Monthly Archives: January 2010

thirty seven and a thank you

Annette:  My super-talented husband and his friend were among the artists in our locale who were awarded grants for their genius last night at a super cool ceremony! I, of course, was the beaming photographer, taking loads of photos of everyone and being thrilled for the impressive array of artists and cultural magnificence happening around these parts! When the night ended, Steven and I arrived home with convenience store goodies and a celebratory agenda of Anthony Bourdain-watching and stuffing our faces, I then realized that there were really no photos of me from the evening! It's a rare thing that I get dressed up and even more rare that I put on makeup and do my hair. There needed to be photographic evidence! I liked this one! (which was technically taken on Sunday in the wee hours)
Erin:  Another day spent in sweatpants, eating bad food, and wishing I could outsmart this constant nausea.  Poppy is more amazing with each passing day as she learns to share her cheese with the doggies and her apples with mama and daddy.  She wants nothing more than to explore everything on God's green earth with fervor.  I whisper gentle promises that as soon as I feel better I too will be an explorer.
P.S.  I wanted to thank everyone for the rally of support with regards to AW's ridiculous comment on Friday.  While the people-pleaser in me wanted to address and defend every "point" that was mentioned, the fierce mama bear in me was sharpening her claws and looking for some throats to rip out. 
Instead, I looked at it as another wise opportunity from the Universe to be comfortable enough in who I am, what my experience is, and the great mother I am, and to not allow some classless idiot shake the foundation of what I know to be true.
It is hard to believe that I once allowed a person just like this into my life.  A person who loved barbed humour and insulting emails and then called themselves a concerned friend.  This event is a great reminder of the things I have learned and the supportive groups of people manifesting in our lives of late.
No more drama.
Posted in earth's best sundays | 11 Comments

I can’t sugar-coat it all…


My heart aches for warmer days and an old house with far away neighbours.  Wide plank floors and a wooden screen door off the kitchen.  A big wrap around porch perfect for iced tea and late night chats.  Tall trees perfect for naps in hammocks and summer picnics.  A pond and an old wooden rowboat.

Pregnancy takes me to such a dark and melancholy place.  Instead of filling up with guilt and hating myself for feeling what I'm feeling, as I did in the first pregnancy, I am rolling with the punches and sinking into the warmth of it all.  Instead of wishing for this time to feel as miraculous as it actually is, I am tasting each and every aching morsel of it and just allowing everything to flow through me.  Hot tears fall while inadequacies bubble up and intermingle with belly laughs and a calm strength.

I would like to say that I have learned to love myself more since the last time, but I haven't.  My body is creating a human life complete with a spirit and all of its little teeth yet all I can do it look at how puffy my face looks and how dull my hair is.  I always manage to put myself off with the lie that I will learn to love myself later; when I am done with pregnancy; when I am thinner; when my hair grows out.  I would never lie to my husband or children the way I lie to myself nor would I deny them my love as I repeatedly do with myself.

Heather wrote about pregnancy as a long sea voyage we take to be united with the sweetest of souls and some of us just get more seasick than others and I like that way of looking at it.  It made me think of the words I wrote early in my last pregnancy: "…the juices and hormones slosh around as I lay shipwrecked on the bed the way nature intended perhaps for a woman to surrender fully to her body.  It brings her to her knees and reminds her that nature is in fact running the show…"

I am slowly realizing just how much I live and do for others while trying to fit it all into my own truth.  Perhaps it is the plague of an only child who never had a sibling's bad behaviour to distract people's attention from my own.  I began this blog to be a happy go lucky space for crafting and creating, but I can't deny the ugly stuff that still bubbles up and I can't help but put it into words.  And oddly enough, people respond just as much, if not more, to the truth and reality.  Everyday I learn how to be more real and honest despite the reactions I get and writing gives me that.  I can't write about perfect pantaloons and the gratitude without sometimes writing about the frustrations and the darkness.  I can't sugar-coat it all…it's just not who I am.


P.S.  I so appreciated your encouragement with regards to the repeat c-section vs VBAC debate and would love to hear your detailed stories if you are willing and able to share.  Please email me at

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thirty six

Annette:  Sunday plans were thwarted by nasty weather yesterday. There were only a few intrepid commuters at a lovely class I took yesterday and a sacred dance event was cancelled. Cancelled plans meant impromtu (and generous) supper at A and J's house where I met this fantastic cat, a former stray like many of the kitties who live there. A and J see to it that strays get trapped, neutered and re-released and they can't help but keep some of them. I think all cats are fantastic and special beings. Look at that face! My heart aches for not having a cat. They're definitely my favorite.
Erin:  Sometimes you just need a day at home; the home in which you spent your early sick days; the home where your mama brought you tea and soda crackers.  I laid on the couch under sheep skins while Poppy was entertained, a roast cooked, and potatoes were mashed.  A much needed day of being my mama's baby.
Posted in earth's best sundays | 2 Comments

Just keeping it real…


{photo taken in summer of 2007}

It has been many months, if not years, since I felt beautiful, feminine, or truly special.

I seem to go into a low grade sort of depression when pregnant in which I am disenchanted with the world.

I have the temper of three redheads combined.

The morning  all-day sickness that haunted me in my last pregnancy seems to have set in already.

I have a mad craving deep-fried chicken fingers.

Oh and salad & fruit.

Lets hope the salad and fruit cravings lasts.

I cut my hair in a fit of annoyance yesterday and I think it may have been a mistake because the 15 pounds that still clings to me from the last pregnancy is all in my face.

We found out I was pregnant the day after beginning work on my New Year's resolution to lose 30 pounds.

Oh the irony.

So that's where I'm at today.

Wishing it were different, but hoping tomorrow will be better.


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thirty five



annette:  An homage to the photo I was going to take on Sunday, but was taking an afternoon walk for exercise and didn't have the camera when the inspiration struck! I live by this Italian deli- and if you have not experienced an authentic Italian deli, you can't imagine the smells, the barbed banter, the music, the fare, yes, the oils and cheeses and the spectacle of it all. The photo above was taken at another store on a Saturday actually, but it's pretty similar to the one I would have liked to take from outside the deli window on my Sunday walk. I have pined many a time to take photos inside, but I might get beat up. :)

erin:  I think we have a night owl on our hands.  We would love it if she would mimic the babe in the picture above her head, but she would rather toss items behind the bed, squeal, jump and giggle at our feeble attempts to soothe her to sleep.  Le sigh.  Night bleeds into day as our nighttime gymnast dances the hours away.  What day is it anyway?

Posted in earth's best sundays | 6 Comments

We’re Pregnant!

This love

We're pregnant.  Yup, we waste no time here in the house Ellenberger-March and this family love is about to get bigger {though I can't imagine more love bursting from this heart, I know it will amaze me}

There really is no poetic way of dropping news such as this after saying nearly nothing for weeks on end now.  I am about 6 or 7 weeks along and due sometime in September.  We have our first midwife appointment next week.  Some big decisions have to be made about the birthing experience.  For anyone who cares, here is the tale of Poppy's birth.  I had planned for a beautiful and natural birth in the hospital with our midwife and what I got couldn't be further from that though Poppy is a dream come true.

Originally posted on March 11th, 2009:

Forgive me.  I have been absent from the internet of late, but with good reason.  Poppy has taken over our lives and we couldn't be happier.  I figured I should take this time to write about her birth, our dance.  Labour, just like many things in life, went nothing like the original plan, but It find it impossible to have regrets when I look down at this sweet sleeping face topped with fluffy fresh hair.

I began having mild crampy contractions on Wednesday afternoon/evening.  They felt like intense menstrual cramps that I could talk and walk through for the most part.  We timed one or two and found they were 15 minutes apart.  They continued through the night without much change.  Mike decided to stay home as I was going for the "stretch and sweep" with the midwife at 11:30 on Thursday and figured that would intensify things.

The visit to the midwife's office was pretty routine.  She found that I was 2 cm dilated and proceeded to do the stretch and sweep.  She then took my blood pressure, which hadn't been an issue at all throughout the pregnancy.  110 to 120 over 70 to 80 throughout.  That day though, it was 134 over 95.  This was not something she took lightly and let me relax for ten minutes then retook it.  Still high.  She sent us home, told me to rest and relax and she would drop by the house at 3:30 to recheck it.  By the time we arrived home, the contractions were much more intense and about 5 minutes apart lasting 1 minute each.  When my blood pressure was checked again, we found it had risen even more.  We had to go to the hospital immediately and have an obstetrician check things out while monitoring the baby.  We grabbed our bags and in a matter of 25 minutes I was in my hospital gown hooked up to monitors.  The contractions continued to get stronger and were now about 2 to 3 minutes apart.

The obstetrician arrived fashionably late and, without small talk, proceeded to break my waters and discovered that the baby had taken her first poop in the womb and we would need to have a respiratory therapist at the birth to ensure she didn't aspirate fecal matter.  My blood pressure was continuing to climb and he told me that the only thing that would fix that was to have this baby as soon as possible.  To lower my blood pressure and risk of seizure he gave me a little blue pill and informed me that I would need an epidural.

After having my water broken, the contractions came crashing in on me and were coming about every minute.  I went from being in control and breathing through moderate contractions to writhing and cross eyed from the pain.  Just like that, I was out of my mind.  The epidural was a painless, welcome relief.  They continued to take my blood pressure every 30 minutes and I was comforted by the constant gallop of our baby's heart.  12 hours after being admitted, I was fully dilated and at 4 am  Friday morning I began to push.

I pushed, pooped, peed, and grunted for nearly 3 hours with very little progress.  She just wouldn't move and her heart rate went up into the 200's.  The nurse and midwife decided it was time to stop and call in the doctor again to either try forceps/vacuum or C-section.  As soon as they told me I couldn't push, I began to feel every contraction and felt frenzied with the pain and pressure.  I kept asking why I was still feeling it and why they weren't correcting it, but no one was listening or answering.  It was, after all, shift change time.

The doctor arrived and told me that due to the baby's hear rate and my blood pressure, a c-section was the safest option.  I didn't argue.  I was lost and out of control and had given up.  I felt frustrated with the lack of support I felt I received from my midwife.  I would open my eyes after pushing and everyone in the room just looked at me with expressionless faces.  I had to ask if I was pushing right.  I was, but no one told me so unless I asked.  Mike and Mom were the only ones encouraging me.  At one point it seemed like there were nurses in our room for their coffee break.  They sat chit-chatting with each other while I struggled.

The OR nurse, Marty, came in and introduced himself and he just happened to be a guy I went to school with.  He turned out to be the most positive and comforting professional I encountered.  He explained everything to me and to Mike and stopped what he was doing to hold my hand and talk me through the contractions I was still feeling.  I drank something sour that gave me instant hiccups.  I was rolled into the OR.  It was stark and bright and despite all of the people in the room, I felt scared and alone.  I remember wondering where the midwife was and caught a glimpse of her leaning against the wall.  Disconnected.

I was strapped to the table, exposed and shaved.  Not being able to move during the contractions was horrendous.  Finally I felt a cold liquid go into my back and the pain melted.  The blue sheet went up and Mike came in.  I felt every bit of pressure and some cold "zings".  Mike held my hand and refused to look over the blue sheet.  Then Marty told me there would be a lot of pressure and pulling as the baby came out.  I felt like I was going to be lifted right off the table.  One of the surgeons remarked "oh, its a girl" and then Marty announced  to us that it was a girl.  Mike and I cried and laughed and kissed, until I realized there was no cry.  Mike told me later that he was terrified as he watched  them pull long, thick strings from her mouth as she lay motionless and noiseless.  Finally her cry came and we cried again.  Marty came over and explained that she needed a little help with the oxygen to get started, but she was ok.

At this point the drugs had taken hold and I was totally stoned.  I remember a loud flat line beep you hear in movies and blanking out for a few moments.  Mike was calling my name, but I couldn't move or respond.  My tongue felt like lead and I couldn't even wiggle my big toe.

Poppy was taken to the nursery and I swear I told Mike to go with her, but he says I asked him to stay with me.  I don't remember him leaving.  I was then rolled to recovery where I slowly crept out of my stupor.  The nurses were rough while pulling bandages off and wiping away blood.  Every time I thought about Poppy, I fought back tears I needed to know she was ok and to hold her.  Other recovery patients rolled in and gurgled out of their own stupors.  After an endless hour I was rolled into my room to my baby and husband and began breastfeeding. 

And so began a new journey.

I was hooked up to IV pumping antibiotics pain meds into my veins and a catheter draining my bladder until Saturday morning when I begged the nurse to get clearance to unhook me.  I broke out in hives from the blood pressure cuff and adhesives used.  Every part of my body was swollen.  We didn't get discharged until Monday and was wakened every morning by a nurse taking my blood.  The nurses were all very kind and reassuring, but we were ready for home.

Pregnancy was not what I expected nor was labour, but motherhood and I feel like old friends.  I know nothing but warmth and contentment when I look at my wee little daughter.  Breastfeeding, though challenging, has come naturally for both of us and she has managed to pork up to 10 pounds 3 ounces as of one week ago when they only expected her to be back up to her birth weight of 8 pounds 12 ounces.   She hardly ever cries or fusses and always coos in her sleep.  She loves a bath and diaper change and we feel such pride for every bowel movement, burp and fart.  I have managed to magically lose 30 pounds and managed to squeeze into Mike's jeans today.  I look forward to wearing my own jeans again soon, but for now I am just  happy to wear denim without lycra.  

 I already feel time slipping by too quickly as days bleed into weeks and I wonder how I am going to find a way to stay home with her for good.


And so that was our "dance".  I can't help but feel a little robbed of the empowerment and feel a hot jealousy when I hear about other women's beautiful and uncomplicated experiences.  So now I am faced with the decision of going with a planned c-section and the guilt that goes along with that or trying for a VBAC with the possibility of a repeat of my first experience at an even higher risk if it were to end in an emergency c-section.  No one gave me an explanation as to why Poppy wouldn't descend and why my blood pressure flew up in the last moments.  I don't feel at peace with either of my options, but know I will have to find peace at some point over the next 9 months.

Ultimately, we are so excited and I must admit that my ovaries ached each and every time I read SouleMama's blog as I dream so often of a bustling home of lively and happy sprites.  We spend many nights and car rides discussing names and have decided that life is far too short for common names.

Last night as I tried to get Poppy to sleep, the soft sweet scent of lilacs lingered around me.  In the dead of winter and with the earth covered in an unforgiving blanket of snow and ice I couldn't deny the comforting smell with no known source.  Despite the frustrations of a baby girl who only fights sleep at bedtime; despite my fears of inadequacy as the mother of two that I soon will be; despite the vague queasy feeling I get when I think of squash soup {the first food aversion in this pregnancy}; and despite the decisions that have to be made, I went to sleep with the scent of lilacs on the still night air and it was lovely.



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thirty four



Annette:  Quiet and a smoldering friend-grown and dried lavender wand before the altar. What is more marvelous than the potential and ripeness of a new year, another fresh plot of life to cultivate! May there be love, blessings, laughter, creativity, fullfillment, abundance, growth and crazy unfettered joy in 2010!

Erin:  No words, just a picture that says a thousand.

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