Friday, April 24, 2009


So...I look like hell in this picture. I had just given birth 7 hours earlier and my hair is a mess. If you could see inside my flesh though, you would see a huge red heart swelling with pride. I love that I have 2 kids now. Not that it hasn't been an adjustment.

I had my first taste of my new role the other day. My mom has been staying with us and she is a HUGE help. Well, she went to the bathroom for 4 minutes the other afternoon and in that time, everything went to hell and it went fast!

Koen opened his eyes from a long nap and was starving. His little voice whimpered and as I picked him up to nurse him Griffin yelled over the crying "I NEED A SNACK!" Full of guilt that he is not the only boy in my life anymore, I high tailed it to the kitchen to get him his snack before I settled down to nurse. Koen was screaming and sucking on my cheek as I prepared Griffin's snack with one hand. I broke it down step by step as Koen tried his hardest to suck milk out of my chin...put the pretzels in a bowl, calmly grab a juice box, you are in control, everything is okay, I tried to tell myself.

I handed Griffin his snack and he demanded "Put it over there." then he started to really sass me "STOP HIM FROM SCREAMING! GO AWAY MOM!" Koen was in hysterics at this point and sucking on my nose. I was trying my hardest to get the damn straw into the juice box with my teeth and one hand. I didn't have the energy to discipline Griffin at that moment and I was fed up. I threw the juice box on the couch to flee the scene and nurse Koen. The juice box promptly landed on Griffin's bowl and sent his pretzels flying into the air.

Griffin lost it. "You threw food at me!" He was crying, Koen was screaming, I started crying as I gathered up his spilled pretzels and then I escaped into the other room leaving Griffin to stew alone with his abused snack.

I sobbed while I nursed Koen.

My mom came out of the bathroom. "What happened in there?" My mom asked gently. "Griffin said that you threw food at him, but I told him that it must have been an accident because mom would never do that."

"No mom", I said between sobs, "I didn't throw food at him, it was a juice box and you are never allowed to go to the bathroom again!"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I found my monkey

I was on the birth ball and my hips were swaying from side to side as the contractions started coming faster and harder. I knew at that moment that my grand plan of hypnobirthing carrying me through Koen's birth was not going to happen. It was at that pivotal moment that my Doula, the lovely Pat Nielson, quoted Ina May Gaskin and told me "You gotta let your monkey do it." Little did I know, that I had a strong monkey living within me. I had to leave all reasoning behind and let my body take over.

I'm getting ahead of myself though, let me start early on Easter morning.

I woke up Easter morning to a slow drip of amniotic fluid. As Griffin celebrated his Easter basket I called the midwife and shared the news. "Call me at 2 pm" was her response. My body needed to start contractions and I had to wait until they formed a pattern before it would be time to head to the hospital. It never happened. I ate brunch, had an Easter egg hunt with Griffin, and just went about my day with a contraction here and there but no true pattern formed. I called at 2 pm "Come in at 7 and we'll check you." were the directions given to me. That would have given my body 12 hours to do the work.

We arrived at the hospital and I was nervous. I had been told horror stories about the use of Pitocin to start labor and was really scared. We decided to do a slow drip of Pitocin to see if my body would grab the contractions and take over. The midwife on call was Christy, a young whippersnapper of a lady who seemed to know her stuff. It was 11 pm, we all settled down to try to get some sleep. Christy predicted it would be 8 am before we really saw some action. I put on my lavender eye pillow, grabbed my I pod, and put on my Hypnobirthing Cd's to work through the contractions. The room was dark, it was quiet, and my belly started to stir with activity. I tried to pretend that I wasn't feeling anything and that I was going to fall into a peaceful slumber. Pat had gone to try to sleep in the room next to us, with an eye on a monitor that showed Koen's vitals and my activity.

A big contraction hit and Pat came sailing into the room and sat next to me as if I had called her to me. She has an uncanny way of reading my mind. We sat and chatted as I worked through a few hard contractions but nothing too painful. We all gave up on getting any rest. Roger got up, we turned on the lights, grabbed a birth ball, and had grand conversations as I slowly labored. I had a Popsicle, it was actually kind of fun. The three of us, just chatting away as my body did the work.

Then, my demeanor changed. There were some contractions that I couldn't talk through. Roger and Pat took turns rubbing my back. I had to pee every 2 seconds. Things were getting more serious. Pat called Christy in and she checked me. I was at 6 cm and dilating fast. It was then that I knew that I had to find my monkey. I abandoned hypnobirthing, I admit it, I just couldn't wrap my brain around it anymore. It seemed daunting to try to relax. I couldn't tap into my natural endorphins anymore. The contractions were too fast and too hard. It was time for me to get primitive-or get an epidural.

In my heart, I wanted to do this birth naturally and had instructed my team to help me at least try to get there without pain medication and work through it. I told Pat, "I'm seeing a word in bright shiny letters and it says epidural!" Instead of calling the anesthesiologist she filled up the tub with hot steamy water and tossed me in there. It was a liquid epidural. Tension melted away as she grabbed a bucket and poured the hot water onto my belly. Roger put cool wash cloths on my forehead. I had a great team surrounding me. The midwife and a nurse (pregnant herself, which comforted me somehow) were in the bathroom too. I felt safe as I floated in the water.

Then, Christy checked me, the contractions were so close that I almost lost it a few times. I was at 8 cm-no wonder I felt insane. Christy discovered that the amniotic sac was still blocking Koen's head. He had made a small tear on the side and that was what started the leak. He wouldn't come until the sac popped. She offered to break the water for me. "It will cut the time you have left by 30 minutes to an hour." "DO IT!" was my response. After that, things started to really move. My uterus was pulsating, I got out of the tub and sat down on the toilet to relax. I started crying, I remember being naked and vulnerable and Roger busting through our team of ladies and just held me as I cried. They moved me to the bed because my monkey had completely taken over and I was making all kinds of wonderful jungle noises. I impressed myself with just how primitive I felt.

Once I was on the bed, I had a good old fashioned freak out. It was all so intense, the pressure, the fear of the unknown. How long would I have to push? How much damage would I do to my hooha? My brain couldn't process my thoughts and I just started to lose it a bit. My team rallied around me. Pat practically sat on me and put her hands on my shoulders. "When I touch your shoulders, that means relax." Okay...I can do that, I thought to myself. Roger rubbed my head so lovingly, Christy called my name to get my attention "Let him go!" she said to me. Okay, I reached deep within myself and decided to give in. I was going to have this baby. 12 minutes later, Koen was on my belly crying. He was perfect!

I was in labor for 4 hours. It was fast and beautiful. Thanks to my team who stuck with me and pushed me to find my inner strength. Thanks to my husband who gave me so much support and love. Thanks to Koen for working so hard to push his way down. I owe at all to my monkey though, that fearless little creature that I found. Now, I feel like I can do anything!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

baby world

Back soon...breastfeeding, napping, and cuddling with my boys.
Soon, I'll tell you all about Koen's birth.
It was amazing!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A letter to Koen to read when you are a bit older.

Dear Koen,
Happy due date to you. I can't believe that we made it this far. When I was 4 weeks pregnant with you, I was stung by a wasp and had an allergic reaction. It was swollen and scary. I didn't know what to do because you were so little. I took Benadryl and prayed.

We made it through that.

When I was 29 weeks pregnant, I fell down. Again, it was scary because you were too little to be born yet. I went to the hospital and I prayed and prayed that you would be okay. You did beautifully in my belly and stayed healthy and happy.

We made it through that.

When I was 33 weeks pregnant, I had a bad toothache. The doctor told me that I had to go to the dentist to get it fixed because if I didn't, you could come early. I went to the dentist and prayed and that you would stay in my tummy so you could keep growing.

We made it through that.

So, here we are, on your due date and you are still healthy and in my tummy. I think that is a cause for celebration! You are a strong boy. I know that and I haven't even met you yet.

You have also already started teaching me lessons. You're big brother Griffin was born 6 days early. He was ready to come out into the world. When my midwife heard that news, she told to expect to see you even earlier. My heart skipped a beat, because I can't wait to meet you. we are 2 weeks later and you are still in my tummy. When Griffin was born, I had a "check up" and later the next day, he was born.

So, the midwife gave me a check up and told me that you could be here in 24 to 48 hours. That was one week ago. You are still in my tummy.

You have already taught me to not compare you to your big brother.
You are your own little person and will do things in YOUR way.
You have already taught me to let go of
expectations of any kind and give you the freedom to be Koen.

I get it...I can do that for you.

So, come home and meet your family. I know that mommy feels safe but I will still protect you when you come and I promise to love you for being you. No expectations.
Just unconditional love.

I love you,

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A labor of love!

My mom found this article online and is in the kitchen right now. She's cooking me up some Eggplant Parmigiana Alla Scalini's. I hear her in there...singing lullabies and saying prayers as she lovingly prepares this meal for me.

We'll see if it works!

From restaurant owners Bobby and John Bogino

Nearly 300 baby pictures decorate Scalini's old-fashioned Italian restaurant in Cobb County, Ga.

Babies from Eggplant Parmigiana
All of the babies pictured on the Italian restaurant wall were born after their mothers ate the Scalini's eggplant parmigiana. The $9.95 plate of breaded eggplant smothered in cheese and thick marinara sauce is "guaranteed" to induce labor, the restaurant claims.

The eggplant legend began not long after the restaurant opened 23 years ago.

"Two or three years after we began, a few people had just mentioned to us they came in when they were pregnant, and ate this eggplant and had a baby a short time after that," said John Bogino, who runs the restaurant with his son, Bobby Bogino. "One person told another, and it just grew by itself by leaps and bounds."

To date, more than 300 of the pregnant women customers who ordered the eggplant have given birth within 48 hours, and the restaurant dubs them the "eggplant babies." If it doesn't work in two days, the moms-to-be get a gift certificate for another meal.

We make no promises, but the restaurant has graciously shared the recipe.

Eggplant Parmigiana Ingredients

  • 3 medium sized eggplants
  • 1 cup flour
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups fine Italian bread crumbs, seasoned
  • Olive oil for sauteing
  • 8 cups of marinara sauce (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 pounds of mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups of ricotta cheese

  • Directions

    1. After you wash the eggplant, slice them into 1/4-inch thick slices. You may choose to peel the eggplant before you slice it. However, you may want to leave the skin on since it contains a lot of vitamins.

    2. Place the eggplant slices on a layer of paper towels and sprinkle with a little salt, then cover with another layer of paper towels and hold it down with something heavy to drain the excess moisture. Let them sit for about an hour.

    3. Working with one slice of eggplant at a time, dust with flour, dip in beaten eggs, then coat well with breadcrumbs.

    4. Saute in preheated olive oil on both sides until golden brown.

    5. In baking dish, alternate layers of marinara sauce, eggplant slices, ricotta, parmesan and Romano cheeses, until you fill the baking dish, about 1/8 inch from the top. Cover with shredded mozzarella cheese, and bake for 25 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

    Scalini's Marinara Sauce


  • 2 Tablespoons of chopped garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 8 cups chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
  • 1/8 cup of fresh chopped sweet basil
  • Pinch of thyme
  • Pinch of rosemary
  • One teaspoon salt
  • One teaspoon black pepper

  • Directions

    1. Lightly saute the onions in olive oil in large pot for a few minutes.

    2. Add garlic and saute another minute.

    3. Add tomatoes and bring sauce to a boil, then turn heat low.

    4. Add remaining ingredients, stir, cover and let simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.

    Recipe courtesy of John Bogino, Scalini's Italian Restaurant, Smyrna, Ga.

    Sunday, April 5, 2009

    My moment of zen

    No new news over here. It's all pre-labor, braxton hicks contractions, and cramps at my house.
    My body is getting ready and I'm trying to stay sane as I wait and wait for the real deal.

    Last night the contractions were so intense
    that I thought for sure he was coming.
    Of course, I feel asleep at 3:45 am while
    timing contractions and woke up with a
    calm uterus and no baby.

    I'm staying strong both mentally and physically.

    Until he's here...I'm over baby hedgehogs.
    Now, I'm all about Red Baby Pandas.

    I'd much rather be gazing into my Koen's eyes.
    These cuties will have to do for now

    Friday, April 3, 2009

    Beauty all around us

    I have been nesting.
    In the process I have realized
    how much I love the little treasures
    that make this my home.

    Like stacked Fiesta Ware in the kitchen and these salt and pepper shakers. I admired them at a store at Callaway Gardens and my Dad snook back in and bought them for me for Christmas years ago. It's almost silly how much joy they bring me!

    This stained glass that hangs in my bedroom window. It used to hang in my parent's house when I was growing up and then they passed it on to me. I wake up every morning to this beauty presenting the morning light.

    These amazing one of a kind tiles that my friend Linda hand painted for me.
    She just moved back to Australia, so they are extra special to me.

    A sweet dish that was my grandmother's makes for a lovely soap dish.
    Despite a repaired crack, I think it's immaculate.

    Disclaimer: this is all a feeble attempt to distract
    myself from the fact that I am waiting to go into labor.
    Thank you for joining me.

    Wednesday, April 1, 2009

    A creative corner

    There is a quiet moment, after Griffin is off to school, that I walk around the house and pick up various toys and messes from our daily activities. It's fun to follow a little trail of Griffin's day. An abandoned Superman cape or a Transformer that saved the world and then was left on the floor.

    It's rewarding when you stumble upon a mess like the one I discovered on his little table today. The camera, markers, crayons, and paints help me to see that we somehow manage to foster his creativity throughout the day. He loves art and I think it's evident by the amount of watercolor splashed haphazardly onto the table.

    Maybe sometimes I do something right.

    In other news...I am1 centimeter dilated and 70% effaced. Maybe Koen will be here soon to watch Griffin paint yet another picture of Spiderman.

    I love being a mom!