Sunday, June 19, 2011


On June 20, 2010 I became a mother for the fourth time. With fear, joy, love and relief we welcomed William Ellery John into our family on that day, Father's Day. I will never forget how I felt and I might not ever be able to express it quite right... perhaps that's the largest reason for my blog land silence. Or perhaps it's because shortly after William's birth my marriage suffered so severely from my husband's mistakes that even now I'm not sure we've fully recovered.

I've always wanted my blog to be a place where I shared my life, a place where I could look back with my family and say, "this is where we were..." However, in large part my blog has just been this happy, perfect place that totally disregards the whole truth. There is no yelling here, no messy house, no despised in-laws, no talk of my dead Mom, no talk of how my children drive me completely batshit at some point each and every day, and there most certainly is not a drop of marital strife mentioned here. Not a drop of insecurity or fear either.

The day of William's birth I felt a fear like none I had ever experienced in my life... in hindsight, maybe it wasn't such a good idea to listen to the same music that I did while laboring with Walter. I believe it might have been the intense pain in my back that started my visceral reaction. This birth felt too much like Walter's. I started to cry out "I'm so fucking scared. Oh my god, I'm so fucking scared!" I don't think a mother of a child without birth injuries can understand this. Certainly they can empathize and certainly I appreciate it immensely when they do, however they could not possibly know the full gravity of the situation. I am a mother of four children, each birth challenged me in ways I never thought possible. I have had one fucking horrible cesarean (Arden) after pushing for 5 hours to no avail. I've had one homebirth (Walter) where by trusting Nancy Wainer Cohen to attend as a midwife I was left with a brain injured child. *but shit, at least "you had your VBAC!" she said* (It could have happened in the hospital too and been worse, I know.) His body was posterior and his head transverse. I smashed the shit out of his poor little head on my pelvis by pushing him out. He also had a shoulder dystocia. I wish to infinity and back for a do-over. I would thankfully lie down and have 100 cesareans if it meant Walter could have been safe.

After years of consideration I went on to have another homebirth (Claire) who got her shoulder stuck too. It was beautifully resolved by my amazing friend and midwife who not only knew what to do, she was expecting the possibility of it.

And then there was William. William who was born at home a year ago... that little bugger not only got his shoulder stuck, he was huge and broke his arm and clavicle coming out. I will never forget feeling a weird snap (like when you break apart a chicken bone) in my vagina. "Call 911!" And I could go into every single detail that ensued but I won't. The important parts are...

-I got to hold that sweet little baby in the ambulance.

-Chris was able to ride with us.

-William nursed as happy as a clam the entire ride to the hospital.

-Our amazing friend, Chava was able to bring my other (scared) children to the hospital with us.

-The staff were all kind to us.

-We weren't there for more than 4 hours.

-We all slept in our beds that night.

-As similar as some parts of the boy's births were, the fear I carried from Walter's birth into William's was transformative for me.

I have often wondered why me?

I don't know what my message is to those out there possibly seeking answers for their impending births... it could (and probably has been said) by people that I should have done things differently. I chose to trust even when I was so fearful I felt like I couldn't go on. Truthfully, I didn't like any of my options. I chose what felt the most right for me and I urge everyone to do the same for themselves.

With all that said, this past year of my sweet little William has been wonderful, challenging, joyful, fulfilling, simply amazing in every way. I am filled with wistful longing for my sweet boy who grows oh so fast. Arden feels it too. Tonight as the littles were getting baths she was down in the basement getting fabric to make him a bib. I went down to join her and she stood there with tears threatening to spill as she said, "Mom, I can't believe Baby William is going to be one tomorrow." I hugged her and said, "I know honey, I feel the same way." And she suddenly cried a deep mournful cry, while choking out "He's growing too fast Mom!"

I know my dear girl, oh how I know what you feel is true.

"...but I tell you life is sweet in spite of the misery. There's so much more, be grateful..."

Friday, June 18, 2010

39 weeks, 2 days complete...

I am holding the baby in today. It was on this day in my pregnancy with Walter that he was born. I have just a few more minutes to be in the clear!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A week ago or so Arden came home from school and told us the school nurse had checked her eyes and discovered that Arden was having a hard time seeing far away. Yesterday I took her to an ophthalmologist and he found the same thing. We went to a few different shops before we wound up at Walmart (of all places!) and she found the perfect frames! She can't wait until they are ready next week. I'm still in shock she needs them.

Today was Walter's last day of nursery school and they had a little picnic. I had a nice time and actually felt relaxed. I will miss this arrangement for Walter but look forward to less running around.

Claire has been doing this thing lately that drives me somewhat batshit... she will ask me something, I'll answer and then she'll continue to ask over and over again. Example:

"Mom, what's that?"
"It's make-up Claire."
"It's make-up Mom?"
"Yes, it's make-up."
"It's make-up Mom?"
"Yes Claire, it's make-up."
"It's make-up?"

I have yet to figure out a better way to acknowledge her so that she doesn't continue to ask repeatedly. I'm guessing she's needing some more explanation and attention... perhaps craving conversation?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

37 weeks, 4 days complete

It's hard to believe that in a matter of days I'll have a new baby. Time stands still while moving quickly. I am yearning to meet this little one... not knowing who he or she is or how they will fit into our family but intrinsically knowing that when we meet them we will have known them all along.

I take this time to feel my body, knowing it will be the last time I feel a baby inside of me. Knowing it's the right thing for me now. While pregnant with Claire I spent a lot of time thinking "this is the last time I'll _________" and I felt so sad about it. I don't feel that way now and it's good.

This baby spends a lot of time tickling my right hip... I'm not quite sure of it's position and I'm honestly trying not to worry about it knowing it's too early to matter anyway. This baby also hiccups more than Claire and Walter and maybe even as much as Arden did. When it first happens I laugh while enjoying the feel of it and then after 5 minutes or so I'm sick of it and become kind of woozy from the movement. But I want to remember these feelings and take them with me for all the rest of my days... knowing that I have done something that I had wanted for so long.

I spend my days knitting, cleaning, mothering and napping while I wait. I talk to Chris and try to tell him all of my fears without being fearful. We'll be happy to have the birth be over with and the baby safely here. Having had it go wrong in the past shows us just how delicate of a process birth is. By design we are made to do it but one intervention can change all of that, altering one's life forever. It's not that I know without a doubt what was the deciding factor in determining Walter's birth injuries but my intuition tells me it all started with breaking my bag of waters.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Newborn Sweater for Baby #4

Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Organic Cotton
Colorway: 632
Pattern: Baby Cardigan by Joy Jannotti
Size: 3-6 months

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Baby Blessing

34 weeks, 4 days complete

My friend Nancy offered early on in my pregnancy to plan a birth blessing for me. She did it last time when I was pregnant with Claire and it was really, truly wonderful. (I'm about to have my 4th child and consider myself quite lucky to never have had to endure a baby shower, which is really quite amazing for a former Long Island girl!) Last time the ceremony was at my house with a bunch of my girlfriends. The men took the children bowling and it was exactly what I wanted at that time. I knew I couldn't allow my children to be a part of the ceremony...I was in a place of fear about the birth and the support and belief of the women around me was exactly what I needed to help carry me past it without the distraction of worrying whether or not my children were comfortable. After the ceremony we had a belly dancer and it was great fun! By far the girliest-girl bonding I had ever done!

It took me a long time to envision what I wanted this time. I knew I wanted to include the children and Chris. I've realized over the years that birthing these beautiful babies of mine is as stressful for Chris as it is for me. Certainly they haven't been perfectly easy! Over the last few months I've heard Arden express concern about having another sibling. She knows it will be crazy around here with four children... she's worried she's going to get ousted out of attention.

I wondered what was the perfect way to have a family celebration to welcome this baby into our lives? My answer was held in this verse from a book we cherish around here...

"...On the day you were born
the Moon pulled on the ocean below, and,
wave by wave,
a rising tide washed the beaches clean for your footprints...

...while far out at sea
clouds swelled with water drops,
sailed to shore on a wind,
and rained you a welcome across the Earth's green lands."

It was then the planning began...

A small, quick ceremony at an ocean beach, where I knew the children would have fun. We would be able to see, hear and smell the beauty and I would feel closer to my Mom. Nancy planned it perfectly, opening with everyone lighting a candle while expressing a wish for our family, or the baby or the birth, or all of those things, or none (as was the case with the littlest ones!) A beautiful song from Nancy & Eli, a reading of "Welcome to the World" by Arden, Walter's impromtu "You are My Sunshine", bracelets, necklaces, and dancing! It was made even more real and fun by the fat, bleached blonde woman in the background yelling at her kids that if they wanted ice cream they better hurry up and get everything together (while she stood there smoking!)

I don't have the right words and didn't get the perfect photos to describe the beauty I felt today but the joy of the day will be inside of me forevermore!


A very special Thank You to Nancy for helping to make my vision come true. I am truly grateful for you!

and for you too Eli, you always make me laugh!