Hello Lua!

Lua’s birth story:

40 weeks

I was several days past my due date of June 13th and doing everything I could to keep myself from going crazy.  Prenatal yoga, lunch and shopping with my mom in the Mission, a hike with Josh on Mt. Sutro and climbing the 300 mosaic stairs on Kirkham and 15th, floating in the pool at the Nob Hill Spa… but Miss Lua was taking her sweet time.  Just like her older sister, Lua Magnolia was born 5 days past her due date. And once again I went into labor at 2am!

IMG_3240

I had been having regular contractions for two days actually but these were finally the real deal. Josh’s mom and sister had been spending the night at our apartment for several nights, ready to watch Tilly if we had to up and leave.  When the time came, we packed up a few things and were at the hospital by 3am. I labored in triage for about an hour before the doctor saw me and at that time I was finally admitted to a labor room. We were prepared with an extensive playlist for the labor but when the time came, all I wanted to listen to was Haim… I guess I needed some girl power to get me through. With Tilly I felt most of my contractions in my back but this time it was all in my lower abdomen. Josh compressed my hips during each contraction and the pressure really helped. Still, I requested an epidural as soon as I could. I had been throwing up, sweating profusely, and shaking from the adrenaline… As soon as the epidural hit I was so relieved! The nurse brought me a Popsicle and I just chilled out, it was an incredible relief.

IMG_3245

By 8:30 I was dilated enough to start pushing! Even with the epidural, I could feel the top of my belly tighten with each contraction so I intuitively knew when to push. UCSF is a teaching hospital, so there were a ton of people in the room at that point. My mom was there, crying tears of joy from the corner, plus the midwife, two residents, two nurses, and one very fragile-looking undergrad watching from the corner… They got her a chair part way through the labor, I think she was about to faint! All of the doctors and nurses were women and each of them was totally beautiful. I swear, it was like I was on a TV show or something, they were all young and gorgeous and brilliant. I had to hold off pushing through a few contractions because the midwife got pulled away to another birth, but all in all I think I only pushed 5 or 6 times, and out she came at 9:33! Wow, the feeling of cathartic relief after Lua left my body was incredible.

IMG_2992

She was 7lbs 12oz and 19.5 inches long. They set her on my chest immediately and Josh got to cut the umbilical cord! He didn’t get that chance with Tilly so he was pretty psyched. Oh my goodness what a gorgeous baby she was! That full head of hair, it must have been an inch long! I felt like she was ready for preschool the moment she was born. She nursed immediately, for a full hour.  At 10:30 Tilly came in and we were a family of four for the first time! I’ll never forget the adoration on Tilly’s face when she saw Lua. “She’s soooo cute!!” The brilliant nurses brought Tilly some celebratory ice cream as a gift from her sister, it was so sweet.

IMG_3246
My dad and Jolynn, Kyle and Kate, Will, Rachael and Westley, and Josh’s family all visited us in the hospital the next couple of days. Just as we were about to go home I developed a pretty bad headache that turned out to be a spinal headache from the epidural. It lasted for 3 days and the only way to make it go away during that time was to lay completely flat on my back. A pretty strange and annoying phenomenon to say the least!

IMG_2976

We’ve been home now for 2 weeks and Lua has been super easy going. The hardest part for me has been breast feeding – it just made me miserable and I stopped after about a week.  Lua lost 12.5% of her body weight within the first week (normal loss is 5-10%) so we started supplementing with formula pretty early on. I’m happy to say at her 2 week check up today, Lua had reached her birth weight again!  Now she (and I) can sleep for four hour stretches at night – Yahoo!  My body has recovered remarkably fast compared to last time. I swear, after birthing Tilly it hurt to walk for weeks, but with Lua I felt pretty normal from the moment we came home from the hospital.  And I don’t really know how it’s possible, but I’ve lost 22 lbs since giving birth two weeks ago, with virtually no effort.  Our bodies are incredible, to say the least.

IMG_3008

Josh is home with me for paternity leave through the end of this week, so I really need to soak it up. He has been taking Tilly to school in the mornings – it’s going to be a lot harder when I have to get all three of us out the door on my own! I’m glad we’re easing into it.

IMG_3160

A lot of people have asked us where we got the name Lua.  I think it’s funny that it really does sound like a normal name to me, but it doesn’t have entries on the popular name websites like nameberry.com or babynames.com.  The name comes from a Bright Eyes song that Josh and I really loved when we started dating.  It’s kind of a sad song, but it’s really beautiful and symbolizes that special time in our lives.  I’ve had the melody stuck in my head the last two weeks, I just love it.  It also means “moon” in Portuguese, which I think is a perfect complement to the sunshine baby shower we had for Tilly.  They’re like yin and yang, opposites but perfectly balanced – kind of like me and my own sister actually.  And a magnolia is my favorite tree, although the name may also be subconsciously inspired by our favorite neighborhood restaurant, Magnolia Gastropub.  I love to sing “Sugar Magnolia” by the Grateful Dead and “Miss Magnolia” by Matt Costa to her as I sway her to sleep each night.

IMG_3063

This weekend we’re going on a little trip to Discovery Bay for the Fourth of July, and we also just booked a flight to San Diego at the end of this month for Josh’s cousin’s wedding (Tilly’s the flower girl!).  Life rolls on, even after such life-altering events.  But now it’s a little sleepier and a lot sweeter!

IMG_3035

Four.

10407941_10100484091903099_4257124392573827898_n
Tilly turns four tomorrow and although I am taken aback by how swiftly the time has passed, I feel like she could be turning fourteen just as easily.  She charms the pants off of everyone she meets and befriends almost every adult in her path.  Kids?  Pshhh.  I want to get to know their parents and I’m going to ask them detailed questions about their lives until the cows come home.  The other day she offered advice to her school-mate’s mom about how to take care of the her dying plant.  Whenever I pick her up early from school, she has one of the teachers cornered, asking stories about their husbands, their youth, their houses, their weekend plans.  Her favorite thing to ask people is about “medical stories” – when they have broken bones or been in car accidents and how they got better.  Luckily, as an athletic trainer, Josh is a daily source of new medical stories and she just soaks it up. Family_dinner_date_with_my_loves.

The other thing I’ve noticed about Tilly this year is what a nurturer she is.  In my 39-week pregnant state, she is gravely concerned about my well being!  She’ll offer a hand to help me get up off the couch even when I don’t ask.  We often take showers together and she will thoroughly wash every single part of my body with such care and thoughtfulness.   It reminds me of that Audrey Hepburn quote, “if you want to have beautiful hair, let a child run her fingers through it every day.”  I’ve never been so clean or pampered and am just in awe of the love she drenches me in… and my God, she’s only three years old!

11264882_10100469611796349_5953801680451695198_n

I walked in the living room this morning and she had turned on the record player by herself and was dancing to The Seekers covering “The Times They Are A’ Changing”.  I just sat down on the bench and marveled at her, but then she pulled me up and we twirled around together in the yellow morning sun.  It was beautiful.

11235394_10100469611906129_6000097129942997236_n

We had a lovely little park celebration for her fourth birthday in Golden Gate Park last weekend.  I scheduled it early, since I’m due a week after her real birthday, and luckily I had plenty of friends and family to help put it all into action.  We invited ten girls and their parents – they decorated foam crowns and strung wooden bead necklaces and had their faces painted by Grandma Jill and joyfully ate cake with their hands because I forgot the forks.  When it was time to sing Happy Birthday, I let her make the announcement to the party guests herself.  “It’s cake time everyone!! Come on over!!” she bellowed.  Despite the foggy 61 degree weather, it was perfect.  The least I could do for my little peach.  Although I get wistful for the way she was at 1, 2 and 3 years old, I would never trade her current self in for one of them.  She’s a beacon of light in our lives and I treasure every moment I get with her!

11010613_10100490795623789_8623682243919794423_n 11350408_10100490453753899_4378494913647008966_n

Love Day

We spent our Valentine’s Day at Baker Beach, basking in the sun just west of the Golden Gate Bridge.  (But staying out of that frigid water!)  Tilly was especially talkative, and chatted with some crab fisherman for the better part of an hour.  That night we made a heart-shaped pizza and assembled Tilly’s new big girl bed.  Pretty fantastic day!  New bedroom pics to come.

10995282_10100423340125149_7658404997583383947_n

23 weeks

IMG_9984IMG_9976

One of us is 23 weeks pregnant.  The other is not…  Also, Tilly got a haircut!!

22 weeks

We’re so excited to be bringing another girl into our family! Tilly came with us to the ultrasound and just kept repeating “I’m having a baby sister!” the entire time. She seemed pretty relieved, haha.

IMG_9924
I’ve still been feeling great, with the most boring pregnancy of all time. I’ve gained 14 lbs and have been feeling kicks since about 18 weeks!

We’ve been traveling a ton – we’ve flown to SoCal every 2 weeks since thanksgiving for holidays, a work meetings, a wedding, etc. Our plan is to stay put until mid-March, when Tilly and I board yet another plane to Long Beach, to go camping on Catalina Island with my work. The last time we did that I was pregnant with Tilly!

I’m having fun organizing Tilly’s room to make space for the baby. We considered getting T a twin bed but man-they’re huge! She’s going to finally move out of her crib and into a simple toddler bed from toys r us. I love the ceremonious prep work for welcoming a new baby. I know she won’t need the crib until a few months after she’s born but it’s just nice to transform our space as we prepare for her arrival.

In other news, we cut Tilly off of her pacifier, cold turkey! She was still using it at night and it was just time.  After one week, she still cries for it every night but it is getting easier. I recently noticed that when she closes her mouth, her molars touch but her front teeth don’t and it freaked me out. I had always hoped she’d just get rid of it on her own but we had to go and pull the plug ourselves. She got to trade them all in for a new toy, which helped ease the pain too.  She chose a purple unicorn named Nicholas (but it’s a girl).

I’ll end with this video, which we made for my brother John’s birthday last week.  Lately we’ve been baking sweets for far-away family members birthdays and then just sending them pictures of us eating them in celebration of them.  It’s fun to celebrate far away!

The happiest place on Earth

Last month we took Tilly to Disneyland for the first time!! It was an especially big deal for Josh and me since we spent so much time there growing up. We were already in OC for a wedding and a few days before we left, we decided to extend our trip by one day and go for it. We were thinking about going later this spring but 18 weeks pregnant at Disneyland is much easier than 30 weeks!


Two nights before we planned on going, Tilly spent the whole night throwing up. It was actually the first time she’s thrown up since she was a baby and she was pretty disgusted by the whole thing. She never had a fever, but the point of me including this detail is that she was at about 75% energy by the time we went to Disneyland on Sunday. It was a blessing in disguise because she never got too wound up or had any meltdowns or anything. It was smooooth sailing the whole day!

She went on three rides, Dumbo, It’s a Small World, and Peter Pan, and was most excited to meet all the characters, Ariel, Merida, the Ferry Godmother, Peter Pan, Minnie Mouse, etc. My sister and Frank met us after lunch and it was so cute to see the little cousins frolicking around together. The worst part of the day was the automated flushing toilets. Tilly wanted nothing to do with them! Luckily we found the family bathroom on main street, which has toddler-sized toilets with nice, normal flushing mechanisms. Phew!

We watched a parade right before we left around 5pm, which Tilly was mesmerized by. She thought the whole place was magical, and I quite agree!!

21 weeks

IMG_9779

Starting to feel lots of kicks!  Itching to get Tilly a toddler bed and convert the crib back to a… crib.

20 weeks

IMG_9711Halfway there.  Hard to believe – feels like I’m just getting started.

So Much Joy

Here’s a peek at our Christmas Holiday.  It’s funny how excited we get to put up our decorations after Thanksgiving, and then how we can’t WAIT to take them down after New Year’s!  This holiday was especially exhausting for me. Oh wait, do I say that every year?  We had Christmas Eve and morning at home in SF, then we flew out Christmas day to spend the night at my dad and step-mom’s.  The next day was at Josh’s parent’s house, and the day after that was at my moms.  Sunday we flew home, and then on Monday Josh’s parents came to visit for 5 days.  They were helping Josh’s sister move in to her cute new Alameda apartment – lucky for us, they drove all the gifts we acquired back home, haha.

I so wanted to add “In the Morning” by Jack Johnson as the soundtrack to this video, but Facebook, Vimeo and YouTube kept busting me for copyright protection, so I’m stuck with this cheesy stock music.  Oh well!  If you know that song, sing it in your head.  It was my Christmas theme song this year.

And these are the gifts we keep
And this is the morning that we breathe
And then we see
These moments are the only gifts we need

18 weeks!

IMG_9371

Feeling great! Wearing lots of black!