Sunday, January 20, 2013

2003 Christmas Letter

I am currently struggling through several pieces of
salt-water taffy. Struggling, mind you, because, quite
simply, I’ve had enough taffy. But I am presently
entertaining the absurd ambition of trying all 30
flavors of Mermaid brand Cape Cod taffy, and there are
only seven left that I haven’t had. Never mind that I
am currently liking each “flavor” less than the one

This, dear friends, is a segment of my life for your
perusal. Not a usual segment, to be sure, but perhaps
one of my better ones. Baby is asleep, and I am using
my mind while ruining my teeth. (A revelation:
Wintergreen, dear friends, should not exist in the
taffy kingdom. Let us all hope for its merciless

I am annoyed because I cannot get online, and mildly
inspired due to the ingestion of too much sugar. Thus
you are all being granted an email from me. I hope you
are all well, and urge you all to write back before
the end of the year, or at least as a new year’s

News and actual substance to write about. Hmmm. Well,
I still haven’t finished my (snicker!) summer courses;
thankfully, the school is of a generous sort that
allows unlimited extensions. They will doubtless
rethink this policy when they are through with me, 15
years hence. I am duly unprepared and equally
terrified by the unpredictable advent of my second
child. I know this is shocking, but I hate sleep
deprivation while loving babies. Yet the two go hand
in hand, so I find myself looking forward to meeting
my body’s occupant--who, by the way, is becoming
extremely excitable due to mom’s foolish eating habit
of the moment--while dreading her being here. I am
similarly not looking forward to hours of labor,
gratis the curse of Eve, though I am all “prepared”
for my second all-natural birth. It’s great to be a

Yes, I think I shall complain for a bit here. I do not
like functioning as a lesser version of a human--i.e.
ever tired and forgetful-- though it comes with the
ancient honorable noble task of motherhood. I will
certainly be breastfeeding, though I do not like to be
sore and embarrassed any more than anyone else.
(Around here, the very thought of “breast-feeding” is
scandalous to the older generation. La Leche League is
an underground, contentious organization here in
old-fashioned New England. I shall have to be in
hiding for quite awhile.) But fear not: I love little
Claire very much already, and will doubtless feed and
comfort her whenever she requests it, while hopefully
doing the same for Annemarie and unfortunately doing
nothing of the sort for my husband and the rest of my
acquaintances, for whom I will have little left to
give. I will be sure to send you a long, dull, whiney
email at that time to prove this point, and display
the depths to which I will have fallen.

Ah, the last taffy is over with. Lime. Claire is now
hyper-active and punching me sore. Well, I deserve it.

Still searching my brain files for news . . . ah yes.
I have to brag about my kid. She can climb onto
rocking chairs now, and dances enthusiastically to all
types of music (from classical at home to salsa in the
supermarket). She is energetic, sweet-natured, loves
to laugh, enjoys the company of adults and is pleasant
with children, has an uncontrollable mass of curls and
a pretty constant giggle. We love all 30 lbs, 34
inches of her, though she refuses to walk on her own
despite her obvious ability to do so. She loves to be
cuddled and carried.

We are currently on a schedule similar to that of the
rest of the world, which I thoroughly appreciate. Dan
used to actually come home, before this evil time
change, while it was still light, and I am getting so
much more done. (Though not homework, due to my
child’s obsession with the keyboard.) I am now more
tolerant of those souls who think 8 in the morning is
a fine time to communicate by phone. I see more
people, particularly the many and various mother’s
groups I have joined to keep myself somewhat sane with
adult interaction. I go to church bazaars on the
weekend to look for baby stuff, while Dan watches
football and Annemarie all at the same time.

******A month passes . . .********

Part II: The aftermath, with actual NEWS! I had a baby
on Thanksgiving: 6 lb, 9 oz Claire Celeste. After a
day of feeling rather uncomfortable, I finally gave in
and went to the hospital (after my midwife was able to
finish her Thanksgiving dinner; I’m quite proud of
that). Stopping briefly at the family get-together we
had heretofore foresworn, we deposited our original
offspring with my parents and sped over the potholes
to the hospital. We were immediately whisked through
“admissions” where it was determined that I was in
labor. Satisfied with this news, the staff welcomed me
into a tiny curtained room without heat, clothed me in
a johnny, and perched me on a table in front of a TV
where my husband could watch football. !!! While I was
naturally delighted with these accommodations, after a
half-hour of this rapture I sent Dan to request that a
doctor actually check me out. (You see, my midwife
lived a ways away, and was still enroute and could not
be reached.) One was leisurely dispatched for this
purpose, discovered I was at 5 cm, and kindly arranged
for me to be whisked to the official labor room.

Upon arriving there, I was put in a bed, told to
relax, and promptly attached to an IV and several
monitors. I was then told not to move. The nurse, the
anesthesiologist (even though I did not want meds),
and finally the midwife proceeded to ask me a required
list of questions, like “did I drink alcohol during
the pregnancy” (no) etc. So I managed to answer these
between contractions, as they apparently did not trust
Dan to know if I smoked, etc. Grrr! They finally
unhooked me from the monitors, and I was invited to
sit on a “birthing ball.” Whenever you next feel ill,
try sitting on a beach ball. Yeah. Real helpful. At
least it was different. And fast. I was precariously
balanced on this absurd object for about 15 minutes,
at which point they decided they wanted to just check
me. Having gotten me on the bed, they discovered I was
at 9 cm, immediately broke the water and Claire was
out in two minutes. Yes, envy me if you must: I have
very short labors. It was somewhat disappointing
though. I mean, I packed this great “birthing bag”
with cards and games and rosaries and polyphony CD’s
and the bag never was opened. Sigh. I must live with
this disappointment.

Now you know the whole story. Claire was born at 8:45
PM on Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, they insisted
(despite our protests) upon keeping her for
observation for several hours (no holding allowed).
So, Dan and I retired to my postpartum room and had
Thanksgiving dinner, compliments of my dear aunt who
had packed us the meal so we wouldn’t miss out. Claire
came home, thank God and Dan’s persuasive skills, on
the same day I did, even though she was a month early.
And she has been home, gaining weight and getting over
jaundice, ever since. What a blessing.

So I am home, happy and busy, and tired and trying
desperately to manage diapers and feedings and
bathings and naps. . . let alone housework! But no, it
has not been as difficult, so far, as I feared.
However, tips are always welcome!

Please write me when you have a chance. We miss all of
you and wish to keep in touch. God bless and Merry

Love in Christ, Katie, Dan, Annemarie, and Claire

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