Fix #1

so i received my first stitch fix and a few of you wanted to know what i thought of it. i figured i would put it in a blog post.

what i asked for: a pair of dark jeans where the color won't fade after a few washes, tops to ware with jeans or tuck into skirts, a pencil skirt.

what i got:
19 copper cathleen split-nexk tulip sleeve blouse (turquoise) $68
41Hawthorn moni stud detailed 3/4 sleeve blouse (dark pink)  $58
41Hawthron filbert 3/4 sleeve popover blouse (black) $58
41Hawthron jordanne a-line skirt (coral) $68.00
Kensie Jeans Johnny skinny jeans (navy) $88

Keeping the whole box would have been $240 due to a $80 price break

over all i was unbelievably impressed and they sent me the items i asked for to a tee. the colors were not ones i would have ever picked for myself but were stunning. I was a little worried that the jeans would not fit of the waist would hit me awkwardly which has been a big deal post c-section. however when i put them on i was floored. the fit was amazing.

i ended up not keeping 19 copper cathleen split-nexk tulip sleeve blouse and 41Hawthron jordanne a-line skirt because they were actually a little big on me. however i loved the color of both pieces and liked they style.

all the items are ones i would have never picked up at the store for myself. they are a little more "adult" then my usual style of dressing. this is also more then i typically spend on clothing. to sum up it was exactly what i wanted.  i hate shopping (yes really i find it super frustrating) and stich fix did an excellent job of making me look good and feel great.

i'm pretty excited for me next fix already

If you want to try it : https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3474047


A Hard Day

Today after a horrible work day... amongst other thing not going well... I finally came home. I got to spend one hour with my son before he feel asleep for the night. I am thankful for that hour and I am sad for all the hours in the day I did not have with him. I hear things get better. I love everything about being a mom... it's all the other life stuff that is hard to manage.


His Half of the Story

So Michael has been a member of a Reddit group called Predaddit for most of the pregnancy. He wrote this up to post for the group and I thought I would share.

Greetings, Predaddits.

Let me start by saying that my son Tesla Ephim was born at 3:52am on 7/16, and he's doing great. I'm going to be a bit long here but I'll try to separate out the important points so you can learn from our experience.

So, Sunday night the 14th our Doula came over to drop off the birthing tub. Our plan was to labor at home and then head to the hospital for the delivery, and my wife really wanted a tub.

A mere four hours after the doula left, around 3am, my wife got up to use the bathroom and I heard the sound of water hitting the carpet. "I think I just peed all over the floor," she said. I immediately thought she had gone into labor; she wasn't convinced until around 9am when the contractions were coming on strong.

**Protip: When it breaks, the water doesn't always come out all at once, sometimes it's barely distinguishable from pee. And it will continue to leak in a slow trickle for hours.** 

In our birthing class the advice given was that when labor starts, you should try to get her to rest as much as possible because it's going to be a long haul. Specifically, the midwife had said "drink a big glass of wine and pass out for a while." My wife was leaking small amounts so she didn't want to lay down anywhere. I covered the couch in a few towels and she still wasn't comfortable, so I suggested putting on a maxi pad. Turns out my wife doesn't have maxi pads. 

**Protip: Buy thick-ass maxi pads and have them around the house. You will need them when labor starts and when momma gets home from the hospital.**

So I went to Walgreens to get maxi pads, hair ties, and a few other little things. I was in my pajamas, there was no traffic, and I was zipping back home when I noticed a commotion at our corner. We live at a decently busy intersection in Chicago, but this was unusual- several cars backed up, honking, and a semi truck laying on its horn. As I approached the corner to turn, I saw a dude completely passed out behind the wheel of his car blocking part of the intersection. No one else was stopping and I feared diabetic coma or whatever, so I stopped and got out to check on him. No amount of yelling could rouse him, so I called the cops.

While waiting for the cops to come, I visually inspected this guy and his car and determined that he was indeed unconscious, and also that his car was in gear and his foot was on the brake. That's a disaster waiting to happen. I also took [this pic of the unconscious dude](http://i.imgur.com/rqoAGrnh.jpg) and sent it to my wife to let her know why I was delayed. If you look, you can clearly see the car is in drive. Scary shit.

The cops showed up, turns out he was drunk, I gave a statement, and skedaddled back home. Wife was still in a bit of denial and thought she was perhaps having that "pregnancy incontinence everyone talks about. Thus began the long, slow "early phase labor."

**Protip: Early phase labor can last anywhere from 1-12 hours. Use this time to get your shit together. Put those last few things in the hospital bag, pack some food for the hospital, eat (and make mom-to-be eat). Lay off the coffee or whatever, you'll need that boost later. Make sure momma is comfortable and has everything she needs. Firmly but politely make her drink water or coconut water or whatever, and do anything you can now to get her to save her energy and rest. She will be very uncomfortable, but do your best. Tylenol is ok, and one alcoholic drink is ok too. She probably won't want it though.**

I filled up the tub and she got in, which helped immensely. I also got water all over the place and had to improvise how to drain out cold water and add more hot when it got cold. I wasn't able to work this out in advance and wished I had. Also, keep in mind this wasn't a regular bathtub, we have one of those. This is a high-sided industrial rigid plastic tub that we rented, and it was totally worth it. Here's a pic.

She relaxed in the tub and weathered the contractions while I got everything ready. I put on some of her favorite soothing music and made her food and scurried around getting shit ready. Turns out there are hours worth of things to keep you busy during this time. We also discussed when to tell our families, and decided that we wouldn't sound the alarm until we were heading to the hospital. We didn't want to be swarmed at home with everyone kicking up a fuss while momma was laboring naked in a big tub. But after a little while, once my wife was convinced she was actually in labor, we sent out some text messages letting them know what was going on.

Somewhere around 10am (6 hours after water breaking) the contractions started becoming more frequent and more intense, and we started getting ready to go to the hospital. I took a quick shower while she was still in the tub, Momma dried off and got dressed, and my mom arrived to help us get to the hospital. Getting down the stairs was difficult, and every little bump on the road to the hospital made my wife very uncomfortable.

Then passing through downtown, some asshole abortion protestors were standing on every single overpass holding 15-foot tall signs with full color pictures of aborted fetuses on them. My wife started crying and I told her not to look, and I flipped down her sun visor so she wouldn't see. Those fucking assholes. If any of you happen to see any of those people in your particular town, please egg them or steal their signs and throw them away or something. This was seriously the absolute worst thing for my wife to see in that moment and made her extremely upset and my protective rage kicked in. I'm still kind of seething about it.

So we got to the hospital, checked in, and went into triage. Our triage nurse was awesome. My experience of the hospital staff (and we were at a very good women's hospital that specializes in childbirth) is that some of the staff are amazing. Some are kind of dumb and lack bedside skills, and some have been doing the job a little too long and gloss over your particular details. 

Protip: If you think something is being missed or your momma-to-be is being handled badly, take the staff aside and talk to them. Don't be an overbearing asshole about it, but step up and protect your family. Momma is too busy and distracted and it's on your shoulders to be vigilant and proactive.

Our birth plan was all-natural childbirth. No painkillers, no pitocin, no intervention. My wife labored for 26 hours total, pushed for the last solid three hours of that, and We ended up getting an epidural, pitocin, and then ultimately having a c-section.

Ultimately, I think the reason the natural thing didn't work out is because our baby was huge: 9lbs, 6 oz. And my wife is pretty small, 5'4" and only 135-140lbs before the pregnancy. After all the labor and pushing, the baby wasn't budging down the birth canal and they started talking about forceps to pull the baby out.

Personally, I've hear the worst horror stories regarding forceps and it seems absolutely medieval to me- vaginal tearing, injury to the baby's head and neck- really scary shit. As they started to become more insistent, I asked the hospital staff to leave the room and we had a talk with our doula, my wife, and her mom. With everyone's suport, my wife decided on the c-section and I think it was the right choice.

Protip: know that a c-section is a very major surgery. They don't just cut a little hole and the baby comes out. They cut a little hole, extract all of your wife's intestines, ovaries, bladder, and other organs through that hole and place them carefully on trays outside her body, split the abdominal muscles and crank them apart with a clamp, them make a hole and remove the baby. They then spend the next hour re-packing everything into her abdominal cavity, checking to make sure they didn't lose a bit of gauze or a tool in there, and then cauterizing and stiching her up. I was in the room with her and you can small the cauterization.

As a bonus, they found a cyst on one of my wife's ovaries and removed it right then and there, since they were already set up to do it. This is what convinces me that we did the right thing.
When they pulled out our baby he cried right away, but then stopped and looked around with the widest, most aware eyes. They wiped off the cheesy coating and handed him to me, and I couldn't stop crying with happiness. People here have talked about the powerful wave of emotion that hits you when they're born, and I can confirm that it is huge and it is amazing. As a male, there are few times in your life when you can cry powerfully, this is one of them. Let it all out.

The nurse took a picture for us then, and I am grateful for it.

I held him and talked to him and showed him to my wife, who was still laying there with half her organs splayed out on the other side of the sheet. I laid him on her chest and she shook from the systemic shock and talked to him and kissed him, and with a nurse's help we got him to breastfeed.

These were not our ideal circumstances, but it was what happened and it was beautiful.

Eventually they got it all wrapped up and we went into a recovery room, and then to our room in the hospital for observation. His blood sugar was **just** below the acceptable threshold and they took him down to the NICU for a few days, which was very hard on us- I could write an entire post about this. But we visited him as much as we could and tried to sleep and recover and on the fourth day we got him back. On the fifth day we were discharged from the hospital and we're all happily hanging out at home, figuring it all out.

Also I wanted to add a little on smell. I forgot to mention this in the post I wrote. So right after Tesla was born and for about the fist three days he had the most intense smell. It was a very good smell and made me want to be right near him all the time. The smell made me feel very bonded with Tesla and very protective and nurturing of him. I smelled the same smell on me and surprisingly especially strong after I used that bathroom. I also started to smell it on Michael's breath and in his hair. Not as strong as from Tesla but strong still. I felt like the smell cloaked the three of us and united us into a unit, a family. 



On the Day You Were Born

Tesla Ephim Una~Bogode
born on 16 July 2013
3:53 am
in Chicago, IL (US)
Cancer Rising
sensitive person and very attached to familiar surroundings
when encountering new people, friendly but slow to open.
once this little decides to trust someone, he will trust him or her completely.
nurturing self confidence will help to establish a generous nature.
sensitivity can makes it difficult for this little to take criticism or harsh words from anyone, especially loved ones. When he feels sore, he may withdraw into himself and avoid others.

Sun in Cancer
an emotional person who is sensitive to the subtle ways that people communicate with each other. emotional support from loved ones goes a long way, especially from mama.
a secret, quiet place that this little can be alone with his thoughts is essential.
home and family are of the utmost importance.
Sun in the Second House
love of security, being surrounded by comfortable and familiar things.
be aware of excess of the material
share little owlet it will increase your emotional abundance.

Moon in Libra
a lover of beauty, preferring not to focus on unpleasantries.
affectionate, warm and friendly, but you may overlook other people's faults.
peace-loving, charming
Moon in the Fifth House
expressing through feelings, which are very strong and vigorous.
lover of good times.
strong dislikes and likes, honest about emotions.

Venus in Leo
people lover and people love him.
loyal to friends.
strong sense of fairness and justice
love is strongly mixed with pride.
learning to compromise with others desires.
here again we see the importance of sharing.
Venus in the Third House
strong interest in the arts, theater or literature.
probably very close to relatives, for their love is very important

Tesla you are going to be such a good guy. I am so honored to know you.

Thank you to my dear friend Celeste for the birth chart. I'm glad my son was born on your little girls birthday.

Plan: natural child birth vs reality

so my ideal was a completely unmediated water birth. i had visualized it so many times. 

what actually happened contained so many of my fears and included so many things that i wanted to avoid to my child and myself. however everything turned out right as it should and overall i am thankful for everything. this hospital, my birth team, the surgical team, and my support network... thank you. i can not express my gratitude enough.

below is a quick version of what happened that I wrote to a friend about the labor. i will post a more detailed version of the birth story. my amazing doula Be Joy will be writing it up soon!

So we named him tesla. Water broke at about 2 am but I just thought I had peed. Woke back up at 3 and felt like I needed to pee again and stood up and immediately thought I peed in the floor. Finally made it to the bathroom and had bloody show so I woke up Michael who was like well I'm pretty sure  sure your in labor. He stayed calm and started setting everything up around the house just how we had planed. My doula had brought a birth tub for me to labor in so we filled it and I got in the tub and labored in here for a while. I was in text communication with Be Joy the entire time.  It took me about three hours to admit I was in labor and it was not a false alarm. Michael called our midwives and on the phone I was told to get out of the tub and do some walking to really get the labor going. This made me have contractions 3min apart and rather strong quite quickly so we left for the hospital. Got there about 10 am and when they checked me I was about 7 cm dilated and my cervix was paper thin. So I got admitted and labored in the hospital with Michael, my doula, my mom, midwife, and a nurse. Being in a birth tub seemed to slow my contractions down so my midwife did not allow me to stay in there much. I walked around, labored in the shower and mainly on a birth ball. Also the babies heart rate was having scary dips in it and the contractions were getting extremely painful. However every time they checked me they said I was only 6 1/2 or 7 but my cervex was starting to get inflamed and get all thick. Apparently I was trying to push and it was inflaming my cervix. So at abouy 6 pm they said due to the babies heart rate we needed to do something to help me progress and recommended I get pitocin. Not what I wanted to hear! I really had a strong mindset against pitocin based on everything I had read. The patocin was going to make the contractions much stronger and there was no way I would be able to keep myself from pushing and inflaming my cervix more. I was running a fever at that point too. So they gave me an epidural. Not what I wanted to have happening but I needed to make the labor progress due to his heart rate being very irregular and having very big dips when I was in contractions. So after the pitocin there was no change for a while and they kept upping it until finally at about midnight I was at 10 cm. Tesals heart rate was very high at this point and I still had a slight temp. So they said I needed to start pushing right away. After 2 hours and 45 min of pushing (with Michael and Be joy holding my very numb legs up and my mom helping me curl up into a ball with the contractions)  with ever contraction the baby made very little progress in moving. They said what looked like was happening is his head was getting more cone shaped in the birth canal and getting stretched out but otherwise kinda stuck not moving. My midwife could not get a good seance of his positioning so she called the doctor in. They were talking about the need to use forceps or a vacuum. After the md checked me he said that the baby was not in a position where we could do that. So my options were to try to push and get him to a point where they could use forceps or a c section. We were both totally against the idea of forceps and I really had no energy left at all after attempt to push for almost three hours. So I was terrified but they prepped me for the c section. Right before my surgery they had two crash calls in a row on the floor which was really making me freak out. They surgery went really well and really quick and Tesla was born at 3:53 Tuesday morning. The put him on my chest right away and breast feed like a pro while they closed me up. Michael was with me in the surgery and he held my hand cried with joy the whole time. They also found a cyst on my right ovary. They said that the could save my right ovary but the needed to remove the cyst. This makes Michael and I feel like the c section was really the right choice. The surgeon did an amazing job and I seem to be healing well. Crazy in love with my son. He's the most amazing thing I have ever seen in my whole life. He's only been here a little over 24 hours and already I can't imagine the world without him. Oh so he was 9 pound 6 oz! He's super big and strong. So we got to have him to ourselves for a little while and then the decided they needed to take him to the Nicu. Michael and I both cried when they had to come get us and told us we needed to give them an hour before we could go see him. So his sugar is a little low and they are trying to get it under control. They said this is common with big babies and also with long labors and he was both those things. So I have been trying to get over to breast feed every three hours so as you can imagine I have not really slept in the past few days. Michael was just amazing through the whole of the labor. Really like just completely amazing. He is perfect with Tesla like a compleat natural and he keeps crying with joy. This has all been so beautiful.

my son Tesla is the most amazing being i have ever laid eyes on. i can not even begin to describe to you how much love i have for him. I'm so glad he's here.  


Baby Book Case

while michael was out of town i worked on last min baby prep. on my list was some shelves to put all of the babies books on. i went to a few stores, looked at shelving but ultimately wasn't finding the right shelves that would go in our baby nursery area.

fast forward. michael magically gets back from being out of town two weeks early. one evening while riding his bike home he notices a lot of stuff has been left in the ally by sova. it had looked like an artist studio had gone out and they had left all their things in the ally. clay, paint, paintings, easels, a bike, computer parts, and wood. we always need wood.

the next day micheal came back from his morning run and stated that he was going to build his son a book shelf. the fallowing took approximately an hour.


i am blown away by his thoughtfulness, quick thinking, and attention to detail. the book shelf is perfect and more right then anything i could have found in a store.

that same day we also hung the curtain up by the babies crib. also hung up a present from a dear friend from her travels in napal.  good energys. it's all coming together and this child is going to be sheltered with so much love and support from amazing friends and family.

the fallowing day michael made me a gift. he came home from pumping station one with lazer cut owls for me. i will need to find a good place to hang them by the crib.


35 weeks

it was important for me to go into the last stretch of the pregnancy feeling fierce and empowered. at times i have felt so physically and emotionally beat up that i have kinda lost my self. however i do not regret a single minute of it and all i can think about is meeting my son.

asking andrew to do the henna on my belly was amazing and perfect. he crafted everything in a way that made me feel more connected to my child as well as connected to the friends that have been supportive of me though this journey. among the tree of life, lotuses, oms, and the owl i felt less isolated and alone. i was part of something greater. andrew had such precession and focus that he didn't even notice my son fallowing his every move as he created a master piece.

thank you to marc for always making me glow.
thank you to C.B. for always being able to read my mind and understanding the essence of what i'm trying to say. thank you for  allowing me to feel empowered in the way you choose to capture me.
thank you to my body. please keep enduring. the journey is far from over.