Monday, January 15, 2018

The Breast of the Story

Greetings from seven weeks postpartum!

If you need me, I'll just be staring into these eyes all day long.

I am well. Era is doing well. He's a healthy human heifer and I love it. He's in the 98th percentile for weight, length, and head size, so, needless to say, this kid is not missing any meals.

And that's why I wanted to yap about breastfeeding. It's amazing! It's crazy! It's weird! And right now, it's my life.


I took an ABCs of Breastfeeding class before my boy was born. This is kinda what I expected:

Always Breastfeed copy
Put that coffee down. Coffee contains caffeine and may upset your baby's stomach.

I guess it's for the best that the sweet Canadian grandmother who lead our class didn't call us names à la Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross, but she did lay some heavy truths on us. Your nipples will hurt. Kids sometimes can't figure out the whole latching deal. You will basically be an on-call buffet.

While the technical aspects of feeding a tiny human with your body were helpful, this class was invaluable to me primarily because it prepared me for the haze of days with a newborn. For the first time, the reality of waking every couple hours to feed a new person dawned on me. I was going to be exhausted. I was going to be counting poops. I was going to need help.

When I met Quincy for dinner after the class, I was brimming with new information and ready to have hard conversations over hard tacos about the size of a newborn's stomach, the intricacies of nipple care, and the power of a well-placed pillow.

Go and do likewise, gents.

I could - and did - research baby care all day long, but that class was what really got me ready for new motherhood.

And it takes brass balls.


Everything I read about breastfeeding chirped with an upbeat tone:
- If you do it right, breastfeeding will not hurt.
- It takes about 20 feedings for your nipples to toughen up.


Early morning feeding with my chubby, uncharacteristically grumpy boy

Era was a pro at latching and basically taught me everything I needed to know about keeping him in milk. However, even his expert abilities didn't mean pain-free chest time. It took a solid three weeks  of consistent milking sessions before I quit wincing at each feeding.

Now, I don't think twice about stuffing a nipple in his kisser, but it was a long slog of lanolin applications, shielding my sore tatas from the hot water in the shower, and exploring supportive undergarments.

"Seconds, please."

Hurty boobs are the worst, but I never considered other options because, let's face it: bottle feeding is way more work.


I recently polished off a two-pound tin of butter cookies. I regularly eat my entire burrito at Chipotle. I have a "usual" order at Dairy Queen.

I've always been a pretty good eater, but nothing in my life can compare to the famished feelings I have as a lactating lady. I mean, I've been hungry before. I've been so starved, I felt sick. But this is an active, loud hankering unlike anything I've ever experienced. If being peckish is a gurgle in the gut, this is a rapacious racket resonating throughout my entire being.

We're both always hungry.

They say that breastfeeding broads should ingest about 500 more calories than normal. I have no idea how many calories I'm cramming, but I do know that I want all of them to be ice cream. Or cookie dough. Or some combination of the two.

You don't get cheeks like these by missing meals.

I will divulge that I am just about back to my pre-pregnancy weight, so I have to assume that everything is going straight from that Lucky Charms box to Era's irrepressible cheeks. Thank goodness.


In the early days after Era arrived, I read an article in the Stranger about nursing, and was blown away by the preternatural powers of breastmilk. To help the little one begin to differentiate daytime from night, my body was slipping the appropriate hormones into my milk. The researcher quoted in the article noted that "day milk is going to have a completely different hormonal milieu than night milk."

Sleeping babe, sleepy mom

And thus, this musical parody was born.

Night Milk (to the tune of Bob Seger's Night Moves)

He's a little large
Puttting on a few pounds
Size three diapers fit best, we found
I'm a sleepy mommy with bags under eyes
Rolling out of bed to this little one's cries
So loud, these cries

In the dark house, where the cats run scared
In the comfort of my family's rocking chair
Working on the mysteries of what makes babies tick

Workin' on the night milk
Hoping that my hormones do the trick
Workin' on the night milk
In the dark nighttime
In the stinking darkest nighttime


I know that breastfeeding isn't for everyone. (Especially grown-ass adults. Get out of my Flickr feed, fetishists!)

Frankly, it's been a little rough being at the beck and call of a baby, but feeding my kid with my body is just the latest miracle in the long strange trip that is motherhood. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to have this connection with my kid, and keep trying to remain grateful. Even in the middle of the night.


Friday, January 5, 2018

In Full Revue

Happy 2018!


2017 was year, amirite? For me, it was a crazy ride of disappointment, career growth, a deeper relationship with my partner, a new babe, and ultimately, hope for what the future holds.

I'm not sure that is all reflected in this, the list of songs I fell in love with this year. But, it is a tiny time capsule that reflects much of where my mind lingered these last 12 months.

2017 in Revue

1. Astral Plane - Valerie June
2. Inigradan - Fatou Seidi Ghali, Alamnou Akrouni
3. Roly Poly - Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys
4. Wearing Nothing - Dagny
5. Wait - The J. Geils Band
6. (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!) - Hotrats
7. Hitler Lives - Rosalie Allen
8. May I Have This Dance (Remix) - Francis and the Lights feat. Chance the Rapper
9. Only God Knows - Young Fathers feat. Leith Congregational Choir
10. Sin City - Donald E. Clare

Download the mix.

Listen to the mix on YouTube. - Though, this is missing the last track.

Or, if you're inclined to trade mixes, email me and I will mail you a CD with one of the handmade blocks pictured above.

I hope your 2018 is starting off hopefully.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

A New Era

Earlier this year, my sister Laurie and I were walking around St. Petersburg, Florida, telling her coworker Maggie about my wedding.

"So, I flew home and tried on my mom's wedding dress," I extolled. "And it just happened to fit perfectly. Which was awesome because I married Quincy the next day and it wasn't like I'd have time to get it altered."

Here's a random picture of me in my momma's wedding dress

I was trying to paint of picture of myself as the quintessential goofball, unable to plan appropriately and saved by the grace of my loved ones.

But with a quasi-exasperated eyeroll, Laurie turned to Maggie and explained it this way: "Because reality has a way of bending to Becky's whims."

I've thought about Laurie's words a thousand times since that moment, not only because her younger-sister annoyance makes me laugh, but because I truly feel like a inexplicably lucky person.

Which brings me to the birth of my son.

Spoiler alert: This story has a happy ending

Whenever anyone asked about my plans for the birth, I kept saying, "All options are on the table." I mean, I've never done this before and I don't know what will happen, so why stress about the perfect delivery?

But even though that informed, open-mind would be the most rational tack, I think everyone has that vision of what the best case scenario would be. For me, I had imagined laboring as a team with Quincy, dealing with the pain through those cute coping techniques Lamaze taught, and bringing Era into the world without an epidural.

Well, I'm telling you: When the contractions started kicking in, I forgot all about laboring tips and comforting techniques. Also, I forgot where my go bag was, how to time a contraction and how to walk.

I was under the misguided impression that the contractions would start slowly and at a low intensity and then build. That is not what happened. I had a monster contraction at 7 a.m. as I snoozed and by the time I started timing them at 8:15 (Oh wait! I have a app for this. Phone. Must phone. Where app? AGH.), they were three minutes apart.

It's getting real.

Quincy flew around the apartment to gather the supplies we needed and make sure the cats would survive our absence and we made the 30 minute drive to our hospital, arriving at 9:30. I was 7 centimeters dilated and clinging to the hope that an epidural would be forthcoming. Dr. Beck, the OB on call that weekend, held her face close to mine and, with her hand on my shoulder, asked me to mentally prepare for the possibility that we wouldn't have time for an epidural.

Needless to say, I was not mentally prepared for anything.

Quincy was, though. Whenever the contractions came, he used one of the Lamaze tricks and applied counter-pressure to my lower back, which helped. He was calm and focused and amazing.

And then, it was time to push. And then, Era was here. At 11:30 a.m., all nine pounds, nine ounces of our little boy entered the world. No epidural, just a ridiculously short labor and a healthy, hefty baby. It happened so quickly, I spent the next day just convincing myself that it actually happened.

Brand new babe

One of the labor nurses said I was an Amazon. I would like that as my epitaph.

My folks on the left and Quincy's on the right

Fortunately, my parents and Quincy's had time to arrive and admire their first grandchild. And when Laurie and her husband came, Laurie sat on the corner of my bed and soaked in the whole delivery story. And in a quasi-annoyed voice, she said, "Of course. Reality has a way of bending to Becky's whims."

Handsomest three-day-old ever

And I truly feel like it has. It was a unbelievable, beautiful, crazy wonderful experience. Not even my English degree and can cobble together the words to express the gift of this quick, amazing labor.

Party of three

And now I'm a mom. We're a family.

Some of us are happier about that than others

Era Eventide Robinson
Nov. 25, 2017 at 11:30 a.m.
9 pounds, 9 ounces
21.5 inches long


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pregnant Pause: Kingdom of Feels

Just in case no one has told you, being pregnant is not that fun.

Making peace with a changing body, weeks 6 - 39

Just ask my sister - I doubt she'll ever procreate after listening to me list the myriad unpleasant consequences of expecting. (It's my own fault... There's just something really satisfying about laying the concept of "lightening crotch" on a pregnancy newbie.)

However, I like to save my complaints for loved ones who cannot escape my phone calls. Here, I will detail the aspects of creating a new human that I will miss.

What I Will Miss About Being Pregnant

1. Being congratulated for going to work.

Not at work... At MacArthur Beach State Park at 40 weeks, 3 days

I have felt unreasonably well for most of my gravid adventures, so rolling into work past-due was no big deal. But, even though I felt completely copacetic, my caring coworkers made a completely enjoyable fuss over my continued work activity.

I will miss hearing a hearty, "I can't believe you're here!" upon rolling into work 20 minutes late and wearing the same outfit I wore last week.

2. Being encouraged to have sex.

Pretty sure he's ready for parenthood

Weeks ago, my doc told me, "If you want to get out of this, you need to do what got you into this." Everyone from those awesome coworkers to friends, family and of course, my parents have nudged my husband with a knowing smile and goaded us to get it on.

Not since we got hitched has our love life been so sanctioned.

3. Receiving lavish attention.

Beautiful words from a beautiful friend

It's no secret that I'm a spectacular spotlight hog and I'm telling you, if you want to stop traffic, have involved conversations with complete strangers and be constantly complimented on your cuteness, being preggo is the way to go. At one point last week, I was surrounded by no fewer than six Macy's make-up counter attendants as they squealed the sweetest compliments about my bulbous body.


4. Tooting with impunity.

I found your problem right here. (From the notes from my non stress test.)

That's all I've got to say about that.

5. Sharing magical, intimate moments with my little boy.


I'm currently lounging on a loveseat, typing onto a laptop, and listening to a pillow salesman on the television. And, throughout this entire mundane experience, my unborn boy, half me and half the man I love, has been rolling around, filling my middle with an indescribable miracle.

It's mind-bending and magical and I'm savoring every secret moment he and I share.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Pregnant Pause: The Great Snark Hunt

Literally no strangers have touched my tummy. None.

I mean, I touch it all the time. 37 weeks

I get tons of questions and comments and so far, 15 total strangers have correctly identified the gender of my baby based solely on the basketball-like nature of my bump.

But unapproved palms on my protrusion? Zero.

I'm going to chalk this up to a rockin' case of Resting Bitch Face and thank my luck stars.

Literally resting bitch face at 37 weeks

My new theme song:

Cankle In The Wind

Goodbye, normal jeans
Though I seldom wore you at all
I had the choice to don myself
In whatever in my closet called
Platforms and tailored trousers
Heels, they whisper into my brain
They set me down a spiral
And I prop up my feet in shame

Cankle camouflage at 36 weeks

And it seems to me, I'm living life
Like a cankle in the wind
Never knowing what to put on
Over swollen skin
And I would have liked to look cute
But I'm making a kid
My cankles bum me out
More than heartburn ever did

Be-cankled kitty kisses at 36 weeks

The other day, the handle on my awesome pink water bottle snapped, and it crashed to the floor of my office.

What did I yell?

"Oh shit! My water broke!"

Broken water bottle
Pro Tip: Do not text this story to your husband. He will not think it's funny.

Fortunately, my boss saw the whole thing and squelched the alarm before my coworkers could bring out the tarps.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Pregnant Pause: Generation of Whine


I got my first, "Wow!" the other day.

Jabba the parturient at 29 weeks

You know, the loaded Wow that says, "Girl, you're huge! I never knew a human body could take up so much space! How are you physically upright at this point? AND YOU HAVE THREE MORE MONTHS TO GO???"

I laughed at the time, but it continues to roll around in my head.

I mentioned the unfortunate encounter to my father-in-law, and in his thoughtful Kentucky drawl, he said, "You know, people get so excited when they see someone in your condition. Men, especially. And I don't think they know what to say. But they see you looking beautiful and they just react."

blockin' and bumpin' at 29 weeks

Aw. Thank you for the perspective.


I really struggle with the "rules" when comes to what I can and cannot do as a beautifully budding bumpmobile. I like to think I'm a rebel but, quite frankly, I'm worry-averse and will do nearly anything to avoid having to question my decisions later.

26 Weeks Pregnant in West Palm Beach
No regrets at 26 weeks

It wouldn't be so nerve-wracking if the body of research on gestational ingestion wasn't so nebulous, but conflicting and contrived advice abounds when it comes to what a expectant mom can consume. There are moments of doubt when I just want to call a fetal guru and demand, "JUST TELL ME IF I CAN HAVE A DAMNED TUNA SAMMIE."

I find myself tumbling into a google abyss on the most banal of topics. I'm strangely craving a latte... Is that off-limits? (I went with decaf.) Is nail polish poisoning my progeny? (Maybe? But I've always liked to have a reason to by nail polish, so non-formaldehyde varnish it is.) But seriously, what about the tuna?? (I'm eating it once a week. Damn the man.)

Even with my devoted vigilance to doing the right thing, I still screw up. At the farmers market Sunday, a radiant lady sold me a cup of the most beautiful ruby-colored iced hibiscus tea and only after I had slurped up half the glass did I pause for a googling.

2017-08-31_03-50-15 Hibiscus Tea

Turns out, hibiscus tea can cause you to go into labor.

Thankfully, I didn't even get gas from the faux pas, let alone launch myself into preterm terror. It was demoralizing, though, to set down the cup with a sigh. I consoled myself with... You guessed it: a tuna sammich.


Lamaze class is awesome, y'all.

This is how you practice, right?

Yeah, I knew I'd gain some skills and see birthing videos and further my insane research into all things natal. I expected that. What I didn't really expect was to fall in love with my husband a little more as he practiced massage postures and breathing techniques with abandon in a room full of total strangers.

There is nothing more rewarding than watching him become a dad.

We're awesome at practicing.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Pregnant Pause: Fear and Loving

Hey, y'all. You may know that I am currently knocked up. Preggo. Expecting. I have a proverbial bun in the oven. And, actually, I wouldn't mind having an actual bun in the actual oven. Mmmm carbs...

Feeling myself at 24 weeks, 6 days

Anyway. Here are some thoughts on potential parenthood from a familial neophyte.

Earlier this week, I was listening to NPR at lunch and heard and interview with a woman who miscarried at five months.


I am 25 weeks right now and the only thought that frightens me more than the concept of natural child birth (currently the plan, BTW) is the idea that I will somehow lose this little fish that's been flopping in my gut for lo these many weeks.

Keeping this pregnancy secret for several weeks is probably the most heroic feat of my life (until, I assume, I actually bring this kid into the world). As my clothing choices no doubt illustrate, I am patently terrible at playing it cool, being subtle, and/or doing anything in a low-key fashion.

At the same time, I understood that some pregnancies just don't come to fruition, and the idea of crowing my enceinte state to all my friends and coworkers and then having to crawl back to retract the good news was downright terrifying. Secrets suck but sharing heartbreaking news is even worse.

5/16/17 - The notes I took on the phone with my doc 
The notes I took on the phone when my doc called to tell me that all the tests for genetic issues came back negative and, congratulations: You're having a boy! 

So, I kept my clam clamped until the obligatory 12 weeks. (13? 15? I can't remember. Pregnancy Brain is real.) And now I find that, in addition to worrying about whether I'm consuming enough protein, I still get to worry about this sweet fluttering phantom keeping his home for our remaining months.

I'm trying to make peace with the idea that mothering involves a sizable and unending amount of worry, but man.


Living approximately 1,000 miles away from my family is not ideal. I wish I could share more of this insane experience with them, though they probably don't mind being distanced from my crying jags, cravings and constant complaining.

3/28/17 Ultrasound
The excited photo I texted to my folks back in March when this kid was nothing more than a blueberry with a heartbeat

I have to say, though, that my phone calls with my mom have been extra delightful these days. I spoke her last week, upon the completion of The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy (which I honestly loved), and told her that I'd come to the chapter about sex postpartum.

Me: Mom, the whole time I kept thinking, 'Well, if my parents are any indication, I will have many decades of happy lovemaking after having this kid.'

Mom: [Guilty giggle.]

6/29/17 - A-lined
Trying to look cute and desirable at 20 weeks

We went on to have a frank and funny discussion. I will leave it at that, and continue to reflect on how amazing my family is.

Does every woman feel like they are the first human to ever experience pregnancy? For the first three months, I was convinced to my very soul that I had invented the condition.

4/1/17 - The only April's Fools joke are these Sea-Bands
Taken on April Fool's Day, when the only joke was these Sea-Bands doing absolutely nothing for my crippling morning sickness

Now, however, I am devouring every story/insight I can into the experiences of my fellow mamas. (Also devouring anything that contains even a small amount of heavy cream.) I truly love that whenever I confess my fecund condition to any parental female, I am regaled with stories of her own pregnancy, labor and crowning achievement (weird, quasi-gross pun INTENDED). Regardless of relationship (coworker, sales rep, complete stranger) or location (the copy room, the elevator at my condo, TJ Maxx) my happy bulletin inevitably escalates into a personal paean of blood, sweat and tears.

I love it.

I'm nearing entry into the maternity fraternity and welcome the honesty and guidance of veteran progenitors. I'm obviously going to need it.