5 monthiversary!

Yesterday was Sid’s five monthiversary, and he celebrated it by saying MAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMA all day. It was pretty cool. He also showed me how strong he was by holding himself in a standing position at the windowsill! He is getting so big! I never realize it until he does something like that. Sometimes I will take him out for a walk, and when people ask me his age they seem surprised that he is so big. This confuses me every time, because it never occurs to me that he could be big for his age until someone says something. Yeah, his feet and torso don’t really fit in his footie pajamas anymore and he’s heavy and long when I am holding him for feeding, but “big for his age”? Well, how should I know? The only baby I know of to compare him to is 5 months older and is big for his age. My baby will always seems smaller than him.

Recently, my mother also convinced me to try to raise Sid to speak Italian, which means talking to him in Italian all the time. This has proved quite difficult for me. On one hand, it is excellent practice! On the other hand, it is downright embarrassing to realize how many words and constructions I have forgotten. I keep having to look up words on my phone. I couldn’t remember the word for TIRED!!  That is a first semester STAPLE. Any Italian teacher – or probably any teacher of a foreign language – will tell you that one of the first words their college kids learn is “tired.” (Example: “Come ti senti?” – How do you feel? “Stanco.” – Tired. “Perchè? Hai studiato molto ieri sera?” – Why? Did you study a lot last night? “No. Sono ancora ubriaco.” – No. I’m still drunk.) On top of that, I don’t know how to talk to kids in Italian (my friend Lillyrose pointed out this very important problem to me, as she encountered it herself). How do I say “poo poo” instead of “shit”? I only know the word for shit. I can’t say “Yay! My cute little pigeon took a shit!” to my baby.

Vocabulary isn’t the only issue. I have four months of phrases and endearments in English that I have gotten used to using and he has gotten used to hearing, and I miss them. When I say their equivalents (or new ones) in Italian, he doesn’t recognize them and I don’t get that sweet little smile that I love. It makes me sad. He is starting to recognize “ti voglio bene” (I love you) and I know with time he will come to recognize other words and phrases, but… it just doesn’t feel like ME talking to him. It’s not the language of my caregivers. I can’t say any of the funny and comforting things that I associate with my childhood, and it feels like I am impoverishing my communication with my baby.  It also hurts communication with Dave, because if I say something in Italian to the baby, he doesn’t speak Italian so he doesn’t know what I’m saying. It makes it hard for us to talk to him TOGETHER. I am considering switching to English when Dave is home and just using Italian when the baby and I are alone together. I know I have a chance to impart a really cool skill to my baby (and when he is a handsome young man getting dates left and right because he can speak Italian, he will thank me), but I don’t want to do it at the expense of being able to be myself with my child, you know? If anyone has any advice to impart on this subject, I’m ready to hear it.

Anyway, the fact that that is my biggest problem right now speaks really well of our lives these days. The baby is healthy, happy and loads of fun. Dave and I are striking a really perfect balance with our lives – he works a lot but also gets to be home a lot with us, and I get to spend a lot of time with the baby while still getting out once or twice a week to collect my thoughts and get some work done. Sometimes our lives here seem a little precarious, but we are going to ride this wave as long as we can! Future plans have been tossed around a little and we’ve got some exciting (and some practical) ideas in mind, but nothing solid enough to share just yet. The fact that Sid is still so small and doesn’t need to go to school yet gives us some much appreciated wiggle room.

Aww, wiggles. I want to go hug my five month old baby.


The importance of using your muscles

Wow, it has been so long since my last blog post. Good grief. I have thought of a few things I wanted to write about, but there never seems to be time to write anything. Between the baby, keeping up with cooking and laundry (and occasional cleaning, but not so much of that) and my very part-time internet job, I don’t find a lot of time to blog. I have gotten better about finding time for myself, mostly by saying, “Screw all that other stuff – Dave has the baby and I’m getting out of the house.” (I don’t say this out loud every time it happens, but this is the general sentiment.)

I usually do one of two things when I leave the house – I either go to PLANT (my favorite restaurant/café in town) or I go to yoga. Who needs to go grocery shopping, really? PLANT feeds me delicious, hearty vegan meals and cake for dessert, and it feeds my soul too because so many good people go there and I end up talking to them. I’ve stopped bringing my work there because I inevitably end up talking to either the owners or whoever is in there eating and I leave with new friends. Recently I’ve been bringing the baby and people have been SO positive. It turns out there are a lot of baby people in this city. Today for instance, I went in with the baby and 5 of 8 customers held, talked to, and played with him. It was great. Two were a couple that are soon to have their first baby, but the other three were of the young and the hip, and they were all about him. It was great. PLANT restores my faith in humanity.

Yoga, on the other hand, restores my faith in my body and settles my mind. It has been so good for me. After having the baby, my body felt different and unfamiliar, sort of like a sweater that has been stretched out until it doesn’t fit you right anymore. My muscles were so weak and my bones were set differently, and I never really got out of the house much to use them. The instructor, Ji Sun, is really great and encourages everyone to go at their own pace. I met her at PLANT before I ever took her class, but I thought about attending for almost 3 months before attending, especially early on when I was still in my 6-week recovery period. Whenever I couldn’t sit up or get out of bed very well, I would tell myself, “As soon as I’m healed, I’m going to yoga.” I’ve never been one to exercise, but losing so much control of my body and getting so weak made me realize how important the body is. When it doesn’t work, you are pretty screwed! Having this baby has done many good things for me, and one of them is helping me not to take a strong body and good health for granted. I need to take care of this body.

At first I was a little shy, of course. The yoga class is full of fit young things, and after having the baby I felt I had crossed a line where I couldn’t pretend to be one of those anymore. So, it was hard to talk to people. Now that I have been going for a while, everyone is very nice and I don’t feel as far removed (though I am DEFINITELY not in the great shape that a lot of these people are). Whenever I feel like I am lagging behind, I allow myself the “I just had a baby” crutch and it feels just fine to do that. Even so, my body has gotten stronger and I feel more in tune with it.

So, I am feeling good these days. The baby is great and lots of fun, I’m getting more done and I’ve got a few more things to blog about. I’ll try to make up for my long absence with a few blog posts in the next week!


On life and death. Mostly death, though.

A friend of mine recently committed suicide. I don’t even know if I can really call him a friend… I was closer to his wife than I was to him, but I liked the guy and would always give him free coffee when he came into where I worked. I would see him occasionally when I met up with his wife, and I remember after they had their baby being struck by what a good father he was. He had such a warm, good-natured smile and he seemed to have good control over his life, though I got the feeling he could be a worrier. I never realized how bad his depression was. I knew that he had had problems with it in the past, but I figured that was over by the time he got married and had a baby. Can you tell I’ve never really had problems with depression?

In the movies when people want to kill themselves, it’s because something terrible has happened. Their lives have become some kind of terrible shitstorm and it’s too hard to try to rebuild it. I know that has been the case with the few people I’ve known that have attempted suicide. This guy was different. He had everything going for him: a beautiful wife who loved him, a perfect little son, a loving family, money, a career doing something he loved and was very good at, acclaim, even constant nice weather. When I heard he was gone, it was like a jolt to the heart. I could not wrap my brain around it. Why? Why would he do this? What could be so terrible that he would leave everything that he had worked for and loved?

Maybe saying that shows how little I really knew him. Maybe it makes more sense to those who knew him better. However, even though we didn’t know each other well, this death has haunted me since I found out about it. I can’t sleep at night because I keep thinking of him and his family. I keep trying to get in his head. I keep wondering what his wife is doing, what his parents are doing, how his absence is affecting everything. I haven’t seen him in years and I can’t fully process the fact that, when I go to visit his wife and son, he won’t be coming home from work in an hour, or be out getting groceries or some other temporary thing. He’ll just be gone.

This event has changed so much for me. I want to talk to my family more. I worry a little every time my husband leaves the house that something will happen to him. I hug my baby boy and my heart hurts to think that something could happen to him. I want to find anyone I know who has ever thought about suicide and hug them and say, “Do you know how much I’d miss you?”

I’ve been thinking that committing suicide is sort of like wielding a knife. You should cut both your parents’ hearts right out of their rib cages because that is the equivalent of the pain they are going to feel when you are gone. Take your mom’s eyes too, to save her the buckets of tears she is going to cry. Carve your name deeply into the chest of your spouse or significant other, and your kids too. Slash all of your friends in the solar plexus at least once, deep enough to leave a scar, and then take a short slash at everyone who ever knew you, liked you, didn’t like you, barely knew you, knew something you did but didn’t know you personally, etc. because all those people are going to be affected. Many of them would much rather you leave a scar on them than kill yourself.

So, if you are considering suicide or ever do in the future, DON’T. Call me. Call a different friend or family member. If you are too scared to call someone you know, call a hotline. Go to the park. Please find a distraction and don’t let yourself be alone. It is much better to wake someone up in the middle of the night to talk than it is to kill yourself. For God’s sake, don’t kill yourself if you have a spouse and kids and living parents. Just please don’t kill yourself. Please.



101 things to do in 2014

Mipa Lee from Alien’s Day Out ( http://aliensdayout.com ) made a list of 101 things she wanted to do last year, and I thought it was a great idea. Here is my 101 list for 2014. I’ll continue to update it over the year.

1. Learn 3 songs on mandolin (0/3)
2. Eat vegetarian/vegan at least once a week
3. Read 12 new books
4. Knit a sweater for Sidney
5. Celebrate Halloween (I haven’t the past 2 years!)
6. Finish 5 quality comics (0/5)
7. Call Dad once a month at least (0/2 misses)
8. Make a big Korean feast for someone
9. See 10 new (to me) movies (0/10)
10. Learn to double knit
11. Write 10 letters (0/10)
12. Write a story once a month (0/12)
13. Journal or blog once a week (0/3 misses)
14. Get back to pre-baby weight (0/15 lbs)
15. Look seriously into buying a house and car
16. Sew once a week (0/8 misses)
17. Read/study Italian once a week (0/5 misses)
18. Read one book in French
19. Make Sid a baby book about his family history
20.Bring Sid to the US to meet his relatives
21. Get a Korean tea pot, tea set, OR set of dishes
22.Re-read “Operating Manual For Spaceship Earth” and take notes
23. Fire a gun
24. Finish Sid’s underwater book
25. Make produce bags from Dave’s old shirts
26. Get a refillable fountain pen
27. Memorize a poem
28. Fill my Japanese sketch book
29. Exercise 3-4 times a week (0/10 misses)
30. Finish “In Viaggio Con Erodoto” and one other Italian book
31. Do something nice for Dave at least once a week
32. Keep a list of all the nice things Dave does for me
33. Buy 5 new albums (0/5)
34. Study botany
35. Improve drawing ability
36. Buy a pair of Clark’s
37. Write fan letters to 4 people I admire (0/4)
38. Read 5 foreign authors (0/5)
39. Drink green juice twice a week
40. Watch 5 documentaries (0/5)
41. Do one selfless act a month (0/12)
42. Sew a case for the mandolin
43. Try to make a liqueur
44. Take a yoga class
45. Meditate once a week or more
46. Start flossing
47. Choose and learn one really useful skill
48. Finish online biology course
49. Go five places I’ve never been (0/5)
50. Do five things I’ve never done (0/5)
51. Make a budget for the year and stick to it (0/3 misses)
52. Reread 5 books I love (0/5)
53. Eat only one sugary thing a day (0/10 misses)
54. Come up with a great idea for Dave’s birthday
55. Write my mom at least 3 emails a week and Skype once a week
56. Have at least 3 fun nights out (0/3)
57. Improve upper body strength
58. Improve posture
59. Hug a stranger
60. Do 10 things I’m feeling too lazy to do (0/10)
61. Attempt to make fried chicken, bacon, corned beef, pastrami and saurkraut
62. Give away 5 things I like to people who will love them (0/5)
63. Choose and watch one old TV series from beginning to end
64. Run 5 miles
65. One alcoholic drink a week
66. Give Dave a massage (0/5)
67. Win something
68. Compliment a stranger (0/10)
69. Sit through a sports game (0/2)
70. Knit 2 new things (0/2)
71. Try 5 new coffee shops (0/5)
72. Try 5 new restaurants (0/5)
73. Find a way to get Sid to like baths
74. Actually use my new planner
75. Breastfeed until Sid’s first birthday (at least)
76. Watch 5 movies made before I was born (0/5)
77. Go to the ballet
78. Go to a classical music concert
79. Visit a park once a month
80. Finish all the tea I already have before buying new
81. Think of 5 new sustainable practices to do (0/5)
82. Go on a romantic date with my husband at least once a month (0/2 misses)
83. Go see a baseball or soccer game in Korea
84. Visit at least one museum
85. Leave a note in a book for someone to find
86. Get three massages (0/3)
87. Donate to my favorite podcasts
88. Invent a fun new game for the baby
89. Try elimination communication with the baby
90. Go on a picnic
91. Do one unpredictable thing a month
92. Send a secret to Post Secret
93. Make a fort and hang out in it all day
94. Get really dressed up for something (0/3)
95. Pet a dog once a month for my sanity
96. Have one internet-free day a week (0/6 misses)
97. Read 5 classic books (0/5)
98. Get a dental check-up
99. Take 5 solo adventure days (0/5)
100. Eat slower
101. Learn about 5 new classical composers (0/5)

There are a few things on this list that I consider filler, and if I come up with something better I will replace them. Until then, if anyone has any ideas for number 47 – or any other items on the list! – I want to hear them. My own creativity only goes so far. I hope this inspires you to make your own 101 list! 🙂


I love being a mom.

Ok, maybe this is baby overkill. I promise I will try to write about things besides my baby and being a mommy… later.

Our little boy will be 2 months old next week. I look at him and I can’t believe that he was ever in my belly. Pregnancy feels like a distant memory for me. The way he squirms and thrashes around, it’s a wonder he didn’t tear out an escape route! This kid is so active both asleep and awake. When he startles, his arms go up like zombie arms – again, asleep or awake. He can hold his head at a 90 degree angle. He pushes his feet off our bellies like he wants to fly, and he likes trying to stand when we hold him. He HATES being wet more than anything in the world! My god, the screaming! My favorite, though, are his little dream laughs. He smiles at us now, and it is totally adorable, but when he feeds and starts to fall asleep and dream, sometimes he will let out these big belly laughs. He has yet to do this awake, but I can’t wait to hear them when he does. Dave and I have both said that we hope he has a big, raucous laugh… So far, he at least has a highly mirthful dream giggle.

Now that this boy has taken over my life, my favorite thing to do is feed him and then hold him while he sleeps. It is wonderful. I get to see all the smiles and giggles, and he is so warm and soft, and he smells like milk. Sometimes he falls asleep while I’m burping him, and he feels so small and puppy-like in my arms. I love the cuddling and I know I will miss it someday. It’s so weird to look at this tiny boy and think that one day he will be a teenager demanding my car keys and money. I want him to be a baby forever. I think this is why people get dogs.

As for me, I am still working on finding a balance. I like staying home with my kid all the time, but I know I should make more of an effort to get out. Dave is great about this and makes sure that there is at least one day a week where he stays home with the baby while I go out and do whatever I wish. He has bought me lunch and offered me massages, and the man cleans everything at home. On top of that, he is such a caring and attentive father! I couldn’t be luckier. Really. I couldn’t.
Now I just need to kick my butt into gear and start exercising… a very hard thing to motivate myself for when it’s winter! Luckily, Dave’s parents are visiting and his mom teaches yoga, so maybe…



Part III: I’m doing it!!! I’m parenting!

The first night at home was the worst, as I imagine most people would tell you. We kept the boy in our room and handled him like a tray of delicate glasses, holding him awkwardly and shushing like leaky water hoses. The first time we heard him poop (yes, we HEAR it – it is a total butt explosion and has been from the first day) we laughed like fools and both ran over to the changing table to see what color his poop was. He cried and we panicked.

“He’s crying! Why is he crying?!”
“I don’t know! His diaper’s clean. Did you feed him?”
“YES! I just fed him!”
“Did you burp him?”
“Yes, but he didn’t burp.”
“Should we check his diaper again?”
“Why is he STILL CRYING?”
“That’s not working!”
“Let me try to burp him.”
“Maybe I didn’t feed him enough?”

Of course sleep was impossible. We tried to sleep when he slept, but we couldn’t keep from checking on him every five minutes to see if he was still breathing. Dave ended up going to work with only a half hour’s sleep. I was luckily able to hand him over to Grammy and Gichan (Mom and Doug) and I got to sleep a little.

That was our crash course in baby care, and even though it was brutal we learned more in that night than any class would have taught us. We were already much better by the second night, and by then we had the great luxury of being able to give him over to his grandparents around 5 in the morning so we both could sleep. It was glorious. Dave was able to at least get a few hours before work and Mom and Doug let me stay in bed as long as I needed – at this time we were supplementing my milk with the goat’s milk still, so I didn’t have to get up to feed. We got better and better at handling mini baby crises, and having Mom and Doug around was a huge help, both for asking questions and getting things done around the house. Doug had a really amazing ability to calm the kid down, and Mom was a total whirlwind of activity, washing dishes and doing laundry and cleaning up and running for food and burping and holding the baby. I don’t think I touched a dirty diaper until they left. One of my favorite moments in that time period was when my mom came in our room with the boy to change him and he was crying. She was talking to him and she said, “Why are YOU crying?! You don’t have to change this poopy diaper. I’m the one who should be crying!”

(Side note: the baby ALWAYS pooped when Mom held him, or almost always. It was really funny. I guess she just made him very comfortable!)

Nine days after the birth, we went back to Mediflower for the circumcision. Dr. Chung had called a urologist over to perform the procedure – although he apparently CAN do circumcisions (no one on the staff knew!) he preferred to let the other doctor do it and just assist, since that guy had performed so many. It was pretty clear that our doctor doesn’t like to do them, and I don’t blame him after what I saw.

Saw, you say? Yes, I say. I was in the room and saw the procedure. Worse, I had to hold his arms down while he screamed. He wasn’t screaming from pain though – they used a topical anesthetic, and besides his nerves weren’t very developed so he wouldn’t have felt much of anything anyway. He even fell asleep on the operating table, but I ruined it by prodding him because I was scared he had stopped breathing. Anxiety does not make mommy very smart, kids.

Holding him down was an absolutely traumatizing experience. He screamed in my face while the doctors sliced up his little wiener and Dave said the Hebrew prayers that went along with the bris. As soon as I saw the first blood my blood pressure spiked. My mom and I talked later, comparing this event to a time in my childhood when my mom had to hold me down while the doctor took my blood. The feeling was the same – a feeling of betrayal and cruelty, holding your child to subject him/her to something awful. It was one of the most heartbreaking things I had ever experienced, and I hope I never have to do anything like that again. Next time, we are having a girl.

Dave had an equally traumatizing time, but in a different way. The prayers didn’t take long to say, and after that he didn’t have a task. He tried to take over for me, but if I had let go of that baby I would have totally unraveled. At that point, my tension was the only thing holding me together. So, instead he tried to console the baby by saying comforting things and shushing, but I could hear in his voice how freaked out he was. Dave is by nature a quiet man and only talks when necessary, so I know he is stressed out when he babbles. He babbled at this little boy, trying to think of anything to say to make him feel better. Later I found out that it was worse for him because he watched the whole procedure – something I could not do. I focused on the baby’s screaming face and only took a few involuntary glances at the surgery, but Dave saw it all and can never unsee it. That would rattle any dad’s nerves. He did the same when the nurses took blood (a different day) to check his metabolism and blood type. Later he explained that he had to watch, to know exactly what they were doing to his kid. He hated to see any of it, but if watching protected our boy from anything unnecessary or wrong, then it was worth it.

Anyway, Sidney was just fine mere seconds after the surgery (because I let go of his arms! That was the whole reason for his screaming!) and the nurses swaddled and coddled him – I think it was hard for them to watch, too. Hee Ya, one of the midwives who had been with us for the whole birth and recovery period at the hospital, took special care with him and was downright magical with her ability to make him happy. Dr. Chung, Hee Ya and the staff of Mediflower all knew us, and we trusted them so much – if we had done this anywhere else it would have been much harder to handle.

Before the circumcision, I was having trouble deciphering my feelings about my new ‘mother’ role. I opted to have my placenta encapsulated so I could take it in pill form to help avoid postpartum depression. I feared that losing my steady stream of hormones from the kid would turn me into a crying, screaming banshee since it seemed to keep me so stable during my pregnancy (maybe it doesn’t work that way, but you can see how I might think that, right?). Considering all the company we were going to have, I didn’t want to chance it. I don’t know if it helped or not, since I don’t have anything to compare it to, but regardless I did end up having a few pretty emotional meltdowns. I did some crying and was pretty overwhelmed by how much of my attention this new little person demanded. The motherly feelings I expected to show up immediately after labor weren’t kicking in. Sure, I was concerned for the baby and didn’t want anything to happen to him, but the unconditional love and tenderness I thought befell every mother was not manifesting itself. I would get exasperated so easily. I thought of the baby as a demanding little tyrant. I felt like a slave, and I hated that I felt that way – it led to a lot more crying on my part, wondering why I wasn’t more patient with my baby. I thought that would change after the circumcision, seeing that poor little boy in such a vulnerable condition, but it didn’t. It did raise my anxiety, but I still would get exasperated with him, especially at night. Dave never seemed to get annoyed, which made me feel both better and worse – even if things stayed this way, at least he would have one really great parent!

It took a few weeks, but that strong mother love has really kicked in at this point. I’ve found myself over the last week having a lot more patience with the baby, and the love I feel for him is so strong it hurts. It still feels like a drug trip, though… I stare at him and feel this chemical change come over me. I can practically feel my eyes dilating. When he stares at my face, I can’t help but stare back at him. I love holding him so much that sometimes I will hold him while he sleeps at the expense of my own sleep. He’s so warm and cuddly, and he smells good and his funny little facial expressions make me smile. The screaming is worth it to get the peaceful moments. He needs me more than anyone else ever has, and while he doesn’t need much, what little he does need is very important (and just happens to be somewhat time consuming).

Today, our boy Sid is one month old. Mom and Doug have gone home, Dave’s brother and sister have both been out to visit and gone again. We have gone through six packs of diapers and we’ve both been peed on (in fact, Sid even ‘christened’ the doctor and almost got him in the face), and I was the lucky one to see his first projectile poop – it would have reached the wall if it hadn’t been stopped by the stuff in front of the wall. I was too amazed to be upset. He smiles and laughs in his sleep, and we found out that he likes to dance. I’ve played Joanna Newsom, They Might Be Giants and Liz Phair for him, as well as the Ghost World sountrack. Dave has introduced him to Dave Matthews. We love him with a love that hurts, right in the solar plexus, but in a good way.


Part II: Hmm… what do I do with this baby I made?

The c-section ended up being more stressful than I thought. As soon as I entered the surgery room, my whole body started shaking. Even my teeth were chattering! I started crying, even though I knew that I would be asleep for the whole thing and that it was a relatively low-risk deal. I think I was just so taxed at that point that this new element just sort of put me over the top. Having Dave there was great and relatively calming. Anyway, let’s talk about what happened after the procedure…

I woke up still on the table and immediately started to shake and chatter again. The doctor had said that I would be asleep for about two hours after everything was over, but I guess I woke up faster than he expected. Thank goodness everything was done. I tossed my head from side to side and tried to shake myself out of the after effects of the anesthesia… I hated the way it felt. I was so sore all over from labor and then from the surgery, and I couldn’t move very well, and I felt mildly sick. My mouth worked just fine though, and I think I did the most complaining overall in the time between being wheeled to my room to the moment I saw the baby.

They brought his clear little bed up right next to me. I looked at his little face while Mom and Dave told me what big hands and feet he had, and how they had been blue when he came out, and what his cry sounded like and how they both rushed to see him when they heard him squall. I wanted to touch him but I couldn’t reach over the plastic bed. They put him down next to me and I touched his little face. That’s how we met.

The next few days, I was in a lot of pain despite the constant drip of whatever my pain medication was. I was shocked how difficult it was to sit up, or roll over, or do anything that involved my abdominal muscles. It was really, really frustrating. I needed help to sit up and to position myself to feed the baby. The nurses were all so helpful, and of course Mom and Dave were really helpful too. This was my first major surgery, and the amount of time they told me it would take to recover pretty much depressed me immediately (as I write this, I’m in my 3rd week post-birth and still having difficulties… but not nearly as bad as those first few days). I don’t often get sick and I have rarely hurt myself bad enough to be bed ridden, so this was a real shock to my system. Add to that the swelling from the saline drip, and… well… it sucked pretty bad.

Happily, though, the labor helped my milk come in pretty well. The staff still though I should supplement with goat’s milk formula, and I ok’ed it because they explained that they would not really use a bottle. They had a set up where the formula went through a little tube held in the fingers, and the tube and first finger went into the baby’s mouth. The baby would have to suck just as hard as he would at the breast to get any milk out, so as to avoid nipple confusion.

These days at the hospital were crucial. The nurses helped me breastfeed, took the baby when he started getting really upset and calmed him down as if by magic, taught us how to swaddle and bathe him, and helped me move around and get to the bathroom and stuff. They also fed me! This was not your typical hospital fare, either. I got seaweed soup, chicken, and various healthy side dishes with a bowl of rice. At night I got a snack of pumpkin porridge. It was wonderful! I would pay money to eat there again.

When the time came to go home, I was really nervous – we all were, I think. Dave sent me a text from home about possibly bringing the big suitcase and trying to kidnap one of the nurses. If we could have gotten away with it, we might have tried. The day we left, Dave’s boss came and paid for everything – the whole birth! – and then got us all in a taxi home. WOW.