Baby Land Archive

The Terrible Twos Are Crappy

You’d think that after almost six years of parenthood, I wouldn’t blink about having to change crib bedding. But I still find it to be a gigantic pain: the mattress is heavy and bulky, my small hands and nails can’t grip on to the corners, and when reaching in, the rails are at boob height and that hurts. And unfortunately, for the last few weeks, we are changing crib bedding almost every day because Arielle, in all her two-year-old glory, is exploring her artistic talents. Her favorite art form? Finger painting. Her favorite color? Brown. Her preferred medium? Poop.

Insider tip from me to you: Buy stock in Clorox.

You’re welcome.

You guys. I just can’t anymore. I think Madelyn did this like three times and then outgrew it. Arielle is a true arteest, staying true to her art. She’s going to be the one who chooses a major like painting in college and then insists on making it in the real world as a studio artist and then lives with us in our colloquial basement (because, California) until she’s 37.

“Arielle, you MUST stop playing with your poop. It’s getting old. Enough.”
“But, Mother! I am… [gasp] an artist!”

So here’s how this goes: every nap or nighttime, as we place her in her crib, we discuss how she must keep her pajamas on and that doody stays in the diaper and not the crib, and that it’s icky-pooey if it gets everywhere. She nods her head in agreement and understanding and then I’m pretty sure as we walk out the door and turn out the light, she gives us the biggest middle finger a toddler can make.

Now, my mom friends would say this is karma because Arielle sleeps late and loves her crib. Even when she is awake, she happily plays and sings and chats, so I rarely have to rush to her room in order to soothe a lonely, crying baby. So most mornings or afternoons, we just let her hang out for 30 minutes or so after waking up. This is Rookie Mistake # 1 because this is probably when she decides to get creative with her poop. And after that 30 minutes, when I enter her room, I discover the “art” strewn across her crib, her sheets, her… self. That’s usually when I say a lot of really bad words. If this was The Truman Show, the home audience would be clutching their pearls.

And so the cycle begins of never ending laundry. Crib bumpers take a long time in the dryer. Any bets on my electric bill this month?

OK, so after one or two times of this nonsense, one would learn to seek reinforcements since the “no poop” pep talk before sleep doesn’t work. But we must suffer from “Our Child Is Brilliant and Surely Wouldn’t Put Us Through This Torture Again” syndrome, but no, that little pooper doesn’t give a hoot about our water bill and clearly Bryan and I are masochistic enough to live on the edge.

And just when she’ll go a few sleeps without Diaper Removal-geddon, we think she’s learned her lesson and we are clear. But no. It happens again.

Earlier this week, I ordered a toddler sleep sac because the mom boards say that they work and mom boards are the gospel. Amazon Prime has never felt like such an eternity. UPS Man, you are my new best friend by end of day, June 23rd.

So last night, we finally remembered to put her in backwards onesie footie PJs, another tip from the Mom Gods on the mom boards. In the morning: Duh, no poop, because Arielle hasn’t figured out how to grow octopus tentacles to reach around the back and zip open her backwards onesie. As parents, felt like champions of the world this morning and our laundry machine breathed a huge sigh of relief that she’d get the day off. Poor old girl is tired. All that spinning — the vertigo is intense. Kenmore can do no more.

Later this afternoon, at her usual naptime, Arielle went to sleep. Now, I’m not going to say who brought her up to her room and put her down for her nap, but I was at lunch with a friend. So….

The Olympic Sleeper slept for 3.5 hours because she does have some redeeming qualities, and I was making dinner around the time she woke up. The chicken, potatoes, and broccoli were ready to come out of the oven just as Bryan declared he was going to get Arielle and bring her down in time to eat. Mmm. A hot meal that the family would enjoy around the table together after the longest day of the year.

And then I heard the swear words and the stomps on the carpet. Either Bryan had just hammered his own hands with Sriracha-soaked metal nails …. OOOOOOOOR, Arielle had produced another Poopacalypse. Whoever put her to bed was very trusting in her shorts and T-shirt. I mean, I don’t know. We’ll never know the truth.

Poor girl stood in her crib looking at us like we had 27 eyeballs.

Her diaper was on the floor. There was a smashed nugget on the floor with Bryan’s heel print in it from when he walked closer to her to see her damage. Her white crib was… not. She looked like a pig in a mud bath. Into the shower she went and off the bedding came… again. I walked into our laundry room and I think Kenmore rolled her eyes at me. She might have even tsk-tsked me. I poured detergent and vinegar in her to shut her up.

While our dinner got cold downstairs, Bryan and I had a very close-proximity conversation (teacher trick!) with Arielle, using calm, low voices and we talked about where poop goes and where diapers stay. Her lower lip quivered and it was hard to be mad at her. She nodded her head in understanding. At bedtime, her backwards onesie was zipped up and we put on a new sheet while the rest of her bedding was still in the dryer.

We spend so much of our parenthood trying to teach our kids lessons and making sure they learn from their mistakes. But in some cases, these mistakes have the opposite effect: Pavlov would be proud that we realized it was us who finally became conditioned. Click. Click. Click.

Really hoping Pavlov won this one because if she grows octopus tentacles and evolves to be able to unzip her backwards onesie in the morning, Darwin wins. And I just don’t think our laundry machine would appreciate that. Either this or we just stop feeding her. No? Ok. Backwards zipper it is.

How I’ve Milked Newbornhood

by Alison Friedman in Amazing Arielle, Baby Land, Boobs, Mommy's Musings

Wednesday marks eight weeks of an accomplishment I never thought I’d make.


Before she was born, I knew I wanted the experience of breastfeeding Arielle, It’s what I’d planned to do with Madelyn, but I had to stop early due to the infection at the C-section site. As she grew, I remained sad about not having the opportunity to breastfeed and harbored a lot of anger toward the doctor who dismissed my suspicion that something was wrong with me. I knew that if we ever had another child, I would attempt breastfeeding again.

I don’t really know why it was so important to me. After all, I am not even against formula or claim in any way that it’s poison. Thank goodness for formula! It’s what nourished and grew my happy and healthy first child who rarely suffers illnesses, accomplished milestones ahead of or on time, eased into developmental transitions, and continues to outsmart us in almost every area of life.

Still, though, I longed for the experience that formula can’t give; the utter (udder?) mammalian connection between mother and biological child.

So when it was time to feed Arielle about an hour into her life in the outside world, I was essentially starting over. The nurse helped us latch, gave me tips about positioning, and explained to me what I should listen and look for. As the days went on and I was able to move better and better, we continued to establish a breastfeeding relationship. It was simple at first, but then became more and more painful. Nurses said our latch looked fine, and I was told I was doing it right, but I should just keep nursing and power through the pain that would leave within the week as my body became used to all the new sensations and activity. So I did. In the bubble of the hospital, I learned how to breastfeed Arielle.


Milk came in the day before we were discharged so on top of all kinds of lightning-like pain, I suffered some pretty intense engorgement. Our wonderful pediatrician came in one morning to do her routine assessment on Arielle, and we giggled together as I greeted her with pillows of ice across my chest.

I don’t know how I did it, but I just kept telling myself to keep on keeping on.

Our first night home was a disaster. I’m still looking to meet the mom who hasn’t cried on her first night home from the hospital. Are you out there, Miracle Woman? Do you exist? Has anyone ever had a peaceful night without tears the day the baby comes home? Between hormones and the absence of the safety net of the wonderful nurses, I lost it. The pain suddenly increased and I was noticing blood and scabbing. The engorgement seemed out of control, and I swore I was going to float away like the house in “Up” due to the balloons under my shirt. The discomfort and the resulting crying baby left me in a puddle of tears from The Ugly Cry.

Twelve hours later, I had a lactation consultant in my house.

She taught me how to latch differently. She inspected my breasts. She assessed Arielle’s anatomy. Even though my face was still puffy from hours of crying, I began to feel better about having this personal support at my fingertips six days after Arielle’s arrival. She did notice, however, that Arielle’s tongue didn’t seem to wiggle out past her gums. And after additional inspection, she decided that Arielle was tongue tied; that her frenulum (the tissue that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth) was tight and preventing the tongue from making the necessary movements to suck and swallow correctly. I learned that this is very common, but usually goes undiagnosed if the baby is not breastfed because it’s the uncomfortable experience that brings attention to the tongue tie. If the baby is not breastfed, later in life, the child or adult might have issues with range of motion, speech, behavior, or ear, nose, and throat channels. I was glad we caught this, not only for my own comfort, but for Arielle’s overall health.

So on her eighth day, Arielle had a tongue bris. The ENT physician was so knowledgeable and supportive of breastfeeding. The procedure was hard for me to watch as I held her hands, but immediately after, I was able to nurse Arielle and I noticed a difference. By releasing the frenulum with a small cut, her movement was more breastfeeding-friendly, and we were able to continue on our journey while I simultaneously healed.

It wasn’t smooth sailing though. I continued to encounter bumps in the road. My pump was uncomfortable. Engorgement took over again. A plugged duct killed an entire day that I was sure would also kill me. Two weeks in, and I was miserable. I had threatened to quit breastfeeding approximately 47 times and every time, I chickened out because I didn’t want to quit breastfeeding. I wanted to like it. And I knew I could get to that point eventually only because so many friends had been in my shoes and told me it passes. This was a test of my strength and stamina.

Milk coma selfie: things have changed since college.

Milk coma selfie: things have changed since college.

I am part of a wonderful Facebook group with local moms who all gave me great advice. Two friends from the group spent hours replying to texts and looking at photos to consult me during those hard times. Late night FaceTime sessions helped talk me off a ledge. Therapeutic phone calls with friends added to my arsenal of information to battle the challenges I experienced (thanks, Gretch, for the APNO recipe!). I began going to a breastfeeding support group on Wednesdays and it has since become my favorite day of the week.

The weeks went by and the pain began to dwindle. What was once pain throughout an entire nursing session became pain only during the first few minutes. Then those minutes turned into only one. That one became a half. And now, when Arielle latches, I don’t feel pain. I feel pride.


The nurses said it would take about two to three weeks. Well. No. Biggest lie of my life. Six weeks in, I stopped having anxiety before each feeding. And now, we’re at eight weeks, and the only reason why I find myself sighing before she eats is because the dog needs to go outside, Madelyn needs help putting on her socks, errands still have to be completed, I haven’t showered yet, and it’s 5 o’clock and I need to start preparing dinner. I didn’t need a breastfeeding miracle. I need a clone.

We’ve even figured out how to successfully nurse when we are out of the house. At first I was so nervous to leave home because I wasn’t sure how I would perform the breastfeeding choreography without the comfort of my special chair and positioning. But now, I can nurse while waiting for a table at a restaurant, off to the side at Target, and even standing up while microwaving Madelyn’s dinner. I don’t profess to know everything, but I know what works for me. So far. At this point. I know things will change as she grows and develops, but I now feel equipped to roll with it.

Before we could be seated to eat at the restaurant, Arielle dined at the breastaurant.

Before we could be seated to eat the restaurant, Arielle dined at the breastaurant.

My mom breastfed me during a time when a lot of moms felt that formula was the magical milk that was just as good as breast milk. Maybe it was. It was the 80s after all. But what interested me in breastfeeding and inspired me to try it and work through my obstacles was the experience itself that she shared with me. She told me about the amazing bond she felt, and the closeness of our relationship. She shared with me that it felt good, and how sweet it was. While she didn’t breastfeed me for an extended amount of time due to being a working mom (again, it was the 80s after all), she still felt the depth and benefits of nursing. Needless to say, I was intrigued, and wanted to understand first hand these memories my mom had of nursing me. So every time i swore I was going to quit between gasping, snorting sobs, she encouraged me to keep going and power through.

So many friends who support breastfeeding told me it was OK to quit. That my happiness mattered most and Arielle would be fine. Of course she would. Madelyn is a shining star. My stubbornness was selfish. I didn’t want to quit for me. I knew my baby would get fed regardless; but if I quit, I would never have this experience again. It was now or never. I wanted to reap the benefits of breastfeeding for myself and make the choice to quit for whatever reason after we were established, not during a low moment. I didn’t want to regret it later on because I knew the pain of regret would be greater than the pain at the breast.

But my true rock? My greatest support? My husband. He doesn’t have boobs and he was raised on formula. He’s not a hippie and he hated seeing me in pain. He usually chooses the path of least resistance, but is just as stubborn as I am. He was there for me with a glass of water and a flexi straw every time I was due to nurse. He helped me plan a blueprint of a schedule to get us through a good day. He could have told me to just forget it; that my constant crying was stressful and annoying; that it would just be soooooo much easier to shake up a scoop of powder and water. He was sympathetic and gentle, exactly what I needed to keep going. He continues to be there for every middle-of-the-night feeding, not even because I need help with breastfeeding specifically, but because we are a team and he wants the best for me and the best for our daughter. So while I prepare to nurse Arielle, he changes her diaper and brings her to me. It’s a relay and we work well together. I am so, so thankful to have a supportive partner like him because even though he can’t possibly understand what I’ve gone through, he knew how important it was to me. He wanted me to succeed, so he did everything to empower me. True love.


My personal opinion is that everyone, if they can, should try to breastfeed. I’ve never felt more female or important. I feel much more bonded with Arielle than I did with Madelyn at this stage of newbornhood. My mental state is completely normal and I feel extremely clearheaded and recovered from surgery and post partum symptoms. My weight loss kicked into gear much sooner than it did last time, and I not only feel connected with Arielle’s body, but with my own, too. I am constantly in awe of the fact that I have the ability and honor of feeding my baby and how miraculous my body is for making it possible.

Breastfeeding is not easy. The fact that it’s the most natural thing a woman’s body can do does not mean that it’s the easiest thing. I don’t know very many women who say it’s not painful in the beginning, or messy, or stressful. It was all those things for me. Between inconvenient leaking that left a trail like I was Hansel AND Gretel to predicting feeding times with opportunities to sleep, I found beginning breastfeeding to be extremely challenging. I did it anyway. Anyone who knows me knows that I usually quit things that are difficult and too much trouble. Except this time.

A woman’s anatomy is truly amazing, and I have nothing but pride to do what it’s been made to do along with all other mammals. Our society has made breasts to be acceptable as only sexual accessories, but nobody is grossed out about the mama dog feeding her puppies or the new baby giraffe nuzzling with its mom for milk. I joke that I’m Arielle’s pantry. The kitchen is always open and I will continue to feed my baby until one or both of us is done. I’ve come so far and have never felt more proud. With the ongoing support of my friends, my mom, and Bryan, I know Arielle will continue to get the best. I love that she and I have a unique relationship that nobody else in her life can duplicate and I have the ability to take her from frantic to calm with cuddling and milk.

On the left: Before Milk. On the right: After Milk

On the left: Before Milk. On the right: After Milk


When new moms come to the Wednesday breastfeeding support group filled with anxiety and tears — the usual signs of having a one or two-weeker — I empathetically tell them it will all be OK and it gets better. It wasn’t long ago that I was hearing the same thing, and I am now honored to take my place in the sisterhood and support others from the other side of the fence.

  1. Marissa
    4/30/2015 12:37 AM

    A wonderful post and so spot on! Thanks for writing it. I’m four weeks in and have had a similar experience but I’m so glad I’m doing it. Also – we have the same udder cover!

  2. Jocelyn Morelli
    4/29/2015 9:35 AM

    Wonderful read. Flash back to the cruise we went on many moons ago. (I was still nursing Joa at 18 months.) I’m not sure you guys were on this shuttle. While exiting it in Croatia, a new mother dropped her container of formula. She immediately started crying. Tears of frustration. She was going to have to return to the ship and miss out on the tour. I distinctly remember her saying she was so sick of schlepping bottles of spring water and formula. I was so grateful to not have to worry about Joa getting nourished, as long as she was with me. I never considered the benefit of being able to provide food for my baby in the event of an emergency. Pretty cool!
    I breast fed until she was 2 1/2. For me it was the easy way. I would have continued to breast feed her longer. The weight flew off. I was eating like a maniac and in single digit sizes for the first time since high school.
    I was hospitalized for 10 days after a brown recluse bit my bottom and had to quit breastfeeding cold turkey.
    Which brings me to another point. I became encouraged immediately in the hospital. I was hooked up to a morphine drip after my surgery. High powered narcotics could not touch the pain I felt. So, I’m just sayin’… You’re a badass for getting to the other side!

The Story of Our Second Baby

by Alison Friedman in All In The Family, Amazing Arielle, Baby Land

After things were settled when Madelyn was born, I wrote up the story of her birth while it was still fresh in my mind. None of her story had been written before she arrived since it was all being created in the moments as the events actually happened. This time, though, the story was mostly blueprinted and predictable, with only the smallest details missing. What a completely different experience to go into a birth with almost all of the events planned ahead.

We woke up Wednesday morning with a jumble of emotions. Madelyn was super excited. Bryan was super excited. I was super… nervous. I tend to shut down and get quiet when big things are about to happen, so I was pretty out of it; numb, even. We took one last glimpse of the baby’s room before it would be filled with an actual baby.

Ready to go out the door and had to take one last photo of Madelyn as the youngest princess of the house. Confession: I cried when I took this picture.

Ready to go out the door and had to take one last photo of Madelyn as the youngest princess of the house. Confession: I cried when I took this picture.

We dropped off Princeton at doggy day camp where I emotionally said goodbye. He’s always my consistent and calming furry pile of love, and I wished more than anything I could smuggle him into the hospital.

When we arrived at the hospital, the first thing I saw was this sign at the entrance where the valet station is. I hoped that the quality of surgery was better than the spell checking. I chuckled to myself, which left me in stitches. The stitches before the stitches. Har har.

Valet parking goes with bad spelling like peanut butter and jelly... spaghetti and meatballs... a pregnant teacher and a red pen

Valet parking goes with bad spelling like peanut butter and jelly… spaghetti and meatballs… a pregnant teacher and a red pen

And my last dose of Vitamin D and natural light was with this cutie.

We are holding hands, but you can't see me white knuckling on her hand because nerves.

We are holding hands, but you can’t see me white knuckling on her hand because nerves.

Because I’m overdramatic, I had a lot of moments where I said “This is our last X without a new baby…” From the time we arrived until the time the baby arrived, I made my last self-made, unassisted pee, sent my last text message (shout out to Krissy Winters), felt my last belly kick… Life as we knew it would soon be over and I was marking everything I did as a final milestone before writing our new chapter. It all makes sense in my head, but it’s very possible that this incessant thought pattern requires heavy therapy. I don’t know.

After I was all set up in my pre-op room, we had one last moment of time as a family of three and I. Lost. My. Shit. I stood up to hug Madelyn goodbye and I burst — more like imploded — into tears and it was not my best mom moment because even though it was 100% out of love and a little bit out of fear and guilt, but mostly love, all Madelyn saw were the tears coming out of my eyes and then as if right on cue, she cried too, and then we were both snotty, sobbing messes. Because she was upset from seeing me upset/happy/scared out of my mind/mostly happy, she wouldn’t take a photo with us before I headed to the operating room, so that’s the story of how I single handedly ruined our very last moment as a family of three.

Then I walked down to the operating room and that’s weird because the last time I was in the O.R., I was also a hysterical ball of emotions, but I was wheeled down because I had no feeling despite having allllll the feelings. This time, I still had all the feelings, but could walk… nervously with heart palpitations because I was moments away from being cut open while awake and trusting a man with a long needle to make sure I wouldn’t feel a pinch.

Meanwhile, back in Normal People Land, Bryan suited it up for the big show before leaving the big sister with the grandparents to wait.

Meanwhile, back in Normal People Land, Bryan suited it up for the big show before leaving the big sister with the grandparents to wait.

The O.R. was cold, just as I remembered, and I sat on the table where my new daughter would be born just 45 minutes later, and I was given instructions about what to do to receive my spinal block, but all I heard from the anesthesiologist was Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice: “Wah wah wah waaaaaah wah waaaaaah wah wah wah waaaaaah.” Between the nerves, the chills, and his mask that covered any possible audible sound, I seriously had no idea what was going on and my brain was numb as I just went with the flow of the procedure. I didn’t love it. This particular anesthesiologist was not as quick and smooth as the one who did the job with Madelyn’s birth. I felt lots of pressure and aches and what felt like hammering into my back. Good times. He kept asking me if I could feel things and I thought long and hard about my answers because they determined my fate and comfort. Pinch or pressure — two options I don’t want to have to choose from again.

But then it all went cold and heavy and the connections my brain made to my legs stopped working and the wonderful nurses did all my body manipulation for me. I would say there’s nothing more humbling than other people having to lift your gigantic body a few inches while you lie there helpless and unable to move a molecule, but I’d be wrong because… post partum care.

Then the stars of the show arrived: the doctors. It was a reunion of many kinds because assisting Dr. Replacement was my beloved and long lost Dr. Fiiiine! She had told me that even though she wouldn’t be able to be my obstetrician for this pregnancy since she was no longer doing OB, she could still assist in surgeries, so we worked it out that she could be there. She hadn’t done any deliveries since she stopped OB in December, so the whole O.R. gang was happy to see her back in her old stomping grounds. So was my uterus.

After what felt like decades, Bryan finally came into the room, the music started to play, and things got started. I had no idea what was going on despite requesting a mirror. Oh yes, minor detail: I asked for a mirror so I could see… stuff. People thought I was nuts, but I really don’t know how seeing a baby come out of your incised belly is any different than seeing a baby come out of your war zone vagina, which plenty of non c-section women do. The good news is that the angle of the mirror plus the action of the doctors prevented me from being able to see myself get cut open, so that’s probably a good thing. But minutes later, I heard Dr. Fiiiine say, “Oh, she has lots of hair and she’s a cutie!” and I knew the big moment was about to happen.

You see, with Madelyn’s birth, I felt very disconnected. In a state of confusion, I was horizontal on the table while a baby was excavated from my cavity. I would have felt that way with this one, too, if I didn’t have a mirror because inches in front of my nose was a blue drape that went as high and wide as I could see. My arms were out to my side, my eyes only reached so far peripherally, and all I could hear was white noise of medical equipment instead of play-by-play conversation that I could tell everyone else was having around me. The mirror, though, helped make sense of what was going on in the O.R. and brought me into the inner circle a little bit more, like I was sitting at the cool kids’ table. So when Dr. Fiiiine remarked that she could see the baby, I could feel the official Mother-of-Two moment was near.

TA DA! Dr. Fiiiine holds mah bay-bay in her very own Lion King moment.

TA DA! Dr. Fiiiine holds mah bay-bay in her very own Lion King moment.

At 1:00 on the dot, I saw her emerge and it was the most amazing thing. I saw Dr. Fiiine lift her up with her umbilical cord still dangling and attached to me, and I felt so connected to her arrival, ironically, as they disconnected her from me. I heard — and saw! — her cry, and watched as their hands dashed to prepare her for her next moments. The mirror was taken away, which was acceptable, because I did not need to see the rest of the procedure where they put me back together like Humpty Dumpty, and Bryan and the nurses brought the baby to me and I could see her inches away from my eyes and felt her on my chest where I was able to kiss her on the head.

Bryan literally cuts the cord. He will figuratively do it again when she's 32 and sleeping on our couch.

Bryan literally cuts the cord. He will figuratively do it again when she’s 32 and sleeping on our couch.

Hi. I'm your mommy.

Hi. I’m your mommy.

Cliche c-section awkward first family photo with shower caps and an upside down mother.

Cliche c-section awkward first family photo with shower caps and an upside down mother.

We spent a few moments together before Bryan left with her to go to the nursery. I remember tearing up because the moment felt very defined just as I imagined it would: BOOM. Now I had a second daughter. BOOM. Madelyn was a sister. BOOM. Life changed and I’d never experience pregnancy again and this stage of my life was officially over.

The rest of the surgery was pretty routine and boring. Unlike last time, this c-section had no bouts of nausea and vomiting, and no complications due to bleeding, so I wasn’t preoccupied with discomfort or fear. Instead, I was laying there and wondering what was going on in the nursery with the baby.

I found out later that everything in the nursery went fine and the baby took all her poking and prodding and washing like a champ. The proud grandparents and big sister watched it all through the windows as they got their first glimpses of the new member of our family.



Someone's excited to be a big sister.

Someone’s excited to be a big sister.

Who doesn't love baby feet?

Who doesn’t love baby feet?

The baby and Bryan met up with me in my recovery room and the three of us bonded and exchanged a lot of “I can’t believe its” and “This is so weirds” and we stared at our new baby and marveled at the fact that everything was different and this was our new chapter to write together.

Madelyn came in the room shortly after to meet her sister and it was an amazing moment. She had seen the baby from afar through the nursery viewing area, but this was their first encounter. We made sure the baby was in her little isolette so that Madelyn could see me with empty hands that were all for her hugs. I was so glad to see my number one girl and I told her I was OK and that I was so glad she was a big sister. Then we officially introduced her to her sister and Madelyn was over the moon. The proud grandparents joined us afterward, and they were all giddy with anticipation to see the baby up close and hear her name. Madelyn had the honors of doing the big reveal and she told them that her baby sister’s name was Arielle Jane Friedman. We told them it was Arielle because we liked it, and Jane was in memory of my Grandpa, Jules, who passed away 23 months ago. Collective “awwww”s rang out, and it felt so good to officially link this baby to our family.

We got settled in our new room that would be our home for four days. I spent the rest of the day nuzzling Arielle, learning her every body part, and connecting to begin breastfeeding together. I dozed on and off while people took turns holding her. The family stayed with us and our magical time in the hospital cocoon that I remembered so tenderly from last time was beginning.

After months of not knowing how I'd welcome a new little love in my life, it felt really good to have her in my arms.

After months of not knowing how I’d welcome a new little love in my life, it felt really good to have her in my arms.

I got sunshine on a cloudy day. I even got the month of May. Talkin' 'bout my girls.

I got sunshine on a cloudy day. I even got the month of May. Talkin’ ’bout my girls.

Baby's first family reunion.

Baby’s first family reunion.

Perhaps one of the greatest moments of Arielle’s birth day was at the end of the evening, before going home with Mimi and Poppa, Madelyn sat on a chair and held her little sister. It was the scene everyone warned me about: the emotional satisfaction of seeing your first born with your new baby, and the bonds beginning to build. As an only child, I have no idea what this experience is like on either end of the birth order, but as a mother, it was extremely satisfying, rewarding, and delightful. I looked at Madelyn and Arielle together and knew that my life’s greatest works were right in front of me. At 31, I peaked.

Alllllll the feels. All of them.

Alllllll the feels. All of them.

At 39 weeks and one day, the day that Arielle arrived was a roller coaster. I went in as ball of nerves and finished as a puddle of mush. I felt guilt and fear and discomfort and happiness. It was a hard day of, literally, doing nothing but experiencing everything. Compared to Madelyn’s birth day, Arielle’s was medically relaxed and predictable and the scheduled, repeat c-section was a breeze considering what it had been for me in 2011. And now, after almost five weeks of Arielle, it’s all slowly becoming a blur so I am rushing to write down my thoughts and experiences from the day she was born. We’ve been busy, learning about life together and Arielle fits in quite nicely with our family.

She’s ours for keeps.

My people forever.

My people forever.

  1. Mimi
    4/7/2015 10:55 PM

    So HAPPY to be a part of that wonderful day! The events of the day could not have gone any smoother. It was perfect. Arielle is perfect!
    I am looking forward to watching my 2 beautiful granddaughters grow up & thrive & just having tons of fun with both of them. LOVE!!
    Welcome to the world, Arielle Jane! R E L 😉
    Mimi LOVES you!!!

  2. Donna Vlassich
    4/7/2015 5:22 PM

    absolutely beautifully written! Congratulations to all of you! You have been blessed with a beautiful family????

Not Over It

by Alison Friedman in Baby Land, Mommy's Musings, Pregnancy

It’s at this point in any pregnancy, when you grunt while simply getting out of a chair or you massage your own lower back as you shift weight when standing or you run to the bathroom in a Niagara Falls-like pee-mergency only to encounter two measly and underwhelming drip drops that people give you a sympathetic look and say, “You must be so over it!”

And yet, I’m not.

At 36 weeks pregnant with three weeks to go until scheduled eviction day, I am not over it. I’m not ready to be done. I’m not hoping for the days to fly by so that March 4th can hurry up and be here. I am actually wanting more time, more kicks, more 4:45 a.m. on-the-dot potty wake ups.

This is our second* and last baby. And then that’s it. Babies grow up; I get old. This phase of my life will be over. Yes, I know, then have more babies. But damn. College is expensive. So no, the fiscally responsible thing to do is to quit while we’re ahead. Two heads, to be exact. Two precious heads of girly, curly cuteness.

I’m one of those weirdos who really likes being pregnant. And I come with my own fair share of weird pregnancy symptoms, so it’s not even like I’ve had the most perfect and painless human-making experience. I’m suffering from an itchy belly that makes me want to go to town on my skin with a fork, turning it fifty shades of red, which is a whole new brand of a hurts-so-good franchise.

My leg is also going numb now, so that’s fun. If I stand for more than five minutes, a chicken breast-size area of my lateral quad goes tingly and cold and I can’t feel anything superficially. It is SO. FREAKING. WEIRD. My little bundle is sitting on a nerve, I guess, which is really a lot of nerve.

And, in an act of betrayal by my own girly parts, I also suffered through some pretty gnarly procedures and pains that went so far as to motivate me to buy an undergarment I endearingly called the Over the Shoulder Vulva Holder, so there’s that. I promptly returned it, in case you were wondering, because my condition was beyond this device’s capabilities, and minor vascular surgery was a more direct remedy. Really good times. Really.

And yet, here I am declaring that I don’t hate pregnancy. Clearly, growing a human has also made me delusional because why else would I enjoy it even with these symptoms? I just do. I’ve never felt more female and feminine. Creating life makes me feel powerful. I find a growing belly to be extremely beautiful. Also, not caring about the combo of jeans and a muffintop is always nice, and I really love maternity clothes (my credit card does not).

But even more than the pregnancy experience, becoming a mother was what I always wanted. The mystery and miracle of pregnancy had always intrigued me and, by the end of this second daughter’s gestation, I will go from having experienced 18 months of this wonder and then never to experience it again in my life. My job as a woman will be over and then I’m not cooler than my male parenting partner. He’s pretty cool, though, so I don’t mind being on his level, but the parts that make me a lady, the ones that will have hosted two healthy and happy girls will essentially have no reason to do their jobs. They will be “displaced,” no longer with the company, fired, actually (and I will still have to pay severance once a month, which seems even more unfair). Yay for being almost 32 with a completed family.

I’m going to enjoy the itchies and the numbies in these last three weeks before Baby Girl Friedman 2.0 comes because I will never associate them with such a happy thing ever again. Future skin rashes will just be annoying, and potential numbness of body parts means something might actually be wrong. But now, these inconveniences I’ve endured are simply battle wounds from a great victory.

And while I am trying to enjoy the ups and downs of my final pregnancy, I am also holding onto the greatest gift of my first go ’round: one-on-one time with Madelyn. It’s hard to imagine she’s closing in on her experience as an only child, one that I know all too well. She’s the light of our lives and the center of our universe. Sharing it with another little girl seems impossible and I can’t wrap my head around how that works, but I’ve been told it does. Each cuddle session and hug we exchange every night and every morning are becoming more and more special, that I regret not breathing them in even deeper for the past three-and-a-half years.

I know she’s about to also enjoy a new adventure and title as Big Sister and I’m excited to watch her blossom, which is what’s keeping my eye on the prize as I count down the end to our perfect little threesome. I just keep telling myself that being Madelyn’s mom is like getting to eat one giant piece of chocolate cake and that adding to our family is getting TWO giant pieces of chocolate cake, and really, who doesn’t want more than one piece of chocolate cake?!


Especially because they don’t require paying for college tuition.

So no, Nosey Lady At Trader Joe’s, I am not miserable or looking forward to being done with pregnancy. I am savoring these last bits of what I believe to be my greatest purpose. And then I suppose it’s time for Phase 2: raising two well-adjusted girls who will only slightly hate me as teenagers. And I’ll be so old, I won’t even care about tight jeans and muffintops again.

*Princeton is under the impression I am concluding my third pregnancy.

Marching Forth

by Alison Friedman in Baby Land, Mommy's Musings, Pregnancy

Already this poor kid is getting the infamous second child shaft. Twenty weeks in, and she’s only had her own blog post once. Oh yeah, it’s a “she.” See? SO MUCH INFORMATION I HAVEN’T WRITTEN ABOUT. I think by 20 weeks, I had already blogged about Madelyn’s every cell, so this is an extreme departure in this chapter of motherhood.

So first thing’s first. As mentioned, it’s a girl! And a very healthy and perfect one at that, and Madelyn is so darn excited to have a little sister. We found out at our 12-week ultrasound. The tech was pretty sure it was a girl, but hesitated to tell us because she didn’t want me to go nuts (what would ever give her that impression?). We confirmed at an indulgent ultrasound studio that it was indeed 99% girl, and the tech there said the only reason she couldn’t tell us 100% is because they’re not allowed to. Holy vagina!


The pregnancy started off stressful due to my beloved Dr. Fiiiiine confirming with me that she was going to cease the obstetrics portion of her practice in exchange for a more stable and consistent lifestyle with normal hours. Can’t say I blame her, but I was more than heartbroken. She had been there for me during the most amazing — and most scary — parts of my experiences with Madelyn, and I was sad that she would not deliver our second child. I also wasn’t thrilled about having to find a new OB, but she referred me to another local doctor who I’ve now seen twice. Dr. Replacement is very nice and knowledgeable, and so far I think I made a good decision by choosing to see him. I’ve heard that he’s an excellent surgeon and at this point, that’s what I care about most. As a second-time mom, I am not as concerned or worried about every minute symptom of the pregnancy and I don’t have to question about his practices during a natural delivery since I am having a repeat c-section. I’m confident he will do a nice job and will take the necessary precautions to make sure I don’t go through what I went through after Madelyn’s c-section.

I started this pregnancy seeing Dr. Fiiiine’s dad who she practices with (and who delivered me in 1983) because Dr. Fiiiine was out of town. Then I saw Dr. Fiiiine twice more before we decided we had to break up and see other people (me, other doctors; her, other women who were not bearing children). Before I found Dr. Replacement, I also did a test run with another popular OB in the area and wasn’t thrilled with him. I also sprinkled in a routine appointment with the perinatologist for a first trimester screen. So, lots of various doctors, and not a lot of consistency — thank goodness this wasn’t my first baby or I’d be a wreck! I’ll see Dr. Replacement next week at 21 weeks and only for the third time. His checks seem to be less detailed and exciting from what I remember at Dr. Fiiiine’s and of course I miss her office staff terribly, but I think once we hit the homestretch and it’s showtime, he’ll really deliver the goods. Literally and figuratively. And then, when I’m all done and it’s time for annual visits, I plan to go back to Dr. Fiiiine because there’s no love like your first love.

(Side note: I had to call Dr. Fiiiine’s office to transfer some records. We spoke on the phone and as we were hanging up, I blurted out, “I MISS YOU” and then there was a really awkward silence. I am THAT girl). (This could be me).

Other than the excitement of adding another girl to our house and the shuffle of doctors to deliver this girl, this pregnancy has been pretty low key. Like last time, I’ve felt really normal and pretty healthy. I was never too sick and the only thing that’s bothered me has been some pretty debilitating headaches, but I also appreciate how easy I’ve had it compared to some other moms.

Part of that ease has been Madelyn. The times when I am down for the count, that little girl impresses me beyond all expectations. She’s such a happy, independent player and can keep herself busy for hours. Whether it’s playing school with her dolls, reading books, coloring and painting, or dressing up in all of her princess costumes, I have felt better knowing I can take time for myself while she stays happy and healthy.

Out and about with my big girl who asked to take a selfie of us. Oy.

Out and about with my big girl who asked to take a selfie of us. Oy.

Of course we love our play time and snuggle time, and we enjoy many trips and errands out during the day, but I am so thankful for the times I need to be selfish.

I don’t know if it’s the hormones or if it’s the normal response, but I often find myself tearing up when she talks to “her” baby, hugs my belly, tickles it, and cuddles with her sister. Just this morning, during a cuddle sesh with my belly button that may as well poke an eye out, she said, “Oh, Baby! I just love you! I can’t wait to teach you!” Yeah. There was a puddle and it wasn’t my water breaking early, that’s for sure.


I’m going to make sure I update more so that this little ones doesn’t come read this blog one day and hate me for neglecting to document her time in my belly. It’s gone fast and I know it’ll go faster now that we’re a little more than halfway done cooking. March 4th is the big day, and march forth we will!