Baby Bop is Born!

She’s out! And I’m back. Baby Bop is 11 days old.

I’ve been thinking about you. I know it’s been too long, but at 3:00 am when I’m trying to get Baby Bop to relinquish my nipple so I can go back to sleep, blogging seems like an unattainable goal.

Here’s Baby Bop’s birth story with all the gory details. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Baby Bop came hard and fast and I was in a state of denial right up until I met her. I knew I would have a baby eventually at some point, but I was convinced labor would take days, not hours.

Tuesday night July 5th, still pregnant, Captain and I drive back from the Cape. We pull over for my millionth bathroom stop. I peer into my underwear. It’s my mucus plug! It’s out! I know that’s a sign that I’ll be having a baby soon. In case the fact that I’m almost 40 weeks pregnant wasn’t enough for me.

I’m tempted to save the gelatinous plug and show Captain, but decide he’ll probably appreciate me describing it instead.

Wednesday July 6th I go about my daily life. Everyone is texting,

“Still pregnant?”

“Still pregnant.”

Wednesday evening I confirm details for a walk with some mom friends the next morning, Thursday, July 7th.

Thursday July 7th, 4:00 am: I wake up with a cramp that feels like I really need to poop. I do that and go back to bed. 4:30 am, same cramp again. I try to go to the bathroom, no major success. I go back to bed. 5:00 am, cramp again. Are these contractions?

5:30 am: another cramp. I can’t stay in bed for it. They seem short, irregular and not that bad. Maybe this is false labor. I drink a ton of water. This is what my doula said to do if I was having pre-term contractions. Yes I realize I’m full term.

I relax on the couch. 7:00 am: I decide that just in case this isn’t false labor, I should stay home and skip the walk with my mom friends.

8:00 am: the cramps that I’m not convinced are real contractions are still short and irregular. Captain wakes up for work. He wants to stay home. I convince him to go to work. He insists on packing his bag for the hospital. I don’t think he needs to do this, but I don’t argue.

We agree he’ll leave work at noon, head to CVS for more hemorrhoid wipes and the grocery store for watermelon. I’m dying for watermelon. Then we’ll go to my previously scheduled pre-natal appointment at 2:00pm.

In birth class we talked a lot about having a plan of things to do to keep busy during early labor. I decide to clean the bathroom, shower and then have a coffee and write a blog. It’ll be great material to blog between contractions. If these are even real contractions.

11:00 am: I get out of the shower. I’m starting to have to really focus, breath and moan to get through each contraction. Blogging seems like it might not happen. I pack my hospital bag, just in case.

It seems like I should start tracking what’s happening. It looks like I’m having a contraction every 4 minutes for about a minute. I’ll see how the next hour goes. I’m not convinced it’s regular yet.

Noon: Captain texts that he’s leaving work and headed for CVS and the grocery store. I’m stuck in the bathroom, leaning over the counter, moaning through contractions. I’m tempted to tell him to come home, but I really want watermelon.

I call the doctor’s office. I don’t think I can go to my pre-natal appointment. I’m coping well at home, but can’t imagine walking to the office. Somehow I manage to talk through a contraction and the nurse tells me,

“We don’t want to send first time moms to the hospital too soon. It would be great to see you here first. We’ll move your appointment to 1:00pm.”

No need to argue with this lady. I don’t have to go. Captain gets home at 12:45pm. He’s surprised to find me moaning away in the bathroom. He sees that I’m tracking the contractions. He asks,

“How frequent are they?”

“Looks like every 3 minutes for a minute.”

His eyes go wide,

“Isn’t this when we’re supposed to go to the hospital?”

“They wanted me to come in for my pre-natal appointment. I’ll call them again.”

This time on the phone with the office I do not manage to talk through my contraction. The nurse says,

“You should go to the hospital now.”

We call our doula. She says,

“You should go to the hospital now.”

Captain says,

“I’m going to get the car.”

I guess I’m going to the hospital now.

Having contractions in the car is HARD. We pull up into a line of 6 cars waiting for valet parking. I jump out. I’m standing for the next contraction whether or not I scare the old man on the bench.

At 1:50pm Captain and I head into the hospital. I’m moaning as we go. The woman at the front desk says,

“In a couple of days, when you leave, come see me about parking.”

I tell her,

“Oh we don’t know if we’re getting admitted.”

“You’re getting admitted.”

We fill out our hospital paperwork and the nurses and midwives meet us in the hallway of the maternity floor. The head midwife tells me,

“We’re going to skip the triage room and go straight to your labor and delivery room.”

I guess that means I’m getting admitted.

One of the main reasons I chose the hospital we’re at is so that I can relax and labor in the tub. I ask,

“Can I get in the tub?”

“We’ll start filling it.”

I ask again,

“Can I get in the tub now?

“Oh we turned it off, but we’ll turn it back on.”

Unbeknownst to me they tell Captain,

“The baby is coming at any moment, she’s not getting in the tub.”

I asked for no or few vaginal exams, so we don’t know for sure how far along I am. I feel the urge to push and agree to a vaginal check. The midwife announces,

“You’re fully dilated!”

I guess I am having a baby.

I feel something bulging out like a balloon between my legs. It’s Baby Bop’s amniotic sac! I had told our doula I only wanted photos after the birth. She tells me,

“This is really rare, may I take a photo?”

I have the photo and I’ll show you in person if you ask, but I’m not posting it on here. I knew I’d stopped any hair maintenance down there, but before the photo, it was easier to be in denial about how hairy my butt is.

The excitement in the room seems to have given way to a nervous vibe. I keep having very painful pushing contractions, but nothing is happening. They have me change positions several times. My eyes are closed and I’m holding Captain’s hand. I drop it and shout,

“Where are you?!”

“I’m right here.”

Everyone is encouraging me to push Baby Bop out. I’m concerned about not tearing my lady bits. Someone says,

“I wonder if she’ll have curly hair like her momma.”

As another pushing contraction sweeps over me, I mutter,

“I can’t even get into that right now.”

Baby Bop’s heart rate is decelerating. She’s turned around and is now posterior. Or what they call sunny side up. Her head is stuck. The midwife tells me,

“You need to push your baby out on the next contraction or we’re going to have to do an episiotomy and a vacuum extraction.”

Perineum be damned. I push with everything I have and some that I didn’t know I have. At 3:49 pm, 2 hours after we got to the hospital, Baby Bop comes flying out!

 

Thank goodness it’s over and who is this person? The two hours of stitches begins.

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Blogging with a baby. That’s what those boppy nursing pillows are for right?

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Jessica versus Jessica’s hair – the saga continues

24 weeks pregnant. I take back EVERY pregnancy complaint I have ever made. Every single one. At least for now. I am having an identity crisis.

For the first 10 years of my life I had straight hair:

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Tell me you love these shorts.

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Then this happened:

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Now I have had curly hair for 24 years. TWENTY-FOUR YEARS of perfecting my curly hair. The first five years I spent in a whirlwind of what-the-heck-is-happening-to-my-body: hips, period, boobs, hairy legs, hairy armpits AND CURLY hair.

The next five years I spent realizing that brushing dry curly hair may not be the best way to go and that layers are my friend. I was making progress but it was still Jessica versus Jessica’s hair.

Ten years ago I began to feel like curly hair might be my jam. Then 6 years ago I started getting special curly-hair haircuts and using all curly-hair hair products. I’m owning it. Curly hair is me and it fits my personality: energetic, bouncy and a little all over the place.

Now I’m pregnant. I may be crazy, but my hair appears to be growing in straight. GAH! Who am I?!

An entire head of straight hair would be one thing, but it seems like the front edges didn’t get the hormonal memo. The front is sticking to it’s curly agenda, while the rest of my head gives up and straightens out.

I’m concerned about how this will end, but maybe my hair will be so coated in baby spit-up, drool and poop that I won’t notice.

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Good Times with Jess is knocked up

I have bad news for you. Not only are you reading a mommy blog, but you’ve been reading a mommy blog for the last 3 months. They tell me a baby will come out of me July 10th.

My birthday is in July, so I told the fetus it better not steal my birthday. Don’t worry, it can hear already.

I asked my friend if my blog should change it’s name. She said,

“No, the mommy part is just a continuation of the good times, or end of.”

We’ve had a couple ultrasounds. It’s like a bad, black and white, silent movie. Captain and I stare at random objects on the screen, one of which the doctor tells us is a fetus. Captain declares,

“It looks like a blurry blob.”

“Yeah.”

Captain adds,

“It looks like me.”

Blurry Blob the Fetus looks like Captain. So be it. At some point we’ll have to think of another name, but Blurry Blob is good for now.

Will Blurry Blob need extensive therapy because I’m blogging about it? Maybe. I’ll let you know.

So if all goes well, Good Times with Jess has replaced babbling, thirsty bar regulars with one babbling, thirsty, tiny person. The mommy blog begins. You’re welcome.

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Not all airports are created equal

The trip home from the honeymoon.

We get in line for airport security in Santorini. Without a word of explanation another traveler pushes and shoves through the entire line until he reaches the front. A woman in line behind him starts shouting at him in another language. He starts shouting back. Two security guys just stand there.

More shouting. The security guys decide to step in. They send the guy to the back of the line and they take the lady into a closed room. We resume moving through security. My hair is piled on top of my head in a ballerina bun with a million hair pins. I set the metal detector off. The security guy motions for me to take my hair out.

Take my hair out? I just spent 15 precious minutes early this morning putting it up. I stare at him. He motions again for me to take it out. I really don’t want to. He sighs. Comes around from behind the scanner machine and scans my entire body with one of those wands, muttering to himself,

“Tall lady. Very tall lady.”

He never scans my hair.

We make it to Athens, but for some reason I wasn’t able to select our airplane seats online for the flight home. They were randomly assigned: 50E and 50F for an eleven hour flight. Doesn’t sound great. I approach the counter at our gate.

“I’m wondering about our seats.”

The woman takes our tickets and grimaces,

“Looks like the back of the plane.”  She types on her computer for a minute. “Yup, last row in the middle.”

“Is it possible to move them?”

“Not if you want to stay together.”

I walk back toward Captain. He asks,

“How’d it go?”

“Not great. We’re in the last row, in the middle of the plane.”

We board and now I understand the airline counter lady’s grimace. Not only are we the last row of the plane, but we’re sandwiched between two bathrooms. We sink into our seats. I ask a flight attendant about moving seats. She tells me,

“This is a very full flight. You’re lucky you’re sitting together.”

Two things:

One: A full flight is a full flight. What’s a very full flight?

Two: Maybe I don’t need to spend the next 11 hours with my husband and two toilets. Maybe 11 hours with no husband and no toilets should be considered.

We end up staying together. I glance at the back of my seat. There’s no individual movie screen. I look down the length of the plane, there are no screens anywhere. What sort of bargain international flight did I book? No seat selection, no movies… there better be food.

There ends up being a minimal amount of food for “free” and no food for purchase even though I’m starving and they’re being stingy with the pretzels.

One bathroom breaks, so a line starts for the remaining toilet a foot away from Captain. Every once in awhile a flight attendant goes in the bathroom and sprays some air freshener, but that combined with farts, combined with the airplane meatball sandwich smell, is not pleasant.

Several people around us have taken to covering their faces. The flight attendant asks them,

“You can smell that?”

Everyone nods. Why does the flight attendant think we couldn’t smell that? The only way to be closer to the toilet is to be sitting on it.

We land in Toronto. We have just under two hours to make our connecting flight to Boston. Seems doable, but we are in the back of the plane and I have a sinking feeling we need to go through immigration.

We arrive at Toronto airport’s passport control for the US. There’s a giant board that says this is a 3 step process. I see huge lines for Step One and Two and I can’t even see Step Three. What is this? I’ve been through a lot of bad border control situations. This is shaping up to be one of the worst.

We scan our passports and plane tickets and proceed to Step Two. We’re supposed to wait for our names to come up on a screen and then proceed to Step Three. Our flight leaves in one hour. I drag Captain to Step Three. We wait in line for 15 minutes. The guy checks our passports and his computer screen. He tells us,

“You have to go back to Step Two. Your names aren’t up on the board yet.”

“Our flight is boarding soon.”

“There’s nothing I can do. We’re waiting for your bags to clear customs. Air Canada might be able to declare your bags missing and then you could go.”

I’ll declare my bags missing, I don’t need Air Canada and their smelly bathroom seats to do that. We rush over to Air Canada. We get permission to go to Step Three.

Now finally we’re in line to go through passport control. Our flight is boarding. I go to the front of the line and ask a security woman,

“May we cut the line? Our flight is leaving soon.”

She looks at my ticket and says,

“No. You’ll be fine.”

Another lady comes rushing up to the security woman. She seems even more desperate than I am to catch her flight. The security woman shouts at her,

“Get a direct flight next time.”

Wow. I get back in line with Captain. We make it through passport control, only to be stuck in line for security again. Our flight is departing in 15 minutes. I leave Captain and his bad knee behind and sprint for the gate. I’m hoping I can convince them to wait for him and if not, then he can get on a flight tomorrow with our bags.

He lucked out and made it and amazingly enough so did our bags and the pink stuffed turtle I bought in Greece. Don’t worry, I declared it.

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The open bar was a success

The wedding reception was not all roses and free cocktails, although there were plenty of free cocktails.

While Captain and I were busy being blown away/getting our photos taken, things were heating up in the cocktail tent. But not really, because the heater the hotel staff promised wasn’t heating.

My friend tells me,

“One lady said to another lady, ‘keep your f–king opinions to yourself.’ And walked off.”

I have no idea what that was about, but hopefully there’s some video footage.

Captain and I are ready to enter the reception hall and do our 3 minute long choreographed first dance. Huge success. Dance competitions here we come.

The toasts were perfect. My maid of honor went into detail about my food foraging skills and mentioned the time when I asked for and ate some stranger’s pizza crusts.

I know a good deal when I see one and that’s food scraps on someone else’s plate. Captain’s face in the photo below shows he’s still processing what a good deal food scraps are.

Next it was time to circulate to all of the tables and say hi to everyone. We had a relatively small wedding, 80 people, but when you’re going table to table, 80 seems like more than enough. We hit the last table just as the fireworks start to go off.
That’s right, my wedding had fireworks. Ok, so we may have lucked out and scheduled our wedding on the same day as some town fireworks. Free fireworks AND I managed to keep it a secret. When does that happen?
The secret was a little blown, but not everyone knew. The morning of the wedding my flower girl runs up to me and declares,
“Did you know there are going to be fireworks tonight?!”
“Yes! How’d you find out?!”
“It’s listed on the board by the pool.”
So you’re saying all the kids know.
After the fireworks, it’s time to cut the ice cream cake. My mother-in-law put a beautiful bow on a lovely cake knife. Captain and I take the knife to the cake and…. nothing. The knife is not going into the cake. We try again. I’m having ice cream cake if it’s the last thing I do.
I press down hard. SNAP. There goes the knife. We dig our forks in. And that was the only bit of ice cream cake I had! Hopefully some made it to my mom’s freezer because I didn’t spend months considering ice cream flavors for one bite.
The band was amazing, so amazing and fun that they handed the mic off to guests to sing. Which is a great idea in the beginning and starts to be questionable once the open bar is in full swing. At least it seemed like everyone was keeping their opinions to themselves.
I would like to thank all the women who made my multiple bathroom trips a reality and didn’t let my dress drag all over the men’s bathroom floor. A bride does NOT wait in line.

A special special wedding ceremony

The honeymoon is over.

What a whirlwind! I’ve read that the wedding ceremony can be transcendental. My ceremony was special, but it veered off the transcendental track before I even walked down the aisle.

My mom puts my blusher veil over my face and I follow my bridesmaids down the long hotel corridor toward the outdoor ceremony overlooking the beach. We reach the end and line up behind the door to go outside. Music is playing and I catch a glimpse of everyone seated and waiting. It’s 2 seconds to go time. The hotel fire alarm starts blasting.

Really? The ear piercing bell removes any sentimental thoughts I thought I might have. The bridal party proceeds down the aisle. It turns out you could barely hear the alarm at the ceremony site, but nobody told me.

My mom and I step outside. We start to walk toward everyone. The wind swoops up and my blusher is gone. I shout,

“Mom! My blusher!”

“I don’t think there’s anything I can do.”

What she didn’t tell me at the time, was that it was so windy my blusher was standing straight up in the air and there was nothing anyone was going to be able to do. Not such a big deal considering Captain has seen my face before.

I walk up to Captain with my sobbing somewhat under control. I slip under the chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy) to join him. It’s a chuppah made for 5 feet tall people. I’m 6′ and Captain is 6’3″. Never mind that the florist upsold us on some chuppah greenery that is hanging down and slapping us in the face every time the wind blows, which is the entire 30 minute ceremony.

Something wet splatters me. There are so many things happening. I’m not processing much. Captain points at my shoulder,

“A seagull pooped on you!”

I look at my arm and shoulder. Yup. Covered in bird poop. I look back at Captain. I tell him,

“It got you too!”

There’s bird poop down the front of his suit. I’m clutching my great-grandmother’s handkerchief, which until now I’ve been using to wipe my nose. Do I use this to wipe up bird poop?

“Mom! I need a tissue.” Keep in mind the wedding ceremony is still in progress. If you ever need a Rabbi, I highly recommend ours. She was wonderful and hilarious. Plus she spent a good portion of the ceremony promoting my blog.

There were almost 100 people standing/sitting around outside with no cover and Captain and I were under a canopy. The seagull still decided to poop on us.

Five minutes later I glance down. There is bird poop the entire length of my gown. Now I want to cry for real. Someone tells me to let it dry and it’ll flick off later. Note to anyone wearing a wedding dress who gets shat on by a seagull. Let it dry; it will flick off later.

We’re pronounced husband and wife; Captain kisses me and we’re off for 5 minutes by ourselves. We planned on this before the ceremony. We enjoyed it, but good luck finding all the family members and bridal party people you want photos with after you’ve let them get away.

Between trying to round everyone up and keeping my veil from pulling my head off into the wind, I was over the group photos. The photographer can see my frustration, he asks,

“Do you want to take your veil off?”

NO WAY! When else in my life will it be acceptable to prance around in public in a ball gown and veil? This is it. This was our very special, windy, fire alarm, bird-poop filled day.

 

 

If you die waiting for a marriage certificate, then you’ll save some time on the next line

I’d like to dedicate this post to my newest reader: The wonderful Rabbi who is going to marry Captain and me.


I don’t know when the last time is that you went to the Boston City Hall for an intention of marriage certificate, but it’s not a romantic experience. Boston City Hall is a concrete monstrosity with limited windows and no discernible doors.

I researched the Massachusetts’s marriage instructions online. Both people must appear in person, together, to complete an intention of marriage certificate. Then 3 days later one person may return for the required paperwork and then any day within 60 days later somebody can sign that paper and it’s official. Kim Davis types are not welcome. The wait is already long enough as it is.

I manage to sneak Captain away from his work. We approach City Hall. Where is the door? Why is our city hall the least welcoming building in the city?  Some people appear to be going toward a part of the building that is either a parking garage or a bunker entrance.

We squeeze in the side of the building and head upstairs to a sign that reads “Births, Deaths and Marriages.” There’s a pad of paper and pencil in a window. It looks like somewhere to sign in. I pick it up. A lady barks at us,

“What do you need?”

“An intention of marriage certificate.”

“Come back here.”

We enter the windowless concrete cave of an office. She sits us down at a computer and we fill out a form with our names and our contact information. We click complete. So far this doesn’t seem like it should be a joint in-person operation. When one of us needs a death certificate, we’ll have to be able to complete the form on our own.

The lady directs us to a line of many soon-to-be newlyweds. Everyone looks morose.  Somehow the bunker like atmosphere has sucked away all the love and googly eyes.

We make it back to the window. We raise our right hand and swear that we’re the people we say we are. We go to another line to pay $50, then we get back in the original line and we get a receipt to bring back in 3 days for more paperwork. If we can file taxes online, surely we could let people fill out their names to intend to get married.

We find an above-ground door to exit from and now we’re one week away from being married, paperwork and all.

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