The Story of When You Were Born…

…begins one year ago today.

On October 2nd, 2011, I woke up feeling kind of blah.  Sort of tired, sort of sore, sort of out of sorts.  If I’d had it my way, I would have stayed in bed all day.  But I couldn’t.  I had to get up and get my new blue striped dress and Spanx maternity tights on, because it was a special day… my baby shower!

That morning, the most important girls in my life were throwing me a party: Emily, Jackie, Aunt Jennifer (who flew in from California), Meg, Mari, Ariel and both your grandmas.  We were having a fancy ladies’ brunch at a restaurant in Lincoln Square called Fork.  Dada told me to get it together and get going, so I did.  I’d gotten my nails done a pretty shade of orange the day before and had sweat like a pig through the whole appointment. It was weird.

The shower was so beautiful.  Everyone I loved– and that already loved you– was there.  We had some French toast that knocked my socks off and opened up a huge pile of gifts. I drank a ton of coffee.  Again, I sweat the whole time.  It was pretty gross.

Dada came at the end to say hello and to bring all the gifts home.  It was barely our home, because we’d just moved in a month before.  I organized the gifts a bit, but mostly I just shoved them in your crib (with no mattress yet), because I had plenty of time to organize them– you weren’t due for another 40 days.

I was so exhausted.  I felt kind of sick.  I thought perhaps I’d drank too much coffee, so maybe I was dehydrated.  I laid on the couch, started writing my thank you notes, and had some of the left over pulled pork from the dinner I’d made for Jennifer and Grandma and Grandpa K. the night before.  We watched a movie about an alien called Paul.  It was dumb.  Dada told me to go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep.

Dada always falls asleep in five seconds.  I don’t.  I laid next to him and felt a little splish-splash.  I had to pee.  I didn’t want to wake Dada up, so I went to the bathroom in the dark without turning the light on.  Back to bed. Another drip.  Had to pee again.  Had to pee a couple more times. And then… a funny feeling.  What was that?  I turned on the light in the bathroom, and I knew something wasn’t right.

I woke Dada up, and we decided to call the doctor.  I could tell she was asleep, but she told me to go the hospital. Dada sighed.  Since I’m so over-dramatic, we knew we’d have at least one false alarm, and it seemed this was it.  What should we bring?  I didn’t have a bag packed.  That didn’t seem to matter, since neither of us thought there was any chance This Was It.  I fed the cats in case we were gone a long time.  I was worried about coming back at 2 in the morning and looking for parking in our new neighborhood.   The doctor had told me to eat before we left the house, but I was so nervous that I couldn’t.

We got to the hospital at midnight.  We knew where to go, because we’d taken our birthing class at Northwestern Hospital just the week before.  They’d given us a tour.  All the other couples there seemed prepared.  They had duffel bags, suitcases, pillows.  I could hear them checking in.  “How far along are you?” “40 weeks.” “39 weeks.” “41 weeks.” I was only 34 1/2.  And I just knew you weren’t very big yet, even though the doctor had told me I was fine.

When the nurse came to check me, she said, “I think your water broke.”  I was sure it hadn’t.  There was no gush like on TV.  She took out a swab and said if it turned blue, that meant it was amniotic fluid.  It didn’t turn blue.  She said sometimes it doesn’t work, so she wanted to send a test to the lab.

We waited almost two hours.  A student doctor came in to scan you and see if you were upside down, the way you were supposed to be.  She asked me all these questions that I didn’t know the answers to, because it wasn’t time to know them yet.  We told her that we didn’t even know if I was in labor.  “Oh,” she said.  I think she knew before we did.

When the nurse returned a little after 2 a.m., she said: “You’re having this baby today.”

It didn’t sink in.  There was no way.  We weren’t ready.  YOU weren’t ready.  But I was glad my nails were done.

While we waited for them to move us to my room, I called Granma to tell her.  She was leaving for Outdoor Ed that morning, so I hadn’t called her to even tell her what was going on earlier, because I assumed nothing was going on.  She didn’t believe me when I told her.

The next 15 hours were kind of a blur.  They set us up in a room.  They gave me medicine to make my contractions start.  Water started gushing out.  A doctor came to explain to us that when you were born, they’d need to immediately take you to the NICU because you were premature.  No one seemed alarmed, but they were saying a lot of stuff we didn’t understand, and that was scary.

Something I DO remember is this:  At some point, Dada and I were standing in the bathroom, hugging.  We were scared.  I was hungry and not allowed to eat.  I was starting to hurt.  Everything was happening so fast, and everything just felt more.  We hugged some more, and I said, “Someday, this will all just be part of the story of the day she was born.”

Dada slept on the pull-out bed in the room, but I couldn’t.  I just keep staring at the little incubator bed that was next to mine.  The one that was all ready for you.  The bed was ready, but I didn’t know if I was.  They gave me my epidural around 7 in the morning.  At some point, Emily came to visit.  Granma and Granpa got there.  Granpa and Dada went home to get me my things and to check the kitties.  I don’t remember the order of things.

I do remember that I told my parents what your name was going to be.  They didn’t quite get it at the time.

The day dragged on and on.  I texted and emailed a lot.  I wasn’t allowed out of bed.  I was starving.  But no matter how much time passed, I wasn’t dilating.  Finally, things started to move quickly, and by 5pm, you were ready.  We kicked Granma, Granpa and Unka Joey out of the room, and the doctor said it was time.  Dada was on the phone registering up with the cord blood bank.  He barely hung up in time.

Dr. Tam told me most first-time mothers have to push one to two hours.  I knew you’d be out faster than that.  We started, and I asked them to bring a mirror in so we could watch.  Dada was right next to me.  I pushed a couple more times, and we could see your head.  I was told to stop– the NICU doctors weren’t there yet!  Finally, about six more people came to the room.  All their pagers were beeping.  I told them they were rude.  The doctor explained the beepers were telling them to come here– the beeps were for me.  Oops.

In the movies, they show women having babies as an awful experience.  I loved it.  I loved pushing.  Maybe that was because at only 25 minutes in, out you came.  Dada was videotaping, but his finger was over the camera for a lot of it.

Monday, October 3rd, 2011 at 5:35 p.m.

You were so small.  And you were mine.

I wish I could remember more about this moment.  I more just picture the pictures, because that’s what I’ve seen.  I know I held you, because we have it on tape.  They whisked you away to the other side of the room to check you out.  Three pounds, thirteen ounces.  That scared us.  You were so small.  And you were ours.

I got to hold you again, and then they had to take you to the NICU.  They wheeled you out, and I know Granma, Granpa and Joey saw you in the hallway.  You stared at them with your big black eyes.  You took Granma’s breath away.

I didn’t get to see you again for almost three hours.  In that time, I ate a sandwich and some fruit the nurse brought.  I texted people that you were here and roughly the size of a Subway Sandwich.  Uncle Daryl came to visit.  He was technically your first visitor, just as he was for me when I was born 33 years earlier.

After they moved me to another room, it was time.  I was still weak and had been awake for about 36 hours straight, so I got pushed in a wheelchair.  We all went down together to see you.  You were all cleaned up and had on a little pink hat with a bow.  A nurse had drawn you a sign in crayon that said, “Josephine.”

You were so small.  You were so perfect.  And after waiting for you for my whole life, you were finally here… and all mine.

For the next three weeks, you lived in the NICU.  Dada and I went home after two days, and it made us so sad to leave you.  Every day, I would get there around 9 and spend the day with you.  We’d talk and cuddle and eat and sleep.  I loved changing your diaper.  They weighed every single one.  When you ate 17 milliliters, Dad (who would come after work) and I would jump for joy.  We burped you with two fingers.  We put you inside our shirts to stay warm.  One day, we showed up and you were wearing a shirt.  They dressed you in little donated outfits.  You moved rooms twice.  We had views of the lake.  We had lots of visitors.  Emily would come during work.  Uncle Greg would take the bus, and I would yell at him for not washing his hands before he touched you.  Grandma and Grandpa Kozak came often.  But the days dragged on, and I was sick of  microwaving my lunch in the sad train depot of a waiting room with another dad who never talked to me once and had a little girl named Delilah.

You gained weight and lost weight.  Sometimes, your heart rate would drop really low.  That’s why you had to stay.  You had to keep it regular for five days in a row.  We held our breath every time.  Once, they called at 10 at night to say it had dropped again.  I was so tired that I didn’t have the strength to drive myself there. Unka Joey picked me up and came to see you with me.

There were so many nice nurses there taking care of you.  Our favorite was named Kim.  They taught us how to feed you, how to burp you, how to swaddle you, how to give you a bath.  We even took a CPR class there.

On October 24th, it was time to take you home.  I dressed you in a lime green suit with a cupcake on it.  We put you in your orange car seat.  We had a Posey Parade Caravan followed by a Barnaby’s pizza party (at Dada’s request).

Off we drove.  I sat in the back seat with you.  In that car seat, you were so small. And you were all mine.

And now, it’s October 2nd again.  The leaves are turning, and when I go outside, the air smells just the way it did a year ago on those 20 mornings I would get in my car and drive to the hospital.  I think for the rest of my life, the smell of summer turning into fall will remind me of You Being Born.

Happy first birthday, Pie.  Thank you for the best year of my life… not only because you were a part of it, but because you give me the strength and inspiration every day to do things I’ve always dreamed of.

I love you.

Love, Mama

Advertisements

Frozen Embryos Better than Fresh?

A friend passed along this news today. I buy it, and so does my little Posey Popsicle!

Frozen Embryos Superior to Fresh Ones for IVF

After years of being conditioned by Gordon Ramsay’s profanity-laden rants that fresh is always better than frozen, it comes as a bit of a shock that a reality TV chef’s wisdom about food doesn’t hold true when it comes to assisted reproductive technology. Anyway, according to a new study regarding IVF treatments, frozen embryos are more likely to result in healthier pregnancies and healthier babies, than fresh embryos.

The research—conducted at Aberdeen University and published in the Fertility Sterility journal—evaluated 37,000 implantation pregnancies and found that when frozen embryos were used there was a “30 per cent lower risk of bleeding during pregnancy, 30 to 40 per cent less chance of the baby being born underweight, 20 per cent smaller risk of it being born preterm and 20 per cent less likelihood of it dying shortly after birth,” compared to pregnancies resulting from fresh embryos.

Researchers had a few theories as to why frozen embryos garner better results, the first having to do with the toll that the fertility treatment takes on a woman’s body. When fresh embryos are implanted shortly after harvesting the eggs, a woman’s lining may not have fully recovered from the invasive procedure. And the drugs used to stimulate egg production could still be circulating in her body, which could be harmful to the pregnancy.

Additionally, only the healthiest embryos survive the freezing and thawing process. A hardier embryo could result in a hardier infant.

Should you release a pregnancy press release?

When I finally got pregnant, I couldn’t wait to scream it from the rooftops. While some celebrities can’t wait to release the news of their upcoming bundles of joy, three women have recently made headlines for, well, not giving a headline. What do you think? Is it annoying for them to not just state the obvious? How did you share your big news?

Reese Witherspoon

 

Although her bump’s been growing for months, Reese only recently acknowledged her pregnancy by noting that she’s been “feeling very round lately.”

 

 

 

 

 

Megan Fox

Well, I guess she sort of announced it. A picture’s worth 1000 words. Nice work, B.A.G.

UPDATE: @RealBrianAGreen hath tweeted: “Thank you everyone. We are so happy [smiley face],” but then followed it up with, “By the way that last tweet does not confirm or deny anything :)” I never figured BAG for an emoticon kind of guy.

 

 

Giselle Bundchen

Is she, or isn’t she? People are speculating that the fact that she has a hankie over her belly on this new Braziliam Vogue cover is proof.

 

Then again, they also called this photo proof… and that “baby bump” looks like me on the skinniest day of my life in six pairs of Spanx sucking in:

Just Cinch It!

Here’s another maternity look that I stole last summer. I saw this photo of January Jones (who gave birth 3 weeks before me), and I thought the scarf was a great way to prevent a maxi dress from looking like a muumuu.

I liked the look; Beef said I looked like Princess Jasmine. Whatevs. It’s a good “Just because I’m pregnant, it doesn’t mean I can go to a good old fashioned summer art fair” ensemble.

The Benefits of Having Internet Friends

Almost two years ago, I was starting the process of IVF and was feeling totally scared. I didn’t know anyone else that had ever done it, I had a million questions, and I wanted a buddy or two who knew what it was like to walk in these particular shoes. So I did something scary– I reached out.

Online.

I posted a message on babycenter.com’s message boards asking if anyone else out there was also about to begin the process. And something awesome happened: I met five other women all across the country, all in the same boat, who my husband named– in no particular order– Upper East Side, Bloomington, Texas, Oklahoma and Portland. Some of his geography was a little off, but I guess it helped him keep them straight.

We communicated daily for the next several weeks about the injections, the side effects, how our egg retrievals went, how our husbands were dealing with things, how WE were dealing with things. And then, something not-so-awesome-happened: ALL FIVE OF THEM GOT PREGNANT.

Except me.

In real life, that would have been a real friendship test. In the internet-friend world, it would have been easy for me to retreat. But it was too late. We were all in too deep and cared too much, and they knew almost exactly what I was going through. I stayed in the group. And six months later when I finally DID get pregnant after two more tries, these five women were the first people I told. After two years, they are no longer my internet friends– they’re my REAL friends (even though I’ve only met one in person).

Today marks the 1st birthday of the first babies (twins!) that were born out of our merry little band of mothers. Six women; eight babies. I was so lucky to find them, and it turns out they might have actually literally helped me get pregnant. Harvard-led research indicates that women experiencing infertility are more likely to conceive if they participate in a stress-reducing program, such as a support group.

So if you found out that having a baby is going to be tough for you, I encourage you to reach out and talk to other women in the same baby-boat. Babycenter is a great place to start; so is Resolve.

Epilogue: We’re all still very much in contact and have taken our relationship to the next level… Facebook. Happy Birthday, L & C.

JFK, I Presume.

Posey’s name isn’t really Posey. It’s Josephine.

Josephine Frankie, actually.

When we found out we were having a baby, the thought never really crossed our minds that we could be having a boy. It was always a girl. And her name was always Josephine– after the many Josephs in both of our families. Frankie was the name I wanted for my little brother when my mother was pregnant. Instead, they named him Joe. After their cat.

If it HAD been a boy, Beef liked Franklin Delano or Theodore Roosevelt, so the JFK monogram felt like a good compromise. Plus, she’ll feel right at home at the airport and stuff one day.

When I was a few months pregnant, my friend Meg lent me her baby-naming book. And I read this on page 88:

We’d planned on calling her Josie, but I liked the ring of “Posy” better. I didn’t know anyone with that name, but it had a flower connotation– which made it not quite whackadoodle, in my mind. It’s not like it was  fake word.

We started calling my bump Posy. At least, I did. Beef wanted to wait until we had our 20-week ultrasound. But then, something amazing happened.

My mom retired.

Her colleaugues threw her a party in the very same room where she had thrown her now-gone parents an anniversary party many years ago. I could tell she missed her mom and dad a lot that night. After she opened the gift-wrapped box her co-workers presented her with (after the nicest, kindest, words anyone could ever want to hear about their mom), she leaned over to me and whispered, kinda embarassed, “What is this? Is it a glass? Or a vase?”

The short answer is– it was one of these. (CLICK FOR CRAZY GOOSEBUMPS!)

But I think there was a REAL answer. Another time, I will write all about the phenomenally gifted medium, Rebecca Rosen, and how much you can learn from her. But for now, I will say that the vase was no coincidence. To me, it was a clear and loving sign from my family members looking out for us on the other side that this baby was their gift to all of us– our gift-wrapped Posy. That I decided was missing a letter, so I added an “e.”

I recently read that more than half of parents regret their child’s name. I guess I’m not 100% still sold on the Frankie part, but there’s nothing I wish we’d named her instead. It fits. And she has a lot of nickname options when she gets older. But I think Beef and I will always, always call her “Pie.” Just because she’s sweet and crusty.

For advice on how to avoid the 7 Biggest Baby-Naming Mistakes, read here.

Kristin Cavallari, You Are My Hero.

I NEVER thought I would say those words. But it’s sorta true.

I remember back about a Willow ago, I saw a photo of Jada Pinkett-Smith in a really tight, white dress while she was pregnant. I don’t know why, but it made such a big impression on young me. I think it was the first woman I ever saw show off the fact that she was huge. I’ve searched for the photo everywhere– curses, pre-internet world.

And today, I saw this photo. This outfit would be enough on a regular person. But on a preggo? It’s just… I dunno. Huh. Leather-ish maternity hot pants. I sorta wish I would have gone for something like this. It’s the Black Swan to Vintage-Jada’s White Swan.

Like it? Get the look for less here.