Nathaniel James

With my son. Just wanted to type that.

With my son. Just wanted to type that.

He was known as Frank Breech, but after a C-Section and a few days of toiling over his official name, Frank “Buster” Breech became Nathaniel James.

He was born 7.7 pounds, and when he came out, he looked purple like a bunch of grapes held up at a Sunday farmer’s market. I don’t know who it was – a doctor, a nurse, the anesthesiologist, someone announced, “He’s a chunky monkey” and I’ve never been more excited to hear the first fat joke about my son. I knew no one would be joking if he didn’t have all of his fingers and toes and appear to be in good working order. You don’t start rhyming and referencing Ben n’ Jerry’s flavors when things are going awry. Even someone with a spinal block, restraints and a nasty case of Hebrew panic knows this on some visceral level. Especially, maybe.

To say I’ve never been more relieved is such an understatement it’s kind of a shame; I should probably not be allowed to write until I can actually pass a reasonable stool. Maybe normal movement of one’s colon is critical to self-expression not involving lame cliches and semi-obvious declarations. Please, humor me until the Colace and prune juice kick in.

So, after he was pronounced a chunky monkey, and the doctor said, “He was definitely breech … and definitely a boy …” (guess he presented with a big rump and typically swollen baby balls) I started bawling right there on the table, tears pooling around my oxygen mask, trying not to choke on snot and shock and the weird mucus that collects when you’re on your back and pregnant. Until the second they brought him over to me and let me kiss his goopy, red face, I was convinced that setting up a crib, and buying a rug for his nursery and occasionally imagining he would be okay would all have cursed him, and that I would never, ever be lucky enough to get a real live healthy baby.

No matter how many tests told me otherwise and how often I saw his heartbeat, even moments before they removed him and I could hear his heart thudding steady and strong on the fetal heart monitor, I was sure this was all a big mistake and that something would be wrong and everyone had missed it.

All that being said  - and I promise to say more once I’m back in business – this C-Section was gnarly. I know some people find them easy, I am not one of those people.

The recovery was and is more difficult than I imagined, the surgery was terrifying and maybe this is just me, but I think I even caught a 24-hour bout of PTSD.

And I’m glad no one really gave me the nuts and bolts of the C, because it would have freaked my shit out. So I feel funny saying too much if anyone has one of these on the horizon, because you will be fine. Again, more to come, but I’m just so grateful to those of you who have followed this blog and sent your well wishes that I wanted to let you know that baby, mom and dad are doing great. Dad has changed every diaper and burped every burp because though I’m up to breast feeding the little guy, I can’t do much else with breaking doctor’s orders to avoid BLT: bending, lifting and twisting.

I’m yammering.

Sometimes it’s kind of nice to find yourself living a cliche, deliriously happy and deliriously tired mom. That’s me. Mom. I’m someone’s mom. He is my son.

For someone who wasn’t baby crazy, who didn’t really get babies at all, I do all the disgusting things like smell his head and take pictures of him incessantly and become convinced that I’m not biased at all, but that my baby actually is extra adorable with fantastic hair.

It’s my first day out of the hospital and like I said, I’m feeling pretty wrecked. Haven’t even had a chance to check out my new slice but I have run my fingers over it and I will tell you, they need a little extra room to remove the frank breech types. Seems about five inches or so. I’m okay with it, I just don’t want to look. And I still appear almost as pregnant as when I went in there. And my legs are swollen. On and on. Hard to wrap up this post which as far as prose goes is kind of a disaster. Time for a feeding, and yes, time for the boy to exploit me, as I have been doing him for the last six months.

Again, thanks for all of your kind words and well wishes and more than that, all of your very specific advice and recollections from everything to car seats to nipple pads to latching to morning sickness.

I read every single thing you wrote, and I often took your counsel and many times I dragged my husband over to read what you posted, because I was touched or consoled, because your experience was just like mine, and that made me feel less lonely. And I know that the sensations I’m having now, the baby “high” and the rubbing his velvety arms and the crying cause I can’t poop or sleep and the sad sack thoughts when I catch my bloated reflection and the surreal smacking myself over being his mom, and him not being in my stomach anymore, but instead sitting there in his bouncy seat, I know this has all been said and done and felt. Maybe by you. Instead of that taking away from its value,  today, somehow it seems to add to it. Instead of scoffing at the human experience, I’m just giving in.

There aren’t that many main courses on the menu in this life, when it comes to the big experiences.

So, despite wanting to be terminally unique, at some point you order the chicken or the steak. Maybe the surf and turf. Because there are only so many dinners available at the cosmic table. The real comfort, and the big bombshell, isn’t how I felt too good to have what the rest of you were having, but not good enough. And here I am with my baby, like a billion and a half mothers before me, and we all want to hear that our children are chunky monkeys, and that we are not, and that’s where I find magic where I least expected it, right in the hackiness. There aren’t many offerings for dessert, either, and that’s the sweetest part, that we’re all telling the same stories and scooping our cold spoon into one infinite pint.

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304 Responses to “Nathaniel James”

  1. Penny
    March 27, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    Lovely Teresa. Your experience was identical to mine including the PTSD which apparently is quite common. Not every day an old man slices you open and puts his hands into you, taking out the one thing you have been protecting and cherishing for 9 months…

    Just found your blog and really love it. My daughter’s 18mo now. There’s an Australian blog that’s really funny too:
    enjoy :) love from Sydney

  2. Giselle
    October 13, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    Congrats Teresa! I read your book while on vacation – and three months prego. I couldn’t stand all that lovey dovey crap and your book was right on target with me. I really needed to read your book and your experience to come full circle with my pregnancy. As a career woman I was really scared how this was going to affect my life and how I was going to react.

    I read the final chapters while on a plane, waiting for take off, with possibly the most children on board I’ve EVER seen, ready for an 8 hour flight back to the US. The kids were crying in unison, walking, crawling, one was tugging on my husband’s arm, one kept patting my head from the aisle behind me. As I tried to finish your book, and read your emotional transformation from the mom you swore you’d never be – to the one you did in fact become – I saw myself doing the same. And I cried. And cried. And that’s when I realized that my trip back home was more than just physical. I was going to be a mom. Trust me – I needed to read your experience much more than most other women.

    Thank you. I’m having a little girl in February and I’m SO EXCITED! Hope she has my hair.

  3. Cat Shively
    March 28, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    Congrats on the baby. He is gorgeous. My dauther is about 3 weeks younger than your son.
    Very excited for you and totally digging the book.
    Enjoy the little man while he’s still little and keep on writing.
    This is great!!!!

  4. lgal
    January 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    Just wanted to share this w/ you…. the international ceserean network (ICAN) is a great commuity for women recoverng from (days, months, years after) c-sections and planning for future births.
    take care

  5. Lisa
    September 23, 2010 at 10:38 pm #


    Thanks for bringing back the humor to the whole subject of childbirth. My son is now 16 months and I have another one on the way and I have to say it seems much harder this time knowing everything I will have to go through in the coming months. I had an easy pregnancy but the labor was 60 hours long and ended in an emergency c-section. I totally related to the PTSD comment it made me feel slightly better about what I will be going through all over in the next 6 months or so. Thanks!!!

  6. Nicola
    April 20, 2010 at 3:00 am #

    Any tips for myself as I am thinking about working on a weblog like this?

  7. Lauren Miller
    March 25, 2010 at 8:07 pm #

    When I launched my blog a couple months ago, yours was the first I added to my blogroll . I know you get a million “please check out my blog!” comments, but if you’d be up for it, I’d love for you to write your “detour story” for my blog, embrace the detour ( I am in the midst of trying to balance blog, book and baby… specifically, trying to write and finish a novel in the first 100 days of my baby’s life (I am on day #54). Thought you might have some advice/insight, or at least some sympathetic words. :) I, like you, DETEST the term mommy blogger and hope to god no one uses it to describe my blog. anyway, if you’d be into writing something for my blog, I’d love to have you. and if not, just wanted to say hi and i love exploiting my baby. both your blog and the actual act of it. :)

  8. Alyssa
    March 2, 2010 at 8:31 pm #

    Teresa, I’ve been following your blog at the advice of my brother, and have appreciated, so much, your wit and humor throughout my own pregnancy. I just had own baby – William – two weeks ago, and like you, can’t believe how dopey in love I am with him. Like Buster, he was born via C-section (unplanned), and again, like you, I can believe how gnarly the surgery was and how long recovery is forecast. I hope you are healing well, and that nuzzling your baby’s fuzzy head continues to help. It certainly does for me. All the best, and many congrats!

  9. rachel
    December 25, 2009 at 7:53 am #

    thank you so much for this blog posting. the last 2 paragraphs perfectly encapsulate how i feel about having had a baby!!!!

  10. Jessica
    December 16, 2009 at 12:59 pm #

    Please post/blog more about the C-Section. I just scheduled one!!

  11. Julian G
    November 30, 2009 at 3:46 pm #

    Teresa, Congratulations! My g/f and I love your blog, It’s the best.

    I have a question for you, what kind of engagement ring did you get? Reason I ask, is I want to propose to my g/f. And she doesn’t want a diamond, she remembers you talking about them on Ace’s show. She has no idea I’m going to propose, and I’m nervous.

    Hope to hear back.


    • Teresa Strasser
      November 30, 2009 at 3:54 pm #

      First of all, congratulations and good luck.
      My ring is a man-made diamond, which is chemically and optically identical to a diamond, only it doesn’t strip the environment, fund bloody civil wars, engage child labor or sucker you into paying for what is essentially a valueless hunk or rock. But that’s just my opinion – do your research. Diamonds only became engagement rings when DeBeers had too many of them to unload and hired a PR firm to convince us that diamonds were “forever.”
      My stone is from Gemesis — they only do canary yellow for now, but I love mine. The Mister had a jeweler design a ring with a yellow man made in the center.
      Let me know how it goes!

  12. Char
    November 25, 2009 at 11:22 am #

    I’m so happy for you Teresa! You totally hit home with me when you said…”I was sure this was all a big mistake and that something would be wrong and everyone had missed it.” Isn’t it the most giant relief when you hear them cry, they are really here! But now this baby comes with a whole new set of fears.

    I ended up with a c-section too (posterior baby) but anything was worth holding my beautiful baby girl. Who knows maybe your little boy will be my little girl’s first crush :P She was born on Sep 13 at UCLA. hehe

  13. Karen
    October 25, 2009 at 7:29 pm #

    *tears*tears*tears… and yes, I’m one of the ones who’s not really into babies. But what a great post. You are going to be a wonderful mother, T.

  14. Eric
    October 24, 2009 at 10:23 pm #

    Nickname of Buster
    Hebrew name of David
    Dave & Buster
    Hopefully this will not catch on for T’s Baby.

  15. Sarrie & T. J.
    October 23, 2009 at 12:10 pm #

    Nathanial is precious! C-Section babies are so perfect! My husband and I are huge fans of yours and we were so relieved when we heard you and Nathaniel were home free! The c-section does hurt and, yes, you feel like everything inside you is about to spew out through the incision, but you will be feeling a whole lot better in a couple of weeks. This sounds rude, but focus on how you have maintained your vaginal tone and you will feel a little better immediately!

  16. Jessica
    October 22, 2009 at 9:27 am #

    Great name! My cousin is Nathaniel and people do call him both, in case you hate the short version of Nat. Either way, great pick and congratulations!

  17. Barbara from PA
    October 20, 2009 at 9:31 pm #

    Congratulations on the safe arrival of Nathaniel James. I can see that he is cute and I know he will have a great sense of humor. I strongly advise the purchase of a Miracle Blanket…a swaddling blanket that is really fantastic. My daughter used it — had several so there was always a clean one. Just google Miracle Blanket and you will get the website. Miss you on Adam’s podcast, but hope you are enjoying your baby and new lifestyle. Your good sense of humor will stand you well as you juggle all the new demands. Look forward to hearing more and seeiing more pictures.

    • Teresa Strasser
      October 21, 2009 at 4:54 pm #

      Done and done. We actually stopped by the store on the way home from the hospital and bought one of these Miracle Blankets. Best $15 we’ve ever spent. I couldn’t swaddle for shit, but I’ve improved. Still, my husband went out and bought a couple more.

  18. Mike O'Mearra
    October 19, 2009 at 10:43 am #

    CONGRATULATIONS! All the best wishes I can possibly give to 3 people, best of luck, I’m excited to hear you back on the air again!

  19. Greg
    October 17, 2009 at 12:39 pm #

    T, Congratulations! You are going to be a terrific mother. I can’t wait to hear some stories about all of the “disgusting things” like smelling his head, and my personal favorite smelling his baby breath. Enjoy sleeping with Nathaniel on your chest and listening to him cooing at you and Batman.

  20. Donna from Seattle
    October 17, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    I am so happy for you Teresa! This entry of your blog had tears running down my face because I remember so well that feeling you are experiencing. I was never a baby person (and aside from my son- I’m still not), but the overwhelming relief and joy that I felt after he was born was the best feeling of my life. Is a total cliche, but so true: it isn’t easy, but its so worth it. Take care and enjoy this time with you family- it goes by way to fast (another true cliche).

  21. Burton Lord
    October 16, 2009 at 8:29 pm #

    Nice Cans T-Bone!

  22. Daniela
    October 16, 2009 at 7:18 pm #

    You are a beautiful writer! My friend is pregnant with twins and turned me onto to your blog. I’m already a fan!

  23. Kyle
    October 16, 2009 at 3:44 am #

    Dear Teressa

    I miss you and your sweet way with words. Every morning I couldn’t wait for coffee and your posts. I know you read all of your comments since you are an obsessive jew, like meself, so I might just add a tiny bit of advice for ya about kids. Be honest, caring, and confident. Don’t spoil the little dude and all will be well. Just think what your parents did with you and how you turned out to be just fine (well, for the most part). Children are resilient. They’ll grow and develop in ways that you had no idea of. So, anywho, I hope you’re enjoying your life with your new addition.

  24. Tarryn Simmons
    October 16, 2009 at 1:55 am #

    Hi Teresa,

    I just found out 2 weeks ago that I’m pregnant… I’m 6 weeks today. Very early, I know. My best friend sent me the link to your blog and I find it to be totally refreshing and amusing! I hope that you’ll continue to write – I look forward to reading more!

    I hope your recovery is going well. Nathaniel is really cute :)

    - Tarryn Simmons

  25. Elissa Katherine
    October 15, 2009 at 3:28 pm #

    Dearest Teresa-

    Though we’ve never met, I got misty eyed seeing your picture with your son.

    This is your greatest accomplishment, not the Emmy!

    The first time I heard you with Adam nearly 3 years ago, you were being swooned by a guy wanting to bring you toliet paper in bulk.

    You’ve come a long way baby!

    Peace, love and happiness today & always -
    Elissa in Chicago

  26. Ella
    October 15, 2009 at 7:25 am #

    TERESA! Please read this!! :)

    A quote of yours jumped out at me and I felt like I had to finally comment you: “…because I was touched or consoled, because your experience was just like mine, and that made me feel less lonely.” <– This is how I feel about what you write.

    I am only 18. I am a frustrated writer with depressive tendencies. My mother was negligent and actually ceased all communication with me when I was 8 years old. I lived with my father from when I was 5, and his EVIL wife – my own evil stepmother. She tormented and abused me for the next decade. Everything you have written on the topic of your mother & stepmother hits home a little too hard for me.

    You are an exceptionally clever and delightfully funny writer. I thoroughly enjoy reading what you have to say. CONGRATULATIONS on your beautiful son, it must be such a relief. I also am a subscriber to the belief that something will definitely be wrong with this child (because how could there not be? :P), and hearing you say you were assured and all was fine once he was born gives me (a little) hope. :)

    So thank you!! Really, really, thank you. Keep writing. Please!

    Good luck, Ella (a faithful reader) xx

  27. Netters8178
    October 15, 2009 at 1:19 am #

    Teresa…Congrats. There is NOTHING better, nothing manufactured that can give you a bigger high! I’m a mom of two, a 12 year old son who weighed in at 10 lbs. 7 oz. (yes, a C-section) and a 10 year old daughter (9 lbs., 1 oz) I’m a two time C-section vet.

    Wishing you all the best. I miss listening to you on the Adam Carolla Show daily, but enjoy your podcasts with Adam and Bryan. Oh bless, Bryan. I hope he is doing well.

    I hope you also got a chance to read “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy” by Vicki (sp) Iovine. Hilarious and follow up books on toddler hood, etc. Funny, funny stuff. I can see you writing those types of books.

    Okay, my grandparents retired from the East Bay Area and moved to Lake County in the 70′s. They are buried up there now. I go occasionally and bring them flowers. I loved hearing about your visit there with your father. Lake County is like the Meth and Mullet capital of California.

    Go enjoy your BEAUTIFUL baby boy and husband. I’m so excited for you and the happiness and love that surround you. You deserve it. Enjoy.

    Warm wishes,
    Lynette from Northern CA
    (Not a Carolla)

  28. Morgann
    October 14, 2009 at 1:25 pm #

    missing you, start exploiting that baby again already! loves~

  29. Mom of 3
    October 13, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

    Congratulations!!! Don’t they smell good! It really isn’t their smell, it is an exchange of energy between two people and baby energy is all good, and sweet and pure. It gives a tired mom’s and dad’s hope and love and energy to keep moving!

    My last son was breech and even though I already had 2 vag deliveries and was fully expecting my 3rd to be a 20 minute piece of cake, I had to have the dreaded C Section! It is really is awful, especially if you have experienced the easy vag recovery. You will be just fine but it did take a full year for tenderness at the incision to go away. Of course I had a 6 year old and a 3 years old that liked to jab their heads directly into my incision. Maybe it was their way of making sure I did not make any more siblings for them to share their inheritance with!

    Take care and enjoy!!!!

  30. Kristen
    October 13, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    Mazel Tov T! Beautiful Boy! Enjoy your whacked outedness!

  31. Lauren
    October 13, 2009 at 1:46 pm #

    I’m so happy for you T! Congratulations! Through the radio and this blog I’ve listened to you announce your engagement, pregnancy and now motherhood. Reading your last post makes me a little teary here in my cube because I’m 28 and just broke up with a long time boyfriend because I know there’s someone better for me out there. I think of when you talked about your husband and how you can’t believe you found or deserve someone so great. My decision was because I want that feeling. I know, though I’m close to having some consecutive 30th bday’s, the path that you have followed the last few years is there for me too. You’re happiness gives me some hope. Thanks so much for the laughs and letting us tag along on your milestones. Congrats!

  32. Nicole
    October 12, 2009 at 6:44 pm #

    Congratulations Teresa! Your most recent blog really hit home with me. I am 3 months pregnant with my first baby and am having my first trimester screening this week. I have never considered myself a “baby person”, but now all I can think about is the health of this being inside of me. I look forward to the day and truly hope that I will be blessed to feel the kind of relief you described when your baby was born. I have really appreciated your honesty. Congrats again!

  33. Murphy
    October 9, 2009 at 9:37 pm #

    Congratulations, Teresa! I have no doubt you will take very good care of your baby. Great name, too!

    But take care of you. I’m glad Batman is doing the lifting, because you need help. It took me 6 weeks to get over the swelling (I could NOT believe it, but it did). You are a very critical part of your son’s life, so take good care of you and be good to yourself.

    Bless you!

  34. Andre
    October 9, 2009 at 1:46 pm #

    Teresa, congrats. I have no babies and know nothing about them. That said, I’m sure the little guy will only make you stronger.
    I was devastated when the show went off the air. The three of you were great together and listening to Adam without you, Bryan and Bryan’s drops just isn’t the same. Hope to hear more from you soon.
    Congrats to you guys. I’m 27 and love getting to talk to my mom on the phone. One day, N will say the same thing about you.
    Thanks. I’ll take my answer off the air.

  35. Chris
    October 9, 2009 at 2:14 am #

    Teresa! Congrats! Been following ever since way back on the Adam Carolla Show. Isn’t it weird how attached you can become to this sort of thing merely through listening to a radio program? Feels like we’re family. I was so happy to hear about your healthy new baby. I’m sure there will be loads of challenges ahead, but you’ll do just fine. Take care and much love from Seattle.

  36. Beth S
    October 8, 2009 at 11:53 pm #

    Congratulations, Teresa! Nathaniel is beautiful. You and your wonderful husband are going to be such great parents. Enjoy!!

    You are so talented, I love your blogs, columns, podcasts with Adam, etc…. Thanks for sharing.



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