Jun 6 2014
Two weeks and one day ago, I gave birth to my daughter. It was a pretty amazing experience, all the way up to the point when she was born. Then, while I was luckily distracted by holding my little girl skin-to-skin, I had a postpartum hemorrhage, eventually treated by a Pitocin drip, and some stitches.
With those two surprises on top of the exhausting work of giving birth, I was glad to spend those first two nights in the hospital. Knowing that help getting to the bathroom was just a call button away, that lactation consultants were at our beck and call, and that for a few hours each night a nurse was willing to “borrow” Penrose so my husband and I could get some uninterrupted sleep was precious. Suddenly, in addition to a child and all the accompanying emotion, stress, and responsibility, I also had a “peri care” routine and a drastically lower hemoglobin count to deal with.
But even as each trip to the bathroom revealed a new adventure in inconvenience and pain, I reveled in my post-baby body. Read the rest of this entry →
May 20 2014
It took my husband and I seven years of cohabitation to decide to get married, and another year to decide that we wanted to have a baby. In her newest Kindle Single, “Baby Steps,” author and comedienne Mara Altman attempts to make the same life-changing decision. She interviews experts, crashes a prenatal yoga class, inflicts a practice baby doll on herself and her husband, and wears a pregnancy belly as she hilariously and candidly explores the innards of her biological clock. I appreciate her candor and humor and was thrilled that she agreed to be interviewed for Kveller!
Having done this investigation, do you view parenting differently?
When I was in Colombia there was this little turtle that was in a hotel and I just wanted to keep feeding this turtle fruit. Is that my mothering instinct? Because I’m really enjoying watching this turtle follow this strawberry, does that mean I’d be a good mom? Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 24 2014
The Maine island we live on is in transition from winter to spring. Ice and snow have given way to alternating drizzle and sunshine. Frost heaves (out here we call them “Thank you ma’ams!”) are flattening themselves out, and back yards and sheds are filling up with freshly painted pot buoys. Murders of crows are sharing the roadsides with flocks of robins.
I’m transitioning with the seasons. We saw the baby in 3D at our last ultrasound, and checked her for growth restriction (all good!). My baby shower was perfect, sunlit, and tulip-adorned; full of delicious food, family, and friends. We even found places for all of the presents, thanks to the cleaning and reorganizing we’d already done.
The last transition before the big one will be handing my classroom over to my long-term sub. Miraculously, we were able to hire someone on-island with enough of a music and English background to cover all of my classes, and a colleague is directing the spring play. I applied for and received a sabbatical for the first half of the next school year, too, so in all I’ll have eight months home with my baby. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 23 2014
I’m entering into my ninth month of pregnancy; I’ve lost all verbal filters that I normally employ and for the most part I either explode or cry. I wasn’t this bad when I was pregnant with the boys (although I was still, admittedly, super crazy) and perhaps it is a combination of managing my 4-year-old’s emotions and chasing after my toddler with fierce hip pain and heartburn, but I want to verbally assault anyone who even looks at me wrong. I’m cranky. So that’s where I’m at.
Around my 27 week prenatal visit my midwives gave me a generic CDC handout offering me a Tdap (Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis) booster. The standard guidelines are for the vaccine to be boostered every 10 years and the sheet also said “or with each pregnancy.” Since I was boostered 18 months ago when my second son was born I felt like it was overkill to do it again. I asked both the midwives and my children’s pediatrician what the rationale behind the “with each pregnancy” was and neither had any convincing talking points. The midwife said, “there may be waning immunity during pregnancy.”
I am not one to decline vaccines. My husband is a doctor and we both have Master of Public Health degrees. But I like to educate myself about the options and make a decision based on current evidence-based research coupled with our personal family circumstances (or, like, just go with the opposite of anything Jenny McCarthy says). The information provided wasn’t compelling enough for me to vaccinate myself again. I had just finished up 20 weeks of painful progesterone injections and have bruised hips to show for it. More needles? No, thanks. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 27 2014
When I was planning to have children, it didn’t occur to me how my relationships with my friends without kids might change. I should have. I had had the experience when I entered a serious relationship and then again when I got married. With friends who hadn’t reached those milestones or didn’t want to, even as they were celebrating with me, there was always the hint of…what’s going to happen to us?
In my fantasy, my world would have my children and my loving husband, my family, my friends and my work. I would have time to spend with each and all of them would be constantly supportive and interested in the children I had and the life I had built.
But, as early as my pregnancy, I could see my fantasy wasn’t going to work out the way I had hoped. My best friend was upfront about my soon-to-be child: she was jealous. She (and then I) realized that this new little person would demand so much of my attention, attention I would normally give to her. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 26 2014
All the Jewish celebrity parent gossip you (n)ever wanted to know.
– It’s been a big news week for Jewish celebrity parents. First the good news: Last month we reported that Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher (Mashton? Ashla?) got engaged. Well, a double Mazal Tov is in order, because people close to the couple have confirmed that they are now expecting a baby! Mila was even recently spotted attending a prenatal class. (Today)
-Meanwhile, in news to be filed under Jewish celebrity parent “tzuris,” Gwyneth Paltrow announced on her website that she and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin are splitting up after 10 years together. Too bad for daughter Apple, who had been wishing for a little brother named Orange or Banana. (The Daily Mail)
-J.P. Rosenbaum and former “Bachelorette” Ashley Herbert (who converted to Judaism for her hubby in 2011) are not only going strong, but are also expecting a child together. Congrats, Ashley and J.P.! (People)
-Courtney Kardashian and her Jewish hubby Scott Disick dress her daughter Penelope in son Mason‘s hand-me-downs, including his loafers and blazers. “I’ve even done a full suit for a full menswear look, like a Saint Laurent look.” she told reporters about her daughter’s gender-bending style. (People)
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Mar 24 2014
Allow me to kvetch for a moment. At 32-weeks-pregnant, pelvic instability has become my constant companion. The tendon connecting my left leg to the rest of my body feels like it’s been tightened past its limits. Something deep in my butt just feels wrong. The outside of my right hip aches. And my lower back feels out of joint, and I can’t lie on my stomach to have my husband crack it. Oh, and he woke me up twice last night to ask me to please stop snoring (thanks, acid reflux!).
Thanks for listening. I just had to get that off my chest. (And speaking of my chest, things are pretty out of sorts in the boob department too.)
Pregnancy is full of aches and pains and discomforts, or as my yoga teacher puts it, sensation. When we’re holding an uncomfortable pose, she invites us to experience the sensation without judgment or fear. To find our edge and meet it, and possibly surpass it–for 10 more seconds? Thirty? Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 14 2014
This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Tzav. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
Well, it’s official–baby #2 is on the way! (And in case you were wondering, yes, I am going to tie this into the Torah portion somehow).
I thought I might be less excited the second time around, but I’ve found the opposite, at least once I got past the exhausting combination of toddler-chasing and morning sickness. For the past couple months, I’ve been feeling even more awe and mystery about what’s happening inside me this time.
Why would this be? Isn’t the second time we do anything usually less dramatic, rather than more? Well, two things are different this time. First of all, I have at least some vague idea of what might be in store. I’m less anxious. And there’s nothing like anxiety to prevent a person from feeling awe. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 11 2014
“I’ve been reluctant to write this email and I keep putting it off.”
When you are not able to get pregnant and you get an email with that as the opening line, you know exactly what is coming.
“Even though I know you will be happy for us and excited, I know part of you will be sad. So I wanted to give you time to digest this on your own, rather than springing it on you in person. I know you are happy for us. I know that you are happy for so many people. But I also know it’s hard and don’t expect this kind of news to be easy.”
When my friend of 20 years told me she was pregnant, I felt a lot of things, including true happiness for her. But what I felt most was appreciation that she too was navigating her own balancing act. Read the rest of this entry →
My husband and I have been in our house for almost seven years now. After moving houses (all on the island, which has a dearth of year-round rentals) a total of seven times in our first two years here and resisting the accumulation of a whole lot of stuff (besides the necessities, including a complete menagerie of musical instruments), we’ve been able to relax, spread out and acquire.
We sort through things annually and donate to Goodwill or bring things to our town transfer station, which functions as an on-going free swap meet as well as a dump and recycling station. My husband, who genuinely fears and dreads clutter, will suddenly cave to impulses requiring him to get rid of a lot of mugs at once. But still, the stuff has piled up, in the basement and especially in the office/guest room that will become the baby’s room.
Suddenly, we had to make room for a whole other human being in our house. And she comes with her own stuff. Read the rest of this entry →