Highlights from year one


Happy First Birthday to my Angel

Dear Mona,

Today is your first birthday–but really your dada and I have been reflecting on this trip round the sun since yesterday, since that’s when your labor began 365 days ago. Your being has transformed me as a person, and although it has pushed me at points, left me isolated, broken and run down, you have also made me into a new person. A better person. Someone who lives in the moment, thinking beyond myself. I love you so much. I love your snort and smiles. I love that you don’t always mile, you are selective about it. I love your snuggles and cuddles and climbs. I love your curiosity, your observance. You are my greatest blessing and wish manifest.

Happy birthday my angel.


your mama

Patience my pet

Hello World!

It is incredibly hard to believe that in one week Mona will be 5 months old. She is the total light of my life.

Everyone says things get better, easier, you come out of the newborn hazy forest and life slowly starts to make sense again as time passes. It is so true. Every time I stop to reflect I feel more and more normal.

I was fortunate to receive a job with my current organization working part time from home. I thought I had struck it rich! And maybe I have. But, it doesn’t mean it’s without challenges.

Work has been pretty slow so far so I am definitely still getting in the groove of things. Maybe once my workload picks up everything will feel more routinized. But there is a part of me that wonders–should I try to be working outside of the house? I think this motherhood thing is still so new. Even trying to get out to run errands can seem like this huge task!

So on the one hand while I feel like I am sloooowly emerging from the forest, on the other hand I can sometimes beat myself up for not doing enough! I think the secret is going to be being patient with myself. Remembering my baby is only 5. months. old. It’s okay I don’t have it all figured out yet.

Birth Story Part 2 (I can do hard things)

After Mona was born I was incredibly blessed to have some very close friends and familial support systems.

I had called the dr one week after delivery to say something felt off. I was brought in for an internal exam and everything appeared fine even though it wasn’t my typical doctor.

Friends and family came by for visits. I was able to take short walks. But the recovery process seemed slow. I would go for a walk and have heavy bleeding, so I would dedicate the next day or two to rest. But then, the bleeding continued as did the cramping. The cramping became so bad I was in the fetal position on my bed waiting for relief.

The next morning was a Friday in April and we called the office. They had me come in for an ultrasound and lo and behold, I had retained placenta even after the surgery. Per the doctor’s recommendation I had a D&C then and there.

I will say a D&C 3 weeks postpartum was one of the most challenging experiences I have ever had. But I felt immediately better. One week later I had another episode of severe bleeding but after that I could finally begin my true recovery.

Every time things get challenging I remember–I can do hard things. I got mastitis–I can do hard things.

Her Birth Story

I have been meaning to write this for a while now but am happy to share it when our sweet girl is sleeping soundly in her sling nuzzled against my chest.

At one of our final week check ups our doctor, whom we trust and adore, suggested that we have an induction. At first, I didn’t know what to think. But he explained that it was our choice but that research suggested it would not pose any threat to us or our baby. Now, I never planned on wanting that but the more we talked about it the more it seemed like a good idea. It allowed us to confirm we could do it with our doctor at the hospital I strongly preferred. And, it allowed me to stop working knowing that my due date was only 2 weeks away, instead of say 4 weeks which would not feel as justifiable in my mind (to myself, no one else would have said boo.) I also was pretty sure she might come before that. Spoiler–She didn’t, but I thought she was going to!

So, after deliberation I was glad to have it on the books, for March 14th. I stopped working March 1st and enjoyed 2 glorious weeks of sleep, catching up with friends and family and most importantly mentally preparing for labor and the birth of our child.

The days passed, and finally March 13th arrived. My husband and I enjoyed one delicious pasta dinner and (gasp) a glass of red wine. It was a bittersweet ‘final date’ and we just loved each other so much. As some might remember, March 14th was due to be an incredible blizzard, and blizzard it was. We drove to the hospital in the darkness of 5:30 AM, my husband sipping his coffee and the highways covered in snow already. Our dog safely away at the in laws.

The hospital was very calm, I had been there for a million classes so it felt very usual to me. They got us set up in a room, I changed into a gown, and a series of sweet interns came in to ask us questions. Our nurse was awesome and made sure we were good to go, and let me know I was already 4cm. A resident broke my water with basically a knitting needle. I was scared of said needle but it was entirely painless. Then a bit after that we started a low dose of pitocin and watched the snow fall and listened to jazz. After continuing to up the pitocin the contractions became uncomfortable around 2 but our nurse wanted us to go as long as we could without the epidural which mightve slowed things down. She suggested a pain relief where I could still feel the contractions but it would feel like 2 glasses of wine. I was like, did someone say wine? Where do I sign? However, I am not sure what her definition of 2 glasses of wine is but it was pretty much like I had been shot with a tranquilizer dart where I woke up to the contractions.

My loving husband sat by my side and every time I woke up we visualized hiking up a mountain with our dog baloo. He described the flowers, or the leaves and the dog running ahead. Then we would come down the mountain as the pain subsided and I would konk out again.

Made it to 7cm where I wanted the epidural. The anesthetist was so awesome, her name was Mo, but they still had to insert the needle 4 times. 4!!! The nurse held me as I recited the Lord’s prayer in her face each time (sorry if I had dragon breath…) Sweet relief with the epidural.

By 8PM I was 10cm and the dr asked me to push. Then he would leave. Every 15 minutes the nurse helped me change position. My husband on one foot and her on the other. there was lots of bodily fluid and I will leave it at that. We are all human after all!

I pushed and pushed and my husband said he could see her head, and it had hair and I pushed some more. After 2 hours the nurse said she was turning down the epidural so I could feel the contractions more to push. And feel them I did! She turned it off completely and slowly it wore off, and off.

I pushed for 2 more hours, a little over 4 hours before I felt I physically could not push anymore. I was squatting and falling over and the vomiting, did I mention that? Poor husband, he was a champ but he kept encouraging me. I really wanted to deliver vaginally but something was holding us back. The nurse got the dr. He came in and tried to manually turn or remove her with HIS GIANT HAND. Still no baby. He suggested a c section to which I gladly agreed.

I felt so at peace, the medicine began again, I could rest for a moment. My husband joined me in the OR, holding one hand and whispering to me, while Mo held the other and explained the sensations I would get. My teeth chattered (understatement) from the medicine, but they put  a warm blanket over my chest and I was happy.

At 12:21 on March 15th, Mona Rose was born. The Dr. removed her and realized the chord had been wrapped twice around her neck which might explain the difficulty to progress down. She reached up and grabbed his scissors first thing and wailed. She was brought to me and I said I love you. A tear fell from my husband’s eye.

Next thing I know I wake up in the hallway and she is nursing. We stayed at the hospital for 4 days and the team was amazing there. We had a double room for both of us to sleep in and watch the mountains and the snow melt.

Three weeks today and I am recovering and loving this baby so much. I cannot truly describe the joy I have to know the meaning of this blog’s title is forever changed.

The journey begins.

38 weeks, 5 days and 3 CM

Oh my!

From my experience, many people have told me how pregnancy drags on and how they are over it and can’t wait to deliver their baby. Now, there have been many times where I *hear* that for sure. But seeing as how I could go into labor at truly any moment, it is so hard for me to believe that my pregnancy, our pregnancy really (Spencer, mine and the baby) is coming to an end. It has gone by so fast, and truly been a wonderful experience. I am sure the IVF plays into this perspective, but it is so hard to believe she will be here so soon I have to pinch myself.

So, this very well may be the last blog I write before bambina is here. AHHH. It is a very surreal time. All I can think about is this baby. I am having small contractions as I write this. Went in to the dr yesterday, who is planning on an induction on Tuesday the 14th, and he did an internal exam with his giant Frankenstein hands to tell us we were 2-3 cm along already. Woo hoo! This will make the induction more favorable, but also reveals we might begin labor naturally before then. I am kind of hoping she is not born on Saturday, the Ides of March…is that terrible? It’s also the St. Patrick’s Day parade and many of the roads will be closed. Seems like a hot mess waiting to happen. Sunday is the full moon so that would not be a surprise if she came then.

I stopped working last week and it was the best possible decision I have made in a long time. Now, I recognize I am very fortunate to be able to do this and not everyone can; however, working 11-12 hour days was definitely draining my life force and causing swelling and more contractions than I had not working. I have been able to spend time talking on the phone to friends, visiting my mother and sisters in law and walking the dog as well as being with my husband. Pure joy.

Ok, so full disclosure, I am human. My human responses right now are delight, love, fear and anxiety. I think the fear and anxiety come from the waiting for the onset of labor. I have some irrational fear of it happening in the night time because apparently doctor’s don’t work then? Pish. It is just the unknown. We can’t wait to meet her.

And oh yes, decide on a name! This has been so difficult for me and my husband wants to wait to meet her and then decide. Here are the variations of our choices:

Florence Rose, Florence Amelia

Simona Florence, Simona Rose

Wildcard contenders: Sierra, Mira, Miriam, Pearl, Rose

With love and elation,

Margaret & baby

Temporarily off work…33 weeks and counting

It started on Tuesday. Cramping, quick succession of Braxton hicks and low and behold some brown spotting. Panicked, I called the dr and they said just keep an eye on it. The next morning some more Brown spotting. So they brought me in for an ultrasound immediately. Everything looked fine but they did want me off work, which I’ve been since Wednesday. Although I have been working from home. I go back in Monday morning to mee with the doctor and I’m very curious as to what will happen next. Will I be out of work? Will I go back. 33 weeks and counting until we meet our precious girl.

Everything is starting to seem more real now. Just took a Lamaze class and I do recommend it. It’s great for partners mostly to learn how to tune in. Hip swaying good times. Looking forward to labor but don’t quote me on that.


The Nursery 

In an attempt to freeze time and remember things just as they are, if only for a moment. I get the sense I’ll be feeling that way a lot in the times ahead. 

Just need a bit of ahhht and some shelving and for fun add in a baby and voila –nursery magnifique!

Baby shower day-or-One of the best days of my life so far…31 weeks

Yesterday I got to bask in the love of family and friends at my baby shower. My mom, mother in law and nieces grandmother all worked incredibly hard to put this together. Not to mention my dear friend Kirtley who traveled from Boston to be here, the people who sent their love from afar, my sisters who helped plan, my father in law for getting the space, brother in law for helping and my dad for just being there and telling me he was proud of us…and everyone who was there. Of course my baby daddy and wonderful life partner husband who was so attentive and supportive and checked on me and got me all the water I needed– I was heating up with all the excitement. Just thank you. 

It’s amazing to know our baby is already loved and we have a support system in place. Sorry if this post seems gratuitous I just want to remember the day forever. Now we just prepare for baby! 

Where I’ve been, Where I’m going

Today I am officially 22 weeks pregnant. There were literally years where I never thought that I would say that. I pinch myself. It is incredibly hard to believe how quickly the journey has been. Everyday, I thank God for this gift of life. But, it wouldn’t be me if there weren’t some hiccups on the way I had to report.

First off, at one of our earliest OB appointments the doctor offered us the quad screening. This screening gives you a percentage of odds for chromosonal abnormalities, such as Spina Bifida and Downs. Although we would keep the baby no matter what the outcome, unless it would cause harm to the baby, I felt like the test would be a good idea. My logic was that I would rather know beforehand, to help prepare and research to give the child the best life possible. Well, be forewarned it is an extensive test. There is an ultrasound which examines the lining in the baby’s neck, thicker lining can sometimes be an indicator of Downs. Well, my darling one was in the wrong position so the test was inconclusive. Then, there is a series of lab tests. We got the call around 16 weeks, the day after I had told my entire staff we were expecting, that our baby “screened positive for Downs.” I left a meeting, thinking oh it is just my doctor’s, and thank goodness because I spent the next hour crying in a resource room. So, if you ever screen positive I am here for you and can help answer any questions!

First of all, screen positive does not mean your child has Downs. It just means you fall outside the average levels for your age group. For me, the average would be 1/600~. My results were 1/200~. Not bad odds, but boy does it make you wonder. If my baby is fine, why would I have higher results? If it isn’t DS, is there something else, a placental issue, etc? And, people with DS are beautiful and productive members of society, why am I so afraid? Have I been harboring this bias deep within me and had not confronted it?

These results led us to the Harmony test. We got the call on Saturday of Columbus Day Weekend when we were visiting friends in Boston. We were out for brunch when I got an unidentified number on my phone. I didn’t answer, but with the iphone you can see the message transcription…the test results came back normal. After hugging Spencer and my friends and calling my parents, texting my sisters in law and the school nurse who has become comically involved in my pregnancy, I went to the bathroom and dropped to my knees (yes, I know) and just offered up my deepest prayer of gratitude. Later, the OB nurse would say it was my first test of parenting. detach

There have been other moments of stress. My brother has severe bi-polar disorder, and although we live a state away he went into a manic episode when I was there for my birthday and we had to leave. I felt my heart racing, and allllll the feelings  you feel. And, so what I am learning is that first comes gratitude, then you have to put you and your baby first. You have to take care of you. It is for the literal health and well being of your child. I don’t think I have ever been more forced to be a true practicioner of self care in my life, but I plan on doing my best to make it a habit–it is in everyone’s best interest.

Love and take care of yourself.

PS- It’s a girl!