Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A temporary calm - Surviving Tropical Storm Fay and preparing for Hurricane Gonzalo.


This past weekend, the island got hit with Tropical Storm Fay. They keep calling it a storm, but the wind gusts of over 100+ miles an hour did some major damage. This storm caught most of us completely off guard.

These are just some scenes from my neighborhood.


Debris along our walking route.


Palmettos hanging dangerously from electical wires.


Tree branches scattered everywhere.


Our neighbor's Poinciana tree completely uprooted.


What neighbors do.

This tree landed across the road, and as soon as it was safe to be outside, neighbors came out with buzzsaws and hacked it up. They moved the limbs out of the road to await cleanup when the storm was finally over.

Across the island, it was reported that more than 27,000 people lost power. That's about half the population, including us. Many got it restored the same day, but unfortunately we had to wait till Monday. Not too bad - about a day and a half.

However, because we weren't prepared, we didn't do the usual things like fill up the tubs with water, move outdoor furniture or shut the hurricane shutters. It wasn't as bad as it could have been; and we were lucky to live close to town where we can take advantage of showers at the company gym which relies on major generators.

 But it wasn't fun.

Well, maybe for the kids it was.  School was closed Monday and Tuesday.  At the time of this writing, I'm still waiting to see if it will be open on Wednesday.  Saltus had some damage, including some of the roof being ripped off.  Yikes.

What's even scarier is that another one is on the way.  Hurricane Gonzalo is scheduled to make a direct hit on Bermuda either Thursday night or Friday.  Very worried about this one.  Going without power for a day or two is manageable .. going a week or more with three kids is something else. 

We have been very lucky in that during our four years on the island, we've avoided any major storms.  This one might be our first taste of it. 

Wish us luck!


Breakfast by candlelight during Tropical Storm Fay.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Jazz Hands ... and the absurdities of documenting your child's birth in BDA.

So, a month ago, I gave birth to my third child.  Since we live here in Bermuda for the time being, it made sense to just deliver him here. 

First, the baby in question.

Look!  Jazz hands!!


You know how easy it is to get a birth certificate when you deliver in a hospital in the US, right?  You pretty much leave the hospital on discharge with something in your hand.

Not here.

(We left with the baby, which is a good thing.)

Four weeks later, still no birth certificate. 

We did just get this form in the mail.  Blank for us to fill out - called "Notice of Particulars of Birth."

Take a look at it for a moment and tell me if you notice anything odd.


First, it's not a birth certificate.

Ok - no big deal.  Presumably we fill out the info and mail it to the Registrar and hopefully one day have something I can take to the American Consulate.  I hope I will secure an approval of a Notice of an American Birth Overseas, which I will then use to get the boy a passport. 

In case he ever wants to get off the island...


Keep looking at the form above ...

Apart from the fact that we have to declare our marital legitimacy so the child isn't legally a bastard, we also get to make up our own racial color of the child.

The best part?  Wait for it...

There's nowhere for the MOTHER to sign.

Get it?


I carried the boy for 40 weeks in my body, gained 30 pounds, delivered him in a burst of pain and drug-free glory.. and my signature isn't necessary.


Apparently I lack the legal capacity to verify the birth of my child.

Oh Bermuda. 

I love you, but it's true. 

It's a whole other world over here.

ps - we debated for two days what the "racial color of the child" was.  Jeff dared me to put down any other race that would guarantee him an affirmative action boost for college application processes 18 years from now.  I told him it wouldn't matter by then since everyone will be brown like me by that point.

Such is what passes for levity in this house when no one gets any sleep.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How did I get here?


Friday, September 26, 2014

Newborn days, Iphone snippets, and what "they" say.

They say "these days" will go by so fast.


Every baby is different, and we are learning about ours.

Right now, we are deep in the trenches of life with a newborn. Endless nights, long stretches of daytime, a little mouth attached to my breast, and the constant feeling of sleepiness that hazes over everything.

There are moments like this one.


I think I'm still hormonal because I want to cry when I see this. Was it really nine and a half years ago that I had Jordan? Was it that long ago that he was a tiny baby attached to machines?

And now he's a big, big brother.

When I look at Theo, I see Jordan all over again - the Jordan I thought we were going to have before all hell broke loose. That sounds odd, doesn't it?  It's not like saying it's a second chance.  Obviously we got a second chance with Jordan when he had a heart transplant. 

Looking at Theo is liking looking at a duplicate of what Jordan looked like when he was born.  It's a weird deja vu/parallel universe of what normal would have been like minus the heart issues.

Getting out and about with the baby - a stop at Jeff's office and art gallery.


They say you have to stop and smell the roses sometimes.  I caught a glimpse of the amazing photography exhibit at ACE and I had to step in.  Good thing Theo was sleeping.  This was coming on the tale end of our first morning walking in town.  Although I've been using the stroller regularly for walks in our neighborhood, I havent ventured yet into the shops along Front St. just yet.  Today was the day.

Theo did ok. Fussing a bit when the stroller stopped moving, which became a minor problem as I was checking out at the register.  But not a big deal.  It's definitely easier having gone through this before.  You don't get as fazed by the minor crying or worry so much what other people think. 


"They" love to say newborns sleep all the time.  Some certainly do.  Yet all too often, Theo fights it.  Which is why I have resorted to wearing the infamous black chador of despair, a/k/a the moby wrap.  Yards and yards of fabric envelope my midsectiona and chest - all for the purpose of instantly putting the baby into a deep sleep. 


Food coma. 

The boy is attached to my breast whenever he is not sleeping.  I can't keep up with him, and I've resorted to supplementing with both formula and expressed milk I've been pumping.  Never had this problem with Jordan or Mina, but not much else I can do when I see him crying after a full feeding.  I also like being able to share the feeding duty with Jeff, who gives him a bottle before bedtime.


Fighting sleep!


The wee twilight hours between night and day.  Little guy is always by my side in the nursery.  I'm reminded of the time it took to set it up and feel pleased that it's decorated to my taste.  To Jeff's credit, leaving the guest bed in there was a good idea.  Theo and I are camped out on it all night.

Sleep training will begin in a few weeks when he's developmentally ready.  I'm a big fan of Marc Weissbluth's "Healthy Sleep Habits" book, and used it successfully for both Jordan and Mina.  It saved our lives, and I am hoping his research will work with Theo. 

"They" say moms should nap when the baby does, which I try, but the lack of sleep at night is making my brain really fuzzy.  Not good.  They also don't have any advice for what to do when you try to sleep but your mind is racing, thinking about all the other things you have to do, or your ears are on high alert as you wait for the baby to start crying again because you've had the nerve to put him in his crib.

I don't know why he hates the crib, or the bassinet, or the baby swing, or the standing rocker.  I'm guessing it's because I'm not laying next to him with my breast in his mouth.  Jeff has suggested designing a baby product  - a synthetic breast that keeps the baby company during nap time. 

Don't steal our idea.  If I ever get some sleep I might start designing it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Walks with Theo.

Exploring the neighborhood - Fairylands.

I spent a lot of time researching the best stroller option for us, convinced that a daily walk would be the best thing for both Theo and myself.


Doesn't he look thrilled about it?


Granted, there are speed bumps along the way - both to finding the perfect stroller.  Hint - it's the proverbial unicorn.  As well as convincing your newborn that it's better to be out walking than stuck at home attached to the breast all day.


The best part of walks is discovering new things.  Even though we've lived in this neighborhood for almost two years now, I had no idea this place existed.  It's the Butterfield Nature Preserve.  I didn't venture up the stairs into the woods with the stroller, but I'm coming back with our dog soon so I can explore further.  Aren't these mossy steps inviting?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Theo's Birth Story, also known as "The Anglican Arch Bishop Of Bermuda Almost Delivered my Baby!"

The last time I wrote, I was complaining about still being pregnant and the false alarm we had after our abbreviated curry night.

I guess I spoke too soon.

My little guy was just biding his time.  He waited for the first day of school to make his appearance.
On Tuesday, September 2, 2014, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy - presenting Theodore Naeem Trimarchi - 7 lbs 5 oz, 19 inches.

Theo first pics

Sleeping soundly in a bassinet.  This was the last time I saw this happen.  He's now attached to my breast or sleeping next to me on a memory foam mattress.  The bassinet next to our bed has become a storage basin for all the bed pillows Jeff despises.

And then there were three.  Welcome to the world Theodore Naeem Trimarchi.

Then there were three.

Post delivery

I'm going to document Theo's arrival, so there is no confusion years from now.  I always make fun of Jeff because he wasn't there when I had to drive myself to the hospital to give birth to Mina.  That theme continues. 

This time, I get to make fun of him because once again, I had to catch a ride with someone other than my husband. 

I was lucky - the Anglican Archbishop of Bermuda and his wife, Fiona Dill (my midwife/doula) drove me to King Edward Hospital to deliver my child. 

It's a long story.

Get some popcorn.



Sleep during day, party at night.

Setting:  September 2, 2014. 


Kids are on their first day of school.  Two days of minor contractions and Braxton Hicks over the weekend have left me feeling very blase about the whole thing.  Convinced they baby is taking his sweet time getting here, I no longer worry about every little muscle spasm hitting my uterus.

Since I have three hours before pick up, I decide to get a head start on dinner and cleaning.  I notice some mild contractions, but they are nothing to write home about.  I ignore them and proceed to make chicken marsala with mushrooms.  Because what else would you make while you are in the middle of labor?  Except, I didn't really think I was in labor because I'm the idiot who has never had a natural labor before.  Both my kids were induced so I have no clue what labor even means.

After that, I look with dismay at all the thyme that is scattered on my floor.  I sweep and then for good measure, mop.

By 1:37 pm I decide it's finally time to take a shower.  (I'm being really precise because I am looking at my text history with Jeff to verify these times!  No claiming I am making this stuff up!)  Still some minor contractions.  I ignore and take a long, hot shower.  I even have time to put on makeup and do my hair!  It sounds more impressive than it is.  No one notices hair and makeup when you are 40 weeks pregnant and waddling around with a watermelon attached to your stomach.

Me texting to Jeff:  I think I'm going to take a shower.  Contractions about 7 minutes apart.

Jeff:  Ok.  Will come home after doctor.  (Jeff conveniently had a doctor's appointment of his own for a cough.)

By 3:02, I decide to jot off a quick email.  As I sit down on the couch, I am struck with a huge contrzction that doubles me over.  I text Jeff.

Me:  I'm calling Fiona (my doula/midwife).  Had a really bad one.

Jeff:  Ok.  Have her take you right away.  I will wait till kids are settled.  Caroline can come at 5:00

me:  Can you call Susie to get the kids?  I want you at the hospital!

Jeff:  ok

Me:  Or Christina.  Or call Jennifer Pettit and put them in aftercare for today.

Jeff:  I am in car line.  Will have them soon. 

(this is the part where I groaned in frustration.  The first day back at school is notorious for complete cluster feck of a carline.)

me:  You gotta get them out NOW.  Fiona is here.  I am in agony!

Jeff:  just go!!! 

The trouble is, Jeff did not realize Fiona had lent her car to her husband, the for mentioned Anglican Archbishop of Bermuda.  Damn you Bermuda with your one car per household laws!  He was next door at Price Rite doing some shopping.  Fiona thought she would be driving to the hospital with us.  She didn't realize Jeff would not be home.

So, she called her husband, who dropped everything in line and came driving over.

By this point, I was on the floor of my bathroom screaming in agony.

Jeff also pulled up and was bringing the kids into the house.  Mina heard me screaming and proceeded to freak out and dash off to her room.

Because we didn't have anyone to watch the kids yet, Jeff stayed with them while my midwife and the Archbishop drove me to the hospital.  Everyone else was also in car line picking up their kids!

I screamed and cried the whole way.  The Archbishop was very calm as was Fiona.  They have six kids, so they have heard it all before.

We arrived at the hospital at 3:40.

There were no delivery rooms ready, so the nurses asked me to lay on an examining room table.  I cursed her out in pain and demanded an epidural.

"We need to examine you Mrs. Trimarchi!"

"No!!  No way!!  I am not doing this without an epidural!!  I want my epidural!!!"  I think I may have put my head down on the table and started crying.

My very lovely midwife, who is just a peach, replied in her quintessentially British tone,  "Sorry dear, no time for an epidural."

Together, they heaved me on the table.

Once there, the nurse examined me and told me I was fully dilated.  My water broke instantly, and I started sobbing.

"You can push now, Mrs Trimarchi.  When you feel the wave of the contraction."

"I can't do this!!  I don't know how to do this!! I can't remember anything!!"

Jeff showed up somehow and started doing some ridiculous thing with my leg.  The nurse practically rolled her eyes at me and told me to focus.

"Mrs Trimarchi, you have two kids!  You know what you are doing.  Just push!!"

"You can do this Sadaf, you're so close now!"

In ten minutes, also known as the equivalent of three pushes, Theodore made his way into the world.

He was tinged blue.  At which point I started screaming again that he was blue, because I forgot that most babies are slightly blue at birth till they get oxygenated.

And then I held him, and my sobs were ones of relief. 

Ten minutes.  No drugs.  It was finally over.

Welcome to the world, Theo! 

And a special thanks to Fiona Dill, of Great Beginnings, and her very capable husband/driver, for getting me to the hospital in time.  I hadn't imagined ever using a midwife before, especially since this was my third child.  On the recommendation of a friend, I decided to give her a try because I was a wee bit nervous about delivering in Bermuda.  Ok, I was actually very nervous.  I missed the comforts of home and wanted to work with someone who was familiar with the hospital and staff here. 

I am so glad I did.  I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn't relied on Fiona.  I suspect Theo would have been delivered on the floor of my dining room, which was the last place I was huddled over before she arrived at my house.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Baby 3 update


I've now hit the 40 week mark.  Forty weeks of being pregnant.  Yes, I am grateful don't get me wrong.  I know there are some who would do anything to be in my shoes.  I hope everyone who wants to be pregnant gets that chance at least once in her lifetime.

But for those of you who have been here, you know what I mean.

Can we commiserate for just a minute?



It's not just me. 

Jeff has been beside himself for days now as this baby decides whether he wants to come out "early" or not.  We had some false alarms over the weekend when I suddenly started having massive contractions in the middle of a restaurant.

Chancery st

No, these aren't the famous Georgetown steps from The Exorcist.  This is Chancery Lane, in Hamilton where a new Indian restaurant opened up.


This is the location of the former Fresco's restaurant.  Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to comment on how good the food was at Ruby Murrays.  Everyone at the table was raving about it (try the lamb chops!) Service was impeccable, and the menu looked solid. 

 Unfortunately, I decided to have a preggo moment.

It started out with the feeling of being incredibly hot.  No matter how close I could get to the AC blasting, I was sweating.  Like a flop sweat that just came over me.  Then I decided to stand up and go to the loo, to stretch.  When you are as wide as I am right now, you attract a lot of attention as you make your way between the chairs.  I tried to avoid the eyes staring at the belly.  Oddly, there was another pregnant woman seated by us who looked very concerned.  She probably had the same thought I did - get some spicy food to get the baby out.

After climbing up the stairs (warning for those patrons who will require assistance) I returned to the table and tried to eat something.  For whatever reason, I could barely eat a bite.  I had specifically avoided eating much during the day in anticipation of the meal, but my body was not cooperating.  I squirmed in my seat, unable to get comfortable as I began to notice the discomfort I was feeling was actually contractions.

I tried to ignore them, continued sweating, stood up again to stretch, walked around the foyer while concerned waiters shot me glances.  I got back to the table and told Jeff I had to go home.  Apologizing profusely to our friends, he walked me to Front St to hail a cab.

On the way there, I had to sit several times as contractions passed through me and I groaned.  The steps were not very comfortable.

Once in the cab, Jeff went back to the restaurant to settle up while the driver brought me home.  He asked me several times if I was sure we were going in the right direction.  "The hospital is back that way ma'am." 

"I'll be ok... get me home!  I have to lay down."

It was a very quick ride.

Jeff got home quickly and we began a long night of monitoring contractions.  My midwife was out of town, but had arranged back up who arrived and helped ease me through wave after wave of pain.  She drew a bath, massaged me, applied hip pressure to ease the lower back pain, and guided me through the crests of pain that ebbed and flowed.  After about two hours, I said it was time to go to the hospital.  I couldn't take it anymore, and I was in tears.

Once there, Jeff pulled up to the ER, because the main entrance where the elevator to maternity is located, was closed.  I don't know what happened to me, but I burst into irrational tears and refused to get out.  Jeff started screaming at me, but my mind was telling me this was the wrong door.  I didn't want to stand in line at triage while someone determined who should be seen first.  Having been through this process in the ER before, I just couldn't make myself go through it again in this state.  Jeff finally convinced me to get out of the car, and we were waived through quickly.

I got up to maternity, checked in, and was eventually put on a monitor.  And then the baby decided he was just kidding. 

Contractions slowed down, then stopped completely. 

THEY JUST STOPPED.  All those hours in pain, and they just stopped.

After an hour of being monitored by the nurses, and only being 2 cm dilated, I opted to go home and wait it out. 

From midnight to 3, he continued playing with us.  He gave us a few good contractions, then nothing, some minor little Braxton Hicks type things, then nothing.  He moved around to let me know he was still in there, then silence.

I passed out.

The next night (Saturday) was more of the same.

Sunday, I woke up well rested.  He hadn't moved at all!  I worried till after breakfast, at which point he woke up and began kicking.  He was having a little party in there.  Nothing warranting attention, just a little "Hi!  I'm still here," kind of uterus kicking.

Monday was another calm day.  The kids were back from the US and spent the day with Jeff at the beach.  I laid on the couch staring at my belly and half-heartedly folded clothes.  What was this baby doing??

It's Tuesday now, and my other two are in school.  I'm doing last minute things like adjusting the stroller, working out the mechanics of the breast pump I bought, paying bills, and organizing the meal plan for the next couple weeks.

I got some prep done earlier over the weekend.

Suvair Saran's meatloaf.  My absolute favorite.

Meal planning

Cook's Illustrated Simple lasagna - adore.

Meal prep

I just don't know what to think about these preterm labor contractions.  I've never been through this before with either Jordan or Mina.  Both of them were induced for various reasons, but neither was preceded by long nights of crushing pain.

Jeff has his own share of complaints.  Apart from the restless nights of me getting up, he is suffering through the coldest house in Bermuda.  I don't dare look at the Belco bill.  I just can't stop sweating. 


How he feels.


How I feel.

So tired.

Back to school - 2014/15

How can September properly begin without the annual back to school pic?

September 2014- Mina (3d grade/p4) Jordan (4th grade/p5).

P4 and P5 respectively, ie 3rd and 4th graders heading off to Saltus.  Excuse me for a minute while I admire the blinding whiteness of those polo shirts and white knee socks.  It goes without saying that they will not look like this by the end of the month.

The kids were less than thrilled about returning to school.  Both arrived back in Bermuda, late Saturday night after a week's visit to Grandma H.  They filled me in on all the details of their adventures and endless desserts. 



I guess it's hard to compete with fishing on a boat, hot chocolate for breakfast, blueberry cheesecake and water parks.  Thanks Grandma H and Michael!  We were worried this trip wouldn't happen after Jordan was hospitalized unexpectedly.  I'm glad you guys were able to reschedule and make it such a fun experience.