Saturday, December 14, 2002
Special Forces Maternity Squad
OK. The reinforcements have arrived. My mother and sister, who have had 5 kids between, them just flew in tonight for a couple of days. So, Fiona's up at 5am for a drill before cleaning out the latrines after breakfast and a 3 mile run. "I wanna be a loving mother, get me a loyalty card from Mothercare....."
Sausage and I were puzzling over Tom's eggplant comment, below. So we Googled, and came across this.
I'm off grocery shopping now, to buy ingredients for tomorrow's dinner. Hope I can find reggiano...
Email received in the wee small hours from the Blogsprogs theological and spiritual counsel:
I just thought of something--a visual pun? an orthographic pun?--that
one of you probably already noticed. I'd post it on Blogsprogs, but
since I've given up paternity for Advent, I don't post; and I might
have put it in the comments on each of your sites, but I'm too worn out.
So the conceit in question was that, as David W. didn't say, we're
waiting ourselves into existence on the Web.
It's too small to bother with, but I couldn't go to sleep without doing
something with it. So there.
Grace and peace, gentlemen--
David's 'writing ourselves into existence' trope from SPLJ has been gnawed on at great length elsewhere.
Since Blogsprogs was born, a different passage in the book has been rattling round my lumber room:
"...we are rewriting ourselves on the Web, hearing voices we’re surprised to find coming from us, saying things we might not have expected. We're meeting people we would never have dreamed of encountering. More important, we’re meeting new aspects of ourselves. We’re finding out that we can be sappier..." [ah ha!] and "...We’re falling into email relationships that, stretching themselves over years, imperceptibly deepen, like furrows worn into a stone hallway by the traffic of slippers."
But I'm going to stop right there as I don't want this to become yet another blog chained in geostationary orbit around that book, or even that other book (deliberately not linking, for obvious reasons).
I can think of much better reference material for this particular project.
Friday, December 13, 2002
Although her high school students want Wendy to return next week (in hopes of expanding their learning experience), she plans to make this her last day. Our dilemma is, if she gets too far past her due date (Dec. 11), and the baby is transverse (as he seems to be a fair amount of the time), the medical folks might begin to insist on a c-section. She's hoping he'll head for the exit/entrance this weekend - when things at the overcrowded hospital might be a little quieter. To enhance the possibility, she's upping her prostaglandin stimulators - eggplant, rose hips, and one more...
-- Wendy just emailed from work to make this correction: "it's evening primrose oil, not rose hips." I stand corrected.
No news from Canada, yet.
We were out at my firm's management team Christmas nosh up last night and half-expected something to start rumbling in the wee small hours (large intakes of rich food preceded both previous births). Alas nothing.
Sausage justified in grumbling this am about suffering a hangover without actually having had any booze. More of a foodover, I guess.
Now we're both hoping the wee un stays put until at least Monday - Leona doesn't especially want to be going through labour on Friday 13th, plus our OB doesn't work weekends. Opus will, of course, follow his/her own schedule...
This morning the consultant decided that Fiona would be better off at home waiting for something to happen than stuck in a dingy hospital ward. I'm being the attentive husband. She says that she's very grateful for all your words and messages of encouragement. As am I, of course. I'm going to try to convince her to watch Captain Corelli's Mandolin in front of a warm fire this afternoon.
Thursday, December 12, 2002
Gary, I see fortitude in that lovely visage. Hang in. Your video might become a classic. I read somewhere that there are Mayan women who early in a pregnancy can tell if a baby is breech; they have special massages and other remedies probably stretching back to the beginning of civilization, which seem to work, since the Mayans have an unusually low rate of breech births, c-sections, etc.
Wendy knows a bunch about this stuff, being a latinamericanista. And right, Michael, she does have a birth plan, but many of her ideal wishes - water birth, etc., simply are not available at the hospital. She will at this point be delighted if the birth is "natural" in any sense of the word. An excellent doula will be there, and we'll try to make sure the hospital doesn't ignore our wish that the kid receive no bottles. Recently a friend of Wendy's had a c-section; despite her clear stated intent to breastfeed, the hospital (same one we're in) gave the kid a bottle. The mom has now completely given up on breastfeeding.
Fiona's holding up despite what seems like the entire medical profession's attempts to achieve otherwise. The photo was taken just after we were told (incorrectly) the baby had gone breech again and a c-section was on the cards. I've been making a video diary over the last couple of weeks, with short interviews with Fiona as things develop. Was intended to be a positive, joyfull video diary to look back at in years to come, so far in comprises interviews full of hope and expectation followed by despair, followed by hope followed by despair ad nauseam.
On a positive note, the Consultant OB totally rocks, dead against a c-section unless absolutely no option as a last resort.
That's rotten, Tom.
Of course, there's no way on earth we can possibly know exactly what's best for our wives: no matter how much empathy, support and involvement we strive for - there are certain things about childbirth only the mother can really decide (this shall henceforth be known as BlogSprogs Standard Disclaimer #1).
If it’s a case of a qualified OB-specialist acting in an emergency situation, or strongly recommending a certain course based on diagnosis – that’s different. But to mandate pitocin and c-sections as the preferred standard approach throughout the hospital is disgusting.
In fact - to have any of the mother’s choices taken off the table through fear of malpractice suits is simply insane. Healthcare in the US is clearly in even more of a mess than it is in Canada
I could get really outraged and twisty about a thing like this. The mother should have the absolute right to choose her birth experience as far as that is possible. In consultation with her partner, coach, doula, whoever, and a trusted healthcare pro, of course – and wrapping the usual caveats around things “in the event of an emergency”, &c.
Do you guys have a birth plan? These things seem kind of like a wanky idea at first, but Sausage and I had one for both Charlie & Lily and they were tremendously important. The simple process of walking through the alternative approaches to pain relief and such like becomes in itself almost cathartic. You’re forced to think about, and attempt to plan for, all the worst case scenarios.
And you have something to hand to the hospital and obstetrician that clearly states what you want and don’t want to happen. You have to tell them: clearly, simply, directly. This is incredibly important.
I’ll write more about our experiences with C & L’s births a little later (briefly: first one was with an epidural, long and arduous – second Leona did the frontier-woman thing. Astonishing).
A bit of incidental trend data we picked up at the Lemaze class: Here at our fairly typical Florida hospital, c-sections this year have been running about 30% of all births. A ''natural'' birth, involving squatting, movement, etc. seems relatively rare at this facility. Eight years ago the cesarian rate was 20%, according to the Lemaze teaching nurse who began working at the hospital back in '94. The vast majority of pregnant nurses who work at the hospital choose to schedule c-sections. About 70% of women here are put on Pitocin, which increases the chances of c-sections, the nurse said. Pitocin also tends to confine many women to bed during labor - underscoring the root meaning of "confinement." Another hospital in our area which would have been more open to natural processes, including a sort of modified water birth, recently closed its Ob wing. Couldn't afford the rising costs of malpractice insurance.
Mini rant: Insurance is reshaping life itself, at least in the US. I wonder how it is where you guys are.
Wednesday, December 11, 2002
A photo of the present domicile of the rambunctious, not-yet-extracted fellow is over here. Unofficially, we're calling him SJ. This has nothing to do with Jesuits.
For the record...but then, isn't all of this?
It occurs to me that a lot of people (and getting to No.10 on the DayPop Top 40 presumably means it really is quite a lot) - a lot of people might be arriving at this blog and trying to figure out what all the fuss is about.
So in case you're wondering, here's a cross post of the original blog that triggered the sequence of events leading to what you now see before you.
There were a number of links and mentions on our respective blogs before we reached this stage, but the inflection point for me came a few hours after writing this:-
There’s something in the air...or in our wives, at any rate. I already knew Gary & Fiona Turner were expecting a baby any day now. Thanks to Gary, I just found out that Tom Matrullo’s missus is also expecting imminently.
And tonight I arrived home to discover the lovely 39-week pregnant Sausage on her knees scrubbing out the kitchen cabinets. She’s evidently been cleaning, sorting and tidying all day. As this will be our third time around, I’m pretty sure I know what this means. Nesting behaviour. Tonight could well be the night...
Wonder which blogger will sprog first?"
Next morning, I woke up full of beans and bouncing off to the office. En route, Echo & the Bunnymen on the Discman, had a curious thought. Posted it:
This might be the sappiest thought I've ever entertained ... or perhaps I'm onto something. As a follow up to the previous post, this thought occurred to me on the tube ride in to work this morning. Perhaps I can persuade Gary Turner and Tom Matrullo to join me in a Gangblog of sorts for our three respective babies. Call it 'BlogSprogs' or something of the sort.
Over the next few years, the three Dads could use it to post notes, thoughts, moments of reflection, pure sleep-deprived insanity, progress reports, that kind of thing - writing our tiny charges into being, as Weinberger put it, over the months and years ahead. Like a collaborative online version of one of those cheesy Hallmark baby books, but just way more fun (at least for us). Comparing the first smile, first solid food, first baby steps, first sinking feeling as we sign up for those second mortgages...
Of course, we'd really only be the temporary caretakers and guardians of this blog which we would, in due course, pass on to our growing children to continue the tradition. We'd be blog building a bridge between generations.
My hope is that our kids would grow up to cherish their unique and curious online friendship - three kids in three different countries, sharing their growing pains and personal triumphs through what might be the best vehicle so far invented for such a dialogue..."
And there you have it.
This is yet another manifestation of the way fatherhood stretches your time sense. More than any other ‘coming of age’ thing, being a Dad really shifts your gaze in to the future. For me, at least. Things like pensions, education savings plans, mutual funds suddenly become important and even (yikes) attractive.
Even your writing shifts. I type these words and imagine our unborn Opus one day reading them. Even, now that I’ve added a comments feature, responding to them.
We’re inventing time travel here. I’ve just written something that I know my growing son or daughter will one day add to in his or her own words.
Blogging’s a kind of acid like that – no longer in need of any mind expanding substance round here anyway; not with thoughts like this to boggle my neurons.
First chance all day to even peep in. It seems a good deal is happening - Gary at least is suggesting as much over here, as I type. The commentary over at Jeneane's is running deep and wide. The expectations about this blog, which is, in a sense, about expectation, are going to be difficult to live up to. Living up to expectations is always a pain in the arse. Better I guess to overhype a mere blog than a kid.
Michael, fwiw, I like "BlogSprogs," and it seems to mean something in Danish. What else... Wendy is sure the kid has turned sideways and back down at least twice since her last ultrasound on Monday. She described one moment that sounded truly surreal, where the kid appeared to be fully transverse and stretching to his full height, distending her sideways like Alice eating a bit of the wrong cookie. I can't think of any experience comparable for men to this distortion/transformation of the body, unless one happens to be the Incredible Hulk.
So I get home, and find a message on the answering machine, a most excited voice. It's Marek, calling from Texas, sounding exactly like he just had a baby. It was like he was about to pop out of the phone and hand me a giant cigar.
Over the past few weeks, Wendy has gone from lucid calm to a kind of dread to a quiet acceptance that seems to be shading into a bit of impatience. The kid seems ready, she seems ready. Nature seems somehow indifferent to their states of readiness.
Wondering about the name.
As a bit of a logophile, 'BlogSprogs' has obvious appeal. But it's a little rough, all the same. Don't want to get tooooooo meep and deaningful over this, but maybe this blog should be re-christened something with a little more presence and weight.
The Long Promise, perhaps...
Off to pick up Charlie at school now, then to Lily's ballet recital, then a long night working on a ginormous new biz pitch and catching up on all the pressing stuff in my r/t life. More later, if time allows.
Back from the Quack.
Prognosis: thank you for continuing to hold. Sausage and I both really thought this was it, but the (wonderful, hilarious) Dr. Giffen thinks she’s a ways to go yet. We’ve even scheduled next week’s appointment.
Now the discussion about trying to schedule the arrival picks up again – both of us trying to decide if it would be better for this one to be induced.
As it’s a third, and expected to come really fast – we might find ourselves in scramble mode when we least expect it. This could be a problem. With the other two still so young, and absolutely no family in Canada – we may find ourselves calling up neighbours or local friends in the dead of night to ask them to accept our two poor waifs as we high tail it to the hospital.
Perhaps a drop or two of Pitocin is the safer way all round...?
Meanwhile, I was cleaning out the little hard-to-reach cupboard set into the wall above our fridge the other night (more nesting behaviour). In amongst the dusty bottles and old Tupperware, I found the note given to us by Joy, the Doula who shared our ups and downs as we brought Lily Àine into the world.
Startling, sharp intake of breath moment of serendipity. Here’s the note, in full. Good guide to the kind of thing we should expect some time in the next few days:
JUNE 11, 1999 LILY’S BIRTH
4:37 am Got the call
5:10 am At house
Leona progressing quickly, on top of it all (MOC: on top of her birthing ball, in fact)
6:00 am Left for hosp.
6:15 am at hosp.
6:30 am in room
8cm with bulging membranes! (MOC: ee-yuh)
6:40 am on EFM
6:57 am monitor off
“Do you want waters broken?”
Leona decides to wait through a few more contractions
7:25 am in Delivery room
(picked sunny room)
7:28 am Leona bites Michael
7:30 am waters broken by Dr.
7:32 am pushing in earnest
7:42 am Lily born!! 8lb 3oz
The rest, indeed, is history...
I've just added Jeneane to the 'extended blogfamily' links. I love what she's writing about us and love her for writing it.
Twice or thrice had I loved thee, before I knew thy face or name....or something like that. Isn't that just what the blogosphere is like all over? Brand new relationships reach operating temperature in a fraction of the time they would take in the normal world.
No time to respond properly to Jeneane or the many other kind emails I've received - gotta go see a man about a blog ;-)
After which, if this hippy-dippy love-in continues, I may have to spill some patchouli oil on my Afghan coat and set about preparing the nut roast for tonight's holistic dining experience...
Cameron Turner (to be), 3 weeks ago.
We have what will surely be our last Obstetrician's appt. this afternoon. Sausage suffering dreadful lower back pain. I'm booking out of the office at around noon to get to the quack and spend the rest of the day working at home. Plus Lily (3) has her ballet recital later today - can't miss that...
I need to fit in some work on BlogSprogs too, if I get the chance. Template tweaking - maybe moving it into somewhere with image hosting so we can post ultrasound scans and then early baby shots, drool specimens, etc...
Thoughts of Billy Connolly's 'birth video' sketch running through my head ; "Och, the wife looks very well there." "How the f*$%# would ye know?!"
I've decided to work from home this afternoon, Fiona called and asked me to come home if I could. Hmmm.
Tuesday, December 10, 2002
I'm double bluffing. I have been very imminently expectant for the last couple of weeks but nothing happened. I'm now cool as a cucumber, gliding around the office saying, "Nah, it won't be here for weeks", in the hope that I'm upsetting some universal karmic law that will result in bringing labour on. Somehow.
This is a cool idea Michael.
And a lovely blog it is!
I tre blogghini?
Kicking, turning, mastering the rhumba. Wendy taught her classes today, sitting on a birthing ball. Her students are offering her money to hang in until the end of term, probably hoping they'll witness one of life's mysteries in real time.
Activity - good
Pulse - 110bpm
Grimace - sneezing, coughing, pulling away
Appearance - normal
Respiration - Good, crying
Congratulations!! It's a Blog!