Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A year later- Isla's birth story

(photo by the incredible Jon Carmichael: our family just before Isla Josephine made her appearance)

It's 9:14pm on 11/1/2016. Exactly one year ago today I was at Kaiser San Leandro hospital with my doula, Diana, and my husband. I'd been admitted less than an hour before (or thereabouts). The Kansas City Royals had just won the World Series. And my labor had only started that afternoon. After a 40 hour labor for my son James' birth three years prior, I was expecting the worst and hoping for the best for my second go at this whole birthing thing. I think I got the best. Isla was ready to meet us. She waited a day past her due date. Unlike her brother, who came three weeks early- helping explain why my body wasn't quite "open" to letting him out during the labor process.

So 9:14pm on 11/1/2015. This second time around a lot of things differed from my birth story with James. This time, I had a doula. Thank the Lord! I called her around 4pm or so- explaining that I think this is it. At first, I had started to feel some contractions in the late afternoon while James and Zac were both napping. I took a shower and they didn't go away, like they had been doing in the weeks prior when I'd had some braxton hicks. So I woke Zac up from his nap and told him I thought the moment was actually here! I timed some contractions as to not jump the gun, then I called my mom.  :)

Some people recommend having a "labor project" to help pass the time in early labor. I'm not that creative, so I decided my labor project would be making dinner. And at 40 weeks pregnant, in fact, making dinner can be quite an ordeal! I asked Zac to take James to the park while I cooked, and kind of "got in the zone". I still think it's interesting how I wanted that alone time to kind of get calm and gather my strength. I remember chanting my 'oms' through those increasingly intense contractions in the kitchen, I had learned the chants in my beloved pre-natal yoga.

So when the boys got home from the park, I offered them some fettucine, and Zac called his parents to let them know we'd need their help watching James while we got ready to meet our "little nugget" as we affectionately called Isla before knowing if she was a girl or boy. It was getting real! (I also remember Diana, our doula, telling me not to have any of the fettucine alfredo sauce because it would most likely make me nauseous during active labor.. let's just say she was right!)

By the time Zac's parents arrived, my contractions were getting intense. Everything happened kind of "just in time". I remember my best friend Kim asking me to take of picture of myself while I was in this early-ish stage of labor, and to date I think it's one of my funniest selfies- with a sort of "are you kidding me?" look on my face:

Diana arrived maybe just before 8PM. We left for the hospital what seemed almost immediately for labor, maybe 15 minutes after she arrived. For some reason, Zac asked me to "navigate" while he drove us. I proceeded to put the wrong hospital into the iphone (because I was in labor!!). After we realized we got off at the wrong freeway exit, I had a slight 'moment', and we arrived at the hospital shortly after.

While I was walking the halls to the labor and delivery area- I started referring to the baby in the feminine pronoun for the first time in my pregnancy- which I'm still impressed by how us mommas just 'know' somehow, even subconsciously.

The hospital memories are somewhat short since she came quickly, but they are still vivid. I remember we had a great nurse, but she didn't have to do much. A midwife delivered Isla- and I feel like I barely even interacted with her! I give so much credit to Diana, our doula. She was right there with me, through the entirety of the hardest moments of my labor. I gave birth on all fours, like a straight up Amazon woman, and somehow was able to do it without an epidural like I had for James. Well not somehow, I was able to avoid an epidural and possibly a longer labor because of Diana. While I was yelling our code word for "give me the damn epidural", Zac was strategically trying to stay out of it, and Diana looked at me and, after avoiding my demands for long enough, explained that I could either get the epidural or get ready to meet my baby. So I moved to the hospital bed and remember grunting/ yelling at the top of my lungs to push our little girl out. Zac says he had to check twice because he's the one who got to proudly announce that we had a girl. We were both in shock. Except, as I was pushing, I had another trippy moment where I kept calling the baby Gwenyth with each push. I told Zac I thought it was a sign that we had to name her Gwen (which was a top name on our baby name list)... but Zac sweetly, and almost with a pout said, "but I really liked the name Isla Josephine"- and so it was. And just like that, our family became four (and a half... we can't forget Brewster, our protective doggie! :)

Meeting Isla Josephine for the first time (and her first EVER picture:)

with nose picker and all at Thanksgiving a few weeks later

and a slightly more festive look at our first ever family photo shoot (Isla's fussiest day to date- she cried the whole time)..

And now.. a year later..
swoon! (photo by Jen J photography)

It only took a year, but I hope the long awaited blog post was worth your time! Now, Isla is an engaging, walking, curious, determined, silly, almost toddler with 6 teeth and the thickest, most perfect thighs you could ever imagine. Time really does fly when you have kids. <3

Saturday, October 3, 2015

An homeage to five years.

I know it's annoying to brag sometimes, but I figure if there's a time to do it, it'd be now. Five years ago today, I started the day with my best friends, probably getting ready to take some fun photos before Zac and I would be married in Pacific Palisades...

Actually strike that, the fun photos started way before the wedding day (above, for example, genius posing during a post-bridal shower hang out session) 

These, however, were from that morning getting ready for the big day. Lots of laughs for an early morning!

Before the big ceremony, Zac and I met with the Rabbi for a sweet moment where we signed the marriage licenses (with our witnesses/ men of honor). Rabbi Barclay was much more eloquent than my memory serves, but he basically explained how by us holding on to the napkin after he let go, we were showing that we didn't have any misgivings about the leap we were about to make... I think holding on symbolized our commitment, maybe? Like I said, he was more eloquent than myself..
Then, we took a few photos..

My favorite shot. It so captured the moment. 

A perfect candid of us waiting for our grand entrance to James Brown's "I Feel Good" 

As you can see, the day was filled with lots of love. But what I really wanted to write about is how fortunate I've been during the five years since that day. This last week I was sick with strep throat, and 35 weeks pregnant might I add. I was misdiagnosed, and had to wait a week for the anti-biotics that my body really needed. It was miserable. And Zac was such a trooper. He took great care of me. In sickness and in health-- just like he promised.

And then, today, I got to listen as Zac held James on his shoulders to help put up the gift he got me for our anniversary. It's pretty funny for a couple reasons. First of all, I'm not so sure how I feel about cliches sayings like this- but it's the thought that counts, so I love it. Secondly, tradition actually says to get a wood gift for a five year present, and you know Zac didn't do that on purpose. So he got lucky on that one!

I guess all I wanted to say is that I am grateful. Some marriages don't last five years, but we're going strong. We were supposed to go whale watching today, but at the last minute read: "no pregnant ladies" (or something  exclusionary like that!) Of course I was disappointed, but we didn't let it ruin our day. We still went on a date that turned out to be wonderful. And best yet, we get to sleep in tomorrow thanks to James being at Gramma and Gramps' house. So amen to that. And amen for Zac agreeing to love me forever those five years ago. I'm sure happy he did. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

What did you want to be when you grew up?

At one point, when I was a kid,  I wanted to be an astronomer. I remember my mom saying that I'd have to work at night if I chose to study the stars. Isn't that silly! I totally believed her. Ha. 
Now, I think I'd settle for a telescope. Once we buy a house, (whenever that is) I hope to invest in one that we can keep in the backyard. I'd love to admire, learn, and explore the stars with it. Plus, I think it's a better fit for me to do it for fun instead of for a job. Space is so breathtaking and incomprehensible, isn't it? What did you want to be when you were little? 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Off The Grid

Say hello to my little friend.

So, funny story. The other night, I was half asleep when I set my alarm on my old iphone... and instead of setting the phone back on the nightstand, I (accidentally) placed it in my mug of WATER. I didn't even realize it until two hours later, when I went to take a sip of water, and my phone literally hit me in the face. Let's just say it was too late to be salvaged. At least I had it a while..

So I proceeded through the next few days "off the grid" without my cell phone. I guess I wasn't really.. I had my work cell phone, and of course the computer at home. To be honest, I even had our home phone! But I have to say, without facebook to fall back on as a mode of communication to mass groups of people (since I deactivated my account in January), I really felt disconnected. Since our phones are holders of so much information now, I felt a little lost with out it. I felt so unreachable. Hardly anyone knows my home phone number, and so many of us text now, I imagined people texting me and thinking I just wasn't responding. Obviously, I'm not that popular, and I'm sure that didn't even happen, but I thought it was an interesting reflection. 

Anyway, the next order of business: finding a suitable new case to fit the my new phone: 

So far, I'm digging this gold on gold! What do you think? 
How would you do without your personal  phone for 3 or 4 days?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

This is brilliant.

I love this post so much. The Secret Problems of Other Couples gives a crucial perspective to what is considered a "good enough" relationship. The article points out that our idea of a good enough relationship is unfairly biased, and I can relate. Since I think the video and article does this topic more justice than I can put into words, I'll just encourage you to read it.

(Imagine: Will and Kate probably struggle too!)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Holiday Cheer

There isn't anything terrible about this two year old. Check out our first pro family picture session we did with Megan Small, a local Alamedan photographer:

Megan was so sweet, and her mom was the best assistant (luring James to smile with funny duck impressions, bubbles, and COOKIES!)

Best of all, the Oakland Redwoods where we took these photos were beautiful. It reminded me so much of Temescal Canyon, where we got married. It was a fun outing and I look forward to going back with James and Zac for a hike someday soon!

Friday, November 14, 2014


You know that music that just brings you back? The Wallflowers, Vertical Horizon, Matchbox 20, Alanis Morrisette, Third Eye Blind. Those do it for me.

I was just listening to the 90s Pop station on Pandora, and after quickly giving a "thumbs down" to the Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys, I was able to mold this type of 90s alternative theme music that defined much of my adolescence. And let me add, there were so many one.hit.wonders (although very credible one hits!). But it's amazing how listening to a music album could be like looking at a picture album, you know? Music can bring back so many memories and feelings, like those decades ago aren't actually that far away.

What music does that for you?