Category Archives: real talk

the aftermath.

Guys, this week has been tough. I’ve been on a rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve had moments where I’ve been so very proud of myself for sharing my story and I’ve had moments where I wished I would have kept my mouth shut. It’s been hard, but not necessarily in the way that I thought it’d be. What I didn’t know going into this whole thing was that telling my story was actually going to be the easy part. The real courage, the real bravery, would come after.

For me, sharing my story was not about outing him. It was about me standing up for myself in a way that I wasn’t even capable of doing back then. It was about me sharing something so personal in hopes that it might resonate with someone else going through something similar. It was about showing people how truly rampant this behavior is in our culture. It was about showing my support to the women that have been brave enough to speak up and the ones who are still suffering in silence.

Unfortunately, vulnerability comes at a cost. Because what’s happened since I’ve shared has not been easy to deal with. I’ve willingly put myself in a position to be judged in the most personal way. There has been a lot of support yet a lot of silence. And within that silence lives gossip. I’ve made myself a target for rumors and assumptions and inaccuracies, and I’ve been hurt all over again.

What’s so ironic about this is that the guy from my original story, my “friend”, read my blog post and actually apologized to me. Sincerely apologized. He gave me what I needed from him now, because I spoke up. He took accountability for himself and his actions and commended me for my courage to tell my story. While I definitely don’t forgive his actions, I am choosing to believe that people can change. And yet, even after I got what I rightfully deserved from him, I’m still hurting. Not because of him but because of all the collateral damage that comes from sharing something so personal publicly.

I’d just like to say that if you’re reading this post, if you read my last two posts, and your first reaction was “omg gossip!! do you know who she’s talking about?? i have to find out!! who can i talk to who might know?!”…… INSTEAD of “wow, that is awful. i can’t believe this happens so often. we need this to stop. how can i show my support?”, then maybe you need to take a look in the mirror and take some accountability for your role in this culture. Because this is EXACTLY why women are afraid to speak up. For fear of judgement and gossip. Behind her back. To her face. To her family or her friends. And this is EXACTLY what needs to change. Our first response to hearing something like this should not be whispers behind the scenes, it should be conversations full of support, compassion and respect.

I am capable now of dealing with the aftermath. But I wasn’t back then. Just like so many other women.

I am not sorry that I told my story. I am at peace knowing that I’m a better person for what I did say rather than what I didn’t. I know that I have the empathy and freaking common sense to know how to react appropriately and compassionately to someone sharing something so intensely personal. And I know how to be a supportive human being. After everything, I feel like I am now able to accept that while the memory of my story still is one of violation and shame… I can move forward knowing that it is also a story of empowerment. I am stronger and smarter and more considerate because of this. I hope you are too.


#hertoo #himtoo

My last post was by far the most stressful and vulnerable thing I’ve ever written. Harder than any other post, paper, exam, college or job application I’ve ever completed. Never in my life have I second guessed myself as much as I did that day. I was literally shaking and sweating as I clicked the publish button. But the response that I received both online and behind the scenes has made me so very aware that I did the right thing.

It is absolutely crazy how many of us have such deeply disturbing stories to tell. Men and women of all ages are affected by this. Today a few friends have decided it’s their time to share. And I’m so very very proud of them. Solidarity, sisters and brothers.

There were also quite a few people who reached out to me but declined to have their stories posted publicly. And I deeply respect that. Because as important as it is to tell our stories, it’s just as important to remember that we don’t owe them to anyone.

#metoo #hertoo #himtoo

“In the summer before my senior year of college, I got a job working at the company where my dad worked at the time. It was a small medical device company and I was hired to assist the sales team. Sexual harassment was a huge part of the culture. Example- if the owner of the company liked my outfit one day he would ask me to stand up and spin around. And I would. But the worst offender, for me, was this guy Shad. I say “this guy”, but really he was a 30 something, recently divorced man with 3 daughters under the age of 6. He asked me inappropriate questions and made weird comments all the time. But the worst time was when I walked into the office that he shared with another guy and he said “Sometimes I just look at that little ass of yours and just think about what I could do with it.” And I just froze. The other guy in the office kind of made a comment about that not being ok to say and I mumbled something about feeling weird about turning around and walking out, to which Shad said “That’s ok, I like the front too.” I walked out and told my direct supervisor what had just happened. Nothing ever came of it, I don’t even think he ever even talked to Shad about it. My direct supervisor at the time was my dad. I also later told the owner of the company and our “HR” representative and they laughed and said he just liked me. I worked at that company for 5 years and I could tell you dozens (hundreds?) of other stories like this one.” – Katie

“A guy in my high school was mad at me for turning him down so he told everyone that we had sex at a party. We obviously didn’t, it was a lie. I spent a lot of time defending myself to other people but to him, I said nothing. And to this day people still believe him.” – Megan

“I was at a party with my friends and I started dancing with a cute guy when all of a sudden he aggressively stuck his hand down my pants. He just did it without saying anything. I pulled away and he started laughing and turned around and walked away. I didn’t even know his name but he still thought it was ok to do something like that. I found a friend and told him what happened and his response was that the guy was probably just drunk. So that was that.” – Anonymous

“Story #1: Senior in high school, New Year’s Eve. It’s me and my three high school besties. My friend had an older coworker at the restaurant she worked out who was throwing a party so we all went. His parents had a huge house, they were out of town, we could all crash there so nobody had to drive. We drank too much. I ended up crashing in a bed by myself. I woke up in the middle of the night, it was pitch black. I couldn’t see anything. But I could feel two strong arms holding me down against the bed, groping me, whispering to me to relax. I was afraid to scream, but somehow after a lot of effort I was able to get him off me. I never saw his face. I went out to the hall and ran down toward another bedroom door to find somebody I knew. I found my friend, shook her awake and told her we had to leave. We left the house, in the pitch black and drove back to my parents house. To this day I don’t even know what he looks like.

Story #2: It was 2008, one of my best friends from college was having a cocktail party. We all got dressed up and invited a handful of friends. This guy I knew from college showed up. I hadn’t seen him in years. I always felt uncomfortable around him, because he had asked me out a couple times in college and I just wasn’t into him, so I always felt like he held that against me. I said hi to him in passing when he arrived but mostly socialized with others at the party. It was late and many people had left the party by now but the few remaining people were having a drunken dance party in the living room, me included. Without even realizing he was near me, I felt someone firmly grab my hand and pull me into this room off the living room that had a futon in it. He closed the door and then threw me down on the bed and got on top of me. I yelled for him to get off me. He didn’t listen so I started yelling for my other friends at the party but the music was so loud nobody could hear me. Somehow adrenaline got me out of his hold and I ran out into the dance party and yelled to everyone “get him out.” I was crying. My girls knew something was up and within a minute he was out of the house. It was a long time before I saw him again. I feared I’d be out walking around Portland by myself and run into him. I had heard he lived in the pearl and I was sure I’d bump into him. I didn’t know what he would do or if he even thought what he did was wrong. But i remember it gave me comfort to think he was too drunk to remember what he did. I’ve told a handful of people this story, because we have a ton of mutual friends. About a year ago, he showed up at a mutual friend’s birthday at a bar. Instant adrenaline rush, eight years later. I promptly left. It pissed me off I was the one who had to leave while he got to stay and enjoy the celebration.” – Ashley

“My moms “favorite” story was being asked if she went down on a first date during a JOB interview.” – Anonymous

“I was visiting a college TA during his office hours and when I went to leave the room he blocked the door with his body and told me he could see up my skirt during class one time.  He asked me if I did that on purpose and then gave me the creepiest smile.  I tried to leave but he kept blocking the doorway until I told him I was going to scream.  I left his office and tried to never be alone with him again. But I never told anyone.” – Anonymous

“This middle aged man started watching me run in 6th grade and followed me everywhere and videotaped me all until I went to college. He would write me these crazy long letters. And come to my house. My parents were very involved but didn’t handle it like I wished. He told everyone he had a terminal illness (lie) so my mom felt sorry for him. He invited me to his house repeatedly and my dad went instead to try to reason with him. Didn’t work. My school got involved and he got banned from school property for a year but would show up at away meets, on my runs, at my house. Tell me he wanted to touch me. Lots of creepy stuff. He never touched me (thank god) but inflicted such emotional turmoil for me all throughout high school.” – Laura

“I was working at a bar and some drunk guys at one of my tables asked me to show them my boobs because they had a bet going on if they were real. I went and told my (male) manager who just laughed and asked me, ‘Well what did you tell them?’. I had to keep waiting on them all night and I’m embarrassed to say that I let them keep speaking to me that way. I needed the tips.” – Sarah

“When I was 9 years old, a known creep in my town cornered me and tried to get me to take my pants off. I was able to fight him off and get away. I’ve never told anyone.” – Anonymous

“I was 14 years old and out with a few friends. This guy that I thought was really cute was also there. As the night went on and everybody started to leave the guy I thought was cute asked if I wanted to go drive around, I said sure. Not long after that we parked somewhere and were just talking, when he leaned over to kiss me and start to go up my shirt. I told him I wasn’t ready. And he basically said that’s too bad. So I laid there and cried. When I got back to my friends house he look at me, laughed, and told me to have fun walking the next day. I was too embarrassed to tell anybody. I figured I had done something or said something to make him feel that’s what I wanted. I felt like it was my fault that this happened to me, so I kept quiet. ” – Anonymous

My heart goes out to you all.

And if you’re reading, I hope that these stories affect you in some way.  Whether it’s to tell your own story publicly or to someone you trust… or confront someone who has wronged you in the past or is still harassing you today… or to keep a dialogue open with your friends and family… But at the very least, I hope it opens people’s eyes to the fact that this is happening to women (and some men) daily.  There is something to be said for the silence that they keep.


#metoo

Like most women I know, I’ve experienced countless inappropriate situations with men. I’ve been groped, ogled, teased, ridiculed, and joked about.  I’ve been uncomfortable, embarrassed, judged and scared.  But nothing has been as disturbing as the times when my “friend” would take advantage of me.

Many many years ago, I was partying a lot with a big group of friends that included this guy.  We’d been close-ish for a couple of years… but I won’t go into further details about him here, as I don’t think this is the appropriate forum to call him out.  The parties were typically at someone’s house and we’d usually all stay up late drinking and then pass out wherever we could find a soft place to land.  Several times when this guy and I were at the same party, I’d go to bed and wake up at some point in the middle of the night to find him on top of me. Kissing, groping both under and over my clothes, asking for more… I’d have no real idea of how long he’d been there doing things to me.  I would tell him to stop.  He would eventually accept my refusal and stop his advances… at least as far as I know.  I guess unconsciousness was his thing.  And then we’d go to bed and wake up the next day and basically pretend nothing happened.

At least one or two other people witnessed this happening to me. And I know at least one other person who had a similar experience this guy.  But still, no real conversation ever happened to let him know that this was wrong.  In the years that have passed, my friends and I have talked about it and wondered why he was just… allowed… to do that.   What I’ve realized is that at the time, my instincts were absolutely telling me that what he was doing was wrong.  But I ignored them, because he was my “friend”.  And to make a big deal out of the situation might make me known as dramatic, or slutty, or worst of all… responsible.  Because that was the underlying thing, I felt more concerned about my role in the situation than his.  Like I should have done something different.  I shouldn’t have drank as much as I did or I shouldn’t have put myself in close enough proximity to him to allow that to happen.

I know better now.  I know that I didn’t ask for that to happen TO me.  And no matter how much I did or did not drink, it was certainly not an invitation for him to behave the way he did. One thing that I tell Crosby (and will eventually tell Willa when she’s older) all the time is “your body, your choice”.  Because I don’t want him to ever feel like he needs to do anything with or have anything done to his body without his consent.  AND I want him to understand that he has a responsibility to respect this right in others as well.  Nothing is owed to him because he’s a male.  In fact, nothing is owed to anyone, ever.  Consent needs to be given, not taken.  And that’s the biggest thing I think about when I replay those situations in my mind, there was absolutely no consent on my part.

Honestly, it’s taken me a while to build up the courage to write this.  I have thought about it for a while but wondered if my words would even matter, if they’d even be a drop in the bucket, especially given the gravity of some of the far-worse stories that women have shared.  But that’s the point of the #metoo movement, to take the power away from the people who have wronged us by speaking up, to tell our sisters that their stories matter, and to show them that they’re not alone.  There is power in numbers, and the magnitude of people who have come forward with their stories has proved that this number is a force to be reckoned with.


heavy heart.

I don’t need to state the obvious, but I will. This week has been hard. What happened in Las Vegas is beyond comprehension… yet for the 59 families who are dealing with deaths, 500+ other families who are dealing with injuries, and the thousands of other families who are dealing with the repercussions of having been a first-hand witness of a literal massacre, it’s been a living nightmare. I cannot imagine what they are going through. I cannot express how much my heart is hurting for them.

I had a strong realization this week, that the question is no longer “if”…. it’s “when”.  When will I be in the wrong place at the wrong time?  When will this happen to me or someone I love? I’m not saying this to be dramatic… I’m saying it to be realistic.

Casey and I have talked about the fact that we have been so close to a few shootings in the last few years. I was working 5 minutes from the grocery store in Tucson (where I stopped by before/after work multiple times a week) where there was a shooting that killed 6 people and injured many, including US Rep Gabrielle Giffords. When we lived in Portland, we were 15 minutes away from the Clackamas Town shooting that killed 2 people. Again, I’m not saying this to be dramatic but to paint the picture that it’s happening right next door.

What is happening in our world is unacceptable. The simple fact that we can’t go to a concert… or to school… a movie… to church… a nightclub… etc etc…. without worrying about dying? How did we get here? I don’t know about you but every time something like this happens, I find it harder and harder to be optimistic about the future. At this point, we are dealing with daily mass shootings. It’s a fact that our kids are more likely to die from a gun than from a car accident. Our future seems so bleak (especially with our current “leader” ha) and so dark. It feels like we are in a crapshoot and there’s no escaping it. I just want to gather up my people and head underground. But even there it’s possible to bump into the armed Voldemorts of the world. There’s just no hiding from this reality.

By now, you’ve all likely read or seen the stories about the UK and Australia reacting appropriately to gun violence (if not…. here) and it just seems so backwards that our amazingly progressive country has yet to react AT ALL to any of these crazy horrific tragedies.

Which is why it’s so important for us to DO SOMETHING.  To me this isn’t a partisan issue… it’s a moral issue. If you value human lives, you have to agree that something has to change in our country. Guns are certainly not the bottom line.  And yes, guns don’t kill people…. people kill people. BUT the people need the guns to kill the people. And it’s too easy for them. It doesn’t have to be, we can make it harder. We need to make it harder. We need to take action to reflect our values.

Our children deserve better than living a life of fear. We all do.

I know there have been a lot of opinions regarding this topic. And I have essentially nothing new to say. But the point is that I have SOMETHING to say. It’s the not saying anything that keeps us from changing. So. This is me, holding myself accountable for my part in making a change.

Sending so much love to you all, holding my loved ones tight, and putting one foot in front of the other…

Here are ways we can help:

 

(Illustration by Alessandra Olanow.)


what’s up / 02

Making: i made crosby “turkey kebabs” for lunch today and he flipped.  and all i did was put a small piece of deli turkey, a cherry tomato and a chunk of cheese on a toothpick.  ordinarily, he’d probably nibble on a few of those individual items.  but since they were on a kebab!  he put down 7.  i’m basically calling it a day after that friggin win.

Drinking: water, surprisingly.  we had our first full weekend away from the kiddos (since willa was born) last weekend and we attacked it with the aggressiveness of…. two parents on their first weekend away from their kids (since willa was born).  among other things, we went to a grape stomp at a winery with our friends ALL day on Saturday…. and i’ve felt the need to rehydrate ever since. give me all the blue dolphins on the rocks.

Reading: currently reading In the Woods, which i’m liking so far but it’s kind of a complicated read. the author likes herself some fancy werds.  i’m into murder mystery thriller types lately but… will you laugh at me if i tell you they give me nightmares?  (i’m such a loser.)

Wanting: a camel coat for the fall/winter.  so far i’m digging this one from topshop and this one from old navy of all places… you guys, old navy has been turning up the heat lately!!  (seriously, such a loser. don’t hate me.)

Watching: i think i’ve officially given up on game of thrones after 5 episodes.  sorry, nerds.  any other binge-worthy suggestions that won’t make me lose faith in humanity?

Wishing: that crosby hadn’t fallen out of our couch fort and hit his forehead on the coffee table on sunday, resulting in his first ER visit. luckily he just needed some butterfly tape on his gaping wound and an apple juice and he was good as new.  well, almost… he still has what looks like a nasal strip taped down the middle of his forehead that he has to keep on for a few more days… but i’m so very very aware that it could have been much worse.  file this also under: things that give me nightmares.

Listening: the newish War on Drugs album. it feels like an old friend.

Enjoying: oreo thins!  we were supposed to have friends over for dinner tonight so i bought some oreo thins “for the kids”…. ahem…. but we ended up having to cancel because willa has been feeling kinda funny the last few days and anyways.  i needed to try them to see what all the hype was about.  and you guys, they’re so freaking good.  i mean, they’re obviously the same as…. oreo fats (???) … but CRISPIER.  go, get on out of here and buy yourself some, go on, git.

Loving: picking crosby up from pre-school. it’s currently the favorite part of my day.  if you don’t count the part when both kids naps overlap.

Hoping: that i’m not a punch line at my kids’ pediatricians office after calling there today and giving the receptionist the WRONG bday for willa, like 4 times.  i kept saying oct. 16th and she couldn’t find willa’s file and then she was finally like… um do you mean oct. 19th?  face —-> palm.  (have i mentioned lately that i’m a loser?)

Needing: to win the lottery so i can shop for fall and winter clothes.

Feeling: like i should feel more refreshed after a weekend off-duty. and by “off-duty”, i mean “off-doody”.  (ugh. seriously how are you even still reading this?)

Wearing: JEANS! the only upside to the weather changing is the ability to wear jeans again. i kinda hate shorts.  but jeans…. mama likey.  (you’re unsubscribing from my blog now, aren’t you?)


greetings from my couch.

You guys.  Crosby is currently at preschool (day 3 and I we’re all still emotionally intact!) and Willa is taking a nap and it’s 10:30 in the morning and I’m just… sitting on my couch… drinking coffee… and taking bites out of a giant chunk of Beemster cheese. (Don’t you dare judge me until you’ve tried it.) But like, what world is this that I’m living in right now?  Up until this week, mornings are usually pure chaos and full of activity.  It’s typically when we’d have some kind of outing or adventure or errand.  It’s usually go go gadget.  But I’m realizing now that Crosby is in school 4 days a week, 2.5 hours a day, and Willa still takes a morning nap, which means I have like, free time?  Excuse me while I wrap my head around this.

It’s glorious.

Every day after preschool (so 2 days so far. lolz.) I ask Crosby what he did at school. And according to him so far, he has seen his teacher, blew bubbles and drank water.  So.  Chances are, he’s going to be president one day.  (I didn’t say president of what.)  But honestly, it has been so adorable to see how much fun he’s been having.  The end of his “day” is always playground time, which is where I pick him up.  And both days he’s come running into my arms, sweaty and excited.  Then he quickly turns around and runs back to the playground but whatever.  His teacher has informed me that he’s very sweet and well-behaved and that makes me feel like I just won the lottery.  Also the director of the preschool told me she saw Crosby going down the slide on the first day and he just kept shouting, “this is so much fun!”  Ugh.  So proud of my boy.

Moving on!  So many of you gave me great recipe ideas after my last blog post, thank you!  I love any interaction with readers because sometimes it seems like I’m just talking to myself over here.  (You wish.)  Anyways, you’ll be happy to hear that last night I made a delicious homemade feast.  That consisted of a bag of Trader Joes vegetable fried rice, lovingly ripped open and heartwarmingly heated on the stove.  (No for serious guys, the stove made my chest warm.)  I plated the rice alongside an artisanal cheese stick and a few raspberries that were harvested locally.  In Mexico.

Ok ok, so I haven’t exactly been Julia Child this week but in my defense, Casey worked all day yesterday and then went straight to golf so I was single mom-ing all day about by dinner time I was just like, nope.  But stay tuned because next week!  I’m all in for making some new recipes.  If I make any winners, I’ll share them.  With my kids.

Speaking of which, it’s time to go pick up my firstborn from school!  I wonder what kind of adventures he’ll share with me today.  Maybe he found a stick.  Or maybe he saw a bird.  Time will tell….

 


motivation for me.

I woke up this morning feeling more motivated than I have in literal months.  Months!  I’m not saying that I’ve been a bump on a log for the last however long (hahahahaha impossible with 2 kids) but I just haven’t felt the urge to do… more.  Than necessary.  For myself.  I’m not talking about motivation towards parenting or day-to-day life, I’m speaking to more personal…. extracurriculars?  Like writing (obviously), exercising, reading, taking time for myself etc. etc.  I just haven’t felt super motivated to do more than just get by.

Does that make sense?  Anyone else ever feel this way?  No?  Just me?  Cool, cool.  Carry on.

I took a long walk with the kiddos and dogs this morning.  (And by long, I mean it took us an hour to go around the block.  For reals, I should get a medal every time I take all four of those creatures for a walk at the same time.  A medal in the shape of a full wine glass.)  And anyways, while we were walking I thought a lot about what was floating around in my brain bag… and I think the reason I feel this renewed sense of energy, oddly enough, is that we don’t have big plans to leave our house for the next few weeks. This summer has been so nuts so far (well, let’s be honest, the past 6+ months have been nuts) that this weekend will only be the third weekend that we’ll be at home by ourselves since we moved into our house in May.   Bananatown crazypants.  We’ve been so busy making plans with this family, and that family, and friends, and more family.  And we really try to make sure things are as equal as possible with each family, which means that we are constantly making more and more plans.   Which is not a bad thing at all, but it leaves me feeling spread pretty thin at times.  And don’t get me wrong, we’ve been having so much fun and we absolutely LOVE the fact that we get to see our families and MN friends so much more now, but dude.  We went from having almost every single weekend to ourselves (in Portland) to having almost every single weekend spoken for here.  It’s been a big adjustment.

I swear I’m not trying to complain ::side-eye:: I’m more so trying to talk/write this out so I can work through the feeeeeelings.  I think I’ve just been feeling a bit tapped out lately with all travel and plans and oh!  I still have to like, parent two small humans on the daily.  When I have had a moment of free time lately, I always have some project or chore or just necessary every day thing to do.  (Do you hear tiny violins playing yet?  I sure do.)  But like I said, it’s left me with very little time (or desire) to do more for myself.  Which I think is why I’ve been feeling like an old sack lunch lately.

So. I think knowing that I have nothing to pack/plan/shower for for a good small chunk of time is allowing me to come up for air for a hot second.  (I said “hot second” to my mom the other day and she’s like… oh is that like, a sale or something? LOLZ)  In my head I’ve already scheduled workouts, made playlists, stacked up new (non-parenting) books to read, hired a sitter for date night, updated my headspace app, and made big plans to sit my yard and do NOTHING other than grill, drink wine and play in the pool with my sweet little family as much as possible.  It’s not like I couldn’t have done any of this before, regardless of any plans or visitors or trips, but I just feel so much more motivated to do these super vanilla things all of a sudden.  Probably because I now have a tiny window of space in my brain to make room for them again.

All that said, maybe this is just a fluke and in 10 minutes I’ll feel like faceplanting into mediocrity or divebombing into laziness.  But for now I’m super excited to make the most of this feeling… and make the most insignificant plans as possible for the next few weeks.  Cheers to fresh sack lunches!


willa’s birth story.

img_2723This post is so overdue, it’s ridiculous.  Our sweet baby Willa is more than 6 weeks old already!  Insert all of the parenting clichés about time flying by here.  But seriously, I can’t even believe it.  I also can’t believe it’s taken me this long to write out her birth story… but here we are!  Finally.

The best way to start this is probably to explain what our “plan” was for baby girl’s arrival.  I use the word “plan” very loosely because based on my first pregnancy, I was aware that things would likely not go exactly the way we wanted them to.  With Crosby, I was induced due to high blood pressure at 38 weeks and then after laboring for a full day, I had an emergency c-section after his heart rate dropped to scary lows, which we found out later was bc his cord was wrapped around his shoulder (ahh, memories…).  This time around, I was hoping for basically the exact opposite labor experience.  Ideally, I wanted to go into labor on my own and deliver via a vbac (vag birth after cesarean).  I wanted to avoid a c-section if possible because of the long and intense recovery it demands, and I also just really wanted to have the experience of delivering my baby this time.  But knowing the likelihood + all the risks of a having vbac, I tried to mentally prepare myself for the high probability of having another c-section.

Cut to my 37-week doctor appointment, when after a relatively healthy pregnancy, my blood pressure was suddenly high.  The nurse took a few readings during that appointment but each time it was high, higher than it should be at that point in pregnancy… so my doctor asked that I monitor it closely at home for a few days and then come back in later that week to check in with her again.  My readings continued to be on the high side throughout the week and again at my next appointment, at which point my doctor said that the baby was better off out than in so I would need to be induced.  Again.  This was the exact same situation that happened with Crosby.  I wasn’t exactly thrilled with this turn of events since I had hoped to go into labor on my own this time… I also didn’t know if it would be possible to have a vbac anymore since many doctors avoid inducing labor when a woman is trying for a vbac.  Casey had come along to my appointment with me so we talked everything over with my doctor, and thankfully she thought that I was still in a good position to at least give an induction/vbac a try before resorting to a c-section again.  So with that in mind, we scheduled my induction for the following week. And then we went home.

You know what’s weird? Scheduling your child’s birth and then attempting to resume normal life for the next few days.  Like, how am I supposed to prepare dinner when I’m having a baby in 3 days?!  It was so hard to focus on anything else.  Crosby kept us in check though.  Having a squirrely toddler to entertain and take care of is about as good of a distraction as you could have in that situation.  And I will say, in some ways it was nice to have a few days to prepare.  My mom and Casey’s parents were able to fly in over the weekend.  They planned to stay at our house and watch Crosby and our dogs while Casey and I were in the hospital.

On Tuesday, October 18th at 7am, Casey and I checked into the hospital.  An hour later I gave birth.  JK, I wish.  What actually happened was kind of a rollercoaster of calamities, but (spoiler alert!) it ended well…

Over the course of my first two hours in the hospital, three different nurses attempted 4 separate IV spots in my arms before one succeeded.  And let me tell you, the bruises I got from the failed attempts were horrifying.  My arms looked like a banana that’s been stuck at the bottom of your backpack for a few days.  Childbirth war wounds!  Once the IV was in, they administered pitocin to get the baby show on the road.  It was after 10am at this point and I was only dilated to 1.5cm so we knew it was going to be a long day.  So I ordered myself some peanut butter toast and Casey watched the Price is Right and we attempted to relax.  (Ha.)

Contractions started slowly but consistently.  At around noon-ish, my doctor came in to manually break my water… which didn’t work the first time because I wasn’t dilated enough.  She left and came back a bit later to try again, still no water breakage.  She left and came back a third time, and thank god it worked (apparently my pregnant body lives by the motto, third time’s a charm)  because I was about to pack it up and head home.  Have you ever had someone try to manually break your water?  Ouchie.  Is all I have to say about that.

At this point it was early afternoon.  I had been advised to not eat anything after breakfast in case I needed to have a c-section, so I watched Casey eat two enormous chicken salad sandwiches that my mom had made and packed for us… and then I bitched at him after I realized he ate all of it.  I mean, the least he could have done was save something for me to eat after I’d GIVEN BIRTH TO OUR CHILD.  Am I right?!  Ugh.  But, I’m over it I swear.  No really, it’s fine.  I’m FINE.

My contractions increased in intensity over the next few hours and by 3pm I threw in the towel and asked for an epidural.  The anesthesiologist hit a nerve when he was putting the baseball bat needle into my back.  Which will go down as one of the weirdest and most unnerving (hey!) feelings I’ll ever experience in my life.  But I was willing to overlook it to feel the sweet loving touch of the epidural.  But…the epidural itself didn’t actually work quite as well as I had remembered from the last time.  Throughout the rest of labor, I kept feeling numb on one side but not the other, and I also was feeling intense contractions in my left buttcheek.  Which really creeped my mom out.  And probably a few of you.  And probably Willa, when she reads this someday.  Sorry everyone!

The next couple of hours were slow, contractions would intensify and then subside.  It’s worth noting at this point that from the time I got to the hospital that morning to sometime around 5pm that evening, I had only dilated to a 4.  AKA not even halfway there.  At this rate, I thought my baby would probably still be born on her Nov 4 due date.

One of the most stressful parts of this experience was that throughout the course of the day and into the evening, my BP was still high.  I think I was given 5 different BP medications throughout the day to try to stabilize it, the result of which made me look and feel like a total junkie.  I couldn’t stop shaking, my eyes were incredibly bloodshot, I was so so cold, and honestly just super miserable.  Finally, later in the evening, one of the medications started to work and my BP lowered to normal.  At which point, baby girl’s heart rate started to drop during contractions.  AGAIN, this was also the exact same situation we’d been in with Crosby’s birth, which ultimately resulted in a c-section. So of course now I was extremely worried about the baby + extremely frustrated that we’d made it this far and I was probably going to have to have another c-section again.  But my nurses and doctor knew what my “plan” was and they kept fighting for me.  I did some position changes, they put an internal monitor on baby’s head and reduced my pitocin and thankfully, her heart rate didn’t stay too low for too long.  It would dip during contractions but come right back up in between, which was a good sign.  So, we kept on.  (We found out after she was born that her heart rate was dropping because her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck.  My babies like to do somersaults in the womb, apparently.)

The rest of the night is a haze of uncomfortableness, BP medications, and contractions, but somewhere along the way I started to dilate quickly.  And then somehow, I honestly don’t know how, it was midnight and the nurse gave me the best news of my life… it was time to push!  I was so so thrilled.  I kept thinking throughout the whole day as we hit obstacle after obstacle that I was going to end up having a c-section again, so to get to this point was the best feeling ever.  I pushed for about an hour and 45 minutes… and that hour and 45 minutes was honestly one of the most amazing things I’ll ever experience.  It was bizarre because pushing was the part of labor I was looking forward to the least, but it ended up being the extreme high point of the whole experience.  Casey was a champion husband and cheerleader and was equally as amazed with the whole experience as I was.  Seeing our daughter come into the world made all of the chaos and stress of the day disappear.

Willa Rae Thompson was born at 1:55am on Wednesday, October 19th.  She came into the world weighing 6lbs 12oz and was 19.5″ long, with the same head of brown hair that Crosby was born with and the longest arms and fingers, just like her mama.  She has the most beautiful eyes and the sweetest soul I could ever imagine.  I cannot stop kissing her.

Once again, this was not the birth story I imagined.  It was a stressful birth and the recovery was not ideal.  (Shoutout to icicle diapers though, those things are the freaking best!)  But none of it really matters, because in the end I got to hold my healthy baby girl in my arms.  And the next day we got to introduce her to her brother.  He’s pretty smitten with her too… but maybe more smitten with the dinosaurs she got him as a gift.

It’s been over a month and I’m still just as obsessed with sweet Willa as I was the moment she was born.  I cannot even imagine a time when she wasn’t in our world.  Though I faintly remember a time when I slept more than 2 hours at a time…

We love you so much baby girl, and are so very thankful that you are ours.  Thank you for coming to hang out with us, we think you’re going to like it here :)


second time around.

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Lately I’ve been doing a lot of comparing of this pregnancy to my first one.  Probably because now that I’m in the homestretch of this one, I’m realizing how much… less… I’ve done and thought about this time around.

During my first pregnancy, I felt like I was treated (and acted) like a fragile vessel on a magical baby-growing journey.  Pampering, downtime and rest were encouraged.  Everything was new and exciting and a little bit scary, and I had nothing but time to dwell on every little thing that happened.  This time around, I feel like I peed on a stick and then had 3 minutes to celebrate before I had to figure out what to make my toddler for dinner. (Mamas of 2+ kiddos, I salute you.)  It’s not that it’s not as exciting, it truly is, I just haven’t actually had the time to spend focusing on the magical journey that I’m on because I’ve been, you know, busy taking care of my first magical journey.  The good news the second time around is that I have experience on my side, so there’s been way less “IS THIS NORMAL” googling and way more acceptance of what the eff is happening to my body.

So anyways, here are a few examples of the differences I’ve noticed between the two magical journeys I’ve had the immense pleasure of being on…

First pregnancy:  (at 14 weeks along) Look at my teeny tiny baby bump! I must now parade myself belly-first through public places… hoping someone will notice my baby growing skills.
Second pregnancy:  (at 2 weeks along) Holy crap I’m showing already!?! Or is this just residual baby weight from the first time around?  Probably a combo of both.

First pregnancy: Take cute bumpdate photos biweekly.
Second pregnancy: Take 3 total bumpdate photos, which coincide with the only 3 days during my pregnancy where both my hair and makeup are done at the same time.

First pregnancy:  Terrified of labor, but I cannot wait to take my baby home to bask in postpartum bliss!!
Second pregnancy:  Labor shmabor. How am I going to handle postpartum hormones AND 2 small humans?!

First pregnancy: I can’t wait to breastfeed my new baby. What a bonding experience!
Second pregnancy: Nightly pep-talks to psych myself up for breastfeeding/pumping/latching/acid reflux/ouchie nipples.

First pregnancy:  ::reads all the baby books:: I’ve got this ALL figured out. I know exactly what kind of mother I want to be. I know exactly how I’m going to care for, raise and discipline my child.  It can’t be that hard.
Second pregnancy:  ::buys a case of wine:: Let’s just like, try to survive, shall we?

First pregnancy: Research every baby product for hours. Register for every baby product under the sun.
Second pregnancy:  ::buys a case of baby wipes::  K, I’m ready.

First pregnancy: The baby is 13 weeks, 5 days, 6 hours and 47 minutes and is the size of a papaya! The lungs are forming, nerve cells are multiplying, and synapses are forming in the brain.
Second pregnancy: I think I’m in the second trimester? I know I’m due in the fall. Wait, maybe the winter? Definitely this year.

First pregnancy: No caffeine. No soft cheese. No deli meat. etc. etc. etc.
Second pregnancy: “Make it a venti, please.”

First pregnancy: Take a 7-week birth class, prepare a detailed birth plan, curate a birth playlist.
Second pregnancy: Birth plan = try not to crap myself, have baby.

First pregnancy: Shop regularly for cute maternity clothes.
Second pregnancy:  ::adjusts sweatpants::

First pregnancy: Fill out baby book every week, keep an organized file folder of every sonogram and Dr visit report.
Second pregnancy: Accidentally use sonogram as coffee coaster.

First pregnancy: Babymoon! 3 baby showers! Pregnancy photoshoot!
Second pregnancy: High-five myself whenever I get to pee in peace.

***

Anyway, all that said… I have absolutely loved both pregnancies equally, but I do think that this time I’m much more excited about the after. That’s when the real fun starts, am I right?  Shout out to both of my babies who made this post possible.

PS pumping can suck it.

 


thursday things.

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1. You guys.  This is big.  The new Gilmore Girls episodes have an official premiere date of November 25th.  If anyone needs me the day after Thanksgiving, I’ll be glued to the couch, eating leftover turkey sandwiches and hanging with Rory and Lorelei.  Oh, and taking care of a newborn.  NBD.

2. Mothers of small males… help me.  What’s the official rule with swim diapers and swimsuits in public places?  Do little dudes always need a swim diaper on with their swimsuit?  Or only when their swimsuit doesn’t have the meshy part?  I can’t seem to figure it out.

3. Speaking of my adorable small male… I have a love/hate relationship with this age/phase of his life. Am I allowed to say that?  Let me be clear, I love HIM more than anything… but this PHASE is kinda gnarly.  The thing of it is, he’s so fun and sweet and charming!… like, 60% percent of the time.  The other 40%, he’s crying and whining NON.STOP and for no apparent reason.  I think that it’s a combo of his inability to communicate everything he wants to + testing his boundaries and the such, but for the love of mozzarella sticks, it’s so frustrating.  For all of us.  I know it’s tough on him too, and I’m trying so so hard to be patient and talk him through as much as possible.  But for a person with high anxiety (hi!), the constant sound of whining and crying is like taking a cheese grater to my nerves.  We’ve all been practicing taking a lot of deep breaths lately.  Anyway.  Anyone that I mention this to who has older kids is like MWAHAHAHAHA just wait until he’s 2/3! and I’m all like, shove it.  Maybe this will be his most frustrating age?!  Maybe?!!!!?  MAYBE!  Yah, I doubt it too.

4. Ok, thanks for letting me vent.  Now let me talk about how cute my kid is.  If you follow me on instagram, you maybe saw this video.  He’s been saying new words almost daily and it is so so fun.  But my favorite by far is his “ohhhh yesss”!  Which he says with just a slight lisp.  Sometimes when he says it, I think he sounds like an old-timey fortune teller.  It’s truly the greatest and it makes me want to lick his face.  Is…. that weird?

5. Portland friends, where is the best place to get fried chicken?  I’m asking for a friend…

6. I have something kind of crazy to tell you… I love Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook Cravings.  I started following Chrissy on social media a while ago because 1) she’s hilar and 2) she was always talking about and cooking amazing-looking food.  My two criteria for best friendship status.  Then I found out she had a food blog that I started following, and then she came out with Cravings and I gotta say…. it’s awesome.  I’ve made probably 10+ things from it in the last few weeks and we’ve loved (almost) everything.  Homegirl like’s her shiz spicy though, so I learned the hard way to cut back on some of the peppers/hot sauces.

7. Speaking of spicy, and also something I put on instagram…. sometimes I tell Crosby that things are spicy if I don’t want to share them with him.  Don’t you judge me!  I’m pregnant!  It’s the baby’s fault!

8. When we were in Paris I made sure to stop into a few French pharmacies to check out their famous skincare products. I picked up a couple of things but I have to say that the Embryolisse face cream I bought is magnificent.  I’m so in love with it.  I’ve been using it for about a month now and my face feels like Crosby’s ass.  (??!?)   Anyways, I just started to get worried about what I would do once I ran out but a quick google search taught me that it’s sold at Sephora. HA!  Serves me right for thinking I was being all cool and Franch when I bought it.  But I don’t care because now I know I can buy it whenevs!  And so can you!  Though it is much more expensive here than it was in Paris.  Maybe I need to go back and stock up?  Casey?  Thoughts?

9. Have you guys been watching the Bachelorette?  Ugh, I’m so invested this season and it’s kind of driving me nuts.  I love Jojo but…. she’s been making some really questionable decisions.  In my professional opinion, she just sent home the 2 guys that she has the most actual potential with.  The final two are just duddly duds… with beautiful abs.  Also, I’ve loved Chase from Day 1 but I think watching him crack a beer after being dumped was the most hilarious shit ever.  I love him even more now.  Sometimes I feel the urge to do episode recaps here on the blog but then I remember that I still want you guys to like me.

10. What should one do if she finds a gray eyelash?  I’m asking for a friend…