My Little Girl Is Here!  8lbs, 3oz, 20 inches, and absolutely beautiful!

Many of you probably won't remember me, but I've been dealing with a rough ride these past months with work craziness, my daughter starting preschool, and a huge amount of stress and physical stuff tied to my second pregnancy (several scares about pre-eclampsia, although everything ended up ok).

My daughter, Lyra, was only born three days ago, and in an unanticipated turn of events, I ended up doing the "natural childbirth thing."  Now, I'm not going to gross you out here or go into gory details, but doing childbirth without interventions like painkillers is basically Life On Extreme Hard Mode.  Giving birth is kind of like horde mode in Gears of War.  You have waves and waves of pain, although there are some minute breaks from time to time, only they get more and more difficult to ride out.  I'm not one of those people who is against pain management in birth- in fact, I was *hoping* to get medication to help ease the pain, but there just wasn't time.  I kept being told, "oh, you're not in *real* labor" and "the pain will get worse" and "only come to the hospital when your contractions are 5 minutes apart," so I was hanging out at home miserable in pain and convinced that I would be sent home again if I went.  Eventually, though, I couldn't stand it anymore, and basically begged my husband to take me.  I felt like I was being a baby, not having one.

Visualization during Labor: imagine the pain is a nasty alien monster horde and you have a gun called "breathing."  Seriously, really works, for reals.

We got to the hospital at midnight-ish, and were whisked into labor and delivery, and I was basically saying, "epidural please!" through the waves of pain.  So the (somewhat skeptical) nurse checked me out, assuring me that I was probably only 4-5 cm at most, yet lo and behold, I was almost ready to push, and there was absolutely no time for pain management or even putting in an IV.  They even had to draw blood while I was holding onto the hospital bed for dear life during a contraction and I didn't even notice them sticking me.  The craziest thing?  The pushing stage only lasted about 10 minutes and suddenly she was born and I was holding her in my arms.  It was so surprising that I could even have done it, (my first child was induced labor and I had an epidural so it was much less painful and generally ended up being fairly easy to deal with but the recovery was hard), that it was like I had this natural high- you know the kind that people who climb mountains and run marathons talk about.  In fact, even though I had been in labor for most of that day (though I hadn't known it), and it was almost 2AM, I didn't feel tired or really even all that sore afterwards.  I could not sleep even if I had wanted to.

So now here I am, home from the hospital and set to stay on maternity leave for a few months to bond and care for my new little one as well as adjust to our new family dynamic.  And for some reason, the fact that I got through that birth process without any outside help (other than my husband's support and a pretty awesome doctor and nurse team who helped make sure that everything progressed properly).

And that means one thing- I am really hoping to write more often.

"Come on out of that pen, words! I know you're in there!"

I must also say that I've been in a gaming slump.  For some reason (I will blame this on pregnancy hormones because, hell, I can do that right?), I seem to have been sapped of the ability to game on a more serious level.  Other than a couple puzzle games and casual games (I was hooked for a bit on the iOS game "Bubble Blast," which was basically like Puzzle Bobble on steroids, and of course there are my ever-ongoing Words With Friends games), I had the almost sacreligous gall to react to more hardcore games as a "waste of time."  But before you excommunicate me from Gamerdom, hear me out.  I think that to some extent, I felt like it had been done before- so what was the point?  I knew that if I pushed a button sequence properly, spent the proper amount of time leveling up or conquering a control scheme, then the story or the game would progress and eventually I would win.  Sure, some games are challenging, but in games where you simply must be patient and bide your time with grinding and leveling (and RPGs, which are my classic favorite, are basically full of these two factors), it's just a question of time.  And for some reason...I just got into the headspace that doing so was futile- I'd just end up at that ending credits and feel like the time had been spent in a way that it had been spent before- something like a boredom-induced deja-vu.

"What is it called when you have deja-vu about your deja-vu, anyway?"

Then my 3DS disappeared.  One of my friends asked to borrow it while he was visiting and it got misplaced.  So there was no way to play some of the games that I was hoping to play on my "newer" console.  But also, because of various pregnancy things, I was forced to go into the hospital for fetal monitoring twice a week for about an hour or more, so I needed something to do beyond just play iOS games.

Which is how I got back into playing Pokemon Conquest on my old trusty gold DS Lite.

"Hey Jigglypuff!  If Oni doesn't say nice things about this game, make sure you use your 'draw obscene pictures with permanent marker on the face' move on her, ok?"

This not only reintroduced me to the insanely awesome long battery life of the DS Lite (seriously, I can play for like 8 hours before having to charge as opposed to the 3DS pooping out on me in maybe 4 hours), but it also helped me rediscover why I like SRPGs so much.  Even though they can be an exercise in tactical patience and indeed, I sometimes get frustrated at the tedium involved in the game (although it has been immensely helpful to use the "delegate" options in my various kingdoms to develop my army), overall, I'm enjoying how fun this game is- a really good refreshing use of the Pokemon franchise, and one that I personally enjoy playing more than the seemingly re-hashed "Gotta Catch 'Em All" fueled quest with still more species with ridiculous names (seriously, PIG-NITE for a fire/pig Pokemon? SERIOUSLY?  What's next, PORK CHOP for a pig fighting Pokemon?).

He even has that stupid moustache....and nothing screams ULTIMATE EVIL like spiky arm bands and a top-of-the-head ponytail (you know, just like those evil valley girls from the 80's).  Heck, he even apparently puts lipstick on his Pokemon.  That's just not right.

And besides, it involves Japanese Hitler...I mean Nobunaga.  Who is apparently a favorite ULTIMATE EVIL bad guy in Japanese games for some reason.  Seriously, that name shows up as the "Big Bad" in more Japanese games and media than you can shake a stick at.  And it's kind of funny to watch some of the warlords and their weird personalities (they talk in various cut scenes as well as on the battle field and each has their own distinct personality from flamboyant to gruff and stoic), especially when you have really weird Pokemon/warlord combinations, like Pichu and some Serious Shogun looking dude who says things like "ONWARD TO BATTLE" and the like.

Speaking of annoying....

And I am ashamed to say that I still need to beat Skyward Sword.  The last time I played, I got stuck on one of those timed trial things and my (older) preschool aged daughter decided to get up and hang on my arm so I kept failing because you have to play games with two arms and apparently 3 year olds do not yet grasp this concept.  I seriously am looking forward to the time when I can actually play games WITH my child (or at least pretend to be clueless and fumbly about these "newfangled game things" just to be infuriating), but that's a topic for another day.

So yes, that is basically where I am right now, and considering that I'm being ordered to be on "complete pelvic rest," other than breastfeeding and a couple other essential mom functions, I'm basically medically ordered to plant my butt on the couch and hang out all day long.  Which should mean gaming.  I just need to figure out how to convince my 3 year old not to use me as a piece of playground equipment while also making sure that my new little one grows up healthy and strong!  Thank goodness for the awesome support of my husband (who is taking some paternity leave to make sure that I get any help I need while I'm recovering), my family members, and friends!  And hey, in the end, I'm still beside myself with amazement that I somehow got through childbirth without painkillers.  Because, seriously, OW.


So as for questions:

What have you been playing recently?

Is there a handheld or console that is not necessarily the newest of the new that still holds a special place in your gamer heart?

And finally, are there any series or franchises that you think would benefit from a change in game theme or type (ie: from action RPG to puzzle or turn based RPG to SRPG)?

As always, I thank you for reading my (sporadic) posts, and I hope to become a regular blogger on the site once again.  Now I just need to find the dang words!