Monthly Archives: March 2017

First two weeks 

We’ve been a little family of three for two weeks :) Even with a few weeks together, I still feel like we’re all very much in our infancy-David and me as parents, Diego as a newborn-and all learning a new rhythm together.

In those first few days in the hospital-which, btw, were CRAZYINTENSE-I remember telling myself: this is temporary, it won’t always be this bananas, we just have to get through these first two weeks.

And so, a lot of this has felt like a hurdle to get through, particularly that first week. Thankfully, with each day, we each grow a bit more comfortable. And, sure enough, with this second week, I’ve felt much more like myself than my first. Guess everything really does just take time?

Anyway, adjustments aside, it’s also been an incredible couple of weeks. Here’s some of the moments I want to remember, post-hospital:

Bringing Diego home!! We both sat in the back seat, we both bawled our eyes out. Diego actually calmed down before me. That drive home, looking at Diego, listening to David tell him all about our neighborhood, and walk him through our house-that felt like Diego’s birth moment. That was when all the reality and raw emotions hit me, and I lost it. In a good way! It was overwhelming and special and it felt like such a relief to all be home together.

Sushi! Ha, slightly less significant, but still important. The second night we were home, my mom generously treated us to sushi for dinner-and all the rolls were amazing.  Exactly what I wanted to celebrate my birthday and being home.

Birthday cake!! Four days after Diego’s arrival, I turned 32 :) My mom outdid herself and baked this gorgeous chocolate cake ala Ina’s Cooking for Jeffrey book. Layer after layer of deliciousness.

Diego’s Grandma!! My goodness, my mom saved the day that first week. From keeping the house in order, to all the groceries, to all the meals, to her morning Diego time ( = sleep time for David and me) I am so grateful she took the week to help us out. As wild as that whole first week was, my mom’s steady presence was a tremendous help.

These two buddies. Ha, I was walking behind them on the way to the doctor, and noticed they kind of matched. Not to be a total puddle of cheesiness, but I love seeing the two of them together.

UCLA!? Bummed about their loss to Kentucky, but it was fun watching the other two games. Also, oddly thankful for the March Maddness. Turns out, hours and hours of basketball is kind a perfect, almost soothing, entertainment when you’re entirely too exhausted to read or focus on anything. 

Getting outside! And introducing Diego to our neighbors. My friends who has c-sections have been super helpful and supportive with advice and encouragement. They all recommended walking, whenever possible. They are so right. Our daily, very slow, very brief, walks have worked wonders for my sanity. There’s been some rainy days, but most afternoons have been sunny and springy. 

Speaking of our neighbors, they are (thankfully) so excited about Diego. I keep worrying his late night wails are waking them up, but our next-door neighbor says she doesn’t hear…Our neighbors, friends and family have been super generous with their excitement over Diego-he is one lucky little baby :)

One of the kindest gifts (and one of the 1,000 times I cried last week) was this song from Eric and Molly. They wrote a song about Diego, to the lyrics of Carmen Sandiego. How sweet is that? Eric said it makes Diego sound like a loveable scoundrel-ha!-and I’m just amazed at all the detail they incorporated from our life.  Awesome.

Trying to nap in the afternoon when Diego sleeps, but most of the time I just want to look at him and hang out. 

The Wing Jones US Launch! Wing Jones was released in the US on March 14-amazing! Katie did a reading in SF on Thursday night. Even though we couldn’t be there in person, we celebrated at home. So proud and amazed that Katie’s BOOK-one she wrote from her amazing imagination-is on bookshelves across America.

Ha! This was a moment after the end of the Florida-Wisconsin game. UNREAL.

Saturday morning, we decided to try out a walk to breakfast. It’s a short walk to House of Shaw, but I was still nervous we would get there and have to turn around. Thankfully, Diego was great! I know every outing won’t be this easy, but it was reassuring to have a good first run.

Celebrating over chai lattes and bagels :)

A very special Sunday afternoon. In a lucky twist of timing, Janou and Katie were both in SF at the same time. Max was awesome and drove them to Stockton yesterday, bringing lunch, groceries, and a lot of love for Diego. The phrase “my heart was bursting with joy” is totally overused, but it totally applies here. To see the most important people in my life-who are usually in DC and London-in my living room, meeting my son, well yes, my heart nearly exploded from joy. 

Ha! Cheering on Diego during tummy time. David hates that phrase; he calls it Ab Blasters :)

!!!! So much love.

Diego with his aunt and uncle!

Sending good thoughts for the week ahead :)


Filed under Baby

No one at the table 

Sitting here, with a nursing Diego on my chest, in my chair that supports my back and c-section soreness, and thinking about the billions of women who’ve done this before me. And yet…somehow, despite their volume and importance, these women were suspiciously absent from this table:

A bunch of old white men sitting around a board room, discussing their importance, is hardly a remarkable event. However, this group convened to discuss health care benefits. Specifically, whether insurance companies should be required to provide maternity and newborn care benefits as part of their core coverage.

And somehow, no one thought this topic warranted a woman’s perspective?* It’s deeply troubling to think that sometime this afternoon, these men, and their colleagues in the House, will vote on legislation to strip women of basic coverage protections.

Policy and optics aside, this whole AHCA proposal (and legislative process) is just completely bonkers. Our country is already so far behind the rest of the developed world in the support we provide for caregivers, for both children and older adults. Now we’re going to take away their care and treatment, as well?

Two days after the c-section, I was able to take my first shower. The whole cesarean process left me feeling incredibly vulnerable, and I was scared to see the incision for the first time. To calm myself from that fear, I thought about was how many other women have done this. And as nervous as I felt, I knew I was in a good hospital, with an excellent care team, and I would have support to help me heal and recover.  Thinking about that helped me feel stronger in that moment.

Everyone should have that reassurance in a vulnerable moment.

But here’s the thing-good care, strong hospitals, excellent coverage-they don’t just happen. It’s not like the “free market” suddenly makes insurance companies cover costly but necessary surgeries, or “charitable giving” alone results in a safety net program that provides low-income women access to quality hospitals. Of course all of that helps, and individual ingenuity and drive improve care for everyone. But the foundation of all of this is our laws and regulations; laws that require a solid Medicaid program, that require essential coverage benefits, that ensure we all have access to the care and services we need to create and maintain a life of dignity. 

The thought of that table of men making decisions that could impact future women, mothers-to-be, mothers and babies–and their partners!–without the input of a single woman is horrifying. 

Going to go make some calls and stay hopeful for this afternoon and the future.

Happy Friday :)

* One article mentioned there were three women in the room: Kelly-Anne Conway and “two unidentified women in the back.” Very reassuring.

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Getting to know Diego :)

The baby is here! Diego Antonio was born on Sunday, March 12. He’s one week old and I’m constantly astonished by how sweet, curious and real he is. It’s thrilling to finally get to know our son.

Wild to think how much life has changed in one week. As I write this, it’s 3:45 pm, Sunday afternoon, there’s a tender baby sleeping on my chest, and I’m contemplating putting this phone down and napping, as the usual afternoon exhaustion settles in.

At this same time, one week ago, I was about 12 hours in to labor, giddy and anxious over the prospect of his arrival. At that time, we were still hours from what would eventually be an unexpected, but necessary and successful, c-section delivery and the eventual delirium that washed over me when I met Diego.

The week that followed was incredibly emotional, humbling, intimidating, and beautiful, all in ways I never imagined. All three of us are very much in the thick of this bleary eyed, needy, love-filled, hormonal (ok, that one’s just me) getting-to-know-you transition phase.  David and I are mesmerized by this tremendously sweet, cozy, delicious smelling little baby that joined our life.  Diego is his own complete little person, and every day we get to know each other a little bit more. It’s intimidating and overwhelming, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be his mom.

Hoping I’ll get a chance to write and reflect a bit about our first week together, but I’m getting the sense that this parenting thing is very much an in-the-moment process. If I don’t get around to reflecting, glad I have these brief notes to remember our first Sunday afternoon together :)

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“It can’t be compartmentalized anymore”

Guessing I’m not the only person with a phone and a partner whose Friday began with the following:

“Fay, wake up, you have to watch this.” As I blearily opened my eyes, for a nanosecond questioning the urgency over a BBC interview, the punchline of the toddler and baby crashing their dad’s workday brought a good laugh.

Now, 14 hours later, there is small part of me cringing as I write this as I can’t believe I’m participating, in any small way, in re-sharing it.  It’s been a while since something non-political has so overwhelmingly invaded my newsfeed-the Kelly dad/mom rescue video is everywhere.

Trailing close behind actual Kelly-clip links are articles analyzing every moment and implication of the interruption. I want to play! So, here’s my thoughts on #BBCDad Day.

Despite the fact it’s 2017, and we’re progressive, and social media offers unbelievable access to people’s personal lives, we’re still, at our core, more comfortable when work and family/life sit in their respective corners. And when that line gets blurred-particularly in a public, or haphazard, unexpected way-its unnerving.  It’s the whole being-in-second-grade-and-seeing-your-teacher -at-the-grocery-store phenomenon.  Or, the flip, it’s seeing your parents at work and being weirded out by their “work voice.” People have jobs, people have families, but we don’t like to see them have both at the same time.

As an avid reader of Laura Owen’s newsletter, I thought she nailed it with this comment: “The video shows how incredibly hard it is to separate your work life and your family life…none of it can be compartmentalized anymore, and it’s often when you’re trying to keep up this illusion the hardest that it comes crashing down.”  Despite our natural expectations to separate the two, in reality, this is increasingly difficult to do.

I can’t overlook the fact that a huge reason all of this struck a cord with me today-of all days-is that today was my last day working before parental leave. Because I stopped commuting 2 1/2 weeks ago, I’ve gradually tapered down from my normal routine.  I’m grateful for the leave, and frankly far too tired to have continued with a normal work/commute schedule, and so the process has been just right.

But still, it’s a moment of change. For the past 10ish years, post-college, my primary focus, both in time and mental energy, is on the “work” side of the ledger.  For the next 4ish months, thanks to California’s progressive policy and a great employer, I’ll have the luxury of focusing exclusively on the “family side.” And then, if everything works out, I’ll have the privilege of being part of the 70% of mothers who work, the 70% of women who, every day, manage both worlds.

And simply watching a 55 second clip of one parent in this moment was enough to make my eyes widen.

So, thinking about the future, I’m equal parts curious and anxious about how it will all go. (And 100% super pregnant. And stir crazy.  All likely contributing to this indulgent level of self-analysis).  Feeling very grateful for amazing friends and my mom, who already navigated this transition, who I can call with anxious questions, and who by simply doing the real work of being a mother and having a career, inspire me to know it will all be ok.

Yet, while I imagined stress when I returned to work this summer, I’m surprised by how overwhelmed I feel at the prospect of not working for the next 4 months.  The last few weeks of working from home-while welcome and necessary-helped me realized that being at home full time, for me, is not ideal. Of course, I’ve loved not commuting. The commute is rough and I haven’t missed it at all.  However, as much as I love wearing yoga pants and soaking up the quiet morning sunshine over tea, 5 days a week of quiet at home makes me a little crazy.  Being around people is healthy, and I’m more productive with a routine and a bit of a grind. (Mostly writing all this down so that when the end of June strikes and I’m wishing I could stay home longer, I’ll remember when I was **slightly** more clearheaded: 2 days a week of telecommuting is amazing, 5 days, too much. You work best when you’re working from home part time and in the office part time. It’s going to be ok).

And, of course, these 4 months will be very full of the very real demands of family life. Perhaps I’m overwhelmed thinking about this because it’s a huge change that I can’t entirely imagine, and that uncertainty is mind-boggling.

Anyway, all to say, I have no profound conclusions after #BBCDad Day, but it just got me thinking about this whole family and work thing.  Curious to see how it all goes, and grateful for the friends and colleagues I can look to for tips and examples of navigating it all.

PS-the baby is due on Sunday. Trying so hard to be patient! Not doing so well. Going a little bananas. Been going on lots of walks-these photos are from the other night, during a walk to UOP.  Really feels like spring!

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39 weeks

Happy Monday! 6 more days until the due date, and we’re just (semi) patiently waiting…Clueless about the timing for this whole thing, we basically stopped making plans after mid-February, so each weekend has been pleasantly quiet.  On Friday night, we decided now was probably the time to use a gift card to Midgleys and got dressed up for a nice dinner.

Feeling quite large! No idea how big the baby is, but feels….not small.  On Saturday, we walked to brunch at House of Shaw, and I spent the rest of the day relaxing.  In a lucky twist of events, my dad had a conference in Sacramento this weekend, so we got to have dinner together in Stockton! It was so nice to show him our house and catch up before the baby gets here.

Getting a bit anxious about the whole labor and birth process, and trying not to read tooo much, but it’s hard for me to not seek out information.  Of course, there’s only so much that prep and info can tell me-I understand I need to just go with what happens.  Anyway, one piece of advice I keep finding is to get a pedicure. One poster said she couldn’t imagine the annoyance of unpolished toes during labor.  I can’t imagine even noticing that, but with ample time on Sunday, I treated myself to a pedicure and it was delightful.

Also reading about how important it is to walk every day.  Been trying to do that in our neighborhood, and on Sunday afternoon we drove out for a walk around the Wildlife Refuge.  Along the way, we ran into row after row after row of gorgeous, blossoming, almond farms!

Hesitant to trespass, David pulled over and I jumped out for a few quick photos.  They blossoms were at peak bloom and so lovely and springy. 

Thanks to all the rain Saturday night, it was a clear and pretty afternoon.


And now, Monday!

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