Ashlynn Cari

Any parent will immediately understand how blown away I am by the fact that today is my youngest daughter’s THIRD (count them…three) birthday.  If it is even possible, it seems like she’s growing faster than Corinne is.  (possibly because you run around twice as much with two children)

Since I published Corinne’s birth story here and here,  I want to share Ashlynn’s story with you as well.  I promise to try to avoid overt ickiness or TMI, but hey, it’s a birth story.

Ashlynn didn’t behave nearly as well in my belly as Corinne!  I ended up in the ER twice, once because she was a sleepy baby that didn’t move for HOURS at a time, and once because she decided to camp out on a major artery and seriously messed with my blood pressure.

As an aside, in order to save on $500 ER bills, I rented a fetal doppler monitor from Heartbeats At Home.  It was very reasonable and actually really fun since anyone (Expectant grandmothers, etc) could listen to her heartbeat!  I highly recommend it.

Towards the end of my pregnancy, I got really impatient.  I was due June 10th, and school got out June 4th, so I knew that for every day that passed after the 4th, my maternity leave got one day shorter (my job offered no paid leave at all-except summer vacations!).  My husband and I took a lot of looonnnggg walks around the neighborhood trying to get things “moving.”

Love this pic!  Even if I was thinking "Get out!"

I think what frustrated me most is that I had a TON of false labor, and every time contractions started to get regular everyone got all excited.  (Everyone watches you like a hawk when you’re ready to pop.  People call you for weird, spurious reasons just to see if you accidentally went into labor and forgot to tell them.)  But after the umpteenth time of getting all excited, my preggo attitude turned to “either come or don’t but quit teasing!”

On June 7th, I’d been having contractions off and on all day but I was refusing to acknowledge them.  My husband called and asked me to grab him his favorite take-out salad from Bob Evan’s, and I remember the waitress being annoyed because I got there at like 5 til ten and they were closing.  That was when I felt my first pretty serious contraction, but I was annoyed with all the false labor so I ignored it.

I went home and basically had the worst night ever.  When contractions weren’t waking me up, I was dreaming about going into labor (my body knew when it was go-time, even if my brain didn’t.)

When my husband woke up, I told him to call off work and take me to the ER.  Nothing was super regular yet, but I was exhausted and scared that if this kept up, I wouldn’t have any energy for actual labor or pushing.  My MIL came to watch Corinne and off we went.

The doctor told me I was on the very edge of active labor, so they admitted me and gave me a little pitocin.  Pitocin is the devil, people.  The DEVIL.  Those contractions were horrible.  The nurse came in to break my water (which usually makes labor faster but harder) and I looked at her and pointed to the pitocin and said “NO WAY until you turn THAT OFF.”  I was curled (as best as you can curl when hugely pregnant) into a ball of misery, and it was time for the epidural.

As a side note, this is the first and only time I yelled at my sweet hubby during either of my labors.  I felt a massive contraction coming and called him and he was texting and told me to hang on a second.  I was like “PUT THE PHONE DOWN AND GET OVER HERE RIGHT NOW!!”  But other than that, he was awesome 🙂

See? Best hubby EVER!!

One thing they sometimes forget to tell you about the epidural is that it can fool with your blood pressure.  Both times I’ve had one, it made me dizzy and light-headed for the first hour or so.  Just FYI.

So epidural.  Now wait, wait, wait.  Second labors are not necessarily shorter than firsts.  I went 17 hours with Corinne and almost 19 with Ashlynn.

This was an absolute textbook easy birth.  I pushed for like 10 minutes and out she came. The doctor placed her on my belly and I cried.  She was gorgeous!  She had red hair!  I spent my pregnancy thinking she would be a brunette.  I remember that was the first thing the nurse said-look at all that red hair!  I was up and walking around an hour after she was born.  It was great!

Ashlynn Cari
June 8, 2009
4:42 PM
7lbs. 12 oz
20.25 inches long

Oh, about her middle name:  my mother’s name is Cathy, and my MIL’s name is Lori.  So we took the CA from CAthy and the RI from LoRI and made Cari!  Plus, her name starts with A like mine, and my middle name is Lynn.  So really she’s named after three people!

Oh, she’s exactly as much of a stinker as she looks like!!


Corinne Nicole, Part 2

For those of you just joining us, this post is the birth story of my oldest daughter, Corinne.  She turns five years old today, and in honor of her birthday, I am commemorating her actual birth day!

The first part of this story can be found here.

So, there we were, in the delivery room, epidural working well, parents and siblings hanging out.  Weirdly enough, I remember watching Boy Meets World.  Mr. Feeny is pretty darn awesome, even in re-runs.

One thing they don’t tell you in childbirth class is that labor can be kind of boring.  After the epidural, I was just kind of chilling out.  I know my body was working super hard, but my brain really didn’t care.  They came in to check my progress and break my water (see?  didn’t happen on the furniture!) and I was just kind of like, “Yeppers!”  When they broke my water, there was meconium in the fluid.  Google it if you want details, but there would be a NICU team in the room when Corinne was born just so she wouldn’t accidentally inhale any.

A few times, Corinne’s heartbeat got a little low, but they had me shift position and it evened out.  Which was really funny, by the way-try shifting position once when you’re numb from the waist down!

Now mid-afternoon, at about 8-9 centimeters, the doctor noticed that her heart rate was seriously dropping with each contraction.  Shifting position didn’t help.  Things were starting to get hairy, and the word “C-section” was bandied about.  I did NOT want a c-section!!

Suddenly, I got the most serious urge to push.  Like “Right NOW, I need to push!”  It was just me, Kirk, and my mom in the room with a nurse, and the nurse was like “Oh, go ahead hun, first moms push forever.  It won’t be like you do anything productive.”  I hated that nurse.  One of the hardest things I ever did was look at her through the urge to push and say “NO.  I want my doctor, I want the NICU team that needs to be in here, and I want them now. Before I push.”  Best decision I ever made.

The doctor and team came in and I was ready to go.  The doctor told me I had to push and push hard and fast-her heart rate was low and we needed to get her out NOW!!  I pushed a few times and I remember saying “I can’t!”  I don’t think it was because pushing was hard-it was because the nurse would count to ten for each push and I usually ran out of breath at about 7!  But as soon as I said it, every single person in the room chorused: “Yes you can!!!”  (Kirk and my mom were helping me push, my younger sister was watching from a distance.)

We stopped for a second, and the doctor tried a vacuum.  No dice.  I had NO idea, but apparently at this point, our birth story became an emergency.  It wasn’t until later I learned that Corinne’s heart rate was so low they were fearing for her life.  It wasn’t until later that my dad (who was waiting in the hall) saw them flip an emergency switch and there were suddenly doctors and nurses waiting in line to get into my room.  It wasn’t until later that Kirk told me his dad called right in the middle of it all and he yelled “She’s pushing right now!” and hung up on him.

I was so involved in pushing that I knew none of this.  I only pushed for about 10 minutes.  As soon as her head started to emerge, the doctor (who was and remains my hero) simply yanked her out as fast as possible.  It tore me up like crazy down there (glad I had the epidural!!), but it probably saved Corinne’s life, and it definitely saved me from having the c-section we really should have had.

At 2:00pm exactly, on February 15, 2007, Corinne Nicole was born into the world, turning me into a Mommy for the first time.  She weighed 7lbs, 6oz, and she was 19 1/2 inches long. 

Her lungs were clear of meconium, and she was healthy and perfect in every way.  The complications in her delivery were probably due to an umbilical cord that was too short, but we’ll never really know.

My recovery wasn’t bad.  I had about a million stitches, and I was stuck in bed for two days and had to sit on a pillow for a few more.  They wanted me to stay an extra day, but I declined.  I was ready to take my baby home!  My husband’s grandpa asked me right after the birth if there would be more.  My answer was a resounding yes, I had loved being pregnant, and despite the craziness of the birth, it was so, so worth it to have that tiny girl placed in my arms.

So there you have it!  The story of how Corinne Nicole was born!

February 15, 2007


February 15, 2012 Still causin' trouble!


Corinne Nicole, Part I

Let’s get this straight right now.  I love birth and baby stories.  When I was pregnant, I was totally rabid for shows like “A Baby Story” and “Special Delivery” and all that.  I think part of it was pure curiosity.  I had a tiny human in me…I wanted to know the myriad ways she may wish to exit.  But I also think that the miracle of birth is just awesomeness.  Super, super cool.

And when I was pregnant, I did not have this blog, or really many blogs to read.  Although I did my fair share of searches for birth stories, I got lots of them that were incomplete, incoherent, poorly written, or just frankly disgusting.  Blech.

I wanted truth and honesty.  But I didn’t want bad grammar, cussing,and nastiness.  Well, now I have my own blog, and even though it’s five years late, I am sharing Corinne Nicole’s birth story with you.  Truth and honesty.  No nastiness!

Simon Cowell started my labor.  Ok.  Not really.  But wedged into my mind is the fact that just after he broke the last American Idol’s heart for that night’s episode, I felt a twinge in my back.  But I had just been to the doctor and he told me that our baby had more sense than the rest of the world-there was a raging blizzard outside, and she was staying put right where it was warm and cozy.  I still had several days before my due date of February 18th, anyways. 

And don’t you know first babies are always late?  Always?  DON”T YOU?  Because I totally did.  I was pregnant for the first time!  So I…knew…everything? So with that twinge, I was like…meh.

Let me just stop here and say that there were two things I didn’t want to happen when I had this baby.  I did not want my water to break on a valuable piece of furniture.  And I did not want to show up to the hospital thinking I was in labor when I wasn’t.  I was sooo going to get my wishes granted.

The rest of the night I kept getting twinges, and my belly would get hard.  But this had happened before, and whenever things would start to get time-able, they’d fade away.  So I didn’t pay attention.  Should have.  But didn’t.

Seriously people, I had no clue.  I went to bed that night and the tightening in my back and belly wouldn’t let me sleep.  Are you reading this and picking up on something here?  Even people who have never been pregnant?  Yeah.  I distinctly remember rolling over to Kirk and saying (really bitchy)  “I don’t know HOW I am supposed to wake up for work tomorrow if my back won’t quit hurting.”  He didn’t catch on either.

So I went downstairs to read.  I remember I was reading A Host of Dragons.  It was really good.  But after a while, I noticed that I couldn’t stay focused while I was reading.  And as you’ve read here, I can always stay focused while reading. I kept having to stop and close my eyes.  You know, while I was having a contraction.

Contraction?  Yup.  I did remember reading that you can’t talk through a real contraction.  Of course for me, I would realize I was in labor when I noticed I couldn’t read through a contraction.  I got a notebook and a pen and started timing them.  I had to close my eyes and count the second-hand ticks on the clock because I don’t think Iphones were invented and they were actually pretty painful.  Hmmm. 

I timed like 10.  Five minutes apart like religion.  So, because I am a perfectionist in all things, I timed five more.  Then I scared the absolute crap out of Kirk when I woke him up and got to say the phrase “I think it’s time.”  (I got to say that!  It was cool!  The contractions were not.)  We called the ob and she was like…Yeah.  Go.  Doofus.  (Doofus added.  But I bet she was thinking that.)

We got to the hospital and headed straight up to the preggo triage ward.  After we got all checked in and everything, it turned out I was five cm.  Halfway there.  No way was I in the hospital with false labor!  If anything, I waited a little too long.  We were in for the long haul.  And by now, the contractions were major.  And long.  And really, really strong.  Like hold onto the bed rail for dear life strong.  I had been toying with the idea of a natural birth.  And then I learned something really important.  When I put my mind to something, I frickin put my ALL into it.  My uterus, it has the same philosophy. 

When they told me I was all official and they were moving me to an actual room, the nurse asked if I wanted to walk.  And when I looked her dead serious in the eye and said “There is no way I see myself doing that,” I knew I was getting an epidural.  I was cool with that.  I still am.

As a first timer, I wanted to experience labor and what it felt like.  One really good, three-minute long, insanely hard contraction and I was good.  Super good.  Check it off the bucket list and move on good.

It took a while to get settled and get the anesthesiologist in there.  And I’ll admit that before labor I was worried about getting the IV because I hate the IV.  Harharhar.  I’ll tell you something-labor puts pain into a brand new perspective.  I’ve heard it compared to a lot of things.  I’ve heard people say that cramps feel like labor or this or that is worse than labor.  No. Nope.

IV in, and the anesthesiologist arrived.  Epidural administered and if you are wondering, it did not hurt at all.  I didn’t feel a thing.  You have to sit on the very edge of the bed curled around your huge belly, and by that time, the contractions hurt.  The nurse let me hang on her sleeve (really hard) and the guy waited until my contractions were over so I could hold still and it took like 2 minutes.  The worst part was that they made Kirk leave.

Let me just segway here and say that the nurses and doctors were awesome and I was nice to them.  And my husband.  I cussed no one out. 

After the epidural was in, it was the middle of the night.  (Remember this all started at 9?)  After American Idol?)  The epidural worked super fast (oh thank God), and we dozed off and on until it was a decent enough hour to call some people.  Then my mom and dad arrived, and my two sisters not much later.

Hey wow!  Looks like this will be my first two-part blog, because this is really long!  To be continued tomorrow!

Baby Advice

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Mommy with the ….

Well, there are a lot of people that don’t do it in that order anymore, but I’m a purist, I suppose.

Lately, I have found myself surrounded by pregnant people.  Ok, pregnant ladies.  I’ll let you know if I see any pregnant men.

There are at least 5 people pregnant at work and multiple Facebook friends are announcing it as well.  Must be the trendy thing to do! 

And a lot of these people are first time moms, and since I’ve been there, done that before and plan to do it again, I feel the urge to give them a few tips.

But not annoying tips.

I remember the first time I was pregnant and every other person was like “Oh my GOD they grow SO fast!” (Duh.  The pregnancy was already flying by at neck-breaking speed.) 

Or my favorite- “Enjoy your sleep while you can, you won’t be getting any for a while!”  (Duh, again.  Also, you try sleeping with a squirming watermelon in your waistband, then tell me how a pregnant woman is supposed to enjoy her sleep.) 

She's totally faking

But honestly, I adored being pregnant.  No, really.  I was that annoying woman.  But now that I see others getting their first time belly bumps, I want to share the things I wish someone had told me, because they are some of the things I most wanted (or needed) to hear.

Also because it helps tone down my desire to get pregnant again RIGHT NOW.

Also because I think I feel kind of old.

So here’s my parenting advice (keeping in mind the fact that I am totally winging this as I go.  And also the fact that sometimes I don’t take my own advice.)

Don’t Buy Everything

I’m serious.  During those nine long months of pregnancy, all you have to do is sit there and internet shop or randomly roam around Babies’R’Us and hold up outfits and squeal, usually with a bored, non-pregnant friend.

But people will buy you stuff.  People you never knew even knew your name will buy you baby gifts.  And you’ll probably have a shower.  There’s something about a baby that gives everyone the urge to shop.

When you register, take someone with you that has had a baby in the past six months.  Bribe them with food or babysitting if you need to.  If you have no such person, grab someone with an infant in Babies’R’Us.  They’ll be happy to help.  It’s way too tempting to register for every silly awesome gadget just because it’s nifty.  And then you end up with hundreds of dollars worth of stuff you never even look at.

And it will all, ALL be pink or blue. No exceptions.

You Don’t Need Everything Now

My kids didn’t sleep in a crib until they were six or seven months old.  But it was the first thing we bought when that little pink line showed up.  We bought loads of sippy cups, and Corinne refused to drink out of all but one specific kind until well after she’d learned to drink from a cup. 

Babies are picky about bottle nipples and binky types.  Some diapers will give them rashes.  Some babies are born too big to wear “newborn” size.  Some grow slower(or faster) than others and don’t need seasonal clothes quite as soon as you’d think.  Buy and register carefully, and keep your receipts!

You Will Give Birth

Yes, there is a time (somewhere between 30-40 weeks.  Or ALL the time between 30-40 weeks) when you will think “This baby is never, ever going to be born and I will be huge and fat and pregnant forever.”  No one is pregnant forever.  It will happen. 

Same thing with the thought “I will never be able to have this baby.  It has become physically impossible and I simply refuse.”  Yeah, that’s not happening either.  You will become unpregnant.  And I’m not going to feed you that “Women have been doing it for millenia” drivel.  That is not a comfort.  Women Scwimen.  YOU haven’t been doing it for millenia, so what do you care?  How exactly is that supposed to help you?  What will help you is knowing that you have a support team to back you and a body that’s pretty well programmed for this.  And medical people that are experienced in this sort of thing. 

(I was going to but a picture here.  Let’s just say I highly recommend NOT searching “big pregnant” on Google Images.)

Control Your Own Delivery.  BEFORE You Go Into Labor

Oh my God, make the big decisions with your significant other ahead of time.  And make sure they know that they need to stand by them or you will kill them after the delivery and being in a hospital will be of no help.(I must say, my husband was awesome at this.  No, he’s not for sale.  We can talk renting if the price is right.)  When you are in labor your brain leaves the building and I don’t care if you are medicated or not, you don’t want to have to make one single damn decision.

I’m not talking about the big decisions like natural vs. c-section.  You might have a say in that, but it’s a preference.  I’m talking about making sure people you do not want in the delivery room are not there.  Making sure the people that need to stay within viewing above your waist remain  Making sure the right people get called to announce the news because a phone call will not be your priority. 

You will remember, set in stone, virtually everything that happens while you deliver a baby.  Try to make it a memory to look back on well.  Not one that pisses you off because so-and-so drove you crazy or did this crappy thing.


This is one piece of advice I heard but chose to ignore.  But seriously, nobody cares if you have a one-week-old and you haven’t vacuumed the damn rug.  Go take a nap or something.

Get That Kid on A Schedule

Not at first.  Let the baby do it’s own thing for the first 6-8 weeks.  You are just baby’s slave during that time.

But after that, get them on a schedule.  And I mean post-haste.

This is the number one biggest thing I did that has made my life easier as a parent.  I’m not talking about Junior eating breakfast from 8:24am-9:12am and then exercising from 9:12am-10:22am and then napping from 10:22am-11:47am.  Yeesh.

Not a good schedule. For the baby OR the parents

Pick a general schedule and stick with it.  Be realistic.  Life happens.  There are days when scheduling is just shot.  But for the most part,  naptimes and feeding times should be around the same time everyday.  Bedtime should have a  basic routine.  something as simple as jammies, book, brush teeth, bed will work if you do it every night.

(And OHMIGOD if your kid wakes up during the night do everything you can to show them it is sleep time.  Don’t turn on the light or tv.  Don’t talk to them (much, anyways) or tickle or play.  Give them what they need and put them straight back to bed and THE END.  You are welcome.)

Be prepared to adjust as your kids grow.  Right now we eat lunch at 12, nap from about 1-3, go to bed at 8.  Simple as that.  (Oh, and there is NO sleeping in our house after 4pm.  Night time is sleeptime and sleeptime is sacred.) 

The glory of it is that once you get a schedule in place, then you can sometimes deviate (like I know we will on Christmas Eve).  Deviating without a schedule is disastrous because the kids just never know what is going on.  Sometimes not knowing what is going on is ok.  But never?  Not so much.  Routine is key.

And yes, you have to adjust your own life. That means I can’t shop from 1-3 and I need to get a sitter if I want to see a movie that goes past 8pm.  I chose to be a parent.  I make sacrifices.  You will too.  Deal.  Or face the consequences.*

*Consequences include but are not limited to: sleepless nights, crankiness, temper tantrums, excessive whining and extreme frustration. From the parents.

And no one- I repeat-no one, wants to listen to that.

They’ll Hit the Milestones

This is the BIG one.  As a teacher AND a parent, I find myself referencing  this ALL THE TIME.

Ever met a teenager that wears a diaper?  Sucks a binky?

Ever talked to an adult that never learned to walk?  That doesn’t sleep through the night by choice?


Me either.

Well, except for your deviant weirdos

You kid will do the things they need to do at their own pace.  So much parenting frustration comes from people who think their kid is ______weeks/months/years old and should be doing_________by now.  Bull.  These kids don’t read your calendars, people.

It will happen.  Almost certainly not when you want it to. (Yes, I would have preferred my children to be potty trained by age two.  No, it did not happen.  And no, no one died from it not happening.  Surprise!)

Hope this advice helps! Welcome to the parenting club for the first, second or whatever time!  And always remember our motto: 

We’re all just flying by the seat of our pants!