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Archive for November, 2006

We’re home! Thank you for all your kind words. Attic Man printed them out for me and brought them to the hospital. It was nice to still feel connected to the world while the Snapper and I were slowly getting used to life as separate entities.

What can I say? After a labor that was quite like being hit by a truck, the first morning home with no more than hour-long catnaps between feedings feels comparatively pleasant. So I am here saying hello to all of you.

I’ll post the birth story later (I think in two versions: short summary, and below a cut, gory details for those of you who can handle it) but suffice it to say that although it took almost 40 hours to bring our son into the world, it was well worth it. I have no plans to do it again, ever, but for him I would do it a thousand times. The Snapper himself handled labor like a champ. There were a few scary moments after he emerged—a 3 on the initial Apgar, 9 later—but he revived rather quickly, if not grumpily. I am happy to say that we now know, on a bi-hourly basis, that his lungs are very, very healthy.

I couldn’t have made it through labor without my excellent team, the foremost among them, self-proclaimed “Dudela”, Attic Man. He was amazing. He was up with me the entire labor and is the main reason I didn’t succumb to the temptation of pain meds (more on that later—I must say now that I have more understanding now than ever for women who choose medical pain management). I also had an awesome team of nurses who respected our birth plan to the letter and guarded it with their lives. As each new shift came on (I must have had five or six different labor nurses), the outgoing nurse would hand-pick the next nurse based on how well-suited she’d be for our preferences. Each new nurse, upon introduction, would reaffirm that she was on board and enthusiastically praised us for sticking with it. Last, our doctor was the coolest cucumber on the block. She must have said, “yes you can, you’re almost done” a hundred times during the five-hour pushing stage (yes, you read that correctly) to my pitiful cries of “no I won’t, I can’t, I’m done!”

But now we’re finally home and nursing well—little man didn’t quite get the sucking and latching thing for the first day, but has since more than made up for it—and the dogs are being absolute champs. We’re just going to enjoy being in familiar surroundings and rest.

Love to you all.

Picture here. (if you can’t see the picture, click on Nov. 27 and look for Sam). More later when we get the necessary component for the digital camera.

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9:13 (Central time, naturally).  7 lbs, 2 oz.

A little wrangler was born
I seen him squirming in the saddle all wet and warm
He’s such a changeable form in his very first year

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Guest blog II

In labor.

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Sometimes, in the Attic Household (so called because our parents slept chastely in the attic), we played a game on Thanksgiving. While a Mexican seminarian played the didgeridoo and my mother sang the Chock Full O’Nuts song*, each member of the family would name something for which they were thankful. We begin with the letter A and worked our way through the alphabet, naming a different thing for each letter. Before you could name your cause for gratitude, you had to list everything everyone else said first. Of course, some letters are easier than others, and sometimes you have to graps at straws. It wasn’t always clear who the winner was, but we definitely knew who the losers were.

 

This year, they’re there and we’re here, so we have to be losers by ourselves. Here is an alphabetized list of what we’re thankful for. Feel free to hum the Chock Full O’Nuts song as you read.

Antifreeze.

Beer—which you can buy almost anywhere here. It’s awesome. Gone are the days in Pennsylvania when we had to make special trips to get to the beer distributor. Before 9:00. But not on a Sunday. And only if we felt like getting a whole case. Now, we can buy beer at Target, or the supermarket, or the gas station down the street, or at a truckstop (we’re not convinced that’s a great idea). This morning, I could have had an ice-cold Budweiser at the 10:55 a.m. showing of Stranger Than Fiction.

Collins Road Theatres—second-run movies, they let you put the butter on your popcorn yourself, and the manager comes into each theatre and greets the audience and gives away free passes.

Dubuque—we went there last night because we can, dammit. It’s lovely.

Electricity

Family (cliché, I know. But I’ve got to say it before someone else takes it).

Granola

Heidi—she’s not a handsome dog, but she doesn’t know that.

Iowa—where we’re happier, the dogs are happier, and the women are all foxy.

Jamaican jerk chicken

KGAN—they’re broadcasting the Steelers game tomorrow.

Lenny—we decided on his name when we put Fratze to sleep. We did so because that night helped us understand the end of Of Mice and Men much better. We didn’t realize at the time that from now on when we read it, most of it seems like a comedy—all because of this guy.

My mother—who is capable of such brilliance it caused a potentially-fatal meltdown. A close second for this letter is the Mississippi. For as long as I’ve been able to read, I’ve been fascinated with it. Now I live somewhere where I can drive for an hour, take a walk by it, dip my fingers in it, and then scrub the hell out of my hands. Why on earth would I dip my fingers in the river a hundred yards away from a casino riverboat laden down with the elderly?

Norse mythology—when I was a child I loved Greek mythology, but Norse would do in a pinch. I mean, lending your all-seeing eye to someone as part of a bargain? Cool.

Oregano—not the most exciting spice, but it definitely perks up a slice of cold pizza at 3:00 a.m. Not that either of us would sneak out of bed in the middle of the night just to get the last piece of pizza.

Pizza

Quartet program at Bucknell—provided the perfect cover for me to put the moves on my baby-mama.

Ralph Wiggums

String Cheese Incident

Television—because we’re lazy, dammit. Don’t judge me.

Uvulapalatopharyngoplasty—impressive.

Vanna White—proof that a person can make money doing a job that does not, in the strictest sense, need to be done.

Wisconsin—they’re our neighbors, and their cheese is delightful. I am a little sick of them inviting me to smell their dairy air. It was funny the first few times, but we get it now. Get a new joke.

Xzibit—not for his rapping (although I’m sure it’s delightful). Not even for Pimp My Ride. But for Pimp My Ride making possible CMT’s Trick My Truck, a program on which we learn with a big budget and a team of skilled craftsmen, there is no limit to how tacky your 1998 Freightliner can look.

Ypsilanti—wouldn’t it be cool to live in a town with a gibberish name that looks, at first glance, to be real word spelled backwards. I guess eventually the charm would fade.

Zucchini

 

*This actually happened–Thanksgiving, 1998.

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Alright, already!

The St. Jude candle kicked the bucket about a half an hour ago.  Too bad, though, that every time I think I’m going into labor it’s just gas.

We had a nice Thanksgiving by ourselves, though we sorely missed Family Attic’s celebration in PA.  We did include one element of their tradition–consuming coffee and donuts at a local state park–and returned home where Attic Man fried a turkey and I made mashed potatoes, butternut squash, wild rice (with sunflower seeds, mushrooms, and cranberries–yum!), stuffing, and store-bought peach pie that I warmed up so I could pretend I’d made it myself.  We finished off the night with a stroll on the riverwalk, then nestled into the couch for Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.  I was hoping the hysterics it put me into would stimulate labor, but this baby is just not ripe yet.  Nevermind, I guess…he’s not officially due until tomorrow and we have two weeks after that until we’ll even think about induction.

I have some more thoughts about the Brown Babies post, but today I think I’ll continue resting and enjoying Attic Man’s day off.

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NST and a free lunch

I had just about the most boring trip to L&D ever.  I must have overdone it with the nursery last night (I was up til 1 a.m.) because my blood pressure was a little high for my appointment.  Doc sent me to the hospital for a non-stress test (where they hook you up to monitor the baby for a little while) and took bloodwork.  Everything was normal but I had to lay around (there’s stuff to do!  and I’m not tired!) for about three hours until everything came back.  I did get a free lunch out of it, including one luscious brownie.  I wish I hadn’t lost most of my day, though.  I now have just 45 minutes until I leave for my afternoon walk.  Oh yeah–did I mention I can walk again?  I still have the swelling but my ankles don’t pop and hurt anymore.  I had to start off really, really slowly, but now I can go a reasonable pace and it feels pretty good.  Every day I walk the 1/2 hour to Attic Man’s office downtown–I figure if I can’t make it he can just pick me up wherever I land. Hopefully the walking will get us further along.  I’m 1 1/2 centimeters dilated.  It’s not exactly labor, but it’s something!

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As I write this I can hear the mouse carrying on somewhere in the stove.  We’ve still not caught it and it’s making me crazy.  We bought some more traps tonight so hopefully we’ll be rid of him/her soon (gosh I hope it’s not a HER!).  I’d be OK sharing my house with one mouse for the winter if I weren’t so google happy and about to bring a newborn home.  The other day Attic Man saw it on the counter.  Eww.

At about midday I was following my regular routine, and just as I was about to sit down for dissertation work (showered, dressed, dogs out, one load of laundry in, dishes done) I was hit with a crushing depression, of the sort that makes you feel desperate like you’re falling and there’s no bottom and never will be.  I had eaten already so it wasn’t that.  I decided the best thing for me was to get busy and try to work through it.  Only trying to concentrate on reading was not doing it so I launched myself into the only thing I knew would make me feel better: assembling the crib.

So here I am, about ten hours later, having assembled the crib and changing table and still working on putting stuff away in the nursery.  I had to come down here for a little while so Attic Man can fall asleep before I start up again (he can sleep through noise but he needs a head start).  He’s thrilled that I’m doing this because he hates furniture assembly with a passion.  It works for both of us.

No contractions or other such activity.  I wish I could be sure this was a sign of coming labor.

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