Blog Archive

Monday, March 30, 2015

More toddler behaviors: Innocent, or a psycho?

I've been slacking on the two-posts-a-week lately, and I'm sorry and I'll do better this week. I'LL DO BETTER!

Toddlers are pretty evil creatures. They have not learned empathy yet, so they just sort of do whatever they want without much regard for the consequences.

Sometimes, Audrey does things that make me wonder if she really does understand what she's doing. It's easy to just laugh and say "oh man, if she had a little more self-awareness and was watching herself right now, she would be horrified!" ... but how do I know that's true? Maybe she knows perfectly well what she's doing, and she's just a true blue psychopath. Help me try to figure it out, would ya?

The Snowman Murder

Audrey has a stuffed snowman that she is generally pretty fond of. One day, she got her hands on a little screwdriver, and this happened:

It went on for a good ten minutes. Ten minutes straight of her just stabbing the snowman directly in the eyes.

Was she just doing this because it was there and because the screwdriver made a nice clicking noise every time it hit the snowman's button eye?

Or ... did she go for the eyes because she knows how soft and defenseless they are and how she could totally kill the snowman by stabbing his brain if she could just get through the pesky eyeball first? And if so, where did she learn this? Was she just born knowing it?

Innocent, or a psycho?

The Sibling Rivalry

Even though Audrey is still so young, I feel it's important to try and get her to understand that she is going to have a sibling in a few months. The trouble is, she cannot possibly understand a concept like pregnancy right now. She would have no frame of reference by which to make sense of the idea that I am currently growing another human inside of my body, and that that human will eventually emerge and steal a good portion of the attention currently lavished on her.

But dammit, I try. I lift my shirt up and say things like "there's a baby in Mommy's belly!" I encourage her to wave at my belly and say "hi baby!" And she does it. Maybe she just thinks I'm nuts and does it to humor my obvious dementia, but she does it.

Then, one day, I think the whole thing finally clicked. She knows what babies are, as she always points at them and screams "baby!" whenever we see one in public or see a picture of one on a box. She knows what bellies are, because she immediately lifts up her shirt if you ask her to show you her belly. And if I ask her where Mommy's belly is, she lifts my shirt up. So perhaps putting together the whole "baby ... in belly" thing isn't as complicated as I thought, and I should give her a little more credit.

I knew she had figured it out because she started doing something weird whenever I lifted my shirt to show her the baby in my belly:

   She started hitting me.

I tell her to "wave to the baby in Mommy's belly!" and she whacks me as hard as her little toddler hands will allow. So then I say "no! We don't hit the baby! We have to be gentle with the baby in Mommy's belly!"

So she hits me again, but not as hard. With both hands. Staring me right in the eyes. And she keeps doing it, rhythmically, bap-bap-bap. Take that, stupid baby in Mommy's belly.

"Hi to you too! Also, go f*** yourself."

Is she just doing this because my normally flat and boring belly is now big, round, and hard, and it's impossible to resist playing it like a drum? I mean, I can't really blame her if this is the case -- I play the belly-drum myself a lot more often than I'm comfortable admitting (but if this kid comes out with eyes pointing two different directions or something, I'm blaming Audrey). 

Or does she understand that the mysterious 'baby in Mommy's belly' is a threat to her way of life and needs to be exterminated ASAP? Are these regularly-delivered beatings in utero just a prelude to all the abuse she has in store for once the baby is born? Is she gonna go for the eyes again??

Is she just a junior drummer waiting for her time to shine in 6th grade band, or is she a calculating lunatic with a homicidal urge to destroy her younger brother?

Either way, I'm gonna keep a close eye on her once the baby's born. And keep her the hell away from all the screwdrivers.

Elmo and the Potty

This weekend, I bought Audrey her first potty. We're not starting to potty train or anything, as I'm quite sure she's nowhere near ready, but we at least have a potty, and it sits in the bathroom opposite the grown-up potty so that she can get used to the idea of it. She's already fairly familiar with the idea of the potty, as I always announce to her when I need to use the potty and she usually comes into the bathroom with me to bother me and carpet bomb any personal boundaries I may have had before becoming a parent.

However, as to whether or not she fully understands what is happening when Mommy or Daddy uses the potty, I'm not sure. I'm really hoping she doesn't, though. Because otherwise, that makes this next part very distressing.

The potty I bought for Audrey is Sesame Street themed, feeding her Elmo obsession. It is also designed to look and function like an adult toilet, complete with a "tank" on the back and a flusher that plays a toilet flushing sound when you press down on it.

We got it home and set it up, and I started showing her how it works. I used a Minnie Mouse doll as an example -- Minnie sat on the toilet, did a pee pee, then wiped and flushed. Audrey was into it. She was like "oh yeah cool I got it. So it's like the toilet you guys use in the bathroom. I'm trackin."

I went to do something in the kitchen, and when I looked back, I saw this:

That is Elmo being put inside the potty. She removed the little waste bowl from the top, shoved him down there, and then put the waste bowl back.

She buried Elmo alive inside the potty and then acted like everything was perfectly normal. I asked her where Elmo was, and she said "uh oh!" and looked confused, like she couldn't remember.


We rescued Elmo, and we moved from Minnie Mouse up to Audrey herself. I showed her how to sit down on the potty, how to flush it, etc. Once again, she seemed to understand. She would sit down, shout "all done!", then stand up and flush. I was impressed, like maybe she'll be ready for potty training sooner than I thought.

And then she started doing this:

Just so we're clear, that's not her and Elmo trying to use the potty at the same time. That is her deliberately placing Elmo into the waste bowl, and then sitting down directly on top of him to go potty.

The look on his face tells you everything you need to know.

"I did not consent to this."

I think we'll hold off on potty training for a while. Preferably until the new baby is large enough to not fit inside her potty.

Y'know, just in case she knows exactly what she's doing.


EDIT: I also forgot to add -- we went to an Easter event this past weekend and Audrey and I made a bunny craft with googly eyes and a little bunny mouth and everything. Audrey knew exactly what it was, and kept excitedly shouting "bunny!" and pointing at it. We gave it to her to play with in the car on the way home ... and she spent the trip methodically ripping off the bunny's entire face. The eyes, the nose, the ears -- everything. The "bunny" was just some smears of dried glue with cotton and fuzz clinging to it, a pair of buck teeth, and some little bunny hands. She's crazy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Patent's Patented Guide to Maternity Clothes Shopping

I have a love-hate relationship with maternity clothes. Specifically, I love maternity tops ... and HATE maternity pants. Maternity tops are extremely flattering to a pregnant body, and I tend to start wearing them pretty early in the pregnancy -- even when my regular clothes still fit me. The maternity shirts just make me look more pregnant rather than fat. (pro-tip: this works on everyone. Including people who are not pregnant. Wearing maternity-style clothing is the #1 cause of being asked "when are you due?" when the only thing you're expecting is a trip to the bathroom).

Maternity pants, on the other hand, were invented by Satan to fill women with hate. And they are very effective at this. As a general rule, they are ill-fitting, uncomfortable, and expensive. I hate them so very much.

Now that I've been pregnant twice, I think I have learned enough about maternity clothes shopping to share with you these shopping tips!


Try on everything. EVERYTHING.

Maternity shirts are apparently sized by a drunk person throwing darts blindfolded at a moving target.

I have a pretty good collection of maternity tops. Some are size Small and fit me perfectly. Some are size Medium and are a bit small. Some are size Large and I can barely get them over my shoulders. Some are size Large and I could easily host a circus under the fabric billowing about my abdomen. 

Actual photo from the dressing room.

One time, I tried on a cute sweater in a Medium and found it a bit tight around the armpits, so I tried on the Large. It was at least three times bigger than the Medium. I could have been four-armed conjoined twins, both of us pregnant, and it would have fit us both together.

Why the f***. I don't know. But don't buy anything without trying it on first. For real. If you're shopping online ... God be with you. And check the return policy.

Always check the boobs

Some women's boobs grow to watermelon-like proportions while they are pregnant, and so many maternity tops and dresses have VERY roomy bust areas to accommodate this.

Some women (cough cough LIKE ME) don't experience anything of the sort, and so the same shirts that look great on Watermelon Tits make me look like an 11-year-old trying on her mother's clothing.

I ordered one nice button-down shirt online, and when it arrived, I was dismayed to find that no matter how many socks I stuffed into my bra, it still didn't look right. I ended up giving it to my sister.

And if you have been blessed/cursed (depending on your outlook) with a ridiculously exaggerated pair of knockers, you don't want to end up wearing any of my shirts. You'll look like a porn star.

I'm not sure this shirt is the best fit on her. But what do I know.

Always check the boobs on your shirts. Always.

Buy lots of good tank tops

The perfect maternity tank top doesn't have to be maternity. You can buy it from the Wal-mart Juniors section if you want; I won't judge. Here's what you need to look for in the perfect maternity tank: very long (like, at least halfway down your butt long), NO built-in bra, stretchy, preferably adjustable strap length, and of a thicker material than your standard piece of crap $2 undershirt.

I wear these tank tops under almost everything. They cover up and even out whatever drama is going on at the closure of my pants, and they keep my butt crack covered if my pants decide to ride low when I sit on the floor to play blocks with Audrey. They make up for any maternity shirts that aren't as long as I would have liked them to be, and in late pregnancy, they cover up the bottom part of the belly that likes to peek out when your shirt is stretched so far it can't even shirt properly anymore.

It's almost impossible to have too many of these. I have 4 or 5 black ones, 3 white ones, some gray ones, some brown ones, and a hot pink one. I consider this to be 'an appropriate quantity.' Sometimes I still wish I had more.

Don't just plan on wearing your usual Express shelf-bra tank tops because "they're kinda long and should work fine." Trust me on this one. That shelf bra will start making you hate life a lot sooner than you expect.

Buy Cardigans

Any open-front cardigan will fit you throughout your pregnancy. So if you don't already own a bunch of these, do yourself a favor and buy them. They look great with just about any maternity tank, and you can mix and match easily so it won't look like you're wearing the same thing every damn day. Plus, you can continue to wear them when you're not pregnant anymore.

Extra bonus: if you're planning on breastfeeding, my breastfeeding uniform after Audrey was born was to wear a nursing tank top with one of my open front cardigans over it. Easy boob access -- you can't even begin to understand how important this will be until you're right there in it.

And let's be real -- Old Navy maternity tank tops are cheap as hell. I like it when I can put together outfits on the cheap that will be comfortable AND look decent enough to wear to work. You can't put a price on that. Except you can. And the price is low. And that's good.

This sh*t is like eight bucks. Come on. I can't even bitch about that, and I bitch about everything.
Old Navy
Old Navy


Hold off on wearing them for as long as you can

I hate maternity pants. Have I made this clear enough? I HATE MATERNITY PANTS.

They like to pull down whenever you sit, because you can't wear a belt with them. The ones that are meant to fit tight will grip your thighs and pull themselves down bit by bit as you walk. Ones that are meant to fit loose will bunch up in the back because of the elastic waistband. Depending on your height, they will either be ankle-bitingly short or foot-wrappingly long. Maternity pants that are the exact right length for your body probably don't exist anywhere in this universe. It makes absolutely no difference how tall you are -- your pants won't be the right length. And they'll cost at least $1 billion.

Therefore, the best gift you can give yourself is to hold off on wearing them for as long as you can. Once your regular pants start to get uncomfortable, maybe switch to your "fat pants." (I'm 19 weeks along with my second, which means I look quite pregnant, but I still fit into the jeans that are a couple sizes bigger than my usual ones). Or do the elastic band trick on the waistband, where you wrap an elastic around the button and then feed it through the buttonhole and back around the button again. I went to work today in a pair of non-maternity pants held up by an elastic, and I'm feelin' fine.

You can do it like dis ...

Or you can do it like dis.

A day will come when you realize that these stopgap measures are no longer working and you need to make the switch over to all elastic waistband all the time. But if you really wait as long as you can before reaching that point, then you'll probably have a lot more luck finding maternity pants that are comfortable and fit okay. Because your belly will actually be big enough to hold them up. How about that.

Plus, you kind of get over your hatred of them when you literally have no other choice except to wear sweatpants to work. So there's that.


Do some testing to figure out if you prefer over-the-belly or under-the-belly waistband

Pregnant women are very divided on this issue. Is it more comfortable to wear the pants with the waistband designed to go under your big ol' beach ball belly, like this?

Or is it more comfortable to wear the ones that you pull up to your bra Grandpa-style, like this?

You get double sexy points when you tuck your shirt in like this lady.

I personally prefer the under-the-belly ones most of the time, though I get the impression that this preference is a bit unusual. I find that the ones with the big belly panel are harder to pull up when they ride down, because you need to hitch them up at the hips, and then you need to hitch them up at the very top (which will be up by your bra line) and straighten out the belly panel so it's not all bunched up in the middle. You will either need to do this under your shirt, or you will need to take your shirt most of the way off to do it. You'll also need to lift your shirt up to the armpits whenever you go to the bathroom. 

I also find that in late pregnancy, the top of the belly panel no longer reaches to your bra but instead only reaches to a couple inches above your belly button, creating a very visible 'pantyline' across the middle of your stomach if you're wearing a tight shirt. It's not the most attractive thing in the world.

But they're also kind of great because they feel so snug and secure. Your tank top grips tight against the fabric of the belly panel, so you feel like your pants aren't going anywhere. It's a bit like wearing a one-piece bodysuit. Very cozy. And zero chance of plumbers' crack.

On the other hand, the ones with the elastic that goes under your belly are easier to pull up if they ride down, easier to put on, easier to pull down when you have to pee 600 times a day, and I also think they don't bunch up in the back quite as badly as the belly panel pants. So they certainly have their benefits.

You will not know which you prefer until you actually spend some time wearing both. So maybe start by buying a cheap pair of pants in each type and wear them around for a few days. You'll almost certainly end up with several pairs of each type in the end, but it pays to know which you prefer when you have the choice. This pregnancy, I bought several pairs of black leggings that go under the belly, and I'm so happy with them I could just scream.

Oh, and don't believe the hype from the maternity stores about how you can just buy full belly panel pants and roll the panel down around your hips. This is only a great idea if you want your pants to fall off.


Anything loose with a fully elastic waist will fit you the entire time ... so BUY THESE THINGS

By this, I mean loose NON-MATERNITY clothes with elastic waistbands. If you're comfortable wearing things low with the front below your belly, then maxi skirts and gaucho pants and basketball shorts and cozy sweats will be your best friends for the whole nine.

Stores will desperately try to convince you that you should pay twice as much for the "maternity" version of these clothing articles. 

Best part? They'll still be your friends afterwards, too, so you won't feel like you wasted a bunch of money on stuff you'll only wear a few times. You can't lose! 



If you're going to be big-pregnant in summer, thank your lucky stars because this means you get to wear slip-on shoes with no socks and you won't even get any frostbite on your toes. In late pregnancy, bending over to put on socks or tie shoes or zip up boots is a very uncomfortable proposition. If you can avoid it, avoid it. Buy lots of cute slip-on shoes that don't require any assistance from your hands. Your insides will thank you.

If you're going to be big-pregnant in the winter ... go with God, friend. Go with God.

Support bands

Loving Moments by Leading Lady Maternity Adjustable Postpartum Support Belt

Buy one of these. Seriously, f***ing buy one of these. I bought one just like this and I wore it very frequently in the second half of my pregnancy. I wore it every time I worked out or went walking, and any time I expected to be on my feet for an extended period of time. I could wear it under a shirt or dress and it wouldn't show at all. 

Back pain from wearing a watermelon strapped to your belly is real, and the relief this thing provided me was instant every time I put it on. Don't be a dumbass. Buy one of these things. And then wear it

Sidenote -- I also bought one of these ones:

... and found it to be a pain in the ass to put on, it made lots of weird lines under clothes, and it was a SUPER pain in the ass to sit down while wearing. Your mileage may vary. If you buy one and you don't like it so you never wear it, buy another one. They aren't that expensive. It's worth it to keep trying until you find one you like. Your lower back will be very appreciative.

I think that's it for tips! Good luck in your shopping journey, and make sure you feel beautiful in everything you buy. Even if you're the only person that thinks you look good in it, this is YOUR changing body and dammit, enjoy that sonofabitch!

Only maybe, I dunno, just, like ... avoid buying this exact dress.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Celebrating 100,000 views with some REALLY REALLY BAD memes!

Today is a very exciting day! This blog has officially been viewed over 100,000 times. That's almost as many times as YOUR MOM'S NAKED BUM! Oh snap. You just got served.

In honor of this special occasion, I put together some really high-caliber memes for you. I've made memes in the past (first set of memes here; second round of memes here; third round here) and they were pretty intentionally awful, but I think today's really reach a new level of frustration and despair.

I hope you enjoy them, and keep on reading my lil' blog. Maybe I'll get to 200,000 views a bit quicker than 100,000, and then I can sell the blog to Buzzfeed or whatever and get $8 because that's how business works, right? RIGHT??!

Also, I deleted all these memes from moments after creating them, because I was worried someone would find them without explanation and think I had genuinely been thumped in the head with something while sniffing glue in a gasoline refinery.

I wasn't.

I mean, right?


All the time.

 I get so mad at restaurants sometimes.


I don't know. Leave me alone. I have a headache.

100,000 views wooooooooooooo.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Why would a sane, rational person choose Natural Childbirth? A simple answer, told with pictures

Natural childbirth: the practice of giving birth with the bare minimum of medical or technological intervention, and especially without the benefit of any pain-reducing medications.

I gave birth to my daughter naturally. It was the most challenging and rewarding thing I have ever done. Now I'm pregnant again, and once again I'm planning on pushing the kiddo out of me the old-fashioned way. 

Pretty much just like this.

If you're thinking something along the lines of "well that's the dumbest f***ing thing I've ever heard in my life, and I listened to the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' audiobook," then you're not alone, and you've come to the right place if you're interested in learning why an otherwise-rational and intelligent person would choose to do something like this.

Before I was ever pregnant, I thought natural childbirth was stupid. "Why the hell would you put yourself through that without pain medication? Would you also get a root canal or an appendectomy without pain medication? What are you trying to prove?" I thought.

One time, the dentist offered to numb me a little while she cleaned my teeth. I said no and soldiered bravely through my semiannual cleaning like a champ. I didn't even scream while she was flossing the molars!

But then I got pregnant. I started doing my research, and it didn't take long for me to be sold on the whole thing. 

My decision to go for it the old-fashioned way encountered a lot of resistance ... resistance from people who basically said the exact same things that I had said myself a few years prior. I've answered the question enough times now that I think I have my whole spiel memorized. Now I've finally drawn the pictures to go along with it.

My hope is that this post helps people to understand why anyone would do this to themselves. You don't need to agree, you don't need to support my decision, and you certainly don't need to make the same decision for yourself. Hopefully you just come to understand.

Why no epidural?
To avoid the 'cascade of interventions.'

First of all, before we even start this explanation, we all need to be on the same page about one thing: that all other things being equal, a C-section is not the ideal outcome. If I gave you a choice right now between having a major abdominal surgery and not having a major abdominal surgery, you would choose "not having it," if the outcome was the same either way. 

If you disagree with this and feel that all other things being equal, abdominal surgery and recovering from it is f***ing awesome and you love it and would choose it in a heartbeat, well then just close this tab in your browser because none of this is going to make any sense to you.


An epidural on its own is not the worst thing in the world. In fact, many women would argue that it's the best thing in the world.

It was a beautiful ceremony. The groom's sister did a reading and while it wasn't the most original thing I've ever heard, it brought a tear to my eye just the same.

The epidural numbs your entire lower body, with the result being that you can't really feel your contractions. This is appealing, because contractions don't feel all that great. It's understandable that a person would want to avoid feeling them if possible.

BUT ... epidurals have this nasty tendency to slow labor down. Labor is sort of like those few seconds before you sneeze -- you know the sneeze is coming, so you prepare yourself and set down your water glass, put your hand over your mouth, and turn away from your date so you don't shoot phlegm onto their eyeballs. But just like a sneeze, labor can be derailed. And in some cases, an epidural is the equivalent to someone saying "bless you!" while you're still winding up.

Not a jury in the world would convict.

Why does this happen? A few reasons ... but mostly because the epidural immobilizes you. If labor is your body slowly moving the baby down so it can come out, then you're gonna want gravity on your side to move this process along. This means standing up, walking around, dancing the macarena, etc. Once your legs are numb, your walking around days are done. Back to the bed you go, where your baby may lose interest in exiting your body. This is known in the medical world as "failure to progress."

"Failure to progress" is no good. Eviction papers have been served; baby needs to get OUT. This means that now your epidural is going to be joined by his good friend Pitocin.

Although ever since that trip they took to Jamaica together, they've been acting kind of funny ... like maybe something happened there and they're not "just friends" after all.

Pitocin is medicine's answer to oxytocin, which is a hormone the body produces that prods labor along. If we stick with our sneeze analogy, Pitocin is like sniffing ground black pepper, or looking at the sun. That asshole who said "bless you" and derailed your sneeze doesn't stand a chance against Big Bad Pepper, which will have you sneezing hard enough to shoot brain particles out your nose in no time.

Pitocin is not a nice guy, though. He's kind of the last person you want to invite to your party. He's rude, he's rough, and he frankly doesn't give a f*** about your well-being. He also doesn't give a f*** about your baby's well-being. He has a job to do, and that job is to get some LABOR going up in this biatch! Bring on the contractions, motherf***er, let's get this baby OUT!

... and sometimes, Pitocin gets a little too crazy, and baby doesn't like it.

Dude, come on; it's a baby for chrissakes. Way over the line.

Labor is hard on a baby. Every contraction is the strong uterine muscles giving that little bugger a bear hug and shoving him a little farther down the birth canal. If you give those uterine muscles steroids, they might start squeezing baby too hard, making it difficult for him to get enough oxygen. And then his heart rate will start to drop whenever you have a contraction, and oh shit motherf***ers, now we've got ourselves a case of FETAL DISTRESS.

I call this "Fetal Distress" and you can buy a copy printed on the back of a Thai food delivery menu for a mere $1 million.

Do you know what the cure is for FETAL DISTRESS? It's an emergency C-section. 

I get really squeamish looking at photos of actual C-sections so I drew what I assume happens in the O.R. Was I close?

C-sections are life-saving surgeries and I'm very thankful they exist ... but a C-section isn't ideal. If you had to choose between A) trying to take care of a newborn baby, or B) trying to take care of a newborn baby while SIMULTANEOUSLY RECOVERING FROM A MAJOR SURGERY, which would you prefer? I literally ripped my asshole open giving birth to my daughter, but I'm still terrified of C-sections. Especially the emergency kind, which add a nice dose of stress, drama, and fear to the whole major-abdominal-surgery thing.

Do epidurals always lead to Pitocin? No. Does Pitocin always lead to C-sections? No. But does it happen often enough to be considered a legitimate possibility? YES.

Many women will tell you, therefore, that the reason they pursued a natural birth was to avoid the cascade of interventions that ends with a C-section. Because C-sections are great, but the thing is, they also suck. They're like ... the fleshlight of surgeries.

Want to learn more? Read about how "failure to progress" is the #1 cause of unplanned C-sections here on Evidence Based Birth, which includes a link to this study showing that epidurals tend to increase the time spent in labor.

Oh, and also, just a little footnote on this one: when it comes time to push out the baby, you're supposed to push only during contractions, pushing your very hardest when the contraction peaks. Otherwise, it's like trying to push out a poop while clenching your sphincter shut at the same time -- it isn't going to work. But if you have an epidural and you can't feel your contractions, then how do you know when to push? Well, people watch on a monitor and sort of tell you when, and you just kinda listen to them instead of listening to your body. The result? More difficulty pushing out the baby.

Why not other drugs besides epidural, then?
Because you don't know how they'll affect you or the baby.

There are a ton of other narcotic drugs that you can have during labor. Some of them have the same negative effects as epidurals, in that they confine you to the bed which could stall your labor.

They might also make you feel totally loopy, sleepy or nauseous while doing nothing to actually help with your labor pain. Wow, what could be better than being in miserable agony from strong uterine contractions, while also feeling weak, loopy, and nauseous from narcotic painkillers? THAT SOUNDS LIKE THE PLOT SYNOPSIS OF A HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN HORROR MOVIE.

I couldn't even watch this movie because it was too scary. His terrible narrating had nothing to do with why I had to turn it off, nope, no sir.

Also, narcotic painkillers can cross the placenta and get into your baby. Do they harm the baby? I dunno; probably not? But if you've spent your entire pregnancy saying "no" to caffeine and hot dogs and sushi and alcohol and goddamned turkey sandwiches, it's a bit of a jump to suddenly be like "f*** yeah HEROIN ME BRO" while you're in labor. 

This one has had too much heroin.

So to recap ... narcotics might not work at all, and might even make you feel worse, and they probably cross the placenta and affect the baby in some way. None for me, thanks.

Your body's natural painkillers are way stronger than any hospital drug

I can tell you this from personal experience. By the time I was actually pushing Audrey out, and the ... things happened to my body ... I felt no pain. Zero. Nada. Just kind of a pop, squish, bam, done.

(the "things" I am referring to is a fourth-degree tear, which I described in my birth story here)

Meanwhile, other women who had the same birth complication as I did -- while receiving pain medication -- have described it as "the most painful thing I have ever experienced."

How is this possible? Am I just a hero?

The B is for ... ummm ... Birth Gal? I am not good at this.

No. The human body is the only hero in this story.

The blood-brain barrier prevents any foreign chemicals put into your body (like, say, YUMMY PAINKILLERS) from affecting your brain. But the painkillers your own body produces -- say, when confronted with something like an hours-long labor -- can mingle all up in that brain and you get all the happy brain chemicals that make you feel things like euphoria and love and mmmm chocolate and such.

And that is how you can rip your asshole open and feel nothing.

Natural Childbirth is empowering as f***. You will learn what you are really made of, and you will be AMAZED what your body can do.

Have you ever done something that you felt really tested you to the core of your being? Maybe you ran an ultra-marathon, or you fasted for a full week or longer, or you fought cancer, or you got clean after years of addiction to something.

If you've gone through something like this, then you know what I'm talking about. You know yourself in a deep and meaningful way. You know what you do when you're at the end of your rope; when you've endured as much as you ever thought you could, but then you still endured even more. You know how much you can truly take, and odds are it's a lot more than you might have thought originally.

Surviving natural childbirth is just another way of taking that intense journey of self-exploration. For most women, there will come a point where they think "I cannot do this anymore. I tap out. I cry 'uncle.' Please give me the drugs. I am not strong enough for this." But if you're really committed, and you have the right kind of support, you will find that you ARE strong enough, and you CAN do this. You'll hit that point where you cry "I can't do this," but then you'll dig deep within yourself and find a reserve that you didn't know was there. And maybe you'll make it through the rest of your labor without that epidural after all. 

And this holds true even if you do end up getting the epidural -- because at that moment of "I can't do this," the epi isn't going to be delivered to you immediately. You're going to have to hang on for a few more minutes, a few more contractions. And you'll see that you are a lot stronger than you give yourself credit for. Any woman who attempts natural childbirth -- even if she doesn't make it all the way to the end -- will know a lot more about herself afterwards than she did before. And that knowledge is in-f***ing-valuable for the next time life tosses live grenades at you.

Bragging Rights

I'm sure there are women who have given birth naturally and don't feel like it's anything to brag about.

And those women are far, far better people than I am.

When you do something that's really hard and that most people opt not to do, you can be proud of yourself afterwards. This is why people put 26.2 stickers on the back of their cars after completing a marathon. If it was socially acceptable to put a sticker on my car that said "I DID IT WITHOUT AN EPIDURAL SO SUCK IT HATERS" I would totally do it.

And I would superimpose it on this picture of Stone Cold Steve Austin, which would make it really confusing because he's a man and men don't generally give birth.

... generally.

You can swagger out of that hospital, knowing you did something impressive. When people ask about how your birth went, you get to give them a little smile and a shrug and say "oh, you know, I did it all natural, no biggie." And then watch their eyes widen a little bit as they realize that maybe, just maybe, you're one tough motherf***er that they ought to take a bit more seriously.

But here's the biggest reason of all:


There is absolutely no downside whatsoever to planning on a natural birth. None. The only possible downside I can even think of is that if you don't make it, you might feel kind of disappointed afterwards.

Some women aren't able to receive an epidural at all. Some women get one, but it doesn't really work for them. Imagine if you had not prepared yourself mentally for labor to actually hurt, because you were going to rely on the epidural, only to have it not be an option for you? THAT WOULD SUCK. You would find yourself forced into either an unplanned natural labor for which you were utterly unprepared, or you'd find yourself screaming for a C-section and all the fun that comes with that operation.

Now instead, imagine that you've done your research on coping mechanisms for labor pain. You know all about the different labor positions you can try, and about the shower, and the birth ball, and the bath. You've brought tennis balls, heating pads, and aromatherapy oils with you to the hospital. Your partner is 100% ready to support you and coach you and tell you you're incredible. All of this preparation has taken naught but a few hours of your time, and because of all the research you've done, you're no longer afraid of giving birth.

What downside could there possibly be to this? I mean really??

Even if you find that the shower and the birth ball and the tub aren't helping at all and the aromatherapy oils made you throw up and you want an epidural anyway and to hell with Ina May and her horsesh*t, how are you any worse off than if you hadn't done the preparation?

The worst case scenario is that you feel a bit disappointed with yourself, but ultimately understand that labor turned out differently than you expected, and you move on.

That seems like a lot better outcome than heading to the hospital with no idea what to expect and finding yourself screaming for a C-section after your epidural only numbs your left side while the right side continues to feel everything. People get PTSD from that sh*t. They really do.


Who knows what will end up happening with the baby that's currently inside me. Maybe it'll turn out to be breech and I'll have to have a C-section despite my best intentions. Maybe labor will take 5,000 years and I'll tap out and have an epidural at hour 26. But no matter what happens, I'm going to head to that hospital prepared to last as long as I can. Because it's a teensy bit better for baby, but mostly because it's better for me.

To summarize: Natural childbirth allows you to reduce your risk of having a C-section while keeping your baby free from harassment from Old Man Pitocin; doesn't pump your baby full of heroin after nine months of refusing soft-serve ice cream because of the "risks"; makes people's eyes bug out a little when you tell them how nuts you are; and most of all, allows you to rip your asshole open but feel nothing because the human body is f***ing incredible. All of this for a cost of zero dollars.

This ain't no root canal, bitches. This is real shit.

If you'd like to learn more about natural childbirth, please read "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" because Ina May is the queen of this stuff and her book is incredible. And also make sure to read Evidence Based Birth, which is an amazing resource if you're into facts and figures. Especially if you read this whole blog post while wondering "where in the hell did she get that information because it sounds wrong but I don't know enough to refute it." They'll back me up, I swear!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Good baby/Bad baby

Part of being a parent is Googling "what is the maximum age to drop a baby off at the fire station no questions asked?" every once in a while (or at least considering Googling it, even if you don't follow through). Whenever I have these moments, I make sure to remind myself of all the really cute things that Audrey does as well, when she's not being naughty.

So let's play a round of Good baby/Bad baby to help us get a full picture of how Audrey's behavior has been shaping up lately:

GOOD BABY: Elmo comes to the park

It was a beautiful sunny day and I decided to take Audrey to the playground in our housing complex so that she could throw bark and try to go down the slide headfirst. She insisted on bringing Elmo with her, and she carried him the entire way there without throwing him a single time. Once we were at the playground, she brought Elmo to the top of the play structure and then sent him down the slide ahead of her. It was cute as f***.

"Elmo loves the slide AT LEAST as much as I do. Maybe more!"

BAD BABY: The string cheese incident

Audrey and I were shopping, and it was taking a long time. When shopping takes a long time, Audrey gets progressively more and more restless, as she doesn't want to stay in the shopping cart but she can't even a little tiny bit be trusted to walk next to me. So I have to bring a lot of things along to keep her entertained. Snacks are WONDERFUL for this purpose.

I opened up a package of string cheese and gave it to her, thinking "string cheese has got to be one of the least messy snacks in the world. I am quite a genius for thinking to bring this along!" I handed her the string cheese and stepped away from the cart for a moment to look at different mirror options.

When I looked back, it was a disaster. Instead of just taking bites of the string cheese like a normal person, she had sort of chew-bitten her way through 75% of it in one go, chewing part and then shoving it into her mouth and then chewing the next bit (while it was still attached) and shoving that into her mouth and continuing on and on until she had a good 4-5 inches of half-chewed semi-attached string cheese in her mouth at once.

I looked at her and shrieked "NO AUDREY! THAT IS TOO MUCH!" And she ... started spitting it all out. Half-chewed saliva string cheese stew coming out of her mouth while she sat in a shopping cart in the middle of a large retail establishment.

I put my hand under her mouth and caught all the cheese. Glanced around and nobody was looking. Thank God for the little things, eh? But now what do I do? It's not as if there's a trash can right next to me, and my hand is full of this disgusting mess. I can't just throw it on the floor.

So I made her eat it again. I separated off appropriately-sized bites and put them back into her mouth one by one. I respect you too much to tell you what happened once I had gotten all the big chunks out of my hand and was left with just the fragments in a puddle of baby-juice.

We won't be bringing string cheese shopping with us anymore. Bad baby.

Here is a lovely sunset to take your mind off half-chewed saliva string cheese stew.

GOOD BABY: She fancies herself a doctor

Any time I do something remotely medical to Audrey, she insists on doing it for herself again afterwards. So whenever I take her temperature under her arm, I then hand her the thermometer and laugh as she spends the next ten minutes carefully lifting her shirt and trying to shove the thermometer into her armpit. If I sit down on the ground with her, she will also start tugging at my shirt so that she can take my temperature as well. She likes to stick the thermometer in my belly button too, for whatever reason. It's goddamned adorable.

She also tried to use the fetal Doppler to listen to the baby inside HER belly after I let her listen to her little brother or sister's heartbeat inside me. Turned the Doppler on all by herself, lifted her shirt, and started putting the wand against her stomach and moving it around. I eventually helped her out by moving it up to her chest so that she could clearly hear her own heartbeat coming through. She was thrilled, and it made me totally forget about the fire station for a minute.

BAD BABY: She trashed the kitchen multiple times

I boiled a chicken carcass and was busy mining for meat and throwing the bones in the trash. My hands were covered in chicken bits, but Audrey wanted me to read her a book. So I nicely asked if she could find something else to do for a few minutes while I finished with the chicken. She was like "hey, no problem!" and opened the drawer with the saran wrap, foil, ziploc bags, etc.

For the next several minutes, I watched in impotent horror as she pulled every single bag out of a 100 pack of ziploc sandwich bags, throwing them on the floor. Well, first she emptied the box into the drawer itself, and THEN she started throwing the bags one by one onto the floor. I probably could have stopped her, but then she would have remembered the book she wanted me to read and I really needed to finish with the chicken. So the bags flew.

She pulled all that other stuff out of various drawers and cupboards as well.

Also, I ordered a giant box of fun-sized bags of Utz chips because I AM OBSESSED WITH THOSE and they aren't available on the west coast. On multiple occasions, she has decided that a fun game would be to toss bags of Utz all over the floor. 

In her defense, that does sound like a pretty fun game.

Another time, she threw a fit because she saw her plastic containers of fruit in the fridge. So I was like, "okay, you can have some peaches as a snack." I filled a little bowl with peaches and gave them to her. She ate exactly zero of them, and instead spread the peaches and peach juice everywhere. She offered neither explanation nor apology.

GOOD BABY: She cuddled with Elmo in her crib

Every morning, when Audrey makes her first noise, I turn on the video on her baby monitor to see what she's doing. Is she actually up, or is she just whimpering in her sleep?

One morning, I turned on the monitor to see that she was sitting up and holding her Elmo doll cradled in her arms like a baby. And she was rocking him.

So f***ing cute.

BAD BABY: She recycled all her binkies

We keep our trash can under the sink, but also keep a swing-top garbage can out in the kitchen for recycling. For whatever reason, Audrey has recently become enamored with the recycling bin, even though it's been in the same place for the entirety of her life.

The other day, I caught her shoving a pacifier into the recycling bin, and when I asked her what she was doing, she was like "... uh oh!"

So I had to take the top off the recycling, and pull out every single item one by one until I had found the THREE binkies she had put in there. At this point, some kind of binkie RFID tracking system might be a good investment.

GOOD BABY: We stopped and smelled the roses

It was another absolutely gorgeous day, and I took Audrey with me to walk the 100 yards to the mailbox. Along the way, we passed the leasing office with its beautiful landscaped garden out front.

Audrey refused to go any farther until she had pointed at, named out loud, and touched every single flower growing in the garden. Getting the mail, which usually takes a minute or less, took us almost half an hour that day.

So, thanks, Audrey, for making sure I stop and appreciate the little things every so often. It's too easy for adults to forget about that part. The flowers really were quite lovely.

She liked the purple ones best.

All in all, weighing all these things together, I think I'll keep her. :-)

She's damn cute, after all.

And, she doesn't judge me when I decide we should go get donuts in our pajamas. You can't put a price on that kind of loyalty.

She was even more into those donuts than I was.