Wednesday, April 15, 2015

3 Things- Socktopus, Butter Walks, and Cheesecake Rests

 1. Socktopus- Cutest toy ever. It's an octopus wearing socks! Also good for my spawn, who can't currently figure out how to get the socks off. Babies are adorable, but not always the brightest. Someday, he will eat those socks.

2. Walking to PCC Market- We have a co-op supermarket in our neighborhood, and I realized today it might be the nicest one to walk to when I forget something (in this case, butter). We got to walk around Green Lake and try some of the things that make the entrance smell so amazing for lunch. It felt like the exact reason we moved into the city, not the suburbs- so I could walk to the grocery store for crazy expensive produce.

3. This picture- Just getting to the pictures from this weekend, about 90% of which were taken by my niece. This one made me smile. Nothing like a late night cheesecake cuddle.

Why I am Proud of my C-Section

In the last week, another blog has been circulating around facebook about umbilical cords being used as a scapegoat to enable doctors to put pregos on the fast, easy, and surgical train to mommyhood. These bloggers, who I am sure have some sort of medical degree in being nasty to other women, are all over the internet, and as infuriating as I sometimes find them, the suggestion that moms should be ashamed of their c-section (or epidural or circumcision or not having their child naked in the woods with Disney animals putting flowers in their hair) is pervasive beyond the interwebs. After my birth, family members were afraid to ask me what happened. Our newborn photographer, after hearing I had a c-section, took the opportunity to tell me a beautiful story of a woman who pushed through a wrapped umbilical cord to have a tense but profound vaginal birth and a healthy baby.

Well, good for that lady, but what does that have to do with me?

Nothing makes me angrier than women intentionally trying to make other women feel bad for their choices. Whatever you have chosen for yourself is great for you, but that doesn't mean it is right for the woman next to you. I am sure this woman had good intentions (I am not convinced that's true for some of these mommy bloggers), but the not-so-hidden message is that there is a "right way" to deliver and if it didn't work out that way, I have failed. You have failed. Any of us who aren't out naked in the woods have failed. Our child and our bodies are unnatural,

My honest opinion is that your baby's birth and raising is a lot like the connection between a wedding day and a marriage; you can have the world's best shindig and get divorced the next year, or you can be that bride who fell off a dock and still smile when you see your partner 50 years later. There is no correlation, and if you spend too much time focusing on the start, you miss wherever you are today, which is also pretty great. Naturalness is just as much a social-construct as tradition, and it isn't helping anybody.  I mostly didn't want to write about my birth because I generally don't find those kinds of stories all that interesting or to be anyone's business. I don't tell you about how I got pregnant either, but if you tried to make me feel ashamed about it, I might (don't test me),

But the truth is that even beyond my petulant annoyance that women do these things to each other, when I look back on those days in the hospital (25 hours of which were spent getting this goober out of me), I smile and I feel genuinely glad that it went so well. Here's why:

Because BBG teaches me a daily lesson that things don't go the way I want them to, and more often than not, that's great. Before labor, I told my doctor I had nearly no expectations; I wanted a healthy baby and no c-section (because more kids were in the plan, so it seemed like it would cause more problems in the future). As the due date grew near, everything got wider but my hips, and my mother started to wisely warn me my two goals may not be realistic. My water broke, and that set the wheels in motion to change everything. Basically, the birth I expected to have chipped away, but so far, life since then has gone the same way, and I am not complaining. I don't see any value in mourning a plan when the reality is better.

Because it does take strength and a hell of a lot of courage. Five months later, I feel kind of shocked that I went through what I went through. Mostly, I feel like I was a real badass, I think back on myself, laying completely naked on a metal table, making jokes with the anesthesiologist who was sure I wasn't medicated enough, and I wonder who that person was, because I would like her to get me some Mardi gras beads. I feel proud that I got through it, and that I impressed this dude who thought I couldn't handle the intense pain.

The underlying narrative to almost any conversation about labor is that the more intervention you get, the weaker you are.

That's crazy. It is scary to get rolled into surgery, or to feel someone cutting you open and pulling things out.  You feel every bit of it, and it takes focus to work through that pain and that fear. I did 6 hours of labor with no drugs. Then 4+ hours with just petocin. I did 24 hours of the vaginal delivery path before getting rerouted. Basically, I got to try every type of labor. It's all hard. It's all scary or painful in different ways. If you have had a baby, you are strong. You are brave. You have felt pain. Anyone who tries to tell you different is a jerk.

Because I am lucky to have a healthy baby. I believe in medical interventions when you need them. I feel glad that the little grey/purple baby who came out of me is now a very fat and happy bruiser of an infant. After 24 hours, we were both showing signs of an infection. His heart rate was dipping and not coming back This is only one of about a million perfectly legitimate reasons why a mother might choose to have a c-section. Maybe it would have turned out fine either way, but I will never have to sit asking myself if I could have done more, and for that, I am grateful.

Because so many things that day matter more to me than whether he took the side exit. Women can have so many fond memories from the disgusting miracle of birth, and the actual exit moment is only one of them. I laughed that day. I watched a Pirates of the Carribean sequel that I swear lasted the whole labor. Both of BBG's grandmas met him on his birthday. My mom stood by us the whole time, making us laugh and giving me strength. Each person gets to decide what memories are most valuable to them, and honestly, I feel good about the whole shebang.

Because who doesn't love a smiley face scar. At first, I struggled with having a scar, but it really looks beautiful to me now. My body will never look the same again, but I won't ever be the same again, so the change feels appropriate, A c-section scar is way more out there than other birth scars, but it's a daily reminder of what my body can do. Like a tattoo reminder. I think it is beautiful on other women, and it looks cuter to me each day.

Because it was my choice, and I made an informed and supported decision. I had supportive and open doctors and nurses who were behind my goals even past what we expected (they stuck through hours of potential infection and pirate movie, because that's what I wanted). Not everyone gets this, and this is worth getting riled up about. So rather than being antagonistic against people not making the same choice as you do, I wish people would get more riled up that not every gets the same range of choices they do.

My choices were afforded to me from my privileges and insurance, and everyone should have the right to make their own choices, no matter what.That's a real problem, and I think the energy we have about births is misdirected at each other. I just want to make it clear I didn't get a c-section because I was uninformed, or pressured, or unsupported. None of these were true for me, and it shouldn't have to be true for anyone.

Because there is no "easy way" of giving birth. Damn Eve! That fruit better have been delicious. I had a challenging, but overwhelmingly positive, experience.  I look back at it fondly, but it certainly was no walk in the park. There is only one person who can give birth easily, and that is my mother-in-law. For the rest of us, it is some sort of tough. This was mine, and I am proud of it.

So to everyone from well-meaning friends to internet randos, I reject your shame, You're right- I could have made different decisions, and they would have most certainly elicited differing results, but that doesn't mean they would have been better. I may not have been around to be a mom for this tiny pooping machine who is currently telling our furniture something very important. He may not have been here to weirdly stick his fingers in my mouth while he eats. So weird.

I hope this empowers other women to stop apologizing for their births as well. You did it right. However you need to feel about it is right for you. Your baby doesn't care how they got out; you gave them a gift, no matter how it happened.

So you may never know why the woman across from you made a different choice than you, and truly, it is none of your business, so the correct response is to just to congratulate her. And done. No suggestions needed. Let's use this as another opportunity to all be a little kinder to each other.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

31 Things for March (Because I am a Bum)

So, I have basically given up on blogging regularly, and based on my numbers, you have all given up as well. The downside is I am losng the accurate record of my life, so at least for March, we will swtch the daily 3 for a monthly 31. As I've said, little baby and two jobs is no joke. Throw in a bunch of (awesome) visitors, and you have my March. But the Baby gets cuter every day, so who can complain?

Second caveat- These are especially personal/ makes me seem completely uninvested in the outside world, but this is just an illusion created by my inability to take screenshots/ remember when that one thing happened. Not a great excuse, but alas. The act of writing a blog about my daily life is already narcissistic, so I guess I will just own that. 

1. Mr Gyro Addiction- Wow this picture looks gross, but it is easily in our top ten Seattle restaurants. Just a hole in the wall and barely enough room for anyone to sit, but we have noticed they remember some people's orders. Someday, we will be those customers.

2. Transforming the Guest Room- We tried to step up our guest room before all the company showed up so it didn't just look like the room where all our spare furniture went to watch me walk on the treadmill. Even if that is the truth. Our solution? Paint it all the same color and buy 3 throw pillows. And it worked! We also had the opportunity to conquer our fear of the Home Depot lumber section. Eeep. Operation Guest Snazz semi-completed (we are going to learn to do that headboard they do on every home improvement show ever... but that is for another day).

3. Chicken Pot Pie- We did our own. Delicious, and I think we have plans to make the next one even better. This may seem like nothing, but looking back on the month, I feel grateful that we are still conquering projects and trying new recipes and setting goals, big and small. Having an infant is no joke, so the small victory of a chicken pot pie feels encouraging now.

4. Our One Year Anniversary in the Seattle- I really think we are in a great place for us, and I feel excited about how much we have accomplished here in one year. We started a new family tradition- sandwiches on the living room floor, and we plotted our next twelve months.

5. The World's Slowest Lunch- We went to Mixturas on Aurora for Peruvian food, and we wanted to love it so much. Peru has great food, and we enjoyed some ridiculously good Peruvian in San Francisco, but apparently the Peruvian spirit doesn't travel this far up North. Mixturas may be good- the Papas a la Huacaina tasted great, but it was the slowest meal we ever had in our life. There was literally one guy working, so he took orders, and then went and made the whole thing before taking the next ones. We were an hour and a half in before he asked us, but we felt so bad for him, and we were determined. We had a great time anyway, but it took the whole afternoon.

6. Here comes the Sun- Doo doo doo doo. We are out and walking and seeing the world again.

7. Ben and Jerry's- Specifically, we are walking to Ben and Jerry's. And we are seeing Ben and Jerry's. Yay to the start of spring! Also, all their packaging is compostable. Get your shit together, everybody else.

8. Deloreon Clubs- I support that this exists. I remain even more tickled that enough of these exist to demand a regional qualifier. Also, I love that this was part of the Irish Cultural festival at Seattle Center.

9. Happy Visits- I really love the Boy's Aunt and cousin, but I never spent more than a few hours at a time with them before. In short, we could have run out of things to talk about, but Shileys never run out of topics, and I love hearing all their juice. New insight- one of the best parts of marrying someone is a whole new world of gossip to get caught up on. 12 years in, and I still hear some dramas I haven't heard before. I loved their visit and introducing them to the tiny Gentleman.

10. Taking people up the Space Needle- I actually really like it up there, and  I get to breastfeed way up in the air. I'm like one of those mom pigs on her side while all the baby pigs fight for nipple, except I am also flying.

11. Being super wrong- I fought the Boy that the monorail came to the mall. Then sitting in a mall corner, seemingly flashing only my infant son, a car of monorail riders came right past the window. Nothing like eating your words and flashing your nipples. Character building.

12. Zara- Wow, there are places in this world that make me feel epically uncool, and this would be one of them.

13. St. Patrick's Day Food- I have never really gotten into this holiday, but we hosted PEPS that day, and it was fun to come up with theme food. We made a rainbow fruit salad, and everything else was green (green snickerdoodles, spinach roll ups, pesto pasta salad, etc). Also, we served a bunch of beer and cider, because nothing says religious holiday like drinking. I got silly hats too, because that is the secret to all hosting success, but they didn't make it in time. The infants were deeply offended.

14. Introducing my Son to my Brother and Sister in Law for the First Time- So happy and exciting a moment, even if we were running late and he puked on us both (you can guess who I meant by "he" this time). BBG is lucky to have so many people who love him so much.

15. The Best Weekend Ever- Ok, maybe an overstatement, but it was truly great for all sorts of reasons. Life is really good and filled with miracles, and that weekend just makes me smile to even think about.

16. Sleeping in our Dining Room- You know you have a full house, when. Everyone should invest in a semi-good air mattress. Because even a good one is horrible, so the bad ones are just the floor. 

17. Blueberry pancakes- Add a small spoon full of brown sugar, a pinch of cream of tartar, and a ton of cinnamon. That is my key to a delicious pancake. 

18. Uptown Funk- Like everyone else, we are obsessed with this song. Even BBG likes it.

19. This picture- It may not seem like much to the rest of the world, but I love it. Because someone else is doing my dishes. I kid! These two together, chatting and working together could have been enough to make the whole weekend great. But seriously, everyone feel free to come and help me with Dish Mountain.

20. Vader- Darth takes care of birthdays in this house. I also have a picture of my mom blowing out the candles that would have been enough to make the whole weekend the best of the year. I messed up the frosting, but it's sugar, so people didn't complain.

21. Finally figuring out the simple way to find parking at Pike's Market- Go up to Second Ave. This is the key to happiness. If all else fails, park at Target.

22. Tulip Season in Washington- Gah, they are all amazing. The color and variety of the tulips lights up the whole space. It feels like the world waking up. The market on a Saturday afternoon seemed packed, so tourist season must be underway. Still, I am glad we went.

23. Lowell's Third Floor- A perfect place to bring guests to take a break from the crowds. I think the Greek place next door has better food, but Lowell's is still delicious and wins for a great view. I am going to track down the Pink Door next.

24. The Cheese Store across from the Market and the Food Store Right at the End- You can watch them make the cheese at one and buy fresh (and delicious) pesto and pasta at the other. We bought fancy cheeses at both places, because we had fancy cheese and cracker guests two weeks in a row. The cheeses were delicious, though I don't get the cracker thing.

25. Elmer Fudd snap bracelets- It fits around my baby's cankles. It really classes up the place.

26. Dinner out with our Realtors- Random but the Divas (yes, that is their name, and they are ridiculously awesome at what they do, so they can call themselves whatever they want) were so sweet and brought us gifts for the baby and remembered some very specific things about us (someone is keeping notecards or something). In the total chaos of March, this is one of the things on our schedule I really felt glad we did, if only to hear their Italy stories (I can listen to other people's travel tales all day).

27. Ray's- Watch out Ivar's, I found a new favorite seafood place (because all you need to do is make some seared scallops to win my heart). This staple in Ballard was our best discovery from our third weekend of hosting in a row. The Boy's cousin Matt is quite the foodie, so we tried some new things, and I loved this place. It feels fancy, but I think you can shake off the fussiness. I think it may actually be a better place to go to for lunch, because I imagine the view would also be beautiful. We will return to this one.

29. George Lucas as a Fashion Designer- We also took Matt to the EMP to see their new exhibit of all the Star Wars costumes. The design of the show was AWESOME, intricate, and fun. You could really appreciate the texture of the costumes (jedi capes almost look like they are made out of sweaters). But best of all, the show perfectly epitomizes why people should limit how much money they give to George Lucas. Because he decides he is a fashion designer. But he doesn't know what he is doing, so it comes off like what a little boy would come up with if he had to design a dress. Just a bunch of overwrought, super worked nonsense. The Natalie Portman collection of WTF dominates the space, but you can still see a lot of cool stuff, so I highly recommend it.

30. Returning to my High School Haircut, just in time for my birthday- I wanted a bob and bangs, but what I got is the hair you have when you start saying you need a haircut. Why did the woman decide to give up on me? I imagine I don't want to know, but between the extra chub and the unbrushed shapeless hair, I am very reminiscent of Barbara circa 2003. Throw a pseudo-clever t-shirt on me and we will travel back in time.

31. The Cliche Yet Totally Tremendous Feeling of Hearing Your Baby Laugh- Yeah, it's the best. Can't be topped. 

3 Things for Today- We're Back!

At least for now, feeling optimistic I can bring at least the daily thankfuls back, because it is nice to have to help me remember the moment. It feels slightly ironic that I would probably like to remember these days I haven't had time to document!

1. Butcher and the Baker French Polynesian Sandwich- I could be such a good pescatarian if pork didn't exist. The boy brought our favorite sandwiches back for dinner tonight, which practically made up for the fact that our PEPS group is over. The best ham sandwich in the world really makes up for a lack of baby-related group discussions.

2. Family Game Night- Yes, we are lame and boring, but sometimes, that can be a relief. Happy to include some things in our routine where fun is the goal. Our plan is games on Tuesdays and movie night Thursdays- do you have a night for fun in your house? What do you do?

3. Succulents- The Boy's co-workers gave him condolences flowers, but manlier. They look truly gorgeous; if only I knew how we should take care of them!

Bwahaha success! Ya blogged!

Picture of the Week- Life is Strange

This past week was just sad all over, but it did make me reflect on one of my weirdest obsessions- art in funeral homes. There is no great choice for art to put up in funeral homes- it can't be too flashy or controversial, it can't be too sad or happy in tone, and it should feel homey to literally everyone. It's like hotel art, but impossible. This painting at Bello Pizzo funeral home (the largest one in New Jersey) may not have completed a mission, but I am sure some cousin somewhere finally returned a favor. I mean, I just love it.

Quote of the Week- Sad Week

"Mostly it is loss that teaches us about the worth of things"- Arthur Schopenhauer