Month: June 2012


I’m signing off for a couple days until I have something, well, a little more exciting to write about.

I’m busy in time and short on inspiration and now just feels like a good time to take a {brief} break.

Not that you necessarily cared to know this…but….it makes me feel better to acknowledge it.  So there ya go.

I’ll be back in a bit.  Hopefully with lots of new stories, pictures of my daughter (of course) and possibly a new watermark (working on it).  Maybe even a blogroll?  {Currently working on compiling a list of the (dozens of?) blogs I find inspiring/uplifting/encouraging.}  P.S. In the meantime, if you are pregnant or a new Mama, check out this blog, The Wise Baby, started by a fellow ’02 Lancer.  It has tons of comparisons, buying guides and is really concise.  She makes good recommendations too.

So thanks to all of you who faithfully read my little ramblings.  It means a lot that you are here day after day. And I’m most especially grateful to those of you who find the time to write me little encouragements or bring it up in conversation or just find a way to let me know you care.  You have made me feel so very loved!

See you soonish,

My Bonnie

My Bonnie lies over the ocean,

My Bonnie lies over the sea,

My Bonnie lies over the ocean,

So bring back my Bonnie to me! 

One of the best things about where we live is that there is constant change.  There is always “something new” going in, a new store to be rumored (please, please, Earth Fare, please be coming in!), or a new restaurant to try.  And all this is amidst the already old and familiar that I have loved for the past six years.  We had no idea when we built our house that there would be a hospital/emergency room, outdoor shopping center, and a “living development” all going in…well…practically our backyard.
The newest thing we have fallen in love with is a man-made lake and “beach” that is a 2-second drive/10 minute bike ride from our house.  It’s close, it’s clean, and it’s FREE.  You can rent kayaks on the weekend and rumor has it that food trucks stop by during the weekdays.  What more could you ask for?  
How about a happy toddler that digs sand, practices “swimming” and needs the littlest of entertainment from M & D to be happy?  I’ll take it.

In the words of a fellow beachcomber, “It’s like the ocean….but better.” (Ava, 8).  My thoughts exactly.


World’s Best

“A father carries pictures where his money used to be.” Unknown

One of the best parts of looking through a yearbook is reading the class superlatives. You know “Most likely to succeed”, “class clown”, “best hair”, and so forth.  Coincidentally, at 18 years old, most of these positive traits also happened to be on my radar of how I envisioned my future husband.  Smart, funny, handsome.  Check.

What I never considered, at least not consciously, is that even as if not more important than finding a good husband was finding a good Daddy.  Of course a good husband and a good dad tend to share a lot of the same traits: being patient, a good leader, understanding, the “sometimes you just need a little surprise” gene, etc.  But the traits that we tend to forget about are the “sure I can proudly wear that paper tie that you made me!”, the “you look like you’ve had a long day, let me take her with me to run some errands and give you a little break”, and the “oh, MG, you look sooo pretty in that new dress” trait.

Thankfully when I could not see far enough ahead to know what I needed, God did.

 “The lucky man has a daughter as a first child.” Spanish proverb
“It is admirable for a man to take his son fishing, but there is a special place in Heaven for the man who takes his daughter shopping.” John Sinor
“A father is always making his baby into a little woman.  And when she is a woman he turns her back again.” Enid Bagnold
Happy Father’s Day to the man (Papa) who raised this man to be who he is today.  And to the man (Grampy) who taught me what to look for in this man.
And finally, to the man who I call Daddy more often than not.  The man who is located in the superlative section of the CHS class of ’02 yearbook.  Voted by his graduating class of over 860 students as “Most likely to be the best dad”.  I couldn’t agree more.  

Thank you for being Our World’s Best Dada,

“See what you have to look forward too??…” *

said the McAlister’s patron as he dragged his barely 2, 220 pounds of screaming toddler through the door as I nestled my 6-week old residing peacefully in my arms.  “Don’t ruin this for me” I thought.  Those past six weeks had put me through an emotional vortex.  One minute I was crying because another 24 hours had already passed us by, the next because she was too young to sleep more than 6 hours at night.

Toddlerdom.  How I severely dreaded that stage.  I preferred my sweet, peaceful baby to what was sure to be a Tasmanian devil of childhood proportions.

But now we have arrived

{If I’ve heard it once this week, I’ve heard it 1,000 times.  She looks so big.  I can see it more in the faces of her friends born around the same month as her (seeing as I’m more removed from them).  It seems like 18 months is the magical age where they turn the corner into looking more  like a little person and less  like a baby.}

And while some days are:

(this has been floating around on the Internet these days, hilarious.)
But the days in between those days are actually…dare I say….fun?!?

Our day starts gloriously late (she’s gone back to the 8-8:30am wake-up call after a brief lapse in teething judgment).  And I’m usually up and at ’em before her, allowing me to spot clean, make breakfast, and get prepped for the day.  Wonderful.

After a leisurely breakfast, we take off to a given activity: grocery store, play group, MOPs, play date, swimming pool,

pool again

{thank you, Instagram, for making me look deceptively tanned/toned}

splash park, strawberry picking,

playground, library etc.  Or even just the kiddie pool in the yard.

The key is to get OUT OF THE HOUSE.  Because otherwise, she will slowly DESTROY MY HOUSE.

(she’s been really, really in to “organizing” my jewelry these days)

Which I try to pretend like I’m all “that’s fine, honey, I’ll just clean it up during nap time”.  But deep down my inner fung shui is screaming in agony over the mess.  But outside can’t be destroyed…at least not by a 20- pound toddler.  So that’s where we reside most of our morning.

Around noonish, we hustle it back to the house for lunch.  Cheap entertainment courtesy of moi in the car to keep those little peepers open the entire time. (I’ll see your 220 versions of Wheels on the Bus and raise you two more)

We eat our lunch (well mine goes down mostly whole, more or less) and read a few books from our Bunny Bag

(our library provides these bags of about ten books geared to the age of your child {baby, toddler, preschool}.  You can keep them for as little or as long as you like.  They are wonderful!)
And then it’s nap time by 2pm.  Can I get a hallelujah?
By the time nap is over, Daddy’s home.  Hallelujah!
And we get to do it all over again until bed time.  Which is promptly at 8pm…give or take an hour during the summer 🙂
Sometimes we squeeze a bath in there too.  Sometimes

(post-bath victory lap…in her, well, polar-bear suit.)
Toddlerdom means playing/working hard by day but resting HARD by night.  We all are sleeping well these days.  (which I have to admit, it a nice change from infantdom).
So this toddler thing?  It’s not half as bad as I thought….or was lead to believe by a certain stranger.  In fact?  I think I actually like it.  Dare I say… it?

So, Mr. McAlister, despite your heedy warnings, I do look forward to this.  All of it.  Because so far, it has been way better than I ever imagined.

*linking up with Coconut Robot today and summer Fridays.  Because this post pretty much describes any given summer day at our house.

Yes, Yes Yes, NO,

Sad day…..the “no shimmy” has been replaced. And while I’m not thrilled about it…..It’s kinda hard not to love the tiniest, highest voice delicately saying “nnnNO”. Especially when she spends a good five minutes practicing it because she’s pretty sure she knows how to say it, but she hasn’t quite nailed it yet.. <> “No, nnnno, no, nnno, doe, no, da, no, nnno” Oh, yes I love her.  No’s and all.


Our Story: Boy and Girl Break-up {tear}

So after N asked me out, we were proud to be the newest happily dating couple on campus.  Things went very smoothly…for a while.  And then, we hit a rough patch and ultimately broke-up.

I honestly don’t remember the reasons why (petty, I’m sure), but I do remember feeling like we could not come to a compromise and that the only way to go was separately. So late into August of 2004, we split up.

I sought out my friends for comfort, as did he.  My friends told me not to worry: that we would eventually work things out.  His friends told him if he wanted to be with me, he better not let me get away.

And after a September football game one weekend, he started to get a crazy idea in his head.  That maybe his friends were right.  He needed to show me how much he really did care about me.  He needed to go knocking on some doors and make some opportunities for himself.  And after sounding his plan to a bunch of sweaty guys in the locker room, he was ignited by a passion.  A passion to do something crazy.  So that’s exactly what he did.

It was Labor Day weekend.  I was wallowing and needed to get away from campus to lick my wounds.  Fortunately, my friend Julie offered to bring me along to her family’s lakehouse for a weekend of sunning, boating, and drowning my sorrows in the locally famous apple pie.  She had me at sunning.  It was the perfect escape from what was sure to be lots of questions and pity looks on our small campus.

Friday night we arrived at the lake with still enough sun to enjoy dinner alfresco.  Joining us were Julie’s mom and cooler, older brother and sister-in-law.  Her Dad was on call for the weekend so unfortunately he had to stay behind.

Saturday was a fun-filled day on the lake followed by a late-night gossip session before bed.

Sunday had barely been underfoot when things started to go rapidly downhill.

We were awoken early to Julie’s sister-in-law saying some pretty confusing things. Hippies.  Back deck.  Gypsies.  Homosexuals.  Police.  Huh?  I think she had to repeat it at least once more for me to even attempt to comprehend.  Two hippies (homosexuals by Julie’s mom’s estimation: one of them had a “wedding ring on”) were asleep on the back deck.  They were probably nomads that  just sleep at different lakehouses since the owners would most likely not be home.  Julie’s mom had 911 on speed dial and they just needed us to confirm that we didn’t know them before the police were summoned.

Intrigued, we made our way upstairs….only to discover…that yes, we did know the sleeping hippies. No, the police did not need to be alerted. Yes, that does look somewhat like my ex-boyfriend.

N and his buddy Matt  had decided to “surprise” us with a little visit (thank goodness N and Julie went to high school together so she knew him just about as well as I did).  About this time Julie’s brother came in to let us know that there were MapQuest directions to the lakehouse sitting on the rogue car’s dashboard.  Thanks, but we’ve already unmasked these two unwelcome visitors.

So how did this come about?  What were N and his friend doing at the lakehouse?  And just what were they thinking scaring us all to death like that?

Funny, we were all wondering the same thing.

So the football bus had rolled into campus late Saturday night.  The guys were tired, but N was fired up.  He decided that he was going to track me down and talk some sense into me.  He started first at my dorm room.  Or dorm window, I should say, as guys were not allowed in at this time of night.  He threw pebbles at the window until my roommate appeared (thankfully, she was used to this sort of behavior so she knew exactly who she would see when our second story blinds were lifted).  She informed Mr. Unrequited Love that I had taken off for the weekend with Julie.

Well, it was a roadblock, but not a big one.  He knew exactly where Julie lived as it wasn’t too far from his parents’ house.  It wasn’t hard to convince Matt to join him either.   They were high on the spirit of adventure and lost love.

By the time they reached Julie’s house, they started to become a little anxious.  This is where they started to realize the holes in their plan. It was late.  They couldn’t just ring the doorbell.  So they started to throw rocks at what they were “pretty sure” was her bedroom window.

At some point, Julie’s dad came to the door.  In his “pajamas”.  The boys explained their mission and  he became swept up in their thrill and excitement.  They were going to win back the girl.  Of course he wouldn’t stand in their way!  The only problem was, the girl was at the lakehouse….about 2 hours away.  He invited the guys in, even went so far as to print off directions for them.  He wished them luck and sent them on their way.

Well, they had come this far, why not finish what they’d started?  So they set off again on their journey with the ante being now higher than ever.

By the time they reached the lakehouse, it was much too late to wake anyone up.  So naturally, they removed the Mexican (“hippie”) blanket from the trunk and decided to spend the rest of the night on the deck until everyone else arose.

When everything came full circle Sunday morning, Julie’s family was so gracious and invited them inside for breakfast.  They could not stop marveling at this tale of adventure and many laughs were exchanged.  “And then you called the police? Hahaha.” {hilarious} Meanwhile, I was seething.  How dare he impose on my trip!   How dare he wake everyone up!  How dare he think I would just fall back into his arms!  Carefully thought through plan, considerate actions, communication: they all go a long way in my book.  Stubborn?  Why, yes I am.

Shortly after breakfast, excuses were made and suddenly he and I were left alone.  We sat on the dock and he gave the speech that I’m sure he’d rehearsed a thousand times in the car with Matt giving him helpful amplifications and proper praise.  Matt and Julie, in the meantime, had decided to kayak out on the lake.  They were out quite a ways from the dock, but said even from there, they could tell it was not going well.

Later that night, after a tail-tucking return to campus, N called his Dad to give him the latest updates on the story.  As his dad said, “I told you to knock on a few doors, not burn down some barns.

Needless to say, after my initial reaction to this surprise visit, N kept his distance.  We did not talk for a good six weeks after that, which was just about enough time for me to cool down and see maybe he did have some good motives for driving through the middle of the night and waking us up and scaring us all half to death?  Eventually, we did finally have the “big talk” and decided to work things out.  But no more middle of the night surprises, s’il vous plait.

Oh, and as for Julie’s dad?  He swears that the reason N and I are married today is all due to this little adventurous tale.

We’ll just let him (and Julie’s family, and Matt, and N, and N’s family and my family) continue to think that, no?


part VI

Because sometimes life just needs a soundtrack…

Have you ever had a moment where you felt like you were in a movie?

In the few times I have, there has been one commonality: music.

One Friday during our senior year, N and I had a romantic date planned.  As I was in my room getting ready, I was informed by some of the girls in the house that I was being summoned to the main living room.  When I arrived, I was greeted by my date along with another football player.  I was a bit confused as N wasn’t due to pick me up for another hour or so and to top it off, his friend was dressed to the nines in a black suit and bow tie.  My confusion, however, quickly mellowed into a smile for not long after I entered the room, the sharply dressed football player began to belt out Sinatra, a cappella, as N asked me to be his “lovely date for the evening”.  Of course I had already agreed to this a week in advance, but asking me under these circumstances was one of the most romantic things he had ever done.  It had direction, it had a script, it had a soundtrack.  The only thing it was missing was a film reel.

A different evening on campus post-dating, pre-engagement, I was with my friends in the dining commons.  We sat down to enjoy our food when I saw out of the corner of my eye N leave his table of friends to ask me a question.  Because I was already seated, he naturally had to bend over or kneel down to ask.  The question was completely insignificant, but the moment is sealed forever in my mind.  Next thing I knew, what felt like the entire dining commons was chanting, “Say yes!  Say yes!  Say yes!“, while a different football player with an equally as beautiful voice broke out in a bluesy rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On”.  And all this because N was kneeling in front of me on one knee!  That was most definitely a cinematic moment that was better than anything I’ve witnessed on the screen.

For MG’s birth, I knew I wanted to have music to commemorate the significance of the experience. I made a CD that we played softly in the background when the labor pains began to intensify.   Little ditties that reminded me of how much I already loved her.   The songs I had selected were all ones that I had heard over and over but I had never listened to the soundtrack in its entirety until that moment.  Connecting those songs with the intensity of emotion gave them significant power.  Now whenever I hear them, it takes me right back to that dark hospital room.

Today, little songs color the little bits of our day, propelling them from ordinary to extraordinary.  The Avett Brothers N insists on playing post-nap, pre-dinner.  The Born and Raised that has yet to make its way out of my CD player since its release.  The nursery rhymes and lullabies that spontaneously occur when the moment elicits.

The perfect song that just seems to bless a little moment in time:

And speaking of the power of song:

This is probably one of the most romantic proposals I ever did see.  That song {and some of those dance moves….} will be stuck in my head for days.  But it gets me every time.  All you need is a little bit of confidence, a camera, and a good soundtrack.  And you have yourself an amazing proposal. MG’s future suitors, take note. Because sometimes life just needs a soundtrack.  Photobucket

Ode to Dixie

I wish I was in the land of cotton, old times there are not forgotten,
Look away, look away, look away, Dixie Land.
In Dixie Land where I was born in, early on a frosty mornin’,
Look away, look away, look away, Dixie Land.
Then I wish I was in Dixie, hooray! hooray!
In Dixie Land I’ll take my stand to live and die in Dixie,
Away, away, away down South in Dixie,
Away, away, away down South in Dixie
I was born and raised in the South and still hope to die there one day too.   Unfortunately for that plan, I uprooted to the Midwest when I was 13 and then went to college there too.  I should have realized that would happen when it was the only college I applied to that wasn’t in the South. As in the first words my grandma said after I confirmed I was going there, “You’ll marry a Northern boy”.  And with that, my fate was sealed. Thankfully, N has heard enough of my Southern homage to agree to my pleadings to live there one day, even though I’m pretty sure he has no idea what he’s getting himself into.  One day, someday, we may settle our hearts and family there again.
I was born in a small town in North Carolina.  NC is one of those ideal states because you have both the mountains and ocean….two things which we just so happen to lack in the great state I live in today.  People there say, “Would you like a glass of wooder?” and they spend summers at the cove and drive to the Outer Banks on the weekends.  We moved away when I was six, but many of the people we knew there remain in our hearts today.
At six, we moved to the Mississippi Delta.  The summers were hot and humid as blazes and peppered with the unmistakeable sound of the mosquito trucks driving through the neighborhoods.  We were told to watch out for the ant “heels” and we wiped our “hills” before going inside.  Maybe it was just the time period I lived there, as I was coming-of-age, but Mississippi is a magical place in my mind.  It is full of the Southern class and charm that I miss in the Midwest.  The one thing I don’t miss about the Delta though?:

Yes, that is water.  Yes, it is a lovely shade of brown.

Why do I love the South so much?  
I find the culture so endearing.  It’s slower, it’s easier, it’s not at all pretentious.  Everyone talks to each other at the grocery stores and when you drive by, people wave to you (I remember my parents being shocked that people in the Midwest didn’t do that).  Each state has their own unique personality too.  Virginia is high-class, old money South.  Atlanta-area is big city South. Louisiana has the French-creole flair.  Mississippi has Biloxi and the Delta and a few well-known authors that proudly hail from it.  The Carolinas each seem to be a state unto themselves.  Arkansas is deep South.  Texas is just big.  Alabama has Gulf Shores and they love their colleges there. Kentucky is country South.  Tennessee is woodsy South. Each one has unique history and rivalries, but enough familiarities to be proudly linked together.
I love they way they talk and I miss my Southern accent.  I could listen to a Southerner talk all day.  I actually wish I could pay one to come live with us so I could study their drawl.  Each state has a particularly different one, by the way.  I love them all.  It reminds me of home.
Gone with the Wind is my favorite book  I find that time period fascinating.  Every summer, N and I take a couple nights to watch the movie.  Afterward, we practice our accents.  We’re pretty good too.  You should hear our soft “r”‘s in “Scarlett”.
I love the whole concept of the Bible belt and I miss the way we did church down there  Midwest/Northern church is just not the same.  We don’t have after-church fellowships with potluck dinners.  Southern Baptists don’t really exist up here.  And we don’t do Sunday School past the 5th grade.  In my opinion, the Southerners know how to do church:  churches, even large ones, feel small and homey; everyone dresses to the nines; Sunday School comes first, then church.    Afterward is a potluck or everyone meets at a restaurant for Sunday Dinner.  It’s the best.

The sports.  They take their football really seriously down there.  Not like people here who wear their pro football jerseys to Sunday morning church. Down there, it’s the houndstooth bowtie or the burnt orange tie, depending on where your loyalties lie.  And their rivalries?  They run as thick as blood.
I love all of the wonderful euphemisms that we so lack here in the MW.  I won’t begin to quote them, but they are the language of my childhood.  The Southerners really know how to express themselves in a rich way.
I love the way they dress and name their children.In the South, they take these two traditions very seriously…almost as seriously as they take their football.  Little boys and girls are always dressed nicely, especially for church, but not only for church.  Whenever I see my Southern friends’ little boys in longalls and johnjohns or seersucker pants and polos, I just swoon.  Likewise, the girls always have on smocked dresses or swing tops and bell bottom pants and monogrammed everything.  And the bows, don’t forget the big, Southern belle bows.  It is as they say down there, “the bigger the bow, the better the Mama“.  Clearly, this mantra holds true in my heart.

And the names?  The names follow traditions as well.  First born boys are often given the maiden name of their moms (sorry, future son {we won’t be doing that}) or of a family member. (Crawford, Smith, Hamilton)  Sometimes girls can be given these names as well (Hartly, Mims, Moseby,Yeardly).  Double first names seem to be a lot more common in the South too.  (sound familiar, MG?)  Combine these two traditions and you get some of my favorite types of baby names (Anna-Palmer, Mary-Crawford, and John-Pierce)  And then you have the just plain ol’ unique.  I’m looking at you, Bryxtyn.  Down there, no one really bats a (heavily, made-up) eyelash to these unusual monikers.  They are all a part of the tradition.

The food.  We have yet to find a fish fry up here that serves hushpuppies….really?  They have Krystal’s instead of White Castle (not that I’ve ever eaten at either, but if I did, I would hands down choose Krystal’s).  They drink “cokes” with every meal…even breakfast. Tea comes either sweet or unsweet…and it’s always iced.  They have as many Chik-fil-a’s and Sonics as they do churches.  In fact, the ratio of Sonics to residents tells me how much I will enjoy living there.  They take breakfast really seriously down there, with biscuits and gravy being the norm rather than the specialty.  They eat tamales, and okra, and catfish sandwiches, and molasses, and chess pies, and pimento cheese, and gumbo, and sweet potatoes, and grits, and carolina barbeque, and cornbread (I like mine sweet), and black eyed peas, and creamed corn, and boiled peanuts.  My mouth is watering just thinking about the Southern delicacies that have been missing from my diet for way too long.
The pride.  Those who live down there love it.  “American by birth, Southern by the grace of God.”  I love the spirit of patriotism that runs through the fertile, southern land.
My family.  Let’s not forget the biggest draw the South has to offer: my family.  My grandparents, my cousins, and now my sister and brother-in-law all call the South their home.  Someday, I hope to join them down there in the great Dixieland.Now, on to plan A: convincing my friends, church, and N’s family to come with us.  Who’s in?


MG’s Birth story: our doula

I know, I know, if you didn’t already think I was a hippie, you do now.  I’m okay with that.

When it comes to giving birth, there are so many things that are out of your control.  You can’t always control when, how, or who will be there.  You may not get to have your regular doctor and you definitely don’t get to control which nurse or nurses will be there with you.  Anxiety.  When I began envisioning my perfect birth, I knew I wanted N with me in the room and probably not anyone else-for the first one at least.  But N and I’s knowledge of labor and delivery was so minimal and we felt like we couldn’t completely trust all the changing of hands during the process to know all of our wants and wishes (e.g. to nurse the baby before having her cleaned up).  That’s where our doula entered our life.

First let me explain by defining what a doula is and is not.  A doula is not someone who delivers babies. (although, she’s seen enough births by now, I’m sure she could if push came to shove {no pun intended}).  She does not create black magic potions to make your baby turn head down or make you go into labor (Lord knows if she did, I would have used them).  And she definitely doesn’t turn up her nose at you if you just really want the epidural {but she may try to talk you out of it beforehand}.  What a doula does is provide supportLabor support.  She meets with you a few times before your baby is born and gets to know you.  She is a very intuitive person.  She helps read situations to know how you will respond.  She helps you write your birth plan and then encourages you to follow through with it.  She does not force you into doing a natural birth (although I’m sure most of the moms that contact her are looking to do that).  But she does ultimately want you to be happy with your birth experience (which is a monumental experience…one you will never forget for the rest of your life {unless, of course, you gave birth in the 50’s}) and she works hard to make that happen.

When I was about ten weeks, pregnant {I know, I know, what can I say I’m a planner?}, we contacted our future doula, Julie, due to the recommendations of some friends. After hearing their birth story, we were sold.  The labor experience they described with the husband coaching the wife while the doula provided helpful suggestions for the wife to have a beautiful pain-free birth (okay, so I made that last part up.  Who are we kidding?  Dr. Bradley, no one has a pain-free birth).  Anyway, they gave us her email address and we contacted her right away.

We asked her if she had any openings for November 18 (of course she did, we were the earliest first-time pregnants to contact her, I’m sure).  We asked her if she would charge us extra if we went into labor on Thanksgiving (a legitimate concern.  Fortunately, we didn’t need her services on Thanksgiving day.  Unfortunately, it would be another 5 days past that when we did.)  She said, “Of course not.”  And then she told us Thanksgiving also happened to be her birthday.  Yikes.  When we expressed concern over this, she said, “I can’t imagine a more beautiful experience than attending a birth on my birthday.”  Wow…I knew then that she was the one for us.

We met with Julie a few times during the pregnancy.  The first was an initial consultation for her to describe her services and to see if all of our personalities would mesh well. We loved her!  She was laid-back and peaceful and exactly the type of person that I wanted coaching me through my labor.  N enjoyed her because he really wanted to be a part of the whole experience, but he was afraid that in the moment he would step on my toes.  She assured him that they would work together to give me the support that I needed and together they would tag-team me.  Should this labor go long or should I wish to deviate from the birth plan in a frenzied moment, they would be there to talk me through it. (ah…the best laid plans…)

We met a second time and created my birth plan.  We played a game where she laid a stack of flash cards on the table.  On one side of the card it would say something like “epidural” and on the other it would say “med-free birth”.  N and I were to look through each card and flip it to the side that described what we wanted.  Some things we had never heard of before (barbiturates?, pulsating cord?), others we visibly cringed over (forceps!, episiotomy!).  After we laid out our “perfect birth”, she asked us to take 3 away.  Then 3 more and 3 more.  Finally we were left with our top 3 most important concerns.  From this exercise, I was able to type up a short and simple birth plan that described exactly what I desired but left room for a little give too.

The third time we met was my favorite.  She walked us through the stages of labor and what to expect.  I thought it would be scary, but the more knowledge I acquired the more empowered I felt.  Plus, having N AND Julie there took off a ton of pressure.  I knew that when I was completely incapacitated in the throes of labor that they knew what I wanted and would help me make the best decisions. During this session, she also demonstrated counter-pressure (to relieve pain) and pressure points (to induce labor).   We knew the next time we would see her would be when I was in labor.  It was perfect.  We may not be in control of the experience, but we had a plan.  And there’s nothing that does this Mama’s heart good like having a good solid plan!

I thought I would need Julie the most during the midst of my labor pains.  But surprisingly, I actually needed her more in the weeks leading up to labor (they want to induce me—help!!) and after (this baby wants to sleep all day and play all night….help!!)  Plus, she helped me get my feet under me with breastfeeding.  On top of that, she snapped pictures and took notes during my labor and presented us with a book of My Birth Story at the very end.  That alone was worth the nominal fees she charged for her services.  I’m so glad that we went this route and as you will later read, I do not think we would have had the outcome we desired had she not been involved with our labor.

In fact, there were many interventions that she helped us make along the way that steered us into our ultimately beautiful birth story.  But you will read all about that later (the abridged version of course 😉 ).


part V