Family, Personal

I Had a Baby

Like hundreds of millions of women before me, I have successfully birthed a child! It’s one of those things that is, by definition, so incredibly mundane. But so incredibly insane to experience!

Baby feet in baby booties
Baby feet in baby booties

I started having signs of preterm labor at 35 weeks, so you can imagine my shock and frustration when at 41 weeks I was still pregnant. After 3 miscarriages maintaining a pregnancy is pretty exciting. But dudes, being 41 weeks pregnant sucks no matter how much heartbreak it took you to get there. It is uncomfortable, and you can’t make medium-term plans to do anything fun because you literally might explode at any moment. Which is to say, I still owe my dad an outing to see Star Wars.

Did you know there are many old wives tales natural induction methods? If not, you will soon because everyone you meet will suggest them to you. With a sample size of 2 postdate pregnancies, I feel I can tell you definitively which ones work: none of them. I did enjoy the acupuncture and foot massages though.

I originally had an induction scheduled for Saturday night, but chickened out and moved it back to Tuesday morning. Something about being at the doctor’s office reminded me what childbirth is actually like and suddenly I was all JUST KIDDING I CAN STAY PREGNANT LONGER. Plus the prenatal testing came back great so I was no longer worrying that my baby was slowly expiring in my sad, defective womb. Admittedly after 3 miscarriages I also have very little faith in my body’s natural ability to make good choices.

On Saturday afternoon I had my usual “bullshit contractions,” which are vaguely more legit feeling than braxton hicks contractions, and last longer (maybe an hour or two), but never go anywhere. I had these almost daily for 4 weeks. I stopped paying attention to them. I got a pedicure, they went away. Then they came back! Then they went away. Chris started cooking dinner and I was like “FYI I might be in early labor, I’ll let you know in an hour.”

And hour later I was still having regular but mostly painless contractions so we called the doula to give her a heads up, and called my in-laws to pick up the 3 year old, still not really sure if this was legit. An hour after that I was having not-very-painful contractions 3 minutes apart, and was very confused about whether I should be going to the hospital now or not. My doula said it was either very early labor, or I was handling a fast labor very well. Without any real way to tell which was which I sat down to watch The Simpsons, and everything slowed down. I felt stupid for having called in the cavalry for more false labor.

At the doula’s suggestion I took a hot shower, and about 20 minutes later it was very clear that this was not false labor and that we needed to go to the hospital NOW. There was lots of cursing in the car. The security guard at the hospital did not need to ask why I was there (also no one else shows up to a hospital late at night carrying a yoga ball). Then I went to the PETU (I forget what it stands for but it’s basically labor triage) for THE WORST 20 MINUTES EVER.

For reasons that almost certainly involve lawyers, they need to get your baby on the monitor for 20 minutes at intake. This involves lying on a stretcher with a thingy strapped to you while you labor. THIS IS THE WORST. I have absolutely nothing positive to say about whatever lawyers suggested this was a good way for the hospital to cover their asses. During this part of the process I decided that unmedicated labor is for chumps and that I would probably like an epidural. The nurse encouraged me to wait until I was no longer attached to the Goddamned Monitor to make that decision.

Once freed from the Goddamned Monitor and reunited with my yoga ball the pain was indeed a lot more manageable. My doula arrived and after working through a few contractions I decided an epidural still sounded great. An OB checked me and said a bunch of numbers that describe my internal organs, the only one of which I remember was “6cm.” I was congratulated. I was then admitted to Labor and Delivery.

The next part is a blur and my husband and I disagree about the order of a few things. His memory is probably more accurate than mine.  I was repeatedly assured the anesthesiologist was on his way. It’s entirely possible this was even true, but within 20 minutes it was very clear to everyone that the baby was going to beat him there.  I had a bunch of truly miserable contractions, my water broke, I had a couple more miserable contractions, and then I started involuntarily pushing (still sitting on my yoga ball). I started freaking out because GUYS I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS WITHOUT DRUGS and my support team very lovingly explained to me that I was shit out of luck there.

I was herded onto the bed (even the progressive hippy hospital won’t let you actually pop your kid out onto a yoga ball), my midwife just barely managed to get her gloves on, and I started whining about how much I did not want to be doing this. I gave birth on all fours, not so much out of any choice but because there literally wasn’t time for me to try anything else. I also really had no control over the situation (because if I did I’d have quit). It took less than 5 minutes of pushing for a tiny baby girl to show up. It was about an hour and a half after I arrived at the hospital. Our car was still illegally parked out front.

Despite whining about the pain the entire time, I was actually sort of underwhelmed once it was over. Most of my anxiety stemmed from thinking the worst was yet to come, but it never did. I showed up at the hospital in a lot of pain but it never really got worse. I thought I was in “active labor” and kept bracing for “transition” and “ring of fire” kind of stuff. In reality I showed up in transition, and I think the ring of fire thing must only be for first time moms. Overall on a scale of 1-10 I give natural childbirth a 9. With the caveat that I don’t ever want to find out what 10 feels like.


After the baby (who we named Ada) was out, I was given pitocin to stop some stubborn bleeding. Then my blood pressure refused to come down. And despite having way less tearing than with my first birth I ended up with a bunch of stitches because apparently some vein just refused to quit bleeding everywhere. It took about 3 hours for everyone to decide that things looked OK enough to send me on to postpartum recovery. Ada stayed with us the whole time and even managed to get some decent nursing in.

Ada was born slightly shorter and a pound heavier than her sister was. At just a few days old she already has her own personality.


Family, Personal

What I learned seeing Walt Disney World in a wheelchair

My 10k run at Disney World went really well. Unfortunately the run + all the walking after really aggravated my plantar fasciitis and I ended up unable to walk well by the last two days of the trip. I rented a wheelchair from the parks ($10/day) and learned the following:

  • Disney wheelchairs are not in great shape. The second one we got was OK but the first one veered so heavily to the left that it was nearly impossible for me to push straight by myself.
  • Disney wheelchairs are not designed to be powered by the occupant. Yes, they have those big wheels so you can in theory wheel yourself around. In practice this is nearly impossible for more than a few feet. First, the chairs are entirely too wide. I felt like a gorilla reaching out for the wheels. Second, the handlebars in the back (so someone can push you) get in the way of anything resembling a smooth motion.
  • Having to rely on someone else to push you around is frustrating no matter how much you love them and how awesome they are.
  • If you try to push yourself and can’t keep up with a walking pace, people will give you annoyed looks for being in their way
  • It’s nice having a drink holder if you’re going Around the World at Epcot

None of this was even remotely surprising to me as I have heard it all before from friends with disabilities, but it was still interesting/aggravating to experience first hand. I was reminded of an article I read last year called “how to illustrate wheelchairs.” It explains that the chairs you see in the hospital, and Disney World, aren’t the sort of things anyone would use regularly to get around.

Something like this is more what I would have wanted to use, but obviously that’s not what the average Disney wheelchair renter wants. I was curious if any of the off-site rental companies offered something a little more maneuverable. While some of them offered narrower chairs, they were all hospital-style.

It looks like the popular option for most people who want independence is an ECV (aka scooter). The expense and size of those made them pretty unappealing to me – getting one from park to park on the buses is routine but it takes a little while to secure/unload. It would have been a lot to deal with while travelling with a toddler.  They also just seem a lot less nimble than a chair. I could spin around in place in the wheelchair, which is handy when you’re watching your kid zoom around a playground.

There’s so much walking necessary in Disney World that even minor mobility obstacles can become big ones. Now that I’m home I’m getting around just fine – as long as I stay off my foot most of the day it doesn’t bother me. But at Disney I was on my feet 8-10 hours per day and it hurt. I’m guessing there are a significant number of people who decide mid-trip that they can’t deal with the walking anymore.

Lastly: no I did not get to go to the front of lines (nor did I ask to). Aside from the fact that I was absolutely capable of waiting in line like everyone else, Disney has recently(ish) changed their policies due to rampant abuse. Now instead of going to the front of a line Disability Access Service Card holders get a fastpass-like service allowing them to pass their wait time somewhere more comfortable.


Some quick feelings

There’s a lot going on but it’s been really hard to find any time to blog about it, or really update anyone beyond a quick Facebook post.  I don’t really understand how the folks who blog 2-3 times per week (or more!) pull it off. I suggest ghostwriters. Or maybe addictions to 5 hour energy.

I had yet another miscarriage. At this point I’m more aggravated than sad. I mean I’m sad too. But this time when the ultrasound tech said “let me check with the radiologist” I knew what was coming. I cried when they came in and told me there was no heartbeat, but mostly I was angry. The whole situation just seemed stupid. I also immediately (and rather unfairly) started hating the mom on 19 Kids and Counting. Why does she get to have like a million kids, and I can’t even have 2? And what the hell is suddenly so wrong with my body? I had my first daughter with no incident. I’m starting to wonder if she torched the place on her way out.

The silver lining here is that now I’m officially an infertility patient, so there’s a new crop of doctors and tests waiting for me. Of course there’s still a good chance that we’ll never find anything noteworthy, which is annoying, but there’s also still really good odds for me having another child. 70% of women with consecutive miscarriages go on to have more children1 . So it’s not all bad news. But after 3 pregnancies in the span of a year I’m just feeling tired and grumpy.

While I’m glad we’ll be getting some more testing it sometimes feels like there’s an infinite number of steps between me and even attempting to have another child. I had a D&E last week so they can run tests on the not-even-a-fetus. Hopefully next month my body will be back to “normal” and then my OB can start running blood work. Many of the tests have to be repeated over a span of a month or two in order to get meaningful results. For example: Antiphosopholipid Syndrome (a blood clotting disorder) is one of the first things they check for, and the treatment is relatively simple and effective (blood thinners), but the test has about a 5% false positive rate so you need two positives 6-8 weeks apart for it to count.  If nothing exciting turns up in my blood I’ll likely be referred to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE), genetic counselor, or both. They’ll check to see if my husband and I are horribly genetically mismatched, if my uterus has any obvious problems missed by the ultrasound, etc.

My mood and outlook come and go, and today I mostly feel exhausted. Between my four pregnancies I’ve had a cumulative 10 months of morning sickness. I’ve lost count of the number of ultrasounds I’ve had. When I went in for surgery my arms were so bruised from blood draws they had to put the IV in my hand. As much as I’m looking forward to getting some test results, I’m dreading all the trips to the doctor’s office.

Philly, as seen from my OB's office
Philly, as seen from my OB’s office

Fingers crossed that someday soon I’ll start loving this view again instead of resenting it.


  1. Every time I say those odds they seem terrible. But then I imagine someone saying “70% of people who eat this die immediately” and those odds seem really incredibly high and obviously I would not eat that because obviously it will kill you. So I suppose odds are a matter of perspective []

Separating personal life and hacks

It’s been super quiet over here, huh? It’s not that I haven’t been blogging, it’s just that I’ve been seeing another blog. In an effort to keep my hacking blog for hackers and leave the mushy personal details out of it, I’ve moved all posts on my huge upcoming life changes over to their own subdomain.

I wrote a longer post about the nuts and bolts of the transition over on (the only parenting blog I can stand), but the short of it is: if you’d like to keep up with my posts about cooking, home decorating, and sprouting a family, then you’ll want to add to your RSS reader.


Amit Gupta Needs You

Amit Gupta, friend of a friend and the founder of Photo Jojo, was diagnosed with leukemia and needs a bone buy levitra canada marrow transplant. Unfortunately, because South Asians (think India, Afghanistan, East Africa) are under represented in the national bone marrow registry his odds of finding a match are only one in 20,000.

Amit is using the power of his social connections to hold bone marrow donor registrations all over the country, in search of “brown bones,” i.e. minority registrations. People of any ethnicity are of course welcome to register but people of color are most desperately needed.

Unlike some events, which only help the high-profile person lucky enough to have such a network, these bone marrow drives will help anyone who matches with a potential donor. So your registration helps bring up the odds for all people in your ethnic group, not just the ones with a big twitter following. And I think that’s huge.

Registration is free, though if you can afford a $100 donation to cover the cost of processing it’s always appreciated. It takes less than 5 minutes – you swab your cheek and drop the kit in the mail. You can also go to any of the registration drives around the country. Should you match, the donation process is similar to a blood draw – “painless but boring.”

And just in case you needed motivation to register sooner rather than later, Seth Godin is offering a $10,000 bounty on some matching bone marrow.


Once Again a Crazy Cat Lady


I am a part-time cat lady. Most of the year, I am too busy to be willing to deal with a pet. But during kitten season the local shelter posts photos of homeless kittens on their Facebook page, and I am powerless to resist.

This time, I went in to pick up what I thought was a family of a mom and 3 kittens who were about six weeks old. I left with a box with a mother and 5 kittens, whose eyes were still closed. At this size, they’re almost too little to be cute. Almost.

As many of you know, I have terrible luck with foster cats. There is always some sort of medical emergency. I am assured that this is because all stray kittens are horribly broken, and at least at home they can get better care, but still. Why I thought this litter would be different is beyond me.

But before I tell the story of Yet Another Cat Emergency, here’s a video of the kittens this morning. They are looking cuter and fuzzier today, and their ears are starting to look like ears.

Ok, so cat drama. After eating some and drinking some, I noticed Mother Goose, the mom cat, sitting off to the side of the crate, away from her babies. Then when one kitten started crying, she stood up… and I could see she was sitting in a pool of blood. COMMENCE FREAKOUT.

After a panicked call to the vet, I learned two things: the kittens were less than 48 hours old, and it’s “not uncommon” for queens to bleed for a few days after giving birth. I was given a checklist of a few signs to look for that would indicate problems (Mother Goose had none), where to buy levitra and then proceeded to clean up the omg eww cat blood.

Chris then informed me that a similar thing happens to humans after giving birth! Oh, great! So much to look forward to!




This past weekend we went camping in upstate New York. We stayed at North-South Lake Campground in the Catskills. Originally we’d planned to have a group of 10, but with a 30% chance of storms many of our indoor-cat friends bailed. Their loss, because the weather was absolutely beautiful.


Since there was rain in the forecast, we put tarps up above the tents (and I put one under ours for extra protection). Unfortunately none of us knew any fancy knots (please don’t tell my scout leader) so tying them in the trees was a bit of an adventure. But we figured it out.


Then, in a display of manliness, two of our friends decided they should swim to a nearby island. The air temperature was in the 60s, and the water was much, much colder.


It wasn’t quite as doomy as this photo makes it look, but it was indeed overcast.


The plan was to then pick them up in a canoe. However, when we got over the canoe rental we discovered we needed a drivers license to rent one, which we did not have. So we told the guys they would have to swim back. They were, as you might imagine, a bit disappointed by this.


There were only a few very light showers during the day, I don’t think any of them lasted more than 5 minutes. The showers did however give us a DOUBLE RAINBOW ALL THE WAY. Oh, is that meme over?


We grilled lots of meats, and it was delicious. We also made banana boats, where you take a banana and slit it down one side, then fill it with marshmallows and chocolate. Wrap it in tinfoil and set it on the coals for a while. You then eat the resulting banana goo with a spoon.

It did rain all night, but thanks to the tarps only the front two corners of our tent got any rain on them at all. We stayed nice and dry inside.

In the morning, we took oranges, sliced them in half, ate the orange, and then put cinnamon roll dough (the kind that comes in a can) inside. As with the bananas, wrap in tinfoil and put on the fire. You end up with a slightly orangy cinnamon roll. It is amazing.

Cinnamon bun cooked in an orange

We finished the trip with a half mile hike to a huge waterfall, and then a trip to Cracker Barrel.

Much bigger waterfall


Just Say No to "No"

I’m a member of NYC Resistor, and while I think we’re a pretty awesome group of people, we’re not without our bikeshed arguments. These kinds of arguments, in any group, can range from mild time-killers to arguments so intense people end up feeling personally hurt.

One of the biggest problems I’ve noticed is when people start shooting other people ideas down. It starts a negative feedback loop, and everything goes downhill from there. But lets face it, some ideas really are terrible, and maybe we think it’s worth a bruise to the person’s ego to save us all from a huge mistake. How do you skirt a bad idea without killing a friendship?

Personally, I’m going to work on shifting away from saying “no” to people. Which is not the same as saying yes. I’m banning “no” from my discussion vocabulary, and replacing it with the phrases “what if, instead/additionally…” and “I’d be OK with that if…, ” followed by an explanation of what would make me more comfortable with the project.

For [an absurd] example, let’s say someone in the group wants to buy an iguana and keep it at the space. I think this is a terrible idea, the space is for people, not animals. Instead of saying, “no, an iguana at the space is a disaster waiting to happen, it will totally die,” I could say “before diving into herpetology, let’s get a few plants for the space and see how that goes.” Or maybe, “I’m worried it will be forgotten and die, what could we do to make sure Iggy is cared for?” This gives people a way out of the stalemate and on to continue the discussion.

It takes less than a second to say no. Yet we spend too much time reciting our many and varied reasons to say no, rather than listening and considering what we could do to find a compromise.

So just like giving up “you should,” cialis cheap I’m giving up “no.”  I invite you to call me out on it when I backslide, and hope you’ll consider ditching “no” too.


State of the Kellbot

Things have been very, very busy around here. Here's some of how I'm spending my time:


I am getting married in early April. We went a very DIY route, hand making everything from the invitations to the centerpieces (which are made from approximately 25,000 individual lego bricks). I've been dutifully documenting the processes, but haven't had time to write up blog posts about everything we're doing.

A New Startup!

Technically, it's my old startup. But we're doing it for real this time. For those of you who are following along at home, you'll remember that about this time last year I was starting a startup. And then a few things happened and my personal finances looked a little scary, and long story short: I bailed. 

But I'm back at it! The company is called BitBot Media, and is the new home for all my professional startup projects. The project under the most active development is a health game, which I'll get to in just a second.

I'm working out of General Assembly, a new coworking space in midtown Manhattan. It's a beautiful space with a great collection of people. The space opened in mid December, so there are still a few kinks to work out (I frequently complain about people taking phone calls in the library) but overall it's pretty great.

So about that game…

The working title of the game is ExeRPG, and it's a browser-based RPG meant cheap cialis to encourage consistent workout habits. It might not be the next Grand Theft Auto, but finding the drive to exercise seems to be a comon problem among our friends.

We're in a private email-based alpha right now while we work out some of the major gameplay mechanics. It's a slow process, but has already provided us a lot of valuable feedback. We expect to have a full beta up by May. We're also planning on running a Kickstarter campaign to fund our initial development. If you're interested in the project you can sign up for our mailing list at

Developing a long-form game has been a huge learning process. I hope to blog as much of it as I can over on the game development blog.

Overall it's a busy time for me, hopefully post-wedding I can sit down and finish up some of the draft blog posts I've got lying around.


I’m Sorry Nintendo, What?

This morning Nintendo had their keynote at E3, unveiling the new 3DS. As part of the event, they had an army of models bring 3DS units into the audience, to let people get up close with the hot new hardware.

Look carefully at the image. All the models are women. All of them. I looked through as much footage of the keynote as I could find, and I can’t find a single dude in that group.

I’m generally the last person to get up in arms about stuff like this. But really, what the fuck Nintendo. Wake up. Women play games. Women design games. Women produce games. Women write games. And while the audience at E3 undoubtedly skews male, is that really an excuse to use women exclusively as furniture at your press events? It says a lot to me that the only women on that stage are there as set dressing. Specifically, it tells me I don’t want to buy your products. It upsets me on  a deep level to see this sort of BS from a company I like and have spent thousands of dollars with over the years.

Look, I’m not trying to funnel all of feminism into this one photo, or say that it’s not OK to have hot women hawking your stuff. I’ve got no problem with hiring attractive people to show off your products. It’s marketing and it works. But the number of women interested in gaming has exploded lately. And I’ll let you in on a secret: you don’t have to paint everything pink and brand it with Lady Gaga to market to us. You just need to stop acting like we don’t exist.

Update: A few folks have asked, why get upset about just this. Why not booth babes (a staple of industry events for god knows how long) as well? After talking it out with my fiancee, who doesn’t quite get what I’m so up in arms about, he summed it up pretty well:

so the scale of the model force needed highlights the fact that it could not possibly have been an oversight to include men … [making it] worse than the average smaller scale promotion where the gender preference is merely implied.

Yeah, that’s about right. After all, I find it hard to believe that LA has a shortage of male and female models looking for work.