Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Notes on Motherhood

I've been writing this post in my head for about three months, so here goes:

1. The first two weeks of being a mother are incredibly difficult and incredibly rewarding, and every time someone asks me if we'd consider having another baby, I think back to those two weeks ...

2. I cannot believe how many raised eyebrows I get over the whole cloth diapering business. It's not that hard, people! Civilization has been cloth diapering for a lot longer than we've been throwing them away.

3. Buying organic cotton disposable diapers is a slippery slope. It lets your in laws know what brand of disposable you would buy in the instance that you are traveling/going to a day-long event, which leads them to buy a huge package of them and leave them at your house. (I'm considering hiding them so we won't think about using them. Fer crissakes, just do the damn laundry, Jo.)

4. Breastfeeding is very hard. This has been my biggest disappointment after having to have a C-section. From the start I was dead-set on breastfeeding exclusively (much like I was dead-set on having a natural child-birth ...) But you know what they say: Man plans, God laughs. I've tried myriad things but haven't been able to produce more than two ounces at any one pumping session. I still haven't exhausted all of my options, so I'll keep trying. Still, though, it makes me feel like a huge failure.

5. Before, and even while I was pregnant, I never thought I'd want to be a stay-at-home mom. And while it's not economically feasible for me to stay home, it's all I think about sometimes.

6. Cooper has the most amazing little personality. At almost 3.5 months, we're finally getting him figured out. He learns new things at an astonishing pace, and he's growing so fast. He was never really tiny, but it's incredible how big he's gotten so quickly. And he's so quick with a smile. These things are really what makes parenthood worth it.

7. If I ever had a hard time keeping up with the chores before we had Cooper, I am now in a permanent state of behind-edness.

8. Also, I still feel like I have pregnancy brain. "Behind-edness?" GOOD LORD. USE YOUR WORDS, WOMAN.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Unexpected Birth of Cooper Conoly

I was pretty confident that I'd be able to pull off a natural hospital birth, especially considering how much I had prepared. I took a Bradley class, hired a doula, created a detailed birth plan, and made my wishes abundantly clear to my OB. Top it off with the fact that on the night of Aug. 3, I was already having some early labor contractions. To me, at least, there was still hope!

And then, on Aug. 4, I went to get Prostin gel administered to my cervix as a last ditch effort to avoid an induction scheduled for Aug. 8.

Everything started out pretty routine. I was strapped onto the monitors in the maternity observation ward at the hospital at around 10 a.m. The nurses started a 20 minute strip and said that the whole thing would likely take less than three hours. I was pretty happy with that, thinking that I'd be home shortly after lunchtime, with plenty of time to try taking some castor oil.

Then, the OB on duty came in to check my cervix. I was a little disappointed that there was no change — I was still "a very soft but long 1 cm." Then came the news that would change everything: The monitor was showing I was already having several mild early labor contractions, and the baby's heart rate was slowing during each one. "Decels" they called them. I was kind of confused at first. I thought that it was something that happens at times during normal labor, but the OB said that it would be common during perhaps Transition and Second Stage, but decels in Early Labor meant that something wasn't right.

So, he called my OB, who then came down and gave me the news. I was going to have a baby today, likely within the next couple of hours. I was going to need a C-section if we were going to make sure the baby and I were both going to be safe.

Immediately, I burst into tears. To me, this was the worst possible outcome. Not only was I going to have to go through a C-section — the exact opposite of everything I indicated in my birth plan and against everything else I'd planned for — but my baby boy was in somewhat eminent danger, too.

It took my husband and I a while to soak it all in. We were finally going to meet our boy, but it was in the absolute worst conditions. We were at the whims of doctors and nurses who were trying to comfort us with sterile explanations and jargon.

We were both elated and heartbroken at the same time.

The only real comfort came from our doula, Lara, who rushed to the hospital to attend the birth. Although she'd never attended a C-section, I really don't know what we would have done without her emotional support. It was such a whirlwind, and I felt so out of control throughout the whole thing.

They hooked me up to an IV and wheeled me into the OR, where I was given an epidural and then prepped for delivery. Everything after that was kind of a blur until I heard our boy's first cries. I was so incredibly grateful to hear his voice, and know that things were getting at least a little easier to handle.

But it was so agonizing to see him moved to the warming table, just a matter of feet away, and not being able to hold him, nuzzle him, or have his skin against mine. It wasn't until he was already swaddled and cleaned off that he was placed on my chest with the help of my husband and Lara.

Hot tears streamed down my face as I looked at my boy. He was so beautiful and amazing. I fell in love with him instantly.

It took what felt like forever for them to suture me up and dress my wound. It was an eternity, or at least it seemed that way because I desperately wanted to hold my baby.

Soon enough I was moved to a gurney, and my boy, Cooper, was handed to me. I stripped off the top of the gown and placed him on my chest. It was like a powerful drug, his smooth skin against mine. We then moved to post-op observation, where our journey began. We started breastfeeding as soon as we could, and that's when they told me his stats: 10 pounds, 3 ounces, 20.5 inches long with at 15-inch head. When the OB came in to follow up, she told me that not only was his distress likely caused by his size, but he also had his cord wrapped around his neck twice and there was some meconium staining in the amniotic fluid.

In any case, while I'm still mourning the birth I didn't get to experience, I'm glad I have my amazing son in my arms.



Sunday, July 24, 2011

Keeping Busy

So, our little bundle of joy (OLBOJ) is technically due tomorrow. HOWEVER, I doubt he's going to be here before the end of next week. I'm just lucky that way.

We had another sonogram last Friday and, according to their measurements, OLBOJ isn't all that little. In fact, they're estimating him to be a whopping 9 pounds 2 ounces.

Yes, this scares the ever-loving beejeebus out of me. Yes, I know that sonograms aren't entirely accurate.

So, after the appointment I did what I normally do, which is call everyone who has asked to be updated about OLBOJ. While I was talking to my father, he mentioned that he was born at 9 pounds 11 ounces.


I have a whole new realm of respect for my late grandmother. That is a big ass baby.

Otherwise, OLBOJ is healthy, and quite content to stay in the climate-controlled environment of my uterus.

There was a bright spot to the appointment: I am 1 cm dilated. That's more than the previous week, but still not exactly huge progress.

To distract me from my lack of cervical progress, I've been knitting. In fact, I've finished a few things!

Our not-so-little one's baby blanket (rav link)

A sweet baby cap (rav link)

A pair of socks I started during our trip to Chicago last year (rav link)

And a pair of baby booties and a pair of baby socks.

I guess I should get back to knitting. Maybe something will happen?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Still Pregnant

Tomorrow we are at 39 weeks.

I feel like I have been pregnant forever.

The end.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Patiently Awaiting

I probably don't say this often enough, but I am very lucky to have tremendously talented friends. They run the gamut from analysts, to scientists, to painters, to furniture makers, to therapists, to sculptors, to writers, editors, and photographers.

I am also lucky to be able to take advantage of their talents from time to time. In the most recent case, the lovely Emily Stoker offered her talents to help us capture the last few moments before we meet our son. If you are in need of a portrait photographer in the Dallas area, I cannot recommend Emily more highly. She's easy-going, professional, and open to ideas. And wow, is she talented!





View the whole Flickr set here.

Friday, July 01, 2011

No One Looks Good in a Hospital Gown

Since we started going to our obstetrician, the appointments have always been a little nerve-wracking. You never really know what's going to happen, but the routine is at least predictable.

Sign in, wait for the nurse to call you back, get weighed (eek!), pee in a cup, get your blood pressure taken, and head to the waiting room for God-knows-how-long until the doctor can see you.

Usually, to pass the time in the waiting room and then the second waiting room (also known as the exam room, however I spend a good 5/6 of my time in there waiting, not being examined), I knit on a blanket for my little guy. It's just soothing garter stitch. Knit, knit, knit, and turn.

When the doctor comes in, we quickly chat, talk about how I'm feeling, and then she measures me. After that, she uses a little doppler heart monitor to get the baby's heart rate.

Usually, this takes five seconds. Yesterday, after the most excruciating minute of my life, we couldn't get an accurate reading on the monitor. The doctor said that, perhaps the monitor was picking up my heart rate, but it was showing about 140 beats and then would waver to 80-some-odd beats. Dips like that, the doctor said, could be signs of fetal distress.

This is where I promptly freaked out.

So, just as a precaution, I was sent down to the Labor and Delivery triage area and on to the Maternity Observation ward, where I had to go through the VERY EXACT THING I DID NOT WANT TO GO THROUGH: I was strapped to a fetal monitor for three-plus hours.

It was agony in more ways than one: First, while I'm laying there, scared shitless an unable to see the monitor, all Dave could do was stare at the monitor. This is why I want the very bare minimum of fetal monitoring during labor. I'm having the baby, and my emotional well-being and ability to move around and get comfortable and be supported is just as important. It's what'll help the baby get out faster, and who doesn't want that?

When the nurse returned, I begged her to tell me what was going on.

"Everything looks fine," she said. The baby had a stable heart rate, and I was having very, very mild contractions, or Braxton-Hicks contractions.

We filled out a shit ton of paperwork and then remained hooked up to the infernal monitor for another three hours. Then an OB resident came in to do a brief ultrasound to check our fluid levels (which makes this sound like I'm a car in the garage for a tune-up). There was very little change, which was good.

And then we left. After all that emotional crap, after crying and freaking out, we just left. Everything was normal. We were fine. The baby is fine.

And now, more than ever I am so ready to have this baby. Hopefully he'll be ready soon, too. Real soon.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


If you've been reading my twitter feed (it's right there in the sidebar, y'all!) you probably know that I was pretty darn sick for the past week. It wasn't until just yesterday that I felt like I was going to live through this.

On Thursday of last week I had no choice but to go to the doctor. A sore throat, congestion, and cough had been keeping me up at night. Having a near constant, hacking cough when you're pregnant is not comfortable at all. Your abdominal muscles are stretched so tight as it is, that when you cough, the muscles become tired and achy quickly.

So, I went to the doctor. And, after a Strep test, she confirmed that it was an upper respiratory infection. While I was glad it wasn't Strep, I was kind of irritated that she didn't have any other solution for me. I'd exhausted the hot tea/Tylenol route. I needed some relief!

Which brings me to the paradox I discovered just two days ago: I've cut out alcohol and caffeine and bottled water and some of my favorite cosmetics to make sure I'm not poisoning this kid. But when I get sick, I'm begging the doctor to give me a prescription.

Five days after my first trip to the doctor, I couldn't take the sleepless nights and hacking cough any more. The doctor prescribed a Z-pack and just 24 hours later, I tell you, I'm a totally different person.

It seems kind of ridiculous, doesn't it? No toner, moisturizer, or scented lotion, BUT YOU BETTER HAND ME THOSE ANTIBIOTICS RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND!!!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Ready or Not

Lately people have been asking me if I'm ready for the baby to be here. If I'm being particularly truthy, I respond with an emphatic "JESUS GOD NO!"

I understand that hardly anyone is ever really ready for the kinds of curveballs that having a kid throws your way, but I feel particularly unprepared. We have a few ideas about what we want to teach the kid and how we want to raise him. We've picked out paint chips for the studio/nursery. We've purchased some furniture, but it's not yet assembled. Most of my yarn and fabric stash remains unpacked. The baby blanket is not yet done.

I guess I feel so unprepared because there's so much I want to have done RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND, and it's causing a lot of anxiety. Is that normal?

Memory Lane

Ever since we got pregnant, my mother has been telling these great little stories about what I was like when I was a wee one.

I sometimes call my mother when I'm on my way home from work and I know she is, too. We both work pretty late hours, heading home at 7 p.m. more often than not. She works in a Texas DPS drivers license office, so she often has great stories about the random people who walk into the office.

I'm probably telling this wrong, but a customer approached her window with some rather tattered looking paperwork, which included a rather illegible birth certificate. He was aggravated, and from what my mother tells me, not so bright.

She asked him if the birth certificate was the origninal, and he said no, that there was no original, because he was born years ago at the "new hospital." This caused my mom to burst into wild laughter, so much so that one of her clerks had to take over.

The man's statemant was so hilarious to her because of something I once said when I was a tot.

My mother has had all five of her children with the same obstetrician. By the time I came along, he had switched offices to a more modern facility that was closer to downtown Conroe. No big deal, right?

Well, all of my brothers and sisters had birthmarks. Me? No birthmark at all. When my sisters asked my mom why I didn't have a birthmark, I piped up and said, "It's because I was born in the 'new hospital,'" and my mom just laughed and laughed.

I hope that the memories I make with my little one stay just as fresh.

Sunday, April 03, 2011


So, we've decided not to spill the beans on what we're naming our little guy until he's born.

For us, it's saves us a bunch of headaches, both emotionally and literally.

What we're trying to avoid is the reactions people have to certain names. I've heard so many stories — from friends and bloggers — about how people reacted to potential names.

"Oh, I knew a guy named Soandso. We hooked up during spring break and he gave me the clap."

"You're going to name your son that? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!"

"My uncles named Soandso. He smelled like soup."

And so on.

But in the process, it turns out some people have been offended by our choice. Which leads me to my question: Is it really any business of anyone besides me, Dave, and the boy? Should I really care?

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Somewhere in The Middle

After a short jag of finishing projects, I've stalled out. No finished item for March, it seems. I need to get back my knitting mojo.

I did, however, start a very important project: Our little dude's baby blanket. Knit in seven colors of Knit Picks Swish DK and using this pattern, I'm so excited to see it turn out!


And, of course, we do have another very special work in progress...

Isn't he the cutest little blob of black and white you've ever seen?

Friday, April 01, 2011

Making Progress

Today is the start of April, which means I have just four more months until our little guy is here. That also means our home is locked in a frenzy of improvement projects we've put off for a while.

I've been begging for new tile in our kitchen and mud room. Begging for tile, people. And, lucky for me, I got just what I asked for! We also had some new recessed lighting installed in the kitchen, which isn't NEARLY as sexy as new tile, but is still awesome. Next on the list will likely be a new range, then new countertops, and then we paint!

Until then, this is our much improved kitchen and mud room!





Friday, February 04, 2011

Putting Off Plans

Right now, we were supposed to be on vacation. The weather, though, had other things in mind. After having most all the city iced over since Tuesday, last night Dallas was on the receiving end of 5 to 6 inches of snow. In fact, right now, there are still some big fat flakes falling from the sky.

Yesterday, before all of the pretty snow, we had to run Hornsby down to the vet. Dave and I think he slipped on the ice and got jabbed by something, which punctured the vulnerable skin between his right thigh and groin.

I know I wouldn't want a puncture wound there!

The wound was superficial, and didn't require suturing, so we went home with antibiotics and an E-collar.

Later, though, we would find out that he was in quite a bit of pain, and that there was too much swelling for him to be comfortable in any position but standing. So, we headed back to the vet's office for anti-inflammatories/pain relief.

Today, he's back at it, playing in the snow in the backyard!




It's like nothing happened, right?

There are two other photographers on my block, and it's so fun to see them haul out their camera for photos, too. Here's what the rest of our winter landscape looks like through my lens:

I love how snow accumulates everywhere! The surface doesn't have to be flat or large, either!

The nandina bushes are still giving us a little color amid all the white.


Our cozy little cottage! <3

The trees look so striking with snow on their branches.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Snow Day in Dallas

We don't get many days of cold-as-hell weather, so until last night, I had never really seen the need for full-on mittens. I was fortunate enough to find a wonderful bulky mitten pattern (rav link), and in a matter of hours I had a pair of cozy wool mittens.

Those mittens (which, if you're keeping track at home, makes THREE FINISHED PROJECTS so far this year) came in handy today, considering it's about 24F right now. This guy, however, loves the weather. He wishes every day was a snow day.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Finished Objects

I know, It's been a long time since I've posted some finished projects here. This won't be a long list, but it should be an interesting one.

First, I'll just go ahead and say that I've probably got more things on the needles than I need to. It's really kind of sad that, I'm almost two times more likely to start something new than I am to actually finish a project. If I just count the project bags in my direct vicinity (living room knitting chair), there are NINE UNFINISHED OBJECTS. That's not even digging into what's holed up in my studio, which is actually soon to be the nursery/studio, which I am actually not bitter at all about. No, not even a little.

So, you'll probably understand at least a little why I've only finished THREE THINGS since the last update.

The first is a wonderful lace slouch dubbed the Spring Beret (Rav link).


That's right, folks. This project was finished while the grass was still green.

The second, and I am calling these finished despite the fact that they still don't have ties and poms (ties and poms are not knitting, so there), are some tres cute baby booties. I started these pretty much just after New Years Day, and I'm not going to officially reveal these until we find out the sex of our little nugget, which will be on Feb. 25. Then I'll make gender-specific ties and poms and whatnot. And share them here, of course.

The third, which was just finished today, is Just Enough Ruffles by Laura Chau.


Don't you just love my model?


Me, too.

There should be more finished objects soon, considering that I'm on a wild finishing spree. I'm going to try to finish two things for every month this year. Considering that I'll be enormously preggers for more than half the year, and that sitting will become a sport to me, that doesn't seem like too much of a challenge.

Hope I can hold myself to it!

Homemade Doughnuts

Being pregnant is so weird. For instance, I dream about some of the craziest things. Last night I dreamt about doughnuts. Strange, right? Who dreams about doughnuts? Me, apparently.

So, I got up at about 8:45 this morning, ready to have doughnuts. Then I remembered reading a doughnut recipe somewhere, and the light clicked on: "I'll make my own damned doughnuts, thankyouverymuch!"

All of the recipes in my cookbook collection called for frying. I DESPISE FRYING. It makes the whole house reek. So, I went to the lovely interwebs and found the perfect solution. Using Heidi Swanson's Baked Doughnut recipe, I dove right in.


A few things to consider: These doughnuts take about 2 hours, so don't plan on having them for an early breakfast. I imagine they'd be great brunch food. Also, they're tremendously rich, just like their fried brethren.


Don't roll the dough out too thin, either. If you do, you'll end up with wimpy little doughnuts. I didn't cut the holes out for my doughnuts, and I ended up making 22 of the little suckers. If you make them, be prepared for the overabundance of doughnutty goodness.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Favorite Models

Got My Hurr Did

My lovely sister Kara visited us (and our menagerie) last weekend. She was such a pleasure to hang out with. We went shopping at my new favorite store: IndieGenius.

Also, I got a much-needed hair cut.