Happy 2nd birthday Kiwi!

A love letter to my daughter on her 2nd birthday. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

On the morning of Kiwi’s 2nd birthday, our brand-new two-year-old woke up and wanted to snuggle in Mom and Dad’s bed. Minutes later, Big Sister Peeper woke up and joined us. Not to be left out, our dog Finn hopped up onto the bed, too. So the first thing we did on Kiwi’s 2nd birthday was snuggle in a big family pile. I can’t think of a better way to start any day, but especially the birthday of our youngest.

Mornings are understandably hectic, thanks to two working parents trying to get ready for their jobs, two kids who would rather goof off or read books than eat breakfast or get dressed, and one dog who takes his sweet time doing his business on our walks. But on Kiwi’s 2nd birthday, we let the usual morning hubbub take a backseat. Spending a few minutes together as a family, undistracted, didn’t come with a ribbon or fancy wrapping paper. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful gift.

A love letter to my daughter on her 2nd birthday. Ten Thousand Hour MamaA love letter to my daughter on her 2nd birthday. Ten Thousand Hour MamaA love letter to my daughter on her 2nd birthday. Ten Thousand Hour MamaA love letter to my daughter on her 2nd birthday. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

A poem for my water bottle

When Peeper was born, the folks at the hospital gave me a giant double insulated water jug. I reveled in its 28 ounce capacity and brought it everywhere. I drank water like it was my job because, for a breastfeeding mama, it was my job!

Then one bad no good horrible day, I left the jug on top of the car and drove away. The jug was smashed. My heart was smashed. I missed that hunk of plastic for months.

I told this story to the nurses at the hospital where I delivered Kiwi. Not only did they gift me a new one, they gave me two.

Maybe they were angling to get Kiwi named after them.

Well played, nurses.

Anyway, the other night I was trying to keep myself awake and amused as Kiwi nursed, so I composed a little ditty in honor of my favorite drinking receptacle. (What, isn’t that what everyone does?) I give you:

My Giant Water Jug

You’re my beautiful big water jug
Night and day you allow me to chug a lug
I fill you with ice
Splash in water so nice
And continue to breastfeed my little bug

Now I’ll just wait for the poetry contracts to roll in.

Welcome to the world, Kiwi!

Baby Kiwi is born! Ten Thousand Hour MamaWe are beyond thrilled that our sweet, darling Kiwi has joined us!

Maxine Elizabeth Griffin Gregory was born Sunday, July 19, though it took us until minutes before discharge before settling on her name.

“Kiwi is a beautiful name!” the pediatrician on the floor reassured us. “You could always stick with Kiwi.”

I spent most of my labor at home, using HypnoBirthing breathing techniques, baking cookies (but leaving plenty of raw dough to eat after delivery!) and trying to sleep. My mom arrived to watch Peeper at the perfect time—just when I knew we needed to head to the hospital. We were a few minutes away from Labor and Delivery when they told us they were on divert, so we turned around and drove across town to another one.

Thank goodness we went on a Sunday and there was no traffic, because Kiwi was born an hour later.

Meeting the new baby - Ten Thousand Hour MamaShe and I are both healthy, and we were fortunate to avoid complications and interventions. We have been spending the last few days getting to know each other as a new family of four!

Peeper is very excited to be a big sister. She wants to help with diaper changes, watch Kiwi breastfeed and bring toys—though she’s having a hard time sharing some things (e.g. Mom’s lap and the Moses basket, of all things).

Thank you for all your support, encouragement and kind words over the last 40 weeks. I feel so very lucky to bring Kiwi into a world where love, compassion, empathy and love are the rule.

Mama baby skin to skin

23 months

Toddler adirondack chairLately I catch myself staring at Peeper. A lot.

I look up and there she is, and suddenly I’m overcome.

After she goes to sleep, I lose myself scrolling through my Instagram feed or flipping through photos on my phone. I can’t get enough of her, and then I realize I’ve been smiling at her pictures for the last 30 minutes.

Perhaps it’s a side effect of knowing our second child is on her way. The coming arrival of Kiwi makes me savor this time with Peeper even more.

But my absorption with her goes beyond soaking up these last minutes of her as our only child. She is just so damn wonderful.

Toddler yoga downward dogToddler bench Mary S Young Park sheep loveyIMG_1044 IMG_1113 Read more

Own your c-section birth story

Now that I’ve entered the club of motherhood, I’ve noticed a lot of women feeling judged (by others and themselves) because they birthed their baby via c-section. Research also shows that dissatisfaction with your child’s birth is linked to postpartum depression, so I felt compelled to address the issue of women feeling as if they had failed by having a child surgically.

I wrote this piece for Fit Pregnancy about how to come to peace—and even embrace—your birth story. I talked with Brooke Kyle, MD, an OB who delivered all three of her kids in the OR.

“I do feel like there are a lot of pressures in my community and nationally that make people feel like their birth is less worthy if they have to choose a c-section, like they’re less of a mother and they didn’t try hard enough,” Dr. Kyle told me. “I even feel those pressures because I aim for a vaginal birth in my practice and that’s what I’m known for. The goal for my patients is to get a vaginal birth, and that was the plan for myself, too.”

Yet childbirth is unpredictable, and many of the things we script out—delivering vaginally, opting for a home birth, going med-free—change.

(A quick aside: Childbirth can be traumatic. It’s important to recognize that many women have a difficult time, and that a bouncing bairn is not the only legitimate concern. Validating mothers’ conflicted feelings around childbirth and their birth story shows them that they’re valued, too—that their worth is not limited to bringing a child into the world at any cost.)

Kyle shared with me a few tips on how she kicked the disappointment of delivering via cesarean and came to love her birth story.

Did you feel disappointed in how your child’s birth went? (No judgment here.) How did you come to terms with it?

Own your c-section birth story

Now that I’ve entered the club of motherhood, I’ve noticed a lot of women feeling judged (by others and themselves) because they birthed their baby via c-section. Research also shows that dissatisfaction with your child’s birth is linked to postpartum depression, so I felt compelled to address the issue of women feeling as if they had failed by having a child surgically.

I wrote this piece for Fit Pregnancy about how to come to peace—and even embrace—your birth story. I talked with Brooke Kyle, MD, an OB who delivered all three of her kids in the OR.

“I do feel like there are a lot of pressures in my community and nationally that make people feel like their birth is less worthy if they have to choose a c-section, like they’re less of a mother and they didn’t try hard enough,” Dr. Kyle told me. “I even feel those pressures because I aim for a vaginal birth in my practice and that’s what I’m known for. The goal for my patients is to get a vaginal birth, and that was the plan for myself, too.”

Yet childbirth is unpredictable, and many of the things we script out—delivering vaginally, opting for a home birth, going med-free—change.

(A quick aside: Childbirth can be traumatic. It’s important to recognize that many women have a difficult time, and that a bouncing bairn is not the only legitimate concern. Validating mothers’ conflicted feelings around childbirth and their birth story shows them that they’re valued, too—that their worth is not limited to bringing a child into the world at any cost.)

Kyle shared with me a few tips on how she kicked the disappointment of delivering via cesarean and came to love her birth story.

Did you feel disappointed in how your child’s birth went? (No judgment here.) How did you come to terms with it?

Making peace with my epidural

Ten Thousand Hour MamaThis month marks the first installment of my new column in the Portland-area family magazine Metro Parent. I figured I should start at the beginning, so I wrote a little about Peeper’s birth story.

I had planned on having a medication-free birth but, for many reasons, I opted for an epidural. I sometimes felt like I should have had a “natural” birth (I use those quotation marks with a huge eye roll—having a baby by C-section or without medication is not unnatural!), but I’ve since come to terms with having an epidural.

You can pick up a free copy of Metro Parent all over town or read the full column here.

Were you happy with how your labor and delivery went? Was there anything you’d change? Did it take you a while to reconcile with your birth story?