Thursday, April 29, 2010

Vickie's Voo-Doo + Megan's Magic= Singer's birth

Hello, blog-world. I'm back from a short birth to my son took some time and energy away from writing :) Singer Nash Noel was born (happy and healthy) on April 26, 2010 at 11:11 pm. He weighed 7.9 and was 21 inches long. I love these stats...I say them over and over in my mind. He's perfect!

Singer's birth story is especially unique, and I want to share it with you.

On the morning of April 26th, I had a midwives' appt. scheduled for 10 AM. I thought I was seeing Randi, but when I got there, I found out I was seeing Vicki. We hadn't seen Vicki since our first couple appointments, and John and I laughed that this would be our last appointment because Vicki represents our Alpha and Omega. I was 39 weeks and four days, and I still hadn't had an internal exam, so we really had no idea what was going on "in there". Vicki gave me no choice, which was good. Every time the midwives give me a choice for anything, I always decline (especially after the Quad Screen episode). So, when Vicki said "you're getting an choice" I was excited to finally find out if I was dilated and effaced.

While she was examining me, saying I was about 80% effaced and about four centimeters dilated, Vicki looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Do you want me to help you?" I knew what she meant. She could move things along, and I trusted her. I said YES. She stripped my membranes (which hurt like hell!!) and that was that. By the time I got home from the appointment, I was in labor.

At first, I wasn't sure. I was definitely feeling a different kind of "crampy" sensation than the feelings I had been having for the past couple weeks. The contractions started in my lower back, and wrapped up around my belly. They felt warm, but they didn't hurt. And they were coming about every nine minutes. Then seven minutes. Then FIVE minutes. I called my husband. John hopped on the subway and was on his way home. I still wasn't sure if this was the real thing, so I called Mom and Shannon. I told both of them that I wasn't really in any pain, but things were in pretty regular patterns. Mom said that her contractions weren't really painful until after her water broke, and Shannon thought that maybe I wasn't in labor because she said contractions HURT! Fortunately, I didn't have to keep guessing because by the time John got home, I was feeling those contractions in the most intense way.

We called the midwife who was on "duty" at the hospital, and she said we could come in whenever. I labored at home for as long as I could (from about 1:30PM to 5:30PM), and then I told John that it was time to go. He loaded me, the birthing ball, our suitcase, and the Quilt of Love (a VERY important blanket) up in the Corolla, and off we went to Center City to deliver our baby...smack dab in the middle of rush hour. Now, every one told me that the worst part about labor was riding in the car...but, I was so deep in meditation and my breathing routine that I really didn't notice. We didn't hit too much traffic along the way, and by the time we got to the hospital it was 6:00 PM.

Estella (midwife on duty) met us in the assessment unit to determine whether or not I was really in labor (ha ha). She said I was dilated to a five, and we could stay. HURRAY! I'm really in labor! This was when things started getting weird. I started bleeding...really bad. My blood pressure sky-rocketed and there was enough blood to worry every single person who came into the room. Estella told me that I would have to be hooked up to EFM so that they could monitor my baby's heart rate. If the blood was actually from the placenta, the baby's heart rate would signal distress. Estella and the nurses didn't know where the blood was coming from, but they weren't too worried because the baby's heart rate was fine. The only problem, for me anyways, was that I was now hooked up to a monitor. Up until this point I had been pacing through my contractions. But, now I had to remain in one spot so that I didn't disturb the EFM. So, John scooped me up for every contraction, and I leaned into his chest while standing and swaying. We literally did this for about five hours. John held me up for each contraction, and I truly believe that the vertical laboring helped move things along.

By the time we were admitted to the Birthing Suite, there was a midwives' shift change, and we found out that Megan would deliver us!! This is hugely awesome for several reasons: A) Megan is AMAZING, and I had prayed that she would be the one to deliver us. B) Megan was the one who recommended the book "Guide to Childbirth" by Ina May Gaskin. I read a lot different birthing books during pregnancy, but this book was the most important one for me. Ina May suggested singing through contractions to keep the sphinters ( I hate that word) open and lose. I took this advice and basically pushed song-like noise out through each contraction. Megan was amazing. Her approach was very hands-off. She kept a watchful eye on the baby and on my blood pressure, and she simply chilled. This is exactly what I wanted. I knew that I could trust my body to get this baby out, and Megan was confident that I could do it. She sat on my birthing ball and watched until it was time for me to start pushing.

Pushing was super weird. My body took over and did the work for me. I didn't have to think about it. Shannon told me it would be like an out of body experience, and sure enough, it was. My water broke when I started pushing, and that felt so cool because I could now tell where the baby was dropping to. I was screaming and grunting, and Megan had me try different positions as I moved the little guy down. We tried squatting, sitting on the birthing stool, and finally (success!) laying on my side. John braced my leg, and I pushed Singer out!

Ahhhhh! The greatest relief I have ever felt was when that baby's head came through. I couldn't believe it. I had done it. With the help of my midwife and my husband, I had naturally birthed my child. And the great news: the bleeding that everyone had been so worried about immediately stopped after Singer was born, my blood pressure resumed to normal, and Singer was PERFECT!!!! We did skin-to-skin, and Singer immediately latched onto my breast. John got to cut the cord after it had finished pulsing. Singer and I had our first feeding while looking into each others' alert eyes, and I realized what my life has been leading up to thus far. He is the love of my life, and together with John, we make up a trinity of blessed love. We are a family.

My choice to do things naturally has made me really confident. I can trust my body, and I can trust myself to make the best decisions for my child. I know that I still have a lot to learn, but when I think about Singer's birth, I know I can handle anything that comes our way. This little blessing brought renewal to my spirit in the form of a soft, chubby baby boy. I am so thankful.

John is going to fill in some holes. Apparently, I don't remember everything. So, be on the lookout for his perspective. In the meantime, meet Singer Nash.

I'm in love,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Featuring Dr. John!!

I'm so excited to unveil my husband's featured section of Soulful Noel. John is a skilled master in the kitchen, and one of our favorite things to do together is cook. When he told me he wanted to make the recipe section his own baby, I jumped at the opportunity to include him in the blog.

Hope you enjoy Dr. John's Recipe Corner! You can access his feature on the right sidebar, also.

Something's cookin' in the kitchen,


I'm feeling really ready and confident as I approach the birth of our baby. Last night, we finished making the "birthing playlist" and I've been finishing some reading. Meditation and music has become a very prominent part of my daily life, and I'm feeling peaceful and strong. A beautiful quote to share with you:

"There is no way out of the experience except through it, because it is not really your experience at all, but the baby's. Your body is the child's instrument of birth."
--Penelope Leach

My strength has been tested throughout this pregnancy, and all-in-all I believe that I can offer my child a blessed birthing experience. I trust my child, I trust my body, I trust the higher power.

For Singer,

Monday, April 19, 2010

Little "Southern" Get-away

John and I are both born-and-raised Texans, so there's nothing like a little Sunday drive to the country. We like to visit our pals Jane and Casper at their Wayne, PA cottage in "Suburbia", and during the springtime, the cottage is really lovely. Also, I have to mention that Jane is from Georgia!! So, us Southern Ladies have a ball when we dine together :) Thank you, Jane and Casper, for cooking AND cleaning up last night. I promise the next time John and I will do everything. I promise!! And thank you for tricking us into thinking we were back home for the evening.

Nothing's better than a Southern Sunday,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mr. Soft-bellied Turtle

I knitted this messy little guy on a whim. I just wanted to see if I could make a turtle. If I had used a pattern, he probably would look cleaner...but then again, who likes a clean turtle?!? He's spunky.

Crafting and waiting,

Monday, April 12, 2010


After a grueling winter in Philadelphia, spring has finally arrived! It's beautiful, the temps are perfect, and green is sprouting all around the city. Our park across the street is in full bloom, and even our little flower box full of orange lillies is making a comeback! I'll keep you posted on the flower box...wouldn't it be cool if it blooms on the day our baby is born?!?!


Sunday, April 11, 2010


We just returned from Jeanne Ruddy's dance concert series "A Decade of Dance" at the Wilma Theatre. The series included three mini-shows from Ruddy's past performances: Significant Soil, Breathless, and LARK. It was beautiful to watch truly committed dancers take on challenging choreography and characterization, but I have to give a special shout-out to my friend Meredith Riley Stewart.

Meredith and I were cast as doubles in "The Ibsen Project" (Philly Fringe Festival, 2009), but I didn't really get to see her dance because (being doubles) we were always attached and moving together. Plus, the choreography in that show, while beautiful, was more improvisation than actual dance. So, seeing Meredith move today was...well...moving.

In Breathless, Meredith portrays a young mother whose husband convinces her to sign a life insurance policy, and then he murders her (drowns her!) to collect the money. He also runs off with a stripper. What a plot.

all images from Bob Emmott

I don't know if it was because I'm pregnant or what, but seeing her joy and strength at the beginning of the piece was so emotional for me. She portrays the happiest, most loved woman. The audience knows that she's going to die, and you can clearly watch her confidence in her husband erode as she begins to piece his lies together. The character's journey is built around movement, of course. But, Meredith brought something extra to the table through deep-rooted emotion that surfaced through facial expression and physical quality. It was truly stunning to watch.

Way to go, Meredith! And congratulations to the entire JRD company for such a committed performance. It was beautiful.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

My Lucy debut

My guest post is up at A Modern Day Ricky and Lucy!!!
Hope you have to time to check it out. Leave Lucy a comment so that she can meet you. She is an old friend, snarky momma, and fantastic blog-mentor.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Okay, Okay...I know

Please excuse the mess!! I am attempting a DIY blog face-lift, and it's not going as easily as I had anticipated :(

Remaining calm,

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sympathy Man

This post is an "I Love You" to my husband, who recently crossed over from mild-pregnancy-sympathy-pains to full-blown-pregnant-man. At first, he was a little more tired with me, eating a little more with me, feeling bloated quite often with me. But, now he's waking up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep, he's craving right alongside me, and (this is true, I swear!) last night I caught him sleeping with a big fluffy pillow between his legs. I tried to steal it, just to see what would happen, and he woke up and said "Hey! I need that!", which is the perfect response when someone attempts to steal your between-the-leg pillow. I understand.

John, you are too too too much fun. I love you. I promise to always bring you a beer when you are nesting--ehem--I mean building Man-Projects, and I promise NEVER to try and steal your between-the-leg pillow.

Thanks for being pregnant with me,

Monday, April 5, 2010

Three--it's a Magic Number

SO, I've been tagged...and this is actually my first survey EVER! Thanks, Lucy for forcing me to take the time to fill it out. It was actually fun :)

1. Three Names I go by:
-LouAnn (husband calls me this...we're strange)
-Poops (sister calls me this...she's even stranger)

2. Three Jobs I've had in my life
-Dance Instructor
-Freelance you love how I fail to mention "Administrative Assistant"?? Ugh.

3. Three Places I've lived:
-Amarillo, TX.
-College Station, TX.
-Philadelphia, PA!!!!!! LOVE IT!

4. Three Favorite Drinks
-Green Tea (Hot or Iced)
-Grey Goose Vodka Martini, slightly dirty (this one seems like a distant memory...)
-Grapefruit Juice

5. Three TV shows I watch
-Project Runway
-The Office
-Wendy Williams (How YOU doin'?)

6. Three Places I've been
-Tokyo, Japan
-Madrid, Spain

7. Three of my favorite foods
-Banana Bread
-Cinnamon Rolls

8. Three Cars I've Owned
-the Purple Satty (1997 Saturn)
-1994 Honda Accord
-Toyota Corolla...owner by default--through marriage

9. Three things I HATE doing
-hiking in the snow & camping on a freezing cold-ass mountain
-watching sports
-listening to AM radio

10. Three Places to find me on the weekend
-South Philly Tap room (pre-pregnancy fave!!)
-Fairmount Park
-in my kitchen making blueberry-banana pancakes & bacon, loving on my husband

11. Three Movies I've seen recently
-Alice in Wonderland in 3D
-It's Complicated
-I have to add a fourth one because I LOVED this movie: Where the Wild Things Are

12. Three Places I'd like to Visit
-Mexico (to see our Masons!)
-Japan again...take hubby

Whew! That was hard. I had to ask John about a couple questions. Haha..."Honey, what are three things I hate doing?" He was quick to answer that one :)

Contemplating in threes,

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I'm so excited!! And I just can't hide it!!

Just received an invitation to guest-blog on one of my favorite sites :

A Modern Day Ricky and Lucy

I'm not sure about the date-of-post yet...but stay tuned for more details!!

In the meantime, I keep daydreaming about what I'm going to write about. It has to be GOOD because a lot of people read Lucy's hilarious blog. Be cool, cool.

Giddy with anticipation,

PS: In honor of my upcoming Lucy debut, here's my favorite classic I LOVE LUCY clip:
This video comes with a warning--if you're 9 months pregnant, you might pee your pants.