Funny stories 

Yesterday at the hospital for a routine Dr appointment:

*old lady approaches me and the kids*

Old lady: “how old is your baby?”

Me: “one month old”

Old lady: “oh my! So big! *pats my shoulder* You poor thing! I’m so sorry!”

Me: “haha… uh… thanks! We survived!” *awkwardly walks away*


Today on the couch with Lewis:

*kiddo puts his toy screwdriver in his shirt*

Lewis: “I’m pumping”

Me: “you’re pooping? Do you want to sit in the potty?”

Lewis: “no! I’m pumping! For food to eat! *takes screwdriver out of his shirt* All done! *sluuuuuurp*”


  • I put both kids to bed on my own yesterday!
  • Lewis went to the ENT for a very belated ear check. Tubes are on their way out, and doc says 90% chance he won’t need another set. 
  • I have been a milk dispenser all day, with no time to do anything else. Ellen has been spitting up a bunch and very fussy. I forgot my probiotics this morning and suspect this may be the cause. So I took them this evening and gave her gripe water. Hope the night is better!
  • Ellen wore 3-6 month size clothes for the first time today. They fit so much better.
  • I think Ellen is losing some of her beautiful, luscious hair. Waaaah!!!
  • Lewis peed in the potty twice today!

1 month checkup

Ellen had her 1 month checkup today, and folks, we’ve got a healthy girl on our hands!

Sweet girl is 13 lbs even, which puts her off the charts (again!). She’s also 23 inches tall, putting her in the 98th percentile. Her head is in the 88th percentile. So she’s huge, but proportionate, which is what you want!

Doctor said all reflexes were good, eyes were tracking like they should, heart sounded normal, etc. You can bet this mama was happy to hear all that!

They had to redo her foot poke because it was messed up at her last visit, but girlfriend didn’t even flinch! Not so much as a squeak! No shame in crying when someone stabs you with a needle, but I was pretty impressed with how she kept her composure.

It’s officially official – Ellen is heavier than most 3 month size clothes recommend on the tags, so I have added “switch out Ellen’s clothes” to my to do list. I was waiting for the official weigh-in to confirm that she had passed the threshold because I wasn’t sure if I was imagining things. Her pants still fit pretty well, but a lot of her onesies are a tight squeeze, so it was a mixed bag confusing me a little. I guess we’ll do a phase-out/in – shirts first, then pants as needed.

My mom accompanied us to the appointment today, and we spent some time at her house afterwards. She made an interesting suggestion that I’m mulling over – namely that perhaps Ellen needs both breasts at her feedings. I was so milky when I was feeding Lewis that he could never handle both breasts. But I’ve deliberately tried to be much more controlled this time around, so my overproduction days were limited. However, I am still milky enough that Ellen has always seemed satisfied after one breast to me. Plus, she’s growing like a weed, indicating that she’s getting what she needs.

Ellen asked for more milk after only 40 mins while we were at my mom’s house, and that’s when the suggestion from my mom came. My mom’s theory is that perhaps Ellen would stay full longer and I would get a break from the rapid-fire feeding cycle if I gave her both breasts at once.

She may be onto something there, but I’m a bit nervous to try it out because so many people have gotten in my head about the possible cause of Ellen’s projectile vomiting being “over-feeding”. We all know how I feel about the projectile vomiting, so I’m not keen on doing anything that might cause an “episode”.

I guess I have some thinking to do there. Ellen is happy, (temporarily) full, and clearly growing and gaining weight. So there is nothing to suggest that changing things up is necessary. But wouldn’t it be nice to have longer between feedings? Yes, yes it would.

So proud of my big girl. My babies can be whatever size they’re supposed to be, and I’ll always be proud, as long as they’re healthy. So grow grow grow, my babies! Grow!!!

That painful moment when you finally find a double stroller that’s compatible with your infant seat, and it turns out to be nearly $600.

Sigh… for way less than that price I could buy a new infant seat and corresponding double stroller from a different brand. So lame. 

No double stroller for this family. Good thing we don’t need it terribly often. We can just keep taking the big stroller and the umbrella stroller on our evening family walks. As long as Kyle and I both go, that’ll work. 

Or maybe there is a way to convince Lewis he doesn’t need to ride in the stroller just because Ellen is….

Day by day

I’ve been taking things one day at a time over here recently, because things are pretty unpredictable with a newborn ruling the roost!

My knees have started to show signs of improvement, which is obviously a nice development. I spend so much time sitting down, pinned by a hungry baby, that my knees are bent a lot of the time. They still ache if I keep them bent for too long, but it is so much more manageable now, and I think if things continue like this, I should be able to avoid physical therapy. Yipee!

The most unpredictable aspect of life right now is sleep. Ellen’s night time sleep has been all over the place. Saturday night she only woke twice and was quiet as a mouse in between. The past two nights she has been up every 90 minutes to eat like clockwork, meaning that I can’t get more than 30-60 minutes of sleep strung together for myself. I’m exhausted! And my breasts are running on empty!

Last night was particularly rough on me because I decided I was ready for everyone to sleep in their own respective bedrooms, and Ellen resumed being noisy so I never knew when she actually needed me vs. when she was just in a shallow sleep and grunting/squeaking for no reason. I ended up ignoring her when she actually needed me (resulting in an angry baby) and going in when she didn’t need me (resulting in unnecessary wakings for mama!).

The main outcome of my confusion was that I barely slept. I was up and in Ellen’s room multiple times between her 90 minute intervals because I couldn’t figure her out. Ultimately, I ended up back on the air mattress in her room so I could just lift my head and see what was going on. That helped, but I’m not sure how I’m on my feet today, especially considering that Ellen continues to feed max every 90 minutes today as well, eliminating her 3-4 hour naps where I could have potentially squeezed in a few zzz’s myself.

I did end up getting the FitBit, with the goal of tracking my sleep. It doesn’t do as awesome a job of tracking as I had hoped. It is over-optimistic about how much sleep I’ve been getting. I look at the results every morning and it often says I’ve gone back to sleep at times when I know for a fact I was still awake with Ellen, since staring at the clock and wishing I was sleeping is my favorite way to get through night time feedings. But I still like the FitBit, and I will keep wearing it because even its approximations are better than no tracking at all.

Also unpredictable is Ellen’s mood. Today my easygoing baby has disappeared and cries herself purple anytime she isn’t eating or sleeping. I’m not sure what that is about, but it has really slowed life down for the day. Yesterday was the most productive day since having Ellen, with a 100% completed to-do list. So even with the baby’s crazy mood today, things are pretty well under control at our house, save a few dishes and some other small projects I wanted to work on. Yesterday’s mild-mannered baby makes today’s screeching infant even more surprising, but because I got so much done yesterday, it is easier to slow down today, and I’m enjoying the baby snuggles and in awe of my seemingly miraculous ability to calm down the purple child. I swear, breastmilk is made of magic.

Speaking of milk, Ellen hasn’t projectile vomited again since last Friday. That means that those two incidents on Friday were the only two incidents in a whole week. Hoorah!

I was particularly grateful for the reprieve over the weekend when we were away at the coast with some friends. It’s hard enough to deal with the vomiting at home, but out and about is way worse! That’s not to say that I wasn’t on edge, because you never know when the next eruption will come! But despite the anticipation of vomit that never came, the weekend away was really lovely. It was Ellen’s first trip, and our friends have a newborn and a toddler the same ages as our kids, so it was really fun to all have the adventure together.

Ellen isn’t the only unpredictable lady in our house. I have been confusing myself as well! I found myself yearning for home while we were at the beach, which is very unlike me. I love to travel and get away! Kyle is normally the homebody, but he enjoyed the heck out of the trip, especially playing in the ocean with Lewis (the feeling was mutual! Lewis hasn’t stopped talking about it!). This time, though, it was me. On several occasions, I felt anxious and wanted to get back to where it was “safe”. Luckily that wasn’t the overarching theme of the weekend, so I was still able to enjoy the trip. But the fact that that snuck into my consciousness at all was really surprising.

Motherhood is so strange to me sometimes. I can feel like I hardly know myself! I thought it would be different with a second baby, that I’d be zen and in control, since I have been around the block before. And a lot of it definitely is easier, but because Ellen is a totally different baby, a lot of my nerves and anxiety are still there as I get to know her. And transitioning to a mom of two has me discovering whole new parts of myself – my way of thinking is altering, my wants and likes are different. It’s like pushing restart again! I expected that with Lewis (to some degree), but I didn’t think the reinvention of myself would be quite this pronounced the second time around.

All this “new” is challenging and confusing, yes. But it is also exciting and fun. Getting to know myself again is pretty cool. So far, even though she’s different, I like the new me. I just need to learn how to work with her. I’m getting to know Ellen AND myself simultaneously. What a crazy journey, and one I didn’t entirely see coming.

So we’re on a wild ride over here. I never know what’s coming next, and I wonder if that’s where my desire to get back home to what is “safe” came from. Sometimes it can feel good to be in a familiar environment, because then at least something is “known”, and whatever unpredictable things come my way fall onto a comfortable backdrop.

Well, the baby is awake and screaming again. Duty calls! Snuggles incoming! *swoon*

The return of the vomit

It was a good run.

The vomit has returned.

First appearance was Friday (yesterday) morning. Laundry followed.

Then we went all day with just little spit-ups before another lovely episode in the evening.

Sweet girl puked everywhere, all over us and the couch. I left Kyle to clean the couch while I went upstairs to strip both myself and the baby and get her into the bath and start more laundry. 

Ellen slept through her whole bath. She briefly awoke while I dressed her, then fell asleep while I got ready for bed. She stayed asleep as I swaddled her and didn’t wake up again until after midnight for a feeding, which we just finished. Puking must have been exhausting!

She had a pretty big spit-up after this feeding, but so far hasn’t vomited again. She seems to be back asleep, but I’m snuggling her a little more before putting her down just in case.

Vomit is never fun, but I’m extra bummed this time because after the 4 day break I was starting to relax and feel like I might be ready to leave her alone in her room at night and relocate back to my own bed. But now I am not so sure I’m there. I’ll keep thinking on it and see where I end up. Tricky, all these feelings!

So goooooood

You guys! I haven’t written in a bit because… things are good!!!! So I was storing up some updates, instead of urgently needing an outlet for frustrations.

That’s not to say everything is perfect, because HELLO! Two kids? yea, not perfect. But we’re feeling pretty groovy!

The best news of recent days is that Ellen has stopped projectile vomiting. A friend with a baby who has reflux mentioned that her doctor suggested taking probiotics, since those are good for digestion and may be passed through breastmilk. Well, folks, I’d say they’re for sure passed through breastmilk because Ellen has not vomited one single time since I started taking them on Monday! She went from puking at least once or twice a day to just normal baby spit-up. And along with the vomit, my anxiety has disappeared.

I was pretty worried about the puke. Not knowing when it would happen made it so hard for me to want to go anywhere with Ellen. It also made the idea of leaving her to sleep in her room on her own terrifying. I was constantly ready to catch buckets of vomit, and now I don’t have to worry so much! I’m sure it will still happen occasionally, because it just does with babies. But I can totally deal with occasionally!

Now that I’m not scared that Ellen will drown in vomit in her sleep, I’m starting to feel ready to sleep separate from her. I think probably within the next week or so I’ll move back to our bed and leave Ellen in her crib. Kyle is really looking forward to that move. He has been pretty down, I think from feeling lonely from sleeping alone at night. In a really blue moment, he even suggested that all four of us sleep together in the big bed (we quickly ruled that out as a solution – it’s just not for us). It’s very sweet that Kyle misses me, but I’m so grateful that he hasn’t rushed me or made me feel responsible for his loneliness. He’s just letting me go through my process. What a guy!

In the meantime, some of Kyle’s night time loneliness is solved through Lewis’s nighttime wakings. Yes, you read that right! Lewis seems to be having a bit of a sleep regression. He went to the dentist last week (came home with rave reviews about his healthy mouth!) and we found out that his molars are actually finally on their way! So perhaps his mouth is bothering him, but really I think the regression has to do with Ellen.

For starters, I think he hears her grunting and squeaking through their shared wall. She doesn’t really cry, but she is definitely noisy. Secondly, kiddo has been acting more like a baby lately, asking for help with things he can do on his own, wanting to be carried everywhere, etc., which seems like a reaction to Ellen’s arrival. And perhaps waking up at night and crying for Daddy is another way he has found to get “babied”.

Whatever the explanation, Kyle ends up snuggling in Lewis’s bed several times a night, and sometimes even pulls Lewis into our bed. So he isn’t really alone all night!

Sleep is sort of ruling the house lately, between the newborn and the troubled toddler. I do have to say that Ellen is showing some signs of sorting her sleep out. We’ve had some pretty rough nights, but the past two nights were improved. Last night, in particular, was great. I didn’t get nearly enough sleep, but I got the most I’ve gotten since Ellen was born because she fell back asleep after every feeding. Instead of staying awake for hours on end in the wee hours of the morning and cluster feeding every half hour, she woke up, got a diaper, ate, and fell back asleep.

AND! AND! Get this – she wasn’t noisy when she slept! She was only noisy when she woke up. Very noisy. But that’s okay because then I knew she needed me and check check check! Take care of baby and get some more zzz’s.

I’m hoping to splurge on a fitbit to track my sleep. Should be good for a laugh in these newborn months! Ha!

Ellen continues to grow like a weed. I had to sort through her 6 month size clothes to make sure we had what we need for the upcoming season (we do!), because she is almost out of her 3 month size clothes already – WAY ahead of schedule, considering she is turning 1 month old this Saturday. She is also growing out of her size 1 diapers already. I have to return our most recent shipment of size 1 diapers in favor of size 2 because I realized that I am basically jamming her into the size 1’s we currently have. No way we get through 6 more packs of this size with her growing as quickly as she does! It’s madness! I swear!

And the final fun update is about my weight. Slightly embarrassing, but also thrilling – I’m back under 200 lbs! Still 30 lbs to go to my pre-Ellen weight. 40 to my pre-Lewis weight. But considering where I was at the end of my Ellen pregnancy, I’m pretty darn pleased with myself after only 1 month with no exercise. Go me! I’m very confident I’ll get down to a weight where I feel comfortable and confident before Ellen’s first birthday – especially if she continues to eat this much!!!

What’s happening at our house 

Well, it’s been a few days since I updated, and lots has been happening! 

I had my first postpartum checkup, and checked out great! My stitches are still not totally dissolved, but I’m all healed up down south, which is awesome news. I have some other silly birth injuries that we’re going to keep an eye on (like my knees aching from pulling back on my legs while pushing. So weird!), but I’m feeling optimistic that I’ll be back to myself physically before too long. It may take some physical therapy interventions for the various minor birth injuries, but that’s no biggie.

Lewis skipped his nap one day at school this week. First time he has ever done that, and it wasn’t the disaster we anticipated! He was definitely a little moodier that evening, and needed an earlier bedtime, but wow! He mostly kept it together! I know he won’t nap forever, but I do hope he keeps it up a little bit longer. I have to admit, though, that it is very comforting to know that he can get through a napless day, so we don’t have to stress so much about the nap schedule. Good accidental information!

Ellen is still a crazy newborn – unpredictable and adorable. This evening she had her first meltdown with seemingly endless crying. Kyle and I think she was over tired from being awake a lot during the day. 3.5 weeks isn’t a bad stretch without epic baby cries, so I’m not complaining! It was, however, quite jarring to suddenly hear my peaceful baby screech like that. Broke my heart!

I’m still camping out in Ellen’s room at night. I don’t feel like I can leave her because she’s still got this projectile vomit habit that freaks me out. She vomits exorcist-style at least once a day (usually more), and if it happened to be at night, I would not want to be far away. 

The whole vomit thing is actually causing me quite a bit of anxiety, making it hard for me to want to go anywhere with her or even have her with me in bed or on the couch, lest she vomit somewhere that isn’t easily cleaned. Like the car. Ugh… literally had to disassemble the carseat and hose it down the other day. She can launch that vomit several feet, and in large volumes to boot! It ain’t pretty. 

Her sleep pattern leaves something to be desired still, probably because she still thinks she needs to eat every 30-90 minutes. I suppose that’s to be expected at this age, but it is tricky to navigate with late morning and daytime sleep harder to come by with a toddler in the house. With just one kid, I could weather the early morning wake-ups by staying in bed until the kid fell back asleep. I would be in bed until 11 am some days when Lewis was an infant! No such luxury with Ellen, since big bro gets up at 630 and then it is go time.

The nice thing is, my body is handling the fatigue better this time. It remembers this and I feel less destroyed. Still totally exhausted, but ultimately I always get up and moving and find that I am alright. 

That’s all the update I have in me for now. Until next time!


I forgot to mention that despite all the crazy eating, Ellen hasn’t projectile vomited on me in over 24 hrs. I even tested her by having a bean burger for lunch yesterday. Yay!


I tried something new last night. Kyle wasn’t thrilled, but I slept on an inflatable mattress in Ellen’s room. This is an early start to transitioning her to her own room.

I’m not sure why Kyle didn’t love the idea. I know he was excited to get a good night of sleep without Noisy Baby disturbing him, but he definitely seemed sad. I guess he was going to miss me? Awww, so sweet!

Anyway, the thought process behind this plan is that:

  1. Ellen is too noisy for anyone to sleep so we have to get her out 
  2. I don’t actually feel ready to be in a different room than Ellen
  3. Kyle needs some sleep so he can function at work 
  4. Having access to the rocking chair is way more comfortable for me for feedings than sitting on the edge of our bed
  5. I have some anxiety about Ellen sleeping poorly in her crib, and in the past all it has taken to calm similar anxieties is trying it out and seeing that it works. But being close to her while we test it is vital to avoid a mama meltdown. 

So as I sit here, feeding Ellen for the 10th time in 12 hours (I kid you not), I can safely say that I have no idea if she sleeps well in her crib or not.

She is too busy cluster feeding for me to gather enough data. She did have one good nearly 4 hour stretch (leaving 8 hours for all those feedings! My booooobs!!!), so I think she tolerates being flat in her crib pretty well. But then the rest of the night she was up every 30-90 minutes and spent all of her sleeping moments grunting and moaning, which doesn’t indicate deep sleep to me. But what do I know.

I’m dead. I’m actually deceased. She has sucked me dry and killed me with sleep deprivation.

I reached out to some online mama groups to see if anyone has tips for dealing with noisy babies. So far they all just say separate rooms and white noise machines. Not exactly the magic shut-up-the-baby solutions I dreamed of, but it’s a start. 

Those eyes

Babies’ eyes don’t necessarily stay the same color they are when they are born. I’ve been contemplating Ellen’s eyes and I can’t decide what color I think they’re going to end up. 

They’re kind of an unusual dark blue at the moment, a color which I can’t recall seeing on a grown person before. That makes me think they’re definitely going to change. Maybe hazel? Maybe brown like Kyle and Lewis? Maybe a greenish like me?

Fun to speculate!

Bye bye weekend

Kyle went back to work last Thursday and eased into things with a 2 day week. I’m sure if you asked him, he would say it was anything but easy, but it beats a 5 day week!

Lewis was in school as usual those days, and Ellen and I got some quality time together. I wanted to have a similar one-on-one bonding period to the one I had with Lewis this time around with Ellen. And I feel really lucky that we are able to afford to keep Lewis in daycare so I can fulfill that wish. It is so special to be with just Ellen and get to know her so closely. 

Daycare doesn’t open early enough for Kyle to take Lewis in the mornings, so that falls on me. The first two days went great, and I really enjoyed dropping him off for two reasons. 1) I get to be an active part of Lewis’s day and 2) it acts as a marker for the start of my day so it doesn’t just melt into one long sweatpants-fest.

The weekend was a different party entirely. All four of us were reunited, and it was lovely. We didn’t do much, but it was great to be together and start to figure out what our new dynamic looks like. I think we’re starting to find a good rhythm, the four of us!

Lewis has continued to act out, but we are working hard on getting that back under control. He is doing silly things like refusing to walk down the stairs on his own, screaming and whining about everything, being defiant and ignoring directions, following us around like a shadow, needing us to come back in several times before he will fall asleep… I think all of it is a reaction to Ellen’s arrival and the focus not being on him 100% anymore. He doesn’t show any resentment towards Ellen, but it is clear he is feeling the change. 

Ellen continues to eat nonstop and blow my mind with her appetite and sheer size. She’s a beast! She does spit up/vomit a lot still. She’s been projectile vomiting at least once per day, sparking some speculation in my mind about whether there may be some foods I shouldn’t eat. For sure asparagus is out, but I also think I’ve noticed a correlation with bean-heavy meals. So I’m trying to limit beans, which is tricky for a vegetarian!!

Ellen has also developed a habit of waking up super early in the morning every single day and having a marathon pooping/puking/cluster feeding session, and after the bodily fluids are done, it is all often accompanied by extremely loud sleeping. Think grunts and whines and snorts. For hours. She’s sleeping, but Kyle and I are not.

Ugh. Let’s hope that goes better tonight. 

The funniest news of the weekend is how obsessed I am with my slender ankles! I forgot how slim they were before pregnancy!!! So The return to normal is a fun surprise. I thought all my swelling was gone before, but it has gone down even more and now every time I look at my feet I am shocked with how thin my ankles and feet are. Everything else is still pretty squishy, so the sight of my tiny ankles is hilariously exciting to me. I delight in the sight of them! Ha!

Tonight Kyle went off to his dad’s after putting Lewis in bed. It seemed like everything was under control when he left. I was in bed feeding Ellen and planning to go to sleep. Lewis was in bed falling asleep. All good, right?


Ellen vomited everywhere. All over the bed. New sheets and outfits required. Lewis starts crying for daddy. Ellen starts crying. I’m still covered in puke.

Triage time. Where do I go first?! 

Ellen into her rocker. Me in new clothes. Into Lewis’s room, convince him that a couple stuffed animals are as good as daddy and/or sleeping in our bed (he never sleeps in our bed!! Why did he want that?!). Run back to our room. Strip bed, remake bed. Change Ellen’s jammies. Snuggle Ellen and hope she’ll sleep. 
Crisis averted, but I’m still sitting here waiting for Ellen to fall asleep. So much for my plan to be asleep by 730 to make up for the early morning! It’s already 830. Darn! But listen… I handled that situation like a boss. 

I’m bummed the weekend is over and I have to send my boys off tomorrow. But at the same time, I’m looking forward to mommy and Ellen time!

2 weeks!

You guys! Ellen is 2 weeks old today! Can you believe that? Because I can’t.

When we were at the doctor’s office yesterday and they mentioned that it was her two week appointment, I was so caught off guard. It is strange how quickly the time can go when you’re basically not doing anything.

Our days are filled with feedings every 90 minutes during the day, every 2-4 hours at night, and then a lot of snuggles and couch/TV time. How does that schedule make the time pass so quickly?!

I have to say, however, that I’m thrilled to put the past two weeks behind us. With most of the physical ailments subsiding or completely resolved, and the hormonal/emotional turmoil also basically done (yay!), I feel like I can finally enjoy all of Ellen’s baby-ness to the fullest. We’re out of survival mode and into happy mode!

I remember loving loving loving Lewis’ baby-ness so deeply, and I’m so glad I’ve arrived there with Ellen now too. The first couple weeks are not easy for me, with all of the unpleasantness of the postpartum mess fighting for space with all the joy.

Now? Joy. JOY!

I feel like I know Ellen well enough after two weeks that I’m not constantly concerned about what’s coming next. To some degree, I can predict her, or at least read her signs. This does a lot to quell my anxiety! And we all know I’m prone to anxiety, so I’m always happy to escort some portion of my nerves out the door.

Will she sleep? Yes, she will. Will she puke? Yes, but not every time she eats. When will she poop? 2-3 times a day. Is she going to let me put her down? Yes, most of the time. How does she like to be held? I have a whole repertoire! Is she going to scream and cry? Probably not, but if she does, she’s hungry.

I’ve also started to feel better about Lewis. I’m figuring out how to fill up my heart with the time we get together by turning on laser-focus and really listening to him and being present with him. He’s in a tricky little phase right now where he is having trouble following directions and listening, so some of our time together is spent on discipline and nagging (ewwww), but I still feel really positive overall about how much better I’m doing with feeling connected to my sweet first-born.

And with the passage of time, I’m also noticing my feelings of anger about Ellen’s birth fade. I doubt I’ll ever look back on the experience and feel empowered like so many women do, but I’ll settle for not feeling traumatized, if that’s all I can get! It will be much more pleasant not to be haunted by negativity around that day so I can instead focus on the sweet miracle it brought me. And that’s what I think the key is – shifting the focus of that memory onto the outcome not the endeavor itself. Although, it wouldn’t hurt to leave some of the memories of the lead-up to the birth too. Because there were a lot of fun, calm, happy moments earlier on in the process, before the final 3-4 hours hit.

So the two-week conclusion? Overall, feeling mostly normal, mostly happy. Kyle heads back to work tomorrow after his paternity leave, and – if he has to go back (waaah!) – the timing could not be better. I needed him for the first two weeks, and I feel much more prepared to handle this new life on my own now. Virtual high-five! I’ve made it out of the darkness!

2 week appt

10 lbs 2 oz at her 2 week appt! 95th percentile for weight and off the charts for height. This kiddo is taking after my side of the family so far. Big, big girl!

Doc gave her rave reviews on everything. She’s perfect and healthy, which I could have told you. But it is nice to have the doctor’s stamp on it too!

Big milestone 

I had a big milestone today! I didn’t have any hormonal dips in my mood!

Not one!!!


I don’t trust it as a sign of the end of hormonal turmoil until I string together a few more dip-free days. But even a one day break is welcomed. Feeling stable and steady is a huge game changer and when it does become a pattern, it is the true mark of the return to normalcy.

I’m a fan.

To end, here is a picture of Ellen making a hilarious face, just for giggles!

Day 10

Day 10 was a good day. Highlights: 

  • Kyle and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary with a lunch date while my mom babysat. Both kids slept the whole time, but we were so happy to get out and be together. We had sushi, went to Target, picked up some bagels, and went home. Simple, but lovely. 
  • I am down nearly 30 lbs already 
  • Related – my swelling in my feet is completely gone 
  • Also related – I can finally see a defined neck when I look in the mirror. It isn’t just cheeks melting into shoulders anymore!
  • Baby Sister had her first bath in the real tub (aka not a sponge bath)
  • Kyle tidied up the house and it looks amazing
  • I wrote out my birth story and I think that helped me start processing some of the emotions related to that experience, which feels really significant 

    One un-highlight:

    • Turns out Ellen doesn’t tolerate asparagus in my breastmilk, just like her brother didn’t. There was asparagus in the sushi we ate, and Ellen projectile volcano-vomited immediately after she fed following our sushi meal. Multiple times. The whole feed came up. We bottle fed her for two subsequent feedings from milk I had stored, and I pumped and discarded my asparagus tainted milk for two feedings. That seemed to do the trick. And now I am beginning another year + without asparagus. Oh well!

    Birth Story

    I’m finally ready to write about how Ellen entered the world! I’d like to preface the story by saying that there are parts of how it went that made me really, really angry, and some of those feelings haven’t faded yet (will they ever?). Also, this is going to be loooooooong.

    Anyway, let’s rewind to the 22nd of August, around breakfast time. I texted my mom and Kyle and told them that I didn’t want to read into it too much since I’d been crying wolf over contractions a bunch, but that my contractions felt “pesky” that day.

    Fast forward to about noon the same day. I had just eaten lunch and noticed that the baby wasn’t moving like she normally does after I eat. That got me thinking about when the last time I had felt her was, and I couldn’t remember! I ate a lollipop to try to coax some movement out using sugar, and waited a few minutes.


    Obviously, that got me freaked out. I knew I had felt her the previous night before bed, but I didn’t think I’d felt her once since then. So I called my mom around 12:30. That was a short phone call, resulting in me calling my doctor two minutes later. I spoke with a nurse who said she’d consult with the doctor about whether they wanted me at the hospital or the clinic and get back to me within the hour.

    At this point, I began to cry. I called Kyle and summoned him home from work. While I waited, I drank a sprite and laid down to try to find some baby movements. After a few minutes, I did end up feeling a tiny poke, which was reassuring. But it still wasn’t as wild as she normally would have been after such a sugary treat.

    The nurse from my doctor’s office called back at about 1:10 PM. I told her about the tiny poke, which led them to choose to bring me into the clinic instead of the hospital for a non-stress test to monitor the baby and my contractions. Kyle arrived home and we packed the hospital bags into the car and headed to the clinic for an appointment at 1:45.

    They strapped me up to the monitor and left us for about 20 minutes. I watched my contractions and the baby’s heart rate, and I thought, “oh good! a heartbeat that remains steady through my contractions. They’ll be happy and they’ll send us home.”

    Well, there’s a reason they don’t let the pregnant ladies read their own results, because I was wrong. Apparently, baby’s heart rate is supposed to accelerate during contractions, and a really happy baby would have spikes and dips in their heart rate. Ellen’s heart just kept beating at exactly the same pace.

    The doctor (one I’d seen before, but not my own doctor) said that he could send me home because the baby was technically fine. BUT – and it was a big but – if tragedy struck at any point after that, we would all look back on that moment and wonder why we hadn’t just gotten the baby out when everything was ok. She was already 1 day past due, so it wasn’t like we were pulling out a preemie. He said he recommended sending me to the hospital for induction just to be safe so that no one would have any regrets.

    Kyle and I appreciated the reasoning and were totally on board. We left the doctor’s office around 2:15 to go straight to the hospital. On the way, we called and texted everyone who needed to know. The first calls were our mothers – Kyle’s so she would know to get Lewis from school, and mine so she would know to meet us at the hospital when she was done with work.

    We arrived at the hospital around 3pm. The day prior, at my 40 week appointment, I had been just shy of 2cm dilated. The first thing they did when I got to the hospital was to check my cervix, and it was still up behind Baby’s head, but I was 4cm! I was surprised, but then my “pesky” contractions started to make sense. They had most likely been the start of real labor anyway, so the induction sounded less scary. My mom and the advice nurse had also both mentioned that babies often slow their movements just prior to the onset of labor, so everything was starting to make sense.

    During my cervical check, the midwife swept my membranes and stretched my cervix. She didn’t warn me that she was going to do that, so it was kind of a painful shock, but I got through it.

    The staff then asked me if I had eaten any lunch. I told them I hadn’t eaten since about 11:15 and I was ravenous. I couldn’t believe it, but they actually let me have food! I had a yogurt parfait and a bowl of vegetable soup just before they started my Pitocin at 3:30. 

    It took three nurses and three total attempts to get my IV in. I still have bruises today!
    Mom arrived at some point, and we all just played the waiting game. I was up and down to pee, hung out in the rocking chair, laid in the bed, chatted with the nurses and my mom, and let Kyle relax.

    Mom and Kyle got food around 5:45, and they brought me back some ravioli, since – miraculously – the nurses were still letting me eat!

    Kyle jetted off home to grab some things we had forgotten around 6:15, and mom and I hung out, still just waiting around and weathering contractions.

    At my next cervical check, I was 5.5cm. We instructed Kyle to try to sleep, and began the discussion about our next move. There was talk of breaking my water, timing of getting an epidural, upping pitocin, etc. Ultimately, we decided to send me around for a walk, then do the epidural and break my water after that.

    I remembered the pain of contractions with broken water from labor with Lewis, and I wasn’t interested in feeling that without the assistance of an epidural. So I laid on my side while the portable monitor charged, and by 10pm I was up for a walk with my mom. We did laps for about 30 minutes until I just couldn’t take it anymore.

    The pain was starting to get awful, so I think even without our pre-existing plan to get the epidural before breaking my water, I would have probably asked for the epidural at that point anyway. They gave me some crackers and apple juice, and then the anesthesiologist got started on the epidural around 11:20. It was fully in place by 11:40. The pain was gone.

    Unlike last time with Lewis, the epidural worked in my whole belly, instead of just on one side. I was so relieved to have a better epidural this time around, and settled in for a nice peaceful waiting game. Kyle slept all the while.

    Around 12:20 they put in my catheter and broke my water. At this point, I started to lose track of time. I remember that there was a blood pressure drop and I felt really awful. They gave me more fluids, changed my position, and gave me oxygen. That all helped, and I hung out on my left side from 1am to 2am.

    At some point, the nurse came in and said Baby’s heart rate wasn’t satisfactory, so despite my comfort, they made me flip and then try hands and knees. This was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever endured. Because of the epidural, I had very little control of my legs, so I felt unstable and like I was going to fall flat on my belly and smoosh the baby. I sobbed and cried uncontrollably, screaming at everyone that I didn’t feel safe. They put me on my right side, and both Baby and I started to do better.

    Somewhere in the middle of all of that action, I began to shake/shiver uncontrollably. I had read about that happening, so I knew that it was normal. The nurses all assured me it was normal too, but it was quite uncomfortable and continued the whole night.

    Even more uncomfortable was the fact that I began to feel my catheter every time I contracted. My epidural didn’t seem to be working in the far southern nether regions. I was pretty concerned about this, and pushed the button for more epidural several times, with no relief.

    At some unknown time, they checked me again and I was at 7cm. Progressing nicely. Everyone was pleased. They kept flipping me around to keep Baby happy, and I started gushing yucky stuff. Everyone cheered at the presence of my “bloody show”, and I managed to laugh at the type of things labor and delivery staff get excited about.

    I kept harping about my catheter to the point that the nurse and midwife decided to reposition it. That didn’t help at all, so we decided to remove it temporarily. This revealed some very upsetting information – I was still in pain down there! It wasn’t the catheter, it was just that my epidural didn’t work in my vagina. In retrospect, I think what I was actually feeling was my cervix dilating with each contraction. This was not something I ever intended to feel.

    We watched things for a while, and called the anesthesiologist back around 3:30. While we waited for him to come back, we decided we’d put the catheter back in after he helped me. Meanwhile, I was farting a ton, which everyone celebrated (weirdos). The anesthesiologist did eventually come back, I got a bolus to try to help with the pain, but didn’t get much relief even from that.

    There was talk that perhaps I was “complete”. I completely lost all sense of time at this point because the pain became so all-consuming. I remember getting my cervix checked again and hearing that I wasn’t, in fact, “complete” (AKA 10cm), but that I was at 8cm. It must have been about 4:30am when this check happened, looking back on it.

    I also remember them turning off the pitocin to give Baby a break. I don’t think they ever turned it back on, because shit got crazy really, really quickly. In the next half hour, I began to vomit and cry. I was in so much pain. My belly still felt nothing, but every contraction was agony in my vagina and my butt.

    I was starting to get really angry, because all the groundwork to avoid this pain had been laid, yet I was still experiencing it. Because I was induced, everything was very controlled. There was plenty of time to manage the pain and get the epidural. We got to clearly define the steps. It wasn’t a whirlwind labor where I showed up ready to push with no time to get an epidural… so why was this happening to me?

    They decided to call the anesthesiologist back again. But earlier in the night, they had also told me to let them know when I was feeling constant pressure in my bottom. Well, that happened, so I told them (yelled at them). Oh I was in so much pain – I can almost feel it still just thinking back on it. My mom suggested that they check my cervix again because I might be “complete”, but the nurse and midwife didn’t think that was possible because I had been only 8cm a half hour ago.

    I kept yelling at them that I felt pressure. My mom asked me if I thought I needed to push and I think my answer was, “WAAAAAAAAAAAH MAYBE!”

    So somehow someone was convinced to check me. I can’t even remember who it was because all I really remember is pain. I do remember them announcing that I was, in fact, complete. They had turned off the pitocin, and my stupid body said, “cool, we don’t need medicine, we’ll go ahead and take it from here” and I proceeded to dilate the final 2cm in record time.

    The anesthesiologist walked in during my first push. He turned around and left.

    The next two hours were the worst hours of my life. Because of all the crying I’d done during the “2cm dilation of death” experience, I had a ton of snot in my throat. So I gagged and choked on that, vomiting frequently. I tried to blow my nose between every contraction to get it out. It was so distracting from the actual task at hand.

    The midwife was stretching my vagina with her fingers to help me identify where to push and also to help widen the opening for what we all could now tell was a very large baby. Everyone kept telling me I was doing a great job and that they could see the head. But it kept going back in. I remembered that from my labor with Lewis, and that labor ended with me not being able to get him out on my own. So when I heard all the staff + my mom telling me I was doing a good job, I didn’t believe them. I thought they were bullshitting me just to keep my spirits up. I’d been there before, pushing the head out and sucking it back in, and I knew how that ended.

    So I got mad at them. I was so angry that they would all lie to me about me doing a good job. If I was doing so great, why wasn’t the baby out yet? Why was it taking so long?

    Somewhere along the road, it had become apparent that I had another sunnyside-up baby, in addition to her being gigantic. I’m not sure when I became aware of this, but at some point I did know it. And that just made me angrier. My baby was huge, she was face up again, everyone was lying to me, and I was in so much pain. Pain which I hadn’t signed up for.

    Sometime after 6am, the nurse and midwife said to me that they were sure I’d have the baby out by shift change at 7am because I was making so much progress. I was sure they were lying to me still.

    I believe this was the point where I began screaming at everyone. It’s all very foggy, but I know I screamed that I needed help and everyone just kept telling me that I was doing a good job and I didn’t need help. This was extremely upsetting, because when I had said that with Lewis, they helped me. Not this time, folks.

    So then I started screaming and bawling at my mom, telling her that no one was listening to me. She assured me that they were helping me, and that I was so close. I couldn’t believe my ears. My own mother was lying to me too.

    I’m weeping just writing this, because it was so upsetting. I felt so abandoned. All I wanted was for someone to take the pain away. For someone to help me. And I was all alone.

    I have flashes of memories of Kyle looking extremely concerned and walking away to lay down. I honestly felt relieved that he was stepping away to take care of himself. Then I didn’t have to worry about whether it was too much for him or not. Worrying about his well-being was a distraction.

    All of a sudden the midwife was gone. Her fingers pulling and stretching my vagina – the only assistance I was getting – was taken away from me. Oh! I was outraged. HOW DARE SHE?!

    Then the room started to fill up with people. It was shift change. I was “meeting” new nurses and midwives. There was a doctor. My mom was talking to the midwife. The fingers were back.

    I kept asking for more help, and still no one gave it to me. I don’t remember what I said, but none of it was nice, and all of it was loud. I wanted to kill these people for forcing me to endure the pain and pressure and agony all on my own, all the while telling me that I was awesome and making progress. If I was making progress, why did it all still feel the same? They told me to use my anger, which only made me angrier.

    Eventually, I had a vague thought that maybe I should just try and shit all over the damn midwife. I guess that’s when the baby’s head came out. The rest of her came out as if on its own after that. 7:14 AM on August 23rd.

    Everyone cheered, I realized that they had not been lying to me about making progress. And there was my baby! On my chest! Crying! Breathing!

    Kyle showed up next to me, the relief clear on his face, tears in his eyes. I wish I remember what he said, but I think it was something along the lines of, “you did it. oh my god you did it”.

    I later found out that the midwife’s disappearance just prior to birth was to call in for physician backup because they were worried that Ellen’s shoulders would get stuck. This is what my mother had been whispering to the midwife about, and that was part of the reason for the room filling up with people – it wasn’t just shift change, it was reinforcements. Because the consequences of a baby’s head being born with the body stuck inside are pretty scary, apparently, and they needed all hands on deck. Luckily, when Ellen’s head came out looking straight towards the sky, she turned so her body could pass through. Thank goodness.

    Ellen’s head was so misshapen. She looked like a rhinoceros, with this huge lump in the middle of her forehead. But my god! She was out! And she was mine! And I fucking did it. Without any help from any-fucking-body.

    I did end up with a 2nd degree tear and some stitches, which is less severe than I experienced with Lewis, surprisingly. I also had about 24 hours of difficulty urinating on my own due to swelling. But other than that, immediate post-trauma care was pretty limited. Just ibuprofen to manage the swelling and pain, a catheter, an ice pack or two, and that was that.

    We spent the next day and a half in the hospital until I could pee on my own and Ellen had passed all her tests. We spent a significant amount of time awake because Ellen kept puking up a bunch of amniotic fluid – once even turning blue because she was choking on it and couldn’t breathe. The night nurse, Erin, was a goddess helping us through that. She even took Ellen for about 1.5 hrs so I could get some sleep.

    We also debated back and forth about what to name her – would she be Ellen or Mabel? Obviously, we settled on Ellen. But even as we did so, I wasn’t confident in our decision. However, as the hours and days have passed, I feel really happy with our choice. Looking at her now, I can’t imagine calling her Mabel. It just doesn’t suit her!

    Big brother Lewis came to visit us in the hospital with Grammy. That was a special moment I’ll never, ever forget. He brought the presents he had gotten for “Baby Sister” (he still calls her that now, 10 days later), and even brushed her hair with the Minnie Mouse brush he got for her. He also opened his gifts from Baby Sister with great enthusiasm. Kyle took him for a walk to get snacks, and I’m pretty sure Lewis was the happiest big brother that ever lived.

    We arrived at home around 5:30 or 6 pm on Thursday evening. Lewis was with Kyle’s dad at our house, and the two of them were thrilled to snuggle Baby Sister. Lewis held her for the first time right away, and my mama heart melted.

    I’ve already written about most of what has happened since our arrival home. So I’ll leave this “birth story” at this. I hope someday the trauma and anger and upset will leave me when I think back on Ellen’s birth. I wish it had been different. But I got a perfect, sweet baby out of all of this, and that’s the most important thing.


    This evening was a better evening, emotionally. I think that had to do with the fact that I accomplished quite a few things on my to do list, took a shower, enjoyed decreased nipple pain, and – perhaps most importantly – spent a lot of time with Lewis. 

    We kept Lewis home from daycare today so Kyle could take him on an adventure (see above picture). And then in the afternoon, besides his nap, I got to play with him as much as I wanted. 

    It really soothed my soul.

    Kyle and I also celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary today. We will go on a lunch date sans children tomorrow to mark the occasion. But we did share a “cheers” over a glass of wine this evening as well, which felt special even if it was just a small thing.

    I can’t believe how incredibly lucky I am to be married to Kyle and raising children with him. Time flies when we are together, and I’m amazed at what we’ve done in these 4 years as a married couple. No regrets with this guy. None at all.

    So all in all, my best postpartum day yet. Yay!