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Thursday, June 30, 2011


I was sitting on the bed nursing Mila. Olivia comes in and hops on the bed to say hi to the baby. She starts off gently and then starts grabbing at her little toes a little too roughly. I remind her to be gentle and she doesn't listen. I hate having to scold her about not hurting the baby so finally I just set her off the bed. Olivia walked to the door and turned around with a very serious look on her face. She looked at Mila, then at me, and walked out.

My heart cried a little.

Look at this blog. It is an ode to Olivia. To my first child. It all began in early 2009 when I was pregnant with her and living in San Francisco. This is my love letter to her. If I something happened to me, I would want her to one day read all the entries I typed for her, pouring my love out onto the keys. Every word just flowed out of me, effortlessly, because she consumed me. Number one.

Two years later and now the number one spot is a shared one. My two girls. They both need me so much but in different ways. Olivia is needy because she is free and independent. I must watch her closely or she will be on top of the ceiling fan or splashing around in the toilet. She grows bored easily. Her intelligence is such that she notices EVERYTHING. I know she is comparing Mila to herself. Always in mommy's arms, gets all the blankies, and a shiny new car seat. I still dote on Pea but it's hard to give her 100% because I have a newborn that nurses constantly and is so helpless. Actually, 100% isn't just hard. It's impossible.

I know this is transitive and we will all evolve into a family of four, we will transition together. I am still getting used to having two babies, and hopefully Olivia will realize that she is as mine as she always was. She will forever be my first baby girl. My first true love. But, now Mila is here and I have realized my devotion to my girls is infinite. I have no limit.

I have two arms, two hands, and one really big desire to stretch myself in both directions.

matching dresses

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I keep raising the bar on my level of crunchy (see: hippie, alternative, nutty?). It started small with considering cloth diapers and has now come to me ingesting my own placenta.

Never thought I would say this. And proudly. Why? Because it works.

After I had Olivia I did suffer a temporary funk. And a milk under supply. And an overall new mom haze. When I heard of placenta encapsulation to ward off the post partum blues and help increase milk supply (plus more benefits) I didn't think much of it. The $250 it costs in San Diego wasn't worth it at the time when I was still pregnant and the new baby expenses just kept piling up.

My placenta: Cleaned, dried, and put into capsules.

This time around I knew I had to do it. It was worth a shot, definitely worth trying if it meant I could feel like myself sooner after having the baby. Around my 8th month a nice mama I met at a cloth diapering meeting asked me if I considered encapsulating my placenta. She told me she did hers with a friend and that after four kids could strongly attest to the benefits. Then, she offered to do mine. SCORE. I offered to pay her because I wanted to be 100% sure it would get done.

I took it as soon as I got home from the hospital and I have to say, I do not have the haze. The fuzzy, gray feeling that would come and go when Olivia was born. Lots of milk. More energy. My body is returning to homeostasis quicker because I am replenishing it with the minerals and hormones it lost when my placenta was removed. That ugly organ is actually a masterpiece of nature, the sustaining life source of Mila in my body. Blows my mind.

Lots of people are grossed out at the thought. They called it cannibalism. Really? As you chomp on fried chicken you tell me you are grossed out? Regardless, like I said, it works. I'd totally eat it in a sandwich if it meant I would feel this NORMAL so soon. I am sure there is still so much more we do not know about human placenta ingestion. Many mammals eat theirs instinctively after giving birth. It has been used all over the world, especially in Chinese medicine, for centuries.

I recommend it.

Cannibal Val

Monday, June 27, 2011

S U R V I V A L .

Every mom to a new baby has a few items that she considers crucial to her survival in the first couple of weeks. This time around I realized that the most important survival tool to me was nothing found at Babies R Us but in the PEOPLE that are my support system. Recovering post-partum, a new baby who is attached to the boob, and a needy 20-month old makes for the need for help. At first I needed help just putting my underwear on, now 10 days later I need help with Olivia since I cannot lift her and sometimes my pain starts up again and I need to chill. Without my parents (mom, especially) and Todd I do not know how I would have made it.

Here is my short list of other "must-haves". Really, newborns do not need much. Don't let the baby warehouse convince you otherwise. Soon, all that brightly colored plastic stuff will just clutter. Save your money!

-NIPPLE CREAM! Pure lanolin.
-Cloth reusable nursing pads. Softer and comfier than the disposables that remind me of maxi pads for your boobs.
-Medela silicon breast shield. Allowed me to nurse with bleeding nipples. OW!
-Electric breast pump. Kept my supply up even when Mila was already full and my breasts haven't engorged. Can you believe I already have a small frozen stash???? YES!!!
-Light swaddlers for warm June days (I swear by Aden & Anais muslin wraps), and 100% cotton onesies. The wraps double as nursing covers, burp rags, and protect from harsh sun!
-A ring sling for tucking her in when we go to doctor appointments
-Boppy nursing pillow AND My Brest Friend nursing pillow. Both work great at different times... I would say My Brest Friend is best for proper nursing positioning in the beginning and the Boppy is great for its versatility and use later on when baby is bigger.
-Comfy pajamas and granny panties for me!
-Bravado nursing bras. SO WORTH THE EXTRA CASH! No weird misshapen boobs, comfy, seamless.
-Pure cocoa butter for after a nice, warm shower to relax me, heal dry skin, and make me smell good :)
*-My encapsulated placenta. This will get a post of its very own.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day by day.

It's been over a week now and recovery is really kicking my ass. I'm hoping every day will get better and soon I'll be back to normal, out and about enjoying summer with Olivia and Mila tucked cozy in a sling. I really don't know what I would do without my family, especially Todd and my mom. I know I'm trying to rush it but I cannot wait to be on my feet again as I usually would be.

Whenever the pain or discomfort get me down I just need to focus on this:

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

One week old.


The birth of Mila Isabel.

I didn't get my VBAC.

I don't want to center Mila's birth story around the fact that she was born via cesarean. My focus is this beautiful and healthy baby girl. I cannot allow myself to dwell on her being cut out, or the unpleasant reaction I had to the epidural during surgery, or the recovery I'm now dealing with. Instead I'll put my thoughts toward Mila looking for me as soon as she was born, rooting and searching for my breast within seconds. As soon as we were wheeled to recovery we lay skin to skin and it did not feel as if though I were meeting her for the first time. She had a full head of dark hair, soft pink skin, and a full pouty mouth.


After surgery the doctor told me that although she advocates VBACs, mine could have been dangerous. Apparently, my uterus was paper thin surrounding my previous incision and this could have put me at great risk of uterine rupture. There is no way to check for this unless a.) I get cut open or b.) I labor and my uterus ruptures.

I was entirely present throughout the entire process, remaining calm and collected with a loving and supportive husband. As they took me into prep for the OR he gave me a kiss and I was reminded once more how lucky I am. I was focused on the operation and he was focused on me. My mom waited anxiously outside. The c-section began and I went over each step in my head and it was all so familiar. The first time around I was scared and shaking, this time I welcomed the process because every step would bring me closer to meeting my baby honey.


As the doctors performed the surgery they chatted casually, of Zumba and weekend plans. Mine was their first section of the day and they were fresh and relaxed. I took comfort in this and continued to pray and center my thoughts around my happy place. I asked Todd not to film this time and instead take pictures. I told him I wanted some cool gory shots to look at after. I glanced at them briefly a couple of days ago and stopped. Maybe they will be cool later on.


Mila came out crying instantly, an angry cry as if she was real pissed her stay in my belly was cut short. She looked so strong and vibrant as the doctors held her over the surgery tarp so I could see. Tears of happiness ran down my face. Seven pounds and ten ounces of healthy baby girl. Exactly 9 ounces and half an inch larger than her sister.


As she was assessed by the baby nurse in the room with her daddy by her side, I began to feel very sick. The anesthesiologist told me it was normal and to be expected. I'm not sure how long I was sick for but I tried hard to move through it so I could go back to focusing on Mila. Before too long the nausea wore off and I was stitched up and ready to go cuddle my daughter in the recovery room.

I consciously sought to find warmth in the cold and sterile hospital environment and made our strange hospital bed a cozy place by placing her on my chest inside my hospital gown and covering us up with the blanket. The experience of her first hours of life couldn't have been better than it was in a cesarean birth scenario. I owe it to my husband's comforting presence, my mom's loving urgency to witness everything, and primarily Mila's instant and magnetic attraction to me. Even now as I type this she is sleeping on my chest which seems to have been cut out in the perfect shape to fit her body.

In the hours and days following her birth I fell in love with her several times, feeling an overwhelming gratitude in my entire body. Olivia took to her right away and I just knew that she understood exactly what was going on. That that tiny wrinkly body perched on her mama's chest is her sister. How could I dare feel cheated?


I will continue to hate unnecessary cesareans and hope that the rate of cesarean births quickly starts to decrease. I don't know if my birth experience was a blessing in disguise and if a vaginal birth really could have lead to an extremely dangerous uterine rupture and I'll really never know. What I do know is that when I think of Friday, June 17th I'll be remembering the day the missing part of my soul found it's place back to me, a piece of me I didn't even know I was lacking. It's as if Olivia brought so much heart into my life and Mila brought me peace and more joy. During her birth I found the strength gained in my past twenty months of already being a mother and used it welcome my second child into the world exactly as I dreamed I would.

Present, focused, excited, and euphoric as she lay in my arms because she was safely home.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Watching the sun rise through my bedroom window after nursing Mila back to sleep. Sleeping noobie on my chest, husband snoring next to me, and Pea far away in dreamland... Someone pinch me.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Olivia & Mila

My heart is bursting at the seams. Olivia is absolutely smitten with her little sister. Kisses, smiles, and a strong desire to squeeze I'm sure! She looks at her like a kid on Christmas morning.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mila Isabel is here!

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Our sweet girl arrived yesterday 6.17.11 at 8:56am, 7 lbs. 10 oz./20.5 inches and a ridiculously full head of hair. She came out screaming and looking for mama. As soon as we got skin to skin she latched on and has been camping out on my chest since.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Birth story to come... In the meantime, I'm in heaven.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"The first language we speak is touch." -Ina May Gaskin

I cannot wait to have my squishy, new baby girl in my arms. We must always wait for the best things in this life.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sitting pretty.

Still preggo. No signs of labor. Just updating while I try to stop myself from banging my head against the wall.


Edit: Since I'm past due I have gone in for non-stress tests on the baby. She is fine expect that her fluids are getting quite low. Please send labor dust our way... If not she will have to come via cesarean this weekend.

Either way, my healthy baby girl is the main focus.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, June 13, 2011

One in back, one in front :)

40 weeks+ preggo, 19 month old
Wrap: Natibaby Bamboo

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pregsomnia v. 83

Not feeling too inspired to write but I can't sleep. Other bloggers post recipes, tasty ones, on days they may not feel like writing but I cannot do that. It'd make me a hypocrite because I do not cook. I just pass the links along to my husband. Yes, he cooks. Ladies, stand back.

It's 1:33am and Olivia will be awake in like 6 hours.

I've resigned myself to the fact that the baby is coming when she wants. No matter how many things I do, it's her time, not mine. She was conceived from the sperm who made it, she grew strong in her placenta home, and now I realize she is picking her birthday. I just hope it's before a certain day...

In the meantime I will continue to enjoy her company on these late nights when everything is so still, the smooth round feeling of my belly as I rub cocoa butter on my skin, and the sporadic movements she tries to make in her tiny hot tub. Pregnacy is so empowering and yet so humbling. My body nourishes this life but really I am just the carrier of an already perfect design, I only deliver the sweet creation.

Friday, June 10, 2011

40 weeks tomorrow.

Baby has been measuring big all along but I am so glad I didn't go by any of the doctor's adjusted due dates. Those have come and gone and miss honey is sitting pretty. I guess I make a comfy incubator because Olivia was in no hurry to leave, either.

Since I am pushing (no pun intended) to deliver without a c-section, I am trying natural methods of perhaps triggering labor. If baby girl doesn't come on her own by the date my doctors deem safe (past 41 weeks) I would rather walk into a c-section than endure another chemical induction at the hospital that is likely to fail.

So far I have tried:

Walking, lots of it
Raspberry leaf tea
Evening primrose oil- In more ways than one :-O
Good old sexy time
Labor cookies (yummy but no action)
Nipple stimulation
Spicy food

Monday I am getting a massage and acupuncture. If she isn't here by Wednesday I am considering castor oil. If any of you mamas have tried it, please comment and give me your two cents.

Send labor vibes our way!!!

-The round one

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Waiting for Mila Honey...

Diapers and newborn clothes are washed and ready...
(cloth diapers by Sticky Peas)

Little handmade friends are waiting to meet her...
(made by my sweet friend Sarah for my two little girls)

Olivia spent her first night in her toddler bed last night, but still in our bedroom...
(bed built and designed by my handsome and talented husband, isn't it awesome????)

Crib assembled and ready at my parent's home...
(We will be staying there for a few days while I heal and bond with my newborn, and my mom will be help with Olivia since Todd cannot take too many days off work. My mom set up the extra room like a 5-star hotel. She is beyond amazing.)

Hospital bag packed...
(Full of Aden & Anais muslin swaddlers and a dream blanket, cloth nursing pads, lanolin, deliciously soft pajamas, a robe, Boppy pillow, maternity bras, socks, granny panties, chlorine-free newborn disposables, Mila's first outfits, and other comforts.

Monday, June 6, 2011


I am so happy to live in a city that has it all. Parks, ponds, museums, beach, mountains! Olivia has so much fun when she can just run and be free. Too bad she always cries when we have to leave.
The geese were bigger than her but she had no fear. Adventurous little girl with yellow hair.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

39 weeks today.

I am still going by my original due date of 6.11.11 although the baby's been measuring about a week early since the beginning. Still very pregnant with no signs of exit.
If another stranger asks me if I should still be picking up Olivia I may punch them. WHAT ELSE AM I SUPPOSED TO DO, DUDE? It's not super fun having her perched atop my bulge, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Only ten days until my due date.

I advocate birthing centers and home birth although I have never experienced these things. I admire midwives because I have felt their peaceful and empowering touch, their kind words. I do not like hospitals, in general, because my experiences there have been frigid and chemical. There is nothing calming about a hospital bed, machines, and an IV when you are a young and healthy mother pregnant with a ripe baby.
Circumstances have left me with another hospital birth but I will be bringing the healing advice and peaceful spirit of the midwives and doulas I know with me. One of these women told me that so much of my journey is mental. I am filling my mind with thoughts of a successful vaginal birth, of having my husband close as I bring her into the world, and of the final outcome- A sweet, pink wrinkly body in my arms that we created. My little Mila, so pure and clean.