Monday, May 30, 2011

First night away from baby

The last week of March, when Desmond was almost 8 months old, I spent my first night away from him.  It all started with a gift certificate we received a year ago from our friend at a baby shower (thank you, Ryan!).  In the certificate, he wrote how important it was that we, as new parents, have alone time.  We sort of forgot about the certificate until we were cleaning house for my mother's week-long visit from Florida.  It was tucked in the drawer with an expiration date of March 30, 2011.  We talked to my mother about it and she was all for it.  "Go and leave me alone with my baby!" she said and then added, "and make me another grandbaby..." and hung up the phone.

So, we made a reservation and decided to go out to a fancy dinner, sans wriggly, crying baby, and then out for drinks afterward.  We went to Cucina Toscana, a restaurant that we have always wanted to go (p.s. service outranked the food, by far).  We then decided to go to Urban Lounge, a local club, to listen to some local music.  We were surrounded by early-20-something hipsters dancing off rhythm to the music.  We ordered a beer, that was seriously like 24 oz, and people-watched.  By the time the band finished, I was on my 3rd beer and 8th trip to the restroom.  I was having a grand ol' time.  Long story short, we were out and about like a couple of college kids until 5 in the morning.  We walked into our beautiful hotel room exhausted and starting to get hungover.  I pumped and dumped and went to bed.

Typical room at Hotel Monaco
And then we woke up at 11 and checked out.  What a waste of a romantic evening.  I know better for next time not to squander away a golden opportunity like a stupid pair of unruly teenagers.  Most importantly, I realized that although I was slightly hungover and really had such a great time the night before, I missed being with and sleeping with Desmond.  Not in a thousand years would I have thought that I would have preferred staying in instead of having a romantic night out.  Maybe if the night had been romantic, I wouldn't have pined for Desmond as much as I did...even if it had been romantic, I still would have wanted to have him near me throughout the night.

We're not planning to have another romantic getaway until we get married (which is less than a year away!!!  05/12/12!) and at that point, I feel pretty confident (Desmond will be almost 2 years old then) that I could leave Desmond with my mother for a few days and have our wedding night to ourselves.  Hopefully, I won't miss him too terribly bad.  Now I know how those mothers feel when their facebook status says, "going grocery shopping...and I already miss baby X!"  I used to scoff, thinking how happy I would be to get away for a few hours without having to think about Desmond.  But these little creatures have a way of creeping and seeping their way into your every fiber, like mold.  And then you find that when you're apart from them, you crave smelling their sweet breath and holding their chubby little hand.  Even if it has just swatted the dog's butthole (true story).

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

9 months postpartum: what I expected vs. reality


Everybody told me about the old adage: it takes 9 months to put all that weight on, it will take 9 months to take it off.  I thought, "Oh my, 9 months?  I could do it in 3!"  The first month, I lost 3/4 of all of the weight I gained in pregnancy.  I exclusively breastfed.  I slept and ate as much as I wanted.  I didn't exercise.  So, when 3 months came and went and those last 8 or so lbs still hadn't left my body, I shrugged my shoulders, sat on the couch, and ate another bowl of cereal.  At around 4 months, I decided to get my ass in shape and I started (and made it through) 6 weeks of P90X.  I felt great, I felt strong...I did lose some weight but gained a bunch of muscle tone.  I was really happy and proud of myself.  But then, and here's where all the excuses come, being a full-time student, having homework, a part-time job, and taking care of Desmond meant that my time during the day was limited.  So, instead of repping it with Tony (P90X guy), I would sit in front of my computer, with American Idol on in the background, and work on school stuff.

Add to that all of the culinary excursions I went on, all within a 2 week period: Tastemakers SLC,

Desmond eating mussel broth at Squatters during Tastemakers.  I did not offer him the french fries.  Or beer.
my dear friend Jessica's graduation crawfish boil, sitting in a class for 10 hour days for a week where all of the students brought food and treats to munch on throughout the day, and the Living Traditions Festival, where there are lots of booths of ethnic foods,

At the Living Traditions Festival, listening and watching the Irish Dancers.
 means that I gained 5 lbs of my weight back.  Now I'm past 9 months and nowhere near to where I was before I got pregnant.  18 months ago, this is what I thought I would look like today:

My fellow Colombiana, Shakira
Instead, I have the beginnings of what my FFIL calls a "Dunlop," as in, "her stomach done lopped over," or as my FMIL calls it, an apron, or as many of my college friends called it, a FUPA.  Either way, it's still there, along with some deposits along my hips and upper butt area that JUST WON'T GO.

Analogy: My body is Sylvester Stallone and the extra poundage is the cliff.  My body will.  not.  let.  go.

Just as I was starting to feel sorry for myself and looking for someone or something else to blame (i.e. my metabolism), I stumbled across this website that showcases the diversity of bodies of postpartum women.  I was lucky enough not to get any stretchmarks anywhere and only a few spider veins on my upper right thigh.  My wish is to get to the point where I feel beautiful and, most importantly, healthy in my own 5'3" Hispanic body.


As I've mentioned before, I had a breast reduction in June of 2008, 17 months before I got pregnant.  Although I loved the results, I should've waited until I was much older because, when I got the reduction, the doctor told me that my breasts wouldn't be the same after children (no breasts are).  I stupidly told him that I planned to never have any children.  Ha.

You can't tell because the enormity of my belly dwarfs the enormity of my breasts.

I'm not sure what size I was during my pregnancy or for the first 6 months postpartum since I lived in nursing bras, which are stretchy and only come in S, M, L, etc.  I wore a large, so I knew I was above the small C cup I was after the surgery.  After 6 months, I could finally fit back into my old, old bras and am currently a very full 36 C (I could fit into a D, but I'm not going there again).  After my mastitis, when my milk supply dipped, the size of my breasts went down...along with whatever perkiness there was leftover from the surgery.  Don't get me wrong: getting pregnant doesn't mean that you're doomed to have nipples that perpetually point to the floor, it just means that the skinny pencil that you could put underneath your breast and it would stay can now be a crayon...those fat ones for kindergarteners.  Get yourself a beautiful new bra from Target or wherever that can nicely support your breasts and wait, wait, wait until you hit menopause or get your tubes tied or something drastic because surprises can - and DO! - happen.

The Blues

Looking back at the first 5 months postpartum, I think I may have had a tad bit more than the blues.  I don't think I was adequately psychologically or physically prepared for the disruption in my life that Desmond caused.  If you would have asked me at 1 month postpartum if I thought that I would still be feeling as emotionally and physically whacked out at 9 months as I was then, I don't think I could've imagined it getting any better.  In my head, having a kid meant new challenges at each stage so that as you progress, it would get harder and harder to raise.  I couldn't think about that too often at 1 month or else I would've passed out from projected-to-the-future exhaustion.  

What I didn't expect back then is how each challenge that has come with each developmental phase has been easier to handle.  It's as if somehow, the trials and tribulations of the month before gave me the knowledge, patience, and wherewithal to move forward in a (mostly) loving, respectful, and patient manner.  At almost 10 months of age, Desmond has actually become such a fun little guy.  Although the interactions I have with him are still pretty repetitive and involves as much mental processing on my behalf as a sloth (in a good way), he's starting to "talk" and actually understands some simple commands (look at me talking about him like he's a dog!)

How much is that doggie in the window!

Desmond being playful. 
He's a really happy baby, always ready to dish out a smile to people who smile at him (unless you're a tall, dark man...he doesn't have too much experience with those).  I actually love him more now than I did back then.  I'm not going to lie and say that I don't know how I could have ever loved him more than I did the day I saw him.  That wouldn't be true.  I had a rocky road to falling in love with Desmond, but I now totally am.  When I haven't seen him all day, I get this intense ache in my chest that dissipates when I pick him up and snuggle him.

Desmond wondering why I've stopped feeding him lobster mac and cheese at Tastemakers SLC.

Point is, if you're just recently postpartum and find that you're having a hard time bonding with your baby, don't worry.  It will come.  It may take days, weeks, or months, but it will happen.  Just make sure to live in the day and do your best and you'll be surprised at how you feel for your baby at 9 months.

Sexy Time

If you're related to me or Billy, please skip this section, unless you're my mother, who desperately wants us to have more and more sex and give her more and more grandkids.

I still struggle with my body image and that, more than anything, has contributed to a drastic decrease in sexy time in this house.  Yes, Desmond sleeps in the same room as we do, and yes, we still get it on.  You do the math.  We wait until he's sleeping and try to git 'er done until Des wakes up, which he will do.  Once that happens, we stop immediately and tend to him.   Mood killer, yes...but at least we're certain that images of his parents "tickling" each other  aren't burned into his subconscious.  However, it's mostly the image I have of my "apron" jiggling.  Also, I very unfortunately clicked on a link to a story about increased plastic surgeries in women, specifically labioplasties and vaginal reconstruction.  I haven't seen my nether nether regions in years and so have no idea what a vaginal delivery has done to me, but I have seen other women's on this website and now wonder if I need reconstructive work done.

NOT.  I would NEVER do that.  But it adds another dimension to the whole weird body image that I have of myself now that I didn't think about before.  Thankfully, Billy thinks I look fantastic and still likes making out with me, so I just have to keep telling myself that if he wasn't attracted to me, I'D KNOW.

The last thing inhibiting our sexy time is our time commitments to our jobs, school, the dogs, and Desmond.  It takes a lot of energy to get through everyday and by the end of the night, we can barely keep our eyes open while brushing our teeth.  Sometimes, it takes everything that I have in me to tap him on the shoulder and ask if we could do it that night, but I am always happy when it does happen and, I've noticed, we're like 5 times nicer to each other the next day.  So worth it.


When we got pregnant, I first freaked out because of the fact that I was pregnant.  Then I freaked out about how much money we're going to have to spend to raise a kid.  However, 9 months later, I bet we've spent less than $2000 on expenses for Des.  Most of the things that we have were either purchased for us as gifts or given to us as hand-me-overs.  I couldn't imagine paying full price on Desmond's clothing now (I buy all of his clothes second-hand at Kid-to-Kid).  We have been so lucky to have friends and family who have given us so much that we've only had to buy the occasional packet of disposable diapers, a bookshelf, changing pad, one car seat, and the few toys here and there.  Just because your baby is new doesn't mean that all of his stuff has to be.  If you're smart about it, you can spend a lot less than you think and you don't need everything that you see at Toys R Us.

We opened up a college savings account for Des and Billy has started paying for a life insurance monthly.  We also pay around $100 for his health insurance.  Even though he doesn't have an illness, thank God, the health insurance comes in handy for all of those visits to the pediatrician and covers all of the vaccinations.  Those are seriously our biggest expenses when it comes to little Desmond.


A lot of your hair falls out immediately postpartum.  It's alarming.  I had to bald spots on the side of my head where my fuzzies used to be (fuzzies are what ethnic girls have along their hairline.  Mine happen to extend up past my hairline).  So, when I lost my fuzzies when my hair started falling out, it looked like I had an awful receding hairline.  But, they're back.  They're not as wavy as they used to be but they've grown back in now and my hairline has gotten back to normal.  

Baby envy

I just finished a pilot study at the Maternal and Newborn Care Unit at the University of Utah Hospital.  I had to come into women's rooms and ask if they could fill out a questionnaire for us.  Usually, the women had their babies with them and they were all swaddled up and teeny tiny.  It took everything I had to not reach out and touch the swirl that their hair makes on the tops of their heads.  Although having a newborn was the hardest thing I've ever done, I miss Desmond being that tiny.  When I see little newborns, I notice how big Des is getting.  When I haven't seen tiny newborns, I think that Desmond's still this teeny tiny baby...until I see one and realize that my kid is huge now.

A few hours postpartum.  I think I have more chins now then I did then.

The first day of the pilot study, I called Billy right away and told him that I wanted to have another baby.  He didn't say anything for a sec and then said, "are you serious?"  And I rethought it and said, "(sigh), no, I guess not."

But 9 months later, I have little twitchings in my uterus, which I try to ignore.  If you would have asked me 9 months ago if I were open to having more children, I would have said HELL to the NO, but, it's a possibility.

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Blossom" is into bedsharing

and she's a PhD, too!  She writes regularly for Today Moms.  Here is an article she wrote about bed-sharing, a type of co-sleeping, and about why it works for her family.   It's cheeky but she gets the point across that co-sleeping can be safe, is quite normal, and happens more than you think.

Find the article HERE.

FYI if you care, it's been a crazy busy week for me, but will try to purge all sorts of thoughts on blog format in the days to come.

Mayim Bialik: Why we let our children sleep in our bed

Two kids, no cribs... no problem? Sharing a bed with your kids isn't the norm in the U.S., but former "Blossom" actress Mayim Bialik explains how it works for her family -- and why she doesn't think it's so weird.

Denise Herrick Borchert
By Mayim Bialik, Ph.D., TODAY Moms contributor
We sleep with our two kids. They are 5 and 2, and I have never owned a crib or a bassinet. Our family bed consists of two futons on the floor side by side: one with black sheets, the other adorned with knights, castles and dragons. We don’t co-sleep, which means sleeping in the same room; we sleep in the same bed. That’s called bed-sharing.

I know some of you think it’s unsafe. I know some of you think it’s unhealthy. I know some of you think my spoiled, coddled kids will never outgrow it. And let’s just be brutally honest: I know you think it’s weird.

Unsafe. Sleeping with your children is not unsafe. It’s actually really safe and really smart: you know the condition of your child at any time at an arm’s length. There are well-established guidelines for how to sleep safely with your baby. When you sleep with your baby, you know if they are coughing, congested, starting to fuss, or if they’re too cold or too hot. A mother’s body is designed to adjust to help her newborn achieve optimal body temperature; talk about smart! Rolling onto a baby is an exaggerated fear that is not based on any research. It is not hard to make a bed safe for a baby. Either put it on the floor or get a bed rail to keep your little one from rolling out. So it looks ugly? Sorry. So does my tummy after two kids.

Unhealthy. Sleeping with your baby facilitates easier and less stressful breast-feeding, which is the healthiest thing you can do for your child in the first year of life. Sleeping with your baby stimulates hormones that encourage bonding, reduce anxiety and depression, and increase the chances that you will establish a strong supply of breast milk. The vigilance a new mother has for her baby is programmed into our DNA. Mammals sleep with other mammals; we are supposed to do it. You don’t sleep alone, why should babies and children?

Outgrowing it. Do you know any 18-year-olds sleeping with their parents? Nursing? Using a pacifier? Wearing a diaper? I didn’t think so. Early dependence on our parents for comfort, warmth, safety, and love at night, as well as in the day, is natural and normal. Children outgrow the “need” when they are developmentally ready to do so. There is no evidence that children who sleep with their parents are whiny, clingy, spoiled, or less able to become productive, sensitive and caring adults. On the contrary, families who sleep together report feelings of security, closeness and trust that I think our society could use more of.

Weird. There is nothing inherently weird or wrong about sleeping with your children. It feels good to cuddle, doesn’t it? Babies and kids think so, too. It’s NORMAL. Worried about your fantastic sex life taking a hit? Find other places to have sex besides your bed. End of story. If your kid kicks, get a bed attachment like the Arm's Reach co-sleeper. If you are such a light sleeper that you feel homicidal every morning, I am not going to tell you that you have to sleep with your kid. Do I sleep as well with my kids in our bed as I would without? No. But it will be over soon, and it’s not weird to want to be close to your children when their physiological and psychological development dictates that they need to be held close.

The Lowdown. We used to have one futon for me, my husband and baby No. 1. Then I got pregnant and we added the “big brother” futon where my husband and the soon-to-be “big brother” started sleeping. Invariably, when baby No. 2 arrived, I slept with both boys. The family bed is the great unifier: It’s the place we are all equal. Even when our first son’s role in the family shifted because of the newborn, when the sun went down, we were all equal in our one big bed. These days (and nights), my husband sleeps in the knights and castles bed with our older son, and I sleep with our younger son. A few nights a week, our older son bounces over to “my bed” and returns to my husband for morning cuddles as I nurse our younger son into the new day.

The moments we share in the dawn I would not give up for anything: the whispers, the giggles, the just-awakening dreams and musings of a very small person who is happy and safe in my arms. “Mama, I’m going to sleep with you even when I’m a teenager” was whispered to me before my eyes even popped open last week. I simply laughed; little does he know how undesirable that would be for all involved!

The moments we share after we recite the Jewish blessings of nighttime are also precious to us -- watching our boys go from awake and fiery to restful and angelic: asleep at last. I find myself gazing at those faces many times a night; a reminder that although my husband and I may not be perfect, the boys who carry our names might just be. And that’s a reminder that gives us comfort -- all night long.
Mayim Bialik starred in the early-1990s television show “Blossom” and currently appears on the CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.” She earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA in 2007, and wrote her thesis on Prader-Willi syndrome. The spokesperson for the Holistic Moms Network and a certified lactation educator, Bialik is writing a book about attachment parenting, and she has two sons, Miles, 5, and Frederick, 2. She blogs regularly at
Want more Mayim? Read her blog at

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Baby's first genetics book

So that Desmond knows what I'm talking about when I say his dad's genes won...I really want to get this for him one day.  He'll be passing AP Biology with flying colors in no time.  Thank goodness for all the geeks over at Etsy.  :)

Get it at Verdant Violet's Etsy Shop.

Baby's first genetics book

Chromosome coiled around nucleosomes

Process of replication

Process of translation

Real Dad musings...

There are many mommy and daddy blogs out there that make other parents feel like crap: these are the ones that chronicle how breezy and beautiful their pregnancy was, how they sewed and designed all of their baby's clothes until the first year, how they lost all of their pregnancy weight in 6 weeks, and, above everything else, how blessed they are to have such a beautifully perfect family in every way. I started this blog as a chronicle of my pregnancy and to let family near and far have a way to experience it with me. It has turned out to be a mishmash of that and things that I find interesting, but throughout it all, I've tried to keep it as honest as I can so that other pregnant women out there don't feel afraid, ashamed, or perplexed about the physical and emotional occurrences that they experience throughout pregnancy and after the birth.

That is why I always like to see blogs out there, especially from dads, that tell it like it is. This guy has a great sense of humor about raising his infant. His tumblr is called Message with a Bottle and consists of post-it notes that he leaves himself regarding his infant son and being a stay-at-home dad. Here is a sneak peek of what his blog is about:

The 50 Best Messages With A Bottle

The kid is one year old. We both made it through the year.
The little guy has been amazing and I’ve kind of figured out part of this fatherhood gig. Apparently this has been the “easy” part and the worst (and best) is yet to come. Looks like I’m going to need to buy stock in Post-Its.
In celebration of the kid’s 1st birthday, I went to my friends on the Message With A Bottle Facebook page, and asked them to pick their favorite messages from the past year. The response was overwhelming and incredibly helpful. It was with their help I was able to narrow it down to the 50 best messages.
Here they are in no particularly order. Here is to the past year and the ones still to come. I hope you all stick around to help me through this.