Tuesday, December 31

Year in Review

Another year has passed and this New Year's Eve has me looking back on all that's happened in 2013. By far the most significant event of the year was the birth of my second son, Connor Gregory Wells, on November 24th. He is a sweet baby and my greatest blessing this year. As happy as I am to be able to snuggle and hold my newborn son, I am not at all sorry to no longer be pregnant. I've not had a horrible or high-risk pregnancy either time, but I am not a fan of pregnancy. My first trimester was no fun thanks to a three-month bout with bronchitis, tonsillitis, and a double ear infection--not to mention morning sickness. Once I finally got past all of that sickness the pregnancy went well, I was just much bigger and more uncomfortable this time around. Eric still says he wants to have three kids, but I think I'm done. We have two beautiful boys and our hands are full as it is!

Although I was supposed to have a scheduled c-section this time, Connor had other plans. Three days before I was scheduled for surgery I began having contractions shortly before midnight. By one a.m. they started becoming regular and less than ten minutes apart. After an hour of regular contractions I told Eric to stay with Liam and had Mom take me to Torrance Memorial hospital. The contractions were strong and coming more quickly by the time we got there, so walking was slow going. Once I arrived at Maternity I had to fill out paperwork--just what you want to do when you're in labor. The nurses weren't in a hurry, and I thought there was time, but by the time I was in a hospital gown and hooked up to a monitor my contractions
were not just coming rapidly, they were peaking on the monitor. I was in full-on labor and experiencing a
kind of pain I had never felt before in my life. The doctor on call gave the order to get me prepped for surgery, and suddenly in the midst of those painful contractions I had people asking me questions, drawing blood, starting an. I.V., shaving me, and so on. All I wanted for the anesthesiologist to show up and give me an epidural, but I was told that it had to wait until I was in the O.R.

As they were about to wheel me out of the labor room my water broke, but I was in too much pain to say anything. By that point Mom had called Eric and told him to get to the hospital. I didn't see him until I was on the operating table, prepped for surgery. I was glad it worked out so that I was out if pain by the time he saw me. I'm not sure he would have handled it well when I was in so much pain. There wouldn't have been anything he could have done to help me. Being in that much pain there was nothing get could have comforted me but drugs--lots of drugs. The surgery went well and before I knew it my baby was born and crying--a wonderful sound to hear. When Liam was born the nurses gave him to Eric first, but this time I got to be the first one to hold Connor. The nurses laid him on my chest and I felt the weight of his soft, warm little body for the first time. While the pregnancy was not particularly enjoyable for me, starting with Connor's birth I began to revel in and truly enjoy the experience. The first time around I was so nervous, anxious, and stressed at the new and awesome responsibility of motherhood that I didn't get to enjoy those initial moments and days with Liam as I did with Connor. Because I was more relaxed I feel like I bonded much more quickly with Connor. Right away I couldn't get enough of holding him and felt that strong mother-child attachment much sooner. Now that we've been home for awhile, I also find I'm not passing up many opportunities to just sit and hold him and enjoy this newborn phase more than I did last time. Realizing how sweet this time can be is enough to make me wish it weren't my last baby, but reality brings me back to earth. Kids are expensive!

Aside from the huge event of becoming a mother of two in 2013, the other significant development was my involvement in a new company called Art Muse Los Angeles (ALMA). ALMA's director is Clare Kunny, a museum professional who used to be one of the Education managers at the Getty--until the layoffs of April 2012 happened. She launched ALMA in February 2013. I had the distinction of giving the inaugural tour at the Villa. Not long after, she recruited me to do ALMA's social media and blog. Before I knew it I was one of the company's regular staff members. The company is still very young and thus is not hugely profitable yet, but I hope it takes off as time goes on. If it does, I may be able to have the best of both worlds and maintain professional connections and generate a modest income while still being home with the boys full-time. The social media aspect of the job is no problem--I can do that from home and mostly on my mobile device. It's giving tours or teaching gallery courses that is a challenge because it requires finding free child care. My goal is just to do one ALMA event per month, so hopefully we can work that out. Here's hoping that 2014 brings more opportunities!