Can your MIL do this?

I don’t have much to blog about today, as I’ve spent the past 6 days doing nothing more than staring at this:


But my MIL, in her extreme thoughtfulness and dearness, spent the last month writing and gathering some guest posts for me.  This is a sweet one written from the perspective of a few dads she knows.

Theme: A mélange de quatre perspectives on pregnancy and motherhood
Merged comments of four fathers in Chicago sharing more than 120 years of fatherhood expertise
Edited from a month of ramblings by each of them
Identity hidden to protect the innocent and/or the honest

Pregnancy alters everything in a relationship because the birth of a child creates a family. You will never be just a “couple” again. Not a bad thing, but certainly a life changing thing. I never thought of it before it happened—and then bang, it was there big as life. Probably this realization happened in the wee hours of the morning when families tend not to sleep.

Pregnancy is all about hormones. Physiologically, the body is all about adaptation. Your blood volume increases, your hormones rage, your body swells in response to uneven water distribution in tissue compartments. That is the clinical definition. My advice: watch your salt intake.

I consider the time my wife was pregnant equal to be married to a wonderful alien being. I am grateful she returned (almost) to earth after each one of those incubations because I was not prepared to leave the planet permanently. Maybe I watched too much science fiction when she could not sleep.

Pregnancy is all about sacrifice. The pregnant one has to give up coffee, alcohol, heartburn promoting foods, outfits with waists. Pagan ritual that it is —- science considers it a natural state of health, but many suffer chronic challenges especially in the final weeks of this unnatural “natural” state when all rules go out the window and the entire world is focused on, as my wife put it, “getting this out of my body!”

I heard there was a guy who decided to gain the same amount of weight that his wife gained during her first pregnancy. Each week they weighed and kept up with each other. He didn’t have to eat the same foods she did, just keep the weight contest going. She was fine. He got high blood pressure. She still has some of her pregnancy weight three years later. He lost the weight but still has high blood pressure. I don’t know what the moral of this story is—but maybe guys shouldn’t try to be a mom too – keep to the dad thing.

I love being a dad. I never knew how empty my life was until I held that first little guy in my arms. It still brings tears to my eyes.

They don’t call it the miracle of birth for nothing. It’s a miracle we all survive the intensity of labor and delivery. I now understand the value of short term memory that disappears fast. You need to remember only the good things.

I still find it impossible to believe a 6 or 7 pound baby can turn into a 200 pound adult cell by cell. How can that happen? Why can’t I get rid of the extra cells that kept on growing in my waist region? I need to find the “shut-off” switch.

Beto Family ct: 1 mom, 1 dad, 1 cat, 2 turtles

MrsMouthy, at T-1 days:


Oh, am I not supposed to post belly shots any more?  I couldn’t help it.  The belly’s still there, but the attitude is BACK!  (Note slight turn of left leg.)

Now that you’ve read Rocco’s birth story, I should tell you the whole experience was quite different for Kevin.  I kid you not, one of the first things Kevin said after Rocco was born was, “Well that was easy.”  I glared at at him, but instead of sheepishly taking it back, he kept trying to explain why it was “so easy.”  He’s still trying!  Then the second morning in the hospital he woke up and asked if he could please borrow a couple of my pain meds because he was “a little sore” from sleeping on a hospital bed.  Sure, honey, take the whole bag.  Would you like a squeeze bottle to help with urination, too?  Oh…you don’t have two stitches in your urethra and a tear on the outside that should heal itself in time? 

It’s a good thing he’s so darn handsome. 

And because I’m still feeling gooey, I’ll also add that Kevin was truly awesome through the whole labor thing and has been MVP of the family ever since.  He brings me ice water when I’m nursing, keeps track of any medicine I’ve taken, counsels me through my crying episodes, and keeps the big ninja turtle in stitches.  (The laughing kind of stitches, not the kind I have.)

Our first morning home, Vincenzo and I had this conversation at breakfast:

V: Mom, I didn’t have a baby.
Me: No, but someday maybe you’ll marry someone and she will have a baby for you.
V: You.
Me: What about me?
V: I will marry you.

We’ve had a lot of fun these past few days, despite the fact that it’s 90 to 100 degrees outside and I live in a place where only the eccentric have built-in A/C.  We bought a standing air conditioner that Rocco spends so much time staring at that we’ve named her “Cool Mom.”  Vincenzo spends his day fighting, jumping, reading, playing games, etc., and we move the Rocco from activity to activity, where he proceeds to sleep heavily.  It feels rather Weekend at Bernie’s-esque.

I have to go smell the baby now.  I’ll smell you all later.

Labor Day

QUICKIE:  When Grammy brought Vincenzo to the hospital on our second day, he walked right up to Rocco and said, “Hi other turtle!”  If that’s not acceptance, I don’t know what is!
I totally apologize for all the posts I’m going to publish the next week or two.  It’s going to be a ton of baby and not much else until my hormones have been safely rounded up and beaten into submission.  I don’t feel anything in moderation anymore.  I nurse my baby and think I am a unicorn flying over a rainbow; then my husband looks up from his crossword puzzle to ask who sings Xanadu and I start bawling.  In Vincenzo’s words, “It’s compusing.”  My blog is going to be very mushy and definitely very baby, but I assure you that regular blogcasting will resume as soon as possible.

So for those of you who love a good labor story, here’s ten percent of what’s in my journal from that glorious, perfect day.  Spoiler alert: It does not end with a Louis Vuitton bag.

I woke up on Wednesday and told Kevin the baby was coming soon.  Not today soon, but maybe tomorrow soon.  At 4:30AM the next morning, contractions woke me up—they were coming every 10 minutes and required focused breathing—so I gave myself a French manicure.  Pictures, people, pictures!  I sent Kevin off to work with a Fluffer Nutter sandwich, a bag of homemade cookies, and a kiss because “who knows how long these things can take, dear.”  I was basically smack-talking labor; taunting it.  Labor countered by slowing down after three hours so that the contractions just came and went whenever they wanted.

I spent the evening alone with Vincenzo at a park, feeling all gooey inside that this was our last night as a twosome and what if down the road I forget what it was like having just one turtle and what if he never remembers what it was like to be an only turtle?  We found a tennis ball that we named “Timmy” and threw it down an imaginary well over and over again while Vincenzo laughed hysterically.  It really was a beautiful “last” memory with Vincenzo. 

Hold on a sec, I have to go cry again.

Okay.  That’s over.  (For now.)

At 9PM the contractions came back full-force and started coming faster so I called up my sister, who would guard the ninja turtle should the ninja turtle’s parents have to leave in the middle of the night.  At 2AM we headed to the hospital where the nurse hooked me up to the monitor and checked my cervix. 

Remember how I was all braggy about being 3 centimeters on Monday?  Yeah, well I didn’t feel so braggy when the nurse told me I was still at 3 centimeters despite feeling like I was in labor for the past 22 hours.  I pled for my cause.  I begged.  I considered calling a lawyer. 

Fortunately, Rocco came to my rescue.  During my time on the machines the doctor noticed that his heart rate had decelerated a couple times, which TOTALLY didn’t stress me out AT ALL, so they decided to give me a room to keep an eye on the little guy’s heart until the morning.

By 5:30AM the not-productive-at-all contractions were requiring all my attention and were coming every 3 minutes so I called the nurse to check my cervix again.  She grudgingly put on her gloves saying, “There’s no point, since you’re really not in labor…”  “Humor me,” I commanded.  She did her thing then looked up in surprise.  “You’re a good 5 or 6 centimeters!”  She called in the doctor.  Repeat scene.

The next two hours were full of needle pokes and hee-hee-hoooooooooooo’s and Kevin adjusting the volume of my soothing music because, I discovered, when you’re in labor, each song has its own, unique, perfect loudness and any deviation one way or the other can really make it challenging to JUST FIGURE IT OUT ALREADY!!  I’M IN A LOT OF PAIN HERE!  IT’S NOT THAT FRIGGIN’ HARD TO CHANGE THE FRIGGIN’ VOLUME!

The IV only took three attempts, which is a record on my veins, and the epidural only took two tries.  It kicked in at 7:45. 

At 8:15 my OB broke my water and told me she’d see me in an hour or two for show time.  I cheerfully waved her away and ordered a serving of bon-bons sent up to Room 2124.

A few minutes later I told the labor nurse, “I’m so sorry, but I think I’m going to poop the bed.”  Everyone in the room yelled, “THAT’S NOT POOP!”  Chaos ensued as they hunted down the OB and got her into delivery scrubs while I tried my hardest to hold something in that did NOT want to be held in while also searching for that mythical button someone had told me I could press if I needed to pump up the level of the epidural.  I never did find it but it didn’t matter because three pushes later, at 8:35AM, the doctor said, “Look down!”

And there was a beautiful, wet, wriggly, purple creature, screaming with life, for one instant straddling the worlds of in utero and out, knowing nothing but the smell of his mama and needing nothing but to be held by her and loved by her.

They put him on my chest.  And then I died and went to heaven.


(We haven’t put anything in his hair—it just does that.)

It’s the thought that counts??

QUICKIE: Vincenzo: “Mom, let’s go home and play golfing!”  Me: “Okay!”  Vincenzo: “You can be the hole.”
Vincenzo was talking about Mbungo’s pending birth and realized that when he’s born, it will be his birthday.  So Vincenzo decided we should decorate the house.  Once I emerged from the puddle I had melted into, these are the decorations Vincenzo made for his baby brother, with the titles he instructed me to write:







I asked him where we should hang the pictures for Rocco and he answered, “In my room.”  I think he’s really getting this big brother thing down!

Potato salad
Broccoli grape salad
Peach pie

Dodge this!

Every day when Kevin gets home from work, Vincenzo runs up to him and yells, “Let’s fight, Daddy!”  They used to use foam swords but their fights have evolved beyond physical weapons, into the cerebral.  Instead, one person throws an imaginary object at the other and the other shouts out his defense then throws an imaginary object back.  Vincenzo has invented all but one imaginary weapon in this game.  How, we don’t know.

Vincenzo, making a throwing motion: Cactus ball!
Kevin: Duck!  Cannon ball!
V: Jump!  Cactus ball!  Cannon ball!
K: Duck!  Dodge!  Angry kitten!
V: Protective shield all over my body!  Electrician!  Zip!  Zip!
K: What?
V: Electrician!!!  Zip!
K: Uh…shell? 
V: But there’s a hole in it!  Heart attack!  Heart attack!

I’ll go make that call to the family therapist now…

Scotch salmon
Lime-cilantro sweet potato fries

Skip this post if you’re sick of baby stuff

QUICKIE: Vincenzo: “Mom, there’s a big poop in my diaper!  It’s much bigger than a pea!”
Q: How should you feel when someone calls you a “loose two or a tight three?”
A: Awesome!  It was my doctor and she was talking about centimeters!

(The answer would also be the same if it was God telling me what my post-baby jean size will be.)

The only thing I’m worried about is that last week’s inappropriate probing at the OB’s revealed that I’m a Group B Strep carrier, which really is an almost nothing risk to me or the baby, but I never discount “almost nothing risks” after having a T13 baby.  I keep repeating, “It will be fine, it will all be fine.”  Copy/paste in comments section, please.

This weekend was full of pampering and fun!  On Saturday I went to a baby shower por moi, then a 40th birthday party; on Sunday I went to a baby shower por moi, then a 40th birthday party.  It feels weird to neither attend my own baby shower today nor attend your 40th birthday party today.  My family and friends way outcrafted me at my showers and I hate to get braggy on my blog, but my friends and family ROCK!  The first shower was done in an Italian theme with everything from marbled quail eggs to an Italian cream cake; the second was done in a zebra-and-teal theme and involved karaoke wars.  Told ya; my peeps rock!

My BIL also snuck in a photo shop with my much-exploited belly this weekend.  Give him some props—he’s a lurker in these parts.








*In the interest of modesty, I wore a bra, underwear, and ankle-length ski parka in the last photo.  Zombie BIL really knows his way around Adobe Photoshop.

Chicken cobb salad
Potato salad
Grilled cilantro-lime sweet potato fries

If you can dream it, you can do it!

I had an OB appointment yesterday and got some great news…I’m already at two centimeters!  No Lamaze breathing required, suckas!

Being so close to D-Day, I’m anxious to get this baby out so I can stop worrying about cord strangulation and move on to worrying about things like SIDS.  But getting the baby out requires going through labor, and I’m not so anxious to go through that again. 

Over the course of my two previous deliveries, I’ve been administered six epidurals.  Precisely one-sixth of them worked.  With Vincenzo, two different anesthesiology teams stuck a total of four needles in my back but for some reason the medicine line wouldn’t thread through.  By the time they were finished poking eight inch needles into my spine, I was at ten centimeters anyway.

During Angelo’s delivery, the first epidural didn’t take for some reason, and then I got the shivers so badly they almost couldn’t try a second time.  Fortunately the nurse thought to put something in my IV that stopped the shaking and I received my first taste of pain-free delivery.  It was deeee-licious.  Still, the experience left me afraid that my body won’t be able to stop shaking and I’ll be stuck high and dry once more for this next delivery.

So to help calm my anxiety I created this fantasy where I go into labor and stick it out as long as I can at home, controlling the pain with breathing, a couple ice packs, and some gentle aromatherapy.  When I finally go into the hospital, they lay me up on the bed and say, “Holy smokes!  You’re already at ten centimeters!”  A little more pain and a couple pushes later, I’m holding Mbungo and everyone is saying what a champ I am and how much the baby looks like me.

But that fantasy started to seem a little too painful, so I created a new one.  Check it out: I go to the OB for one of my appointments and when she goes to “have a look-see,” she gives a little gasp then pops back up holding my newborn baby in one hand and—you guessed it—a brand new Louis Vuitton bag in the other.

What?  Why you laughing?  I don’t laugh at your hopes and dreams, do I?

Macaroni and cheese
Marinated grilled vegetables
Salad with raspberry vinaigrette
Jam thumbprint cookies

Organic love

Kevin and I celebrated our six-year anniversary last weekend.  We got married on 7-11 because my husband has this thing for Slurpees, so not only will he never forget the date but it is also always Free Slurpee Day on our anniversary.  The specialness is built right in.

This year we spent the weekend in my college down of Bellingham, which is surrounded by ocean, mountains, and forests, and organic wholesomeness…which meant the only gas stations in town were attended by this type of duuuuuuude:

They probably don’t sell real gas and they definitely don’t sell real Slurpees.  Bellinghammers would never go for a drink where the plastic straws come individually wrapped in plastic.

Bellingham is a town where you sit down for breakfast and the menu boasts, “Same day service!”  Then you open it up to order a burger and this is the selection:


Like, where’s the beef?!  You decide to steer a different direction and have brunch instead.  The waitress asks, “Would you like 2% or soy with that?”  You ask for skim, causing a major commotion in the kitchen and a meltdown in the town’s organic cookie factory. 

As you finish eating, you notice a guy sitting alone at a table across from you, talking to himself.  You tell your husband that if you were in an airport you’d be freaking out if that guy were at your boarding gate, and just as you finish whispering the guy invites you to sit with him.  You do, because you’ve been married six years and have virtually nothing left to talk about.  The guy begins mumbling in a Russian accent that neither of you understand.  He orders coffee, tea, and wine for himself.  During the next half hour you understand the words “grandma,” “Al Capone,” “communism,” and one full sentence: “Will you pay my bill?”  You make some excuse about having to stop in at the store called The Hempest across the street, then you book over there and buy a pair of soda bottle recycled capris, just in case the KGB was listening.

It felt great to be back in “The ‘Ham,” though, even if there wasn’t a scrap of ultra-processed ham to be found.  We’d rather laugh than make puppy-dog eyes at each other over dinner, anyway.  Happy anniversary, Kev!


Leftover chowdah
Biscuits with honey butter
Green beans with balsamic vinaigrette and shaved parmesan
Key lime something-or-other fancy French pastry (bought, not made)

Family problems

QUICKIE: Just a cartoon I came across that makes me giggle:


(I’m not sure if you can read the last box, but she’s saying, “Well, that sucked.”)

The last time my family got together the big event involved Nads and the neck hair of the men we love.  We got together again this weekend and, well, I’m not sure how to describe what happened next.

My parents:


BIL and sis:


Jnott (i.e. zombie BIL and sis):


Mr. and Mrs. Mouthy:


Please tell me this is all completely normal and your family does the same kinds of things when you’re all together.  Because if not, I’m not sure how to explain this all to Mbungo when he pops his little gigantic head into the world in three weeks!

Salmon chowder
Corn on the cob
Berry shortcakes