That first week of a baby's life...

I have a theory, and I'm sure I'm not the first -- the reason we don't sleep for the first 6 weeks of a baby's life is so that we won't remember it.

I just spoke to my Christmas Mommy. Much as she was in labor... she is doing a lot better than she thinks she is. Her milk seems to be coming in wonderfully, and although the baby isn't sleeping very well, she is taking advantage of the wakeful nights to get to know her little guy.

Isn't it difficult to settle into life with a newborn? I told my midwife that I'd gladly be pregnant for 15 months and deliver a 6-month-old. Some people, my mother among them, just adore the newborn stage. "Oh, I just love how they're totally helpless and dependent, and you're the only one who can give them what they need," my mother has said. To me, this is not the best part of motherhood. But it is, I suppose, what makes three people a family -- the pacing the halls, the hours rocking, the shared tears.

Like how the pain a woman feels in labor will guide her to move her body in a way that is most beneficial to progressing her labor, the growing pains of parenting lead us to get to know and love our new babies in ways that no one else can.

Boy, I sure do wish I could have remembered all this when mine were little. And I'm sure I'll forget it again if we ever have a third, too!

Badger the Bi-ped

Badger is walking. Not all the time, but consistently. We no longer have to coax him and he's just as likely to rise to stand and walk as he is to crawl to where he's going. What a busy boy he is!!!

Christmas Baby!

Oh my, what a Christmas. On Christmas Eve, I spoke to my backup on my way to my parents' house, which is 200 miles away from where I live. She knew that we had a client due 1/2/08 -- first time mom, C. So off Mr Sweetie, Chim Chim, and Baby Badger and I go.

Christmas morning comes and every thing is fun and festive. The kids had a blast. We're getting ready for my mom's Christmas Day buffet dinner and then... the phone rings around 1:30pm. It's my client C. She's been having contractions since 630 that morning. C. is pretty sure this is the real thing. We decide that she will give me a call when she decides to go to triage to be evaluated. I call my backup to let her know that she may be needed. No response. SO frustrating.

We devise a plan that we'll take the carseats out of my car, I'll head out, do my job, and return the next day to collect my husband and kids and see my brothers and their kids some more. If the birth goes very long, my dad can drive folks back. I hit the turnpike by 2:30 and FLY across the most beautiful state in the Union. I get a call around 400pm -- they've already gone to the hospital and are being admitted... she's SIX cm. Holy mackerel. I increase my speed and call my backup; again, no response. I get to the hospital at 5:15 -- 2 hr. 45 min. from door to door, 200 miles.

C. and her husband R. are doing better than they think. Around 7cm C. is scared that the pain is going to be increasing and that she can't handle it. She considers getting an epidural and we discuss the pros and cons. She has a fantastic family doc attending her birth, and I've never seen a doctor be so supportive or knowledgeable of natural birth or spend so much time with a woman in labor. We spend time on the birth ball and Dr. gives C. some paced breathing to keep her in the driver's seat, and this helps so much. I wish I had thought of it but I'm thankful to have been able to learn from him. The nurses thought she was bonkers for going natural. I was irritated with them for not being respectful of her choices.

C. makes it through to 10cm and takes a while feeling the urge to push. She was afraid of the pain but it helped her labor down to the point that she really let her body do a lot of the work for her. When she got down to pushing she did fantastic. She was strong and determined. C. has her baby in her arms 45 minutes later, at 9:05 on Christmas Night. No name for the little guy when I left but the family was happy, content, and adoring of each other.

I crashed out in my big bed all by myself, woke at 5am, drove a bit more slowly across the most beautiful state in the union, and had a nice after-Christmas Day. We drove home last night and had a good night sleep, everyone in his or her own bed, and woke up to just the 4 of us at home for the first time since MIL came to visit on 12/11.

Hope everyone had wonderful December Holidays and that 2008 brings wonderful things for all!

Changing Care Providers

I have always loved the saying that you can change who your care provider is but you can change who your care provider is. Meaning, it's a lot easier to transfer your care to someone who respects you as a client/patient than to try and undo 30 years of biases and habits in your 20 minute prenatal visits.

My first January client is in this predicament. She feels the backup to her primary care provider is not hearing and respecting her concerns about an issue, and it leads her to question how well her concerns were met by her primary in the first place. She's in the window and she's considering switching providers. I hope it turns out to be a big misunderstanding but I respect her ability to advocate for herself and her priorities for her birth.

I have nothing! YAY!

It's been a busy few months doula-wise and that's been WONDERFUL. This is the most amazing career I could imagine and I'm so so happy to have met my trainer and joined her group of doulas. However. I am SO glad to not be on call! I had my postpartum visit with my birth center client on Monday, and my next client is not due until 1/2/2008 so I'm clear! I do have at least two prenatal meetings between now and then as well but I'm so relieved to be able to pack away the doula bags for a while at least. They were a permanent fixture at my front door for a good six weeks!

My mother-in-law is visiting and we're enjoying some family time. Various and members of his family will be here for visits and then we'll also visit my family for a few days. The kids are so very excited!!!

Birth Center Birth Yesterday!

I was lucky enough to have all the due-date bingo line up just right and I didn't miss my 12/3 client. She had her baby 12/4 in the morning after a labor full of laughter, tears, hard work, and lots of love. She is one disciplined woman and I'm extremely proud of her for giving her baby girl A. the gift of a gentle and natural birth.

I am a little under the weather -- a stomach bug reared its head about 1/2 hour after the birth -- but I cannot wait to snuggle this big baby girl... 9 lb 4.5 oz! Great job for this first-time mom!

Thanks to Kris for the real-labor vibes, they totally worked :)

False labor, prodromal labor, pre-labor, no matter what you call it...

... it's tough. My client has had several incidents contractions that have lasted for 12-36 hours (the incidents, not the contractions.) and it's just exhausting her on every level. I have been there, and I feel for her. Let's hope that M. can get some good rest tonight, and save her energy for the big day, whenever it may be!

Homebirth today!

It went well! Fast, but well. She started contractions around 430am. I got the call around 6am and I was there by 8am (it was an hour away and I had to rouse Chim and Badger out of bed and get them to daycare. There was also a vehement argument from Chim about what shoes she was going to wear). I called around 745 to let them know I was around the corner and she'd just been checked at 3cm. I got there, midwife checks again around 815 and she was 6cm. By 9am she had just an anterior lip and she was pushing by 915. Baby Girl Z was born at 10:38am!

Healthy baby, strong mama, loving dad, great midwife, awed doula!

Due date, shmue date.

Now, I know that when I see the words "due date" I should think "due MONTH." But the waiting is HARD! I can do the prenatals, I can do the 1am phone calls and mad dash the hospital, I can even do the child care tango with my husband. I didn't think it would be so hard to sit. And wait. And get more and more nervous as my 11/27 client isn't in labor, and my 12/3 client who had some "practice" labor last week has stopped having contractions... so I'm back to two births waiting to happen and just hoping they do not happen at the same time!

My 11/27 client is a homebirth who is an hour away. I do not have a backup for her! I want to be there because I don't want her without doula support, and hell, I want to be at a homebirth! What a rare and wonderful opportunity for a beginning doula!

My 12/3 client is set to give birth at the local birth center... as long as she doesn't have her baby before 12/1, when her insurance begins covering the birth center. Otherwise she'll be having a birth at the hospital, but with the wonderful midwives nonetheless. I feel very close to this client and I really want to be there to support her, although my backup for this birth is really fantastic and I'd feel 100% confident putting my client's support into these capable and experienced hands.

So keep your fingers crossed, internets!!! May I please be at both births... with maybe a nice nap in between?

...and a new light emerges.

Happy Birthday, Baby C! Your Mom is incredibly strong and gave you the gift of a loving and gentle birth. Your Dad was so supportive and watchful and loving to your Mom during labor. Thank you, S. family, for letting me be part of your beautiful, natural, awesome birthday!


A light's gone out.

I just learned that a good friend passed away, leaving two beautiful daughters and a husband who she deeply loved. I can't think of a time when she wasn't gracious, grateful, smart, sexy, loving, FUNNY, creative, beautiful, and kind.

Becky, we love you and we miss you already.


I'm sure the nine people who check out my blog (and you know I love every last one of you ;) ) must assume that I have been busy doing labor support, or else why would I not blog for nearly 2 weeks? Dear madams and sirs, I have not. I have just been plain lazy/sick/busy with prenatals.

I am now waiting for my 11/15 client to hop on into labor. She and her husband are sweet as pie and clearly made for each other. I just love my prenatal visits. Seeing the ripple of a wee foot across mom's belly. Hearing a heartbeat at a prenatal visit at the birth center. Learning a family's history as a soon to be grandmother talks about her own births. It's such an honor to be part of these special times in people's lives!!!

Boo! Happy Halloween!!!

Oh my. The holidays really are for kids! Chim is EXCITED about her costume, and I have to say that she was the cutest kid at her preschool... and I'm not biased at ALL. Badger is in a bit rough shape because of his vax yesterday but hopefully he'll be better for Trick or Treat tonight, so we can show him off in his cute bat costume.


I am BUSY. It's awesome. I have two first-meetings next week (one of which is with my FIRST PAYING CLIENT, ahem), and I'm going to meet the midwife for my homebirth client, at her 36 week home visit. SO exciting! I am booked until the beginning of December. If you'd told me in July that things would be going well, I wouldn't have believed you.

Thanks, Universe, for the breaks!!!

Badger is one today!

My little baby turned one today. Little sweetie woke up to nearly the minute of when contractions started, a year ago... at 2am! Yes, all day I was doing the, "Last year at this time..." thing. Last year at this time, I was shoving you and Chim out the door so you could drop her off at daycare as soon as they opened. Last year at this time, I was laboring at home when the Comcast guy came to fix the modem, and I pretty much scared the living daylights out of him. Last year at this time, we and the midwife were getting settled into the hospital room.... and of course that is where things get a little crazy in my memory, as I went to Labor Land. And then the eternal pushing phase which Mr. Sweetie told me today actually wasn't boring for him... so glad I kept him entertained!

As I rocked Badger before bed tonight, in what used to be our room and now is his, I thought of all the tears of mourning we cried when we thought he was not going to be joining us this time around, when an early ultrasound showed that the brain and cranium was not developed, and the tears of joy and astonishment we shed when we learned it was an error in the way the ultrasound data was interpreted, and a scan a week later showed a lovely head.

It's been an extraordinary 12 months. He has been a needful child, quite the opposite of his big sister. I have questioned my abilities to parent him well nearly every of the past 365. But as I see how sweet he is, how funny and selective with his smiles, and how carefully he considers the details around him, how perfectly BADGER he is, I feel that I am probably doing at least something right.

Baby Badger Boy -- I thanked your sister for making me a mom. You gave me a gift on your birthday as well. You helped me find a power I thought was gone. You helped me fix myself. Mama loves you, baby boy. I'm so glad you're here.

Chim is three today!

Gosh, where have the past 36 months gone? It can't have been three years since I stared, dumbfounded, at this little (ok, gigantic) child who until 14 hours previous had lived in my uterus. I wish so many things for my daughter, not the least of which is that I had been able to make her entrance a safer, kinder, warmer, and gentler birth, and that the first hands that touched her were more loving. But life has its own plans and if I had the birth I wanted, perhaps Chim and her daddy wouldn't be so very close -- a bond that formed all those nights when I was too exhausted (and I'm sorry to say depressed) to rock her to sleep.

Now, three years later, she's a delightful little girl who is bright as anything, loves to play games (and doesn't care who wins as long as she can play AGAIN!!!), make believe, and yes, wear her pretty dresses. She loves to read and paint and climb and run. She loves to talk. Talk talk talk. Some nights I want to buy earplugs because this girl chatters so.

She and her brother have SO much fun together. I love seeing her be a big sister and learn to nurture. I'm so proud of her. When I see her being such a wonderful little person, I know that despite my shortcomings, I must be getting this mothering thing a little bit right.

Happy 3rd birthday, my ChimChim. Thank you for making me a mommy. Mama loves you like peas love carrots.

Lots of doula activity for me!

I have two potential clients that really have me excited!

The first, I'm meeting tonight -- due the end of November. They're a bit far away (maybe 45 minute drive?) and pro bono... but it's a homebirth! It's very exciting for me and a bit daunting as well, since if I get this birth, it will be the first I will have actually attended.

The second is at the freestanding birth center, due the beginning of December... and it's a PAID JOB!!! For those keeping score (like my husband is!), this would be my first. BIG milestone!

So keep your fingers crossed!

First Doula Birth

My first birth! My client A had a beautiful, perfect, baby girl on Thursday. Although I was not in the OR for her scheduled cesarean birth, I was able to provide some support postpartum... although with A's and P's wonderful family and friends, this is one well-supported family, doula or no!

This mom is such a natural mother and seeing her with her toddler and newborn was truly heartwarming. This dad is a very warm and strong individual and there are few things more sweet than a dad and his little girl. And Big Sister V. is about as darling as can be.

I felt humbled and honored to be included, even on the periphery, on the day of K's birth.

VBACS not "allowed"

It makes me so sad to hear of women being forced into repeat cesarean births when they might choose a vbac, all things being equal. My client, as you may have guessed, is about 99% headed for a scheduled repeat cesarean birth. She's not happy. The baby is not engaged at all and keeps flipping. I think that even if we went with moxibustion, which I had suggested to her, that the baby would probably flip again.

But I was asking my web-friends who have had "elective" repeat cesareans, how can I make this better for her? And I now know that "elective" isn't really the word. It's scheduled but it's not what many would choose. It's what they are stuck getting because otherwise they'd need to drive 90 minutes to a hospital that "does" vbacs (yes, that ticks me off... WOMEN HAVE vbacs, doctors and hospitals don't "do" them).

Sure, they could've travelled far and wide. They could've switched care providers. They could've gone underground and found a homebirth midwife. They could've even had an unassisted birth.

But why? Why couldn't they just have the birth they wanted, in the birthplace they wanted? How about if a woman doesn't have to choose a birthplace or care provider that in their hearts they aren't comfortable with, or something that their partners just won't support? It's a damn shame.

My Imaginary Friends

That's what my husband and I call my online friends. Of course, they're real and true and I'd be lost without them. One particular friend gave me a gigantic boost yesterday, when I really needed it. She was thoughtful enough to think of Chim and Badger, sending them a goody box of clothes and a zoo map -- Chim's latest obsession. She is a very busy woman and the love and effort was just as valued as the gifts themselves (and that is saying something because, hello, Disney Princess socks -- BIG hit.).

No one can ever explain to me how the timing of these sorts of acts of kindness come to fruition when they're most needed... this box arrived after I learned that my client was again breech, and a grumpy day at a pumpkin patch in 90 degree weather with everyone snipping and snapping at each other. Then that ray of sunshine... nothing random about that act of kindness.

I may be a heathen but I know there's an energy way bigger than you and me.

My October Client -- her baby flipped AGAIN!

This poor mommy. Her baby flipped to transverse DURING an ultrasound. She's due in 10 days and she's meeting with the OB (since the midwives have officially transfered her since she makes them too "nervous") on Monday, and she knows that he "does" scheduled c-sections on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and likes to do them at 39 weeks, so she's preparing herself for a really good conversation with the doctor. She really wants her vbac, and I hope she gets it -- and regardless I hope she has a good birth experience.

Any wisdom for this new doula, interweb?

Dear Fall,

Please actually arrive. The leaves are starting to change colors but it's going to be 90 degrees today and tomorrow. That means all the beautiful color will get brown, and then it'll rain and all the trees will be bear all of a sudden. We still need to go to a pumpkin patch -- it'll be Badger's first time. So if you could get your act together, weather, that would be juuuuuuust super.

Got Badger registered with Daycare.

So that's a big step in my doula career -- we're now covered for business hours! It's tough to not have family around to pitch in with child care but we are SO thankful for this wonderful center. We enrolled ChimChim when she was just a year, when I started my ill-fated insurance sales career. It's been a real rock for us. It's been a constant for Im throughout all my job changes and when Badger was born, I was SO happy she had a place to be herself which had NOTHING to do with her baby brother. So we feel very good about leaving him there if we need to!

Off label drugs

The first time I heard about prescribing drugs off label I was shocked. This was in my Bradley class over three years ago. We learned about Cytotec and I was aghast. Really outraged. Next thing you know, we go into my 39 week OB appointment and the doctor starts talking induction, just to get the ball rolling. He said he'd give me Cytotec and we said I wouldn't consent to Cytotec because it has not been approved by the FDA for the use he intended, and you should've SEEN him. He got red in the face, sputtered about people taking a childbirth class and thinking they knew more than he did... and stormed out of the room. Thank goodness that's the last time I saw him... but we should've followed our instincts and tried to get into a midwife's care that very day.

Since then I've become a lot more informed and a lot more passionate about these issues. I do understand that it's HARD to do clinical trials for pregnancy, and that's why Cervadil is more expensive than Cytotec. But you know what? Babies are worth it. Moms are worth it. Don't you think?

Goodbye Minivan!

Long long long annoying story short -- we sold the minivan for the equivalent of 3 months car payments... now only 33 to go. But we are SO glad to be DONE with it and have it out of our hair.

Life is good today.

Gobble Gobble

We've got turkeys! Mr. Sweetie saw movement out of the corner of his eye yesterday, and it turned out to be two tom turkeys at our back sliding door... and they were very threatened by their reflection in the glass, apparently, because they were pecking the glass!

It's amazing that a bird with such beautiful plumage can be that ugly in the head and feet!

October will be busy!

So as of October 1st, I am on call. The kids' birthdays are on 10/18 and 10/29, so I'm having Badger's 1st birthday party on 10/20 and ChimChim's 3rd birthday (a big party, not at home, and with a ton of kids) on 10/21. Then of course Halloween. Chim wants to be a mean witch, and Badger will be a bat... but I still need to get the costumes. I really would love to go pumpkin picking too!

I love this time of year... but we're going through an warm snap and I'm ready for the FALL. It's only a few weeks of nice weather between the swelter of summer and the grey rain of the winter in Pittsburgh, and I love every moment. October is definitely my favorite month. Even though I hated having newborns in the cold winter and getting cabin fever... I do have yet two more reasons to love October.

Update on my October Client!

Isn't it wonderful! I went with my client and her huband to the appointment with the ob, and the Little One has flipped to heads down, so she is back to the midwives and making yet another mental shift, back to her VBAC plan! Fingers crossed, everyone, please!

My October Client

Keep your fingers crossed for my October client. This mama is a vbac hopeful who found out on Monday that she has risked out of the midwive's care due to low-ish fluid, degrading placenta, and a breech presentation. Badger and I are going to go with her to her first appointment her new OB.

She has done a lot of hard work to get over the emotional baggage of her primary cesarean birth and she is very unhappy that she now has to switch gears. I hope she gets her vbac and barring that, I hope I can be a good doula to her and help her have a good birth, however it occurs.

She's a sweetheart. She apologized to me that I might night get to have the experience of her labor, since she knows I'm a newbie and seeking certification. Seriously, that is one thoughtful person to think of that, in the midst of her own worries.

Tree update!

Kris from "a doula's heart"'s comment reminded me that I needed to update about the tree. It's GONE!!! Let's have a happy dance! Carl's Landscaping did an awesome job. It took about a week from start to finish because they took the BIG tree one day, left, and came back the next week for the sedondary, cherry tree that was damaged by the big one. So that was two solid days of entertainment for the kids, who stood by the back door, watching the men work, the whole time.

The weeds are criminal but the secondary tree that was removed opens up a lot more light into the yard, so we may try and plant flowers in the embankment instead of shady ground cover. I just need to find flowers that grow in questionable light, terrible soil, and require zero attention or care.

We have seen 3 deer since the trees were removed, and a family of turkey too. I am happy the commotion didn't drive them away!

Shocking lack of chainsaws.

Tree removal was scheduled to begin today. I can't imagine they'll begin at 430pm, so I have to conclude that the City is full of hooey.

Len Bodack and his peeps rock.

Have I mentioned that a huge damn tree crashed into our yard FROM CITY PROPERTY over a month ago, and the City has been dragging BUTT shuffling this problem around? Well, it did, and they did. And so I called. And called. And called called called.

Finally yesterday, I called our City Council rep, Len Bodack. Today, the tree removal has been SCHEDULED for next week.

Kick ass!

When did he grow up?

We're having a chilly day here today, so for really the first time in a long time, I dressed Badger in actual clothes instead of just a onesie. And so on went the long-sleeve T shirt and his first pair of jeans, and the socks, and the crib shoes to keep the socks on.

And all of a sudden, my little baby seems too much like a little kid.

I'm a virtuous woman.

At least, according to the woman I talk to on the phone every blessed day regarding the tree that has been in my yard for a MONTH. Come on now, a MONTH!? The city is dicking around, shoving this case from department to department. But I apparently have a pleasant, patient demeanor on the phone when calling about this... for all the fucking good it does me, right?

The tree will ROT AWAY before they do anything about it, I swear to God. I know what they're doing: they're banking on the fact that no reasonable person would wait this long to get this taken care of. And they're right. But we're not reasonable. We are the perfect combination of stubborn, lazy, annoying, and broke. You want to dick around all summer and have me call you every day? Great! Because I don't have a few thousand bucks to get this taken care of. I do, however, have plenty of time to call you, your counterpart in every other possible related department, your supervisors, and the mayor's office. So try me, really. Don't bet on our being reasonable people!

Perhaps an October client?

I got an email from my doula mentor asking if I would take a pro-bono doula client, due 10/15... which is the day I went into labor with Chim. And boy, I do love October babies! I was able to arrange child care for both kids; Chim can go any day at her pre-school and since Badger will be turning one that month, we can leave him on a drop-off basis too!

The bad news is I haven't been able to reach the momma! Three phone calls, no answer!

Oh, and I'm going to talk to my mentor about joining her doula group. I think that would be the way to go, for me right now. I need direction and support, and I feel good about being associated with her and the other doulas from her group that I've met.

A twister!

We had some excitement here in Steel City yesterday -- a tornado warning, and some unconfirmed sightings of funnel clouds too. And one item reported that a possum was seen being flung about on the wind. Gotta love a city with possums. We know that with all the hills, a tornado is likely to just bounce off the hilltops if it would touch down, but we were concerned about flooding -- especially with Chim being across the river. So Mr. Sweetie took off during the onset of the storm to get her from school, where she and her classmates were huddled in the bathroom after being roused from their naps. She was more scared than Mr. Sweetie will acknowledge and I can't blame her. I got a little scared... OK, I freaked out when I heard a loud rumble of thunder and I turned to exit my room to grab Badger from his crib, and I somehow smacked my head on a door, giving me a giant goose egg. But we hung out in the basement until the storm was over! Then once Chim and Mr. Sweetie were home, we went out to dinner because we didn't have power so no cooking was happening here. We finally got power restored around 1030pm.

So that's all the weather from here. Thankfully we were relatively unaffected except for some adreneline but we're sending our love out to those in our city who have damage from the wind and water.

Wouldn't it be nice if cars weren't moneypits?

Honestly we suck at buying cars. I am looking forward to buying a newer used car in the future when we can afford a bit better options, that's for sure.

We have two vehicles right now -- a 2000 Civic with ONE payment left on it (woot!) and a 2000 Windstar that we've had for 2 years and the mechanic's had it more often than we have. So the Civic is up for inspection this month and we bring it in. $350 for the fixins for that. Drop off the Windstar when I pick up the Civic because #1, the check engine light is on AGAIN (hopefully it's just a stupid reason), #2 the oil needs changed, and #3 we need to get the stupid mirror fixed AGAIN and #4 get a quote to fix the rust (which given what my mechanic told me, we probably won't decide to do). And then we're selling that POS, if we can, so...

... hopefully in a month, we will be car-payment free!!!

And hopefully the repairs on the Ford won't be more than $500 because that's all the space I have left on Ye Olde Citibank Card. Fun times.

Making friends, grownup style.

You know, I never really learned how to make friends. There were no little kids in my neighborhood growing up, really. I went to school with the same group of kids from Grade K on. So, making friends is something really foreign to me, and I just don't know how to do it. It's like I am missing that part of my brain.

So, I'm making a big effort to join a local mom's group that seems very well-organized (a lot of these moms groups have 2 mall walks scheduled and then fizzle out), and an area toy lending center that is staffed by volunteer members. Maybe I can join some committees and really get to know people. Maybe I'll start going to church again and get involved there.

I need to get out and get social... and, once I myself learn, teach my kids how not to be social misfits like I am!

Happy Anniversary to US!!!

Five years ago, I was a nervous bride-to-be getting ready for her wedding: Getting my hair done, trying not to lose my temper with my future in-laws or my mother, furiously arranging centerpieces for the reception, fighting with the photographer... as my future husband was getting sauced in the lounge at the Holiday Inn.

Flash forward to today... I'm in a nursing tank and yoga pants, I have a tremedous zit on my chin and bite marks and hickeys from Badger all over my face, and my hair looks like Chim Chim cut it. Mr. Sweetie is sporting a Diego and Dora Band-Aid from where he cut himself trying to get our rabbit ears hooked up to our TV because we are old fogeys now and cancelled cable because we are fed up with Comcast's stupid assholery.

For our wedding present, my parents gave us a few place settings of china and a generous cash gift. For our 5 year anniversary, they got us a gift card to Wal*Mart, which we hope to use (at the same Wal*Mart located next to the salon where I got my hair done on my wedding day, and where we stopped to pick up black socks for my ring-bearer nephews to wear!) to get kitchen glasses to replace the fancy ones we got for our wedding gifts, that all broke within a year, and new bedding to replace the bedding that, come to think of it, I got on the day Mr. Sweetie was shopping elsewhere for my engagement ring!

Funny how life moves by so quickly, and how things come full circle if you wait long enough!

Healthy kids!

Chim and Badger both saw their pediatrician yesterday, and both kids look great.

Chim just needed a look-see at her elbow, which got dislocated. The pediatrician didn't seen any use in sending her to a specialist, and said that we just need to be more careful until her ligaments tighten up.

Badger had his 9 month checkup. He's 20 lb, and 29 inches -- average weight, above average height. All on track for physical and verbal development (crawling, cruising, babbling), and eating and drinking appropriately (he's moving onto finger foods in earnest now and really resents being spoonfed). His teeth are comng in a strange order but that's fine. I started nightweaning him last week and it's going very well -- it was clearly a good time for him. We checked his hemoglobin, which looked good (but on the low side of good, so we will be diligent about his vitamins).

All in all, an easy, successful visit with no tears! I still cannot believe I have 2 kids sometimes.

Doula plans

Mr. Sweetie wants me to take the next 3 months (until Badger is a year, at which point Mr. Sweetie remains under the unexplained, misconceived, and oft-corrected idea that I plan on weaning Badger) and really make a plan for being a doula. I don't know where to start! I feel very scared because he wants me to be more ambitious than I feel up to. I know it's a stupid thing to complain about, but he has a lot more confidence in me than is really warranted. It's intimidating and overwhelming.

Every idea I have, he adds on to it. I wanted to start selling painted wooden letters for nursery decoration -- he "helped" me by brainstorming about making lampshades, drawer-pulls, all sorts of accessories that I did not know how to make... so I got overwhelmed and discouraged and didn't go any further. When I wanted to do a bit of copyediting, he "helped" by trying to make it into a multi-pronged business that involved search engine optimization... now, I barely know what that IS, much less how to do it. So I got overwhelmed and discouraged and didn't go any further.

Now he'd like for me to make a business plan for my doula-ing, but to include child birth education, breastfeeding classes, belly casting, selling stuff online, blogging (hmmm!), and who knows what else. Seems overwhelming and discouraging. See a pattern?

Except I really want to do this. I want to succeed because I feel like this is what I ought to be doing. I'm afraid I'll work hard on this plan and he'll read it and tell me it's not feasible, and that'll be the end of it.

Do your Kegels!

In case the title isn't enough to warn you... this might be a bit TMI here!

A trip to the midwife today set my mind generally at ease. I was very worried that I was beginning to have some uterine prolapse problems but as it turns out, I'm not, or if I am, it's so minor as to be well within the range of where the uterus should be. Instead it seems to be a bit of bladder prolapse -- which for some reason is not nearly as depressing to me. Well, I know why -- my first thought was, "what if we can't have more kids!?" and that scared the shit out of me. I know that even if it was a bit of prolapse of the uterus that wouldn't prevent more kids, but it would be another factor -- and between the c-section scar, my age, and just our craziness in general, well, I have enough factors! So I'm relieved.

Mr. Midwife thinks that being persistent and consistent with Kegels will do the trick, and if there's not an improvement in a month or two, that I should consider physical therapy just to make sure I'm doing them correctly.

So, it really made me think more about whether I want more kids. And I do. I think. We like having kids -- and our kids are really terrific so I guess we're pretty good at it!

This is why we don't leave the house.

So we went to our friends' house. The dads were going to take care of the kids while the moms went to a movie. Simple enough. I pack enough food and milk for Badger to last for a week, and L. and I head to the movie (No Reservations). About 2/3 of the way through I get a phone call from Mr. Sweetie: Chim's elbow has been dislocated -- again -- and he doesn't know where the insurance card is (for the record it is IN HIS WALLET, although he did the right thing because I'd have been upset if he took her to the hospital without me). L. and I have to cut our date short and leave the movie. At least we're pretty sure it had a happy ending in which what's her face and what's his name end up together.

Off we go to Passavant (aka, Passaway... it's sort of an old-persons hospital, kwim?) Chim peed all over the ER waiting room, and we had to put a pair of "special sleepytime panties" (Pull Ups, for those playing at home). Thankfully we did because we waited FOREVER to see the doc, and another forever to be discharged, and she went a few times in that 90 minutes. She did NOT like it. I was worried she'd have a setback but she's been using the potty like a champ since then.

Her elbow is now fine -- it's shocking how quickly it's fixed and then she's back to normal within a minute. She's such a cool kid. And we went to Qdoba last night because we were supposed to have dinner at the friends' house (we told her to wait til AFTER dinner next time!) and by the time we left Passaway, it was about an hour and a half after bedtime and we were famished, and Momma ain't cooking after this evening.

The upside? After all the excitement, Badger slept through the night -- period. Not one squawk.

Potty training what what what???

It is actually going really rather well! Chim informed me on Monday of this week after her nap that she didn't want a diaper, and since then, she's gone on the potty at school a bunch (she had only 3 accidents the past 2 days) and at home 5 times (twice tonight!). For the first time, she completed a potty chart and got a reward -- a pair of Good Luck Bear socks. We each have a Good Luck Bear, but mine is from the 80s and hers from this century. As she put on her socks, she pointed out which was Mommy's and which was hers. What a sweet kid. The only way I could love this girl more is if she stops urinating on my floors ;)

Back to the blog.

It's been a while. Things have been crazy, or more to the point, I have.

We've gone on a few trips -- to see the inlaws, to the National Zoo, to visit my fam. My brother and his wife have been having some drama, and as much as I love my mom, she's getting pretty batty lately, and a lot of memories from my past have made me really take a good look at our relationship. Mr. Sweetie's been very busy at work, Badger is still waking up at night (and he has 4 teeth, all on the bottom!), and Chim Chim decided just yesterday that it's time to potty train (my house smells like a pet store right now), and I suspect I'm having some female problems. I also missed a chance to go to my first birth as a doula... my career as which we've had to re-evaluate whether it fits well into my family's life. Oh, and a 100-foot-tree fell on our house.

All of which have made me feel pretty crappy emotionally and I've started going to counselling. I need to figure my shit out, proto.

days of the week are HARD.

I knew it was Wednesday today. I knew storytime is on Thursday. Why then did I go the library today, Wednesday, for Thursday's storytime?

Storytime and lunch

Badger and I went out today with a friend and her new 8 week old baby. Baby V is extraordinarily cute and squishy and if I'd held her I'm sure I'd be pining for a third pregnancy. My husband rightly points out that I can't have baby fever WHILE WE HAVE A BABY. It was so nice to spend time with this new mom and I do envy that she gave birth at the local midwife center -- and that as a vbac I wouldn't have been able to. It sounds like she had a wonderful experience and did a fantastic job. Did I mention that Baby V has tons of hair, big eyes, and looks like her dad, but pretty? Swoon.

Badger was in high spirits too and got lots of oohs and aahs from the ladies at Panera. He's getting downright charming these days with his smiles and his sticking out of the tongue and relentless kissing of mommy. I can't even bore you, interweb, with any more details about his sleep. I'll let ya know when he sleeps through the night. But it's getting better, suffice to say.

Kids' Photography

Good sweet mother of Christ -- I cannot think anything I'd rather do less than take my two kids to be photographed at the mall. And yet I do, every 6 months. Chim was a toddler in spades today and there were hardly any good shots of her at all. Badger gets the title of "the one we like" today and his photos turned out super cute. And of course you have to wait an hour, so we got lunch (and what's the deal with the Chinese Cajun places in mall food courts? General Tso's Bourbon Chicken?) and let Chim go on some of the coin-eaters in the center of the mall.

I try to make myself and my children look presentable in behavior and appearance when we go out anymore because eventually I will get doula clients, and I don't want to show up for an interview and have someone say, "Oh, I've seen you at the Ross Park Mall with a toddler over your shoulder, screaming, and an infant under your other arm, screaming. You were covered in barf, if I recall!"

Badger at 6 months

Six months ago at this time, I was in labor at home, after a check at the midwife's office. I had such a great time that day... I really didn't expect it to be so wonderful. Chim's labor was SO long and SO painful, and her delivery so clinical, disappointing, and traumatic, that I really had low expectations, in retrospect. But it turned out to be an empowering, victorious, and joyful experience -- and any disappointment about Chim's birth evaporated with the satisfaction of Badger's birth.

And here we are six months later -- Badger is sitting up, eating some solids, and being a cute little chubby baby. Of course he's still breastfeeding every 2 hours and waking up several times a night... so he's still quite a little baby indeed! He loves to play in his exersaucer and with his toys, and he loves to go out and about. His favorite thing is his sister Chim -- he just cracks up when she plays with him and he lunges for her when she passes by. I hope they'll be great friends as they grow.

Chim at two and a half

This properly should've been done on April 18 -- but I've never claimed to be proper. I am so impressed that the dooce writer does this every month!

My daughter is 2 1/2. Every day she just amazes us with how much fun she is. Even when she's being a total pill, she's fun. At least, funny. Her memory is astonishing. My mom visited last week, and got Im the "pretty flower dress" that started this whole boycott of all that is not a dress. Yesterday she said that she wanted to wear the pretty flower dress that Grandma made (made, bought, whatever.). She further told me that Grandma went home. To Granddad. On the bus. Not just any bus, mind you. The big bus. I love that she processes information and retains it, and makes it her own.

Her sleeping is now fine -- whatever nightmare she had last week is worked through, I guess. She does such a wonderful job of playing with Badger (usually) and she loves to sing him songs -- and he is her biggest fan. She is great at taking turns AND making sure Badger gets a turn too. Chim loves to talk on the phone to my parents and on the webcam to my inlaws.

I feel so honored to get to be able to know her better than anyone else. I know that before too long she's going to be caught up in her world of friends, and then activities, and then -- oh shit -- boys, and then go to college, and then who knows what. But for the past 30 months and for as long as I can, I am so lucky to be her person. She likes her dad, too, of course. But let's call a spade a spade, here, folks. Chim loves her mama and her mama loves her.

Cable!!! CABLE!!!

I don't know how we got decent cable, and I'm sure it's because something is all screwed up with Comcast and I'll end up ranting about it in the end, but we suddenly have channels! A few weeks ago TBS and the Style Network mysteriously disappeared, and now all of a sudden they're back and they've brought their friends with them -- the news networks, ESPN, Comedy Central, TLC, Food Network (!), all that stuff. I'm so excited. I'm watching a show about a man who weighs 1225 pounds. I love cable.

Terrifying yellow orb in the sky

The weather has FINALLY turned pleasant! I'm so excited, and no, I just can't hide it. The weather had been crappy since the husband went to Boston on a business trip 2 weeks ago, so I'm psyched. I was starting to be a little pessimistic if you can believe that.

Badger's first Easter was fine -- really though, since we're heathens it didn't amount to much of a holiday. Friends (and my first doula clients!) over for dinner on Saturday, and Chim hunted for many many candy-filled eggs the next day. The candy is almost gone, thanks to Mom and Dad sneaking chocolate out of her "pick-it" bowl.

We decided to throw every sleep strategy in the book at the Badger Boy last week during my mom's visit. We call it the House method of parenting. So it's either the Ferber-for-wimps that we used with Chim, the teething tablets, starting solids (rice was a no-go but he likey sweet potatoes), going to 2 naps from 3, or a later bedtime. But he's taken at least one, more often two, hour-plus naps a day for the past 4 days. And he has only needed to eat once a night for a week. I'm sure any progress with sleep will fall apart for no evident reason any moment now.

Chim, our formerly great sleeper, has been having a really terrible stretch of bad sleeping the past few days -- no naps, up at night. We all have a cold so that might be a factor but SWEET mother of pearl. We are finally getting to sleep for 4 hours at a time with Badger, and Chim starts up! Other than that she's adorable, she likes dresses now, and she knows that a triceretops has three horns. So, yes, she's brilliant.

So that's about all the excitement here. Notice how all my thoughts revolve around sleep. How sad.

I got a haircut!

It's short, y'all. 13 inches off and donated to Locks of Love. And now I have a mom cut! I will see how it looks when I straighten it out but as of now it's a bit poufy and I was hoping for something a little bit more cool and modern.

Beautiful weather!

Yesterday and today, the temperature was in the 60s. I took the kids to the zoo on Tuesday and Chim was pretty good! She loves to watch the penguins under the water. She was glaringly unimpressed with the polar bears, and she wanted to see a black one. We saw the baby tiger cubs and they're GIGANTIC. And oh so cute. Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium really is a nice little place. Badger did very well and didn't cry in his stroller this time and I'm looking forward to his being able to enjoy it more!!!

And today Badger and I went to Target to replace a lamp that his destructo-sister broke in her room yesterday. He was terrific in the store, but he has reached the point in infancy where the world is more fascinating than eating... and Lookie Loos don't get milky in Target. I swear I've flashed so many people the past few days. Oh, and he didn't latch on correctly because he wasn't paying attention... and now I have a hickey on my areola.

He's sleeping moderately better since a friend encouraged me to give gas drops a try. I hope that we can get him to sleep better -- he's such a happier guy when he sleeps. And I'm much happier too. I hate that I'm not a great mom when I'm exhausted. I cry when I get tired. Yesterday as I was walking with Chim, and she asked to be carried, I cried a little. She said, "Mommy's sad. It's OK, Mommy." And she gave me a hug. I was so proud that she was so compassionate but horrified that I put her in that position. That's not a fair thing for a mom to do to a toddler.

Potty training has sorta stalled...

ChimChim has been going potty less and less frequently. She's been soaking her night-time diaper so I got her the next size up diaper... size 5. That's as high as they go, people. I made a sticker-reward chart for her potty training and I think I scared her. I hope she didn't feel intimidated or pressured or anything like that. She had TWO terrible diapers today, the second one while we were out shopping and she ended up wearing my shirt because she soiled her clothes, and maybe I made her feel bad. I hope not. I'd rather change her diapers forever than for her to feel even a little bad about herself. She's my favorite little Chim.

I did it! I left the kids for a few hours.

And it was fine. We had a waaaaay early morning, and Mr. Badger was a little feverish from his shots yesterday (although he DID sleep like 6 hours last night, which was nice) -- so I didn't know if I would go, considering that the kids were a bit punchy.

But I did, and the kids were fine, and Mr. Sweetie cleaned house and made dinner. I got some things to fill in the gaps in my wardrobe from the pruning I did yesterday -- although I didn't find any long sleeve Ts or shoes I liked. I ended up getting a lot of stuff for the kids, of course.

I definitely would like to take more Saturday afternoons off. It all turned out pretty well!

Healthy little Badger

Today was Badger's 4 month well baby check up. He's doing just fine and he is growing like a champ. He's doubled his birthweight -- as well he should, seeing as how the dude eats every 3 hours around the clock. He has eczema and cradle cap, which as my new line of thinking goes, might be what's waking him up (whatever... I'm just grasping at straws at this point!). But the skin being less than wonderful is the only thing that wasn't just right. I'm delighted. Hell, we're just thrilled the kid has a head.

Tomorrow I am going out alone, with no kids and no husband. I'm going shopping and not have to keep track of anyone but myself. This is a very big deal for me. I literally can't remember the last time that I've done this. Except for a 10-minute trip to Rite Aid to get Drano or Children's Tylenol or something like that... which is not as much fun as shopping for clothes.

Speaking of clothes, I swapped out the maternity clothes for my real clothes, and I didn't end up keeping most of the real clothes. They're all from when I worked in an office and I hope to never do that again. And besides, I now have these gigantic nursing momma melons and I can't fit in those tops anymore.

Cars. Hate hate hate them!!!

It's insane what horrible luck we have with cars. We have a 2000 Ford Windstar (shut up -- it's good to have the extra room) and a 2000 Honda Civic (which will be paid off in September -- woot.). The oxygen sensor on the Ford (the bit that measures the oxygen/fuel ratio) was fritzing out for a while, but our awesome mechanic has been putting mini-fixes on it since May of last year. He said, though, that when the check engine light comes on AND our fuel economy takes a turn for the worse, it's time to bring it in. So it did. And then the following Thursday, the tire was flat. Freakin' great.

So we switch the carseats to the Civic. Ah, the trusty, sturdy, Civic. My husband drove Chim to daycare, and at the end of the day I hop in the car to pick her up. And guess what. Check Engine. Check this, dude. I see that the old bitch is due for an oil change in about 500 miles so we're hoping that it's just the oil and fluids need to be changed. But the smell is a little terrifying.

Just to emphasize... we have no vehicle. We went from two vehicles to zero in 7 hours. Not cool. My birthday shopping trip is postponed because our awesome mechanic can't fit us in until Tuesday. Which is today.

We bring the Honda in and you will never guess what needs to be replaced. Goddamn oxygen sensors. On both vehicles, this is what needs to be replaced. We paid half of what is owed on the Honda on repairs today. Fucking great.

There's no real point to this. I am extra cranky today. I did have a good day with the kids -- until about 4pm when I was starting dinner, Badger was crying because the dear had hardly slept at all, and Chim doesn't see why the floor of our galley kitchen is a terrible place to color. And then she starts crying. And then Badger starts crying harder. And everything is very, very loud. But I got Badger to take a little naplet while we ate, so he was OK until his bedtime.

Now both kids are in bed, and I'm trying to wind down by catching up on some TV.

Have I mentioned how much I hate the Ukranian or Armenian or whatever (not like their accents reflect on anything except they're stupid) cousins on The Amazing Race? Hate them more than I hate our Ford. Hate them more than Boston Rob. Maybe TV wasn't the best relaxation strategy???

Badger and the Bottle

We really waited too long to get him on the bottle. I have about 200 ounces of breastmilk in the freezer and I'm sure it'll all go down the drain. Like 4 precious ounces did yesterday...

My husband was trying to give him a bottle, 4 1/2 ounces of mommy milk. Hard-gotten mommy milk, needless to say. He had about 1/2 ounce and then said, Screw you! Yup. 4 months old and listen to the mouth on this kid already!

I couldn't bear to just dump it down the drain. So I put it in a sippy cup for ChimChim, who said, "Is wadder," and handed it back to me with a look of disdain. For someone who eats crayons, she's awfully selective.

So down the drain it went. We'll try the bottle again today.

Go me, Go me, It's my birthday, It's my birthday...

So it's that day. I'm 33 -- which means Brother T is 41 today, so that makes things brighter for me today. I'm not a big birthday girl. I love ChimChim's birthday and I'm sure I'll love Badger's too, but birthdays for grownups seem a little silly.

My husband told me to put cake ingredients on our grocery list so "we" could make a cake for tonight. I wonder who this mysterious "we" might be? I feel like Henny Penny sometimes.

I was going to go shopping to celebrate this weekend but our cars are both fritzing. I have several gift cards for Target burning a hole in my pocket but I just can't clothes shop with the kids. Of course they're demanding -- they're children! So my husband was going to watch BOTH kids. At the same time. At home. By himself (well, maybe recruit one of his friends for backup). Badger is not so in love with the bottle (another post altogether), so this would've been interesting. But as it is, we have another week at least to get him to take nourishment from something that is not ME.

Good days and bad days...

So yesterday was a 'bad' day. My little Badger doesn't sleep through the night, which is fine. Fine fine fine. It's ideal but I can handle it most days. But yesterday? The child would. Not. Nap. I tried to put him down for naps at least 5 times... and he slept for maybe an hour all told! I was cranky and exhausted, and I was in good company. I wish he was more consistent and happier.

I feel so lost with this dear child some times. I had such a challenging pregnancy with him, and we are so delighted that he is here, and whole, and safe. Then I had a wonderful, unmedicated, vbac to bring him into the world. And now he has had such a challenging infancy! Now, ChimChim... she had an ideal pregnancy, the labor from hell, and a perfectly wonderful infancy. I think I could have a dozen kids and still not figure these little weirdos out!

Macs are shiny.

I am using a new MacBook that my husband had to get for testing purpose for work and man is it shiny and pretty. All the interfaces are so swooshy. I think I am in love.

My Freeform Day

I used to have a fairly strict schedule for myself when I was childless and even when I was a new mom to Chim. Now that we've added Badger and Chim goes to daycare/preschool 3 days a week, I'm much more laid back and even though I don't get much done, I think it's OK. It's weird to think that 4 years ago, I probably would've been to the gym first thing, scarfed breakfast, took a train to work, killed myself in my cubicle, and would've just been done eating lunch at my desk by 1pm.

Here's what I've done today:
1. Fed Badger. Many times.
2. Watched "Ellen" I taped yesterday
3. Assembled the Exersaucer
4. Did dishes
5. Sterilized pacifiers
6. Sterilized humidifier
7. Put Badger down for 2 of 3 naps
8. Noticed we're nearly out of bread
9. Surfed the web and my message boards.

What I plan to do yet today:
1. Bake bread so I don't have to go out and buy it
2. Feed Badger. Many times.
3. Pick Chim up from daycare -- today is her rescheduled Valentine's Day party (it was postponed due to snow last week) and I want to grab any chokerific candy before she gets it
4. Get dressed. Hopefully before I pick up the kiddo at daycare. I don't want to be *that mom.*
5. Move the thank you notes to the living room so I have any chance of writing them. Yes, thank you notes for gifts received upon the birth of my son, 4 months ago. Leave me alone about it.

Doula Training

I'm currently training to be a certified labor doula, and I signed up today to attend some childbirth education classes as an observer. It should be interesting -- I've not taken a hospital class and it'll be beneficial to see what most women in the area learn. I've taken my main doula training already... it was a pretty exhausting 2 days, with Badger in tow. Other than the CBE classes, I need to attend 3 births and various other requirements and then I can be a certified doula.

I'm looking forward to Badger being big enough that I can leave him at home for 36 or so hours. Because that probably means he's sleeping through the night and taking a bottle... which he's 0 for 2 at now!

Being a doula is a path I was set on while preparing for Badger's VBAC. I felt like such a success after that experience and it would be an honor to help others feel the same way.

Wonderful sleepy time

Both kids are asleep. At the same time. While the sun is up. This wonderful time usually lasts about 15 minutes.

And, predictably... it's just ended.

Another difference between ChimChim and Badger... ChimChim would only go to sleep after being nursed down, and lately, Badger would much rather we set him in the crib, turn on the mobile, and leave him alone already. I know that all kids are different. It just astonishes me that these children have been completely opposites at each and every turn. But I guess that's another story.

So I guess I have a blog now!

I've so gone over to the dark side. I just wanted to post a comment on my friend Ted's blog, and I ended up here. Faaaaaantastic. Is *this* how everyone starts blogging? I asked ChimChim what I should call my blog and she said "Purple Sock Ju-Ju." At least, I think that's what she said.