the treasure trove of a wanderer

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homemade whole milk yogurt

photo 3sorry, no fancy title for this one. these days, spare time is nonexistent and therefore, so is my creativity. so, without further ado, our recipe for delicious, creamy, thick homemade yogurt.

what you’ll need:

  1. one gallon pasteurized whole milk (not ultra pasteurized–this is important! this usually rules out an organic milk, unfortunately.)
  2. 1 cup of plain (or vanilla) yogurt–this is your starter culture and it doesn’t matter which brand you use or if you eventually use your own yogurt as your starter culture
  3. a big pot
  4. a whisk
  5. a food thermometer of some sort
  6. 4 litre-sized mason jars (some people recommend sanitizing, i usually just give them a hot wash in the sink


  • pour the entire gallon of milk into your pot. set your stove to low-medium heat. you want to warm the milk slowly to avoid burning it on the bottom of the pot. i’ve tried to hurry the process and ended up burning the milk and it resulted in yogurt that tasted smoky.
  • stir the milk occasionally and after about 15 minutes of heating, begin testing the temperature. eventually, you want the milk to be heated to 185-190 degrees.
  • while you wait for your milk to heat, you can prepare your cooler (yes, like the kind you take to tailgate, the beach, and picnics). you’ll want to fill it with 120 degree water. this will be your incubator once you fill and seal your mason jars. you’ll want to fill the cooler with enough water so that the water nearly reaches the top of the mason 5
  • also while you’re waiting, fill your sink with ice cold water.
  • once your milk is heated to 185-190 degrees, move the pot of milk to a waiting sink full of cold water. stir and cool your pot of heated milk until the temperature drops to 120 degrees.
  • once it reaches 120 degrees, pull the pot from the cold water bath and add a cup of yogurt. mix well.
  • pour the mixture evenly into your waiting mason jars (i usually slop all over the place–that’s okay; there’s plenty and you’ll likely have enough milk left over to fill a 16-ounce mason jar). tighten the lids.
  • photo 4move the jars to your cooler and close the cooler lid.
  • place the cooler in location where the temperature is relatively consistent and not too cool.
  • wait approximately 4 hours–the longer you wait, the thicker it gets.
  • when you first pull the yogurt from the cooler, it will still be a little liquidy–kind of like a globby liquid. place it in your refrigerator overnight and let it cool. when you wake up in the morning, a delicious, thick, and creamy yogurt will be waiting for you.

the first time i made this recipe, it seemed like such a cumbersome process. but the second time i did it, i realized i could get other things done while i waited for the milk to heat. sometimes i wash dishes, this most recent time i made deodorant. try it at least twice before you write it off, trust me.

this is also a great way to reduce your grocery bill. you buy one gallon of milk and one cup of starter yogurt–usually $3-4 depending on where you shop. from that, you get one gallon (and a little extra) of yogurt that will keep in your refrigerator for up to a month. it’s a bargain and so easy. as always, comments and questions are welcome.

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breast milk for the win!

nursing bay

breast milk is truly liquid gold.

with my first daughter, it was liquid gold merely because i could only pump 1-2 ounces of the stuff and anyone who tossed it down the drain would be subject to my seething wrath. with my second daughter, i make enough milk to feed another baby (and i have donated my extra milk!), but i’ve discovered other reasons why this stuff is magically miraculous.

more than once, this liquid has provided more than just nourishment. when bay’s face was peppered with infant acne, i slathered her in breast milk every time she ate (which was a lot). when she got an earache, i put some drops in her ear. when her nose got stuffy, instead of saline spray, i used breast milk. eczema? breast milk. diaper rash? breast milk. sore nipples? breast milk. i’ve tried it all and it all worked. breast milk for the win!

recently, bay has been sick with a nasty virus and ended up with an angry plugged tear duct. it was red and swollen and clearly causing her some pain. i hand-expressed some breast milk in and around her eye and massaged the swollen area every time she nursed. no kid likes to have breast milk sprayed in her eye and will wiggle and worm to avoid it, but power through. within minutes, the infection began to drain. the next morning, the swelling was nearly gone, with just a little redness remaining. i treated her once more before leaving for work and when i came home from work that evening, there was no sign of the infection.

breast milk for the win!

and the best part? it’s free! it’s natural! and it’s chemical-free!

questions? comments? post them in the comment section below!

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our baby was born at home…on purpose

jim gaffigan nailed it (click here to laugh). “people don’t want to hear about home birth. they’re like, ‘oh, you had your baby at home. yeah. we were going to do that, but we wanted our baby to live.'”

a home birth was a total no brainer for aaron and i. the difficulty came in convincing the rest of the world we were not about to engage in some voodoo birth ritual in a barn. most people were well-meaning and genuinely concerned. admittedly, there’s a lot of misinformation and a lack of knowledge about the subject, and most of our critics were acting out of love (while incredibly misguided and tainted by western medical rhetoric).

i know. i know. it sounds crazy, but we didn’t want to “give birth in a germ invested building where sick people congregate.” and i didn’t want to “give birth in a gown someone died in yesterday.” (i’m quoting jim again. seriously, it’s 7 minutes of your day. click the link above.)

honestly, i know i said in one of my last blog posts i want to convert you all to crunchy, earth-loving hippies, but i get that some things just aren’t for everyone. home birth might be one of those things. some folks train for and run 26.2 miles and then slap a sticker on the back of their vehicle. (btw, there should really be a home birth bumper sticker!) just like marathons, home birth is not for all. i get that. hands down, it was one of the most kick-ass things i have ever done in my life. i’ll tell you a thousand and one times that it was easily the most triumphant and exhilarating moment of my life, but i won’t tell you to do it and i won’t judge you for your decision to birth in a hospital with the aid of medical intervention (in the same way i expect you not to judge me for my decision to birth at home). child birth is massively personal business and a woman should be permitted to elect the manner in which it happens. which brings me to my next point…in my personal experience, hospitals impeded my ability to choose how to give birth.

my first daughter was born in a hospital. we wanted to birth at the local birthing center, but caved and went with a hospital after the idea was so vehemently vetoed by our family. the whole experience was disempowering and caused me to question my own instincts and judgment throughout my pregnancy and the first years of evie’s life. everyone chides me when i complain about my first labor and delivery experience–“you had a healthy baby, right? then what do you have to complain about?”

yes, you all are right. in the end, i held my beautiful and healthy first-born in my arms (after she was bathed, poked, prodded, and tested). but the manner in which she arrived was not the one i chose, nor did i really have any say in the matter after i walked through doors of labor and delivery. at every step, someone was questioning my decision, refusing to take me at my word, threatening me with a c-section and other unwanted interventions, and even going so far as telling me my obstinance might lead to the death of my baby (i’m not kidding, they said this, even though evie was showing no signs of distress and my labor was progressing normally and within a reasonable time frame). eventually, after pitocin, stadol, and an epidural, evie was born lethargic, gray, and silent. no crying. no nursing. no latching. no color. at the time, we just thought this was what labor and delivery was like.

after an especially traumatic and infuriating dilation and curettage (d&c) procedure after miscarrying our second baby, aaron and i swore we would never voluntarily return to a hospital. and so we didn’t. when we learned of our third pregnancy in mexico, we sought out a midwife to manage our prenatal care and home birth. and when this immigration attorney decided the immigration paperwork to get a u.s. passport for a mexico-born baby would be too cumbersome, we found a midwife in michigan and returned to the u.s.early.

all of our prenatal visits with both midwives were friendly, relaxed experiences. we drank tea, snacked, talked a little about life, jobs, kids, and eventually we got to the business of listening to the baby’s heartbeat, measuring my expanding waistline, and all that other stuff. big sister was always encouraged to help in this process and dad learned how to measure pulse and feel for baby. from day one, the experience was a far cry from the sterile, formulaic, slam-bam-thank-you-ma’am protocol of traditional obgyn care.

believe it or not, this was comfortable.

believe it or not, this was comfortable.

eventually, after three weeks of prodromal labor (a.k.a. false labor, pre labor, torture, whatever you want to label it), true labor began. most obgyns after one week of prodromal labor probably would have had me hooked up to a pitocin iv. my midwife, however, encouraged me to rest, provided some coaching, and left my body to do its thing. as it happens, baby was positioned off-kilter over my cervix and these contractions were working to put her at the proper angle over my cervix. any medical intervention at this point might have resulted in a c-section or injury to the baby.

throughout my pregnancy, people assured me my second labor would progress faster than my first. my first was born within 13 hours. my second, however, took her dear, sweet time. all told, i labored for about 25 hours, beginning around 10pm on june 2 and ending at 10:54pm on june 3. much of it was very manageable, hard labor beginning later in the afternoon on june 3.

laboring at home was vastly different from laboring in the hospital. i wasn’t hooked up to any machines or an iv, stuck in a bed, or confined to a room. i was free to walk, swim, run, crawl, moan, scream, sing, dance, eat, watch t.v….whatever struck my fancy.

this is where i labored:

weeping willow birthing pool lake view through tulips lake in the morning

this is where i did not labor:

labor and delivery room Patient_room_with_hospital_bed-jdbr-420x420 surprising-labor-and-delivery-facts-heartbeat-monitor-full surprising-labor-and-delivery-facts-IV-full

i walked the lake front. i curled up in bed with my husband. i wallowed in a tub. i laid on the couch. i laughed at the mindy project. i ate homemade popsicles. i puked homemade popsicles. i crawled. i kneeled. i sat on a toilet.

if i’m honest, much of the experience is clouded in a haze of labor fog. i remember bits and pieces. walking along the lake front in the blazing sunshine while evie happily and obliviously road her tricycle in front of us. my husband pacing with a cup of coffee. sounds of people congregating downstairs. o’malley (the dog) checking on me periodically. my sister’s hyena-like laughter. my other sister’s soothing touch and voice. my mom’s curly head of hair poking in and out of the doorway. my dad’s ill-timed insistence that he frequently experienced pain worse than contractions and child birth. the midwife’s encouraging eyes.

eventually, after hours of contractions, that urge to push struck. and it scared the hell out of me! it was such an impressive force over which i had no control. i fought it, squirming, wiggling, and clinching. between these urges, the midwife kept asking me to remove my bathing suit bottoms. i refused, dumbly thinking the thin layer of spandex might somehow forestall the inevitable.

shortly thereafter, and i’m not sure what precipitated this, the midwives asked me to use the bathroom. i thought, “really, i’m about to dirty this water with myriad birth fluids, including a live baby, and you’re worried about pee?” but i was so out of it. i probably would have stepped into a rocket ship to the moon if someone asked me. they finally coaxed me out of my bathing suit and dragged my bare butt to the bathroom, in full view of the rest of the folks congregated in our house. there’s no shame when you’re in labor. none. zero.

and much to my father’s chagrin, the bathroom was my last stop in my home birth journey. yes, my baby was born in the bathroom, very near the toilet. what of it?

at one point as i sat atop my porcelain throne, my midwife recognized the panic in my eyes and said, “trust your body. you can do this.” i stopped screaming. i stopped fighting. and i silently allowed my body to do what it knew to do.

i’m not gonna lie, people. worst. pain. ever. women talk about the ring of fire. but no one ever talks about how your body feels like it is going to rip in half starting at your crotch. i was seeing red and stars and all kinds of weird stuff. still, i clung to the towel rack and paper towel roll (my mother the whole time telling me to be careful not rip them off the wall) and i quietly worked. suddenly, the amniotic sac burst with a startling “clap.” minutes, seconds later–time was a blur–i stood up just in time for the midwife to catch my screaming, bright red, chubby baby.

relief. instant, glorious relief.

she immediately passed the baby to me. it screamed in my face. it peed on me. it was marvelous!

i sat back down on my throne, staring at my prize who was loudly announcing its arrival to the neighborhood. so amazing. so slippery. so sweet. so painful. someone interrupted my internal revelry, “well, what is it?” i looked up to see everyone staring at me. i thought, “what is what? can’t you see it’s a baby?!” and then it dawned on me, we still didn’t know the gender of this baby. i slid the umbilical cord to the side and announced, much to everyone’s surprise, “it’s a girl! it’s a bay sabine!”

soon after, i stood up and walked my exhausted body back to the bedroom. people milled about the room, peaking at the baby, talking quietly, checking my vitals, offering me sips of liquid. my sister brought in evie, who snuggled up next to me and admired her new sister, who by this time had attached herself intently to my breast (i would later discover that this was to be this baby’s MO, even to this day as we approach her 11-month birthday).

in my body’s own time, without anyone yanking or pulling on the umbilical cord or pushing on my tender belly, i delivered the placenta and then evie and aaron cut the cord. the midwives sewed up my battered lady parts (i gave birth to a 9 pound, 3 ounce baby, after all!). my sister held my hand while they stitched. aaron put evie back to bed. my parents offered food downstairs. the midwives cleaned up everything. i, meanwhile, having done my job sat quietly in the midst of it all, nursing my baby, undisturbed. eventually, everyone left and aaron came to bed, where we slept together with our newest addition.

cutting the cord post birth chaos IMG_5643

throughout the night, nurses did not wake us up repeatedly to check my vitals or baby’s vitals or to make me pee or pass gas. lactation consultants didn’t parade into the room to squeeze my breasts and nipples or to correct my baby’s latch. during the first 48 hours of bay’s life, i only passed her off to another human being so that i could bathe briefly and use the bathroom. aaron and evie brought me breakfast in bed–a delicious spinach and feta omelet with toast and fruit. the door to the balcony off our bedroom remained wide open, letting in a warm summer breeze and the cheerful songs of birds and their hatchlings. it sounds idyllic, because it was.

so, there you have it. no voodoo rituals. no witchcraft. she wasn’t born in a field, or a barn. our baby lived. i lived. no emergencies. nothing weird. just me doing exactly what nature intended my body to do and what so many women have done before me, in the comfort of my own home, with the help of my loving family and midwives.

bay sabine born 06/03/2013 at 10:54pm 9 pounds 3 ounces, 21 inches

bay sabine
born 06/03/2013 at 10:54pm
9 pounds 3 ounces, 21 inches


sunday tantrums

cat-bathingnot only did i throw a full-blown, raging hormone temper tantrum in the car last night, but my husband had to literally drag me to my vehicle this morning while i clawed every surface like a cat on the way to the bathtub.

okay. i exaggerate. my resistance was a little more passive.

i took my time peeling my hard boiled eggs. i carefully salted every single bite. i slupped and sipped my smoothie admiring the bouquet of flavors–peanut butter, blueberry, orange juice, spinach, yogurt. i rubbed oil on the girls’ feet. i went on a futile search for a safety pin to keep my shirt from gapping over my more-than-ample bosom. i kissed my husband. i kissed my girls. i kissed my girls again. i walked a few steps. i turned and looked at my adorable children. i walked a few more steps. i paused to answer evie’s heartbreaking question: “why does mommy go to work?” “to put that breakfast on the table.” eventually, i made my way to the car, turned it on, and drove away, my heart aching as it does most mornings.

i love my job. i really do. i help reunite immigrant families every day. i go home and i feel insanely good about what i did all day (and even though it doesn’t pay the rent, it pays in other ways). but for all it’s worth, i can’t shake this feeling of interminable guilt and sadness for leaving my girls motherless 10 hours a day, not to mention this feeling of being behind the wheel of a semi truck careening out of control.

we are fortunate enough to avoid the dreaded daycare scenario. my girls stay home with their grandmother or the nanny and their dad is ever present working in the upstairs office. really, it’s an ideal situation. but for three-and-a-half years after evie was born, i was the stay-at-home-mom/student. i was there to put band-aids on her owies. i made yummy, creative, healthy, pinterest-worthy meals. i went on walks. i took her to the park. i put her down for naps. i came up with creative art projects. i nursed her. i snuggled her when she was sick. i read her books. i talked to her about her days. i kept her play spaces clean. (yeah, i know; everything looks all leave-it-to-beaver perfect with a nice pair of rose-colored glasses on.) and now, now i’m 36 miles away in a completely different city, while someone else meets all their needs. it’s a control freak’s nightmare!

but it’s more than just a control issue. i struggle to balance my role in the home. i’m the primary breadwinner, commuting 45 minutes morning and evening, putting in 8-9 hours at the office. but i’m also the nursing mom, hyper attentive granola parent, who home-makes everything, exercises, cooks healthy meals from raw ingredients, and wears a friggin’ silk cape!

it’s a recipe for a “go home, sarah, you drunk” lock-me-up mental breakdown.

me, last night, in an enclosed vehicle, for 45 minutes. my poor husband.

me, last night, in an enclosed vehicle, for 45 minutes. my poor husband.

and that’s what happened last night. after the circus-meets-bar-fight weekend i had (OMG, seriously, cat puke, dog pee, dog puke, cat pee, rowdy boys, clingy baby, hard-of-hearing father, diva fabulous sister, hot house, too much sugar, bloated mama, more dog pee, dog jumping, dog licking, yelling, rowdy boys again, soccer in the house, baby hit in face with ball, crying, screaming, red-faced, twitchy-eye angry mama, allergies, asthma, where’d my husband go?, tree chopping, snot, boogers, nothin’ to do but laugh, can i have a weekend redo?), facing another round of monday doldrums, i whined, sobbed, screeched, flailed, and flapped for a full 45 minutes, while my husband listened attentively and searched frantically in his bag of “right things to say that won’t make her screech again.” [oh my gosh. this is seriously a run-on sentence for the record books.] oh, and i also blubbered (ha!) about my weight because someone (you know who you are FAB!) looks gorgeous and i look like a much blobbier version of my former fit self. am i the only nursing mom on earth who puts on weight while nursing?!?!

remove silk cape. don straight jacket.

me, again, after mr. toad's wild ride kind of weekend.

me, again, after my “mr. toad’s wild ride” kind of weekend.

i’m sure most moms, working or not, can relate. parenting is the balancing trick of balancing tricks. the guy walking over the grand canyon ain’t got nothin’ on parents. and i haven’t even touched on the matter of my severely unbalanced relationship with my husband, god bless his expertly chiseled abs and biceps. most nights count as a success if we’re able to watch a 30-minute episode of modern family before we drag our half-dead carcasses off to bed. forget conversation. forget intimacy (gasp!). forget date nights.

but back to it, i’m sucking at the balancing trick. i feel like the fat kid on the teeter totter. and no matter how hard i try, i cannot get the stupid teeter totter to balance and my fat ass keeps hittin’ the dirt with a resounding “thunk” and puff of dust. for every success i have in the immigration realm, there’s a failure at home. and for every family reunited, mine feels like it slips farther away. i know this all slightly (uber) melodramatic. it’s monday. i’m down. i miss my family after a less-than-relaxing three-day weekend. it will all seem better when i park the car in the garage again at 6pm. but i’d be lying if i didn’t admit that this is not the first, second, or third time i’ve sobbed to my husband about this subject.

and we’re both kind of at a loss. i have to work. i can’t be home with my kids. and even if i could, i know i would be wishing i was back in the office, at least part of the week. we both vacillate between looking forward to the next year when things will be better and trying to live in the present moment.  we’re getting whiplash!

normally, i like to end my posts with some sort of conclusion. but this is one story that doesn’t have a conclusion. i have no answers, no solutions, no advice for other parents. i know other parents struggle like we do. we’re not unique. we’re not special. and perhaps hoping for a remedy is delusional and this is just the eternal, interminable struggle of all parents. so, for now, i’ll pop my antacids, sniff my relaxation oils, and keep on keepin’ on. and maybe, just maybe, if some time during your equally frenetic day you find time to offer suggestions or advice or if you just want to commiserate, please do so. gracias in advance.

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and…over a year later, i’m back.

no apologies for my hiatus. usually, i offer some lame excuse for my extended absence from the blogosphere. this time, my departure was voluntary and necessary. aaron and i started to feel like technology was getting in the way of living life. so, other than maintaining email and a facebook account, i, somewhat by accident, peeled myself away from the fly paper of social media. and now, either because i’m a dumb fly back for more or because i’ve got the writing bug again or because life has been too good not to share, i’m back.

it certainly hasn’t been a boring year. i was living in mexico, now i live in michigan. i was a pregnant mother of one, now i’m a walking milk jug and mother of two. i gave birth at home, y’all!! i was quasi unemployed, now i am a full-time nonprofit attorney. i was poor, now i am still poor. my husband was spending his days in dusty mexican archives, now he writes 8-9 hours a day in our dusty home office. i was a stay-at-home mom, now i leave my kids in the hands of others 10 hours a day, 4 days a week. we used to drive a toyota carola, now we drive a scion xb. i used to work out daily to jillian michaels, now i’m lucky if that happens once a week (hello, cellulite). oh, how life has changed in the last year and i’m sure, eventually, i’ll find time to write about all of it.

but for today, allow me to reintroduce myself, since it has been over a year since i last posted. and even if you haven’t forgotten who i am, the passing of a year is invariably transformative and i’m sure it will change the tenor of this blog and my writing.

i am still a mom, a wife, a woman, an attorney, a traveler, a humanitarian, a liberal, and a crunchy hippie. i still have tattoos (including a brand new sleeve from mos eisleys’ eric!) and a nose piercing. but now i work as a nonprofit immigration attorney (a.k.a. a bleeding heart). i spend my days using the limited u.s. immigration resources to reunite families, while also trying to keep my own family up and running, none of which would be possible without the help of my Amazing mother-in-law (yes, amazing with a capital A because, folks, no lie, she’s Amazing) and my superstar teenage nanny. i favor the “if it feels natural, do it” approach to life and parenting. this means our queen-size bed is filled with four hot bodies nearly every night, one of whom is most always attached to my boob; constantly seeking and choosing a natural alternative to the unnatural; consciously consuming; leading an environmentally friendly life; cloth diapering; homemaking everything we possibly can (don’t you worry; i’ll share recipes and product suggestions); parenting with quiet voices and loving embraces; seeking out the rare husband and wife moment; and really this list could go on indefinitely.

this blog will somehow chronicle all of the above. i realize it defies the written law of blog writing, waxing poetic about so many varying aspects of life, ranging from immigration reform to the best way to strip ammonia from a cloth diaper. but in a way, i hope it will all harken back to my “if it feels natural, do it” approach to my life journey. it is also my hope, and i will shamelessly admit this, to convert you all to my earth-loving, hippie lifestyle. i welcome comments, emails, and helpful suggestions. family photo04192014

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Soap Box Moment

At three years old, Olive is still blissfully unaware of gender roles, pronouns, or norms. “He” and “she” are used interchangeably. Some days she is a “boy” and other days she is “Mary Poppins” and occasionally, she chooses to just be Olive. And when she plays, it’s not unusual to observe her two female Barbies kissing and living happily ever after with kids. Some of these behaviors are a product of her age and others are a product of our conscious parenting decisions. If our generation wants to set change in motion and ensure that our kids have the right to marry the person they love, not only do we need to push for change now, but we need to ingrain in our kids an attitude of openness to and acceptance of the differences that make our world the unique and progressive place that it is (or ought to be). Start by practicing openness and acceptance in your own home, allowing your kids to be who they need to be on any given day and play as they see fit. Give them options for play and dress. Be mindful of the media influences in their life and try to balance one-sided views of gender roles and norms. And most importantly, teach them to love freely.

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zombies, nursing puppies, and fetus fruit punch

Copyrighteddreams stick to my brain like carbs stick to my ass. after a night of weird, terrifying, or even sexy dreams, i walk around the rest of the day mulling over the details of my sleepy hallucinations. mind you, this worked out great for my husband, my libido and our sex life while i was reading 50 shades of grey. but during pregnancy, it means i spend my days looking for zombies behind every door, mummy babies exiting my uterus, and floating fetuses in our jamaica punch.

ordinarily, i have recurring dreams. i frequently experience déjà vu. i can vividly remember dreams from my childhood. when i was a bed-wetting little girl, wet sheets were always precipitated by yellow gushing liquid. and during pregnancy, most everything is tinted red and revolves around the theme of babies or breast feeding.

it’s no secret that pregnancy brings strange and bizarre dreams, as well as food cravings, body odors, and mood swings. experts speculate that the increase in vivid and strange dreams are the result of pregnancy worries and joys. others say these dreams indicate a woman’s thoughts and feelings about pregnancy. incessantly crying babies, beating up the insurance agent during labor, kittens instead of babies—these dreams all reflect reasonable thoughts and preoccupations surrounding pregnancy and child birth (except maybe kittens instead of babies).Copyrighted

so where do i fit in? over the span of two pregnancies, i’ve dreamed about things like (just to name a few) birthing and breast feeding a mummified baby, breast feeding a chihuahua puppy, coming upon two punch bowls filled with fruit and babies, and zombies breaking down the door while i’m in labor. what does this say about my pregnancy thoughts and worries?

as an unofficial dream interpreter, here’s my take:

i’m a nutter. a complete and utter looney. put me in the straight jacket before i don my freddy gloves and hockey mask. if my pregnancy dreams reflect my thoughts, feelings, and worries about pregnancy, then there is just something not right the gray matter sloshing around between my ears.Copyrighted

somewhere between conception and birth, my brain is incurably infested with a red haze of the collective horror films and true blood episodes i’ve viewed over the last 30 years. after a night of gory, crimson, fetus dreams, my husband has to physically restrain me from locking myself up in the asylum cart and swallowing the key. only while pregnant have i experienced dreams of this nature, so there must be something particularly rancid about the combination of pregnancy hormones and the whole of my latent horror genre knowledge. it’s like salvador dali meets russel edgington meets bayou voodoo priestess.

a quick internet search of “weird pregnancy dreams” reveals that there is nothing normal about my bizarro nightmares. i’m actually quite alarmed and disturbed at the moment. at first, i thought my dreams were weird, for sure, but i just assumed it was normal. but now, now, i’m questioning whether there really isn’t something toxic and abnormal about my unconscious visions. “normal” women dream about what their babies will look like, what sex the baby will be, or what to name the baby (of course, all bathed in a cloudy, sun-filtered, prancing through green meadows dream sequence glow). me, i dream about bringing a mummified infant corpse up to my bare breast, encouraging it to nurse, only to have it’s jaw dislodge and fall off in my lap. and all this while sitting around the hot red glow of a campfire with forest animals as company. or let’s try this one on for size: meandering through an alice-in-wonderland-like forest land in 3d claymation when i happen upon two bowls of red punch. naturally, after wandering through a tim burton-esque land, i was thirsty, so i eagerly dip a ladle in one of the punch bowls. as i’m sipping my refreshing cup of punchy deliciousness, i notice, floating between the ice cubes and orange slices, a fetus.

i can hear you now. you’re gagging. you just did that weird dry heave thing you do when you smell something vile and rancid. and you’re making that face you make when something strikes you as so odious and offensive that you can’t help but betray your feelings in the slant of your brow, crook of your mouth and hollow, horror-struck look in your eyes. Copyrighted

no hard feelings if you unfriend me on facebook and delete me from you gmail contacts list. and though it’d be rough, i wouldn’t hold it against you if you ran the other way when you see me in the grocery store. totally understandable. i’d be tempted to do the same thing if i were you.

but, if you’re a merciful soul, rather than unfriend me, you’ll weigh in on this blog and share with me your equally reprehensible, horrid, and outrageous pregnancy dreams. please, i beg of you, put my mind at ease! i already feel abnormal enough as it is, waddling around clutching my aching back and crotch, with cankles the size of telephone poles, red acne peppering my chin, and a belly the size of a beach ball. please, please, tell me there is some other woman on this great green and blue globe (who isn’t a serial murderer or sociopath) who has had equally dreadful pregnancy dreams.