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Adventures

I’m thrilled to say that Rookie Moms, the very blog and book that inspired to take an adventure a day with my Wee Willa, posted a piece I wrote for them! You can read it right here:

http://www.rookiemoms.com/leonora-and-willas-very-rookie-summer/

Today we had several adventures. We started our day with a long walk around the Silver Lake Reservoir, which has always been one of my favorite places in Los Angeles. I’ve never walked the entire length of the Reservoir until today, however. During my eternal pre-labor at the end of my pregnancy, when I was walking a good, oh, ten miles a day trying to kick start this farkahkte labor, I tried to go all the way around. At forty one weeks pregnant with a behemoth child, I was quite a sight. One woman called out to me as she jogged passed, “You are amazing!” A gaggle of teenage girls gawked until one finally asked, “Ahmahgah, how pregnant are you?” So today I wanted to finish what we started two months ago.

Willa, of course, passed out immediately, and stayed asleep for the entire two and a half miles. Someday she will stay awake long enough to actually enjoy one of our adventures, I’m sure of it. Scott and I had a wonderful walk, though, and it was nice to have the time to just talk to one another. It was one of those I’ve-never-loved-you-more-than-right-now moments.

Walking by the very busy and very cool Silver Lake Rec Center, with their amazing playground, I was struck by how hard it is to imagine my Willa as a toddler. Walking, running, talking, falling, getting up. It’s hard to even conceive of her even holding her head up with just slightly more control than a drunken cartoon sailor. But I know that time is already speeding up more than I want it to. I look back on the last two months and it feels like two weeks. I keep replaying my delivery and our first moments together over and over in my head so that I will never forget exactly how it felt. I am trying to burn every smile, every moment of recognition, every coo, every attempt at singing, every AWESOME belch, every new milestone into my consciousness, like a daguerreotype. We sit and regard each other all day long, our faces inches apart, and I imagine how this (most important) person (in the world, to me) will evolve, how she’ll look, who she’ll be. And I feel so anxious knowing that so much of who she will become is up to Scott and me. The enormity of the responsibility is overwhelming.

Leaving Silver Lake and heading to lunch, Willsa had a meltdown of the highest degree. She was clearly famished, so we pulled over into the Albertson’s parking lot so I could nurse her. But when I took her out of her car seat, she’d had an epic, once-in-a-lifetime blowout. She was wailing and so clearly upset, and I had to make a judgment call: Nurse her first/Change her first. I nursed her first, using a sweater I found in the car as a poop shield for me. It was so disgusting that I sort of shut down and just stared ahead, not even bothering to get out my Hooter Hider. I just held myself very still, waiting for it to all be over.

Meanwhile, the girls in the car next to us (dressed VERY fancily, mysteriously with feathers in their hair) were having some sort of argument. Whatever was happening between them had made them pull into this Albertson’s parking lot in a bit of a fury, so we had about a good two inches between our car and theirs. I slithered out of the front seat, where I’d been nursing, and walked sideways, holding Willa in all her poopy glory above me.

I changed my darling baby in the back of my Equinox, using that poop shield sweater as a changing pad (of course I’d left the house without a changing pad). Somehow, this poor child had gotten poop from her waist to her toes. HER TOES. I don’t know how she did it. She’s clearly in a league all her own. Very advanced. We are all very impressed.

Miraculously, we got her changed and happy and we reeeeeaaalllly washed our hands before eating lunch.

Tonight, we sang songs. Willa tries so hard to sing with me. It’s astounding. She watches my mouth and starts to babble and tries to find the notes. She’s so obvi the next Mozart or Lennon/McCartney/Harrison or Bieber or whatever. Obvi.

Tomorrow is epic: Flea market. Grandma visit. Barbeque at friends’ house.

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Easy Lentil Salad

And it’s a recessionista special too.

2 C Lentils

handful of fresh sage

3 cloves garlic, chopped very finely

3 T fresh squeezed lemon juice

3 T balsamic vinegar
3T extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt and pepper

1 t paprika

two red bell peppers, chopped

3 green onions, chopped, white and pale green parts only
1 handful of pitted kalamata olives, quartered
Rinse the lentils under cold water. Combine the lentils and sage, along with a good handful of Kosher salt, in a pot with six cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer until lentils are cooked, about 45 minutes. Fish out the sage and discard. Drain and set aside.

In the meantime, combine the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika in a large bowl. Whisk in olive oil to combine. Stir in lentils while they’re still warm, so they lightly cook the garlic, and let it all come to room temperature.

Stir in bell peppers, onions, and olives. Taste and season further if needed.

My Birth Story

The last few weeks of my pregnancy were really tough. I was in prodromal labor for two or three weeks, even having my parents come out for a solid week, only to have them then go home for a solid week. Every night I would have contractions and think, Well, surely tonight is the night, better get some rest. I’d go to bed and wake up the next day… Groundhog Day…

I walked, I ate pineapple and kiwi and mango to ripen my cervix, I had sex with my husband, I did yoga, I jumped up and down, I had spicy food, drank red raspberry leaf tea… Willa was determined to come on her birthday and there was no reasoning with her (a taste of things to come?).

My birth story:

After almost two weeks of prodromal labor and much fretting about how much longer my OB would let me go, I finally had my gorgeous baby girl on Monday morning, May 3rd, at 6:49 am, about ten days past her due date.

Sunday night, on the recommendation of a poster on the Babycenter forums, I checked out Spinning Babies. My thought was, I was 4cm dilated, 80% effaced, having irregular but pretty powerful waves all the time… the only thing that was keeping this birth from progressing was that she wasn’t in position.

I sat on my birth ball and rolled my hips in a circle – eight times to the right, eight times to the left, etc. Everytime a wave would start I would leap up and do a belly lift until the wave passed, turning my switch to “off” at the same time.
We watched America: The Story of Us, “American Pickers,” and Crazy Heart. All the while I was praying that things would get under way.

After two hours of this, my waves became more powerful but were still pretty far apart and fairly irregular. I decided to go to bed and was certain I’d stalled once more. But no. My waves started to get to the point where I couldn’t find a position that felt good, and I wasn’t releasing in between. I decided it was time for us to go to the hospital.

After all our starts and stops, my husband was pretty dubious, but he went along with it.

I listened to my the Hypnobabies Easy First Stage about three times and found it really helped – especially in the car ride when my fear started to creep in.

After we were admitted, we found out we were at 5cm. The nurse was wonderful, but I did find that the interruptions were making it a little hard to stay in my hypnosis. All of a sudden, my waves became almost too much to bear. The sensation was so different from before, and I wavered – I asked for Stadol just to take the edge off. I literally hadn’t done ANY research on Stadol – an old high school friend had simply mentioned it to me in passing and I guess it got lodged in my brain. Scott, knowing I would NOT want a narcotic introduced into my birth, said, “We’ll get it for you in five minutes.” He knew that in five minutes he would say the same thing again. And again.

The nurse said if I was dilated past 6cm that they wouldn’t give it to me. I had just been checked and was at 5cm, but when she checked me, I was at 8! Suddenly I realized I was in transition and had a real palm/head/duh moment. Knowing that transition was mercifully short and that I would soon see my baby, any and all wavering on my convictions completely disappeared.

Aimee, our doula, arrived right then and helped me through transition beautifully. My bag of waters still hadn’t broken (one of the nurses said it was like steel wool. Thanks!), so my doctor broke my water and we soldiered through the last two centimeters. I will say that having the urge to push and not being able to because she wasn’t ready was the most intense part of the birth for me.

At one point, I wanted to push so badly that I started to shake my head, no no no no no. I said to the nurse, “I can’t not push!”

“You have to wait just a little longer,” she said.

With my head shaking, I chanted, “Linda Blair Linda Blair Linda Blair Linda Blair.”

Then, the sweet relief of pushing! I think all of the Pilates and yoga that I did REALLY served me well. I loved pushing and feeling her descend and sensing that we were doing this together and knowing that I would see her soon. Even when I had to wait while I stretched, the pressure was intense but I was so looking forward to pushing again that it didn’t matter. I remember sort of passing out in between each contraction. I’d push, push, push, and then close my eyes until the next contraction.

The sensation of her exit from my womb is something I will never forget. Seeing her coltish long legs and hearing her searing, powerful wail made me so proud.

She was put on the table, not me, and that was frustrating. I kept saying, “Please let me see her. Please.” But after only a couple minutes, they placed her, skin on skin, on me and I breathed her in and smiled and was so happy. She immediately latched on to me and drank me in. I didn’t cry. I laughed and I breathed.

She entered the world to her father’s recording of a Dada song, “Dim.” Out of all the songs on her playlist, she waited til she heard her daddy’s voice to make her entrance.

A few days later, we sent our pictures out to a couple friends. One of our best friends, Karen, is a NICU nurse in the hospital where we delivered. She called and asked me why the NICU team was at our birth. I told her they weren’t. She said, “I’m looking at the pictures, I’m seeing my co-workers, I’m telling you they were there.”

As it turns out, Willa had meconium in her water (meaning: she pooped inside me yay). It can be dangerous sometimes, especially if they aspirate the poop. She was dandy, however, which is why no one even told me that anything had happened.

She ended up being a big baby – 8 lbs 6 oz, 21 1/2 inches! I still can’t believe that I did it. I can’t believe I had the strength and the faith to have a completely unmedicated birth, when so many people thought I should, after all those weeks of prodromal labor, just get the pitocin and get the epidural and just get on with it. I knew she would come when she was ready. I just knew it.

Meeting for the first time…

Fresh Start

I have been an errant blogger for several years, writing occasionally about cooking and crafting. I’m sort of terrible at writing, mainly because I am the Biggest Procrastinator in the World, but I’m giving myself a fresh start over here, with a new focus.

Eight weeks ago I had a baby named Willa. Everything has turned upside down. I look back on my amazing pregnancy and really wish I’d kept better documentation of the experience, because I know my memory will fade. So I’ve decided to document my life with my baby, my continued love of cooking and crafting, and my general anxiety about everything right here.

For no one to read.

Willa and I have an adventure a day. I started our adventures in an effort to stave off the baby blues. I was feeling shut-in, turned-off, lonely, and useless. Having an adventure a day with my infant daughter has saved me. The adventure is usually something as simple as a walk up to the cafe for a latte or a trip to the grocery store, but some of our adventures have been more exciting, like Mommy and Me Movies or a trip to the museum. Sometimes, the adventure has to do with Mommy Not Going Crazy So She Gets a Pedicure And Leaves Baby With Daddy. And this weekend, the adventure was leaving Wee Willa for longer than an hour for the first time, so we could go to a wedding in Malibu.

So, for anyone in the world reading this, hi. Hopefully I will still post recipes, crafting ideas, design inspiration, etc. But mostly, I just want to be this little girl’s mumma, and that’s all I want to talk about.