Goldie’s Birth Story

I’m laying down with a cold, nursing sweet little Goldie. We’ve all caught a cold, except for Goldie, thank goodness. All is as well as it can be, adjusting to life with two children. I’m here to write about the day Goldie entered the world almost a month ago on August 25, 2019. I feel like documenting this is urgent, as childbirth quickly becomes a blurred memory. Thinking back to four Sunday’s ago...

Goldie was late. Her due date was August 16th, and my doctor and I decided to schedule an appointment to be induced exactly two weeks after her due date if she didn’t come on her own. I felt a little bummed about this, but knew it was the right thing to do. I actually felt like her not coming was my fault, as we were in the middle of moving (we bought out first house!) and I had a lot of work to do with my business. I didn’t want her to come yet until we were all moved out of our rental home, cleaned it, and moved all our stuff into the new house. Maybe subconsciously I was saying, ‘we’re not ready for you yet.’

After hearing induction was the next step and we had somewhat finished moving (our stuff was still mostly in boxes), I started focusing on her and her arrival. Saturday night, the night before she was born, I talked to her. I said, ‘We’re ready for you. We want you here. Please come, we are so excited to meet you.’ All night long I dreamt of going into labor on my own.

Sunday morning I’d planned for my friend Nicole to come over so I could shoot her in my newest clothing. Shortly before she got to our house, around 10 AM, I started having really mellow contractions! (Interestingly, I went into labor around the same time of day and the same day of the week with Shep.) I didn’t get too excited, because I heard labor can stop and start, and it could even be false labor. When I went to the bathroom and had bloody show (grossest term ever!) I knew things were happening. I pictured myself being scared when contractions began, because, well, labor is kinda scary. It’s intense and unknown, even though I’ve birthed a baby before. But because I knew of a looming induction appointment, going into labor on my own was very welcome and positive! It set the tone for my entire experience that day. It was a labor that began with gratitude.

Patrick shot Nicole in the clothes while I ‘directed’ the low key shoot. Nicole was THE BEST advocate to have around during the early stages of labor. She birthed her son Alex at home without any pain relief, and kept telling me ow strong I was, and how amazing I was doing. She was like my pre-birth doula! We wrapped up the shoot, Nicole left us some delicious food for after delivery, and I hugged my sister friend goodbye.

Goldie must’ve gotten really good at knowing her timing, because just after Nicole left the contractions started intensifying and getting closer together. I timed them, they were about 2-3 minutes apart and lasted 45 seconds. Another beautiful example of divine timing was that my Mom was over that day to watch Shep during our shoot! So she was already there to help us and come with us to the hospital. We all got in the car and drove 15 minutes down the road to Charlotte Hungerford hospital.

When we got to the hospital there was like no one there (it’s a very small town hospital). The front desk was empty so we went right up the elevator to the maternity ward, floor three. Upon arriving at the desk I leaned on the counter with both arms and said, ‘I’m here to have my baby.’ The nurses were so nice and got me set up in a beautiful large room overlooking the hills. It felt comfortable, relaxed, but ugh I still felt nervous about what I had to do there. My Mom brought some new toys for Shep and he was pretty content to play with her and eat pretzels from a vending machine. I felt good knowing Shep was cared for and happy as could be.

All the doctors from the practice I go to were not on call, so I was a little upset to hear Dr. Baxter was on her way. Who the heck is she?! I was about to google her when all the nurses said how lucky I was to have Dr. Baxter deliver, that she was the best. Ok... we’ll see, I thought. While we waited for her the nurses got me as comfortable as possible in the bed, set up a port in case I needed anything during delivery, asked me 100 questions between contractions because I wasn’t in their system yet, and monitored Goldie’s heart beat. I will always remember the sound of my babies’ heartbeats during delivery. The pumping, energetic whoosh whooshing sound is like the most beautiful music to my ears, but also the sound of pending massive change ahead. So reassuring, but also so intimidating. 

Dr. Baxter came right in while still wearing her everyday clothes, making her feel more like a human being and not some doctor I’ve never met. Her presence was both nurturing and authoritative, I trusted her immediately. She touched my arm when she talked to me, and I literally felt in good hands.  At this point I had bulging membranes and was 8 cm dilated, only about three hours after my labor began. Fast! 

I had some options, but Goldie was already well on her way. I could try for an epidural, but there was no guarantee I would get it in time. I also felt like I wasn’t in such a state that I needed one. With Shep I labored for 30 hours and my contractions were so so close together that I knew I’d be up all night and exhausted if I didn’t get pain relief. The contractions hurt like hell, but I’d only been at it for a few hours and it was daytime. I also wanted to know what labor really felt like because with Shep I feel like I got to cheat! Not in a bad way and I have no regrets, but my ideal birth this time around was unmedicated and hopefully faster than my first! With some doubts and fear I said ‘No, I don’t need an epidural.’

The next option Dr. Baxter gave me was to break my water. The membranes were already bulging, I was 8 cm dilated. Breaking the water would speed things along, or else I could stay where I was for hours. The contractions were getting pretty painful, and with my labor with Shep I would’ve had him probably a day earlier if we had broken my water sooner (we broke it at like hour 24). So this one I said yes to.

Dr. Baxter said she was going to her changed into scrubs and be right back to break my water. Shep, my Mom, and Patrick all hung out as I went through a few more contractions. Dr. Baxter came back shortly and broke my water. She said she’d come again when I felt ready to push. Next contraction was INSANE. Trembling to your core, earth shattering pain. I was ready to push immediately. I called the nurses in, they called in the Dr., and on the next contraction we started pushing. The nurses held my legs up in a squatting position that drove me nuts, but felt most efficient. 

I forgot how to push. We did around three sets of pushes per contraction, 10 seconds each. It’s the weirdest feeling, inhaling and holding your breath, and then pushing before you exhale. Dr Baxter said, imagine you’re underwater about to take the biggest poop of your life. Nooooo haha!!! How awful! By the next contraction I started to remember how it went and my pushes became more effective. I thought contractions hurt, but oh my God, the pushing is infinitely infinitely more intense. By the third contraction of pushing I just wanted this done. I knew if I pushed harder it’d be over faster. I could barely think of Goldie, I just wanted the pain to end. The fourth contraction we were moving her head out, and fuck, this was SEARING pain. Throbbing, legs shaking, toes trembling. I was on fire, I felt like a cartoon character about to blow my red head off with smoke coming out my ears. 

AND THEN they told me to slow it down. Just when I was ready to blast Goldie out of me like a cannonball, they said I needed to hold the volcano in my groin so I didn’t tear my vagina in half. I had to sit with the fire while they stretched my vagina with their hands and pushed the rest of her out of me slowly. Patrick said he had no idea you could pull on a vagina like that, ha it was amazing. It was worth it, I didn’t need any stitches. But I did poop, and Goldie did too. Pat was happy, and disgusted. 

Shep and my mom had left the room when we started the active labor, and they came back in minutes after Goldie was born. There was no drama with getting Shep out, and because the labor was so short, Shep had fun running around the hallways with my mom. He didn’t even have time to miss me or ask to come back in. It was perfect. Goldie again, nailing the timing. From start to finish labor was only around 5 hours. My girl waited to come until the time was right, and also gave me my ideal birth, fast and powerful. I am already so grateful for her. She seemed to know just what we needed. 

Marigold ‘Goldie’ Anne Allers is here! Born at 3:12 PM, 7 lbs 5 oz, 20” long. In perfect health, except for some wrinkly hands from being in the womb for 41 weeks. She was so much bigger and redder than I remembered Shep being. Oh yeah, she also had her cord around her neck and they cut it while she was on her way out of me because it was choking her with my pushes. Cord knots and cords around necks have always worried me, so it was crazy to have it happen, and have the nurses so nonchalantly cut it and continue on. It took Goldie a few seconds to start crying when they placed her on my chest. When the cries started I felt so so relieved, unlike with Shep I wanted him to stop crying. As a second time parent I felt the crying to be reassuring and normal. Goldie and I cuddled and practiced nursing for about a half hour. I looked out the windows on the hills and saw eagles flying until the sun went down. 

Something in Goldie’s face looked like an old soul, as cliche as that sounds. She just looked like she’d been here before. At one point Pat was rocking her in a rocking chair and her face just cracked me up, she looked... bored! So funny. That night and the next day were so special. I really appreciated just getting to lay in bed, breastfeed, and eat :) Patrick had to entertain Shep with only a few toys and an iPad, so he was eager to go home.

We left the hospital within 24 hours, to my disappointment. BUT we were going home as a family of four, with our precious little Goldie. I am already in love with her sense of humor, her chubby body, her cuddles, and of course I love how much she loves me! I’ve got her next to me all day everyday, and there’s no better feeling than that. Holding her in my arms I feel complete. My family is all here. We are so exceptionally blessed in love, this little family of ours! Thank you Goldie for being you, and for choosing us to love and care for you forever. 


34 weeks!

Time is really going by quickly now! I feel about ready to give birth haha. I know it's too early, but she feels so big, I feel so big, it almost feels time. I think I was about this large when I gave birth to Shep. At my last ultrasound Goldie was measuring 75th percentile, which is so surprising, as Shep always measured super tiny. You kinda think your next pregnancy will be just like the first, but not the case. Your children really are who they are, regardless of what you do (or what you're eating!). I've gained 23 lbs so far, about the same-ish as Shep pregnancy.

All is going smoothly! Not too much to report. I have mild heartburn, nausea when I lay on my back or am in the car for a while, can't eat too much in one sitting, twitchy annoying legs that keep me up at night, a fat ass and thighs haha with new cellulite, boobs feel huge, hemorrhoid went away! So I guess you could say things are going well! I feel very lucky. Goldie is REALLY active, I won't complain about that. But so much kicking, it's a bit much LOL.

Speaking of Goldie, Pat is not sold on the name, but I believe he'll come around. I'm trying to compromise with her full name being Marigold, so she can choose later if she wants the nickname. Patrick just has NO names, and Sheppy and I have been calling her Goldie for a long time, I don't think we can let it go. Girls names are tough for us, we had so many boys names, but girls... really none. 

We've been struggling here with sleep as Shep has an allergic reaction rash on his hands and feet that causes him to wake up a lot, crying and itching. I'm hoping this will resolve before baby comes. I'm probably most worried about how we'll all continue to sleep together! Shep and I have been holding each other at night for almost the past four years, and I cherish it. We won't be kicking him out of our bed anytime soon, but I worry about him near a newborn. I know he'll have to sleep more with his Dad, and they might even have to leave the room to sleep if Goldie cries a lot. So it's totally unknown of course, I suppose that's the scary part! I have no idea what will happen. But I know in my heart it'll all be ok.

I have some mild nausea as I type this! I'm going to go make some eggs :) Next time I check in Goldie will probably be here! :)


28 weeks!

Hello! Well, things sure have changed in the past two months. Nothing serious! Lucky for me. But more like... inconveniences. I took for granted with Shep's pregnancy that I didn't have really anything too uncomfortable. The worst of it was heartburn, which didn't even happen until the last couple weeks of pregnancy. I have heartburn starting now, at 28 weeks. It's not bad yet, but I can feel it starting, that burning in the back of my throat when I lay down. Oh yeah, I also still have waves of nausea. They go away quickly, but they come over me unexpectedly, and I feel myself groaning/sighing almost involuntarily. I feel sick sitting in the car, laying on my back, when I need more water, very early in the morning when I can't sleep. These are all the things I feel safe talking about with others.

The things I don't want to talk about are... well, pretty gross. It took me a few days before I could even speak the word aloud to anyone, but it's hemorrhoid, aka piles, aka who in the fuck doctor/scientist was like, yes, let's also call this condition 'piles'. I told my Mom it's also called this and she was like 'ohhhh.. how many will pile up?' It's making me laugh now, it's out in the open and I can take care of it, but still, it's not a hot topic on BabyCenter forums or something women share with each other. I know it's pretty common, so I wanted to share it with any other mamas reading so they know they're not alone and it's not something we have to hide because it's not "cute", like swollen fingers. So... my veins below my belly are just not having it this time. I've got the H (just one, now that's cute, right?!), round ligament variscosity, and vulvar variscosity. Basically, it's all collapsing, the veins are maxed out. Already, at 28 weeks. I absolutely understand though I'm lucky, none of this affects Goldie, it's just something I need to get through. Epsom salt baths every night are the highlight of my day. 

I am enjoying how active baby is! She kicks a lot, she's already low key. I don't have the time to reflect on her as much as I did Shep, she fits in with our lives, as I know she will when she's born. I have a feeling Shep will be the bigger baby of the two as time goes on. He enjoys it I think! I am treasuring my time with him, he's been such a little sweetie. He kisses my belly a lot and says he loves Goldie, and he loves me so much. I have such a richness in love, Shep couldn't be any more affectionate. I got him to stop nursing at night! So that's headed in the right direction to exclusively nurse Goldie, and he really only nurses in the day if he's tired or exceptionally grumpy. His favorite thing is to cuddle with my belly. I can't imagine a nicer big brother!

Three months from now she'll be born! It feels too soon, and too long at the same time because of my body. I feel REALLY old lately. Kinda beat. I don't know how people have a bunch of kids. This is most likely it for me. 35 in childbearing years feels like 60. I'm trying my hardest to enjoy these days of having a baby within me, it's an experience that's indescribable. I know I'll miss it and long for it again someday. With all the pains and inconveniences, it's still a holy and precious time, a time to not be taken for granted and wished to be over. Fertility is such a short window in a woman's life, I want to soak it all up, hemorrhoid and all.


21 Weeks!

It looks like we're halfway there! Things are going as well as they can, I think! My biggest complaints are some leg cramps when I'm laying in bed at night, still some nausea here and there, and my round ligament varicosities in my groin :/ Basically my ligaments just below my belly are wrapped with veins that are strained and pooling blood. So there are two little lumps there that are minorly painful and I have to be careful not to bang myself into anything or they could explode. LOL pretty stuff huh?! Now that that's out of the way... the good things!

I had my more detailed fetal anatomy ultrasound 2 weeks ago and Goldie is perfect! PHEW! Patrick was sick that day and couldn't accompany me with Shep, so I had to go to myself. This was the first prenatal appointment I've gone to without my support crew, so I felt more nervous than usual. It's just nerve-wracking to wait as they scan every organ, saying little prayers to myself that each section is ok. Once it was over I appreciated getting to see our little girl's brain, heart, face, limbs, etc, but in that moment I was just sweating. I don't remember being that nervous with Shep's fetal anatomy ultrasound, but it also feels like a long time ago, so who knows! She is measuring big for her age, which is kinda crazy because Shep always measured small. Her head looked big to me. Haha! She's super active and kicks a lot. All good news there.

I think I am bigger when I compare myself to photos of my first preg around this time. I've gained 15 lbs. I don't feel as attached to my body as my first pregnancy, because I know it will do what it will do regardless of how I mentally fight against it, and my body will bounce back to what it was, as it does. There's just more trust and understanding with the process. It's all so incredible and I feel insanely lucky to be getting to do this again, and to be healthy throughout it. I do miss Dr. Chang! I have a team of doctors at the clinic I use, so any of the three of them could deliver, or if for whatever reason they can't, it'll be someone I've never met at the hospital. I like one of them much more than the others, so I hope I get lucky and get her. I feel more like I'm delivering her this time, I've experienced it before and it'll all be ok.

Shep has been hovering around me this whole time, so my writing feels subpar. He's asking me what ice cream flavor I want, he has an ice cream shop. Every time he sees my tummy he gives it a kiss and asks how Goldie is going to get out. He is soooo into me right now, attached and loving and maybe even a little obsessed, but I do think he'll be an awesome big brother. My biggest worry is how to share myself with both and still give Shep the love and attention he needs. Instead of reading birthing books I need some sibling books. Any recommendations? Ok I gotta go now, I gotta eat my rainbow ice cream ;)


15 Weeks Pregnant With Baby Girl!

Hello! Well, we are having another baby! Just this week I've started to come out of round the clock nausea that started at week 5. GOD it sucked. Not wanting to eat, and food making you want to throw up is a terrible thing. I got on Diclegis at around week 9 so that's been my savior. To be honest, this pregnancy has been a lot harder than Shep's. With Sheppy I was SUPER sick for two weeks, with this one it's not as bad, but it won't quit. It's just been this underlying exhaustion, disgust with most food, nausea, and actually just a general disgust in life for anything that isn't nice. By that I mean I can't read, watch, or listen to anything that has a tone of fear, negativity, or trauma. I guess that isn't a bad thing, to want only what's beautiful and happy. I've read 'Little Women', 'Pride and Prejudice', and now I'm reading 'The Lost World', and even that is a bit too much for me! Whatevs I guess, just rolling with what I got!

I'm going to just write what I feel like for this pregnancy rather than the same format each time. Today we are 14 weeks 5 days, rounding up to 15 weeks ;). Also, today is my sister Kate's birthday! Happy Birthday lil gil! I'm looking at photos of myself around this point when I was pregnant with Shep and I don't think I look that different. Maybe a little bigger? I put on maternity pants for the first time to take this photo, and I'm reminded... YES! Maternity clothes are GOOD. Haha! I was trying to squeeze into my jeans the other day when I didn't feel like wearing leggings, and it was not comfortable at all. 

We got the wonderful news last week that our baby doesn't have any genetic abnormalities (at least ones they can test for), and it's a girl! We were really hoping for a girl, to get one of each, and feel SO lucky to have gotten our wish. It'll be fun to experience a completely different world, different toys, different brain really! I think Sheppy will be a really sweet big brother, hopefully, most of the time. 

Shep is pretty neutral on the baby. He has really taken to the name I want, Goldie. When I mention 'the baby sister' or 'baby girl', he says 'I want Goldie!'. The gender seems to bug him, he just wants our Goldie. He sometimes will kiss my stomach and say hi to her, or asks why she can't come out and play now, will she cry?, and he says he's willing to share milk with her. Haha, yea, I'm one of those weirdos that's still nursing. I know it's not weird in other parts of the world, and it's still beneficial for immunity and it definitely bonds us, just most people I tell are...surprised. LOL. I understand it's really quite impossible to understand until you're the one in it. My friend Ianthe told me when I was preg with Shep she nursed her daughter until age four, and at that time I was like... OMG, no. But it's just... such a part of our relationship, and it's crazy you have to assure people it's not sexual, but it's not. It's just normal. It's all normal. But I'd like to be near the end of this sweet nursing journey with him when Goldie comes.

Goldie Lucy Allers. That's the name I hope for, trying to get Pat on board! He's unsure about it. We shall see! So far everything with her looks good, and I already feel her kicking! I'm taking care of us by practicing yoga, meditating, eating as healthy as I can, running pretty slowly, walking, and snowshoeing. I never knew snowshoeing with Shep in a carrier was such an intense workout. But it's like the hardest things I've ever done in my life LOL. I'm about to go out and do it, and I dread it. But the feeling when I'm done, back in the house stretching, is just euphoria! 

I think the only food I crave is soft cheese. Like creamy, liquidy, French cheeses. I could eat them all day. Then I remembered you're not supposed to eat soft cheese. Hmmmm... now I just heat them in the oven on bread. So good. I also enjoy coffee. And citrus. I don't like most vegetables or meats.

I'm really excited to get to the beloved second trimester, which has already started. But I'm still not quite there physically. I think in a week or so I'll have more energy and appetite. Overall I feel so blessed to be doing this again, probably for the last time. I've never really felt old until now. Fertility is such a small window, especially these days when we don't want to get pregnant until after our careers have begun and have had time with our partners. It's definitely harder on the body as you age. I don't think I'd want to attempt this at 40. I'll update in a few weeks! Much love!


Losing Liam

Liam, Christmas Day 2012, Santa Monica Beach

Our house seems a lot quieter now. One dog in the house instead of two feels very different. Liam added that perfect amount of chaos to our days that I’d gotten used to over the past 13 years. He went from a mischievous eternal puppy to a blind older gentleman very slowly. I was still running with him 4 miles a day up until last year. Even being an old dog, Liam had that spunk and spirit that livened up our home.

It went downhill so fast. Less than a month ago we’d gotten Liam’s right eye removed due to glaucoma from his PRA, and I was so optimistic about his last years of life. I thought, he wouldn’t be in pain anymore with that eye pressure. But there was also this gagging and coughing, which suddenly went from once a day to many rounds throughout the day and night.

We brought Liam to the vet and they said his chest was full of fluid and had to be drained. It seemed to be from a tumor in his chest bleeding into his chest cavity. I was so sad to hear Liam gagging again about a day after the fluid was drained. His coughing had gotten so bad we couldn’t have him sleep in our bedroom anymore because it woke everyone up. Through it all though sweet Puppos still had a hearty appetite and wanted to go on walks!

I started to have a gut feeling though that our days with Liam were extremely limited. On days I’d normally run with just Byron I walked both dogs instead. I hugged Liam each and every time I walked by him. I didn’t want to have any regrets.

We decided to bring Liam back to the vet for an X-ray to see what was going on with the chest fluid. My heart sank when I got the text from Patrick that said, ‘chest is full again.’ It’d been only one week since we drained it last. Our vet gave us the contact of an end of life vet and I understood then that we were going to lose our sweet Liam.

But I thought we could plan and have time. We called Dr. Dale Krier and explained Liam’s symptoms. She said he could have a traumatic bleeding experience at any time, and was most likely already in great discomfort. It was recommended we put Liam down as soon as possible, tomorrow in fact.

No, no, no. This couldn’t be real. Liam was supposed to live to be 17. I always pictured him to be ridiculously old. But I knew in my heart Dr. Krier was right. Liam’s quality of life wasn’t great. He had a chest full of fluid making it hard to breathe, a nagging and painful cough and gagging, and he wanted to be left alone a lot throughout the day. His breathing looked so different than Byron’s, his chest looked like it couldn’t take in a lot of air.


I wrote the above a week ago and I’ve been dreading writing this last bit. It’s been so so hard and I’ve finally started to feel better. But at the same time, I don’t want to forget this day, Liam’s day.

Dr. Dale Krier was coming over at 1:00 in the afternoon on Thursday, June 28th, exactly one month after Liam’s 13th birthday. I got some work done as fast as possible in the morning and we all ate breakfast as usual. The dogs ate their eggs and fruit. It was a thunderstorm and cloudy and sometimes sunny kind of day, and a bit cool. The night before was stormy too, and I felt sad that Liam’s last earthly sleep was during thunderstorms. He was terrified of thunder. Patrick said it was like the heavens were preparing for Puppos.

I went on one last walk with Liam to our usual place at White Memorial. I thought he’d enjoy a familiar place nearby. I cried the whole two-minute car ride, and told Liam he was such a good boy, the best boy. Then we walked like we’d been doing for 13 years together. I couldn’t remember the last time we went somewhere just the two of us. I was reminded of many trips to Petco when we lived in Collinsville. We’d go there and get a new toy, some treats, and always a frozen yogurt. I wished so much to have one more Petco trip with him, but I knew our time had run out.

I let Liam swim in every possible place he could, and let him smell each scent to his heart’s content. He was having a great time like he always did on walks. I wanted that walk to last forever. I tried to memorize as much as I could in those moments, noticing each spot he peed on and smelled stuff. Then I got a text from Patrick that Dale was on the way. I felt my heart cracking and my tears overflowing. I had to bring Liam home.

My mom and her dog Hooch awaited us at home along with Patrick, Shep, and Byron of course. My heart split deeper once I heard Dr. Krier’s car pull in the driveway. After chatting for a bit inside with Dale we decided it was time. The storms had let up for the time being so we decided Liam’s last moments would be under the big maple tree in the yard. Patrick prepared some sardines, a tortilla, and chocolate in a bowl while I spread a white quilt I had sewn in the yard. We led Liam and Byron outside. Byron busied himself with eating apples from the apple tree, and Puppos sat on the blanket for his lunch.

While eating his stinky favorite fish Dr. Krier injected him with the sedative. I was trembling inside, so terrified of those unknowns ahead. In less than a minute Liam could no longer stand and gave in to the relief. He laid on his side, I took his dear head onto my lap. His tongue fell out of his mouth, his eyes rolled back. He already looked dead, but that chest rising and falling assured me we still had time, he wasn’t gone yet. The doctor said she was going to now begin the injection of whatever it is that stops the heart beating. Patrick and I nodded and stroked Liam’s beautiful coat, telling him how much we loved him.

Liam passed away in under a minute, his body seemed so tired. I’d heard the whole process can take 15 minutes or so, but our dear puppy boy was gone in minutes. I saw his chest stop and all the blood leave his gums and ears. Our hearts broke in half as we said goodbye. We cried so much we lost our breath. Our dear Puppos was gone.

Byron came over and smelled Liam’s mouth and backed away. He knew. My mom came out to say goodbye with Hooch. Patrick carried Liam’s limp body to Dr. Krier’s car to be brought to the crematorium, and laughed in grief about how heavy his body felt without his spirit to hold it up. I gazed at his beautiful face and body one last time, in disbelief that I’d never see that sweet soul again. I asked the doctor for some of the furs from his rugged thick neck, where it gets lighter in color. I always called those spots his angel wings. She shaved off a chunk, it was still wet from swimming. It smelled like heaven. The fur made me want more of him, I wished I could have one of his feet.

We thanked Dr. Krier as much as we could in those strange moments, like thank you could even be enough. To have someone come and gracefully facilitate such an event still leaves me in awe. We could’ve never navigated the dark journey without her light. It was harder than I can put into words, but Dale was there, steady and calm. The goddess of death. After watching Dale and Liam drive away we went back into the house. The sky broke open again and it poured rain and thunder the rest of the day.

It’s only been a week without Liam. Shep asks if he’s coming to bed, Byron looks for him when I say his name. I think I see him out of the corner of my eye or hear his breath. I don’t know where he is, all I know is he’s not here and it feels wrong for life to move on without him.

I am at peace knowing he’s not in pain. And I have no doubts whatsoever that June 28th went exactly as it should have. Liam gave us only joy; it was the least we could do to give him a walk, a snack, and the most gentle eternal nap.

Nothing bad should ever happen in a dog’s life, they’re our angel creatures. A peaceful and heartfelt goodbye was what Liam deserved. Our ultimate final gift to our dogs is what we’re left to deal with once they’re gone. The emptiness and tears are our lots to bear in exchange for our dogs’ precious innocence and peace. Liam never knew pain or fear, his life was only full and long and love. His death was love. We loved him so much we let him go. No one tells you these things when you buy a puppy!

Every day I feel a little better, but I still long to see Liam again. Byron sure helps, I hug him constantly. The book of a dog’s life feels entirely too short, and I don’t believe it would ever feel long enough. I’d always desire one more chapter. Liam’s book was a masterpiece I never wanted to put down. But it was the end. Goodbye to our beloved best friend, Liam/Angel Boy/Puppos/Pusty/John S. Puppos/Mr. Julie. We love you so much.

Fall 2010 or 2011, Nepaug Reservoir Canton

 Kate's house, Santa Barbara 2012

Topanga, 2013

 Liam's last morning with Byron, Litchfield 

Our last walk together, Litchfield


Back to the heart.

If you've stuck by me and Purusha on social media you may have noticed some changes recently. (And thank you for staying with me!)

The biggest change, of course, was moving back east to Connecticut. We live further out near nature than we did years ago, and are loving being near family and away from hot and crowded SoCal. Los Angeles will always hold a special, sweaty part of my heart. I hope to visit soon, and I still run much of Purusha operations from there! I love the seasons here in New England and feel like I've gone back home. (Um fall?! It's just about the best thing ever!)

The other change in Purusha has just been me, Hayley, resurfacing into my work. I'll be totally honest here, I removed myself and my tastes from Purusha a long time ago. I thought in order to be profitable I had to make what sold best and put aside what I wanted to make. That seemed to work for a little while, I just didn't think much about it.

Lately though, my subconscious has been speaking up. There was a disconnect between me and my brand. I thought it was ok, smart even, to distance myself and not get emotionally involved with my work. Create what the market demands and put your creativity elsewhere. I believed Purusha was pretty much a goner and I'd lost control of the vision. It was almost like being fired, but you fired yourself. And the new owner has no idea what she's doing because she doesn't understand the product or the customer. Great business plan!

I entertained the idea of new brands; trying out another yoga brand, random products on amazon, and even a maternity clothing line. I thought maybe I could fit my personality in somewhere else. None of these things clicked for me. It felt a little like I'd dumped the love of my life and now I'd seen how slim the pickings were.

With much thinking, meditation, and writing I've learned there was nothing 'wrong' with Purusha. What was wrong was me. There's no way you can run a business if your heart's not in it. You'll run out of energy, you'll resent your work, you'll be frustrated all the time. I just got to the point where I couldn't live like that anymore. It turned my usual optimistic outlook on life into a sense of doom.

I'd call myself a sellout if I was super successful at selling out, but I wasn't even that. So I was a sellout that couldn't sell. What was there to lose if I started making what I liked again?

Life changes so much from your 20s to your 30s. You have children, you get lines on your face, the world is not so black-and-white. I don't expect to run Purusha with the wide eyed and naïve optimism of 10 years ago. I wouldn't want that anyways. I want the truth even if it's painful, because it'll come out eventually anyways.

I'm ready to create again. I'm actually enjoying posting Instagram stories and live videos sharing what I'm thinking and what I'm working on. I couldn't do this before because I didn't believe in what I was doing. Everything changed once I made the decision to respect my heart's vision. I hope I don't lose some of my loyal customers, but I know some people won't like what I make because it's going to be different. I'm sad to see those people go, but there's no other way. I believe I'll find others that share in what I truly love.

I'm super excited to share my next collection and the new and improved heart centered Purusha! It'll be an evolution and take time to be mine again, but it's in motion and that's all I could ask for. I bow to you in supporting me, and I hope that will continue. I love you for reading this! Namaste.



Hi!! It's been so long, and so much has changed for lil ol me. How are you?!

The biggest change has obviously been having a baby. Not just 'a baby', but my sweet little angel buddy Shepherd. My whole perspective on life has changed, I'm now forced to see the big picture. I don't have time for hour long yoga sessions, the house seems to always be dirty, I can only sleep in one position at night with Shep next to me, I often have to wolf down dinner in 10 minutes so Sheppy doesn't cry, and sometimes I go an entire week without leaving the house (besides my hikes and runs in the neighborhood and in the canyon). Other moms told me I'd have to make many sacrifices, but I didn't believe that would be me. I thought I'd be different. But guess what, I'm not! I'm just like every other mama out there, I'm in the very exclusive mommy club now! It feels good :) I know someday in the future I'll have time again, time to get better at handstands and vacuum the couch and learn to draw better. All in good time, there's time for that later. You can't get caught up in what's missing now as a mama. Thoughts of lack are completely nonsensical when you've been given the ultimate gift of a healthy happy baby. It's the best thing ever.

Though lately I've been craving creation in other forms. I miss writing and making things with my hands. I miss getting my hands dirty to hand screen print things I think are cool and beautiful! So here I am again, open to receive inspiration and open to share what I love. It's taken me a long journey to get back to this place.

I just finished reading The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. It's soooooooo much better than the movie! So much more philosophy and depth of thought. You HAVE to read it if you haven't already. I ugly cried my way through the last 75 pages. Basically Bastian becomes a tyrannical leader in Fantastica (it's not called Fantasia in the book. I do like Fantasia better), and had to become someone he's not to become no one to start all over. He learned that his ultimate wish was to be loved and love others. He had it all- a kingdom of his creation, good looks, bravery, wealth- but he lost himself completely in those things and became empty inside. Bastian even forgot his own name, but was reborn with the love of a mother like being and by bathing in the golden waters of life to return to earth and give love to his father. It's so damn beautiful, it's like an acid trip, this book.

Anyways, I hated Bastian throughout most of book, until the end when he goes to the house of change and begins to figure out his ultimate wish. We really do have to try something out, take a risk and maybe change who we are (be it better or worse), to get on the path we need to go on. There are no mistakes because this path has led me to where I am right now.

I like where I am. I kinda feel like a newborn right along side Shepherd. I'm not sure what clicked in my brain, but it almost feels like the beginning. I feel as inspired and excited about creating for Purusha as I did 7 years ago. It's different now, I'm not as naive or as scattered or as, dare I say, arrogant. I feel like I'm done trying to be clever and done trying to 'sell something'. I want people to buy my clothes, but I'm not gonna try to force an image on the brand or try to make it something it's not. I think I lost something very special when I  removed my personal touch from the products. I just want to create what I love, share what I love, and let go of the results. If I made it with loving intentions and from a place of authenticity I've done everything right. I have no expectations. It's just all love.

I'm here to produce beauty. Creating it and sharing it is my medicine. I'm so excited for the next leg of my journey. I hope you'll come ride along with me. Namaste friends!


a birth story : shepherd willard allers

his birthday

1 week old

almost 3 weeks old

I woke up on Sunday morning, October 18th, with some cramps. I didn't think much of it until I started about my day. We were planning on going to the Calabasas pumpkin festival that day, but soon realized that wasn't going to happen. As we made breakfast and did our usual lazy Sunday activities (i.e. Nintendo), I figured out that I was getting contractions. They picked up in intensity pretty quickly, and Patrick and I started to time them. I was getting about 30 seconds of contractions every four minutes. My doctor told me to labor at home as long as possible, so that's what we did. I busied myself with Purusha work just in case I was going to the hospital and would be out of commission for a few days. (Later on I was SO thankful I did this!!) At around 3 PM we took the dogs on a walk and I got super irritable. At one point on our walk I just stopped and cried. I had been laboring since 10 AM that morning and had been having contractions at least every four minutes. Our doctor said to go to the hospital when the pain was unbearable and I couldn't speak through the contractions. Patrick asked me if I could talk when I was having a contraction and I said bitterly, "Why would I be talking right now?!" Haha that was a big indicator that no, I could not talk through the contractions.

As the evening approached we kept trying to distract ourselves from the labor. I played more Wooly World on Nintendo and Patrick made us dinner. I was beginning to feel nauseous too, so dinner was not something that I wanted. Around 10 PM we noticed the contractions were lengthening and getting closer together. They were coming about every two to three minutes and lasting one minute. The pain was becoming really unbearable, especially because I probably had hundreds of contractions that day as they were coming so frequently. We got ready for bed and thought maybe I could sleep through the pain. Wasn't happening. I didn't want to leave our house and enter the unknown, I just wanted to go to bed with Patrick and the dogs and have a baby sometime in the future. But at the same time I wanted to just do it. My work was done for a day or so, and I didn't want to do all that laboring for nothing. Between each contraction I decided I was fine and we could stay home, but with every contraction I felt like I was dying and we had to do something. It was a lot of back and forth, crying from me, and the dogs were getting nervous that we were getting out of bed and walking around the house. At 11:30 PM we decided it was time to go to the hospital. If they turned us away at least we would know what was going on, and I wasn't going to fall asleep that night anyways. We gathered our bags, kissed the doggie boys good-bye, and headed out.

It was the perfect time to drive to the hospital around midnight, there was no traffic! Which was good for me as the pain was really getting horrible. We got to Good Samaritan Hospital downtown in about 35 minutes, which in LA time is amazing! I kept on wanting to just go sit on a toilet, like if I could release something I would feel better. That's the first stop we made when we went in the Emergency entrance at the hospital, but sadly it did nothing for me. Patrick said, 'Let's get excited! We're here, we're going to meet the baby!' I groaned. We went to the triage and the nurse measured me at 80% effaced and three to four cm dilated. They said we should stay at the hospital, and that kind of absolutely terrified me. I was going to have the baby! We texted my sister to come take care of the dogs, and like an angel she was there the next morning early. That alone did wonders to ease my mind, though the pain in my body continued to become more severe.

The nurse said she was going to bring us to a delivery room, and I should try to get some sleep because I had a long way to go. First labors are slow. Sleep sounded totally impossible with my contractions coming every 2 to 3 minutes, feeling like a menstrual cramp from the gates of hell. I can't even describe, or truly remember now how bad it felt. The worst pain I've ever had in my body. I was starting to get really grouchy, tired and frustrated. They moved us to our delivery room and we both laid down and tried to sleep. With every contraction I felt weaker and weaker and my mind was going to a dark place. It's so interesting to see where your thoughts go when you're in intense pain. All of my meditation, breath work, yoga, and preparation made no difference in that moment. I was present, that's for sure! Present with a knock you on your ass pain that I felt would slowly destroy me.

Patrick and I debated back-and-forth if I should get the epidural. Just like at home when I was between a contraction I thought I could press on naturally. When a contraction arose and peaked I felt all my resolve go out the window. I was exhausted, I felt like we'd been beaten down. It was around 4 AM and I didn't know if I could survive and actually have the strength to have a baby at this rate. I knew I'd have a very hard road ahead of me if I was not able to sleep that whole night and God knows how many hours that day. I decided to get an epidural. Pat later told me he didn't want to persuade me either way, but was secretly so glad that I decided on this. It's hard to see someone you love in such pain.

The most cheerful little Asian man anesthesiologist came in about an hour after I requested the epidural, an hour of complete agony, and merrily put the giant needle in my back. I loved him so much. It was now 5:30 AM on Monday, October 19th. The pain of the epidural was like heaven compared to the contractions. They set me up with my IV and my catheter and within about 15 minutes I was a changed woman. I can honestly say getting an epidural was one of the best and most mature decisions I've ever made in my life. It's tough to put aside what you planned, which was a "natural" birth, and do what makes sense for your situation. For me, labor isn't the time to prove yourself a warrior, it's the time to deliver your baby safely. Within an hour I finally found blissful, incredible sleep. Throughout my sleep I woke up every hour or so because I could still feel the sensations of labor, just not the pain. I also would hear babies screaming from time to time as another woman nearby would have her baby. It was the most beautiful and scary sound. This is real!

My doctor, Dr. Chang, arrived shortly after I fell asleep, around 6:00 AM. He told me I was still only about 4 cm dilated and I should try to sleep and he would be back around noon. I was in epidural heaven and was like, sure no problem! I can't wait to go back to sleep. The only problem with my sleep was I kept dreaming of Wooly World! In this game you wrap everything in yarn and no matter what I tried to think about I would end up knitting it into something. It was so lame and frustrating! Shouldn't I be dreaming about my newborn son?! Not some silly (though awesome) video game!? As I rested I could feel the contractions intensifying so I got even more epidural. Best. Invention. Ever.

Dr. Chang came back at noon and said that my labor wasn't progressing because my water wasn't breaking. My body was doing a great job with the contractions, they were nice and strong and frequent, but the baby wasn't descending because the water bag was very tight. He decided it would be best to break my water, so that's what we did. Dr. Chang left after that and said he'd be back around 5 PM to see where I was. I ate ice chips and drank a little water, but still felt nauseous so was OK with not eating.

Patrick and I slept or went on our iPhones. It felt funny to be able to text and talk to people as I was in such active labor. At 5:30 PM Dr. Chang woke us up. He asked me how I was feeling and I said it felt like somebody was blowing up a balloon in my butt. He laughed and cheered and said wonderful! He measured me and said I was fully dilated and we were ready to have the baby! We just had to wait for the nurse Angela to come help. I was absolutely terrified! The baby was going to come!! When I get really nervous and excited I throw up, so I threw up in a little cup. After that I felt ready for the challenge, down for anything! Bring it!

Dr Chang dimmed the lights and gave us a pep talk. He told us how our lives would change and that we should be as present as possible in the next moments because we would never feel anything like this again. This was it! What we'd been waiting for and planning and thinking about for the past 9 months was here! At 6 PM Angela arrived and we were ready to start pushing. They got me all set up, lifted my heavy as lead legs into some stirrups, and with the next contraction we started pushing! I took a huge breath in and pushed! Dr. Chang said I was doing amazing and he was already crowning. I touched his head, and they asked if I wanted a mirror to see what was going on. I said no. Haha not this time. I pushed maybe 10 more times and he was out! It was so easy! Our sweet boy was ready to meet us and the world. Patrick delivered him and out came our little alien love child, arms and legs spread and crying like a baby bird! How could this be real?! A perfectly formed being just came out of my body! He was so much smaller than I imagined and looked shocked! Poor little guy. Dr. Chang and Patrick placed him on my chest and I stroked his cheeks in a complete love coma blissed out stupor. I told him how much I loved him and said everything was always going to be ok. He cried, stopped crying, cried, and we put him on my breast. He started sucking right away! I've dreamt of breastfeeding before, so it seemed familiar, like something I was designed to do. I felt like we were made for each other, destined always to be mother and son. After holding him for a bit the nurse took our precious sweet boy and weighed him and all that good stuff. He was 6 lbs 4 oz, 19 inches long. He screamed as they did his footprints and I felt an urge to stop that crying like I've never felt before. My baby. At 6:17 PM on October 19th our lives changed forever.

I told Shep in the womb everyday, "You're such a good boy. We love you so much already." It couldn't be more true. The word love doesn't begin to explain my feelings for him. Something beyond love exists, and he's teaching me what that is.

Shepherd Willard Allers, we are so ready and honored to be on this adventure with you. We love you so much already.


my pregnancy journal : 10

How far along?
38 weeks!

How big is the peanut?
My doctor said he's not gonna be a huge baby because Patrick and I aren't big people. He was 5.5 lbs last week, so I think this week he'll be around 6 lbs.

Total weight gain/loss?
30 lbs.

Maternity clothes?
Gah, miss clothes! We went to Anthropologie this weekend and there was SO much I wanted!! But there's no point in buying until after he's born. I have my few dresses I wear on repeat now.


I think I'm blessed with being a good sleeper. I could sleep for like 10 hours. I had a few hard nights of sleep last week, but it's mostly good. I get hip pain on my left side sometimes when I wake up. OH! Haha yesterday morning I kept waking myself up with a snort. Like it actually sounds like a pig. The weirdest thing! And I have been quite mucousy in the mornings. That's annoying and gross.

Best moment this week?
I had one really lovely yoga session this week that didn't feel like a struggle. It reminded me of what my body once was, and how good it will feel to have the baby and get back into my fitness routine, feeling strong and powerful! I have a feeling I won't ever take my body for granted again. I am super inspired to move and take good care of myself. :) I love my body more than ever for doing what it's doing.

Well the baby dropped and he's at 0 station now (the lowest he can be in the pelvis). So not so much heartburn and I can eat bigger meals, but the crotch lightening is insane. Sometimes when I walk his head is hitting my pelvis and nerves I guess and it hurts a lot. Peeing more than ever because of him being so low too. I have a hard time getting up from laying down and find myself sometimes frustrated with how hard it is to move my body. My daily walks, yoga, and exercises are a GIANT chore these days. They're just not easy at all, but I know keeping it up will make for an easier labor and faster recovery.

Food cravings?
No. I really can't say I ever had that! But I will say I am eating whatever the eff I want these days! Doctor's orders! He said to eat ice cream to help the baby put on weight, and well, I have to listen! I mean, I've always been a desert lover and indulge daily, but I'm doing so now with no remorse or worry. I'm also still trying to get plenty of protein and eat a lot of basically everything.

Food aversions?

Labor signs?
None. Lots of kicking as usual, but he seems pretty happy in there.

Belly button in or out?
Ooh it's like a little out now! Not full on outie, but a little fold of it is out. When I lay down on my back in goes back in.

What I miss?
Clothes!! Shopping this weekend made me sooo excited to be a woman with a baby outside of her! I love being a woman, and want to be fashionable and have beautiful things. And do beautiful things without a struggle. I really love clothes, and not being able to wear whatever I want is again an eye opener into how much I enjoy style. I have another clothing brand idea in the works too!

What I'm looking forward to?
Now it is the birth. We just want to meet him and get this show on the road. Patrick is definitely ready to begin this next phase of life. It's really sweet. He'll be like, 'I want the baby to come. I'm bored. (Haha!) I want something new to do.' Pat is going to be the best dad. I can't wait to see him take on that role. He's SO funny and playful, but also a great disciplinarian. He's very consistent.

I think slowly getting over the fear of labor. My dear friend Ianthe gave me some lovely words of wisdom that are really resonating with me. She said I can't be afraid during labor because this is my first time really being a parent to my boy. I need to stay calm for him, to let him know everything is ok out here. That birth is about HIM, not me. It's about delivering him here with a sense of peace and security. I'm a Mom already, and I want him to feel safe. This isn't to say it's not going to hurt, but I need to keep in mind my sense of calm is not for myself, it's to take care of him. So so sweet.

Yeah. I'm officially huge.

How are you bonding with your baby?
Well his room is all set up! I'll share some photos sometime soon. I guess I'm bonding with him by trying to take the best care of us. Exercise, good food, deep breathing, kegels. And letting go of control. I've had this fear of him getting a true cord knot, and I expressed those fears to my doctor. He said that this is only the beginning. There is always a chance something will happen to your child. So why worry now? Why start? You just have to be responsible and then let go. This is another way in which I'm not as afraid of labor now. I have no control over what will happen. Obviously I can decide for myself how to handle labor pain and if I want drugs or whatever, but what goes on during delivery to him is something I need to be ok with not knowing. I'm trying to cherish every moment with him still safe in my belly and let him know how much we all love him already.

P.S. We are totally becoming those people that decorate excessively for holidays! How do you like our spiderwebs and tombstones?! Hoping baby comes before Halloween so we can all be here to greet trick or treaters!


my pregnancy journal : 9

How far along?
35 weeks and 3 days.

How big is the peanut?
Last week's doctor's appointment he was 5 lbs! So he's right on track now for his age :) Hooray!!!

Total weight gain/loss?
It's hard to remember what my weight was last appointment. It's so insignificant now to me. Maybe 25 lbs?

Maternity clothes?
Dresses only! I think my belly though is permanently stretching some of them out. Haha!


Still pretty good! I wake up more often at night to pee and change positions, and find my hips hurt sometimes. But I'm getting at least 8 hours, sleeping in bed with Patrick and the boys.

Best moment this week?
Well I was very very happy at our last appointment to hear the little man is the right size now! And we saw him in an ultrasound which is always a treat.

Lots and lots of heartburn, it makes me feel like I'm going to throw up sometimes. :/ Some mild Braxton Hicks contractions here and there, stomach is practicing getting tighter and then releasing, I have to move more slowly or my belly gets a sharp pain. Totally out of breath walking up hills. Overall not super comfortable, but I still say this is pretty easy!

Food cravings?
No. Eating is kinda annoying recently because of heartburn and feeling very full.

Food aversions?
No, but not loving eating like I was in the second trimester. It feels more like a chore to be sure I get lots of nutrients and meals.

Labor signs?
I don't think so, but I do have an intuition he's coming soon. Not that I am predicting when he's coming, but it just feels like it's time, ya know? He sure kicks a lot, and the doctor said he's upside down now, so that's good!

Belly button in or out?
In, but my belly button feels verrry tight! ;)

What I miss?
I am starting to miss my body, but I don't really like to think or speak those words. I want to be as grateful as possible. Also, being pregnant is a great conversation starter, so that makes me not want this to end! Everywhere I go people talk to me about babies, birth, parenthood... It's very cool to feel so connected to the human race in this way, and everyone has been really kind to me. I miss buying cool clothes, haha. Can't buy much, but of course that's ok.

What I'm looking forward to?
Getting a facial as a reward after delivering the baby. But really, looking forward to all that comes after delivery. I'm trying with all my might to be brave and excited and open to whatever happens in labor, but I won't lie. I'm scared, and looking towards after it's done is comforting.

Ha I don't even know anymore. Getting up at 7:30 this morning? Getting dressed in something cute today and getting coffee with Patrick. Haha, I don't ask for much these days!


How are you bonding with your baby?
We're setting up and building all the things for him. We built a sidecar sleeper to attach to the bed for him to sleep with us, we're setting up his room, so that makes me feel good. I also got my hospital bag all packed with clothes for him and me, my favorite Evan Healy oils for massage... We don't really have a birth plan, but I'm planning on what we can do to deal with pain and be entertained. I kinda think that's all you can do. Birth is unpredictable, but it's nice to know I'm bringing some things that comfort me.

That didn't really answer how I'm bonding with him. It's how I'm bonding with Patrick, which has been incredible! But bonding with the little guy... I'm reading 'Mindful Birthing' right now and I really love it. It's all about bringing meditation into my daily life, and ultimately to my birth experience. To be ok with not knowing, to be ok with whatever I face and stay in the moment, and be ok with whatever choices we make in the delivery room. Basically just how to be present and ride the waves of the experience. I can't think of anything more important to prepare than that. Deep breaths, and keep coming back to the now with my baby. I know this will help me as a parent too, and to see what the little guy needs and be patient with our new wonderful family. AH so much LOVE!

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