They put our baby up on my chest as they were wiping him off. He was perfect. Round little head (even after an hour of pushing), pink skin, and all his parts were exactly where they were supposed to be. Except for one major surprise. That head of black hair that I had expected? It was strawberry blonde.
Shortly after I got back into bed I started feeling contractions. They were mild, but definitely more than Braxton Hicks. I was able to sleep through them pretty well until about 5am, when I woke and decided to time a few. They felt solid at this point and were coming regularly, but weren’t anything that I felt worth waking Chris up for yet. I got out of bed, grabbed a coconut water and a protein bar and went into the nursery. I bounced on the yoga ball for a bit, but spent most of the time bent over the heating unit, looking out the window at the city. As the contractions came, I began making low moaning noises to get through them.
At about 7, I went in and woke Chris up and let him know that I was in labor. We timed a few contractions together before I went ahead and called Stacey. She was happy to hear that things had started, told me to have a good breakfast while I still felt like eating, and to let her and Ali know when things got more intense and when I called our doula to come. I told her that I was managing things pretty well and actually wasn’t sure that I was going to need or want the doula there but that we’d see. As I was getting off the phone with her, I could feel another large gush of fluid, after which the contractions began to feel stronger.
Chris made us tofu scramble and brown rice English muffins for breakfast. I texted our doula as I was eating to let her know that things had finally started and that I’d keep her posted as they progressed.
Shortly after breakfast, I was standing near the kitchen and a particularly strong contraction came on that brought me to my knees. When I got up, I was shaking and felt suddenly cold. Knowing that these can be symptoms of transition, I asked Chris to call the midwives while I got into the shower. I needed to warm up and I also wanted to get one last shower in while I could.
This is the story of my homebirth, told in three parts (to give your eyes a rest). I couldn't cut it down or it would have been incomplete. And let's be honest, a couple days of water breakage plus 16 hours of labor isn't exactly going to be a quick tell. A word of reminder to my male and/or squeamish readers: the following is a birth story. I'm going to talk about my underwear and use words like "discharge" and "placenta". You've been advised.
And to give a little more background, we had two midwives at our birth. Normally it would have just been one midwife and an assistant, but our midwife Stacey added another midwife to her practice halfway through our pregnancy. Ali started out working in hospitals (where Stacey also started out and where most midwives practice) and was attending Stacey's births alongside her while she made the transition to being a homebirth midwife. So we kind of lucked out and got two midwives for the price of one. We also had a doula, Jax, present for our labor. We feel so lucky to have had each of these women as part of our "team". They were all wonderful and each contributed to making the experience truly special.
One month ago Chris and I officially became parents.
Roman Raphael LoSacco was born at home on January 26 at 5:57pm. He weighed in at 7lbs 6oz, measured 22 inches long, and arrived with a head full of surprising strawberry blonde hair. His first name is a nod to his place of conception (something I'm sure he'll love hearing as he gets older)--though, truth be told, it was also the one name that Chris and I agreed on. His middle name was given in honor of Chris' grandmother, Raffaela, who passed away last summer.
Giving birth at home was an incredible experience; even the prenatal care that we received in planning for a homebirth was so special and amazing. Chris and I couldn't be happier with our decision and can't imagine having done things any differently. I'm still gathering my thoughts and working on writing it out, but I will definitely share the story of our little man's birth in a future post.
When I announced that I was pregnant back in August, I didn't intend for that to be the last post I'd write for nearly five months! I really wanted to start churning out recipes again and sharing all the beautiful and delicious details of our trip to Italy with you. Part of the reason I haven't yet is because I literally don't have enough space on my computer for the photos from our trip, and the task of creating space is just as big and looming as actually sorting and editing the photos. It's starting to look like an Italy recap may be a slow project for sleepless nights as a new parent. As far as new recipes go, pregnancy has made my tastes and appetite a little wonky and, honestly, creative cooking just hasn't been as much of a priority these days.
I did want to pop in before the year officially ends, however, and at least give you all an update on things.
I can hardly believe how long I’ve been absent from here, and how much has happened in my time away.
Our trip to Italy was incredible, so much so that, even after three weeks, we still wished we’d had more time (details to come). On the day that we left for our trip, we walked a few blocks down the street and signed a lease on a new apartment in a new building in our neighborhood—a decision that we had only begun seriously investigating with the arrival of our lease renewal a few days earlier. We moved about a month after we returned home. A week after the move, Chris’ grandmother—the most selfless, kind-hearted person I’ve ever known—passed away.
It’s been a lot.
But one of the very biggest happenings has been less obvious. It’s still not something that many people know or that anyone at this point would readily guess.
Sometime in early February or so, Chris and I will be adding a furless baby to our family.
Mother's Day is usually a day for flowers, brunches, spa certificates, and warm celebration. It's a day where we think of and share our love for all of the mothers in our lives. I, of course, am thinking of my own mother and how grateful I am for all that's she's done and all that she is. I am also thinking of my mother-in-law, who brought my best friend and husband into this world. Additionally, I am full of warm thoughts for my extended family members and dear friends who have taken on this incredible role.
But today I also have another group of mothers in my thoughts--the ones who are exploited daily and aren't allowed to live out their motherhood as a result of our dietary decisions. Below are a few articles I've come across that speak to those uncelebrated mothers and felt poignant for this day.
If you're not already vegan, maybe try avoiding eggs and dairy--just for today. Do it for the mothers who aren't voiceless (they cry out for their babies), but whose voices don't sound like our own and so go ignored. For as Sayward Rebhal said in her piece:
"...we are responsible to one another. To stand with mothers—all mothers—in honoring that precious, primitive, magnificent act of mothering."
Okay, actually “today” is about a week ago. I’m writing this before we leave for Italy, so that you will see it on the appropriate date; I’m not planning on doing any active blogging while we’re away. As you’re reading this, we’ll have just spent several days in Rome and will be embarking on our first in Florence. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that we’re having a really good time.
For this anniversary, I don’t have any crazy insights about blogging to share. I don’t have a redesign to launch. I don’t have a recipe (though if I were going to celebrate with one, this would be it). Maybe it’s because I’m writing this a week early, or maybe it’s just because things feel so blissfully comfortable here lately that it feels like enough to simply give three years a nod.
And to say thank you.
These past few months have seen me through a lot of personal changes, and there were many times when I was nervous to share them here. You guys have been so incredibly supportive, lending kind words of encouragement and continuing to read. I can’t thank you enough for that. I really love creating and sharing in this way, and it means a lot that you’re here—even if I have become a kale-lovin’ vegan yogi.
I'll have at least one more post lined up for you while we’re away, and then I’ll be back with a debriefing about Italy. Stay tuned.
I still haven't totally processed this, but Chris and I will be spending a considerable chunk of next month in Italy. In fact, we leave next week--which feels even further from comprehension.
Our stay will take us through Rome, Florence, Venice, and Milan, plus a week in a villa on a farm. We're planning to spend a little time seeing some sights and a whole lot of time sitting in piazzas and getting gloriously lost as we wander and explore. During our villa stay, we'll relax and take a few day trips. Also--one of the most exciting parts--we will have a kitchen in our apartment. You didn't really think I'd go almost a month without cooking, did you?
I've heard so many great things about how Italy handles gluten-free and am hearing positive things about vegan dining there as well. I'd love to hear from you, though. If you've been to Italy, what are your tips for eating GF and/or veg? Did you find it easy or difficult? Any specific restaurants that shouldn't be missed? Also, if you have any non-food travel tips, opinions on must-see attractions, or insider advice about out-of-the-way gems, please leave them below as well.
Many ideas crossed my mind as potential rewards for completing our 21-Day Challenge. They ranged from treating myself to a juice cleanse or a spa treatment to purchasing a new piece of jewelry or splurging on clothing from one of my favorite shops. Ultimately, I decided on something more permanent, something that would honor my yoga practice and also serve as a symbol of my commitment to a vegan lifestyle.
On Saturday night, for the first time in almost eight years, I got a new tattoo.