Emily Kaye Lazzaro

Amusing anecdotes almost entirely about myself.

15 Weeks


Yikes about stuff in the world, right? Social media is a burned-out hellscape so I might as well write something, you know what I mean? Let’s distract ourselves from the UK and Donald Trump and gun control by talking about me.

I don’t know, things are fine! I don’t feel sick anymore, which is fantastic. I feel really tired today because I didn’t get enough sleep last night. Haha this is the most boring post I have ever written. You’re kidding, Emily, you’re tired because you didn’t sleep enough?! PLEASE TELL ME MORE! GO INTO DETAIL!

The baby is the size of an avocado today. That feels big! I don’t know, I feel very hungry, but it’s fun to be hungry because then you eat and you feel better! Oh my god, will the epiphanies never cease?!

A cool thing about this pregnancy that is different from being pregnant with Evan is that I do not give A SINGLE FUCK about what I look like. Last weekend, I was at the playground with Evan and Billy and we were getting ready to leave and I got distracted by this insanely barking dog and I was like somebody get that dog away from the children and while I was thinking that very basic mom thought, I accidentally walked into a low balance beam at the playground and swiped my own legs out from under me. Now I have two disgusting bruises on my shins. Sidenote: shins are stupid. They are so tender and delicate and they are right in the middle of everything and so easily injured. Get it together, shins. Either be tougher or be in a more easily protected region of the body. I trust you to get on that, evolution. But yeah so I have these gnarly bruises, that stretch from my knees to my ankles, and are all manner of bruise colors: purple, yellow, brown, green, you name it! And I keep wearing shorts anyway. And skirts and dresses and just being like LOOK AT MY BRUISES, WORLD, I CARE NOT! You’re lucky I didn’t take a picture and post it here.

When I was pregnant with Evan, I was young enough and maybe childless enough to care about what I looked like. I was also still acting, up through the first trimester of that pregnancy, and there’s definitely some concern about physical looks associated with acting (haha she just keeps saying things nobody has ever said before, and so eloquently!) so that probably had something to do with it, but now. Oh now. Now I could not be bothered. It’s wonderful.

But I do see how those people end up on makeover shows. They stop giving a fuck in the ’90s, pick a haircut and just keep getting it forever, keep wearing that Tweety Bird sweatshirt because it’s the most comfortable one they own, and then one day a camera crew shows up at their house and it’s a big shock. If a camera crew shows up at my house in 15 years, all I’m saying is, I called it in 2016. I see where I’m headed and I’m not afraid.


Reasons I don’t want to write this blog post right now:

My hands are sweaty

I should be working on the novel

I should be working on that short story I’m building in my head

The coffee I’m drinking is hot and not iced and it’s too warm today for that noise, this must be remedied immediately

It’s been too long since I’ve updated and if you don’t update your blog with regularity, all of your posts become about how you’re sorry you haven’t written  in so long and that is boring

Reasons I need to write this blog post right now:

Writing in this blog is immediate and gratifying

Writing easy, quick things here gets the ball rolling and makes it easier for me to write “real” things

Billy and Evan are at my in-laws today so that I can write so I better start writing or I’m a hack


Now that that is out of the way. I just had to order groceries from Whole Foods on Instacart and have them delivered to me, which is the privilege-est thing anyone has ever said, if my readership was wider I’m sure it would get reposted somewhere and my character would be disparaged, and perhaps deservedly! The reason I had to do that is because I’m almost 15 weeks pregnant with a human baby and Billy just broke his arm playing soccer. And we just have the one car.

Billy notoriously breaks his arms. It’s because he’s very good at soccer and when he is in good shape and believing in himself he tries hard to win games and he is 34 and his bones are brittle. Maybe he should take a calcium supplement, I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. But this break is not as bad as when he broke his arm one week before our wedding (haha) and he can still do most things, just not lift our child, which is an annoyance but not a real crisis. I’m out of the first trimester so I have a little more energy and I’m a strong person, I can lift my baby. And Evan can walk. We are fine. We just couldn’t make it to the grocery store. And I don’t have to justify anything to you, but I ordered from Whole Foods because the Instacart prices are the same as in-store and I do what I want, okay? Okay, cool.

Anyway, I’m pregnant. Which is wonderful! And I’m feeling pretty good and am determined to have a better time of it than last time, health-wise and attitude-wise. It’s already easier because at this point I don’t give a fuck what I look like and I don’t go out to bars anymore so it’s not really that different from normal, except I can’t run and it’s tiring taking care of my son, but whatever, it’s easier emotionally. Would you guys be interested in me doing the weekly update thing that I did last time? That was kind of fun, so if you liked it leave a comment and I’ll do it again. It will be good motivation for me to continue to “be a writer.”

Also we sold our condo and are moving to a house. We are having some issues with the closing on the house and renovations are shockingly expensive and we still need to pack and move and these things are challenging with toddler, pregnancy, broken arm, but we are so lucky and privileged that I can’t even honestly get that upset about it. My perspective has been adjusted over the past few years. And the world is such a fiery garbage pile that my little slice of white person with software engineer husband just doesn’t even compare, in any way, to the challenges facing many, many people. And I see that now. I wonder if this will make my weekly pregnancy updates very boring? “Things are fine! I am very lucky!” end of blog post. But whatever, this is how I see the world now. I think it’s better this way.

Okay, this was fun! Writing in a blog is fun! Look at me, writing.

Let me know if you want more pregnancy stuff, and I’ll make it happen, goddamnit. Because I care about you. And because I love attention.

An open letter to the couple sitting next to me at the ramen place at 2:45pm on a Thursday:

spicy miso ramen

This place is usually really popular, like there’s always a line, even though it’s a hole in the wall in a glorified cafeteria. If you make good ramen, the people will come. But at 2:45pm on a Thursday, it’s almost deserted. Not totally deserted, there were a couple college kids and me, sitting by myself, playing with my phone and shoveling spicy miso ramen into my mouth like I hadn’t eaten in a decade. You, the couple I am writing this to, were seated two tables away from me. I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, but it was a weird time to be eating ramen and there wasn’t much going on and I was alone, instead of wrestling ramen into the mouth of an unruly toddler, and it was quiet, so I heard you.

You guys were not being annoying at all! You were being super normal. You weren’t sobbing or acting like zombies or anything, even. I think you were handling your situation really well. Or maybe you cried in the car or at the doctor’s and now you’re hungry because you cried through lunch. Now you’re making plans for moving forward.

I was reading articles on my phone, when I had a hand free, but mostly I was just eating as quietly as one can eat ramen. I heard you say, “He’s a gynecologist, not an OB” and I wondered if you were planning to get pregnant. I got excited for you! And then I heard you say, “yeah, like 20%, so…” which perked my ears up because I know a lot about miscarriages.

I had three miscarriages in 2013 so I know everything you can know about miscarriages, which is that they happen in 20% of pregnancies and it’s usually for some mysterious chromosomal reason that doesn’t make any sense and means basically nothing. I know that running doesn’t cause them. I know that cocaine use does cause them. So don’t do cocaine, I guess, which is good advice for anyone probably anyway. There isn’t much to know about miscarriages. They suck and they happen a lot.

I heard a few more things that started to confirm my suspicions. Then I heard the woman say, “I do still want to go away with you, though, before we can try again,” and I burst into tears. The tears were the kind that just flow out of your eyes like somebody turned a faucet on, with no accompanying sobs. I was very surprised by the crying! Just like, oop, we are crying now! I think I played off the nose blowing and face wiping by attributing it to the spicy ramen. I didn’t tell anyone the ramen was spicy, but I felt I communicated it to the waitress with my very expressive, tear-soaked eyes. “Oh man, what a spicy ramen you gave me!” my eyes said. “What a silly white person I am! I cannot handle the spice!”

I guess I cried because I remembered having that conversation. A very sad thing about having a miscarriage is that it’s sort of like finding out you are going to Disney World, buying a plane ticket, reserving a hotel room, and packing your bag, only to discover that Disney World doesn’t exist, never existed. And you have to cancel your plane ticket. And you feel stupid for ever thinking that Disney World did exist.

While I was crying I wanted to talk to you. I didn’t, because I decided there was nothing I could say that would be helpful. I thought about it, though. I thought about saying, “I’m sorry for eavesdropping but I heard you and I want you to know that I had three miscarriages and it sucks and I’m so sorry this is happening to you, hang in there.” But then I thought you would be like “holy shit, three? We just had one! There might be two more coming?” Or that you would feel like I was invading your very personal conversation. So I just paid for my ramen and left. And called my husband and cried for a few more minutes. And then it was fine.

I’m sure you guys will be okay and everything and I’m glad I didn’t talk to you because I was very clearly making your experience about myself. But whatever. Now I’m obviously making it about myself by writing about it on the Internet. My point here is that this shit happens a lot and it’s terrible and I’m sorry. I’m sorry that it happened to you and that it happens to a lot of people all the time. I’m sorry Disney World doesn’t exist right now. But it might exist later, if you try again.

The Disney World metaphor has broken down.

I’m not even sure there’s anything to be learned from having a miscarriage or two or three. I want there to be something to be learned. But it’s probably just like any kind of loss. The thing to be learned is that it happens once and then it continues to happen for the rest of your godforsaken time on this planet and there’s nothing to be done. There is so much loss and so much suffering.

But there is also spicy miso ramen. And if you’re lucky enough to be around in the mid-afternoon on a weekday, you won’t even have to wait in line for it.

Do the Work

I read somewhere once that the answer to anxiety is almost always to do the work. I try to ask myself questions sometimes when I’m feeling anxious. Why are you feeling anxious, Self? I ask. Sometimes at work the answer is “because I have to read that long email and I don’t want to.” Well, Self, I say, you know the solution to this conundrum, don’t you? Maybe, I say back. So then go ahead. And I read the long email that seemed very daunting but is, in actuality, not very daunting at all. The solution, in that scenario, is to do the work.

This doesn’t always apply, but most of the time it does. And anyway, if it doesn’t apply, it’s probably because the source of anxiety is out of my control, and therefore, who fucking cares? I can’t make it better so why worry about it in the first place? Like, I can’t control my son, after a certain point. I can contain him and give him the things he needs, but I can’t give him everything he may want, nor would that be prudent. There is no work to be done to solve the problem of having a toddler, which is a problem, in and of itself, but a temporary one with many delightful solutions, including parks and strollers and gates and Elmo. But what I’m talking about are the sources of anxiety that are exclusively due to my own laziness.

Here’s another example:
We are going to sell our condo and move to a house. We have to sell the condo first because money does not grow on trees. This means that the fun part of moving, i.e. the searching online for houses, the going to see said houses, the excitement of trying to get one of the houses, must wait. First, we have to do the HORRIBLE, EXCRUTIATING WORK of getting our house ready to be sold. It’s the worst. Seriously, you guys, it’s mighty uncomfortable to think about going through the basement and throwing away all the trash two to three people have accumulated in four years. It makes my chest feel constricted when I think about all the furniture that will have to be moved, all the culling of coats and family photographs and knick knacks and office supplies and shoes.

But then I ask myself, why are you feeling anxious about this? Because I don’t want to do it, I answer. Well, too bad, I say back. And then I make a schedule for when we will have people coming in to do some updates on the bathroom. And then I make a quick dinner and we go down to the basement and listen to Rihanna and clean out the nightmare hoarder basement. If we do it a little at a time, it is not so bad. If we just do the work, the anxiety dissipates. And we fall into bed exhausted, but progress has been made. And aren’t we the luckiest people in the fucking world, anyway? That this is the biggest cause of our anxiety? Please. We are not war-torn. We are not homeless. We are not sick.

I will leave you now with our basement-cleaning soundtrack, from your girl, Rihanna:

Rihanna and I both hope that you see this through.

Two Things

Geo Ch8 Test ans1

Thing the first: I am going to tell you a story.

On Monday evening, after Evan had dinner and right before bedtime, we had a rollicking good time. Billy works from home on Mondays, so he was there, and we were riling Daisy up, howling at her and messing around with her and trying to get her to play. Daisy is sort of bad at playing. Usually she stands near where other dogs or people are playing in a normal dog/person way and she barks/howls at them. Sometimes, when she’s with a dog she’s really comfortable with, she will get going and run around in circles and have a grand old time, but she can’t just jump into it. It takes finesse. Anyway, that’s not what this story is about.

Billy and I were howling at Daisy, lifting our chins and saying “Roooooo!” up at the ceiling, imitating Daisy’s hound dog howl. Evan was playing with Daisy by crawling into her side with the top of his head or crawling through her legs, under her belly.

At one point, Evan stopped doing his crawling/knocking into Daisy thing and stood up. And he lifted his chin to the ceiling and said, “Rooooo!”

Evan doesn’t really repeat things we say. When I say, “Can you say mama?” he looks at me with curiosity. He can say mama when he wants to, but he’s not a repeater.

This behavior continued for a few minutes.

Emily: Rooooo!
Billy: Rooooo!
Evan: Rooooo!
Daisy: Rooooo!

Et cetera.

I almost cried with joy.

Thing the second: I am going to try to explain the significance of this moment.

Sometimes when people talk about their kids they say asinine things like “Sometimes I feel so full of love that I am afraid my heart will burst,” or, like, “We are already so in love with our little one,” or other, similar meaninglessness. People say those things because that is what they feel, and those words are as close as they can come to explaining it, but as a writer, I want to do better. I want to accurately describe the indescribable.

I am trying now to put into words what it felt like when Evan howled. He was playing with us in a real way that was on par with how we were playing, which he has never done. He was being a person, maybe for the first time.

It was like…

Dreaming in a second language.

Being in 10th grade and studying for a long time and finally understanding a math concept and then taking a test and getting 100%.

Doing a perfect butterfly stroke and winning a race.

Winning any kind of race, really. Running or rowing or cycling or whatever thing you can win when you used to think you couldn’t even do the thing at all.

Listening to a song that would be playing on the soundtrack if your life was a movie, at the exact moment when, in the movie, this would be happening. Perhaps you are riding off into a literal sunset.

Being in 7th grade and telling someone you like them (like like them, in that way) and having them say that they have liked you in that way for a long time and then you kiss your very first kiss.


For the record, none of those things has ever happened to me. Maybe the 10th grade math one, but I probably got a 95%, at most. But on Monday evening, my son howled, and the way it felt was like all the things I just listed combined.

It was very nice.

How Are We Saying “Fuck The Patriarchy” Today?

Hello my dears!

I’ve been doing some thinking about my clothes.

Since becoming a mother and turning 30 shortly thereafter, I’ve done some culling of my wardrobe. My body went all over the place for awhile (I GAINED AND LOST 75 POUNDS Y’ALL) and my feet grew longer and wider and they have not shrunk back to their original size/shape. This necessitated some moving around of clothing items, some short term storage, some long term storage, some trips to Goodwill, some trips to the Internet for shopping, etc etc etc, on and on, for like two years.

Not only has my body gone through some changes, but my heart and mind have evolved a bit over this time as well. I’m significantly less interested in wearing high heels or shoes of any sort that hurt my feet. I’m more interested in comfort in general. I’m way more interested in pants.

Practicality and comfort and, to a certain extent, badass, respectable lady business clothes are becoming more of a thing in my life. And I think these new interests are a great way for me to say Fuck the Patriarchy.

How’s that, you say? Let me explain.

I used to dress a lot like Zooey Deschanel in New Girl. Lots of nipped-in waists, bright colors, and swirly skirts. The reason I dressed this way was mostly because I was more comfortable accentuating my positive physical attributes, like a narrow waist and cute pre-baby boobs, and these outfits did that for me. Another reason was because I thought it spoke to my spirit, it brought me joy, and being cute made me feel happy, comfortable, and a little powerful.

But now that I am a 30 year old mother, being cute doesn’t make me feel as powerful as it used to. Now it is more important to me that I can move quickly, sit on the floor easily, and look cool rather than cute. Young is not something I want to look. I’m not that young anymore. I want to look awesome.

One way to look awesome is to look a tiny bit ugly.

The ugliness I’m talking about isn’t the “oh I’m as beautiful as Taylor Swift but I’m wearing glasses.” It’s the “maybe I’m a little tired from trying to have it all and I’m wearing clogs and overalls and glasses and maybe half my head is shaved.”

I dressed like a cute girl when I was in my 20s I think partially, subconsciously, because of the patriarchy. I did it because my hips were wide and I thought that was bad and I should play up the other parts of me that the patriarchy deemed attractive. The power came from having qualities that men found valuable and playing them up. Now I think my power might come from having what makes me feel valuable, and not needing anyone to back it up at all. What makes me feel powerful now is moving fast, being physically strong, having a good head on my shoulders, thinking smart thoughts, and being in control of myself and my wee one.

I don’t have time to worry about my hips anymore. I need to grab a fast-moving kiddo, I need to wipe boogers and food on my pants, I need to go to work and look like someone who is in charge of money, I need to pay people to help me take care of my family. And also, these hips are fucking awesome. They birthed a baby. The grew and shrank and they carry my body around all day. My hips are cool.

So I’m not going to hide my hips anymore. I’m not going to stuff my feet into uncomfortable shoes anymore. I am working on a new uniform for this new person I am.

Fuck The Patriarchy Having It All Uniform:









That’s how I’m saying fuck the patriarchy today. How about you???

Life is Very Long

Melissa___Doug_Wooden_ABC_123_Blocks53aDetailYou know how they say that life is short? It’s not! I mean, sometimes it is, when people die when they are babies or children or teenagers or drunk college kids crossing the street (but for the grace of whatever go all of us) or young parents or even slightly older parents or even in their 50s or 60s. In that case, yes, life is very short and it’s incredibly unfair.

But on a day-to-day basis, life is pretty long. My grandmother is 91, for example. She has four great-grandchildren. What’s a couple years to Nana? Not much.

Two years used to seem like a long time. Now it feels like nothing at all to me.

I used to feel that I had to accomplish all of the things I wanted to accomplish as fast as possible or I was a fraud, a sell-out, or (much worse) a boring failure who didn’t live up to her fantastical aspirations and degrees.

Two years ago this month, I spent three days on the set of an HBO miniseries called Olive Kitteridge, in Essex, Massachusetts. I was worried about looking fat and about talking to the other actors without seeming insane or boring and about messing up my hair when I lied down for a few hours, killing time in my trailer (I was given a small slice in a long cake* of trailer that was shared with five other bit players but I still had a trailer so it was still pretty amazing). I had seven lines and you can’t really see my face in the final product, but Olive Kitteridge ended up being a really great experience and it also just won a lot of Emmys, including one for casting, which I decided is directly attributable to me (THIS IS OBVIOUSLY A JOKE).

I haven’t acted in a while, unless you consider that time I shot a carpet ad with my 6 month old baby “acting.” I don’t, really, though it did result in a paycheck. And sometimes I feel bad about this departure from one of my two artistic pursuits. But also, life is actually very long! Sometimes you have to take a little bit of a break to gain and lose 75 pounds and create life and feed an infant out of your body and keep him from dying. And then sometimes you have to get a part time job at an office because money and sanity. And then sometimes you work on writing a novel for a time. Everything ebbs and flows.

I’m writing this partially as a reminder to myself that life is long and we can only do so many things at a time. I’m trying to be more present in my life right now, instead of letting my ambition take over and make me feel like I’m not striving or hustling hard enough. Sometimes I just have to sit on the animal-hair-covered carpet in my son’s room and make stacks of blocks for him to knock down. Maybe I’ll never act again. Maybe that’s fine.

In the meantime, I’m probably adding Emmy-winning actor (category: elbow casting) to my resume.

*10 points if you remember what book I’m stealing this line from.

An Almost Perfect Beach Day

IMG_5188(The view from the beach nap)

On Saturday we went to the beach.

I love the beach, even though it is hot and hard to pull off and involves carrying heavy things and trudging over blisteringly hot tiny little rocks. I still love it. Even though it takes all day and my skin is prone to sunburns and my hair gets matted and disgusting and I sweat and sometimes my boob comes out of my bathing suit top.

I grew up near the beach and that’s probably why I love it. There’s no other logical explanation. It’s kind of terrible but also the best.

Saturday, the weather was perfect. We went to a beach on the north shore and we got there early enough that we didn’t have to wait for parking and it wasn’t too windy and the water was clear and not too cold. We brought sandwiches and chips and seltzers and we stayed for almost 4 hours.

The struggle with doing anything with a 10-month old baby in tow is that he takes 2 naps a day and if something you’re doing overlaps with one of those, good luck to you. You better get that baby asleep or shit is going south and quick. So he slept in the car on the way up, for a little bit, and when the time for second nap rolled around, we could either pack up quickly (impossible) or just get him to sleep in the baby beach tent. He was rolling around and fussing for a while when I decided to help him fall asleep by carrying him and walking up and down the beach for a few minutes. He was so tired that I knew he would fall asleep pretty quickly.

I stood at the edge of the ocean, holding my chubby baby, who was gripping me like a koala, resting his cheek on my chest, wearing only a diaper and a bucket hat. I looked at the ocean, I watched other kids playing, I swayed with my sleepy baby on the sand. It was lovely. When he was completely asleep, I made my way back to the tent to get him in the shade. On my way back a lady stopped me.

“I’m only saying this because I have four kids of my own,” she said.

Oh boy.

“1:00 sun is the worst on baby’s skin.”

Ohhh boy.

“He’s got sunscreen on,” I said, and before she could say what she wanted to say (that sunscreen doesn’t work? Who the fuck knows.) I added, “but thank you.” And walked away.

I got to the tent, managed to lie down in the shade without waking Evan, and stayed there while he napped for 45 minutes.

The worst thing about this interaction was that it distracted me from enjoying everything about the baby beach nap. Which was a very precious moment! I told Billy about it and he asked me what she looked like so he could go tell her off. I didn’t tell him what she looked like. It’s not worth it. But yowza, what an asshole.

ANYWAY. The beach is a weird and wonderful nightmaredream and I will always and forever love it, despite the heat and the sun and the cold ocean and the assholes. Once I got a sunburn so bad I had to take a day off work and if that can’t stop me going to the beach, one idiot with unsolicited advice certainly isn’t going to do it.

Birth Story

2014-10-08 18.12.18Guys! You know how I had that baby? Let’s talk about that.

When I was pregnant I loved to read birth stories. I actually loved to read everything related to pregnancy and birth and oddly I did not read anything about having an actual baby, which was probably a mistake. Eh, live and learn.

So, it only took me 7 and a half months to feel removed enough and rested enough to tell my birth story. Some people literally write their birth story from the hospital. That’s insane. But here we are. Let’s talk about the birth! It took either three days or six hours, depending on when you start counting.

Billy and I went to my doctor on October 6, 2014 for my 38 week appointment. You’re considered full term at 37 weeks, like the baby will pretty much be fine if he comes out at that point. I had high blood pressure throughout my pregnancy (and maybe before, too, who knows!) so my doctors were concerned about letting the baby hang out inside me for too long, what with how risky it is to have high blood pressure when you’re pregnant.

Sidebar: I made some mistakes when I was pregnant. Mistakes were made. Mainly, it came on the tail of a miscarriage, I had no faith in it lasting at all, I had a hard time finding the joy of the pregnancy and I sort of drowned my worry and pessimism in food and I gained all the weight. That’s probably why it was hard. I think that’s why my hips hurt and my back hurt and I had no energy. So if I could give a gentle suggestion to anyone looking to get pregnant: try to be positive about it and try not to self-medicate with bagels, if possible. And, like, go for a long walk every day, even if you’re tired. Especially if you’re tired. This is also a note to myself for future pregnancies. Treat yourself well, you are not a garbage can. But whatever, I made the choices I made and that’s what happened and everything turned out fine, so also do whatever you want.

Anyway. My blood pressure was high and they said I could be induced pretty much at any time. I was sent to have an ultrasound to make sure the baby was big enough to live in the world. He definitely was! He was measuring at 9 pounds and change so my doctor said we could schedule the induction for any time. We scheduled it for the next day. THEN BILLY AND I FREAKED OUT.

Billy frantically nested. I ate a lot. I think I ate a lot to deal with literally everything that happened to me during my pregnancy. Whatever, choices were made! We called my mom and she got on the road. I wanted her to be in the hospital with us when I gave birth because pregnancy made me a better daughter.

The next morning, October 7th, we showed up for my first dose of Misoprostol. I used to be scared of that drug because of the internet, but it was fine and whatever to all of that stuff.

I thought I would get one, maybe two doses of Misoprostol and then labor would kick in and I’d push a baby out and we’d be done. It took six doses and it didn’t really kick off labor at all. It, like, softened my cervix a little. Those first two days of the induction involved a lot of waiting and a lot of lying on a very uncomfortable cot in triage, in small rooms with no extra chairs. I would take a tiny pill, I would lie on a cot with a fetal monitor on my belly for an hour, I would leave the hospital for three hours, then I would return to the hospital for another dose. We went home to sleep that first night and I had some contractions but then they stopped and I went to sleep. By the sixth dose on the second day, October 8th, my doctor (who was also extremely pregnant at the time, actually due before me) had had about enough. She said we should get things moving.

She gave me a horrible nightmare thing called a foley catheter, which is a little balloon that is put up in  your cervix and filled with some kind of fluid and it mechanically opens your cervix. Ahhhh. Haha. I’m remembering. It was so bad, guys. Yikes. Yikes yikes yikes. It didn’t cause contractions, it just caused lots and lots of steady pain. I was pitching all over the place. I was supposed to stay in bed with the fetal monitor on, but it wasn’t working. I couldn’t do it, I was all over the place. I felt like a wild animal trapped in something who decides she should gnaw her own paw off. I would have gnawed something off if it would have helped. I asked to have them pull it out and they were like “no.” It was mean.

Eventually this tiny magical nurse convinced my doctor to let me get out of bed and go sit in the shower. Billy and my mom took turns spraying me down with hot water, like an elephant getting a bath. I felt like an animal a lot during this ordeal. The hot water really helped, inexplicably. I really don’t know how it worked, I thought I might die and then a little water from a shower head makes me feel okay? How, even? But it did.

Once I felt a little more steady, it was midnight I think at this point, I went back to the bed and they gave me an antihistamine to help me sleep. I slept until 5am on October 9th when my doctor came in and said the catheter had done its job and was ready to come out. I was dilated 4 centimeters.

After the catheter came out, they started me on Pitocin, which I had initially wanted to avoid, but was unavoidable in an induction like mine. It was actually fine! My fear was related to what happened to me when I was recovering from a surgery I had after my second miscarriage. I came out of anesthesia and was on a big dose of Pitocin and found myself in a shocking amount of pain. So I didn’t want to do that again. But also, after the foley catheter, that Pitocin pain was absolutely nothing.

The Pitocin was doing its job but could only go so far. Around 11am my doctor broke my water. Then the real labor started. My contractions got really intense and really frequent. I wanted to hold off on an epidural for awhile to see if I even really needed it (hahahahahahaha), so I asked for nitrous oxide, aka laughing gas, aka my dad’s favorite part of going to the dentist. This hospital has it for women in labor and it’s sort of a pilot program in the U.S. Apparently they use it a lot in the U.K. Why, I could not tell you. It was… not helpful.

A contraction would come and I would breath really deeply from this mask thing connected to a tank of nitrous. Then I would feel really drunk and nauseous and still in all of the pain. I almost barfed and then I said TAKE THIS THING AWAY AND GET ME AN EPIDURAL EVERYBODY PLEASE.

It felt like a long time between when I asked for the epidural and when I was free of the pain. There were two really difficult parts of this labor, the first being the foley catheter and the second being when they were inserting the epidural. I had to stay completely still, sitting up, through like a million insane contractions while they put a big needle in my spine. I didn’t feel the needle but the staying still part was really hard. I just screamed in Billy’s face and squeezed him too hard. I was literally screaming at the top of my lungs. My contractions were coming every 30 seconds and I was just screaming. Yikes!

But once the epidural was in, I felt… totally normal and perfect. I started texting my friends. I took a selfie. Everything was the best. I’ve learned some things here. The first is that I shouldn’t have eaten so much and gained so much weight during my pregnancy and the second is GET THE EPIDURAL AS SOON AS THEY WILL LET YOU. It’s magic!

After the epidural it was really fun. We joked and laughed and everything was great. Then, about an hour later, I felt like I needed to push. I had pretty much dilated to 10 centimeters in that one hour.

Here’s something real: pushing is pooping. They are the same. I guess they’re not literally physically the same, but when I felt like I had to push it felt like having to poop and when I pushed I was just trying to poop. And it worked great! And I pooped the bed and nobody cared.

All of my doctors were hilariously unavailable when I started pushing, and I think they thought it would be kind of a while of pushing so there was no need to freak out, but it was not that long and my very level-headed nurse pretty much delivered the baby by herself. She called in a backup doctor but by that point the doctor basically had time to put on her outfit and catch the baby as he came out. I pushed for 35 minutes and Evan was born at 5:35pm on October 9th. He was 20 inches long and weighed 8 pounds 7 ounces.

When he came out I was sort of in shock. I couldn’t believe there was a baby there with me. They brought him up to me and I held him and it was very nice. I don’t know how to explain it. It was sort of magic.

I was so happy after Evan was born. I was so relieved and free and proud. I ate a plate of hospital chicken parmesan and it was possibly the best meal of my life.

The time in the hospital was really special to me. It’s just a very nice thing to be totally taken care of by professionals. As soon as we got home I got the baby blues (sharp decline in hormones results in this deep, scary sadness and dread for a little while) and then after that I had normal new mom stuff where I didn’t really know what was going on for, oh, 3 and a half months. Evan was a great nurser but he did it for comfort a lot and that meant he kind of nursed constantly throughout his newborn months, which was pretty taxing for me. I watched a lot of TV. I tried to get out of the house once a day. Oh man, it’s pretty crazy remembering that time. My life is already so different.

Now Evan loves food. He eats pretty much everything we give him. Spinach, green beans, bread, peas, sweet potatoes, literally every fruit ever, eggs, zucchini, etc etc etc. He loves Daisy and Petunia. He loves bouncing with his legs and putting blades of grass in his mouth. He loves it when I sing Giants in the Sky from Into the Woods. He sleeps through the night. Our lives have evened out. I ran a 10k last weekend. I’ve almost lost the pregnancy weight. My play is opening next Friday. We have this new and different and better life now. Everything is actually the best.

Thanks for reading my birth story, you guys! It feels good to write it, therapeutic kind of. I hope it feeds your hunger for birth stories if you’re pregnant! Birth stories are the best when you’re pregnant. Almost as good as all of the food.

Oh and if you want information about that play I mentioned, here it is. Come see it, we can hang out, that would be so fun.

The Best Valentine’s Day


Valentine’s Day can be a real pain in the ass. Somebody’s expectations are too high. Somebody else thinks they are in a relationship with someone who is very cool and blasé about Hallmark holidays, but that somebody is wrong. Or maybe somebody is single and truly, fuck Valentine’s Day when you’re single. You can have all the lady hang outs and bottles of wine you want, but the only thing that will make you feel better is the dawn of February 15th. For the most part, in my experience Valentine’s Day has sucked a bag of butts, but there were a few that were okay.

The Best Valentine’s Day When I Was Single

In 2007 I was a senior in college in Boston. On Valentine’s Day there was a terrible snow/ice storm. Classes were cancelled at 3pm. My friends and I could not believe our good fortune. We put on boots and collected at one apartment in the disgusting college ghetto of Ashford Street in Allston, Massachusetts. Since it was Valentine’s Day and we were mostly single and many of us had a penchant for the dramatic, things escalated quickly. My friend Michael had a giant hollow glass boot that he filled with 5 hard ciders (he had to drink cider because he had celiac disease before it was trendy). He clinked the giant glass boot with someone and it instantly shattered, sending 5 hard ciders everywhere. That’s how the night started.

At one point, someone decided to strip down to his boxers and run across the street. In an ice storm. So we all did it, obviously.

After the collective ice storm underpants run, I guess I was drunk enough that I started getting sad that I didn’t have a boyfriend. So I collected a few single lady friends and we went to a bar to score some dudes. It didn’t pan out, but it was fun, I think.

It’s possible that it was not fun at all, in the moment. It’s likely I would have had more fun watching movies and eating brownies with fewer friends and less alcohol. But it was also the last time I spent Valentine’s Day single. As such, it was a necessary rite of passage. You can’t just run across the street in your underwear in an ice storm on Valentine’s Day all the time. It doesn’t make sense when you’re married with a kid. If I tried to pull that shit now, my neighbors would probably notify child services or have me committed. But 2007 was my year to make bad decisions born of alcohol and disappointment.

The Best Valentine’s Day When I Stayed Home

I left my office job in 2011 to write full time and my husband and I started feeling the financial burn a few months after. Valentine’s Day always ends up being expensive and maybe for no reason? What I really want, every year, is a night on the town that involves perfume and a nice meal and a cocktail and probably old-timey dancing, but all that stuff gets really expensive and if it’s only for me, it feels unnecessary and uncalled for. It almost seems like it’s the kind of thing people do to rekindle the spark of their failing marriages. My happy marriage doesn’t need that kind of crap. We are secure in our love for each other.

But whatever, I like that crap.

Anyway it didn’t matter in 2012 because we didn’t have the money to go traipsing around town, drinking champagne out of golden whatevers and eating diamonds. We stayed home, but I tried to make it special. I bought some nice steaks and oysters and wine. And whoops, it cost like $100. And I’m not a chef and actually was a vegetarian for 12 years so I’m still sort of bad at cooking meat and I cooked the steaks poorly and we weren’t even really saving much money at all and no strangers saw me in a cute outfit. What was even the point?

I know there’s a larger question I should be asking myself here, about why I need strangers to see me in a cute outfit, but that’s not what we’re talking about. Related: when watching the Super Bowl this year I kept thinking that it must be so much fun to play in the Super Bowl because of all the bright lights and all the people that are looking at you. Isn’t it fun to learn things about yourself?

Anyway this wasn’t the best Valentine’s Day for me, because I am an extrovert who loves events and change and movement. This was the best Valentine’s Day for my husband who loves home and food and comfort and staying the same. If you are like him, this would be your best Valentine’s Day.

The Best Valentine’s Day When I Went Out

Last year, my husband and I had just come out of a nightmarish series of sad losses in our lives. Having a bunch of terrible things happen to you makes you a little careless with money, so when Valentine’s Day rolled around we made a reservation at the restaurant where my husband proposed five years earlier. I think he was trying to make me happy. We ordered the giant fancy steak for two and it was maybe the best meal of my life. We went to a bar after dinner and played songs on the jukebox. This was my favorite Valentine’s Day and it was so unlike my husband, but he did it for me and I had to ultimately let him convince me that it was what he wanted too.

Sometimes maybe it’s best to just let your significant other do something for you that isn’t their ideal. Maybe that’s the best way to manifest love. Or to even have it end up being something you want because what you want most is for the person you love to be happy. Maybe that’s what Valentine’s Day is about now. Doing something you hate because someone you love wants you to, and that makes you hate it less.

Or maybe the best Valentine’s Day is whatever is best for you: ignoring it entirely or eating brownies and watching movies or getting wasted and running through an ice storm in your panties.