Hurst's First – An Adventure in Having a Baby

Meet Ella

imageIt’s been awhile since we last talked.

Holidays and buying a house and the final weeks of pregnancy can distract you from a blog.

Ok, enough excuses … Time for the good stuff. Ella Jane entered the world on Feb 20 at 2:09 am. She is the most beautiful thing ever. Will write more later, but in the meantime here is a picture to enjoy:


Daddy’s Little Girl


My kid isn’t even here yet and already she’s spoiled.

Fiscal responsibility is something Suzanne and I aim for, but that is likely flying out the window the second my kid gives us a Christmas list or starts any sentence with a sing-song “Daddy, I want …”

Last week UCLA had a 20% off sale for staff and faculty and all of a sudden I was a teenager with mom and dad’s credit card. But I wasn’t in an electronics store. I was in the baby area.

Now, remember I am a proud Gaucho and have rooted for USC football my whole life. UCLA doesn’t really fit into any part of my sports vernacular unless there is a curse word involved.

Yet, there I was loading up on UCLA baby gear because she is going to be born while I’m pulling in a paycheck as a Bruin. So, I guess I was just funneling money right back to the University. A hundred bucks later – yes, even with a sale – my kid has three outfits for various stages of her early life, a toy and a pair of cute little socks.

When did I become such a softy? She’s not even here yet and I want her to have everything. I even put a few more outfits back on the shelves because she can’t possibly have too much Bruins’ apparel. Imagine if I were in a UCSB store! She’s already daddy’s little girl and we don’t even have a car to let her borrow yet.

I can’t even fathom what it will be like when she starts talking. So long as she doesn’t act like this kid from Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, I think she’ll continue to get whatever she wants.


The first time she starts a sentence with “Daddy, I want …” she’s getting it. I just hope the words that follow aren’t “a pony,” “a tattoo,” or “a Giants shirt.”

Before it even starts, you’re welcome kiddo.

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Two Down, One To Go

We have entered our third tri-mester (or as I like to call it, the Thri-mester). Here is a picture of Suzanne as she approaches 29 weeks.


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Ahhhhhhh…I made it through my first major holiday!

One of the more immediate thoughts I had after finding out I was pregnant, was “OH BOY … I get to go through the holidays PREGNANT.

I have to say I was a little nervous…well, I guess more anxious about it.  This is going to be tough.  I mean really tough.  I don’t know if you have figured it out by reading this blog, but us Hurst’s like to have a cocktail every so often and the holidays are no exception! …  Did I mention this was going to be tough??

Thanksgiving is definitely Matt’s holiday and Christmas is mine.  As a result, our tradition is to spend Thanksgiving with his side of the family and Christimas with my side … and this year is no different.  In fact this year’s Thanksgiving might have been a bit more exciting, for Matt especially, because his parents have been living in Germany for the past 2 years and this was their first Turkey Day back in the states.  And let’s just say the Thanksgiving table was not lacking in guests this year.  I believe it tipped the scales at 17 people and in past years there have been 20+ people, usually all at one table.  Now THAT’S a party! But I digress.

So now that you know what size of crowd we’re dealing with, let’s talk about the type of crowd we’re dealing with.  Let’s just say that Matt and I didn’t pick up our disposition towards drinking from hanging around the sandbox as kids.  Of course we come from a long line of those who enjoy their frosty beverages and obviously we didn’t fall far from the proverbial “tree.”  Aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, grandparents, friends … there was no shortage of those this Thanksgiving and they were all … well … drinking, duh.

Matt was very sweet and and in his grandest of gestures to show he “had my back,” he made a promise to me to “keep it together” over the holiday we were about to spend with his family.  That’s not to say he couldn’t drink, NOOOOOO.  That would have been lunacy!  I think the only thing he may like more than pumpkin pie, might be a pumpkin martini.  Regardless, he did promise to keep himself, let’s just say …. composed … over the weekend.  Which was a big commitment from him considering we were about to spend 3 days with his ’20 something’ cousins who have very exercised livers as we do … well, I DID.

And Matt kept his promise … and in all honesty, after Thursday actually passed, I thought … wow, this might end up being easier than I thought!?  Of course there was some beverage intake happening but things never got crazy!  Alright, alright, bring on the rest of the weekend.  And then … the rest came.  Who would have thought that Friday would end up being worse than THURSDAY?! Not me.  Well I was WAY wrong.  Somewhere between the family’s enjoyable sunny afternoon stroll along the shores of Lake Tahoe and my putting the final touches on our yummy homemade Turkey and Mushroom risotto, everyone got hammered.  I turned around and all of the sudden, there wasn’t a coherent conversation to be had in the room!  That was unless I was either going to talk to the dogs or Matt.  Not that either of those options were bad … I just was trying to branch out since we were after all spending time with family we don’t see every day.

And here I was … I couldn’t eat dinner and disappear fast enough!  Now, I LOVE Matt’s family and I absolutely hated feeling this way, but I could sense my cranky pregnant lady alter persona coming on and I had to hide her from the full moon before she really got out of hand.  So I quietly finished my food and disappeared … at 8pm.  Ugh.  I felt like a heel.  But as the noise and drunken laughter grew, I knew I had done the right thing.  Matt continued to be the awesome husband he usually is and brought me a cup of hot cider to settle my nerves (and the upset tummy I had developed) and sat with me in our quiet room for a little while.  And shortly after he went back into the lion’s den, the lights went out and I passed out!  With that, our holiday weekend came to a close.

Please don’t get me wrong … I am thankful for having such a wonderful place to go for Thanksgiving and a fabulous family to spend it with.  I am one of the luckiest ladies in the world!  And to top it off, I am blessed enough to have  a beautiful baby just weeks away from making her debut into this world.  But let’s just say, I’ve started planning that if we decide to ride this roller coaster again, we will make sure to get off the ride WELL before the holidays!

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10 Things I’m Thankful For

Everyone reflects and shows gratitude during this week, but that’s not the reason for this post. I have been feeling very lucky for the past few weeks and realized I was so thankful for so many things as we’re about to bring a baby into the world.

Here’s 10 things, in no particular order, that I’m thankful for as we approach the third trimester (Thri-mester?)

1. We live in one of the best spots in the United States, not to mention the world. Southern California has so much to offer – from beaches and mountains to so many different cultures and people, which means different types of wonderful food and drinks to enjoy. Our kid is going to be cultured and will have everything right at her fingertips because we live here. Despite all of its warts, I would rather live in Southern California than anywhere else in the U.S.

2. We both have jobs. We are both educated. We both strive for great things in our personal and professional lives. I hope to instill that in our daughter.

3. We couldn’t have been blessed with a better group of family and friends. She will have a support group that not many newborns ever will.

4. Suzanne and I are both beyond thrilled to be having this child. You won’t see us dancing on Maury to celebrate not having a child. (Although, this “You are NOT the father!” compilation is equal parts awesome and sad.)

5. YouTube. I’m thankful that I can simply show my daughter something great from my past rather than explain it to her. Kind of like this clip of awesome. Or like when I explain how good Magic Johnson was at basketball, or what her daddy sounded like when he broadcasted a game or how funny he looked in college.

6. We have been married five years and together for eight. We have been through the ups and downs of our relationship together and solely together to make it stronger without having a child interfering with any of our decisions. We’re ready, our relationship is ready, and our family is ready to grow.

7. I’m thankful we have a black President and a female Secretary of State. This way, when I tell her she can be anything she wants to be, she can’t say “But Daddy, I’m not a rich white man so I can’t lead our country.”

8. That Suzanne and I both enjoy so many different things with each other and independently of each other. Suzanne can get her interested in Harry Potter and Sci-Fi, while I can show her what Chevy Chase and Eddie Murphy were like when they were funny. I can explain the infield fly rule and why you should go for the win on the road and the tie at home in a playoff football game and Suzanne can teach her how to balance a bank account. Suzanne will teach her how to enjoy smooth jazz and I can get her hooked on Led Zeppelin. She will learn to cook each of our best dishes and drink red wine with dinner like both mom and dad, then either enjoy a Scotch or whiskey, or a White Russian as an aperitif, depending on which preference we have taught her.

9. We both have very strong values. This should help keep her on the straight and narrow.

10. That I will be challenged in raising a daughter. A son would be easy for me. As someone who is always looking for the next challenge, this will be a big one. And I’m excited about that.

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It’s a Girl!

If you look closely, she’s sucking her thumb!

We got nearly 100% confirmation on Tuesday, at 23 weeks along, that we are having a baby girl!

We are both very excited, especially because mother and daughter are doing well at this stage and we’re happy to share all of that news with everyone!


“I miss acting like idiots”


It wasn’t until one night, a “date night” that I realized how difficult part of this pregnancy has been for Suzanne.

Perhaps naively I always thought that the pregnant woman is so overjoyed about impending motherhood that she is only concerned about the baby and her health and not much else matters.

Eat healthy. Exercise moderately. Live correctly. That seemed to be it. And she seemed to be fine doing those things.

However, as I ordered a glass of wine with my dinner, she said something that took me aback.

“I miss acting like idiots.”

I knew exactly what she meant.

Loading up on liquor was one of the most fun things we did in our lives together. Bottomless mimosa brunches, free drinks from our bartender friends, sitting at home with a cocktail and then dusting a bottle of wine with dinner, pitchers of beer, followed by more pitchers of beer on football Sundays.

Those things led to dancing in our living room, beer pong at a dive bar, taking shots or Irish car bombs and really good, heavily-buzzed conversations.

Were we really idiots or were we just enjoying our twenties and early thirties without having to be responsible for anything other than finding a burrito at 2 am?

In the lead-up to this portion of the pregnancy I had read several items in books about the husband’s role over the nine months. Many of them said the same things: thanks for your seed, now get out of the way, but be supportive and try cutting back on your drinking.

So I asked Suzanne if she felt that way.

“Honey, it’s weird enough that I’m not drinking. It would be even weirder if both of us weren’t drinking.”

If that isn’t true love, then I don’t know what is.

Not too distant future.

But, honestly, I miss my drinking partner. She was the best. Sitting and listening to music with each other and a cocktail on the deck was something we each enjoyed as the sun set on another beautiful day.

When you lift your glass, think of Suzanne. Make a promise to yourself that you’ll buy her a drink when the time comes.

Me? I look forward to putting on a baby Bjorn, toting around Junior Hurst in the house with a beer in one hand, a glass of wine in my wife’s and hoping some good music comes on so we can wobble together – the three of us – on our living room dance floor.

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It’s A … Pain in the Ass

Monday was the day we were supposed to find out if we were buying pink stuff or blue stuff.

We spent all weekend thinking about it – not in a worrisome, hand-wringing sort of way, but in a “What could it be?” sort of way. It was fun, but it definitely kept our brains preoccupied.

So, Monday morning there seemed to be a little bit of electricity in Hurst Castle as we both anticipated seeing our baby’s ultrasound. I don’t know if either of us have been so excited at the prospect of seeing genitalia since our second or third date.

We arrive at the ultrasound technician’s office and … we’re told we cannot go in.


Apparently, our insurance doesn’t cover this particular ultrasound technician.

Yup, after weeks of waiting to find out if our baby is healthy and growing right and has an in faucet or an out faucet, we have to wait some more. Know why? Because the receptionists at our obstetrician’s office don’t know how to read insurance forms.

We are covered by an HMO. We have been for years. Apparently, the H and M looked like a P and a P to the OB’s assistants. So, PPO’s get ultrasounds all day at this place. HMO’s are homeless.

I called the OB’s office. I was told I must have changed my insurance. I told her she was a liar.

This isn’t the first snafu we’ve had with our insurance since moving down to Los Angeles County. In Santa Barbara it was easy – they had Samsung and Cottage Hospital. That was it and they worked together. If you had a doctor’s appointment, it was covered … all you had to figure out was which one of three places it was at.

While LA is infinitely bigger, it just means more hoops to jump through.

Now, I know it’s not the insurance’s fault that we changed jobs mid-pregnancy. Hey, that’s life, right? But how come I’ve had to call four times to make sure we’re covered; or be told we couldn’t see a doctor until Oct. 1 early in September; had to deal with a crying wife at a doctor’s appointment when they said she wasn’t covered, only to make a phone call and prove that we were; had to log online and change plans again; had to see that we weren’t covered for about 12 hours because of the UCSB to UCLA transfer; and then call in the morning and have them change it. Why does it have to be so difficult? Why am I better at all of their jobs than they are?

This just puts another feather in their caps. Insurance is like cleaning the toilet: you don’t want to deal with it because it’s shitty, but you know at some point you have to.

So here we are, with the baby at 21 weeks old (that’s five months and one week) and we still don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl; healthy or not; growing well or with it’s leg coming out where it’s arm is supposed to be.

At least Suzanne is feeling kicks. So she’s got that going for her. Which is nice.

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And the countdown begins …

20 Weeks – Halfway there!

I just hit my 20 week mark and well…whatever it’s just another week, right?  HAHAHA … riiiiiiight.  That’s what I thought initially … “Oh … 20 weeks … cool”.  And then it hits me. It may have been the multiple updates I received from my prego iphone app … actually, I KNOW that’s what it was.

“Congratulations … You’re 20 weeks … You’re HALF WAY THROUGH YOUR PREGNANCY!”  Whooohoo.  Wait … WHAT?  Hold the phone.  I’m at my half way point?!?  I feel like I just started to look pregnant and not just chunky and I’m just beginning to adjust and somewhat come to terms with the fact that I can’t eat (OR DRINK) everything I want and I’m half way through??  Part of me started to celebrate and then the other part of me started to panic a little bit.  Ok, A LOT a bit.

The side of me that was celebrating was excited about being that much closer to meeting this little life growing in my belly … excited about going back to being able to eat and drink what I want and be able to be myself again … excited about no more crying (at least not from me) and most of all, excited about no more being uncomfortable all the time in one way or another … I can go back to being myself.  Or can I?  I know all those parents reading this right now are laughing.

Yes I can go back to being myself but….noooooo, not really. We’re going to have a BABY.  That changes everything.  Then all the questions start to pop up in my head.  Am I ready for this? Can I handle being a mom? Emotionally … financially?  Matt and I are so great together by ourselves and that’s all we’ve known.  How are we going to be with a baby?  I’ve heard so many stories and not all of them good and it’s scary to say the least.

I keep thinking…well, I have 20 more weeks to figure it out.  And people keep telling me, that you’re never really ever perfectly 100% ready for a baby.  You feel like you can always be richer … In a better place with life … in a bigger apartment, what no, I want to be in a HOUSE!  And the list goes on and on.  I am the kind of person that can keep going and going until my head is about to explode and then I can’t let it go.  I have a dwelling problem. I’m a dweller.  There I said it.  I can admit my imperfections.

I mean, if this crazy chick can have a baby, I certainly can, right?!

And I continue to think about these things but it’s not keeping me up at night.  They are just there in the back of my head driving me to be better at everything and I’m trying.  It’s a work in progress and I admit I am no where near having all the answers or even any of them for that fact.  But I know there are others who have done this before me who haven’t been as fortunate as myself.  They didn’t have a loving, supportive husband … they didn’t have a great family & friends to call upon for advice and help … and they didn’t have a job or were struggling to make a living.  And yet they made it work even under the most unthinkable circumstances which reminds me of how blessed I am.

So I resolve (and often times I have to keep reminding myself) to take it one day at a time and not get too caught up in the “what if’s”, the “are we’s” and the “am I’s.”  This is oh so very difficult for me so like I said, I have to keep reminding myself …  but remind myself I do!  It will all work out and I just have to trust in myself and have a little bit of faith!

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What’s in a Name?

We’re not at this point. Yet.

If there is one thing you think about a lot when a baby is on the way, it’s that you hope it’s healthy.

If there are two things you think about, it would be “I hope my wife is treating her body better than I am treating mine.”

If there is a third thing you think about, it is the kid’s name.

It’s one thing to name a dog – Milo and Roxy, the names of our pooches, don’t seem like human names – or to name a boat, but this is a human.

While you can get away with a silly name for a pet (Tinkerbell, courtesy of Paris Hilton; Meatball courtesy of Adam Sandler; Battier courtesy of my sister and brother-in-law) and you can paint over a boat, naming a kid is something that will affect that kid for a long time.

Sure, the kid could ultimately go to City Hall and change it’s name, or have a great nickname like Oil Can Boyd, or convert to a religion like Muhammad Ali did or get a sex change and turn Chris into Chris.

It’s not a cause of stress because we have several months to narrow it down to a few choices and then decide on a name, but it’s still a lot to think about. You don’t want an ambiguous name. Or a name that seems suitable for US Weekly because stars like naming their kids Apple or Moon Unit. I also hate people trying to be unique in their spellings. Jane is Jane. It’s not Jayne.

At the same time, we didn’t want something that is overly popular but also something that doesn’t sound like a stripper or someone from the ‘hood. (Sorry, but Tiffani and LaQuisha are out. Actually, any name that ends in “i” or starts with “La” should never be used.) We also want something cool, but not trendy now. So while “Twitter” could be a fun name for the next two years, that would be hard to explain one day. Although Facebook Hurst does roll off the tongue.

Spiderman Aquaman was already taken.

While we won’t find out the sex of the baby for two more weeks, we finally thought it was time to make a list of names we considered for both boys and girls. It was a way to have fun, see where the other stood on certain names and then lightly discuss our options.

The thing with names, though, is that most of the time you know someone who has a name you’d consider giving to your kid. So, if it’s a boy, Adolf will not be used. And if it’s a girl, we won’t be going with Gaga. Those names have been tainted.

As parents, you’ll already mess with a kid’s psyche enough. No need to add extra stress to its life by naming it “Corky.”


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