Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Marianne Hillary arrived!

Our happy ttle surprise girl arrived mid February. I've spent the past month with her cuddled in my arms, nursing, sleeping, and enjoying her random hour of wakefulness here ave there. This is the last little infant I'll spend so much time with and I'm revelling in the experience. 

Also, I'm ecstatic to not be pregnant anymore. 

Marianne, the icon of Liberty, the dreaming middle sister of Austen, a song and poem.

Hillary, the woman who should have been President.

Spring, because we're alternating last names

In reverse time lapse order, after the last picture, the story of her birth.

Like her sisters, she was born at the women's birth and wellness center in chapel hill. She was born at 41 weeks, 6 days. We resorted to castor oil after every other thing that worked previously did not work and I was approaching the point of transfer to a hospital setting that I very much wanted to avoid. Marty came down for the weekend to stay with the girls and because we were going castor oil and had no idea how long everything would last Madeline did not get to join us for her birth. 

We went to the birth center and were a little lost as to what to do. Do we put our bag in the closet? I guess we unpack a bit? Get settled in? Harris mixed 4 ounces with chocolate ice cream and whole milk and I couldn't taste it. From 10:30 until 12:00 nothing really, playing on Twitter, texting folks, taking walks. My mood dropped to the basement because it seemed like this wasn't going to work either. I started crying a little, mostly scared I'd end up at the hospital after all. I only had about 36 hours left until I had to go to the hospital for her birth and it was weighing on me. 

Then the castor oil kicked in. My stomach was upset for 2 hours, not horrendously, just like...too much heavy food? It was totally weird to see my undigested breakfast again and also reinforced my belief that I eat fast and very slowly digest my food. 

Then contractions started around 1:45 like her sisters at first I was like, hrm, was that? And then within 10 minutes was humming through them. I knew she would be born fast so I tried to stay calm, listen to the midwife, feel what I was feeling and no more. I spent about an hour cuddled with my weight on a birth ball sort of holding Harris by the arms and shoulder. Unfortunately, I moved out of that position too soon. I started having pushing contractions, so moved to a pushing position, unfortunately, my cervix wasn't finished, so labor sort of stalled out for 20 minutes or so while my cervix caught up to my uterus. That was uncomfortable. I wanted to push, asked to push, but midwife made very good point to breathe through them so my cervix could finish because she couldn't get her head out to push yet. Here I was not as good at feeling my feels and no more, my anxiety went up a bit and I started getting frazzled. I don't remember who said what, but I made it through and calmed down. So I breathed through and tried to relax until I felt another change and couldn't not push. More pushing with this girl, she did the come down, go back up movement that was not perceptible with my older girls. Pushing lasted maybe 30 minutes? 

She was born at 4:10, perfectly formed, so clean with perfect skin, I've never seen a white baby so clean and peachy rosey from the beginning. She was massive, 9lbs 14 ounces, but looked bigger because of her massive torso/body. She just looked dense. She was perfect color, started breathing easy, cuddled and nursed

Once she was born the midwife Lydia was able to get the placenta to deliver, but then I started hemorrhaging like with Margot. There was some stringy elements to the placenta and clots and lots of blood. I didn't hemorrhage as badly as when Margot was born but it was still pretty intense. Another very experienced midwife came in and assisted and within about half an hour all of the placenta was delivered and the bleeding was more controlled. The midwives and nurse worked together beautifully, administering herbs, giving me instructions on what to do, all while taking care of this beautiful little newborn. It was truly beautiful. I felt so supported and cared for by everyone in the room. Fear did not enter when Marianne was born. 

 I started shaking uncontrollably because I was so cold or at least felt so cold so they layered me up with blankets. I snuggled up and tried to pull myself together after all of it. I had to tell myself that my body was not cold and thermometer proved it and that I could stop shivering and shaking. It took a few hours for that to fully materialize. 

We ate left over gyro and pita and pot roast. Harris gave me chocolates and goat chese and crackers. We napped. They checked on me repeatedly to make sure the hemorrhage was over so we could go home. 

It takes a little while to leave, over the course of 90 minutes we filled out paperwork, I took a shower, we packed up our bag, they checked Marianne again, we dressed our little girl,  and got everything to the car. It was a very unseasonably warm day in February, but the night was cool again.  Around 11:30 that night we left, I'm not sure why we stayed so long it didn't feel like we were lingering or dragging it out while there, but in reflection we spent more time there that day than with either other daughter. 

We drove home slowly too, stopping to get me some gatorade that I weirdly wanted. Marty was awake when we got home but both girls asleep. We left them asleep until the morning when they got to meet their sister. 

And now my cuddle buddy stirs, so I'm going back to cuddles nursing, and sleeping.  

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Laundry room

There are often little details in old houses that go unnoticed. These never make it into new houses because it costs money to do these things and 'no one is going to see it anyway'. 
For example, this is the inside header, trim, and casing on the doorway of a small closet off the kitchen. You only see it when standing inside the closet which is almost impossible to do. And yet, when building the house, they wanted it to be beautiful and consistent throughout. One of the reasons I love old houses. 

We used this small closet as a pantry since we moved in. Some crappy plastic shelves and viola! all of our dry good storage could be dumped in here. It was fine. 

However, with the advent of the pantry, we decided to move the washer and dryer here and make the former laundry area the temporary cat home. It's fine. 

So here's the empty space with the gas, water, and vents all hooked up, and then as Harris started stacking and hooking up the machines. Luckily, our friend Michael stopped by and told Harris about a time he had to hold his wife's feet as she dangled behind the washer trying to fix something. This lead Harris to cut out the bottom boards to make an easier access point from the basement. 

Girls Bathroom Final

There's the beautiful princess tub that I looked for on Craigslist for over a year. That Harris almost didn't get because we got into an argument the morning he was to go get, that Madeline rescued from adult drama by quietly saying, 'but my princess tub...' with her head hung low making the adults feel pretty low. 

It's been sitting, waiting upstairs, for two-ish years.  

There was a gross shower here. Now it is gone forever and the tub will go there using existing plumbing. 

Us checking out paint colors. We all mutually decided we liked a peachy pink color for the walls.  

Harris getting rid of paneling after I got rid of the shower stall. Well, I unscrewed and unbolted everything so he could chuck it in the dumpster across the street.

The last of the paneling is now gone from the house. I think. I'm sure I'll find another little bit here or there. 
The tile arrived in August.  Harris built a partition wall separating the entrance to what will one day be our room from the girls bathroom. We found board that were quite similar and tacked those up!
We let Madeline pick the paint color, she went with a pale peachy pink that I think will hold up nicely for a decade or more of heavy use by some splashy little girls.  Harris had to paint because I couldn't - between getting home and being exhausted or getting sick, it just wasn't happening.

We had someone else lay the tile because of all of our amazing skills, tile isn't one of them. 
On the first day of tiling, the tile guys gave to me, waterproofing cement board! 

On the second day of tiling, the tile guys gave to me, mortared in tile without grouting. 
And on the third day - grout! 

We used Fireclay tile for the border with a hex pattern we bought online for the floor. We have some clean up to do on the wood floors that become the hallway. 
The trim is a mimic of the trim throughout the house. 
The vanity is from IKEA, obviously, they make great sinks and vanities. We also got the matching dresser so the girls have a place to store towels, soaps, and things now and later. 

The view from the girls room entry

The girls room entry

The view from the main hallway.  We got a crazy good deal on the light fixture and mirror from an interior designer off craigslist. 

We've hung curtains and a towel bar and little things like that. We're very happy with how it turned out, even it this tiny room took 7 months instead of 7 weeks. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Happy birthday!

Someone is eight years old today. 
She's very insistent that until the time of her birth, she is not yet actually 8. Precision is important with this one. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

At the Women's March in Raleigh

Because I'm a million months pregnant, we did not drive to DC, but instead to Raleigh where we joined 15,000 other people who marched. The girls were getting restless in the crowds, so we did a fair bit of walking around in search of open spaces. 

The sign says "I stand up for..." 
Madeline wrote, Women's Rights. 
Margot told me to write, Mommy, YaYa, Margot. 

with our signs, Madeline decided to write, Be Kind and Brave
Mine said My Body, My Choice, another mother raising Smart Strong Girls!

The crows were a little too much for Madeline, Margot liked them, but not the massive puppets in attendance. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Catching up

It's been a harder than expected winter. 

Hillary losing the election has hit our family hard. Many of our friends will be hurt by the policies being put forward, our communities will be damaged, and there are kids and adults all around us sad, scared, and afraid for what this means for our county. Harris works at the Jewish Community Center - his clients, friends, and families have seen Jews be vilified, images of their children in ovens, references to the Holocaust. Jews make up less than 3% of our country. Why are you picking on them? Why are you silent when you allies seek to hurt them? 

I get it, everyone disagrees about political ideas and concepts , but fundamentally, I'm not saying the religious right has no place in our society. I'm not saying that Republicans should all die and yet, the rhetoric I see from others is that immigrants don't belong here, that some people 'deserve' more than they are getting, that gay people are gross and shouldn't exist. Why. WHY? What harm is caused you by two people existing in a loving and mutually respectful relationship? How does that hurt you? How does someone seeking freedom and democracy and safety in America harm you?  How do you look at immigrants in our communities or really just brown people bc you don't know that they are immigrants and say, you don't deserve what I have?  Tiny segments of our population and you think, well, I'll show them. That's tyranny, not democracy. 

What kind of horrible interpretation of your new testament have you been reading that you think any of those things are ok?  How can people vote for someone who has been married three times, brags about raping women, and threatens to murder people in the street?  How little do you think of men that you think everyone acts and talks this way? 

And finally, how afraid are you of successful women? Have you seen me? Do you know me? Is this how you feel about me too - a smart, highly educated, driven woman - that I should be put in my place?

Perhaps you just think I should know my place and be content with inequality. 

Fuck that. 
I'm strong, independent, fair, and ethical. I, with Harris, am raising a whole passel of strong, smart, independent daughters. The world belongs to us. We will continue to change this country and this world for the better. In the end, we - the fair minded, ethical, loving - prevail.  

Life continues.  

My President is a black man. I saw his plane before election day. It was amazing. 
Our next president should have been the most qualified candidate in history - a woman. I fear what's in store for our country. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Madeline was Luna this year for Halloween. Margot a bumblebee.
We 'made' Madeline's costume after a trip to the Trosa thrift store and scrap exchange to get some supplies. Total cost around $12. maybe.