliva To Clean Your Baby's Face." There really is a lot of stuff you learn from the birth experience and the early weeks of caring for a new baby. Here's some of what I've picked up so far.

1) Labor really does hurt. A lot. Sorry Elaine, but it's true! I can't lie to you. I was expecting it to be painful, but nothing could have prepared me for what it was actually like - and I thought my pain threshold was pretty high considering that I have endometriosis and suffer through terrible cramps every month. It really is true though that as soon as it's over you know it's more than worth it because the reward at the end is so great. I was ready to do it all again the next day. And this may be my hormones talking, but I am so grateful that I got to experience that pain. It's totally empowering to go through what millions of women have gone through and to know that I survived it! (at least for those six hours before I caved in and begged for drugs.) And it also makes me really really really grateful for whoever invented the epidural.

2) Sleep deprivation is a really big deal. I have to admit I severely underestimated how this would affect me. I thought, "OK, so I'll be a little tired for a while." It never occurred to me that there's a good reason they use sleep deprivation to torture prisoners of war. In reality, I'm walking around like a zombie most of the time. It affects every aspect of life, from my ability to think logically to my fantasies. All of my daydreaming now consists of visions of being tucked up in bed and sleeping for eight hours straight. Which leads to my next observation.

3) 2 hours + 2 hours + 2 hours does NOT = 6 hours of sleep. There's a scientific explanation for this, involving the importance of REM and deep sleep cycles, but my head is much too muddled to sort through it right now.

4) I love breastfeeding. I always planned on breastfeeding Sawyer, but I had no idea how much I would enjoy it, or how easy it would be. I guess I'd heard so many horror stories from my mom friends that I was prepared for it to be difficult and painful to master. So it totally surprised me that aside from one day of engorgement, it's been a breeze. It helps that Sawyer is a voracious eater and has had great latching-on skills from the start. Given our love of food, I should have known we'd have a gourmet on our hands. Breastfeeding produces some funny stories too. A couple of days after my milk came in I was feeding Sawyer and not really paying attention to him because I was reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy at the same time. I suddenly noticed he was making a sputtering sound, and I looked down to see that he had let go of my nipple and milk was spraying all over him - on top of his head, in his eyes, everywhere. Poor little guy.

5) I love having Sawyer sleep in our room. I remember when Eric and I were engaged and we were visiting an old mission companion of Eric's who is married and has a little boy. The friend mentioned that their son (who was almost 2 at the time) sleeps in their bed with them. Eric and I looked at each other and later both agreed that we thought it was weird and maybe even a little creepy. Now it's not at all weird to me and feels like the most natural thing in the world - which it actually is. Our culture is unique in the world when it comes to putting babies to sleep in a separate room from their mothers. We have a great little bed for him called the Arm's Reach Co-sleeper (endorsed by Dr. Sears, author of many informative and only slightly self-righteous parenting books.) It attaches to the side of our bed so when Sawyer wakes up at night I can roll over and pick him up to feed him or comfort him. I love that he is right next to us and I can always open my eyes and make sure he's OK. Plus I can feed him as soon as he wakes up and starts grunting, but before he gets hysterical crying, so he goes back to sleep easily. We'll see what happens when it comes time to move him to his own room, but for now this is working really well for us.

And I'm sure I'll have a lot more to share soon! For now I'll be sitting slack-jawed on the couch in the same clothes I wore yesterday, waiting for Eric to get home so I can take a shower.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Sawyer's Birth Story

It started on Wednesday, May 4. I had a midwife appointment that morning and after my internal exam (where I'm pretty sure she stripped my membranes) I had lots of cramping throughout the day. I also had some leaking that I thought might be amniotic fluid, but I wasn’t sure because there was such a tiny amount of it. But I definitely felt like something was different, so that night I decided to skip my Lovenox shot just in case. It’s a good thing I did, because at 2:30 a.m. my water broke. I had just made a trip to the bathroom and as I got back into bed I sat up partway to adjust myself and get comfortable. All of a sudden I felt a gush of warm water. It took me about 5 seconds to register what had just happened. I woke Eric up and said “My water just broke!” and jumped out of bed. When he asked “Are you sure?” I just laughed because at that point I was standing in a puddle. There was no mistaking what had happened! We called Margie, the midwife on call and she told us to come to the hospital so they could check me. Eric took a quick shower and I got dressed. I was still leaking a ton of fluid so I wore a short dress with a towel stuffed between my legs. I was glad it was in the middle of the night so none of the neighbors could see me waddling out of the house in that condition. Before we left, Eric gave me a blessing that I would be able to cope with the pain and that everything would go smoothly, and that was very comforting.

I started having contractions on the way to the hospital. They were mild and about 4-5 minutes apart, so I had no problem breathing through them, although some of the bumps we hit didn’t feel very good. Mostly I was excited to get my baby here and I wasn’t thinking too much about the pain. When we arrived at the hospital at 3:00 a.m. they had us sign some forms and put us in a labor and delivery room. They checked with a pH strip and confirmed that my water had broken. I was less than a centimeter dilated, 50% effaced and my contractions were still very mild. Margie and Dr. Giamittorio discussed sending me home to wait for things to get into gear, but since there was a possibility that my water may have been leaking since earlier in the day they decided to keep me and get things moving - the risk of infection increases greatly if the baby isn’t delivered within 24 hours of the membranes rupturing.

While Lynn, my labor and delivery nurse started my IV, Margie put some prostaglandin gel on my cervix to ripen it, with the plan of starting pitocin a few hours later. The pitocin turned out to be unnecessary though, because within 10 minutes of the gel being applied my body went into high gear. The contractions were instantly extremely strong and less than 2 minutes apart. I managed the pain by walking around the room and holding on to Eric while I swayed my hips back and forth. Lynn was incredible and talked me through the difficult contractions, held my hand and rubbed my back. I was having back labor and the pain was quickly getting hard for me to manage, even with so much support from Eric and my nurse. After about 4 hours I was desperate for relief. I asked for an epidural, but Margie and the doctor both felt it was too early, so instead they gave me a shot of Nubain to help me get through for a little longer. Lynn put some in my IV and injected some in my hip. It helped a lot at first. The contractions were just as painful as before, but I was able to relax between them which I hadn’t been able to do previously. The downside was that I had to stay in bed and I wasn’t able to move around like I had done before; in hindsight, this took away a lot of my ability to cope with the contractions.

About 45 minutes later the Nubain wore off and they gave me another dose. This time it was completely ineffectual. I felt dizzy and disoriented with no relief. It was around this point that I felt like I was losing control. I asked for an epidural again, so Margie came in to check me and see what kind of progress had been made in the last 5 hours. Given the strength of my contractions and the pain I was in I was shocked to hear that I was still only one centimeter dilated! My cervix hadn’t budged. Margie told me to hang in there for a few more hours and they would think about an epidural. She was worried having one this early would stall my labor. At this point I was feeling completely desperate and the thought of going through this for hours more sounded like a death sentence. Lynn was quite upset that my doctor wouldn’t let me have the epidural because she could see how much pain I was in. She said “I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I know when someone needs an epidural; you need one.” I was so tense from the pain that I couldn’t let my body relax and do its job. After another half hour of screaming and gripping the sides of the bed (I was squeezing so hard that my blood started flowing backwards in the IV) Lynn called Margie in to sit with me for a while. After a few minutes she left, and came back to say that they had called for the anesthesiologist.

At a little after 9:00 he arrived. I’ve never been so glad to see a huge needle in my life! He worked very quickly and I wanted to kiss him and name my child after him. (Unfortunately I was too disoriented to remember his name; in fact I have no idea what he even looked like.) At about 9:10 I told Lynn, “Either I just wet the bed or amniotic fluid is gushing out.” She said “It’s fluid, because right now you’re at the peak of a huge contraction.” If I had been able to I would have jumped up and done a happy dance. The pain was completely gone! I was able to feel and move my legs and I could feel pressure from the contractions, but they didn’t hurt at all. Eric said he had never seen such a transformation in his life. A few minutes later I was eating a popsicle and chatting with my mom on my cell phone. I was even able to doze off a bit, but I was way too excited to actually sleep. In a way it was completely weird to have no unpleasant sensations, and yet be very aware that my body was doing some really hard work. My contractions didn’t slow down one bit but continued exactly the way they had before, strong and fast. Eric and I talked, he played with my hair and rubbed my back and the time passed very pleasantly. It was so nice to have those quiet moments together before our son was born.

At around 1:00 p.m., Margie checked me again. I was dilated to 5 centimeters! Things kept moving along at a moderate pace, about a centimeter an hour. The baby’s heart rate started to decelerate too much when I was on my left side, so they had my lie on my right side for the rest of the labor. At about 6:00 I started feeling a lot of pelvic pressure and I could tell the baby’s head was moving down. Margie had left and Karen was the midwife who took her place. I had a new nurse too, Rachel, who had a quirky sense of humor and kept making us laugh. At 6:40 the pressure became more intense (but hallelujah, still no pain!) and when Karen checked I was fully dilated and ready to push. They figured it would take a while since this was my first delivery, so Rachel said “Let’s try pushing and see how it goes.” Eric held one of my legs and Rachel held the other. We waited for a contraction, and on my first push the nurse announced “He’s a blondie!” His head was already visible and it was clear that it wasn’t going to take that long for him to be born. They called Karen back in and set up a mirror so I could see. It was so amazing to watch! I pushed for 20 more minutes. It was hard work, but felt so empowering; in sharp contrast to just dealing with the pain, I was DOING something and I could see that it was productive.

Karen was suddenly called out on an emergency, so I got my third midwife, Sue. We had a bit of a scare when the baby was close to crowning and his heart rate suddenly decelerated. Sue decided he needed to come out as quickly as possible, so she had a nurse apply fundal pressure, which basically means this lady put all her weight on my stomach with her elbows to push the baby out from above. It hurt a lot and I could barely breathe, but I pushed as hard as I could and within a couple of pushes his head was out. He had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, which explained the decelerations. His shoulders came out easily, and Sue helped me reach down and pull his body out and pull him up onto my chest. It was the most indescribably amazing moment I’ve ever experienced. I cried and laughed at the same time and Eric couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear. Little Sawyer didn’t cry at all, just whimpered a few times, and then looked around the room completely alert like he was just taking it all in.

He weighed 6 lbs 5 oz and was 17 ½ inches long – well over a pound smaller than the lowest ultrasound estimate. His Apgar scores were 9 and 9. I held him and nursed him for about an hour before they took him to the nursery for a bath. I was (and still am) completely overwhelmed with love for him. I was in awe of how perfect and tiny he was and that he was mine.

My mom came into town the next day - she had been planning on coming out for the birth, but Sawyer’s early arrival took us all by surprise. On Saturday they let us go home from the hospital and we’ve been getting settled in ever since, getting to know Sawyer and learning to how care for him.

My birth experience was wonderful and I feel like I could do it ten more times! (You should see the look on Eric’s face when I say that, it’s really funny.) Now that we have Sawyer home I am growing more and more in love with him every day. Eric and I feel closer than ever before and we can’t wait to see who this precious little person grows up to be.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Welcome Home, Sawyer

Sorry I haven't posted for a few days - but I've had a really good excuse. Our baby is here!

William Sawyer Watts was born at 7:06 p.m. on Thursday May 5th (his great-grandpa William's birthday!) weighing 6 lbs 5 oz, 17 1/2 inches long. Labor and delivery went very smoothly and we are both exhausted but doing great. I'll post the whole birth story later; right now I have a baby at my breast and I'm not very good at typing with one hand. Sawyer is already the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. I can't believe how precious he is and how much I already love him.

Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Great News

I've known this for a while, but I'm just now free to share it with the world at large. My sister Megan is pregnant! She's about 9 weeks along and is due in late November/early December. We've become really close since we live so near each other and I'm so excited for us to have babies together!

Time to Suck It Up

I saw Melinda the midwife again this morning. And my cervix is being a little bastard. Despite all the evening primrose oil and raspberry leaf tea I've been taking, I'm only 50% effaced and 1 cm dilated. My midwife told me to increase the EPO to 1500 mg three times a day (total of 4500) and have lots and lots of sex. Yay. I told her we haven't been doing it much because it's so uncomfortable for both of us and she said, "Girl, this isn't about pleasure! This is business! Suck it up and get the job done!" Hmm, where did I ever get the whacky idea that sex was supposed to feel good?

The original plan was to wait until next Wednesday to check me again, but I whined pathetically enough that she took pity on me and had me schedule a quick appointment for Friday. She also poked around a bit more than usual during my internal check, and I'm pretty sure she stripped my membranes (it was rough enough that I yelled "Ow!"). So we'll see if anything happens in the next little while. I've been feeling really crampy for the last couple of days, like when my period's about to start so hopefully that means something is going on in there.

Here's a picture from last week (37 weeks) to prove to you how huge I'm getting. First is my 32 week picture so you can compare. Yowza!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

He's Put On a Few

About a week ago Safeway was having a sale on Thomas bagels where if you bought one bag you got two free. Eric and I both love bagels and I'm a sucker for a good deal, so naturally I stocked up. E had one for breakfast with butter and jam one day and decided to leave a stick of butter on a plate out on the counter so the next time he wanted butter for his bagel it would be nice and soft and spreadable. Throughout the week I noticed the butter quickly disappearing. "Wow," I thought, "Eric's really on a bagels-with-butter kick." I'm a cream cheese freak myself so I wasn't using any of it. What struck me as odd, besides how fast it was going, is that it was being cut from the top instead of the ends. I had never noticed my husband's butter spreading habits before, so I figured it must just be his own quirky way of doing things.

Fast forward to Friday evening as Eric and I were eating dinner. We heard our cat Walker jumping up on the kitchen counter. He's not allowed up there and knows it but we've been completely ineffectual in training him not to jump up. I went into the kitchen, but by the time I got there he had jumped down and run into the basement. E came in behind me armed with the spray bottle, looked at the counter and a got a weird look on his face. The butter was completely gone and the plate was licked clean. "Honey?" he said. "Have you been eating the butter?" I told him no, I thought he had. He hadn't used it all week since that first bagel. He didn't want to say anything to me about it because I'm so sensitive about gaining pregnancy weight and he didn't want to hurt my feelings by implying that he was concerned that I was eating large amounts of butter on a daily basis.

No wonder the cat has been looking a bit chunky.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Come On, Cervix!

It looks like I may be saved from waiting too much longer. At my appointment this week, my perinatologist suggested that I be induced at 39 weeks. I asked my OB about this and he agreed. The reason they would be willing to do this is that I'm currently taking Lovenox injections every day to manage my blood clotting disorder. It's not a good thing to have a shot of Lovenox right before going into labor for a couple of reasons. First, since it's a blood thinner it could cause me to bleed too much during delivery. And second, I can't get an epidural within 24 hours of having a shot. The medication does something to the spinal space that can cause blood clots to form if spinal anesthesia is administered, and that can cause paralysis for life. Obviously, they don't want to mess around with that. So if I had just given myself an injection of Lovenox and went into labor in the next couple of hours, chances are I would not have the option of having an epidural. With an induction, they can schedule me to stop the Lovenox exactly 24 hours before starting labor so my options would be open.

Wednesday I have another NST and they will do an internal exam to see if my cervix is "favorable" for induction. They want it to be dilated and effaced to a certain point. If my cervix is unfavorable, it's a no go because my chances of winding up with a C-section would be too high. If it's favorable, they'll schedule me for an induction the next week, sometime around the 10th.

So of course, I'm doing everything I can to make my cervix "favorable". Enter herbal remedies. I'm using evening primrose oil capsules and drinking raspberry leaf tea. My midwife also suggests having intercourse every day (I'm sorry, but all I can do when I think about that is laugh.)

The bottom line is, we may be less than two weeks from D-Day. Send favorable cervix vibes my way!

Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?

(Ooh, yes please, especially if it's chèvre with Herbes de Provence spread on a warm baguette. YUM.)

Warning: Here comes another post about how hard it is to be pregnant. Feel free to skip it if that bugs you! And keep in mind that I am still very, very grateful to be experiencing all of this. Seriously. I guess it's just that I see whining about pregnancy as part of the whole experience. So even though it was so hard for us to conceive and I could not be happier to be at this stage, I reserve the right to whine about the parts of it that suck!

I haven't posted for a week now because I have been feeling absolutely awful. Last weekend I came down with a bad cold that a few days later became a nasty sinus infection. Along with all the late term pregnancy stuff I've got going on, it's really knocked me over. All I want to do is lie around and watch TLC with a hot washcloth on my aching head.

A couple of days ago I took a mental inventory of how my whole body was feeling. Starting from the top:

1) Head - Hurts from my sinus infection.
2) Upper back and shoulders - Hurt from the weight of my bazongas. My shoulders have started falling asleep at night too for some reason.
3) Breasts - Hurt from being so big and they're tender.
4) Belly - Itchy from my skin being stretched out so much, and I'm having lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions, which despite what all the pregnancy books say, are NOT painless.
5) Hips - Feel like they're being pulled apart every time I change positions and when I'm walking.
6) Lower back - Hurts thanks to the weight of my ginormous front.
7) Pelvic area - Feels like I'm carrying a bowling ball between my legs because the baby's head is so low.
8) Thighs - Sore from my Lovenox injections and the subsequent bruises.
9) Knees - Hurt because I'm carrying around 30 extra pounds.
10) Calves and feet - Sore from the swelling I get all the time. The same thing happens in my hands, when I get up in the morning I can barely make a fist.

So looking on the bright side, my elbows feel great.

I've always heard pregnant women complain a ton near the end of their pregnancies but I never knew why. For me it didn't get really uncomfortable until the baby dropped. Up until then I felt fabulous. A little heavy and awkward yes, but nothing like how I feel now. My mom told me that this is nature's way of helping you get through labor; she said by the end of her pregnancies she would have been willing to cut herself open with a kitchen knife just not to be pregnant anymore. I haven't quite reached that stage of desperation, but I can definitely understand how one could get to that point.

Just a few more weeks to go.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Darn You, Céline Dion!

You know that song "A New Day" by Céline Dion where she sings about having her baby? Who coincidentally was an IVF baby and a boy? Well it just came up in my music rotation I have playing and wouldn't you know - I completely lost it. I had to listen to "Drop It Like It's Hot" three times just to be able to stop crying.

Be warned: pregnancy hormones and Céline Dion do not mix!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

More NST Drama

Yesterday I had a routine midwife appointment with a non-stress test. Since I've had like a zillion of them by now I'm getting pretty good at interpreting the test results, so I wasn't too surprised when the midwife Melinda told me I'd have to go over to the hospital to Labor and Delivery for more testing. Again. This time I took my time getting there and went to eat lunch first so I wouldn't have to have hospital food for as long as possible. I also called Eric and asked him to bring me some pillows from home just in case I had to stay the night again so this time I'd be more comfortable. (See, I've learned some things!) Luckily all the preparations turned out to be unnecessary. They ran another NST and this one was picture perfect, for the first time ever! I'm convinced it was the double cheeseburger I ate immediately beforehand. I always eat before having an NST but now I know I have to really stuff myself! Not a problem.

Also, I learned at my appointment that the baby has definitely dropped. Melinda could feel his head right against my cervix. And I'm one centimeter dilated. Which doesn't really mean anything, but it still makes me excited. Things are happening!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Dropping the Baby

I think I'm dropping my baby! Actually, I think the baby is dropping himself. I woke up this morning feeling enormous pelvic pressure and soreness, kind of like someone had been repeatedly kicking me in the crotch all night long. (I realize that sounds funny, but trust me, it doesn't feel that way.) And today whenever I stand up from a sitting position it feels like my hips are going to split apart. They say in first-time moms the baby usually drops between 2 and 4 weeks before labor begins, which is about right according to my due date, although I'm secretly hoping I'm on the 2 week side of things. Either way, it won't be too long now!

Monday, April 18, 2005


Saturday night I had my first baby shower. My sister, high school best friend, and mother-in-law put it together for me and they did a fabulous job. The decorations were all based on the jungle theme from our nursery, complete with monkeys hanging from the ceiling and tribal music playing in the background. The desserts all had interesting names like "Tiger Tails", "Monkey Mess", and "Zebra Balls" (YUM). A lot of ladies came, including some of my mom's friends. I love being around women who have lots of experience with being moms and lots of wisdom to impart. I really felt supported by all of them and that helps so much in bolstering my confidence that maybe, just maybe I will be able to do this.

And the most important part of any shower: the stuff! We got piles of cute clothes that everyone ooh'd and aah'd at as they were opened. And we got some practical things too, like diapers, medical stuff, and bath accessories. Now my living room floor is covered with gifts that I need to sort through, put away and write thank you notes for. Which is actually a good thing because I still have a few weeks left and I'm starting to get impatient. Staying busy helps. I keep waiting for my nesting instinct to kick in and inspire me to deep-clean the whole house, but so far the closest I've come is idly brushing Oreo crumbs off the couch as I'm watching Dr. Phil with my swollen feet up on a pillow.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

It's Called a "Non-Stress Test"... but I'm Definitely Stressed

It's been a crazy week. I've been going to my midwife/ob office once a week for non-stress tests to keep an eye on the baby and make sure he's OK. They hook me up to a monitor that measures the baby's heart rate and movements. What they are looking for is what's called a "reactive" test result, meaning that the baby's heart rate shows at least two periods of acceleration in 20 minutes. Last Wednesday I had a non-reactive test with only one acceleration and a few decelerations that concerned the midwife. She sent me straight over to Labor and Delivery so they could do some more testing. I spent the rest of the day hooked up to monitors for more NSTs and a complete biophysical profile which came back borderline (I scored a 6 out of 10; with an 8 you pass and below a 6 you fail). There was some discussion about the possibility of inducing me the next day if the results didn't improve. All I could think was "But my baby shower is next week! And we don't even have the carseat installed yet!" Of course there are much bigger problems to worry about when a baby is born at 34 weeks, but that's how my mind works I guess. Over the course of the day the NST results improved slightly, but not well enough that they would let me go home. They kept me in the hospital overnight and gave me an IV to make sure I was hydrated. The next day I had two more NSTs and at about 1:00 my lovely perinatologist Dr. Ghidini was able to come see me and he did an ultrasound. To our relief, everything looked fine. Eric took me home a couple of hours later and I pretty much slept for the next two days.

Being in the hospital and worrying so much was exhausting and I feel like I'm still recovering from the whole ordeal. There's something about being hospitalized that makes me feel sick even when I'm perfectly healthy. Plus I had a semi-private room and my roommate was up all night chatting on the phone so even if I hadn't been worried to death I doubt I would have been able to sleep. At 3:30 a.m. she was in what sounded like a very heated debate about abortion laws. Oh, and my IV kept coming loose so I had to hold my right arm perfectly still or I'd doze off and then wake up in a puddle of saline and blood (that happened at about 4:30.) That one night has convinced me that I want to stay at home during labor as much as possible, because as grateful as I am for the medical technology we have, I hate being in the hospital.

Today I had another NST, and thankfully, it was better than last week's and I got to go home after my appointment. I'll keep going once a week until I deliver and we'll keep hoping and praying that we don't have another scare like that again.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

More on Mothers

I've been re-reading my post about mothers and I want to clarify a few things. I tend to be somewhat sarcastic and flippant and I would hate for readers to get the wrong impression based on my remarks. First of all, I want to emphasize that I don't think there's anything wrong with David O. McKay praising his mother. His remarks were obviously sincere, and full of the best feelings possible. It's wonderful that he loved and respected her so much. I would love for my children to feel that way about me, and in fact I feel the same way about my own mother.

My concern comes from my personal observation that this is the only view of motherhood we hear about in a church setting. I think it's more evidence of what is culturally acceptable to us as a people than it is of what mothers are actually like, or even what they should be like. In an effort to praise and respect motherhood and women, we end up with an unrealistic model of what the ideal woman should be like. Problems arise when we compare ourselves to this model. Not one of us is perfect. If we think we are supposed to be perfect, we're going to end up in a self-defeating spiral of shame and guilt about not living up to these expectations.

I get especially concerned when the model is primarily one of self-sacrifice and even self-deprecation. Maybe it's OK to complain when you're husband's spending all his time at work and leaving you entirely responsible for the children (especially if there are ten of them!) Maybe it's OK to assert yourself and ask for your own needs to be met. There's a happy medium somewhere between perfect patience and suffering in silence, and selfish nagging.

Thank you all for your comments. This is something I'll definitely keep thinking about in the future, especially as I make the (terrifying) transition to being a mother myself. I'm sure after I see what it's really like I'll have some different ideas.

Monday, April 04, 2005

I'm a Christian/Buddhist

Thanks to Sara at Drama-Rama for posting the quiz "Which Religion is the Right One for You?" I feel pretty set with my religion, but it's nice to have some reassurance that yep, I am in fact a Christian. I'm also not surprised that my second choice was Buddhism. So it's a pretty accurate quiz, and I found a lot of the questions interesting. It's also interesting to see that my last choice was atheism. I guess I really do believe this stuff!



















Which religion is the right one for you? (new version)
created with

Friday, April 01, 2005

A Stroll Down Mammary Lane

Warning: This post will discuss my breasts. If you are uncomfortable with that, skip this one! (Dad, this especially means you.)

Pregnancy has surprised me in many ways in terms of its effects on my body. In your pre-pregnancy days, no one bothers to tell you that it's normal to be very constipated most of the time, or that when the baby punches you in the cervix it hurts like the dickens. And who really wants to mention that in the last half of pregnancy it's difficult to laugh, sneeze or cough without wetting your pants? It's not the sort of thing that comes up in polite company. So there have been many surprises along the way. But the one thing that has surprised me the most is the change in my breasts.

I expected them to get a little bigger, but I was completely unprepared for what "a little bigger" would actually mean. I've always been diminutive in the chest area, and very happy that way. There's so much freedom in being small breasted; I could go anywhere without a bra with no problem, I looked delightfully perky in any bathing suit, it didn't hurt to run, and basically they just never got in my way like some of my more buxom friends described.

Fast forward to my second month of pregnancy. In a matter of about two weeks (although it felt like two minutes) I grew from a cute 34 B to a voluptuous and heavy 36 DD. Now, at 34 weeks, I've far surpassed that measurement. (I'd tell you what it is now, but it doesn't matter, it will change in about 5 minutes anyway.) I'd be lying if I said that Eric was upset about this. He sees it as a merciful God's compensation for having to put up with my mood swings.

My reaction hasn't been quite as enthusiastic. Between my chest and my belly, I've never been so front-heavy in my life, which has caused me a lot of back pain. It's hard to find bras in the right size, and the ones to be found are not very cute. No little lacy push-ups for me; we're talking heavy duty industrial strength hammocks. Also, it turns out that growing several cup sizes in a short amount of time can cause stretch marks. I don't have a single stretch mark on my belly but my new bazongas are covered with them. They've faded a bit in the last couple of weeks, which is good, although I shouldn't really care. Eric doesn't mind, and he's the only one who sees them; I'm pretty sure I won't be starting a career in topless dancing any time soon.

So to sum up, having huge pregnant breasts is at best a mixed blessing, at least for the one who has to carry them around.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Perinatologist Fun

I just got back from my 32 week perinatologist appointment. They did a sonogram to check the placenta and the baby's growth. Everything looks perfectly normal! Every time I have an appointment I leave relieved, because there's always that chance that they will find something wrong. I've been so lucky that I've had no complications. He's measuring in the 40th percentile for growth; not too small, not too big, but juuuust right at 4 lbs 4 oz. This time we didn't get any pictures because the little guy was asleep and face down. His feet were crossed and he looked so cozy in there. At least one of us can sleep comfortably!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Heavy Belly = Hurting Back

OK, time for some more pictures! Here's the latest of my growing front, at 32 weeks.

After seeing myself here I can tell why I'm having lower back problems! I really need to work on my posture. My poor back's not used to having to support all that weight.

And here are a few of the nursery. I still have a few finishing touches to work on but it's pretty much done. The theme is "Welcome to the jungle"! Eric wants to rig it so when you open the door the Guns n' Roses song plays, which I'm sure would be oh so soothing to a newborn. Actually, now that I think about it, to our child it just might be.

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Mother Myth

I'm sure every woman who plans to have children wonders what kind of mother she will be. Whether her kids come to her through an accidental pregnancy, planned pregnancy (in our case REALLY planned and expensive pregnancy), adoption, surrogacy, fostering, or any other way, there's no guarantee that she's not going to totally screw them up permanently by committing some horrible parental mistakes. My parents were wonderful and loving and did the very best they could, but guess what? I still have issues that stem from the way I was raised and from things that happened to me in my childhood. Nothing terrible or abusive, just stuff that can lead to issues. It seems that no matter how hard you try, you're bound to mess your children up in some way, usually the exact opposite way of how your parents messed you up.

I don't think I'm alone in this fear. I think it's impossible not to worry about it considering the expectations we're all up against. Mothers are supposed to be perfect, loving, nurturing, always have the right thing to say and have enough time and energy for each child no matter how busy her own life may be. This is why so many women hate Mothers Day. In the 1930's David O. McKay had this to say about his mother: "I cannot think of a womanly virtue that my mother did not possess...To her children, and all others who knew her well, she was beautiful and dignified. Though high-spirited she was even-tempered and self-possessed. Her dark brown eyes immediately expressed any rising emotion which, however, she always held under perfect control...In tenderness, watchful care, loving patience, loyalty to home and to right, she seemed to me in boyhood, and she seems to me now after these years, to have been supreme." (Improvement Era, May 1932, 391)

When this quote was read aloud in Relief Society, the remarks that were made were all along the lines of, "How wonderful that he had such a great mother and that he had so much respect for her." My reaction? It scares the crap out of me. Honestly: "high-spirited" AND "even-tempered"? "loving patience"? "always under perfect control"? From his description you can't imagine that she ever yelled at her kids, told her husband he was a jerk, or burned a frozen pizza because she was too engrossed in an episode of LOST (which, BTW, has replaced 24 as my favorite show on TV.)

I think we need to create a new image of motherhood, one that allows us to be human, to have some serious flaws, and even to occasionally make mistakes. Because really, wouldn't having a perfect mother screw you up even more?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

U2 and 24

Someone sent me this article today. What U2 Is Looking For It's about the philosophical underpinnings of U2 and their journey from pessimistic Christianity to existential despair to relational redemption. Pretty interesting stuff. It just goes to show that there's a lot more depth in the world of pop music than it normally gets credit for. (Britney Spears kind of ruins it for everyone else.)

I've been so excited to read that The Anti-Drama Queen and Drama-Rama Sara are both into 24 now! I had always thought they would enjoy it, because I do, and they are at least as smart as I am. In my opinion, this is one of the best shows on TV, ever. Eric and I haven't missed a week since the beginning of season 3. I can't wait for my girls to live closer to me so we can have 24 parties and obsess together! Apparently they have both developed quite a penchant for Jack Bauer and his whispery growl. I'm more of a Tony admirer myself, but I'm sure we can overcome our differences.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Big and Loving It!

That's the title of the chapter about the 7th month of pregnancy in one of my books. Incidentally, this particular book was written by a man, so I don't know how the hell he knows what it feels like to be seven months pregnant, but whatever.

Personally, I love being pregnant, but I don't love being big. In fact, I really, really, really don't love it. In the last few weeks I've developed sciatica from the baby putting pressure on my sciatic nerve, which sucks big time. I can't walk two steps without getting shooting pains down my lower back, hips and the backs of my legs. Plus my belly is just plain heavy. I never imagined it would feel this cumbersome. I keep looking at pictures of myself a year ago (or better yet, five years ago!) and wistfully remembering wearing size 6 jeans and sleeping on my stomach. The other day I was grocery shopping, wearing sweatpants and no makeup and dragging myself around the store like a dying animal when a woman with a young child approached me. "You look great!" she said. "Really, you look fabulous!" I could have kissed her. I'm sure she saw me and thought, "Wow, that girl looks like she's about to pop right here in the cereal aisle, I should give her some encouragement." And you know what? I'll take it.

But I have to repeat: I really do love being pregnant! It has its discomforts for sure, but nothing is better than feeling my baby kick me and do somersaults and get hiccups. It's absolutely the coolest thing I've ever experienced. So if I have to have the fatness and the sciatica and the fatigue, that's totally fine with me.

Monday, February 28, 2005

From Numbnuts to Nonuts

It's been a traumatic week for our poor cat Walker. Last Monday we had him neutered. He's nine months old and definitely showing signs of kitty puberty, like becoming more aggressive, packing on lots of muscle, and most unpleasantly, spraying in the basement (mostly on Eric's stuff - I'm sure there's something territorial about that.) He did fine during the procedure, but then afterwards he developed a fever and our vet was concerned. She ran all kinds of tests for all kinds of scary illnesses, all of which came back fine. She suggested that we leave him at the hospital overnight so they could give him fluids and antibiotics and monitor him to make sure he didn't have an infection or anything. The next day he wasn't doing any better, so that afternoon we decided that I should bring him home and see how he'd do there. Being at the animal hospital freaked him out to the point that he didn't eat, drink, or use the litter box the entire time he was there. It had been over 24 hours, and considering that they had been pumping him full of fluids, that's an awfully long time to hold it in. He must have been terrified. He was so scared when I picked him up that he didn't even seem to recognize me until he was home and out of his carrier. Within the first 20 minutes we were home he peed 4 times. A few hours later he was acting like himself again, aside from a little soreness that made him walk like a cute little bowlegged cowboy. So now I know not to board him there during our vacation this summer; being there for a week might kill him.

My little guy's pretty much completely healed now, and he seems a lot happier than he did before the surgery. I guess less testosterone=less frustration from wanting to go find a little girl kitty and not being allowed outside. Eric has had to stop calling him "Numbnuts", his nickname of choice, and instead refers to him as "Nonuts", which is presently much more accurate.

Friday, February 11, 2005


For those of you who know my dad, you might find this interesting. He participated in a panel discussion on prayer at BYU and Jim Faulconer published some of the details on Times and Seasons. Hearing about stuff like this really makes me miss BYU, and my dad.

Smiling Fetus

This morning I had a visit to my wonderful perinatologist. Because of my blood clotting disorder (Factor V Leiden and MTHFR), they monitor me every so often to make sure the placenta is doing what it's supposed to and the baby is growing correctly. It's always more than a bit nerve-racking lying on the table with squishy gel all over for my belly, waiting for the doctor to tell me if my baby's OK. This morning's appointment couldn't have been better. Eric came with me, which always helps calm me down. I love my perinatologists. There are two of them in the office, and today we got Dr. G. He's Italian and apparently one of the best peri's in the country. He's also very warm and good at answering my neurotic questions, which is a really big deal to me. There is nothing worse than a doctor who doesn't take you seriously and brushes off your concerns, particularly when they have to do with the well-being of your unborn child.

Anyway, today Dr. G did a long scan where he measured each body part and scrutinized the placenta - sort of an extended Level II ultrasound. He hummed a song from "Carmen" the whole time, which made me less nervous, because I knew he wouldn't be humming opera if something was horribly wrong. Everything was measuring right on target, except for the head, which is measuring two weeks ahead. YIKES. Eric assures me this is typical of the babies in his family, which gives me new respect for his mother. Also, we've taken to calling the baby "Heed!" in honor of our favorite scene from "So I Married an Axe Murderer."

The great news - things looked so normal that Dr. G decided we don't have to go back for monitoring until I'm 32 weeks - 6 weeks away! I also discussed with him what had been suggested to me several appointments back, that I would probably need to be induced because I'm taking Lovenox. (Lovenox is an injection I give myself every night. It helps prevents clots from forming in me or in the baby. If I were to go into labor spontaneously having taken it in the previous 24 hours, giving me an epidural could paralyze me for life. That would suck if I wanted pain relief and couldn't have it, and it could be really dangerous if I needed an emergency C-section because they would have to use general anesthesia. Also, because it's a blood thinner, Lovenox increases the risk of hemorrhaging during delivery, which wouldn't be good either.) Dr. G said he thought it would be perfectly safe for me to discontinue the medication at 36 weeks. I'll be monitored twice a week, and given that I've never had a blood clot, things should be fine and I'll go into labor on my own. That was a huge relief to me, because I would rather not be induced if it's at all possible.

And the best part - we got to see our baby again, and now he's really starting to look like a baby. We got some new pictures to take home. I don't know if it's even possible, but I swear in the first one he's smiling. What do you think?

And a profile shot. It's a little blurry because he didn't want to hold still.

I'm totally amazed at how much I already love this little guy. I can't even imagine what it will feel like to actually be able to hold him in my arms.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Why Isn't There a "Pregnant Sexy?"

It's my birthday today! And what better way to celebrate than by reminding myself, that yes, I AM sexy. Thanks to The Anti-Drama Queen for posting this quiz on her excellent blog.

You Are Sensual Sexy

You exude a luxiourous sensuality in your everyday life
Turning heads every where you go, it's all about your sexy attitude.
You're naturally hot - gorgeous in both sweats and stilettos.
Your biggest problem is that your utra sexy self sometimes scares men away.

What Kind of Sexy Are You? Take This Quiz

According to, I am "sensual sexy". This is quite a confidence booster for me, as the last thing I feel in my bloated, heavily pregnant state is sensual. It's nice to be reminded that my body doesn't exist only for gestating.

However, I can't help but think that my results are somewhat skewed by limited options. For example, under "What do you sleep in?" there wasn't an option that said "Ginormous, grandma-style pregnancy/nursing bra with pads to soak up leakage," so I had to go with "Lacy cami and boy shorts" (which I would wear if I was shaped like Hilary Swank and wasn't about to start lactating.) Under the question about "What do you do to cope with a breakup?", I would have chosen, "Eat an entire super-sized jar of Kosher dill pickles" but the closest choice was, "Take a long warm bubble bath," which is also true, because I love taking baths. Lately I've been known to eat pickles while in the tub, which grosses Eric out to no end. If only he knew how SENSUAL it was!

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