Posts from September 2015

Does She Know I’m Her Mom?

September 30, 2015


Joe and I often communicate through picture texts.  These were sent to him on Doctor Day.  Poor bunny 🙁

Since bringing Maisie home from the hospital I have constantly doubted a) whether or not I’m a good Mother and b) whether or not she knows that I’m her Mommy.  In those early newborn days especially I would find myself wondering if she even cared who was giving her a bottle or rocking her to sleep.

These nagging feelings of self-doubt amped up in a major way when Maisie started daycare.  I couldn’t stop stressing.  Won’t she be confused about who her Mommy is?  My own Mother stayed home with us, so I had no experience of my own to compare.  Joe would constantly reassure me that his Mom always worked, and even though he spent a lot of time with his Grandmother as a boy, he always knew that his Mom was his Mom.

Anyway, last week Maisie had a well-visit at the Pediatrician.  She got several vaccinations and the doctor warned me that she may be a bit out of sorts for the rest of the day.  When she woke up from her nap that afternoon she. was. miserable.  She was crying so hard she wouldn’t even take a bottle, which is SO unlike her.  I walked her all around the house, patting her back and singing songs gently in her ear but she still cried.  Finally, I took her out into the backyard.  I think the cool air and change of environment kind of snapped her out of it and she calmed down.  A few minutes later we went back in the house to change her diaper and when I tried to lay her on the changing table, she started crying again.  Her hands clung to my shirt and wouldn’t let go.

I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life.  My girl was feeling sick and all she wanted was for me to keep holding her.  I pulled her in close and whispered “Mommy’s here” while I struggled to hold back my own tears.  Just like that, all of the doubts I had been dealing with for 4+ months instantly vanished.

Sigh.  I lack the vocabulary to express my overwhelming, all-consuming and psychotic love for this child.

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”—Rajneesh 



Maisie’s Birth Story | 39 Week Induction

September 29, 2015

1Our last picture as non-parents.  I look fully capable of operating heavy machinery!

I’m aware that this is a bit out of order.  The truth is I have had this post written for over 3 months and have been too nervous and shy to share it.  After all, is there ever a time a woman is more vulnerable/exposed than she is while giving birth?  I highhhlyyyyy doubt it.  Anyway – before I change my mind – here it is.

It was decided by my ObGyn that I would be induced at 39 weeks. The major risk factors of Gestational Diabetes are 10lb+ babies (whose shoulders can be broken/dislocated during delivery) and premature degradation of the placenta – which can lead to the “s” word.  If you don’t know what the “s” word is, you’ve never been pregnant.  Once a doctor even says this word out loud to you, you just kind of agree to whatever they recommend…but I was still nervous about forcing the baby to come out before she was really ready.

To make myself feel better, I spent the days before my induction googling for hours and reading as many positive induction stories as I could get my hands on.  I am trying to pay it forward now by sharing my experience.  We checked into the hospital at 7 p.m. on a Monday night and Maisie was born almost exactly 24 hours later.  Overall my experience was positive – although I have never gone into labor naturally so I have nothing to compare it to.

I am writing this the only way I know how – the way I actually remember it – fragmented and drug-laced.

Joe and I putter around the house getting a few final things ready and occasionally saying to each other “This is so weird.”  Because it is.  The weirdest. day. ever.  My Mom comes over.  I am very nervous.  I eat pizza for the first time in 4 months.  I get a massive nosebleed.  I google “nosebleeds 3rd trimester.”  I diagnose myself with preeclampsia.  I shower.  Suddenly it’s time to leave.

We get to the hospital and check in.  I act like a 4 year old child while they try to put in the I.V.  I don’t have preeclampsia.  The doctor inserts Cervadil and tells me to try and get some sleep.

Around 3 a.m. I wake up to very painful back labor.  The mean nurse says I’m not having real contractions.  Things will get much worse she says.  I do not handle this news well.  The mean nurse calls the doctor.  He approves a Demerol drip.  Drugs are amazing.  I fall back asleep.

I wake up early the next morning.  I want more Demerol.  The mean nurse says no.  My doctor comes back.  He checks me and says I am 4 cm dilated (not real contractions my ass!).  Do I want an epidural before we start Pitocin?  Um, YES.  Joe leaves.  Epidural goes in.  Epidural is AMAZING.  The pain is gone.  They start the Pitocin drip and I fall back asleep.  Joe comes back.  I start crushing ice chips.  The mean nurse says I’m eating too many ice chips.  My Mom comes.  The three of us sit and wait.  They watch the monitor.  I make Joe read all the texts he is receiving from friends and family members out loud.  They watch the monitor more.  They ask me with a weird look on their faces if I can feel anything.  I say no.  The Doctor is back.  8 cm now.  He tells me they will turn down the epidural because it’s almost time to push.  I am excited.  The mean nurse says that since this is my first baby I could be pushing for hours.  As soon as she leaves the room I cry and demand a new nurse.  I am Madonna.

I am starting to feel a lot of pressure.  The mean nurse tells me to start pushing.  I push.  Nothing.  Is.  Happening.  The nurse, Joe and my Mom are cheering me on but they are just patronizing me because nothing. is. happening.  This pattern of pushing and cheering goes on for what seems like forever.  Suddenly Joe’s voice changes.  Something IS happening.  They hold up a mirror so I can see.  Seeing makes me scared.  The nurses keep talking about the baby’s hair.  The doctor is back.  More people are in the room now.  The pain is all-consuming.  I push more.  I throw up.  I push more.  I give up.  I tell Joe I want to go home.  I cry.  Creedance Clearwater Revival is playing in the background.  The doctor asks if I want a C-Section.  I say yes.  He is kidding.  I push and I hear it in Joe’s voice again…her head is out.  Stop pushing they say.  I’m crying too hard to even care.

All of a sudden there is something warm and heavy on my stomach.  Joe is crying.  There is a bright light in my face.  I can’t really see.  I cry with relief because the pain is gone.  They take the baby away and ask me what her name is.  I am crying too hard to talk. “Maisie Janice” says Joe.  My Mom grabs my face and kisses me.  I can hear the baby crying.  I ask over and over and over again if she is okay.  I tell Joe to go make sure she is okay.  He leaves and comes back with a pink piece of paper in his hands.  He shows it to me.  His hands are shaking the paper.  It has her footprints on it. They are the tiniest footprints I’ve ever seen. They bring the baby back over and she is wrapped up like a little burrito.  Her eyes are wide open and she is looking right at me.  She looks so familiar.  I think “there she is…that’s her….of COURSE that’s her.  Maisie.”

2Meeting my daughter.  

A Healthy Dose of Perspective. Thanks Universe!

September 28, 2015

eclipse2I don’t really have the right lens to photograph this sort of thing – I don’t even own a tripod – but I made do and totally geeked out over the eclipse tonight.

The last few weeks have been over the top stressful.  I sometimes think back to my life before Maisie was born and it’s hard not to laugh at the fact that I ever I truly believed I was exhausted or stressed out.  It’s all relative I guess.  If Joe and I decide to have more children I will probably look back at this time with “only 1 baby” and think the same thing.  ANYWAY, seeing this eclipse after an awesome weekend sure did put all my worries and anxieties into perspective.

I love my little life…however little it may be 🙂



The End of an Era

September 21, 2015

I am the kind of girl who wears my heart on my sleeve.  An open book, if you will.  I embrace all of life’s feelings – good and bad – and expel them outward to pretty much anyone who will listen.  Joe, however, is the exact opposite.  He can be quiet, complicated and difficult to read while he internalizes emotions and squishes them in his mind vise.

His Grandparents are finalizing the process of closing on their house (the house he grew up in) this week and moving across the country.  I spent the last few days trying to support him during what I evaluated to be a bittersweet and somewhat sad life event.  To my surprise, he shrugged off my occasional prodding to see how he was doing with lots of “no big deal, this move will be good for them” types of responses.

Yesterday we took Maisie over to say goodbye.  Seeing the house all packed up and bare immediately made my eyes well up.  Joe and I cohabited the upstairs apartment while we were dating, engaged and then newly married so, to me, that will always be the place where we started our lives together.  We went upstairs and as I was explaining to Maisie that this is where Daddy lived when he was a little boy and also where Mommy and Daddy lived before she was born – I noticed Joe sneakily recording a video of every room of the apartment on his phone.  Feelings unlocked!


On the drive home I started posting some of the photos we snapped during our visit.  I was blanking on a caption for one when suddenly the most cliched lightbulb in history went off in my mind and herreeeee come the Semisonic Lyrics.  Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.  BAM.



September 16, 2015


I’m feeling very overwhelmed and exhausted this week.  Last night my Mom called me as I was editing photos (after working all day, picking up Maisie from daycare and then getting her to bed while Joe worked a closing shift) and I lost my marbles, which typically happens about half of the time I talk to my Mom.  Poor Jan.  I will get mine someday…if Maisie has inherited even 5% of my flair for the overdramatic, I will get mine.

Anyway, I woke up today resolved to turn my frown upside down.  What has always helped me to chill the ‘eff out in moments of panic or when things just seem impossible is to simplify everything down to the only things that really matter:  Do I have a healthy, beautiful baby girl?  A husband that loves me even when I don’t deserve it?  Is there a roof over my head?  Are the bills being paid?  Is everyone I love healthy and safe?  YES? THEN EVERYTHING IS FINE.

Just gotta keep swimming.

Pics Post | Maisie’s Christening

September 13, 2015

Maisie was Christened today!  It was a stressful, sweaty and occasionally tear-filled day.  That being said, standing on the same altar where Joe and I exchanged our wedding vows while we watched our girl be baptized made it all worth it a million times over.  To the pictures!0F5A3188 copy

0F5A3185 copy 0F5A3210 copy 0F5A3221 copy 0F5A3225 copy 0F5A3227 copy 0F5A3228 copy
0F5A3243 copy
0F5A3261 copy 0F5A3295 copy 0F5A3301 copy 0F5A3313 copy 0F5A3318 copy 0F5A3319 copy 0F5A3348 copy 0F5A3350 copy 0F5A3358 copy 0F5A3372 copy 0F5A3390 copy 0F5A3406 copy 0F5A3409 copy 0F5A3415 copy 0F5A3425 copy 0F5A3430 copy 0F5A3431 copy 0F5A3432 copy 0F5A3433 copy 0F5A3435 copy 0F5A3436 copy

0F5A3439 0F5A3448Big props to my sister in law Kathy, any picture that I am in – she took!  Way to go gurl!

Finally Friday | 9-11-15

September 11, 2015

niagra falls

First and foremost – Happy Birthday to my brother Danny!!!!!!!!!  DGD is the definition of big brother – fiercely protective and endlessly loyal to his family.  Love that guy.



To know me is to know that Fridays are my jam.  Especially Fridays before a weekend filled with lots of goings-on….enter THIS WEEKEND stage left.

  1. Joe’s Mom is flying in from Las Vegas and staying with us for the weekend.  Yay Grandma!  She hasn’t seen Maisie since the week she was born so I’m excited for her.
  2. Joe is off on Saturday AND Sunday.  I can almost hear the choirs singing…
  3. Maisie’s Christening is on Sunday.  We flip-flopped back and forth for a while between having a big shabang in our backyard or just doing something low key.  Ultimately we chose the latter. The ceremony is at the church I grew up attending and a quiet brunch will follow afterwards at my parent’s house.  Nonetheless, I’m still excited to get my girl all dolled up in her Christening Gown.  Stay tuned for (probably too many) pictures!

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

What’s in a name?

September 8, 2015


When I found out I was pregnant I immediately started mentally compiling my favorite baby names in my head.  I had a solid top 5 for both boys and girls…although I’ll admit I was initially much more focused on boy names.  I went along my merry list-making way operating under the blind assumption that Joe would love any name that I loved.  WRONG.  When I excitedly shared my strongest contenders with him, I distinctly remember that by the end of my boy list he was literally bursting out in laughter every time I said a new name and then proceeded to watch this video and laugh even harder.  Back to the drawing board I went.  Throughout my first trimester we would casually flip through online lists and baby-naming websites and our conversations usually went something like this….

Me:  Oooh!  What about Brady!?

Joe:  No.

Me:  :dramatic audible sigh:

Joe:  I got it. Maximus.  :starts playing scene from Gladiator on iPad:

Me: :slams laptop closed:

I sometimes think that if the baby had been a boy, we would still be arguing over what his name should be.  We tentatively both liked “Jameson” for a while but it never felt quite right.

One day I was reading an article about the filming of the HBO show Game of Thrones when I saw the name of British actress Maisie Williams.  I immediately said…”what about Maisie!?”  I almost couldn’t believe my ears when Joe said “…that’s cute….I like it.”  From that point on it just kind of stuck.  When I called Joe at work a few weeks later after an unexpected sonogram to tell him the baby was a girl he said, “Maisie?” to which I tearfully replied, “Maisie.”

Overall, choosing a name for another human being felt like a very heavy responsibility to me.  You really only get one shot at it.  Late in my pregnancy I would lay awake while my anxiety swirled…”is the name Maisie too nicknamey?  too informal?  what if she wants to be a politician or something? WHAT IF SHE IS BORN AND DOESN’T LOOK LIKE A MAISIE!?”  Of course now that she is here I literally cannot picture her name being anything else.

I know of people who have had their future children’s names picked out since high school.  Do you? Was it hard finding names that both you and your partner liked?  I’d love to know!

And, just for fun, I found my original list buried in my emails:

My Initial Boy Names

1 – Myles…one day I will buy a goldfish and name him Myles.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this name.

2 – Oliver…turns out this is more popular than I realized.

3 – Finn

4 – Jasper

5 – Julian

My Initial Girl Names

1- Janice (after my Marmy)…with the nickname “Jane” or “Janie” – This ended up being her middle name 🙂

2- Wynter…with the nickname “Winnie.”  I still love this one.

3- Keira

4- Shayla…love the nickname “Shay” for a girl

5- Kina

Maisie @ 4 Months

September 3, 2015

I was really hoping to start this Monthly Maisie installment sooner but it didn’t happen because I was busy learning how to change diapers, swaddle and function as a Mother in general.  Ya know, all the stuff they teach you in those Baby 101 Classes you are supposed to take when you are pregnant (we signed up for one but didn’t go…woops).  Anyway, my mantra is better late than never so here she is…4 month old Maisie!

At four months Maisie’s personality is really starting to emerge.  She is a content, smiley and energetic baby.  She has been sleeping through the night since forever and we Dugans have settled into a pretty good routine.  She has a bath, goodnight songs and prayers every night with Mommy and greets Daddy with a big smile before promptly demanding her brekkie bottle every morning.  Since she sleeps so well at night, we allow her to have a pretty loosey goosey schedule during the day – naps and bottles all on-demand.  While it was up for debate initially, it is now confirmed: Maisie looks just like her Daddy.  I call her “the cutest, prettiest version of Joe Dugan imaginable.”  One thing’s for sure, we have fallen for those big blue eyes and light-up-the-room smile hook, line and sinker.


Size: About 14 lbs.  Almost ready for 6 month clothing!


Likes:  STANDING, STANDING and STANDING some more.  My tough girl loves bearing weight on her legs.  If it were up to her, she would stay in her walker all day.   Dislikes: Being in the carseat for too long.  We’re trapped!


Favorite Toy:  Mr. Turtle.  Yeah, he’s okay.


New Skillz:  Grabby McGrabberson likes to hold pretty much anything she can get her hands on these days.  She has found her voice and is “talking” more and more.  Also – she started laughing.  The best!!


Monthly Tidbit: I have started (very carefully) washing Maisie’s hair every third or fourth night with Head and Shoulders Shampoo instead of the baby shampoo.  Sigh.  Does anyone out there have a baby with A LOT of hair!?  DOES ANYONE UNDERSTAND MY PLIGHT!?  Her hair literally has the thickness and consistency of a full grown adult and that baby shampoo stuff leaves it greasy and flaky.  She needs more cleaning power! Speaking of her hair…she started wearing it in piggy tails this month, which has basically been the highlight of my life.

Isolation Diaries | My Maternity Leave

September 2, 2015

asdfQ: How many selfies can a lonely Mother and her 8 week old baby take?   A: More than is probably normal.

Before Maisie was born, I was looking forward to my maternity leave.  Like the way you look forward to a vacation or exciting trip.  After working through a long and challenging pregnancy, I couldn’t wait to finally meet my baby, get a break from the daily grind and take it easy for a few months.  I mean, how hard could it really be to take care of one baby?  :pause for laughs:

For what it’s worth, the first 3 weeks of my maternity leave were (mostly) wonderful.  Joe had saved up a bunch of vacation time so we were able to split Maisie-duty and welcome many visits from family and friends.  We kind of just sat around with stars in our eyes and stared at the baby all day.  Of course we were tired and there were fleeting moments of stress (feeding troubles etc.), but everything was going great.

But then the visitors tapered off.

And then Joe went back to work.

And then I pretty much lost my damn mind.

The hormone-fueled issues that I had during my maternity leave were rarely about having to take care of Maisie.  At the root of every teary outburst and insane text message was the isolation.  We live an hour or more away from family and friends and since buying our house last summer we haven’t really had an opportunity to meet anyone nearby.   Most of the time I felt like I might as well be living in Alaska.  Joe would leave for work and return 12 lonnnngggggg hours later.  For an exhausted, self-doubting new Mother…12 hours can feel like a lifetime.

What started as initial loneliness quickly snowballed.  I would check my social media feed and see pictures of people out in the world, leaving their houses and living their lives and it made me feel even more alone.  I made a few half-hearted attempts to find a local Moms Group and I even took Maisie for a walk in the stroller almost every morning at a nearby park hoping I would end up striking up a conversation with someone but nothing ever materialized.  There were so many days – too many to count – that I desperately wanted to wave a white flag and beg for help (visits) from friends and family, but I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone and I was too embarrassed to admit how much I was struggling.

My takeaway is that I thank my lucky stars every night for my husband.  Lord knows it wasn’t easy being married to me for those 10 weeks.  I spent most nights retroactively apologizing for whatever insane thing I said or did that day.  He would just shrug it all off as “new Mom stuff” (trust me, it wasn’t).  What a guy, that Joe Dugan.  I am equally blessed to have a best friend who was willing to field my near-constant hysterical phone calls and always be there to listen and offer whatever support she could.

I wish there was a neat and tidy way to wrap this post up and make it a little more uplifting, but in the interest of keeping it real, I cannot sugar coat.  Truth be told, this is still an issue I struggle with on the weekends when Joe is working.  I’m constantly torn between staying close to home (and being alone all day) or dragging the baby all over Long Island to see family and friends.

The good news is that I found a Mommy and Me class nearby on Saturday mornings for babies 4 months old and up.  I’m going to challenge myself to go in October.  It’s oddly easy for me to sit behind a computer screen and bare my soul but I sometimes feel shy and lame in real-life situations where I don’t know anyone.  Fingers crossed and maybe an update to follow! 🙂  (This is already reading like a pathetic children’s book.  Working title: “Catherine makes a friend”)

I swear to God I used to be a normal person!

All rights reserved © Long Island Cat. · Theme by Blogmilk + Coded by Brandi Bernoskie