game time | my birth story part 2


birth story part 2 / the refined woman


Before I even got pregnant I knew that I wanted to hire a doula to help with my birth. I appreciate hospitals and what they provide and I trusted my doctor and his methods… but I wanted to have a go-between for me and Aaron and the hospital staff in case things got tense at any point. I also wanted to have someone to assist me in laboring at home as long as possible, so that I could avoid unnecessary interventions and deliver naturally – although lots of well-meaning older women told me I wouldn’t be “getting any prize” for not using the drugs. I just wanted to avoid the epidural potentially slowing labor down for me, and I’ll be honest that big needle freaked me the heck out.

In any case, we made it to game time a bit faster than I anticipated.


(If you missed Part 1 of the story you can stop for a moment and READ IT HERE. I’ll wait….)


So Aaron arrived home from work that evening and I began to labor. My doula had dropped by quickly around 6ish to give me a cool doohickey (I actually didn’t know you could just buy this on Amazon until I wrote this post so – you’re welcome!) that sends some electronic waves to manage the contraction pains. Nifty! I was doing pretty good for a while, just me and that yoga ball. Breathing. All that jazz.

The last few weeks before I went into labor I went into full-on nesting madness and redid three out of three bedrooms in our house. YUP. You heard that right. Every room. We had a large dresser that some friends of ours were picking up to get out of our bedroom and while I was breathing and bouncing on that yoga ball in full-on labor.  So I was trying to convince Aaron to tell our friend to come pick up the dresser. I was convinced I’d be doing this thing for a while and they had time. I was also encouraging Aaron to eat something! He was also finishing up sending our tax paperwork to our tax guy. Talk about multi-tasking! We were crushing it.

But it got pretty crazy pretty quickly. I didn’t know this at the time (cause how would I know any different) but I was mainly having what’s called Back Labor. That means my little darling babe was turned so that her head was pressing into my tailbone. And that meant it #1 – it hurt like a mofo and #2 I could really only labor sitting up/squatting/etc. There was no laying down for me. And these visions I had of laboring in a warm bathtub or shower didn’t end up working out so well. So eventually I call Lucia (my doula! she’s great!) to tell her things are getting good and to come over at her earliest convenience.

I swear she was only at our house for 10 minutes (my sense of time is probably skewed so who knows) before I started to feel like I’m leaking a little. She helps me over to the toilet (I think she was using a doula secret here) and BAM! my water breaks. Just like that…It’s really not like in the movie where that’s the first thing to go! It can happen at any time! You might know all this stuff but I didn’t before I got pregnant. Maybe it’s better that way. Save a little mystery. There’s not much left in life once you’re an adult.

After my water breaks – at this point I think my contractions are probably about 3-4 minutes apart- Lucia tells us we should head to the hospital and honestly my head was a little fuzzy. It’s around 8:40pm. We don’t have a hospital bag packed (That was on my to-do list for earlier that day! I swear.) Aaron did manage to send our tax docs in.  But I’m not sure how much of his dinner he managed to eat.

We roll up to the hospital and they pull out a wheelchair. As they are wheeling me in I don’t even look up at the nurse’s station but I say something like “I’m having a baby tonight!” and I tell them my doctor’s name. He pops up behind one of the nurses like “Hey! How’s it going?” So as they are getting us settled into our room I want to get in the shower since things are feeling pretty real and as soon as the water hits my back I feel like whoa. Something’s different.

I turn to Lucia and Aaron and I’m like – “I think I need to push” – and my tone is probably implying “Is that possible?”

I’m still under the impression I was gonna be at this whole labor part a bit longer but since my doc happens to be there they get him in and he’s like – “do you want me to check you?”

Sure! Like why not? I’m not doing anything else tonight.

He looks down there and I don’t know the specifics really but he’s like:

“YEP. You can start pushing now!” He’s practically gleeful delivering that news to me.


Great. It’s Game time folks.


To Be Continued….


Part 3 : BEAST MODE. Coming soon to The Refined Woman.

photo by elizabeth messina


Accessory Fix


Today Kat + I are styling some new sandals from JCrew! aka The Mothership.

gold fringe sandals and white outfit

Something about gold and white together just feels right! I love this drapey white skirt, it’s a little sporty and super comfy.

gold fringe sandals


fringe sandals


It’s been a lllllong winter here on the East Coast, and I am so ready for spring dresses, sandals, and anything but my puffer jacket.  I like simple, easy, comfy, and when I find something that is all three of those things and chic?  Well, I’m sold.  (I’m pretty sure I’m going to live in these Metallic-trimmed sandals this summer).

It may still be chilly here in New York City, but I’m bringing out sandals + sundress in hopes that the weather will soon follow suit!




Photos c/o Tutti del Monte Photography

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Sexless in the City

The Sun Will Rise Again



The last thing I want to do is write this post.  (Anything but this post).

The post where I tell you it ended, and it hurt.  The post where I tell you I blew it.  He blew it.  We both made a giant mess of things.

I want to tell you about all the good moments that I had with him.  How I felt more swept up with him in the short time we were together than any man I’ve been with in years.  I want to share how he cared for me, made me laugh, treated me like a woman, and reminded me what it feels like to be pursued.  That part is easy.

But the heartache?  No.  I’d rather keep that to myself.

I’d rather be in a quiet lonely corner to lick my wounds, and go outside with a shiny mask that says “Oh ya we dated, but it was so brief.  It was nothing…I’m fine”.

But for me, the reality is that it was something.

It may have been brief, but it was significant to me.

And he meant a lot to me.

Sharing this feels like I have a bruise that people keep accidentally knocking into.  It’s not unbearable, just tender.  Really tender.

So it may sound a bit vague and ethereal, but for now it’s what I can share with you.

It’s over, and just like that, the heartache begins…

Late on Saturday night, I knocked on my best friend’s apartment door. She opened and the tears had already started. My heart was aching, no … actually it felt like it was bleeding full of remorse and what ifs. Like the best friend she is, she held me and let me cry. Not judging. Not trying to fix. Not giving cliche answers. She just let me be, and I felt safe.

She made me hot chamomile tea and sweet potato fries and as I laid on her lap she fed them to me.  Something about it felt holy. I cried some more, and then called a cab to take me home. Right before I left, as I zipped my puffer jacket to enter into the freezing cold New York winter night, she hugged me and whispered,“The sun will rise tomorrow, my love,” and I wept into her arms before heading downstairs to my waiting cab.

I climb in the cab exhausted with questions swirling through my head.

Less than ten minutes later the cab stops, and I quickly pay my fare through muffled sniffles.

My legs, like lead, take me upstairs.

As I open the door to my bedroom, I finally give myself permission to come undone.

And I do.

My clothes fall to the floor and, like a robot, I change into my pajamas, curling into a tight ball beneath my covers.

This hurts so bad.  My hands grip my chest and belly as if the pain were physical.

Why does it hurt so bad?

I wish I didn’t care.

Why did I let myself fall for him?

Maybe it would be better if we’d never met.

How long will it feel like this?

Does he feel it too?

Seconds or hours later, I’m not sure, with mascara tears falling onto my pillow, I drift to sleep…

And you know what happened?

The next morning I woke up, and the sun also rose.

With puffy eyes I laid in my warm bed remembering the pain of the night before, and the aftermath of the heartache I still felt. But she was right:  The night turned into dawn, and the sun also rose.

I wish I could say that I bounced right back, and got right back out there.  But the truth is that I didn’t.  At times I felt silly and dumb for being hurt.  But my heart did hurt, and I needed to give myself permission to let it hurt.

And haven’t we all been there:  the painful solitude of heartbreak.

Vulnerable and exposed; you feel lonely, and it’s exhausting.  The heaviness hovered, and seemed to be my constant companion in New York’s cold restless nights.

As the long winter days passed all I wanted was for it to be over, but the reality is this: Heartache is an experience I had to go through head-first.  There is no easy answer or quick fix.  There’s absolutely no quickening of the process.  No one can tell you how long it will last; it may be one night of tears, or a year down the road before you wake up unexpectedly realizing time has healed your heart.  “There is nothing we can do with suffering, but suffer”, C.S. Lewis wrote after the death of his wife.

As I journeyed  the valleys of my own heartache I reminded myself of it’s worth.  Love brought my soul to life.  Love invited me on a journey to dive deeply into the unknown.  Love asked that I let go of control, and surrender to the process of it all.  The first step was the hardest: allowing myself to be known, seen, heard, and cared for by another. But the freedom and joy that accompanied that was incomparable.

We gave each other permission to be. To hope and to struggle, and, in those quiet moments together, I learned love creates a sacred space between two people.

Because as pain can feel all-invasive: is it not the same with love? Love permeates and crashes into every cell of our beings. I would argue love is the most powerful thing in our human experience.

Love creates and evokes.

Love is magnetic.

Love heals and sets our souls free.

Love connects and unites.

Love forgives.

Love redeems.

Love hopes.

I look back on those freezing winter nights that collided with my broken heart, and I sit here with spring on my front porch and a spirit ready for a fresh start.

My winter wasn’t eternal (even though it felt like it at times), and the same thing is true about my heartache.  The morning did come.  And with it so did spring, and a new beginning.  Moving on doesn’t mean I forget the past.  My moments with this incredible guy will stay with me.  They were special, and I’m so grateful for them, and for him.   He taught me that with love there is endless possibility. If that means I must experience pain along the way, I am ok with that.  I wouldn’t take back one moment.  To live a full life is to love, taking on the great risk of the pain that might accompany it. Pain is real, there’s no denying it, but love is more real.  You may—no, you will get hurt—but to love is the only way you will truly live.  I can get back up.  And I’m ready for that.

So, I invite you to join me in the journey of spring.

Because no matter how dark a season the winter will always turn to spring.

And the sun will always rise again.