A 1st Birthday Video for Reya

I actually made this video a while ago, but didn’t have the time to finalize it until recently. Here are some photos and snapshots of the first year of my daughter’s life.

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Reya on her 1st birthday! 9/17/14

Reya on her 1st birthday! 9/17/14

 

Happy 1st Birthday Reya!

I wrote about every little thing during Mylo’s first year. Reya just turned one and sadly, I haven’t written much about her at all.

One of the things I adore most about my daughter, is her timing and gentle nature. From the second she came into the world, she’s had a calm and gentle presence about her. When she was born she didn’t cry at all. She also didn’t open her eyes. Mylo on the other hand, came into the world ready to rock. His eyes were glued to whoever it was who was holding him.

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Mylo hit every milestone (or Mylostone) early. Reya took her time with the first year milestones and it’s made me feel that maybe I missed out on a lot of the “baby” stuff with my son.

Reya was content to chill in her baby chair for the first three months. Up until she was eight months old I could leave her in the middle of my bed and go to the bathroom. I know it doesn’t sound safe, but believe me, she wasn’t going anywhere until one day, she did. Off the bed. And then I learned my lesson fast.

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Chillin.

Reya is completely attached to me. I bonded to my son without a doubt, but as soon as he became mobile, it felt as if he was always running away from me. And he still is, today! Reya on the other hand, moves toward me. She follows my eyes with hers. She meets my smile with a bigger one. Reya crawls with fervor in my direction when I walk in the door from work. She’s either singing praise to be cute, or wining in disdain because she wants me to stop what I am doing and pick her up. She is just entirely present with me.

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Piggies!

We introduced solids to Reya when she was about four months old. I barely let Mylo have a sip of water at four months, let alone solid food. Baby girl really enjoys to eat and it has been a delight watching her negotiate and ponder new textures and tastes. Some of the things she loves is steamed vegetables, grilled cheese, pasta, french fries and ice cream. And of course she’s got a real thing for the beans, cheese and guacamole from our weekly forays to Chipotle.

Despite Reya’s healthy appetite for food, we nursed until two weeks shy of her birthday. I never expected to nurse her that long, despite the fact that I went 14 months with her brother. The part of me that wanted to end nursing looked forward to Reya’s “need” for me not being as dire. Right now, that need is still there. As there are some nights she insists on using me as a pacifier, despite the fact that nothing comes out. The transition has been bittersweet — there is something so sad about the finality of anything, especially breastfeeding.

Reya recently rode the Prospect Park carousel with wide eyes.

Reya rides the Prospect Park carousel with wide eyes.

Reya began sitting up somewhere between her 6th and 7th month. She was quite wobbly in the beginning, and she’s had many accidents. At 9 1/2 months she found her knees. I forgot how ridiculously cute babies are when they crawl!

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Mylo discovered the army crawl at 5 months old. So by the time he found his knees at 8 1/2 months, he just took off. With Reya it’s been real sweet watching her go from knees to butt and back again, contemplating how to make them work together. She also does an adorable backwards army crawl.

Reya loves to clap. She will return your claps with her own, and it is so sweet! Reya also enjoys doing a crawling face plant into pillows. The more pillows there are, the harder she will dive into them. All you have to do is say the word “pillow” and she does it. It is the absolute cutest!

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At 10 1/2 months Reya began standing up and it is clear how proud of herself she is when she does this. I am too, because there were times I wasn’t convinced it was going to happen! Walking is next and I know life is about to get more interesting, and difficult. I did not love the walking-but-not-talking stage with Mylo. Maybe because he didn’t listen to me. Here’s hoping Reya redeems this part of toddlerhood for me!

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Bam Bam!

My mom recently taught Reya how to blow kisses with her hands. It’s pretty darn cute.

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Rey-Rey on her 1st birthday!

I am overjoyed to have a daughter. And even more so because it is Reya who fills this role. Happy Birthday my Rey-Rey!

 

Birthday Buddies!

My daughter Reya shares her birthday – September 17th – with another baby who was born just two hours earlier, also at home in Brooklyn, and with the same midwife.

While laboring in the wee hours of the morning, I reached a point where I thought it could be time to bring in my midwife Kristen and her assistant, Piper. My husband Jason sent our midwife a text only to receive one back that said she had another mom in labor who needed her first.

I spent 35 weeks getting to know my midwife, preparing for this day with her, and she delivered me the blow of all blows. (No pun intended).

I write about my reaction to the news in Reya’s birth story, and how it all played out with Kristen’s backup midwife Barri, and the fact that in the end, Kristen and Piper made my birth a half hour before Reya was born.

At some point during labor Barri said she received a text from Kristen that simply said, “baby out.” I asked Barri what the woman had and Barri said she didn’t know, all Kristen wrote was ‘baby out.’

Even though I was knee deep in labor, it struck me then how innocuous this all was for the midwives. They spoke in truncated code to one another via text. It didn’t matter what mom had, all that mattered was the baby was out and they were safe.

The news comforted me, but it would have comforted me more to know about this other woman, just a neighborhood away, that went through the same thing I was going through and made it out on the other side, with a baby.

Not long after, I gave birth too. Reya joined us earthside at 6:27 that morning.

Afterwards, I asked Kristen what the mom had. She also had a girl around 4:15am and had gone into labor two weeks early. I had gone into labor two days late.

But it wasn’t enough, I needed to know more.

I asked her name. Thea. A name we had considered as a possible girl’s name at one point. When Kirsten weighed Reya and exclaimed that I nearly had a 9 pound baby, she told me Thea was just 5 pounds!

Two weeks after Reya’s birth, I was invited to the home of another Brooklyn midwife to discuss my homebirth with other homebirth moms, doulas and midwives. An evening spent reflecting on and processing my birth experience.

A woman walked in wearing a Moby wrap with a newborn and the baby was oh-so-tiny. Despite the fact that I heard her tell someone her bundle was two weeks old, I knew the minute she walked in that this was the mom of the other baby born on September 17th.

Meeting for the first time at two weeks old.

Meeting for the first time at two weeks old.

I went up to her and asked, “Is that Thea?” She looked at me proudly and somewhat cautiously and replied ‘yes.’ I told her I was Kristen’s other mom who also had a baby on September 17th. And with that, her eyes welled up with tears.

Since then, Thea’s mom and I have discovered we have a great deal in common, and that there are other little things that connect us, too.

Three months!

Three months!

Our first children are both boys born just weeks apart in the summer of 2010.

When our babies were just a few months old, Marni accompanied a friend of hers to a class on essential oils at the home of a doula and midwife-in-training in New York City. It just so happened to be Dia’s home, my doula. They began talking and Marni told Dia her daughter was born in September at home with Kristen Leonard. It didn’t take long for them to put two and two together.

We’ve dubbed Thea and Reya “Birthday Buddies”. September 17th 2013. One day out of 365 that brought two women and two baby girls together, forever.

Celebrating the girls' half birthdays!

Celebrating their half birthday!

 

 

 

Getting rid of the dog for the baby…

I was recently contacted by a woman who lives in the Courthouse, the Brooklyn building I had previously lived in for seven years. Her twins just turned one and are more mobile now — so her dog of three years is getting the boot.

She claims Murray is skittish around them as well as protective and aggressive when it comes to his food. Meanwhile the adults in the home can handle his food and food bowl without a problem. What preempted her email to me was a recent nip Murray gave her son when the tot found his way over to his food cabinet.

She wanted my help in rehoming Murray. I explained the process to her, she would have to sign a waiver and normally pay a surrender fee but because we would need some time to place him I waived the $150 fee. She assured me she could realistically give him one more month. The clock was now ticking for a dog whom she loved and cared for for three years.

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My husband Jason asked me why I was helping her if I was so aggravated by the situation.

I suppose the biggest reason is because at 18 pounds and fluffy, Murray is a very adoptable dog. He’s the perfect apartment pooch. I suppose the other reason is because this woman contacted me in 2010 about adopting a small dog. Pregnant and unemployed at the time, I wasn’t actively doing rescue but I told her I’d keep my eyes open. Shortly after, she went out of town for the holidays and came home with Murray. She adopted him from a shelter down south when he was just a pup.

So I guess you could say that if it weren’t Murray, it would have been one of my dogs and the rescue would therefore be contractually responsible in assisting her to rehome him.

Over the course of one weekend, Murray’s need for a new home became urgent. He lunged at another dog while her mom was walking him and bit her ankle on the re-direct. Still without any open foster homes, I went out on another limb and shared Murray with the New York City rescue community. The following day a friend put me in touch with Dog Halsey who runs Ready For Rescue. He had an open foster home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Thankfully I had my rescue partner Michele to vent to via text. When I told her about Doug she asked, “You think we really can’t place him?”

I told her “It’s just that she’s now all of a sudden in a rush and I don’t appreciate her pushiness at all. The whole thing puts a really bad taste in my mouth. I can’t begin to tell you what I think of yuppies who can’t make it work. I almost disrespect them more then those who typically ditch their animals.”

When I told the woman that there was a rescue willing and able, she informed me that Murray went to her friend’s place in Brooklyn. She kept me and Doug waiting for yet another day as she pondered yanking Murray from the friend to give him a real shot at him being properly rehomed. Turns out she is is secretly holding out hope that the friend will keep him, so she passed on Doug’s open foster home.

Needless to say, Doug was annoyed with this woman and I think, possibly even annoyed with me.

During the following week and a half, I made two unsuccessful attempts at following up with this woman after inquiries started rolling in about Murray. My third attempt was quite curt. While apologetic, she replied that she had been in the hospital and that her friend is going to keep Murray. I told her that was great, as long as this friend didn’t plan on starting a family of her own some day. I warned that if she does, there’s a good chance that Murray could find himself in the very same predicament.

Had we placed him, we only would have put him in a home with an older person, or older couple, thereby limiting that risk. She didn’t seem to care.

I’m happy Murray got a home. But I’m even happier to be done with this woman.