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Thursday, February 25, 2016

when you feel like your body is betraying you

So I walked all day, the other day. Laundry, up and down stairs to the laundry room. Hauling baskets. Up and down stairs from our lanai to the driveway to check on the kids scootering in the cul de sac. Squats and lunges till my body literally gave out and I fell to the floor in pain. Bouncing on the exercise ball next to my bed.

Then I walked up our monster hill. All the way to the top. We live on the side of a volcano. Think like San Francisco sized slopes.

I was exhausted by the end of the day. But hopeful. Bouncing around in the pool with Little Green. Singing and happy.

This HAD to have done something to "open up the pelvis like a blossoming flower" etc etc etc

Around 6pm the contractions started.


Fifteen then 10 minutes apart.

I was too distracted to even watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix, huddled in my bed while dada managed kids.

Five minutes apart.

Around 10pm they were three minutes apart.

And painful.

This lasted until midnight. Dada came to bed. I said, Just maybe this is it.

He fell asleep.

I kept timing.

Then I fell asleep.

I woke up around 3am. More contractions. Then again at 5am (when Little Green came to our bed only to puke everywhere). More contractions.

Then it was 7am.

My muscles were all sore. I had a dehydration headache from all the exertion the day before.


All day long that next day, limping in pain, my butt even sore from all the lunges and squats, I found myself condemning my body.

Damn old lazy uterus.

My body must have forgotten how to go into labor.

Oh God, what are we going to do?

I felt betrayed.

I have known this feeling before, not only in pregnancy but in struggling with several autoimmune disorders and health issues.

I am 21 years old. I should not be drinking Ensure, in need of a bowel resection!

I am 33 years old. I should not need a pill because my freaking thyroid shut down.

I am 35 years old. I should not have the kind of skin cancer only seen in the elderly.

And now today. Hips giving way under the strain of 30 pounds of baby and fluids. A pelvis that is apparently just crooked and thereby holds my uterus up in a crooked way. Joints that are too loose to support so much weight without buckling. An irritable uterus that contracts because of a litany of normal bodily functions like hunger, dehydration, stress, needing to pee, etc etc etc.

I have turned to anger, so many times, because of this betrayal. Anger and self-pity.

With Little Man's pregnancy I was almost mockingly sent home from the hospital several times. No one believing the intensity of the contractions I was feeling. I paced the floors of our house, wringing my hands, crying, after being told I probably would need help to go into "real" labor. Not knowing what to think, what was "real" labor anyway?

Little Miss laboring wasn't as dramatic, in my memory, but with Little Green I was, as Anne Shirley put it, in the depths of despair, for the last several weeks. Her brother and sister were "a week early," she was "three days late" (oh how I disdain women being given a "day" to give birth! Like we are freaking turkeys in the oven waiting for the little button to pop up declaring gestation over!)

What was wrong with me? I thought. I lounged around the house, moping, crying, loathing the very body that was giving me these amazing kids, loathing everything about it, fat arms, bloated face, stupid freaking uterus that kept me up all night with no baby to show for it.

So much anger.

All dissolved away, of course, when that little blue-tinted face squawked up at me for the first time.

You were worth it. All of it. I thought as I held her.

But not the hating part. Oh, and I did. And I understand, so much, the bitter cancer patient, the frustrated and desolate person with chronic illness. No baby to show for your effort, as my experiences in pregnancy. Only a body, that is not doing what it is supposed to do. Give life. Give joy. Carry us through the world, strong and trustworthy.

But here is the thing. You are worth it. Even me now, with this baby, the waiting, and all the pain. I am worth it because my body is worth the love and concern and care. Because I am. Not just for the sake of the baby who will, I suppose, EVENTUALLY, come out.

But for me.

And you are too. You are worth it all.

It is easier sometimes, as I have written here before, to think of your own self as a little sister who needs special attention. So here is what I say to myself now. As I type, holding back tears.

Oh. Poor sweet Sara. I know it hurts. Sit down. Stop lunging and walking and squatting and crying out. Be at peace. Love the body that has given you so much joy. Not just the babies it has produced, but the adventures it has taken you on. The shorelines you have walked together, in mist and sun. The countries you have visited, so far from home. The wind you have felt riding horses as a teen across golden Californian fields. The hand that first squeezed the hand that you fell in love with. The mornings lying in bed, listening to birds, sun streaming in the window across your face. Perfection.

All of this. So precious. Because of this body.

And I have to say, thank you. You have not betrayed me. You have given, so much.

And I hope any of you struggling in this can find this place, though its a struggle to stay there I know (talk to me tonight at 11pm when the contractions start up again) I hope you can find the gratitude that we all seek together, despite the pain, and the self care, even when you only want to feel loathing the body you have been given to inhabit.

I'm thinking of you now, especially the few of you who I know read this space who are struggling with health issues that quite frankly just suck.

We are in this together. And we are worth it.

Hugs mamas.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

anti-recipe #i lost count Fortifying drink for pregnancy and general wellbeing

How is that for a title?? 

Yes. Still pregnant. 

Meanwhile I'm working on a perspective shift. Technically not due for 10 days. 

Time to get extra projects done! 

I found an old swaddling blanket and ripped it up for cloth diaper wipes. Dada has volunteered to cook some freezer meals this afternoon on his day off. 

The day off that would have timed out perfectly to be giving birth. 

No I'm not bitter. 

Instead I plan on going out to do what all  expectant  mothers in my situation do. Waddle around Target with gift cards in my pickle stained fingers. 


Just kidding. 

I'll wash the pickle juice off first. 

So where was I? 

Yes, my iron was a little low in my latest blood work. So for awhile I drank down the liquid herbal iron drink "Floradix" which is so much gentler on the body than pill supplements. 

But it ran out. And then we didn't get to the store. And then I remembered. I got top quality organic blackstrap molasses to make gingerbread cookies at Christmas. And something about it being really good for you? 

Yep. One tablespoon has 20% of daily iron needs. Sold. 

But how does one actually consume said molasses??

After experimenting I discovered a drink that was actually tasty and somewhat filling and quite calming on the fun third trimester nausea I've been blessed with lately. 

Fresh lemon juice. I use half a large lemon in a mug. Then a tiny bit of sugar. Now add hot water and stir in a generous spoonful of molasses until it's dissolved. I also have sprinkled in some powdered ginger. 

That's it. 

To make a Gatorade substitute for sickness or just a good mineral rehydration drink for a hot day I would add this cup to a full pitcher of cold water and sprinkle in some salt. 

Nice right?? 

Just make sure to use organic blackstrap molasses. I got mine at Target. Regular "molasses" is chock full of crap like corn syrup and doesn't have the good stuff you're after. Real blackstrap molasses also has calcium, magnesium and B6 vitamins. 

Okay. Now to eat an enormous pickly sandwich, lick my fingers clean, and waddle the aisles of Target. 

Ha. Wish me baby luck!!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

the end of days

First off, lets start off this post with maternity photos I had done by a sweet friend here on campus. The amazing thing about this community is the lovely talented people everywhere and she is totally one of them. Dude. Aren't these beautiful??

Now that we got show and tell out of the way, I have to ask, how are you guys at the end of pregnancy?

I am, um, slightly volatile. Like a pendulum I swing from desolate to manic-y stress to elated to calm to exhausted. Within an hour. All of this.

The swinging has me dizzy today. 

I am sitting in my homeschool chair, books piled on the table around me, and my crabby little man sitting on the couch saying to me, "fine mom, I'm here. What do you want me to do??" (I caught him researching strategies for the game he's addicted to on the iPad and now he's peeved at me.)

I look at him. 

He looks at me.


Here. Grammar workbook. Uh. Then some math.

I have nothing right now. 

And so, the end of days are upon us.

Every contraction I worry. But we don't have a carseat yet! Our car only seats 5!!! And dada assures me it will all be okay. 

And then I just want it all to be over. So I can move again. And not worry. And have a baby tied to my chest and get on with life. Instead of WAITING WAITING WAITING.

Again, as with the moving here. I am great at new things. Bad at transitions. 

The going back to newborn days is a transition, but one I feel like we will be okay with. Its just all the workings out of it all. Getting into that routine of feedings and little sleep and school and my new life of work and dada's crazy work schedule.




My brain does this every night from around 4-5:30am for the past several days.

Ah, the end of days.

The best thing I think, is just to put that all in the future. You can't deal with it now, dear tired Sara. So, deal with it then. Get some rest. Turn on Netflix. Eat more chocolate. 

It will be okay.

Probably, even, pretty damn good.

So I look at pretty pictures of things I want to get baby on Amazon and Target. And try to conjure up an image of me kicking ass at All The Things with a baby attached to my chest (instead of painfully wedged inside my uterus, HA)

Here is the other conundrum I face. 

Gathering all the stuff. You know. The Baby Stuff.

I gave away all my baby stuff. Well, most of it. And the rest of it is sitting in a storage unit. I did have the foresight at 10weeks pregnant before we moved to pack a few boxes of things. Some cloth diapers none of my sisters could use for their babies. Some newborn clothes I couldn't bear to give away. And my mom sent these a while back. 

But it presents me with the situation of needing new gear. Stroller. Onesies. Car seat. Bassinet. Hats. Breast pump. LORD HAVE MERCY.

So. What do you really need, for the later-in-motherhood-been-there-done-that-but-already-got-rid-of-all-the-baby-gear-stage-in-life.

What would be on your list???

(I wrote about all of this of course, back in the day, here and here and here. But let's not deny me the fun of listing out my current must-haves, k?? HAHAHA)

Here is my list of must-haves:

First off. The diaper bag. Folks. I have been carrying around the ugly stained diaper bag - littered with lollipop wrappers, crumbs of sticky granola bars, half melted crayons and wadded up wet wipes in a ziplock baggie- in one form or another for TEN YEARS NOW. I AM TIRED OF THE DIAPER BAG. Thus I have decided, mama has another baby at near-40? Mama GETS A PRETTY BAG. It will fit diapers and all the associated crap. Also a laptop, notebook and other work-ish things. YAY.


The second must have. A woven wrap. The jersey knit ones are fine and good but people, it is hot here, and I am going to be teaching this summer, with a baby tied to me half the time, walking around campus. My dark brown wrap used for Baby #3 just wont cut it. This woven one though. Such pretty happy colors, light weight, and according to the reviews the woven fabric helps it stand up longer to weightier babies. And as all my babies have reached 20 lbs by 6 or 7 months...this is a good thing. This one is an Ella Roo wrap.

These have been at the top of my wishlist for months. So yesterday. Tired day of me waddling to meetings, I come home to a package. MY SISTERS GOT ME BOTH THINGS. Seriously. Tears. 

The bag is so so lovely. 

The colors in the wrap are so so vibrant. 

I get happy walking by the stash of baby things just looking at both. 
We opted for a pack n play that moves from newborn to older baby level. We can't fit a crib in our house and as we end up cosleeping anyhow this seems like a good fit. Portable. And can be a napping and then play space for baby that is safe and contained. Thanks to a group of coworkers we have this one!

I really really want one of those click in travel system stroller deals. You know the kind. Lift sleeping baby out of car, whilst still in carseat, click into stroller, away we go to teach, run errands, chase kids hike all over campus, etc. And it has to be a jogging stroller with a true front tire that is inflatable, not the cheap-o solid plastic kind. The one here is Graco something or other.

These things matter to the fourth time mama. HA.

Also. Baby socks and shoes. Robeez style shoes are the only things that work. Period. Everything else is cute but they wont stay on. Then socks. So many tiny little cute ones. My babies all have ridiculously long skinny feet. The teeny tiny socks dont work. I have to get the stretchy kind that you can fold up.

Hmmmm. What else?

Shirts and gowns. Shirts are a must when cloth diapering a newborn. Also for the whole newborn belly button thing. Not onesies. I find that onesies simply beg to get stained, wick out leaks, and etc with cloth diapers. And really little side snap shirts with a cute diaper cover are enough for around the house in a tropical Hawaii like climate. Although new babies get cold easy so sleeping gowns are important too. Easy to hike up for middle of the night changes. And then for sure some traditional snap up sleepers with footies. 

I've also got these woolen lovelies. A little tie hat (I need to sew more!) and two shirts. They are a wool silk blend, soft, and great for layering if the evening air gets cool (like when it was 75 the other day and I was shivering...HAHA) And, I mean. They are Danish. I'm a sucker for anything baby related with a European label. 

Pacifiers. I know I know. Controversial. My babies have all benefited from a pacifier here and there. I found this kind online that now I MUST have. All natural rubber??? Yes. Please. 

As far as toys and playyards and such and such. I find that stuff to be useful, here and there, but with three adoring older siblings gazing into this little guys face all day I'm pretty sure we'll be okay with visual stimulation. HA. That said. I love wooden and natural rubber teethers and rattles. Anything mass produced in China freaks me out. I may get one of those "play mat" things down the line, but a quilt on the floor with a few toys does the same trick. 

What else? A lambskin rug. We have three sitting in our storage unit back on the mainland. Why did I not ship them?? But, this guy will need his own too. So, I found a farm that produces their own, more naturally tanned skins. Now to convince dada on the price tag. HA. But seriously, so pretty and soft looking, I want to cuddle one. I use these for diaper changes and laying baby down on for tummy time. Natural soft and warm. 

This has morphed into the most boring ass post ever. So here are some pictures of some of the wish list items I'm drooling over.  Do you see my vision here? Soft blues and greys and vibrant rainbow colors and wood teethers and natural fabrics and muslin swaddling blankets? 

Ah. Pretty. 

why would you have a giraffe teether if you can have a goat???
clearly my child
must have this book...
love the soft grey

are these bibs too hipster??
have you seen these
lit inspired baby books??

disana woolies! the best!

also, clearly my baby needs this quilt

aden and anais
 have a new baby
clothing line! i want it


I can do this.

I'm guessing 7-10 days....I can make it...

Monday, February 8, 2016

fruit and warm air

I texted my friend this morning.

I am feeling cranky and feisty and like a waddling penguin HOW AM I GOING TO DO THIS FOR THREE MORE WEEKS???

But, she rightly points out, you have all that FRUIT and you have the nice WARM AIR.

Okay. Yes.

Fruit and warm air.

We went on a little island excursion this weekend and it occurred to me I have done precious little island-y blogging lately. So, here are some island-y thoughts and pictures and such.

The friends we visited, on the other side of the island, have a little farm set up. Orchards of avocado and citrus and chickens running around through the trees, all with the ocean in the background.

It was gorgeous. And it made me realize while we like our little neighborhood and the convenience to town we really REALLY need our own little spread to make Hawaii feel like "home."

I need my chickens back.

How to make this happen, in the most expensive place to live in the country, well, eh, that is the rub. But it needs to happen to be here long term.

In any case. Our friends sent us home with boxes and boxes of fruit. Sticky ripe guava, that filled the whole car with its scent, green and ripe bananas - along with a recipe for banana egg pancakes - hard to find yellow dragon fruit, a few tangerines and oranges, and a bag of lemons including one huge variety of lemon that fills up your hand and squeezes out nearly a cup of juice for lemonade the next day.

I now have an entire counter filled with fruit.

So of course I had to do some fruit related experiments.

The results:

Guava goes a long way. Use sparingly in smoothies

Frozen banana mixed with coconut milk and cocoa makes an excellent substitute for late night ice cream. Especially if you mix in a handful of chocolate chips.

Dragon fruit, when refrigerated, is an amazing snack, peeled and fresh.

Guava rinds sitting in kombucha overnight. Mmmmm...

Up today.

Moroccan preserved lemons. Cut lemons into quarters, the long way, but leave them still connected at the bottom. Stuff with sea salt, sprinkle salt in between the lemons, let sit in a loosely covered jar for a month. They turn into yummy preserved lemons that can be used to flavor chicken and rice and hummus and all sorts of things. Can't wait to try.

I may even try banana pancakes. Our friends said to use green bananas (we have the Williams variety from them) or plantains along with a few eggs and cinnamon. Fry up like pancakes in coconut oil. BONUS (for us). It's gluten free! Or. Maybe I will convince dada to do this.

And then there is the daydreaming about a farm. Thank you God for daydreaming. Its gonna get me through the next few weeks...All I need is a little patch of land by the sea. Some lemon trees. Chickens. And a field of red berried coffee trees. And this baby to be born.

That. I need that.

those little white patches in the waves are from whales!

i love these little yellow guys...

guava, such a pretty pink color!

unpeeled dragon fruit

the peel comes right off and the fruit is like a mild sweeter kiwi

the fruit counter. um. look at that giant lemon!!!

giant lemon next to a regular lemon

a box of bananas. i found a giant cane spider drowned in my bathtub of water
i forgot to let out after these bananas were in the house overnight. they
are now living on the front porch, which the geckos appreciate.

must. eat. more. fruit.

the giant lemon

our bare plumeria out front
baby lemon trees growing in a pot in our front yard...
getting ready for my orchard by the day...

the ocean was so gorgeous last night (behind the trees) one of these days i'll get a good shot of it...

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