Alice Tang // Brooklyn, NY

Alice is an art director, designer, and creative producer living in Brooklyn, NY. I've known Alice Tang since we shared a class at UCDavis, and then we stayed in touch through Denmark, New York, and meet up every now and again. If you wanted Alice to design, program, fund, film, execute, and then throw the reception for your product / idea / movement ... she could pull it off. I need to remind her to sleep occasionally. The best part is she's one of those quietly convincing, unassuming, encouraging type of people. The type that continue to fuel their artsy friends, and somehow make a living doing adventurous things. 

Ben and I met up with Alice and her husband Gregg to share pizza and walk to the new Adam Yauch park (Ben is a Beastie Boys fan, I think he might have shed some tears when we finally reached it). Gregg is another amazing specimen, I'll profile him soon.

There's not many more magical places than DUMBO at twilight. I asked Alice some questions about her life, profession, travel, art, etc. And Ben shot some pretty things. That's what we do.  

OH, and Alice is preggers with a little baby boy, due late summer! So very exciting for all of us.  

scoutfolks_alice 2014_cover.png


Ally: SO! You've been busy, I think your latest photos were from Austin, TX promoting your latest film. Can you summarize your involvement in Crystal The Film?  

Alice: Crystal ( is a short film written and directed by our very dear, talented friend Chell Stephen ( Gregg was Cinematographer and I was Production Designer. We (along with Chell and two other friends who played major roles in making the film) have a collective together called Think/Feel ( We do work that runs the gamut between commercial, independent and passion projects, so banding together to help Chell make Crystal was a no-brainer! Crystal just finished screening at its third film festival - premiered at SXSW, then went to Atlanta FF and Nashville FF.

Ally: Your handle is Alice Soup. Tang means soup, right? 

Alice: Yea! So, tang translates to soup in Chinese. It can also translate to sugar or a handful of other things depending on which tang it is, but my tang happens to be soup :) 'alicesoup' has been the perfect handle forever because it is always available!!

Ally: What's the one item you'll probably splurge on for your baby? 

Alice: Any item that involves transporting the baby must be a splurge, right? Well, the one thing I have my eye on for pure aesthetics (and hopefully will also prove to be practical) is a Moses Basket. With organic linens, those things don't come cheap, and considering they'll grow out of it super quick... but I haven't been super crazy about anything else so I think coveting this one thing is OK. 

Gregg has absolutely no opinion whatsoever about baby equipment, but he's very excited to scour Craigslist for good deals so I will just send him off with a list.

Ally edit -- I keep seeing Moses baskets at flea markets, I need to buy you one if you haven't bought one!  Also, Ben had no opinion about baby stuff too. :)

Ally: What do you want to finish before baby comes along? I felt like it was a sprint to finish projects before the birth.

Alice: Not feeling too stressed about getting things done... but ask me again in July! I think my main tasks are just saving money and getting educated/prepared but not being obsessive about it. Educated more in a spiritual way, I guess, so I can focus energy inward and channel my inner Ina May Gaskin! On the home front - we have to do some consolidation of our workspaces in order to make room for a "nursery." This involves merging our two very large desks into one, which will be an emotional process because our setups are very different and we don't necessarily get along when working side by side.

Do I need a wipe warmer? There's so many suburban mom luxuries that we don't know if we need or can fit in our apartment

Ally: Actually, we got one of those and it helped with the middle-of-the-night changes! But yeah, you don't need much in the first few months. I'll send you a list.

Ally: How long have you and Gregg worked together? How long have you been dating? Do you find it easy to work on projects? Do you have a certain style of roles you take that you've found works best? 

Alice: Gregg and I don't make the best creative partners so we actually don't work together that often. Sounds sad but it's true! Our skills and interests may compliment one another, but our working styles clash a lot. I am very into details, execution and follow-through while Gregg tends to be more excitable about big ideas and does things in broader strokes. But we support and respect each other SO MUCH in our respective endeavors. And since we both live freewheelin' freelance lives and work in industries that often require the other's skill set from time to time, we'll work on the same projects every now and then. The best way for us to coexist in a working environment is to agree on what parts we'll each be responsible for, then leave each other alone. I remember when we first started dating (in 2004) I used to take a lot of photos on film but would never print them because I found the process too daunting. Gregg was a ninja in the darkroom, so he would print my negatives beautifully without any effort at all. And then we'd give the photos away as gifts. That's a good example of our working style up to the present day. If we overlap any more than that, we get too much like brother/sister and then there is fighting and tears!

Ally: That should really be framed on my wall. It's really refreshing to hear that other creative couples have a hard time working together. And you're so mature about it.

Ally: You do a wide range of projects - from web - to graphics -  to film. How do you stay inspired to be creative? Is it living in New York? Or do you find inspiration online? Books? Give me your secrets. 

Alice: New York's culture and energy, its rhythm and pacing, for sure. It's like a drug and I'm totally addicted. But also taking the time to experience new perspectives when the city gets stifling or draining. Leaving for long periods of time seems to do the trick for me and then I fall in love all over again. I also love looking at beautiful things that are rich with many layers, such as flowers and textiles, learning about artists/designers who explore ideas of balance and symbiosis, and experiencing places/people that offer simple luxuries and respect local culture & community. And I do find a lot of inspiration online too by stalking ladies who fit the same characteristics or have the same interests as the above.

Ally: Do you work late nights to get all your stuff done? Or do you stick to a schedule? 

Alice: Late night for creative work. Early morning for admin work. This doesn't mesh well with a consistent schedule at all, so there are usually bouts of sleep deprivation and unproductivity in between. If I'm doing contract work onsite at an agency, then I'm pretty much on a 9-6 schedule and all work-at-home structure/discipline goes out the window.

Ally: Do you have a tribe of creative friends in New York? 

Alice: Think/Feel and the fellow creatives we have in our network! I feel we're all in the same boat in terms of trying to surf that delicate balance of having free, creative lives mixed in with adult realities, and we're constantly learning, evolving and growing, in a way where there really is no "end goal." It's so nice to have these people in my support system, and of course getting to work with them on projects from time to time.

Ally: What's the best thing you've ever done for yourself? 

Alice: Working for myself. Certainly no walk in the park and I'm still very clumsy at it, but the freedom of having been able to create my own schedule all these years has meant EVERYTHING. Even if I end up going back to full-time at some point in the future, I know having had freelanced is not something I'll ever regret.

Ally: Your wedding was really beautiful, would you ever do event design? 

Alice: Thanks! Yes! As long as the people I'm designing for come armed with rad inspiration and ideas. 

Ally: You studied Design in college and then got your Masters in Interactive Design, kinda? - did you think your career would be different? Do you think your career will change as you have kids/ get older?

Alice: I got my Masters from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at NYU. I sometimes just say Interactive Design 'cause it's easier to understand, but you could really do anything you wanted in this program that had to do with technology. At a very high level, the ethos of the program is to encourage you to be fearless and value collaboration. I don't know if I ever had a vision for my career. I've always tended do or want things in a somewhat unorthodox fashion, so my grad program was a good accompaniment to my career trial and errors, and just trusting that everything would always turn out OK. Now that I'm older and about to have a baby, the world has become so much smaller, but in quite a comforting way, actually. Similar to how I want to "focus inward" for my baby's birth, that's the thinking I find fitting to my life in general, moving forward.... practicing more mindfulness and putting focus and energy into what's immediately in front of me, as opposed to running around trying to project out all the time. And definitely doing less of that existential thinking, which can be overwhelming and sometimes even paralyzing. I think this will definitely have an effect on guiding my career in the next few years, just not sure what yet!

Ally: So much love for that. Parenthood doesn't have to be a shock if you look at it as part of your life, your fabric.


Some photos from her gorgeous wedding, shot by Katie Ogood

Her new work! Click through for more. 

Ally: You're something of a world traveler - do you feel completely comfortable in other countries, or is it the excitement of the unknown that makes you stretch yourself to travel more? 

Alice: Don't think I ever feel completely comfortable in other countries, and that used to be what made me want to travel more. But now I'm not so much of a gypsy. Home comforts mean so much more to me now, whereas all I had in my 20s was a suitcase and my dreams. The wish-list of where I want to travel is very pared down now. I'm less about where and more about the camaraderie that is to be had at the destination, whether it be a wedding or visiting family & friends (even if those destinations are not that exotic). Or returning to places where I can continue building upon the experience of the last visit (such as Tulum or Palawan). 

Gregg doesn't feel this way though. He still loves the feeling of being a fish out of water, so I'm sure we'll keep doing a combination of traveling that's both random and deliberate.

Ally: What type of projects do you hope to work on in the future?

Alice: Very open. Anything that would charm/delight the audience or end user. Anything where I get to work with clients or partners who are able to bring a lot of inspiration and ideas to the table. I'm easily satisfied as long as it involves good company and visual candy.

Ally: Do you think you'll stay in Brooklyn forever? 

Alice: At the moment we're pretty happy being in Brooklyn and excited about raising a baby here for at least a couple years. Then again, we were just away for 3 months so I'm back on good terms with this city again, which as many fellow NY transplants know, this sentiment can deteriorate pretty quickly due to bad weather, tiny apartments or getting burnt out at work. Our priorities are definitely evolving though, and since we're very much open to new opportunities, anything could happen! Los Angeles (where we just spent the winter) is the ONLY contender as a future landing pad right now; we'd be pretty happy building a nest out there.

Ally: Make it LA!  

think/feel studio // Alice's Tumblr // Alice's new venture // more wedding photos


More to come from this beautiful family...definitely check my Instagram for photos of baby love soon to come. Gosh, I really get emotional thinking about their journey, their excitement for art, New York spring and summer, Alice's shoe collection, etc.  ... I just miss them a lot. Hope you enjoyed the interview!

xo Ally

(Photos by Ben Squirrell, unless they're blurry iphone photos, then they're mine.)

new york state of mind: our friends the travelers

Heather Struck and Alex Fischer are two of our favorite people, and they just so happen to have THE BEST apartment in New York, which they let Ben and I borrow when they're gone. Plus they always insist we drink their beer. They're the nicest people ever. We're interviewing them here to share some insight on how they survive in a crazy city, how they maintain their unusual careers, and basically hoping they'll give us their secrets to being awesome.

Pictured is our tour of the Google NY headquarters, where Alex works, which feels oddly like Disneyland with a lot more nerds. I think I might apply to clean the toilets there (there are free snacks everywhere!)

You can explore more of Heather and Alex through Heather's tumblr or her job at Reuters

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Ally:  favorite colors? 
Heather:  Probably gray and off-gray. I also like really white sheets on the bed.
Alex:  Blueeeeeee, of course. Except for blue cheese, I don't like blue cheese.

Ally:  Heather, you're a reporter, blogger and writer. Just how bad is my writing? Just kidding. But what tips do you have for bloggers or people who are just starting to write?
Heather: Read things, see things, listen to things and love everything that you love wholeheartedly. But when you begin writing as a practice, be yourself. The more of yourself that you come to know, the better you will be at folding that into a profession that pays you to write. Also, you will be inching ever closer to producing art. I think original writing that you can be proud of and that others respond to is the highest achievement you can hope for. You will never stop having role models. At some point you will even have some who are younger than you, and that is mildly annoying, but watch what they do and appreciate them for having the courage to do it.

Ally:  What do you guys like to read?
Heather:  Oh man. Well the last great novels I read were Wolf Hall and the Luminaries. Joan Didion's personal novels A Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights are wow. Short story writers like Alice Munro and Lorrie Moore and George Sanders and...there are so many. The NY Times Dining section and the New Yorker at the breakfast table. The Awl and McSweeney's Internet Tendency for funny stuff out of people's heads. I read the news all the time at work, but somehow the New York Review of Books always compels me to read 90% of the articles in every issue. There are also many food blogs that are so wonderful and really do make me more content at home with all the things I can whip up in a tiny kitchen. A Sweet Spoonful and The Wednesday Chef are two of the most meaningful to me, but there are many. 
Alex:  I'm a terrible reader ... I usually fall asleep after a few pages. That's why I've been reading "A People's History of the United States" for the last decade. The things I do manage to read are news and text books. 

Ally:  What are 3 life priorities, listed in order? Is that a scary question?
Heather:  Ahhhh. Honestly, a few years ago I had three very common priorities that seem rather shallow now. But maybe not? 1) A great love 2) A great job 3) A great apartment 
I think the truth was always something more like 1) Make a difference 2) Feel that someone else has made a difference in you 3) Go to Paris 
Alex:  Uh, that is a scary question. I like Heather's 1) Making a difference and would add 2) always being curious and learning new things and 3) Avoid going to Paris for as long as possible. 

Ally:  Give me a summary of your introduction to each other. I love this story.
Heather:  My dear roommate was moving away, so she helped to find a replacement roommate for me. That was not Alex. But it was his friend. They were both German students spending some months in New York, and they got together at my place a few times for beers or whatever. I was actually doing a good job of completely ignoring Alex's presence for a while. Then one night (Valentine's day, actually), the three of us cooked a dinner together and sat in our tiny kitchen and ate it. Alex washed the dishes afterward. I don't think I have ever really let him go since.
Alex:  I like to think that the magic trick I showed Heather the first we met helped out as well.

Ally: Heather - you've lived in New York since Grad School, right? Are you there for life?
Heather:  I probably am, in my mind. I don't know, actually. Part of me really wants to go live in Germany and soak it up. New York has always been the most obvious and ultimate answer to my questions. I am sure I would miss it a lot. 

Ally: You guys lived separately for a long time. Was moving into a small (compared to the rest of the country) apartment together instantly blissful?
Heather:  Yes!
Alex:  Yes, although I wouldn't have minded moving into a large apartment together either. <smiles>

Hamburg 2012

Hamburg 2012

Ally: You both have really cool jobs. Did it take a while to get there?
Heather:  A bit, yes. It's a lot of getting yourself out there and taking risks too. I promised myself always to make decisions with the most open mind and heart possible. That way I would never have to regret any of those decisions, just keep going ahead.
Alex:  Definitely. I had to throw overboard the plans I made a long time ago and postpone my dream of working in academia ... maybe indefinitely? 

Ally: What are your favorite places in New York? Favorite restaurant?
Heather:  The High Line! There are so many people there in nice weather, it's a mess. But I love love the combination of architecture and flora and the rough and ready city all around. Also they sell good snacks. One of our favorite restaurant's is Joe's Shanghai for dumplings.  
Alex:  I love Washington Square because it's so lively. I also love to go to Battery Park and wave to imaginary steam ships coming in. Restaurant-wise, nothing beats Joe's Pizza ... Joe seems to be a good name for a chef. 

Ally: You are world travelers. What keeps you looking for adventure?
Heather:  For me it's good old wanderlust. My Mom shares a passion with me of loving the variety and craziness and passion of the world. I love that about her too. 
Alex:  In my life, I always want to be curious and what better way to be curious than traveling to places you haven't seen before.

Ally:  Where is your next trip planned? What's your bucket list look like? Is it 1000 pages long?
Heather:  California! It's home for me and Alex's #2 favorite place. We have been trying for like 3 years to do a trip to Australia. That's at the top of the list with the U.S. national parks, Korea, Japan, and diving in the Red Sea.
Alex:  Yes, it's definitely long. Most things are just ideas in my head, but I'd add Iceland, Samoa, and Russia to the list. 

Ally:  Would you two work professionally together?
Heather:  Sure! Alex would probably fire me, or send me to work in the supply room or something after a while. But why not?
Alex:  Yeah, definitely - the working together part, not the supply room part. Although with your partner you have very different boundaries, which can be good and bad in a work environment. 


We love Heather and Alex, mostly because they're hilarious and so fun to be around. They inspire us to follow our dreams, travel, be honest and adventurous, and step up our coffee game. Thanks for reading, friends. 

things I've learned about motherhood - part 1

Here is my feeble attempt to write what I've learned about motherhood. It will fill in the gaps of restlessness between working on my real job and other projects. To connect with readers, and to validate my obsession with being a mother. To procrastinate between art projects, to keep me awake while I'm waiting for my oil change or for my inspiration to kick in. 

ME: 30-something with a baby. Not a mommy expert in any way. Absolutely in LOVE with my little girl and my partner. Life is hard, life is really rewarding. 

Here are a few things I've learned.

I'll start with a list, and I promise to eventually expand and offer something more in the way of anecdotes. 

1. I can't do everything. I've been a runner most of my life. Now, at this current juncture in life, I am not a runner. I am prioritizing other things. I still feel a jealous sting when other people post pictures of their running, and at some point I'll get back into the habit, because I'm a born runner (not in a braggy way, more in a hyperative dog sort of way) BUT I chose this path - I am working on other things now, I don't have time for everything. Finding time was really hard at first, and I didn't get anything done while I was on maternity leave. I bitched about how I could only seem to accomplish laundry. But that's how life is for most people. You either get ALL of the laundry done all the time, or you enjoy your life and family while you can. And I'm getting better at doing 10% of about 5 things and then calling it a success. 

It's also really important now that I write down goals and achieve them. This isn't so much about motherhood, but about accepting time management into my life. I'm forced to accept help every day, from a nanny or a family member or Ben. I wouldn't be able to go to work, or breathe, or feel myself without them. 

The other day Ben saw me reading in bed, and asked 'what are you doing!?' --but in a VOLUME that suggested surprise, like seeing a cheetah in the wild. I think I should prioritize reading more. 

2. I love my partner. Ben and I are better when we consciously appreciate everything we do for each other. And when we plan things for us to do, outside of the house, and sometimes without the babe. Having a tiny disaster-toddler makes a LOT of work for everyone. It will always feel like you're doing more work than anyone. But we have so much time and so much potential to fall in love with each other every day, which is really special. 


3. The simple life is amazing. We read books, snuggle, play, and go for walks. I love the time spent at the grocery store with my munchkin. Ordinary things become extraordinary when you have a really cute baby assistant. Luna has learned to spin this week -- she throws off her clothes and spins in circles until she falls down giggling. It's HILARIOUS. I'm sure every mother or father or aunt or uncle or grandma in the history of babies has also found this human development to their delight, I'm really gracious to join their ranks. 

4. I have so much ability to love. I get full body chills when Luna does something funny, and she can't even talk yet. 

That's all for now. More to come. 

Here are some photos of Lu's 1st birthday, which was wildly successful (in that I didn't have a meltdown and everyone had food and beer).


the (mostly) vegan marriage

Ally edit: This is the first blog post from one of my dearest friends and best people I know, Marissa Hewko. She's going to be writing about her food love, cooking, lifestyle, dogs, love, loss, everything. I'm so very proud she's joined our story.  end Ally edit. 


Like everyone in the world, my husband Johnathon was born a vegetarian. The thing is, he stayed that way…like, never-had-a-hamburger-vegetarian. When we first started dating, I’d force-feed him bites of my carnitas and laugh at him when he said bacon smelled gross. When we got married, I was working at a restaurant, meaning evenings were spent at work, not at home. Which left Johnathon on his own for dinner. I’d usually scarf down some faulty plate the chefs made that night and he would create some weird can of beans atop lettuce with salsa on it and call it a burrito bowl.

When I got a new job with “normal” hours, we began to have dinners together nightly. This created two issues; one: I felt guilty for making meals that contained meat in them because I knew it did not correlate with my husband’s ideals, and two: I was way too lazy to make a veg dish for him and a meat dish for me. So that’s how it happened. We both became vegetarians. I would mostly make cop-out vegetarian dishes like pasta, or tofu stir-fry, things that had zero thought involved. Somewhere along the way, between watching documentaries and blood test results, we decided to take animal product completely out of our diet. That’s when the passion for cooking came flooding in; crazy, obsessive, creative, passion.

I didn’t want to just make a pizza with fake vegan mozzarella topped with tofurkey, or resort to just throwing a bunch of vegetables in the oven with olive oil and calling it dinner (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It wasn’t just about cutting animal out of our diet, it was about putting better, whole, unprocessed foods in our bodies. I had to be innovative and be willing to put thought into every night’s meals and plan them in advance.

It takes effort, but the resulting food is worth it, and most of all, it makes me HAPPY. If I don’t cook for a week, I get depressed - the combination of healthy fuel and expanding my creativity makes me feel fulfilled. It doesn't hurt that my husband does all the dishes every night, and it really doesn't hurt that he's more than happy to eat everything. 

Every Sunday, I pick out meals for the week, gaining inspiration from various vegan food blogs and finding the accidentally vegan recipes in cookbooks I already own. I try not to make the same thing twice in a month, mostly because I get bored eating the same thing all the time and cooking the same thing all the time. I make a grocery list, and shop on Sunday for the entire week. Johnathon says whenever he looks at our shopping card, he doesn’t see a single thing that looks delicious, but then magically, he’s licking his plate every night. That’s the thing with cooking with whole ingredients, they don’t look like much until you transform them, that’s when their beauty comes out.

I look forward to every night that I get to spend with my husband in the kitchen and eating together at the dining room table…and curled up on the couch on lazy evenings. Our kitchen is small so we are forced to be in close contact, sneaking tush squeezes. During dinner we get to talk about our day, vent, rejoice, kiss and be thankful for the little family we have.

I hope you enjoy my food ideas, and feel free to contact me with questions or high fives. 

The pictured foodgasm is an amazing vegan enchilada casserole, recipe coming soon. 

sausage party in Venice // Courtney and Ally

by Courtney and Ally

[Courtney is the stylish one and Ally always has a baby strapped to her.]

[Courtney is the stylish one and Ally always has a baby strapped to her.]

HELLO! We are the main contributors to Scout Folks (for now), still learning to navigate our voices on this forum. Here's a little intro to our dynamic.

Ally: You can read more in the About Us. But for now: Courtney and I live too far apart, but spend a lot of time together. We've been through a few life changes together, and WAY too many hair changes. We're the kind of people that will send each other the exact same photo at the exact same moment. We are hatching a secret plan to spend every family vacation together. 

Courtney: We were lucky enough to find our tribe in Venice this past weekend. It was a rainy weekend, so we cozied up at Wurstkuche with some heavy German food. 

Ally: I pretty much suggest Wurstkuche every time we set foot in LA. 

Courtney: We met up with the folks over at Girl and The Abode and Styled by Katie. I am blessed to be able to call these girls family; as the years have gone by those lines have blurred between family and friendship. It has evolved into something quite rare and beautiful. The friendship is raw, and we can share our deepest thoughts amongst each other, as well as design ideas. 


Courtney: I also love Wurstkuche. They have vegetarian smoked apple sage to crocodile to pork andouille to...every flavor of sausage. My mouth is watering just dreaming about it.


Courtney: Our conversation over exotic sausages and crisp cider is exciting. To think we are sitting at a table of so many creatives; photographers, interior designers, chefs, fashion stylists, illustrators, and graphic designers. It takes my breath away. Ideas bounce off the walls with fierceness; and all I can do is smile because these are my folks.


Ally: I've been longing for this little artist community for a while, and it's so exciting to be around so many energized people. We walked to the Venice General Store, which is fast becoming the inspiration for my being. 


Courtney: Wandering around Venice we naturally group ourselves into pairs. I listen to passing conversations and it fills me with warmth. Life can be hard enough as it is, even just with daily routine. I am thankful for the people I am surrounded by. They are my rocks.


Ally: We finally got into Gjelina!! OMG their panna cotta. I think I'm hungry because my portion of this blog is centered on food. I'm really in love with all my friends right now. They're moving and shaking, and inspiring me to do the same. 

by Ally and Courtney

thoughts on a busy weekend.

I feel so lucky to be slowed down sometimes, to take a break and watch my little human smile at me. In between the toddler screams and cleaning up after everyone. My life is full and rich, even if we feel really small. 


Our family lives for the small moments. I think it’s a constant process of letting go of accomplishing everything. The in-between.


We want our little Luna to be in this world, to realize she’s connected to the strings of others. To give them time and give really great Eskimo kisses. We spend time together. And give frequent kisses. And try to be open to adventure.


A lot of times, I have to be happy working on just us.

Photo by Ben

A birth story

by Ally

I’m writing this both so I’ll remember it, and because I devoured every birth story I could find while I was pregnant. There’s something so comforting in mama voyeurism, and most of the books leave all the good parts out. I have left out things, both on purpose, and because I’m now 10+ months of foggy brain. DO NOT read this if birth grosses you out. Obviously.


Here goes.

I found out I was pregnant at week 5 or 6. I had a choronic villus sampling test at 11 weeks, on a Monday. That Thursday, I got a phone call from the genetics office. The nurse was excited to tell me that it was a female. I cried, and I called everyone, and started talking to baby girl inside my belly.

30 weeks later I was 1 week past my due date. My date had been moved back a few times, so I was already anxious, and now obnoxiously bloated. The stretch marks that circle my belly now are from that last week of waiting. I had been so good at soaking my gigantic tummy in belly oil!


Friday April 12th, technically my due date, I started feeling dull, deep contractions. There isn’t a lot of information out there for the first-time mom to understand what labor feels like, and maybe that’s intentional. Everyone knows it feels shitty and painful. I googled it a lot. I think just try to picture your muscles all tearing. And period cramps times a million.

I started feeling contractions a week before Luna actually arrived, and it started a long and painful, annoying process. Super-nesting, wanting the house to be in order in preparation for being gone. I think that’s why pregnant women want it all to be over at the end - you’re excited to meet the baby, but also ready to get over the extra-nesting urges.

I had saved up a lot of my reading to do at the very end. I read Ina May’s natural birthing book, and her breastfeeding book. I skimmed a lot of the other books. Florence and I went on walks. I think, looking back, I was really lucky to have a few weeks alone, to center myself. Even though the whole time I was thinking the baby would be early and quick, and I’d have to run home post water-breaking with fluid everywhere and a terrified dog. It was a relatively peaceful time, and I walked through all the constant cramps.

That saturday, we skipped a friend’s wedding...we decided it was too far from the hospital, and I was emotionally tied to my sweatpants. We sat at home, ate pizza and watched a movie. I lost my mucous plug, or I thought I did. I bounced on a giant pink exercise ball that I had borrowed from my sister-in-law. It helped distract my brain, I think. And it’s supposed to loosen the birthing muscles.

The next Tuesday, I went to see my OBGYN. He did a test, listened for the heartbeat, and said I was 2 cm dilated. My OB is a great dude, very funny, and not excitable in any way. He said we would probably see a baby ‘soon,’ and sent me home with some casual instructions to call him if anything happened. I went back Thursday for the stress test where they hook you up to monitors and watch the heartbeat over time. Mr OB looked at the results, said ‘great.’ He asked if I wanted to induce midnight that night, and I accepted.

We were scheduled to induce two nights in a row, denied twice because of crowding, and then finally went in because I had painful contractions. 

The receptionist was annoyed and barely noticed us while we stood in the hallway at LB Memorial. The rest of the staff was even worse, and barely looked up. Since we were marked for an ‘Induction,’ that was written on our intake papers, and we could hear everyone who read it give us a huge sigh and ‘INDUCTION, WE DON’T HAVE ROOM FOR THAT.’ We waited in the waiting room, which smelled like old sandwiches, and had flickering fluorescent lighting. It added to my uncomfortable weepiness. The contractions were getting too painful to consider going home. We spent a few hours in that waiting room, and wondered what our dog was doing. I asked Ben to tell the intake nurse the pain that I was in, thinking she wasn’t taking my labor seriously. I finally went up and cried to her myself. She repeated again that they didn’t have room. Finally, my contractions reached 3 minutes apart/ 1 min long. One of the overnight nurses took pity on me and found us a triage room. They hooked me up to monitors and told me to rest. The contractions got stronger, we could see them on the monitor. The room was cold and small, and there was a couple next to us. It was a crazy maze of curtains that always seemed to be getting pulled back and twisted. I was hooked up to fluids. It was miserable but still really exciting to be in a bed, and getting closer to having a baby.


My doctor was in the hospital for a scheduled C-section, and stopped by to check my progress. I was 3 cm, but had lost my mucus plug for real this time. He yelled at the nurse that I was moving quickly and wanted to break my water. The nurse countered that they weren’t allowed to break waters in a triage room. Hours flew by really fast even though I was in a lot of pain.


After what seemed like forever, I got a birthing room. It felt amazing to relax a little, and get ready to go through more labor. After the trauma of being in labor in the waiting room for so long, I asked for an epidural. I had planned on doing everything naturally, but now I know that unless you have a REAL plan, it’s really easy to rely on the epidural. Next time I will advocate for natural birth and demand a midwife and birthing classes and everything. But this time, we were on our own, and that epidural made everything easier. We watched the contractions go up and down on the monitor. It was really quite amazing how something can do that to your insides...squeezing and stretching and moving, all on its own.

We were moved into the birthing room around 7 am, and called the doctor in. He broke my water and then everything progressed really fast. I didn’t need pitocin. Luna wanted to be born that day.

After a few hours of family coming in and out and clearly raising my blood pressure, Ben kicked everyone out and helped me go through the contractions. He was really amazing. He held my hands and told me everything would be alright. He held my legs when we got to the pushing part. He wasn’t too grossed out by everything. He’ll tell you the really gross details if you ask him.


We started to push around 12:30pm and Baby Luna peeked her head out with a couple pushes. The Doc reached in and scooped her head and then shoulders out. She cried, and I cried. The NICU doctors grabbed her and tested her because of meconium. I’m really glad they did all the testing right next to me, I got to look at her tiny little beautiful body. I fell in love with that smashed little nose, I knew she was perfect. I think the whole time I was pregnant, I was so terrified that she wouldn’t function outside of me. It was such a glorious relief to see her out and breathing and screaming.


I was stitched for a small tear and then immediately got some alone time with Ben and the little bubb. She nursed right away. She’s been nursing pretty constantly ever since. And that was just the beginning of our little family story. We chose the name Luna because we always felt the moon had a magical and mysterious effect on our relationship. We had been going back and forth between a few names, but it just seemed perfect.


all photos by Benjamin Squirrell.