They Weren't Kidding About This 'Growing Up Too Fast' Stuff
by Leigh Hope Fountain 10:14 AM 0 comments
Gypsy will be 10 weeks this Thursday and I'm already finding myself stunned by the massive amounts of growth and progress taking place before my eyes on a near-daily basis.
During tummy time yesterday, she rolled over. I thought it was a fluke, put her back on her belly - and she did it again. Clearly not a fluke. I didn't think that would start for at least another month, but lo-and-behold, she did it. She's a strong little bunny, so ultimately, I guess I shouldn't be that surprised. You should see this little girl's legs. Muscle tone that leads me to believe we've got a Serena Williams situation here. Speaking of which, she's making me learn to love my own strong legs. Suddenly, I have a newfound appreciation for my gigantic calf muscles and thunder thighs. Hers are so fucking adorable I can barely take it.
Anyway - she's doing a lot of things I wasn't expecting just yet - like drooling, thumb sucking, taking interest in the television and chatting/yelling up a storm.
It's all adorable - and every new development sends me over the moon... at first... and then I find myself horrified by how quickly it's all happening. Her startle reflex seems to be disappearing too - (in fact as of today it might be gone) - which is great for her - but sad for me - especially because I find it so hilarious.
What everyone says is true: They grow up way too fast. I'm already imagining her as the rebellious teen who is dating men she shouldn't be and I'm grimacing at the thought. I'm also constantly reminding myself to enjoy every single second of her infancy because despite the sleepless nights, it's the most amazing, adorable, insane and miraculous thing I've ever experienced and it will never happen again.
This is my first and only baby. There won't be another.
Don't even try to tell me that once I've forgotten the agony of pregnancy and childbirth, I'll be dying to get knocked up again, 'cause it ain't ever gonna happen. My husband and I are standing very firm on this. We are, without question, one and done.
That said, it's all the more reason I'm so bummed that she's already growing up so fast. Of course, I'm totally excited for all of the forthcoming developments - eating solid food and watching her light up when she likes a new taste... crawling... walking... talking... I mean, who wouldn't be? But I know the second these things happen, I'll be misty-eyed thinking that my little baby is going to be an adult in the blink of an eye.
So for now, I'm going to go marvel at my little girl's drool, while I still can.
Another Reason Gypsy is a Lucky Little Girl
by Leigh Hope Fountain 9:19 AM 0 comments
Her daddy creates things like this:
Good thing too - because I haven't had 5 free seconds to write this week and so I'm hijacking his comic this week as my blog.
And if you want to see more fun stuff:
Good thing too - because I haven't had 5 free seconds to write this week and so I'm hijacking his comic this week as my blog.
And if you want to see more fun stuff:
by Leigh Hope Fountain 1:20 PM 0 comments
A good friend of mine warned me about receiving oodles of unsolicited advice from people both during and post-pregnancy - and I have! Up until now, I haven't actually solicited any advice at all, either because I have already googled the shit out of the subject and formed my own opinion on whatever it was I was confused/concerned/curious about - or because it's mostly been me asking friends - "Is this normal?"
But now I am asking for advice. I may not follow it. I may secretly think you're nuts for whatever you suggest, but I am outright admitting that I am at a bit of a loss for what to do in our current situation re: Gypsy's sleeping arrangements.
Here's what's transpired thus far:
For the first few weeks, Gypsy was up at night - almost all of the time. Occasionally, we'd put her down in her bassinet - and she'd be fine for a short while, (maybe a 1/2 hour or so), but she was mostly wide awake - and eating around the clock. John and I pretty much started watching her in shifts.
In the past week or so, Gypsy has started sleeping for more than a couple of hours at a time - sometimes even going 4 whole hours without stirring. It has been blissful. That being said however, she outgrew her bassinet pretty quickly - and we've graduated her to a crib, (albeit a mini-one so it's not overwhelmingly huge), but she doesn't like it. Not one bit.
Anyway - at our last visit to the doc, her pediatrician recommended that we start up a bedtime routine... something along the lines of doing her last feeding in the dark, rocking her for a bit - and putting her down in there while she's drowsy but still awake - and then singing to her or reading her a bedtime story. The pediatrician told us that we'd fail at this for the first 30 - 40 times we tried it - and we have! At least we're on track there! She also told us not to immediately take her out of the crib if she starts fussing - but to go to her, comfort her a bit by talking softly, rubbing her belly, etc. and then only taking her out of her mini-jail if her fussiness escalates to a full-blown cry/wail. Check and check. At most, she lasts in her crib about 5 minutes before the wailing begins.
The other night - I was determined to get the whole crib thing to work, so I told John to go to sleep - and I'd just keep at it until I found success. 4 hours later, after singing the entire Adele album to her like 100 times, (I know all the lyrics by heart already), I gave up. She wasn't having it.
So, for the past many weeks, both John and I have still been sleeping in shifts with Gypsy on the couch. John never actually sleeps. Sure, he'll nod off, but no real extended periods of sleep. Fortunately, I have found a way to catch some zzz's while doing this - but it isn't easy.
Parts of my body are starting to hurt because thanks to breastfeeding, I only go to our actual bed for a few hours a night and leave Gypsy with John - and then usually just decide to stay on the couch with her for the rest of the night because it's... well... easier.
So I am getting some sleep - though I don't know how deep or restful it truly is - but I am definitely starting to grow tired of the whole setup. (I'm sure some of you are reading this and thinking that I'm doing better than most).
I know I don't like the idea of "sleep training" - where we simply let her cry it out for 3 - 4 nights until she gets the drift that she's on her own because we've basically fucking abandoned her, so my question to you folks is...
What do you suggest?
Should we just keep sticking to the bedtime routine and hope that it finally works and does so on a consistent basis?
Oh - and YES - I am familiar with the 5 Ss. We've done it all. She just doesn't like the crib.
In happy news however, she's smiling and giggling a lot.
OMG, I'm Such an Asshole!
by Leigh Hope Fountain 12:03 PM 0 comments
Until I had Gypsy, I knew that I could be a bit of an asshole - but I didn't really know to what extent. Now I'm pretty clear on the matter: I'm a total fucking asshole.
Prior to being a mommy, (still getting used to saying that), I had a blog called 'To Kid or Not to Kid' where I spent two years writing about whether or not to have a child. I wrote about lots of stuff - especially the myriad pros and cons of parenthood - but sometimes I'd attack other parents for doing something I thought was truly asinine. I still stand by most of my attacks because some parents just do what can only be considered truly stupid, awful and/or seemingly cruel. Certain parents do deserve a bit of criticism. I'm sure at some point I will too... but I am going to try really hard not to do anything truly worthy of such vilification. But anyway - my point here is that I am an asshole - not for the fairly justifiable critiquing of some truly psychotic parents - but rather the unfair and pretentious judgment of one of my own mommy friends.
As a parent of a near-6 week-old, I now find myself eating humble pie because I devoted an entire blog post to ridiculing a very dear friend for throwing a 6-month birthday party for her child. I thought she was absolutely out of her goddamned mind. I thought she was kidding at first when we got the invite and resented having to go. After all - almost everyone else there was a parent too - and John and I were the odd men out. It wasn't exactly bonding material. Everyone's kids were in tow as well - (it was her child's birthday party after all) so we were kinda bored - and all the more primed to sit in judgment as non-parents wishing there was harsher alcohol on-hand to cushion the blow of our boredom.
Now I finally fucking get it - and I've been thinking about what an asshole I must be for not getting it before. My friend was celebrating the fact that she managed to keep her kid alive for six whole months! As the parent of a newborn who got sick at two weeks and was dragged to the ER in the middle of the night, I totally fucking get it now. Having a newborn is scary as hell. Any kind of sickness for a newborn is earth-shattering. SIDS is pretty much an unspeakable horror. Newborns are a shitshow of constant newness, paranoia and blood-curdling fear.
I am terrified all the time that I will do something wrong - or that Gypsy will somehow find a way to suffocate herself to death in her tiny bare-bones bassinet.
Even though I want to cherish every single second of this adorable infant phase, I am COUNTING THE DAYS until she's six months old. The threat of SIDS will diminish considerably, and I will feel a bit more relaxed if/when she starts rolling over onto her side or stomach when she sleeps. I may even breathe a momentary sigh of relief. Yes, I know that once you're a parent the worry is permanent - but come on - it seems pretty damn apparent that the first six months really are just a nonstop stress fest. Will she suffocate or just stop breathing for no reason whatsoever? Where are the results of the genetic tests they conducted in the hospital? Is she too cold? Too hot? Why won't she stop crying? Is she colicky? Does she hate me already? Should she still be cross-eyed from time-to-time? When should we sleep train her and can we bear it? When is she old enough to take on the subway and do these sound-muffling headphones really work? Is she pooping enough? Has she gained enough weight? Is this nap too long? Too short? It's enough to make anyone an absolute lunatic and want to celebrate hitting that 6-month milestone.
Anyway, I am very lucky in that the friend of the aforementioned 6-month birthday party didn't hold the post against me. Or at least she didn't get so mad that she stopped talking to me. Instead, she behaved as any adult should - especially a parent adult. She informed me that it offended her. I think I apologized - but I'm sure it rang hollow. It didn't matter though - she totally forgave me and hasn't brought it up since... until last week... when she came over to meet Gypsy. I said something, (don't recall what), that made her laugh and say something along the lines of, "So now you get why I threw a 6-month birthday party) - and I said "Yes" pretty damn emphatically. I also apologized - again - only this time, it was significantly more heartfelt.
I am an asshole and I really am so sorry.
XO - you know who you are.
What Nobody Tells You About C-Sections (Not for the faint of heart)
by Leigh Hope Fountain 12:17 PM 0 comments
So given that nearly four weeks have passed since I had my C-section and out came the most incredible, adorable, magical little girl we call Gypsy, I finally feel prepared to relay my feelings about the entire C-section debacle.
The surgical procedure itself was a cakewalk. My doctor was phenomenal and everything in that respect went off without a hitch. The only thing that sucked was what took place in advance of the surgery - having to swallow a vile liquid antacid that tasted worse than barium. My husband still doesn't believe that could even be possible. I assure you that to me, it was. Anyway - it was the 4 1/2 day aftermath to the surgery that temporarily turned my world upside down and infuriated the shit out of me.
Nobody in the hospital hands you a guidebook on breastfeeding and the staff offers very little in the way of help, unless you ask to meet with one of their on-staff lactation consultants, but you need to know to ask. And... note to anyone planning on having a baby and breastfeeding:
ASK BEFORE YOU RUN INTO EXCRUCIATING AND EXCESSIVELY FRUSTRATING PROBLEMS SO YOU CAN AVOID THEM.
Another issue nobody had warned me about was when I'd be able to eat solid food. I hadn't eaten anything in almost 24 hours - and apparently they wouldn't let me do so until I passed gas. Why does nobody mention this? Lucky for me, I managed to meet their requirement pretty quickly. When I told them however, they decided it was still too soon regardless. WTF? Why did they tell me I could have solid food when I passed gas, only to decide thereafter to change their agenda??? Not cool. Maybe they thought I was lying? Either way, not cool.
On day 2, I woke up drenched in sweat and in massive pain. I was so out of it and exhausted that it didn't even occur to me to inquire about what pain meds I had been given, if any - until I was pretty much in tears - especially because they wanted me to walk around. Little did I know they had only been giving me Motrin. MOTRIN! "Motrin is used to reduce fever and treat pain or inflammation caused by many conditions such as headache, toothache, back pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps, or minor injury."
Um - having someone cut through skin, muscle, uterine tissue, etc. probably qualifies as far more than a minor injury and I would hazard a guess that it might call for a drug slightly more potent than Motrin. So, when I explained to the nurse that I was in what felt like unbearable pain, and her response was, "Well you've been getting Motrin every six hours," it took everything in my power not to tell her to fuck the hell off. Instead, in an effort to get what I truly needed, (significantly more potent meds), I calmly explained that it wasn't working. She asked if I'd like some Percocet and said she was, "surprised nobody had offered me any earlier." Um - WHAT? So they're supposed to offer you something more powerful and check on you to make sure you're not suffering unnecessarily? Well, for me, that didn't happen. And why did she remind me that I'd been given Motrin a handful of times if the typical patient takes both Motrin and Percocet?
And things would only get worse.
I would run out of water, page the nursing staff and be told more was on its way. An hour or so later, when no water came, I'd page the nursing staff again.
This went on multiple times per day. I also had to request my pain medication around 1 - 2 hours after it was due each and every time. Apparently, the nurses needed to be reminded that I needed it. I guess I couldn't help but wonder why, given that they manage the care for a pretty significant number of C-section patients every single day. Is this really a surprise?
In any case, nobody tells you just how painful the recovery from a C-section will be. Or maybe nobody tells you because they were sufficiently drugged and oblivious. I don't know. All I know is that I have a pretty decent pain threshold and I was losing my mind without the Percocet, especially when I attempted to get in or out of bed, which you are asked to do repeatedly. Yes, I am aware that this helps you recover/heal faster, but that doesn't make it suck less.
That day, I also got a roommate. I knew this was a possibility, and one that I'd accepted, so I was hoping that she'd at least be nice and maybe even kind-of fun to talk to and commiserate with. No such luck. This girl, (and yes, I'm using that term on purpose), was a nightmare. She was on her phone incessantly speaking in a foreign language I couldn't quite put my finger on - and she had a voice that was truly nails on a chalkboard for me. It was nasal and whiny and it drove me completely mad. To boot, her husband was with her constantly - in the room until midnight every night. He also did all of her talking for her when any hospital staff came in to discuss anything. He advised her not to take the Percocet when it was offered. Brilliant. She of course, complied with all of his requests. He was a total blowhard and I think I hated him more than I hated her. That night, she paged the nurse at around 3 a.m. to inform her she was freezing. Mind you, I was still sweating bullets. She demanded that the thermostat be set higher. Of course, she never bothered to ask me how I felt about this and the room that we SHARED quickly became a sauna.
This was also the day my husband came down with some kind of miserable cold/flu/sinus infection type thing - so I knew he wouldn't be able to stop by or help for the remainder of my stay. Awesome.
Admittedly, (and maybe this was the hormones talking), I blamed him for getting sick. I told him he doesn't take good enough care of himself and that this was all his fault.
YAY ME. In my defense however, I really was ridiculously hormonal, beyond overtired, in a lot of pain even with the meds and I was feeling more helpless than I ever had in my entire life. My husband can tell you that I am not good with being helpless. I hate asking for help because I'm fiercely independent, so relying on anyone for anything doesn't make me too happy. Because the vast majority of the nursing staff was so preposterously shitty, it just added insult to injury in this regard.
The next day, my milk came in. In fact, it flooded in - to the point of being truly uncomfortable. I breast fed Gypsy, but it did little to help. My breasts were so engorged - they literally looked like bowling balls. I have large breasts to begin with - and now they were comically large - and stretched so taut they looked and felt like they might burst. A few hours later, I was again, in tears from pain - and wondering if this was normal. By that evening, I was hysterical. I paged the nurse - who sent for the head nurse. I explained that I honestly was beside myself and unsure of what to do through a flood of tears and hysteria. I had tried feeding Gypsy who refused - no doubt because my breasts were pretty much too engorged to even feed her with any level of comfort for either one of us. They fashioned hot compresses out of diapers - and instructed me to hold them on my chest in an effort to start resolving the issue. Then, when I still couldn't breastfeed, they reluctantly brought out the pump.
Much to their surprise, I pumped 3.5 bottles of milk. Again - this was when my milk had first come in. Apparently, my body thought it was having triplets. I was only mildly relieved, but any relief was welcome. Then they brought in ice packs. The goal, now that I'd expressed enough milk to alleviate the engorgement was to stop my body from producing another excessive run - and to get more in line with Gypsy's needs sooner rather than later.
Anyway, I'd been up for nearly 24 hours straight - and was alert enough at this point to notice how hostile many members of the nursing staff were. In fact, one complained about having to work on the maternity floor - less than 60 seconds in to being in my room. Another came in - and didn't say a word as she began taking my vitals. I was really beginning to wonder what the fuck everyone's problem was there. They didn't make me feel any better about anything - let alone paging if I needed something, which only worked about 25% of the time anyhow. When I asked any of the staff taking my vitals for anything like water or help of any kind, they looked at me as if I'd asked them to fetch some caviar and pate. At some point, I asked a nurse for another couple of pillows to help me prop myself up to stay on my back - and she only gave me one stating that if she gave me another, I'd just wind up on my side or stomach that way. I was always too tired to really argue.
In the meantime, my roommate became a bigger and bigger pain the ass. I couldn't tolerate the tropical climate she insisted on - and something about her told me she wasn't worth the attempt of having a rational conversation with.
On the morning of my 4th day, a new head nurse popped in. Little did I know she'd become my ultimate advocate and hero. She noticed that nobody had delivered my breakfast. I explained that I had been having trouble getting meals from day 1 - and that somebody had said I hadn't been entered into the system properly. She was stunned that after three entire days, this issue hadn't been resolved, yet she wasn't surprised that I had been barked at by various of the other nurses, including one who basically refused to go get my baby from the nursery for me because, as she put it, I could go get her myself, despite the fact that I was nowhere near healed enough to walk that far only 24 hours post-surgery.
My nurse, Michele, quickly became a friend. I am not exaggerating. She was amazing. She made sure I had food and plenty of coffee, and listened to me gripe about my first few days there. She also got me a private room next door so I no longer had to put up with the incredibly annoying roomie. While it would only be for another 24 hours, I cannot even begin to relay what a blessing this was for me, at the time - particularly as I was dealing with some other rather uncomfortable side effects of being post-partum - namely, constipation. I was lucky that this issue was not one that ailed me during the pregnancy itself - but man did the C-section and the seemingly lame cocktail of drugs they gave me thereafter seem to kick this into holy hell high gear. I mean seriously - I had to resort to suppositories. SUPPOSITORIES! For those of you who have never had this wonderful experience, let me explain.
If all else fails - and you cannot go to the bathroom, you will insert an inch-and-a-half long glycerin capsule into your bottom. Then you wait as long as you can - and somehow, this is supposed to encourage whatever is clogging your intestines to clear on out.
It is not a pleasant feeling. It was sort of burny and weird - and even after I suffered it for about 20 minutes - it accomplished next to nothing - and I was again, in tears. It's not that constipation in and of itself is so bad - but when your abdominal area has just been cut open - the constipation makes the pain in that region about a million times worse - so you are desperate to get the pipes working once again.
Funny thing about pregnancy and birth - you no longer have much in the way of shame - but the last thing I wanted during the running-to-the-bathroom-with-my-fingers-crossed-hoping-something-would-happen-process was a roommate - especially an incredibly grating one.
That night, at around 11:30 p.m., they tried to give me another roommate. At that point, I had a total shit fit and demanded to speak to the head nurse. I explained the myriad shitty conditions I'd experienced and that I'd been told I would not get another roommate during my last night there. I complained enough that it finally worked and I succeeded in avoiding having to share my room with yet another potentially miserable human being.
The next morning, I had to use a second suppository. It was fairly upsetting. I'll spare you the results - but let's just say - it would take going home and even further intervention to fully rectify (HA) the problem. By the time things had improved, I felt like I had given birth to a child out of my rear end. Sorry if that is TMI. Wait, no, I'm not sorry. This is supposed to be educational for anyone who wants to know what really happens after a C-section.
So, on day five, I went home. FINALLY. I cannot even begin to explain how glorious that was - even given the car ride home which reminded me about every 3 seconds or so that I had been cut open thanks to potholes, bumps in the NYC streets, etc. It didn't matter though. I had my beautiful baby girl and I was going HOME.
There's no place like home, especially with a magical little girl to be madly in love with, who has already helped me erase a lot of the horrors we went through to get her here.
Gypsy is Sick and I'm Pretty Much Losing It
by Leigh Hope Fountain 9:32 AM 1 comments
I didn't write a post last week. I was too busy basking in the bliss of being a new mommy. (Well, that and exhaustion the likes of which I've never before experienced). Despite a few hurdles post-birth, (a rather crappy hospital stay, my husband getting sick with me following suit, etc.,) things were finally looking up. In fact, we were settling quite nicely into parenthood. Not much sleep of course, but we were getting into a groove and things were awesome. Happy tears all around.
But then Gypsy started sneezing. I was a bit concerned, as both John and I had suffered and recovered from some kind of cold/flu/virus/sinus thing over the past few weeks, but I didn't totally freak out. I was high on life as a mommy - so much so that when I was sick, I refused to let whatever I had get in the way of getting Gypsy set up in her first costume on Halloween. So, 7 days later, I figured Gypsy was in the clear. How long can an incubation period be, right?
Then on Saturday, Gypsy started sneezing more - and by late-afternoon, she developed a cough. I was concerned, as was John, and we finished our errands, got home and hoped that it didn't get worse. I googled - and it seemed that unless she had a fever, there wasn't too much cause for concern. Nevertheless, something was still bothering me. John went to sleep first that night. (We've been sleeping in shifts). I sat watching TV with Gypsy on my lap, listening to her breathing, which sounded a little labored - and her cough became more frequent and sounded wet. I didn't like the sound of it and it sent me into a panic. I called the pediatrician - and the on-call doc expressed concern as well, despite Gypsy not having a fever. She said that in a newborn, especially a newborn only 16 days old, "...a cough is serious with or without fever," - and she gave me two options:
1. Take her to the E.R.
2. Take her into the Manhattan office in the morning. (Sunday).
At this point, I was in tears. I was really hoping that her lack of a fever meant we didn't have to freak the fuck out, but I guess some maternal instinct told me I'd better be sure - hence the late-night call. I texted a few mommy friends to seek out their opinions on the matter - and it seemed that the consensus was to do something right then and there. I had pretty much already made up my mind prior to touching base with them anyhow. Better safe than sorry, right? Besides, I knew I'd never be able to sleep a wink without knowing if Gypsy was going to be okay - and decided the E.R. was our best bet.
I woke up John, explained the situation - and not long thereafter, we waltzed into the emergency room on Saturday night closing in on Sunday morning, around midnight. I wish I could say that being there made me feel better, but it didn't. The staff was cold, callous and utterly indifferent. I didn't feel that Gypsy was secure at all in their hands - and seriously questioned whether we should've gone to another hospital further away. Fortunately, the doc who thoroughly examined Gypsy at least had a decent bedside manner. I burst into tears in front of her - and she was quite understanding and kind. Don't get me started on the three other staff we had to contend with. Honestly, their attitudes and behavior were completely inexcusable. The other doc looked and sounded half asleep or stoned and referred to her as "the little guy," which infuriated John. He also looked like he was 15 and he was no Doogie Howser. Again, don't get me started. Our primary doc on this case informed us that Gypsy's lungs were clear and that she was indeed, fever-free, but that we should keep a close eye - make sure she continued to eat regularly and that we should start giving her liquid vitamin D supplements. We were discharged shortly thereafter.
I really thought I'd feel better after all of that, but I only felt slightly better, if that. I was and am still utterly paranoid about Gypsy being so sick before she's even a month old. I can't sleep - I am watching her like a hawk, taking videos of her in her bassinet when she's coughing or sounds like she's struggling so I have something to point to when we see our pediatrician tomorrow for a follow-up, I'm aspirating her tiny little nostrils with the help of saline, taking her temperature, trying to keep her as comfortable as possible, cheering her on every time she breastfeeds and every so often, crying due to a hefty dose of mommy hormones and paranoia about the prospect of her developing a fever.
As I type this, she's in her bassinet and I'm listening to every sound she makes... hoping that nothing sounds worse than what I've already been hearing for the past 24 hours while counting the minutes until I can call our pediatrician's office and beg for the earliest available appointment.
Okay - wrote that last night. This morning, Gypsy seems to be doing a bit better. Got her an appointment with her regular pediatrician for 5 p.m.
Let's hope she's doing even better still by then.
This wasn't supposed to be my first post, (that I'd write), following Gypsy's birth, but as with all things child-related, I have a feeling I'm not going to be dictating forthcoming topics as often. Seems that life - and really Gypsy - will do that for me.
I Can't Stop Crying Happy Tears, and I'm Running on Fumes, So Here's This:
by Leigh Hope Fountain 10:53 AM 0 comments
The morning of my C-section, my husband John wrote this. I thought I'd share it given that I am in no place to write this week and because I love it.
October, 22 - 2015 - 8:45am
My dearest baby girl, Gypsy…
"Please be careful - the plates are REALLY hot."
This was the profound advice offered to me when I first ate at a Mexican restaurant and it has stuck with me all of this time. I now pass this sage bit of wisdom on to you.
Okay, obviously that was a joke… but then many-a-truth is said in jest… so it's not entirely without merit.
The point I'm really trying to make here is that if I can attest to any one slice of advice to you, it is that laughter can get you through practically anything.
Make no mistake, the world is a glorious, profound, exciting place to be… but it can also be terrifying, heartbreaking and soul-crushing. But there is one thing that can slay all of life's dragons, and that is laughter.
Your mother and I laugh together a lot, and I would attest that is why people fall in love.
Speaking of your mother: consider yourself extraordinarily lucky that she is yours.
Mom is wise, strong, feisty, intelligent, learned, and - yes - funny. One of the things she used to tell me when we were first dating was that nobody ever considered her 'funny' whereas she cracked me up all the time.
You mom and I weren't high-school sweethearts and we didn't meet at a college mixer. Nor did we work at the same office or catch each others' eyes at a concert. We both dated lots of other people before we met.
But we both knew we were WAITING… we were waiting for the 'right' time and we both had the awareness to understand that we'd know it when it came along. We WAITED for one another, and it paid off immeasurably.
Similarly, we did not follow the standard operating procedure of having a baby right away. We WAITED. And when the time was right, we both knew it.
My point is, you were INTENTIONAL.
We waited to have you because we wanted to bring you into this world when we knew that we could give you the kind of love and attention you deserve.
As I write this, you are approximately 6 hours away from being born. Your mom and I are a whirlwind of emotions - including nervous, anxious, scared, excited, delighted, rapturous and happy beyond measure.
We can't wait to see you face-to-face.
We have so much love for you we can barely contain it and you're not even out in the light of day yet.
Your mom has devoted an entire blog to you, so I'm trying to be brief, but I wanted to put down in writing what I was thinking about on the day of your birth.
I can't possibly predict what the future has in store for our humble little family, but I can tell you this with absolute certainty: There will be puppies, there will be laughter, and there will be love.
We love you.
And, yes, if you go to a Mexican restaurant… PLEASE be careful… the plates are REALLY hot.
It's Gypsy's Birthday!
by Leigh Hope Fountain 6:18 AM 0 comments
I am not going to lie - I am utterly exhausted as I write this, despite having actually managed to get some sleep on the eve of Gypsy's birth. In a way, it's a blessing, because I think I'm still too tired to let my nerves get the best of me and turn me into an absolute disaster on what is most certainly going to be the most dramatic and life-altering day of my life, (and John's for that matter).
It's 8:45 a.m. - and I'm sitting on the couch with our puppy Anna, sort-of watching the news, but not really absorbing much of anything anyone's saying, wondering when I'll actually start getting ready to head off to the hospital, where I'll reluctantly be living for the next 3 - 4 days. I think I'm sort-of in shock.
I could've written a post yesterday, (given that I really do need to start getting ready soon), but I honestly wasn't feeling it. After a couple of years about debating about whether or not to even 'kid' in the first place - followed by another few years of wanting to but not being able, and then finally making it happen - I was sort-of at a loss for words - and apparently, I still am.
But I think that makes sense. The enormity of this is truly overwhelming.
And on that note, today is Gypsy's birthday! It's finally here. After nearly 10 months of worrying, escalating discomfort, a laundry list of complaints and a seemingly endless stream of doctors appointments, tests and scary obstacles to surmount, it's finally here! We're going to be parents!
WE ARE GOING TO BE PARENTS.
Open Houses for Pediatricians???
by Leigh Hope Fountain 8:47 AM 0 comments
(Photo from AmericanPregnancy.org - Had to use it. The look on the kid's face is priceless).
I am pretty sure that a handful of people advised me to check out pediatricians before Gypsy is born. I heard them - I just didn't really listen. I figured that our options are probably somewhat limited anyway, seeing as how we don't have a car, shouldn't really take a newborn on a subway - and will probably need to see a pediatrician in the local vicinity that we are within walking distance of.
That said, I knew I had to find someone - but didn't really start exploring this until a few weeks ago. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, right?
Little did I know, you are technically supposed to have a pediatrician assigned to your child even prior to that child being born. Why? Because the hospital won't discharge you without one, your insurance provider needs to be informed accordingly and apparently, you have to see your pediatrician with your infant in tow a mere two days after being discharged from the hospital. (Still trying to wrap my head around how we're going to make that happen post-C-section, but whatevs).
Anyway, I got a referral for a pediatrician from an intelligent, trustworthy friend who just had a baby about 7 months ago herself. I ran with it. I figured that she's bound to know if this practice is any good or not - given that she used them for the first 1/2 year of her child's life prior to relocating to Michigan and because she, like me, is pretty damn down-to-earth.
Nevertheless, when I phoned the practice to inquire about new patients, they convinced me to attend a monthly Open House they offer for new parents. At first blush, I was like - OH NO. Here we go. Park Slope parent nonsense. Ugh. Then I thought about it more. I need to be a good mommy. I need to know whose hands I'm putting my brand new baby girl into - and if they're sane or not. Plus, I do have a few questions about a few things I'm not entirely sure I'm on board with. Okay, okay, I'll go.
I also conned John into accompanying me.
We got there at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday night. I had to be home for an 8 p.m. work call, so I was hoping it wouldn't be formatted in such a way that would prevent me from making a nearly undetectable escape. We showed up a few minutes early - and a relatively large seating area was already occupied by a handful of other couples. One of the first things I noticed was that a few of the other women, like me, were clearly already almost ready to pop. Whew I thought. I'm not the only one who waited until the absolute last minute to deal with this. Then I noticed a few who weren't even really showing or barely. Ha! I thought to myself. I'm glad I didn't subject us to this nonsense months and months before it was absolutely necessary.
Mind you, I was sort-of creating my own little justifications for stuff to a) eliminate guilt and b) cushion the blow if this wound up being the most pointless exercise ever and John demanded to know why on earth we had to waste our time in the first place. I could then retort by stating that at least we only had to experience it once - and better safe than sorry, right? John had asked me what they were going to do at this thing before we showed up - and the truth was - I had no fucking clue.
Anyway - much to my surprise - most of the couples there were very nice and had decent senses of humor - and we all exchanged niceties - due dates, complaints about being in the final stages of pregnancy, Kirk or Picard, etc. Then the last couple walked in - and the vibe of the room changed significantly. For lack of a better term - they were prissy. Because seating was now limited, every guy in the room offered their seat to her - despite the fact that a few were still available but she clearly wanted to sit right next to hubby and asked staff to bring out additional chairs, which they readily did. When she sat, I had to do everything in my power to stifle my laughter because this woman who looked every bit the Stepford Wife, was seated in just such a way that I got quite the upskirt view. It was hard NOT to notice.
Anyway, the pediatrician hosting the session started in - and I was pleasantly relieved. She was a cut-to-the-chase type, had a very prepared presentation of about 3 or 4 brief points she felt were of the utmost importance when choosing a pediatric practice for your child - and namely for first-time parents to consider - and breezed through the info within mere minutes. At the outset, I didn't know if we were going to be subjected to videos, powerpoint slides, condescending do's and don'ts and who knew what other types of fresh hell I had braced myself for just in case?
Again - relieved. It was actually quite informative.
Then the Q&A started.
Prissy had countless questions - many of which pertained to vaccines, which the pediatrician had specifically stated she wouldn't be addressing at the outset in group format due to the political and sensitive nature of the subject, but Prissy pushed her - and wound up getting her to present what I felt was a very level-headed and down-to-earth perspective. They recommend them and work with parents on a schedule they're comfortable with. Cool. I was more concerned about what to do with your child before they're vaccinated however - and that was my one pressing question.
Do we really need to be shut-ins until our little girl has been fully vaccinated?
And the answer was, "No" - which was what I was hoping for. In fact, they discourage it and think it's pointless. The doctor said something along the lines of, "Unless you're Beyoncé or Jay-Z, you're going grocery shopping and bringing all of that stuff back with you anyhow."
As anyone reading this blog already knows, I am a big believer in exposure to germs. I think it's a GOOD thing and this idea of over-sanitizing everything really irks me. I am convinced it's doing more harm than good. I want our baby girl to build up immunity to things. I'm not going to take her on a crowded subway or to Times Square just yet - but can we take her out and about to local family friendly restaurants and what-not?
Yes, yes we can.
And speaking of overly-sanitized, these docs don't over-prescribe antibiotics either.
Yay. Turns out my friend was right. These guys are perfect. Done and done, however last minute we were.
Oh - and in case anyone is wondering, we will have a baby girl in ONE MORE WEEK!!!
by Leigh Hope Fountain 10:02 AM 0 comments
I've been so preoccupied with all things pregnancy that I haven't really spent much time assessing various scenarios, trends, news stories, etc. the way I used to.
Given that I am just mere weeks away from bringing a lovely little girl into this world, I've finally started paying more attention to what is going on in that world and the impact it will (or won't) have on our little Gypsy.
One such story caught my attention recently because I've noticed that each and every time the subject comes up, I have a pretty powerful response - and that story pertains to kids and gadgets.
The Today Show did this story covering the American Academy of Pediatrics' recent changes to its recommendations for how much screen time children should/shouldn't have and when.
I won't bother delving into the details, but a few quotes from the actual AAP struck a chord:
"Today, more than 30% of U.S. children first play with a mobile device when they still are in diapers, according to Common Sense Media. Furthermore, almost 75% of 13- to 17-year-olds have smartphones, and 24% admit using their phones almost constantly, according to the Pew Research Center."
"In a world where “screen time” is becoming simply “time,” our policies must evolve or become obsolete. The public needs to know that the Academy’s advice is science-driven, not based merely on the precautionary principle."
The idea of a child interacting more with tech than with people while still in diapers is quite disconcerting - and I see it constantly these days. I don't care what the guidelines say, I don't like it, I'm not doing it.
Nobody knows what the long-term consequences are of whatever might be deemed over-exposure to screen time from an early age because it hasn't happened yet. Forgive me for sounding like a total square, but honestly, I'm already seeing the rather hideous repercussions of a generation that seems incapable of communication without a device. They barely know how to interact face-to-face, can't maintain eye contact when they do, and lack what I consider to be fairly basic social skills. It's disturbing on many levels - and I think it's a shame. I can only imagine this will be far worse with younger generations who aren't even given the chance to learn how to interact and socialize with other people because their parents handed them ipads to keep them busy and out of their hair - at precisely the time when I get the impression they need more attention and human-to-human interaction. To be clear, I am not pointing a finger and saying that everyone who hands their devices is an asshole. I am saying that those who hand their kids devices so they can skirt their parenting obligations and/or always use that as a tool to shut their kids up are assholes.
Yes, I am well-aware that this sounds incredibly judgy - and as someone who has not yet been in those shoes, it is very, very easy for me to judge from afar, but seriously... What are we going to be dealing with in a handful of years when someone can't even maintain eye contact without getting freaked out about it? I just foresee a generation of socially inept people who I personally wouldn't want to engage with and therefore probably won't.
For the record, I love tech. I just got a new iPhone and I truly adore it. If you took it away, I might even pitch a fit, but I also recognize my tendency to look at it too frequently myself, so I try to monitor my use and try not to let it get too out of control. Anyway, I realize that incorporating tech into a child's life is not only inevitable but beneficial in many ways as well - and I plan on embracing that - but I don't care what anyone's recommendations are, (and I know John doesn't either). We're going to create a plan of action that makes sense to us for our child - one that we believe won't jeopardize their ability to develop keen social skills that enable them to carry on actual conversations with other human beings, face-to-face even, because nothing turns me off more than the idea of a child that has a stronger reaction to a device than a person.
Now let's just hope we can stick to our guns on this.
Linear Thoughts? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Not anymore.
by Leigh Hope Fountain 11:06 AM 0 comments
So in 3 weeks, Gypsy will join us and I will be a first-time mom. I can't even begin to describe the extent of my anticipation and excitement. No really... I can't. I can barely wrap my head around it even after 9 months, so rather than attempt to ascribe a series of words to it beforehand, we'll just leave it there for now.
Another first however is not quite as attractive to me: The hospital stay. I've never stayed in a hospital overnight for anything - and quite honestly, I'm dreading it - and we're not talking one night... we're talking a minimum of three.
Chances are, I'll be sharing a room with a stranger. I'll have just gone through one of, if not the biggest life-altering moment I'll have had and possibly ever will have - and there will be someone else in my room. Someone I don't know. I'm quite social - but I don't like this prospect at all.
Then there's the food. I'm on a restricted diet as it is for gestational diabetes - and actually I'm totally cool with that, but the last thing I'm going to consume, particularly after Gypsy is born, is hospital food. (John honey, I hope you're prepared to do a lot of running around). Also - wine. There's no way in hell I'm going 4 days without wine after having a baby. We'll be sneaking it in somehow - and by "we" I mean John. Not sure how, but it's happening. Yes, I'm breastfeeding. No, I'm not going to get loaded. CALM DOWN.
There's also the fact that I am a night owl. I guess I'll be watching a lot of crappy television in between feedings every two hours. There will be no Netflix, Hulu or DVR. (I know, I know, first world problems). But I've earned my right to bitch and moan at this point, haven't I?
Also, while I have no fear of doctors, nurses, needles or generally anything of the sort - I am afraid of the germs in hospitals. Necrotizing fasciitis anyone? Did I check myself in to a hospital to potentially become as close to the un-dead as one can get without going full zombie? NO, I most certainly did not. MRSA is seriously one of the creepiest grossest things I can think of - and I feel like all of the hand sanitizing stations in the world can't seem to eradicate the presence of the antibiotic-resistant bacterium that appear in hospitals nationwide that have us one step closer to actual zombiedom.
WHY IS THIS?
A hospital should be the most sterile place you can be - and yet somehow I'm more comfortable on the dirty, grimy, germ-riddled subway cars of New York City. Over-sanitization? My thinking is YES.
Keep that gelatinous hand sanitizer away from me and my baby. I don't trust it. Regular hand washing and wipes will do just fine, thank you.
Speaking of subways... (SPOILER ALERT) - Did anyone see the latest episode of The Mindy Project? She gives birth on a subway - on a subway! She was scheduled for a C-section - or as she aptly refers to it, her "Baby Removal Appointment," and instead went into labor on a New York City subway. This is one of my biggest fears. I'd really prefer to be above-ground... even on the street in fact. I'm hoping I don't follow suit with Ms. Lahiri and that I get to keep my happy little baby removal appointment on Oct. 22nd despite it requiring a hospital stay. And speaking of which, it just occurred to me that Gypsy's birthday will literally be a surprise party.
I love it.
Headaches, Heartburn and Hemorrhoids... the Heinous Hallmarks of my Pregnancy
by Leigh Hope Fountain 11:52 AM 1 comments
Wow. I swear no more than 5 minutes after I recently exclaimed to a colleague, "I really can't bitch too much. This pregnancy hasn't been that rough," did I get hit with a supreme wave of hell in the form of a hemorrhoid.
Headaches and heartburn have dominated my life for the past many months - but I was spared the horrific hemorrhoid until fairly recently. Perhaps this is TMI, but I honestly feel compelled to share this information with friends, family and really, anyone contemplating getting knocked up who hasn't yet, because this is one of those things that nobody really talks about - and apparently, it's one of the more common side effects associated with the whole pregnancy thing. Personally, I appreciate knowing what lies ahead. It gives me an opportunity to brace myself accordingly - but nobody warned me about this. Having never had one before, I assumed I wouldn't even while pregnant. That was stupid.
Nothing could've prepared me for the levels of discomfort the evil creature inhabiting my ass would create. Again, my apologies if this is TMI - but seriously... SERIOUSLY - hemorrhoids are straight from hell. I have heard myself exclaim, "My ass literally feels like it's on fire." Note the use of the word literal. That was intentional because, THAT IS WHAT IT FELT LIKE. And don't get me started on the itching. It feels like something is MOVING AROUND in there. It's creepy and disgusting and downright awful. And try sitting on a subway acting as if you're perfectly fine, when in reality, you're silently suffering and counting the stops until you're able to get above-ground again, wondering if moving around will actually even help, knowing that it probably won't, but here's to hoping, right?
I am well-aware of how indelicate this subject is, but again, I feel it's my duty to be forthcoming here. If you are thinking about having a child, be warned accordingly: Morning sickness will probably get you. If it doesn't, you're among the lucky one-in-four who is spared... (as I was), but before you celebrate... be advised that you might have to battle what can only be described as an 'ass demon' down the line.
For me, headaches and heartburn are old hat. At times they've been intense, but relatively manageable. Unpleasant? Yes, but manageable. No biggie. But hemorrhoids? Are you kidding me?!? Holy $#!*balls, Batman! NOT OKAY.
The pain and discomfort seriously had me thinking, "This kid better be an absolute doll - nothing less than a ray of sunshine, 24/7, or else." Of course I realize that this is an impossibility. Nobody is perfect. Fine, fine, fine, but she better be damn close.
A Secret Battle My Mom Has Been Fighting for Decades
by Leigh Hope Fountain 9:00 AM 0 comments
I received a call from my mom sometime last week - and I could hear it in her voice. She was definitely very upset. I didn't need to ask why. I already knew what was up. Interstitial Cystitis (IC) - a disease that most people still haven't heard of despite it's impacting an approximate 3 - 8 million women and 1 - 4 million men in the United States alone, has plagued my mother with debilitating chronic pain for as long as I can remember.
She was diagnosed when I was still a very young girl and was hospitalized at one point, during which she underwent a full hysterectomy, which produced a series of complications that led to a much longer hospital stay than anyone in my family anticipated.
To this day she reminds me of the conversation I had with her doctor during one of our hospital visits:
"When is my mom coming home?"
"You say that every time we're here and then she doesn't come home. You're lying."
Needless to say, it made the doctor feel terrible, but there really wasn't anything he could do. She had lost her cerebrospinal fluid and needed to recover from that on top of the hysterectomy.
Despite a massive operation, it barely made a dent in what would ultimately become the bane of my mother's existence. Interstitial Cystitis would change her life dramatically - impacting her ability to do things many of us take for granted, like walk long distances, exercise and attend events, (including those she considered important throughout my childhood). It would impact her mood, her overall outlook on life - and her will to live, (though I wasn't really aware of this until very recently).
My mother has fought a disease that has subjected her to chronic pain now for more than three decades. We're not talking about mild pain either. We're talking about stabbing and burning to such an extent that she literally cannot do much of anything on days where her flare ups are really bad. There is no cure. There are treatments, though most are incredibly unpleasant, including one she has undergone herself countless times, wherein they instill your bladder with an acid-like substances to try to burn off the ulcerated lining). Fortunately for her, the treatments have more or less worked over the years. (She only resorts to them when the pain becomes just too unbearable). Unfortunately for her, one of the more recent treatments hasn't really delivered the same results - and she has been horribly depressed, having to undergo a second round of bladder instillations which also have yet to produce the results she's looking for - even after 6 weeks of them.
So when I got this call the other morning, and for the first time in my life I heard her admit that she has thought about taking her own life - it broke me. I was horrified and stunned. I know how upset she has been over the years for even having this illness. I know she is riddled with guilt over it, (which is absurd because she had nothing to do with it). Nevertheless, she STILL feels guilty about missing those supposed "important" childhood events of mine. I can't recall her missing anything. She was at every dance recital, every play, every everything I can think of. She says she missed things like Open Houses. Who the hell cares??? Well, apparently, she does. She wanted to be at those. Frankly however, I have no recollection of her missing them, but I feel terribly that she still beats herself up over what seem to be to be very trivial things. But she's a mom... and moms want what's best for their children - and that would've meant her not missing a single thing - ever, no matter how trivial.
In any case, her admission of thinking about taking her own life gave me serious pause. As those of you who know me may already know, I am petrified of death so I cannot even begin to imagine a scenario in which that thought would cross my own mind - but then again, I have never, ever experienced chronic pain. (Knock on wood).
She has... and she has for well over 30 years - and as she explained, she is, "...tired of the fight."
As anyone can understand, this is not something you want to hear your mother say - especially when you're about to become a mother yourself. Thing is, she's really been struggling for a while now - and she needed to get it off her chest - and I'm the one she talks to about these things. I think she actually tried to hide it for quite a while, because I'm pregnant and emotional and dealing with a lot myself... but I'm glad she said something - because it forced me to take a look at things... like how someone could even think that - and what I might be able to do to help her... because that's what I love to do best. I love to help people. I have read about her disease time and time again - Googling everything and anything to see if there are new treatments available she might not be aware of because she refuses to read about her disease. (It depresses her, freaks her out, etc.) She also still doesn't know how to operate a computer, so there's that. I have actually found a few things for her on occasion - and she is always eternally grateful, so when I got this most recent call, I was on a mission to conduct more research - find something she hasn't tried yet - something that would give her hope and eliminate any thoughts of wanting to cease her earthly existence. After all, Gypsy needs her grandmother and really, I still need my mom.
Fortunately, my mom called me again later to reassure me that while she may have thought about it in a very, very dark and desperate moment, she would never ever go through with it. She will keep fighting.
THANK FUCKING CHRIST.
Obviously, that's a very good thing - but I hate that she has ever experienced so much pain to begin with that she even gave it a moment of thought. Also, my mother is one of the strongest people I know, so for her to feel like quitting really speaks volumes about just how horrible IC is. (Apparently depression and suicidal thoughts are very common in people with IC. Sadly, some people actually go though with the suicide part). In good news, now that I'm gigantic, (see pic) and having a harder time being mobile, I have plenty of time to read and research the latest treatments for her illness. Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, Botox is on the list.
Anyway - this is partially why I haven't written much recently. I've had a lot on my mind.
P.S. - If anyone reading this knows my mother, please do not even mention this to her. She's incredibly weird about people even knowing that she has this disease and she'd probably kill me for writing this. Good thing she doesn't know how to use a computer.
by Leigh Hope Fountain 9:27 AM 4 comments
You will be here in 44 days. I know this because we're serving you with eviction papers on October 22nd because the doctor has decided that's what's best for both of us. I'm 100% fine with this because even though it's 8 days before your "due date" we seriously cannot wait to have you here and can barely tolerate another day - let alone another 44, so we're thankful that it's not 51. Also, seeing the 3D sonogram pics has not made the waiting game any easier. In fact, seeing your beautiful face has truly made time move like molasses and we don't help matters by keeping your photos plastered all over our fridge.
As we get closer to your arrival, we sit up at night talking about you. In fact, we've had numerous conversations about your future already. (No pressure hon - we just want you to avoid making some of the mistakes we did, if at all possible). We spend a lot of time thinking about what you might be interested in, and if those interests will mirror ours or be vastly different. We are excited to see either way - though of course we secretly hope that you love Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, horror/thriller/suspense movies, (when you're old enough), Boston Terriers, (and all other animals too), New York City, shopping for strange things at flea markets, food, conversation and art. We hope that you have little to no interest in Dora the Explorer and Bratz dolls. Again, no pressure - though when it comes to those, we might have to put our feet down.
We wonder if you'll be a girly-girl, a tomboy, or somewhere in-between. We wonder what eye color you'll have since really it could be almost anything given the fairly diverse gene pool you're comprised of. We wonder if you'll be a towhead like John was when he was born, or have a full head of thick black hair like I did. (Interestingly, neither of us maintained the color we were born with). We wonder if you'll be an introvert or an extrovert... serious, silly or both.... gay, straight or bi. Will you want children of your own? God knows we weren't sure for a really long time. We won't push you one way or the other - we promise. (We were very lucky to have parents on both sides who never nagged us to procreate and are more than happy to extend that same courtesy to you).
We wonder if you'll avoid sleep as much as I did from the day I was born, (keeping my parents up at all hours), or if you'll relish your zzzzs the way that John does. (For the record, I still wish I didn't have to sleep. John wishes he could sleep more). We wonder what your obstacles in life will be and hope they aren't too daunting. At the same time, we both know how obstacles can shape you and make you a better, more well-adjusted human being, so we hope your life is sprinkled with a few challenges that will enhance and enrich your life - even if they aren't the most pleasant in the moment.
We hope you know that we always have your best interests at heart, even if you think we're being mean, difficult, unfair or ridiculous.
We hope that you never question our love for you and we hope that one day, you also find love outside of our family to create your own - including your own definition of what a family is.
We hope that you are a caring, considerate soul and have an abundance of intellectual curiosity.
We hope you like us and we can't wait for you to get here!
Tons and tons and tons of love,
Your mommy and daddy
Pregnancy Brain is Real
by Leigh Hope Fountain 10:21 AM 0 comments
I LOVE BEING PREGNANT!!! (Warning: Don't read this if you don't want to read about the current state of my mammaries)
by Leigh Hope Fountain 7:52 AM 2 comments
The night before last, I started crying out of nowhere because my boobs were so itchy that I was scratching until the skin was pretty much raw. Then they burned. And aesthetically, they're a disaster. They were once happy, and perky, albeit too large. Now they just look fucking depressed. I'm already contemplating surgical intervention about a year or so from now. Good thing I work with some of the best plastic surgeons in the world.
In any case, my little outburst wasn't fun. The physical discomfort combined with a serious deluge of hormones and an ongoing lack of sleep only highlighted the seemingly endless list of other pregnancy problems I've been grappling with as I delve deeper into the third trimester of what is supposed to be this unparalleled blissful, wonderful, miracle-of-life experience that so many women profess to love.
I call bullshit.
I do not love being pregnant and have a very tough time believing that other women do. I am literally counting the days until I'm done - and I can honestly say with relative certainty that I will not be signing up for this again. If John and I decide we want another child, we will almost undoubtedly adopt. We've always been proponents of adoption anyway - and had even met with an adoption attorney when we were getting the impression that the chances of getting me knocked up were looking less-than-promising.
Am I thrilled to be pregnant, because it means we'll have a baby at the end of it all? OF COURSE - but I am not about to pretend that this is some kind of inexplicably glorious experience replete with feelings of earth-mother beauty and boundless joy. Nope. You know why? Because at this point, I'm pretty much uncomfortable, impatient and anxious 24/7.
While I understand that every pregnancy is different, let's look at some of the more common pregnancy symptoms:
Severe heartburn that increases in intensity each month
Leg cramps/Charley Horses
Mood swings (fairly dramatic ones)
Diabetes (Gestational - 10% of pregnant women)
Sensitivity to smell
Swollen extremities and in some cases, noses
Of the above 20, I've already experienced 17 - and I'm not even out of the woods yet. And don't even get me started on other aspects of pregnancy - like the inability to get comfortable on the subway, on my couch, or really almost anywhere regardless of how many positions I try to contort my ever-enlarging body into, my inability to maintain the fast-pace I'm accustomed to and my inability to walk long distances anymore without feeling like I might go into labor. Given the rather abhorrent humidity in NYC along with temps too high for my liking, I feel borderline house-bound, which makes me crazy.
Pregnancy is a veritable shitstorm of epic proportions. I can only identify two benefits:
1. Thicker, healthier hair
2. You get a baby
I guess the latter is what makes all of the torture more or less worth it - but again, let's get real. This does NOT make pregnancy loveable - it makes it tolerable. There's a distinct difference.
If the "Dawn of the Dating Apocalypse" is Here, Then What on Earth Will Happen to our Daughter?
by Leigh Hope Fountain 6:16 AM 0 comments
I'm sure most of you have already heard about the story that appeared in Vanity Fair this month: Tinder and the Dawn of the Dating Apocalypse thanks to the online meltdown that followed, courtesy of Tinder's own publicist. If you haven't had a chance to read the article, I strongly recommend it - particularly if you're a parent - more so if you're the parent of a girl. It's a great piece, well-written and quite eye-opening in terms of what the dating landscape currently looks like.
I had two immediate reactions:
1. Thank GOD I am happily married.
2. OHMYFUCKINGGOD we're having a girl. If dating is like this now, what on earth will it be like when she is actually old enough to date?
I guess I shouldn't be surprised. It's not as if I've been hiding under a rock. I was familiar with Tinder before I read the article - and have friends who have happily used the app to date. Ultimately, I get it. It's quite simple really - swipe left to reject, swipe right to flirt/hookup/date/whatever. It's superficial as all hell - especially since there aren't profiles attached - but it's convenient as all hell too. I wonder whether or not I'd be willing to try it if I were single but again, I thank my lucky stars that I'm not because I have a tough time believing that I would find what I was looking for - a serious relationship with someone I could honestly see myself spending the rest of my life with.
Still, it's relatable. I met my husband online. That is STILL surprising to some people. Nevertheless, back in the day, I LOVED online dating. In my mind, it made dating easier - not because of the superficiality - but because it opened up the dating pool dramatically. I was exposed to people who I never would've otherwise met. It also helped eliminate non-contenders quickly. If you sent me a stupid email or an instant message telling me I was sexy/hot/cute/whatever, it was an immediate delete. If you bothered to read my profile - and had something intelligent to say in reply, I took notice.
To me, it was fun. Delete, delete, delete, delete, delete - Hey... wait... This guy's profile is HILARIOUS and he clearly read mine! Hmm.
That was my reaction to John on match.com - the man I'd eventually marry.
By today's standards, online dating is now somewhat archaic - and mobile dating is where it's at. Has been for a while now - and apps like Tinder, as aforementioned, make it incredibly easy - perhaps too easy.
A few quotes from the piece that made me cringe:
"There's always something better."
"It's like ordering Seamless." "But you're ordering a person."
"Sex has become so easy."
"It's rare for a woman of our generation to meet a man who treats her like a priority instead of an option."
This is depressing, right?
I guess there's the possibility that things have always been this way to some extent - and now its just more visible on account of the invention and undeniable popularity of apps like Tinder.
And the thing is, I'm among the most open-minded people I know when it comes to dating, relationships, marriage, etc. In other words, I don't think marriage and/or monogamy are for everyone, I think everyone/anyone who wants to get married should be able to, (yay for this year's legislation) and I think everyone should calm the hell down on all fronts when it comes to what other people choose to do with their own lives that has no direct impact on yours.
That being said, I really love the idea of our little Gypsy finding someone really, remarkably special - someone who makes her a priority... THE priority, because they just love every little thing about her... even her flaws. I love the idea of her wedding... though I fully recognize that she may decide marriage isn't for her. Regardless of what she does choose, I just hope she finds relationships of substance, where she is treated with plenty of respect and care. I can't say I always was, and from what I can tell, you always want better for your own child.
P.S. Look at this picture. Can people even socialize properly anymore? There might be a Part II to this.
It Was Fun While It Lasted!
by Leigh Hope Fountain 9:22 AM 0 comments
Prior to being pregnant, I rarely consumed much in the way of carbs or sugar. Even if I dared to ingest a carbohydrate, it was usually one of the healthier seed-based types like Quinoa. I knew better than to mess around. I've been pre-diabetic twice and apparently my body just detests anything other than meat, fish, natural fats, (avocados, oils, nuts), low carb dairy and green veggies, (the non-starchy ones). The minute I start experimenting, I start packing on the pounds, and if I let that 'experiment' become more of a regular occurrence/lifestyle shift, I eventually wind up in the doctor's office listening to a warning that I am borderline diabetic and need to rein things in... again.
It sucks, because I generally eat what most would consider to be a VERY healthy diet - even when I am ingesting an occasional carb, so the limitations seem unfair. *Sigh*
Admittedly though, I do feel much better when I stay the hell away from all things carby.
When I got knocked up however, it became much, much harder to resist things like pasta, bread and ice cream especially because certain foods were becoming such a turnoff - even ones that were my "Go-Tos" just didn't seem appetizing like salads, hummus, roast chicken, etc.
I happily let myself indulge in starchy carbs and even some... GASP... sugar in the form of 1/2 and sometimes, whole pints of Ben & Jerry's. Americone Dream? Holy shit that stuff is like crack. Anyway, the carbs helped settle my stomach and while I never had the stereotypical morning sickness, I was consistently battling headaches, heartburn, food aversions and an ever-so-subtle hint of nausea. Me, carbs and sugar became fast friends, and for the past many months, I've enjoyed a much more diverse diet consisting of things I would never normally even look at. It's been GRAND.
Then I went in for the standard pregnancy glucose testing and my pregnancy party came to a screeching halt.
I didn't pass. 147 blood glucose after fasting. (The cutoff was 140). So, I was subjected to round two: the dreaded 3-hour glucose tolerance test. This is where you stop eating and drinking anything other than water at midnight, go to the doc's in the a.m., where they draw your blood (fasting), and then once every hour for three hours after you consume 100 grams of what tastes like pure liquid sugar - a syrupy, overly-sweet concoction attempting to masquerade as a delicious orange or fruit punch flavored beverage.
All the while, you are fucking starving because you're pregnant, and not eating is a bit counterintuitive and going nearly 14 hours without food is outright INSANE.
I brought my laptop to the doc's office and was happily distracted by work, though my growling tummy was a little hard to ignore. At the end of it, I raced over to Le Pain Quotidien and inhaled an iced coffee and an open-faced chicken curry sandwich. I swear it was the most delicious sandwich I have ever eaten.
When I returned to the office, one of my lovely colleagues offered me a peanut butter cup. I didn't reject it, because I knew it would probably be my last - and I was right. The next day, the doc called. "You failed your test." That's exactly how he put it too. For a brief moment, I felt like I had actually done something wrong (and maybe I had), but it was too late now anyway - Gestational Diabetes had taken hold - and there would no more Americone Dream, peanut butter cups or much else in the way of sugary-carby-overly-indulgent foodstuffs in my near-future.
Welcome to my New/Old Normal. I say New/Old, because this is the diet I'm supposed to follow all the time - 365 days a year, without deviation - so in essence, it's new again - but it's old hat for me.
Fortunately, once the sugar and carbs are out of my system, (and apparently they already are), I adapt quickly and the diet part isn't really torturous, despite being preggo.
What IS an adjustment is monitoring my blood glucose level four times a day.
Today was day 1.
Woke up, lanced my finger, put blood on a test strip - waited for the result.
Ate breakfast, (pictured), waited an hour, lanced my finger, put more blood on a test strip - waited for the result.
I'll be doing this one hour after lunch and dinner as well - and repeating this cycle every day for the next 80 days. Pregnancy party this is NOT.
I guess it isn't so bad. If nothing else, I won't gain too much weight during this pregnancy - and seeing as how I had 15 to lose going in, I'll probably be in decent shape.
Okay, I Think I've Fully Braced Myself for the Inevitable Backlash, So Here Goes...
by Leigh Hope Fountain 9:36 AM 2 comments
I have a weird obsession with names. I always have. I'm sure it's in large part due to the fact that I hated my own name until I was old enough to appreciate it. Definitely had to grow into it as they say. By the time that happened, I was also lucky enough to find a man with a cool last name that made my first and middle sound even better, so I married him and did just that. If I hadn't liked his, I wouldn't have changed mine. I've always been of the opinion that you should keep the better sounding name. Call it superficial, call it what you will, but I'm not a traditionalist and I'm not really religious, so for me, it was just a personal preference - and now I'll readily admit that I thoroughly enjoy being complimented on my name. It happens fairly frequently too. It's not too terrible to be outright arrogant about it because it wasn't my doing, right? It was my parents' and my husband's. They gave me the gift of my name and I adore it.
My parents gave my brother a kickass name too. His name is Hayes. How cool is that? If anything, I grew up to be a bit jealous thinking his name is cooler than mine. He also got the better eyes, but I digress...
Anyway, I'm so obsessed with names that I actually knew what our daughter's first name would be long before we even decided that we were definitely going to kid. I've been protective of this name... sharing it with only a select few, fearing that it would inevitably become incredibly trendy overnight were I to share it with someone a little too mouthy.
As social media continues to proliferate and word truly spreads like wildfire, my fear has become even more pronounced - or at least it had - until I finally realized how lame my thinking is here.
Ultimately, names come and go, trendy or not. I've also come to recognize and fully accept the rather polarized reactions we receive when we do disclose the chosen name to friends, family and colleagues. Some flat-out hate it. Others utterly adore it - and certainly there are those who are in-between or simply too afraid to tell us that they're not fond of the moniker. Regardless, we love it, we're not changing it - and we hope she loves it too. If she doesn't, she can be the one to change it. We won't hold it against her, (at least not for long).
If it winds up on a top 10 list, so be it. I guess I'll just have to congratulate myself for finally coming up with something that people respond to. Thing is, I don't actually think there's any real chance in hell of that happening. The name is a bit polarizing because there are unfortunately still a number of negative associations with it, which I think is an absolute shame because of how beautiful I think it is. I have spent ample time trying to think of other names I might like to bestow upon on little girl more and I can't come up with a single one. I'm done trying. This name resonates with me on so many levels:
- It's sort-of strange, but not so left-of-center that it isn't palatable.
- It's girly, (and the trend this year is for non-gender-specific names, so yay for lessening the chances of it becoming popular on that front).
- It's cute but not sickeningly so - and in my opinion, straddles the fence between cute and sort-of mysterious/sophisticated. (In other words, balanced).
- I totally love it. In fact, I'm obsessed with it.
Gypsy Valentina Fountain