One of the weirdest things about motherhood…



When Max was a tiny cherub of a breastfed baby, I swear to you his tiny baby poops smelled like roses. Everyone thought I was crazy but I swear it was true. (Recently my very brilliant friend Stefanie remarked that baby poops smell like roses and that validated my theories) Anyway, Max had poops of roses. Sweet and precious!

Huck came crackling into this world a little sparkler of a person, long and lean where Max was round and chubby. His poops did not smell of roses, oh no. Rather they smelled of hot buttered popcorn. I promise you this is true.

Now, Piper. Precious, sweet a mixture of both of them. Quickly leaving her tiny newborn-ness behind and assuming full blown cherub status. Her sweet little breastfed baby poops smell neither of roses or hot buttered popcorn. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out what they smelled like.

Finally I remarked to my partner in crime, Max, that I couldn’t place the smell but that it was familiar. (are you jealous of the conversations I have with my children?) He said with utter certainty “they smell like wine.”

um….what? But here’s the thing; they DO. They smell like a good red wine.

Now lest you go thinking I am sort of lush, I didn’t eat roses with Max and popcorn upsets my stomach. I have had a grand total of 4 wicked apple ciders and one Summer Shandy since Piper has been born. There is no more reason that her poops smell like wine any more than Max’s smelled like roses.

As for how Max remembers the smell of wine? Well, we did let him take a whiff when we were having a glass like ages ago. That kid does have a hell of a memory.

But they do. So sayeth Max. So sayeth us all.


Motherhood is crazy.

You’re gonna kill it in Kindergarten, Shorty.

“you can leave”


Just moments earlier he had screwed his face into his “I am mad/scared face” as I tried to convince him clippers would make this much protested back to school haircut go faster. “no clippers!” he wailed, his eyes tearful, his chin quivering. We acquiesced, me and the slightly grumpy stylist at the local Sports Clips. No clippers. He giggled and squirmed as she sprayed his hair with cool water then sat still as she began to comb and cut. “you can leave” he told me.

I waited in the lobby until he was done, looking ten years old suddenly and I praised him for surviving the dreaded chopping of the locks. After Huck was done we headed out for frozen yogurt.

The night before he started Kindergarten he was too excited to sleep. I had been prepared for extra cuddling, extra reassurances and perhaps one of the early morning panicked wakings. He put the fan right on his face and cocooned up in the blanket on the other side of the bed from me, not his usual as close as I can possibly get to you position and after our good night ritual he told me it was okay if I left to get some water. He hasn’t fallen asleep without me by his side, usually tightly gripping my arm in two years, excepting when I was in the hospital with Piper. But that night he let go.

“You can leave”

I got water. I showered. I crawled back into bed expecting him to roll towards me as he does…like a sleeping homing device draws him to  my side. Nothing. I nursed Piper and finished my book and resisted the urge to grab him and pull him toward me. Perhaps I should have. I know I felt a sense of accomplishment that all our encouragement about school had led to this day and he was excited and only a little scared as opposed to sobbing and terrified. He was okay. I also know I wanted those cuddles. I wasn’t okay.

I took a picture of him before he woke. He looked so small and still and I knew today was a marking point in our lives. My mother always said 5 is the best age because it’s before you send them to school and they get told that all things that make them special actually make them weird. Its the time they are the most themselves. I mourn this. I pray his specialness won’t get stomped on and I pray he won’t stomp on someone else. He is silly and sweet and funny and he celebrates everything and every one and I hope to God that is treasured by others the way we treasure it.

Once he finally woke, Dad brushed his hair and got him ready. Max put on his backpack and paced around the hall. Ready to go. Ready for this adventure. He was focused and I could see him pep-talk himself a time or two, but he was ready. Finally we got in the car and headed out to the schoo. Then he was off. He lined up with the other kids as the paparazzi snapped a million pictures. His teacher had them wave to us and tell us not to cry…


…and  he left.


The dance of motherhood.

I dream at night of being a ballerina.

suzanne farrell holding onto air

I am lithe and long as I glide across the non-existent stage. My arms slender and pale, ethereal. I am so thin and so very strong and there is no shame; everything is exquisite. The arch of my foot tells the story. The the soft folds of my ballet dress float as I turn, pirouetting. I am Suzanne Farrell. I am Gelsey Kirkland. Long dark hair trailing behind me as I spin and jump, so free. It is my ascension to heaven.

I wake drenched in postpartum sweat, feet aching from unconsciously pointing in slumber to nurse the new baby.

My great grandfather was a bit of a scum. He was run out of town and went on to have an entirely different and separate family. My great grandmother, not one to suffer fools, bravely filed for divorce in a time when that simply was not done. She had four children and worked so hard, standing such long hours her uterus prolapsed at work. She was strong, but she was not lithe.

We met this other family once. A meet up of my grandmother and her half-sisters, one thrilled to have more family and one very put out that Daddy’s Girl has a girl before her. Never mind that he walked away and abandoned that very girl. I myself was always desperate for family and wanted to know them. Wanted to be with them. Wanted them to love me.

They didn’t.

They shared stories of my grandmother’s absent father and of his other grandchildren. I had cousins, they said. And they danced. I love to dance! I told them, all of 13 and full of dreams not yet unrealized. I thought we are the same, those cousins and me. Scoffing I was told no they dance. Ballet. With Balanchine and Baryshnikov, who’s poster hung on my wall above my bed. My heart soared. Maybe I could meet them? Maybe I could just glean a touch of that world from them. They had both left NYC Ballet and moved on to be Ballet Mistresses of their own companies by then. We never saw my grandmother’s half sisters again. One meeting was all. I don’t know if they kept in touch, perhaps my mother does.

I saw a ballet once in San Francisco listing my cousin’s name as Mistress. Was she in the building? Were we close? I imagined her perfect, strong.

The baby has violent hiccups and I dance my own dance of bounces, sways, and rhythmic pats until she quiets, giving a shuddering sigh and relaxes her wisp of a body fully into my arms. Gingerly I kiss her cheek, she still smells of heaven. She settles into her bed and I crawl back beneath the covers and try to rest.

I am not thin. I am not strong. I am not even a success anymore. I feel sad for myself that I haven’t accomplished anything of great worth. No real goals achieved. When you are small years seem to take forever to pass and suddenly you blink and your thirties are gone. And here I still am, tied to the ground. Heavy. I miss the theatre. I miss my old friends who smoked on the fire escape at intermission. I miss the stories they told. It’s as if I missing a limb.

But truly I am happy here and now. There is no music more beautiful than my children’s laughter. There is no ballet as intricate as their play, beautiful and painful.

The sun rises, as it always does and things look brighter. My sons and I pour love over their new sister, kissing her head to toe while we wonder what she will like. Princesses they say assuredly. And baseball. I hold her impossibly tiny foot and she points. A good arch. I smile and wonder will she want to dance too? Will she want to act? Whatever she chooses I envision her strong and ascending upwards to her dream.

Perhaps motherhood is it’s own version of Ballet Mistress. My company my brood of babes. Warm ups are Yo Gabba  and the Wiggles. The music the Beatles and Green Day and Sophia The First. The steps are wild and unpredictable. More Twyla Tharp than Balanchine.



And just like that, you are six.



I’m not going to lie, six was tough on Mommy-err-MOM. I am no longer Mommy, and I am just settling into my new moniker “mom”. I knew mommy would be short lived, as it is meant to be, but you ceremoniously announced, as you do when you’ve been thinking about something for a while that I am now plain old mom. Daddy is now just dad. I admit that stung a little, but that is the bittersweet joy of parenthood. If I do my job right you need me a little less every day until you are ready to fly out of the nest.

I treasure the closeness we share. I remember distinctly one late night back in our apartment in LA when you were maybe a month old and realizing that your legs were now long enough to drape off my lap and rest on the mattress as you nursed. I look at those same legs now as they straddle first base or scramble up the climbing wall, as they perform great feats of rock n roll stage jumps and bounce to the heavens on the trampoline and I think one thing:

You are a marvel.

You still sleep in bed with me, it’s simply easier if you wake up anxiety ridden at night, and I frequently wake to find your arm wrapped around mine, your little (but not as little as it once was) body pressed close to mine. I know eventually you’ll be ready to sleep in your own room, but with Huck and now a new baby I know we both enjoy our time together in the evenings. We have some of our best talks cuddled in bed after a little Phineas and Ferb. I admire how honest you are with me, your friends and especially with yourself. You continue to vocalize your feelings, what you are scared of so we can process that together, and even more gloriously your victories. You had a friend spend the night for your birthday and it was indeed a big deal that you slept on the couch and you celebrated it. I was so proud of you.

You had attempted a sleep over at a friend’s house but decided to come home, and we were proud of you then too. Proud because you took the leap and tried, even though you were scared. Proud because you know yourself well enough to say “I am not ready, I want to go home”

Knowing your comfort zone and your readiness and being able to assert that is a tremendous ability and will serve you well in the coming years. I promise to do all I can to nurture and support you in that.

You are such a character, all of our friends love to see what you’re going to say next. One morning you woke up and announced with a heavy sigh “I haven’t been on a canoe since I was a lad.” (You’ve never been on a canoe in this life!) You performed Kool and The Gang’s Celebration for Miss Jackie’s birthday at the pool and everyone cheered. You are a mix of don’t look at me but let me perform for you! It’s wonderful.

Oh yeah, you know everything. You know EVERYTHING. Don’t bother explaining anything to you because you know it ALL. You test your boundaries, you get in trouble and instantly say sorry, sorry. If you’re really in trouble you fall to your knees clasp your hands like your praying and look up at me with the saddest face and beg forgiveness. It’s so dramatic and adorable and funny, it’s hard to stay mad even  for a second.

This summer your anxiety has eased and we have started building you up for kindergarten. I am so grateful you will be going to school where your grandmother works, just this fact of knowing she is near has helped immensely and we focus on the fun things you will do.

 You are holding steady in your love of the Beatles, Green Day and baseball. But there is nothing you love more than Huck and Piper. Nothing in this world. Right now Huck is having a hard time getting used to the new baby, but you are a pro. You love her and can’t wait to see her and hold her. Your heart is one of the biggest and most generous I have ever known.

Despite being the first born and the star of the show, you are always willing to share the spotlight. After months of asking we finally signed Huck up for soccer. Did you ask if you were doing it too? Nope. You said “Oh good! Huck’s watched me a lot, now I can watch him!”

My God, you are the coolest person I know.

Happy Birthday to the one who changed everything. To the one who used to call it his Happy Day and be scared of the Happy Birthday song. To the one who smiled the biggest smile as we sang it to you this year. I love you to Pluto and back (as you say)


You can read my other birthday letters to Max here: Five, Four, Three, Two

Baby face…wait, what is that face?



Sometimes I lament that my children won’t give me that picture perfect smile. Then I remember that my ultimate goal when I take other people’s children’s pictures is to capture THEM. Their little personalities change so quickly and they come through so clearly for such a short time before those precious facial expressions disappear into the next batch of the ever evolving essence of who they are right now.

Huck may soon stop wrinkling that cute nose when he really smiles or laughs. Max may soon stop pulling one side of his mouth in, in sort of a bemused expression. I love them exactly as they are right now. I miss who they were a month ago and I look forward to who they will be a month from now.


Monday was a bad day. Piper barely slept and I woke to Huck telling me “I puke in mine bed.” (how I adore the ‘mine’.) Max, who is usually so careful dropped and shattered my iPad. He felt miserable. Everyone was cranky and it was a no good very bad day. Huck ended up with a massive time out, Max threw temper tantrum after tantrum; impersonating yours truly at age 13…so hormonal and irrational!

To say the boys are having some adjustment issues to the new baby is an understatement. They love her more than anything they’re just confused and figuring it out and needing attention and I need to figure out how to ration my time wiser and give each some good old fashioned one on one love.

In the meantime we went to the park. And they gave me their real faces, not picture faces. And I’ll treasure them, this time in our lives may be a touch rocky but we will make it.




When turning 6 is truly a milestone. It’s BRAIN SAFETY DAY!

Six days before Max was born, Sister Dub gave birth to my sweet nephew Isaiah. I saw him make his way into this world, dark hair and a strong cry. He’s been kicking ass ever since. Every child born in America is tested for PKU or Phenylketonuria Isaiah tesed positive. It’s very rare, but can cause extreme brain damage if you don’t know you have it… it’s been a long road, but Isaiah turned six this weekend. It’s more than just leaving babyhood behind and moving toward big kid-dom. It also means he is leaving the danger zone for brain damage.  I hope you’ll all welcome Dub  and her guest post about PKU and Isaiah turning SIX!


My pregnancy with Isaiah is one of the best memories of my life. Because he was a bit of a surprise, it didn’t occur to me to think about anything that may go wrong. I could talk endlessly about our happy memories.  After the initial shock faded, Ammar and I jokingly turned to a baby name book at the bookstore and said whatever name we point to, that will be the baby’s name. So he was “Dingbang” (a very popular name in China apparently) the entire time he was in my belly. More amazingly, my sister Stephanie was pregnant at the same time and so was my sister-in-law, Tamara! It was like our childhood games coming to life.

Max and Isaiah, in depth conversations at 5 weeks.

Max and Isaiah, in depth conversations at 5 weeks.


Isaiah was born with a thick, black mohawk, and dark, wise eyes. We were overwhelmed and overjoyed by this teeny-tiny person. When he was a week old, we got a call from his pediatrician. He had tested positive for something I had never heard of… “PKU”. “Don’t worry”, Tamara reassured us, “it is so rare, and almost always a false positive.” I worried. Postpartum is very real and was beginning to set in. I looked on the internet and saw the horrors of what I thought was to come. Words like “mental retardation”, “serious behavior disorders”, and “malnutrition” floated around in my head.

We did a second test. We had to wait days. All the while knowing, he was consuming the “deadly protein.” I had visions of feeding my child poison while he nursed in the middle of the night. The beginning of my crazy-making.  We had an appointment at the hospital before hearing the final results. We were bombarded with specialist after specialist. Sitting in front of all these people throwing information at us, I finally asked, “so he has PKU?” Come on people, let us deal with that first. The biggest message that was told to us was, “before age 6, high phe levels can cause irreversible brain damage”. That echoed in my head for years – irreversible brain damage damage damage. I couldn’t even fathom getting to 6 – that was an eternity away.

let's discuss how gorgeous my sister and her family are, shall we?

let’s discuss how gorgeous my sister and her family are, shall we?

PKU, a.k.a. Phenylketonuria is a genetic disorder in which your body lacks the enzyme that breaks down phenylalanine or “phe”. Phenylalanine is an amino acid that helps build protein in your body. Basically, a person with PKU must follow a special, no or low protein diet and consume a special formula to supplement needed nutrients. If not treated, the phe builds up to toxic levels in the brain and the child will have permanent brain damage along with many other complications. When Isaiah was a tiny baby, we saw an entire bus filled with people, looking like zombies, who had not been treated early enough. It was horrifying and sad. So many lives lost.  It breaks my heart thinking of all the children around the world who do not have access to the medical treatment we receive in America today.

Ammar and I figured out our routine. We had to take our baby for weekly blood tests at the hospital. Our wee little guy, starving from having to fast for 3 hours and then laying on a gigantic table so the lab techs (most of them incompetent with babies, I am sorry to say), could insert a needle into my crying infant.

We did find some hilarious moments during the dark times.  They wanted us to get a urine sample from our baby. They handed us black vials and a little connecting device to put on his penis to help us collect the pee. The catch was, the pee couldn’t be exposed to light. We had to: a.) figure out the right moment to get him to pee, b.) get the contraption correctly on his little part so that nothing leaked and everything went into the vial not on our face, and c.) DO IT IN THE DARK. Keep in mind, I knew (from going against the doctor’s wishes and looking on the internet) that we were testing to see if he had an even worse disorder in which he would have to receive spinal taps and would not be expected to live past childhood. It was too much pressure. We couldn’t get the pee in the mother &*)^&&^%*%ing vile. Not to mention sleep deprivation.

We finally collected the golden liquid. The precious information that I was trying to convince myself would prove my child was going to be okay and live a normal life. We got this precious container to the hospital. The lab tech closed the door and reinforced we needed to keep it very dark. He opened the vile and then proceeded to OPEN THE DOOR INTO THE BRIGHT LIGHT. We killed him. Okay, we seriously thought about it.

Keeping Isaiah fed and in the “safe brain zone” became our norm. We constantly asked each other “did Isaiah have his formula?” and “how much protein has Isaiah had?” We made it work. I know I freaked some people out along the way. I will never forget when his daycare provider called me in complete tears because she accidentally gave Isaiah a saltine cracker. I had the school so afraid, they thought he was going to die.

Now Isaiah is a pro. He asks everyone “how much protein is that?” He reads nutrition labels everywhere.  He knows what he can eat and what he can’t and he always asks before eating anything new. He is smart and funny and ridiculously strong. He plays soccer like he is getting ready for the world cup (which he watched religiously this summer), is madly excited about chapter books, has wonderful friends, got 4s on all but one item on his kindergarten report card (keeping his body calm, ha ha), and is pretty much an all-around cool kid.


I am writing all this because what seemed like an eternity away, is finally here. Isaiah is turning 6 years old on Sunday. The number that loomed over me since he was one week old. I know we still have a journey to come. There are still days when everyone is eating pizza and cake and bread and cheese and I hate PKU. When I hang out with other families I am often aware that our “normal” is far from it. We have to think about food and medicine and paying medical bills all the time. It can be a serious pain. I still get nervous when we go too long without getting a blood test to check his levels. If he has a bad day and acts “weird” (a.k.a. normal kid testing his limits), I freak out and think “his levels are high and the poison is in his brain…”

But I know he is fine. He is more than fine. I think he has learned many things from this disorder. He has learned to be patient. He has learned he can’t get everything he wants all the time. He has learned that people are different. He has seen some amazing children during hospital visits. We have seen cancer patients, burn victims, scary syndromes, and much, much more. We always left the hospital feeling thankful for what we have. So. Very. Fortunate. I have always said, the thing I want most for my child is for him to be a good person. So far, I think he is a better person than I am.

Turning 6 is such a celebration for our family. We did it. I want to thank all the friends and family who have helped us along the way. We are blessed with so many people who love and support us. I would be lying if I said I am not stressed about PKU anymore. But I can say I know we can handle it. This has been an amazing journey. I could not be more thankful.

He's basically a Super Hero.

He’s basically a Super Hero.


Happy birthday Dingbang… I mean, Isaiah. I love you very much.



Happy Birthday Isaiah! We can’t wait to see you again. Moving from LA, and from YOU is one of the greatest sorrows of my life. I just assumed I would see you every day. I’d pick you up from school and go to all your soccer games. I love you madly, Dingbang.




From man to man to zone defense.

If I worried when I was pregnant with Huck that Max would have trouble with a new baby, that was nothing compared to how I worried about Huck when this baby would arrive. My sweet Huck is possessive, jealous and all around 3. He is the baby and I stressed about how to make sure he knew he wasn’t displaced, that there was just one more to love.

And for the second time, I was worried for nothing. Max thought Huck was the greatest thing ever and Huck thinks Piper is. Max does too, obviously, but for him this time he is the expert. He knows how this goes and he watches over her like a hawk beaming with pride at his baby sister.

Huck? Huck just wants his baby and woe to anyone who gets in his way.

very first glimpse.jpgWe were back in our room by 7 and the boys arrived around 7:30 to meet their baby. We always call the baby “their baby” and they love this! We did this with Max as well when Huck arrived. He still calls Huck “his baby.”  Grandpa lifted them up for a very first glimpse at Piper and it was magical from there on out. I am not sure how Huck grasped the concept so clearly, just as Max did, but he knew without a doubt this tiny creature was what had been in mommy’s tummy and was now out and finally available for snuggling!



WMFirstMeet1.jpgZach told me that when this was taken Huck was saying to her “Hi Baby Piper. I take care of you. I get you milk!” so…..that’s basically perfect. And Max just took over, he is madly in love with his baby.


Dr. Hussein came by to check on me and I was able to grab a pic of her and the boys. I am so grateful she brought Huck and Piper into this world safely. A good doctor who really listens to you can be hard to find, and she is a gem!

Before long it was time for the boys to head home to bed. I miss them the moment I am away from them. If I could have I would have headed home with them, I wanted us all to be together. I’m so glad my in-laws brought them right away to see her (and me!)


So we start to adjust to being a family of five. And I attempt to find a way to protect Piper from Huck’s rather voracious Love Muggings. But it’s all good.

And then there were five. The birth of Piper; p2


Having a spinal is so weird. There’s no other way to describe your legs going numb and that feeling creeping up your body. Since we had been bumped a few times Zach was in the room for all the prep this time and I really liked that. Plus it gave him a glimpse into my experience of a C-section. Husbands usually breeze in when everything is all pristine and ready to go! 1,2,3- BABY! This time Zach saw the spinal, and how nervous I was. He saw all the prepwork that went into getting me ready and he got to see the well oiled machine that was my team of doctors. I loved this team, they teased each other and joked with us telling stories and putting me at ease, but when it was time to go- it was ALL business. They kept the drape down until right before they cut so we saw them clean my belly- which I did NOT like, there’s a vulnerability to being on the table and it’s the weirdest things that make you crazy. The feeling of them cleaning and putting the beta-dyne on my belly made me repeat in some sort of loopy record “I don’t like that! I don’t like that!”

Too bad, sister, it’s got to be done! They made sure that I was indeed numb and honestly that was the worst part. The actual surgery went smoothly and quickly with minimal effort and Piper let out a big old cry right away! That is the greatest sound ever. I remember how long it took for Huck to cry, it was so scary that silence until he finally began to squall. Piper came out squawking and it was glorious! I kept saying she sounded like a little bird, it was just the tiniest but most insistent cry.


I was thrilled they let us bring a camera in this time, so before we went in I set it up and told Zach to shoot everything. He sure did and I am so grateful to him for being able to both be there for me and still shoot like a maniac.



(shot by Dr. Hammel, of course.)


Zach knew the ropes at this point, he goes everywhere that baby goes while they put me back together. I chose to have a tubal this time, since the old gray mare ain’t what she used to be and truly? Who wants to go through this super fun time with me again? The inability to eat! The headaches! The rushing to the hospital to make sure baby cooks long enough! Good times! So yeah, this baby shoppe is closed. (But I confess if I was able too I would straight up be Ma Duggar. I love having me some babies. Even if those little buggers don’t sleep at night)

Zach headed off to the nursery with a tiny Piper and I got ready for the next part. Once you have the baby it’s totally unfair you still have like 25 minutes of surgery left. (It might not be that long, concept of time is wonky when you’re drugged!)

It was during the tubal that I learned via Dr. Hammel and the Physician’s assistant that it is indeed possible to fracture a penis. These two were hilarious! Stories from the ER, people. If you are ever in need and you score these two on your surgical team count yourself lucky. They are not only people of great skill but they can read a room like a great comedian and put you at ease with the most hilarious stories. Thankfully my abdomen was totally rendered motionless or it would have been very hard not to laugh!

Before long I was done and headed to recovery and hoping to see my tiny baby! Unfortunately, being early, her blood sugar was very low and they kept her in the nursery for a while and tended to her. I got to take a quick nap and before I knew it I had my sweet baby in my arms.


Then all I wanted was my boys there. And I knew they couldn’t wait to meet their “Baby Honey.”

It was even better than I imagined.

And then there were five. The birth of Piper.

After a weekend full of contractions I called the office at 10:30 Sunday night, spoke to a doctor who told me nothing was really happening so to take some Tylenol PM and get some rest. Contractions woke me up all night, but I did the best I could knowing I had an 8:45 appointment the next morning. Zach stayed with the boys and I dragged my vacation logged belly to the doctors, where again I was told nothing was really happening. But I knew it was. I sat in the doctors office and he said “You’re 36 weeks now, so this is really early.” I reminded him that Huck was born at 36 weeks and Max at 37 and he said since my water hadn’t broken and I wasn’t dilating I wasn’t in labor. I reminded him that despite my water breaking and laboring for almost 12 hours with Huck I never dilated a fingertip. Hmmm. He said. “Well, if these contractions go on more than 6 hours or so we may need to send you in for a non-stress test.” Then I got cranky, which coincided with a contraction “Didn’t you hear when I told you I called in last night because they’ve been going on for over six hours at 10:30 and they haven’t stopped? I’m going on 20 hours now.”
And then he sent me to L&D.

Oh! Happy Day! MY favorite doctor was on call! Dr Hussein who delivered Huck. I adore her. I may have cried all over a nurse or two about not being able to eat and all these contractions…and made them all laugh when they asked “when was the last time you ate?” and I said “April.” They got me on the monitor and lo and behold! Contractions! They plugged me into some saline to see if that would slow them and nope, that only speeded up the process. The nurse came in and asked nervously “Is there anyone that can come and be with you?” And I thought, oh…this might be happening. Before I could even call Zach, the anesthesiologist came in to chat with me and he said we were going to section around 2. Oh! Okay! It was 12:43 right then! I called Zach and told him to get there fast! Dr. Hussein said “I think you’ve declared yourself in labor! I think we have to realize that 36-37 weeks is just full term for you!”

I started feeling a little stressed in the time it took Zach to get there, which wasn’t long. And by the time he arrived I was having BIG contractions 2-3 minutes long. The anesthesiologist came to check on me and while he and Zach were chatting happily, I finally experienced what many women describe as shut up while I’m contracting or I will kill you. They were discussing the doc’s time in the army and the medical situation on the battlefield while I had a FIVE MINUTE CONTRACTION. It’s lucky they’re both cute and I forgave them but LORD OF MERCY! (plus? Dr. Hammel had the drugs. I wanted those drugs!)

And also because Zach always knows how to make me laugh:


Finally after being bumped a few times for deliveries we were headed to the OR around 4:45.


What? You don’t take an  OR selfie moments before Dr. Hammel jabs a needle in your spine. (He was rad and amazing and I didn’t feel a thing. )

I have had 3 C-sections now, and I have to say that this crew was the most fun. Par for the course I had a little panic attack on the table (Being unable to move while people rearrange your insides is for the birds, y’all.) but Dr Hammel talked me down and Dr. Hussein reassured me all was going well.

And it was. Before long we would have our teeny but healthy little Princess!

Part 2 tomorrow. Because we all love long drawn out birth stories. Okay, actually because Piper’s hungry. Do not deny a hungry Piper, you guys. Just don’t.

I have an excuse, I went on vacation and then had a baby.



We have a joke in my family, I suck at pregnancy but make great babies. I am three for three on sucking at pregnancies and hereby (totally unbiased of course) declare that I am three for three on awesome babies.

All through my pregnancy there was debate whether I was one week ahead of where the u/s said I was (and being desperate to be almost done I was on board for that extra week even if my OB was not. My girlfriend who worked in an OB office said this is normal when you have 2 or more doctors, they all – good naturedly- want to be right and sometimes make bets. I am totally not offended by that.)


Anyway we went on vacation to Rehoboth when I was 35 weeks pregnant and miserable. Listen, if you are pregnant and miserable the beach is the place to be, baby! DO IT! Every day we rolled out of bed and on to the beach where I sunned myself like one of those sea lions on the Pier in San Francisco. Max wave jumped like it was his job and gave impromptu Beatles concerts and Huck celebrated the fact that he was privvy to the world’s largest sandbox. Huck never met a sandbox he didn’t love.


Funniest part of the trip was when I packed a big thermos of ice chips to take to the beach and Max said “good idea, mommy. That way you’ll have something to eat if you get hungry.” How quickly they learn.

It was fantastic! I contracted here and there and had to take it easy a few times but mind over matter I was enjoying this trip! We took the kids to Funland and the boys went to the water slide park with Daddy and Grandpa while we took in the outlets. It was wonderful!

We were set to come home on Saturday and on Friday night it happened. Oh! The contractions! I was pretty sure the contractions were strong but mostly that I had somehow popped a hip out and the contractions were pulling it. I have NEVER had pain like that. Thanks to autocorrect I was able to send Zach a text that said simply “Pain” he came in and at one point we actually really thought this baby might be born right there in the shower at the beach house. Luckily the beach house had a vast amount of hot water and eventually they eased and I was able to sleep.

We managed the road trip home with a quick stop at Candy Kitchen for some supplies and my little contraction timer going the whole while! Every ten minutes like clockwork…I was relieved we were heading home towards my very own doctor and the hospital I was comfortable. The idea of a C-section by a doctor I had never met was a little scary to me.

Sunday was spent lounging by the pool at my friend Kelly’s house, Max and Huck splashed and swam and played with their friends and had a great time. I was so thankful for good friends who helped keep my kids busy and happy while I, yet again, sat with my feet up contracting. (Extra bonus shout out to Kelly’s husband Sean who is my chiropractor and who showed that hip who was boss and adjusted my midback and neck like a madman. God bless Chiropractors!)

But we were home, and if she was ready, I was ready. I was more than ready. All the contracting and not being able to eat anything can really wear a gal down. And honestly? I was bored of myself. Bored of feeling sick all the time. bored of being grumpy. Bored of throwing up. Bored of contracting. I just wanted her here safely and I wanted to be ME again.

But as I sat poolside I really knew just how lucky complaining, whiny, contracty, pukey me, really was. So lucky.


This is what happens when you give a stranger on the beach your camera.