Welcome, Charlie Wolfe!

July 15, 2017 § 1 Comment

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Introducing Charles Wolfe Storch, 7 lbs 14 oz, born Monday July 10 at 6:30pm!

After my friend Julia – my pregnancy partner/good friend who was due just 10 days after me – gave birth to her son on Saturday within hours of having her water broken, I knew I was over being pregnant. I was ready to meet Charlie and get this whole birth ordeal over with. Sunday morning and afternoon, Nick, Henry & I spent at two birthday parties in the hot sun, wrangling our excited kid. I was 5 days past my due date at that point and definitely exerted myself a bit in the heat, but by dinnertime, I was finally starting to feel contractions!

Around 9:30pm, I was suspecting that my water broke after a contraction. Getting ready to have a baby when you already have a 3 1/2 year-old is so different than your first time around. This meant that we had to have Henry’s babysitter on-call and ready to come over when my contractions were close enough together to go to the hospital, which also required a tricky balance of giving her enough notice to come over, but not going to the hospital too early and being sent home. We had also hired Aimee to be our doula again so Sunday night consisted of communicating with my midwife, doula, and babysitter in addition to giving my parents a heads up so they could think about booking their flights to come visit. It was a lot of texting! In any case, by 11:00 pm Henry was asleep in his room, but our sitter Valerie and her 10 year-old son Caylan, plus Aimee’s back up doula, then eventually also Aimee were all over while I was dealing with contractions. It’s a good thing we have a big sectional couch because Valerie, Caylan, and Aimee ended up sleeping over on the couch, waiting for me to get to the point of being ready to head to the hospital.

Of course, in that type of pressure, I never did. As soon as I heard Henry wake up early in the morning, my contractions had stopped altogether. (Apparently this is a common occurrence with moms when it’s not their first baby and they have other kids to worry about.) My midwife did call to let me know that because I thought my water broke the night before, I had to head down to the hospital around 10am to check it out. This actually worked out perfectly because I just needed to get out of my crowded apartment (thankfully Valerie took Henry with her to drop off Caylan at his soccer camp) and concentrate on going into labour.

I arrived at triage in the hospital and they ran the tests to see if my water had broken, which were inconclusive. I was still having contractions, but only when I’d move – sitting and lying down were not doing me any good. The doctors wanted to put me on an IV in bed on pitocin which I refused, and thankfully my awesome midwife called me directly on my cell after speaking with the hospital. She recommended we go get lunch and go for a walk for 2 hours, then come back, which seemed like a much better option than what the hospital wanted!

Nick, Aimee, and I got egg & cheese bagels, iced coffee, and walked around Fort Greene Park for two hours. Thank goodness there was a hilly park right beside the hospital – a much better place to deal with increasingly strong contractions than a busy Brooklyn sidewalk! By the time we returned at 2pm, I was 5 cm dilated, almost fully effaced, and Charlie was very low. Before Aimee arrived, my drug-free birth spirit was a little broken and I was just so tired I thought I’d have to get the epidural this time. By the time we were back at the hospital and things were happening, plus with Aimee’s great communication and encouragement, I was back on track. After all, with Henry I gave birth without an epidural, but on pitocin to make my contractions worse – if I wasn’t on pitocin, it wasn’t going to be quite as bad.

Well things were intense and I did so much yelling that my throat was sore by the end of it, but Charlie was born at 6:30 pm that day! Despite a bit of a scare of his heart rate dropping and the umbilical cord being wrapped around his arm on the way out, everything went well. My midwife on call, Beth, doula Aimee, and the nurse on staff were awesome and it was nice to have just those three people, plus Nick, in the room.

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We spent two nights recovering in the hospital and came home on Wednesday afternoon so Henry could finally meet Charlie. He had been telling everyone he’d run into that his brother was on the way! Charlie “got Henry a gift” – a truck he’d has his eye on – and when Henry got back with Valerie, Henry didn’t even know what he should be more excited about. Finally meeting his new little brother was an adorably special moment and although we’re still adjusting to our new situation, we’re so happy to be a new family of four.

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[Read about Henry’s birth story here.]

[Charlie’s middle name is a family name to pay homage to my awesome grandparents.]

Introducing…

January 19, 2017 § Leave a comment

Since I’m 35 years old, despite living in NYC where many people have their first child at 40, I am right on the cusp of geriatric pregnancy territory. This sounds kind of insulting, but along with it comes more attention AND a genetic blood test that can also tell you the sex of your baby much earlier than normal. I’ll take it!

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So everyone, we’re having another boy! Introducing Charlie. Nick and I got to visit with him this morning at my routine anatomy scan and he waved to us, yawned, and also wiggled his toes. He’s already adorable.

Remember when we found out we were having a Henry?

And this was me this time last pregnancy: 16 weeks.

I wish someone told me: The First 4 Months

February 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Henry will officially be 4 months old this weekend! This means that we are graduating from what some call “the fourth trimester“. Having made it out alive and still relatively sane, I have compiled my top things that I’d most like to share with new moms:

  • Literally as soon as he’s born, get as much sleep as you can. Even though my labour lasted 35 hours, once Henry popped out, I devoured a bagel, downed a bottle of water, then stayed up to take photos and call my family. I was hopped up on adrenaline and didn’t want to sleep! If you’re in a baby-friendly hospital, the baby will be sleeping in the room with you and guess what? Effective immediately, you’re not sleeping.
  • Once you’re home, give in to the sleeplessness. There’s nothing you can do to make your baby sleep through the night at this point (he needs to eat!) so just enjoy this time. It won’t last forever.
  • Every parent will swear they instantly fell madly in love with their new baby. I contest this. Of course we have always loved Henry, but I think it would be more appropriate to describe these initial feelings towards your tiny newborn as curiosity and fascination.
  • If you’re a busy body, aim to do just one errand a day. Then be proud you actually did it. After all, you’re recovering from labour, getting used to sleep deprivation, and adjusting to a totally different lifestyle.
  • That first growth spurt at 5 or 6 weeks is just brutal. Mainly because it’s the first one and your formerly passive, cuddly, sleepy baby just wants to eat and cry, all day long, for days on end. Just let him eat as much as he wants and get a good book or TV show to watch while you’re waiting for it to end. It will end!
  • Babies are very loud sleepers. They toss and turn and grunt and snort. Then when they finally fall asleep, you’re going to constantly check to see if they’re still breathing.
  • Baby outfits consisting of pants, shirts, hoodies, jackets, shoes and socks are very cute, but a huge pain in the ass. Onesies all day, everyday! Preferably ones with zippers instead of snaps.
  • After you hear or smell the poop happen, wait 5-10 minutes before changing the diaper. You (or the changing table, or the bookcase next to the changing table, or your Mom) will get pooped on. There’s a surprising amount of firepower.
  • Buy nipple shields to use his second week of life. This is a little graphic for non-moms, but learning to breastfeed is like learning to play guitar: you have to build up calluses and then as long as the latch is correct, it won’t hurt anymore. Nipple shields will allow you to nurse through the healing process.
  • Nursing pads are a must!
  • If you don’t have big boobs, you don’t really need a nursing bra. I have spent the last 4 months in tank tops (BOOB Design is especially handy!) and button downs. I occasionally wear soft bras I can easily pull to the side as well.
  • You are going to be HUNGRY! Get lots of healthy snacks and snack all day long. Stock your nursing area with granola bars, nuts, or any one-handed foods for midnight feedings. Also, lots of water.
  • A breast pump = freedom. (Or as much freedom as you’ll get at this point.)
  • Don’t be surprised if your grey hairs multiply like bunnies.
  • Finally, it will get so much easier once they complete their third month of life. Hang in there!

[Disclaimer: thanks to my friend Leah, who is a midwife in Toronto, for reminding me to be careful with the use of nipple shields. Only use them when you really have to so the baby doesn’t become reliant on them and the milk production isn’t affected.]

How To Practice Yoga During Pregnancy

December 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

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I’ve been meaning to write this for a while, but thought I should wait until I completed my pregnancy to do it.

Over the past five years, I have really embraced yoga as a part of my life. I’ve been practicing Ashtanga for about three years and was really happy with my progress. When she learned I was planning on getting pregnant, my teacher and friend, Alana, actually pushed me to learn how to do dropbacks  because she thought the physical and mental challenge would be a great way to prepare me for childbirth. I have to agree with her, except for the fact that they are a piece of cake compared to 35 hours of contractions!

In any case, I did not want to give up my practice once I found out I was growing tiny Henry. Ashtanga yoga has its own set of rules and traditionally, it’s recommended that you don’t do any yoga in your first trimester. I couldn’t bring myself to follow this rule though; I found it actually helped my energy level and kept me from getting nauseated in the mornings. Plus I’d miss it too much! So with the help of this website and Alana’s advice, I modified my practice to be fetus-friendly.

The first things to go were the twists, headstands, and back bends. I had to keep from working my abs too much to ensure everything inside me would “attach” properly in the first three months, so the upward flow of the bandhas in Ashtanga had to be relaxed. I stopped going to the Guided Led Ashtanga classes in February or March and opted to just attend the weekday Mysore classes which are tailored to each individual and done at one’s own pace. It was nice to not have to worry about sitting out poses in a class full of people, some who didn’t even know I was pregnant yet.

I did Ashtanga exclusively, practicing 3 or 4 times a week, until I hit the 6 month mark. Then I added Prenatal yoga to my routine.

My first few Prenatal yoga classes were a lot different than the ones closer to my due date. I would do triangle pose, extended side angle, and forward folds as if I were in an Ashtanga class and the instructor would have to tell me to take it easy and do the simpler version. As my belly grew, these modified versions were necessary not only in Prenatal, but also Ashtanga. Don’t get me wrong though; Prenatal yoga had its challenges. For example, the exercise Aimee liked to do each class were wall squats while squeezing a block in between your thighs for 30, 60, and 90 seconds to simulate a contraction and that was hard work! The class was also helpful in teaching you poses specifically made for pregnancy and labour – I used a few of the poses, like a rocking squat, to deal with contractions.

Meanwhile, my Ashtanga practice had been shortened to from about 1 hour 15 minutes to 45 minutes. I’d practice up until Marichyasana A then do some restorative poses like a supported back bend, Baddha Konasana, and legs up the wall.

In my sixth month of pregnancy, I was practicing Ashtanga Mysore about 3 times a week and going to Prenatal once a week. This went on for another month and a half or so until I started getting heartburn from all the up and downs during Sun Salutations in Ashtanga and had to reduce it to twice a week, then just once. Prenatal yoga had finally become much more suited to my needs.

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I’m proud to say I managed to practice both styles up until I was 38 weeks pregnant and can’t fathom why every woman in the same situation wouldn’t practice some form of yoga. It really helped me get through not only pregnancy, but a very long and painful labour. The breathing alone is so valuable and such a powerful tool for dealing with pain. I also can’t help but explain to people who tell me I look great for having just had a baby that it must have been yoga that helped me bounce back so quickly.

When people ask me why I didn’t have an epidural, I tell them it’s because it was healthier for me and Henry to do it naturally, with a much lower chance of getting a caesarian, and also because I wanted to experience childbirth the way it’s supposed to be. Ashtanga has taught me that taking shortcuts to get to the end result as quickly and easily as possible may be fine for some people, but it isn’t the way I want to live my life.

Now, after 7 weeks off, I’m back at it. I went to my first Ashtanga Led class yesterday and although my body is quite sore today, it was absolutely fantastic. I feel like I’ve come full circle and I couldn’t be happier.

Bump Envy

September 23, 2013 § 4 Comments

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On Friday, I met up with the two lovely ladies behind the new NYC-centric mom and pregnancy blog Well Rounded NY, Jessica and Kaity. They were kind enough to invite me (and Henry) to their latest “Bump Envy” photo shoot at Williamsburg’s Videology where I had photos snapped by the talented Evan Gubernick and answered a few questions about my pregnancy so far.

You can read the interview here and while you’re at it, check out their feature on my yoga studio too!

8 Months

September 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

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We’re coming into the home stretch here – today I am officially 32 weeks pregnant, which equals 8 months! In 5-8 weeks, Henry will actually be here, outside of my body, and the recipient of many, many cuddles.

Here’s what’s happening in babytown lately:

  • Last night, we had a tour of the hospital we’ll be delivering in!
  • I am officially a slow walker (by New York standards, anyways).
  • We have gathered a nice little collection of books for Henry and Nick has been reading Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus to him every night.
  • On Friday night, Nick & I went to two social functions in a row and stayed out until about 11pm. All the standing and shouting over loud talking and music had me totally wiped! Good thing we are mostly homebodies.
  • For the first time in my life, I prefer fruit to vegetables. I can eat half a small watermelon in one sitting.
  • Prenatal yoga feels way better than my usual practice, Ashtanga. I’m cutting down from 3 Mysore classes to 1 or 2 a week and filling the void with more prenatal.
  • Henry’s crib is due to arrive here any day, and thanks to all our generous friends and family, we have a healthy pile of stuff waiting for him in his future room.

In other news… A huge congratulations go out to Julia and Jay who just had their baby boy, Blake Xavier, last Monday August 26! Blake was born just two hours shy of his due date – I can’t believe it!

It’s also worth mentioning that Julia is the one who called me in late December, after just weeks of knowing she was pregnant, to tell me the news and that I had better get a move on so I can be pregnant with her. It’s been amazing going through this journey with both Julia and Kate. Thanks for going first, ladies! xo

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6 Months!

July 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

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On Wednesday, I hit the 6 month mark in my pregnancy! The second trimester is just flying by and will very soon be over.

What’s new in babymaker land:

  • Nick and I went stroller and crib browsing on Saturday. Even though it was overwhelming, we have a much better idea of what we’re looking for in both categories now. (It’s looking like this stroller & something like this crib.)
  • My appreciation for working from home only grows as wearing a bra has become torturous. (Imagine fitting the bottom of a bra around the growing top of that bump, pictured above!)
  • Henry is moving around my belly more and more. Little kicks, pokes, punches, and what feels like somersaults happen regularly.
  • I’ve (temporarily) lost more Ashtanga yoga poses and am not always able to fold forward to touch my head to my knee anymore.
  • I have started taking prenatal yoga, sometimes even with my doula, a few times a week which is very nice. I just have to remember it’s not Ashtanga and no need to go nuts.
  • I’m reading this book in preparation for labour.
  • I’m helping the web company I freelance Social Media for find a replacement while I take maternity leave. If you know anyone, the job description is here.

Have a great Monday evening and stay cool, friends.

Halfway there!

June 13, 2013 § 4 Comments

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I wouldn’t normally post a pregnancy update two weeks in a row, but this past week has been a big one. Literally! Where did that belly come from? I think I’m pretty unmistakably pregnant now, after no one noticed for months.

A few crazy things:

  • I can now feel Henry move constantly. No more being confused if it’s indigestion or not, I know what he feels like.
  • Nick felt his first kick on Sunday night.
  • Wearing a bra these days SUCKS. I had to buy bra extenders. What!
  • I have to get up from sitting positions more carefully now after realizing that springing up quickly like I always did before was hurting my knee.
  • Yesterday marked the halfway point in our pregnancy. Only 4 more months!

I hope you guys don’t mind the turn this blog has taken lately. It’s just that this is pretty all-encompassing stuff and pretty hard to think about anything else. This is my life right now, but I promise I will always try to keep it interesting!

19 Weeks + Welcome Rocco!

June 5, 2013 § 1 Comment

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I’m 19 weeks pregnant today. That’s almost 5 months, you guys!

Things of note:

  • It’s really interesting to see my belly button getting shallower.
  • Sleeping on my side is becoming easier, thanks to my amazing pillow.
  • I think I can feel Henry move sometimes, but apparently it’s going to become a lot more obvious in the next few weeks.
  • My food cravings have leveled out, except ice cream always seems like a good idea. (But when did it not?)
  • I have much more energy than I did in the first trimester.
  • Last week while wearing this dress, I got my first offer for a seat on the subway.

Finally, a big happy welcome to Rocco Alexander Vastano, my good friend Kate and Bryan’s new son who was born late last night! Kate was such a good host, he didn’t want to come out of there.

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Pregnancy Schadenfreude

June 3, 2013 § 2 Comments

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Pregnancy is a time of new discoveries. Your body is changing, your mind is changing, your priorities are changing, and you’re readying yourself for a new life you created just between you and your partner (the ultimate science experiment!). It’s all pretty amazing and I wouldn’t trade any of what I’ve experienced so far for anything.

But there’s a phenomenon that both Nick and I have noticed in the 4 1/2 months we’ve been pregnant: some people have funny reactions to our news. While most people are thrilled for us to enter into this new phase in our lives, many others have responded with remarks like “you know, you are never going to sleep in again” or “having a baby is the hardest thing you can put your relationship through”. My personal favourite (and by favourite, I mean the most incredulous) is “well I just can’t WAIT to see how you guys are going to handle THIS”. Did I mention this was said by someone who doesn’t even have kids?

Of course it’s going to be hard. Of course it’s going to be one of the biggest challenges of our lives. But we are up for the challenge, as we have been for all the challenges our atypical relationship has brought us. And as for the lack of sleep remarks, well I’m pretty sure everyone who’s ever heard anything about reproduction is probably already aware of that so no need to remind us. We want Henry more than we want to sleep in on weekends.

While these comments weren’t made with bad intentions, I’m sure they were actually meant to be helpful or informative, they always make me think – there might be a lot more indulgers of Schadenfreude out there than I had previously thought!

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