The Story of Me

Me at 23

This was me at 22: Top 3 blogger on, living a fanciful life in NYC, & sharing my private life with strangers on the Internet.

The summer before I turned 22, I moved to New York City with the hope of landing some fantastic internship in the arts. After many interviews and a lot of DO I see myself working in theater or publishing? I finally ended up accepting an internship at PAPER Magazine. Ultimately, I wanted to become a novelist. Interning at a magazine was a positive step in the right direction.

Another significant thing that happened in summer 2005: I fell madly, head-over-heels in love with the most charming, funny and endearing fellow I’d ever met—despite my trying very hard NOT to!

Ours was a romance for the ages, a classic meet-cute love story with the whimsical backdrop of New York City magic. Alas, he was a boy stationed on the Upper West Side and I was a girl firmly planted in Murray Hill. The 45-minute sweaty subway commute got the best of us (and a whole lot of other sh*z) and the romance went out with the intoxicating heat of summer.

At the height of this dizzy, all-consuming affair, I began blogging on in the ultimate heyday of MySpace (yes, I’m taking it WAY back). Quickly I gained followers. I wasn’t simply an exhibitionist in need of an audience (Hello Tila Tequila!)–I had a goal. Many bloggers were scoring book deals this way, according to the New York Times and I desperately wanted to be one of them.

At the same time, I needed to write. Like a marathoner runs short distances before race day, I was stretching my writing muscles for the ultimate challenge of one day completing a novel. My beau at the time was supportive of me sharing our relationship (whatever it was) online, so share I did!

Well, I soon learned that the only thing people love more than love is a messy break-up.

I hit blogging gold!

On the heels of our romantic demise, I amassed hundreds of hits an hour–thousands in a day! Agents started emailing. Paying writing gigs started to present themselves. I was invited to take meetings with popular magazine executives full of offers to write weekly columns.

Everything I wanted to achieve, I’d achieved in just a few short months….except now I was utterly heartbroken and didn’t want to keep talking about why things went south with me and the NYX—and I certainly didn’t want to write a column about it!

“I’m trying to be a novelist,” I’d plea as the world insisted I remain a blogger.

Turns out I wasn’t a girl who could display her private life for financial gain. After a year of blogging gold, I deleted my MySpace profile and with it, all the blogs that once promised to pave a way forward for my hopes & dreams.

I took a deep breath and did what so many have done before me. I started again.


This was me at 25: Still an aspiring novelist and now (astonishingly) a bar owner!

 Needing perspective from my fast paced life in NYC, I moved home to Jamaica for a few months to help my parents in their new endeavor: opening a quiet bar to compliment their restaurant. It was the break I needed to finally clear my head and write my debut novel.

Or so I thought…

That quiet little bar (surprisingly!) turned into a monster success. Like many bars, we offered theme nights. Mondays became Mojito Mondayz where patrons could enjoy two-for-one mojitos before 10PM. A DJ played some fun music to create an ambiance (a challenge for a bar with a parking lot view!)

True to my NY roots, I did not charge patrons to enter. Instead I focused on building a vibe of inclusiveness and sheer joy. I wanted people to feel free to be themselves and have fun. Every customer was a VIP for me!

Then the thing took on a life of it’s own…

Local and international celebrities started to show up. DJ SupaHype used the event to launch new and exciting music from up-and-coming Dancehall artists. Dance crews began to display their talents for the many artists and producers in attendance. The Jamaican tourist board started promoting Mojito Mondayz as part of the Kingston nightlife experience.

It began to snowball….

In 2015 New York Magazine named Mojito Mondayz the number 1 weekly event in the WORLD. Loop Jamaica took a poll asking Jamaicans where President Obama should visit while on the island and the answer was a resounding Mojito Mondayz.

Not what I expected to come from my time away from New York. Still with this unexpected success, I remained focused on becoming a novelist…I just couldn’t quite find the time to write.

Oh, the internal struggle! Which baby gets my attention: my little-bar-that-could or the novel-I-always-knew-I-had-in-me? In my mind I was running out of time. I had to act fast and make a decision: was I a businesswoman or was I a novelist?

Then I thought: can you even call yourself a novelist if you’ve never written a novel?

That’s when I (basically) stopped sleeping. After the bar closed at night, I’d sit up and write. Before I opened up in the afternoon, I’d sit down and write…in no time at all something wonderful started to happen….



This is me at 27: A published Novelist! I composed my debut novel, The Red Rock Café in only 14 days…but that was just the beginning.

Over the course of the next 3 years I published 7 novels through Amazon Kindle, each taking me only a matter of weeks to write. The New York Catch (my second novel) skyrocketed to the Best Sellers list on Amazon and remained there for a solid year. The sequel, The New York Socialite, followed suit.

This was a fantastic learning experience for me! None of these novels were the genre I initially set out to write, but they flowed easily and I enjoyed writing them. Others enjoyed reading them. This was another great “practice” for the marathon I still hoped (and hope) to run one day in my quest to become a serious novelist.

It also unearthed a talent I never really recognized as ‘something special’: I’m a speedy typer!

I can type as fast as I can think. I was turning out hundreds of pages in a matter of days—a skill that would serve me well in my new role. (We’re getting there, don’t worry…)

Even after publishing these 7 novels, I still felt unfulfilled creatively.

Although I loved the depth and breadth of composing a novel with the storied character arcs, I also loved the instantaneous thrill of posting blogs. I couldn’t just call myself a novelist anymore. I was a novelist, a blogger & a person who enjoyed writing a variety of articles on a wide range of topics.

After many years of straddling the worlds of business and writing, I also realized I’m a person who enjoys working with people….

People who are struggling to compose a college entrance essay and need to be pointed in the right direction.

People who’ve led incredible lives and wish to record their stories but don’t know where to begin.

People who need to make car insurance sound as exciting as sex with a stranger in a public restroom. (Hyperbole strikes again!)

Those are my people! They need me just as much as I need them!

I finally stopped referring to myself as a Novelist and adopted the looser term, Writer. Sure, I deeply enjoyed composing novels, but I wasn’t just one type of writer. Like the hippies at Woodstock, I didn’t appreciate being boxed into a label.

Once I realized this, my whole world opened up….


This is me at 35. I am a wife, a mom to 2 adorable little kiddos, and now a full time professional Copywriter at Creative Copy!

Copywriting is the skin I feel most myself in these days.

Whether I’m ghostwriting novels for others, working on corporate blogs or composing articles about the hottest real estate properties island wide, I am living my best life OUT LOUD!

Truth is…..I (f*ing) love being a copywriter!

It is one label that fits both my past, present and future.

I love the fact that I can work from home, putting words to the canvas of other people’s stories, while spending time with my babies (ages 2 and 9 months).

I love being able to take a decade (or more) of life experience and turn it into a brand story for a client (like I’ve done in these last 4 posts).

I love getting requests in the middle of the night for urgent press releases that need to go to press in London in a matter of hours! (That’s some James Bond sh*z in my world!)

It’s taken me 12 years to truly find a label that suits me, but here it is—Copywriter extraordinaire! Whatever the topic, however short the time frame, I am here and willing to do the work.

That includes the research, the multiple drafts & the minor edits—everything!

My many roads, however winding, have led me to this grand Ah-Ha moment. I’m so grateful for my journey. I’m so grateful for my detours. Both have strengthened and improved my skill set, which I am now ready to put to good use for your benefit.

Just imagine the possibilities that could arise from our working together. Don’t stress over how you’re going to write the thing or who is going to take what from it!

Call Creative Copy today & let me do the writing for you!


INSTAGRAM: Creative_Copy

FACEBOOK: CreativeCopyByAmanda




The Birth Story (Round 2)

MIQL0241I’ve been putting off writing this in fear that I will traumatize a pregnant woman somewhere. Yes, the story does sound traumatic–take heed pregnant women!–but I assure you that it was actually (in retrospect) a good experience (as far as pushing a human through a peep hole can be).

So let me jump right in. With my daughter, I went into labor naturally 6 days before my due date. With my son, I got induced 4 days before my due date. There are many reasons I opted for induction–the baby was measuring big, my doctor was going out of town that weekend, my Bishop score was an 8 and I was already 2cm dilated, my husband could only be away from work for those couple days–but the biggest reason is that I was just DONE with being mother-loving pregnant. I’d been pregnant since November 2015 and by December 2017 I’d had enough. I wanted it to be over so when my doctor suggested induction I jumped at it.

Altogether I found that being induced had a much more civilized start. I was told to check in at the hospital at 5:30AM. No drama and crying like the last time. Calmly, my husband and I filled out the paperwork and were shown to our birthing suite. I was given a hospital gown and my husband was given a TV remote. We opted to play some Bob Marley instead, and sat companionably in the room while the nurses hooked me up to the IV and started my piton drip. Shortly after, my epidural arrived, followed by my doctor who had just dropped her kids off at school. She broke my water and headed across the street to her office to see patients.

“So what is it looking like, doc? Noon?” I asked before she headed out. “Yeah, around noon if not before.” I was surprised to hear that when she checked me I was already 3cm dilated at 8:00AM.

Up until about 10:30AM I would describe my experience as spa-like. We chose to keep the lights off as we played music. My husband replied to work emails quietly on the couch. My daughter was safely at home with my parents and brother. I was able to spend the day before enjoying her for her last day as an only child. If you’d asked me at 10:30AM how I was enjoying this birth experience to my last, I’d have told you ten out of ten.

Well, at 10:31AM that began to change.

“I’m feeling something in my back,” I said to the nurse when she came to check on me.

“Pain or pressure?” She asked. “Pressure,” I said. “Ok well that’s normal. You may feel pressure if the baby is positioned in your back which it looks like he is.”

I felt comforted by this news. Everything was fine. Pressure was normal.

Over the next fifteen minutes that pressure took a turn for the worst. It moved from a little distracting to all-consuming. The nurse called for the anesthetist who informed me that there was nothing they could do about it. Some babies are in positions that an epidural will not help. Further more, it seemed like all the epidural had gone into my left leg which was completely numb (and stayed completely numb and un-useable until 3AM the next morning). My right leg I could move somewhat, but not enough to allow me to adjust for the pressure. It was my right hip and the right side of my back where I felt everything….and I couldn’t move. I had to just lay there, paralyzed, giving birth like I was in prison.

That’s when I started screaming. Screaming and cursing. That’s also when a very annoying woman started hounding me to donate my chord blood and fill out paperwork. I think I cursed her the worst (poor annoying woman!). My husband just looked at me speechless. I had gone from spa-like tranquility to a raving lunatic in a half an hour span. Then as the contractions subsided it was as if I totally fell asleep, only to be awaken again by a new, even greater pressure. Sometimes one contraction went right into another.

“I need someone to check me!” I told the nurse. “We just checked you thirty minutes ago,” she said, but looking at my face decided not to argue. She checked me and announced I was 7cm.

“You need to call my doctor, okay? I dilate fast and she’s at her office seeing patients. She needs to come now.” I begged her. In my last birth I went from 3cm to 10cm in 3 hours and I’d heard you dilate even quicker the second time around.

It felt like a lifetime passed before the doctor arrived. I cursed my husband to sickness. To this day he has not recovered. (I don’t remember any of it). At one point he was allegedly holding my hand and I told him not to touch me, so he ran across the room. Then in the next breath (again, allegedly), I started saying: Matthew? Where are you? Why have you abandoned me? The nurse told me after that she’d never heard Jesus’ name called amongst so many F bombs. I have nothing to say for myself. I was giving birth in prison, remember?

When my doctor finally arrived I was 10cm dilated. On my first push, I pushed out the baby’s heart rate monitor that was floating inside my body. The next couple pushes I felt absolutely drained. I said: Just kill me and cut me open! I can’t do this anymore! (And I meant it). Then my doctor snapped me out of it.

“Listen,” she said, “You’re going to do this! One more push and the head will be out. Two pushes and it’s over. You can do it! You’re already there!” And somehow this gave me the boost I needed. Two pushes later my son was laying across my chest, covered head to toe in goop. I looked at him up and down in disbelief. He was 7lbs 13ounces and 19.5inches long. A giant! I couldn’t believe he was so huge. Then I locked eyes with him, my Benjamin, and he smiled up at me. I couldn’t believe it. My daughter hadn’t smiled until she was 6 weeks old but here was my son and he was smiling. It was as if he was proud of me. Like he knew the pain I was in and how I worked to get him here. I burst into tears. It was the most magical moment.

I can say now that it’s in the past and I am far enough away to asses the situation, that when my daughter was born something changed in me. I had the baby blues. Luckily it wasn’t worse (postpartum depression) but I was really sad and depressed. When I found out I was pregnant again when my daughter was just 8 months old, I was even more depressed. Worse–I was panicked. I didn’t think that I could cope with two babies. I’d had a really tough time with the breastfeeding and adjusting to life with a newborn. However, that moment when Benjamin smiled at me–after feeling all the pressure and emmense, stomach-churning pain–I felt an equally intense relief. I felt like I was me again. Somehow in that same hospital, on August 10th, 2016, I had lost something about myself, and on December 6, 2017 I got it back.

It occurred to me that night the coincidence. I had found out I was pregnant with my daughter on December 6, 2015 and now, exactly two years later, I was holding my son. The efficiency was awe-inspiring. It was damn near magical. Yes, the pressure was intense, but I’d have to say if I had to do it again, I would’ve done it without an epidural (and not because mine failed) but because I felt like myself afterwards. I felt the pain and my brain realized I was having a baby in a way that it never did when I had my daughter, and it left me feeling at peace.




All The Feels


I hope to be in the nitty-gritty throws of labor in roughly two months and honestly, I cannot wait. Being pregnant for two years straight will do that to a girl, I suppose. With that first glorious contraction I may even burst into song. I swear I won’t even care if my husband tells me he’d rather check out the sale at Nordstrom than drive me to the hospital again. I’ll walk (or skip or dance) my own way there…

Then in the same instant, I feel infinitely sad. I have been loving my bump this pregnancy. Maybe it’s because when I was pregnant with my daughter I never really had a bump. I was just mushy all over. This time it feels like I have a basketball under my skin and I can’t help petting it and massaging it with lotion and showing it all the love in the world. Those old wives know what they’re talking about when they say being pregnant with a boy looks different than being pregnant with a girl–at least for me…

At the same time, I am terrified. Not of labor, surprisingly, but of what comes after. The sleeplessness, the breastfeeding, the packing up and moving from Miami to Jamaica with a very active toddler and a newborn. And even more than the terror of those initial few weeks, I am terrified of having a son. This is a dangerous world for brown boys in America. It’s true, my son may come out fair like me, but he also may be brown like his dad and sister. It is something I think about a lot–the future worry that will be added to the usual ‘crashing cars’ and ‘broken bones’ narrative of growing up male.

But I am also excited…..excited for my husband to experience having a son, a little him, like I have been able to experience having a little me in my daughter. I am excited for our family to be complete and for the opportunity to donate my maternity things to future excited moms. I am excited to have a tiny baby again who stays in one place when you put him down. I am excited for the new baby smell and the tiny baby clothes. Most of all, I am excited for the increased love in the house as we add one more person to kiss and snuggle to our mix.

Check out my novels on 99cents and a whole lotta’ happiness!

The Ugly Truth About Breastfeeding


I remember last year during my first pregnancy, going to a breastfeeding class at Babies R Us and listening to a woman expose the virtues of breastfeeding. Breast is Best was her mantra–as is the mantra of most women, midwives and medical professionals. The woman was speaking as if you had a choice whether or not to breastfeed (which you do but I didn’t know that then) and I thought: why would anyone choose to not breastfeed?

Well, I certainly found out why (I’m getting there).

If you are pregnant for the first time, you’re probably focused on the wrong thing right now: how is this baby going to come out of me? Like me, you may have spent a fortune signing up for classes at your hospital and other private “child birth centers” so you can be fully prepared to get the baby out in a specific way (perhaps in a sterile drug-free environment with soft music and lighting?).

Let me burst this bubble for you: You are wasting your time. You have no control over how that baby comes out of you. Yes, you can learn breathing techniques for pain management and you can pack a hospital bag but when, where and how that baby comes out of your body is wholly subject to factors beyond your control. It very rarely goes according to plan so to spend night and day preparing for something that is over in a matter of hours is not the best use of your energy.

What you should be focused on is what happens AFTER that baby comes out. This is not something I paid much attention to the first time around and I found myself absolutely floundering with (you guessed it!) breastfeeding.

It all became very clear why the woman at Babies R Us was acting as if you have a choice about breastfeeding. Once you are trying to do it you may realize a few hard truths. Before I get to those truths I also want to share this piece of information (information I was really mad that nobody had shared with me). Breastfeeding is a choice. After that baby is born if you choose not to breastfeed the doctor can give you an injection to dry up your milk and your baby can go straight to formula. You don’t have to breastfeed. You can have some semblance of normalcy very early on and the skip the whole National Geographic routine that is breastfeeding.

With that being said, like a broken record it is my obligation to tell you again that Breast is Best.

So with that in mind I give you: Amanda Hanna’s Ugly Truths About Breastfeeding:

  1. It Hurts A Lot. Do me a favor, pinch you nipples right now. Pinch them as hard as you can. Imagine a pain that will stem from that hot pinch and radiate throughout your body until your toes curl. If you’re the kinky type, maybe you’re into it. If you’re the vanilla type like me, you’ve probably never given much thought to your nipples at all. Get ready to think about them day and night. That pain you feel is the pain of latching on. Tears may spring to your eyes–especially if your baby latches on incorrectly. If they manage to hit the right spot that pain shouldn’t last more than a short moment but in the beginning that is rarely the case. You may find that pain lasting for the entire time (roughly half an hour per breast). This is how you know that they are latching incorrectly. Do not allow this to go uncorrected because it will result in bleeding nipples and a lot of unnecessary complications.

2. Pain Is Not Limited To When You’re Breastfeeding: Initially your nipples will be sore and hurt all the time, especially when you’re in the shower and water falls on them. Expect the water to feel like razor blades cutting through your skin. This is normal. Also, if fabric (like a bra or t-shirt) first touches your nipples, it will hurt tremendously. I understand for most moms this pain subsides in the first few weeks. For me it lasted the entire period of pumping (but I will get to that later).

3. You’re Boobs Are Going to Triple in Size: I have always been amply endowed in the chest region so I was especially horrified, after my milk came in, at the sheer volume of my boobs. They were literally up to my chin. My nipples were bigger than my baby’s whole face. It was a latching nightmare. In retrospect I could’ve hired a lactation consultant or even tried buying some nipple shields to help my daughter latch, but I was so overwhelmed that I went down the hard and time consuming role of pumping seven times a day (the equivalent of 3.5 hours a day).

4.Pumping is The Hard Road: Think of me as a cautionary tale. Pumping may initially seem like an easier option to breastfeeding (especially if your baby is latching incorrectly). Be prepared to wash and sterilize bottles, nipples and pump parts 7 times a day. Be prepared for your hands to get so chapped from this process that it causes tears in your nail beds. Be prepared for poop to then infect these nail beds (from changing so many diapers) and cause painful boils in your nail beds that will further remove you from your child because you need to spend hours in Urgent Care (like me) getting painful treatment and suffering the threat of losing your entire finger nail. Be prepared for your boobs to constantly feel like they are on fire as the too-small pump parts turns your milk ducts to shattered glass (If you feel this way then you need to buy bigger pump shields. Google it). Be prepared to live on fenugreek supplements to keep your breastmilk artificially flowing. Make sure you have enough people always around you to take care of your baby while you are rendered useless as you pump. It is not the easier option–it is the mother-loving Mount Everest of breastfeeding. If I hadn’t had the support and if my daughter wasn’t my only child at the time, I could never have kept it going as long as I did.

5. Your Nipples are Going to Look Like A Horror Movie. You can lather yourself in Lanolin but at some point your nipples are going to experience one, all or some of these things: Cracking, Bleeding, Boils, Bubbles or Shedding Skin. Take each thing in stride. You may not even realize your nipples are bleeding until your baby starts spitting up blood. These are the times when you will especially wish you knew about the injection in the hospital that could’ve simply dried up your breastmilk and allowed you to skip this phase of life. Remember though: Breast is still Best!

6. Beware MastitisMost women experience mastitis at least once while breastfeeding. It can be treated with antibiotics but it is not recommended you breastfeed while taking these antibiotics. During this time your breastmilk may dry up and that will be the beginning of formula for your baby. It is extremely painful. The way to keep yourself mastitis free is the breastfeed on a 2-3hour schedule until your milk flow is established around the 6 week mark and apply cold and warm pads to your breasts in between feedings. Letting hot water run over your boobs if they get too engorged helps also, if you can stand the nipple pain (or cover nipples with a rag).

You are probably thinking hard about that injection in the hospital that can spare you all this hardship right about now. I don’t blame you. I think about it day and night as I approach my due date. I will say that my daughter drank only breastmilk for five months and ten days of her life and she has been extremely healthy and has grown tremendously over the past year. I can’t say it’s because of the breastmilk but it certainly didn’t hurt her.

At the end of the day we make a variety of choices that suit our situations. You can hear Breast is Best until you start singing it in your sleep but while you’re in the trenches it certainly doesn’t feel that way. My only advice is get yourself a lactation consultant for those first few weeks that can help you through this process as painlessly as possible. That is what I intend to do this go around. Also, if you have decided ahead of time that Breast is Not the Best solution for your situation then F* that noise and enjoy your injection! I wouldn’t blame you for taking this road nor would I allow anyone to shun you for making this hard choice. What is best for one may not be best for another so don’t lose too much sleep over it. It’s not like you will be sleeping that much anyway with a newborn in the house.

Before you go, buy a book. I’ve got lots to sell you and they are all super cheap! Dating for Dinner, The New York Catch, New York Socialite, New New York, (Or all three New York Books in One), Red Rock Cafe and Midlife Wife.

I Have a Confession To Make


My helper asked me this morning if I don’t realize I’m gaining weight. She sees me exercising and eating salad and can’t understand why my hips are getting wider and my belly is starting to look so puffy. Well, I have a confession. I’m pregnant. Yes, (in the words of the guy who brings me food in the days) again. 

I know what you’re saying. Penny isn’t even a year old yet. You live in a two bedroom apartment, Amanda, what if it’s a boy? You’re going to have to move out of your dream home at some point in the near future. You’ll never be able to afford to live in Manhattan again with two children. Forget Manhattan–you’ll never sleep again! Your husband will never be able to fit in your bed with two babies between you so you’ll also never have sex again. This is madness, chaos and clutter–all the things you hate in life. What in the world were you thinking?

Well, I’ll tell you what I was thinking the night when this little miracle occurred. My husband was grumbling about being neglected. I was spending all my time with the baby and basically zero time with him. So I decided one evening after Penny went to sleep, to spend an hour with my husband–besides, that movie “National Treasure” was on and I have to watch it every time. (In another life I would’ve been a treasure hunter if I wasn’t terribly afraid of everything involved like heights, guns, danger, unusually painful death by ancient undiscovered ruins etc). Well, that hour led me here. What can I say? Don’t spend time with your husband, (especially if he is as attractive as mine), if you don’t plan on having a second baby. Or rather: Get your tubes tied first!

The day my husband and I found out I was pregnant will be a day that lives in infamy. Matthew noticed I’d been eating a lot more than usual so he jokingly said, “Could you be pregnant?” to which I responded, “you don’t have to be pregnant to be hungry.” As the weeks dragged on with me ‘feeling like I’m about to get my period’ but never actually getting my period, my husband strengthened in his belief. “You’re pregnant,” he would say, anytime I’d yell at him or do something even remotely human.

One morning I decided to take a test to silence his argument. “You’re not going to believe this,” I told him as my mouth became so dry that I could barely speak. “You’re pregnant!” My husband said in sudden (and surprising) disbelief. “I’m so pregnant that I didn’t even have to wait for the two lines to appear,” I said in shock.

For the next two hours my husband curled up on the bed unresponsive, as if he was expecting the North Koreans to bomb Kingston at any moment. He wouldn’t talk to me. He wouldn’t touch me. He just lay there like the useless sack of sperm he was, as I changed and fed our daughter, (and cursed him because I was about to have two of these babies and he would be just as useless as he was that morning. Hey, I’m pregnant! Give me a break).

It wasn’t exactly the same reaction he had the first time we found out I was pregnant, but he quickly rebounded and started telling everyone of his incredible fertility (he even offered some women his sperm as if anyone wants an offer like that!). If there is anything that can cheer a guy up, apparently, it’s high virility.

Now, as I am almost 17 weeks along and starting to show (obviously if my helper noticed), we are getting more into the idea of having another one. Penny is getting more independent each day. She’s becoming more like a little girl and less like a baby. We are looking forward to our “Christmas Miracle” that is due to arrive around December 10th. Life is slowly becoming more manageable before we are hurled back into the endless drudge of diaper changing, pumping and sleeplessness. On the upside though, at least by next year this time we should be entering a state of normalcy once again. (That’s what I have to believe anyway, although I hear that if you have one really good baby then the other is a terror).

And hey, it’ll be great for Penny to have a sibling 16 months apart. My middle brother is three and a half years younger and my youngest brother is seven years younger, which basically makes me an only child in terms of growing up ‘with siblings’.

As for moving out of my dream house, I’m still not sure it has to happen. My plan is to stay here as long as possible but if the day comes when I have to choose between my kids and my house, then the choice is obvious. It’s the house. (Joking! Okay maybe I’m not, but I really don’t want to move, do you hear me Matthew!?!?)

Well, now that I’ve come out with the truth, do not expect me to do things like button my pants in public or leave the last kibbeh on the communal plate. I need all the kibbehs, damn it. I’m growing a mother-lovin’ human! I also reserve all right to refuse invitations to night time social events (although I rarely get those anymore) and openly scoff at any suggestion of squeezing my pregnant, swollen feet into the MAN made torture device known commonly as the high heel shoe. In other news, I am fully available to receive massages and delivery baskets filled with brown, salty Chinese sweeties (Jamaicans get this, Americans don’t). Send on the preggo-love people! (But don’t touch my belly without asking. I will bite you).


Hold up! I suddenly have TWO college tuitions to pay. Sign into your amazon accounts and buy these books! Midlife Wife, New York Catch, New York Socialite, New New York, (or the New York Series for all three in one), Red Rock Cafe and Dating for Dinner.


The Truth About Postpartum


As much as I didn’t want to write this blog (and admit these things in print), I feel it is my duty to report back on this particularly undocumented period of pregnancy: The Fourth Trimester. You readers rely on my frankness so no matter how embarrassing it is, I have a duty to you to come out with it.

Before my baby was born, I read up on what to expect postpartum and nothing really prepared me for what I experienced. I wouldn’t be surprised if reading this doesn’t prepare you either–it’s a mother-loving head trip! Good luck to you. I’m only glad that I have recovered most of my hormones at three and a half months postpartum, if not all my memory.

So without further ado I give you:

Amanda Hanna’s 6 Truths About the Postpartum Period

  1. Like Adam & Eve in the garden of Eden, you will live your life without shame. I am speaking in total honesty when I tell you that I walked around the hospital (practically) buck naked, hemorrhaging from my nether regions for the first 24hours of my daughters life. I don’t recall ever brushing my teeth or my hair or even looking in the mirror. Once my epidural wore off I was asked to pee in a cup and that one endeavor left me covered in urine for the remainder of my stay because God knows I didn’t attempt to shower until I was released from the hospital two days later. I look back now and laugh at myself for packing things like dental floss in my hospital bag. Ha! If only I possessed the shame of a normal human, but in those first 24 hours I had no thought in my head besides the well-being and whereabouts of my baby. Even now, it’s like National Geographic over at my house. I rarely put a shirt on. My boobs are always out in front of company. A thin layer of breastmilk coats everything around me and I don’t even attempt to wipe it up more than once or twice a week. What for? It’s just going to drip again.
  2. Prepare to be crazier than you have ever been in your life. I had read that upon giving birth your hormones crash but I never fully realized what that would mean. Even me telling you about it won’t prepare you for when it happens. Like the Jamaicans say, yuh nuh ready! When that baby leaves your body, expect to go bat-shit crazy. I remember one night in those early weeks when my mother-in-law was staying with me and my husband in Florida. I had gone to lay down for a little while she spent some time with the baby. After about five minutes I raced out of bed to tell my mother-in-law that whatever she did, she must not give the baby any honey. In my mind I imagined my mother-in-law getting up, innocently to make herself a cup of tea with honey, and dripping a little honey on her finger by mistake. Then I thought she might let the baby taste the honey (as grandparents sometimes do) and I was beside myself with worry. I shot right up so I could let her know that honey could kill the baby and under no circumstances should honey be allowed near her. Thank God for my MIL’s patience because she very calmly replied that she would make sure to not give the baby anything other than breastmilk. All I can think is that she remembered how crazy she went after giving birth to her own kids. Another day I told my husband that I needed him to get me a baseball bat because I noticed all these drivers texting while they drove and I couldn’t have such criminals driving potentially explosive ‘weapons’ on the same road as my child. I fully intended to get out and beat the shiz out of anyone who had the nerve to text and drive near my child. My husband casually informed me at that point that in Florida, I would likely be shot if I attacked a stranger with a baseball bat in traffic. All I’m saying is: you go nuts after your baby is born, so expect it. Don’t let it surprise you like it surprised me.
  3. Get ready to weep. I am not a crier generally. I have had friends for over twenty years who have never seen me cry. I am just not that kind of girl. I’ll tell you what though–having a baby makes you cry all the time. I cried when she was born. I cried when she latched on to breastfeed the first time. I cried when the hospital staff pricked her to take her blood. I cried when she cried and I didn’t know why she was crying. I cried when they kept her overnight for jaundice and made me go home without her. I cried and cried and cried that night. I cried when I drank coconut water because I remembered being in labor with her for so many hours and drinking coconut water to stay hydrated. I cried when my husband would talk to me in anything other than ‘gentle tones’. I cried when I watched her sleep. I cried when she looked up and smiled at me for the first time. It was three months of non-stop crying, and apparently it was 100% normal.
  4. You will live in fear of two things: Taking a Poop & Having Sex. After I gave birth I had the distinct sensation that my downstairs area had turned into a wishing well. I could feel breeze swirling around an endless, deep, dark cavern of space. I imagined myself flinging coins into it waiting to hear the sound of them hitting water. Thanks to the episiotomy that allowed my daughter to be born after 25minutes of pushing, I was now held together by stitches. After a week, those stitches began to dry out and harden, making everything in that region uncomfortable. Just the thought of taking a poop or having sex, filled me with a sense of dread. I started to tell my husband that maybe he should take a lover because I didn’t think I’d ever have sex again. I stopped eating solid food out of fear that the food would eventually have to come out of me. It was an extremely tense time for me and therefore those around me.
  5. You will go between never wanting to have another baby, and wanting to have another baby right away. From the start I only wanted one child. I was a big advocate for the only child. Well guess what, I spent days swinging the pendulum between never wanting to have sex again to wanting to get pregnant again immediately. It was an irrational time of life. My husband was at his wits end. I’d tell him not to even thinking about touching me to literally throwing myself at him and telling him to just ‘do it now and get me pregnant’. I really have nothing to say for myself besides ‘hormones’. What are you gonna do, amiright? I was especially sexy with my topless, breastmilk-leaking, National Geographic, barely showered or brushed teeth, baby-weight-holding self. It’s a wonder I remain not-pregnant, right now.
  6. You won’t remember those first 6 weeks. Right before we left Miami I looked at my husband through a haze and asked him what had happened since the baby was born. My mind was literally blank. It was like I’d just woken up from a dream state and couldn’t decipher fact from fiction. Had I really told his mother not to feed the baby honey? Did I really walk around the hospital naked and unwashed? Was I a lunatic? (Yes to all three). It’s amazing I’m still married. This is why society tells you to get married before you have a baby because if there was anyway a man could easily leave you in those first 6 weeks without a legal obligation to stay, he would. Hell, if I could have left myself I would’ve. Half the time I didn’t even know I was there! It was a miracle I managed to function from hour to sleepless hour, but function we did and I can say at the three month mark I officially started to feel like myself again. Sure, it’s still National Geographic over at my house because I am pumping every four hours, but I get a lot more sleep and at least one shower a day. I have family that comes to help out when my husband can’t and a delivery guy that makes sure to bring me food when I can’t make it out on the road. I look back at those pictures and videos from those first few weeks and smile at how much my baby has grown since then. It feels like a lifetime away. All I can say is Thank God we got through it alive.

Best of luck to you expecting Mama’s out there! My only advice is take the help. People offer it and out of politeness your first instinct is to turn it down–don’t. Take it! Take all the help you can get because you do actually owe it to yourself and your family to eat, sleep and shower every once in a while. Oh yeah–and have sex with your husband. He needs that too.



The Labor & Delivery Story


The Lead Up to D Day:

I am a prepared person. No matter what it is I’m doing in life, writing a new novel, starting a new venture, even going on vacation, I do my research. Childbirth is no different. Before I even entertained the idea of getting pregnant, I watched numerous videos on childbirth. I read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” BEFORE I was expecting. (You can probably tell I’m not the kind of girl who enjoys surprises). I watched “The Business of Being Born” 6 times leading up to my impending delivery. I signed up for “Prepared Childbirth Classes” at the hospital that painstakingly went through every stage of pre-labor, active labor, transition labor and postpartum. I took a crash Hypnobirthing class on my birthday so I would be ready in case I had no choice but to deliver the baby with my own two hands, in a pitch-black elevator shaft in the wake of a natural disaster. At the moment when I was driving to Costco on Monday, August 8th when I felt my first real contraction, I could not have been more prepared. I had 5 copies of my birth plan tucked neatly into my pre-packed hospital bag. I was going to stay at home as long as possible and hopefully get to the hospital when I was ten centimeters dilated and ready to push. My birth ball was inflated. My husband had been practicing effleurage and the breathing exercises. We could not have been more ready to go…

False Alarm:

The contractions started slowly. I’d get one then I wouldn’t get another until thirty minutes later. Sometimes they’d stop all together and start back up. By midnight I decided I was not in labor and went to sleep. On Tuesday morning (August 9th) when I woke up, I convinced myself that I’d imagine the whole thing. Surely a person would know when they are in labor, right? Wrong.

There is actually an entire show devoted to people who didn’t know they were in labor. They didn’t even know they were pregnant. This is what I thought Tuesday afternoon while walking in Dolphin Mall. Every step I took brought another contraction. Some were strong and others I couldn’t even be sure were contractions. Each one felt different. “I need to go home” I declared to my husband and father while we stood in line to buy a whale lamp for the baby’s room at Home Goods. The contractions continued throughout the day to come more regularly, ten minutes apart. Sometimes I could talk during and sometimes I couldn’t. By 10PM I told my husband we should call the doctor and ask what we should do. Yes, I was having contractions, but it wasn’t like I was dying. Wasn’t I supposed to feel like I was dying? Isn’t that how it looked on TV?

My doctor assured me that I should feel like I was dying.

I told her that the hypnobirthing teacher said I had a strong uterus because I didn’t experience menstrual cramps. Could it be possible that I am about to have the baby but my strong uterus is making it easy on me? She didn’t think so.

Around midnight the contractions started to go in the opposite direction. After getting stronger all day, suddenly they began to get weaker. Instead of coming in a regular 9 to 10 minute interval, they started to stretch to fifteen or twenty minutes. This is when I started to suspect something might be wrong.

“Let’s go to the hospital,” I told my husband. “Something is happening”. Well, that’s all my father needed to hear. He got so flustered he spent ten minutes running around the apartment in his underwear looking for his pants. Matt and I were in the elevator and he still hadn’t managed to get dressed and find his keys despite the twenty minute notice I had given him. Regardless, we went ahead. I wasn’t in pain but I wasn’t waiting any longer. I’d been feeling contractions for over twenty-four hours and I thought there was a good chance this baby was coming out. Her head was so low that the ultrasound tech was alarmed the day before when she’d tried to guess the weight. “Does the doctor know she’s this low?” the tech asked. “How low is she?” My husband wanted to know. “She’s as low as she can be without actually coming out,” the tech said.

We got to the hospital and I told the nurse I wasn’t sure if I was in labor. I told her about my strong uterus. She told me to fill out the forms and a nurse would be with me. She didn’t seem to know about people with strong uteruses. My husband and I sat patiently as I got hooked up to machines and waited for the internal exam. Was I in labor? Was the head about to crown? Could I be one of those people on TV who confused childbirth with food poisoning? Is it possible I could just sneeze the baby out with no discomfort what-so-ever?

“You’re about 1 and a half centimeters dilated,” the nurse declared. I couldn’t understand it. I’d been having contractions since Monday afternoon and here it was, Wednesday, August 10th at 1:00AM and I was only 1 and a half centimeters dilated. “If you want we can admit you and induce you,” she offered. No way, I said. I have a plan. I’m going to go into labor naturally and stay home for as long as possible. Then I’m going to arrive at the hospital when I’m 10cm dilated and start to push. It’s all in my birth plan if she would like to take a look. She did not want to take a look.

“Come back when you’re doubled over in pain and crying,” the nurse told me. “Then you won’t have to wonder if you’re in labor.”

We went home and went to sleep. The contractions had gotten substantially weaker since learning how little I had dilated. I went to sleep thinking that I would be pregnant forever.

D Day:

The clock said 5:45AM when I felt a dragon had bitten through my abdomen. The pain radiated down my legs and wrapped several times around my body like a boa constrictor, squeezing the absolute life out of me. I sat straight up in bed but couldn’t manage to get any further. The pain seemed to pin me in place and I couldn’t make a sound. All the air got sucked down into some dark place inside of me. I saw my husband sleeping beside me but he might as well have been miles away. I couldn’t reach him. I couldn’t cry out. It was as if I was encapsulated by my pain. It was so strong that it incapacitated me. I watched the clock for a full 90 seconds until the grip began to loosen. Just like that, I felt perfectly fine. I lay back down wondering if I’d imagined it. I’d just been to the hospital and the nurse told me I could be pregnant for another three weeks. There is no reason to believe that what I’d just experienced was a contraction. It was late. Maybe it was a dream?

Ten minutes later the dragon bit me again. This time I managed to roll out of the bed and squat against the bed frame. I realized very quickly that it was far more painful to lay down than to stand up, so for the next four hours I stood, bracing myself against the wall in silence as my husband slept. I started recording the contractions. They were coming in a regular pattern ten minutes apart. After the fiasco of the night before, I didn’t want to wake anyone up. Besides, wasn’t my plan to stay at home until I was 10cm dilated?

By 10:00AM I had taken two showers, bounced on the birthing ball and couldn’t labor alone anymore. I decided it was time for the husband to wake up and help me. “Get the F* up,” I caressed his face gingerly as I breathed through another dragon bite. “I’m having a F*ing baby over here!”

“No you’re not,” he turned over and stuck his head under a pillow.

I decided to try my Dad. “Dad, I’m in labor. I’m having this baby today,” I told him.

“That’s what you said last night,” my Dad sighed as he rolled over and went back to sleep.

I was the girl who cried labor and now nobody would believe me.

In my mind it was time to take another shower. When I came out I found my husband had roused himself to go to the mall and grab some breakfast. “Would you like anything from the Ebar?” he asked as he looked for his keys.

“I can’t eat anything, I’m in labor,” I declared. I had to admit, even to me it sounded unreal. How could I be in labor? I was just at the hospital and they told me I was nowhere close.

“You won’t go into labor in the middle of the day,” my Dad assured me, “you’ll go into labor at a far more inconvenient time. Nobody has babies in the middle of the day.” This logic seemed to convince my husband that he had plenty of time to grab a coffee and a bagel and even do a little browsing over at Nordstrom before coming home.

By then it was noon and I was in some serious pain. The problem was that neither my father, husband nor brother believed that I was anywhere near having a baby. At twelve thirty something changed. This time, everything got more intense. The pain lasted longer. The contractions came closer together. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t breath. I felt the baby’s head and it was low. “As low as it can be before coming out….”

“I need to go to the hospital,” I announced as my husband and Dad laughed at something on the TV.

“Why don’t you wait til later?” My Dad asked. “There’s no rush to go now. I want to watch the rest of this show.”

“Matthew, take me to the hospital,” I demanded. Matthew ignored me as he texted on his phone. “Just relax,” he assured me, “it’s not as bad as you think”.

I decided right then and there that I was 100% alone in the world and I would have to pick my ass up and walk to the hospital. The thought of that walk with the August Floridian heat met a contraction head on and tears sprung to my eyes.

“Take me now!” I screamed so loudly that my husband literally jumped up off his chair. Finally he could see that this wasn’t a joke. I was in labor. I was having this baby today. As far as he knew, I might be having this baby right there on the couch. He finally agreed. The seven minute ride to the hospital was one of the most painful and fearful of my life. I felt like I was sitting on the baby’s head. I felt like if I breathed too hard she could fall straight out.

We walked into the hospital to see a long line of people waiting to get through security. That is when I lost it. Here I was, (in my mind) minutes away from giving birth, and we had to wait for a bunch of people to submit their IDs and get processed before I could get to the maternity ward. I’d have to have my baby here in front of the imitation Starbucks in the lobby with a dozen strangers watching me. When the contraction hit me, I doubled over and started to weep. Yes, weep. I am a degree holding drama queen and when confronted with the scariest situation for womankind–natural childbirth with an audience–I weep. The security guard took notice and asked my husband what was going on.

Finally, Matt summoned the words he’d been denying all day. “She’s having a baby!” He declared. The crowds parted and I was ushered quickly to the appropriate floor. After filling out all the admitting paperwork for the second time in twelve hours, I was finally taken to triage to be checked. If you’d asked me, I was ready to push. The pain was ten times worse than anything I’d ever experienced. I’d watched the videos on youtube and I knew what ten centimeters looked like. That was me. If I wasn’t ten centimeters then I didn’t know anything about anything in this world. “I’m ready to push,” I told the nurse, expecting her to rush me straight into an ER. I saw visions of myself having this beautiful natural childbirth experience. Three pushes and the baby would be on my chest. She would look around with her alert eyes, crawl to my boob and magically latch on. I would feel endless relief, joy and exhaustion. Hell, I was exhausted now. I hadn’t slept much since Monday night!

“You’re three centimeters dilated,” the nurse reported matter-of-factly. That was it? 3 centimeters dilated? How could that be? I was in so much pain. I was literally weeping in front of strangers.

“I’m going to need the epidural,” I told the nurse. “As soon as possible”.

My husband looked at me guiltily. “Is there anything I can do?” He asked helplessly.

“Yes,” I told him. “You’re in a hospital. Find a doctor and get a vasectomy.”

The pain only escalated between the triage bed and me being moved to a delivery room. The contractions were getting much stronger and closer together now. I have no idea how women have babies without epidurals. I know that I never want to experience that level of pain in my life. The epidural was quick and painless. Once it was administered I fell straight to sleep for four glorious hours. Yes, I felt totally loopy and I loved it. I overheard my Dad, brother and husband idly chatting on the couch in my room as they watched some lunatic on the news try to climb Trump tower. They were wondering what would happen first, would the baby come before the guy reached the top?

Around 6:00PM the doctor came to check me. “You’re ready to go,” she declared. My Dad was about to go get something to eat. “Go where?” He asked. “She’s ready to deliver,” my doctor told him. “Is this a good time for you?” she wanted to know.

“Sure,” my Dad said, “we can wait to eat.”

The doctor turned off my epidural and let it wear off for about half an hour so I could have some feeling of where to push. I woke up from my nap feeling totally rejuvenated. Everyone left the room except the doctor, one nurse and my husband. I  told them to turn the TV off because my baby was not coming into the world watching FOX News.

With the first push my husband saw the head. (I told you she was low). Twenty-five minutes later my daughter was on my chest at 7:04PM weighing 7lbs and 4 ounces. I didn’t feel a thing. We were all laughing when she was born. The thought of my daughter entering into the world to the sound of laughter and absolute calm filled me with endless joy. In an instant, everything and nothing changed. It was like my life before was a dream, and she was always there with me. My husband watched her take her first breath. He cut the cord and held my leg steady as the doctor delivered the placenta and stitched me up. I saw none of it. All I saw was my baby girl. It was everything I said I didn’t want, but exactly what I actually wanted. I felt energized and calm from my nap. The room was quiet and intimate. My baby was healthy. My husband took the baby and came over to me. We cuddled together looking at her endlessly dark eyes and I felt nothing but complete wonder. It wasn’t a scary childbirth story, it was one hundred percent wonderful.



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