Way more than you ever wanted to know about a stranger's (hopeful) journey into motherhood.

Welcome Baby #2!

Introducing C.A.D.! (I decided to keep their names anonymous. You never know what they’ll mad at you for when they’re grown.) Or C2 for short.


My little nugget


C2 was born May 2, 2016 at 8:57am. He was 8 pounds, 8 ounces and 21 inches. He was born in a little over 6 hours from when we started the process, and after only 15 pushes in 16 minutes. (They aren’t kidding when they say birth goes faster after #1! Thank you Jesus!)

Here’s how it all went down, as I try to recall it using the notes I jotted in my phone:

Because I was going to be induced, we checked into the hospital at midnight. A little later, actually, because we couldn’t find the right parking lot and entrance to the labor and delivery unit. Thankfully I wasn’t in actual labor as I was already exhausted and fuming, standing on the street while I waiting for DH to park the car wherever he believed he needed to park. Check in took a  long time, and I remember having to waddle from one part of the building to another and back, trying to find the area I was supposed to be in. We got ushered into a room that was so tiny, the lady could barely close the door with me sitting down in front of her desk. All I remember from the questions was this one: “It seems like you have a balance of $7,000 or so. Would you like to pay that now?” Um… no? “Ok, that’s fine. I’m required to ask that.” Whew! Having shitty insurance is so fun!

We eventually made it to a labor and delivery room, and I made myself comfortable in the bed while DH tried to figure out how he was going to rest in the half-cot-looking couch thing. He was rescued by a nurse who informed him, “It pulls out.” “Unlike you!” I joked. Bah-dum-bum.


Let’s get this party started!


They gave me Pitocin at 2:45am. Around the time DH was asleep on the couch, and I was trying and failing to rest. Contractions began 15 minutes later, and oooh, boy, they were intense immediately. DH was resting, so I was trying to breathe through them and just deal. I don’t know why, but I felt like I should wait a bit to ask for the epidural. I mean, surely they won’t get that bad so fast. Maybe I can even sleep a little…


At 4:00am, I was almost crying. I held out for a few more minutes and finally rang for a nurse at 4:20.

“I’m ready for the epidural.”

“Oh, you want that now?” (What I heard was, “Oh, already??”)

“Yes, please. This really sucks.”

Ten minutes later, I was bracing myself through a contraction, trying but failing to breathe, when my water broke. Whooosh! A nurse or doctor was there, and I groaned out, “Aaaaand, my water just broke.” No one really reacted. I was sitting in a puddle, expecting some sort of reaction, when I think maybe a nurse went, “OK.” I mean, come on, this is news! Shouldn’t I get some applause or something at this point? (I’m joking. But I did think the non-reaction was funny, because in my head, I was thinking, “Ohmygodohmygodohmygod here we go!”

Shortly after my water broke, I got The Shakes. Uncontrollable shaking from my head to my knees. It was like I was convulsing. I couldn’t control them, couldn’t talk and couldn’t even joke. It was so weird. DH was trying to comfort me, but all I could do was grit my teeth so I didn’t bite my tongue off. I remembered this with my first child as well.

At 4:40am, this beautiful, young, Asian doctor walked in to give me the epidural. Now, it could be that she seemed so lovely because of what she was bringing. I’ll ask my husband. But I remember her as strikingly beautiful, and I swear, a lovely light shone around her head as some beautiful harp music accompanied her every move. As DH tried to hold my hands still while she inserted the needle in my spine, he suddenly said, “I have to go sit down.” The nurses all looked at him and said, “Yes, yes! Go sit!” because he looked pretty pale. My guess is fainting husbands are not on their agenda. I would’ve laughed but I was still feeling contractions and The Shakes, so I just concentrated on not vibrating right off the damn bed. I didn’t feel anything at first when the beautiful doctor did her thing. I was still having pain, so every second was like “hurry up, hurry and work already” for me.

Then The Itching started. I started scratching my arms. Then my chest. Then my legs. At first it wasn’t that big of a deal. In fact, it was a welcome distraction to the pain and the clock watching as I waited for the epidural to kick in. It took 30 minutes for me to realize I could no longer feel contractions. But now I was in full on want-to-scratch-my-skin-off itchiness. A nurse, or maybe it was my doctor (I’m not sure when she arrived) told me it was a side effect of the drugs. It was very uncomfortable (though still better than before) and I struggled not to pull out my IVs while I scratched my scalp, face, neck, etc. They offered to get me something to deal with the itching but I either turned it down or it didn’t work. I can’t remember.

Around this time, some alarm in the room started going off. This happened repeatedly. It was a drawer to a drug cabinet that no one could shut properly. I think we watched nurses come in at least 6 times to shut the drawer and shut off the annoying alarm. So relaxing….

At 5:50am, I threw up for the first time. I knew this part would come. In fact, everything I ate in the last few days of my pregnancy had me asking myself, is this going to come back up, and will it hurt? Turns out that giant bowl of pasta I ate wasn’t painful, but I did regret the amount. DH handed me puke cone after puke cone as I filled them. A nurse came in at one point, having seen the spikes on my contractions monitor, and asked, “Are you vomiting?” Yes, yes, I am. “I thought so,” she said.

At 6:05am, my doctor informed me that I was 5 cm dilated. “That’s it?!” said me and every pregnant woman there ever was.

I puked some more. And then I was 7cm. More puking. Then 8cm.

Then I got tired. So tired, I felt drugged. I wanted to close my eyes and drift off, but that didn’t feel right. I remember thinking, I could slip into a coma right now. This can’t be normal. My doctor then told me the baby’s heart was elevated. The strong contractions do a number on the little fella. I told her that I felt like I could sleep forever. She looked at my machines and said my blood pressure was low. The doctor got a team together, and they decided to move me. Perhaps my position was putting pressure on the baby or the cord or something. So it took several people to roll me back and forth, back and forth. I ended up on my side. I’m not sure it worked. My doctor ordered two shots – epinephrine for me, and something that started with a T for the baby. The shots worked, and both of us were stabilized.

At some point, my doctor introduced me to the teams of people who were at the ready in case anything went wrong. There were so many people in my room, it was like a convention. There was the baby team, ready to receive the baby and check him out on the warming table. There was the C-section team, in case shit went down. And there was the team prepared to do something in case I started hemorrhaging, like after C1. Plus my doctor and lots of nurses in and out.

As I was gearing up for pushing time, I heard my doctor comment, “I don’t like all this blood.” She examined me, then told me I was bleeding a lot, and she wasn’t sure why. She feared it would be a placental abruption, which is when the placenta tears away from the uterus. It’s no bueno apparently, and she said, “We might have to get this baby out of you immediately.” I was like, oh no. I don’t want a C-section! My vagina is already fucked up. Can we just be consistent?! And the idea is terrifying. I said “OK” like a good patient, though I’m sure she could see on my face that the idea scared me. She decided to manipulate my cervix, to see if she would get it to open up so we could give pushing a try. Hands up my hoo-ha, she did her thing, and it worked. “OK, let’s try pushing!” she said.

Amidst a flurry of activity, someone handed her a pair of waders. Giant rubber boots that she pulled on and up over her legs (to protect her from the blood, I’m guessing. Smart. No one likes bloody shoes.) I remember looking at all the people moving about and saying to DH, “Look at this. There is no dignity in childbirth.” The doc did kick out the C-section team, saying she’d call them if she needed them. So maybe 12 people in the room now? It’s a party!

I started pushing at 8:40, giving 3 pushes for each contraction. A nurse counted to 10, and I was supposed to push all through the count, but found myself giving up around 8. They told me to pull my legs into my chest, and I asked a fellow nurse who had one leg, can you help me pull? No, she said, because that could lead to an injury. It had to be all me. This is always when I wish I would’ve stayed in shape while pregnant, or at least attempted some cardio from time to time. Pushing is hard, y’all!

There was five rounds of pushing, and although it was only 16 minutes, at the end I was begging for it to be over. Thankfully it was quick, and I heard “Yes, yes, yes! Here he comes!” His cord was around his neck, but they got it off, and he was good. Hurray!


Look at all the hands, frantically at work


A few minutes later, my doctor informed me that my placenta was already out. No weird complications there, like with C1. She sent it off to pathology anyway, to see if it was tearing and maybe that’s where the blood was coming from. I checked in a few weeks later, and she said there were no signs of abruption — but there were early signs of an infection, so “we got him out just in time.”

Compared with #1, this time was much easier. Not complication free, but all is well and I don’t feel traumatized. My doctor was wonderful, and all the nurses were very nice to me. This was a much much better birth experience. Thank you Cedars Sinai!



I make gorgeous babies!

You know what’s awesome when you’re nearly 10 months pregnant? Having a cough. Yeah, good times. I cough and my whole belly seizes up. Woowee! This is so much fun! Also, the cold, or whatever germ is having a carnival in my body, makes breathing through my nose impossible, so sleep is as well. Aaarrrgh!

We are two days away from induction. I thought the induction was going to happen on Wednesday, at my appointment. It was all a misunderstanding on my part. When my doc told me, “Next week, we’ll check your cervix, and if it’s opening, we’ll schedule the induction,” what I heard was, “If your cevix is opening, we’ll get you induced right away.” So when she said we could schedule it for Sunday night, I went, “What?! Not today??!” She reminded me that she doesn’t induce before 39 weeks, and I’m only at 38 weeks, 4 days. And she checked my cervix: I’m 3cm dilated. She said I’m at an ideal place for induction — on Sunday night. She’s out of town this weekend but will be in the hospital on Monday, so she’ll be able to deliver him. She saw the look on my face and explained how it goes typically: We’ll come in at midnight, I’ll get 8 hours of Pitocin, which will move things along, (assuming I’ll get an epidural at some point), then she’ll break my water, then about two hours after that, we should be able to start pushing.

So a May 2nd baby!

I really thought the baby would make his way out before then. I’m having some days where contractions are nearly constant. Like the drive home from that appointment – every curve, corner or bump on Laurel Canyon was followed by a contraction. They’re not the painful ones I remember from #1 though, just enough to make me gasp a little, so I’m assuming they’re just Braxton Hicks. But then I think, this whole pregnancy has been so different, what if this time isn’t as painful? What if these ARE the real thing, and I accidentally have a home/car birth?

My ability to spiral down a rabbit hole these days is on point.

The saving grace is the contractions are really only an every other day thing. Monday was intense, Tuesday was fine, Wednesday was intense, yesterday was fine. Today is fine too so far, other than when I get into a coughing spasm. Is it possible to cough a baby out?

I entertained the idea of going out for the popular labor-inducing salad at a local restaurant, but that would mean putting on a bra and makeup and getting into a car and driving… things I’m just not into right now. I am such a hermit. Not just because going somewhere means walking, and walking sends shooting pains to my pubic bone and tail bone. But it just feels wrong to be away from the house. Must be part of the nesting phase. Or the I’m-terrified-I’ll-go-into-labor-at-the- drug store/in my car/restaurant-phase.

So here I’ll be, in my house, resting as much as I can (ha!), waiting for Sunday night, or for the baby to make an obvious start to exiting my body. I’m going to work on my positive attitude for laboring in a hospital, and daydream about the perfect bundle of boy that I’ll have in my arms in just three days.

Let’s do this!


I See the Finish Line

37 weeks and 3 days. Almost full term! Baby boy is still super active. I don’t know how he has the room, as I am huge, but he loves to move.

We have a name finally! Sadly, it is not Ace. But who says that can’t be his nickname?😉 It’s such a load off to know who we will be greeting in less than two weeks.

Doc says because of my age, she’d like to induce at 39 weeks. Apparently there’s an increased risk of stillbirths for women my age who go to 40 weeks. I was bummed at first, because I’ve heard so many horror stories of inductions, but I’m trying to let it go. I’m so over being pregnant, and cutting another week off this uncomfortable sleepless phase doesn’t sound too horrible.

Nights are the worse. Restless legs, heartburn, baby on the move, and only one position to sleep in = I’m awake at all hours. I move from the bed to the couch and back, plus at least 3-4 pee breaks. I stay up late just to avoid the frustration of lying there, unable to get comfortable, tired but unable to relax. It’s maddening. The good news is I can nap like a champ. So most days, I’m back in bed from 10-noon. And sometimes, a second nap at 3pm. I still feel like I’m moving through water though. Brain fog and moving like a sloth. Aches and pains keep me couch bound, so I’m not getting stuff done like I wanted to, but oh well… I’m listening to my body, and my body says, “Sit the fuck down, mom.”

I’ve only gained 15 pounds, which feels great. I haven’t had the swollen hands and feet like I did with baby C. I don’t know how this happened, as I eat plenty. ­And way too much candy and ice cream. Sorry, little buddy. But that doesn’t mean my feet don’t feel every ounce of the 194.5 pounds. I mean, ouch. Hoping to stay under that 200 mark. With only a week and a half left, pretty sure I can do it.

It’s officially Baby Watch 2016! Wish us luck!


Give me all your soft filters!

The Firstborn

Let me take a minute to talk about my firstborn, among all the talk of growing the second. Lil C is almost 4. The leaps and bounds to which she is growing takes my breath away. This morning, she woke up, got down from her bunk bed by herself, took off her pull-up, got dressed and came out to say, “Good morning!” Usually, she calls to us to help her with all of those things. My favorite expressions she says are, “If you say so…” and “or not,” (“I’m going to dress my baby.” [Struggles to get clothes on doll.] “Or not…”) which is sarcasm that totally come from me. “A little help, please, Mommy?” also makes me smile. And a bunch of other really grown up things come out of her mouth, astounding me. “Is there anything I can do to help, Daddy?” I mean, come on!

Yesterday, she got a new dinosaur toy from her trip to Chuck E Cheese with the nanny. As we were driving home, I told her about how dinosaurs don’t exist anymore, but they used to a long, long time ago. She asked what happened, and I told her that one theory was a big rock from space came down and hit the ground, and it caused all the dinosaurs to die. She thought about it and said no, she thinks people put them in museums (thank you Natural History Museum). I told her how humans didn’t exist when there were dinosaurs, and that the only reason we know about dinosaurs is because sometimes when farmers dig into the ground, they find their bones. And it’s those bones that we put into the museums. She said excitedly, “Those bones are skeletons! I saw them.” She is so flippin smart. I have to keep reminding myself that she doesn’t need to know everything, because like my mom, I tend to over-explain. She has such a big mind on her, and seems to understand everything, that I find myself biting my tongue right before I explain death or cemeteries or how babies are made (that was a fun one: “When a mommy and daddy love each other very much, they can decide to make a baby. Hey, look over there…”)

She can spell her first name and count to 20 (with the exception of 16 for some reason.) She loves to play hide and seek, loves to play with water (and the resulting mess) and is usually the happiest, most affectionate little girl. Other kids gravitate toward her to play. She’s a good leader, and kids tend to follow – even older kids. Recently a bunch of 5-year-olds were playing her “chase me” game at the park. She’s going to be a terrific big sister. We consider ourselves so very lucky to have gotten such a good one. I joke that I fear this second one will have gotten all our scraps, since all our good stuff went to #1. But I know, even if we have an opposite child, he will be loved beyond measure, especially by his sister.


Our lucky charm!

Of course, it’s easy to talk about the good stuff, but in reality, it’s not always perfection. Last night, she kicked me in my belly. Thanks, dear daughter, for keeping me on my toes. This baby boy had better be a tough lil bugger, just in case…

Still Cookin’


My spirit animal

I’m almost 31 weeks. That’s 8 months! 9 weeks to go. Sometimes I can’t believe I have that much growing to do yet. I feel huge already, even though I’ve only gained 9 pounds. Unwieldy. Unbalanced. Constipated. So, so glamorous. Other times, I’m terrified to be so close to labor/birth. I’m pretty nervous about going through that again. Petrified actually. I have a different doctor and a different hospital this time around. I’m letting go of any unrealistic expectations (ahem, birth plan) and am planning to just try to go with the flow, whatever flow that may be. My hospital is rated number one and it happens to be the one all the celebrities give birth in — I don’t know why that makes me feel better, but it does. I mean, they have the money to go wherever they want, and they’re choosing this one. That must mean something. I’ll just explain to my doc that I’m scared and hopefully she can put it on my chart so that all nurses are nice to me.

The little bugger is moving all the time — Feels like he’s doing gymnastics. And he has really good roundhouse kicks to my bladder. He loves to wake me up in the middle of the night. I suppose I should get used to that. I was running errands with my first over the weekend and several times I gasped and had to stop what I was doing to just put a hand on my belly. It’s disconcerting. She never moved like this boy. I’m worried about what awaits me when he gets out! Everyone tells me boys are wilder. I try to just be grateful that I’m feeling him.

I asked my doc if I need to be concerned about the cord being twisted around his neck with all his movement. She says it’s very rare and every mom worries about that. My mom friend said, “Both of mine had it. It can’t be that rare.” So yay, add another little worry to my library of things to obsess over.

Still plenty to do before he gets here, including naming him. One of the most frustrating experiences this time around. I have several names I like, but the hubs hates them. He has a few he likes, and I’m not crazy about his. And there we sit. Because we both get worked up when we discuss it, we’ve stopped discussing it. He may come home from the hospital as Baby Boy. Sorry, kid. Someone said they won’t let you leave the hospital without naming your child, so perhaps this will be the perfect opportunity to slip Ace on the birth certificate. “I had to pick something, and I panicked!” Hee hee hee….



Princesses or Trucks

It’s so strange how this pregnancy feels so different. My first trimester was so not fun. I woke up sick every morning and threw up a lot — a lot more than with my first child. Every smell made me want to barf: garbage, wet pull-ups, my godson’s feet, but even “goodish” smells — air freshener, whatever my husband was cooking, the flowers he brought home — ugh. It was like my body didn’t know what was up. The first thing I did every morning was down some saltines and club soda. And sometimes even that came back up.

My gag reflex became super active (get your head out of the gutter). I can’t brush my teeth without nearly vomiting. And if I see anyone with anything in their mouth — gag. My daughter likes to chew on toys, her PJs, her finger — and it really grosses me out. She put a string of ribbon in her mouth, and oh god, take that out, that’s so gross! I was watching a football game when they showed a player chewing on the end of his mouth guard. Gag! I had to look away — whew, that was close.

Plus, my appetite was virtually nonexistent. Anyone else get annoyed when it’s time to eat again? I would feel stomach pain, which would remind me, oh, I haven’t eaten in … 6 hours. Oops. With my first child, I ate ALL THE FOOD all the time. This time, food is meh. Just doesn’t taste that great. I lost 4 pounds the first month, which was a little concerning. I assumed it was a lack of wine in my diet that helped with that as well. (Oh, wine, I do miss you.) My doctor wasn’t concerned though. Since I started this round overweight (still holding about 20 pounds that I never lost after #1), she said, “Let’s aim for 25 pounds.” I said, “That would put me over 200 pounds. How about we aim for 20?” I’m not worrying about it, really. I eat when I’m hungry and make myself eat when I’m not and it’s time. I don’t have any crazy cravings (not eating ice like the first time) so binges are few and reasonable amounts. I’m just happy to be finally keeping food down!

I feel about 10 years older, of course. My ligaments, joints, bones … they’re all like, “You fucking serious?!” It also doesn’t help that I’m crazy out of shape. I’m not good at making myself exercise, even though I love it and feel amazing afterward. I’ve done a few prenatal yoga routines, but they’re so boring. It’s hard to feel motivated. I finally found one that felt like actual exercise — lots of squats and leg lifts — and I could hardly walk the next day. Lesson learned.

So, logically, when you have a different pregnancy, you think you must be having the opposite sex child, right? Asking fellow moms told me it’s not true. I couldn’t help but hope for another girl. I mean, we have all the stuff already, and my husband is a terrific father to our little princess, and I looked forward to pulling all those adorable clothes out of the garage again. And oh, how she wants a sister!

I’d love a little boy too, because a mini DH would be adorable. But I was leaning toward girl when anyone asked… So imagine my surprise when during the amnio, the ultrasound tech said, “See this?” And I, seeing what I thought I saw the first time, said, “Girl!” And both my husband and the technician said, “No.” Oh… sorry kid. That’s a penis? Oh… OK. Oh, my God, I have a penis inside me! “We got our Ace!” I said to DH. (I keep teasing him that I want to name him Ace. He thinks it’s horrible, so of course I bring it up every chance I get.)


Do you see it? I see a face! Sorry Ace.


A boy! My husband will get his son, and my daughter will get a little brother. We will dress him in bow ties and teach him how to be respectful to women. I’m not going to lie, I gave away a large portion of little C’s baby clothes, and I cried. But I’ll find cute boy things and cry over those too, I’m sure.

When we told #1 about having a boy, she said, “But I already have a little brother — I have Coco!” That would be her little friend she’s in childcare with every day. The one she also claims she’s going to marry. She’s not super excited about a brother, but I know she’s going to love helping us with the baby and eventually bossing him around. I love it when she says, “Two boys and two girls. Daddy can take care of the baby, and you can take care of me!” I can only imagine how her little world is about to be flipped on its head. Please, please don’t become a nightmare child in reaction to a new baby, mmmmkay?

I read an article about what raising a boy is like: Dirt and energy and pee and touching his penis and bouncing off walls and boogers and trucks and trains and oh yeah… lots of fun. I’m not ready for most of that, I’ll admit. But is any mother? Here’s hoping he’s a sweet, happy, smart, kind little boy who’ll love his mother to pieces.

The results of his amnio came on my birthday: Baby boy is normal and healthy. Whew. Best present ever! A month after that was the anatomy ultrasound: All parts and pieces accounted for and normal. Yay!



Flexible lil bugger


Revealing the News

We waited until Halloween to tell the families we were expecting. I was at 12 weeks — a relatively safe time to share. We attempted to do a cute pumpkin patch photo shoot, with the due date on a pumpkin, but 3-year-olds aren’t that cooperative in a blazing hot pumpkin patch right before naptime.

So in attempt #2, we got her a t-shirt that says Best Big Sister and filmed her opening it. We read it to her, and she got it right away. “I’m going to be a big sister!” It was the cutest.

We took pics of her wearing the shirt and holding the due date pumpkin. I sent the photo out to family — and only a few people got it. Most didn’t even look at the shirt or the pumpkin. They just said, “Oh, cute!” Sigh… it’s never like it is on Pinterest, is it?


My sister asked me if I was pranking her. A vocal opponent of my baby project, she responded with, “Do you really think this is a good idea?” Too late to worry about that now! And thank you for the support.

My mom couldn’t access the photo via Facebook or her email, because her computer was acting up, and she’s a tech-phobe in general. So after spending 15 minutes trying to help her access her computer, I just gave up and told her on the phone. While not screaming with joy, she managed to congratulate me for a minute before changing the subject back to her.

My in-laws responded with appropriate screams and jubilation, just like the first time. Thank you other side.

I know breaking the news for subsequent kids has a little less celebration to it, but you can’t help wanting family to be just as excited as you. Did you have any disappointments when revealing the news?

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