“Why you may still look pregnant”

I opened my e-mail account a few days ago to find that gem of a subject line staring back at me. Surprisingly, it made me feel good – I’m finally passed the stage of looking post-delivery pregnant, but I do have a long way to go to get back into fighting shape.

Like most women, I put on a little more weight than I would have liked while pregnant. Docs usually recommend gaining 25-35 pounds, but since I was already a curvy gal, my goal was 20-25 pounds. I ended up gaining 30 which really wasn’t too bad. After I finally got past the “green and sickly” stage of the few 16 weeks of my pregnancy, my weight gain was slow and steady. It was – surprise, surprise – the holidays that got me! I definitely overindulged during Thanksgiving, and it was all downhill from there.

I had been bracing myself for stepping on the scale after Vivian was born, but I was really happy to find that within a week or so of delivery, I had dropped 20 pounds. Mind you, I didn’t look like I’d lost 20 pounds. For the first month, I had a major case of the post-baby pooch. I’m not saying it’s gone now, but I don’t look 6 months preggo anymore, thank goodness.

So, for the last (almost) 6 months, I’ve been contending with those last 10 pounds. And when I say contending, I mean I’ve been thinking them over while eating cookies and ice cream.

If I lost weight just by thinking about losing weight, I’d be the skinniest gal you know.

The first few months after delivery I gave myself a pass. I just had a baby, after all! Plus, since I was breastfeeding, dieting wasn’t an option (if you eat too few calories while nursing, your milk supply can decrease), and it was hard to find time to exercise. However, as the months have gone on, I’ve been harder and harder on myself. It’s tough to reconcile this new body, especially when I can’t fit into anything in my closet and I’ve got a mean case of the “fat face”.

Seemingly out of nowhere I realized I was feeling better about myself this week. Have I lost weight? No. But I’ve gained some self-confidence. I owe a lot of it to my yoga classes. I see other women of all ages and sizes with incredible strength, and it reminds me to be proud of what I am. I’m strong – strong enough to bring a new life into this world!

One of my yoga instructors posted this article recently, and I couldn’t help but think how true it is. How much of my life have I spent wishing I could look better? Postponing that trip to the beach for some mythical day when I would look like a supermodel in a bikini?

And we all know that hindsight is 20-20. There was a time when I could have rocked a bikini! But did I? No! Too self-conscious, too self-critical. What wouldn’t we give now to look like we did in high school or college when we were convinced we were fat? What I’d give to be that “fat” again!

So my new outlook on my body is this: I look better than I think I do. And even if I don’t, who cares? A dimply thigh never hurt anyone. I’m going to live my life and stop postponing! I’m going to wear shorts and sleeveless tops. I’m going to put on a bathing suit. I’m going to remember that someday, I’ll look back at pictures of me today and sigh, wishing I could look this good again.

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Birth Story: Part Three (…otherwise known as the Finale)

To the faint of heart – this is a birth story. I’ll use icky birth related words and mention things you may not want to know about me. You’ve been warned.

—-

Right around the time that we discovered that the baby was sunny side up, the new nurse came in and introduced herself. I remember feeling a little wary of Kristen leaving, but in the end the new nurse Sheryl was absolutely wonderful. I liked her so much, I’d ask for her for any subsequent deliveries, if that’s an option. Sheryl was calm and optimistic – exactly what I needed. Furthermore, she was a trained midwife so I felt like I got the best of both worlds (a midwife in a hospital setting).

Thus began several hours of trying everything we could to turn that baby. Sheryl massaged my tummy a bit to see if she could get Vivian to turn. Then I was rotated from lying on my back to lying on my side. I hung out on my left for about 30 minutes, then Sheryl checked me again. No dice. Then I tried the right. I flipped from side to side with no change in Vivi’s position. Sheryl even attempted to turn her “manually”, if you know what I mean. Nothing seemed to work.

Sheryl mentioned that some pitocin might help increase the strength of my contractions, but I wasn’t ready to try more drugs. We decided to try pushing; it’s not impossible to deliver a baby while sunny side up, just more difficult. I pushed for about 30 minutes before we decided it wasn’t getting us anywhere. We had even tried a “tug of war” – Sheryl on one end of a sheet and me on the other – in an attempt to get stronger pushes out of me. Vivian’s little head just couldn’t make it past my pelvic bone into the birth canal.

At this point I began to feel a bit nervous. I asked Sheryl if I might have to have a c-section. She could see I didn’t want one, and she reassured me, we would turn Vivi, it was just going to take time. Brad and my mom reminded me that having a c-section wouldn’t be the end of the world – I’d be fine, and we would do whatever was needed to have a healthy baby. I relaxed as much as I could but made myself a promise: I could do it, and I wasn’t going to give up!

Luckily, we had all the time in the world, according to Sheryl. Vivian’s stats were good, and so were mine. There was no rush.

Sheryl asked me if I thought I could get on my hands and knees. My legs felt like very heavy tree trunks, but with some maneuvering, I was able to get on all fours. At this point, all you can do is hope that no unwelcome visitors pop into the room. I managed to stay up for almost 30 minutes, a feat considering I couldn’t control the lower half of my body and I was roughly the size of a (small) whale.

8am had long since come and gone; it was getting close to noon. Sheryl asked again about pitocin, and I acquiesced. After a quick shot of pitocin into the IV, I was instructed to rest for 30 minutes. We sat and chatted; Brad briefly stepped out of the room to give family in the waiting room an update. Before I knew it, the 30 minutes were over. Sheryl came in and checked me. “Okay, let’s go”, she said.

I was shocked… the pitocin had worked! While leisurely resting, Vivian had made the big turn and was in the right position! We wasted no time. Brad and Mom each grabbed a leg, and I started pushing again. Somewhere around this time, Dr. Orth popped back in to say hello. She was so sweet, commenting on how well I was pushing. Seriously, praise goes a long way when you’re a first-time mom.

One of the things I had worried about when deciding whether or not to get an epidural was if I would be able to feel contractions. I wanted to know when to push – I didn’t want to feel like I was on the sidelines at my own baby’s delivery with someone else telling me when I was having a contraction. I’m pleased to report, I could feel every contraction coming on and fading away. There was no pain – just tightening and pressure. I would take a breather in between contractions, then when I felt one coming on, I’d tell the group that I was starting to push again.

After all the waiting, I was just so excited to see Vivian; I had a one-track mind: PUSH! This is where everything really gets fuzzy. More and more people began to filter into the room – staff members who I had seen throughout my labor as well as nurses to care for Vivian once she was delivered. At one point, Sheryl commented nonchalantly, “I can see her hair”. My mom and Brad took a look, and I suddenly realized that I wanted to see too! I never would have thought I’d want a mirror during childbirth, but seriously it really motivated me. Once I saw the little top of the baby’s head, I had a new fire under me, and I pushed with everything I had.

Dr. Orth swooped in during the last 5 or 6 pushes, encouraging me to “push, push, push”. Finally, with one good push, Vivian’s head was out, and with their encouragement, I pushed one last time – and Vivian was born! 1:00pm on the dot, Wednesday December 28.

I’m not usually a happy crier, but tears just flowed down my cheeks to see her and hear her. They placed Vivi on my tummy, and I watched as Brad cut the umbilical cord. We were all beaming – she was perfect! They took her across the room to weigh and measure her. She looked around, ever the bright-eyed little girl, not crying anymore… just taking it all in.

Minutes later, Brad and I shared our first cuddle with Vivian, and I can assure you: we both fell in love instantly.

All in all, my labor and delivery was really pretty wonderful. In the weeks prior to delivery I had mentally built it up as this awful, painful thing, so comparatively it wasn’t so bad. And strangely enough, it was such a positive emotional experience for me that within weeks of delivering Vivi, I found myself already longing to be pregnant again (I blame the crazy hormones – I’ve leveled out now).

And now for your viewing pleasure – Vivian’s first days – click here.

Birth story: Part Two

To the faint of heart – this is a birth story. I’ll use icky birth related words and mention things you may not want to know about me. You’ve been warned.

—-

Brad and I made it to the hospital without any crazy antics (no cartoonish grab-the-bag-and-leave-the-wife-behind moments). We were both calm and cheerful, even making jokes during the drive. Even though I was still having contractions every two minutes, I honestly thought that I was going to be sent home. The hospital was quiet when we arrived with just two nurses at the station and no one else around. I was quickly checked into a waiting room. I climbed into a paper dress, and the nurse checked out the situation. I was 2 cm dilated – I was having a baby after all!

They officially admitted me to the hospital right about the time my mom arrived, roughly 2:30AM. As I settled into the hospital bed, Brad pulled up a chair next to me and held my hand. He held my hand for hours – and if he needed a drink or bathroom break, my mom took his spot. I swear, holding their hand got me through the pain and anxiety. I focused on my breathing and on Brad’s (or my mom’s) hand. In fact, the one thing that most prominently sticks out in my mind about the labor was how happy we all were. There were smiles and laughter – honestly, never a terse word spoken – which I still can’t believe. I honestly thought labor would bring out the worst in me, considering the hormones, pain, and lack of sleep. Other than the one incident in the closet at home, my birthing coaches weathered my labor unscathed.

As I had tested positive for group B strep (a bacteria that 25% of healthy women have naturally in their systems), I had to receive antibiotics intravenously during labor and delivery. The antibiotics basically safeguard the baby from a possible infection. This meant, of course, that I had to get an IV. A nurse I didn’t know placed the IV, and it was very uncomfortable from the word go. I swear that thing bothered me the whole delivery, especially when they administered the antibiotics every four hours. It burned! Which leads me to mention . . .

I have a notoriously low pain threshold (I’ve been known to collapse when stumping my toe), so I’d been stressing for weeks about how I would ever get through labor. Here I was, breathing through the pain like a champ with a smile on my face, no less. (To be fair, I mostly smiled between contractions). Don’t get me wrong, it was painful – which was why I was so proud of myself!

One thing I didn’t expect: my body was shaking uncontrollably. I literally couldn’t stop shivering. My nurse Kristen explained that it was the rapidly increasing hormones as my body prepared for labor. I think it was a combination of hormones and nerves. Let me tell you, I definitely felt nervous when I got into the delivery bed! Kristen brought me a heated blanket, and I finally relaxed enough for the shivering to stop.

Around 5:00AM Kristen decided to check my status again; I was 6cm dilated already! Considering how quickly I was progressing, I needed to make a decision: epidural or natural. On one hand, I was getting through the contractions fine, though they were definitely more intense. On the other hand, I kept thinking, “I really need that epidural.” I’m not sure if it was just my fear or if it was intuition talking, but something told me to get the epidural. I talked it over with Brad and my mom, and we all agreed – epidural it is!

The anesthesiologist came in and started prepping me. I sat on the edge of the bed while Brad held my hands. We chatted and laughed – the atmosphere in the room was downright cheerful despite my contractions. The doctor administering my epidural was shocked to hear I was already at a 6; he said most women would be yelling by this point. [Quick aside – one of the things I most dreaded was screaming or grunting during delivery. My mom said I was crazy – there’s nothing lady-like about delivering a baby – but I thought it would be so embarrassing to lose control like that.]

The worst part of getting the epidural was actually the tiny little needle the doctor used to deaden the area. I couldn’t feel the huge needle at all, though I did feel pressure. He taped the tubing on my back, and I made a point to never drag my back across the bed. I had heard that if the epidural placement shifts, your pain relief isn’t as good.

The epidural kicked in within 30 minutes; I didn’t feel any pain at all! My legs were heavy and felt rubbery – such an odd sensation. After about ten minutes I realized that I was feeling dizzy and lightheaded. I mentioned this to Kristen, and she took my blood pressure again. My blood pressure had dropped quite a bit, so they gave me a shot of ephedrine. This is one of my only complaints about my hospital experience. No one explained to me what the ephedrine was or what it would do. Considering I was trying to keep my childbirth a little-to-no-drugs zone, that did bother me a bit. However, the shot of ephedrine into my IV worked great. Within 10 minutes, I felt normal again – and still no pain, only pressure when a contraction occurred.

Kristen’s shift ended at 6:30, and as it was already 6:00, she decided to check me one more time before the next nurse’s shift started. Lo and behold I was already 9.5cm dilated – only 0.5cm to go! We couldn’t believe it! I had gone from a 2 to 9.5 in just four hours. At this rate, baby girl could be born in just an hour or two! We predicted I would have the baby by 8am, and we all started to get more and more excited.

Brad began making some phone calls to get family on the way. We were afraid they might miss the birth, considering how fast it was going. Right about this time, Dr. Orth – my doctor who I love, love, love – dropped by. I was overjoyed that she was the doctor on call. She checked me again. [Side note – I know some women find the cervical check painful but for me it was just a tad uncomfortable.] Dr. Orth confirmed that I was 9.5cm, and I believe at this point they broke my water – though honestly, I didn’t feel it, and I don’t really remember anyone talking about it. During labor, you just sort of get used to things happening downstairs.

Then came the first bump in the road. Dr. Orth noticed that Vivian was no longer facing down, the easiest birthing position. She was “sunny side up”, meaning her face was looking to the ceiling instead of the floor. Sunny side up makes birthing more difficult because the baby can’t lower her chin to get past the pelvic bone.

Apparently, Vivian had decided to turn since my last ultrasound a few weeks before. Because of this I now question my decision to get an epidural. You see, epidurals often relax the pelvic muscles, which in turn gives the baby more room and can allow them to turn. On the other hand, perhaps Vivian was turned the whole time, and the epidural gave me the pain relief I needed to stay calm and persevere. Little did I know, the baby wasn’t coming by 8am as we’d all predicted!

Birth story: Part One (…because childbirth is loooooong).

To the faint of heart – this is a birth story. I’ll use icky birth related words and mention things you may not want to know about me. You’ve been warned.

—-

Vivian’s due date was December 31, 2011 – our little New Year’s Eve baby. I constantly worried that she would be born on Christmas Day and that her birthday would forever play second fiddle to the holiday. Brad worried that she would be born in 2012 and that we wouldn’t get the tax rebate. 😉

On Christmas Eve, Brad sat down and had a chat with Vivi, Daddy-to-belly style. He let her know that she needed to stay where she was until at least Wednesday the 28th. Reason being, Mommy didn’t want a Christmas Day baby, and Mommy needed a few days of vacation before the big delivery (I worked until December 23rd).

Of course, around 3AM on Christmas morning, I woke up with contractions and couldn’t help but chuckle. These were my first contractions, so I suspected that they were Braxton Hicks. They were steady but unpredictable – coming 3 minutes apart, then 7 minutes apart… up and down… until they finally faded away. I breathed a sigh of relief, let me tell you. Brad and I spent Christmas morning together – just the two of us – opening gifts, eating cinnamon rolls, and relaxing. It was a quiet and lovely day – I’m sure the last quiet Christmas we’ll have for a long time.

Brad went back to work on Monday the 26th, and I spent my time at the house… waiting. As the hours passed, I started to have more signs (those that shall not be named in this blog… hint: rhymes with lug) that my body was getting ready for the big day, so ever cautious, I avoided going out by myself just in case. However, I needed some nursing bras before the baby arrived, and my need to check bra-shopping off my “to-do list” overpowered my need to be cautious. I finally made the trek out of the house on Tuesday morning. I remember having contractions on and off the entire trip downtown and imagining giving birth on the side of the road. I called Brad and asked him if I should turn back. He laughed and told me I was fine (his calm approach was right, like usual – I made it there and back with no problems. Mini panic attack averted). The contractions weren’t particularly painful – mostly just crampy and uncomfortable.

On Tuesday night, I really started to have stronger contractions. Most doctors recommend that you wait to go to the hospital until contractions are about 5 minutes apart for an hour. I timed my contractions again and again, but as I approached the one-hour time mark, the pattern would change or drop off completely. I assumed I was still in false labor because I could easily talk through the pain. Brad and I settled into bed to watch a movie; we made it about half way through before Brad drifted off to sleep. I turned off the movie and sat up in the dark timing myself. From 11PM to 1AM or so, I timed. Now my contractions were intense enough that I needed to breathe through them. However, they were coming 2-3 minutes apart, so I thought, “surely this isn’t the real thing. Where is the 5 minute spacing I’ve been waiting for all day?”

Finally, after pacing the bathroom for 20 minutes trying to decide what to do, I woke up Brad. I explained to him that I was having contractions 2-3 minutes apart, that I really didn’t think I was in labor, but that I wanted to go in to the hospital just in case. He dragged himself out of bed in a daze. I was already mostly dressed, and my bag was packed.

To this day, the memory of this next moment makes us both laugh out loud. As I finished getting ready, I turned and looked into the closet doorway to see Brad standing in a pair of longjohns, staring off into space… scratching himself… no bag packed and nowhere near ready to go. “Stop scratching your balls and MOVE”, I screamed. The Pregnancy Monster shocked him into action. He quickly packed his bag and dressed while I called my other birthing coach, my mom.

I told Mom that I probably wasn’t in labor so don’t come to the hospital yet but be on the ready (she, of course, got dressed and in the car immediately). Then we hopped in the car…

There’s (liquid) gold in them there hills!*

I don’t like to use the word “breastfeeding” in mixed company. It’s weird, I know, but the word feels strangely intimate. I briefly called it “feeding”, but I felt sort of like I was caring for a vampire . . . “Vivian needs to feeeeeeed.” Creepy. I’ll usually refer to it as “nursing”.

However, I’m going to suck it up for this post and call a spade a spade: it’s breastfeeding, and there’s nothing wrong with saying that word. (Repeat, Adria: there’s nothing wrong with saying that word). Why is there so much emotion associated with breastfeeding? There’s guilt (about the decision to stop breastfeeding, whether it’s days or months down the line), embarrassment (about using the terminology or nursing in public), disapproval (against non-breastfeeding moms or moms nursing in public places), and of course, satisfaction (providing nourishment to a child in one of the most intimate ways possible).

Breastfeeding is surprisingly a hot button issue for a lot of people, I’ve come to find. Everyone has an opinion. As a new mom, you are inundated with information touting the benefits of breastfeeding. Yes, it’s great for your baby, there’s no doubt about it, but there’s definitely a stigma if for whatever reason you don’t breastfeed. Furthermore, there’s debate on whether breastfeeding in public is indecent. So which is it: breast is best or hide the hooters? Can’t we all just get along?

[Note – image above is not me. Ugh, see. Shame on me for feeling ashamed of the adorable knit cap!]

I went into my baby prep knowing that I wanted to breastfeed. One, it really is a great form of nourishment for your baby, but two – being the El Cheapo that I am – it’s free. There IS such a thing as a free lunch (and breakfast and dinner and snack), and I was bound and determined to take advantage of it. And if I just so happened to lose some baby weight in the process, well, so be it!

I researched online. I read breastfeeding articles. I even took a breastfeeding class before Vivian was born. Brad, ever supportive, attended with me.  The class was very persuasive (except for that weird segment where the instructor claimed that breastmilk could cure ailments, including pink-eye… “… just squirt a little into the eye…”. I’m sorry, but NO! Weird!). We both left the class as believers, breastfeeding plan in hand.

You know what they say about best-laid plans, right? As instructed, I took Vivi to the breast within 30 minutes of her birth. I knew from my training that many babies are too sleepy to nurse after the big event; she was bright-eyed but still 100% uninterested. Okay, strike one – on to attempt two. Once settled in postpartum, I tried nursing Vivi after she had her first shots and bath. Strike two: she didn’t seem to know how to suck! I began to feel a little panicked; however, we had some success with the help of an incredibly kind lactation consultant, Gretchen, who showed me some tricks. By bedtime, I felt more confident.

Then came the night feedings… and the dreaded night nurse. Here I was, blurry-eyed from not sleeping for over 48 hours, trying to feed this tiny little person who was just as clueless about the whole process. Sadly, the night nurse was no help. She was impatient, brash, and very pushy – even grabbing my breast and squeezing it into Vivi’s mouth.

Something you should know about me: I can be incredibly timid, especially when it comes to “authority figures”. I remember once in junior high, an orthodonist assistant was making adjustments to my braces. An inch long piece of metal wire was sticking into the back of my cheek. Once the assistant noticed the blood, she barked at me, “why didn’t you say something?” When I think about it nowadays, I think my silence was a mix of two things: trust in a supposedly skilled expert and fear at being impolite. I’m working on getting over this as an adult.

Back to the story. I know now that I should have given the night nurse a piece of my mind, or at the very least, politely asked her to change her tactics or leave me alone with Vivi. Though unfortunately that same night nurse was on duty every night I was in the hospital, I was lucky enough to have wonderful experiences with the day nurse and the lactation consultant.

Needless to say, Vivi didn’t seem to get much colostrom the first night. [Side note for those not educated in the art of breastfeeding: milk doesn’t actually “come in” until 3-4 days after the baby is born. The initial “milk” is called colostrum, and it’s basically like a natural vaccine – every syrupy drop is precious.] On the second day, we nursed often but the sessions were always very short. I kept at it and tried not to get discouraged. That night Nasty Night Nurse woke me up: “the baby’s bili is too high”, she said. In a sleepy daze, I thought she said the baby’s belly was too high. “Does she have gas?”, I asked.

Come to find out, Vivian’s bilirubin levels were high, meaning she had jaundice. Jaundice is basically a condition where a person has too much bilirubin, a yellow substance, in the blood. The bilirubin causes your skin to yellow, and if untreated, can cause significant complications including – yikes – brain damage and deafness. Luckily, jaundice is easily treatable with photo therapy and fluids. I also learned that the condition is more prevalent in breastfeeding babies, especially those who don’t nurse well. Here’s why: bilirubin leaves the body through excrement. The more milk consumed, the more poopy diapers – and the more bilirubin leaving the baby’s body.

Vivi started photo therapy that night, and I began breastfeeding even more than before. The day nurse, who I trusted, came into check on us first thing in the morning. I filled her in on the situation and asked her opinion: keep feeding Vivian via breast or start supplementing with formula. Day nurse Angela gave us her advice – wait another 6 hours for Vivi’s next blood test, and if her levels haven’t gone down, start bottle-feeding.

Brad and I didn’t even need to talk it over. Though our breastfeeding class instructor advised not to introduce a bottle for at least 4 weeks, we agreed: give Vivi the fluids she needed to get better. Gretchen, lactation consultant extraordinaire, helped me get started on the hospital-grade (i.e. awesome!) breast pump, and I pumped away. I continued to nurse Vivi, but following a nursing session, Brad gave her a bottle of formula or expressed milk. Within a day, her bili levels were low enough for us to take her home! I continued to pump and supplement with an extra bottle after every feeding. In the end, we gave Vivi only 2 bottles total of formula – luckily, my breastmilk came in on the fourth day, and the additional fluid knocked that bilirubin right out of her adorable little body. At our follow-up visit, we learned that not only did Vivi’s bili levels go way down, she was gaining weight.

Through it was tough at first, Vivi and I worked through the ups and downs of breastfeeding. We now have a comfortable and easy breastfeeding relationship, and I cherish our special moments together. She never had an issue going from breast to bottle. Vivi takes a bottle when she needs to but definitely prefers to breastfeed.

Looking back, I’d never regret breaking “the rules” by giving Vivi a bottle, even if it had caused breastfeeding hurdles. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about being a parent so far is that no matter what well-meaning advice you receive, be it from a doctor, book, or otherwise – you have to go with your gut as a parent and do what you think is right for your child.

To all moms out there trying to breastfeed – if you can do it, great! If you need advice or have questions, I’d love to help! But if you struggle and find you can’t do it, don’t beat yourself up about it. In the end, what’s best for your baby is your call, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

[Aside: I don’t think I’ve lost any baby weight because of breastfeeding, but I do think it has enabled me to eat large amounts of fudge and Cadbury Eggs without gaining weight… so that’s something.]

 

*Credit for post title: Brad Ray

Blue, red, grey… which universe are we in again?

The first trimester of my pregnancy was rough. I could barely eat anything, and I was perpetually nauseous. When I wasn’t at work, you could be sure to find me moaning on the couch with a box of crackers. To pass the time, Brad and I watched a lot of TV. We watched the entire Arrested Development series, re-watched The Wire, and became fans of a few new shows, including Fringe. And on the subject of Fringe . . .

If you had told me five years ago that I would be rehashing a crush on Joshua Jackson in my late twenties, I would have called you crazy (I always preferred Pacey to Dawson, didn’t you?). Yet here I am. For the first few seasons of Fringe, I wanted to scream at Olivia, “just kiss the boy, he’s wonderful!”

Finally Olivia and Peter get together, and of course, fate pulls them apart. In walks Lincoln Lee. At first, I was incredulous – another love interest, really? However, Lincoln has really won me over, especially nerdy Lincoln in the parellel universe (okay, two things – one, who would have thought I’d love sci-fi/fantasy and use words like “parallel universe”? And two, smart guys are sexy – I know because I’m married to one.).

The whole Lincoln/Olivia and Peter/Olivia storyline has been entertaining without being too love-triangle-esque (yes, I made up that word – what of it?). What I find most compelling about the storyline is the fact that Olivia is really two people (prime universe Olivia and parallel universe Olivia) with potentially different soulmates. I do find myself rooting for Peter first and foremost, but I can’t help but feel a bit sad for Lincoln. Won’t he ever find love… at least in one universe?

If you were Olivia (the original or Faux-livia), who would you choose?