Random Blog A Musing Farf: August 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I never thought I would find fulfillment in staying home and raising my child, but more and more, it is what I think I want to do. Seeing BG smile is more rewarding to me than any bonus I have ever received and, despite my fears when she was born, I am not just sitting bored at home. We take classes where I meet other moms, we go for walks around the City and, even on those rainy days where the idea of leaving the house seems an impossible task, we manage to have a good time. And all of this has happened before she even learned to talk.

Then, I think about my own childhood and how my mother did not work outside the home. Instead, she worked on raising me and my siblings. And we all knew that if a homework assignment was accidentally left at home or we forgot to bring sneakers for gym class, we could count on Mother to save the day by arriving to school in her station wagon with whatever it was we needed. Or just the afternoons when we were home and we would chat about our days. I have a closeness with my mom (and so do my friends who had moms who were home with them) that I want to replicate with my own daughter.

Now, this is certainly not meant to belittle moms who want to work at outside careers. The thing I learned in my mere 11 weeks as a mom is that the best moms are those that are happy and content in their lives - whether because they have a life outside the kids or a career or not - and that everyone has to do what makes them happiest in life.

But, there is more to it. There is something I am loath to admit. Lately, when Husband comes home from work and the house is clean and dinner is cooking (or at least the take-in has been ordered) and the baby is quiet, I feel like I accomplished more than I felt like I accomplished at the office. What is even scarier to me (and harder to admit) is that I really like doing it. Going to BG's clothes, organizing them, arranging toys and packing up outgrown clothes is not fun. It is a chore and I recognize that. But, when Husband came home from work, I could not wait to show him what I had done. I was proud of myself. And I continue to be proud of myself for managing to vacuum the apartment, finishing the laundry or sewing a town pair of shorts.

Part of me worries that I am backsliding and falling into the the gender stereotypes of the 1950's, but in reality I know this is not true. Husband assumed childcare duties last night so I could have dinner and a drink with a girlfriend and, while I do the bulk of childcare even on nights and weekends, Husband definitely takes an active role and helps me considerably.

And then there is the practical side of me: I have thousands of dollars in law school debt, Husband and I have a mortgage, we need to eat and occasionally, we like to go to the movies. This all takes money and my income certainly helps with that. But then again, my old salary was barely more than it would cost to pay for childcare. But, as I have written before when contemplating this topic, theoretically, my salary would go up as childcare costs go down.

Husband, ever the practical one, thinks my going back to work is the right decision. But maybe, just maybe I can convince him otherwise. I wonder if it would help if I made a cherry pie first.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


One day, I fully expect Baby Girl to ask me where she came from. When that time comes, I hope to have an honest and forthright conversation with her - to the best she can understand - and fill in gaps in knowledge as she can process them. (No child of mine will believe you can't get pregnant the first time!) But, in the meantime, I sit and wonder where this little angel came from.

So much of this baby looks familiar: She has her father's expressions, sleeps in the same position as her uncle and Pops, has fingers that look like mine and the long eyelashes of both her father and me. But so much is unaccounted for: the olive colored skin that almost everyone remarks upon, her grey eyes and the Mongolian Blue spot.

It's weird. As I sit now and watch her nap (so much for my attempt to go to Mommy and Me yoga today), I have started to become curious about my family tree. According to Wikipedia and other sites, the incidence of a Mongolian Blue Spot is a minor skin blemish that disappears around puberty and while is is present in almost all babies of East Asian heritage*, is almost non-existent among Caucasians - except for those of Hungarian descent. Apparently the Hungarians mingled with the Hun population and therefore Hungarians tend to have these spots. The incidence among Hungarian Jews is even higher than that of the rest of the Hungarian population. Apparently, we are a horny people.

My maternal grandmother is Hungarian. When asked, she swore that we are 100% Jewish and that as far as she knows, no one in her family ever married someone of East Asian Descent. when I asked her if perhaps there was a non-marital dalliance with one of her ancestors and as East Asian, she giggled. She really liked the idea. Like I said, we are a horny people.

So, that mystery is solved. Whew, when I saw the spot, all sorts of crazy ideas ran through my head - she is developing back and blue marks (someone hurt her), she is sick, the hospital gave us the wrong baby (not like we were giving her back though!) and other insane ideas too embarrassing to be mentioned here.

Now to figure out where she got that lovely skin color and those grey eyes.

*Chinese believe that if you are reluctant to be reincarnated, the King of Hell prods and kicks you until you agree to go and that causes the spot. Husband's cousin told me that when they baby smiles in her sleep, she is reliving her past lives and shutting the doors in order to more fully live this life. The more she smiles, the happier her past life. Baby Girl smiles all the time when she sleeps, so I like the idea that she was so happy in her last life that she was a little reluctant for another go around.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


As a kid, I used to wonder why the heck my mother was always up so early. If the rest of the household was getting up around 8am, my mom was up at 6am. She always made excuses about having to do laundry or needing to clean up, but she was generally up early even when there was not lots of laundry to be done or the house was spotless.

Now that I am the mom, I think I finally understand the deeper reason. I woke up at 6am today and started laundry and then sat down to check email and otherwise take some time to myself and it occured to me - this early hour is literally the only time I now have to myself during the day. Once Baby Girl and Husband are awke, there are chores to be done, a baby to be fed and held and my personal quiet time is over.

It was not until I started staying home with the baby that I realized how often at awork I would shut my office door and just take a moment to regroup with my thoughts. And, on days where that was not really possible, I had the subway ride to and from work or a quick Starbucks run when I needed a break. Baby Girl does not respect my need for this. And, at 10 weeks old, I suppose it will be a while before I can tell her, "Mommy needs 5 minutes to herself."

So, for now, this is my time and I am happy to have it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Just a couple photos of my little princess.


It’s one of those rare quiet moments when Justin has left for work, the dogs are in day care and the baby is sleeping. Baby Girl (BG) and I spent the last week relaxing at my parents’ house in CT, lounging by the pool, swimming and visiting friends and their new babies. Tiki and Cody loved playing off leash in the yard and everyone was pretty sad to leave, but we had to head back to NY, resume our routine and spend some time with Husband, who has not seen his daughter in a week and was missing his family very much!

Being back in CT with my family was wonderful. In addition to Mother helping with the baby, Meme and Uncle Mister stopped by daily to hang out with the newest member of the family and that meant I actually got to read a book, finish a knitting project and nap. It was like a real vacation!

What I can not get over is all the changes the last week brought. BG has now discovered the jogs of thumb sucking and barely nurses because I can’t get the thumb out of her mouth! She also now follows conversations and sounds and I swear that she was actually rooting for Michael Phelps to win an 8th Gold Medal. (She stayed up, stared at the television and then smiled when he won). And that’s the other thing – now at just shy of 10 weeks, she smiles all the time and it wonderful. I finally feel like all my little songs, games and other interactions get some sort of positive feedback. Yippee.

My next accomplishment will be to learn how to use Facebook and maybe even finish my dog training course so I can start getting paid for my efforts. And, to be a more regular blogger. But first, I need to get my baby out of her dirty diaper….

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


On Friday, June 6, 2008, I went for a routine OB appointment for my 37 week check. By this point in my pregnancy, I was ready to be done. Although I actually had a pretty easy pregnancy and loved the fact that I could basically demand that people on the subway give me their seats, I wanted to meet my daughter and hold her in my arms. So, imagine my surprise when the doctor told me I was already 4 cm dilated (at 10 cm you give birth) and that since this was a first child, while I could go until my due date, he thought that was highly unlikely.

I love my OB and could not have asked for a provider who was more in tune with my needs and my birth plan, but at the same time, his news made me nervous. I had heard such horror stories of hospital births and I did not want to be forced into a hospital protocol. No IV, no drugs. I wanted a completely natural birth and needed to be sure that my provider would comply with my wishes. When he told me I was dilated, the list of last minute questions I had brought with me to my appointment was instantly forgotten and instead, a list of necessary products (diapers, wipes, blankets, etc) filled my head. I left the doctor and called Husband. “Are you ready to be a Daddy?” I asked. We cancelled plans for that night and agreed to meet for a last minute shopping trip for baby supplies.

The next several days where a whirlwind as I made all sorts of last minute plans for a baby who looked like she may come early. We met with the doula and signed the contracts, purchased diapers and blankets and pretty much started doing whatever we could to make the birth happen – spicy food, coffee, chocolate, etc. If there was an old wives tale about speeding up birth, we tried it.

The following Monday, I woke up in wet sheets. Convinced my water had broken during the night, I called the doctors and the doula and made an appointment to go to the hospital and get checked. My water had not broken and I was still 4 cm dialated. Apparently, I was peeing myself. Lovely. Disheartened, Husband and I headed home.

Wednesday started off normal and I was excited to leave work early and get my hair done. My colorist only works a few days a week and if I had to cancel the appointment, it would take weeks, if not more than a month, to get another appointment. As I left the hair appointment, I began to experience mild cramps.

The cramps felt like period cramps and I called Husband to let him know I would be home late and was going to a yoga class in order to try and stretch out the cramps. In the cab home, I also called Mother, who told me it sounded like I was in labor. I acknowledged that she might be right but decided to go to yoga anyway and work through what seemed like early labor.

Up in my apartment, I changed into yoga clothes and sat on the birthing ball to watch a little television until it was time to leave for yoga. It was 6:15pm. At around 6:30pm, the birthing ball became uncomfortable and I decided to forgo yoga for a relaxing bath. In the bath, the cramps became stronger and I think I realized I was actually in labor. Still, remembering that labor can take 24 hours, I tried to ignore the cramps as much as possible and time the contractions.

At approximately 6:45pm, I experienced a contraction that literally knocked the breath out of me and, in a panic, I called Husband and told him to come immediately home. He did not get the message and came home 30 minutes later with the dogs to find me (as he puts it), “flopping around in the bathtub.”

The most comfortable places were the toilet and the bathtub and after trying for a while to time to contractions, we called our doula to get her opinion. I certainly did not want her to trek out to me if labor was going to be long and drawn out, but I also did want her to reassure me that I could make it through labor without drugs. Husband and I timed the contractions and thought they were about 13 minutes apart. We called Doggie Day care and had them come and pick up the dogs for an overnight stay.

The doula came over a half hour later and took about 10 seconds to assess the situation. Contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and had been for a while. See, no one told Husband or me that you time all contractions, so we were only timing the big ones. The little ones - ones I could walk, talk or otherwise pretty much ignore – well, we ignored them.

So, we were on the way to the hospital. Parents were called, C was called (my best friend from high school, I really wanted her at my birth) and Husband called the OB to let him know we were on our way.

I wanted so badly to push. Every instinct in my body told me to bear down and push, but the doula begged me not to push and kept instructing me to “blow like you are blowing out a candle.” I pretty much crawled into the hospital on all fours.

Once in the hospital, we were waiting in triage when my water broke. It was about 9:40pm at this point and moments later, I found myself being checkout out by the doctors. I could not stay still. I wanted to rock on all fours, squat, walk and generally be in any position but lying down. But, the hospital staff wanted to monitor me and despite my protests, I was put into a supine position and hooked up to external monitors. I tolerated that for about 30 seconds before ripping off the monitors. My OB showed up at this point, asked me to lie back so that he could examine me, announced that he saw hair (not mine as I had been waxed just a couple days ago!) and moved me into a birthing room.

Husband ran out to try and secure us a private postpardum room and I got set up in a birthing room. (Basically, this is a room with a bed, an incubator and some medical equipment) The OB put a birthing bar on the foot of the bed to that I could put my feet against it to push and Husband returned as I started to push (this time with the doula and the OB’s blessing). About 30 minutes later, our daughter was born.

I watched most of it through a mirror, Husband watched live (both things neither of us though we would want to do). The OB offered to let me catch the baby myself, but at the last minute, I chickened out and had him do it, and Husband cut the cord. The baby was immediately placed onto my chest and I breastfed her and Husband and I shared some quiet time with the newest member of our family.

It was the birth experience I really wanted. No drugs, no IV, no needles and no real pain. My OB was a wonderful provider and one I would use again in a hearbeat. Even my doula wants him as her OB. Sure, it was a hospital birth, but I could have been at home I was so comfortable and I really consider myself lucky to have had such a wonderful support system. C, my parents and Husband’s parents all got to the hospital and were visiting soon after the baby was born. And now, to look at my daughter and remember how wonderful her birth was, I feel truly blessed. The only downside is that I can never guilt trip her with stories of how I suffered while she was being born, but I suppose, for such a wonderful birth experience, I can forgive that one little detail…