Archive | October, 2012

how we had planned to spend early labor: pumpkin carving

31 Oct

When I would tell people that John and I had planned on passing the time of early labor by pumpkin carving, they would react in a way to convey that they thought I was completely insane.  Pregnant woman full of baby contacting every so many minutes–not a person you want to see wielding a knife.

But one great suggestion I read was to have projects to keep me distracted and at home for as much of early labor as possible.  Especially for first-timers, early labor can literally last for days (and still be perfectly normal), I believe on average 8-12 hours.  Contractions can last as little as 15-30 seconds in length and be 5-30 minutes apart (again, gross generalizations).  And then there’s the active labor part of stage one (before the actual pushing) that normally lasts 3-4 hours for first-time moms.  So, I thought, I’ll cook, I’ll bake, I’ll carve pumpkins with the hubby, I’ll finish packing for the hospital, I’ll take a bath, I’ll read Harry Potter, I’ll take a walk, likely taking a break during contractions once they become intense…anything to keep me from showing up at the PETU (Perinatal Evaluation and Treatment Unit, a.k.a. the pregnant woman’s ER and check-in place during labor) too early, only to be sent home, as what happens to over 90% of first-timers.

And then there was the early labor that never was–both supremely lucky and terrifying.  [I’m hoping to soon slap together my recollection of the birth day.]  Such items as bras and pants didn’t even make it into the go-bag so, needless to say, our three little pumpkins did not get carved.  We’re therefore hoping to enjoy this Halloween craft together when John gets home from work.  Me thinks it will be more difficult to carve between feedings than between contractions.

The lantern above took me, mmm, maybe six hours to complete?  This year’s model will be, must be much, much simpler.

Happy Halloween to you and yours!



first music

28 Oct

For a brief time in college, I wanted to be a music therapist.  I don’t remember much (does anyone else feel like when you shove a ton of new information into your head, it kind of pushes a lot of the old stuff out?), but something about exposure to music early in life is supposed to boost one’s immune system and reduce cortisol levels.  Can anyone validate this?

So I’ve tried, when I’ve remembered, to be  a little intentional about music exposure during pregnancy…definitely not discriminating by any means, but also making sure to give way to musical cravings.  In the last several months, I’ve listened to an embarrassing amount of teenybopper, bubble gum pop and a decent dose of bluegrass but, especially at night, I’ve really wanted comfort.  During pregnancy, I was all about Rachmaninoff’s Vespers.  Since Aurelia’s birth, I’ve taken to playing Eric Whitacre when I’ve had to set her her down and–this is kind of bizarre–singing “With You” from Pippin when I’m changing her and she’s going ballistic (all this time John and I mocked mercilessly the concept of the “diaper wipe warmer” and the parents who purchase them…there might just be some method to their madness).

On that note, how cool is this?  Love everything about the Virtual Choir!

absence from normal life

27 Oct

I cannot thank you enough for the phone calls, emails, letters, comments, facebook posts, general good wishes since Aurelia’s birth.  I sincerely apologize for the lack of response on my part.  I think you all get it…the last 11 days have been some of the best and most challenging of my life.  Aurelia has been lovely to us, not to jinx it–she eats, she poops, she sleeps, she cuddles like a pro–but I still feel a little like a shell of a person, operating in a sort of haze.  The outpouring of communication and support helps…a lot.  Thank you, a million times over, and I hope you never think the communication goes unnoticed.

Although it limits my ability to do most everything (I’m adapting slowly), the majority of moments are spent deliciously like this, and I’m reminding myself to soak it in (even at ungodly hours):

I don’t think there’s anything better in the world than the weight of infant on my chest, comforted by my heartbeat and warmth, reciprocating with her quick breaths and occasional grunts, hiccups, and squeaks.  I still can’t believe she’s ours.

We had our first real outing to a public location today–couldn’t have picked a better place than town hall coffee.  Christina joined us, just three girls out on the town for about an hour and a half.  Turns out Aurelia is immediately comforted by the sound of coffee grinders–just more evidence that she is definitely John’s daughter.

11 seconds to make you smile

24 Oct

Caught on tape: first hiccup and smile…


19 Oct

Aurelia Carmela Jesus entered the world at 5:43am on October 17, 2012, weighing 8 lb 3 oz, showing off a full head of jet-black hair and a very functional set of lungs.  John and I are overjoyed and so in love with our daughter!

Everyone is happy and healthy, and home now, discharged from the hospital 33 hours post-delivery.  I look forward to telling you more about her and her birth, but she’s just starting to wake for first breakfast.  Thank you so much for all your support and well wishes–words cannot describe how appreciative the three of us are!


aurelia, john, and anna

the barnes

17 Oct

We reserved our tickets over a week in advance–that’s serious planning for us.  We arrived early.  We stayed until they kicked us out.  The Barnes Foundation delivered.


Who knew that the development of a silver nitrate antiseptic, previously used to prevent gonorrheal blindness in newborns, would foster such a staggering collection!  Can I get a “woot!” for all the physician-scientists who have a love of art?

As we left, John sighed: “That was magnificent!  Okay, you can go into labor any time now.”


16 Oct




Well, as of Friday at 2pm, I am officially on maternity leave…if a full-time, paying student can be on maternity leave.  The last three weeks on the Os have been nothing short of blissful, but I’m happy for the break from all clinical responsibilities for the time being.


Every parent has been reminding me to “sleep while you can.”  I’ve been trying, really.  As in, I’ve been giving myself like 9-10 hours a night devoted to the act of sleep, a luxury I swear I know I’m very lucky to have.  And yet I still fell asleep repeatedly during lectures last week and would find myself exhausted at the end of an 8-hour clinic day.  This morning John filled me in: apparently I now whimper and have leg spasms in my sleep, which seem to correlate with when our darling daughter adjusts her positioning.  I don’t remember a damn thing, but I kind of feel bad for the kid…it just can’t be comfortable in there!


What am I doing with my free time?  Besides napping and taking more hot showers and baths–which, by the way, have never felt so good in my life–I’m working on some projects that I’ve been putting off (certainly not for lack of interest, but just time and energy), John and I are checking things off our philly-area to-do list, and I’ve been both trying to rekindle friendships I’ve been neglecting while fostering a few new ones.


This past weekend was a fabulous melange of all three.  It was kicked off with another classic table 6 vegetarian, gluten-free feast, this time autumn harvest themed.  On Saturday, John and I met up with a fellow mother med student, her husband, and six-week-old son at Longwood Gardens (below are a few pictures of one the orchid rooms that made me think of my dad, the only one in our family with a green thumb).  Then this crazy couple and I created another memorable meal of ginger-soy salmon, cabbage salad with pickled onions, and brussel sprouts with shallots and bacon–needless to say, I have not been eating poorly lately, not one bit.  Sunday I didn’t change out of my pajamas.  I read and I slept and I watched Felix Baumgartner break the sound barrier.  Oh, and John bought a cord of cherry wood for this winter…that’s a lot of wood!

what should not be heard at a medical library

10 Oct

Her: You should not be using the computer!

Me: <genuinely bewildered> Why?

Her: Because you’re pregnant.

Me: So why can’t I use a computer?

Her: <gesturing wildly to my abdomen and speaking as though I was either hard of hearing or unable to understand English> Because. You’re. Pregnant.

Me: What are the risks of using a desktop computer while pregnant?

Her: All the energy and radiation!  It hurts the baby!

Me: I’m not being bombarded by radiation from a computer two feet away.  And, by the way, there has never been a documented incidence of a fetus being injured by the radiation of an x-ray–we only avoid it because of the inferred risks, which are more of a concern when you’re 9 weeks rather than 39 weeks pregnant–let alone the visible light and heat given off by a computer.

Did I go too far?  I tried to be patient.  It’s comical but still irksome.  Not quite sure what bothers me more: that she felt compelled to chastise a very pregnant stranger or that this level of ignorance is present in the library of a medical school.  Am I being patronizing?  Be real with me.

overheard on ent clinic

10 Oct

“Oh, by the way, you’re cured.”

I’ve never heard so many variations of that statement and “you’re cancer free” in a three-hour time block.  Pretty damn awesome.

currently listening…

9 Oct

…to an overwhelmingly positive review of one of the hubby’s articles!  (The discussion on this article starts at 31:30 and lasts about 8 minutes.)

I LOVE to excitement in the chick’s voice: “Ohhhh my gosh…this is just…it’s fascinating!  And I hiiiighly recommend it for every emergency medicine doctor out there.  I guarantee you this paper is important to you, this applies to your job tomorrow!!!”  And it only gets better…

Have I mentioned that he’s kind of a big deal?

I’m just…in awe.