Wednesday, November 30, 2011

STILL too sexy fo' my car

So... remember how I had been driving a muscle car in the weeks prior to giving birth?  And remember how I was joking about how H-A-W-T I must have looked trying to back my ass up to get into that car?

Ohhhhh yeahhhhhhh....

Well, when I had my maternity photos taken a mere 5 days before Ladybug showed up, I coerced the photographer into taking some pin-up shots with me and my sexy car.  

Behold the hotness!!!

I know you are mad jealous of my America's Next Top Model Skillzzzz!
Maternity photos by: Emily Wilson - she's amazing!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Room of Ladybug's Own

When we were getting ready for Little G to join our family, we turned our (then) guest room into his nursery.  I was very excited to have created a space for Little G that was whimsical and not too theme-y and not too gender specific.

Once we found out our second child was a girl, I started thinking of ways I could transition his nursery into a space all our daughter's own without breaking the bank.

I'm pleased as punch with how it turned out!

All of the details along with some fun comparison shots are over at the FLOR blog...go check it out!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Please don't hate...

I'm just going to go ahead and say it.  

As of 10 days post-partum, I weighed less than when I got pregnant and was able to legitimately put on my pre-pregnancy jeans.

Ok...go ahead and hate.  I mean, I totally would if it were someone else.

But let me just get through this because I don't normally brag about my body and for once, I'm totally excited about it.

Waaaaaay back before I was pregnant with Little G, I weighed 206lbs.  Here's a picture of me the month before I got pregnant:

While pregnant with Little G, I gained over 40 lbs.  He weighed 10 lbs, 5oz. Here's a picture of me the day before I gave birth:

I only ever lost around 30 lbs of my pregnancy weight with Little G...meaning that I started this pregnancy with Ladybug at 216lbs.  Here is a picture of me exactly one day before I found out I was pregnant with Ladybug.

With Ladybug, I only gained 13 lbs.  She weighed 10lbs, 4.8oz.   Here's a picture of me 5 days before I gave birth:

So here we are.  This is a picture of me taken last Sunday.  (Ignore the mahem in the background, I seriously grabbed the iPhone and asked hubs to take a picture just so I could post it).  I'm in my pre-pregnancy jeans that fit better than before I got pregnant, even though I still have a small bit of my pregnancy pooch left.  My weight on that day was 212.

I wish I could take credit for having done something right, but I didn't really make any major lifestyle changes this pregnancy.  The best I can attribute it to is that I was mostly pregnant over the summer which meant that

  1. I was eating better since most of what we eat during the summer comes from our CSA

  2. I was running around with Little G all summer, walking all over the place.  Everywhere from the Children's Museum to various parks to chasing him around the beach, etc.
Anyway, even though I know it is totally obnoxious to post this (especially so close to after Thanksgiving), I really just wanted to share this small triumph in my life.

So, yay.  Go me! back to our regularly scheduled snark and self-deprecation.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Maternity photos!!

A good friend of mine is friends with a fantastic photographer from Philadelphia, Emily B. Wilson.  Emily was planning on being up in the Boston area just before Ladybug's due date and offered to take maternity pictures for us.  If you'll recall, I went the DIY route for my maternity pictures with Little G, but that was before we had a toddler in the mix. 

I'm so pleased with these pictures and so glad we got to take them before it was too late!

Little G was acting his age through most of the photo shoot...which meant running around and not wanting to be held back by mommy and daddy.  But as you can see, he's a total camera ham!  He just didn't want to be tied down to us.  But she got some great shots of the three of us too, which is a total testament to how great she is to work with.

In these photos, I am 38 weeks, 5 days pregnant...but Ladybug decided to show up a mere 5 days after these were taken!

I have to mention, I was DREADING going to this photo shoot because I was uncomfortable and I no longer felt good about my body.  While I have always said I never feel more comfortable with my body than when I am very pregnant, there has always been a point in my pregnancies that I have passed that level of bliss and moved on to the oh-my-gosh-I'm-gigantic phase.  I was so close to cancelling this photo shoot on numerous occasions and I am so glad I didn't.  Not only did Emily do an amazing job capturing my family, but she made me feel so incredibly comfortable.  She truly is a professional and I can only hope that her business takes her far!

Go check her out!!

Emily B. Wilson Photography

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Breaking news!!

Ok...not really, but I'm excited about it.

After much thoughtful consideration, I have decided to officially nickname our daughter (for the purposes of this blog and general terms-of-endearment-usage)...


Monday, November 21, 2011

Some thoughts on my birthing experiences

On Braxton Hicks vs. Real Contractions

  • I had very strong Braxton Hicks contractions in the weeks before Ladybug was born.  Some were strong enough to take my breath away and I definitely had to stop what I was doing and wait for them to pass.  I didn't remember what the difference had been for me between the Braxton Hicks and the real contractions for Little G's birth, so when I finally had some real contractions I was quick to notice that they were very different.

    The Braxton Hicks would wash either over or across my whole body like a wave (with Little G) or deeply below that near my pelvis (with Ladybug).  But my real contractions felt like they were centered from within like a very deep, very intense period cramp.  They also set in quickly and dissipated slowly.  For instance, if the pain scale for each individual contraction went to 10 it would look like this with the spacing:


On Symphosis Pubis Dysfunction or SPD

  • I find it slightly interesting that although I was aware that my pelvis was already in place and ready to have a baby, it never even dawned on me that the end of my labor would go QUITE that fast!  Which in hindsight deserves a big-fat-DUH!  Seriously.  I was walking around in excruciating pain for weeks solely because my pelvis had already moved into position to birth a child which meant that it had no support and was basically just dangling along.  I even joked to people that my body was just going to spit out a baby because it was already ready...and yet I was so shocked that she came so quickly.  Yeah.  Duh.

The original birth story

Some more thoughts on my birthing experience
Some final thoughts on my birthing experience  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sane is best!

See this woman?

I hate her.

I have the same, exact breast pump and there is no way in hell that I could ever A) get that much milk and B) sit there calmly at my desk with my suit top open and write a memo...or do basic math...or doodle...or whatever it is she's doing.

So, Ladybug turned three weeks old yesterday and that is exactly how old her big brother was when I made the difficult, but right for me, decision to stop breastfeeding.  You can read all about that emotional roller coaster HERE.

Before Ladybug was born I promised myself that I wasn't going to let myself get as emotionally invested in breastfeeding as I did last time.  The last thing any of us needs is a weepy momma who can't function because she's gone bat-sh*t crazy over breastfeeding.  I thought that if I was ultra aware of the risks of getting too attached to breastfeeding than maybe I wouldn't fall so hard if/when it didn't work again.  My goal was to make it three weeks; as long as I made it with Little G.

And yet, bat-sh*t crazy-land is exactly where I found myself heading emotionally just a couple of weeks ago.  Ladybug was losing weight at a rapid pace and our pediatrician suggested that we start supplementing.  I was ok with that, but I was so sad that I once again wasn't able to breastfeed exclusively.  I had pumped in the hospital when she wouldn't latch onto a side in an attempt to keep my breasts stimulated (and I was ecstatic when I got 7cc's of colostrum one night) but now we had to do the exact thing that had drove me over the edge with Little G: I was supposed to breastfeed, then supplement, then pump to try to up my supply.  Although Ladybug wasn't crying after breastfeeding like Little G did, thus making it impossible to find time to pump, I was only getting 1-2 oz a session which was starting to feel pointless and unproductive.

And then it happened.

Ladybug started latching on improperly just like her brother did when he annihilated my nipple in the course of a few hours.  I recognized that this was a bad thing...a very, VERY bad thing, so I stopped breastfeeding Ladybug immediately and went to exclusively pumping and supplementing with formula to protect my nipples from the infection that devastated my supply last time.

Since then, I contacted a nutraceutical pharmacologist at a local compounding center and started on a course of Mallunggay leaves and Eye of Newt...kidding on that last's really Goat's Rue.  These are to hopefully up my supply.  I've been taking them since Monday afternoon and so far I don't see an increase in production, but it can take some women up to two weeks to notice a difference.

As I said, as of yesterday, I have provided as much breast milk as I can for my daughter for three weeks which is exactly what my goal was.  I am hoping that in the next few days some more milk will start to come in and I can potentially give her more than I am currently giving her.  But if that doesn't happen, I am trying to get myself ready to let it go.

But even with all of my emotional precautions, even with a two year old IN THE HOUSE who thrived on formula, it is so hard not to beat myself up about this.  No matter how many times I tell myself that a sane mommy is best, the message that breast is best is the loudest one I hear.

What was your breastfeeding journey?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The birth story of Baby C - 10/27/11

Baby C’s due date was November 5, 2011.  But as early as mid-October, I had a feeling that she wasn't going to wait until her due date to show up.  My pregnancy had been fairly easy but it was definitely different than Little G's.   I had very intense Braxton Hicks contractions with Baby C that centered well below my belly.  Little G's were mostly the kind that washed over my belly in comparison.  Probably the biggest difference in my second pregnancy was that I had some very severe pain in my groin which ended up being SPD, or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction.  Basically it means that your body is releasing hormones that are causing your pelvis to start to separate in preparation for having a baby.  While it was nice to know my body was ready to give birth, it was excruciatingly painful.   

The Braxton Hicks contractions were very intense the week prior to having Baby C and I was as positive as I could be that she was coming within the week…of course, I couldn’t really know…but I couldn’t imagine her NOT coming early.  On the Friday before she was born, I had an OB appointment and I wasn’t surprised to hear that I was already 2cm dilated.  My OB suggested I take it easy over the next few days since he was going out of town and wanted to make sure that I didn’t give birth while he was away!  Sadly, that wasn’t to be as the very next day we had our maternity picture session scheduled to shoot.

We gathered with our friends and the photographer at the Arboretum on Saturday morning to take pictures and then afterwards we all headed to the Franklin Park Zoo…so instead of sitting and resting I was on my feet from 9 until 2pm that day…oops.  Not much happened after the zoo, though, so who knows if it had anything to do with my labor starting early.

The next Thursday morning, October 27, I woke up around 3:30 in the morning and realized I had been having pretty steady contractions that were coming every ten minutes.  I started tracking them on my iPhone at 4:50am and texted my doula an hour later:

10/27/2011 5:47am

Hi there...pretty sure labor has started. Contractions every 10 min for past 90 min. Hubs will take G to daycare at 7 and then swing by work to pick up some stuff. Should be back by 9. Any ideas on when you should come over? Feel free to call. We're up.

The Doula:
How intense are things feeling? And how long are they lasting?  As long as they mild and manageable and spaced to 10 minutes we will call it on the early side. When they get closer, longer and a bit stronger I could make my way.

They're pretty intense and just short of a minute each (thanks to my handy iPhone tracker app). Haven't gotten out of bed though...cause I'm warm and comfy. Should I do that to see if they change? Also, may have potentially broken water but really not sure. Barely a trickle if that

The Doula:
No problem to stay in bed! They may be more managable if you are not lying down but if you are comfy let's go with it! Get up when you feel so inclined and we shall see how/if they change.

Hubs would like me to ask if you think this is the beginning of labor :)

The Doula:
Yes! I would say you are in early labor

The Doula:
Let's see what the next few hours bring and touch base again


My contractions kept consistently coming faster with a few random ones thrown in that were a bit longer in frequency.  By 8:00 in the morning, I was getting down to every 6-8 minutes and by 8:30 I had had several at a frequency of only every 4-6 minutes.  We had already called/emailed/texted the support team we had put in place for Little G logistics.  They figured out amongst themselves who would bring Little G home from daycare, who would meet him at the house, who would get him dinner and who would stay overnight with him based on their various work schedules.  So we started to gather our things to go to the hospital and I continued to track my contractions.  But over the next hour they spaced out again to every 6-8 minutes.  From 9:30 – 10:30 they were every 9-11 minutes.  By noon time, they were only every half hour.  I called our doula pretty much devastated because I was convinced I had broken my labor.  Since I didn’t go into labor naturally with Little G, I had no idea if what I had been experiencing was real or not and I was so disappointed and discouraged.  I also felt ashamed (and I admit that it was silly to feel this way) that I had posted on Facebook that we were going to have a baby that day and I had gotten our Little G-back-up-team all in a tizzy and it seemed like things were really slowing down.  Could I have been in false labor?  Did I have days, possibly weeks left to go?

Our doula assured me that it was very ‘normal’ for labor to slow down sometimes in the middle.  I hadn’t broken anything.  She explained that sometimes our bodies quiet things down in preparation for all of the work that we’re going to have to do later.  She suggested that we sit tight, watch a movie and relax a little bit.  She also suggested that if we wanted to see if we could move labor along, we could try nipple stimulation and/or try intercourse.  The most important thing she mentioned doing was trying to get my mind off of my stalled labor.  So I did what any crazy-pants-lady-in-stalled-labor would do…I made a pork belly roast!  To be fair, my labor was really stalled and I had taken out two pork bellies earlier in the week with the intent of braising them and they HAD to be made that day or we would lose them…so I figured I would start cooking them since we’d either get to enjoy them, or have to throw them out because they either went bad in the refrigerator or because I had to abort cooking them halfway through to go to the hospital and have a baby.

After throwing the roast in the oven, my husband and I sat down to watch a movie, “Horrible Bosses”…which was a pretty horrible movie.  Pretty soon it was time to pick up Little G from daycare.  I didn’t have anything else to do, so I went along for the ride, having called off the troops for the time being.  On our way to pick up Little G, my husband asked me what I wanted to do for dinner and I looked at him and said that I wanted to share the roast pork belly with our friends.  So my husband sent out an email to our support team letting them know we had a HUGE amount of braised pork belly ready to eat in our house and that I wanted nothing more than to be surrounded by good friends while my labor was stalled.

We got back from picking up Little G and pretty soon our neighbors showed up with their two little ones.  Little G's Godmother showed up next.  I finished off the pork belly by broiling it to get it extra crispy and added some chopped cabbage to round out the dish and eventually served it up to everyone.  From 6:00 – 7:00, while everyone was over having dinner, my contractions finally ramped up again and averaged every 8-11 minutes.  We said goodbye to our neighbors since it was bed time for their kids and Little G's Godmother stayed, insisting that she was going to stay overnight to be with Little G if we headed to the hospital.  We put Little G to sleep and over the next hour my contractions went down again to every 10-12 minutes. 

It was now 8:00pm and we called our doula again to let her know that things were ramping up again.  I decided that I wanted to try getting in our tub to labor but I quickly realized that was NOT a position for me.  I am sure it would work great if we had a super big tub and I was a smaller person…but as it was, I was wedged into a cold, iron tub and barely able to lay down even with my legs fully bent.  It was the opposite of comfortable even if I hadn’t been in labor.  I had one contraction while in the tub and decided that was enough of that so instead I had my husband unwedge me from my uncomfortable position and help me stand up so I could take a shower.  Now THAT felt good.  It was super hot and very comforting, but eventually, I started to prune so I decided it was time to get out.

It was now close to 9:00pm and my contractions had been every 5-7 minutes apart so we called our doula again and asked her to come over to our home.  In the meantime, my husband started getting things in the car and ready for when she arrived.  I settled down into a chair in our living room and sat there listening to the music on my iPod that I had made into a soothing playlist way back when Little G was born.  My contractions were getting VERY intense, but were still not consistently 5 minutes apart.  My husband asked my permission to go upstairs and take a quick shower before our doula got there and I told him to go, but go quickly.  While he was gone, I ended up having two major contractions that could only have been 5 minutes apart.  I know this because I exclaimed during the second one that my husband was taking the “World’ Most F*cking Long Shower”, but I was told afterwards by Little G's Godmother (who was quietly knitting on our couch through the whole process) that my husband was literally only gone for 5 minutes AND he had shaved…making it quite possibly the world’s shortest shower.

A few minutes after my husband came back downstairs, our doula arrived at our house.  I had a few contractions while she was at the house and it was so great to have her there to help me release the tension I was holding in my shoulders and remind me to breathe through the contractions.  We started discussing going to the hospital and I decided that I wanted to go sooner than later because I knew there were a lot of things that would need to get done before I could settle in and focus on having a baby.  I kept saying, “We’ll need to park the car, get out of the car, walk in, explain who we are, fill out the paper work, talk to the anesthesiologist even though I don’t want an epidural, get an IV, etc.”  My husband pointed out that the only thing I needed to do in all of that list of things was get-out-of-the-car and he would take care of the rest.  But still, we decided it was a good time to go.  As instructed by my OB, we called his answering service to let them know we were on the way to the hospital.  At that point it was around 10:00pm and things were now in the 4-5 minute range.  It was also snowing outside, so I thought we should take our Volvo because it is a safer car…but then I started to feel a bit nauseous, so I quickly suggested we take my husband’s rickety old VW Jetta instead.

We headed out the door and to the car.  I was wearing my pajamas, a huge sweatshirt-material robe and rubber boots (because it was snowing).  Our doula sat in the back and coached me through the contractions while we drove the 25 minutes to the hospital.  I have to give my husband major credit here because there was SO much fog on the windows from my heavy breathing that he could barely see and he managed to miss most of the potholes on the way to the hospital.  While in the car, I had two contractions that were double contractions; meaning that they ramped up and started to come down and then stalled and went up again before coming down.  In hindsight, we now know that I went through transition in the car in those two contractions.  We got to the hospital and headed to the ER because we didn’t realize that the maternity check-in area was open until midnight.  I had another awful contraction while getting out of the car and I remember crying to my husband and telling him that I didn’t want a baby anymore.  He reminded me that I just had to get through the contraction I was having and to just focus on that.  Our doula and I headed into the hospital and my husband went back outside to get all of our stuff out of the car before the Valet could take it away.  At that moment, I had another contraction and decided that since I was at the hospital I was no longer going to track them on my iPhone like I had been doing all day, so I slammed my iPhone on the counter in protest.

An orderly helped me get into a wheel chair and then rolled me all the way to Labor and Delivery.  It was a least a five minute walk and he was BOOKING it!  Our doula was practically running next to him as he raced through the hallways.  When we got to Labor and Delivery, it was very quiet and there were three nurses at the station and they all looked up at me and one said, “Who are you?”  Apparently the answering service had never called the hospital to let them know I was on the way!!  I looked at the nurses and very calmly said, “My name is --- ------.  My OB is Dr. ------.  I am in labor and I would like to take off my boots and I would like some warm slippers.  I would also like my husband.” 

The nurses were all pretty slow in my mind, but in hindsight, they had no idea how far along in my labor I was and I was acting pretty rational…not at all like a person who is about to actually give birth.  One nurse took me into a delivery room and handed me a gown and told me to change into it.  I went into the bathroom and changed into the gown but for some reason didn’t remove my underwear.  As I came out of the bathroom, my husband finally showed up.  The nurse wanted me to get on the bed so she could put the fetal monitor on me and I hesitated because I didn’t want to be tethered to the monitor for my whole labor.  Our doula and my husband pointed out that they needed to monitor the baby for just a little bit so they could know what my status was.

I sat down on the bed and the nurse asked me where my baby’s heartbeat usually was found and I pointed it out to her and she found it right away.  It was about 11:00ish and someone casually asked if I was going to have a baby today or tomorrow.  I said I had no idea.  I mention this because I feel like that moment right there was the only moment of relative calm in the entire time I was in Labor and Delivery!  Not long after that moment, I felt another contraction coming on and I sat up on the side of the bed.  Mid-contraction, I felt a pop, almost what seemed to be a baby kick but it was way lower than any kicking baby had ever kicked me before.  Immediately after that, my water broke and literally gushed all over the side of the bed.  A few moments later the Resident on call came into the room and checked my cervix while I was sitting at the side of the bed.  I was 8cm dilated, 100% effaced but at 0 station.  To have a baby, you have to be at 10 cm dilated and +3 station.  The latter of which is a measurement of where the baby is in relation to the birth canal and your pelvis.  To quote the doctor, “the baby’s still pretty high up there”.

The Doctor left and not long after that I had another contraction while sitting on the side of the bed.  Toward the end of the contraction I felt the most intense need to push and I said, “I have to push”.  But then the contraction ended.  Our doula looked at one of the nurses and said, “She’s talking about pushing, can you get the Doctor?”  Since the contraction was over, the nurses were trying to get me into a new gown but I only got it halfway on when I started to have another massive contraction.  This time, I HAD to push…I couldn’t stop.  The nurses were all saying, “DON’T PUSH” and in my head I was thinking I was only at 8cm, and you can’t have a baby until 10 cm, so clearly I was going to completely rupture my body in some way if I pushed…but I couldn’t stop it from happening.  I pushed and the baby’s head was crowning.  our doula called my husband over to where she was standing because you could see the baby  (he had been standing in front of me helping to hold me up).  I felt the ring of fire and knew that our baby was coming.  I tried to crouch down instinctively and someone said, “Don’t Sit!!  You’ll sit on her head!!” but I was just trying to crouch.  With one massive push, I pushed our baby girl out of my body just as the Doctor was running into the room to catch her before hitting the floor!  There was a massive gush of body fluids all over the place.  It was 11:12pm; only 35 minutes after arriving at the hospital and within 20 minutes of getting into my hospital gown. 

They helped me lay down on the bed so I could deliver the placenta at that point and they put my feet in the stirrups.  Because my body had delivered so quickly, it was still in transition and all of the hormones and adrenaline were still rushing through my body.  As I lay there, my body was convulsing out of control and it was one of the freakiest things I have ever seen.  I cannot express enough how glad I was to have our doula there with me to explain all of the things that were going on with my body.  While this was going on, my husband was with Baby C as she got cleaned up and got her Vitamin K drops.  They weighed and measured her at 10 pounds, 4.8oz (only .2 oz less than Little G) and 21.25 inches long (only .25 inches shorter than Little G).

Because I gave birth standing up, I had less of a tear than I had with Little G and generally was in better condition.  This time, I got a local while the Doctor stitched me up but it was difficult to focus on what she was doing anyway because my body was shaking uncontrollably.  Eventually, things calmed down and the doctor finished stitching me up.  We spent the next hour or so in the labor and delivery room answering all of the questions and filling out all of the forms that we should have filled out prior to having the baby including finally getting my hospital bracelet!

The birth of our daughter was the most intense and chaotic moment of my life.  When our son was born, I was enamored with him and the process.  We had worked together to birth him and I felt like we were a team together.  But with my daughter, there was no time to bond like that.  It was fast and furious and anything but deeply meaningful*.  But it was still a beautiful birth and I am so incredibly proud of my body for birthing our daughter in such a spectacular way.


If you haven't already read it and are interested in doing so... you can find the birth story of our son, Little G,  here:

Here are some recent pictures of Ladybug (her official blog moniker) at 8 months:


* When I first wrote this story, just a few weeks after the Ladybug was born, I definitely felt removed from her birth.  The experience had been incredibly chaotic and there was no time for deep meaning.  I can confirm that 8 months after her birth, I look back at the events of that day and it is incredibly meaningful to me.  More than ever, I feel like she and I were (and are) a team and her birth was her way of getting to me as quickly as possible.  I spoke with my doula not long after her birth and we talked about how removed I felt at the time from the experience.  It turns out that isn't too uncommon for fast births.  I wrote a bit more about that, as well as some other birth story thoughts in the following series:

Some Thoughts on My Birthing Experience

  • On Braxton Hicks vs. Real Contractions
  • On Symphosis Pubis Dysfunction or SPD

Some More Thoughts on my Birthing Experience

  • On Getting to the Hospital and Fearing the Nurses Didn't Believe I Was in Labor
  • On Taking More Time to Bond With My Daughter After a Fast Birth

Some Final Thoughts on my Birthing Experience

  • On Gratitude and Our Support Team
  • On My Contractions Timing App
  • On Working With a Doula for a Second Birth


If you haven't already read it and are interested in doing so... you can find the birth story of our son, Little G, (and the famed placenta picture) here: Birth Story of Our Son 07-08-09

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An open letter to Bono - and then I'll stop...promise.

Dear Bono,

I'm not sure how I found out about your latest project, From the Sky Down, but I did.  And even though I was in the hospital having just had my second child, I knew it was important enough for me to look into it further, so I did (all hail the power of the smart phone) and I was able to set up our DVR to record it on Showtime.

I knew that the piece was a documentary that was made reflecting on the 20th anniversary of Achtung third most-favorite of all of your albums.  But until I saw the film this past weekend (what can I say..we've been busy) I was unaware of how much I would respect you even more after seeing it.

You see, a long time ago, I was a musician too.  But before that ever happened, I was just a nerdy kid trying to get through junior high.  My older sister was a freshman in college and I was visiting her during Parent's Weekend.  There was no end to my level of admiration for my sister and her totally-cool, super-awesome college friends so when they all mentioned going to see a movie that night and the possibility of me going along with them I was totally excited.

We all piled into someone's very small hatchback with me crouched in the leg space of the front passenger seat.  I felt important and risky and cool.  At the theater, we got tickets to see "Rattle and Hum", a movie about a band called U2.  I rarely listened to the radio and when I did it was to bubble gum, eighty's pop like Tiffany and Wham!.  Sometimes I branched out toward Duran Duran, but only when at my best friend, Stephanie's, house.

I can remember sitting in the dark theater watching the movie and falling deeply and madly in love with you.  I had never seen anything so sexy in my life as you running your hands through your sweaty hair and passionately belting out the most amazing music into the microphone.  "Rattle and Hum" changed my life.  I came home and immediately purchased the in the actual record...and then purchased an album of "Joshua Tree".  I listened to them daily enraptured by the incredible instrumentation and melodies and words and your voice.

It was about this time in my life where I discovered the pure and utter joy of singing.  I was pretty good at it and went on to take voice lessons and go to a performing arts high school and eventually major in vocal performance in college.  One thing I could never truly describe to people was that when I was singing, I was never really singing the words, although you could always understand what I was saying, rather I was always singing the music.  I was emoting the feeling that the music gave to me.  To this day, I know that is why I was a great singer...because I felt the music.

Last weekend, I got the chance to sit down and watch your latest project, From the Sky Down.  It is a documentary made reflecting on the 20th anniversary of Achtung baby.  Much of the film focuses on the struggle you as a band were having coming together after the blinding success of "Joshua Tree" followed by the critically panned "Rattle and Hum" and trying to figure out who you were and where you wanted to go next.  The film gives an incredible view into the band's and your creative process where the songs and the melodies and the riffs all come together on their own and the words come later.  I watched the piece in awe seeing for the first time that my creative process was not unlike yours.

The movie touches upon your distaste for the film and album project, "Rattle and Hum". But I felt it necessary to write this letter to you to let you know that those things were not for naught. "Rattle and Hum" was an awakening for a lost seventh grader who would blossom into a confident, poised singer.  It was the beginning of a revolution for me and the discovery of who I was meant to be.

So, thank you.  I know I'm only one person among billions...but I can only hope that my story could potentially transform the film and album experience of "Rattle and Hum" for U2...even if just for a moment.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I love you too, U2

While breastfeeding in the middle of the night last week, I was listening to a mix of slow, relaxing songs that I had curated into a playlist before I had Garrison.  That playlist accompanied my first labor and was instrumental in my being able to focus as I went through each contraction.  This time around, labor was too fast to even set up the sound dock for my iPod, but we did listen to it after I had her while we were still in the delivery room answering all of the registration questions that we skipped earlier in the evening since I was having a baby'am!

Anyway, the playlist is soothing and I liked to listen to it when breastfeeding because it helped calm me down and relax me.  Soon, a song by U2 came on and I started to listen to the beautiful melodies and sway to the beat and I looked at Ladybug and started to tell her about Bono and how U2 is mommy and daddy's favorite band when it hit me.

She's already heard them in concert!

My husband and I got to see the U2 360 tour when they came to Boston a couple of months after Little G was born.  My husband promised me back when we were dating that he would take me to a U2 concert since I had never been...and then three tours later, I finally made him get tickets.  It was absolutely amazing.

So...when my sister called me up and offered to take me AGAIN for my birthday I was ecstatic!  It isn't often you get to see the same tour...almost two years after you've already seen it for the first time!  But since it was the second-to-last show on the tour and the whole shebang had been put off a year thanks to Bono's accident and subsequent back surgery, that's just how it worked out.  The concert was in Philadelphia so I just had to get myself there.  It didn't matter that I was 6 months pregnant - I was totally gung ho about getting to see them again.

Funny story, when we got to the stadium, I was famished, so we tried to find a place to sit down and eat but there was no place to sit down on the concourse.  We ended up getting a hot dog and fries and wandering around trying to locate our seats.  I was walking pretty slowly even back then, so it took a while to get to our level where we still didn't see any place to sit down.  Eventually, I just plopped myself down on a stairwell so I could scarf down my cold fries.  I finished them quickly and we continued toward where our seats theoretically should have been, but there were big glass doors and security in the way so my sister kept trying to go around that area.  Finally I asked her where the tickets said we were supposed to be and she said "C---".  I looked at her and exclaimed..."C means, CLUB!  We go through those glass doors!"  She totally didn't believe me, but it was true.  And let me tell you, walking through those doors into the gloriously air conditioned club area was hilarious.  There were cushy lounge-type seats EVERYWHERE.  There were carving stations and bars and people just walking up to you handing out menus so you could use your smartphone to order and have them deliver it to your seat.  We could not stop laughing at the fact that I had just been scarfing down cold fries in a stairwell moments prior!

Anyway, we eventually headed out to our seats and were greeted with the iconic U2 360 set.

The evening was absolutely gorgeous and the concert was ah-maze-ing.  A MAZE ING!!!  Ladybug didn't make a move during the entire concert, so I'm hoping it is because she was listening intently :)  My one and only issue with the concert was that the people around us all sat most of the concert!  I did not.  And I didn't care who was behind me.  If my preggo ass could stand up through the concert than it was going to stand up.

I even got to record a bit on my iPhone to take with me as a memento of the awesome night.

I can only hope that my daughter will grow up to like them as well...but if we're being totally would be like me growing up to adore fill-in-the-blank-of-whatever-lame-o-band-my-parents-liked-around-the-time-I-was-born.  Yeah...that's gonna hurt.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Blessingway

Last Saturday the 5th (Ladybug's original due date) she and I headed out of the house to attend a blessingway* for a good friend of mine whom I have always referred to on this blog as, Roberta.  I've known Roberta and her husband for a long time, you may recall my sharing a certain one of my it-could-only-happen-to-me type stories involving her and her husband a while back. Roberta and Chris have a son who is a year older than Little G and the four of us hang out together on Tuesdays during the summer on CSA pickup day.

Anyway, she is due with their second baby in early December so she held a blessingway to celebrate the upcoming birth and we were invited.  Since it was Ladybug's original due date, we didn't think I would be able to attend, but since she showed up early, we were excited to be able to participate.

When we got to Roberta's house, she was at the end of the process of getting a large henna tattoo on her belly. She had the artist draw a cross near where they think the baby's heart is and then she gave the artist carte blanche to do whatever she wanted.  The picture is below and you can see it was gloriously beautiful!

After the artist was finished with Roberta's belly she offered to draw on our hands.  Below are the many beautiful designs we ended up with.  (Mine is on the far left)

The henna itself dries and then you flake it off and it leaves a dark yellow tattoo on your skin.  The next day, it darkens.  You can see what mine looked like the next day, below.

There were many mommies there, a couple of us with new 'second' babies who are still nursing, so they were invited as well.  At one point Ladybug napped alongside another baby friend and we all joked that they looked like they were passed out at a frat party.  There may have been mention of getting a couple of empty beer cans to use as a prop for the photo below, but they seem to emulate the drunken-passed-out look just fine without props.

After most of the guests had left, Roberta's husband and son came back from their outing and Ladybug and I spent some time with them.

I remember getting the invitation for the blessingway and being disappointed because I figured I wouldn't be able to attend and I wanted so badly to go and support Roberta.  Thankfully, Ladybug apparently can't miss a good party so we were both able to attend.


* so, what is a blessingway? My husband asked the same question and I tried to explain that it was an event to celebrate the new baby and mother that was different than a shower.  I explained that a shower had games, and balloons and themes and cake whereas the blessingway was a place to share stories and give blessings to the mom-to-be.  Of course my husband immediately said, "will there be food and cake?".  To which I answered, "yes".  Which then prompted him to snark, "than it's a shower."

Whatever, blessingway or shower, it was an awesome afternoon filled with friends and love.

Have you ever attended a blessingway?