Looking back on my first Mother’s Day

Maternity leave, which was so snuggly and warm and boring, is over. I’m back at work as a copywriter, meaning I have to shower and get dressed and hope Wilder doesn’t throw up down my shirt in the baby carrier on our mile walk to daycare. But he usually does, which results in a wet bra and a sour smell that lingers unless I take my shirt off in the work bathroom and wash the milk out before it dries.

But once Wilder is cooing happily with his daycare crew and I can confirm whether the wetness in my bra is sweat or puke, I stroll to the Blue Line (this is the most peaceful 10 minutes of my entire day, so I generally try to walk as slowly as possible) and I daydream about the buckets of coffee I’m going to chug the minute I jump off the train.

Starbucks, I love you. Peach & Green, I love you. Burnt-tasting drip coffee in the office, I even love you, too, especially when the day starts at 5 a.m. with a baby who’s discovering that, yes, he has a voice, and yes, it’s loud.

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But when I’m home, hanging out with my family – it still feels weird to say that, even after four months – the pace is much slower. There’s less screen time, more time spent outside exploring our Ukrainian Village neighborhood, more daytime naps and way more time spent in PJs. The Hollie and James who used to love traveling and packing the schedule as full as possible are now homebodies … and we like it.

My first Mother’s Day was laid-back, despite my having a fever and sore throat I likely picked up from some sick daycare kid somewhere in the mix. James had this same sickness the week before, so it’s only fair I had it next. On Mother’s Day.

James gave me the greatest Mother’s Day gift (next to Hamilton tickets, which I got as an early Mom’s Day surprise because I am married to the greatest human on the planet): A morning free of Wilder’s 5 a.m. wakeup. Pure fricking bliss. Seriously, you don’t know how amazing sleep is until it’s gone, and at that point, you’re too delirious to remember life before you became a zombie.

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We did our usual weekend stuff: Walks around the ‘hood in the stroller, lunch to go from the Goddess and Grocer, a picnic in Wicker Park, sunburned shoulders because I forgot what life is like when it’s not freezing cold. It was a really, really good day.

And yeah, we had an overtired meltdown in the park. And yeah, a weird guy told us his life story during our picnic. And yeah, there was baby puke down my shirt. But it was a really perfect first Mother’s Day, and I’m pretty darn happy to be a mom, especially when we’re lucky enough to catch these little moments on camera.

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There’s going to be a day I miss the baby barf. Maybe.

Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, whether you have kids in your arms, bellies or hearts. It’s not easy, nor is it clean. But it sure is rewarding.

Here’s a sneak peek of Wilder’s nursery

Hey, remember when this blog was more about decorating an apartment than having a baby? Yeah … those were the days. We’ll get back to design stuff soon enough – I still have to post about our actual FINISHED house, for crying out loud – but in the meantime, let’s combine furnishings and babying and do a little nursery preview, shall we?

fancykins nursery preview 1 (2)And what good is a baby-related post without a picture of a squirmy, cooing baby wearing a sweater outfit?

Note to self (and anyone else considering putting their child in a sweater outfit): The cuteness does not make up for the fact that the buttons take FOR-EVER during a diaper change. Especially when the baby is furiously kicking his legs. And screaming.

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fancykins nursery preview 2 fancykins nursery preview 5 fancykins nursery preview 6 fancykins nursery preview 7 fancykins nursery preview 3fancykins nursery preview 8 (1)All the details – including before and after pictures, paint colors and a bunch of teeny, tiny baby things that are heart-stoppingly cute – coming soon, but for now, Wilder and I are putting our Baby K’Tan carrier to good use and ACTUALLY LEAVING THE HOUSE. After being so cooped up for so long, this is a really huge deal. Fingers crossed he doesn’t scream his head off or spit up all over me, both of which are totally possible … and horrifying.


The story of little Wilder Deery

Wilder has been outside my body for four weeks, which simultaneously feels so much longer and so much shorter than that. And in that sliver of time – because despite all the marathon nursing sessions and the billion diaper changes, four weeks really is nothing – this amazing baby boy has already changed so much. I joked on Instagram that it’s onesies today, college applications tomorrow, but there’s real truth to it. All the hormones surging through my postpartum body are making me tear up as I write this, because it’s perfectly reasonable to cry about your 4-week-old baby growing up too fast and someday flying the coop … right?

So because time goes so quickly and my hormones are still raging, I figure it’s the perfect time to share Wilder’s birth story. Not only is it fresh in my mind (some things you just can’t forget), but I will likely cry all over my computer as I relive the experience. So LET’S DO IT.

fancykins wilder 1My new (old) favorite bracelet, which I got 100 years ago as a Black Friday door buster. Being a pack rat totally pays off.

About a month before Wilder was born, I woke James up in the middle of the night screaming “OH MY GOD, MY WATER BROKE.” Spoiler alert, it hadn’t – double spoiler alert, it never even happened during labor – but from that point on, I was terrified of spontaneous childbirth. I felt a twinge and wondered if it was a contraction. I felt something wet (TMI, it was usually just pee) and wondered if amniotic fluid was slowly leaking out of me. To shut me up, my doctor promised that when I actually had a real contraction, I would know.

Here’s another spoiler: She was so damn right.

Contractions – real ones this time – woke me up at 4 a.m. on January 16, but they were all over the place when we tried to time them. Instead of trying to sleep through them or between them, I hung out in bed all day and played Candy Crush. Had I known that I wouldn’t get sleep for the next 43 hours (and that I would not sleep for longer than three hours at a time from that point forward, thanks to Wilder’s nursing schedule*), I would have taken a nap. I would have napped all freaking day long. But nope, I chose Candy Crush.

At midnight on January 17, after a full day of contractions that gradually went from “Labor is so easy, maybe I won’t even get an epidural,” to “I think something is going to come crashing out of my vagina in two seconds,” we finally hit the 5-1-1 mark: Intense contractions that lasted for one minute, five minutes apart, for one hour. Everything that followed was a blur, and the next thing I knew, we were throwing random shit into a duffel bag and speeding through town toward the hospital.


I was in such pain at that point, I figured the baby would fall out of me at any moment. But upon further (and very painful) examination, we learned I was only one measly centimeter along, which is basically nothing. Under normal circumstances, the hospital would have sent me back home to wait it out, but despite my totally average and relatively boring 41-week pregnancy, these were not normal circumstances. Wilder’s heart rate dipped and my blood pressure skyrocketed, giving us a pass for admittance and further monitoring – totally OK because we somehow remembered to leave extra food out for the cat in our haste to leave the house.

It was at this point – between two-minute contractions that made me feel like I was going to (TMI again) poop out a baby – that I got an epidural. And it was also at this point, while the anesthesiologist’s needle was chilling somewhere in my spinal cord, that all hell broke loose.

My blood pressure, which had been so stupidly high, suddenly tanked. The baby’s heart rate went from the 150s way down to the 70s, then continued to drop every time I had a contraction (which, thanks to the epidural, felt nothing like the “My insides are turning into lava,” shit I had just experienced).

Doctors came in and looked at monitors. Machines beeped and IVs dripped. I was re-positioned a billion times. And then, within a matter of minutes, I was prepped for the operating room and wheeled across the hall for an unplanned C-section.


This is, of course, not at all what I wanted (or expected) for our birth experience, but when it came down to it, sticking to some well-thought-out birth plan didn’t matter. I mean, I didn’t even care when I was hoisted up on the operating table, totally numb from the boobs down, hospital gown hiked up to my neck, and my nude, immobile body completely exposed to a room full of strangers (shudder), because I knew no Hypnobabies routine or dimly lit birthing room could have safely brought Wilder into the world. And, at that point, what could have possibly been more important?


In that sterile room just minutes later – with James sitting on a stool next to my head, bright operating room lights in our faces, and a flimsy curtain separating us from whatever surgical madness was happening in my abdomen – we heard Wilder’s first cry, and it was so, so beautiful. And then we heard that the cord was wrapped around his neck twice, and that he had been swimming around in meconium-filled amniotic fluid, which was way more action than we bargained for so early in the morning. Despite how opposed I’d been to a surgical birth, the C-section was a blessing and I’m ridiculously thankful for the doctors who moved lightning-fast to get me in and out safely with a totally healthy, perfect, red-headed baby to show for it.

Wilder continued to cry the entire time they cleaned him off – as a matter of fact, he still hates bath time four weeks later – and when his tests were finished and they passed him into James’s waiting arms, he immediately stopped wailing and listened to his dad tell him how happy he was to finally meet him. It was, without a doubt, the most special moment of my life. I melted. James melted. Little Wilder Deery – a few minutes old, weighing a teensy 6 pounds, 7 ounces, and named Deery in honor of James’s mom – was finally here, and he was the most incredible thing I had ever seen.

I cried happy tears about him all day, and I still do, four weeks later. I mean, Wilder and I had a showtunes sing-along last week, and I had to stop halfway through “Seasons of Love” because I was crying too hard looking at this fantastic, tiny human that WE MADE. This little baby who lived inside me for more than 41 weeks, kicking at my ribs and getting hiccups every night. Who secretly jumped around during quiet times at work; who danced around in my belly at the sound of familiar voices and music; who had been on my mind for so long that sometimes I still can’t believe he’s finally here.

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Little Wilder is such a joy, even when he’s hungry (which is all the time) and crying (which mostly at night) and clingy (which makes blogging a bit more challenging). These last four weeks have flown by, and we’re really excited to fill our house with a bunch more love and adventure – and a shit ton more baby gear – in the weeks, months and years ahead.


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