Wilson’s Birthday

Leading up to Wilson’s birthday, I thought a scheduled c-section would be less stressful than the emergency c-section I had with Gus almost four years ago.

I was mistaken.

Turns out when you’ve been in active labor for several hours without an epidural, and your baby is suddenly in danger, you don’t have much time to process what’s about to happen as you roll into the OR (and then almost sleep through the whole thing from sheer exhaustion).

This time I was wide awake, over-thinking everything, and walked myself into the OR past tables of terrifying surgical tools before getting my epidural on the operating table.

The actual delivery went well, but caught me a little off guard only because a few minutes before we got started they got word another baby in L&D might be in distress and they warned me they may need to go to the other OR for an emergency delivery (Been there! I’ll wait.)

The next thing I knew: the doors opened, doctors and nurses were everywhere, someone turned on the radio (raise your hand if “Despacito” was playing when your baby was born!) and they were just talking like it was another day at the office.

“Did you see Roberta’s haircut?”
“Who has the medieval torture devices I sterilized?”
“Let’s make the first incision.”

Wait, what was that last thing you said?

No, hello. No, we’re about to get started. No husband (wearing a beard cover) sitting patiently by my side. No, ready, no set.

Just, GO.

Mike was there a few minutes later, but surgery was well underway at that point. And while I definitely didn’t feel pain, the amount of pressure I could feel was so overwhelming that it was extremely uncomfortable.

Ultimately I needed two extra doses of my epidural during surgery, and three doses of additional pain meds while they closed my incision.

Recovery has been going well, and we’ve been home for four days now. Aside from the usual newborn woes (mainly not sleeping) this time has been a lot less stressful for all of us.

I already know how to breastfeed (even though my milk didn’t come in until last night), I’m sleeping as much as I can when I can, I’m staying on top of pain meds and physically I feel really good.

The biggest difference: my mom is living with us this time, so we have an extra set of hands to help with baby and Gus. When I think about one day getting this baby fed and out the door in time to get Gus to preschool on time, it makes my eye twitch but I know we’ll get there eventually.

Wilson is a pretty good baby, and Gus LOVES him. It’s only been a few days so we’ll see how long it lasts, but he loves to help with diaper changes, he kisses him constantly, and whenever he cries, Gus sings him customized lullabies (“Rockabye Wilson” is his go-to, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Wilson” is a close second).

I genuinely still can’t believe this beautiful, healthy baby is here right now, after everything that happened in the last year. And in a few weeks, we’ll celebrate Gus’ fourth birthday as a little family of four!


A Teeny Tiny Update with Little to No Information.

I’m still here.

Still (miraculously, amazingly, unexpectedly) (18 weeks!) pregnant.

We’ve told our families (shock!) and our friends (awe!) and all my new various doctors (confusion!) and I’ve technically told the internet full of strangers (hello!) but we haven’t made anything Facebook official.


Eh, I don’t know. Probably because every time I tell one new person my first thought is, “WHAT HAVE I DONE?!” and every time I purchase a new baby outfit (twice) I immediately think, “YOU MONSTER, YOU’VE RUINED EVERYTHING.”

So, I guess you could say I’m dealing with a little bit of anxiety.

Despite having four or five ultrasounds now, and doctors repeatedly finding the heartbeat on the doppler, and maybe feeling something kick me sometimes, I’m still finding it a little bit difficult to believe this is happening. That it’s happened at all. That it will continue to happen.

Someone asked me a few weeks ago when I felt confident in my pregnancy with Gus, and I told them, completely honestly, when I was walking into Labor & Delivery and my contractions we’re two minutes apart.

And yet, I am surprisingly less anxious than I was back then. Maybe it’s the fact that now I no longer feel the pressure of being barren forever. Maybe my cold agnostic heart has been touched by a freaking angel, and I can’t help but feel like this is something that is supposed to happen.

Time will tell, I guess.

So far, so good.


Where Babies Come From

Two weeks ago, everything changed.

But let me back up.

On Saturday, October 19 my cousin got married. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful ceremony, and I felt like total shit. I couldn’t really put my finger on what was bothering me, but I couldn’t get comfortable. Like when you have the flu, sort of, and everything aches. We got home, and I took a four hour nap.

The next day our moms came over to help us get things ready for our induction later that week. They cleaned and laundered and organized, while I sat on the sofa telling them where things went (and tried not to sound like a tyrant). I took on a few little chores that didn’t require much bending or moving, and when we were all done I was happy to sit on the sofa and watch what ended up being some disappointing football.

But instead, around 5pm, I started getting this weird pain in my tailbone. Like, over and over. But it’s nothing, right? The baby is coming on Thursday. But wait, no. There it is again. Maybe I should say something? Nah. It’ll go away. You just overdid it this weekend.

After about 30 minutes, I told Mike and my mom I might be having contractions, but I wasn’t sure. But they were random so no need to panic. I’ll download an app real quick and start tracking them!

And wouldn’t you know it? Two hours later they were five minutes apart, and it was time to call the doctor who told us to head over to the hospital.

We took our time — made sure we had everything. I took a looooooong hot shower, and we got to the hospital at 9pm.

By 10 they confirmed, yes! you are in labor! things are progressing! we’re admitting you! you’ll be leaving WITH A BABY!

My water broke, which was weird, and — unfortunately — bloody. But they said it wasn’t cause for concern, because Gus’ heart rate was strong and constant. Sometimes that just happens.

By 12, they said I could have my epidural whenever I wanted it. Yes, please, I’ll take that five minutes ago.

With each contraction, which was every two minutes at that point, it felt like my tailbone was going to explode alien-style through my back. Turns out my labor progressed very quickly. I went from two to eight centimeters dilated in only a few hours, so when 1:30am rolled around and I was still waiting for that epidural I sent Mike out to JUST. FIND. ANYONE. WITH. DRUGS.

Turns out, they were eating sandwiches.

He kept that little bit if info to himself until I was properly medicated.

By 2am I was happily numb from the waist down. I even took a little nap.

But 30 minutes later, there was trouble.

Gus’ heartbeat started dropping with each contraction, and I stopped dilating. They were worried there could be an issue with the cord being pinched or wrapped around him, and combined with the bleeding earlier and my sudden lack of progress, we were headed to the OR.

Fine by me. At that point I just wanted the baby delivered healthily and happily. Take it away, doc — I trust you.

By 3am the decision was made, and by 3:30 I was rolled into the OR and prepped. Mike got to sit with me the whole time, and at 3:57am August William Schall had arrived (and sounded a lot like a kitten).

He was small — we expected that. Five pounds and 8.5 ounces. He scored a nine on his Apgar test, because he’s awesome. He was wide-eyed and Mike held him next to me for the next god-knows-how-long while they put me back together.


We spent the next five days in the hospital, which I won’t bore you with — in a nutshell: so many tests and nurses. Breastfeeding is hard and stressful (we’ve got it down now, but that first week involved a LOT of tears from all three of us).

I do not know how people do this without supportive husbands/partners and mothers.

Mike went back to work today. Already? Wait, it’s been two weeks? My mom took a week of vacation to help me this extra week, and Mike’s mom makes sure we have food to eat every day. I would not be functioning without them.

Gus is amazing. Once we got the kinks worked out, he turned into a Milkasaurus Rex, and I am a certified milk machine.

Like, when we left the hospital he weighed 5lbs. 5oz. Today at his two-week checkup he was 6lbs. 11oz.


And now, if you’ll excuse me, the milk machine is up. (My boobs haven’t been this popular since my junior year in high school. HEY-O!)

*please pardon any typos. I HATE typos, but I’ve been reduced to single-handed, app typing in between naps.

Now What?

It’s slowly dawning on me that in about five months I’ll be someone’s mother.

We’ve been so focused on getting pregnant, and then staying that way — I haven’t given a lot of thought to what happens when it finally works.

It’s easy to be distracted by all the fun things. Decorating the nursery! Registering for ALL THE THINGS! Buying tiny little outfits! But, then we have to have a baby, and take care of it FOREVER.

I’m not totally unprepared (cue the maniacal laughter of parents everywhere). I’ve been around a lot of babies over the years. Feeding them. Changing the diapers. Unexplained hysterical crying (theirs and mine). But I always just handed them back to whoever was in charge when I was tired, or they wouldn’t stop screaming, or I wanted to eat something.

Now people are going to do that to ME.

I remember being really, really nervous about learning how to drive. Like, just terrified. For the record, it didn’t help that the first time I took the car out with the instructor I killed a squirrel. (I said, “Mr. Klein, there’s a squirrel!” And he said, “Don’t worry, they always move.” Incorrect, Mr. Klein!) Or the first time they took us out at night it was Halloween on dark and windy roads with kids EVERYWHERE, running into the street left and right.

Anyway — I don’t remember who, either my mom or my stepdad, but one of them told me, “Try not to worry. Stupid people learn how to drive all the time.”

The implication, of course, is that I’m a genius, so I’ll figure it out. (Excellent parenting, by the way. Making a note…)

So, I just keep reminding myself that stupid people have babies all the time too (they certainly don’t have any trouble getting pregnant, amiright? Please refer to your Facebook feed for examples), and most of them don’t grow up to be serial killers, hookers or crime bosses.

I’m sure we’ll be fine.

Here We Go Again!

Before we left for family vacation, I started my meds for our next round of IVF.

We’re doing a whole new cycle, as opposed to transferring one of our frozen embryos (we have four left we want to save for a rainy day), which means more lemon-sized ovaries for me.

The hot flashes were back with a vengeance as soon as I got to the beach. I kept checking the thermostat, convinced my skinny cousins were adjusting it when no one was looking — but it was a steady 72 degrees.

The fourth night was so bad, I woke up covered in sweat, and decided the best way to cool off would be to press my(naked)self against the plaster wall next to my bed, while obsessively flipping the pillow to the cold side and then sticking it on my back for 15 seconds, and then starting over again. Cold side, flip. Cold side, flip.

And then yesterday, the hysterical crying kicked in to add insult to injury. We’re used to it by now, I think. Mike knows I’m not actually sad, and I definitely know it’s something I have no control over. So every so often, I just cry, and laugh, and apologize.

Mike said, “You know, when you cry like that, you sound exactly like Miss Piggy.”

1) That might be the worst thing you could say to a hormonal woman, and 2) it it totally … accurate.

I’m sure a lesser woman would be horribly offended, but I took it as a compliment, as Miss Piggy is a badass.

Especially on rollerskates.

That Just Happened.

I’m about mid-way through our first round of IVF, and am surprisingly less emotional than I was expecting I would be.

That’s not to say I’m not periodically a raving lunatic. The first few days of injections resulted in hot flashes, random outbursts of sobbing, and the occasional bout of rage.

Like the other night when I made some pizza for dinner. The crust wasn’t rolling out like it should, which resulted in me beating it with a rolling pin. I just told my mom that story, and clearly she expects the worst from me.

Me: I ended up beating it with a rolling pin.
Mom: OH MY GOD, you hit him with a rolling pin?!
Me: What? Yes, with a rolling pin.
Mom: Was he hurt?
Me: What are you talking about? I hit the pizza with a rolling pin.
Mom: Ooohhh, I thought you beat Mike.

No, I didn’t. It’s not that bad.

But (shield your eyes, gentlemen) my ovaries are growing exponentially. Like, I can feel them. Constantly. Bending over is sort of out of the question.

Oh, and I just found out one of the drugs I’m taking? Is made from the urine of post menopausal women.

That’s… interesting. I decided to stop googling things after that.

Making Babie$

That right there?

That’s about two weeks worth of IVF drugs.

It’s also equivalent to our entire health insurance deductible.

And despite there being a few bottles of what look like pills thrown in for good measure, 90% of what you see there is allllll needles.

Thankfully, I was cured of my decades-long fear of needles about six months ago, when I got to start regularly giving myself shots. But those were the easy take-off-the-wrapping-and-shoot kind, I just had to open, shoot, and throw away. But some of these new badboys are a little more complicated than that.

Some you have to mix yourself, and then inject a precise amount, even though they give you more than you need.

Some have to be refrigerated and some don’t. Some you reuse until it’s gone, and some you use and then throw away the extras.

Some you take at night, and some you take in the morning. And one you take at night, the first time, but then in the morning every other time.

Some you take on certain days, but not until someone calls you and tells you it’s ok to take it.

And one has to be taken exactly 36 hours before the egg retrieval — so if they’re busy that day, and you’re scheduled for a 3 p.m. surgery, you have to wake up and take it at 3 a.m. a day and a half before.

Most of them I get to give to myself in my flabby (read: virtually painless!) stomach, but others Mike has to give me.

Why? Because they have to be in a muscle.

In my butt.

Which is why we got to go to an Injection Class yesterday — where I was (naturally) teacher’s pet, since I’ve already been giving myself shots, and Mike was clearly the most skilled of all the husbands/partners. The nurse even offered to draw a circle on my butt when the time comes so Mike knows where to aim. I’m sure we’d be ok without it — but of course I’m going to let her, because who wouldn’t want a nurse to draw a bullseye on their butt cheek? I know I do.