A Denver Home Companion | harriet zona

she’s here. our family is complete.

harriet zona. born at home, 3/16/14, 7:03 am. 7 pounds, 13 ounces. 20.25 inches long.

all are well. just really really tired.


On the first night
of the full moon,
the primeval sack of ocean
& I gave birth to you
little woman,
little carrot top,
little turned-up nose,
pushing you out of myself
as my mother
me out of herself,
as her mother did,
& her mother’s mother before her,
all of us born
of woman.

I am the second daughter
of a second daughter
of a second daughter,
but you shall be the first.
You shall see the phrase
“second sex”
only in puzzlement,
wondering how anyone,
except a madman,
could call you “second”
when you are so splendidly
conferring even on your mother
firstness, vastness, fullness
as the moon at its fullest
lights up the sky.

Now the moon is full again
& you are four weeks old.
Little lion, lioness,
yowling for my breasts,
growling at the moon,
how I love your lustiness,
your red face demanding,
your hungry mouth howling,
your screams, your cries
which all spell life
in large letters
the color of blood.

You are born a woman
for the sheer glory of it,
little redhead, beautiful screamer.
You are no second sex,
but the first of the first;
& when the moon’s phases
fill out the cycle
of your life,
you will crow
for the joy
of being a woman,
telling the pallid moon
to go drown herself
in the blue ocean,
& glorying, glorying, glorying
in the rosy wonder
of your sunshining wondrous

–Erica Jong


A Denver Home Companion | mother blessingdiptic3A Denver Home Companion | mother blessingA Denver Home Companion | mother blessingA Denver Home Companion | mother blessing

this past sunday, 18 dear friends squeezed into my tiny home for my mother blessing. my doula and dear friend, kimmy, threw this for me as a way to gather the women in my life around me to offer up words of encouragement and surround me with good energy as i enter the last weeks of pregnancy (she can come any day now!).

when i was pregnant with ramona i had beautiful baby showers thrown by both friends and family, near and far. they were so special and meaningful and certainly helped set jp and i up with what items we needed for the arrival of our first child. a mother blessing is different. it is all about the mama and enveloping her with love and courage and community. i was blown away. you will see that in all photos i am trying so very hard to hold it together (a feat not accomplished. there were some ugly-cry-snort-laughs that made their way out of my mouth).

the afternoon started with us all going around introducing ourselves with our first names, as well as the names of our mother and our grandmothers. “i am emily. daughter of marcella. granddaughter of marilyn and gloria.” (seriously, if you’re in the market for a beautiful girl’s name, have all of your friends send you the names of the women in their lineage!). we all come from somewhere and from a line of women and to hear these names verbalized by all of the women i cherish connected me deeply to them and their story and to all of the women that have come before and given birth generations ahead of me.

then robin and lynn (you know them from how much i gush about r.l. linden & co) sat down at my feet and gave me a foot bath, followed by a foot and hand massage. while they did this, the women went around and shared blessings and positive words they had chosen for me for this occasion. i was a weepy mess, so overwhelmed with the kind and generous words people were bestowing upon me and the unborn little bug in my belly. i even had friends from new york city and washington state send in audio blessings. like i said, a weepy mess was i. there was wendell berry, mary oliver, heather armstrong, anglican blessings, and the words of many others read. words about the strength of my body. words about the legacy i was continuing. words about my strength and life force. words about family and daughters and sisters. words of humor and words of the utmost seriousness.

following this the women filled out two cards. the first was wishes for baby, an idea i had stolen from a baby shower thrown for me for ramona. friends filled in the blanks of wishes for little bug. then these are sealed up in an envelope for jp and i to open on little bug’s birthday. my friend, cate, from kin collective designed these for me. then on a sheet of gold vellum, they put down mantras for me. these were then strung up in the corner of my dining room where the birthing tub will be. and they’re great reminders for me to look at in the days leading up to whenever little bug decides to arrive!

my friend, lashley, gave each woman a candle to light upon hearing that i’m in labor. and finally, i made bracelets with african trading beads for the women to wear up until the birth as reminders to think of us and send good juju our way. phew. so much love and so many good vibes. it was a sacred time with the special women in my life. and i have no doubt that i’ll be able to carry what was given to me on that sunday afternoon into labor and a safe delivery for this little one.

A Denver Home Companion | necessities for your newborn

can you tell i’m in planning and nesting mode? i seriously feel so ready for this little bug to come. 38 weeks on friday! ramona was only four days “late” and i am just doing my best to will this second one out sooner. ha. we all know our little ones have their own perfect timing.

the beauty of a newborn is that, besides them f*cking up your sleep schedule, they are so so easy. they don’t take a lot of equipment save for your boobs, some warm-enough clothes, and fresh diapers. they can’t run away from you. they can’t crawl into trouble. they certainly can’t say “no!” (though there are times when they won’t stop crying and it does feel spiteful). they sleep anywhere and anytime and you can take them along with you to most any place. toddlers? not so much.

so thinking of this –of how much easier and simpler it seemed to be when ramona was a wee one– i started thinking about just what is it i like to have around me to feel prepped for a little one. this, of course, is all based on memory from three years ago. we’ll see how this little bug requires same or different. ironically, i can’t say i’ll be surprised if she throws me for a complete loop.

clockwise top left: || oxo candela night lights. the exact ones we used don’t seem to be available online but these are some good options for night time nursing. instead of turning on my bright bedside lamp, i used the soft glow of these to position ramona and also get some reading done while she nursed. || the sopranos complete series. jp and i blazed through mad men when ramona was first born bc there wasn’t much else to do besides sit on the couch and nurse and watch shows. we’re all set now. i know i know: i’ve got a toddler now! i’m banking on the kindness and generosity of my husband and village to take her on dates once in a while so little bug and i can take our sweet time recovering (in front of the boob tube) at home. || indian cotton prefold diapers. we didn’t use these as diapers for ramona. we used them as spit up rags, leaky boob rags, shit-i-spilled-my-much-deserved-margarita-on-the-sleeping-baby rags. they are in handy piles all over the house. || coveted things sketchy arrows blanket. little bug is going to have enough hand-me-downs from ramona. a dear friend gave this to me at my mother blessing and it’ll be baby’s very own special swaddle blanket. ramona’s is the aden + anais peacock blanket. || the snuggle-me co-sleeper. i can’t think of anything better for families that want to bed-share. this is a soft, organic pillow that is situated right in bed with you that snuggles the little one just right and elevates her enough that you won’t fear rolling over her. ramona felt right at home in this thing. || sakura bloom sling. this is a great way to ease into baby wearing and carrying. unlike other wraps and carriers, the sakura bloom can be used with itty-bitties. i love mine and can’t wait to have a new little squish to carry around in it. || bkr water bottle. nursing makes me thirsty! and i also like things that look good. i love my bkr water bottle and i feel safe drinking out of it. i always keep one handy wherever i plunk down to nurse bc i know i’ll be parched as soon as baby starts eating. || my brest friend nursing pillow. i love this guy. it wraps around my body and secures so i don’t have to worry about it moving around. some may find it bulky but i liked how it kept me propped up and gave me more use of my hands. ||

what newborn necessities did you have for your little one? what am i missing?


A Denver Home Companion | home birth needs & wants

we all know that birth plans are for the birds. we have such little control over what our body is going to do and how the baby is going to enter the world. we might have an idea of what we’d like to have happen, but a myriad of factors can change that in a heart beat. if there’s one thing i learned from giving birth to ramona it’s that you just must embrace –as much as possible– the path your little one chooses to enter the world and accept things as they happen.

this is not to say that we can not prepare and plan and set intentions for bringing our children into the world. i’ve done this through selective reading (ina may gaskin and bountiful, beautiful, blissful), nourishing foods and vitamins, nesting, acupuncture, pre-natal massage, and putting together my birth team of the only people i want around when little bug arrives (jp, my two midwives, and my doula). last week we had the home visit (!), which runs through all the supplies we need to have on hand, emergency contacts, plan Bs, who ramona and otto are going with, and what things i’d like to have accessible. that last part got me thinking. what would help me settle into this home birth? make me feel even more at home? make me feel as calm as can be as i work to bring little bug into her fourth trimester?

in addition to my sandalwood room spray and linden’s thousand petal beautifying mist, these are the items i will be sure to have on hand for me or my birth team to use to calm, affirm, encourage, relax me. of course, i have no idea if they’ll all be used or if they’ll even end up being helpful. but the act of putting these items together has been both soothing and exciting. i cannot wait to welcome this little girl into the world!

clockwise from top left:|| portishead : the same album we had playing when ramona entered the world. it’s creepy and moody and always puts me in this head space for concentration ||  jp got me a beautiful mala from standing laurel with gemstones conducive to labor support: jade [brings harmony and protects from harm], moss agate [a stone of new beginnings it helps to release one from deep-seated fears and blockages that may be holding her back], crystal quartz [the “master healer” stone] || my kimono robe from the hotel san jose, a souvenir i brought back from our babymoon || cosabella bralette, bc i don’t want to be walking around naked and this thing is incredibly comfortable and sexy || beeswax candles for purifying the air || neroli : helps to sooth fears and anxieties and improve post-partum mental state [as well as lessen stretch marks!] ||  jasmine : encouraging labor || frankincense : helps to calm emotions and can aid in repair of tears || clary sage : promotes pain relief and relaxation during labor ||

what did you need and/or want with you during your labors? home or otherwise? a special blanket? mantras? literature? i’d love to hear what helped you bring your little one into this world.